Monday Reads

Good Morning!

It’s really hard for me to focus on much other than the bombing that’s going on between Gaza and Israel at the moment.  The carnage is getting to me.

An Israeli bomb pummeled a home deep into the ground here Sunday afternoon, killing 11 people, including nine in three generations of a single family, in the deadliest single strike since the cross-border conflict between Israel and the militant faction Hamas escalated on Wednesday.

The airstrike, along with several others that killed civilians across this coastal territory and hit two media offices here — one of them used by Western TV networks — further indicated that Israel was striking a wider range of targets.

Gaza health officials reported that the number of people injured here had nearly doubled to 600 by day’s end; the Palestinian death toll climbed to 70, including 20 children. Three Israelis have been killed and at least 79 wounded by continued rocket fire into southern Israel and as far north as Tel Aviv, as Israeli cities were paralyzed by an onslaught of relentless rocket fire out of Gaza for the fifth straight day.

In the Israeli strike on Sunday morning, it took emergency workers and a Caterpillar digger more than an hour to reveal the extent of the devastation under the two-story home of Jamal Dalu, a shop owner. Mr. Dalu was at a neighbor’s when the blast wiped out nearly his entire family: His sister, wife, two daughters, daughter-in-law and four grandchildren ages 2 to 6 all perished under the rubble, along with two neighbors, an 18-year-old and his grandmother.

Reporters without Borders have condemned Israeli air strikes on members of the press located in a building in Gaza.  The building houses members of the international press.

At around 2 a.m. today, Israeli warplanes fired several missiles at the Al-Shawa Wa Hassri Tower, a building in the Gaza City neighborhood of Rimal that houses local and international media organizations. Around 15 reporters and photographers wearing vests with the word “TV Press” were on the building’s roof at the time, covering the Israeli air strikes.

Five missiles destroyed the 11th-floor offices used by Al-Quds TV. The station said six journalists were injured, four of them Al-Quds employees – Darwish Bulbul, Khadar Al-Zahar, Muhammad al-Akhras and Hazem al-Da’our. The other two were identified as Hussein Al-Madhoun, a freelance photographer working for the Ma’an news agency, and Ibrahim Labed, a reporter for the Palestinian news agency SAFA. Zahar’s condition was described as critical after one of his legs had to be amputated.

At around 7 a.m., three Al-Aqsa TV employees were seriously injured when two missiles were fired at the Al-Shourouk building, also known as the “journalists’ building.” A spokesperson for the Israel Defence Forces said on the @IDFSpokesperson Twitter account that the air strike had targeted a Hamas communication centre.

Among the local and international media whose offices were damaged by Israeli missiles were Sky News Arabia, the German TV station ARD, the Arab TV stations MBC and Abu Dhabi TV, Al-Arabiya, Reuters, Russia Today and the Ma’an news agency.

Information was also one of the victims of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead against the Gaza Strip in December 2008 and January 2009 (read the RWB report). At the time, Reporters Without Borders condemned Israel’s decision to declare the Gaza Strip a “closed military zone” and deny access to journalists working for international media. The IDF also targeted pro-Hamas media during Operation Cast Lead.

Meanwhile, Benjamin Netanyahu Says Israel Is ‘Prepared for a Significant Expansion’ of Conflict in Gaza.

On Sunday, Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, indicated that he intended to take on additional targets. “We are exacting a heavy price from Hamas and the terrorist organizations and the Israel Defense Forces are prepared for a significant expansion of the operation,” he said, referring to the 75,000 reservists who have been put on call for what many believe is a planned ground invasion. Meanwhile, Israel’s Iron Dome defense system successfully deflected another Hamas rocket aimed at Tel Aviv.

The UN Secretary General is calling for a cease-fire.  Ban Ki Moon is headed for Cairo.  Glenn Greenwald–writing for the UK Guardian–has written that the US cannot pretend it’s being neutral.

