2018

Change Happens?

My daughter, unable to write while healing from a minor shoulder surgery, has been sending me voice messages. This morning I needed to listen to one of her messages another time only to find out that it had vanished! Was I hallucinating? I asked her to resend and read the sentence underneath it: “Raise to Talk. Expires in 2m.” What the hell was that all about? She explained that it was something to do with my settings, blah! blah! blah! What’s next, I asked her, that I’ll get a message with a Mission Impossible sentence underneath it saying: This device will self-destruct in 5 minutes if you don’t use it? I really don’t need much from our modern devices to become even more paranoid than I already am!

And, since Monday, November 5, specifically, our United States, let alone our world at large, has been giving me enough reason to become more paranoid, as well as to experience so many other draining emotions!

That Monday we were having torrential rains, and I was thinking of all those people, their children and their belongings being swept away within seconds by torrents and floods all the way from the Philippines, to Italy, to Jordan, to India, and elsewhere. It is so devastating! How is our planet and its political leadership going to deal with the human floods who will be fleeing the effects of climate change that will be ravishing so many places on earth in the coming few years? Aren’t the massive fires in California and elsewhere enough proof that our Planet is stressed to the hilt? One climate disaster after the other in this nation and in the world creating homelessness and internal refugees who will be traumatized for years to come! Shouldn’t the denials and arguments end and drawing the plans on how to cope and mitigate this looming disaster begin? Maybe Yesterday?

These thoughts brought to mind the Pre-Planned and Deliberately Organized (unless you are naïve) wave of migrants flowing towards our border. Whether one calls them a Caravan, or an Invasion, or Whatever is such a distracting argument amid all else that is banal! What do the bleeding hearts want for these people? Do they not realize that as soon as we take in the first thousand there will be thousands upon thousands more clamoring for amnesty at our borders? Yes, it is heartbreaking that people are suffering. And, yes, I am well aware that colonialism, followed by our twentieth century criminal wars, interventions, sanctions and devastating meddling in the affairs of Latin America and the Middle East have caused so many people to be fleeing. Moreover, I also know that it would cost us much less than all our senseless wars to initiate a plan to help them stay in their own countries rather than to flee and head for Europe and the US. However, shouldn’t we resolve our shambles of Immigration and Foreign Policies as soon as possible if we are to stem the catastrophes that we have already caused, and the ones that are yet to come? Shame on both the Republicans and the Democrats for not resolving this issue! Shame on both of them!

Then, on Tuesday, November 6 and after the morning deluge passed away, we went to vote in our mid-term elections. I felt proud and happy to be participating in this process, flawed as it is with all the crazy gerrymandering, voter suppression and other political shenanigans! Change does not happen in a vacuum. It is the result of more than one force, event or person. And what is happening to our country (and to the world) is an outcome that has been years and decades in the making. It did not happen simply because we elected Donald Trump, despite what the incorrigible media and the Democrats tell you, and It will entail more than one election to change it, and more involvement by every one of us. Nevertheless, the election results of two Muslim women: Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American and Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American, as well as many other minority women, proved to be an affirmation that the people’s vote counted, and that their gut instincts for what is just and unbiased won the day despite a whole lot of election adversity, manipulation and media hype. Perhaps specifically because of that I refuse to go along with the spoon-fed hype that some in this nation swallow hook, line and sinker, or with the mob thinking on either side of our political spectrum that the irresponsible rapscallions of the MSM foment, not out of principle, but simply due to their inflated egos, ratings and financial returns. And I truly believe that most of the American people think as I do. After all, these are the same people who elected Bill Clinton a second time despite a salacious scandal, the same ones who elected Obama twice and the same ones who elected Trump! I am also proud of the Millennials who came out in droves for this election. On their young shoulders falls the burden of cleaning up our Planet from corrupt politicians, and the despoiling of our environment. In this, there is hope that Change Happens!

On Wednesday, President Trump held a Press Conference during which he had a confrontation with CNN’s Jim Acosta, who, my gut and his previous behavior indicate, has been salivating for this moment and his five minutes of fame for a long time. He was rude and hostile, and his petty drama earned him a suspension from the White House Newsroom. Bravo! As a result, the so-called journalists of the MSM feigned their usual anti-Trump acrimony with cries of: Free Press is essential! Yes, Free Press, not their version of it! In any case, Trump was his usual self: bragging about his Party’s wins; painting a rosy picture against a national backdrop in which many people are angry, frustrated and more extreme than they have ever been, mainly about healthcare, as this election proved. This is why the temperature in these United States goes up a few scary degrees every day. The irresponsible media, corrupt politicians and a controversial and untactful President who can’t seem to put a lid on it, have hijacked legitimate issues and belittled them while focusing on trivia and melodrama at the expense of the country and its people. And how long will citizens continue to accept their bullshitting and their deliberate sensationalist hyping of everything negative?

