Not yours to give.

It is well known that money has now become a political tool for the use in politics. The Obama administration increased those getting welfare in the US.

Through the fourth quarter of 2012, there were nearly 110 million Americans receiving some form of government assistance. That’s right around 35% of the total U.S. population

That is a formidable number of votes on your side if the opposition were to threaten to take that away.

In the UK this week they are doing it a slightly different way. With the influx of a lot of immigrants, and the fact that we have people getting health care by taking a holiday in the UK when they get sick (we call it healthcare tourism) The current Prime Minister announces that health care will be increased by 3.8%.

This overshadows the Opposition Party which is at 2% increase.

In both (although different) types of inducements……. they are inducements!…… to every man woman and child that is at or about the poverty line, who will go where they are better off in their pockets.

If you are over 50 you probably know of that frontiersman called Davy Crockett. If your over 60 you probably can sing the words to Davy Crockett.

David “Davy” Crockett was a 19th-century American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier, and politician. He is commonly referred to in popular culture by the epithet “King of the Wild Frontier”

Killed at the battle of Alamo and permanently became known in history as one of the most honest statesmen ever, but probably less known for encounter with a farmer Named Bunce who changed his opinions fundamentally.

This piece although a little long is well worth the read…. and a deep reminder of when some politicians actually had some pride and honesty about them.

David Crockett Portrait

 

Money with [Congressmen] is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it.”

Not Yours to Give

Davy Crockett on The Role Of Government
from: The Life of Colonel David Crockett

One day in the House of Representatives, a bill was brought up to appropriate money for the benefit of the widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support. The Speaker was just about to put the question to a vote when Colonel David Crockett arose:

“Mr. Speaker, I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, as any man in this House. But we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it.

“We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to so appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him.

“Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much money of our own as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week’s pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bills asks.”

He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed and as, no doubt, it would but for that speech, it received but few votes and was lost.

Later, when asked by a friend why he had opposed the appropriation, Crockett gave this explanation:

“Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. In spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made homeless and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on.

“The weather was very cold and, when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them. The next morning a bill was introduced, appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done.

“The next summer, when it began to be time to think about the election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up. When riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than in any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road.

“I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up, I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly.

“I began: ‘Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates, and – ‘

“‘Yes, I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine. I shall not vote for you again.’

“This was a sockdolager… I begged him to tell me what was the matter.

“‘Well, Colonel, it is hardly worthwhile to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not the capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in the honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case, you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the constituent to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine.

“‘I will say to you what, but for my rudeness I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest. But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is.’

“I said, ‘I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any Constitutional question.’

“‘No, Colonel, there’s no mistake. Though I live here in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?”

“‘Well, my friend, I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did.’

“‘It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the treasury no more money than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing to do with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means.

“‘What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how many thousands are worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000.

“‘If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other.

“‘No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week’s pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life.

“‘The Congressmen chose to keep their own money which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people of Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is stipulation, and a violation of the Constitution.

“‘So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you.’

“NOT YOURS TO GIVE”

“I tell you, I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go to talking, he would set others to talking, and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I was so fully convinced that he was right, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:

“‘Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it fully. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said here at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard.

“‘If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot.’

“He laughingly replied: ‘Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again on one condition. You say that you are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and, perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way.’

“‘If I don’t,’ said I, ‘I wish I may be shot; and, to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say, I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of the people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it.’

“‘No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section, but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. This is Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you.’

“‘Well, I will be here. But, one thing more before I say goodbye. I must know your name.’

“‘My name is Bunce.’

“‘Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me, but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend.

“It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence and incorruptible integrity, and for a heart brimful and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words, but in act. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintances.

“Though I had never met him before, I had heard of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition and been beaten. One thing is certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.

“At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and a confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.

“Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight, talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before.

“I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him – no, that is not the word – I reverence and love him more than any living man. I got to see him two or three times every year; and I will tell you, sir, if everyone who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.

“But to return to my story. The next morning we went to the barbecue and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I have not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted-at least, they all knew me.

“In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered up around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:

“‘Fellow citizens, I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice, or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to my self as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration.’

“I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation and then told them that I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:

“‘And now, it remains for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.

“‘It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to credit for it. And now I hope he is satisfied with this convert and that he will get up here and tell you so.’

“He came up on the stand and said:

“‘Fellow citizens, it affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today.’

“He went down, and there went up from the crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.

“I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some drops rolling down my cheeks. I tell you, the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have made as a member of Congress.