Obama continues to defend Israel’s free hand in Gaza, causing commentators like Jeffrey Goldberg  to gloat , not inaccurately: ” Barack Obama  hasn’t turned against Israel. This is a big surprise to everyone who has not paid attention for the last four years” (indeed, there are few more compelling signs of how dumb and misleading US elections are than the fact that the only criticism of Obama on Israel heard over the last year in the two-party debate was the grievance that Obama evinces insufficient fealty – rather than excessive fealty – to the Israeli government). That the Netanyahu government knows that any attempt to condemn Israel at the UN would be instantly blocked by the US is a major factor enabling them to continue however they wish. And, of course, the bombs, planes and tanks they are using are subsidized, in substantial part, by the US taxpayer.

If one wants to defend US support for Israel on the merits – on the ground that this escalating Israeli aggression against  a helpless population  is just and warranted – then one should do so. As I  wrote on Thursday , it’s very difficult to see how those who have cheered for Obama’s foreign policy could do anything but cheer for Israeli militarism, as they are grounded in the same premises.

I agree with Robert Reich who says we should stop obsessing over the Federal Budget Deficit.

The best way to generate jobs and growth is for the government to spend more, not less. And for taxes to stay low – or become even lower – on the middle class.

(Higher taxes on the rich won’t slow the economy because the rich will keep spending anyway. After all, being rich means spending whatever you want to spend. By the same token, higher taxes won’t reduce their incentive to save and invest because they’re already doing as much saving and investing as they want. Remember: they’re taking home a near record share of the nation’s total income and have a record share of total wealth.)

Why don’t our politicians and media get this? Because an entire deficit-cutting political industry has grown up in recent years – starting with Ross Perot’s third party in the 1992 election, extending through Peter Petersen’s Institute and other think-tanks funded by Wall Street and big business, embracing the eat-your-spinach deficit hawk crowd in the Democratic Party, and culminating in the Simpson-Bowles Commission that President Obama created in order to appease the hawks but which only legitimized them further.

Myanmar (Burma) has had some terrible human rights violations in its recent past.  President Obama is visiting the tiny Southeastern Asian nation and will be urging the country’s power brokers to change their ways.

“You gave us hope,” Obama will say in a speech in Myanmar, according to excerpts of his remarks released by the White House during his visit to Bangkok, Thailand, the first stop on a three-day trip to the region. “And we bore witness to your courage.”

In a daytime stop expected to last only six hours, Obama is set to meet with President Thein Sein in the former capital of Yangon. He’ll also visit opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s most popular political figure, at her lakeside home where she spent more than 15 years confined under house arrest.

Obama eased sanctions on Myanmar this year after Thein Sein engaged with his political opponents and eased media restrictions since his party won a 2010 election that ended five decades of direct military rule in the country, formerly known as Burma. The visit also reflects a legacy-building goal for a president about to enter a second term, whose early efforts at engagement and democratization have yielded mixed results.

Obama will visit Nobel Peace Prize Winner Daw Aung Suu Kyi during his visit.

He made a point of not only scheduling a meeting at the government headquarters with President Thein Sein but also a personal pilgrimage to the home of the opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, where she was confined under house arrest for most of two decades before her release two years ago. Amid the manicured lawn and well-tended garden outside the elegant two-story lakeside house, the president and the Nobel-winning dissident planned to stand side by side celebrating change that once seemed unimaginable.

While local leaders attribute the changes so far to internal factors and decisions, Mr. Obama was eager to claim a measure of credit. He has played nursemaid to the opening of Myanmar, formerly and still known by many as Burma, by sending the first American ambassador in 22 years, easing sanctions and meeting with Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi in Washington.

Later Monday he was to announce the return of the United States Agency for International Development along with $170 million for projects over the next two years, noting that in his inaugural address he had vowed to reach out to those “willing to unclench your fist.”

“So today, I have come to keep my promise and extend the hand of friendship,” read the text of prepared remarks to be delivered at the University of Yangon. He promised to “help rebuild an economy” and develop new institutions that can be sustained. “The flickers of progress that we have seen must not be extinguished — they must become a shining north star for all this nation’s people.”

