Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why I don't "support Israel"...

Well, I suppose the title is a bit misleading. You see, I do support the nation of Israel's right to defend itself. I DO NOT support Israel's right to conquest. I do support Israel's right to engage in free trade. I DO NOT support Israel's assumed right to my money. I do support Israel's right to "exist". I DO NOT support Israel's right to exist at the expense of another, any more than I support welfare or an "I'm starving, I'm going to kill you and eat your food" attitude here at home.

That said, let's go over a few facts here.

A) The Holocaust was bad. No denying that here. It was some pretty twisted shit, people being slaughtered in the name of religion. That's why I think it was some pretty twisted shit. People were being slaughtered for their beliefs, not because people were being slaughtered for being Jewish.

B) The Holocaust is NOT what brought about the modern-day nation of Israel. The "zionist" movement began in the century preceding Hitler's rise to power. It wasn't some new idea that the UN just decided to think up one day, it was started back in 1870 when Hovevie Zion started the first of 20 new Jewish settlements in Palestine (yes, that's what it was called when Britain ran the place). The "zionist" movement was, ironically, initially supported by wealthy Europeans with anti-semitic views who wanted to see Jewish people leave these European nations.

C) Israel's government is NOT a theocracy, it is a secular government whose citizenship happens to be largely dependent upon ones' affirmation of religious belief. Ironically, it's affirmation of the very same religious belief that led so many Jews to the gas chamber. Seems to me like it's something they'd want to shy away from? Laws regarding religion, I mean...not one's faith.

D) Prior to the UN Partition Plan of 1947, the population of what is now the modern-day state of Israel consisted roughly of 66% native Arab, 11% native Jew, 22% immigrant or first-generation Jew, and about 1% "other". The land was divided in half, with 2/3 of the population getting shafted in favor of 1/3 of the population...most of whom were foreigners. Could you imagine if the UN decided to give half of the US back to Mexico, because they needed a "homeland"? I'd be shooting, too! Now, imagine that the Chinese were supplying warplanes and tanks to the Mexicans, so they could occupy even more!

E) The majority of Jewish people do not live in Israel. Sixty percent of them, in fact, live elsewhere (mainly in the United States, whose Jewish population is roughly equivalent to that of Israel, hovering around 39% in America compared to 42% in Israel).

F) Israel receives more foreign aid from the US, than any other nation on earth...even though it is roughly only seven times the size of Rhode Island, a state which happens to be smaller than the county I live in. The vast majority of Israeli men below the age of 26 are either in the Israeli Defense Forces (military), or are paid welfare to study the Torah. Those in the productive sector of their society are forced to pay income and other taxes, to the tune of over 43%, so the Israeli government can cover what our massive amounts of foreign aid won't cover.

G) To date, the nation of Israel has the infamous dishonor of being the leader of the UN's list of Human Rights Council resolutions for their repeated abuses of basic human rights...and they often commit these human rights abuses with weapons, tanks, and bulldozers which are both made in and funded by the United States of America. In addition to "foreign aid" in the form of cash, Obama has requested military aid to Israel totalling over EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS PER DAY, FOR THE FISCAL YEAR OF 2011.

H) While exact figures are not known, Israel's nuclear weapons stockpile is estimated to be smaller than only the US, China, UK, and Russia. It is, to date, the ONLY nation in the Middle East region to possess nuclear weapons...and they, like the M16 rifles carried by the IDF infantryman, were bought and paid for with money borrowed by the US taxpayer.

I) During the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the overwhelming majority of Palestinian casualties have been children under the age of 14. While it has been said that this occurs because Palestinian fighters (I refuse to use the term "terrorist", because the only difference in the warring parties appears to be religious affiliation and funding) commit acts of war in civilian populations. Well, yes, there is truth to that statement. However, it is also true that Israel is a fairly small nation, and cities are where the "strategic" targets of both sides happen to be. Unlike the forests and battlefields of WWII, tanks roll through the streets. Why? Because both parties are fighting for control of the cities in question. Both sides are attacking civilian populations, because both militaries are interspersed within civilian populations. It's common sense.

J) Israel has kept aid flotillas from reaching Palestine, using their naval and air forces, for the purposes of denying Palestine basic necessities that cannot be manufactured at home or imported due to military-enforced embargoes and otherwise must be smuggled into the Palestinian-occupied lands.

