Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Palestinian - Jewish Communication etc.

Last evening I attended a meeting with nine others to try to begin coordinating plans for peace related events towards ending the occupation of The West Bank and Gaza for the 40th Anniversary of the beginning of the Occupation (in June, 2007).

We were: three Palestinians, four Jews and probably three White Christian ("normal folks").

We had few visible boundaries between us and much mutual respect.

It is strange how "Muslims" are in the U.S. this scary monolithic people who we are so afraid of.

It is also strange how most people in the U.S. don't understand the importance to millions of people in other parts of the world (many of whom are Muslim) of the Palestinian people having their own completely independent state.

I will continue feeling a need to work with other Jews, in cooperation with others to try to help change things for the better in the U.S. primarily seeking changes in U.S. foreign policy. While Jewish Israelis are certainly not the sole "problem", their fears must be dealt with in building peace for all in this part of the Middle East. It will take work among all - U.S. people and leadership, the Palestinians, other Arab and nearby countries and the Israelis to finally achieve peace.

Let's not pretend though that the hurts of the wars and the occupation have hurt Israel and Jews More than they've affected the Palestinians. 40 years of occupation and 59 years of the State of Israel have greatly affected the Palestinians. The Palestinians aren't a meaningless part of the Arab/Muslim world which lack importance any more than we, the Jews of the U.S., are meaningless because we don't live in Israel.



Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Different World - I May Not Understand

I, a White Man, live with my Black Partner and her two (biracial) children who are now 8 and 11 years old. I also have a son from my first marriage who is attending an Ivy League University. We are certainly "upper-middle class" and indeed our family income is around three times the median income for our area.

The first week of school I met the mother of a classmate of our 8 year old in the halls of their school. She has a child in the fifth grade, in whose classroom I work as a parent volunteer, as well as an 18-19 year old son I've never met. She is White and her husband is Black.

Q, the fifth grader, dresses nicely and is a cooperative, pleasant boy. He clearly struggles academically, though he seems to fit in fairly well with his classmates. R, our fifth grader, has been accepted in the public schools' gifted program which should allow him in middle school to have his core classes with other similar children.

My 19 year old son S got over a 4.0 grade point average 2nd semester last year and dipped "significantly" to a little over a 3.6 gpa last semester. This woman's 18-19 year old's girlfriend gave birth to a child a few months ago. The woman told me that the girlfriend had lied about her age to her son and was only 15 (perhaps 16 by now).

I'm retired and on a federal pension. My partner has an excellent job she will start soon, with temporary work since her last job ended. This woman has told me that her husband needs to lose a signifcant amount of weight before he can safely have major surgery he needs to be able to have a chance at working again. She quit her job to take care of him and now has her three children, the girlfriend (fiance) and the grandbaby in her household.

We live in a different world from these people! My guess is that we don't understand their issues and struggles and probably they know little of what we face.

There are other divides in our country and the world. I hope that we can learn from each other and accept and care for each other. Thanks!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Those "Feisty???" Democrats ???

It seems pathetic that the Democrats in Congress can speak so seemingly strongly against President Bush's Iraq failures and general policies, but then can't unify and work minimally with some Republicans where helpful to really take a STRONG stand against current policy!

I don't hear anyone saying that we should oppose the individual troop members in Iraq. I don't hear anyone saying that we should do any more than trying to help end the killing and let the Iraqis determine their own future without our interference.

Yes there may be chaos if/when U.S. troops are withdrawn! There certainly is plenty of chaos now also.

The grandstanding and protecting of posteriors seems more important than actually working to end the War! Obviously "the people" haven't spoken loud enough yet to really change things more than superficially.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Candidate Predicting for 2008

My perspective is hardly insightful or unique!

The Democratic Party seems more predictable than the Republicans.

I'd be very surprised if the Democratic Party contenders don't narrow down to:

Hillary Clinton
Barack Obama and
John Edwards

very quickly. None of the other Democratic candidates seem likely to be able to raise enough money and have visibility to compete.

The main questions about Clinton seem to be:

1.) Is she electable? - Does she have too many people opposed to her to win a general election?

2.) Her position(s) on Iraq also may come into question particularly if Democrats push towards the more - "pull out now" direction which much of the electorate seems to favor.

The questions about Obama seem to be:

1.) Is the country really ready for a Black President?

2.) Where does he really stand on most issues?

3.) Is he too inexperienced as a politician?

The questions about Edwards seem to be:

1.) Will his strategy of being "the liberal candidate" (or most liberal) work?

2.) Can he move up from the #3 position and be in the limelight?

It seems hard to predict what may happen!

