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Gaza 8 January 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, Culture of Death, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Israel/AIPAC, WAR!.
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gazacemetary3jpg
Photograph and Text from In Gaza, No Room For the Dead, No Room for the Living:

The latest bodies, instead, show in sandy humps, buried just low enough to be covered but not properly so. Cement blocks mark some graves, leaves and vines on others. And some were just barely visible, by the raise in earth. But it was too packed, too hard to estimate where a grave might be, no possibility of a respectfully-spaced arrangement.

I see in the softening rhetoric, in the mixed atmospherics, that WSJ has picked up the story of the picnic-ers and spectators of war, the Israelis who park themselves on the bluffs outside Gaza and enjoy the show.  And they. the WSJ, are pleased to display for us the impolitic quotes from the Israeli hoi polloi.  And provide the photos.  Such news.  Such a breakthru!  My heart sings!

“It’s weird that we have to take lives in order to save lives,” Ms. Znaty says. “But we were held hostage by Hamas while our government ignored us, and now we fight back. I am sorry, but I am happy.”

Playing to a wider audience is what I see.  Apologies for cynicism in view of evolving tactics.

***

A few days ago I posted this, from the Tabula Gaza blog:

Sunday, January 4, 2009
SMS Message from Gaza Jan 3

At 7:49pm:

“I have decided not leave our house even if I die. All the people have decided this, we won’t resettle again.”

At 8:50pm:

“The ground incursion on us started now.”

S. is a refugee from near Beer Sebea 80km from his current home on the border between two refugee camps in the Northern Gaza Strip.

Posted by tabula gaza at 1:21 PM 11 comments

There is an update now:

My last two messages from S. in Northern Gaza

“The Israelis are here till now, they have not reaches ys yet but they are killing people at random. Many people are lying dead in the street. Death is coming towards us.”

- January 5, 12:30

“I am in the house, The army is very close. The situation is very bad. We are going to lose cell phone coverage now.”

- January 5, 15:42

Posted by tabula gaza at 4:19 PM 0 comments

There is also this at Tabula Gaza, which mirrors snips I posted a few days ago from the In Gaza blog, she drew from comments and quotes offered up by the stragglers who made it out of Zeitoun, from the house and environs where an extended family died, stories of people surrendering and still being lined up and shot… is it misinformation from within the fog and blood spatter of war? Could be. When I posted it in a thread I mentioned that it was hearsay. It is reported that when Jenin was sorted out the massacre was “smaller” than what came from anecdotes. And that it could have been sorted out, had reporters been allowed in to Jenin. I certainly agree the international community of reporters should be in Gaza to report.

Does anyone want to head count massacre?

Someone must, but it won’t be I.

zz
Palestinian children injured by Israeli tank fire in northeast Gaza City at a hospital on 8 January 2009. (Mohamed Al-Zanon/MaanImages)

From Tabula Gaza:

Notes from phone conversation with Dr.  Attalah Tarazi

The numbers of death and injured reported in the media are far below reality as the media is not able to cover incidents as they unfold. I know of cases where homes were surrounded by the Israeli army and people inside gave themselves up and were shot anyway when they exited.

When bakeries open there are thousands lining up to get their share of bread

A clinic near my hospital was hit by an Israeli missile earlier today

What is taking place is a massacre, more than a massacre

Almost all the cases I saw today at the hospital were civilians, many women and children. This is not an attack on Hamas, it is on the most innocent of people in Gaza

6 ambulance staff members have been killed. Two ambulances were hit. Nothing is safe, nowhere is safe. No moving vehicle is safe. We are afraid for our lives. There is no differentiation between Hamas and Fatah or anyone else

We have witnessed weapons we have never seen before in our lives. Some explode in the sky and scatter bombs all over. Sporadically. I have smelt smells from some of the burns and wounds that I have never before witnessed

Thousands have fled their homes and gathered in UN schools for shelter. one such school was hit earlier today. 45 people were killed

People gathering in these schools fleeing their homes are without food, without blankets, without clothes

May god protect us, may god have mercy on us

The Israeli military is attacking us from air, land and sea. we have no where to go

The Israeli army often hits a building 2 or 3 times. when an F 16 hits a target all the buildings around it are targeted

We get the feeling no one is asking about us, the world is not even
noticing this is going on, no one cares

Oh, tell me what being lined up and shot, if true, sounds like?

***

Electronic Intifada has a tick tock of war, gathered as medics and ambulances reached farther… they include this thumbnail of Zeitoun…

[F]our days after submitting a request to the IOF, teams from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and ambulances from the Palestine Red Crescent Society were allowed yesterday to enter the eastern Gaza City of al-Zeitoun. In one of the houses they entered, they found four children next to their dead mother and a young man, too weak to stand up. Twelve corpses were lying on mattresses in the house. They also found 15 survivors from the IOF attack, including injured people. In another house, the rescue team found three corpses. IOF were positioned only 80 meters from these people but left them to stay with the unburied corpses of their family members and to reach the brink of starving to death.

The ambulances were not permitted to reach the wounded people, who had been left for four days without help. The rescue team had to evacuate them on donkey cart. As the ICRC and human rights organizations continue to receive reports about similar cases in this neighborhood, the ICRC has not yet received information from the IOF concerning its request to search for the dead and survivors.

The Guardian has a useful blog on Gaza War, here is an entry:

The human rights group Amnesty claims Israelis are also using civilians as human shields.

Malcolm Smart, its Middle East director, said:

Our sources in Gaza report that Israeli soldiers have entered and taken up positions in a number of Palestinian homes, forcing families to stay in a ground floor room while they use the rest of their house as a military base and sniper position. This clearly increases the risk to the Palestinian families concerned and means they are effectively being used as human shields.

Last, Charlie Rose had Bob Simon of CBS and 60 Minutes on last night… Perhaps 10 or 15 years ago (years before Sharon went to Temple Mount) I would have welcomed this as breakthru, heart sings, etc.  — he speaks of apartheid, of separate roads, he clearly states that Two State is long dead… he all but says there never was any real desire for it, the Israelis LIKE apartheid…

You know what I heard? IF there is ever a day of reckoning (and why would there be, we are all complict, we are all collaborators), what we are seeing and hearing now, is the duals, the wealthy, the professional class, the elites of Tel Aviv crafting their separateness.

It was the settlers, of whom we are not a part. Oh really? It was the crazed religionists. Of which we are not a part. They are so infused into the miltary now that we have no control. And how is that working for you, in a JEWISH State? It even extended to, what a US president could do but will never do and of course, we are the wealthy of Tel Aviv, we are not some hapless US president, tied forever to the State of Israel.

BOB SIMON: [A]nd the third possibility has a very ugly word attached to it, which is apartheid. A minority Jewish population ruling over a majority Palestinian population, and Palestinians will tell you that apartheid already exists, that with the Israeli settlements on the West Bank, which have divided Palestinian territory into little cantons, with the settlements and the roadblocks, and settlers on the West Bank have their
own lovely highways, which the Palestinians are not allowed to drive on. Palestinians have to drive on the old roads. That already, there’s such a separation between Israelis and Palestinians on the West Bank that the Palestinians call it apartheid.

