Saturday, December 31, 2011
Ron Paul with former American Nazi Party member and current KKK Grand Wizard and Stormfront.org webmaster, Don Black.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
Evil exists where Hashem is not. Horror happens not because G_d wills it, but because She cannot stop it. When Hashem cannot prevent evil, people must do it.
Friday, December 09, 2011
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Jupiter map realised in 2011, between October 10th and October 15th, from the Pic du Midi Observatory from Jean-Luc Dauvergne on Vimeo.
Saturday, December 03, 2011
When you find a woman to whom your being sick is a cue to get you chicken soup rather than to get herself a flu shot, you have really got something. Or someone. Someone imprudent, certainly.
"The White House, after saying all fall that Obama's jobs agenda must be paid for with tax increases on high-income earners, appears willing to simply pad the nation's $15 trillion national debt instead of finding offsetting cuts."
Saturday, November 26, 2011
It was a fundamental tenet of fascism to deny the unity of Europe. The fascist governments explicitly denied the unity of Europe because they intended, and felt justified in intending, to treat their fellow Europeans as objects of imperial and colonial acquisition. That is quite different than the mutuality of neighbors, even unfriendly neighbors, with whom one shares a long history and a common, or at least, similar religion. The earlier version of this was the notion of 'Christendom'.
Even in war, Europeans acknowledged each other's humanity. One remembers the informal Christmas truces on the Western Front in World War One when German and English troops would sing carols to one another across the corpses and machine guns of the trenches and the wire. And that the next day, they would follow orders and return to the slaughter.
The European Union, the European Central Bank, the common European passport, the European Commission, the European Parliament, all the other institutions of European integration, and most notably the Euro, are an attempt to bring an end to a thousand years of uncountable and progressively more destructive European wars.
If the Euro fails that would be the first significant step backward on a path that people of good will hope and intend will eventually lead to the merger of sovereign European states into what young people in particular hope will be a "Europe of regions", not of states. Worse, it would break the momentum toward integration and damage, perhaps irreparably European confidence in that outcome.
So while the discussion may seem like abstruse questions of banking and national debts and finance taking place among people in suits around long mahogany tables and that it all has not much to do with our lives, nothing could be further from the truth. If the number of European wars over the past millennium is uncountable, the number of casualties in those wars is trebly so. Twice in my father's lifetime, millions of young Americans have been sent overseas to fight, and too often to die, in those wars.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
He was on of those who wrote the US Constitution and represented, not the people, though they often claimed to (politicians were hypocritical liars then too), but country gentlemen like the Virginia aristocracy, i.e themselves.
The liberal democrats like Henry and Jefferson wanted a weak central government run by Southern aristocrats which would not be able to impose direct taxes and most of all not be able to interfere with slavery. A government composed of people like, say, Jefferson and his class.
The Federalists, led by Hamilton and the New Englanders and New Yorkers, wanted a strong central government that could create a positive business climate for commerce and banking. It was mere coincidence that they and their friends were engaged in commerce and banking. They wanted to impose taxes to pay for infrastructure like the Erie Canal, turnpikes, harbors, and suppression of the Indians. They wanted a strong government to limit and eventually suppress the slave trade.
Now we have come to an era when everybody quotes one Founding Father or another for some principle or another as though the Founders were unified and agreed on anything. They agreed on absolutely nothing. They only reason they were able to stick together at all was the personal prestige and leadership of George Washington. Without Washington they would have been defeated, the British army would have rounded them all up and hung them, just as Franklin predicted.
In modern times the libertarians call on the Constitution to give freedom to business against the interest of the common people. Completely wrongheaded and false. Similarly, the liberals call on the Constitution for a strong government to regulate business. Equally wrong. The fact is that the situation of American business and banking is now so far from when it was just getting started in the near-wilderness of 1787 that the comparison is meaningless. American business and banking are a colossus that bestrides the world. Slavery has been gone for a century and a half and the slave trade even longer. So the reasons for wanting a strong or a weak government in 1787 are meaningless today.
Which means, to me at least, that quoting the Founders for this purpose or that is doubly meaningless. They were all over the map on every issue and fought bitterly over every word and phrase in the constitution. Patrick Henry, who did as much as anyone to get the Revolution underway, "smelt a rat" and refused to even attend the Constitutional Convention. On the other side of the question, it is meaningless to try and figure out what Jefferson or Adams would have thought of tapping cellphones or abortion or racial equality. Those things would be inconceivable to them. So I think we have to look to how we the living want to govern our country and not worry too much about what the Founders would have thought about the issues that divide us. The real fact is that they would not have thought anything at all. They couldn't have.
