I'm announcing a six month vacation from the Vine. I hope that
- nothing tragic happens as the Mayan Calender ends,
- the oceans don't rise more than a few mm between now and then,
- no more big storms blast anyone (that's not going to happen I know but it's a hope),
- that Obama realizes the immorality, human destruction, financial waste, and hopeless nature of the US presence in Afghanistan;
- that Occupy keeps up its magnificent work in the neighbourhoods of America,
- that Obama finds a backbone and is willing to go to the wall for the Middle Class (as Clinton did in 19 ,
- that Obama realizes the immorality and counterproductive nature of US drone murders,
- that anti-fracking forces finally begin to get the truth out and get government agencies to do their job and openly share information on the toxins, some carcinogenic, being unleashed into our air and water so a well-connected industry can make even more money and the US can export gas,
- that the US begins taking a more even-handed approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,
- and that the US straightens out its “the dog that's wagged” relationship with Israel and the AIPAC.
Much of this will take a lot of work by us citizens. Obama will need to be pushed—and I don't think people have fallen asleep as we did after his first victory in 2008.
I hope someone who reads this will consider beginning one of two different online petitions. (I would but I have no choice but to be “out of it” for six months—with three exceptions I'll mention below.)
Petition One [suggested language]: We the undersigned ask that the President of the United States take whatever steps are needed to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan immediately.
Petition Two [suggested language]: We the undersigned ask that the President of the United States to stop using drones in targeted assassinations but use them only when US troops are under attack or under immenent attack.
Petition Three [suggested language:] We the undersigned ask that the President of the United States take whatever steps are needed to stop our government giving $3Billion every January to Israel. Although we do have a commitment to do this, it is money we need at home and Israel has broken commitments regularly so it will be no violation of the commitment culture.
Petition Four [suggested language]: We the undersigned ask that the President of the United States take whatever steps are needed to change the status of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC] from the status of a Lobbying Group to the status of a Foreign Agent.
The case for theAIPAC being properly registered as a foreign agent is very compelling:
1. "The aim of AIPAC is A foreign agent is anyone who actively carries out the interests of a foreign country while located in another host country, generally outside the protections offered to those working in their official capacity for a diplomatic mission. Foreign agents may be citizens of the host country."
2. "The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) is a United States law (22 U.S.C. § 611 et seq.) passed in 1938 requiring that agents representing the interests of foreign powers in a "political or quasi-political capacity" disclose their relationship with the foreign government and information about related activities and finances. The purpose is to facilitate "evaluation by the government and the American people of the statements and activities of such persons." The law is administered by the FARA Registration Unit of the Counterespionage Section (CES) in the National Security Division (NSD) of the United States Department of Justice."
3."The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is a lobbying group that advocates pro-Israel policies to the Congress and Executive Branch of the United States. The current President of AIPAC is Michael Kassen from Fairfield, Connecticut.
Describing itself as "America's Pro-Israel Lobby", AIPAC is a mass-membership, American organization whose members include Democrats, Republicans, and independents. The New York Times calls it "the most important organization affecting America's relationship with Israel." It has been described as one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington, DC. Its critics have stated it acts as an agent of the Israeli government with a "stranglehold" on the United States Congress with its power and influence. There is some disagreement as to where AIPAC's agenda lies ideologically. Some critics on the political left allege that AIPAC holds views that are politically conservative in their nature, while AIPAC's membership has also been described as "overwhelmingly Democratic" by conservatives. AIPAC describes itself as a bipartisan organization, and bills it lobbies for in Congress are always jointly sponsored by both a Democrat and Republican.
In 2005, a Pentagon analyst pled guilty to charges of passing US government secrets to two AIPAC staffers in what is known as the AIPAC espionage scandal. Both staffers were later fired by AIPAC.] In 2009 all charges against the former AIPAC employees were dropped."
4. "AIPAC was designed to supplant the American Zionist Council as the arm of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the United States after the DOJ ordered the AZC to register as a foreign agent. As such, Americans should have full public access to biannual FARA [Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as amended, 22 U.S.C. § 611 et seq] registrations detailing AIPAC's publicity campaigns, lobbying expenditures, funding flows, activities of its offices in Israel and internal consultations with its foreign principals - particularly over such controversial issues as illegal settlements and US foreign aid."
I am sorry I do have to stop posting and commenting for the next six months but my work allows me no alternative. I will answer emails that require answers although not perhaps as timely as I would like. I may post or comment (so you know it is part of my commitment) on any of the following , though I will likely not:
- items having to do with our horrific continued war in Afghanistan;
- items having to do with Occupy;
- items having to do with the Israeli-USA relationship;
- and/or articles published by Bart Gruzalski, our former Viner friend.
I wish all of you a happy winter solstice, a merry Christmas, and a wonderful start to the New Year.