Sunday, April 3, 2011

U.S.-Saudi Libya Deal

"The US-Saudi Libya Deal
by Pepe Escobar

You invade Bahrain. We take out Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. This, in short, is the essence of a deal struck between the Barack Obama administration and the House of Saud. Two diplomatic sources at the United Nations independently confirmed that Washington, via Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave the go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade Bahrain and crush the pro-democracy movement in their neighbor in exchange for a "yes" vote by the Arab League for a no-fly zone over Libya -- the main rationale that led to United Nations Security Council resolution 1973.

The revelation came from two different diplomats, a European and a member of the BRIC group, and was made separately to a US scholar and Asia Times Online. According to diplomatic protocol, their names cannot be disclosed. One of the diplomats said, "This is the reason why we could not support resolution 1973. We were arguing that Libya, Bahrain and Yemen were similar cases, and calling for a fact-finding mission. We maintain our official position that the resolution is not clear, and may be interpreted in a belligerent manner."

As Asia Times Online has reported, a full Arab League endorsement of a no-fly zone is a myth. Of the 22 full members, only 11 were present at the voting. Six of them were Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, the US-supported club of Gulf kingdoms/sheikhdoms, of which Saudi Arabia is the top dog. Syria and Algeria were against it. Saudi Arabia only had to "seduce" three other members to get the vote.

Translation: only nine out of 22 members of the Arab League voted for the no-fly zone. The vote was essentially a House of Saud-led operation, with Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa keen to polish his CV with Washington with an eye to become the next Egyptian President.

Thus, in the beginning, there was the great 2011 Arab revolt. Then, inexorably, came the US-Saudi counter-revolution."

"Jewish terrorism" against Jews, courtesy of Israel's second Prime Minister

“After the British deportation orders] the Haganah General Staff took a decision at which their leaders shuddered. The decision was not to permit the Patria to leave Jaffa. The English must be given to understand that Jews could not be driven away from their own country [sic]. The Patria must be blown up. The decision was conveyed to Haganah members on the Patria and in the hush of night, preparations had begun for the execution of the tragic act. On Sunday, November 26, 1940, the passengers were informed by the English that they were being returned to sea. The Jews remained silent, save for a whisper from a man to man to go “up the deck, all up the deck.” Apparently, the signal did not reach everybody, for many hundreds remained below—never to see the light again. Suddenly an explosion was heard and a panic ensued. . . . It was a hellish scene; people jumped into the water, children were tossed into the waves; agonizing cries tore into the heavens. The number of victims was officially placed at 276. The survivors were permitted by the High Commissioner to land."

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Friday, April 1, 2011

Platoon is a garbage movie with little more than military self-loathing.

How the fuck does this pass as an anti-war movie? Is this really the extent of our brave and bold anti-war entertainment?

There was one incredibly tragic scene that made up the best part of the movie, in which the platoon torches a village and some of them are complete assholes to the Vietnamese villagers. Additionally, the most depraved members of the platoon kill two Vietnamese and a pig without considering that the pig helps feed the village (open your eyes and ears dogmatic vegetarians). As a result, this clearly shows the brutality of our imperialistic war of aggression against Vietnam, but ultimately, the movie uses the incident to explore the depths of what war does to individual soldiers. Again, Platoon is a bunch of military self-loathing bullshit that prefers to explore the suffering of the poor, poor American soldiers in the war than it does the Vietnamese victims, who were far greater in number, and suffered far greater atrocities which included the horrors of Agent Orange and chemical warfare as a whole.

The tragedy, in short, ends up being the antagonisms between the platoon rather than the Vietnam War itself. The Vietcong are depicted as the aggressors due to their ambushes on the platoon, and the movie hyper-focuses on the Americans themselves. One part of the movie explores the unjust nature of the Vietnam War a little, wherein Chris (Charlie 'WINNING' Sheen's character) has sincere dialog with one of the more veteran soldiers. The veteran soldier expresses his doubts about his mission, and ponders whether it's time that America get its ass kicked for once. Wait, hold on a second. Did Vietnam bomb America? Why are we so fucking self-loathing about Vietnam just because we didn't manage to make it our proxy state? Somehow, I think the families who lost their homes and suffered napalm attacks felt a greater sense of "loss" than American civilians did at home, unless we're really that fucking self-loathing.

Oliver Stone, I like you and all, but Platoon is a shit movie that should never have won an Oscar. It had one tearjerking scene, but the rest of the two-hour movie was just garbage. You did better with Salvador.

Fuck American self-loathing bullshit.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This clip exemplifies the difference between liberals and conservatives on Libya

What I find funny here is that Glenn Beck actually gets a few things right by complete accident. There is good reason to believe that some Al-Qaeda presence exists in the Libyan opposition, and furthermore, that Israel would be more happy with Gaddafi than with a new government. However, Cenk actually quotes a NATO commander to prove Glenn wrong. I suppose when Democrats lead America into imperial bloodbaths, it's liberals who become the biggest mouthpieces for the state and conservatives who become critical in their own variety of ways.

Pathetic. We're seeing ideological spinelessness at its worst from both sides at the moment. I thought that two nearly decade-long wars and poor economic well-being at home would have taught us better.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tariq Ali on liberal interventionists: "Depressing"

Always a Street Fighting Man.

Wisconsonites going for recall rather than a general strike. We've seen this before.

