Sunday, May 31, 2009
Israel's strategy is to make it seem that its concessions on settlements are so huge that the Palestinians have to make counter-concessions on the refugee issue. The trade-off Israel seeks is to drop its right to expand settlements in return for the Palestinians dropping their demand to offer the refugees a full range of options in a permanent peace accord, including the right of return for some refugees to their original homes and lands in Israel today. This is a dangerous approach because it equates Israeli settlements - an illegal, criminal act that is widely condemned by the entire world - with the legitimate rights of the refugees, which are widely recognized in law and many United Nations resolutions.
(The Daily Star)
Israel's ability to wage another war against the militant Shia movement Hezbollah may have been compromised by an unprecedented wave of arrests of people in Lebanon alleged to have been spying for the Israelis.
Experts say the arrests appear to add up to a major strategic blow to Israel.
(Via War in context)
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
"The first test results came in inconclusive," said the US official, who declined to be named. "They did not find anything that could confirm a nuclear device was detonated."
Ms Rahnavard is rewriting the role of political spouse in Iran – and could give a boost to her husband's candidacy in the 12 June presidential election."
Shell to Appear in Court on Charges of Crimes Against Humanity over their Actions in the Niger Delta
The trial, scheduled to begin next week, will examine allegations that Shell sought the aid of the former Nigerian regime in silencing Mr Saro-Wiwa, a vociferous critic, in addition to paying soldiers who carried out human rights abuses in the Niger Delta where it operated."
Thursday, May 28, 2009
(Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, P154)
"As in other places in Palestine, it is worthwhile to dwell a little on the local history of the village as it demonstrates how not only houses or fields were destroyed in the Nakba but a whole community disappeared, with all its intricate social networks and cultural achievements. Thus in Mujaydil the Israeli army obliterated a piece of history that included some fine architectural specimens and a series of significant social developments. Just twenty years before the Nakba, the proud villagers decided to transform, actually modernise, the old traditional system that placed the mukhtar at the head of the village community. Already in 1925 they had elected a local council, whose first project was to provide lighting along the village's roads. Apart from its religious buildings and modern infrastructure it had a relatively large number of schools. In addition to the two schools associated with churches, there was also a state school, the Banin School, known for the magnificent trees that provided shade for the pupils during their breaks, for the well situated in the middle of the school yard and for the fruit trees that surrounded it. The village's main source of collective wealth, which supported all these impressive constructions, was a mill, built in the eighteenth century that served the villages in the vicinity, including the people of the 'veteran Jewish settlement of Nahalal. Moshe Dayan, who came from Nahalal, mentions his father's reliance on this mill." (Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, P154)
Phil Zabriskie may have a point! (Hehe)
"This is getting really interesting. Yesterday, American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton uttered some of the most forceful words against Israel’s settlement policy heard from an American official in quite some time, saying of President Obama:
“He wants to see a stop to settlements — not some settlements, not outposts, not ‘natural growth’ exceptions.”
And Israeli officials said, artfully, that it’s not going to happen. Quoth the AP:
"Government spokesman Mark Regev responded by saying “normal life in those communities must be allowed to continue.” He confirmed that this meant some construction will continue in existing settlements.
I donno! I'd still say " Show me the money!"
After the demise of the Soviet block and the end of the Cold War, the world seems to be dominated exclusively by Gog.
Apparently, State Capitalism, or this pseudo-free market Capitalism of today, reigns supreme. And also apparently, we live in a unipolar world entirely dominated by US imperialism. A hopeless terminal situation; a dead end historical venue; the “end of history”, as so presumptuously was announced by Fukuyama, the golden boy of reactionary thinking in the early nineties. However, precisely when things seem quite settled forever, history begins to flow wildly anew. There is no dead end but, on the contrary, huge fractures seem to announce the breaking of the dam. State Capitalism is entering a protracted phase of turbulence and instability, due to its inability to solve any of the most pressing issues concerning our survival as a species, while US imperialism loses global power almost on a daily basis. Yes, we are now entering the Age of Turbulence. An age of danger and possibility as we haven’t experienced since in the late XIVth century (I suggest reading the wonderful book by historian Barbara Tuchman, "A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous XIVth Century"), when Europe began to emerge from Feudalism to enter an era of Capitalism and increased popular sovereignty, which were concomitant phenomena, but with no relation of cause and effect between them. I ask: where are we headed now to? Apocalypse? More and nastier State Capitalism? Or a new form of societal arrangement?
"Isn't it a fair 'population exchange' between Palestnian refugees and Jewish refugees from many Arab countries? "
"As it will be demonstrated below, this argument was concocted to deflect the discussion from the core issues of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict (the collective dispossession and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people). It should be noted that the "Jewish state" and Zionism were created in response to the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe and not in the Middle East. Ironically, Jewish historians still associate Jewish Golden Age not in Europe, not in the United States of America, but in Arab ruled Spain (Andalusia) and Muslim Turkey."