“Now, sir,” concluded Crockett, “you know why I made that speech yesterday.

“There is one thing to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a week’s pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men – men who think nothing of spending a week’s pay for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude owed the deceased – a debt which could not be paid by money – and the insignificance and worthlessness of money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000, when weighted against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it.”

This is as true today as it was then……………………………Almost 200yrs ago

 

 

Men of God eh?

28 UN General Assembly condemns only Israel on Gaza, cancel American amendment to condemn Hamas as well

The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday passed a resolution condemning Israel for using excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force during the recent clashes at the Gaza border and calling for an international protection mechanism for the Palestinians.

The resolution, proposed by Algeria and Turkey, passed with 120 “yes” votes, 8 “no” votes and 45 abstentions. The countries that voted against the resolution were the US, Israel, Australia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Togo and the Solomon Islands.

The dramatic session saw the United States attempt to add a paragraph condemning Hamas as well, which was ultimately rejected on procedural grounds though it had a majority of votes.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, arguing that the draft was biased against Israel, proposed an amendment that would have added an explicit condemnation of the Hamas Islamic organization and its firing of rockets, promotion of violence at the Gaza border, and digging of tunnels to infiltrate into Israel.

But Algeria called for a “no-action motion,” which would have prevented a vote on the amendment. According to General Assembly rules, the motion was put to a vote of all member states. Surprisingly, 78 countries opposed Algeria’s move while only 59 supported it.

Haley’s amendment cleared with a small majority, 62 to 58, with 42 abstentions.

However, General Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák, of Slovakia, ruled that a 2/3 majority was needed for an amendment to be added to a draft resolution.

Haley appealed his decision, which led the session to be adjourned for several minutes.

When the session reconvened, Lajčák put Haley’s appeal to a vote. 66 countries voted in favor, 72 opposed and 26 countries abstained, which meant that the original draft was put to a vote without the US amendment.

Haley condemned the final vote as a morally bankrupt judgement, but she also argued that the common practice of turning a blind eye to the UN’s anti-Israel bias is changing.

 

A Case Against America

A Case Against America

Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky; drawing by James Ferguson

It is hard to see yourself as others do, all the more so if you are the world’s sole remaining superpower. In unparalleled fashion, the United States today has the capacity to project its military might throughout vast parts of the globe, even if blunders in Iraq and Libya, unresolved crises in Syria and Yemen, and disturbing trends in Russia and China demonstrate the limits of American military power to shape world events. In an increasingly multipolar world, America’s power is far from its dominant heights after World War II, but it is still unmatched.

Americans tend to ease any qualms about such military supremacy with self-assurances about US benevolence. Noam Chomsky is at his best in putting those platitudes to rest, seeing an America of hypocrisy and self-interest. Yes, there are times when the United States does good, but Chomsky in his latest book, Who Rules the World?, reminds us of a long list of harms that most Americans would rather forget. His memory is almost entirely negative but it is strong and unsparing.

Chomsky reminds us that parallels to America’s tendency to act in its own interest while speaking of more global interests can be found among the powerful throughout history. As predecessors to “American exceptionalism” he cites France’s “civilizing mission” among its colonies and even imperial Japan’s vow to bring “earthly paradise” to China under its tutelage. These past slogans are now widely seen as euphemisms for exploitation and plunder, yet Americans tend to believe that their government acts in the world without similar imperial baggage.

Chomsky’s book is not an objective account of the past. It is a polemic designed to awaken Americans from complacency. America, in his view, must be reined in, and he makes the case with verve and self-confident assertion, even if factual details are sometimes selective or scarce.

Yet Who Rules the World? is also an infuriating book because it is so partisan that it leaves the reader convinced not of his insights but of the need to hear the other side. It doesn’t help that the book is a collection of previously published essays with no effort to trim the repetitive points that pop up in chapter after chapter. Nor was much attempt made to update earlier chapters in light of later events. The Iranian nuclear accord and the Paris climate deal are mentioned only toward the end of the book, even though the issues of Iran’s nuclear program and climate change appear in earlier chapters.