CHARLIE ROSE: You used to live in Tel Aviv, did you not?

BOB SIMON: Yes.

CHARLIE ROSE: So of all your friends in Israel, where you lived for how many years?

BOB SIMON: Oh, all together, more than 10.

CHARLIE ROSE: So for all your friends there, if you would say to them, would you say to them the building of the settlements in the West Bank was a bad idea and not in your interest?

BOB SIMON: They would say of course, and change the topic of conversation.

CHARLIE ROSE: I don’t understand.

BOB SIMON: In places like Tel Aviv, where just about everyone is for peace and against settlements, the irony is, when you go to a dinner party in Tel Aviv, everything is discussed except politics. Family, friends, movies, theater, music, everything. Vacations. Tuscany.

CHARLIE ROSE: Right.

BOB SIMON: You name it, it’s discussed. But not the politics of the situation. There is.

CHARLIE ROSE: Because they’re just tired of it or because they know that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel?

BOB SIMON: Because they’re tired of it and because they’re in a state of denial. They are living a very good life. Life in Tel Aviv is a wonderful life and they don’t want to be bothered with these questions which don’t really have an answer.

If anyone can stand to read it (and it is very interesting), tell me what you hear. There is also the vid at the same link, 26 minutes.

***

Oakland

In other news our BART killing went nationalBig time.  A demonstration went out of control last night in Oakland.  Anti riot response, parts and blocks of Oakland were closed down, 3 BART stations shut and so on… coverage on local media and local talk radio for hours, press and reporters on the scene.

The ‘on the scene’ reporting (that I caught) was excellent, radio and TV… and local NBC tv news did what I thought was right.  They reported that elements joined the march, that had originally gathered at the BART station where the killing took place, then most proceeded along a large boulevard to the town center… AND that marchers attempted to intervene against the infiltrating elements.  NBC local closed their evening news saying it is not white vs black (all colors and also Asian were in the original groups that gathered at the Fruitvale BART station) it is a justice issue.

That seems right to me… full reporting but not working to inflame.

The local ”liberal” talk radio is afire.  And I see it differently from the Whites.  We are now Whites and Blacks.. as if we were not before.

I am certainly not interested in trashing cars or breaking windows of small local businesses or setting trash afire, but to me the real story is that for days and all day yesterday the day the victim was buried, anyone in charge in Oakland was a no show.  Dellums (it is rumored he is soon to get out of Dodge, air lifted to DC for a job) finally came down to speak to protesters.. but he has been MIA (since elected).  The BART cop quit his job to avoid being questioned… no longer a BART employee he can decline to be interviewed by them, by their Internal Affairs, with firing as a threat of punishment.  The DA met briefly, finally, with some local activists, closed to the press and then hid for the rest of the day.

Plus you know, we have a pimp show coming up… on HBO I think, set in Oakland.  So much PR.

So, we are off and running.  And the story is ‘out of control blacks in Oakland’ and sotto voce, get rid of the blacks and life is better…  and not the failure of leadership, which is black and white..

Oh right.  Hail Obster.  We are so blessed.

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Comments»

1. marisacat - 8 January 2009

Just saw this at Democracy NOW! It is Indyk vs Finkelstein.

No snips have not had a chance to read it yet.

Watching Obster at his speech this am and his Dem party line up in the favored seats… Deval and Kaine and others. Goon City, imo.

Sorry to be blunt. I know deep in their hearts they are for the peeple. They really are.. and someday they will show it. Vote!

2. marisacat - 8 January 2009

AMY GOODMAN: So, Ambassador Indyk, why doesn’t Israel accept this ceasefire?

MARTIN INDYK: Look, Amy, I was invited on to talk about my book and the Gaza situation. I was not invited on to debate with Norman Finkelstein, and I’m not prepared to do that. So if you want to talk about the situation, I’m happy to do that, but I’m not here to be the representative of the government of Israel. You can easily invite somebody on to—

AMY GOODMAN: No, of course not. No, we’re asking your opinion. I don’t see you as the representative of Israel. But let me get your—

MARTIN INDYK: Well, why don’t we focus on some other issues, like the American role in this or something that—

AMY GOODMAN: Very good point.

MARTIN INDYK: —can get us out of this ridiculous debate, in which he’s just a propaganda spokesman for Hamas, you know.

3. catnip - 8 January 2009

Obalama:

If nothing is done, this recession could linger for years. The unemployment rate could reach double digits. Our economy could fall $1 trillion short of its full capacity, which translates into more than $12,000 in lost income for a family of four. We could lose a generation of potential and promise, as more young Americans are forced to forgo dreams of college or the chance to train for the jobs of the future. And our nation could lose the competitive edge that has served as a foundation for our strength and standing in the world.

In short, a bad situation could become dramatically worse.

Shorter Obamalama:

we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.

I LUV hopeyness. It’s such a refreshing change from all of that fearmongering!

4. marisacat - 8 January 2009

Somewhere I wandered this am I went thru some pics of Palestinian men kneeling, cuffed and blindfolded, identified as arrested as fighters or whatever wording was used… ”

Lenin has this (and i see he posted the comments from Dr Attalah Tarazi, from a UK source)

Israel has arrested a number of farmers who live near where the invasion is, they collected their weapons (which are used to protect them from theives and any other dangers) claiming to have arrested some Hamas fighters. This is to prove that the war has been successful so far! Those people are just farmers living quite outside the city between fields…

5. mattes - 8 January 2009

Just watched the BOB SIMON interview. Some Americans are going to get a big surprise. The word “settlements” will be spoken on primetime, oh, no…

6. mattes - 8 January 2009

#4, yes sounds more and more as a culling operation.

7. marisacat - 8 January 2009

From a thread at Lenin, both stories of the Israelis admitting there were no militants firing from the grounds of the UN school OR that they found the quickly identifed bodies of two militants in the school rubble have disappeared from both the Guardian and from Jpost.

But someone found it at ReutersTV

“The Israeli army, in private briefings with diplomats, isadmitting that the firing that came out of Jabalya yesterday – the militant fire – was not from within the UNRWA school compound, it was from outside the UNRWA school compound. This is a crucial distinction because serious allegations have been made against UNRWA that the militants were firing from
within. In fact, those allegations are baseless. It, as far as we’re
concerned, illustrates the need for a full and independent investigation. It’s been shown that these allegations against us are completely baseless,” UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told Reuters.

8. mattes - 8 January 2009

Gaddafi urges Arabs to join fight against Israel

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3653229,00.html

Blowback, days in the making, for years to come.

