Saturday, March 31, 2012

Land Day

The photo above clearly illustrates the utterly shameless brutality with which Zionist police and military met the peaceful Land Day protests in Occupied Palestine. The Palestinian man is injured and bleeding, firmly restrained by two burly soldiers, and being pepper-sprayed in the face at a range of about two inches.

I don't think further words from me would add anything to the picture.

Don't believe me? Want to see it from an MSM source? Here you go

Story at Desertpeace here.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

George Galloway Goes Off

Greetings, dear reader. Your favorite beady-eyed marsupial is greatly distracted by other considerations at the moment, hence the lack of recent updates, but here is a lovely video of George Galloway going off on a caller last November. While it may, at seven minutes in length, challenge the attention spans of some people, I'm confident that anyone with the patience to still be reading my blog after all this time can handle it.

George gets rather excited, in the manner of talk show hosts the world over, but he has some very good points to make. And his caller is the exact English counterpart of the sort of American who watches Fox news.

Open Salon readers can watch the video here

Friday, March 16, 2012

R.I.P. Al Jazeera

I have avoided writing about this until now, because there was little substantial evidence to back up the rumors, but now that has changed.

Al Jazeera English has been prostituted, and is no longer a reliable source of information.

This all began a bit over a year ago, with the departure in late 2011 of Wada Khanfar, who had been director-general of Al Jazeera since its inception. At that time, there were rumors that the Emir of Qatar, who owns Al Jazeera, was ending his previous policy of non-interference. Apparently, the Arab Spring has frightened the Emir, as it has frightened all the despots of the Middle East, and he has decided to cast his lot whole-heartedly with the Western Powers.

The first rumors emerged about a year ago, during the Libyan campaign, alleging that much of AJ's supposedly "live" coverage from Tripoli was actually shot upon a sound stage in Doha, (Qatar), which was made up to look just like the main square in Tripoli (Libya). Certainly, beyond a doubt, Al Jazeera was leading the charge in the information war against the Gaddafi regime.

At about that same time, the USA suddenly stopped blocking AJ from broadcasting in the USA, with no explanation of why, other than the usual mealy-mouthed bureaucratic bullshit.

And, over the last year, Al Jazeera has been leading the propaganda campaign against Syria, lobbying hard for military intervention, while totally ignoring the disturbing indications that there is an orchestrated covert effort by western powers to destabilize Syria. This, along with the Libyan campaign, is another step in the plan of Middle East conquest laid out by PNAC, the Project for a New American Century.

At this point, it is worth digressing a bit in order to interject a note of cold realism. The peoples of the western world in general, and we Americans in particular, have a painfully naive yearning for situations to be simple. Mesmerized by movies and television, we desperately want it all to be a simple matter of good guys and bad guys, white hats and black, with a happy ending where the hero marries the girl and they all live happily ever after.

Life is not like that, however desperately we may wish it to be.

In the Middle East, there are no good guys. It is never a matter of good guys versus bad guys. It is a matter of bad guys versus worse guys. There are no heroes, and every faction's hands are bloody up to the armpits. No amount of denial or wishful thinking will change this.

Similarly, there are no completely neutral, completely reliable sources of information in the world. This is a Holy Grail which does not exist. The only thing a netizen can do, is to take in what she can from what sources seem least biased, and attempt to triangulate an approximate truth from there.

Bashar al Assad, while not quite the evil tyrant his father was, is certainly no angel. But he is the chief of state of a sovereign nation. And there is a well-orchestrated effort underway to overthrow the Assad government. This effort consists of mercenaries, spies, and "journalists" who are in the employ of western intelligence agencies. The narrative being related to us by the mainstream media is an absolute fabrication.

For a first-hand account of events in Syria by French journalist Thierry Meyssan, see this story.

For the now-emerging details of increasing resignations from Al Jazeera, in protest against the increasingly obvious political agenda of its new directors, see the video below.

(Open Salon readers can watch the video here)

And yet, again, remember to keep your salt shaker handy. Russia Today is a useful source of information, but they are far from unbiased.

Hang on to your hat, dear reader, it is going to be a wild ride from here. Let's just hope your faithful correspondent is still alive and blogging a year from now. Let's hope there is still an intact world in which bloggers can exist, a year from now. Keep your head up, your eyes and ears open, and don't forget to check your six.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Wart on The Ass of San Diego

Yes, you read that right.

Mitt Romney bought a house here in San Diego. Well, in La Jolla, dahling, where the people of quality live, don't you know.

On the coast, of course. With a private beach, of course.

The price tag? Well, only twelve million dollars, scarcely pocket change for a rich Republican.

Now he's tearing that old house down, and replacing it with a mansion of 11,000 square feet. Needless to say, the local regulatory agencies are falling all over themselves to approve the necessary permits. In spite of the 1936 vintage of the current house, city planners decreed that there was no need to go before the Historic Resources Board, citing a "lack of continuity". The La Jolla Community Planning Group and the California Coastal Commission have already signaled their approval.

If you do not live here, you may not understand how odd this, but these agencies usually take years to approve such requests, if they ever approve them at all.

Isn't it wonderful how the patronage system works, for those of wealth and privilege who can take advantage of it?

It's enough to make a sea gull puke.

Kiribati is drowning

There is an interesting article in the Sydney Morning Herald about the fate of a Pacific island nation called Kiribati.

It's going under the waves.