Sunday, November 06, 2011
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
Yesterday's Wall Street Journal -
An Israeli aircraft struck a pair of Palestinian militants on Sunday, killing one man and wounding a second. On Saturday, nine militants and an Israeli civilian were killed in some of the worst violence in the area in months.
"When all of the jet fighters leave the skies of Gaza we will stop firing rockets," said Dawud Shehab, a senior member of Islamic Jihad. The latest round of violence was set off by a rocket attack last Wednesday by Islamic Jihad.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Saturday, October 22, 2011
A hundred years ago the idea of a world powered by anything but coal would have seemed a daydream. The transition to petroleum took place naturally and through ordinary market mechanisms.
Henry Kissinger once said that the way to become energy independent was to put a floor under the price of oil. The reason capitalists are so reluctant to invest in alternate energy sources is that the price of their main competitor, oil, is so volatile. No one will lay down a billion to build an energy plant if the price of oil might plunge and make the plant unprofitable. If there were a floor under the price of oil, money could be invested in any number of ventures to produce energy by other means.
The actual radicals are not the conservationists. The real radicals, the ones who will do any crazy thing at all if there is a chance of a decent return on it, are the capitalists. Let them have a shot at the problem. They can't until they have some way to know what the prices are going to be.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
The plaques made them suddenly real. In their mid- to late-twenties, they had been young officers., lieutenants and captains. They died in the prime of their lives.
The name of one of them, Benjamin Franklin Pierce, had been appropriated by a television program as the name of the character 'Hawkeye' on the television program ' MASH'.
Once on a bicycle trip up the Potomac I had shied away from a short side trip that would have taken me to the Antietam National Battlefield. I was afraid of hearing the voices, the screams of the wounded and dying, attenuated by a century and a half, but not silenced. Here in Harvard Yard I had stumbled among them.
I got a lump in my throat and started crying. I had to get out of there before I made any more of a fool of myself. Rita was kind and understanding and left with me. I had been sneering at Harvard men and women as snobbish, self-satisfied, elitists, who made lots of money but were second rate at the research that had won Berkeley so many Nobel Prizes and Harvard so few.
Suddenly that seemed shallow. Harvard men had been dying in arms to save the Republic and to free the slaves before before there was a Berkeley. Certainly none of the privileged young people walking about in Harvard Yard were likely to die in arms for a cause they believed in. Those times are gone. But they are heirs of those who did. For the first time I understood the meaning of a tradition. The dead honor the living in a way that is hard for the rest of us to comprehend.
Here at Cape Elizabeth in Maine, a few hours drive north of Boston, Rita and I drove up to the hotel. In front of it there was a flagpole with an American flag flying. Over the years I had come to think of that flag as the emblem of the dominant world power, the American imperial republic. It had a stale look to it.
After the plaques in Harvard's Memorial Church, the flag was fresher, the colors brighter. It was the flag of the Union, the last best hope of mankind.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Indeed, every government in Europe and America who would not have welcomed a socialist government in France was a suspect in a frame. When it came out that the accuser had underworld connections it looked even more like a frame, a set up, the Old Badger Game.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Monday, September 05, 2011
There seems to be some sort of rough rule here, that whenever Muslims live in close proximity with non-Muslims, the non-Muslims wind up not liking them very much.
Thursday, September 01, 2011
UNITED NATIONS — A United Nations review has found thatIsrael’s naval blockade of Gaza is legal and appropriate but that the way its forces boarded a Turkish-based flotilla trying to break that blockade 15 months ago, killing nine passengers, was excessive and unreasonable.
The report, expected to be released on Friday, also found that when Israeli commandos boarded the main ship they faced “organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers” and were therefore required to use force for their own protection. But the report called the force “excessive and unreasonable,” saying the loss of life was unacceptable and the Israeli military’s later treatment of passengers was abusive.
The 105-page report, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, was completed months ago. But its publication was delayed several times as Turkey and Israel sought to reconcile their deteriorating relationship and perhaps avoid making the report public. In reactions from both governments included in the report, as well as in interviews, each objected to conclusions. Both believe the report, which was intended to help mend relations, will instead make reconciliation harder.
Turkey is particularly upset by the conclusion that Israel’s naval blockade is in keeping with international law and that its forces have the right to stop Gaza-bound ships in international waters, which is what happened here. That conclusion oversteps the mandate of the four-member panel appointed by the United Nations secretary general and is at odds with other United Nations decisions, Turkey argued.