The tragic drama that came on Thursday night in Thousand Oaks, California when 13 people – including the 28-year-old combat ex-Marine gunman – were caught in yet another mass shooting is further proof that our endless wars are coming home to haunt us. How long are we going to be in these wars of ours that are creating more mental health issues, suicides, inequalities and immeasurable hatred? It seems that nowhere is safe anymore as innocent people are being gunned down in their places of worship, schools, malls and wherever. Tragic!

And, how many of those children whose parents and kin we have killed, maimed, orphaned, uprooted and left desolate all over the world will strike back at us one day, as some of them surely will? When, and how, will it all end? Lately, I have not even been commenting much on the Facebook posts regarding the crimes of the Israeli Government. How long can one continue to say that they are villains, assassins and racists ordering their military to fire on protesters? Continuing to incarcerate, abuse, expropriate, dehumanize and disregard human lives in this atrocious way? How long? Isn’t seventy years enough already?

The world also marked Armistice Day and the end of WWI, one hundred years ago. France hosted the event and pulled off an elegant and world-class commemoration. It was Germany, Russia and France, after all, who sustained the most casualties of those years. Horrific numbers of dead and wounded! Just horrible! And we are still at war and threatening to go to more war? And more war yet? What for then the reminders and remembrances of how gruesome these events are? In any case, for us Middle Easterners, those post-Armistice days were the beginning of the West’s divvying up of our lands as if they were a piece of cake, and the onset of the Palestinian Catastrophe scenario from which we are still suffering!

Our world is heading towards a precipitous cliff and there seems to be no one around to pull it back from that brink. I wish that I could say that I feel hopeful, despite some of the rays of hope here and there. It is a very dire and awfully sad situation that we find ourselves helplessly enduring! I don’t need a Mission Impossible text telling me that my device will soon self-destruct. After all, if we continue on the same path that we’re on, this Planet is going to self-destruct pretty soon, and the paranoia from my iPhone will be nothing to compare! Meanwhile, some will go on believing the delusion that “we are a nice normal family!” Really?

Change Happens? Not soon enough!

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2018

Cause Célèbre

These past few weeks have found me incredulous due to the surreal events of the present, as well as those of the perceptible future. As the world around us ordinary human beings spins out of control, I see more frustration; anger; vindictiveness; hatred; racism and extremism. Moreover, so many of us are being unable to understand, absorb, or process what is happening to our culture, to our politics, to our human relationships and to our common values. Do we wonder then why there are killers and mass shooters running around in our midst, such as the horrific massacre of innocent victims praying at a synagogue in Pittsburgh? Beam me up, Scotty! Beam me up!

Additionally, the recent spate of pipe bombs sent to prominent people and establishments was just one more surreal event! And, the MSM hyperventilating and pointing the finger at the President – not that he is at all blameless – with all the Arrogance, Feigned Indignation and Hypocrisy they could muster was nothing short of bizarre when they have been a Prime Factor in fuelling the frenzy! And then they have the temerity to deny it? Not an ounce of Professional Pride or Integrity! Shameless!

Since 9/11 there seems to have been a slow and steady erosion of Democratic Values, Civility and Human Rights as basic criteria for managing our world. We have succeeded in totally ignoring the Geneva Conventions; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and even the American Constitution – let alone Emily Post’s Manners – while reexamining and mis-explaining all those and other universal codes and rules that, at least on paper and in diplomatic corridors, had been established norms. Not so, it seems. Have Right and Wrong become so obfuscated that we don’t know the difference between them anymore?

For me, the grotesque and barbaric Khashoggi assassination was just one more utterly incomprehensible act that we have been witnessing in the US, as well as in the world. However, was this the first ever murder of a journalist? According to the Committee to Protect Journalists there have been 44 journalists killed in 2018, and according to Reporters Without Borders there have been 47. Criticism of the media is acceptable and necessary, but killing journalists is criminal and totally unacceptable. (Check The Intercept link at the bottom of this article to realize what an unjust world we are living in regarding this subject.) Yet, while the brutal Khashoggi killing was horrendous, what is happening in Yemen and in Gaza is even more atrocious, although the world is not having convulsions about either of those. This leads one to wonder what Propaganda and Hidden Agendas create a cause célèbre, such as Khashoggi? According to Wikipedia: It has been noted that the public attention given to a particular case or event can obscure the facts rather than clarify them. As one observer states, “The true story of many a cause célèbre is never made manifest in the evidence given or in the advocates’ orations, but might be recovered from these old papers when the dust of ages has rendered them immune from scandal.” And how true is that?!

