Monday, May 31, 2010

Suicide by Murder

Israel again attempts suicide by putting the gun to someone else's head:
Ten Dead as Israel Storms Aid Ships

(Reuters) - Israeli commandos stormed a convoy of Gaza-bound aid ships on Monday and more than 10 of the mostly international activists aboard were killed, provoking a diplomatic crisis and Palestinian charges of a "massacre."
I particularly like the stylism of putting massacre in quotes, lending an air of incredulity to the very idea that Israel would be capable of committing anything other than aggravated victimhood. And the New York Times takes it a step further from culpability with their headline:
At Least 10 Killed as Israel Intercepts Aid Flotilla
The Israeli Navy raided a flotilla carrying hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists and tons of supplies for Gaza on Monday morning, according to the Israeli military. Some Israeli media reports put the death toll higher.
See there? Now you don't even know how they died! 10 killed by whom? Soldiers? Each other? Sharks? Aliens??? All you can tell from this lede is that Israel raided some ships carrying "pro-Palestinians" and "supplies". What kind of supplies? Well, if they were "pro-Palestinian", they were probably nuclear bombs!

Here's what happened: a group of ships in international waters full of unarmed civilians seeking to take food and medical supplies to the humanitarian disaster that is Gaza, who made no secret of their mission, was attacked by heavily armed commandos who then claimed they had no choice but to open fire and kill as many as 19 people because when they boarded, people came after them with pipes and knives and shot at them. Of course! Because Israel has the right to defend itself! Especially from unarmed civilian non-combatants! In fact, mostly from unarmed civilian non-combatants, and little else these days.

The spokeswoman for the flotilla flatly denies her people had guns or opened fire on the soldiers. Footage of the event I've seen does seem to show a soldier being hit out at by a guy with a long stick or pipe, though he doesn't seem to take any damage from it. But let's back up a step. Here's one of the most heavily-armed countries in the world (thanks to us) watching every move these ships made, and yet to stop their mission they had no choice but to board them? They couldn't have blocked their path? They could only pull a Bruce Willis? They have devolved to such a level that they can only meet opposition with deadly force, no matter how peaceful that opposition is? Well, yes, it looks like that is exactly what they have sunk to. Following in Uncle Sam's footsteps, they save their most murderous adventurism for those known to be easy marks, the littlest kids on the playground.

But as long as we raise the specter of the right to self-defense, what is the right of a ship at sea in international waters when boarded without the Captain's permission by those with hostile intent? International law states that attacks occurring in neutral territory are prohibited and may be met with force.

For something a little more like journalism and less like Israeli PR, here's live coverage of the attack by the Guardian. In the meantime, I'm waiting to hear the US response to this. My bet's on a little finger-wagging and a sincere expression of condolences. Then we'll send them a few billion more for weaponry.

UPDATE: The UN Security Council took a vote, and agreed to condemn "acts" (as opposed to the actors) that led to the deaths of 9 civilians. The language was watered down to accommodate the US:
Earlier, Turkey — the unofficial sponsor of the convoy — had proposed a statement that would have condemned Israel for violating international law, and demanded a United Nations investigation, the prosecution of those responsible for the raid and compensation for the victims. It also called for the end of the blockade.

But the Obama administration refused to endorse a statement that singled out Israel, and proposed a broader condemnation of the violence that would include the assault by passengers of the Israeli commandos as they landed on the deck of the ship.