"(Funny story about Taft-Hartley, by the way. Harry Truman and the Democrats campaigned the year after it was passed on a promise to overturn the law. So unions launched a massive turnout effort, re-elected Truman, won Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate, and...we still have Taft-Hartley. Truman himself used it 12 times to break strikes in his second term.)"

The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: Syrian shooting versus Jordan shooting (at people)...

The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: Syrian shooting versus Jordan shooting (at people)...: "As I have been on the road for the last few days, I have been reading the issues of New York Times. The hard issue of the New York Tim..."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Michigan cuts unemployment benefits to 20 weeks--the lowest period in the nation of any state--despite high unemployment

Zionists even love Al-Assad

U.S. imperialism now rearing its ugly head in Syria.

Sorry. Ancestry DOES matter.

"In the words of The Wall Street Journal (May 13, 2005):
Although Americans still think of their land as a place of exceptional opportunity—in contrast to class-bound Europe—the evidence suggests otherwise. And scholars have, over the past decade, come to see America as a less mobile society than they once believed. As recently as the later 1980s, economists argued that not much advantage passed from parent to child, perhaps as little as 20 percent. By that measure, a rich man’s grandchild would have barely any edge over a poor man’s grandchild....But over the last 10 years, better data and more number-crunching have led economists and sociologists to a new consensus: The escalators of mobility move much more slowly. A substantial body of research finds that at least 45 percent of parents’ advantage in income is passed along to their children, and perhaps as much as 60 percent. With the higher estimate, it’s not only how much money your parents have that matters—even your great-great grandfather’s wealth might give you a noticeable edge today."

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Washington Post reports that many Libyans support Gaddafi

And we have yet another reason to oppose Western intervention.

Now that the popular unrest has been co-opted by a right-wing Western-supported neoliberal leadership, the opposition's victory is not something to cheer for at all. Nobody will dance in this revolution; what you have is both sides of the civil war dancing to the beats of different drums, and whoever wins, Libyans lose. I have a really bad feeling about what will transpire in the weeks or months to come.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Libyan Revolution possibly assuming racist characteristics

Leave it to the U.S. to empower the best elements of a popular uprising.

Shephard terrorists

Oh Israel. Never change.

What is this I don't even

Does Douthat say anything of importance here (insert stupid joke about "I doubt that"/Douthat here)? Why am I supposed to care. Really.

I'll attempt to summarize it. OBAMA! He more enlightened than Bush. He care for world more than Bush! This could be problem. Will it work? Wait and see!

So, he didn't mention Obama's bypassing of Congress nor did he pose any substantive differences between Obama's foreign policy and Bush's foreign policy. He merely went into detail about their rhetoric.

Stay away from mainstream opinion pieces at least 90% of the time. It's good for you.


From the article:

To see where America stands not so proud, consider the advanced, well-to-do democracies of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the rich countries’ club. To focus on America’s peers, I am excluding the former Soviet bloc countries as well as Mexico, Turkey, Korea, Iceland, Luxembourg, and Greece. In the remaining group of 20 affluent countries, America is, indeed, Number 1 or close to it in a number of categories: the 26 indicators of poor performance listed below.

To our great shame, America now has:

  • The highest poverty rate, both generally and for children;
  • The greatest inequality of incomes;
  • The lowest government spending as a percentage of GDP on social programs for the disadvantaged;
  • The lowest number of paid holiday, annual and maternity leaves;
  • The lowest score on the UN’s index of “material well-being of children”;
  • The worst score on the UN’s gender inequality index;
  • The lowest social mobility;
  • The highest public and private expenditure on health care as a portion of GDP, 
yet accompanied by the highest:
  • Infant mortality rate
  • Prevalence of mental health problems
  • Obesity rate
  • Portion of people going without health care due to cost
  • Low birth weight children per capita (except for Japan)
  • Consumption of anti-depressants per capita
  • The shortest life expectancy at birth (except for Denmark and Portugal);
  • The highest carbon dioxide emissions and water consumption per capita;
  • The lowest score on the World Economic Forum’s Environmental Performance 
Index (except for Belgium), and the largest Ecological Footprint per capita 
(except for Belgium and Denmark);
  • The highest rate of failing to ratify international agreements;
  • The lowest spending on international development and humanitarian 
assistance as a percentage of GDP;
  • The highest military spending as a portion of GDP;
  • The largest international arms sales;
  • The most negative balance of payments (except New Zealand, Spain and 
  • The lowest scores for student performance in math (except for Portugal and Italy) (and far down from the top in both science and reading);
  • The highest high school drop out rate (except for Spain);

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Meet the new boss...

The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: This is the new regime that Saudi Arabia and US ar...: "'The rebels of eastern Libya have found much to condemn about the police state tactics of Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi: deep paranoia, mass detentions, secret prisons and tightly scripted media tours. But some of those same tactics appear to be creeping into the efforts of the opposition here as it seeks to stamp out lingering loyalty to Kadafi. Rebel forces are detaining anyone suspected of serving or assisting the Kadafi regime, locking them up in the same prisons once used to detain and torture Kadafi's opponents. For a month, gangs of young gunmen have roamed the city, rousting Libyan blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa from their homes and holding them for interrogation as suspected mercenaries or government spies. Over the last several days, the opposition has begun rounding up men accused of fighting as mercenaries for Kadafi's militias as government forces pushed toward Benghazi. It has launched nightly manhunts for about 8,000 people named as government operatives in secret police files seized after internal security operatives fled in the face of the rebellion that ended Kadafi's control of eastern Libya last month."

