How Much Vengeance Is Enough?

Out of an abundance of guilt following the Holocaust of WWII, Great Britain and much of the world decided to create a permanent homeland for Jews called Israel. In doing so, they displaced thousands of Palestinians.

What has happened over the ensuing years and generations is, to say the least, complicated.

Indeed, since its creation, Israel has been under attack by Palestinians seeking to reclaim their land and Arab nations who resented their new neighbors. Through it all, Israel seems to have adopted a strategy of disproportionate retaliation for the attacks. For each Israeli killed, many more Palestinians have died.

The current Israeli-Hamas war is no exception.

Following the horrific terrorist attacks that killed more than 1,200 Israeli citizens, Israel has so far killed more than 18,000 Palestinians in densely populated Gaza. And the Israeli government says it has no plans to stop.

Perhaps such a toll could be justified if the vast majority of the casualties were militants and terrorists. But, according to studies by two Israeli publications, 61 percent of the Palestinian casualties are civilians! The deaths in Gaza have also included 63 journalists and more than 100 UNRWA aid workers.

And, it seems, that’s only the beginning.

The Israeli government says it intends to continue its operations in Gaza for a month or more despite UN warnings that many of Gaza’s remaining population are in immediate danger of dying from starvation and disease.

And what will the war accomplish? Likely nothing. Certainly, the bombings will reduce the number of Hamas militants, and it will destroy most of their tunnels. But many of the surviving Gazans, having seen their families slaughtered, will become future terrorists who will themselves seek revenge.

Such a predictable outcome points to the extreme futility of the situation.

Until the world comes up with a permanent solution for the estimated 5.9 million Palestinian refugees, including reparations and self-government, they and the Israelis will be stuck in a continuing cycle of bloodshed that neither side can truly win.

Further, both sides and their supporters need to be reminded that one set of war crimes does not justify another.

Tea Party Conspiracy Theories: Tinfoil Hats Recommended.

Apparently, one of the criteria for becoming a Tea Party “Patriot” is to believe that our federal government is out to get you. These people actually believe that the Freemasons, beginning with our Founding Fathers, are intent on creating a New World Order in which our nation will become subservient to a New World government. Under this scenario, black-shirted thugs will arrive in black helicopters to take away our guns and our freedom.

But Tea Party paranoia doesn’t end there. These people also believe that the moon landings were staged by NASA, that the government blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City, that the government intentionally set fire to the religious compound in Waco, that 9/11 was an inside job, that Obama is a foreign-born Muslim who is the leader of al Qaeda, that the mass murders in the Aurora movie theater and the Sandy Hook Elementary School were staged by the government in order to take away our guns, and that the Boston bombings were staged by Obama in order to create more surveillance so he can take away our sovereignty and our guns.

The latest conspiracy theory being pushed by the Tea Party, Fox News Channel and right wing radio is that Homeland Security is buying up ammo to keep it out of the hands of individuals.

All of these theories have been embraced by the most paranoid Tea Party Patriots. But, seemingly, the most widely accepted conspiracy theories involve the United Nations. Paramount among them is the UN treaty on small arms sales, intended to keep weapons out of the hands of terrorists. This treaty does not regulate or interfere with gun sales within the borders of any nation, yet the wing nuts are convinced it will make the US subservient to the UN.

Perhaps, the most bat crap crazy theory of all involves Agenda 21. Evangelists for the politically insane, such as Glenn Beck, Alex Jones and Michael Levin, have worked the nitwits into a frenzy over this non-binding plan which resulted from the UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992.

Agenda 21 sets goals for (gasp) combating poverty, promoting human health, promoting sustainable development, protecting the atmosphere, combating deforestation, managing fragile ecosystems, conserving biological diversity and much more. In other words, Agenda 21 hopes to preserve our environment so that our species, along with most others, will not become extinct.

Who wouldn’t oppose such a devious plan as that?

Aside from the Tea Party, the groups most opposed to the goals of Agenda 21 are those whose profits depend on extracting resources from the environment without regard to the long-term consequences. The major opponents are big oil, mining companies, lumber companies, corporate farming, commercial fishing, and real estate developers.

Even so, Agenda 21 includes no regulatory mechanisms. There are no punitive measures and no policing. The only consequences for nations and industries failing to follow the proposed guidelines are paid by the individuals who will suffer as the result of the water and air being polluted, forests being clear-cut, fisheries being depleted, and agricultural land being depleted or forced out of production by runaway development.

Nevertheless, the conspiracy nuts want you to be afraid…very afraid…of Agenda 21. Because, in their feeble minds, sustainability is just another word for tyranny.