Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What Can Hamas Hope For at the End of the Battle

The Overview

So, when all the rubble settles in Gaza, what is it going to look like. The obvious things include 1) much of Gaza will be in rubble, 2) there will be a few thousand people killed in Gaza, most of them civilians, and 3) Israelites world wide reputation will be in shambles, its total lost body count under a hundred. Gaza will have won a moral victory, but will have nothing to show for it.  They will not use their brief "claim to fame" to any advantage in either short term negotiations on the blockade or longer term negotiations on self determination.

The U.S. and Israel's Status

Because of strong Jewish lobbying support, the U.S. will maintain its strong support for Israel.  The U.S. has learned little from its experience in the last ten years in the Middle East -- that our military can not be successful against religion or win real friends ---- and it will not desert their one "bright spot", an equally inept ally with a strong military.   The U.S. and Israel is like big brother and little brother.

 Long term respect for the United States will be severely eroded by its lopsided allegiance to Israel.  The U.S. will dump a half billion or so into Gaza to appease the Muslim countries and people around the world, but it will seen for what it is ... an attempt to buy friends in the Muslim world.  Israel will be more hated, but as long as its big brother doesn't desert it, it really doesn't matter.  Muslim countries seldom put their money where their mouth is ...

Possibilities for Hamas

Hamas has the stage, the trouble is they don't know what to do on the stage.  Using the tough guy rhetoric, the hate Israel message, will not change their declining fate.  They must find a way to make a proposal that sounds like their main concern is the Palestinian People.  Their passion for getting the blockade lifted almost falls in their category, but they must say they will give up something to get assurance from the U.S. that the blockade will be lifted to sound sincere.  One thing they could give up is their current stock of missiles.  It is unlikely that they are going to have many to give up at the end of the war anyway.  In short, by making the offer to give up something to get the blockade lifted they will get a few more brownie points.  But, there are more serious things they could give up.

What Does Hamas Have to Give Up

But, the real thing Hamas has to give up is the rhetoric that Israel is not allowed to exist.  It is very similar to Israel's statement that Hamas are dogs and terrorists. Hamas by maintaining the terrorist rhetoric keeps their fan base of disgruntled and angry (hate-filled) Palestinians, but they lose the opportunity to improve their status as diplomats, or even reasonable people.  There's a lot of power to be gained by losing well and even dying well, but they must rise above their current base of Israel haters to have anything tangible to show for their efforts.  They must paint a long term picture of living in peace with Israel -- if they are given self determination.  This self determination could come in several phases: 1) as long as Gaza and the West Bank remains territories of Israel then those that pass the appropriate "tests" need some kind of residence status that allows them the full privileges of being a citizen in Israel including the ability to travel throughout Israel, and 2) long term a contiguous territory with their Palestinian brothers on the West Bank.  But, their willingness to have a long term peaceful outlook may help them accomplish their short-term mission.

A good short-term mission for Hamas

The other thing Hamas has to bargain for is a place at the bargaining table.  Perhaps they will consider a cease-fire if they have a seat at the bargaining table in Paris. That is a very reasonable demand and it would send out a strong message to the rest of the world.  Hopefully, they show up at the meetings with the hate rhetoric out of their vocabulary.  But, unfortunately, their over-value the rhetoric and undervalue a place at the bargaining table.

So do I really think Hamas is going to take any of these suggestions from me or anyone else.  Nope. So, see the opening paragraph for what happens if Hamas is not able to rise above their thuggish background.  It is too bad that Hamas will not use their moment in the sun to think strategically.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Can Hamas Resist Biting the Frog of Public Sympathy?

Things are Getting a Lot Worse

I have an old saying that things have to get worse, sometimes a lot worse, before they can get better. The latest news is an example of things getting worse (In Gaza, at Least 16 Die at U.N. School Used as Civilian Shelter) , but worse for whom?  I would argue that things are getting worse for Israel.  If your focus is on the military, then of course, as the conflict continues it will show how superior the Israeli military is.  But, that is not what this battle is about is it?  Hamas wants support for its cause.  

World-wide Public Sympathy is with the Palestinians and Even Hamas

And, Hamas is getting support for its cause, on the West Bank where children aspire to be Hamas fighters(1), by French Pro-Palestinian Protesters(2), in Turkey and Qatar  where they send money to Hamas(3), and across Europe (4), and in Chicago (5).

The Ball is in  Hamas's Court

Ok, Hamas has the ball.  There is an old story about a spider asking a frog to give him a ride across the river while assuring the frog he will not bite him because both of them would die. The frog agrees, but half way across the stream, the spider bites the frog.  The frog asks why, and the spider says because I am a spider and that is what I do.

Can Hamas stop being a spider? Hamas needs to make one simple statement to make it a legitimate voice of the Palestinians. It could be said in several ways:

  1. Hamas recognizes the right of Israel to exist, or 
  2. Hamas seeks to be full and equal partners with Israel in negotiating a lasting, peaceful relationship.

