What a way to end a year, huh? We’re within three days of ’09, and chaos and fakery remain two mainstays in our news cycle. For once, the holiday season and the solar and lunar calendars aligned over the past week, as Xmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and first day of Muharram have overlapped over the past eight days. 

Yet here we are, witnesses to another big break in the Middle East stalemate between Israelis and Palestinians. With 1,000 men, women, and children dead and injured, PM Barak calling for an “all-out war” against Hamas in the Gaza strip, with hundreds of airstrikes and tanks lined up at the border to go after the group. As usual, the Israeli response to Hamas rocket attacks is atrociously disproportionate. I do think that Israel has a right to defend itself and to go after Hamas. But in light of other recent events — like the Mumbai terrorist attacks — maybe Israel should’ve taken a step back and used its vaunted special forces units to take Hamas rocket sites and other areas of activity out. If other nations were to take a page from Israel’s response, we would be at Def Con 2 right now. Because of what happened at Mumbai, maybe India should’ve nuked the disputed Kashmir province or Islamabad in retaliation to prove to Pakistan that they could “defend” themselves.
I’m sure some of my readers are thinking or saying, “What business of this is yours?” or “Why do you care?” I don’t want American foreign policy tied to a simplistic defense of Israel at all costs, regardless of Israeli policies and actions. I don’t think that the only true democracy in the Middle East can be truly democratic when bombing its immediate neighbors indiscriminately or by making all Palestinians in or outside its borders the enemy. But I guess I can’t possibly understand. After all, I’m not Jewish. I’ve never learned the history nor lived under everyday abuse, persecution or possible annihilation just because of my ancestry or religion. I don’t know what it’s like to face terror or the threat thereof everyday. Oh, wait a minute…I guess that I’ve had enough experiences to emphasize with the Israeli perspective and still see flaws in its policies and military actions. 
On a less important and less charming subject, I’m getting that feeling again. You know, a gnawing sensation at the back end of my frontal lobe. I feel it every time I turn on CNN or MSNBC or NPR. It’s an itch I can’t scratch, and it comes when the media praises itself for being interesting or provocative. Like the Washington Post puff piece done by Howard Kurtz last Monday about Mika Brzezinski and her role as the one who “balances” conservative ax-grinder Joe Scarborough. Give me a break! Whether on radio or TV, I can’t take more than fifteen minutes before needing to switch to ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the Morning for real balance. 

Morning Joe might as well be FOX News’ Hannity and Colmes. Brzezinski plays the role of the soon to depart Alan Colmes. She’s someone who’s willing to sit throw every one of Scarborough’s poorly reasoned diatribes about the liberal media — so liberal they hired him — Or about his so-called colorblindness with regard to President-Elect Obama or his berating of others qualifications for office, at least others whose views differ from his. Brzezinski’s opinions, as few as they are, usually get drowned out by Scarborough, who often yells to make his point. I don’t think that Kurtz’s piece makes a good case for her or for Morning Joe. It’s a puff piece of praise from one journalist to another while side-stepping the reality behind the MSNBC show.
There’s also these trivial issues over Caroline Kennedy and her qualifications for office and over what the Obama transition team knew about Blagojevich and when they knew it. The short answer is, who outside of the journalism field cares, really? Kennedy may sound like a Valley Girl at times and be shy around the media. The Obama transition team may have sensed that Blagojevich was a sleaze bag. Neither get us anywhere near the issues that most of us care about. Maybe that’s why the media and the press (which, because of corporate interests, are pretty much one and the same) have been hit hard by the global recession.
“Barack the Magic Negro?” Are you kidding me? Sometimes, despite our First Amendment right of free speech, it’s good sometimes to just shut up. This story’s been on and off for the past 20 months, and only rose up again because the RNC wannabe chairman decided to put a CD together and distribute its to RNC committee members. It was a “parody” meant to poke fun at the LA Times, political correctness and liberals. Unless Chip Saltsman wants to change fields and become a comedian, his attempt to bring laughter to his friends has backfired miserably. I’ll take the Valley Girl any day over Saltsman.
I find our discourse about as poor as soil in the Arctic this time of the year. And the stories mentioned above prove it. It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. I guess the Israeli government and our media didn’t get that memo.