My question is: If the Arabs/Muslims were so "mean" and wanted to ethnic cleanse the Jews why didn't they do just that during hundreds of years and waited until the establishment of a "Jewish state" ? Hmmmm?
Another thing: In every crime the crucial question is always: To whom benefits the crime? Wasn't Israel desperate from the beginning to get all the Jews making Alia or whatever the damn thing is called to the "old country"?!!
I feel like I'm on a roll here, hehe!
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Lies answered:Palestinians never had either a state, nor any distinct culture or language of their own
"Zionists want to make it seem as if Palestinians came in to existence as a branch of Arabs that have no business being in Palestine when in reality Palestinians are all the people that mixed together in the holy land over the past thousands of years and became one. It is not possible for a country that have faced so many rulers to remain of only one origin (same with Syria and Lebanon).
"Of all the analysis generated by the Obama-Netanyahu meeting Robert Satloff's is the most significant. Satloff is executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, which serves as AIPAC's think tank. His piece, circulated Thursday, provides insights into what the lobby -- and Israel -- might do next. And it should ring alarm bells.
Satloff starts quietly enough. Unlike other analysts, he is relatively sanguine about the divergences between the United States president and the Israeli prime minister over the peace process.
For example, he believes that American-Israeli differences about the "natural growth" of Israel's existing (illegal) settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, though contentious, have been managed before and can be managed again.
This demonstrates confidence in AIPAC's clout in Congress as regards the peace process. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton can tell Al Jazeera, as she did Tuesday, "We want to see a stop to settlement construction, additions, natural growth - any kind of settlement activity" as often as she likes. Water off the AIPAC back.
But when it comes to Iran, Satloff is very worried indeed. He doesn't buy the New York Times' spin that Barack Obama, a master of nuance, gave Iran a clear deadline. He frets that Obama's plan to wait until year-end to reassess the position means Iran can spin its centrifuges for six more months. And even then there may still be no stomach for "crippling" sanctions in Europe or America.Satloff sees a "stark" difference between Obama's goal of preventing Iran from having a nuclear weapon and Netanyahu's determination to prevent Iran from even acquiring a nuclear capability" (more)
"Obama Calls on World to ‘Stand Up To’ North Korea” read the headline. The United States, Obama said, was determined to protect “the peace and security of the world.”
Shades of doublespeak, doublethink, 1984.
North Korea is a small place. China alone could snuff it out in a few minutes. Yet, the president of the US thinks that nothing less than the entire world is a match for North Korea.
We are witnessing the Washington gangsters construct yet another threat like Slobodan Milosevic, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, John Walker Lindh, Hamdi, Padilla, Sami Al-Arian, Hamas, Mahkmoud Ahmadinejad, and the hapless detainees demonized by the US Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld as “the 700 most dangerous terrorists on the face of the earth,” who were tortured for six years at Gitmo only to be quietly released. Just another mistake, sorry.
The military/security complex that rules America, together with the Israel Lobby and the financial banksters, needs a long list of dangerous enemies to keep the taxpayers’ money flowing into its coffers" (more)
By MARK LAVIE
JERUSALEM (AP) — Venezuela and Bolivia are supplying Iran with uranium for its nuclear program, according to a secret Israeli government report obtained Monday by The Associated Press.
The two South American countries are known to have close ties with Iran, but this is the first allegation that they are involved in the development of Iran's nuclear program, considered a strategic threat by Israel.
"There are reports that Venezuela supplies Iran with uranium for its nuclear program," the Foreign Ministry document states, referring to previous Israeli intelligence conclusions. It added, "Bolivia also supplies uranium to Iran."
The report concludes that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is trying to undermine the United States by supporting Iran.
Venezuela and Bolivia are close allies, and both regimes have a history of opposing U.S. foreign policy and Israeli actions. Venezuela expelled the Israeli ambassador during Israel's offensive in Gaza this year, and Israel retaliated by expelling the Venezuelan envoy. Bolivia cut ties with Israel over the offensive.
There was no immediate comment from officials in Venezuela or Bolivia on the report's allegations.
The three-page document about Iranian activities in Latin America was prepared in advance of a visit to South America by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who will attend a conference of the Organization of American States in Honduras next week. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is also scheduled to visit the region."
"Palestinian Cultural Day was officially proclaimed by the cities of San José, Sunnyvale, and Milpitas, and by Santa Clara County in a ceremony on May 15, 2009. The day celebrates Palestinian heritage and remembers the Palestinian Catastrophe in the hope that it will never be repeated."