Of course, this is not Hamas's style. They would rather die, they die well. They have already accomplished their mission in Gaza -- can they some how keep from biting the frog of public sympathy(6)?


  1.  (In the West Bank Hamas Hailed for the Fight Against Israel),  
  2. (“Gas the Jews”: Supporters of Hamas run riot in French city, smash Jewish shops),
  3. (Turkey 'has Replaced Iran as Hamas's Sponsor'Israel singles out Qatar as key Hamas terror sponsor),
  4. (Anti-Israel Protests Make the Case for IsraelAs protestors’ rhetoric heats up across Europe, many Jews feel safer in Israel).  
  5. Chicago Hamas Supporters Protest Israel’s Gaza Strip War By The Thousands

  6. What’s Wrong With Being Reasonable About the Middle East?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Arizona Screws up Execution: Try a Bullet

Ok, Arizona tried a new method that used a new lethal injection cocktail.  It took two hours to kill the convicted criminal.   

Arizona Execution

Are you kidding me?  If you want to kill someone effectively go back to the firing squad.  A person seldom lives more than a few seconds after a bullet is put into his brain.  If we are going to be barbaric and kill people, then let's do it right.  And who decided that a bullet to the head is less human than being injected with drugs that take two hours to kill the person.  Drugs have mixed results ... bullets are 99.9% effective.

What do the Americans and the Palestinians Have in Common - Hint: Boston Tea Party

Imagine being hemmed in on all four sides on a very small area of land, a little more than 10 miles by 10 miles wide, fighting against an army of half a million armed with the best weapons in the world.  Your total troop strength is about 20,000 men that are poorly armed but determined -- fighting for freedom ... freedom from a blockade . ... and freedom to have your own country /self determination.  Fighting for what you were promised 65 years ago. 

For a decade you have kept your troops furnished by tunneling underground to get basic supplies like food and cement, and of course guns and crude missiles through the Israeli blockade. And now the moment to fight has come.  You pick the fight by sending your ineffective, nearly toy missiles over to Israel knowing it will start a war.  But, it is time, time to fight for freedom and time to get billions of other Muslims behind your cause.  Israel falls for your bait and invades expecting to clean things up in a few days. 

Yet, after 2 weeks, 700 Palestinians have been killed, about 140 Hamas soldiers and 560 civilians.  Israel has lost about 35 soldiers, 3 by friendly fire.  Three Israeli citizens have been killed.  

And yet, Hamas fights on.  One of their leaders said something to the effect that is better to die in battle than from the slow death of Israel's blockade that has been in effect for seven years.  

Hamas seems like freedom fighters to me.  Hemmed in, out gunned, out manned and still throwing its toy rockets at Israel saying "stop us if you can".   Their rockets have less effect than Americans throwing tea into the Boston Harbor. The UN has said that Israel is committing humanitarian crimes in this conflict, but Israel of course says that's ridiculous since Hamas has no justification for firing rockets at it.  I guess having Gaza under siege for seven years is not a good reason. From Wikipedia:
  However a Fact-Finding Mission for the UN Human Rights Council chaired by a former judge of the International Criminal Court found that the blockade constituted collective punishment of the population of Gaza and was therefore unlawful.[26] UN envoy Desmond TutuUnited Nations Human Rights Council head Navi Pillay, the International Committee of the Red Cross and some experts on international law[27] consider the blockade illegal.[28][29][30][31][32]  

But, what does the United Nations know about what's fair. They are obviously not listening close enough to Israel and the U.S. which assure us the blockade is hunky dory.  

And here is the ultimate slap in the face.  The U.S. asks for a cease fire.  But, who do they ask?  Israel and the PLO, which controls the West Bank, not Hamas that is the elected government of Gaza.  Hamas are terrorists the U.S. and Israel claim.  Guess what Kerry, the Hamas guys are the ones with the guns.  Reminds me of how Britain called those Americans that dumped the tea in the harbor revolutionaries and passed the Coercive Acts (called Intolerable Acts in America) including the Boston Port Act:

The Boston Port Act the first of the acts passed in response to the Boston Tea Party, closed the port of Boston until the East India Company had been repaid for the destroyed tea and until the king was satisfied that order had been restored. Colonists objected that the Port Act punished all of Boston rather than just the individuals who had destroyed the tea, and that they were being punished without having been given an opportunity to testify in their own defense.

The Palestinian response to the Blockade has been the same as the American Response was to the Boston Port Act.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wolf Pac: Our Democracy is at Stake

Our Democracy is in Trouble

Unless you have been in Russia for a decade, you should know that American Democracy is in jeopardy.  If you haven't noticed, American elections are bought and sold by PAC (Political Action Committees).

Elections being bought and sold is not a democracy.  Much of the grid lock in Congress is because Congress, Democrats and Republicans, now work for their special interests.  No one is working for us.  Good news is that the special interests have not organized themselves yet to work with each other, but they will.  Is this the America you want to live in?

