Monday, February 20, 2017

When Other Nations Interfere in U.S. Government, Some Are More Equal Than Others

Illustration of a carnival float recently unveiled in Viareggio, Italy -- a nation where the U.S. has meddled in elections since 1948.
The most raging controversy of many on my social media posts lately has been the argument sparked by sharing an article from Dan Kovalik on The World Post, "Listen Liberals: Russia Is Not Our Enemy." I had not anticipated that the arguments presented for this point of view would draw so much ire; in general the older, whiter respondents are the angriest, while the younger and more diverse respondents see Kovalik's point. I suppose the polarizing of the public's outlook in the current era is best explained by media diet, with those consuming MSNBC most likely to be drinking the Koolaid of Russia as boogey man.

Sharing this meme did not seem to dampen the ardor of the hate Russia brigade:

To me this map suggests an authentic motive for demonizing Russia: look at all that thawing Arctic shoreline, ripe for Western imperialists to sink in their drilling gigs and piplelines. 

The responses ranged from demanding to know why Kovalik was "whitewashing Stalin" (not alive during the time period being analyzed) and why I was bashing liberals rather than opposing the current regime. People I used to think stood on the same side of the antiwar movement with me -- people who were notably absent during the Obomber years -- object to criticism of the narrative being sold by the corporate press, and I think it is probably because they don't get out of the echo chamber very often to seek information elsewhere.

I tried to broaden the texts we were considering by suggesting "The Neocons and the 'Deep State' Have Neutered the T$$$$ Presidency, It's Over Folks!" by The Saker in GlobalResearch and the documentary Ukraine on Fire by Oliver Stone. The latter describes how the U.S. supports neo-Nazis there.

What I should have shared is something the came across my screen the next day: "Israel interferes in our politics all the time, and it's never a scandal" by Philip Weiss in Mondoweiss.

As spring approaches, the prospect of the annual AIPAC gala in Washington DC for U.S. lawmakers is on my mind. Plus,"Bibi" Netanyahu and the demagogue have just taken a meeting upon the occasion of a state visit by the Israeli Prime Minister. Mondoweiss contributor Katie Miranda created a cartoon of their exchanges titled "The day the two greatest salesmen in the world met at the White House."

Actually I had been thinking about Bibi or, more specifically, his wife, as news rolled in about how much the lavish life style of the First Family is costing U.S. taxpayers (allegedly one month of guarding them costs approximately as much as one year of guarding the Obamas). Sarah'le as she is popularly known is sometimes the subject of columnist Uri Avnery's observations on government by kleptocracy.  Last summer his column on Gush Shalom's website "Petty Corruption" revealed

The generous Israeli taxpayers (including me) paid for the five days of Bibi's stay in New York last fall, to the tune of some 600,000 dollars. This sum – more than 100 thousand dollars per day – included the payment for his private hairdresser (1600 dollars) and his make-up woman (1750 dollars). The purpose of the trip was to address the UN General Assembly. I wonder how much each word cost. 
The information was disclosed by order of the court under the Freedom of Information Law.

There are more ominous parallels between Israel's government and the current regime in the U.S. Both aspire to an apartheid state where white makes right and profits are to be had building separation walls and supplying the technology for human rights violations based upon racism. 
Photo shared by Dawn Neptune Adams at Oceti Oyate camp, Standing Rock:
"HolyElk Lafferty standing in front of the militarized police response to a Grandmothers' Tipi Teaching" Feb. 19, 2017

Both the U.S. and Israel practice vicious suppression of indigenous people's demand to live in peace and without inteference on land and waterways their families have nurtured for many generations.

A Palestinian woman mourns the destruction of olive trees. | Photo: Flickr / Frank M. Rafik

Just this week the Senate considered appointing David Friedman the new U.S. ambassador to Israel, a man who maintains a home in Jerusalem courtesy of ethnic cleansing during al-Nakba. In his piece on Electronic Intifada Michael Brown wondered "Why won't Democrats call out Friedman's crimes?
The posting of a settlement advocate as US ambassador to Israel would certainly mark a new extreme. But it would not be illogical. 
For decades, the US political elite – Democrats and Republicans alike – have advanced Israel’s colonialist project by providing billions of dollars in military aid. This is simply another step toward the US government normalizing the illegal settlements it has watched grow over the last 50 years.
An old joke comes to mind. Q: Why doesn't Israel just become the 51st state already? A: Because then they would only have two senators.

Police cooperation is a less well-known aspect of the cozy relationship between the alleged "only democracy in the Middle East" and the alleged democracy I live under; militarized police response to nonviolent civil disobedience looks similar in the U.S. and Israel because law enforcement officials regularly go to Israel for training. Sometimes the training occurs here, on U.S. soil.

But, hey, let's keep demonizing Russia and deflecting attempts to see ourselves as others in the world see us: the most violent, warmongering, election-interfering nation in existence. No matter whether there's a D or an R in the Oval Office. 

Because: do as we say, not as we do.

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