So, this was a bit of a headline dump this morning, but I have to admit that my eyes have been fixed on what’s going on in the world right now.  Hopefully, we can all stay up to date on these important headlines.  I’m going to go light some candles and burn some incense and think peace.  Hopefully, if enough of us do that, some of those world leaders will get the message.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

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47 Comments on “Monday Reads”

  1. surfric says:

    FYI, it’s Nobel, not Noble.

    Yah, what the Israelis are doing is just beyond the pale. You hear 24/7 about 4 Americans killed in Libya, but nothing about hundreds of children killed in Gaza by arms from Israel paid for by US. I said it before, but again, now that this election is over, it’s time to look at the situation in the middle east, and how fucked up the US role is. And no I’m not antisemitic. I’m totally tired of people who charge you with that every time you criticize Israel killing folks for no good reason.

  2. NW Luna says:

    I’m going to go light some candles and burn some incense and think peace.

    So much carnage in the world…I feel helpless to influence any change. At least we can nurture peace in our own hearts.

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    We’ve become so desensitized to the atrocities committed all over the world that I feel the actual human impact is buried within the rubble.

    And where is our esteemed clergy in all this? Why are they not out condemning both sides for their lack of human decency and inability to put an end to these futile conflicts? Too busy perhaps “saving” the fetus to address the issue?

    I’ve lost track of who are the oppressed and who is the oppressor in these games of revenge. Lobbying missiles off the roofs of homes to make a point is as immoral as lobbying missiles into a crowd of people who have nowhere to hide.

    Where are the mullahs, rabbis, and priests who preach “peace” on one hand but remain silent while innocents are lost in the fray? One would think that this would be the time to exert “moral authority” but you would be wrong.

    This is just another event of hopeless insanity that will continue until the end of time.

  4. Pilgrim says:

    Dak, I really share your distress about Israel’s behaviour re the Palestinians, centred presently in Gaza.

  5. Eddie C says:

    Day for Night

    Yesterday, as is my usual Sunday habit, I took a long walking tour. I got in the habit of Sunday walks because there are free parking spots to be found on the island of Manhattan. I think my brain is balanced at about 99% visual so it’s my favorite kind of adventure.

    There are only two rules to my walking tours, no planning and it always ends with buying Sunday dinner at Fairway. I just get in my car and drive until I find a place that is unfamiliar and then go exploring. Sometimes I document the whole day. Other times I just post a few photos.

    Yesterday morning, the day finally came when I visited the location of an iconic still. For an exact duplicate I would have had to step back about thirty feet but I liked it better this way. That way it feels a little bit original. Of course the movie was ‘Manhattan’ and there is a wonderful song to go with this view but the scene has changed over the years. Still, I finally got that shot.

    After a long walking tour that included a walk across the 59th Street Bridge, an exploration of Long Island City and another crossing at the Welfare Island Bridge, I made it to my destination. The goal of the day was to see New York’s newest park, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park. Sort of made it a Woody Allen vs. FDR kind of day. After a ride back on the Roosevelt Island Tram, the same view at the end of my walk.

    If you would like to see my tribute to FDR, it was posted in a DKos Open Thread.

    As to what I’m reading, my feet hurt to much to walk to my apartment door and pick up the New York Times but I will be watching all the talking heads that I missed yesterday morning and I’m looking forward to seeing CBS Sunday Morning. It was The Food Episode.

  6. Eddie C says:

    Day for Night

    Yesterday, as is my usual Sunday habit, I took a long walking tour. I got in the habit of Sunday walks because there are free parking spots to be found on the island of Manhattan. I think my brain is balanced at about 99% visual so it’s my favorite kind of adventure.

    There are only two rules to my walking tours, no planning and it always ends with buying Sunday dinner at Fairway. I just get in my car and drive until I find a place that is unfamiliar and then go exploring. Sometimes I document the whole day. Other times I just post a few photos.