Supreme Court

As an informed citizen, I am sure you know that the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are the same as people (you got to be kidding me) and they have first amendment rights of free speech.  Okay, we lost that battle people. Accept it, get on with a Plan B.

Vermont Leads the Way

Vermont First State to Call for a Constitutional Convention to Get Money Out of Politics

Vermont's House and Senate has passed a resolution to convene a constitutional convention to pass the 28th Amendment to get big money out of our government.  This is perhaps the most important thing that has happened in my lifetime in this country.  This is big, our democracy is at stake.  Many of our other problems are not going to addressed until our politicians are working for us again instead of working to get re-elected and raise money for elections and more of the same.  The Wolf Pac to end all PAC's.

10 States have resolutions in place for the 28th amendment! 

What would a good citizen do in a good country?

We created the system: Chicago Gang Violence

Chicago's Real Crime Story by Heather Mac Donald ...City Journal. 

This is one of several good articles on line, but let me conjecture on what a good country could do.

In case you have been in Russia for the last decade, there is a lot of street violence in Chicago.  Most of it is gang related, black gangs killing blacks from other gangs and of course, civilian casualties/collateral damage.  This last weekend alone, 40 people were shot in Chicago, mostly young black males.

What you may not realize is that almost every single one of the shooters and those shot have one thing in common: no father at home.  The children are being raised by women, some children themselves, in a system we as Americans have created.

There are several characteristics of this system that makes it self perpetuating and doomed:

1. Mothers are given more money the more children they have.

2. They are given less money or disqualified for welfare if a man / father is at home, and 

3. The mothers/fathers are not given sufficient help, like childcare, to help them become productive citizens, and
4. Mothers/fathers are not required to do anything to keep receiving welfare checks.

5. Technology has reduced the need for uneducated workers, see If They Don't Work Neither Shall They Eat.

What has happened in Chicago and other big cities in the U.S. is a direct consequence of the system we have set up, plus perhaps some past sins.  In this article,  Welfare, Fathers and Those Persistent Myths says the system isn't to blame but admits:

Under the welfare-to-work model currently used across the country, single moms can gain access to maternal health services, child care assistance, food stamps, affordable housing, temporary cash assistance and job-skills training. Meanwhile, the only time the system focuses on fathers is to collect child-support payments.....

"The child-support-enforcement system isn't really concerned about whether the father is engaged in his kid's life. All it's concerned about is whether they're paying for their kids," said Warren. "From the government's perspective, if you have the ability to provide economically, then you're a good father. If you don't have the economic ability, then you're not, and [the government doesn't see] any value there."

"It's not in the father's natural best interest to be with the mother when she goes to the welfare office," he told The Root, explaining that caseworkers order child-support payments to reabsorb some of the costs of welfare benefits. "And if the parents are no longer romantically involved, the mother is now the gatekeeper to whether or not the father can have a relationship with the child. The system enforces the collection side of child support, but [not] access and visitation."

Ok, for an article arguing that the system does not discourage Fathers they made a really great case for the opposite point of view. 

The SYSTEM we created for welfare of Chicago moms has unintended consequences.  To remake the system we have to re-evaluate our assumptions:

1. The Black Fathers are lazy to perhaps Black Fathers have not been adequately educated/trained for the new economy.

2.  There are jobs for those that want to work; perhaps, there are not enough jobs for all those that want to work.

3. Dads that pay child support are good; those that don't are bad.  Perhaps, dads that are dirt poor and can't pay child support could still be good dads. A corollary: Governments job is to make dads pay child support; perhaps, government job is to support the family and even defend the dad's right to see his children ...

4. The recipients are unable to do anything for their welfare check; perhaps we need a whole new vision here.  Perhaps, we need to think of welfare recipients could do to help other welfare recipients climb out of poverty and fatherless homes.  For example, could welfare recipients babysit for each other so that some of them could get a day job or attend school.  Could some of them drive buses to collect kids and moms and make this happen?  Of course they could.  All we need is a little vision to imagine this new system of self help and then as a good country to prime the pump to get it started.  How about some phone abs to help the poor coordinate their efforts.  

stay tuned ... 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Israeli Police Beat American Boy by Wiley Foxes

Israeli Police Beat American Boy

Is this what goes on for Palestinians all the time?   What recourse do Palestinians have when they are wrongfully beaten or even killed by Israelis.  None as I understand it.  They are not citizens of any country, they have no rights, no recourse.  Israel can do whatever it wants without answering to anyone ... is this really true?  And America stands behind this injustice.  Tell me it isn't true.

Well, if an American boy can be beaten by Israel police, see tape, and the police are not even investigated, much less suspended, I am guessing Palestinians get the crap beat out of them by Israel police all the time.  After all, Israel does not treat Palestinians like people ...