9. marisacat - 8 January 2009

Fraom Angry Arab (he links to some slurp that Hayden has up at HuffPo)… reminds me of Susan Sarandon and her diamonds from Leviev in NYC… groups contacted her and asked her not to participate, not ot patronise. She ignored them… But LOL I am sure the price on the diamonds was so good, what’s a little apartheid between friends when you can say you oppose the Iraq war. It is all so cute.

Tom Hayden: I remember

Tom Hayden has recently discovered that the Palestinians are victims. That is not enough for me. In 1982, when Israeli terrorists were bombing the shit out of Lebanon, Hayden and his wife came to Israel to entertain and clown for the occupying troops. I resolved then: don’t forget. Don’t forgive. I did not forget, and I did not forgive.

Posted by As’ad at 3:07 PM

10. mattes - 8 January 2009

J
UNRWA: IDF knows gunfire didn’t emanate from Jabalya school
By BRENDA GAZZAR AND TOVAH LAZAROFF

“The Israeli army in private briefings with diplomats have admitted that the militant fire from Jabalya yesterday came from outside the UNRWA school compound and not inside the UNRWA school compound,” said Christopher Gunness, a spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency.

“This was a very serious allegation against a United nations human development agency, which a day later turned out to be totally wrong, which
is why we wonder what other information might be wrong and why we are calling for an impartial investigation.”

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1231167303802&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

11. mattes - 8 January 2009

Two residents of the area reached by phone told the Associated Press that they saw a small group of gunmen firing mortar rounds from a street near the school, where 350 people had gathered to get away from the shelling. They spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.

In addition, Palestinian residents said that several gunmen ran toward the crowd, trying to use it as cover, when the first Israeli mortar shell missed them.

Meanwhile, strong condemnations were renewed throughout the Arab world and mass protests took place in countries like Sudan, Lebanon and Jordan as photos of dead children were broadcast by satellite television stations.

Much of the Arab press condemned Israel for the Jabalya incident, with some comparing it to the incident in the Lebanese village of Qana in 1996, in which the IDF fired an artillery shell that hit a UN outpost in the village that was serving as a shelter for residents, killing more than 100 Lebanese civilians.

The Kuwaiti newspaper al-Qabas called Tuesday’s incident near Jabalya “one of the worst massacres against defenseless Palestinian civilians” committed by “the Israeli war machine.”

“This massacre reminds us of a similar bloody massacre committed by Israel in Lebanon during the Operation Grapes of Wrath in April 1996, when the UN headquarters, which sheltered people in the village of Qana, was targeted and 105 people, mostly women and children, were killed,” it added.

12. Intermittent Bystander - 8 January 2009

Naomi Klein in the Nation: Israel: Boycott, Divest, Sanction.

It’s time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa.

In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on “people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.” The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions–BDS for short–was born.

Every day that Israel pounds Gaza brings more converts to the BDS cause, and talk of cease-fires is doing little to slow the momentum. Support is even emerging among Israeli Jews. In the midst of the assault roughly 500 Israelis, dozens of them well-known artists and scholars, sent a letter to foreign ambassadors stationed in Israel. It calls for “the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions” and draws a clear parallel with the antiapartheid struggle. “The boycott on South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves…. This international backing must stop.”

I . . . I . . . I . . . I-I-I-I . . . ain’t gonna play Sun City.

13. BooHooHooMan - 8 January 2009

IMO women and children are targetted in Gaza, for a reason.
it bears repeating.

from previous thread # 82 quoting BT diary elsewhere:

Isn’t the only process due Madoff a bullet to the brain?

“Normally”, Wow
Normally, (conceptual fab it is-) A shock to the sensibilities… That’s Assuming a system of Justice with- ah- Justice in it, tho.. Under those circumstances this kind of thing would be unthinkable.

Now? As people start to see what’s been going on? Not so much. Sure most people aren’t blogging let alone at Boomans joint- But every MSM outlet presents a truth that Madoff is likely in gunsights and Jewsish Interests are bracing for blowback internationally…

Though Ob is cardboard Motivational Speaker, that’s all, Here’s my sense of what’s happened recently with Ob on the scene.
It seems to me, the following, quite independent of Obama:::

In growing numbers, People ARE expecting Equity, Social, Political, and and Economic Justice. Certainly most don’t specify it as such, so easily segmented into parochial concerns, but that’s what’s going on. More People and nominal “Groups” are seeing they’re getting fucked by a very small set of “Other” People.

They’re starting to observe various connections, various symbiosis. Between the Parties, for example.. US and Israeli tied at the hip, OIL and Arab Royalty, Corps and Crooked Pols, Pollution and the Environment…People are abandoning flat earth notions of what’s going on..No wonder its important to move Capital Beyond people’s grasp just as they’re coming to get a clue..Time to build a work camp elsewhere…

So,Given the level of Outrageous Bullshit in our system,
Agitation is growing quite organically on its own…

But we’ve devolved to a very basic point-
People will respond to Killings or other Injustices Incompatible with Life Sustenance with Violence.

RATIONAL People will respond with violence..
Especially when “honorable” Peace Keepers kill seemingly at whim. It’s inevitable as legal representatives are themselves lawless.
It’s inevitable as the System itself fails credibility.It has become more evident that the System- coopted , allied , sliced and diced , is corrupt at its core..

This is what’s occurring now, Just as the PTB are unable to conceal it..

As people begin to *Know* how corrupt it is they tire of paying the Shake Down Artists. The Law and Order admonitions give way. A Society devoid of credibility can hardly impose former prohibitions against those willing to militate against its destruction.let alone those simply looking for Food, Medicine, or refuge.

So in this regard, far from All being Romans, in this regard many of us have more in common with Gazans and oppressed peoples everywhere. Similarly, the Leftisher and Centrist Swingers have more in common now with the RW “Starve the Gubmint” types especially as they waken from their Happy Hopeful DELUSION. And some of those people- far greater in number now – are going. to. go. Ballistic.

The PTB – Financiers, Politicos, Police, etc – they’re doing more to invite street justice against themselves than, in their folly,
they believe they control.

You can get into a whole thing whether there should or should not be “Nations” per se. But given things as they are, Wise Nation States would cut Israel off. It’s one of the Larger Reasons We in the U.S.are the Assholes of the Earth, …
….though we do quite well in the Asshole Department on our Own..

China is getting the picture, skillfully scaling back their investment in US Treasuries a bit ahead of the decline in US currency flowing into their country as the global economy falls….Just like someone wouldn’t put a huge block of stock on the market driving down its overall worth, China is protecting the liquidity value of its current US Treasury position (they may want to sell it off ) …But make no mistake they are well on a way to weaning us off the tit and in many respects Israel as a consequence…

14. Intermittent Bystander - 8 January 2009

(For those unfamiliar, the Artists Against Apartheid video Sun City was circa 1987.)

15. Intermittent Bystander - 8 January 2009

LOL – “Pop Up Video” version (with balloon captions about performers and purpose) here: Pup Up Video Sun City.

16. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2009

Egyptian Doctors Waiting To Cross Into Gaza

KENYON: Officials are hoping that will change with Israel promising humanitarian corridors that won’t be subject to attacks. But there have been no guarantees that these corridors will extend south to Rafiah, as well as north to the Gaza-Israel border. Outside the gate a crowd is growing, many of them wearing white medical coats. Dozens of doctors from Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Qatar, even Sudan and Iraq, have been waiting for permission to enter. But they say Egypt’s state security service is refusing to let them go. Privately, some of the doctors say they think the problem is that some in the Arab Medical Union are allied with the Egyptian opposition, including the officially banned Muslim Brotherhood. Dr. Tiha Osman(ph) of Cairo’s Ain Shams University made a passionate plea to put politics aside to do the right thing for badly wounded Palestinians.

Dr. KAHAN OSMAN (Ain Shams University, Cairo): (Through Translator) I swear to you, we are not on any political side. If the problem is from the Egyptian side, we beg you to let us in. If the problem is from the Israeli side, figure it out with them. In the name of humanity and all things charitable, I beg you. I beg you, let us treat the wounded. Let us do our jobs.

17. Intermittent Bystander - 8 January 2009

BHHM at 13 – Excellent post.

Agree about this, among other things:

Normally, (conceptual fab it is-) A shock to the sensibilities… That’s Assuming a system of Justice with- ah- Justice in it, tho.. Under those circumstances this kind of thing would be unthinkable.

Was that Booman with the snappy six-shooter (,i>Isn’t the only process due Madoff a bullet to the brain? in the quote?

Crikey. Maybe Booman was hoping for volunteerism there? After all, another former mogul offed himself the other day. A Chicago real estate power broker, with a bullet, in his, um, Jag.

We’re going to need downramps for all the violent energy about. Even more than usual.

But this:

So,Given the level of Outrageous Bullshit in our system,
Agitation is growing quite organically on its own…

does give me the bare modicum of hope. Not all agitation is violent. I think the Shake it Don’t Break It School still gets fairly high enrollment.

Here’s hoooooooooping!

18. marisacat - 8 January 2009

Well alst night in Oakland is a good example. It SHOULD not have spiraled out of control… but it did. And what happens today?

Dellums has a presser. The DA, for the first time! since the killing, held a presser. the full BART board held a meeting open to press and public… and!! tug at the heart! one sobbed.

But they should have been doing this as of Jan 2. And Dellums has been MIA since election. SINCE ELCTION.. first thing he did was take a sabbatical and enter into consultations with academics on the meaning of mayoring.

GMAFB. No there should nto ve violence, esp as it jsut devolves on the people involved and involves people not involved.

19. Intermittent Bystander - 8 January 2009

BTW – Thanks for all the news-gathering and reporting, Marisa and commenters. Have really appreciated being able to stop in and get up to date quickly, as the world – long-distance, national, regional, local, personal – churns.

20. marisacat - 8 January 2009

Macy to close 11 stores.

21. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2009

How did this make it into the NYT? What You Don’t Know About Gaza

22. marisacat - 8 January 2009

Oslo from a comment at Lenin

serious rioting in Oslo after attempted pro-zionist demonstration calls forth a huge counter-demo

From An Email:

Tens of thousands in demo in support of Gaza tonight; the biggest
riots in decades both before and after main demonstration. All main
street smashed to pieces

23. Intermittent Bystander - 8 January 2009

Caught some of Fresh Air Tonight – ‘National Geographic’ Mines ‘The Real Price Of Gold’. Gross interviews
journalist Brook Larmer and photographer Randy Olson about their experiences while reporting their January 2009 National Geographic cover story: The Real Price of Gold.

. . . the environmental and human costs related to the mineral have never been higher.

I think Americans are finally starting to see themselves – with just a little stretch of the global economic metaphors – in the descriptions of the mercury-gassed villages in the high Andes (18K feet), as well as the plight of the old-Belgian-mine-gleaners in the Congo (way out in the best-by-motorbike back, where the warlords like Jack Daniels and the “buyers” are grease-funneling “intermediaries” who pay a pittance for the raw material to the subsistence workers bathed in mercury (quicksilver again! oh the irony) right at the pit).

Heard there was a big Dell plant closure in Limerick, Ireland, today too. Celtic Tiger lost the manufacturing to the Polish, er, Eagle, if I heard it right.

24. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2009

Groups condemn UW plan to perform abortions

MADISON, Wis. – Anti-abortion groups on Tuesday condemned a University of Wisconsin plan to provide second-trimester abortions at a Madison clinic and questioned whether it was legal.

UW Health spokeswoman Lisa Brunette said its gynecologists plan to begin performing abortions for patients between 13 and 22 weeks pregnant at the Madison Surgery Center. She said the plan needs final approval from the center’s board, which could take action this month.

The Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based Christian group that advocates for religious freedom, publicized the plan Tuesday and sent a letter asking UW officials to stop it. The group said the plan might violate a state law that prohibits state or federal money from being used to pay doctors or clinics to perform abortions.

Brunette acknowledged state-paid doctors working for the university would provide the services but she said its lawyers were comfortable the plan is legal. She said the abortions themselves would be paid for by insurance and patient fees, not public money.

The plan comes in response to the December retirement of Dr. Dennis Christensen of the Madison Abortion Clinic, which has left no local provider that performs second-trimester abortions.

Christensen’s clinic has been taken over by Planned Parenthood, which is offering abortion services for those up to 18 weeks pregnant and referring those further along to a Milwaukee clinic. The new services would close that gap.

“The physicians believe that there is a public health responsibility to provide them as part of comprehensive reproductive health care,” Brunette said.

Brunette said employees would be allowed to opt out of work related to abortions and only medical students who elect will be trained on them. State law prohibits employers from penalizing health care workers who refuse to “recommend, aid, or perform” abortions because of moral objections.

25. BooHooHooMan - 8 January 2009

Macy to close 11 stores.

Let’s see if we can chip in for a few of the steeply discounted Cartoon Dirigibles left over from the Parades.. Band a few together then set aloft for wherever the winds will carry us..

You know, in the same manner we consider ourselves “Well Grounded” here in The States……Just ridin’ on Cartoon Balloons..

26. marisacat - 8 January 2009

There is some commentary at lenin that one big change is the world sees the US going down. That ob can play at whatever but he is only going to be able to manage the decline.

27. Intermittent Bystander - 8 January 2009

Count me in for the Big Balloon Adventure!

But first, we DECORATE!

28. marisacat - 8 January 2009

Hopefully there is no money for extended proxie wars in the Congo and elsewhere. My own guess is they bleed us… Ob happy to make R sounds about entitlements, this very week… and conservatives loved hearing it..

How about the war machine Bozo.

29. Intermittent Bystander - 8 January 2009

Those suckerfish were something else, speaking of cartoon balloons!

And the jewel-toned bird was a visual tonic, too.

Now back to urban blood and rubble,not to mention fire and smoke through the palms.