K) Israel has destroyed more than TWENTY FOUR THOUSAND Palestinian homes. Most are destroyed due to "military needs of the IDF". Some are destroyed because they were built without a "permit" from the Israeli government, on Palestinian land. Some are destroyed because someone merely suspected of "terrorism" may have lived in or known someone who lived in, or been related to someone who lived in, the home. To date, the Palestinians have never destroyed an Israeli home as a matter of punitive action.

L) Israel has built over 200 "settlements" on lands taken from the Palestinians since the 1947 Partition Plan.

M) Israel currently holds more than 220 political prisoners, and refers to them as "administrative detainees".

N) Israel has erected steel fences and other barricades around Palestinian-occupied lands, and restricts the movement of Palestinians at gunpoint in a manner similar to the Soviet Union's occupation of East Berlin.

So, there you have it. This is why I say "I do not support giving guns and money to Israel." It's not because I'm some evil Jew-hater, or I "support terrorism". I think both sides should lay down their arms and "just give peace a chance". If they're unwilling to do that, I say let 'em fight it out...but without my money. Certain people may use the line "Blessed by those who bless Israel, and cursed by those who curse Israel", because it came straight from the bible.

I'm cool with that. Somehow, I just don't think nuclear weapons and welfare are a "blessing".

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Prepping for the protest...

Here's a list of things you might want to consider carrying with you, should you feel the need to jump off into a protest where some shit might "just get real". You know, kinda like how shit just got real over in Rome recently. Yes, I get the whole "non-violent protest" thing. I also understand the concept of driving safely, but that doesn't stop me from wearing a seat belt! There's no need to go somewhere and get it served up, just because you're being "non-violent". Protect yourself, from the pork and the weather. Be smart about it. Here's what you'll need:

1) A backpack. Preferably one with multiple pockets, which makes it easier to organize things. If you're able to get one with MOLLE webbing, all the better. If you're able to pick up a MOLLE vest and spring for multiple pouches, even better!

2) Water. You need capacity for AT LEAST two liters of water, in two separate containers. I'll explain in a moment. Many modern backpacks have pockets for hydration bladders in the back that can be filled up and mounted with a flexible drinking tube, these are a Godsend. They keep your water out of the way, yet right where you need it. If that's not available, I recommend a milsurp-style canteen with a pouch that can be mounted on your belt or MOLLE gear.

3) Maalox liquid antacid. This is for when cops decide to start pepper-spraying you because you've annoyed the people working at the Federal Reserve. You mix this in your OTHER 1-liter container of water at a 50/50 ratio. OC pepper spray is an acid. That chemical burn sensation is exactly's a chemical burn. Remove your contaminated clothing asap, and douse the affected area with your Maalox solution until you can get to a steady supply of streaming water to rinse it off for 20 minutes. You remember Uncle Elroy from Next Friday, right? It takes 20 minutes to rinse off the pepper spray. Maalox will help neutralize it until you can get it rinsed off.

4) A gas mask. Duh. What's the most effective crowd control device you can use, short of a belt-fed weapon? Why, it's tear gas! It doesn't necessarily "hurt" like OC, but CS gas does irritate to the point of making you wish you weren't there. It does provide an irritating sensation to the eyes, nose, mouth, and throat. If you wish to keep in the game, you have to protect your eyes, nose, mouth, and throat. You can purchase high-quality milsurp gas masks via mail order, with brand-new in-the-wrapper filters, for under $20USD via the interwebs. Israeli and European masks are most common. Get one that uses NATO-style filters, they're the cheapest to replace.

5) A helmet. But no, seriously. When the shit cracks off, you stand a very serious risk of getting smacked upside the head by Officer Friendly's billyclub. Or you might get hit in the head with some guy's bottle, because he can't throw it quite as far as he thought he could. Or you might get knocked down by a stampede of your fellow protesters when the cops roll through on horseback or mopeds. Regardless, if you take a hard enough thumping to the head, you'll wake up and realize you can't do math any more. Protect your grape, bro. While motorcycle helmets and hard-hats do provide protection, they also have their drawbacks. Motorcycle helmets are heavy as shit, and hard-hats fall off very easily. Your best bet is to pick up a bicycle helmet or a milsurp infantry pot. You can store it in your backpack so you don't stand out as "that guy" while people are simply marching and holding signs. Tuck your gas mask inside it when stored, so it doesn't take up much space.