I would be a Terrorist If…. by Wiley Foxes July 2014

Slow Simple Plan for Palestinian Self Determination by Wiley Foxes July 2014

U.S. Bombs Puerto Rico to Kill Suspected Terrorists by Wiley Foxes July 2014

Police Having Nothing More to Do Than Harrasses Street People by Wiley Foxes

You have to be kidding me.  Watch this video. New York Man Killed by Police for selling onesies (cigarettes), Do police have nothing more to do that go after a guy for selling cigarettes on the street?  One of the articles I read said he sold onesies to other people on the street.  Okay, let's see it is true.  He buys a pack of cigarettes and then sells them one at a time to street people for 50 cents each.  Who the hell cares.  Police says he is not collecting the taxes on cigarettes.  Are you kidding me?

If you listen to the tape I never hear the police telling this man he is under arrest.  And then a whole gang of police wrestle him to the ground because he is selling cigarettes.  I haven't seen the police produce any evidence of him selling cigarettes.

If six policemen have time to attempt to arrest a man for selling onesies, then some policemen need to be laid off.  This man pays with his life.  He has asthma and has several people laying on his back. Some of his last works were "I can't breathe".   One wonders if a nation can live with police that concerns itself with such petty crimes.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

How Would a Good Country Change its War on Drugs by Wiley Foxes

Honduras Blames Humanitarian Crisis on U.S. Drug Policy.  Is this just another way to say the War on Drugs is a seven decade flop?  No, it is not.  It is a statement that the drug policy besides being ineffective actually causes a great deal of harm in the world.  Most of Latin America would agree with the opinion that our drug war has made their life hell. 

But, do we really want to be a good country and do the right thing? We certainly have shown we don't care what pain and suffering our drug policies cause in Latin America.  But, how we handle the latest wave of suffering, the children fleeing drug violence, will determine if there is any hope for Americans being good people.  I am not hopeful.

If we cared, what could we do about the root cause of the violence -- our War on Drugs? 

  1. Decriminalize Pot for sellers, buyers and users.
  2. Legalize the growing, distribution and selling of Pot. (The choice is simple, do you want a drug lord selling Pot to our children or a tax-paying, Law Abiding American Citizen selling it to adults?)
  3. Focus our War on Drugs on heroin, crack cocaine, prescription pain medicine, and other drugs that lead to addiction and death.
  4. Use the money from licensing and taxing item 1 and the money saved in our prisons to :
  •  fund the War on Hard-Drugs in the United States and Latin America, and 
  • provide humanitarian aid to those that continue to suffer from our addiction to drugs including children crossing the border, and
  • provide treatment to those that voluntarily ask for drug treatment for addictive Hard-drugs.

It is not complicated.  What would a good nation do if their actions and policies were hurting, even destroying the life of others?

Friday, July 18, 2014

I would be a terrorist if .... by Wiley Foxes

I would be a terrorist if:

  • I was confined with 1.8 million other people in a space of 139 square miles  (12 mi by 12 mi).
  • I was not allowed to leave this space to trade with others and improve my family's well-being.
  • I was not allowed to have citizenship, passport, or attend college to improve my state in life.
  • My children were killed with bombs whenever one of the imprisoned bit the hand of our captors
  •  I was sentenced to a lifetime of poverty because of my imprisonment while my captors lived in a plush economy that resembles California
  • I depended on charities like the United Nations to stay alive
  • Two powerful countries maintained these conditions for 65 years and gradually took more and more of the little land we have.
Yes, I would become a terrorist if this were the hand I was dealt.  And yet, the United States is the country that makes this hypothetical scenario a reality for 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Simple Slow Plan for Palestinian Self Determination by Wiley Foxes

Okay here are my assumptions (see U.S. Bombs Puerto Rico to Kill Suspected Terrorists - Really?):

  1. Israel is never, ever going to give Palestinians a country, witness last 65 years.
  2. Present conditions are equivalent to Apartheid where Palestinians have no rights, no freedoms.
  3. Israel is a superpower relative to the Palestinians. 
  4. Israel kills 100 times more civilians than the Palestinians do. 
  5. Israel perpetuates hatred by successfully killing Palestinians. 
  6. Palestinians have little outlets for their hatred, hence largely ineffective toy missiles, tunnels, etc.
  7. Israel has a middle class; Palestinians are dirt poor.
  8. Israel has a powerful ally, the U.S.; the Palestinians are shit out of luck. 
  9. Israel can cut off power, water and food from Gaza whenever they chose, like now.  Sewage, water treatment, power plants have been destroyed by Israel.
  10. A million Palestinians are trapped in a very small land mass of 139 square miles (1/10 the size of Rhode Island).  There is no place to run away from Israeli bombing, etc.
  11. The entire world agrees Israel is the greater wrong; we the U.S. use our position in the United Nations to keep any actions from being taken against Israel.
So, Plan A created in 1948 to give the Palestinians their own country is never going to happen.  Israel and the U.S. is never going to make it happen.  Period. So Apartheid conditions will continue forever. 