At times Chomsky’s book suffers from simple sloppiness. For example, he reports that “the Obama administration considered reviving military commissions” on Guantánamo when in fact these commissions have been operating there for most of President Barack Obama’s eight years in office. And in certain places it is simply confused, as when Chomsky quotes from a review by Jessica Mathews in these pages and implies that she subscribes to the view that America advances “universal principles” rather than “national interests,” when in fact she was criticizing that perspective as part of her negative review of a book by Bret Stephens.*

In some respects, Chomsky’s preoccupation with American power seems out of date because the limits of American power have become so apparent. When we ask “Who rules the world?” and take account of Syrian atrocities, the emergence of the Islamic State, or the mass displacement of refugees, the answer is less likely to be the American superpower than no one. Obama’s foreign policy has been far more about recognizing the limits of US military power than the exercise of that power, but this merits barely a mention by Chomsky. His America is the one of military adventure—the Vietnam War, the Bay of Pigs, the Central American conflicts of the 1980s, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the potentially suicidal recklessness of the nuclear arms race.

Chomsky’s selective use of history limits his persuasiveness. He blames Middle East turmoil, for example, largely on the World War I–era Sykes-Picot agreement that divided the former Ottoman Empire among British and French colonial powers. He’s right that the borders were drawn arbitrarily, and that the multiethnic and multiconfessional states they produced are difficult to govern, but is that really an adequate explanation of the region’s current turmoil? President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq fits his thesis of American malevolence, and the terrible human costs of the war get mentioned, but Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s decision to fight his country’s civil war by targeting civilians in opposition-held areas, killing hundreds of thousands and setting off the flight of several million refugees, does not. Nor does Russia’s decision to back Assad’s murderous shredding of the Geneva Conventions, since Chomsky’s focus is America’s contribution to global suffering, not Vladimir Putin’s.

Still, it is useful to read Chomsky because he does undermine the facile if comforting myths that are often used to justify US action abroad—the distinction between, as Chomsky puts it, “what we stand for” and “what we do.” His views are held not only by American critics on the left but also by many people around the world who are more likely to think of themselves as targeted rather than protected by US military power.

For example, Americans are rightly appalled by al-Qaeda’s attacks on September 11, 2001, which killed some three thousand people, but most Americans have relegated to distant memory what Chomsky calls “the first 9/11”—September 11, 1973—when the US government backed a coup in Chile that brought to power General Augusto Pinochet, who proceeded to execute some three thousand people. As with US actions in Cuba and Vietnam, the US-endorsed overthrow of the socialist government of Chilean President Salvador Allende was meant, in the words of the Nixon administration quoted by Chomsky, to kill the “virus” before it “spread contagion” among those who didn’t want to accommodate the interests of a US-led order. The “virus,” Chomsky writes, “was the idea that there might be a parliamentary path toward some kind of socialist democracy.” He goes on:

The way to deal with such a threat was to destroy the virus and inoculate those who might be infected, typically by imposing murderous national-security states.

Thus began the US-led redirection of Latin American militaries from external defense to internal security, with the ensuing “dirty wars” and their trails of torture, execution, and forced disappearance.

A similar rationale lay behind US actions in Vietnam and the “domino theory” used to rationalize it. Among its most tragic applications was Indonesia’s slaughter in 1965 and 1966 of half a million or more alleged Communists under the guidance of then General and soon-to-be President Suharto. Chomsky describes how this “staggering mass slaughter” was greeted with “unrestrained euphoria” in Washington’s corridors of power. Suharto so successfully swept these extensive crimes under the rug that thirty years later Bill Clinton welcomed him as “our kind of guy.” Indonesia’s current president, Joko Widodo, widely known as Jokowi, has bravely taken initial steps to expose this ugly chapter of his country’s history. Obama could assist him by opening US government archives to reveal the working relationship between CIA and US embassy operatives and the Indonesian forces doing the killing.

Chomsky takes on the facile use of the label “terrorism” to describe the actions of one’s enemies but not one’s friends. Why, Chomsky asks, did the US government condemn the 1983 attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut as an act of terrorism, given that in war a military base is a legitimate military target, but not the Israeli-backed slaughter in 1982 by Lebanese Phalangists of Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps? To describe any attack by one’s opponent regardless of the target as “terrorism” is to endanger ordinary civilians by blurring the important distinction established by international humanitarian law between combatants and noncombatants. The view, as Chomsky mockingly puts it, that “our terrorism, even if surely terrorism, is benign” is dangerous, since most governments and groups, even the Islamic State, believe they are acting for some conception of the good.

Chomsky criticizes the US government for discounting large-scale civilian deaths that are the foreseeable outcome of a policy even if they are not the intent of that policy. The deliberate targeting of civilians is rightfully viewed as a war crime, but what of an attacker who knows that the consequence of an attack on a military target will be substantial civilian deaths? Chomsky cites Bill Clinton’s 1998 missile attack on Sudan’s al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant, in the unjustified belief that it was producing chemical weapons, when the attack “apparently led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people” deprived of the drugs it was producing. As is often the case, Chomsky gives no substantiation for this enormous number, but the point remains. Chomsky makes a similar observation about Israel’s bombing of electrical plants in Gaza, which interrupted water supply to Palestinians and helped to cripple Gaza’s economy, and Israel’s West Bank checkpoints, which deprive Palestinians of timely access to emergency medical care.