    Yesterday morning, the day finally came when I visited the location of an iconic still. For an exact duplicate I would have had to step back about thirty feet but I liked it better this way. That way it feels a little bit original. Of course the movie was ‘Manhattan’ and there is a wonderful song to go with this view but the scene has changed over the years. Still, I finally got that shot.

    After a long walking tour that included a walk across the 59th Street Bridge, an exploration of Long Island City and another crossing at the Welfare Island Bridge, I made it to my destination. The goal of the day was to see New York’s newest park, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park. Sort of made it a Woody Allen vs. FDR kind of day. After a ride back on the Roosevelt Island Tram, the same view at the end of my walk.

    If you would like to see my tribute to FDR, it was posted in a DKos Open Thread.

    As to what I’m reading, my feet hurt too much to walk to my apartment door and pick up the New York Times but I will be watching all the talking heads that I missed yesterday morning and I’m looking forward to seeing CBS Sunday Morning. It was The Food Episode.

  7. Eddie C says:

    This platform is sort of buggy. I just posted a long comment with two photos and much code. No preview, no notice of unacceptable code. Just a post to nowhere.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’ll look for it.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Eddie,

      WordPress’ spam filter kicks in if there are a lot of links in a comment. We try to check for comments in moderation as often as possible, but we’re not full-time paid staff, just people who like to write and follow the news.

      • Eddie C says:

        Thanks. I see I did not close italics on New York Times but now there is now a comment there with the photos missing. When I wrote that ther was nothing. Perhaps it is my resizing of the photos or the code to make a full sized photo open in a new window.

        Let me try a simpler attempt to post the two photos that were meant for that comment.

        Oh so this is World Press. I’ve led a sheltered life as a blogger and really only get Scoop and Soabblox.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Those are great!

      • roofingbird says:

        Not being from NY, I haven’t seen the park, so I had to look up the four freedoms:

        1. Freedom of speech and expression
        2. Freedom of worship
        3. Freedom from want
        4. Freedom from fear

        I don’t think we are there yet…especially when it comes to #3. The whole idea of an adequate standard of living and a freedom and therefore, a right, seems to be an anathema to the oligarchs in charge.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    I love the photo of the kids reading a newspaper.

  9. NW Luna says:

    Heaven protect us from women priests!

    After decades of debate, the Church of England votes Tuesday on whether it will finally admit women to the ranks of bishops – under a compromise proposal that has angered the faithful on both sides of the argument. ….

    Peter Broadbent, bishop of Willesden in London, has called for a “yes” vote so that the church does not “look completely stupid in the eyes of society.” ….

    Resentment of women priests is among the issues which has driven dozen of priests and more than a thousand parishioners to join the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walshingham. It was created last year by Pope Benedict XVI as a sort of halfway house where Anglicans convert to Catholicism, safe from female priests, but may keep traditions including the Book of Common Prayer. [emphasis added]

    Male priests are much more saintlike, eh?

    • HT says:

      yes, male priests are positively holy – pay no attention to the hundreds (maybe more) of children who complained about their “holy” loving attentions. end of snark. This attitude makes me ill, and it’s totally due to the revisionist history that was written by the Romans when they decided to take over Christianity and remake it to their own benefit.

  10. roofingbird says:

    There is a kind of horrible fascination with the idea that one country can bomb another to test a third country’s commitment to bombing the first.

    At least that was one of the speculations I heard on the news last night. I’m going to have to re-read Sun-Tzu.

  11. RalphB says:

    This should make for some nice popcorn moments ahead.

    TPM: Republican Underground Emerges From The Shadows

    They are few, but they are vocal: the pro-same-sex marriage, pro-choice, pro-tax Republican activists. For years, these groups have labored off the radar, trying to convince a party unwilling to listen that it needs to moderate on issues from social to fiscal. But after the Democrats’ decisive victories on Nov. 6, the Republican Underground says its finally time to go mainstream.

  12. RalphB says:

    Clear Channel gets Bained. This is their thanks for promoting Rmoney.