Nice journalism, BBC.

Civilians spared by Libya raids. Mmhm.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Myths about oil drilling and Social Security

Obama, Biden both contradict previous statements about war constitutionality

A neat timeline, but where's Oman?

72% of Jimmy Johns workers surveyed worked with severe flu symptoms

Egyptian socialists reject Western intervention into Libya

"This development poses serious risks. It is inevitable that it would lead to the killing of civilians en masse. It is also clear that Gaddafi will not fall easily. Hence, it is more likely that the war will last for a very long period of time. This, in turn, could alter the situation and the public mood in favour of Gaddafi, as shown through media reports on the population of Tripoli rejecting the Western attack. Gaddafi could pose himself in this context as a hero who is resisting colonial powers, which will grant him relative popularity in some cities, and the possibility of Libya being divided geographically will increase.

The end result of all this is that the situation could turn from a popular war against mercenaries to a civil war in the literal sense of the word. The media reports on the protest of the population of Tripoli to the western attack are something to observe in this connection."

Us Westerners know little to nothing about Libya compared to people in the region, so we'd be wise to heed this advice.


The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: Look at this racist question by Thomas Friedman: "'Is Iraq the way Iraq is because Saddam was the way Saddam was or was Saddam the way Saddam was because Iraq is the way Iraq is...'"

Education Crisis in East Jerusalem

As the Daily Show reveals here, Obama's policies continue to contradict his rhetoric

Credit to the Daily Show for not being completely in the tank for the Democrats, I guess.

EDIT: Some liberal bullcrap from the Daily Show too. Portrays the U.S. as a misguided spreader of freedom, or something like that. At least they acknowledge America's not giving a shit about Palestine at the end there, however subtly.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

6 Libyan villagers fired upon by the U.S., hospitalized

Collateral damage, war is horrible, shut up and get used to the real world, etc.

Sorry Nancy Pelosi. You're not getting my money.

My reply is below for all you tl;dr people.

On 3/22/2011 8:06 AM, Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Leader wrote:

Samuel --

Do you know what House Republicans have done to create jobs since claiming the Majority three months ago? Nothing.

However, they’ve found time for votes to restrict access to reproductive health care, take teachers out of our classrooms, nurses out of our hospitals, and even to defund NPR. All told, Republican cuts would destroy 700,000 jobs.

I’ve had enough of the Republicans’ extremist anti-jobs agenda and I think you have too.

On March 31st, we’ll hit the first FEC quarterly filing deadline since the outrageous GOP power play in Wisconsin and Republicans took the reins in the House. The eyes of the nation will be on our fundraising numbers to judge our grassroots determination to fight back against the radical Republican agenda. We must have a strong showing.

Contribute $5 or more to the DCCC’s Million Dollar Matching Gift Campaign right now. This deadline is so important that if you contribute today, my fellow House Democrats and I will match every dollar you give with two of our own up to our $1 Million goal.

Fight Back

An extreme Republican majority has launched an all out assault on middle class America. It began in Wisconsin, but has spread to Congress and state houses across the country.

Secretive groups like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS are already up on the air running vicious attack ads against House Democrats who are standing up against the Republican assault and fighting for middle class working families.

I’ve set a goal of $1 million before the March FEC deadline to show the world that we have the grassroots strength to fight radical Republican budget cuts and to stand up for middle class American families.

Contribute $5 or more to the DCCC’s Million Dollar Matching Gift Campaign right now. This deadline is so important that if you contribute today, my fellow House Democrats and I will match every dollar you give with two of our own -- tripling the impact of your gift.

The DCCC counts on individual donors like you for 75% of their funding. Together, we can turn back this Republican attack on the middle class and move America forward. Please contribute today.

Thank you.

Nancy Pelosi
Democratic Leader

P.S. The first FEC quarterly deadline of the year is just 10 days from now. We must exceed our $1 Million grassroots goal to show the world that Democrats are strong, united and determined to fight back against the radical Republican agenda. Contribute Now.

My reply:

Nancy --

Do you know what House Democrats have done to create jobs since claiming the majority in 2006? Nothing.

A disappointed lefty (then again why have expectations in the first place; I should know better),


P.S. Stop voting to fund American war criminals in Afghanistan and Israeli war criminals in Palestine. For someone so self-righteous about Tibet you're quite the hypocrite.

Bombing of Libya: Defies both the Constitution and UN Law


Fair enough, but you should never trust imperialism to save lives. We should be pointing out these laws to both point out and prevent first world abuses of power, which are common as a result of the Security Council's veto power.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Liberals more enthusiastic about bombing Libya than conservatives

Two Signs Your Country Has Gone To War, courtesy of FAIR

Here we go again.


How can you tell that your country has gone to war again? Here are at least two signs.

--The same military official is on every Sunday morning chat show: Yesterday Joint Chiefs chair Mike Mullen was on CBS's Face the Nation, NBC's Meet the Press, Fox News Sunday and ABC's This Week.

