Israel, Gaza, Hamas, and Media

The Jerusalem Post is “Israel’s best-selling English daily and most-read English website.” I decided to check out its top blogs.

I read “The Hamas bombardment of Gaza” by The Warped Mirror.   Petra Marquardt-Bigman says that “You won’t see much in the news about this, but according to the IDF – which of course monitors all rocket launches from Gaza – about 10 percent of the rockets that Hamas shoots in the hope that they will kill and maim Israeli civilians crash back into Gaza. Inevitably, some of these rockets will kill and maim Gazans – after all, as we hear so often, Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.” She also says that “Hamas likes to fire its rockets from residential areas.”

She also discusses how CNN inaccurately reported the death of a young boy that was circulated by media.

 But by now, almost 100 Hamas rockets have crashed in Gaza. Needless to say, the damage and casualties these rockets are causing are usually blamed on Israel. That was also the case when the body of a young boy was brought to a Gaza hospital just when Egypt’s Prime Minister was visiting there last week. The dramatic images were widely distributed by the media – but ultimately, it turned out that the dead boy whom CNN presented as “a symbol of civilian casualties” was the victim of a crashed Hamas rocket.

 Big Eyes says “it’s a known fact that modern warfare, especially when it involves terror groups, is played out as much in the media as on the battlefield.” He lists the winners and losers so far.  The listed winners are Reuters, CNN, Jerusalem Post, and Atlantic.  The Losers list consist of the Gawker, New York Times, and BBC.

Michael Omer-Man writes in Gaza: New rules in an old war that “Already there was something strange. Hamas’s armed wing, the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades, has declared for some time that it was focusing on military targets, a change from its rocket attacks on Israeli civilian centers. Nevertheless, to have nearly a month go by without rocket attacks on civilians is almost unheard of in recent years.”

How many countries, United States included, would tolerate rocket attacks on their civilians that are so common that “to have nearly a month go by without rocket attacks” is not the norm?

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Contradict Much?

Incompetent:  1. not competent; lacking qualification or ability; incapable. 2. characterized by or showing incompetence. 3. Law. a. being unable or legally unqualified to perform specified acts or to be held legally responsible for acts. b. inadmissible, as evidence.

Competent:  1. having suitable or sufficient skill, knowledge, experience, etc., for some purpose; properly qualified. 2. adequate but not exceptional. 3. Law. (of a witness, a party to a contract, etc.) having legal competence. 4. Geology (of a bed or stratum) able to undergo folding with flowage or change in thickness.

Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) said that to describe Susan Rice as incompetent was racist.

“These are code words,” the number three Democrat in the House explained. “We heard them in the campaign. During this recent campaign we heard Sen. Sununu calling our president lazy, incompetent. These kinds of terms that those of us — especially those of us who were born and raised in the South — we’ve been hearing these little words and phrases all of our lives. And we get insulted by them.”

I have another word for you. Hypocrite.

Hypocrite: 1. a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs. 2. a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.

I have lived in the South my entire life. I was born and raised in, and around, Pulaski, TN. In case you haven’t heard, Pulaski, TN, is the birthplace of the KKK.  I will tell you from experience, the citizens from Pulaski did not like it at all when the KKK came to town. 

Now that I admitted to where I am from, I have to say that I have heard some racial slurs in my lifetime. Incompetent wasn’t used in the racial slurs that I remember.

What I really cannot tolerate is hypocrisy.  People need to think before speaking. For Rep. James Clyburn to say that it is racist is absolutely ridiculous and overreaching. It is insulting to all people in our great nation that has experienced racism.  Clyburn said the following on CNN.

“Susan Rice is as competent as anybody that you will find,” he continued. “To say that she erroneously did it, I don’t have a problem with it. But to call her incompetent, a Ph.D., a Rhode Scholar scholar being called incompetent by someone who can’t hold a candle to her intellectually, by someone who said — and Sen. McCain called her incompetent, as well — but he told us that Sarah Palin was a very competent person to be the vice president of the United States.”

“That ought to tell you a little bit about his judgement.”

Let me get this straight. Sen. McCain can’t say that Susan Rice is incompetent, but it is acceptable for Clyburn to say that Sarah Palin is incompetent? Contradict much?

Contradiction:  1. the act of contradicting; gainsaying or opposition. 2. assertion of the contrary or opposite; denial. 3. a statement or proposition that contradicts or denies another or itself and is logically incongruous. 4. direct opposition between things compared; inconsistency. 5. a contradictory act, fact, etc.


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Prepared for Consequences

I have had peace talks frequently in my home. I have four children, so this occurs almost daily. It usually goes something like this:  If you hit, kick, or tackle someone; if you bully someone bigger than you; or if you bully someone smaller than you, then you had better be prepared for the consequences.  There are always consequences–good or bad.

I also say this:  You can’t control what others do or say, but you can control your response.  Always do what is right.

