Archive | June 23rd, 2010


modernityblog | June 23, 2010 | Tags: Franco, Nazi, Spain, The Final Solution, WW2 | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:

I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised at any revelation concerning Franco.

The old Fascist bastard had his fingers in so many pies that it’s hard to really work out what went on, as fascists don’t particularly like transparency.

Some years back there were even suggestions that Franco was bribed to stay out of the Second World War, but Ynet reveals an even darker side:

“When former Prime Minister Golda Meir thanked Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco for his “humanitarian attitude” and for protecting the Jews in his country during the Holocaust, she was not aware that he had ordered his officials to draw up a list of thousands of Jews living in Spain to be handed over to the Nazis.

The list, which was published in the El País newspaper on Sunday, would have sent thousands more Jews to their deaths in the Nazi extermination camps.

The list was handed over to the Nazi architect of the “final solution”, German SS chief Heinrich Himmler, at a time when the two countries were discussing Spain’s possible incorporation into the axis powers that included Nazi Germany, Italy and Japan.

The Spanish newspaper published the original order, which was recently unearthed in the Spanish government’s archives and instructed provincial governors to provide detailed lists of “all the national and foreign Jews living in the province… showing their personal and political leanings, means of living, commercial activities, degree of danger and security category.”

The governors were ordered to keep a close eye on Sephardic Jews, as their language and appearance enabled them to blend in with Spanish society.

“Their adaptation to our environment and their similar temperament allow them to hide their origins more easily,” said the order, sent out in May 1941.

The order describes the Jews as a race, and not a religious minority. “This notorious race”, the order said, “remained unnoticed, with no opportunity of preventing their easily-carried out attempts at subversion.”

Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on FRANCO & THE NAZI’S


Yediot’s legal affairs editor, Judge (ret.) Boaz Okon, lists a series of undemocratic events in the Israeli public sphere and urges his readers to come to contemplate what they mean when seen together:

These dots are growing evidence of the lack of the spirit of freedom and the emergence of apartheid and fascism. If you look at each dot separately you might miss the bigger picture. Like a child watching a military brigade march, and after seeing the battalions, the batteries and the companies, asking: “And when is the brigade finally coming?” the answer is that while he watched the marching of the battalions, batteries and companies, he was actually watching the brigade. So is the situation in Israel.

You do not have to ask where the apartheid is. These events, which are accepted with silence and indifference, together create a picture of a terrible reality.

Draw me a Monster

Op-ed, Boaz Okon [legal affairs editor], Yediot, June 22 2010 [Hebrew original here and at bottom of post]

Just like in a children’s connect-the-dots coloring book, where connecting random dots creates a picture, so in Israel, if you connect a number of horrifying, multiplying incidents, you begin to see a monster.

Dot number one: a school in Emmanuel segregates students along ethnic lines. The court, upholding the principle of equality, orders the segregation to be canceled, but is held in contempt by an entire prejudiced community.

They rely on the old defense plea “tu quique” — “you too” — meaning you too maintain hidden segregation. That is a pathetic and perverse defense, but it is disturbing because the number of mizrahi Jews in academe, the legal institutions and the senior civil service is too low.

Dot number two: MK Hanin Zoabi joined the flotilla to Gaza. As a result, Knesset members shouted at her “go to Gaza.” Zoabi is an Israeli citizen. Even if her actions are infuriating, you cannot incite against her and call for her expulsion.

In the US, when an elderly journalist suggested the Jews in Israel go to Poland, the president condemned her and she had to step down. Our legislators are trying to pass laws to block the funding of bodies such as the New Israel Fund or B’Tselem, only because they dare tell us the truth to our faces.

Dot number three: in Hebron there is segregation between Jews and Arabs, and entire streets are blocked to Arab Palestinians. This decree was passed after the Jewish Baruch Goldstein’s massacre of Arabs. And as if that weren’t bad enough, Israeli Arabs are not allowed to walk around the streets of Hebron.

It turns out that Arab identity in itself constitutes a provocation and pretext for disturbances by Jews. The situation is considered normal, and therefore the segregation regime on Highway 443, which the court canceled on paper, continues to exist in practice.

And another dot: among the senior civil service in Israel, in the courts as well as in academe, the number of Arabs is minute. And another dot:  punishment of Arabs is harsher than of Jews. And another dot: at the Sheikh Jarrah demonstrations police are heavy-handed with the demonstrators for Arab rights and gentle with the demonstrators for Jewish rights.

And another dot: a judge places obstacles on two men who wish to bring their children born to a surrogate mother to Israel, because of their sexual orientation. And another dot: violation of suspects’ rights is widespread, and more than once false confessions have been extracted from suspects, usually members of minorities, foreign workers or Ethiopians.

Nobody investigates the police. The evil spirit, which is quick to convict and loaths differences of opinion and the presumption of innocence, has become part of the culture.

And this too: foreign workers are forbidden from multiplying here, as if they were draft animals. And another dot: gag orders are issued routinely and without justification, and wiretapping orders are issued with a light hand.

There is no reaction to illegal wiretapping by the government. In the same way a law is passed to establish a biometric database, despite its violation of privacy, as is the “big brother” law, allowing monitoring of cellular phone calls, e-mail and Internet. And there are many more points concerning the cheapening of the democratic process, buying votes and buying entire parties with offices and benefits. Read more of this post.





Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on APARTHEID & FASCISM IN THE ZIO=NAZI REGIME


In this morning’s (June 23 2010) Yediot, Uri Misgav reports on how the management of an academic college in northern Israel intervened in the student body elections in a successful effort to shut-out Palestinian-Israeli representatives. His conclusion:

The Emek Yezreel College is currently holding its end of year exams. Students are being tested on their academic achievements in the departments of political science, communications, behavioral sciences and education. I think they can be canceled.

The message the college management gave its Jewish and Arab students is much louder than any research question. Sixty-two years after its founding Israel is farther than ever from the ability to bravely confront the democratic challenge of integrating its Arab minority.