30. Intermittent Bystander - 8 January 2009

Ob happy to make R sounds about entitlements, this very week… and conservatives loved hearing it..

How about the war machine Bozo.

That’s going on the CLOWN balloon!

31. BooHooHooMan - 8 January 2009

Gahd….take the charge card away and whaddya got?

Steve Good, chairman and CEO of Sheldon Good & Co., stands at a house auctioned by his firm. Mr. Good was a member of North Shore Congregation Israel

32. mattes - 8 January 2009

Anyone know what ever happened to all that Fork Knox gold and silver??

33. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2009

25 – Just ridin’ on Cartoon Balloons

Some just sell cartoon balloons in town.

I like to sit on the porch and watch them fly.

34. Intermittent Bystander - 8 January 2009

Speaking of Ireland:

National Demo and Other Gaza Solidarity Events You Can Attend

1. Get to the National Demo 10 Jan 13:00 @ The Central Bank

2. List of Solidarity Events for Gaza,
Cork, Belfast, Down Doneygall, Dublin, Limberick, Kerry

3. What You Can Do.
3-1. Contact the Israeli Embassy.
3-2. Boycott Israeli Goods

2. List of Solidarity Events for Gaza.

Guess they ain’t waiting for Bono.

35. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2009

Guess they ain’t waiting for Bono.

Shredded Palestinian children don’t work well for selling ONE branded products.

36. marisacat - 8 January 2009

Guess they ain’t waiting for Bono.

maybe ob stops wearing the ONE rubber bracelet

37. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2009

On his way out the door, Mukasey: Aliens Have No Right to Effective Assistance of Counsel

Attorney General Michael Mukasey ruled Wednesday that aliens have no constitutional right to challenge the outcome of their deportation hearings based on their lawyers’ mistakes.

Mukasey’s 34-page opinion is binding on the nation’s 53 immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals, which are overseen by the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review.

The ruling dispenses with a 15-year-old precedent, established in Matter of Lozada, that allowed aliens to obtain a new hearing due to lawyer error. While aliens have no Sixth Amendment right to counsel, Lozada acknowledged their right to effective assistance under the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.

The opinion does not rule out aliens succeeding on a claims of ineffective assistance, but it is expected to sharply reduce their chances. Immigration judges and the BIA will have complete discretion in assessing the claims, and the the opinion raises the standard for prevailing under them. Aliens must show that their attorneys’ failings were “egregious” and that they likely affected the outcome of the case.

“Although the Constitution and the immigration laws do not entitle an alien in removal proceedings to relief for his lawyer’s mistakes, the Department of Justice may, as a matter of administrative grace, reopen removal proceedings where an alien shows that he was prejudiced by the actions of private counsel,” Mukasey wrote.

38. Intermittent Bystander - 8 January 2009

35 – So many shredded children, so little time and capacity.

I get the impression Bono turned into a sort of broker, too.

The Joshua Triage?

I dunno.

39. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2009

Roubini forecasts recession will last 2 years

The U.S. recession will last two full years, with gross domestic product falling a cumulative 5%, said Nouriel Roubini, chairman of RGE Monitor. Roubini was one of the first economists to predict the recession and the credit crunch stemming from the housing bubble. For 2009, Roubini predicts GDP will fall 3.4%, with declines in every quarter of the year. The unemployment rate should peak at about 9% in early 2010, he said. Consumer prices will fall about 2% in 2009. Housing prices will probably overshoot, dropping 44% from the peak through mid-2010. “The U.S. economy cannot avoid a severe contraction that has already started and the policy response will have only a limited and delayed effect that will be felt more in 2010 than 2009,” he said.

40. marisacat - 8 January 2009

If it came from the US gov Bono played along. I saw him as a front man. Happy to go to the Prayer Breakfast, play all the xtian games, exchange sun glasses with JPII and so on… happy to be the CelebSavior… happy to tell Bush he was good about PEPFAR… it is very hard to find negative or critical writings… mostly have to wait for explosions that happen around the annual AIDS conflabs.. and similar international get togethers.

I think all these silly people stand between access and real honest on the ground grass roots. Like about a year a go an African man rose up from the audience and yelled at some blobber Bono was handing out, that was Africa needs is ROADS. And latrines. and so on. Bono was not too nice to him. He got in the way.

Think the Chinese likely get it about roads and latrines. Where as we come as bizarre missionaries. (Not that all the Chinese are doing is good its not)

41. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2009

Barack Obama, Comic Book Hero-in-Chief

Now we’ve seen everything. In honor of Barack Obama’s inauguration, Marvel Comics is publishing an issue of The Amazing Spider-Man in which Spider-Man helps prevent an evil plot against the President-Elect. Photographer Peter Parker knows something’s up when, while taking pictures at the inauguration, he spots an evil twin Obama and employs basketball skills as a way to detect which Obama is the real one. No, we’re not making this up. The issue, Amazing Spider-Man #583, hits shelves next Wednesday, January 14 ($3.99). Joe Quesada, Marvel’s editor-in-chief, said the issue was to give Obama, who has talked about how he used to collect Spider-Man comics growing up, a “shout-out back.” Quesada elaborated, “How great is that? The commander in chief to be is actually a nerd in chief. It was really, really cool to see that we had a geek in the White House. We’re all thrilled with that.” While this does seem kind of silly, we admit we still think it’s kind of awesome. The best part? When Obama and Spidey share a terrorist fist jab.

You can see panels from the book at the link.

42. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2009

Roubini in moderation, I think.

43. Intermittent Bystander - 8 January 2009

Attorney General Michael Mukasey ruled Wednesday that aliens have no constitutional right to challenge the outcome of – Exsqueeze me? I don’t care what! – based on their lawyers’ mistakes.

Land of the free. Home of the brave.

44. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2009

I couldn’t resist pairing up Obama fist-bumping Spidey with an excerpt from BAR.

45. marisacat - 8 January 2009

Page 2 of the Rose interivew with Bob Simon:

BOB SIMON: Well, I think that the checkpoints and particularly the settlements have just made any settlement out of the question.

CHARLIE ROSE: Settlements made no settlement possible.

BOB SIMON: That’s right. And in Gaza, when you think about it, all the people in Gaza are — and Gaza is the size of — twice the size of Washington, D.C. It’s a very small area. That the people in Gaza — forget about this offensive — just generally, they can’t get out. There’s no way out of Gaza. The Israelis won’t take them. The Israelis’ checkpoint is closed, and the Egyptians wouldn’t take them either. The Egyptian checkpoint is closed. So Gaza has become the largest prison in the world.

CHARLIE ROSE: But the world will set aside — the world will allow this?

BOB SIMON: The world has allowed it. This has been going on for some time.

CHARLIE ROSE: I know they have but.

BOB SIMON: I can’t see the world getting very excited, particularly as long as Hamas is the ruling party in Gaza, because nobody wants a part of Hamas.

