Saturday, July 31, 2010

O.A.R. 'I Feel Home' - America, the Good, the Bad & the Sad

Maybe I've heard this song before and never realised, but tonight I really heard it, out of nowhere, and in the most unlikely place, in the most incongruous situation. And it hit me like a ton of bricks. And when I tried to find it online, the best version I could find on youtube was even more American, as you'll see. America, the good, the bad and the sad. It reminds me of Whit Stillman's Barcelona, which everyone should see. (If you have seen it, you can relive the sweet conclusion here. If you haven't seen it, don't spoil it for yourself, rent it and watch it beginning to end. One of the best reflections on the USA and/vs. the world anywhere, in any form).

Friday, July 30, 2010

Driving in the Gap sucks!

Maneuvering a refrigerated truck through the streets of Rapid City for three years teaches the driver a few things about traffic flow.

7am to 8:30 is bad. Noon is bad. 4:30pm to 6 is bad.

The train obstructs multiple egress opportunities simultaneously, often moving in the same direction as that restaurant that only allows deliveries during an open window closing in two minutes.

On one exasperating morning thirty years ago, I shouted out of the cab of the truck, "Omaha Street should be one way from West Boulevard to Mountain View and West Main should be one-way all the way to St. Joe!" True story.

Then, it dawned on me that Mountain View should be one-way to Jackson Boulevard, Jackson Boulevard should be one-way from Mountain View to West Main and Cross Street one way to Omaha St. Left-hand turn lanes appeared to me as if in a vision.

Why do people have to die before things get fixed?

Secret Video of #CPC #Census Paranoia

(h/t Neil Morrison, CBC)

Join the Global Life- Line to Gaza

 Gaza -  Jabalya Refuge Camp in Rubble Many Hundreds Dead and Wounded
in the Zionist's 3 Week's Long Massacre, Labeled "Cast Lead Operation".

Editor Hiyam Noir

July 29 2010

The terrible massacre aboard Mavi Marmara on 31 May has brought a sea change in international opinion against the inhumane siege on the people of Gaza.

Far from deterring people from seeking to bring that siege to an end, the Israeli assault on the Freedom Flotilla is spurring on even more people to bring humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and to end the blockade. 

Viva Palestina has organised three massive land convoys to Gaza in the last 18 months - all of which have delivered their aid - and participated in the latest flotilla. 

Over the last few weeks we have been discussing with partner organisations how to coordinate relief efforts by land and sea so as to have the maximum impact.

As a result Viva Palestina is launching "Viva Palestina 5 - a global lifeline to Gaza" a gigantic land convoy leaving London on Saturday,18th of September in conjunction with convoys leaving from Casablanca and Doha and timed to coordinate with a larger and even more international flotilla aiming to reach Gaza by sea at the same time as the land convoys reach by land.

Viva Palestina will be leading the Land Convoy, a Global Lifeline To Gaza, working in partnership with the International Committee to Break the Siege on Gaza and organisations from Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Australasia, India, South Africa and more.

Saturday 18 September will certainly be the first clear Saturday after the month of Ramadan. We are aiming, with the two other legs of the land convoy, to take 500 vehicles with aid to Gaza carrying medical equipment, educational supplies and the wherewithal to rebuild a destroyed mosque, a school for orphans and to construct a maternity facility in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza. 

We will be supporting the international flotilla that is scheduled for the same time.

Important institutions are now calling for the end to the siege - the European Union, the United Nations, and major charities such as Oxfam. 

We are appealing for the widest and strongest participation in this latest effort, which will be all the stronger as it takes place in partnership with others who have a proven track record.

You can support the convoy in many ways, as outlined below, by fundraising, promoting it, or taking part yourself. Spaces for participants by land and sea will be limited and we urge you to sign up quickly and begin fundraising now to ensure you can take part.

We have drawn on the experience of the previous Viva Palestina missions to strengthen the organisational capacity and methods of this next one. So even if you have taken part before and want to do so again, please do carefully read through the information below and follow the registration and fundraising procedures.

Please also register for our e-mail bulletin to keep up to date as further information is sent out.

We would like to thank all those who have supported the previous convoys and flotillas and who responded so magnificently when the last one was so brutally attacked.

Now is the time to answer that atrocity with a flood of humanity towards the suffering people of Gaza.


Viva Palestina is also planning to support a new flotilla of aid ships to Gaza. No date has yet been fixed, but the organisations that brought together the Freedom Flotilla in May plus others are hopeful that it will coincide with the land convoys arriving in October.

A flotilla which will be stronger even than the great achievement in May will require a massive fundraising effort. And, as then, space aboard will necessarily be very limited. We hope to make a significant contribution to this initiative while building up a wide, international coalition of support for the land convoys, which are now underway.

The message from the besieged people of Gaza is loud and clear: Come in massive numbers, in a co-ordinated and organized way, by land and sea to deliver vital aid and to highlight the injustice of the siege.

To that end we are supervising the aid that we are taking to ensure it is of the highest quality and meets the needs the people of Gaza have identified. 

The Israeli government seems to regard Gaza as a junkyard: Supporters of the Palestinian people believe that Gaza of course deserves no less than what we often take for granted in Western countries, including the movement of goods and people with neighbouring countries that is vital to the reconstruction of the economy.

That's why this global convoy to the Rafah crossing, which the Egyptian government has said is "open", is so vital.

Please click here for details of how to apply for Viva Palestina 5


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Bullying Abbas in to Talks

US President Barack Obama and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Ramallah Talks 2008

Editor Hiyam Noir
July 29 2010

The US and the EU continue to pressure the Palestinian Authority leadership to embrace direct talks with Israel, but to what end, asks Khaled Amayreh in Ramallah:
The Obama administration is exerting intense pressure on Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to move "sooner than later" to direct talks with Israel. 

The European Union is also pressing Abbas to do the same thing. Both the US and EU are considered chief bankrollers of the PA, which nearly completely depends on foreign aid for its financial and political survival.

The PA and Israel have been holding indirect "proximity" talks for several weeks. However, leaks suggest that very little progress -- if any -- has been made. This fact is frustrating the Palestinians and making them view with suspicion further talks, direct or indirect, in the absence of clear guarantees as to how the "endgame" would look like.

Moreover, Abbas, according to close and reliable sources in Ramallah, is becoming disillusioned with the entire peace process and believes that the international pressure exerted on him to switch to direct talks, is only intended to give Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu more time to "create facts on the ground" -- an allusion to building more Jewish colonies on the West Bank, especially in East Jerusalem.

Abbas is showing a modicum of resistance to American pressure. He told a meeting of Fatah's Revolutionary Council in Ramallah this week that he wouldn't accept direct talks unless certain conditions were met. These include a full settlement construction freeze, agreement on the demarcation of borders, and an Israeli pledge that negotiations must pick up where the two sides left off in talks during the tenure of the previous Israeli government.

The Fatah council backed Abbas in his refusal to enter direct talks under present circumstances. However, this backing can also be interpreted as a warning to the Palestinian leader against giving further concessions to Israel.

Abbas repeatedly vowed to refrain from resuming talks with the Netanyahu government as long settlement expansion activities continued. However, the PA leader has frequently abandoned his conditions and returned to mostly pointless talks under pressure, mainly from Washington and its pro-US ally regimes, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Hence, most observers in occupied Palestine suggest that Abbas's reluctance to move to direct talks is only a tactical manoeuvre, since he can't really say "No" to Washington, given his financial and political reliance on Israel's guardian ally. 