Misgav’s dose of contemporary Israeli academic reality is supplemented by Avirama Golan’s glimpse of the Knesset Education Committee’s slide into McCarthyism and, earlier in the week, Education Minister Gideon Saar’s vow to punish to punish Israeli professors who back academic boycott, which came hot on the heels of his endorsement of the Im Tirzu report urging a purge of ‘anti-Zionism’ in Israeli Universities.

Another dot for Boaz Okon, Yediot’s legal editor to connect in his picture of “the emergence of apartheid and fascism” in Israel.


A democratic failure

Op-ed, Uri Misgav, Yediot, June 23 2010 [Hebrew original here and at bottom of post]


The Max Stern Academic College of Emek Yezreel resides in a green lung next to the village of Tel Adashim. In the last two decades it has enjoyed substantial growth and development. The college calls itself “the Academy of the North,” and 5000 students study there for BA and MA degrees.

Among other things the college has a popular political science department. At the beginning of the month the campus was supposed to hold a small celebration of democracy: elections for the student association. From my personal experience I know those elections are not really important.

Israeli student councils don’t have a real effect on the academy or the country. But what happened at the Emek Yezreel College within a few days is an amazing and very sad political parable.

At the beginning of the election campaign two lists were competing for control of the council. One represented the incumbent association and the other a vocal opposition that wanted to unseat it.

The latter ran a vigorous and aggressive campaign against the incumbent representatives. As students do, they promised a “revolution” and talked about a “cleanup.” Many of the students got interested in the elections..

At some point the Arab students got into the picture. There are about 1000 of them at the college, which serves the areas of Nazareth and the valleys. They may be a minority but have high political awareness and high voting rates.

At first the Arab students negotiated with both existing lists to join one of them. They were rejected and set out to establish a separate list. Even after the deadline for submitting the lists the negotiations continued. Samir Baranseh, chairman of the Arab list, held simultaneous negotiations with the two competing lists in order to create a coalition bloc that would decide the close elections.

One day before the elections members of the two Jewish lists were summoned to urgent talks with the college CEO, Yoram Raz, and with a senior lecturer. At the end of the meeting their members, who until that moment were quarreling loudly, announced they were running together on a single list.

 The Arab students claimed that in a conversation they had with Raz he admitted that the initiative for the urgent union came from the college management. “Imagine if you had won all of the seats in the association or most of them,” he told them.

“The news would have reached not only the Israeli press but also the world press, even the Turkish press. It is inconceivable for the Arabs, who constitute 20% of the students, to represent all of the students of the college.”

The head of the Arab list understood the situation and went to the joint Jewish list with a last offer: combining forces in one list, based on a formula of one in every five representatives. That offer too was rejected. At that point Baranseh and his friends announced they were boycotting the elections and establishing a separate Arab students’ committee.

On election day, which was supposed to be a face-off between three competing and ambitious lists, only one list ultimately stood for election. Just like in Syria. The students responded accordingly. Only 15% of them bothered to go vote. One, who happens to be a Jew, voted with a blank ballot, on which he wrote: “A dark day for democracy.”




A brief (2-3 minutes) but excellent video.  Please distribute widely. 
The more people that we can convince that ‘security’ does not rest in weapons, that ‘defense’ is often a term used to justify unnecessary wars, that some people profit monetarily greatly from wars, but that most people by contrast suffer, the more likely it is that grassroots movements against wars and arms and military might will increase, and perhaps more money will eventually go for education, health, and welfare.
—– Original Message —–

Sent: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 10:36 AM
Subject: [NP_internal] Fwd: YouTube – Security: What is it
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: talma <>

New Profile
Movement for the Civil-ization of Israeli Society

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BDS in Hebrew

Ofer Neiman (a regular contributor to The Only Democracy?) and Ayala Shani published this article in Hebrew in Haaretz. As is often the case, the most interesting, and cutting-edge discussions, don’t get translated into the English version of the paper, perhaps in fear of offending sensitive Jewish American sensibilities? In any case, the article has been translated by Dena Bugel-Shunra, of Shunra Media.  It was originally published in English in Jews Sans Frontieres.

Only a boycott will persuade Israel

by Ayala Shani &Ofer Neiman

“Israel won’t change unless the status quo has a downside” – these words were written by journalist Tony Karon, a Jew from South Africa. This sentence reflects the rationale behind the broad BDS campaign – which includes sanctions, institutional boycott, and divestment – which has begun trickling down into public consciousness in Israel. Instead of a defensive, self-righteous response along the general lines of “the whole world is against us”, it would be best to learn the facts about the campaign and peer into the collective mirror, which reflects grievous and systematic violations of human rights and international law.

The current movement originally started with a call to action issued in 2005, signed by more than 170 organizations from Palestinian society: citizens of Israel, refugees in exile, and Palestinians living under occupation in the West Bank and in Gaza. The call to action was published in Hebrew, too, and citizens of Israel are requested to express their support of it. It is for this purpose that the Israeli group “Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from within” was founded.

The BDS movement that has developed in response to the Palestinian call to action does not have any formal, focal leadership. Regular citizens around the world, including many Jews, initiate activities and take part in them. The goal of the movement is to demonstrate to Israel the international community’s disgust and rejection of its actions, so that Israel will act for the immediate termination of the occupation, for the end of discrimination against the Arab citizens of Israel, and for recognition of the refugees’ right of return, as phrased in United Nations Decision 194. Elements of the oppression which the movement wishes to put an end to match the legal definition of the crime of apartheid – systematic and institutionalized racial separation, as practiced in old South Africa.

The movement does not promote any specific political solution (one state or two, the return of any particular number of refugees), but rather, strives to change in a nonviolent way the balance of power that makes it possible for Israel’s governments to violently withhold the basic rights of millions of people, and to renounce their accountability with unfounded statements (“the Arabs are to blame for the refugee problem”, “the settlements are legal”, “there is no siege upon Gaza”.)

