Closing Thought–18Feb21

Looks like Twitter is trying to head off any crackdown by the Biden admin by permanently shutting down some of the hate users….like Trump.

But they also have suspended the accounts of some of the Saudi dissidents….

Twitter has removed the blue verified badge from the accounts of several Saudi political prisoners, including two prominent clerics who were detained in a crackdown against reformists, activists and government critics. 

Among those whose verification label has been removed are Ali al-Omary and Awad al-Qarni, two senior religious figures who have been jailed since 2017. They were seized during a purge that followed Mohammed bin Salman‘s rise to the position of crown prince.

Similarly, the accounts of the Saudi philanthropist Khaled al-Mohawesh and journalist Khaled al-Alkami, also jailed in the 2017 purge, had their blue tick removed, according to the advocacy Twitter account Prisoners of Conscience. It added that the account of economist Essam el-Zamil, another political prisoner, has been suspended. He tweeted under the handle @Essamz.

Middle East Eye has contacted Twitter for comment but has not received a response by the time of publication.

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/saudi-arabia-twitter-jailed-scholars-verification-removed

I wonder how much that cost the Saudi royals?

And it makes me think of what is Twitter doing.

Seems the reforms in KSA does not mean the right to dissent…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Make Your Voice Be Heard

How many times have you been asked to “make your voice be heard” by contacting your rep or the White House?

Do you really think that any of those people give a damn about you or your concerns?

Guess what….they do not!

Have you called or written to your government?

Did you get the answer you wanted?

What prompted me to write this post is the the White House has taken down the site for petitions….

It appears that the ‘We the People’ petition system has been taken off the White House website. Here is an archive of what it looked like before Biden took office.

The system has been around for many years. At any given time, hundreds of petitions were active. If you get 100,000 signatures, the White House is supposed to give an answer. You may remember that there was an active “Free Assange” petition that the Obama Administration was obligated to answer (and gave a bad answer).

When Trump took office, he briefly discontinued it but put it back up after a media uproar.

Now it appears the Biden White House has removed it. The website used to be here:
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov

This URL, as well as URLs for all currently-active petitions, just forward to the White House front page. I explored the website and could not find any mention of it. The link used to appear in both the “Contact” and “Get Involved” links, but it is gone from both.

I have seen nothing about this in the media. When I Google “White House Petition System Down” and other similar searches, I only get 4-year-old articles about the time that Trump temporarily disabled it.

Wikipedia says that the system was taken down the day Biden took office: On January 20 2021, the day the Inauguration of Joe Biden took place, the website’s address started redirecting to the White House’s website home address.

This is a terrible event, and it must be publicized, and Biden must be made to reverse this decision.

(antiwar.com)

It was returned but does it really have any effect on policy?

Biden is not a transformative president.

He just wants a return to the “good old days”…..the days of yore…..the days of 2008….the days of nothing actually being done but the appearance of change.

Even when the active engagement of their base in ongoing political advocacy enhances their ability to succeed, it is foolhardy to believe that politicians secretly welcome pressure or that they will pay tribute to those who, on select occasions, are able to force their hands. Having invested their faith in their talent for insider maneuvering, these elected officials see themselves as indispensable servants of the public good. They want their constituents to be appreciative, and they are rankled at encountering people who are not. “Cut me some slack,” is how Obama put it. “Give me a break, man,” Biden has already exclaimed. These are just other ways of saying, “Don’t make me do it.”

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/02/13/its-myth-presidents-welcome-movement-pressure-and-biden-no-different

Will we change the thinking in DC with our so-called participation?

NO!

Hope!  We will plug along and things will remain the same….no matter how much you attempt to participate and bring the message to those in the Ivory Tower.

Direct action is the only way to make change….and then it will be incremental because you have scared the economic titans….and they will sign on to some small advances.

Think I am mistaken?

Look at our history….that will tell you all you need to know.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

 

What To Do In The Middle East

Most regulars know that my studies and career was rooted in the Middle East…..it is time I got back to watching the events in the region.

We have a new president and the question is….will there be an adjustment in the Middle East.

The Brookings Institution offers a few ideas for our new president……

For over a decade, the United States has sought to wind down the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, reduce its military footprint in the Middle East, and redirect scarce resources to Asia. Global and regional trends reinforced this American desire to reduce the priority of the Middle East in its global strategy, and the military “pivot” is well underway. The challenge for American policy is how to protect its remaining and still important interests in that region in an era of austerity and fierce power competition, both in the region and globally. The incoming Biden administration should not waste the window for a reset.

Gulf Arab partners, facing fiscal constraints from lower energy prices and the COVID-19-induced global recession, are more open to conflict resolution in the proxy wars they hagve been fighting across the region. But their relative penury will also impede their ability to invest in stabilizing weaker neighbors, including key states like Jordan and Egypt. Meanwhile, the Islamic Republic of Iran is sanctioned to the hilt, and used to wielding regional influence on the cheap. Thus the balance of power in the region may even favor the Iranians as the pandemic begins to recede. The Biden team must set aside the Trump administration’s fruitless “maximum pressure” in favor of the mix of intelligence cooperation, diplomacy, financial and military tools that can effectively deter or disrupt subversive Iranian activity while incentivizing Tehran’s return to the nuclear negotiating table. And the Pentagon must undertake a zero-based review of its force presence in the Persian Gulf region to ensure it is both efficient and effective in fulfilling its core missions there.

The United States must rebuild what has historically been its most effective tool in the Middle East: diplomacy, especially in advancing conflict resolution. In Yemen and Libya, there might now be opportunities to pull competing regional powers out of the fighting and negotiate power-sharing governments that promote stability and reduce freedom of action for Islamist terrorist movements. Washington cannot let Israelis and Palestinians stew in their stalemated conflict — but rather than trying to reconvene talks, it should take a long-term approach to rebuilding foundations for compromise between the two societies while insisting that they both abjure destabilizing unilateral actions, and work to improve freedom, security, and prosperity for those living with the conflict every day.

Finally, the Biden administration must reestablish clear boundaries in relationships that were deeply unbalanced by President Donald Trump’s careless approach. Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) all have questions about the extent and durability of American security commitments to their neighborhood, and all three prefer to keep the U.S. closely engaged. Washington can pursue necessary de-escalation and nuclear diplomacy with Iran while engaging these key partners about where American interests begin and end, and where partners’ own preferences and behaviors present real obstacles to closer cooperation. As in all healthy relationships, honest communication and clear boundaries are essential to maintain mutual respect and good feeling.

What to do – and what not to do – in the Middle East

I disagree with almost everything that is written by this think tank…..especially the statement on the Israeli/Palestinian problem…..”Washington cannot let Israelis and Palestinians stew in their stalemated conflict — but rather than trying to reconvene talks, it should take a long-term approach to rebuilding foundations for compromise between the two societies while insisting that they both abjure destabilizing unilateral actions, and work to improve freedom, security, and prosperity for those living with the conflict every day.”

Really?

If they want a long term solution then maybe the place to start is with Israel.  The theft of land, destruction of crops, the hijacking of humanitarian funds, the random of harassment and arrests and those damn settlements would be a good start.

None of that means a damn thing….for the Biden admin will do business as it has been done for 50 years….especially in the Middle East.

The Biden admin is change that will not change.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”