Abbas is facing the difficult dilemma of having to please Washington by switching to direct talks he knows well will lead nowhere, while satisfying his own people -- including Fatah -- who are convinced that current US- sponsored talks are just another exercise in futility and perhaps deception as well.

But Abbas has very few choices if any. He realises the risks inherent in placing all Palestinian eggs in the US basket. Yasser Arafat had tried to do just that and the result was a fiasco. Meanwhile, to mitigate pressure on his leadership, Abbas is trying to make the Arab world -- especially Egypt and Saudi Arabia -- virtual partners in any Palestinian decision pertaining to joining direct talks with Israel.

Today, 29 July, the Palestinian leader will meet with the Arab League's follow- up committee in Cairo. 

The committee includes representatives from 14 Arab countries, among them Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. It is likely that these states will recommend that Abbas heed US calls regarding joining direct talks with Israel. 

Some Arab officials have argued that resuming direct talks with Israel wouldn't necessarily be a negative step since it would demonstrate to Washington that Israel is the real peace blocker, because it refuses to give up the spoils of the 1967 war and end its occupation.

This viewpoint would be sound if Washington were ignorant of the truth about Israeli stances. After all, the PA and Israel have been talking face to face for close to 20 years but to no avail, the main reason being Israel's unwillingness to concede anything. In fact, it is unclear whether Israel can embrace any solution that leads to a Palestinian state, given the phenomenal proliferation of Jewish colonies on the West Bank.

Indeed, serious intellectuals from both the Palestinian and Israeli camps have recently argued that the only remaining workable solution is the creation of a single state in all of mandate Palestine. The default is open-ended conflict, these intellectuals have argued.

The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah is aware of the fact that, at very best, the two-state solution is being kept alive via artificial means and that more and more people are losing hope in its feasibility. Even within Fatah, Abbas's party, a strong lobby is reportedly being formed to promote the one-state solution. 

This lobby includes dozens of Fatah leaders who have been authorised to study the one-state solution and how viable it would be.

According to sources close to the Palestinian decision-making circles in Ramallah, Abbas introduced to US Envoy George Mitchell, during the latter's latest visit to the region, an unnamed Palestinian intellectual who explained to the American diplomat the impossibility of creating a viable and territorially contiguous Palestinian state. 

The two, Mitchell and the Palestinian intellectual, reportedly spoke for 15 minutes in the presence of Abbas.

Moreover, Palestinian sources revealed that Abbas complained to President Obama recently that a growing number of the Palestinian intelligentsia were pressuring him to abandon the two-state strategy because very little land was left for the creation of a viable Palestinian state.

Meanwhile, Israeli officials, who keep criticising the Abbas leadership for dodging direct talks, are vowing to resume settlement expansion in the West Bank once a partial construction freeze ends this September. 

Netanyahu and his cabinet ministers seem to feel that by concentrating on the issue of direct talks with the PA they have achieved a double-score: first by convincing Washington that the ball is in the Palestinian court; and second by effectively getting the PA to join vague and uncertain talks that might linger on until the next US administration.

Finally, the US and Europe have given the PA some diplomatic bribes by elevating the Palestine Liberation Organisation's (PLO) diplomatic representation in Washington and some European capitals. 

For example, the status of the PLO representative in Washington, DC has been changed to quasi-ambassador instead of head of mission. The Palestinian flag has also been allowed to fly in Washington for the first time. Paris is considering similar measures.

Some Palestinians, especially within the Islamist opposition, are worried that the PA is being beguiled into sacrificing vital Palestinian interests in exchange for symbolic gains. One Hamas leader in Gaza remarked, "We need the national flag to fly in Jerusalem, not in Washington."

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The Right to Arrest War Crime Suspects

Gaza flotilla film

July 28 2010 

The UK based Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC),have organised an Open Letter published in Guardian, regarding the motion made by justice secretary Kenneth Clarke.

Clarke have proposed to give the director of public prosecutions a veto over arrest warrants in private prosecutions for international crimes.The Open Letter is signed by a number of individuals.

The Right to Arrest War Crime Suspects

" We (PSC)), are horrified of the proposals made by justice secretary Kenneth Clarke to give the director of public prosecutions a veto over arrest warrants in private prosecutions for international crimes (Report, 22 July). 

The justice secretary's statement appeared to question the ability of magistrates themselves to weed out flimsy cases. 

To imply that any previous arrest warrants were issued without judges being satisfied of the existence of serious evidence against the person concerned is an insult to the British legal system and the senior magistrates that preside over such cases. 

Involving the DPP risks adding a political dimension to a legal decision and introduces a source of delay when urgent action may be required to stop a suspect escaping justice.

Since we call on other countries to uphold human rights and international law, our legal system also has to abide by those principles, in particular bringing to justice those responsible for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture and hostage-taking.

It's no secret that this move is the result of pressure from the Israeli government to try to ensure that ex-ministers and military staff will not have to face warrants for their arrest on entering this country.

Rather than bending to pressure to change the existing law, our government should be issuing a statement of intent that all those responsible for serious international crimes, whatever their nationality, will be brought to justice if and when the evidence supports criminal prosecution. 

The proposed changes will apply to everyone, making it more difficult to prosecute all suspects, whether from Israel or any other country involved in systematic human rights violations. Britain must not be seen as a safe haven for anyone suspected of committing such grave international crimes."


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Ghana Poster Week, Coming This Fall!

Later this year I'll do another week long series of posts, this time devoted to the batshit insane genre of Ghana posters. Anyone who owns books on Ghana posters interested in scanning and helping contribute to this would be greatly appreciated.

I'm also considering rounding up some artists to contribute to this. It would be interesting to get a handful of artists to do Ghana style painting interpretations of their favorite films.

Great Falls/Rapid City: Paranoid White People

From the Great Falls Tribune (note over 300 comments):

In 2004, Montana voters approved medical marijuana for the chronically ill and people in pain, but interest in the state program soared at the end of the decade. This year, a backlash against the number of medical marijuana patients in Montana — the total is expected to exceed 20,000 patients later this summer — has squelched medical marijuana businesses in cities such as Great Falls and Kalispell, which enacted bans, and also prompted moratoriums and provoked debates in many other Montana communities.

Businesses that sell marijuana are prohibited from operating in the city of Great Falls under a ban approved June 1 on a split vote by the City Commission.

One might expect vocal anti-government groups like the Citizens for Liberty to be out demonstrating its support for Initiated Measure 13 in Rapid City, except that these people are all for personal responsibility as long as GlaxoSmithKline knows better than the voters do.

In Rare Defence of Michael Ignatieff: 'We can dance if we want to...'

Whatever Iggy's faults, us party people gotta fight for our right 2 partay!
Or to quote the wisdom of some of Canada's greatest philosophers:
We can dance if we want to, we can leave your friends behind
'Cause your friends don't dance and if they don't dance
Well they're no friends of mine

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Decade of Declining Home Prices Ahead

By Mike Whitney
July 28, 2010

The housing depression will last for a decade or more. This is by design. The Fed has been working with the banks to withhold inventory so prices do not fall too fast or too far. That way the banks can manage their write-downs without slipping into insolvency. But what's good for the banks is bad for the country. Capital impairment at the banks, means no credit expansion in the near-term. It means the economy will continue to contract, unemployment will remain high, and deflation will push down wages and prices. Everyone will pay for the mortgage-backed securities scam that was engineered by the banks.