There is one other way for Palestinians to obtain self determination.  Again, Israel is not going to let it happen, but the U.S. might actually have the values to push a Plan B:
  • Only randomly kill 10 Palestinians for each Israeli killed; this would be called a tempered response.
  • Offer Palestinians a path to full citizenship in Israel (yes, inside the territory of Israel). Yes, similar to black in South Africa.
  • Gradually absorb Palestinians in Israel as being EQUALS despite their race and religion.
  • Invest into Gaza and West Bank to raise living standards.
  • Provide education in Israeli schools of all Palestinians.  
  • Rebuild Infrasture in Palestinian lands destroyed by Israeli.
  • Eventually tear down the walls between the Israel prisons (Gaza) and Israel. Yes, similar to Berlin. 

I would expect the offer to let Palestinians become Israeli citizens would be accepted by Palestinians with family members.  Parents might be willing to do this to protect their children, don't you think?  Parents that took this offer could have some hope of having a normal life raising and caring for their children instead of being at the mercy of Israel, who has none, and Hamas who have a pridefully impossible agenda. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

U.S. bombs Puerto Rico to Kill Suspected Terrorists by Wiley Foxes

Yes, its a U.S. fighter plane dropping bombs on a civilian population.  Of course, the real story is the U.S. supplies military aid to Israel to bomb their territory of Gaza because they might get lucky and kill some alleged terrorist firing missiles at their cities.

Its a feud that has been going on a long time.  Freedom fighters in Palestine kill a few Israelis when their homemade rocks get through the American Made Iron Dome protecting Israel and then Israelis kill hundreds of civilians and a few freedom fighters. (Yep, freedom fighters is one point of view.) (What you are not being told about Gaza claims there is natural gas below Gaza that is motivating the takeover by Israel?)

The freedom fighters have been fighting for liberation of their country for 65 years.  The United Nations has passed a resolution that Palestine should be a country, blocked by the U.S. of course, last year after 65 years of Israel's unwillingness to give Palestinians their own country and the right of self determination.

Nelson Mandela who lived through Apartheid sided with the Palestinians PLO and their fight for self determination. Many have compared Israel's plight to that of the blacks in South Africa under Apartheid.  The video call the Truth of the Israel Palestine Conflict  is a boring tape biased on the Jewish explanation of how this whole mess happened.

Well, it really doesn't matter.  It is time to face the music, Israel is never, ever going to give land to the Palestinians and as long as "land for peace" is the central bargaining point, and the right of self-determination is never going to happen with this approach.  This false promise that they are going to have their own country allows Israel to treat the Palestinians worse than the white regime in South Africa treated the blacks under Apartheid.  Did South African whites ever systematically bomb regions of the country occupied by just blacks?

 What does the current conflict accomplish.  Well, first it kills quite a few Palestinians.  I would guess that 90% of them are innocent civilians but we are not going to get that kind of data from either side. And, a very few Israelis are killed.  Israel is much better armed for killing than Hamas and they have defensive capabilities (Iron Dome paid for by Americans indirectly).  But here is the real question, is more hate generated against Israel or Hamas.  I would guess it is proportional to the body count -- why won't it be.

Here is the sad truth.  War has changed. The U.S. and Israel are still thinking a powerful military, that is designed to take territory and wreak havoc on buildings, etc. is the way to win a war.  As the cartoon below depicts, Israel depicts it as a land war.  Trouble is, one side is powerful (Israel) the other side is not.  The analogy of a war just does not apply.  (I wonder why we didn't bomb Boston after the terrorist attacks by two Muslims? We could have taken out the houses the younger one hid in.  A little stupid, but not much more than using the military tactics associated with winning a war to apply to Hamas.)

To summarize: to treat this like an old fashioned land war, well it is stupid.  And no, smart bombs don't solve the problem.  Smart bombs and other targeted weapons are a reaction to the changing landscape of war, but they do not address the fallacy of thinking.  The devastation of past wars, like that waged by Hitler and later by Russia and others against Hitler, was designed to break the will of the people and their ability to wage war.  Israel and the U.S. pretends this is the purpose of the present attack on Hamas and the Palestinians.  Unfortunately, that is just plain stupid.  Do you think killing a few hundred, or a few thousand Palestinians is going to stop Hamas or the Palestinians.  If someone bombed your country with smart bombs and killed members of your family, say your children, do you think you would give up.  Remember, Hamas was elected by the Palestinians.  We are kidding ourselves in thinking they do not have support of the Palestinians.  Just recently, the PLO and Hamas signed a reconciliation agreement further testifying in the growing unity of the Palestinians.   And, thanks to Israel, the Palestinians are dirt poor, no pun intended; the only way to stop them from fighting the primitive war with toy rockets is to kill everyone of them since the hostile ones multiply with each Israeli bombing.

So, what should be the plan?  Step one is the realize the present plan and strategy borders on stupidity. Step two I will address if anyone agrees on the above, otherwise I will just save my breath.

Ask yourself the question, if terrorists launched missiles at the U.S. from Puerto Rico what would be the correct response?