46. Intermittent Bystander - 8 January 2009

The Amazing Spider-Man in which Spider-Man helps prevent an evil plot against the President-Elect.

Call ms_xeno . . . is this the beginning of a new sub-genre?

If it came from the US gov Bono played along. I saw him as a front man. Happy to go to the Prayer Breakfast, play all the xtian games, exchange sun glasses with JPII and so on… happy to be the CelebSavior

Them Holy books really is murder on the proles. Even the earnest artistes.

47. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2009

43 – Land of the free. Home of the brave.

IOZ linked to this with a quickie post:

U.S. Plans Border ‘Surge’ Against Any Drug Wars

The soaring level of violence in Mexico resulting from the drug wars there has led the United States to develop plans for a “surge” of civilian and perhaps even military law enforcement should the bloodshed spread across the border, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Wednesday.

Mr. Chertoff said the criminal activity in Mexico, which has caused more than 5,300 deaths in the last year, had long troubled American authorities. But it reached a point last summer, he said, where he ordered specific plans to confront in this country the kind of shootouts and other mayhem that in Mexico have killed members of warring drug cartels, law enforcement officials and bystanders, often not far from the border.

“We completed a contingency plan for border violence, so if we did get a significant spillover, we have a surge — if I may use that word — capability to bring in not only our own assets but even to work with” the Defense Department, Mr. Chertoff said in a telephone interview.

Officials of the Homeland Security Department said the plan called for aircraft, armored vehicles and special teams to converge on border trouble spots, with the size of the force depending on the scale of the problem. Military forces would be called upon if civilian agencies like the Border Patrol and local law enforcement were overwhelmed, but the officials said military involvement was considered unlikely.

48. mattes - 8 January 2009

Breaking: U.N. Draws Up Resolution for Middle East Conflict

The U.N. Security Council approved a resolution Thursday calling for an immediate and durable cease-fire between Hamas militants and Israeli forces now fighting in the Gaza Strip. The vote was 14-0, with the United States abstaining.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090109/ap_on_re_mi_ea/mideast_diplomacy

Let me remind everyone…I believe we have NEVER abstained. This is a warning.

49. marisacat - 8 January 2009

Condi has audio out saying they support “the wording”

50. mattes - 8 January 2009

The war on the Mexican border has been going on for a long time. So far it’s just been ignored.

Our military trained most of the drug cartel’s armed forces. It has been a disaster.

Los Zetas

Los Zetas is a paramilitary criminal gang that operates as a hired army for the Mexican Gulf Cartel. The group is mostly composed of ex-soldiers now led by Heriberto “The Executioner” Lazcano. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) advises that these paramilitaries may be the most technologically advanced, sophisticated and violent of paramilitary enforcement groups.

Origin

The Zetas were originally members of the Mexican Army’s elite Airborne Special Forces Group (GAFE), trained in locating and apprehending drug cartel members. It is believed that they were originally trained at the military School of the Americas in the United States, Also, they were trained by foreign specialists, including Americans, French, and Israelis, in rapid deployment, aerial assaults, marksmanship, ambushes, small-group tactics, intelligence collection, counter-surveillance techniques, prisoner rescues and sophisticated communications.

In the late 1990s, the drug Gulf Cartel leader Osiel Cardenas Guillen, began to recruit GAFE members to provide protection and perform other vital functions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Zetas

51. marisacat - 8 January 2009

HARLIE ROSE: Boy, this is a pessimistic report, sir.

BOB SIMON: Sorry about that, Charlie.

CHARLIE ROSE: But you really, really believe that history has passed it (two state) by.

BOB SIMON: I do. There are other solutions possible, and I think that the Golan Heights is very doable. And.

CHARLIE ROSE: So Syria is doable.

BOB SIMON: Because there’s no — there’s no people on the Golan Heights. None to speak of.

CHARLIE ROSE: The idea of the West Bank going to Jordan and all of those arguments that are sometimes made, is that possible at all? Does that offer any.

BOB SIMON: It’s conceivable. The Jordanians would never take all those Palestinians.

(CROSSTALK)

CHARLIE ROSE: They’ve been there.

BOB SIMON: The last thing that King Abdullah wants are all those Palestinians in his country.

CHARLIE ROSE: As King Hussein found out when he kicked them out.

52. marisacat - 8 January 2009

50

yes but there has been som ehigh level fluffing of the border issues, the drug wars, the gangs and teh weaponry. They are pushing and developing a story that the wars come across the border (and in some sense they do, just as our Latin Americn wars aggravated instability), the arms are a “danger” to us… etc.

It started a few months ago.

We are in charge of quite a few prisons in LA, thru CCA, Corrections Corporation America (think that is the accurate full name). None other than Thurgood Marshall’s son, named for him, is on the board. there has been talk that thru an LLC Barbara Bush owns 50%. of CCA. I never found much, lousy googler that I am.

Land of the Free.

53. marisacat - 8 January 2009

Angry Arab:

Human Rights Watch worried about its Pro-Israel Donors

Insider in Human Rights Watch is reporting to me that discussions are being held at the HIGHEST LEVEL on how to report on the Israeli attacks on Gaza without displeasing the Pro-Israeli donors. I kid you not.

Posted by As’ad at 10:56 AM

54. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2009

50 & 52 – They are pushing and developing a story that the wars come across the border (and in some sense they do, just as our Latin Americn wars aggravated instability), the arms are a “danger” to us… etc.

All about expanding militarism, the turning of police into militia and shredding of Posse Comitatus so that USNORTHCOM can put more boots on “homeland” ground.

55. BooHooHooMan - 8 January 2009

There is some commentary at lenin that one big change is the world sees the US going down. That ob can play at whatever but he is only going to be able to manage the decline.

It’s understandable. They rest of the world sees us as fools, frankly, because we are..And oh so weak with our Sunday School mentality still…The question will be if enough people get it before we too are turned quite nakedly into an apartheid state, an orbital state whose existence is wholly subsumed into a Zionazist agenda…

56. marisacat - 8 January 2009

Yes all about Northern Command. All of it.

57. Intermittent Bystander - 8 January 2009

mattes – Could this be the beginning of a new era of abstinence-only education?

58. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2009

Mathematicians Land Top Spot in New Ranking of Best and Worst Occupations in the U.S.

The study, released Tuesday from CareerCast.com, a new job site, evaluates 200 professions to determine the best and worst according to five criteria inherent to every job: environment, income, employment outlook, physical demands and stress. (CareerCast.com is published by Adicio Inc., in which Wall Street Journal owner News Corp. holds a minority stake.)

The findings were compiled by Les Krantz, author of “Jobs Rated Almanac,” and are based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau, as well as studies from trade associations and Mr. Krantz’s own expertise.

59. BooHooHooMan - 8 January 2009

Human Rights Watch is Worried about pissing off Jewsih Donors?! ..The Po’ Mouth Cryin Uber Victims of aberrent Jew Madoffs Crimes?!