Typically, personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and real estate lead the way out of recession. But not this time. Both PCE and RE will stay depressed and act as a drag on employment and growth. Last week, in testimony before the congress, Fed chair Ben Bernanke made it clear that the Central Bank has no intention of providing extra monetary stimulus to make up for rapidly-dissipating fiscal stimulus or the winding down of government subsidies for auto, home, and appliance purchases. The economy must muddle through on its own. But without additional pump-priming, disinflation will turn to outright deflation and the economy will sink into negative territory. Bernanke knows this, but he's absolved himself of any further responsibility. It's just a matter of time before the next slump.

Look at housing. The facts are grim. This is from Charles Hugh Smith:

About two-thirds of U.S. households own a house (75 million); 51 million have a mortgage and 24 million own homes free and clear (no mortgage). Most of the other 36 million households are moderate/low income and have limited or no access to credit and limited or no assets.

If we look up all the gory details in the fed Flow of Funds, we find that household real estate fell from $23 trillion in 2006 to $16.5 trillion at the end of 2009. That is a decline of $6.5 trillion, more than half the total $11 trillion lost in the credit/housing bust. Home mortgages have fallen a negligible amount, from $10.48 trillion in 2007 to $10.26 trillion at the end of 2009. As of the end of 2009, total equity in household real estate was a paltry $6.24 trillion of which about $5.25 trillion was held in free-and-clear homes (32% of all household real estate, i.e. 32% of $16.5 trillion).

That leaves about $1 trillion--a mere 1.85% of the nation's total net worth-- of equity in the 51 million homes with mortgages. ...$6 trillion in wealth is gone ("What we know--and don't want to know-- about housing", Charles Hugh Smith, of two

The bursting of the housing bubble wiped out the middle class. Now--even in the best case scenario--private sector deleveraging will continue for years to come. Baby boomers are not nearly as wealthy as they believed; they must slash spending and save for the future. US household debt as a share of disposable income, remains historically high (122%) and will have to return-to-trend (100%) before consumers loosen the purse-strings and resume spending. Repeat: 51 million homeowners have a meager $1 trillion in home equity. We're a nation of paupers.

More than 7 million homeowners are presently in some stage of foreclosure. Obama's mortgage modification program (HAMP) has been an utter failure. More than half the applicants default within the year. At the same time, mortgage purchase applications have fallen off a cliff. "The weekly applications index is at the lowest level since December 1996, and and the four week average is at the lowest level since September 1995 - almost 15 years ago." (calculated risk)

This is from the Wall Street Journal:

"How much should we worry about a new leg down in the housing market? If the number of foreclosed homes piling up at banks is any indication, there’s ample reason for concern.

As of March, banks had an inventory of about 1.1 million foreclosed homes, up 20% from a year earlier, according to estimates from LPS Applied Analytics. Another 4.8 million mortgage holders were at least 60 days behind on their payments or in the foreclosure process, meaning their homes were well on their way to the inventory pile. That "shadow inventory" was up 30% from a year earlier.

Based on the rate at which banks have been selling those foreclosed homes over the past few months, all that inventory, real and shadow, would take 103 months to unload. That’s nearly nine years. Of course, banks could pick up the pace of sales, but the added supply of distressed homes would weigh heavily on prices — and thus boost their losses." ("Number of the Week: 103 Months to Clear Housing Inventory", Mark Whitehouse Wall Street Journal)

A 9-year backlog of homes. No wonder the yield on the 10-year Treasury is under 3%. The country is in a Depression.

Housing prices have already fallen 30% from their peak in 2006, but they temporarily stabilized during the period that the Fed was exchanging toxic mortgage-backed securities (MBS) for $1.25 trillion in reserves. The banks collaborated with the Fed (I believe) to hold back supply so the public would be duped into thinking that Bernanke's cash-for-trash (Quantitative Easing) program was actually supporting the market. But it wasn't. Prices stayed flat because the banks were deliberately withholding supply. The Fed's action did nothing. Now that Bernanke has ended the program, inventory is rising. How far prices drop will depend on the rate at which the banks dump their backlog of homes onto market. The longer the process is dragged out, the longer the recession will persist.

The housing market has been nationalized. More than 95% of the funding for new mortgages comes from the government--mainly Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA guarantees or VA loans. There is no market in housing--it's all central planning with the Fed acting as the financial Politburo. It's all designed to stealthily transfer the losses of the Kleptocrats onto the taxpayer. Subprime lending continues behind the mask of FHA-backed mortgages. FHA underwrites mortgages with as little as 3.5% down and credit scores in the high 500-range. It's a joke. The lending system is designed to implode and it will, leaving more red ink for the public to mop up. Nothing has changed.

Anyone who is thinking about buying a house should mull over the facts before making a final decision. The market is so distorted by the buildup of shadow inventory there's no way of knowing whether prices are fair or not. It's a crapshoot. An article in titled "Banks can't hold back high-end mortgage repos for long" is a "must read" for anyone presently looking to buy. Here's an excerpt:

"Let's begin with Chicago.....As of July 15, RealtyTrac listed 28,829 properties which had been foreclosed and repossessed by lenders. Some have been owned by the bank as long as 2½ years without having been placed on the market. Roughly half have been repossessed by the lender since late January 2010.

This year, banks in the Chicago area have foreclosed on a huge number of expensive homes. RealtyTrac lists 2,650 repossessed homes for more than $300,000 and 169 for more than $1 million.... Out of 28,829 repossessed properties, there were only 1,292 listed by lenders as "for sale." The vast majority of these available homes were inexpensive. A mere 29 homes over $300,000 were for sale. In other words, the banks have withheld from the market 2,621 properties listed at $300,000 or higher." ("Banks can't hold back high-end mortgage repos for long", Keith Jurow,

We can see that the banks are deliberately keeping homes off the market to keep prices artificially high so they don't have to write down the losses. Clearly, the Fed knows what's going on.

Here's more from

In Miami-Dade County, the same thing--"Out of 10,858 bank-owned homes, a mere 983 were listed for sale....

Orange County, same deal--"As of July 16, RealtyTrac listed 6,270 repossessed properties.... very few foreclosed homes in Orange County are listed for sale - 227. (and even more interesting) "650 of theses repossessed homes are priced at more than $1 million. Yet not a single home over $1 million is currently on the market." ( "Banks can't hold back high-end mortgage repos for long", Keith Jurow,

Now that the Fed's mortgage-backed securities buyback program (QE) is over, the banks are stepping up foreclosures and short sales. Expect more homes to flood the market pushing down prices. But whether the banks release more of their shadow inventory or not, it will still take years before the market returns to a (normal) 5 to 6 month backlog. Take a look at this chart and see the extent to which the banks are deceiving the public.

There are remedies for our housing woes, but they require massive government intervention. Mortgages must be restructured in a way that keeps as many people as possible in their homes. That means bondholders and banks will have to take a sizable haircut, which is the way capitalism is supposed to work when risky investments blow up. The write-downs will force many of the banks into bankruptcy, so the Obama administration will have to resurrect the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) to resolve the banks, replace management, and auction off their downgraded assets. It's all been done before. When the toxic assets and non performing loans have been purged from bank balance sheets, the banks will be able to fulfill their function as providers of credit to consumers, households and small businesses. Credit expansion will lower unemployment, reduce excess capacity and increase GDP. The economy will begin to grow again. Regrettably, Bernanke has chosen the path of deception and deflation, which is why there won't be any real recovery until he is removed.