Via Annie's site
Via Annie's site
GAZA CITY (AFP) – All of Amer Aliyan's hopes of rebuilding his life are placed in a carefully folded sheet in his wallet, a document that for the foreseeable future inis nothing but a worthless piece of paper.
"I'm waiting for the reconstruction, but I know it will take time," the 36-year-old says.This is a gross understatement in the besieged and impoverished where an Israeli blockade is preventing the rebuilding effort after the devastation caused by a brief but deadly war at the turn of the year
(Via Annie's site)...You know Annie!! She pays us a visit every now and then. Her blog bursts with comprehensive news and articles. She's one determined lady!
"We use state of the art text to speech synthesizers to voice each prayer at a volume and speed equivalent to typical person praying," the company states. "Each prayer is voiced individually, with the name of the subscriber displayed on screen."
Hang on! Isn't that considered cheating on "god"?
Bush's Shocking Biblical Prophecy Emerges: God Wants to "Erase" Mid-East Enemies "Before a New Age Begins"
The revelation this month in GQ Magazine that Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary embellished top-secret wartime memos with quotations from the Bible prompts a question. Why did he believe he could influence President Bush by that means?"
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
This is a very well documented book and which has a wealth of information from hundreds primary sources. I just finished reading a week ago. A friend of mine brought it for me from London where he was on a recent business trip. Dr. Khan (born in Poonch-Kashmir) is a serious Marxist historian who is able to explain the rise of negative stereotypes in the West vis-a-vis Islam as a complex phenomenon that encompasse both ideological-political and powerful economic motives. Among many other texts, he cites, for example, Fulcher of Chartres, who gives the following eye witness account of the Crusades at the end of the 11th century: “This may seem strange to you. Our squires and footmen … split open the bellies of those they had just slain in order to extract from the intestines the gold coins which the Saracens had gulped down their loathsome throats while alive … With drawn swords our men ran through the city not sparing anyone, even those begging for mercy … They entered the houses of the citizens, seizing whatever they found in them … whoever first entered a house, whether he was rich or poor … was to occupy and own the house or palace and whatever he found in it as if it were entirely his own … in this way many poor people became very wealthy.”
On the morning of 4 May 2009, Israeli troops set fire to Palestinian crops along Gaza’s eastern border with Israel. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reported that 200,000 square meters of crops were destroyed, including wheat and barley ready for harvest, as well as vegetables, olive and pomegranate trees.
Local farmers report that the blaze carried over a four-kilometer stretch on the Palestinian side of the eastern border land. Ibrahim Hassan Safadi, 49, from one of the farming families whose crops were destroyed by the blaze, said that the fires were smoldering until early evening, despite efforts by the fire brigades to extinguish them.
Safadi says he was present when Israeli soldiers fired small bombs into his field, which soon after caught ablaze. He explained that “The Israeli soldiers fired from their jeeps, causing a fire to break out on the land. They burned the wheat, burned the pomegranate trees … The fire spread across the valley. We called the fire brigades. They came to the area and put out the fire. But in some places the fire started again.” According to Safadi, he lost 30,000 square meters to the blaze, including 300 pomegranate trees, 150 olive trees, and wheat." (more)
"Ghassan Kanafani, Palestinian journalist, author and artist, member of PFLP's Politbureau and spokesman for PFLP, was assassinated in Beirut on July 8, 1972, by Israeli agents. His ability to illustrate, beyond any shadow of doubt, the deprivation and sufferings of his people, as well as to transform an ideology and political line into popular literature made him a grave threat to the Zionist entity.
The following are excerpts from a tribute to Ghassan by one of his colleagues, a Palestinian author, S.Marwan, published in Al Hadaf on July 22, 1972. Al Hadaf (the Target) is the weekly PFLP organ, of which Ghassan Kanafani was the founding editor.
"Imperialism has layed its body over the world, the head in Eastern Asia, the heart in the Middle East, its arteries reaching Africa and Latin America. Wherever you strike it, you damage it, and you serve the World Revolution."
Imperialism is not a myth or a word repeated by the news media, a motionless picture that doesn't affect the human reality. In Ghassan Kanafani's conception, it is a mobile body, an octopus which colonizes and exploits, spreading itself over the world through western monopolistic enterprises.
Imperialism is directing various forms o€ aggression against the toiling masses of the world, and particularly in the underdeveloped countries.
Based on the slogan: "All the Facts to the Masses", raised in Al Hadaf, Ghassan Kanafani put his clear intellect in the service of the masses and their objective class interests, leading him to state: "The desire for change which is sweeping through the Arab masses, must be motivated by ideological and political clarity, which is absolute. Thus, Al Hadaf devotes itself to the service of that revolutionary alternative, as the interests of the oppressed classes are the same as the goals of the revolution. It presents itself as the ally of all those carrying on armed and political-ideological struggle to achieve a liberated progressive nation."