As for promoting democracy abroad, Chomsky says that US support for it “is the province of ideologists and propagandists.” “In the real world,” he explains, “elite dislike of democracy is the norm.” Democracy is supported “only insofar as it contributes to social and economic objectives.” But what happens when the preferences of a nation’s public differ from US objectives—such as what Chomsky describes as the Arab public’s sense that Israel is a greater threat than Iran? In those cases, Chomsky argues, notwithstanding a brief flirtation with the Arab Spring, the US government tends to be amenable to dictatorships that favor warmer relations with the West:

Favored dictators must be supported as long as they can maintain control (as in the major oil states). When that is no longer possible, discard them and try to restore the old regime as fully as possible (as in…Egypt).

The epitome of this policy, according to Chomsky, was the 2006 decision to “impose harsh penalties on Palestinians for voting the wrong way” and electing Hamas in Gaza.

George W. Bush on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, declaring the end of major fighting in Iraq, May 2003
Stephen Jaffe/AFP/Getty Images

George W. Bush on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, declaring the end of major fighting in Iraq, May 2003

In the Middle East, Chomsky focuses in particular on US hypocrisy toward Israel. Washington’s attitude toward the West Bank settlements is illustrative. The Carter administration, like most of the world, recognized that the settlements violate the Fourth Geneva Convention’s prohibition on transferring an occupying power’s population to occupied territory. The US government has never repudiated that view but, since the Reagan administration, it has tended to refer to the settlements as only “a barrier to peace.” While the United States has periodically pressed Israel to stop expanding the settlements, that “pretense of opposition reached the level of farce in February 2011, when Obama vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling for implementation of official US policy.”

Similarly, in May 2014, the United States supported jurisdiction for the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Syria (Russia and China vetoed the resolution) but only after insisting that the resolution exempt Israel from any possible liability. That is consistent with US legislation adopted under George W. Bush authorizing an invasion of the Netherlands should any American or allied suspect be brought to The Hague for trial before the ICC. It is also consistent with the Obama administration’s failed pressure on Palestine not to ratify the ICC treaty.

Chomsky has one chapter on America’s selective outrage. Americans were outraged when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine, apparently by Russia-backed forces, killing 298 people. But who remembers when the USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 655 in 1988, killing 290 people? The Vincennes was in the Persian Gulf at the time to defend the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, then a US ally at war with Iran. In neither case is there reason to believe that the attacker knowingly targeted a civilian aircraft, but the Western response was notably different.

Chomsky cites a New York Times report that Samantha Power, US ambassador to the United Nations, “choked up as she spoke of infants who perished” in the Malaysia Airlines crash. But he notes that the commander of the Vincennes and his anti–air warfare officer were given the US Legion of Merit award for “exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service” and for the “calm and professional atmosphere” maintained during the period of the downing. President Reagan blamed the Iranians for the tragedy. Only under the Clinton administration did the US government admit “deep regret” and pay compensation to the victims—facts that Chomsky neglects to mention.

Likewise, the US is rightfully outraged at Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli civilians but far more reticent about the large-scale destruction of civilian property and loss of civilian life caused by Israel’s bombardment of Gaza. Invocations of Hamas using human shields do not begin to account for such likely war crimes as Israel’s targeting of Hamas commanders’ family homes or its use of artillery that had wide effects in densely populated areas.

Or to cite another example: the US government rightfully expressed outrage over the murderous attack on Charlie Hebdo by Islamist extremists who killed eleven journalists. But as Chomsky points out, there was nothing comparable to the “I am Charlie” campaign when in 1999 during the war with Serbia over Kosovo, NATO deliberately sent a missile into Serbian state television and radio (RTS) headquarters, killing sixteen journalists. Even though RTS was a propaganda outlet, that did not make it a legitimate military target, yet Washington defended the attack. Chomsky introduces the concept of “living memory”—“a category carefully constructed to include their crimes against us while scrupulously excluding our crimes against them”—to explain why there was no collection of Western leaders proclaiming “We are RTS.” Even after the Charlie Hebdo attack, while France was portraying itself as a champion of free expression, it prosecuted advocacy of boycotting goods from Israel or its settlements.