Source; Global Research,

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Robert Logrippo - Cover For "The Singer Enigma"

"He had to solve the greatest riddle of a horror-haunted universe."

Logrippo previously mentioned here.

Artwork found thanks to Sarcoptiform.

Battle Of The Monsters, Hamilton Invaders, 1964

"The Hamilton's Invaders was a 1964 series of plastic toys of giant insect type monsters, toy soldiers and vehicles." - quote source from Wikipedia article.

First four images found at the Toys For The Ages flickr gallery.

The Source of War

"Today, everything hangs by a thread".... An incident could set in motion an all out nuclear war....

By Fidel Castro Ruz

July 15, 2010
On July 4, I said that neither the United States nor Iran would give in: “one, prevented by the pride of the powerful, and the other because it has the capacity and the will to fight oppression, as we have seen so many times before in the history of mankind.”

In nearly every war, one party wishes to avoid it and, sometimes, the two parties do. This time it will happen although one of the parties does not wish it. That was the case of the two World Wars of 1914 and 1939, only 25 years one from the other.

The carnage was awful in both wars, which would not have erupted had it not been for previous miscalculations. Both defended imperialist interests and believed they could accomplish their goals without the exceedingly high price finally paid.

In the case in question, one of the parties involved advocates absolutely fair national interests. The other pursues illegitimate and coarse material interests.

An analysis of every war fought throughout the recorded history of our species shows that one of the parties has pursued such goals.

It’s absolutely wrong to entertain the illusion that this time such goals will be attained without the most dreadful of all wars.

In one of the best articles ran by the Global Research website, signed by Rick Rozoff, the author offers plenty of indisputable arguments, which every well-informed person should be aware of,about the intentions of the United States.

According to the author, the United States believes that “…you can win if the adversary knows that it is vulnerable to a sudden and undetectable, appalling and devastating strike that it has no possibility to respond to or to defend from.”

    “…a country with the aspiration of continuing as the only one in history with full military predominance all over the Earth, in the air, the sea and in space.”

    “A country that keeps and expands military bases and troops as well as fighting-groups of aircraft carriers and strategic bombers on practically every latitude and longitude, and which does so on a record war budget after World War II amounting to 708 billion dollars next year.”

It was also “…the first country to develop and use nuclear weapons…”

    “…the United States has deployed 1,550 nuclear warheads while keeping 2,200 in storage (or 3,500 according to some estimates) and a triad of ground, air and submarine delivering vehicles.”

    “The non-nuclear arsenal used to neutralize and destroy the air and strategic defenses, and potentially all the major military forces of other countries, will consist in intercontinental ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and hypersonic bombers, and super-stealth strategic bombers that can avoid radar detection and the ground- and air-based defenses.”

Rozoff enumerates the numerous press conferences, meetings and statements given in the past few months by the chiefs of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the senior executives of the US administration

He explains the NATO commitments and the reinforced cooperation with the Near East partners, meaning Israel in the first place. He says that “the US is also intensifying the space and cyber war programs with the potential to paralyze other nations’ military command and surveillance, control, communication, information and intelligence systems rendering them helpless except in the most basic tactical field.”

He refers to the signing by the US and Russia, on April 8 this year, in Prague, of the new START Treaty, “which contains no restriction as to the actual or planned potential for a US conventional prompt global strike.”

He also reports a number of news on the issue and offers a most striking example of the US objectives.

He indicates that “…the Defense Department is currently examining the entire range of technologies and systems for a Conventional Prompt Global Strike that could offer the president more credible and technically adequate options to tackle new and developing threats.”

I sustain the view that no president –and not even the most knowledgeable military chief– would have a minute to know what should be done if it were not already programmed in computers.

Rozoff proceeds undisturbed to relate what Global Security Network states in an analysis from Elaine Grossman under the title, The Cost of Testing a US Global Strike Missile Could Reach 500 Million Dollars.

    “The Obama administration has requested 239.9 billion dollars for research and development of the prompt global strike by US military services in fiscal year 2011…if the level of funds remains as anticipated for the coming years, by the end of fiscal year 2015 the Pentagon will have spent 2 billion dollars in prompt global strike, according to budget documents introduced in Congress last month.”

    “A comparable terrifying scenario of the effects of a PGS, in this case of the sea version, was described three years ago in Popular Mechanics:

    “An Ohio-type nuclear submarine emerges in the Pacific ready to execute the President’s order for launching. When the order comes, the submarine shoots to the sky a 65-tons Trident II missile. Within 2 minutes, the missile is flying at 22,000 km/h. Over the oceans and out of the atmosphere it speeds for thousands of kilometers.

    “At the top of its parabola, in space, the four warheads of the Trident separate and start descending on the planet.

    “The warheads flying at 21,000 km/h are full of tungsten rods with twice the resistance of steel.

    “Once on target, the warheads explode and thousands of rods fall on the area, each carrying 12 times the destructive force of a .50 caliber bullet. Everything within 279 square meters of that whirling metal storm is annihilated.”

Then Rozoff explains the statement made this year, on April 7, by the chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, General Leonid Ivashov, under the headline Obama’s Nuclear Surprise, where he refers to the US President remarks in Prague last year with the following words: “The existence of thousands of nuclear weapons is the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War,” and about the signature of the START II in that same city on April 8, the author points out:

    “In the history of the United States during the past century, there is not one example of sacrifice of the US elites for humanity or for the peoples of other countries. Would it be realistic to expect that the arrival of an African-American president to the White House might change the political philosophy of that nation traditionally aimed at achieving global domination? Those who believe that something like that could happen should try to understand why the US –the country whose military budget exceeds that of all the other countries of the world combined– continues spending huge amounts of money in war preparations.”

    “…the concept of Prompt Global Strike envisions a concentrated attack with the use of several thousand conventional precision weapons that within 2 to 4 hours would destroy the crucial infrastructure of the targeted country and force it to capitulate.”

    “The concept of Prompt Global Strike is aimed at ensuring the US monopoly in the military field and to widen the gap between that country and the rest of the world. In combination with the defensive deployment of missiles that should supposedly preserve the US from retaliatory attacks from Russia and China, the Prompt Global Strike initiative will turn Washington into a global dictator of the modern era.”

    “Essentially, the new US nuclear doctrine is part of the new US security strategy that could more adequately be described as a strategy of complete impunity. The US increases its military budget, gives free rein to NATO as a global gendarme, and plans exercises in a real situation in Iran to prove the efficiency of the Prompt Global Strike initiative.”

In substance, Obama intends to mislead the world talking about a world free of nuclear weapons that would be replaced with other extremely destructive weapons designed to terrorize the leaders of other States and to accomplish the new strategy of complete impunity.

The Yankees believe that Iran will soon surrender. It is expected that the European Union will inform about a package of its own sanctions to be signed on July 26.

The latest meeting of 5 plus 1 was held on July 2, after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated that “his country will resume the talks by the end of August, with the participation of Brazil and Turkey.”

A senior EU official warned that “neither Brazil nor Turkey will be invited to the talks, at least not at this point.”

    “Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki remarked that he is in favor of challenging international sanctions and proceeding with the upgrading of uranium.”

Since Tuesday July 5, and in view of the European insistence in promoting additional measures against Iran, this country has responded that it will not negotiate until September.

Thus, with every passing day there are fewer possibilities to overcome the insurmountable obstacle.