5) A first aid kit. This should be common sense. You shouldn't go ANYWHERE without one of these, at least kept in your vehicle. Many newer cars even have designated storage spaces for them. If you know you're going to be in a large group of people with highly-charged emotions (like, for instance, a PROTEST RALLY), you should keep a first aid kit on your person. The potential for a person actually needing a first aid kit expands in relation to the size of the group. You need the essentials. Alcohol swabs, antibiotic ointment, gauze, ace wraps, first aid tape, insta-cold packs, etc. Also, stuff for minor injuries are good to have. Keep a healthy supply of bandaids in multiple sizes. Keep the "travel-size" bottles of Advil, Tylenol, and aspirin (keep all three, because people want/need pain relief when injured, and some people have allergies). You can have all of this packed into a space smaller than that of the average child's lunchbox.

6) A GMRS/FMS radio. If you're in a crowd of 100 people or more, it's nice to stay connected to your friends. Remember, cellular service can be shut down easily, and they've done it before at events like the BART station protest. In addition, a specific frequency can be pre-decided by protest organizers so attendees can be given informational updates about injuries, police presence, etc.

7) Earplugs. The G20 meeting in Pittsburg showed the world what the "LRAD" noise cannon can do. But it's easily defeated with an 85 cent pair of foam earplugs, unless you're right in front of it.

8) Food. If you're gonna be there all day, bring something to munch on. Keep it compact enough to comfortably carry with you. Energy bars, a banana, an MRE, whatever. Just don't get stuck in a park with hundreds of people, all day long, being hungry. And remember, foods made of sugar like candy bars and whatnot ain't gonna do it for you. Eat something that's going to give you something besides empty calories.

9) A camera. ALWAYS BE RECORDING if there's any encounter with the police whatsoever. Policemen are like all other tax-feeders. Some are great people, a great many are assholes...but at the end of day, none of them like to be exposed acting like assholes toward the public. Let us not forget, Anthony Bologna pepper-sprayed innocent women in the face on the sidewalk of NYC. Because so many cameras were present, he was identified in less than a day...and soon after, the entire internets knew where even his own mother slept at night. Cameras are your friend, unless you're a criminal.

10) A friend. It's always good to have someone with you to watch your back. It's better if that person is someone you know and trust. Strangers have a tendency to forget about you if shit turns bad. If no one at the event knows you, it's unlikely anyone will be working on bail for you until you're able to get to a phone in the event you're arrested. Keep that in mind...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Letter to the Occupiers, 10/6/11

Let's get a few things straight here, folks. Income-wise, you may be amongst the lower 99% of Americans. That DOES NOT put you into a 99% majority, ideologically. I'm writing this after I got home from work, where I spent a great portion of the day sweating my ass off in the humidity of the Texas gulf coast. I get up and do this five days a week, and half a day on every third Saturday. I make $31.3k per year. I think that gives me a bit of knowledge into what is "the working poor" pay attention. For the record, I'm not bitching about my pay, I actually like what I do.

You don't even have the right to an education at some arbitrarily-decided upon "reasonable expense". Educators cost money. Facilities cost money. Would you work for nothing? Why would you expect an educator to work for nothing? Is someone supposed to just GIVE you your textbooks? Do they appear out of thin air, or did some guy like me have to put forth his labor in order to make those textbooks?

You have two choices here. You can A) spend your time at a community college for as long as you're able in order to keep costs down, and then take out student loans in order to cover the cost of your university degree. Or you can B) bust your ass, live on Ramen noodles and imitation Dr Pepper while sleeping on someone's couch, and barely survive through college. How important is that degree to you? Are you willing to sacrifice for it?

Or, you could C) do like I did. Learn on your free time. There isn't anything a university can teach you, from a "book-learning" standpoint, that your own personal studying can't teach you. I am a college drop-out. Most of the things I learned in college, knowledge-wise, could have been learned at my local library.