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Arsenic in our Food Reflects our Values by Wiley Foxes

Recently FDA has reversed its policy of letting chicken farmers put arsenic in chicken feed.  Not surprisingly some stayed in the chicken meat, some went to the chicken poop.  The poop is sometimes put in cow feed, so some of this ended up in the cow meat and milk and some of it in the cow poop.

Why put arsenic in chicken feed?  Somehow it makes chickens put on more weight with less food.  Yea, the farmers make more money if they put arsenic in the chicken food.  So, FDA has told them to stop, except one article I read said it is okay in Turkey meat.

So, if we eat arsenic laced chicken, doesn't it follow that some of it will stay in our meat, perhaps our liver I would guess, and some will go to our poop.  And, whatever BENEFIT it has with chickens would be passed on to us.  In short, we can gain more weight with less food.  Doesn't that follow?

Of course antibiotics, growth hormones, etc. are given to chickens and cows to make them gain weight.  Remember the whole theory that girls were getting boobs faster because of hormones given to cows which got passed to the girls via the wholesome milk we drink?  Doesn't it follow that anything that makes the chickens, cows, and turkeys to gain weight might have the same affect on us when we eat their meat?

So, who do I trust to give me a scientific, unbiased answer on whether or not stuff given to chickens, like arsenic, to fat them up will not fatten me up.  Well, it is not FDA or our government.  They have zero credibility with me.  They are also not non-partial, a key requirement for good R&D.  Farmers have great lobbyists, look at their subsidies.  Farmers help get politicians elected via lobby's and contribution dollars, politicians hand out subsidies and pick people to run FDA, etc. who fund the research.  No bias there.  So, no thank you, I don't trust research so funded.

And, where is the research showing that it is safe to put arsenic in our food supply in the first place. And if such research exists, who funded it?  The same people that benefit from saying it is safe?

So, for me I will stick with the basics.  Arsenic makes chickens gain weight.  If I eat chickens with arsenic in it, I'm guessing it will help with my fat maintenance program.

 I've heard we have an obesity problem in this country, even with our young kids.  Imagine that.  It is hard to figure how that could happen.  Surely all our food is healthy and designed to keep us lean and mean, our serving sizes are reasonable, and we are still active, hard working Americans after all.  They say we are going to have a health crisis from obesity in a few decades that will bankrupt America.   That is pure nonsense, our American values would not let us do anything to the food supply to just make more money for rich farmers ... what a silly, stupid postulate.  Not here in America, we have values and principles that guide us.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

American Values Being Tested in Egypt by Wileyfoxes

Journalists from Al Jazeera News, the most objective newscast in American (my opinion) have been thrown in jail for doing their jobs in Egypt.  Secretary of State Kerry went to Egypt to ask for their release.  As an insult to him, they sentenced the journalists to many years in prison as Kerry was getting on his plane to leave Egypt.  Five extra years were added to one journalist for having a dangerous weapon, a bullet cartridge that he had picked off the ground at a demonstration stoppeIf a recent poll is correct, see below, do not want our financial or military aid.  So, guess what we are planning.

HHer is the irony.  We are now processing a one billion dollar aid package to Egypt.  So, are we going to put our money where our mouth is and not support a government that does not recognize freedom of speech, the right to peaceful protest, and the right of journalists to do their job.  Probably not.  We are probably going to give them the aid and ask them to do better in the future or some similar double talk crab.

I'm guessing our aid comes with strings.  Something to the effect that they will purchase some military equipment from us with the aid.  So, it is really not aid to Egypt but aid to our American Big Business, the Military Industrial Complex that Eisenhower warned would some day sink America.  Am I wrong here?  More money going to the rich from the taxes on the people?

So what are our aid to Egypt say about American Values?

Children from Latin America Test America's Values by Wileyfoxes

Obama is asking for an additional $2 billion and new laws to more efficiently get rid of the children coming to America.  Assuming 100,000 children come to our shores this year, its $10,000 additional for each child.  Imagine, that is long enough to feed a child for say a year.  Of course, its easier to send them back home, only some of them will be killed in places like Honduras.  What is an acceptable percentage of deaths to make this policy okay?

The Republicans will probably give Obama new laws to expedite sending these children back home.  The moral majority keep the Republicans afloat.  If they were quoting the Bible, they might pick something from Matthew Chapter 25:

Of course, they would argue this doesn't apply since they are breaking the law by fleeing the chaos in their country.  They should stay there and die like a manchild. Or they would blame it on Obama for being soft on immigrants ignoring that he is deported far more immigrants than Jehovah Bush.

All the bullshit in the world will not speak as loudly as what we are about to do. 
What we do with these children will say to the whole world what are values are as Americans. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Iraq and Oil: Plan B by Wileyfoxes

Many years ago when the Iraq war was started by our dear paranoid President Bush, the U.S. was facing huge shortage of oil and no hope for it being any better tomorrow.  Many moons later, we find that fracking, horizontal drilling and cars with better fuel efficiency has done the impossible in substantially reducing our need for oil.  And, if we have the good sense to build some pipelines and expand fracking with enhanced safety requirements, there is hope that things could even get better tomorrow.  