What will happen is so obvious that it can be exactly foreseen.

As for me, I should be self-critical since I made the mistake of affirming in my Reflections of June 27, that the conflict would break out on Thursday, Friday or Saturday at the latest. It was known that Israeli warships were moving toward their target alongside the Yankee naval forces. The order to search the Iranian merchant ships had been issued.

However, I lost sight of a previous step: Iran’s continued refusal to allow the inspection of a merchant ship. In the analysis of the Security Council’s intricate language to impose sanctions on that country, I overlooked the detail of that previous step for the inspection order to be enforced. It was the only required step.

The 60-days period assigned by the Security Council on June 9, to receive information on the implementation of the Resolution,will expire on August 8.

But something more unfortunate still was happening. I was working with the latest material on the issue produced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba and the document did not include two crucial paragraphs which were the last of said Resolution and which literally read:

    “It requests that, in a 90 days period, the Director General of the IAEA submits to the IAEA Board of Governors and, simultaneously, to the Security Council for its examination, a report indicating whether Iran has carried out the complete and sustained suspension of all the activities mentioned in Resolution 1737 (2006), and if it is implementing every measure demanded by the IAEA Board of Governors and observing the remaining provisions of Resolutions 1737, 1747, 1803 and the current Resolution;

    “It affirms that it will examine Iran’s actions in the light of the report mentioned in paragraph 36, which shall be submitted in a period of 90 days and that a) it will suspend the implementation of the measures provided that Iran suspends every activity related to upgrading and reprocessing, including research and development, and while the suspension stands, the IAEA will verify, to allow the celebration of negotiations in good faith to reach a prompt and mutually acceptable result; b) it will cease to implement the measures specified in paragraphs 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 12 of resolution 1737, as well as in paragraphs 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of resolution 1747, in the paragraphs 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 of Resolution 1803 and in paragraphs 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23 and 24 of the current resolution, as soon as it determines, after receiving the report mentioned in the previous paragraph, that Iran has fully observed its obligations in compliance with the relevant Security Council resolutions and the requisites of the IAEA Board of Governors, a determination to be confirmed by the Board itself; and c) in case the report indicates that Iran has failed to abide by the provisions of Resolutions 1737, 1747, 1803 and the current resolution, it will adopt, in accordance with article 41 of chapter vii of the UN Charter, other appropriate measures to persuade Iran to do as provided in said resolutions and the requisites of the IAEA, and underlines that other decisions shall be adopted if such additional measures were necessary…”

Apparently, after many hours of hard work making copies of every document, somebody at the Ministry fell asleep, but my eagerness to seek information and exchange views on these sensitive issues enabled me to detect the omission.

From my viewpoint, the United States and its NATO allies have said their last word. Two powerful states with authority and prestige failed to exercise their right of vetoing the perfidious UN Resolution.

It was the only possibility to gain time in order to find a formula to save peace, an objective that would have given them more authority to continue struggling for it.

Today, everything hangs by a thread.

My main purpose was to warn the international public of what was developing.

I have done so partly watching what was happening as the political leader that I was for many long years facing the empire, its blockade and its unspeakable crimes. I’m not doing it for revenge.

I do not hesitate to take the risk of compromising my modest moral authority.

I shall continue writing Reflections on the subject. There will be others after this one to continue delving in the issue on July and August, unless an incident occurs that sets in motion the deadly weapons that are today aiming at each other.

I have greatly enjoyed the final matches of the Football World Cup and the volleyball matches, where our brave team is leading its group in the World League.

Fidel Castro Ruz is a frequent contributor to Global Research. 

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Book Review : " PALESTINE - Israel and the US Empire" by Richard Becker

A comprehensive, chronological historical analysis of more than six decades of outright malfeasance.

The Jewish perfidious plan, the annihilation of the indigenous Palestinian people, from the horrific events of the past, when armed Jewish Zionist terrorist gangs trespassed Palestinian land and property, rummaging through and plundering Palestinian homes,with the intention to erect Jewish watchtowers and settlements on the top of erased Palestinian towns and villages - to the present time of implied force - a savage violence, and the colonization of Gaza,the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The author,Richard Becker calls for an end to the systematic mistreatment, the subjugation,and the extermination of the Palestinian people.

Read this important book, if you have the mental perception and a heart of compassion,you are welcome to join our struggle for Palestinian justice.

Hiyam Noir

July 28 201

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Al-Arakib - Ethnic cleansing in the Israeli Negev

By Neve Gordon

29 July 2010

Neve Gordon recounts his experience of visiting the Israeli Arab village of Al-Arakib moments after it had been razed to the ground by the Israeli authorities, in the latest example of ethnic cleansing in the Negev desert.

A menacing convoy of bulldozers was heading back to Be'er Sheva as I drove towards al-Arakib, a Bedouin village located not more than 10 minutes from the city. Once I entered the dirt road leading to the village I saw scores of vans with heavily armed policemen getting ready to leave. Their mission, it seems, had been accomplished.

The signs of destruction were immediately evident. I first noticed the chickens and geese running loose near a bulldozed house, and then saw another house and then another one, all of them in rubble. A few children were trying to find a shaded spot to hide from the scorching desert sun, while behind them a stream of black smoke rose from the burning hay. The sheep, goats and the cattle were nowhere to be seen – perhaps because the police had confiscated them.

Neve Gordon teaches politics at Ben-Gurion University and is the author of Israel’s Occupation.He can be reached through his website

A version of this article first appeared in the Guardian. The version here is published by permission of Neve Gordon.

See video in the sidebar; Ethnic cleansing in the Negev

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Everything CANADIANS need to know about Canada...

Andrei Markov had to pass the citizenship exam - I wonder how many native-born Canadians could? h/t Habs Inside/Out (PS. Only disgree re. monarchy, which I'm all for but good jibe)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Is a Two-State Solution Still Possible?

Israel's Fated Bleak Future

July 2010

By John J. Mearsheimer

PRESIDENT Barack Obama has finally coaxed Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. He and most Americans hope that the talks will lead to the creation of a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank. Regrettably, that is not going to happen. Instead, those territories are almost certain to be incorporated into a "Greater Israel," which will then be an apartheid state bearing a marked resemblance to white-ruled South Africa.

There are four possible futures regarding Israel and the occupied territories. The outcome that gets the most attention is the two-state solution, where a Palestinian state would control 95 percent or more of the West Bank and all of Gaza, and territorial swaps would compensate the Palestinians for those small pieces of the West Bank that Israel would keep. East Jerusalem would be its capital.

The alternatives to a two-state solution all involve creating a Greater Israel—an Israel that effectively controls Gaza and the West Bank. In the first scenario, it would become a democratic binational state in which Palestinians and Jews enjoy equal political rights. This solution would mean abandoning the original Zionist vision of a Jewish state, since Palestinians would eventually outnumber Jews.

Israel could also expel most of the Palestinians from Greater Israel, preserving its Jewish character through ethnic cleansing. Something similar happened in 1948, when the Zionists drove 700,000 Palestinians out of the territory that became Israel. The final alternative is some form of apartheid, whereby Israel increases its control over the occupied territories, but allows the Palestinians to exercise limited autonomy in a set of disconnected and economically crippled enclaves.