The natural base for Ghassan's intellectual and artistic work was adopting and defending the interests of the toiling masses, not only of the Palestinians, but also the Arabs and the international oppressed classes. Because of this fundamental base for all of his work, Ghassan Kanafani, as a Marxist, adopted the path of armed struggle as the only way to defend the oppressed.
He was himself part of them; he lived and experienced the poverty caused by capitalism and imperialism and he remained within the ranks of the oppressed masses, in spite of the capitalists' temptations and their attempts to encircle his journalistic life. He remained a humble man who worked day and night to raise and develop the quality of human life out of the adversity imposed by history." (more)
"The army immediately hailed the announcement as a sign that the outnumbered militants were "staring defeat in the face." It said that it had secured at least eight major road junctions in Mingora and was arresting and killing Islamist guerillas.
But Swat Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said that the insurgents were not withdrawing and denied that his announcement was a call for a ceasefire.
"This is a long war and we will fight it strategically," he said. "We will continue fighting until an Islamic system is enforced."
He added that Islamist guerillas would not engage the army in Mingora because "we have seen when the army retaliate for our attacks they always kill civilians. Their attacks always damage public property. We do not want that."" (more)
"Arab and Israeli commentators have pretty much outlined the speech Barack Obama will deliver in Egypt during his June visit, even though he is still meeting with the region's leaders in Washington. While some are optimistic, many are fearful.
Israelis fear that Obama will make them recognize Palestinian rights and force them to give up the Palestinian and Syrian territory they have been busy colonizing since 1967.
Arabs fear Obama will announce that their leaders plan further concessions in the form of expanded normalization with Israel in the Arab and Islamic worlds before a full withdrawal and comprehensive peace. They also fear his speech will nix the Palestinian right of return, which is both an individual and a collective right under international law, and support Israel as a "Jewish state" instead of the state of all its citizens." (more)
"If we hear in the coming days that former Vice President Dick Cheney has fired one of his speechwriters — or perhaps grounded Lynne or Liz — it will be clear why.Oozing out of the sleazy speech he gave Thursday at the American Enterprise Institute was an inadvertent truth regarding the Israeli albatross hanging around the neck of U.S. policy in the Middle East.
I watched the speech, but had missed the gaffe until I went carefully through the written text before a radio interview Thursday evening. It amounts to a major faux pas, though I’ll give you odds that the usual-suspect pundits of the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM) will not touch it, because it raises troubling questions about the close U.S. relationship with Israel.
I wanted my 10-year-old grandson to learn a nice word to describe the arguments in the former Vice President’s speech, so he has now learned “disingenuous.” Today we’ll study “superficial,” for that is the right adjective to assign to both Cheney and President Barack Obama as they addressed the threat of “terrorism,” the threat always guaranteed to resonate among Americans — much like the threat of communism did, not too many decades back.
To burnish his anti-terrorist credentials, Obama pledged to do whatever is necessary to protect the United States and warned that al-Qaeda is "actively plotting to attack us again.” " (more).
Monday, May 25, 2009
The faux Republican outrage over Nancy Pelosi's perceived slight, in charging that CIA briefers directly misled Congress, has been amusing to watch. Even as the Democrats' seeming inability to either defend her, or fear of sinking into the same phony political sandtrap, is disappointing. But Democrats seem to excel at disappointment these days, so that part of the ginned-up story is hardly surprising.
Such were the astounding comments made by the Pope's spokesman in
As if there was no massacre in
"Israel PM Netanyahu 'ready for peace talks'
Israel is ready "to immediately begin" peace talks with the Palestinians and Syria, PM Benjamin Netanyahu has said after returning from the US.
But he insisted that any peace settlement "must find a solution to Israel's security needs".
Arab states should join talks, he said, but would need to make concessions as well as Israel and the Palestinians.
At the talks on Monday, Mr Netanyahu was pressed by President Barack Obama over US plans on a two-state solution.
But the Israeli leader - who also came under pressure to rein in Israeli settlement-building - refrained from endorsing the idea.
Instead he said Israel was ready to live "side by side" with the Palestinians." (more)
Netanyahu says settlements can expand
There are about 100 makeshift Jewish outposts in the West Bank
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says settlements in the occupied West Bank will be allowed to expand despite US objections.
Mr Netanyahu said no new settlements would be built, but natural growth in existing settlements should be allowed.
During Mr Netanyahu's visit to the US last week, President Barack Obama told him all settlement activity must end.
The US regards the Jewish settlements -home to some 280,000 Israelis - as obstacles to the peace process.