An what impact will the new CO2 emissions rules by EPA play in this new world of energy we find ourselves in?   This approach is not as good as that we posted in a New Energy Future for America, but at least it addresses efficient energy use in a somewhat backhanded way.  Perhaps this can evolve into a system where a carbon tax replaces our income tax system -- I can dream can't I?

So, back to Iraq.  The war was supposed to make the Middle East safer and keep the oil flowing.  It was supposed to decrease the number and effectiveness of the terrorists.  Well, it should be clear that the oil is not any safer with Iraq blowing up its biggest refinery this week in an attempt to get insurgents out of the refinery. The pipeline to Turkey has also been cut.  It should also be clear that our drone program has given everyone in the middle east someone to hate and that number of insurgents, terrorists, rebels, etc. is escalating.  If terrorist are less effective it is because of how we track their money and monitor their movements in America, our smart bombs and our Trillion dollar military effort doesn't seem to be slowing them down.  

In short, Plan A is not working. (My own opinion is that religious extremism is stronger than guns.  But, we don't have to agree on the reason Plan A is failing, only that it is.)

Plan B.  We do not have to control the world.  Let the Shia and the Shiites kill each other off.  Let the war spread.  Carefully choose which if any countries deserve U.S. air power.  Israel, Egypt, Turkey?  Let the Middle East clean up the Middle East. Let countries like Russia or China if they want try to clean up the religious mess called the Middle East.  Let the Middle East learn how to moderate their views and learn to negotiate with their enemies.  Apparently we didn't include these lessons in a our Nation Building 101.

Part 2 of Plan B.  Proceed with the New Energy Future for America with stepped up urgency to build pipelines and electrical infrastructure. Imagine if we had spent one trillion dollars on energy, on our economy instead of worrying about the stability of the oil industry in the Middle East. 

Finally, have the courage to admit our Plan A is not working and simply stop executing Plan A.  If you don't like my Plan B, then create your own and sell it, but please don't keep executing a failed Plan A or supporting governments/parties that want to be stupid by doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.   WE SIMPLY CANNOT CONTROL THE WHOLE WORLD AND BE A PROSPEROUS AMERICA -- it is a myth my friend.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Children Fleeing to America, but who cares? by WileyFoxes

Perhaps 90,000 children will cross illegally into the U.S. this year to get away from gang violence in the Latin American countries they come from ... Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico, etc.

Of course, we act like it is not our problem, not our responsibility.  But, shouldn't the country causing most of the violence be responsible for taking care of these children.  As you might guess, gang violence is rampant in countries like Honduras.  The gangs are funded by the selling of drugs to America, lately a lot of heroin, but there is no shortage of cocaine and designer drugs either. Americans buy and order it, they deliver.  The kids of the supplying countries suffer thanks to us.  Our 70 or so school shootings in this country in the last eight months are nothing compared to the murder rate in places like Honduras.  Our 10,000 killings with guns each year are small potatoes on a per capita basis.

They say the definition of stupid is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  I can remember the War on Drugs when I was a small kid growing up in El Paso.  It was mostly pot in those days, today of course, it is mostly heroin on our streets.  There is no shortage of drugs, never has been, never will be.  (I hear we have apparently slowed down pot a little.)  The only thing that varies is the number of people willing to use them.  And yet, the War goes on.  Stupid, but not the point of this blog.

So our stupid War on Drugs goes on.  Children in the countries supplying us drugs are fleeing to us for help.  And, guess what we are telling them.  After due process, we are sending them back.  And the Republicans and Democrats argue about our border policies, our immigration policies, each blaming the other for the catastrophe.  They are right, each is to blame, but it is our War on Drugs not our Immigration Policies that are causing the humanitarian crisis.

Our plan is to send them back home to die, but out of our sight.  Back to their violent homes where we don't have to assume any of the responsibilities for our actions, our policies.  That is just the kind of people we are in this country.  After all, the War on Drugs is righteous.

These children are on our door step.  There is a chance to do good here, but today we are arguing about what kind of military help to give Iraq -- its a stage where we can show our almighty and righteous power. 

Sunday, June 08, 2014

My View on Religion

I grew up hearing "hell and brimstone" from a god that supposedly loved me.  As a kid I was terrified of what this god of loving could do to me if I failed to be a faithful and humble servant.  As I grew and started studying history, I noticed what had caused all the wars in the past and saw where most of the conflict comes from in the world.  Yea, you guessed it.   I grew afraid of the harm that religion has done and continues to do in the world, a view I still hold today.

I distanced myself from any form of religion and would not go as far as entering a church building to go to a wedding for more than a decade after I left my religion.  I was the one that would finally agree to take care of all the children in the nursery in the front of the church.  This worked fine for me until I married a woman whose sisters are religious.  I have handled it by being withdrawn when I am around them.  I only engage in polite, casual conversations avoiding any hint of a religious discussion and in reality any kind of meaningful conversation.  They too have become guarded, no one saying anything that might upset the apple cart.  Of course, my wife wants them to get to know the me that she knows, the person that usually digs down and tries to see what is under the hood in each person I meet.