It will be stressed here that the boycott is not a personal boycott on Israelis but rather, a boycott of official Israeli institutions and of events taking place under their auspices. Thus, for example, there is no call to deny an Israeli researcher her right to lecture abroad. There is a call to avoid holding international conferences in universities in Israel which proudly proclaim their contacts with the military establishment.

Is Israel being singled out? As was true about white South Africa, the world is justly sensitive to situations where a population that has civil rights determines the fate of a population which has neither civil rights nor the right to vote. Fairness is not always a feature of international relations, but Israel enjoys many international privileges, such as membership in the OECD. The citizens of China, where grievous human rights abuses take place, have never been given the opportunity to express a lack of confidence in the government that forcibly suppressed the student demonstrations in 1989. In contrast, the citizens of Israel cast their votes again and again for parties (including Kadima and the Labor Party) and governments under whose administration settlements are built, people are tortured and arrested for years with no trial, unarmed citizens are shot, and land and water resources are plundered.

Many people around the world ask, therefore, whether there is good reason for a normalization with Israel. Port workers in Sweden and Norway, countries which have historically been very sympathetic to Israel, refuse to unload Israeli container ships. Artists wonder why they must perform here and enhance the sense of “business as usual” when the very fact of their performance will be portrayed as support of Israel’s policy.

A deep-reaching public discussion is needed at this time, not only about the question of whether the boycott is or is not justified but about Israel’s policy. Many Israelis acknowledge the heinous acts being done in our name, under our very noses. It is appropriate for an effective and nonviolent campaign against these actions should have their support.

The authors are active in the Israeli group: “Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from within.”

This article was originally published in Hebrew in Haaretz Online, June 22 2010.

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We have started a campaign to Stop the Bullets in the buffer zone. Those bullets killed a young man, Ahmed Salem Deeb, at a protest in late April, four days after wounding three other people. Most people have no idea that this is even happening. To that end, Bianca Zammit, one of the wounded, has made a video outlining the problems farmers face in the buffer zone, while makes 2o to 25 percent of Gaza’s arable land unfarmable. We hope we can raise awareness and in turn, turn that awareness into action.

Technorati Tags: agriculture, Ahmed Saleb Deeb, Bianca Zammit, buffer zone, bullets, Gaza, Israel, Palestine

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Didi Remez | June 23, 2010 at 10:44 | Categories: Diplomacy, Israeli Neoconservatism | URL:

Yesterday (June 22 2010), In a speech to the Jewish Agency, Israeli National Security Adviser Uzi Arad, asked Israelis to ‘curb their enthusiasm’ about a two state solution to the conflict, saying that legitimizing a Palestinian State is tantamount to de-legitimizing Israel:

Arad also leveled veiled criticism at the two-state solution. “On the one hand, most of the people of Israel see the two-state solution as the path to a peace agreement. There are even quite a few Israelis who have mobilized for a Palestinian state and the promotion of its legitimacy, and are winning converts to it.

“What they do not notice is that this claims a certain price. The more you market Palestinian legitimacy, the more you bring about a detraction of Israel’s legitimacy in certain circles. They are accumulating legitimacy, and we are being delegitimized. If we were aware of that, perhaps we would be less enthusiastic.”

Anyone who read Arad’s ‘Dr. Strangelove’ interview last year, cannot really be surprised by anything he says. This is an important reminder, however, of who has the Prime Minister’s ear on Israeli-Palestinian issues. I think journalists who repeat ad nauseum that Palestinian rejectionism is the only obstacle to peace breaking out would find it useful.

Also, Gidi Ginshtein at the Reut Institute might want to add the speech as a reference in his latest report, which contends that the mortal danger currently facing  Israel is from forces trying to undermine the legitimacy of the two state solution.


Uzi Arad versus the world

Eli Bardenstein, Maariv, June 23 2010 [Hebrew original here and at bottom of post]


Yesterday, National Security Adviser Dr. Uzi Arad fired arrows of criticism in every direction and made unusual statements on a series of current affairs. He sent barbs in the direction of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who, according to reports, is not allowing the National Security Council to do its job, aimed criticism at Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni, who believes that a peace plan will extricate Israel from the diplomatic impasse, said that Israel’s enthusiasm over the two-state solution is damaging to Israel’s legitimacy, and gave legal justification for a military attack on Iran.

In a speech to the members of the Jewish Agency Assembly in Jerusalem, Arad said of the peace initiative being pushed by high-ranking Kadima officials, “Some say that we need to offer a peace initiative, and I must assume that the leader of the opposition, Ms. Tzipi Livni, will agree to that. There is no need to think that this is the magic and promised solution.

“We must not believe that the moment we do this, things will resolve on their own and then we will be saved. Such an initiative is only liable to cause the Palestinians to reject it and wait for another initiative on the understanding that Israel only gives. And therefore, I propose the commandment of caution. Making projections about the implications of what might happen is political adventurism.”

Arad also leveled veiled criticism at the two-state solution. “On the one hand, most of the people of Israel see the two-state solution as the path to a peace agreement. There are even quite a few Israelis who have mobilized for a Palestinian state and the promotion of its legitimacy, and are winning converts to it.

“What they do not notice is that this claims a certain price. The more you market Palestinian legitimacy, the more you bring about a detraction of Israel’s legitimacy in certain circles. They are accumulating legitimacy, and we are being delegitimized. If we were aware of that, perhaps we would be less enthusiastic.”


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Agent Orange and Related Chemical Exposure Outside of Vietnam: Guam

June 21, 2010

by indythinker

This is the second part of a series of articles on the probability that Agent Orange and the related Rainbow Colors of chemicals used by our Armed Forces in their Herbicide War in Vietnam may have been present on Guam during the war.

We at Veterans Today have gone through a ton of evidence, interviews, email exchanges, and asked the hard questions being devil’s advocate for the VA, and this is what we came up with.

First, both the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs have neither confirmed nor denied the presence of the Herbicides in the Agent Orange family of chemicals having existed on Guam during the Vietnam War. The Defense Department released a vague response to the VA stating that they could find no records of Agent Orange being used, stored, or shipped through Guam.

