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Showing posts from September, 2012

Women: Their safety and security

The abduction, rape and murder of a 29 year old woman in Melbourne, Australia at 1 am last week just around the corner from her home prompted a hug outpouring of grief and support for "freedom" of the streets today.

The terrible death of this woman also leads one to reflect on how women fare around the world.

"Consider femicide, which is the murder of women because they are women:

In the United States, one-third of women murdered each year are killed by an intimate partner.

In South Africa, a woman is killed every six hours by an intimate partner.

In India in 2007, 22 women were killed each day in dowry-related murders.
In Guatemala, two women are murdered, on average, each day.

Honor killings, the murder of women for bringing shame to their families, happen all over the world, including the US.

What about slavery, which is what trafficking is?

Women and girls comprise 80 percent of the estimated 800,000 people trafficked annually, with the majority (79 percent) trafficked for…

It's all a matter of perception

Credited to Nate Beeler,The Columbus Dispatch

Will the real enemy stand up!

Brave call and even braver position to take in the flag-waving USA.....

"With that almost-unmentioned war far away still grinding on - to the tune of $2 billion a week and untold death and suffering on all sides - the extraordinary Winter Soldier testimony of Mike Prysner, Iraq Veteran Against the War and founder of March Forward!, on realizing the enemy is a blinding racism that makes occupation and destruction of another country seem acceptable, and "the real terrorist was me." Brave man; his full testimony here.

"Our real enemy is not the ones living in a distant land whose names or policies we don't understand. The real enemy is a system that wages war when it's profitable, the CEOs who lay us off our jobs when it's profitable, the Insurance Companies who deny us Health care when it's profitable, the Banks who take away our homes when it's profitable. Our enemies are not several hundred thousands away. They are right here in front of us."…

And there is even a issue that the USA has a health-care issue?

The richest country in the world we are told.   And then there are the Republicans, and looneys out there on the American landscape, who regard what is now dubbed Obamacare as socialised medicine.  The GOP even threatens to repeal much of Obamacare if they gain power .

From "A Human Issue" on CommonDreams:

"This week about 5,000 people stood in line for up to three days and nights outside the LA Sports Arena to get a wristband to go back for free health or dental care they otherwise can't afford. That's a thousand more than last year, but an infinitesimal sliver of the estimated two million without health insurance. In one of America's biggest, richest cities. The Rude Pundit feels this is not ok.

"You don't wait three nights outside for a chance to see a doctor a few days later because taxes are too high or because Israel's prime minister is feeling neglected or because government-run health care won't give you your choice of doctors or what…

Bibi and the meme artists

The vision of the Israeli PM speaking at the UN holding up his diagram relating to Iran's nuclear capability has been flashed around the world.   It has attracted both puzzlement (especially in Israel) and a degree of mirth.     Take this example from +972....

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (or should I say Bib E. Coyote?) had a lot of people worldwide holding their stomachs with laughter as he held his Looney Tune ACME bomb above the UNGA podium. The Israeli meme artists, as usual, were quick to respond." 

One example:

Respect is the new paradigm in relation to the Middle East

Let it not be said that the world isn't changing.....and fast to boot!     The West, notably America propped up dictators by pouring millions of dollars into their coffers, yet stood aside as any democratic rights and principles for the leader's country-folk were trashed.   Now, the wheel has turned in the Middle East with the Arab Spring having seen an awakening of people-power.    Time for the West to re-calibrate, as Paul McGeough writes in "West must learn to respect wishes of new Arab leaders" in The Sydney Morning Herald.  

"Something truly remarkable unfolded in New York this week - the leaders of Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Libya came to the green-marbled dais at the United Nations as genuine representatives of their people.

For too long, autocratic predecessors in the first three had come to town as puppets of the West. Utterly unembarrassed, they would collect cheques, in return for paying lip-service to the rights and dignity of their people, before adj…

Chomsky on Israel: "A Pretty Crazy State"

A Q & A with Noam Chomsky on Information Clearing House.      Chomsky has never held back from criticising Israel even if the usual epithets of self-hating Jew, etc. have been hurled at him.    His assessment of Israel, here, is sober and sobering.

"LEZAMA: That’s an interesting point regarding the timing of the attacks. Right now, we have to pick between one really bad candidate, and Romney. It seems like the Israeli government is taking advantage of the Obama administration’s bid for re-election. Israel is talking a lot about attacking Iran, and trying to mobilize support for it in the U.S. These kinds of things tend to have consequences for Palestine; what will happen in Palestine? I think Israel is bluffing, and looking for something else.

CHOMSKY: Well, Israel is a pretty crazy state. My suspicion is that they are trying to create the circumstances under which the U.S. will attack Iran – they don’t want to do it themselves.

LEZAMA: They want to set up a rationale?


Spain and Greece on a very hard road......

Things seem to to be on up in Europe, especially in Span and Greece - or so the media led us to believe.   Not so, it seems.     In fact both the Spanish and Greek governments are taking what can only as draconian measures to bring their respective financial plights into some sort of line.   But are they on the right track?      Paul Krugman, writing in The New York Times, has his reservations.

"So much for complacency. Just a few days ago, the conventional wisdom was that Europe finally had things under control. The European Central Bank, by promising to buy the bonds of troubled governments if necessary, had soothed markets. All that debtor nations had to do, the story went, was agree to more and deeper austerity — the condition for central bank loans — and all would be well.