"I have no intention to construct new settlements, but it makes no sense to ask us not to answer to the needs of natural growth and to stop all construction," a senior official quoted Mr Netanyahu as telling the Israeli cabinet.
By Jeff Ruebner
In pledging to trim ineffective spending, President Obama declared that “there will be no sacred cows and no pet projects. All across America, families are making hard choices, and it’s time their government did the same.”
By asking earlier this month for $2.775 billion in military aid to Israel in his FY2010 budget request, it would seem that on this important policy issue President Obama’s commitment is more rhetorical than substantive. Since 1949, according to the Congressional Research Service, the United States has provided to Israel more than $100 billion in military and economic assistance. In 2007, the United States and Israel signed an agreement for $30 billion in additional military aid through FY2018.
-Jerusalem court orders Palestinian to demolish room of his home
-Armed soldiers, police, attempt to shut down Palestine Festival of Literature opening night
-Israel planning settlement after evicting Jerusalem families
-Settlers claim ownership of two Palestinian homes
-Israeli police arrest students marking Nakba in East Jerusalem
-Israeli municipal council and settlers plan to build over Palestinian East Jerusalem neighborhood
-Israel intensifies efforts to confiscate land under Absentee Property Law
Nablus – A Palestinian agricultural area was declared a closed military zone as settlers infiltrated the area and uprooted olive trees as Israeli soldiers guarded the area Thursday afternoon.
Seventy-five-year-old farmer Mohammad Shheda who owns land in the valley said , “I’ve been farming this land for 60 years, and they just came in and ordered me off it.”
"Jerusalem is a final status issue. Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to resolve its status during negotiations. We will support their efforts to reach agreements on all final status issues," the State Department said in a statement released when asked to respond to Netanyahu's remarks.
-But your deed is 19 centuries old!
You may be interested to know that Jean-Pierre Petit is an astrophycisist and a specialist in the mechanics of fluid. He was a researcher at the French CNRS before he resigned. On his website where he dedicates a huge part to topics of general interest ( UFOs included) and not only science he endeavoured to study and explain to his readers the nature of the conflict in Palestine. He also draws comics and cartoons. He illustrated the Bible too in a similar fashion.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
In the Rafah region where homeless Palestinians have tired of the siege, and of waiting for cement to ever enter Gaza, I meet Jihad, the man who is introducing mud-house-building into Gaza. He says:
We have waited over two years for cement, but because of the siege there is none available. What could we do, wait forever?
His home is simple and practical. He makes use of something that even Israel can not ban from Gaza, like clay and straw. That said, the house does have expenses due to the metal, which is also scarce in Gaza. The straw is mixed with mud, but the straw is increasingly used as animal fodder, since proper animal feed is on the list of banned items." (more).
"Bolivian President Evo Morales called a special press conference in New York on April 22. The UN general assembly had passed a motion put by Bolivia’s radical, pro-poor government to make that day “International Mother Earth Day”.
Morales said the 21st century must be dedicated to stopping environmental destruction and climate change, because “we are strangling the planet — strangling ourselves”.
Since his election in December 2005, Morales has stood out as one of the few world leaders prepared to argue for serious action towards a carbon-neutral economy. This is an essential move to prevent runaway climate change.
Morales said it was necessary to recognise that “we don’t own the planet [but rather] we belong to it”.
“Mother Earth cannot be a piece of merchandise”, he said." (more)
Obama's Toxic Crumbs: Human Rights Attorney Vince Warren: Obama’s “Preventive Detention” Plan Goes Beyond Bush Admin Policies
"In Spain, charges have been reinstated against three US soldiers in the killing of the Jose Couso. A Spanish journalist, Couso died when US troops shelled Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel in April 2003. Ukrainian cameraman Taras Protsyuk also died in the attack. On Thursday, a Spanish judge revived the case against Sgt. Shawn Gibson, Capt. Philip Wolford and Lt. Col. Philip DeCamp over what he called new evidence. Initial charges were dropped after Spain’s National Court dismissed the case. Jose Couso’s brother, Javier Couso, welcomed the reinstatement.
The judge, Santiago Pedraz, says the new evidence includes eyewitness testimony contradicting US claims the tank that attacked the Palestine Hotel came under fire." (more)
Javier Couso: “The success of what’s happening today is thanks to a joint effort, not only of the justice system, but of the civil testament in our country. This case was very important here. Jose gave a face to the victims in the Iraq war. It made many very indignant, and we all saw it. It was an attack against the press.”
"The blogosphere has lately witnessed some interest in a lecture, "Understanding Marxism" posted by Professor Brad Delong of the University of California and a former Clinton administration official. Delong calls himself a neoliberal economist and his lecture is such a confused jumble of misrepresentations and misunderstandings of even the most elementary rudiments of Marxism that its refutation will serve the two fold purpose of clarifying some elementary ideas of basic Marxism 101 and of exposing the absolute insipidity of neoliberal thinking. " (more).