FUCK THOSE PEOPLE!

The only difference I can see being made is cutting off private resources to Jews in the US.

And I say that knowing full well how it sounds.
Straight up: no money for Jewish businesses and professional practices. Go Goy. There’s plenty of consumer money outside of patronizing congloms that is translated into political support of Israel. Fuck em.

Let them all go on SSI like the Lubavitchers up in the Adirondacks…Oh yeh, but they got that scam through Jewish Doctors Lawyers Judges and Pols….

60. Intermittent Bystander - 8 January 2009

BHHM – Go Goy.

What are you, in a settlement-funding enclave?

More than half the frickin practicing (and at least one ordained -woo hoo!) non-violent Buddhists – not to mention non-affiliated, utterly secular, peace-loving, ACLU-funding, doctors-without-borders non-rabbinical rabble – have Jewish heritage and/or last names.

Fork over the mailing lists, if you got ‘em! Otherwise, beware the racial profiling, New Jersey altar boy!

New Yawk heathen smiley here.

61. marisacat - 8 January 2009

That reminds me years ago a friend of mine, a gay guy asked a lesbian (this is not a joke, this is real) if she took her gray market smuggled Morris mini (it was a great little car!) to one of the lesbian garages in the Mission.

She laughed and said no, she takes her gray market mini to the Mission cholos who consult the Bible on their breaks and pray over the car engine.

Go with what works. I like ot sort thru people one by one, not by group.

62. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2009

He’s lost, that LOVINGGG feeling:

A Long Island doctor is demanding that his estranged wife give him back the kidney he donated to her seven years ago. Dr. Richard Batista’s lawyer Dominic Barbara says his client would also be satisfied with the value of the kidney: $1.5 million.

Newsday reports that Batista married wife Dawnell in 1990 and that he donated the kidney in 2001. According to Batista, their marriage was on the rocks then, but “My first priority was to save her life. The second bonus was to turn the marriage around.” Dawnell Batista filed for divorce in 2005. Dr. Batista told WCBS 880, “She had an affair, then would not reconcile, then handed me divorce papers as I was going into surgery trying to save another person’s life.

63. BooHooHooMan - 8 January 2009

IB touchy Touchy. GMAFB with the Jewsih Heritage pablum.

fork over the mailing lists if you got em

Do what the fuck you want.

64. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2009

Kelly Wants Less Bars in Less Places if Attacked

Ray Kelly is telling Congress that the NYPD is looking for ways to interfere with cell phone service in the event of another terrorist attack. It’s reported that while testifying before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security today, Kelly will say that disrupting communications as a defense against terror is one of the biggest lessons taken from the Mumbai attacks this past November. Those coordinating the attacks in Mumbai had kept in touch with each other throughout the course of the events. The Post says that it is uncertain whether Kelly means finding a way to infiltrate a network used by terrorists or has something in mind of a grander scale, such as shutting down service for a large area of Manhattan during an attack. Another change in policy carried out by Kelly since a three-member NYPD counterterrorism team that visited Mumbai three days after the attack in India is the decision last month to train rookie officers in how to use machine guns.

65. Intermittent Bystander - 8 January 2009

oops – at least half the frickin practicing (and at least one ordained -woo hoo!) non-violent Buddhists blah blah blah that I know personally

meant to say!

66. marisacat - 8 January 2009

Gotta love the netteries… at a London Socialist site, Lenin, in a thread I get the link to teh already up Wikipedia site for the Bart killing. (“liberal” radio still on fire here)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_BART_Police_Shooting

67. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2009

I’m shocked, shocked to find that politics is going on here

At least Captain Renault had the intellectual honesty to only feign outrage when he sardonically claimed that he was “shocked, shocked” that gambling was going on in Rick’s club in Casablanca. The recent instances of selective indignation over the influence of money in American politics hasn’t even got that going for them. Rather, when it is not something worse, it is just breathtaking hypocrisy on the part of political leaders and commentators. And as such it frames the starkest of all political tests for a Barack Obama who claims to both seek and represent the end of politics as usual.

The harsh reality is that politics in the United States is just as corrupt as that in many Third World backwaters. However, rather than passing around bags of cash, we have socialized and sanitized the pay-offs to appear acceptable. (Although we do also have the occasional case of congressmen with freezers full of cash which always add a little comic relief.) By creating laws that set ineffective, complex guidelines for what is clearly corrupt behavior we dress it up, obfuscate it and we even make it legal, but we don’t change what it is.

Take the current scandals on Wall Street. Who do you think were among the big donors to the Schumers and the Dodds who were supposed to be overseeing the markets? Employees of big Wall Street companies. Do you think that predisposed these senators to look the other way? To buy the line of malarkey that they were being sold that all would be well if they just let the financial whizzes self-regulate us all to prosperity? To simply think the best of people they saw as allies? Such an example illustrates that it doesn’t take a payoff captured on a grainy videotape to compromise the integrity of the system. Money is an addictive, corrosive, anesthetic drug that blurs the vision making it harder to tell right from wrong, constituents from shareholders.

Is it possible that we let this all happen through naivety? No one is that clueless, even members of Congress. We just collectively decided to look the other way. There obviously can be no effective oversight of Wall Street or any other sector if public officials responsible for that oversight can also accept campaign contributions from those they are supposed to be scrutinizing. Until we change campaign finance laws to alter this reality, reform is a sham.

Similarly, we have seen a remarkable double standard when it comes to the idea of what exactly constitutes pay-to-play in American politics. Blagojevich “shocked” America when he allegedly suggested to a representative of Jesse Jackson, Jr. that he might want to raise some money for Blagojevich in exchange for the job. Yet, I heard on one morning cable news show a discussion five minutes after indignation at Blagojevich arguing in favor of Caroline Kennedy’s nomination for the U.S. Senate precisely because she would be a great fund-raising asset for N.Y. Governor David Patterson and that this was a reason he should pick her. Inconsistent? No. Just hypocritical.

The reality is that Blagojevich, apparent sleaze ball that he is, has made two big errors regarding the Senate seat (I can’t speak to his other acts of alleged corruption here although a deeply troubling picture has been sketched out). First, his case was too close to the President-elect and thus it was painfully uncomfortable for the incoming Administration and its supporters. Second, he was as crude as a meat cleaver in his language and his actions. But was he at core doing anything that out of the ordinary in American politics? Probably not. (And when the first big donor becomes an ambassador in this Administration, will that be anything different? Also no.)

68. mattes - 8 January 2009

I am not into Starhawk but this really touched me {she’s jewish]:

Crimes and War: ‘Getting it’ and Not Getting It

http://progressivesforobama.blogspot.com/2009/01/crimesand-war-on-getting-it-and-not.html

69. Intermittent Bystander - 8 January 2009

GMAFB with the Jewsih Heritage

Wanna be blackballed for your ancestors’ name?

fork over the mailing lists if you got em

How else you gonna separate guns from butter?