--You can watch TV reports about the astonishing accuracy of your weapons: On CNN last night, courtesy of Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence:

American Tomahawk missiles can be reprogrammed in flight. If there was a risk of civilian casualties, operators could change the target after launch. But the Navy did not use that ability, confident it was aiming at military targets. Moammar Gadhafi says the strikes killed civilians. But a defense official told us if you don't have to reprogram your missile, you're very confident in what you're hitting."

The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: Isabel Kershner and the standards of the New York ...

The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: Isabel Kershner and the standards of the New York ...: "You should all read this piece in the New York Times from yesterday. It encapsulates all that is wrong with the New York Times' coverage of Arab-Israeli issues. Look at this sentence: "The Israeli military responded to the unusually intense barrage with tank and helicopter fire." Israeli attacks are always portrayed as "responses" or "retaliation" when in reality Hamas said that it was responding to Israeli killing of civilians days earlier. Notice how NYT reporters are allowed to editorialize only against enemies of Israel, as when Kershner wrote: "unusually intense barrage" from Hamas. We should ask Kershner: Were Israeli attacks on Lebanon in 2006 and on Gaza in 2008 "unusually intense"? Or were they unusually soft and mild, by your racist standards? But Kershner felt that it did not serve Israeli propaganda interests enough, so she adds this weird sentence: "And while Hamas said that it was firing at Israeli military bases along the border, mortar fire is notoriously inaccurate..." So Arabs are terrorists even when they target military bases because their fire is "notoriously inaccurate"? How accurate has Israeli fire been in the history of the conflict, Ms. Kershner? And could a NYT reporter be allowed to keep her/his job if she or he were to offer that Israeli fire is "notoriously inaccurate"?"

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A few great Manic Street Preachers songs

Freedom Of Speech Won't Feed My Children

Liberty, sweet liberty
Charitable respectability
Then pacifism killed us all
For all the tourists on the Berlin wall
So we protest about human rights
Worship obesity as our birthright
But freedom of speech won't feed my children
Just brings heart disease and bootleg clothing
Just brings heart disease and bootleg clothing

We love to kiss the Dalai Lama's ass
Because he is such a holy man
Free to eat and buy anything
Free to fuck from Paris to Beijing

Little boys with dangerous toys
All bow down to the Beastie Boys
But freedom of speech won't feed my children
Just brings heart disease and bootleg clothing
Just brings heart disease and bootleg clothing

Royalty - hereditery - unelected and becalmed
Just like Stalin, just like Stalin
Human and useless

Bomb the Chinese Embassy
The west is free, oh the west is free
Laugh at the hammer and sickle
It is antique, oh it is antique

And see the love in Richard Gere's eyes
JS Pemberton saved our lives
But freedom of speech won't feed my children
Just brings heart disease and bootleg clothing
Just brings heart disease and bootleg clothing
Just brings heart disease and bootleg clothing
Just brings heart disease and bootleg clothing

We Are All Bourgeois Now

There's something wrong somewhere here
So through unclean streets I made my way
With holes in my shoes and my children asleep at my feet
I paid my way

In every town on the way
The people looked gray the buildings looked healthy
But one day I met a man
With money to spare
He said he would tell me how it is

The State he began
Has been propping up people too long
For far too long
We all got lazy and couldn't be bothered
To make our way through the world

But we are all bourgeois now
Once there was class war
But not any longer
Because baby we are all bourgeois now
So go out and make your way in the world
We're free to choose
We're all free to choose
We're all free to choose
We're free to choose

In Booming Britain we all work together
To raise ourselves in the world
Each of us knows someone
Who has done well for themselves
So well for themselves
"Thank you," I said as I left
I'll be on my way, I see how it is

We are all bourgeois now
And somehow I'll raise myself through the world
I'm free to choose
We're all free to choose
We're all free to choose
I'm free to choose

We're all bourgeois now
We're all bourgeois now
We're bourgeois now

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Tunisian uprising


Tuesday, 04 January 2011
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Several suicide attempts by young Tunisians, as protest against poverty and unemployment, sparked a number of riots and protests all over the country in the last few weeks. We publish here a short English introduction to an article in Arabic. A translation of the more detailed analysis will be published tomorrow.

Mohamed Bouazizi, a young Tunisian from the central rural city of Sidi Bouzid, attempted to end his life by setting himself on fire. He has been unemployed since he graduated from university five years ago. A few days later another unemployed youth tried to electrocute himself in protest against the poor prospects for Tunisian youth.

In the city of Sidi Bouzid 25 percent of male graduates have no job. This figure increases to 44 percent for female graduates. Meanwhile five other youths have tried to kill themselves but were saved in time. Those acts of despair have provoked a chain reaction of riots and protests all over the country.

The clashes started in the inner cities of the country but have now flared up in the capital Tunis and other important cities. This spontaneous outburst of anger against unemployment is turning more political, with demonstrators demanding the end of the power wielded by the greedy and corrupt ‘Trabelsi’ family over government, state institutions and the economy.

The ‘Trabelsi’ family, starting with the dictator president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and his wife Leila, dubbed as the ‘regent of Carthage’ has been holding Tunisia in an iron grip for the last 23 years. This is the first time since the 1984 bread riots that Tunisia has witnessed such a widespread, tireless and stubborn protest movement. For two weeks the whole nation was almost paralysed by this movement.