Unraveling the future direction of the U.S. Dollar has consistently made fools of economists and other financial gurus.
But right now, if you closely examine the history and current economic tradewinds, the clouds begin to part.
Fact is, the value of the dollar isn’t just some nebulous economic macrotrend. It has a dramatic effect on your everyday life.From the cost of food and gasoline, to interest rates on car and home loans, Americans deal with the impact of the incredible shrinking dollar in their businesses and daily lives..." (more).
"In a recent essay, “Economics Needs a Scientific Revolution,” in one of the leading scientific journals, Nature, physicist Jean-Philippe Bouchaud, a researcher for an investment management company, asked rhetorically, “What is the flagship achievement of economics?” Bouchaud’s answer: “Only its recurrent inability to predict and avert crises.”1 Although his discussion is focused on the current worldwide financial crisis, his comment applies equally well to mainstream economic approaches to the environment—where, for example, ancient forests are seen as non-performing assets to be liquidated, and clean air and water are luxury goods for the affluent to purchase at their discretion. The field of economics in the United States has long been dominated by thinkers who unquestioningly accept the capitalist status quo and, accordingly, value the natural world only in terms of how much short-term profit can be generated by its exploitation. As a result, the inability of received economics to cope with or even perceive the global ecological crisis is alarming in its scope and implications..." (more)
Saturday, May 23, 2009
The majority of executives will get raises, according to a person briefed on the decision...
Reporting from Beirut -- U.S. Vice President Joe Biden today showed pre-election support for the Lebanese government, which prompted a piqued response from the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah, highlighting the critical nature of the upcoming parliamentary vote.Biden, speaking to reporters after arriving in Lebanon amid tight security, warned that U.S. aid to Lebanon could be reconsidered in case of a win by Hezbollah, which Washington considers a terrorist organization.
An Israeli spy arrested in Lebanon has confessed to being involved in a plot to facilitate the assassination of Hezbollah leader Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah.Ziad Homsi, arrested in Lebanon, admitted that he had been tasked with meeting with the Hezbollah leader "so that Israel could follow Homsi's route from his home town to the place where he would meet Nasrallah," the Lebanese daily As-Safir reported.
Hezbollah leaders feel that Nasrallah is more than ever at risk of being assassinated by Israel, fearing that Tel Aviv has a well-calculated plan in place to kill the popular leader, the leading Lebanese daily Safir wrote.
According to the daily, Hezbollah officials have a clear image of the Israeli scenario. However, the recent anti-espionage crackdown in Lebanon has partially foiled the plot.
The Israel Government Tourism Office is withdrawing a series of posters displayed in London Underground stations featuring a map that treats the occupied territories as part of Israel, after the advertisements were referred to the Advertising Standards Authority.
The yellow map makes no distinction between Israel and the Golan Heights, the West Bank and Gaza.
The Guardian UK
you're thrown inside
for not giving up hope
in the world, your country, your people,
if you do ten or fifteen years
apart from the time you have left,
you won't say,
"Better I had swung from the end of a rope
like a flag" --
You'll put your foot down and live.
It may not be a pleasure exactly,
but it's your solemn duty
to live one more day
to spite the enemy.
Part of you may live alone inside,
like a tone at the bottom of a well.
But the other part
must be so caught up
in the flurry of the world
that you shiver there inside
when outside, at forty days' distance, a leaf moves.
To wait for letters inside,
to sing sad songs,
or to lie awake all night staring at the ceiling
is sweet but dangerous.
Look at your face from shave to shave,
forget your age,
watch out for lice
and for spring nights,
and always remember
to eat every last piece of bread--
also, don't forget to laugh heartily.
And who knows,
the woman you love may stop loving you.
Don't say it's no big thing:
it's like the snapping of a green branch
to the man inside.
To think of roses and gardens inside is bad,
to think of seas and mountains is good.
Read and write without rest,
and I also advise weaving
and making mirrors.
I mean, it's not that you can't pass
ten or fifteen years inside
and more --
as long as the jewel
on the left side of your chest doesn't lose its lustre!
From a distance, the struggle between Hamas and Fatah appears commonplace, a typical third world country’s political scuffle over interpretation of democracy that went out of control, or simply a ‘power struggle’ between two political rivals vying for international aid and recognition. In fact, the conflict may appear as if it popped out of nowhere and will continue as long as the seemingly power-hungry Palestinians carry on with their self-defeating fight.