In regards to Israel and Hamas…

Israel is prepared to hit back, overpower by any means, and bring whatever weapons they need to the fight in order to win.  Defeat is not an option for them.  Too many in the region are watching to see how Israel responds and any show of weakness or trepidation from Israel will be detremental for the nation and its people.

One thing President Obama said that I completely agree with is this:

As Israeli airstrikes into Hamas-controlled Gaza expand from government targets into civilian areas, President Obama reiterated his support of Israel’s “right to defend itself.”

“[T]here is no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. So we are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on people’s homes,” Mr. Obama said at a news conference in Bangkok during an international trip to Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia.

 “Let’s understand what the precipitating event here was that’s causing the current crisis, and that was an ever-escalating number of missiles that were landing not just in Israeli territory but in areas that are populated,” the president added. Hamas launched rockets into Israel leading to the current crisis.

Right now, it appears that Hamas considered the consequences of attacking Israel and decided it was worth the death and destruction. 


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This Day in History. Gettysburg Address, 1863

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

-President Abe Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 19 November 1863

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Summary of Press Conference Remarks 11/14/2012

Summary of Obama’s Remarks in a Press Conference.

We are still recovering from a very bad recession and economic crisis.

Job creation is the number one priority.  He wants to help small businesses grow, which is why he has met with the “CEO’s of some of America’s largest companies.” 

He wants everyone to come together and compromise. He is open to new ideas, but will only take them seriously as long as they line up with his view.

He wants to free the middle class from being held hostage by taxes.

Petraeus only betrayed his wife, not the United States.  He has no bearing on FBI policies.

He caved on the Bush-cuts before, but will not do so again. The wealthiest 2% in this country need to pay more.

He is happy to see so many Latinos involved in the voting process.  He said that he believes that America needs to secure its border and penalize companies that purposely hire undocumented workers. He said that America needs to create a pathway for citizenship for law-abiding illegal immigrants living here so they can pay back-taxes, potentially pay a fine, and learn English. Embrace the DREAM Act.

He will only compromise as long as the top 2% pay more and the middle class pay less. The people want action on this.

Romney has some great ideas, and he would be happy to sit with him to discuss those ideas.

He admitted to needing to work on reaching across the aisle, but will not compromise on top 2% paying more and middle class paying less.

He takes his job seriously.

Don’t ask him about cabinet appointees.

Susan Rice did what she was told and if anyone has a problem with that then they will have to take it up with him.

When it was apparent that people were in danger in Benghazi, he said to do whatever needed to be done to make sure they are safe.

He has a mandate to help the middle class.

He will not allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon.

He believes in climate change and that man influences it. He will not ignore jobs and the economy to address climate change.

He won’t answer questions that are yelled out.

Well, that is it in a nutshell.


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Big Business, Corporate Greed, and Boycotts

Some people have decided this is the appropriate action after hearing that Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter’s plan is to “reduce workers’ hours in response to Obamacare.” 

I have trouble understanding this logic. Perhaps it is because I have a rare quirk that makes me think critically. 

 I read the following from Democurmudgeon:

“Businesses like Papa John’s, Applebee’s, the Olive Garden and Jimmy John’s have decided to attack their minimum wage employees, freeload off state Medicaid programs, and intimidate workers to vote the company way.”

Democurmudgeon also wrote the following in response to Daniel Wetter’s idea to support Papa John’s.

“The cut in hours does more than take health care away from their worker’s, it destroys their ability to support themselves. Yes, let’s defend Papa John’s owner John Schnatter for making life miserable for the already miserable minimum wage workers.”

My personal favorite has to be from the Opposing View article, Boycott Papa John’s Over Corporate Greed by Back 2 Stonewall.

Back 2 Stonewall informs his readers that John Schnatter is “the president and CEO of Papa John’s Pizza, has a net worth of about $350 million and was a Romney supporter who held secret fund-raisers on his sprawling mansion grounds”.  He describes how Papa John’s is not the only restaurant chain that has decided to do this.  Applebee’s, Olive Garden, and Red Lobster are all contemplating the same action as Papa John’s.

Darden Restaurants is ranked as 99 on the 100 Best Companies to Work for in 2012. What makes these restaurants so great? Diversity.

“The operator of Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and the other chains is a diversity champion:  30% of restaurant managers are minorities, and 41% are women.”

They also offer onsite fitness centers, subsidized gym memberships, nondiscrimation policies that includes sexual orientation, and domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples.  Minorities and women make up 42% and 52% of their workforce, respectively. 

So, the plan to stick it to big business and corporate greed is to boycott the products these businesses produce and sell and to do so on behalf of all the employees (including minorities and women) that are potentially having their hours reduced in these establishments? 

I am sure that the employees from these companies will greatly appreciate the boycott support…all the way to the unemployment lines.

Imagine the following exerpt being passionately rehearsed in front of a mirror.  I can see the fist pumping action now.