One Middle Eastern newspaper has understood the real meaning of these events: “No one thought it [Tunisia] susceptible to the kind of social and political unrest it has witnessed recently”. (Gulf News, 1/1/2011.) Tunisia was until recently thought to be a model country in this troubled region. A haven of stability, this darling of the West combined economic growth (as a popular tourist destination and a very cheap subcontractor for continental industries) with so-called ‘enlightened’ dictatorship, a secular bulwark against Islamic fundamentalism.

Tunisia is probably the best friend of the European imperialist countries and its economy depends for almost 80% from revenues and investment from EU countries and companies. The new troubles in Tunisia are sending shivers down the spines of neighbouring dictatorships and of imperialism.

Tunisia was recently congratulated by the IMF and the World Bank on the way it resisted to the effects of the world recession. If Tunisia can explode, imagine what can happen in other countries in the North of Africa or the Middle East. Al Jazeera, the popular Quatari television recently published an article about the ‘rebirth of Arab activism’. But it was not referring to Islamic fundamentalism or a spate of terrorist attacks. It explains how “Mohamed Bou'aziz, the young Tunisian who set fire to himself on December 17, is emerging as a symbol of the wider plight of the millions of young Arabs who are struggling to improve their living conditions”:

“The roots of this Tunisian 'uprising' are to be found in a lethal combination of poverty, unemployment and political repression: three characteristics of most Arab societies”. So ‘Tunisian’ uprisings, mass movement, strikes and mass clashes with the state apparatus are on the agenda in all of the Arab countries. This is not really a prediction about the future. This is already happening now in Egypt, Algeria and Jordan!

The Arab regimes and their imperialist friends are following these events very closely. Neighbouring Libya has even decided to open its borders with Tunisia so that unemployed youth can look for a job in the country of Colonel Khadafi. Germany has pledged to invest in the poor central rural region of Sidi Bouzid.

Meanwhile, ‘democratic and human rights-loving Europe’ keeps very silent on the brutal repression of the decaying Trabelsi dictatorship. Not a word of condemnation has even been whispered by any government of the European Union or the United States.

In an unsuccessful attempt to defuse the protests the government has already sacked two ministers, three governors and has made (again) plenty of promises of investment and employment schemes. The regime combines those measures with brutal repression, which have already taken the lives of two demonstrators, injuring hundreds of others and detaining many more.

But the fear of the Tunisian youth has disappeared. Significantly, in the recent days the protests have been joined by the workers’ unions. Today [3/1/2011] the university students resume their courses all over Tunisia. This could be a crucial turning point for the movement.

The Arabic website of the IMT, has published this background article about the new ‘Tunisian Spring’. A translation will be published soon. Our comrades in Morocco are starting to organise active solidarity with the Tunisian uprising. We call all our sympathisers to do the same and send messages of support to

Very cool. More from Al Jazeera.

Monday, January 3, 2011

WikiLeaks: US Targets EU Over GM Crops

From commondreams,

WikiLeaks: US Targets EU Over GM Crops

US embassy cable recommends drawing up list of countries for 'retaliation' over opposition to genetic modification

by John Vidal, environment editor

The US embassy in Paris advised Washington to start a military-style trade war against any European Union country which opposed genetically modified (GM) crops, newly released WikiLeaks cables show.

[Greenpeace activists stand on an artwork in front of the European Commission headquarters in Brussels December 9, 2010.  The US embassy in Paris advised Washington to start a military-style trade war against any European Union country which opposed genetically modified crops, newly released WikiLeaks cables show.  (REUTERS/Francois Lenoir)]Greenpeace activists stand on an artwork in front of the European Commission headquarters in Brussels December 9, 2010. The US embassy in Paris advised Washington to start a military-style trade war against any European Union country which opposed genetically modified crops, newly released WikiLeaks cables show. (REUTERS/Francois Lenoir)
In response to moves by France to ban a Monsanto GM corn variety in late 2007, the ambassador, Craig Stapleton, a friend and business partner of former US president George Bush, asked Washington to penalise the EU and particularly countries which did not support the use of GM crops.

"Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits.

"The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices," said Stapleton, who with Bush co-owned the St Louis-based Texas Rangers baseball team in the 1990s.

In other newly released cables, US diplomats around the world are found to have pushed GM crops as a strategic government and commercial imperative.

Because many Catholic bishops in developing countries have been vehemently opposed to the controversial crops, the US applied particular pressure to the pope's advisers.

Cables from the US embassy in the Vatican show that the US believes the pope is broadly supportive of the crops after sustained lobbying of senior Holy See advisers, but regrets that he has not yet stated his support. The US state department special adviser on biotechnology as well as government biotech advisers based in Kenya lobbied Vatican insiders to persuade the pope to declare his backing. "… met with [US monsignor] Fr Michael Osborn of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, offering a chance to push the Vatican on biotech issues, and an opportunity for post to analyse the current state of play on biotech in the Vatican generally," says one cable in 2008.

"Opportunities exist to press the issue with the Vatican, and in turn to influence a wide segment of the population in Europe and the developing world," says another.

But in a setback, the US embassy found that its closest ally on GM, Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the powerful Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the man who mostly represents the pope at the United Nations, had withdrawn his support for the US.