The two-state solution is the best of these alternatives, but most Israelis are opposed to making the sacrifices that would be necessary to create a viable Palestinian state. There are about 480,000 settlers in the occupied territories and an extensive infrastructure of connector and bypass roads, not to mention the settlements themselves. A Hebrew University Truman Institute poll in March of West Bank settlers found that 21 percent believe that "all means must be employed to resist the evacuation of most West Bank settlements, including the use of arms." They needn't worry, however, because Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is committed to expanding the settlements throughout the occupied territories.

Of course, there are prominent Israelis like former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who do favor a two-state solution. But that does not mean that they would be willing or able to make the concessions necessary to create a legitimate Palestinian state. Olmert did not do so when he was prime minister, and it is unlikely that he or Livni could get enough of their fellow citizens to back a genuine two-state solution. The political center of gravity in Israel has shifted sharply to the right over the past decade, and there is no sizable pro-peace political party or movement they could turn to for help.

Some advocates of a two-state solution believe the Obama administration can compel Israel to accept a two-state outcome. The United States, after all, is the most powerful country in the world and should have great leverage over Israel, because it gives the Jewish state so much diplomatic and material support.

But no American president can pressure Israel to change its policies toward the Palestinians. The main reason is the Israel lobby, a powerful coalition of American Jews and Christian evangelicals that has a profound influence on U.S. Middle East policy. Alan Dershowitz was spot on when he said, "My generation of Jews…became part of what is perhaps the most effective lobbying and fund-raising effort in the history of democracy."

Consider that every American president since 1967 has opposed settlement building, yet none has been able to get Israel to stop building them. There is little evidence that Obama is different from his predecessors. Shortly after taking office, he demanded that Israel stop all settlement building in the occupied territories. Netanyahu refused and Obama caved in to him. The president recently made it clear that he wants Israel to stop building in East Jerusalem. In response, Netanyahu said that Israel would never stop building there, because it is an integral part of the Jewish state. Obama, under pressure from the lobby, has remained silent and certainly has not threatened to punish Israel.

The best Obama can hope for is to push forward the so-called peace process, but most people understand that these negotiations are a charade. The two sides will engage in endless talks while Israel continues to colonize Palestinian lands. The likely result, therefore, will be a Greater Israel between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

But who will live there and what kind of political system will it have?

It will not be a democratic binational state, at least not in the near future. The vast majority of Israel's Jews have no interest in living in a state dominated by Palestinians. Ethnic cleansing would guarantee that Greater Israel retains a Jewish majority, but that murderous strategy would do enormous damage to Israel's moral fabric, to its relationship with Jews in the Diaspora, and to its international standing. No genuine friend of Israel could support this crime against humanity.

The most likely outcome is that Greater Israel will become a full-fledged apartheid state. There are already separate laws, separate roads and separate housing in the occupied territories, and the Palestinians are essentially confined to impoverished enclaves. Indeed, two former Israeli prime ministers—Ehud Barak and Olmert—have made just this point. Olmert said that if the two-state solution collapses, Israel will face a "South African-style struggle." He went so far as to argue, "as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished."

Olmert is correct. A Jewish apartheid state is not sustainable over the long term. The discrimination and repression that underpin apartheid are antithetical to core Western values. How could anyone make a moral case for it in the United States, where democracy is venerated and segregation and racism are routinely condemned? It is equally hard to imagine the United States having a "special relationship" with an apartheid state. It is much easier to imagine Americans strongly opposing that racist state's political system and working hard to change it. An apartheid Israel would also be a strategic liability for the United States.

This is why, in the end, Greater Israel will become a democratic binational state, whose politics will be dominated by its Palestinian citizens. This will mean the end of the Zionist dream.

What is truly remarkable about this situation is that the lobby is effectively helping Israel destroy its own future as a Jewish state. On top of that, there is an alternative outcome that would be relatively easy to achieve and is clearly in Israel's best interests: the two-state solution. It is hard to understand why Israel and its American supporters are not working overtime to create a viable Palestinian state and why instead they are moving full-speed ahead to build an apartheid state. It makes no sense from either a moral or a strategic perspective.

John J. Mearsheimer teaches political science at the University of Chicago and is the co-author of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (available from the AET Book Club). This op-ed first appeared in the Chicago Tribune, May 9, 2010. Copyright © 2010, Chicago Tribune. Reprinted with permission.

A Fantasy

 By Uri Avnery

I ADMIRE Prof. John Mearsheimer. His rigorous logic. His lucid presentation. His rare moral courage.

I was very honored to host him and his colleague, Prof. Stephen Walt, in Tel Aviv, after their book about the Israel lobby in the U.S. provoked a furor.
And I don't agree with his conclusions.

On April 29, Professor Mearsheimer delivered an impressive lecture in Washington, DC [summarized in his op-ed]. He presented a profound analysis of the chances of Israel surviving in the long term. Every Israeli who is concerned about the future of his state should grapple with this analysis.

The professor does not hide his opinion that the two-state solution is by far the best. But he believes that it is "dead." Greater Israel, ruling over all the territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, already exists. It is an apartheid state that will steadily become more consolidated and more brutal—until its collapse.

This is a frightening prognosis. It is also very logical. If current developments continue in a straight line, this is exactly what will happen.

But I do not believe in straight lines. There are very few straight lines in nature, and there are no straight lines in the life of nations and states.

In the 86 years of my life, innumerable unforeseen things have happened, and innumerable expected things have not come about. The fate of nations is governed by unexpected factors. They are shaped by human beings, who are by nature unpredictable creatures.

Who foresaw in 1928 that Adolf Hitler would come to power in Germany? Who in 1941 foresaw that the Red Army would stop the invincible Wehrmacht? Who in 1939 foresaw the Holocaust? Who in 1945 foresaw the creation of the State of Israel? Who in 1989 foresaw the collapse of the Soviet Union? Who foresaw, the day before it happened, the fall of the Berlin Wall? Who foresaw the Khomeini revolution? Who foresaw the election of a black U.S. president?
Of course, one cannot build plans on the unexpected. But it should be taken into account. It is irrational to discount the irrational.

I do not accept the professor's judgment that "most Israelis are opposed to making the sacrifices that would be necessary to create a viable Palestinian state." As an Israeli living and fighting in Israel, I am convinced that the great majority of Israelis are ready to accept the necessary conditions, which are well-known to all: a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, the 1967 borders with minimal land swaps, a mutually acceptable solution for the refugee problem.

The real problem is that most Israelis do not believe that peace is possible. Dozens of years of propaganda have convinced them that "we have no partner for peace." Events on the ground (as seen through Israeli eyes) have confirmed this view. If this perception is dissolved, everything is possible.

In this, President Obama could play a big role. I believe that this is his real mission: to prove that it is possible. That there is a partner out there. That there is a guarantee for the security of Israel. And—yes—that the alternative is frightening.

Can the settlements be removed? Will there ever be an Israeli government that will have the guts to do so? Where is the leader who will undertake this Herculean task?

The professor is right that "there is nobody with that kind of standing in Israeli politics today." And that "there is no sizable pro-peace party or movement."

Yet history shows that exceptional leaders often appear when they are needed. I have seen in my own lifetime a failed and generally detested politician called Winston Churchill become a national hero. And a reactionary general called Charles de Gaulle liberate Algeria. And a grey Communist apparatchik called Mikhail Gorbachev dismantle a huge empire without a drop of blood being shed. And the election of a guy called Barack Obama.

I have also seen a brutal general called Ariel Sharon, the father of the settlements, destroying a series of settlements. His intentions may be debatable, but the facts cannot be disputed: he challenged the settlers' movement—which Professor Mearsheimer describes in all its fearful menace—and won easily. In face of the total opposition of the settlers and their allies, he evacuated some 20 settlements in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Not a single military unit mutinied. Not a single person was killed or seriously injured.

