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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

My Thoughts On The Kennedy Center Honors

Man, the Kennedy Center Honors this year were spectacular. 5 new honorees inducted: George Lucas, Seiji Ozawa, Cicely Tyson, Carole King and Rita Moreno. The way that each honoree was inducted was just amazing.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Israel Choosing War Over Peace

I read an article in the Washington Post detailing the need to bring about greater scrutiny of Israeli charities operating here in America. Many of these charities are using their donated dollars to build more settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. By doing this, these charities are helping the Likud Government completely flout international law and are also helping to undercut the official US position on the settlements.

It's becoming clear that the Prime Minister of Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu, has chosen war instead of making a sustainable peace with the Palestinians. To see this happening now is beyond infuriating. And it's not only Bibi, or these charities. Even members of our own Congress are repeatedly voting away our ability to conduct our own independent foreign policy. They've sworn an oath to protect and defend our Constitution and that's in addition to our sovereignty, but don't even bother telling that to the Republican Congress as they'll just simply ignore it.

The only way to force a change in Israel's behavior is for the American Jewish Community to start flexing its muscles. It's time for American Jews to start calling out Israel's lack of interest in peace and engaging in the BDS movement. It also means starting to promise law-makers of all levels that they won't get our vote unless they support the BDS movement. That means we need to get organizing and not let groups like AIPAC and the World Jewish Congress throw around the pathetic talking-point of speaking for all of us. We're not monolithic when it comes to Israel.

We American Jews have a responsibility for reining in our homeland when it's flown off the rails. It's time we started doing so, and let's take that conviction with us to the ballot box next November.

Friday, December 11, 2015

George Lopez Is Feeling The Bern

I was happy to have seen that George Lopez officially endorsed Bernie Sanders for President. Besides having mentioned his support for Bernie on Twitter, he made the case very clear that Donald Trump was bad news if elected President of the United States.
That was George's tweet of endorsement and support. All I can say is let's get the ball rolling to get the Bern into The White House in November 2016.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Donald Trump And The Disabled

It was a shameful day to hear Donald Trump making hateful commentary about a New York Times reporter who happened to have disabilities. As someone who has disabilities, I take very strong exception to Trump's comments.

I'm autistic (a developmental disorder/disability), and that won't change as long as I'm living. Life for me can be difficult at times, and overwhelming at others, but it's not 100% impossible. For me, I get overwhelmed from too much stimulation or from trying to overly control a lot of the disorder's symptoms. The worst for me is auditory over-stimulation, as it's difficult for me to process auditory information, especially at high speeds.

For me to have seen Trump's offensive commentary was a realization of how badly people with disabilities are stigmatized. It makes me also realize just how strongly he may push for the repeal of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which would make life for people like myself much more difficult.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Republicans and Racism

It's always mystified me why the GOP absolutely insists that running on a platform of overt racism is a winning strategy, but at the same time it leads to a much bigger and scarier question of how has this strategy become so successful. I'm really beginning to think that racism and White Supremacy will return to The White House in 2017, through the vote that comes up next November. The man who will be there to lead it, Donald Trump. What I do know is that too many Americans will fall for his, "Make America Great Again" schtick, and that if he has a chance to enact it, it will wreak havoc on us all.

I understand that engaging in overt racism is a classic campaign tactic to distract the populace from really tackling the issues that face us, but again, it's horrifying to think how this could ever become a successful winning strategy. And it's not just Trump, there's plenty of others who've jumped on the GOP's overtly racist bandwagon. Ted Cruz is a shining example, by using code to blame all blacks for the anti-abortion extremism here in America (classic).

It's time for The Democrats to get their heads out of the sand and actively campaign on relieving the ongoing efforts by the Republicans to restore Jim Crow and White Supremacy back as the supreme law of America.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Terrorism in Colorado Springs

The shooting at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs is a classic case of terrorism that seems to get the very minimum of analytical coverage in the media. So far there has been little analysis of the link between the growing violence by anti-abortion extremists and the lack of meaningful gun control. I haven't been seeing that kind of discussion, nor have I heard anything in terms of reducing the number of violent attacks. This is getting to the point of absurdity, and to the point of infuriatingly demeaning people for events that they have no control over.

I stand with Planned Parenthood through this time of crisis, and there needs to be a strong message sent that no one can coerce and terrorize us into believing their views. This should be a shining example of why we need to do more to end the threat of anti-abortion terrorism.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Terror In France & The Threat Posed By ISIS

I mourn the loss of life in Paris from the deadly terrorist attacks, and think that it's really time to dismantle ISIS' influence in the Middle East. I expect that the French will find whomever ordered this attack and make targeted strikes at them, but I don't think that will be the end of the ongoing threat ISIS poses.

In order to deal with the threat known as ISIS, you need to attack the roots of its terrorism at their source. ISIS thrives on Sunni discontent and disenfranchisement from being under Shi'ite rule, but that's not the only factor. Other factors include one of the driest decades in the Middle East (the 2000s) and a gross mismanagement of natural resources (as was the case with the Assad regime in Syria), and regional ambitions of other state actors in the area (particularly Saudi Arabia who seeks to impose its interpretation of Islam on the region and eventually the world). The latter factor is possibly the most prominent, as Saudi Arabia and Iran are rivals for influencing the direction of Islam and the Middle East as a whole. However, it should be noted that it falls on everyone, but especially the Middle Eastern nations to start creating political and economic opportunities for their people. This also means that everyone needs to get together to close the power vacuum opened up by the Syrian Civil War through a political settlement.

How this relates to France comes as follows. France was a colonial power in the Middle East from 1919-46, colonizing both Syria and Lebanon. Many Arabs had openly opposed this arrangement after they were promised independence by joining the Allied Powers against the disintegrating Ottoman Empire, and in time, Saudi Arabia would come to openly oppose the arrangement as well.

Even after the period of colonial rule in the Middle East, France was still a major player. First in the form of its alliance with Israel, and then as a major arms supplier to the various Arab states. Additionally, France had opened up economic relations in other fields with the various Arab states. A commonly accepted epithet at the time was that if someone was an Islamist, they wouldn't attack France. The reason was often that France often opposed American/British-led military efforts in the region and was the only NATO member not part of the overall command structure. That changed when Nicolas Sarkozy became President in 2007, when he requested French re-entrance into NATO's command structure and a softer policy toward the Americans. This in turn led to a full revamping of French foreign relations in the Middle East, especially where France became more critical of some of its Arab partners. These actions have made France a target, especially now with its Islamic population attempting to gain their rights and citizenship.

The threat posed by ISIS on France and the world at-large comes from its desire to establish a global caliphate and bring the world back to the Middle Ages. To be very clear, their view of Islam (they're primarily Wahabists, an ultra-orthodox sect of Sunni Islam) and the need to wage jihad in order to achieve their caliphate is not the view of most Muslims. They are a cancer to the faith by calling for the deaths of people labled as apostates (primarily Shi'ites) or non-believers. In addition to their previously stated ambitions, they're also seeking to obtain all material necessary to construct a nuclear device of their own or to buy them outright. Having this happen would be the ultimate disaster, as they're planning to smuggle 1 to set off here in America. The fact still remains that while we should mourn the loss of life in Paris, we should be vigilant about keeping a close eye on ISIS and disrupt any and all attempts to do us harm as well.

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