Now, this is America and they have the right to do with their businesses what they want, no matter how scummy it is.

But these businesses need to bear in mind that they are not the only pizza joints, seafood places, and Iitalian restaurants in the country. A loss of business, any loss of business, will hurt them greatly and, in Papa John’s case, will cost him much more than 14 cents per pizza in the end.

It’s time for the people of America to stand up against these corporate misers who think that their workforce is nothing.

I for one will not be eating at any of these places from this moment forward.  And I would ask the same of you also until they state that they will not reduce thier workforce and hours.

This is America and as Americans it’s time that we start standing up for our fellow countrymen and begin to teach BIG BUSINESS that they are nothing without us.

Way to stick it to big business and corporate greed!  You really showed them.


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Principle of Least Effort

If you read about me you know that I have used food stamps. 

I was working in a factory and decided to attend college.  I didn’t really know what I wanted to do.  I just didn’t want to work in a factory for the rest of my life.

I applied for a Pell Grant and enrolled in a local community college.  Without the Pell Grant and my mother helping with my children, I wouldn’t have been able to go to college.  I began attending classes in the spring of 2001.

It didn’t take long to realize that working full-time and attending college part-time meant that it was going to take a while to get my degree.

Without giving too many details (I don’t think you need a lesson in the birds and the bees), it was during this time that I discovered that I was pregnant with my third child.  When I went on maternity leave, an employment opportunity at a daycare presented itself.  I accepted the job and that part-time job allowed me to attend college full-time.  I took my Income Tax Return and paid off my car.  (Everything I paid in was given back to me, and then some because of the Earned Income Credit.) I was approved for food stamps.  My kids were approved for Tenncare.  I did not qualify for daycare assistence because I made too much money, and I didn’t qualify for Tenncare at the time because my medical bills were not high enough.  I also didn’t qualify for any monetary assistance (AKA welfare).  I did manage to get Tenncare after my medical bills accumulated over time.

Let me be real.

My income while I was going through college and working part-time averaged about $6000 a year.  I received child support that added up to about another $6000 a year.  I received food stamps.  My tuition and books were paid for by the Pell Grant.  My kids qualified for free lunches at school.

Yes.  I lived off of $12,000 a year plus food stamps.  Divide $12,000 by 52 weeks and it averages about $230 a week.

I paid my rent, utility, cable, phone, cell phone, car insurance, and bought everything my kids needed with $12,000 a year.  There were times when I would cut off my cable because I couldn’t afford it.  I eventually cut off my house phone because I couldn’t afford it.  I kept my cell phone since my oldest child is Type 1 Diabetic, and I needed to be able to be reached at any time.  There were times when my cable and phone bills were a month behind because I could only pay one a month, and I knew that the other would not get cut off unless it was 2 months behind.  I didn’t buy my children’s school pictures or annuals.  I didn’t take them to the movies.  We didn’t go out to eat..  We lived in a two bedroom apartment.  All three of my children shared a room and didn’t complain.  I bought our clothes on sale, at the Goodwill, or at Wal-Mart.  Christmas and birthday’s were hard because I never had the money to buy what my children wanted, but they were always happy with what they received.  Then as hard as Christmas was, January was even harder because I had to play catch up and sometimes I just had to wait for my annual Income Tax Refund to catch up on bills.  I qualified for a $300 limit credit card that I would use each year to buy school clothes for my kids and then I would pay it off when I received my Income Tax Refund each year.  I would also use the refund to pay off any medical bills that had occurred over the year. 

I struggled and sacrificed in order to better myself and my family.  It took 7 years to get my degree because I had to go part-time at first, and I had to take a semester off when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and took her to every appointment and treatment.  During these 7 years, I didn’t have the the top of the line cell phone, internet, fake nails, pedicures, designer clothes, or a new car. (My car died right after my last class in 2008, but that is another story.)

Now here is the hard truth because I LIVED it.

As much as I sacrificed to make ends meet, I also had to manipulate the system-within the limits of the law.  I didn’t work over a certain amount of hours a week because it could cause me to lose my Tenncare, would lower my food stamps, and would raise my rent.  I deliberately kept my hours low in order to maximize my benefits without completely quitting work.  I didn’t worry about getting raises.  A raise just meant higher rent, possibly losing Tenncare, and possibly lower food stamp benefits. 

Without the benefits, I would not have been able to accomplish getting my degree; however, without having the motivation to get my degree and better my family, I could have, and probably would have, been sucked into the food stamp and welfare lifestyle.

I am not saying that everyone using food stamps, Medicaid, or any other type of government assistance (other than Social Security) is milking the system for all they can, but there are people living the food stamp and welfare lifestyle because they have no incentive or motivation to do otherwise.

Without motivation, some will be content to work just enough, if any at all, to keep their Medicaid active, their rent low, and their food stamps high. 

It is the Principle of Least Effort.

And I lived it.


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