While Chomsky mostly looks back in time, he does not spare Barack Obama. One of Obama’s first acts as president was to order an end to the CIA’s use of torture, yet Chomsky quotes the journalist Allan Nairn to the effect that Obama “merely repositioned” the United States to the historical norm in which torture is carried out by proxies. But Chomsky gives no evidence of torture by such proxies under Obama. Even before Bush administration lawyers contorted the meaning of the prohibition against torture in the notorious “Torture Memos,” Chomsky notes, the legal defense for the types of mental torture preferred by the Bush CIA, euphemistically called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” was foreshadowed by the Reagan administration in the form of detailed reservations about the definition of torture in the international Convention against Torture, which were endorsed by the Clinton administration at the time of ratification in 1994.

One reason often driving the US government to ignore international norms is a sense of impunity. For example, until recently, only the United States had weaponized drones, so why should the US bother to articulate and respect rules governing their use? But such technological monopolies are inevitably short-lived, and America’s many years of using drones without articulated standards are much more likely to influence how other countries behave when they too have weaponized drones than any belated effort at standard-setting.

Chomsky does nothing to contribute to what those standards might be, lapsing into denunciatory language about drone attacks being “the most extreme terrorist campaign of modern times.” He describes “assassination” in violation of “the presumption of innocence” without addressing the obvious retort—that combatants in war can be targeted—or grappling with the central question of whether US drone attacks in places like Yemen and Somalia should be considered acts of war or bound by the more restrictive standards of law enforcement.

Groups such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State certainly have no intention of abiding by international standards. Yet the Geneva Conventions deliberately impose duties regardless of an adversary’s conduct—and for good reason, because otherwise virtually any war would descend into a tit-for-tat spiral of atrocity and retaliation. US compliance with international humanitarian law is all the more important in view of America’s unique superpower status, because its actions are more visible and far-reaching.

That makes it all the more lamentable that Obama has refused to authorize prosecution of the CIA torturers or those in the Bush administration who authorized them, thus leaving torture as a policy option for the next US president facing a serious security threat, and setting a disastrous precedent for other countries. Needless to say, many other parts of the world do not accord these actions the presumption of benevolence that Americans are more willing to embrace.

How does such hypocrisy persist in US foreign policy? Chomsky provides no clear answer. He alludes to the power of commercial interests in setting Washington’s agenda. He also notes the importance of secrecy. Government secrecy, he explains, “is rarely motivated by a genuine need for security, but it definitely does serve to keep the population in the dark.” As an example, Chomsky cites the National Security Agency’s mass collection of telecommunications metadata—a deeply intrusive program in which the records of many of our most intimate contacts have been stored in government computers and kept available for official inspection. Operating with the benefit of secrecy, government officials claimed the program was needed and had stopped fifty-four terrorist plots.

Once the claim was subjected to scrutiny, it turned out that the program, at enormous costs to American taxpayers and their privacy, had identified only one supposed plot—someone who had sent $8,500 to Somalia. Two independent oversight bodies with access to classified information have found that the phone metadata program has provided no unique value in countering terrorist threats. More recently, Chomsky notes that the details of transpacific and transatlantic trade deals have been kept secret from the public but not from “the hundreds of corporate lawyers who are drawing up the detailed provisions.”

It is perhaps unfair to challenge an author for what he didn’t write rather than what he did, but given the broad question that Chomsky asks—“Who rules the world?”—I could not help noticing how little of the world he discusses. The book is about the parts of the world where America and its closest allies, such as Israel, assert military power, but Chomsky does not in this book seem interested in the parts of the world where US military power is not exercised and seemingly incapable of making much of a difference. Africa barely appears except as a source of migration—we get no sense of the deadly conflict in South Sudan, the growing turmoil in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, or the murderous rampage of the Islamist group Boko Haram. China is largely ignored. Russia emerges with respect to nuclear issues but little else. South Asia appears mainly as the site of Osama bin Laden’s demise.

Chomsky does no more than touch on the issue of migration—one of today’s most complex problems. Without elaboration, he attributes Mexican migration to the United States to Mexican campesinos being forced under the NAFTA agreement to compete with heavily subsidized US agribusiness. He takes no account of Central Americans fleeing drug cartels, or even of the consequences of America’s ill-fated “war on drugs.” He mentions African migration to Europe with a passing, undeveloped reference to European colonialism. Perhaps his most interesting contribution in an otherwise superficial discussion is his recollection that Benjamin Franklin once warned against admitting German and Swedish immigrants to the United States because they were “swarthy” and would tarnish “Anglo-Saxon purity.” We can hope that before long we will regard today’s rampant Islamophobia with equal ridicule.