Therefore, it’s typical to read such deceptive news reports as that of Ibrahim Barzak of the Associated Press: “Hundreds of Palestinian patients have been trapped in the Gaza Strip, unable to travel abroad for crucial treatment for cancer and other diseases, because of political infighting between Gaza's militant Hamas rulers and their Palestinian rivals.”
Such sinister terminology as “Gaza’s Hamas rulers” – which happened to refer to a democratically elected government – is now in common use, in most Western news agencies, and those who readily recycle their reports.
Newly declassified documents reveal More than $97 million from USAID to separatist projects in Bolivia
The Obama administration has made no secret about its plans for GM: the Chrysler bankruptcy was the “test case,” and now Obama’s Wall Street buddies inside the Auto Task Force plan to replicate it. The vast implications of the Chrysler bankruptcy went unnoticed by the mainstream media, concerned as it was with the convenient hype provided by Swine Flu.
The real swine, however, are those preparing the greatest single attack on American workers since the Great Depression, the precedent of which will reverberate loudly through business-labor relations in the country — that is, if workers at GM and its parts suppliers don’t put a stop to it.
PA officials told the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot that the US intends to stand by its policy that East Jerusalem should be the Palestinian capital. Obama is expected to roll out the peace plan in Cairo on 4 June.
Well if the PA says so!!
*Israeli settler runs over a three-year-old Palestinian girl
*Israeli settler leader: Hebron is a Jewish city
*Israelis close land to Palestinian farmers near illegal settlement
*Youth protest construction of illegal outpost; settlers throw burning rags at internationals
*Key Hebron road opened to settlers, not Palestinians
*Hundreds protest Israel's "Jerusalem Day" celebrations
"United Jerusalem is Israel's capital. Jerusalem was always ours and will always be ours. It will never again be partitioned and divided," Netanyahu said at the state ceremony.
The French official noted that the previously agreed-upon Road Map peace plan demands that both sides negotiate an agreement on Jerusalem. "In France's eyes, Jerusalem should, within the framework of a negotiated peace deal, become the capital of two states," Desagneaux said.
"Actions such as the destruction of Palestinian homes or the transformation of Arab districts risk provoking an escalation in violence. They are unacceptable and contrary to international law," he added.
Friday, May 22, 2009
The Angry Arab
It's obviously not what Netanyahu (who's concern for the well-being for the Arabs is heart warming) thinks or wants us to think. It's Iran's centrifuges!
“He certainly did not plan when he left office to be doing this,” Cheney’s daughter said. “But I think as we watched in those very first days and weeks after President Obama came into office when he released the memos that lay out for the terrorists — the techniques we used to question them. Then when he suggested in the Oval Office itself that he would be open to the prosecution of former Bush administration officials including many who weren’t political appointees potentially, you know really, I think, made my dad realize this was just fundamentally wrong. We had to speak out.”
From mysterious explosions (most likely from explosives that did not detonate during the conflict); to continued Israeli shelling from sea, land, and air; to the death toll that keeps rising due to the discovery of bodies in the rubble or people succumbing to their wounds—the situation in Gaza is now worse than ever.
The Israeli blockade that has been imposed on Gaza since 2007 has severely limited the Gazan people’s basic food supply. In addition to this, the blockade is causing a water and sanitation crisis by not allowing enough electricity, fuel and replacement parts into the territory so they can keep the infrastructure in working-condition.
The torture memos released by the White House elicited shock, indignation, and surprise. The shock and indignation are understandable. The surprise, less so.
For one thing, even without inquiry, it was reasonable to suppose that Guantanamo was a torture chamber. Why else send prisoners where they would be beyond the reach of the law -- a place, incidentally, that Washington is using in violation of a treaty forced on Cuba at the point of a gun? Security reasons were, of course, alleged, but they remain hard to take seriously. The same expectations held for the Bush administration's "black sites", or secret prisons, and for extraordinary rendition, and they were fulfilled.
The Huffington Post
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Source: Guardian Unlimited
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says that we don't need to bail out the banks anymore based on the results of his stress tests. We should follow up quickly on his assessment and start shutting the special Fed lending facilities enjoyed by the banks, the FDIC loan guarantee program, and the AIG slush fund.
However, given the hundreds of billions that have already gone out the door, it is still worth asking whether this bailout was necessary. The argument made by many economists was that it would cost taxpayers more money to do an FDIC-type takeover of banking behemoths like Citigroup and Bank of America than the tens of billions handed over to keep them afloat. In their story, the taxpayer bailout of bank stockholders, bondholders, and top management was an unfortunate side effect.