But the purveyors of conventional wisdom forgot that people were involved. Suddenly, Spain and Greece are being racked by strikes and huge demonstrations. The public in these countries is, in effect, saying…

Those leaders trooping to the podium at the UN in New York

Many presidents, prime ministers and leaders of countries around the world are in New York for the opening of the UN.   Each will troop to the podium to espouse this or that message, mostly with an eye to attracting a headline and appealing to the folks back home.    The Iranian president has already had his say, as has Obama.    The Israeli president will too.    His trip to the USA will doubtlessly be taken by him as an opportunity to try and whip the Americans into line for an attack on Iran.      Likely to succeed?    In this election year hard to say.   Netanyahu certainly has a stick taken to him by Roger Cohen in his piece on IHT Global Opinion.

"Shaul Mofaz, the leader of Israel’s centrist Kadima party, posed three questions this month to Benjamin Netanyahu. Speaking in the Knesset, he said: “Prime minister, tell me, who is our biggest enemy, the U.S. or Iran? Who do you want replaced, Ahmadinejad or Obama? How low are you prepared to drag relations with our closest ally?…

The dangerous woman in France....

It was always going to be a slippery slope when France, amongst others, banned women from wearing a burkha.    It has now probably come back to bite the French on the backside - for the notorious leader of the French National Front has now called for widening the ban.   It goes to show, not for the first time, that banning things has a knock-on effect, and not necessarily a positive one.

"Marine Le Pen's call for a ban on headscarves, Jewish kippas, and even the djellaba in public is not some new low in the long and abject story of France's failure to come to terms with itself. We have been here before, and unfortunately we will be again. That is the tragedy of modern France, a tragedy that entered a new absurdist phase the day Marine Le Pen recast herself as the protector of the values of the Republic.

You need to suffer from a very particular kind of historical amnesia not to find banning the kippa in France grotesque, particularly as Le Pen used it to kickstart her part…

Assange & Wikileaks: On a par with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban?

This is absurd!   Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have been designated as enemies of the USA as much as Al-Quaeda is, by the US military, according to a report today in The Sydney Morning Herald.

One can readily see why Assange fears what would happen to him if he were to end up in the hands of the Americans.     It seems the land of the free and the brave and always promoting its own democratic values just can't wear it's actions, legal and otherwise, being exposed to the light of day. 

"The US military has designated Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as enemies of the United States - the same legal category as the al-Qaeda terrorist network and the Taliban insurgency.

Declassified US Air Force counter-intelligence documents, released under US freedom-of-information laws, reveal that military personnel who contact WikiLeaks or WikiLeaks supporters may be at risk of being charged with "communicating with the enemy", a military crime that carries a maximum sentence of de…

The real Mitt speaking........

Credited to Mr Fish at Harper's Magazine

A different dimension and insight into the war in Syria

From Empire Burlesque a different dimension and insight into the ever-ongoing war in Syria....

"One hears a great deal of talk about the civil war in Syria, most of it thickly greased with hot globs of propaganda from interested parties on all sides. But there are very few unfiltered reports from the ground by writers with the knowledge and experience to move among the fighters and actually understand what they are seeing and hearing."

The Guardian's Ghaith Abdul-Ahad is one of those rarities. Many of us recall his remarkable reportage in Iraq, where he ranged back and forth between insurgents and invaders at the height of the carnage, giving us some the clearest pictures of what was really happening behind the smoke of the "surge."

In Monday's Guardian, Abdul-Ahad explores the tense relations on the rebel side between the Free Syria Army troops backed by the West, and the foreign 'jihadis' now flooding into the country. As one of the fighters -- a v…

Use of drones in Pakistan nixed

Apart from the use of drones being illegal and bordering on the unconscionable, now a study reveals that they aren't effective and having the opposite effect in Pakistan to that intended.

"Rejecting the dominant narrative that insulates most Americans from the reality of the US drone program in Pakistan—a narrative that says drones are a surgically precise and effective tool that makes the US safer from "global terrorism" with minimal downsides—a new report by researchers at the Stanford and NYU schools of law says that the program itself is "terrorizing" and that its overall impact is "counterproductive" when it comes to addressing international law, security, and human rights.

The newly released report, Living Under Drones, follows nine months of intensive research—including two investigations in Pakistan, more than 130 interviews with victims, witnesses, and experts, and review of thousands of pages of documentation and media reporting—and pres…

In a's racist!

Racism, bigotry and intolerance #101 as exemplified by this poster put up in a number of subways in New York.     It appears that New Yorkers aren't buying it though......   Shame on those behind the posters.    

"Following a court battle, those flamingly anti-Islam ads from Pamela Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative (sic) - the ones touting "savages vs. civilized man" - went up in New York subway stations this week. It didn't take long for residents to say what they thought of them. At last report, seven have gotten a welcome, truth-telling makeover and Twitter is abuzz. You gotta love New Yorkers.

"In New York we speak 140 languages, and hate isn't one of them."

Aaah technology!

Credited to Clement, National Post, Toronto

Which headline? - and what truth?

If one follows the media without any scrutiny one would be left with the clear impression that Iran is going to attack Israel and destroy it.    Just take this headline "Iranian Revolutionary Guard predicts war will destroy Israel" from the The Telegraph in the UK.    However, read the piece and then one sees that what the Iranians are saying is that they will counter-attack if they are attacked by Israel.  And hasn't Israel, and others, including the US, threatened to attack Iran.    So, why shouldn't Iran defend itself and its peoples?

"The shameful and cancerous tumour that is Israel is seeking war against us, but it is not known when that war will happen. They now consider war as the only way to confront us, but they are so stupid that their (US) masters should stop them," he said, speaking at a military exhibition in Tehran.

"If they begin, it will spell their destruction and will be the end of the story, even if they act rationally, this incident …