Sure, there is a quantitative and qualitative difference between Sharon's "separation" and that task in front of us. But it is a big mistake to view the "settlers" as a monolithic structure. They are split into several different sectors—the inhabitants of the East Jerusalem neighborhoods do not resemble the West Bank settlers, the buyers of cheap apartments in Ariel and Ma'ale Adumim do not resemble the zealots of Yitzhar and Tapuach, the Orthodox in Modi'in-Illit and Immanuel do not resemble the "Youth of the Hills."
If a peace agreement is achieved, it will be necessary to approach the evacuation job with determination, but also with finesse. For the inhabitants of the East Jerusalem neighborhoods, a solution will be found in the framework of the agreement about Jerusalem. A large number of settlers near the Green Line will remain where they are in the framework of a fair exchange of territory. Another large part will return home, if they know that apartments are ready and waiting for them in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. For some of them there may be a possibility to find an accommodation with the Palestinian government. In the end, the hard core of Messianic settlers will not give up easily. They may use arms. But a strong leader will stand the test, if the great majority of the Israeli public support the peace agreement.
The two-state solution is not the best solution. It is the only solution.

The alternative is not a democratic, secular binational state, because such a state will not come into being. Neither people wants it.

As the professor rightly maintains, in the absence of peace, Israel will rule from the sea to the river. The present situation will go on and become worse: the sovereign State of Israel holding on to the occupied territories.

Except for a tiny group of dreamers, who can be gathered in a medium-sized room, there are no Israelis who dream of living in a binational state, in which the Arabs constitute the majority. If such a state came into being, Israeli Jews would just emigrate. But it is much more plausible that the reverse would happen: the Palestinians would emigrate long before that.

Ethnic cleansing does not have to take the form of a dramatic expulsion, as in 1948. It can take place quietly, in a creeping process, when more and more Palestinians simply give up. That is the great dream of the settlers and their partners: to make life for the Palestinians so miserable that they take their families and leave.

Either way, life in this country will turn into hell. Not for one year, but for dozens of years. Both sides will be violent. The idea of Palestinian "nonviolent resistance" is a pipe-dream. The professor's hope that in the putative binational state, the Palestinians would not treat the Jews as the Jews are treating them now has been disproved by the Jews themselves—the persecution they have suffered throughout the ages has not inoculated them against becoming persecutors themselves.

There is a gap in the professor's analysis: he does not explain how the violent Israeli apartheid state will "develop" into an ideal binational state. In his opinion, this will come about "eventually," after "some years." How many? And how?

OK, there will be pressures. World public opinion will turn against Israel. The Jews in the Diaspora will distance themselves. But how will all this bring about a binational state?

Any comparison with South Africa is unsound. There is no real similarity between the situation that prevailed there and the situation that exists—or will exist in the future—here. Except for some methods of persecution, all the circumstances, in all fields, are vastly different.

(To mention just one: the apartheid regime was finally brought down not by international pressure, but by the massive and crippling strikes of the black work force. In this country, the occupation authorities do everything to prevent Palestinians from coming to work in Israel.)

In the end, it is a matter of logic: if international pressure does not succeed in convincing the Israelis to accept the two-state solution, which does no harm to their national identity, how will it compel them to give up everything they have—their state, their identity, their culture, their economy, all they have built in a huge endeavor of 120 years?

Is it not much more plausible to assume that long before their state collapses under all the pressures, Israelis would embrace the two-state solution?

I completely agree with the professor: the main obstacle to peace is psychological. What is needed is a profound change of perceptions, before the Israeli public can be brought to recognize reality and accept peace, with all it entails.

That is the main task facing the Israeli peace camp: to change the basic perceptions of the public. I am certain that this is possible. We have already traveled a long road from the days of "There are no Palestinians!" and "Jerusalem united for all eternity!" Professor Mearsheimer's analysis may well contribute to this process.

An apartheid state or a binational state? Neither. But the free State of Palestine side by side with the free State of Israel, in the common homeland.

 Source;Washington Report 
 On Middle East Affairs

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You can see an assortment of Ken Kelly's amazing paintings for the packaging of the original Micronauts in this article at the official Ken Kelly site. If anyone knows where I can find higher resolution copies of these paintings I'd really like to see them!

Vintage Monster Board Games

Found at the Toys For The Ages flickr gallery.

Louis Bernard, imbécile, prend les Québécois pour des homards insignifiants

Louis Bernard ne semble pas partager pas les convictions « pédagogistes » des Legault et compagnie. Si on lit attentivement son texte, en gardant en tête le contexte québéco-canadien, on se rend compte qu'il préconise, en effet, la « stratégie des homards cuits » de Parizeau, à moins qu'il ne soit pas en train d'évoquer une situation post-référendaire aussi lointaine pour ne représenter qu'une fantaisie (cf. L. Bouchard). Étant donné les réalités D'IÇI, il est extrêmement difficile de concevoir que le OUI, même dans les conditions les plus rêvées des indépendantistes, puisse atteindre les 60% des j'évoque içi un hypothèse de rêve, au sens propre comme au figuré. Suite à un tel résultat, et étant donné les concentrations géographiques des votes, et les intérêts des tierces parties, dont les autochtones, les négociations seront pénibles, mais pééééééééénibles. Il y aurait de vives tensions, partout, ce qui aurait nécessairement pour effet de baisser l'appui au OUI. Évoquer, à un tel moment, la possibilité de faire une déclaration unilatérale d'indépendance serait un désastre pour la paix et l'ordre civil, et pour la suite des événements, SURTOUT pour les indépendantistes, à moins qu'ils ne soient prêts à saborder le bien-être des Québécois moyens, pour de vrai, et bien au-delà des dommages qu'ils les ont déjà infligés depuis quatre décennies.

Proposer de telles tactiques est d'une irresponsabilité à couper le souffle. Effrayant. L'avenir du Québec, le bien-être, corporel, matériel, fraternel..RÉEL des Québécois, ce n'est pas un jeu de Donjons et dragons, tabernac! Aucun indépendantiste responsable ne devrait s'associer à un discours aussi imprudent-aventurier-imbécile - les mots me manquent, franchement.

Les Legault et compagnie prônent une approche pédagogique à long-terme. Tout en demeurant férocement anti-séparatiste, j'admets que c'est la seule approche qui a de l'allure. Mais même si, à la longue, ils réussissent leur pari, et convainquent, en se souvenant du précédent du Monténégro, au moins 55% des Québécois de voter OUI, les négociations demeureraient perilleuses, et leur meilleure SEULE chance réelle de succès serait d'effectuer la scission au sein du cadre légal canadien, le Canada n'étant pas, comme Trudeau l'a constaté, un pays qui garderait une population captive contre son gré. Or, menacer une DUI mettrait fin aux négos canadiennes, et ferait chuter le soutien à l'option indépendantiste. Et si le Canada menait, à la lumière de telles controverses, son propre référendum, qui avait pour résultat une mince majorité de Québécois CONTRE la sécession? Deux votes, deux résultats serrés, l'un après l'autre - la situation ne pourrait que s'empirer davantage.