"A Martino deputy told us recently that the cardinal had co-operated with embassy Vatican on biotech over the past two years in part to compensate for his vocal disapproval of the Iraq war and its aftermath – to keep relations with the USG [US government] smooth. According to our source, Martino no longer feels the need to take this approach," says the cable.

In addition, the cables show US diplomats working directly for GM companies such as Monsanto. "In response to recent urgent requests by [Spanish rural affairs ministry] state secretary Josep Puxeu and Monsanto, post requests renewed US government support of Spain's science-based agricultural biotechnology position through high-level US government intervention."

It also emerges that Spain and the US have worked closely together to persuade the EU not to strengthen biotechnology laws. In one cable, the embassy in Madrid writes: "If Spain falls, the rest of Europe will follow."

The cables show that not only did the Spanish government ask the US to keep pressure on Brussels but that the US knew in advance how Spain would vote, even before the Spanish biotech commission had reported.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Fuck Regina Spektor.

December 27th of 2010 marked the two-year anniversary of Israel's massive bombing campaign against Gaza, and according to wikipedia, the effects were as follows:

"A total of 1,100-1,400[79] Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed in the 22-day war.[80] After 22 days of fighting, Israel declared a ceasefire. Hamas vowed to continue the battle if Israeli forces did not leave the Strip.[81] The conflict damaged or destroyed tens of thousands of homes,[82] 15 of Gaza’s 27 hospitals and 43 of its 110 primary health care facilities,[83] 800 water wells,[84] 186 greenhouses,[85] and nearly all of its 10,000 family farms;[86] leaving 50,000 homeless,[87][87][88] one million without electricity,[88] and resulting in acute food shortages.[89] 400,000-500,000 without running water,

However, by February 2009 food availability returned to pre-war levels."

U.N. reports also say that Gazans could be completely without water by 2015.

Approximately one third of the dead Gazans, over 400 children, were killed in the massacre. Here's a horrifying Al Jazeera report on the matter (warning: graphic).

So on December 27th, I wasted some precious time typing keywords into google related to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. I found Regina Spektor's thoughts on the subject; Regina Spektor is one of my favorite solo artists in music today, and also a Jew. Her response was, among many other things, idiotic, nationalistic and simply plain ignorant above all else. Therefore, I feel the need to respond to her stupid myspace blog entry point by point.

When i realize how many times i decided not to, before i decided to, write this - i see why this is such a frightening time.When a Jew who loves Israel, who has been there, has played shows there, has visited there with family, with friends, feels this way, you know the fear is in you . As if Israel- the word itself, is so igniting, so dangerous, that it is better held inside.

There have been times like this before. Roughly 60 years before. And if people think that now is any different, they are mistaken. It's just that enough time has passed. And it seems it is our turn again. But when hasn't it been our turn...

Oh dear. Sorry, but I'm already rendered unable to be civil with you Ms. Spektor.

"When hasn't it been our turn?" Are you fucking nuts? Anti-Semitism manifested itself in a very terrible way "roughly 60 years before," and it has showed no signs since of manifesting in a similar way since. Today is no different. You immediately create a problem when you are so paranoid about a second Holocaust that you ignore the suffering of others, or the horrible abuses and crimes that the state of Israel has committed itself.

Israel has been shelled. It has been hit with rockets for years. Years. Manchester, St. Louis, Leon, Munich, Copenhagen, Detroit, Madrid, Brisbane, Leeds, LA, Tokyo, these cities are not. But if they were, God forbid, their governments would be completely authorized and in the right to fight back.There is no government in the world that would not protect its citizens from attack. That's unlawful. And it's not sticks and stones, as many of my friends and relatives who live in Israel know. It's rockets. Is one of these things not like the other? Are there different laws and rules for a Jewish government? If you prick us do we not bleed?

This paragraph reeks of pretentious bullshit. If any of those cities were hit with attacks, I'd start to wonder why they were hit with attacks. Why did Hamas attack Israel? Maybe it's because Israel is responsible for the collective terrible wellbeing of the Gazans, as well as the Palestinians in the other occupied territories. Maybe it's because Israel, not Hamas, broke the 2008 ceasefire. Maybe it's because Israel is a state formed by immigrants who believe they have a right to the land, and therefore meets little internal dissent in addition to limited dissent from its American sugar daddy, giving it near impunity to do whatever the hell it wants. Maybe it's because thousands of Palestinians have been imprisoned by Israel under god awful conditions.

Getting attacked is a sign that you should self-examine your own actions, because non-military entities don't attack foreign countries every day. U.N. law states that countries should always try to resolve things peacefully and understand the motives of the assailants before engaging in warfare.

And it is a nightmare. There are refugees. Casualties. A nightmare that happens over and over in this world. Those poor Palestinian people are being used as shields, and killed by extremists of their own government. And it is horrible and sad for the Israelis to see these people not be able to speak out against Hamas, whom they elected out of fear, because if they do, they will be killed. They are getting killed from both sides. Hamas shoots rockets out of schools and hospitals at Israel, and hopes for retaliation. Because it's not those Palestinian civilians that matter to them. It's the cause. The story. It's the propaganda machine that needs oiling with human shield blood.

You are such a fucking idiot. No evidence has shown Hamas using "human shields," and as a matter of fact, Amnesty International and the U.N. have condemned Israel for using Palestinian human shields to protect military targets. Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, and Hamas lives in the cities. They don't "use" schools and hospitals to install their rockets; only a fucking cynic could shift the blame from the Israeli government to the Palestinian government in wondering why and how so many Palestinians died during Operation Cast Lead.