The Republicans may have more potential major candidates if Bush's position on the War remains unpopular towards the end of 2007. If Bush looks "good" on the War (doubtful) John McCain may pull into the lead well ahead of other candidates.

If McCain's stance in support of Bush now - doesn't prove popular, I'd guess that:

Chuck Nagel - would be the "middle of the road favorite" and perhaps

Sam Brownback would be the "traditional Conservative" choice and

maybe Mitt Romney will become a major Conservative candidate.

We'll see what happens! A lot can change in 2007 and in early 2008.

Perhaps - the voting public will have a little input ???


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Combatants For Peace - An Interesting Group !

Combatants For Peace - is a most interesting group!

Hearing a Palestinian former "terrorist" talking with an Israeli Jewish former counter-intelligence specialist (Israeli Army) of the necessary dialogue between Palestinians and Israeli Jews was most positively illuminating!

These two men spoke of their pasts, the forces from both of their pasts who inflame things with violence and the need to break down the distrust between their peoples.

Talking of the need for dialogue to build a true, lasting peace was most helpful for me! Their patience and realization that it will take time to be successful working with non-violence (only) is very true to me.

www.combatantsforpeace.org. Another important group together with: Tikkun, Jewish Voice for Peace, Brit Tsedek among Jews and other groups representing others.


Monday, February 05, 2007

The Exodus from Iraq

Based upon the data I quoted about the Middle East and the U.S. recently Iraq's population is approximately 1/11th of the population of the United States.

Based upon the numbers shown in an article originally written by Sudarsan Raghavan of the Washington Post entitled: "Exodus from Iraq creates friction in Middle East" if one were to multiply the given Iraqi numbers by eleven, we would have:

1. Almost 22 million who had fled our country,
2. 18.7 additional millionwho had been forced to move to safer places in the U.S.
3. As many as 550,000 USians fleeing their homes each month.

It's hard for me to imagine such staggering numbers.

Similarly, suicide bombings that kill 30 to 120 or so Iraqis would be killing - 330 to 1320 Usians - quite regularly lately at least!

This is pretty scary to me! We talk of the 3000 (now) + dead USian soldiers.

Pretty scary (and unnecessary) !!!


Sunday, February 04, 2007

The US - and "interests" - and control ???

Below are some population figures I just got off the internet. The U.S. spends more money on its military than the rest of the world put together (or close to it). The U.S. has a "larger" economy that its population would otherwise indicate. The U.S. also uses a disproportionate amount of the world's resources.

I think a little humility (including Listening, Really Listening to people in other countries) might be a good idea for our leadership and our people.

We have around 4.5% of the world's population and are dwarfed by China and India. The Middle East and neighboring relevant countries have a population greater than ours. Our national debts each year, deficits in exports vs. imports and amount of our economy which is owned by others from outside the USA - all point to our weakening position in the world - outside of our military strength.



http://www.photius.com/wfb1999/rankings/population_0.html (1999)

1 World5,995,544,836

2 China 1,246,871,951

3 India1,000,848,550

4 United States272,639,608

5 Indonesia216,108,345

6 Brazil171,853,126

7 Russia146,393,569

8 Pakistan138,123,359

9 Bangladesh127,117,967

10 Japan126,182,077

11 Nigeria113,828,587

12 Mexico100,294,036

13 Germany82,087,361

14 Philippines79,345,812

15 Vietnam77,311,210

16 Egypt67,273,906

17 Turkey65,599,206

18 Iran65,179,752

19 Thailand60,609,046

20 Ethiopia59,680,383

http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/information/population/ (figures change by the minute there)

Afghanistan - 31,169,572

Egypt - 79,730,153

Iran - 65,769,071

Iraq - 27,197,408

Israel - 6,397,086

Jordan - 5,934,475

Kuwait - 2,410,483

Lebanon - 3,905,296

Saudi Arabia - 27,555,162

Syria - 19,125,487

Turkey - 70,882,634

TOTAL: 334 Million (adding only the million totals)

USA: 298,562,280

Thursday, February 01, 2007

On Racism - related to our Fearless Leader

"Well" , he said: "I really think he shatters the myth of white
supremacy once and for all."

Charles Rangel, Democrat, U.S. House of Representatives from NY - long time Black politician responding to what he thought of President Bush.

What more can one say? I like it.

Molly Ivins

I am very saddened to hear of the death of Molly Ivins. Her incredible powerful wit was incredible! Her political insights and awareness pushing over and over again against the policies of President Bush, pointing out the silliness of Texas politics and talking of "Shrub" (as she referred to him) were all unique. Her battle against breast cancer over 7-8 years at least sadly ended yesterday. She will be missed.