Chomsky concludes by answering the titular question of his book with a question. Beyond asking “Who rules the world?” we should also inquire, “What principles and values rule the world?” It is easy for a superpower to deviate from Kantian principles—to avoid treating its neighbors as it would want to be treated—because it can. No external power can compel a superpower to be principled. That is the task of its citizens.

Chomsky offers little in the way of prescription. His book is mainly a critique, as if he cannot envision a positive role for America other than a negation of the harmful ones he highlights. Yet imperfect as the book is, we should understand it as a plea to end American hypocrisy, to introduce a more consistently principled dimension to American relations with the world, and, instead of assuming American benevolence, to scrutinize critically how the US government actually exercises its still-unmatched power.

A Huge Missed Opportunity!

Tonight I saw a video by Ron Paul.

Over the years I have had so much respect for this guy and the fact that he was born years before his time.

He is not afraid to be honest in his thoughts and to express them in a way that makes sense…… he is not an establishment man……. he is an honest man.

I personally believe not taking advantage when we had the opportunity of him being President was detrimental to the whole wide world.

Take time to watch a man that will be written into history as our last opportunity to see sense here.

It gets worse……………………

24/5/2018

So today President Trump has cancelled a meeting with NK….. a meeting that has been a long time coming…..and considering that NK has full nuclear capability (proven) would be a smart thing to talk about.

The reason for the cancellation is the NK response to Mike Pence comments………………

“There was some talk about the Libya model,” Pence told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum. “As the President made clear, this will only end like the Libya model ended if Kim Jong Un doesn’t make a deal.”
When MacCallum said that some people may have seen Bolton’s comments as a threat, Pence said “I think it’s more of a fact.” Here
The way that you could interpret that is you give up your nuclear weapons and regime change follows……. So NK had a predictable answer………..
I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the US vice-president. We could surmise more than enough what a political dummy he is (Pence), as he is trying to compare the DPRK, a nuclear weapon state, to Libya that had simply installed a few items of equipment and fiddled around with them 
 North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui on Mike Pence’s interview with the Fox News Channel.
This answer I personally find predictable and the correct answer……. an answer which other countries find logical given their tone…..
South Korea says:
At an emergency meeting on Thursday, Moon told his top security officials he was “very perplexed” and found it “very regrettable that the North Korea-US summit will not be held on June 12”
Singapore says:

Singapore, which was to host the historic summit, said it also “regrets” the cancellation.In a Twitter post, the country’s foreign ministry said it hoped “efforts to find lasting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula will continue”.

Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general, said he was “profoundly worried” over Trump’s decision.

“I am deeply concerned by the cancellation of the planned meeting in Singapore between the president of the United States and the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” Guterres said at the University of Geneva on Thursday. 

UK says:

The United Kingdom also expressed disappointment with Trump’s decision, with a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Theresa May calling for an agreement to “bring about the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”.Britain will continue to work with its partners to that end, the spokeswoman added.

And France says:

French President Emmanuel Macron, meanwhile, said he hoped Trump’s move “was just a glitch in a process that should be continued”.

Even Russia says:

“We had counted on that a significant step towards a deescalation on the Korean peninsula would be taken and a start made on the denuclearisation,” Putin said at the joint press conference. He added: “We hope that a dialogue will be resumed, continued and the meeting take place.”

Worse still Trumps says:

 

'You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never be used,' Trump wrote to Kim

There are so many things wrong with this letter given the gravity of the issue and really seems to miss every major point.

Firstly using the term irrelevant at that point.

Secondly “Anger and Open hostility” Given Pence’s remarks just what else would you expect?

Thirdly… His comments on nuclear capabilities are so very bad.

Fourthly… He is rubbing their faces in the mud that he conned them into releasing hostages.

Fifth    The US NOT NK cancelled the meeting…… and to think they would ever ask for another is pushing the boundaries into stupidity.

I am starting to think this president wants a nuclear war with somebody….anybody!

Iran, Israel,NK

 

Since day one…….. (and I mean before being elected as the Republican candidate)……… I was sure Trump would be the next president. I even bet $1000 dollars at seven to one in the UK as  I was so sure (my daughter loved her new furniture from that one).

I am very much a pro kinda Trump person……. but this last couple of weeks has seen some very bad mistakes…… and worse still is where those mistakes will lead and the inevitability of it all.