In this above response from the Pentagon to Congressman Lane Evans in September 2003, [that’s about seven years ago folks] someone signing FOR Donald Rumsfeld stated that,

“The [Defense] Department has found no record of the use, storage, of Herbicides Orange, Blue, or White on Guam. In 1952, roughly 5,000 drums of Herbicide Purple were transported to Guam and stored there in anticipation of use on the  Korean Peninsula.

The herbicide was never used and was returned to the United States. Although other herbicides may have passed through Guam during the Vietnam Conflict, we have no record of long-term storage or use of these herbicides on Guam.”

Further, “The presence of dioxin contamination at a site [on Guam] does not necessarily indicate that Herbicide Orange was used or stored on that site. According to Air Force Studies, the dioxins at sites references in the Public Health Assessment were associated with burned material.”

This is not only a response of convenience but Congressman Evan’s staff did not ask the hard questions nor question this response from DoD. We do not know what the response of Evan’s office was circa 2003, but we do know that the VA has used this vague response to delay, delay, then deny hundreds of VA Claims from Vets who have served on Guam.

 It is a trend that gives appearances as if the VA and DoD had somehow coordinated and collaborated on coming up with this response from DoD in order to make denial of VA Claims a given regardless what evidence a Veteran presented on their own behalf of Rainbow Colored Herbicide use on Guam.

It is also as if some GS-5 fresh out of college staffed this coordination with the Pentagon accepting the vague DoD response at face value without question. We are amazed that Congressman Evans would even be naive enough to accept such a lame response at face value, but he is not in the hot seat now.

Here are the hard question that needed asking.

The VA also did not ask the hard questions. Any attorney representing a Vet before VA Appeals will tell you that VA adjudications is not going to take the time to research any evidence provided by a Vet that they get off the internet, from a third party, whatever, unless the Veteran who served in Guam can prove the Pentagon wrong or at least lame.

Ain’t going to happen, when the easy way out is to delay and deny your claim until you die based on the DoD having no record that Agent Orange or what ever Agent existed on Guam except circa 1953. How convenient a cop out for the VA and DoD.

DoD has found no record of the use, storage, of Herbicides Orange, Blue, or White on Guam is not the same definitive answer at DoD cannot confirm or deny the presence of these chemical agents on Guam during the Vietnam War, or better yet DoD can confirm beyond a doubt that these chemical agents were never present on Guam during the Vietnam War. These are the responses that Congressman Evan’s staff should have could have made to DoD for a more definitive answer.

In 1952, roughly 5,000 drums of Herbicide Purple were transported to Guam and stored there in anticipation of use on the  Korean Peninsula. The herbicide was never used and was returned to the United States. Our response to this lead would have been can DoD provide our Congressional Office with documentation showing exactly when (dates) and where in the U.S. the Herbicide Purple was shipped from Guam for storage or disposal, and can DoD provide us proof that the Herbicide Purple was not stored or dumped in any land fill on Guam remaining there during the Vietnam War?

Although other herbicides may have passed through Guam during the Vietnam Conflict, we have no record of long-term storage or use of these herbicides on Guam. Our response would have been exactly what “OTHER” herbicides passed through Guam during the Vietnam WAR?

If DoD has records that OTHER herbicides may have passed through Guam during the WAR, it stands to reason that DoD would have records as to storage or use regardless the duration?

The presence of dioxin contamination at a site [on Guam] does not necessarily indicate that Herbicide Orange was used or stored on that site. According to Air Force Studies, the dioxins at sites references in the Public Health Assessment were associated with burned material. Of all the lame responses from DoD this one should have set off a red flag to any intelligent person in Congressman Evan’s office that the DoD was snowing them.

We would have responded that DoD indicates that the presence of dioxin poisoning at a site on Guam does not necessarily indicate Agent Orange was use or stored on that site, but the only hard evidence DoD provides is that the dioxins result from burn pits.

This raises more questions about exactly what was DoD burning at these sites, when, was it during or shortly after the Vietnam War, and why were material containing dioxin being burned on Guam in proximity to Housing Areas and such in the first place?

We believe readers that what seriously has most Vets pissed off that served on Guam, swear (willing under oath if necessary) that they personally sprayed Agent Orange or one of the other Rainbow Colors, handled the colorful drums, even submitting evidence such as Performance Reports that reflect they sprayed herbicides they believe to be Herbicide Orange and now have illnesses, some recognized by the VA as presumptive and some not, birth defect in children and grand-children, Veterans are being told by the VA that they are LIARS.

The sad thing is that the VA bases calling Veterans’ liars on slim evidence that the Veteran lied or is mistaken, or worse yet is not smart enough to know what Agent Orange was when they are spraying it even IF they were. SAY WHAT?

Another problem is that not enough Vets “speak out” regardless their beef with the VA. Readers you have to begin speaking out while you are at the VA, the minute you receive a denial, the minute you are doomed to the appeal process AND you have got to scream loud enough for VSO leaders and Congress critters who never served to hear you.

Heck Congressman Bob Filner admits in committee that he proudly opposed and protested the Vietnam War as part of the Anti-War movement, and Filner is not a VETERAN. If we can’t twist his arm to demand the VA take ACTION to add Guam as a presumptive location of Herbicides used in our Herbicide War against Vietnam now that he is Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, not that it needs much twisting now that he is in our camp, what else can we do at Veterans Today or any other Veterans activist group or VSOs.

While I’m on that subject we will touch on it below, but even Congressman Filner had used the words Agent Orange and Guam in the same breath several time while in Committee. Several VSO spokesperson’s have said Agent Orange and Guam in the same breath, but folks these men and women cannot do it ALONE. They need our backing at the grassroots level.

Robert L. Hanafin, Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired, Veterans Today News Network

Another Class Action Lawsuit Against the VA and DoD is NOT the Answer?