Enter President Donald Trump, who, while he certainly did not cause all the upheavals going on in our world, managed to bubble them up to the surface and, by many of his explosive words and bullying actions, encouraged a global authoritarianism and radicalism that is becoming more draconian in some corners of the world, as well as in many aspects of our country. Stoking our worst fears and attributes, from both the Left and the Right and all across our Planet, is a very dangerous political game that cannot end well. Trump has also, inadvertently as it is, succeeded in exposing the lies and hypocrisy of politics and politicking by articulating that Financial Gain (as with Saudi Arabia’s arm sales) takes precedence over Values. Seriously? France and England followed suit. Money Talks, Integrity Walks! In doing so they have stripped down the hypocritical “Democracy and Freedom” mantra that for decades they have been lying to people about as they assassinated their leaders, meddled in their affairs, occupied and bombed them. There is not even a semblance of propriety anymore as irresponsibility, lies and propaganda on every level seem to be taking more root. How can we deal with all this? Where does it all go?

Moreover, the shocking Khashoggi assassination, has legalized extrajudicial executions more than ever before, not that these have not been happening throughout time. However, they had been, at least hypocritically, generally condemned. No more, it seems. His appalling execution has proven that the world is in a scary free-fall. It seems that horrific decisions can be flippantly taken by any government or leader knowing that there are no serious consequences. Duterte, Erdogan, Aung San Suu Kyi, are just recent examples. All this, while across the world, environmental and political activists, and anyone threatening the corporate exploitation that is suffocating Justice and Human Rights are being executed. And, when any leader’s status quo is being challenged the protestors are silenced, jailed, or slain, with no repercussions, thus making the rule of law, morality and universally accepted norms appear frivolous, unjust and non-consequential. It seems that the fragile veneer of civility and legality that may have existed, however superficially, has now been totally buried! Ordinary people see, hear and witness global powers and influential politicians, corporate heads and corporations practicing unfettered Greed, Arrogance, Dominance and the Abrogation of Human Rights and are repulsed, terrified and bewildered.

In a few days, we have a Midterm Election taking place in these United States that is being hyped and portrayed as a Life and Death situation, which in no way – no way – it is. Neither the leadership of the Left, or that on the Right – fundamentally one and the same except for cosmetic differences – are even making an effort to resolve our fundamental problems for the sake of the country and its future. To the contrary, the tit-for-tat is becoming more venomous as the politicians fill their coffers and consolidate their powers at our expense! Unbelievable! To top it all an Orchestrated Migrant Caravan is creeping towards the US borders with the Left and the Right capitalizing on people’s misery with Kodak visuals to fuel passions on both sides. And citizens are either becoming more radical, or more apathetic, while some are being whipped up into an uncivilized frenzy – as we have been seeing recently – by both parties and the irresponsible MSM over Total Nonsense – Nonsense! – while the serious solvable issues remain undebated rationally. Quite unconscionable any way you dice it and splice it. Moreover, our wars and foreign adventures are no more even on the table. We may have forgotten them. The millions affected by them cannot. How could they?

All this churning nationally, and internationally, is making the “art of the deal” regarding the Palestinian/Israeli catastrophe, all the more worrisome. At this point, it does not bode well at all for the Palestinian people. All the indications are pointing to the fact that the Israeli Government has been given a big nod by the US Administration, with tacit approval by most of the NATO Powers and most Arab States, to pursue the peace that works in Israel’s interests, while totally disregarding Palestinian hopes, aspirations, human rights and legalities. The recent deliberate and extremist actions by the Israeli Government are nothing short of Evil. This is only culminating the seventy years of a criminal occupation and the numerous extrajudicial executions that Israel has been waging with impunity. I am not holding my breath any longer for the touted Middle East Peace Deal with its main Conspirators being Bibi, Jared and bin Salman, although on Wednesday, October 24 President Macron sent a message to the White House – the MSM didn’t tell you about that, did they? – urging the Administration to divulge their Middle East Peace Plan. If they don’t, then he is going to divulge his own version of the Two-State Solution. Should that happen, and no matter how viable his plan might be, who would like to bet that it will be vetoed down by the US/Israel Alliance? This is why I can only anticipate, derived from seeing all the recent actions on the ground, that “the art of the deal” is sounding more like the Kiss of Death for the Palestinian people, and it is very, very painful, extremely heart-breaking and so unconscionably unjust, to say the least.

Surreal? Unquestionably!

https://theintercept.com/2018/10/26/jamal-khashoggi-killing-tareq-ayoub/