As the wrangling continued late Monday night and the early hours Tuesday, the two countries were trying to work out their differences on the wording, including whether to specify that the investigation should be conducted by outsiders, diplomats said.
Emphasis mine. You see, even though Israel violated the neutrality of international waters by having its armed soldiers board a ship with aggressive intent, and even though the passengers had the right, under international law, to defend themselves against those soldiers, and even though there were numerous other options open to Israel in handling this issue other than killing people, the United States of AIPAC still feels compelled to defend their indefensible behavior by blaming the dead, balking at the idea that anyone but Israel should investigate its own actions, and tsking-tsking at people trying to accomplish what we should have done years ago. Our own Alejandro Wolff, in a statement, said:
The direct delivery by sea was not appropriate, or responsible. He expressed deep concern over the suffering of Gaza civilians. The situation was unsustainable and not in the interest of anyone concerned. It was necessary to address the full range of the population’s humanitarian and recovery needs. Hamas’ interference had complicated humanitarian efforts in Gaza, and it had undermined security and prosperity for all Palestinians.
Yes. Those "deep concerns" have really made a difference for half-starved Gazans, haven't they? As for Hamas' interference, well, I guess that would be the word to use if you were on the losing side of a popular election, if you come from a country whose idea of democracy is a conditional state where the validity of a vote depends on its acceptability to the corporate masters and relies on whoever has enough money or guns to challenge the result.

So I was right about the finger-wagging and condolences. The money should be sent out any day now.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fucking Proper Fucking Booming

Why everything you know is wrong:

BP and the gubmint: fucking Lying Fucking Liars.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

R.I.P. Frank

Frank Frazetta is dead. As a young artist and hopeful cartoonist/writer, I adored his work and felt a special connection to his style. I first discovered it on the cover of an Edgar Rice Burroughs book I bought in 1964, Savage Pellucidar:frank_frazetta_savagepellucidar-434x560
And I was smitten. I began to check out all the other Burroughs books released by Ace in a single-minded search for him, but found a steady supply of eye-crack when the new horror comic Creepy hit the stands the same year:
And even with the stable of incredible illustrators Creepy offered, Frazetta's work stood apart, both as cartoon and illustration. I carried my love for his talent through my art school years like a beacon for my ambition, but even though I eventually went on to a different life, his work never faltered. A light has really gone out.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

And While We're At It, Let's Think About Saving The Passenger Pigeon

Just one thought on the marine holocaust unfolding in the Gulf, for all those conventional wisdom parrots squawking about how we need to balance our fear of ecological disaster with the need to end our dependence on foreign oil: we had almost 40 years to get over that dependence. The President you love to laugh at had real plans in place to do it. Even as Saudi Arabia handed us our hat in 1973, even as we lined up for gasoline for hours, even as we watched the price go from 28 cents a gallon to the triple digits, we laughed at Carter's message that we needed to cut back on our demands. The sweater he donned to encourage turning down the thermostat became a symbol of political naivete and fodder for SNL. His agenda freaked Detroit and the oil companies, and didn't sound like fun at all to America. For a minute we had to think about buying fuel-efficient cars, but then, thank God, along came America's Id, and it was Morning Again, and all that boring conservation shit was happily jettisoned in the wake of a new government that made us feel good about greed and conspicuous consumption. And we never looked back.

Now, after the Detroit debacle driven by a short-sighted management plan based on forgetting the volatility of fuel, and years of a foreign policy based on pissing off and destabilizing the very places that provide that fuel, we get a disaster like this and suddenly weaning ourselves off the stuff becomes an issue. 40 years, bitches! You had 40 years, and now you want to think about it?

We are so fucking doomed.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Thanks for Nothing, Barry

What we have here is another Clinton.  Unfortunately I was too clueless to realize what we were selling down the river when Bill was in office.  I believed he was the great liberal hope.  Now I know how he fucked immigrants and NAFTA signatories, how he cemented the monopolies begun under Reagan, how he cut loose the gays and the poor in order to make shitty deals with the fascists who hounded him for non-existent murders. And it was never a secret how he kissed off the dead and dying in genocidal Rwanda.  This is the model to which our President now aspires. This is the nutless, powerless, gutless wonder of the ages that he now aims to simulate. No wonder he studded his cabinet and administration with Clintonian sell-outs. No wonder the right laughs at us.  No wonder we can't even get our own people to turn out for demonstrations.

We are a joke. We can't even work up a decent righteous anger.  We deserve to go down in flames.  I didn't vote for a government that gave its ass to the people who planned its destruction.  I used to believe in democracy, but now I know better.  Bring on the dinosaurs with saddles.