Boo hoo. The pooooooooor poooooooooooooooooor Israelis have to see Palestinians die. We should, obviously, only sympathize with the Israelis who have to see the Palestinians die, and not sympathize with the Palestinians themselves. Congrats on being a bigoted bitch, Regina!

But let's not listen to the Palestinians who voted for Hamas and got their homes and family members bombed by Israel continually. Let's just assume that it's Hamas' fault for Palestinian suffering. Why should we take responsibility for our own actions, after all?

To me it seems that the Palestinians and the Israelis are both being used by the World. They are both simultaneously scapegoats and decoys. And the World needs them that way. Because if they were gone, and the conflict was over, who would be the next target of the extremists.

I imagine this is the scenario that the World has in its sleepy mind: The World has just left the office. The World is walking home and taking its usual short cut. The alley it cuts through always makes its heart pound a little faster, but time saved is time saved, so it takes the shortcut every night on the way home to dinner. Over the course of its many walks home through the alley, the World has seen all kinds of muggings...The World has seen Israel get mugged, too. Sometimes harder, sometimes less. When this happens the World chooses one of three options... Option 1. Cross the street, pick up the pace, don't make eye contact, and get out of range of danger... Option 2. Go over to Israel and help fight the mugger off. But no. Those options are not what the World is choosing.

More idiocy. Israel is more like the rapist who has a nice lawyer (the U.S.). Time and time again, the rapist does his thing and blames the victim for her skanky attire. Once in awhile his victim tries to destroy his home, in hopeless self-defense and rage, but kills his family in the process. "Look what a horrible rape victim she is," says the rapist. "She deserves every bit of what she gets." The lawyer agrees, the rapist continues doing his thing, and tries to appeal to the sad onlookers by negotiating fake "peace settlements."

The sick, self-serving lawyer and his friends tend to agree with the rapist's point of view, but nobody else does. Sadly, at the moment, the rapist's friends, allies and sad onlookers are powerless to protect her. That's the world. If anything, the world hasn't given Israel (the state, not the civilians) enough of the mugging it needs.

It's time for Option 3. Go over to Israel, and hold its arms back, hold it steady in place, and let the mugger beat it up good. Because the World thinks, innocently, of course, and full of fear in its beating heart, that if the mugger beats up Israel real good, good enough for a last breath, good enough so that when the World is making a short cut from the office, back home for dinner, there is no more Israel, and the mugger won't be there anymore, and the shortcut will be safe, and save time, and all will be great. So this is what happens. And the World walks home again. This time more relaxed, more at ease... A spring in its step.

And then the World feels a hand on its shoulder. Its the mugger. The World smiles. It makes a little bow. It tips its hat. Then the mugger starts mugging the World. "But I'm your friend, remember? I was the loudest denouncing Israel in public, remember? I helped you hold its arms back a little while ago, remember? Many times i helped you holding its arms back?..."

"But I'm a mugger." the mugger says."And I mug." the mugger says. "And you are next." the mugger says. And the mugger waits for someone else to take a short cut, to help out with the mugging in the hopes that they will be spared, and then they will be next... and so on, and so forth, and that's how it works.

Excuse me while I go puke. This isn't worthy of a response.

But everyone is afraid. They are afraid of extremists in their midst. And i am too. We all should be. There is something terrifying about people who hate you more than they love themselves. People who would cover themselves with children, in order to kill and not be killed. And just because we have become allergic to "The War on Terror" and all those other co-opted expressions that were used to drag us, against our will, against our millions of people around the world peace protests, into a horrible war in Iraq, in the name of oil; doesn't mean there aren't terrorists in the world.

There sure are. They're called, "People who disagree with you." I like to call the United States government a terrorist organization, because it kills more people than any other government or grouping in the world.

Our media is full of propaganda on all sides. Every side is skewed. There is no unbiased news. Its like fast food. There are so many choices, but an illusion of choices. There is McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's. There's even Taco Bell if you really want to branch out. And so i choose. I choose the media that seems to reflect more of who i am. And I tend to choose the more liberal news. I am a Liberal in almost every sense of the word. I believe in protecting Civil Liberties as carefully as we protect the dearest things to us, but not with guns. I think guns are the cause of countless preventable tragedies in the households of Americans. I believe in Equality. In ending all Racism, Homophobia, and Sexism. I believe that government has a duty to help its citizens grow through education, help the elderly, have health care, and that it's not "each for himself". But I don't believe they have a right to spy on me. I believe in the freedom of Choice. I support a woman's right to have an abortion if she feels it necessary in her life. I believe in Barack Obama. I supported him with all my heart. I have never felt as strongly about a politician in my life. And in a few days he will be our president. This is a short list of my left, my Liberal, my closest media self.

Nobody likes liberals, but continue, liberal.