The thought crossed our minds at Veterans Today that maybe members need to put pressure on VSO leaders to launch yet another class action law suit against the VA and DoD, however that is not the solution, because it is only time consuming, expensive, the VA and DoD would love Veterans to do that for all they need to is wait out the long and winding litigation process.

How many Vietnam Era Vets will die of Agent Orange or other herbicide related causes before the case comes to court, goes to appeal, or even once again to the Supreme Court (as in the case of Vietnamese who unsuccessfully sued the Chemical Companies). We believe more older Vets will perish from being chemically poisoned than will fall in Iraq and Afghanistan in the same time-frame.

Regardless, should DoD and the VA ever be taken to federal court in a class action lawsuit on this situation, this response from DoD and the lack of Congressional questioning of such a lame, vague, diversionary response from DoD, used conveniently by the VA, would just not hold up to the scrutiny or even common sense of a very good legal team representing the Veterans against government corporate lawyers.

Wartime is not the time for Veterans to be questioning the fact our government, especially DoD, and VA cannot be TRUSTED – could be bad for military recruitment.

Not only that but during wartime (well a few of us are at war) is not the time for former members of the Armed Forces to be legally suing the Department of Veterans Affairs and DoD for it sends the WRONG message to our troops in the field and could potentially harm military recruitment.

Can DoD confirm beyond a doubt that Agent Orange or related chemicals never existed on Guam. We do not think so, and based on this inability to prove that none of the Rainbow Colored poisons ever existed on Guam, the VA by its own regulations must err on the side of the Veterans it is suppose to serve not at the convenience of DoD or COST SAVINGS.

Would the Pentagon go on record confirming beyond a doubt that Agent Orange, Agent Pink,  Agent Green, Agent Purple, Agent Blue, or Agent White NEVER existed on Guam during the Vietnam War? The Rainbow Agents had to be stored, and logistically trans-shipped from somewhere in the Pacific, and it is no secret that not only was Anderson AFB, Guam an operational Bomber base flying mission over Vietnam, but Guam was also a logistical hub in support of combat operations in Vietnam.

Even if the Pentagon took a position of not being able to confirm or deny, which is pretty much what their response to Congressman Lane Evans back in 2003 sounds like, the VA should be giving the benefit of a doubt in favor of America’s Veterans in lieu of an emphasis on COST SAVINGS.

We have also learned that the number of Veterans who served on Guam have placed enough pressure on the Veterans Service Organizations they belong to testifying they have used, stored, or transported one of the various Agents while serving on Guam during the Vietnam War that several VSOs have already gone before Congress to express this concern. This was BEFORE my last article went to post on this situation went to post, so my apologies for inferring the VSOs were not doing enough on this issue, but enough is not FAST ENOUGH.

Just as our troops, be we Vietnam Vets. Gulf War Vets, Iraq or Afghanistan Vets train, prepare, and exercise for unit readiness, our Veterans Service Organizations and members of Congress need to show a SENSE OF URGENCY that is not only lacking but DEADLY.

Several Congressional Representatives, too few to mention, including Congressman Bob Filner, Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, and Congressman John Hall of New York have gone on record stating they believe Veterans when WE say Agent Orange or one of the related chemical contaminants was present on Guam during the Vietnam War.

We will provide documented statements from several VSO representatives who have expressed this concern to Congress specifically mentioning Agent Orange and Guam in the same breath in the next segment of this series of articles. We will post a statement by the Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee stating in committee hearing that he believes Agent Orange was present on Guam during the Vietnam War.

We believe the best course of action is to for Veterans concerned, those who served on Guam and feel they have been exposed to a chemical contaminants like Agent Orange to continue pressure on your VSO leaders to stay the course in Congress to force the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees to tell the VA to add Guam to the listing of recognized locations outside Vietnam where Agent Orange existed. Statements we have seen coming out of Congress only mention a suggestion that the VA do this not a directive.

If the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees are not in a position to tell the Department of Veterans Affairs to make such a simple change to policy instead of simply recommending the VA make such changes, no wonder America’s Veterans are so slow to achieve change at the VA. Why need a House or Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in the first place if they lack authority to direct the VA to implement change?

Veterans seriously concerned about this issue need to also put pressure on your member of Congress to get behind any legislation proposed that expands Agent Orange and related herbicide poisoning to any location outside of Vietnam where these chemical could have potentially existed.

When the Chairman of a Committee in Congress makes a statement using Agent Orange and Guam in the same breath, said Chairman should be able to make it happen or we find another Chairman.

My fellow Veterans, we are entering the 2010 November election final stretch there could be no better time or opportunity to press your cause than NOW.

Simply put NO GUAM added to the list of locations where herbicide poisoning occurred or existed = NO VOTE. Unless YOU take collective grassroots action, your VSO leaders are impotent to do anything without a voting bloc to back them. Mind you members of Congress could write the Veterans’ vote off if they seriously wanted to, but this is still wartime for at least one percent of our population, writing our vote off could potentially be as much of a political suicide as implementing THE DRAFT.

I for one will not Vote for any Congress person or Senator in Ohio who cannot make this happen. We Veterans should care less if bean counters at the Pentagon say they can’t find any documentation, if our brothers and sisters in arms are willing to swear under oath giving testimony that they were exposed to Agent Orange related chemicals on Guam, we must take their word for it over some Pentagon or VA Bureaucrat who most likely never wore a uniform much less saw combat.

Part three will cover statements made by Congressman Bob Filner, and leaders of several Veterans Service Organizations on behalf of Vets who served in Guam. The word and honor of Veterans is more reliable than most any representative of the VA or DoD.

Lastly, keep in mind that although our focus is Agent Orange and Guam it unfortunately is the burden of us Veterans to fight for recognition of Herbicide or related poisoning outside of Vietnam proper.

Congress tends to be moving in that direction, but those of us vaguely familiar with the Congressional process know it moves at a snails pace, Congress could never win any war on their own without a shove from us MILITARY VETERANS.