You do not have the right to suggest that someone else must provide you with an education. You could be getting an education RIGHT NOW. Yes, you might have to work at it. Yes, you might go hungry occasionally. Yes, you might have to work humiliating jobs that you hate. How much is it worth to you? You don't have the right to say that men with guns have the authority to take from others, so that you may have the ability go to school on their dime.

Doctors cost money. Hospitals have a metric shitload of overhead. The cost of keeping things sterile, alone, is retard expensive. Is it right to charge $8 for an Aspirin? I don't think so...but it's not my Aspirin. It's not YOUR Aspirin, either. Did you go to medical school? Did you run 24hr shifts during an internship? No, you did not. These doctors did. The people who built these hospitals weren't GIVEN the property, they had to purchase it. The nurses had to work their asses off for their certifications. You have no right to take what they built.

If you have a bitch, take it up with state regulatory agencies that prevent competition in the health care field.

You have the right to get off your ass and get a job. You have the right to take any job you wish to have...provided there is an employer that will hire you. If you have no job skills, if you have tattoos on your hands and neck, and you have a felony rap sheet, don't expect a six-figure salary unless you've been heavy in the rap game for a decade or more. You haven't earned it. You've fucked off your life. You've made piss-poor choices for yourself. Got a GED, neck tattoos, and an arrest record, and STILL want to make six figures a year without being able to bust a few lines? Get someone to teach you how to weld. You can work 7/12 on a pipeline, one job after another, and do it. But don't even bother if you can't weld, can't pass a piss test, or can't show up to work and put in twice the hours a typical working man puts in. Yes, you're gonna have to work at it.

Worry about the immediate problems you face. Your water is being poisoned with flouride, your bank is giving you .5% interest on your savings and charging you 15% on a car loan, your government is borrowing money like a crackhead at a convent, and you're on the hook for the interest being paid to the Federal Reserve.

How the flying fuck does whaling, fur coats, the rain forests, bacon cheeseburgers, or hair spray testing play into any of this? What, are you that stupid? You're gonna need those leather boots, kiddo. They're far less likely to blow out on you than those trendy "green" sneakers you're wearing.

If you're protesting the illegal foreclosure practices of Bank of America et al, more power to you. If you bought a home and are pissed off because you tried to by a McMansion in the 'burbs and couldn't pay for it because you got laid off, tough shit. It wasn't your home, until you finished paying for it. Until then, it belonged to the bank, because the contract YOU signed said so. Don't like it? Buy a run-down ratshack in the hood, afford the payments, and dream of something better. Fix it up, get more than you paid for it, and call it a day. Otherwise, STFU. And yes, as I type this, I'm sitting in a wood-frame house that my family has owned for half a century. It's a two-bedroom woodframe house that my WWII-vet grandpa purchased for my grandma. I could go broke trying to afford something "better", but do I really need it? Not really. Do you need something "better"? Not really. I see it much like I see people trying to justify purchasing a $15k used car, when a $2k car does the same thing. You're not buying value, you're buying chrome rims and leather seats. What is it that you really NEED?
My point here is, essentially, pretty damned simple. Figure out what you're protesting against. The biggest enemy you face is practically right in front of you. Your congressional representatives, of both parties, are wholly-owned subsidiaries of the special interests that have purchased them.

The Federal Reserve Bank network and the debt it creates, as well as those who profit from it directly, are your biggest problems. They are the ones starting the wars. They are the ones who created the "housing bubble". They are the ones who were "too big to fail", bilking $700+ billions of dollars out of the tax coffers.

But no, you bitch because someone isn't paying you $19/hour to stock the shelves of Kinko's when you've got tattoos on your face, you can't pass a piss test, you can barely spell your name correctly, and you don't know how to tie a half-windsor.

/B/ro, even your "nerdy" classmates who went to college, got engineering degrees, and are making a hundred grand a year are getting fucked right now. As a matter of fact, they're getting fucked harder than you are, because the powers that be are taxing the "slightly more wealthy" at a higher rate than they're taxing me...while the wealthiest 400 Americans pay a tax rate of 18%. You wanna fight? Bitch about the tax code. Bitch about corporate influence on our legislation. Bitch about wars being fought for fun and profit, while our nation's sons and daughters have to go and fight them. Put your might where it's right...