    No word yet on whether or not they were told to build a stage

    Clear Channel, the largest radio station operator in the country, is partially owned by Bain Capital, which is the company founded and previously run by former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Debt-ridden Clear Channel, headquartered in San Antonio, has been quietly pruning its corporate structure since late 2011.

    On-air talent and behind-the-scenes employees have been shown the door or programming has been eliminated in markets that include Los Angeles, Boston, Tampa, San Diego, Madison, Wis., Springfield, Mo., Oklahoma City, Nashville, and, most recently, Toledo.

    “Obviously they are trying to pay down their monster debt with Bain Capital,” said Tommy Butter, who was laid off from top-40 station WRVW-FM in Nashville in March. “Obviously, they are trying to fire their way to pay that debt down.”

  13. dakinikat says:

    Paul Krugman pushes all my right buttons with this one:

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/19/views-differ-on-age-of-planet/?smid=tw-NytimesKrugman&seid=auto

    Quite a few bloggers are having fun with Marco Rubio’s bobbing and weaving in response to a question from GQ:

    GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?
    Marco Rubio: I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.

    As I like to say, the GOP doesn’t just want to roll back the New Deal; it wants to roll back the Enlightenment.

    • dakinikat says:

      I’m belatedly reading Chris Mooney’s The Republican Brain; if truth be told, I was afraid that the book would be too much red meat for my own predispositions, and wanted to keep my cool. But Mooney actually makes a very good point: the personality traits we associate with modern conservatism, above all a lack of openness, make the modern GOP fundamentally hostile to the very idea of objective inquiry. If they want your opinion, they’ll tell you what it is; doubters of orthodoxy need not apply, and will in fact be persecuted.

      So don’t laugh over Rubio’s young-earth apologetics. If he, or anyone else from his party, wins in 2016, the joke will be on us.

      Rubio and Jindal are both nuts …

    • RalphB says:

      Rubio is such a douche nozzle. I can’t believe people outside the beltway will buy into his garbage. In the same interview he says Jim DeMint is his friend and mentor in the Senate. That alone should knock him out.

      • dakinikat says:

        In 2009, Marco Rubio said the theory of evolution was “destroying the family” and compared it to communism http://lgf.bz/35j7v8

      • HT says:

        Huh, Rubio is a doofus, an ignorant, antiscience, antireality doofus. And this is one of the next best hopes for the Republican party? Goodness gracious, do they give IQ tests for prospectives and toss out the high achievers?

        • dakinikat says:

          Then there’s Bobby Jindal who is well educated and supposedly smart and does crazy shit anyway. You have to be crazy to get elected in a republican primary these days. They’ve been taken over by the christofascists. It’s just our version of the Taliban. They come with rifles and bombs too.

      • RalphB says:

        Sen Rubio-Batista, as a commenter at Krugman’s blog called him.

      • HT says:

        Dak, in my many, many years of life I’ve found that being “well educated” doesn’t mean what it should. Mind you, Jindal in well educated in the con-man’s curricula, but in life and history, art, science he’s a dud. Having letters beside one’s name doesn’t mean much if they got them by skating through and cheating, not that I’m suggesting that he did cheat, however Jindal is not an educated man – and educated conman for sure, but not an educated human.

  14. RalphB says:

    TBogg goes shopping for Rmoney stuff and finds some funnies.

    The Things They Left Behind

    After Amazon’s Magical Affinity Algorithms decided I might like some Romney/Ryan beer koozies…

    I thought I would check out some of their other great deals since holiday shopping starts just minutes after you have trampled somebody to death in search of a cheap flatscreen at Walmart on Friday morning at 3AM.

    Let’s go shopping!

  15. prolixous says:

    Something that will be considered too grotesque for American media to even consider is this: with the 90% effective “iron dome” missile shield in place and Netanyahu calling for elections in January, isn’t this all a little too convenient? Netanyahu’s position on settlements gets a boost and his inability to forge a coalition around his proposed austerity budget is lost in the rubble of missile strikes.

    A question no media outlet will dare touch, but it is a question that deserves asking. I don’t presume to know the answer, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be asked.