The November 2010 elections are coming up and NOW is the time for Veterans to be doing the shoving at grassroots level, at every Town Hall Meeting, at every political rally, at every politicians photo op to show how much he or she supports us make the demand loud and clear


Robert L. Hanafin, Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired, Veterans Today News Network

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June 21, 2010

by Michael Leon

 Karl Rove

Thomas B. Edsall has a first-rate review in Democracy,  A Journal of Ideas of Karl Rove’s Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight (Simon and Schuster, 2010).

The lies, the $trillions, the targeting of our veterans, breathtaking financial speculation, tranformation of budget surpluses into massive debt,… the scandals. Never happened, says Rove.

The Rove Legacy

He concedes nothing. He accepts no responsibility. He blames liberals. Why Karl Rove is still an icon for today’s Republicans.

by Thomas B. Edsall

The evidence of the wreckage of the Bush years can be found everywhere. Under this conservative president, federal spending rose from 18.5 percent of GDP in 2001 to 21 percent in 2008, while a $125.3 billion surplus became a $364.4 billion deficit. Median family income, which had grown from $42,429 in 1980 to $46,049 in 1990, and which grew again during the Clinton Administration to $50,557 by 2000, shrank under George W. Bush, standing at $50,223 in 2007 before the start of the recession. During the Bush presidency, three million jobs were created.

That compares to 23.1 million during Bill Clinton’s two terms, and 16 million during Ronald Reagan’s. The rate of job creation under Bush was the lowest under any post-World War II president.

Courage and Consequence, Karl Rove’s new memoir, “Bush’s Brain” rejects these facts out of hand, arguing that Bush successfully “alter[ed] the conservative movement that he came to lead. And the direction he steered it in was productive, principled, and healthy for the country.”

To reach this conclusion, Rove ignores a staggering record of arrogance, recklessness, and negligence–a record awesome in its consequences. It is not as if this record was unavailable to Rove. Time may have diminished his recall of some of the details, but the magnitude of the damage inflicted by the Administration is indelible.

Voters seek three crucial areas of expertise in a president: risk management; national defense and the conduct of war; and fiscal responsibility. Bush fell short on each. Most famously, Bush failed to respond proactively to his August 6, 2001 daily CIA briefing, headlined “Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US,” which warned of “suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.

In addition to the loss of 2,985 lives, the costs of 9/11 defy measurement. The Congressional Research Service sought to tally early losses and expenditures, citing $40 billion in payouts by the insurance industry; $15 billion in direct subsidies and loans to the airline industry; the dislocation, disruption, and destruction of 18,000 businesses in New York; layoffs of 130,000 New York metro area employees; and the loss to New York City of more than $3 billion in taxes.

The Federal Reserve took several steps to inject money into the economy–for example, bringing down the federal funds rate to half of what it had been just prior to 9/11. These steps were widely credited with preventing further collapse of the economy in 2001, but this kind of monetary and fiscal policy arguably contributed to the credit bubble and ultimately to the implosion of that bubble in 2008.

Second, in response to 9/11, Bush invaded Iraq without the backing of the U.N. or of key allies. The invasion was opposed by nations such as China, Germany, France, Belgium, Austria, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, India, Russia, Turkey, Vietnam, and Bangladesh, among others.

Bush invaded Iraq without preparation for reconstruction, and adopted policies there that weakened the civilian infrastructure and strengthened the terrorist insurgency. The invasion forced the transfer of manpower and other resources away from Afghanistan, which the United States had attacked with much broader international and domestic support.

Neglect of the Afghan effort resulted in a revival, in that region, of the Taliban and al Qaeda, and has led to the prolongation of that war, now in its ninth year. The Congressional Research Service reported last September that funding for these wars could total between $1.3 and $1.8 trillion from 2001 to 2019.

Third, Bush, and the people he appointed, oversaw–and overlooked–a period of breathtaking financial speculation, and failed to regulate the explosive growth of subprime mortgages, credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations, and other exotic financial instruments.

Banks and companies profiting over the course of the bubble had all been major contributors to Bush’s 2004 campaign: real estate, $10.5 million; securities, investment, and various financial services firms, $14.3 million; contractors and construction services, $5.2 million; insurance, $3.2 million; commercial banks, $3.1 million. Campaign contributions do not in themselves tell the whole story, but are rather a signal of the corporate and commercial interests that wielded power over the action–or inaction–of the government regulatory apparatus during the Bush years.

The price of Bush’s dereliction was immense. The Bush presidency terminated with the nation caught in the worst economic meltdown in 75 years. In the United States alone, more than 8.4 million jobs were lost and nearly three million homes were foreclosed on, with more to come.

The number of personal and commercial bankruptcies reached unprecedented levels. In 2008–a single year–American households lost $11 trillion, 18 percent of their wealth. Bush left office with the same stunned and uncomprehending look he revealed on September 11, when aides whispered in his ear, during a reading to Florida schoolchildren, that two hijacked planes had rammed into and brought down the two World Trade Center towers, destroying the financial heart of Manhattan.

Writing Courage and Consequence posed a major challenge for Rove: as a loyal aide, how could he write 520 pages that maintained a semblance of intellectual integrity without doing violence to the memory of this failed presidency? He couldn’t, so he didn’t.

His solution: Whenever possible, omit information casting a negative light on his leader; when omission becomes impossible, blame others.

Rove’s book is more notable for what it leaves out than for what it includes. Paul Bremer, the administrator charged with overseeing the reconstruction of Iraq, and Jim O’Beirne, the politically appointed Pentagon official responsible for hiring staff to work under Bremer, are left out of the narrative.

The record of these two men and their $18 billion budget has been documented in detail by Thomas Ricks (Fiasco) and Rajiv Chandrasekaran (Imperial Life in the Emerald City). Any serious attempt to deal with the Bush Administration’s handling of Iraq would have to address Ricks’s exhaustively backed up charge that “Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003 may ultimately come to be seen as one of the most profligate actions in the history of American foreign policy.

