White House Israel Relations at a New Low

White House Israel Relations at a New Low

Above is a New York Times article about how the relationship between the White House and Israel is at a new low due to the actions of Benjamin Netanyahu and the GOP.  Normally anytime I typed the words “new low” it would be along the lines of something negative, but I think in this case it is a good thing.  Isreal’s treatment of the Palestinians under Netanyahu is atrocious.  The way that Israel and APAC have tried to influence U.S. politics is atrocious.  If we ever want to see peace in the Middle East Netanyahu and his fellow rightwing politicians need to be marginalized.

10 Things America Does Worse Than Europe

10 Things America Does Worse Than Europe

I have been lucky enough to have traveled to Europe many times.  I felt in reading this article, based on what I have seen, that there is a lot of truth to it.  I have also been a lot of places where suggesting that America doesn’t do everything the best will drive people crazy.  That seems batshit insane to me.  It is like if you were on a really good football team and you saw another winning team in a different division.  Wouldn’t you try to watch them to see how they were winning, so that you could be even better?

The fact is that other parts of the world do some things better than we do.  Instead of being afraid of it we should try to learn from it and make our country better.  Being a self-declared champion is meaningless and delusional.

Hat tip to my friend Liza.  

Netanyahu and the Israeli Right Overplay Their Hand

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The Best of the Dish Today

While over at The Dish reading their best of for yesterday, I was quite happy to read about how Benjamin Netanyahu, the GOP, and the Israeli right, have overplayed their hand concerning the political talks going on with Iran.  I have long seen the Israeli right as being an immoral force in politics.  The only difference between Netanyahu and a thug is that he has some political power behind him.  If we are ever going to navigate the murky political waters of the Middle East, we need to isolate him and what he represents.

Koch Brother’s Advocacy Groups Projected to Spend Nearly $1 Billion in Next Election

Koch Back Network Aims to Spend Nearly $1 Billion in 2016

The above article is a Huffington Post about how political advocacy groups connected to the Koch brothers are projected to spend nearly a billion dollars on the 2016 election.  If you wonder how we can have a Senate where almost 50% of Senators believe that human behavior does not contribute to climate change, among other senseless beliefs, look no further.  It is fucking troubling…

Matt Taibbi On American Sniper, Hollywood, and War

Matt Taibbi

This is another article from the always interesting Matt Taibbi, about not only the movie American Sniper, but also the way Hollywood distorts war. 

I have read several books about how the military influences the outcome of movies and how entertainment is taking over every aspect of life.  On the first subject, a real simple fact:  The military will give access to military equipment to productions that paint the military in a favorable light.  If a production does not paint the military in a favorable light, they will not get that access, which in turn can often lead to increased budgets.  As I do not know the backstory, although it very well may pertain to this film, this is not to imply that this is the case with American Sniper.  

My point in any post is not to pass judgment on a film I have not seen, nor to present facts that I don’t know.  I simply want people to think critically when going to movies that have a political nature to them.  Movies take millions of dollars to get made.  What is a movie trying to say?  Who benefits both monetarily and ideologically from a film?  If the movie is a fictionalized version of real events, what are the distortions and why were they made?  These kinds of questions and more should be asked when seeing a movie of any political stripe. 

And yes I said I would not put up any more thoughts having to do with American Sniper until I had seen it. However, I thought this article was too thought provoking not to share. I also think that it deals with ideas and themes outside the orbit of that single film.

Over at Rolling Stone – Divesting in Big Carbon and Roy Bittan Interview

Read two interesting articles this morning over at Rolling Stone Magazine

Why We Have to Kiss Off Big Carbon

Above  is an article over at Rolling Stone that is about why it makes environmental and economic sense to divest in companies that contributing to climate change.

Here below is an article that is an interview with E Street band keyboardist Roy Bittan.  For all of the years that I have listened to the E Street Band, I don’t think I have read more than thee or four Roy Bittan interviews.  I’ve always loved the way he played piano.  Interview:

Roy Bittan Looks Back On 40 Years in the E Street Band