You see, Kiribati consisted of 32 coral atolls, totaling about 800 square kilometers. The average height above sea level was less than 2 meters. The only part of Kiribati you're likely to ever have heard of is Tarawa, and then only if you've read about WWII in the Pacific. Yes, it's that Tarawa, of bloody memory.

And now, rising sea levels, (global warming is a myth; The Koch brothers have paid good money to get "scientists" to say so!), are gobbling up the coral atolls at an accelerating rate.

But don't worry, the same "scientists" who have assured us that global warming is a myth, (just ignore the melting glaciers and Arctic ice cap), now assure us that the sea level isn't really rising. Kiribati's problem is just coastline erosion.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Potpourri

Desertpeace has a highly disturbing article on HR347, which was approved in the House by a vote of 388-3, and quietly passed through the Senate by unanimous consent. Not one Democrat politician voted against this draconian expansion of existing law, existing law was originally enacted in 1971 to quash the protest against the Vietnam war.

So, what's so horrible about HR347? Oh, just the little fact that it kills your First Amendment right "peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances".

The article is here. Fair warning- the top part is silly bullshit; I'm not afraid of Communists. Just skip down to the title "US Congress expands authoritarian anti-protest law", and read from there.

When I first read about HR347, the first thing that occurred to me was the similarity, in intent if not in language, to the Sedition Act, which was passed by the British Government of the 13 colonies immediately prior to the American Revolution.

Next up on our Friday review of sunshine, rainbows, and happy news, A Russian economist named Sergei Karaganov has an interesting piece on authoritarian democracy posted at AJE.

As one would expect from any Russian academic, (remembering that I'm a child of the Cold War era, and anything I say about Russians is to be taken with a grain of salt), some of the article is pedantically obscure, but the one paragraph that leaped out and grabbed me was this -

First, social inequality has grown unabated in the West over the last quarter-century, owing in part to the disappearance of the Soviet Union and, with it, the threat of expansionist communism. The spectre of revolution had forced Western elites to use the power of the state to redistribute wealth and nurture the growth of loyal middle classes. But, when communism collapsed in its Eurasian heartland, the West's rich, believing that they had nothing more to fear, pressed to roll back the welfare state, causing inequality to rise rapidly. This was tolerable as long as the overall pie was expanding, but the global financial crisis in 2008 ended that.

Wow, talk about hitting the nail on the head. This is a good example of why it is so vitally important for we Americans to read political commentary by foreign sources; because they bring to the issues a perspective which we do not otherwise have. Yes, Virginia, it is about class warfare, and so far the casualties have all been on our side.

Ok, not to end on a down note, (cue the dancing unicorns!), here is some genuinely happy news.

It would appear that Sarkozy is doomed, as far as chances of re-election, with his Socialist rival ahead in the polls by 58%-42%. Then again, French elections are complex affairs, as the article explains. His so-called "Socialist" rival isn't really much of a Socialist, being barely left of centre. And Sarkozy may yet pick up a measure of support from the Right if he continues to succeed in his attempts to keep Marine Le Pen off the ballot through the usual political dirty tricks. We shall see what we shall see.

And that, dear reader, is all your favorite beady-eyed varmint has for you today.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

How Far Back?

As I was sitting here watching a video on the latest round in the diplomatic spat between the UK and Argentina over the Falklands/Malvinas, it occurred to me, not for the first time, that international law desperately needs to address the issue of a statue of limitations on territorial claims.

Bluntly, how far back in time can a territorial claim go and still remain legitimate?

Because, you see, Argentina does have a very good case for ownership of the islands in question. Historically, the Malvinas were an Argentine possession, inhabited by Argentines. The British Empire seized the islands by force in the 1830's, and forcibly removed the Argentine inhabitants, replacing them with British colonists.

Pardon my extensive use of italics above, but this is an absolutely crucial point. Because the UK's entire claim to possession of the Falklands/Malvinas rests upon a single leg - their assertion that the inhabitants wish to remain part of the UK.

But those inhabitants are colonists, whose ancestors forcibly supplanted the previous population of Argentinian people. Under international law and extensive precedent, this greatly weakens the British claim. Unfortunately for Argentina, the UK has far more clout in the courts of international law than any Latin American nation will ever be permitted to have. You know and I know, that the system is totally rigged. As evidence of this, if you need any, consider the fact that the ICC has never prosecuted any white person who was not Serbian. Think about it.

Back to my central theme. International law needs a judgement on the subject of a statute of limitations on territorial claims. I'm not necessarily saying there should be such a limit, but if there is not, let us clearly understand that there is not.

Personally, I think there needs to be a limit. I think the need for a limit is obvious. But where do you draw the line? One hundred years? Two hundred? The Jews claim Occupied Palestine because their ancestors, (albeit only about 11-14% by DNA testing), lived there two thousand years ago, ignoring the fact that the same DNA tests reveal the Palestinians to be descendants of those ancient inhabitants in equal degree.

So, where do you draw the line?

And, as much as I am loathe to further confuse an already complex issue, there is also a moral problem with a statute of limitations. In effect it says, "If you can steal someone's land, and hang on to it long enough, you can claim it as your own". Because, dear reader, theft is still theft. Robbery is still robbery. No matter how long ago it was.

And this is the point at which some smartass always asks, "So are you going to give North America back to the Indians?"

It is, dear reader, not a simple issue.