And then there is Richard A. Clarke, chief counter-terrorism adviser on the National Security Council, who contended that Bush was determined to set the stage for an invasion of Iraq

The president dragged me into a room with a couple of other people, shut the door, and said, ‘I want you to find whether Iraq did this.’ Now he never said, ‘Make it up.’ But the entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that said Iraq did this. I said, ‘Mr. President. We’ve done this before.

We have been looking at this. We looked at it with an open mind. There’s no connection.’ He came back at me and said, ‘Iraq! Saddam! Find out if there’s a connection.’


Asking Rove to address the issues raised by Ricks, Chandrasekaran, and Clarke may be too much. They are, after all, the enemy. But how can a figure as prominent as Paul Bremer disappear in a 100,000-plus word memoir of the Bush years?

On a larger scale, there is no discussion of the unanticipated emergence of the Iraqi insurgency, the chaos that took over the country immediately following the U.S. invasion, and the role of U.S. policies in fostering that chaos. Instead, Rove blames Iraqis for setbacks:

“The Iraqi army and police were all too often not well-enough prepared, too corrupt, or not sufficiently loyal to the central government to maintain order against these fanatics. American forces would secure and area and turn it over to Iraqi forces only to see terrorist thugs move in and destabilize the area again.

Rove makes no reference at all to the detrimental consequences of Bremer’s “de-Ba’athification” of the Iraqi civil service, nor to Bremer’s decision to disband 400,000 Iraqi troops, handing terrorist forces a recruitment pool of thousands of armed, out-of-work, enraged former soldiers.

Rove does not address the consequences of diverting troops and resources to Iraq from Afghanistan, undermining the new Afghani government, weakening the effort to track down hostile forces, and ultimately leaving unfulfilled Bush’s promise to get bin Laden “dead or alive.

The equally memorable “Mission Accomplished” on the deck of the USS <i>Abraham Lincoln</i> also goes unnoted by Rove. He ignores not only Bush’s misjudgments, but those of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. He makes no mention of the casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan: 5,341 American dead, 34,569 seriously wounded; 884,494 non-American lives lost, and 1,657,367 non-Americans wounded, according to estimates based, in part, on data compiled by researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Rove defends the invasion of Iraq, even in the absence of alleged weapons of mass destruction.

Bush believed overthrowing Saddam would provide an opportunity to transform the political culture of the Middle East, which had been fenced off from democracy and much of the progress of modernity. What’s more, he saw democracy as a bulwark against Islamic extremism, which spawned terrorist networks.

 Encouraging the expansion of democracy and freedom in Iraq and the Middle East would serve our national security interests by creating civil institutions that would have a stake in defeating Islamic extremists. Taken together, these considerations justified the decision to remove Saddam Hussein,” Rove declares, eliding, just as his boss did, the original WMD justification for the invasion–the grounds that formed the basis for congressional support.</p>

Rove similarly ducks responsibility for the tidal wave of red ink that accompanied the expenditures for the two wars and the mountainous deficits spurred by the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts favoring the rich.

He concludes a brief, 19-line examination of the budget process during the Bush years with the intriguing assertion that “all our hard work to reduce domestic non-security spending was washed away by Congressional Republicans.

They insisted on earmarks that culminated in the 2005 Highway Bill’s famous “Bridge to Nowhere”–which would have spent hundreds of millions to extend a roadway to a nearly uninhabited island in Alaska.

Apparently, in Rove’s view, Bush was helpless in the face of Republican demands for pork. Rove chooses not to mention Bush’s power to veto bills weighed down with earmarks. Bush not only failed to veto such bills, he approved them with relish, including the appropriation legislation containing the Bridge to Nowhere.

You won’t find it in <i>Courage and Consequence</i>, but on August 10, 2005, Bush went to an Illinois Caterpillar plant to sign into law the $286.4 billion Highway Bill. Bush made no mention of the 6,000 earmarks in the bill, including the Bridge to Nowhere, at the highly publicized event.

 Instead, Bush was effusive in his praise for the measure: “If we want people working in America, we got (sic) to make sure our highways and roads are modern. We’ve got to bring up this transportation system into the twenty-first century.

When Rove does deal with adverse events, such as the Republican loss of control of Congress in 2006, he is quick to absolve Bush of responsibility. “The conventional wisdom is that Iraq and an unpopular president cost us seats,” he writes.

But we soon learn that the conventional wisdom is wrong. House Republicans did themselves in: “[T]he ‘culture of corruption charge’ was the one that really hurt, especially since Republicans outdid themselves that year with scandals…Other critics, especially Democrats, place the blame for the GOP’s defeat entirely at Bush’s feet.

It is true that presidents are almost always liabilities in the second midterm. But Bush did more events for his party’s candidates and raised more money for them than he had two years before. And if Bush was such a drag, why were Republican losses in 2006 about average for second-term presidents?

In effect, Rove is saying that Bush lacked the power to stem Republican corruption in Congress, just as he had no authority to block the Bridge to Nowhere, and thus bears no responsibility for Republican defeat in 2006–or for the 2008 debacle.

Rove promised–and often boasted of–a Republican realignment. Instead, he and his boss left their party a wreck. What might post-Rove Republicans learn from the experience? One route–albeit unlikely–for future Republican presidential candidates may be to break the stranglehold of conservative interests on their party.

It would take a skilled and ruthless politician to slit the carotid artery of an unsuspecting evangelical right; a politician with rhetorical skills exceptional enough to make a tax hike palatable to his own troops; a politician who could, in effect, wrest back the center of the electorate while bringing his own party along.

In this respect, Reagan loyalists within the GOP have suppressed all memory of the Gipper’s sponsorship of the 1982 tax hike and his conversion of the Christian Right into a good-natured house pet, forced to content itself with the occasional table scrap.

Rove began the Bush presidency with a reputation as a hard-nosed strategist with an enviable track record in realigning Texas politics. In private conversation before and during the 2000 election, Rove was often thoughtful, perceptive, and reflective, an operative who expanded the scope of my understanding of politics.