Here is the paradox for me.  Religions ask you to believe something on faith.  What does that mean?  To me, it means believing something that is possibly irrational and at best unknowable because someone acting for "god" has decided it is the right thing to believe.  In some religions, what they ask you to believe is relatively harmless on the surface, at least, and in other religions it is horrible.  The Nazi's fit my definition of a religion; they believed they were a chosen, special people and to be part of them you had to be of the right race and believe their sermon of superiority.  This is also very much like the Israelis of the old testament, or much like the ones still in the middle east, or the Palestinians for that matter.  (We talk about illegal immigrants in this country often with the same tone of superiority.) 

The harm to me in religion has always seem to be at the point that an individual  relegates "right and wrong" and "what" to believe to someone else.  Each person in my sense of right and wrong has to  responsible for what they believe, even more, what they think is right and and wrong.  To take a myth and a book written a long time ago as my guide for right and wrong seems horribly wrong to me, and it seems a step away from abrogating my responsibility to my fellow men.  I want my actions to spring from my thoughtful, honest opinions I have on the act in question based on my values which in turn are based on my life experiences.

I look at our political landscape in the country and it is filled with religious righteousness -- judgment pronounced in the name of the Bible primarily of what is wrong with our fellow humans.  Of course, it is a no brainier that religion is going to mostly be against gays or anyone else that departs from the traditional family assumed in the Bible, or the Koran for that matter. But, with only 64% of our workforce having jobs, it is more surprising how we find the righteous noble ground to characterize people not working as lazy. (Reminds me of Romney's 47% of the people that want hand outs.)  This moral righteousness that sometimes disintegrates into moral disgust keeps us from recognizing how serious this problem is and it eliminates all the obvious solutions that a religious perspective would not find appropriate (since these people are "lazy" and might get something for nothing).  Accepting the world and capitalism (often a religion itself) could be inappropriate for the situation we now find herself in would be anathema. 

So, obviously many people don't see religion as harshly as I do.  They don't see it as one step away from accepting something awful, they don't see the harm in choosing to believe things that I find to be illogical or at best unknowable.  So, how do I relate to these people, many of which believe that I am condemned to hell because of my lack of belief.  First, let me say that I don't really mind if they think I am going to a place that I have no evidence exists.  Second, I like being an example of a good person that doesn't believe.  It gives me a strange satisfaction to make them wonder about their god and their religion where people like me would be sentenced to hell.  Really?  Third, I like to contrast the simplicity of my religion which can be summarized by saying I believe in being kind and helpful with courage.

But, I still haven't found a framework where I can sit down and even discuss something like unemployment with my fellow humans who believe in a religion.  All I have is logic, I have no judgments to pronounce.  I still don't know how to talk to my religious relatives.  What if my wife and I want to bring a third party into our bedroom.
 My guess is that most of my religious friends are going to have a problem with this action and no amount of logic is going to make them comfortable with us living our life as we chose to live it.  So, how do I call a truce where I let them be religious and they let me and my wife live as we see fit.  We might even want to smoke dope with this visitor to our bedroom.  Now, I see we have brought in the legal into the subject that was before just right and wrong, believers and unbelievers.

I would argue of course that much of our legal basis in this country comes from our religious, Puritanical past.  I tried to buy some wine in North Carolina on a Sunday about 10 am in the grocery store.  I thought gee, this is more permissive than where I live where I have been protected from beer and wine being in my grocery store.  But, once at the register, I was told I couldn't buy wine before noon on Sunday.  Logical?  It is not logical, it is a religious outcropping.

Okay, I am still not any closer in coming up with a plan on how to relate to my religious relatives or my religious friends.  How do I know when being as logical and honest as I know how to be is going to cause hurt feelings.  How do I shed an air of superiority when I really do believe honesty and logic is superior to belief and faith?   My friend Brian says that I need to accept that all people are where they are on this journey of awakening, growth and consciousness as he calls it.  However, that seems to strike me as being very similar to my trust in logic, honesty, and kindness.

The best I can come up with at the moment centers around my belief in kindness, compassion and being my brother's keeper.  I think the answer for me has to come down to being as helpful to my religious friends as possible.  In conversations, I need to ask them about their beliefs without being compelled to share my viewpoint. But, I should not be afraid to inquire deeply on any subject that they bring up.  I should not be afraid to examine views that they hold that are not consistent with other views that they hold -- since being illogical and consistent are not possible.
When I was young, my fundamentalist religion made me an outcast at school and now I find my thought that faith is illogical separates me from many people.  I even find atheist's confidence that there is no god just another "faith".  I find it hard to find those like me that just don't know about the unknowable things beyond our senses.    

But in this muddle (this post and my thoughts), the desire to connect to my fellow humans remains strong and at conflict with my desire to be honest and transparent, and just be me, not knowing.