I do not agree with the Liberal Media when it comes to Israel. I have never seen such one sided reporting in my life. And I've seen some amazing propaganda growing up in the Soviet Union. I have never seen a group of people so determined to portray Israeli people, Israeli soldiers, as blood thirsty, inhumane monsters. I am not a politician. I am sure there's a great political reason for this kind of reporting. For this kind of misrepresentation. I am sure there's a great reason for my hearing on a UK television set, while getting ready to play one of the festivals a couple of years back, a reporter saying, in a tragic voice with a tragic face "At this moment Hezbollah is fighting for its very existence." As if Hezbollah was a kitten that fell down a well, and not a terrorizing organization, and that Israel was the one who threw it down there. I'm sure there's a reason. And i think the reason is fear. And i think the reason is the same reason i was deciding and undeciding and deciding and undeciding whether to write this.

Southern Lebanon was a kitten thrown down a well, Regina. Israel invaded Southern Lebanon for absolutely no reason in the early 80s, killed more than 20,000 civilians, and occupied the territory for nearly 20 years. Hezbollah formed as a resistance organization to drive Israel out of Southern Lebanon, and it succeeded in doing so.

Terrorism begets terrorism. Since I don't know about the BBC report in question, I can't really say any more than that.

But this is the world we live in. We should not deny that we are all scared. We are scared of planes, of crowds, of everything. We are so scared. Sometimes it feels that if there were no more Jews, or Israel (for the two are synonymous- Israel is the geographic embodiment of the nation)


all of this would stop. Even some Jews feel that way. Many of us try to un-Jew ourselves all the time. It comes from a mixture of fear, guilt of surviving while others didn't, and embarrassment. We are the root of our and the World's problems, it seems. It is the Jews themselves that you will hear speak out most strongly against Israel. The instinct that drives them is the same instinct that drove them to blend in, and then be very surprised when they were put in the ghetto, too. The were surprised when they were put on the train, too. They were surprised when they were put in the gas chamber, too. They were surprised all the way till Death. Because "they weren't like those OTHER Jews"... Well. A Jew is a Jew is a Jew is a Jew.

So, seeing as I'm an ethnic Jew, I must hate Israel because I don't want to get treated horribly by Muslims. I hate Israel out of self-hate or some weird guilt for being Jewish. This is the same guilt that motivated Jews during the Nazi Holocaust to support Hitler.

Wow. Shut the fuck up.

And if anyone thinks that speaking out against Israel is anything other than thinly veiled anti-semitism, they are deeply mistaken.

It isn't. Fuck you.

"Maybe if i am quiet and at the back of the class and look down they won't notice." That should not be the motto of the World. Nor should "Maybe if I'm the loudest to condemn Israel, they'll remember me as a friend later." Because eventually, when there is only you left in the class, you will get noticed. We all will.

Kill yourself, please. You would do Jews a great favor.

And I don't believe in good and evil. I believe that we cultivate fractions of qualities within ourselves like a delicate chemistry experiment, with droppers of human traits into a beaker or a test tube. And all those properties are ever changing. And the good ones stem from our love of self, and understanding of self. And the bad ones stem from fear. There is nothing that makes one a better person than realizing what you fear, why you fear it, and how that makes you closed off to others, and blame others...

Ooh look at me I'm so deep and and and SHUT THE FUCK UP. You don't know what you're talking about, you have no fucking understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict whatsoever, and you're just a plain out horrible person in general. Congrats!

I believe in God, and am a Jew, and yet i love all people of other faiths, and people of no faith, with my whole heart, so i know that it is possible. I love America, and Israel, and my mother country Russia, and all the countries i have had the honor and privilege to visit, and the countries that i have yet to visit in the future, and the countries i will never have the chance to visit in my lifetime, and so i know that it is possible. I love Humans and I love Nature, though from the beginning of time they have been destroying each other, and i love them both, and so i know that it is possible. And I feel that love without paradox. Without feeling for one at the expense of another. And so i know that it is possible.

We keep destroying each other, except in the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where it's only the fault of Arabs and Muslims. WOW.

I wish for peace in Israel. I wish for as many people on all sides of the conflict to survive in a healthy and safe way. I wish for us all to find our inner and outer and every type of peace we can muster... I wish for peace in the world. And my thoughts are with Israel... and with all of you.

I wish for peace in Israel and Palestine alike. You clearly do not, as you seem to want Israel's military power to remain an untouched dominating force over the rest of the region. Far more Palestinians have died in Israel's occupation of Palestine than Palestinians, and so it remains.

P.S. i understand that this is a very sensitive subject and i write this as a letter... a letter to which i am not seeking responses (i will not post comments because that's not what this is about, to me...) this is my own comment to myself, but out loud. a way of expressing thoughts and feelings about what i have heard and witnessed thus far... this is not meant to hurt anyone, and it is meant for me, as much as for anyone else...

Well, here's your response: Fuck you and your fake, pretentious bullshit and self-declared love/open-mindedness. You see things from a completely one-sided point of view because you're unable to see the horrible way in which Israel was founded for what it is, and you're unable to understand what the Palestinians in the legal Palestinian territories go through on a day by day basis. You are a new kind of bigot, in that you are affected by the planned obsolescence of Palestinian suffering. How dare you "blog" about such a serious matter in your "cute" little folksy language, worthy of Sarah Palin, while Palestinians starve and die at the hands of the IDF and the Israeli state?

i send you all good wishes and lots of love, wherever, and whomever you are...

Thanks. Much appreciated. Not.

Reaaaaaally tempted to delete your music off of my hard drive right now.

Happy new year! I hope to update this blog every day in 2011.


Now let's let this new year kick unbelievable amounts of ass.