The report noted that the panel did not have the power to compel testimony or demand documents, but instead had to rely on information provided by Israel and Turkey. Therefore, its conclusions can not be considered definitive in either fact or law.
The foreign ministries in Turkey and Israel declined to comment publicly on the report, saying they preferred to wait for its official release. No one was available to comment in the office of the United Nations spokesman.
Israel considers the report to be a rare vindication for it in the United Nations. A Security Council statement at the time assailed the loss of life and Israel suffered widespreadinternational condemnation. It thought that by offering to negotiate an agreement with Turkey that would stop publication, Ankara might soften its position.
But the two countries’ negotiations, which focused on some kind of apology from Israel and compensation for the victims — eight Turks and an American of Turkish descent — ended in failure. Israel says it is willing to express regret and pay compensation. But the Turks want a full apology. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel believes that apologizing would demoralize his citizens and broadcast a message of weakness. Aides say he might reconsider at a later date if the Turks soften their position.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey says an apology and compensation would not be sufficient to return his ambassador to Tel Aviv. Israel also has to end its naval blockade of Gaza, he insisted.
The report does recommend that Israel should make “an appropriate statement of regret’ and pay compensation, but the Turks say that formula does not express sufficient remorse.
The United Nations investigation into the events on the Turkish-flagged ship known as the Mavi Marmara, the largest of six vessels that were commandeered by Israeli commandos on May 31, 2010, was headed by Sir Geoffrey Palmer, former prime minister of New Zealand, aided by Álvaro Uribe, former president of Colombia, along with a representative each from Israel and Turkey.
It takes a broadly sympathetic view of Israel’s sea blockade of Gaza.
“Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza,” the report says in its opening paragraphs. “The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law.”
The report is hard on the flotilla, asserting that it “acted recklessly in attempting to breach the naval blockade.” It said that while the majority of the hundreds of people aboard the six vessels had no violent intention, that could not be said of IHH, the Turkish aid group that primarily organized the flotilla. It said, “There exist serious questions about the conduct, true nature and objectives of the flotilla organizers, particularly IHH.”
It also said that the Turkish government tried to persuade the organizers to avoid an encounter with Israeli forces but that “more could have been done.”
Regarding the boarding of the ship, the Palmer committee said Israel should have issued warnings closer to the moment of action and should have first turned to nonviolent options.
The report assailed Israel for the way in which the nine were killed and others injured. “Forensic evidence showing that most of the deceased were shot multiple times, including in the back, or at close range has not been adequately accounted for in the material presented by Israel,” it says. The report does, however, acknowledge that once on board the commandos had to defend themselves against violent attack. The report also criticizes Israel’s subsequent treatment of passengers, saying it “included physical mistreatment, harassment and intimidation, unjustified confiscation of belongings and the denial of timely consular assistance.”
Like so many elements of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the events on the Mavi Marmara produced two fiercely competing narratives, each full of self-justification and contempt for the other.
An official Israeli investigation found not only that its naval blockade was legal but that everything done by Israel, from the actions of its commandos to the treatment of the passengers afterwards, was honorable and appropriate. The flotilla organizers, it said, included 40 members of a “hard-core group” who were not properly checked before boarding in Turkey.
A Turkish investigation came to precisely the opposite conclusion. It asserted that the blockade was illegal in all aspects, amounting to collective punishment of the Palestiniansof Gaza. It said all of the people on board were civilians, all had been checked out and were unarmed and therefore subject to protection from any invasion under international humanitarian law.
The Turks also concluded that Israeli commandos used live fire before landing, leading to death and injury; the Israelis said they had not. The Palmer committee said it was unable to determine who was right.
Those critical of Israeli actions toward Gaza have viewed the naval blockade that began officially in January 2009 as part and parcel of a siege imposed by Israel on the coastal strip shortly after Hamas took full control there in 2007. That siege, which has eased considerably in the past year, prevented the movement of most goods and people.
But the Palmer committee said while it had concerns about that policy and urged that it be loosened further, it saw the naval blockade as a purely security-oriented tool that had been imposed to stop weapons arriving to Gaza by sea. It also expressed strong concern for the thousands of rockets and mortars fired into Israel from Gaza in recent years. It said that because Gaza’s port cannot handle large ships, a naval blockade has little impact on the supply of civilian goods.
It may be that the UN has seen the hand-writing on the wall.After the UN voted a resolution that "Zionism is racism" in 1975, Congress suspended payment of the US's annual dues to the UN. Only when the resolution was rescinded in 1991 did the US resume its dues payments. Our dues constituted one-third of the UN's operating budget. The arrears have never been paid.