May 9th

Trump announces withdrawal from agreement with Iran Here

The first thing that has to occur to any reasonable individual is that this particular agreement took a very long time to negotiate……. in addition the countries that surround the middle East were happy because at last there was something positive coming out of a very difficult region.

Another point is that the Atomic UN watchdog deputy Tero Varjoranta resigns immediately Here and, as it was right after the Trump announcement, it can be logically inferred that he was not happy about the US decision.

Particularly as Iran was complying with all aspects of the agreement.

The top general in the U.S. military (Gen. Joseph Dunford) said Tuesday that Iran is complying with a landmark nuclear deal and that the agreement has achieved its intended result of curbing Iran’s nuclear program.  Here

So what is left? Well every other country in the world is going to say an agreement by the US is not worth the paper it is written on no matter who signs it!

If you have compliance by all parties and one party decides he is getting a lousy deal, it is neither morally sound or legally legitimate to cancel or renege on the agreement.

It is actually a breach of contract and a very poor judgement when you would wish others to take you at your word.

May 14th 2018

Trump moves the embassy to Jerusalem. Here

This has to be the mother of all errors. Currently Israel has an agreement of sorts thrashed out by the European courts.

The international community considers the establishment of Israeli settlements in the Israeli-occupied territories illegal under international law, because the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 prohibits countries from moving population into territories occupied in a war.[1][2][3][4][5] Israel maintains that they are consistent with international law[6] because it does not agree that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the territories occupied in the 1967 Six-Day War.[7] The United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Court of Justice and the High Contracting Parties to the Convention have all affirmed that the Fourth Geneva Convention does apply.[8][9]

Numerous UN resolutions have stated that the building and existence of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are a violation of international law, including UN Security Council resolutions in 1979, 1980,[10][11][12] and 2016.[13][14] UN Security Council Resolution 446 refers to the Fourth Geneva Convention as the applicable international legal instrument, and calls upon Israel to desist from transferring its own population into the territories or changing their demographic makeup. The reconvened Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions has declared the settlements illegal[15] as has the primary judicial organ of the UN, the International Court of Justice[16] and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The position of successive Israeli governments is that all authorized settlements are entirely legal and consistent with international law,[17] despite Israel’s armistice agreements all being with High Contracting Parties.[18] In practice, Israel does not accept that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies de jure, but has stated that on humanitarian issues it will govern itself de facto by its provisions, without specifying which these are.[19][20] The majority of legal scholars hold the settlements to violate international law, while others have offered dissenting views supporting the Israeli position. Here

In addition Luis Moreno Ocampo who was the international prosecutor for the ICC says Israel are guilty of war crimes…… Here

These two together are damning indictments of the way Israelis treat their Palestinian neighbors….. but there is much, so much more they are doing.

So to move the US embassy to Jerusalem by implication gives a positive lift to Israelis unfairly and unreasonably by President Trump!

May 21st 2018

Trump introduces conditions for a new agreement with Iran to avoid sanctions. Here

So what we see is that not only are the USA defaulting on their agreement they want to introduce further agreements that for Iran take away the only source of defense they actually have.

The Iranians have already replied to the USA on what their stance is…….. Here

‘Who are you?’ Iran hits back at US demands

President Rouhani rejects US demands while Iran’s foreign minister dismisses Pompeo’s conditions as ‘sham’ diplomacy.

The fact is that 12 new conditions have been required from the US with a couple of notables…….

The tough conditions in the US administration’s so-called Plan B on Iran included Tehran withdrawing all its forces from Syria, halting uranium enrichment and nuclear-capable missiles, as well as ending support for a range of groups in the Middle East, such as Hezbollah and Hamas.

Which seems to have all the hallmarks of not wanting an agreement but regime change through collapse of their society or war……….

More sanctions will simply make Iranians closer to China and Russia and drive up the price of oil in the West.

But just where is it all going?

My own view is very dismal I am afraid. I believe that Trump is doing the will of the Jews in general……. not just those in Israel, but, more importantly the banks, big businesses,the media and all media houses.

In doing so there are several fronts I see as being fought on behalf of Israel……

1st …………General public dissent of anyone who says ANYTHING against Israel…. and them then being labelled and bullied until they give in. The current issue of the British Labour Party who are being accused of anti-antisemitism because some of their members disagree with the Jews for many reasons.

2nd……….. The silence of the world while Israel commits genocide against Palestinians. The way that Israel has now surrounded the whole of the inhabitants of Palestine, depriving them of basic necessities, and inhumane treatment  when crossing borders that they have no choice to use.