He had the capacity, rare among political consultants, to deal with ambiguity–with two contradictory truths at the same time–and to recognize the costs and the benefits of most decisions.

That perspective is entirely lacking in Courage and Consequence. If 9/11 constituted the initial ambush that plunged Bush–and Rove–into a national security maelstrom, and if the financial crisis of September 2008 constituted the final, devastating ambush–a pair of Pearl Harbors upending the world as Republicans knew it–this book demonstrates the limits of the Administration’s conceptual reach.

Rove’s inability to confront the facts of a metamorphosing political reality reflects, in miniature, the long-range problems confronting the Republican Party. The ascendancy of conservatism in the contemporary GOP was driven by the South. For a time, the region was at the leading edge of public hostility to post-New Deal liberalism.

But now, many of the achievements of that liberalism–civil and women’s rights, the sexual revolution, the rise of secular values, and accompanying trends–have in many respects, become institutionalized, no longer reliably prompting anxiety among the voting majority. So where the South was in the forefront of an up-and-coming movement, it is now charged with the chore of providing inspiration for a beleaguered, but by no means dead, minority alliance.

The GOP’s continued dependence on the South is reflected in the region’s 45 percent share of all Republican House seats in the current Congress (80 out of 177).

Rove’s political intuitions, rooted in the politics of the South, became, by the 2006 midterms, less dependable, constricting the scope of his vision, keeping him tied to tactics that had worked in the past and that continued to work across Dixie and in his adopted home state of Texas. But he missed the significance of the national security and economic issues that had come to surpass the importance of the social values construct Rove was so at home with.

 Rove’s memoir showcases his current liabilities on the national stage, where politics has become more complex, subtle, and less susceptible to traditional wedge issues.

With Rove on the sidelines, the most likely path for the Republican Party–and the one it is almost certain to stick with going into the November 2010 elections–is to follow the lead of the volatile, infuriated Tea Party movement. In the short term, that is among the best political choices available. An April Pew Center poll found “a perfect storm of conditions associated with distrust of government–a dismal economy, an unhappy public, bitter partisan-based backlash, and epic discontent with Congress and elected officials.”

Since 2000, the percentage of voters content with the federal government has nosedived from 33 to 19 percent. The share of voters “angry” with federal authorities has more than doubled from 10 to 21 percent. This suggests that the Republican congressional strategy of unified opposition to the Obama agenda may be politically advantageous looking toward November.

 But it is not at all clear yet whether the Tea Party movement can lay the foundation for a long-term strategy, a strategy based on mobilizing and consolidating as many white voters as possible in opposition to the liberal Democratic program.

The viability of standing in opposition to immigration and to redistributionist legislation while calling for a restoration of “individualism” and the allocation of resources by “meritocratic” competition cannot be determined until the country pulls out of recession. At that point, there will be a test of the state of American politics:

Has demographic change–the growing numbers of pro-Democratic minorities, single women and men, and socially liberal, “new class,” well-educated, “knowledge-worker” voters–reached a tipping point, handing this center-left coalition its long-awaited stable Democratic majority? Or is the threat of just such a power shift sufficient to produce another iteration of the Silent Majority–Reagan Democrats, angry white men, and married women with children–that gave the Republican Party command of the agenda through most of the second half of the twentieth century?

Ironically, the most useful legacy of the Bush-Rove Administration may lie in its early, unfulfilled promise. Bush’s 2000 campaign commitment to serious education reform, his outspoken pre-election opposition to Republican cuts in the earned income tax credit (“I don’t think they ought to balance their budget on the backs of the poor”), and his initial commitment to “compassionate conservatism” all signaled possible avenues to electoral success for a coalition facing diminishing demographic support.

 Such an ebbing coalition must win over a portion of the center for survival–the core of the 2000 Bush strategy, but its antithesis in 2004. Unfortunately, the real Bush/Rove legacy–the deliberate and relentless polarization of the electorate–lends itself to an ideologically rigid style of governing, a style that engenders the kind of missteps in the face of crisis characteristic of the disastrous years chronicled in these pages.



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Jerusalem OKs plan to raze Palestinian homes to make room for Israeli tourist center

June 22, 2010

by Michael Leon  

A Palestinian child walks near rubble in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Monday. Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, pressed ahead with a contentious plan to raze 22 Palestinian homes, that were illegally built, to make room for a tourist center.

By Amy Triebel

JERUSALEM – A Jerusalem planning body on Monday approved a plan to raze 22 Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem to make room for an Israeli tourist center, a decision that could raise tensions in the divided city and deepen the conflict with the Obama administration.

Back in March, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had pressured Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat to hold up the plan so authorities could consult with Palestinians who would lose their homes — a delay that appeared to be aimed at fending off criticism from the U.S.

“Now, after fine-tuning the plan and seeking more cooperation with the residents as far as their needs and improving the quality of their lives, the municipality is ready to submit the plans for the first stage of approval,” said Barkat’s spokesman, Stephan Miller, before the city’s planning commission agreed to the plan.

Final approval, which would require an Interior Ministry green light, could take many more months.

‘Adds to the risk of violence’
In Washington, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley noted that approval was preliminary but voiced concern. “This would appear to be the kind of action that undermines trust and potentially incites emotions and adds to the risk of violence,” he said.

Jerusalem is the most divisive issue between Israelis and Palestinians. Israel annexed east Jerusalem after capturing it from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war and nearly 200,000 Jews have moved there since, living alongside 250,000 Palestinians in an uneasy coexistence. Palestinians hope to build the capital of a future state in east Jerusalem and see any Israeli construction there as undercutting their claims to the land.

The international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over east Jerusalem and the U.S. wants Israel to freeze all Jewish settlement in Palestinian areas, including east Jerusalem, to facilitate Mideast peace talks. It also recently demanded that Israel lift its three-year old blockade of the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza.

Israel strained relations with the U.S. in March when it announced plans for additional construction in east Jerusalem as Vice President Joe Biden was preparing to have dinner with Netanyahu.

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