Bernard, en rédigeant ces textes, nous rend service dans la mesure qu'il dévoile jusqu'à quel point une importante partie du mouvement indépendantiste demeure snobbiste et anti-démocratique v.-à-v. les autres Québécois, et cinglée. Faire de la politique avec les facultés affaiblies demeure, avec la volonté de se séparer au plus sacrant, l'une des premières causes d'imbécilité dans les médias du Québec. Que tous se prémunissent contre la possibilité de contagion, en faisant appel à un lecteur-coauteur désigné. La prévention est notre meilleure défense contre des accidents politiques menant aux décès au Québec.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sturgis Rally: One Freakin' Huge Open House

Photo courtesy, Bob Newland.

The real estate signs line every roadway in the Black Hills. A couple days of cruising had ip confirming a buyers market at nearly every locality. As the choicest camping in the BHNF, the Camp 5 and Vanocker/Elk Creek areas, begin seeing early birds pitching tents and circling their RVs, thousands of property owners are pimping their listings to every passing biker.

Mountain states on wildfire alert

Montana can expect “a fast and furious but short” fire season in August, fueled by the tall grass that grew during the state’s wet and cool spring and is now drying, a federal official told Gov. Brian Schweitzer during a briefing Monday.

Meteorologist Mike Kreyenhagen, a meteorologist with the Northern Rockies Coordinating Group in Missoula, said the record wet and cool spring “eased, if not erased, the drought concerns we were looking at.”

Schweitzer reiterated that it is Montanans’ personal responsibility to protect their homes and to create defensible zones around them if they live in what’s known as the “wildland urban interface” or near wildlands such as forests, grasslands, parks, mountains and watersheds. About 4 percent of Montana homes fall in that category.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lortie-Cyberpresse : excellent commentaire de 'papitibi' sur #census

Tout en bas des commentaires sur Science, peur et statistiques, on retrouve ceci :
papitibi - 24 juillet 2010 19h20

Tony Clement invoque le respect de la vie privée des citoyens?
C’est à croire que Tony Clement n’aurait jamais entendu parler du CIMS?
Voici ce qu’on en disait en 2007:

Tory database draws ire of privacy experts
The Canadian Press
Date: Thursday Oct. 18, 2007 4:04 PM ET
OTTAWA — The federal Conservative party’s central database is set up to track the confidential concerns of individual constituents without their knowledge or consent, says a former Tory MP.
The issue spilled onto the floor of the House of Commons on Thursday when Garth Turner, the expelled Tory-turned-Liberal MP, accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper of an “unethical invasion of Canadians’ privacy.”
Privacy experts agree the practice is a clear breach of standard privacy ethics — but probably not the law, because federal political parties fall into a legislative grey area.
A recent mailing by the prime minister to some Jewish households, and households with Jewish-sounding names, highlighted the micro targeting that sophisticated modern databases now facilitate.
The Rosh Hashanah greeting from Harper prompted several recipients to complain to the federal privacy commissioner, who has begun a preliminary inquiry.

= = =

Je propose cette traduction:

La base de données centralisée du Parti conservateur du Canada a été mise en place dans le but d’apprendre sur des citoyens des données confidentielles qui les concernent, et ce, à leur insu et sans leur consentement, a révélé un ancien député conservateur.

La question a été soulevée à la Chambre des communes jeudi, alors que le député Libéral (expulsé du caucus conservateur) Garth Turner a accusé le Premier ministre Stephen Harper d’une intrusion dans la vie privée des Canadiens, au mépris des règles d’éthique.

Il y a consensus, parmi les spécialistes de la question, à l’effet que cette pratique contrevient aux règles de l’éthique, mais pas nécessairement à la Loi; la situation des partis politiques fédéraux ne semble pas visée par la législation (zone grise).

L’envoi récent par le premier Ministre d’une lettre circulaire destinée aux seules familles juives ou dont le nom était à consonance juive, a mis en lumière le ciblage très précis qu’autorisent de nos jours ces banques de données.

Après qu’ils eurent ainsi reçu de M. Harper des voeux à l’occasion de la Fête du Rosh Hashana, plusieurs destinataires ont porté plainte auprès du Commissaire à la Vie privée, et celui-ci a institué une enquête.

= = =

C’est ce même gouvernement qui invoque son désir de respecter la vie privée des citoyens à l,appui de l’abolition de l’obligation de répondre au formulaire long.

Plus cynique et plus hypocrite que ça, tu meurs.

Was it #NDP Duncan, #LPC Iggyites or #Bloc Who Helped #CPC Kill #Oilsands Report?

When I first wrote about this issue, I suspected it was Iggy's fault: 'MPs cancel oilsands pollution probe, tear up draft reports'-But How? Opposition Had Majority On Committee! But then the Edmonton Journal said it was the NDP's Duncan: NDP Duncan Voted For Killing Probe! WTF?! 'MPs destroy drafts of pollution review' Last night, I tried to remind people of this by disseminating Nikiforuk's excellent piece of diligent journalism in the Tyee: 'What Those Who Killed the Tar Sands Report Don't Want You to Know' But it remained an open question as to which Opposition member(s) were responsible for helping the CPC kill it. Scarpaleggia is unlikely to kill the report of the study he started back in January 2008. So it's probably one or more of the other Opposition, Duncan, McGuinty, Tonks, Bigras or Ouellet. The Bloc seems the least likely, given views and minimal political risk. So it's down to Duncan, McGuinty & Tonks.

I thought Tonks might have been sent in to do job, in place of JTrudeau, but Alison pointed out that would be strange, given he led the previous oil sands inquiry, and of course, McGuinty was once head of the NRTEE, etc.. But both Tonks and McGuinty are Iggyites. However, now, in addition to the Edmonton Journal, the Hill Times has a dynamite piece that strongly infers that Duncan may have been one of the responsible parties (it helps to be able to read and honest enough not to edit articles to one's own partisan benefit, as some do.) That seems surprising. But as noted on Afghanistan, the NDP gets up to some weird anti-LPC posturing that leads them to support the CPC, sometimes, on even the biggest issues, life and death, like Afghanistan. Now read the BOLDED bits. Duncan sure doesn't seem all that sorry about death of report and opportunity to write her own and doubtless blame everyone for not being NDP. So if I'm reading Nikiforuk right, NDP wanted to own oil sands issue, Duncan's approach was purely pro-forma, so she could say post-facto she'd done it, but actual propositions were nowhere near enough to LPC &/or Bloc positions to actually allow united front, exactly as on Afghanistan. I don't know, it's all very strange, and as noted, I'm happy to blame Iggy influence on LPC if that's the case. But that's not how the Edmonton Journal and Hill Times read:
Conservative MPs accused of killing damaging committee report on oil sands
The lone NDP committee member, Linda Duncan (Edmonton-Strathcona, Alta.), said she is doubtful the report will see the light of day again. She and other members noted that, procedurally, a committee-generated study like the oil sands issue takes a backseat to statutory reviews referred to the committee by the House. Several of those are piling up before the committee, with Parliamentary-imposed deadlines attached, Ms. Duncan said.


Ms. Duncan recognized that witnesses such as Mr. Nikiforuk and Prof. Schindler are disappointed in the study's result.

Ms. Duncan said she approached other opposition members about writing a report together but was turned down.


"I think Francis Scarpaleggia and probably Linda Duncan actually have very similar views on what's wrong. I think partisan politics has separated them," said Mr. Nikiforuk.

Mr. Scarpaleggia did not respond to questions verbally, but in a statement to The Hill Times said "Other parties are free to [write their own reports]. Nothing is lost from that perspective."