I personally find it disgusting that they are just the same as SS guards…. they just have different uniforms on…otherwise so little separates them.

3rd The breach of agreement with the Iranians I believe to be abysmal.The US actually breached other agreements, one being a 1972 agreement to end the cold war…… See

EXCLUSIVE FULL UNEDITED Interview of Putin with NBC’s Megan Kelly

with the Russian Premier speaks volumes. The Russians have been shafted by the dishonorable USA. Here

How can ANY country accept the US version of anything after all Saddam, and Qaddafi did and they are both pushing up roses.

But in each case the bottom line is an advantage of Israel over its adversaries and leaves nothing in their way and the genocide escalates as shown a week ago when 52 demonstrators murdered and a massive 2500 wounded…all to lower limbs……..

What I fear most as a non believer who is made painfully obvious on a regular basis is that we are growing very close to MAKING prophesy come true.

I do not believe in God….. but I do read about many religions and this particular event comes awfully close to what has been written.

I am not gonna start quoting scriptures…… Easy to look up…… but an important point is that the battle sides are being drawn just as the way it has been said.

Currently you have the EU condemning the treatment of Iran and the Palestinians….. with the EU finding ways to assist Iran so it stays in the nuclear agreement and condemning the Israelis slaughter of innocents. This is a huge point if you should want support.

It means that the iron grip is slowly being prized apart and very soon into the future the US will tumble, starting with its finances.

As of today there is very limited support from any European country toward the US. As I see it they stand alone with Israel. Turkey is drumming up support from all Arab countries….. and that would not be good for Israel as they are surrounded by them.

Sadly I have to conclude that all we are seeing is the troops going to the battle field for the Final battle….. Not what I want to admit…… but its FACT!

Update: 23/5/2018

Today the Iranians stepped up their game as if there was no problem. They are playing the only card they have like its an alternative.

Supreme leader: Europe must follow demands or deal’s off

Brilliant……

The European countries cannot move forward if there is the threat of a nuclear Iran (so they think)…..

Iran knows that these latest sanctions are going to bite deep (just when they were getting stabilized!)

So rather than take off the pressure they INCREASE it……. and if a game of chess would likely be the move to win or lose!

The demands……………

“Europe should fully guarantee Iran’s oil sales. In case Americans can damage our oil sales … Europeans should make up for that and buy Iranian oil.”

Now should the EU go for this one it is perfect for Iran….and thats their game….. selling the oil will not be a problem…… but to undermine the US…. THAT is the target. Here

“European banks should safeguard trade with the Islamic Republic. We do not want to start a fight with these three countries [France, Germany and Britain], but we don’t trust them either,” Khamenei said.

Personally this is a real tough one to pull off, but if they succeed they drive a huge wedge between the rest of the world and the US…. absolutely perfect for all involved!

Update 14/6/2018

28 UN General Assembly condemns only Israel on Gaza, cancle American amendment to condemn Hamas as well

The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday passed a resolution condemning Israel for using excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force during the recent clashes at the Gaza border and calling for an international protection mechanism for the Palestinians.

The resolution, proposed by Algeria and Turkey, passed with 120 “yes” votes, 8 “no” votes and 45 abstentions. The countries that voted against the resolution were the US, Israel, Australia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Togo and the Solomon Islands.

The dramatic session saw the United States attempt to add a paragraph condemning Hamas as well, which was ultimately rejected on procedural grounds though it had a majority of votes.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, arguing that the draft was biased against Israel, proposed an amendment that would have added an explicit condemnation of the Hamas Islamic organization and its firing of rockets, promotion of violence at the Gaza border, and digging of tunnels to infiltrate into Israel.

But Algeria called for a “no-action motion,” which would have prevented a vote on the amendment. According to General Assembly rules, the motion was put to a vote of all member states. Surprisingly, 78 countries opposed Algeria’s move while only 59 supported it.

Haley’s amendment cleared with a small majority, 62 to 58, with 42 abstentions.

However, General Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák, of Slovakia, ruled that a 2/3 majority was needed for an amendment to be added to a draft resolution.

Haley appealed his decision, which led the session to be adjourned for several minutes.

When the session reconvened, Lajčák put Haley’s appeal to a vote. 66 countries voted in favor, 72 opposed and 26 countries abstained, which meant that the original draft was put to a vote without the US amendment.

Haley condemned the final vote as a morally bankrupt judgement, but she also argued that the common practice of turning a blind eye to the UN’s anti-Israel bias is changing.

I am not sure you can get worse than this