"Enormous resources have been marshaled by conservative and Zionist organizations in an attempt to silence criticism of the Canadian government's unwavering support for Israel. The first few months of 2009 have seen a concerted campaign to shut down Palestine advocacy in Canada
Palestine advocates have always had to live with harassment, false accusations, and smears. All these vastly intensified after the latest Israeli assault against the captive people of Gaza that left over 1400 people dead, including 430 children, and thousands of homes and public infrastructure destroyed in an already devastated and besieged area. This direct response to a growing international solidarity movement in support of Palestinian human rights is an attempt to demonize the movement and curtail its ability to do public organizing and campaigning."
"Palestinian parliamentarian and pro-democracy activist Mustafa Barghouti wrote in the Los Angeles Times just before the meeting, "It's now or almost certainly never. If Obama lacks the political will to stand up to Netanyahu now, he will lack the capacity later. And by the time Obama leaves office, it will be too late to salvage anything more than an archipelago of Palestinian bantustans. We Palestinians seek freedom, not apartheid, and not the sort of Potemkin villages on the West Bank that Netanyahu is trying to package to the West as visionary economic boomtowns for desperate http://www.zmag.org/zspace/commentaries/3870.""
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Nearly half of the 800,000 Christians who resided in Iraq before the 2003 US-led invasion of the country have fled. Scores of Christian Palestinians, like their Muslim counterparts, have been driven out of their ancestral homeland, and those who remain behind are forced to endure the physical and economic hardships of living under Israeli occupation. Tens of thousands of Lebanese have fled their country's multiple conflicts, or have left their homeland to pursue better economic opportunities. Likewise, Jordan has lost around 20 percent of its Christians, in spite of the fact that their community enjoys full legal rights and official support. "
"The media jumped on this new new new crisis, the politicians around the world thanked Providence for something to distract voters from their ethical lapses and the opportunity to pad their budgets, pharmaceutical stocks rallied, airline stocks tanked, and the conspiracy theories are running wild. The Russians stopped importing pork, even though you don’t get the flu from eating pork."
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
"But why do we inflict pain for no gain? On the face of it, it is rather a perverse way of going about things. Does spitefulness stem from an affronted sense of fairness? Or something altogether darker: envy, lust for revenge - or perhaps even pure sadism?
It might be all those things. Economists, anthropologists and evolutionary biologists have been teasing out how, used judiciously, spiteful behaviour can be one of our best weapons in maintaining a fair and ordered society. But intentions that are noble in one situation can be malicious in another - making spite a weapon that can all too easily backfire."
The New Scientist
"IN THIS excellent book, NASA physicist Carlos Calle tackles the question of whether the universe requires a supernatural "designer" or whether our cosmological theories can explain the wondrous reality around us.
The standard model of cosmology, in which a tiny piece of inflating "false vacuum" decays into a fireball, and stars and galaxies congeal out of the cooling debris, has passed many tests, but problems remain. Where did the false vacuum come from in the first place? And how do the supposedly enormous quantum convulsions of our current vacuum manage to cancel out to almost - but not exactly - zero, leaving behind a piddling that lies in the tiny range of values that allow life to exist?"
(The New Scientist)
- Concern regarding numerous, ongoing and consistent allegations of the use of torture and ill-treatment taking place before, during and after interrogations.
- Deep concern at reports that Palestinian children are detained and interrogated in the absence of a lawyer or family member and are allegedly subjected to acts in breach of the Convention against Torture in order to obtain confessions.
- Concern at reports that approximately 700 Palestinian children are detained annually and are prosecuted in Israeli military courts.
- Concern at reports that in 95% of cases involving Palestinian children before the Israeli military courts, conviction is obtained using confessions extracted during interrogation.
- Concern that all but one of the prisons where Palestinian children are detained are located in Israel, hindering family visits. (This contravenes Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention).
- Concern that administrative detention does not conform to Article 16 of the Convention against Torture (cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment) because, among other reasons, it is used for inordinately lengthy periods of time and detainees are unable to challenge the evidence which is the basis for the detention.
When the United States invaded Iraq in March 2003, Americans were told Iraqi oil would cover the costs of the war and rebuilding. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld scoffed at estimates of $100 billion.
Nobel Prize-winning economist Josef Stiglitz of Columbia University and Harvard University professor Linda Bilmes raised a stir in 2006 by estimating the real cost of the war to be $1 trillion. That estimate has been tripled and the title of their new book is "The Three Trillion Dollar War."For two weeks the authors of "The Three Trillion Dollar War," fielded questions about the cost of the Iraq war and its impact on the U.S. economy. They're not taking new questions, but they're still posting answers to ones they've already received.
The "new" animated film created by Yoni Goodman, Director of Animation for the Academy Award-nominated film "Waltz with Bashir", together with the human rights group Gisha. "Closed Zone" shows the closure of the Gaza Strip and its effects on the ability of 1.5 million human beings living there to fulfill their daily needs, as well as their dreams and aspirations.