Mercury?

70. marisacat - 8 January 2009

LOL

The second bonus was to turn the marriage around.”

He’s going to have to call it a bad investment.

71. mattes - 8 January 2009

MUST SEE VIDEO:

ON ELEPHANT SANCTUARY, UNLIKELY FRIENDS

http://www.cbsnews. com/stories/ 2009/01/02/ assignment_ america/main4696 340.shtml? source=search_ story

When elephants retire, many head for the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald,
Tenn. They arrive one by one, but they tend to live out their lives
two-by-two.

72. Intermittent Bystander - 8 January 2009

I like ot sort thru people one by one, not by group.

That’s the point.

73. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2009

Enduring Priorities in an Age of Change: War and Profits Over People

If you want a glimpse of the fundamental moral obscenity that underlies our bold new era of hope and change, look no further than Barack Obama’s promise this week to “overhaul” Social Security and Medicare. This effort to cut back on support for the sick, the old, the weak, the unfortunate and the abandoned will be a “central part” of the new administration’s economic program, a linchpin of its struggle to curb federal spending, Obama declared.

He pointed to a looming federal deficit of $1.2 trillion this year, with more to follow, as urgent reasons to deal with “entitlement spending.” Given the hundreds of billions of dollars that the Bush Regime has already given away in its no-strings bailout of selected corporate cronies, and the hundreds of billions that Obama plans to spend on “economic stimulus” (a large portion of which is going to “tax breaks” that will give, at most, a few hundred dollars to people losing their jobs and homes and medical insurance), it is imperative to get government spending under control, said the president-elect. The New York Times described Obama’s remarks as an effort to offer “some soothing words to Republicans and the financial markets” – two groups who certainly need special comforting in these trying times.

The Times goes on to tell us helpfully that there is a threat that these “entitlement programs” might “grow so large as to be unsustainable in the long run.” This is of course the same argument that George W. Bush made after the 2004 election, when he sought to sell off Social Security to those same “financial markets” that Obama is now trying so assiduously to soothe. No doubt, we will soon see the old scare stories that filled the media then trotted out once again, this time in “progressive” garb. But the truth remains the same: the programs are essentially sound and can be maintained with only relatively small adjustments for many decades, as far as one can reasonably project into the future.

Yet it is here, on “entitlements,” that Obama wants to make a “tough stand” on government spending. It will be a “central part” of his entire economic program. Getting “entitlements” under control will be one of the first major campaigns of his administration, he says, promising plans in February, just days after he moves into the White House.

At the same time, he promises to expand – to expand – the multitrillion-dollar war machine that has literally bled the nation dry. He wants to expand a military-industrial-security complex that already devours more money and resources than every other military force on earth combined. He wants more troops, more weapons, an ever-increasing “global strike capability,” an escalation of the endless, pointless “War on Terror” in Afghanistan and Pakistan (for starters). He has never said a single word about “curbing government spending” on this vast conglomerate of death and destruction. He has not said a single word about rolling back even a few of American military outposts that in their several hundreds now cover the entire globe. At every point, it seems, government spending on the war machine – including the tens of billions of dollars spent in secret each year on the various tentacles of the “national security” apparatus – will be increased under the Obama administration.

No “cutbacks” here then. No concerns that spending in this area might “grow so large as to be unsustainable in the long run.” Spending on death and domination is sacrosanct, the true “third rail of American politics,” and Obama is not going to touch it – except to augment it. Instead, he will let the great budget axe fall on what he and political and media establishments are pleased to call “entitlements” – a weasel-word that conjures up images of welfare queens and lazy bums living large and easy, in the belief that the world owes them a living. It is strange how this description of the programs has gained such universal currency. Or rather, it’s not strange at all; think how differently we might perceive them – and their recipients – if we spoke of them more straightforwardly, as, say, “old-age pensions,” “family support programs,” “medical assistance programs,” and so on. Instead, the use of such a bland and abstract term distances us from the intent, and the reality, of the programs. They are not helping sick people with medical bills, they aren’t supporting a widow or an orphan, or helping a retired couple or an injured worker attempt to live with a modicum of dignity; no, they are just this opaque, abstract thing out there, some kind of political football up in Washington, to be “dealt with,” “tackled” and “curbed” by “efficient managers.” Nothing human about them at all.

74. BooHooHooMan - 8 January 2009

at least half the frickin practicing (and at least one ordained -woo hoo!) non-violent Buddhists blah blah blah that I know personally

So do what the fuck you want.

What’s your game IB? Looking for firm Grip on the Obvious?
An admission? LOL.
That there’s “Catholic’ “Businesses” and “Charities” who do “a whole lotta” blah blah blah “Good” “too” and are solicited by influential Catholic So and Soes. .SO WHAT?

You wanna fund em? FUND em. I don’t.
I see it as part of a problem that jacks public financial and political juice that ultimately enables abuse. Same with the other proposal.

But again, of course, do what the fuck you want.

75. marisacat - 8 January 2009

Well I am not interested in sorting thru by surname. For me, makes no sense. There si a Jewish Canadian grandmother on her way to the Rafah crossing to try to get into Gaza to help. OK She is likely NOT a fervent Zionist. But I don’t know that actually. She is Jewish.

To me the problem is the old problem of The State. Power and punishment. The state of Israel chose to be excuslively Jewish and in the aftermath of the war and war crimes, it all got tangled…. cultural became perforce religious. Even as many are secular in Israel. It sickens me that elements of modern Jewry and Israel use the Holocaust to protect themselves from being accused of racism and war crimes and whatever else.

Then, I am an American. Stuck with the whole schlomola as well. Forever twinned iwth Israel. Such a damned shame.

76. Intermittent Bystander - 8 January 2009

Hey BHHM – do what the fuck you want.

Thanks for All the Permission! (Especially Appreciate the Extra License for Capital Letters!)

You too!

77. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2009

To me the problem is the old problem of The State. Power and punishment. The state of Israel chose to be excuslively Jewish and in the aftermath of the war and war crimes, it all got tangled…. cultural became perforce religious.

Exactly. The problem isn’t being jewish, it’s zionism … and I’m saying that as someone who despises all three of the Abrahamic faiths. It’s bad news to combine a fucked up monotheism with a strong nationalism and paranoid militarism. It’s very much like the weird stew of xtianity/germanic mythology/militarism that the Germans brewed up. Well, our combination of xtianity w/ American exceptionalism and love of violence is the same, too.

78. Intermittent Bystander - 8 January 2009

BTW – What’s your game

Scrabble? Badminton? Tetris? Pictionary?

You first.

79. Intermittent Bystander - 8 January 2009

One more thing:

are solicited by influential ______ So and Soes. .SO WHAT?

Solicitation = / = complicity.

80. marisacat - 8 January 2009

The Guardian picks up on teh Aluf Benn report in Ha’aretz mattes linked to.. and built on it. I see a LOT of speculation. Richard Haas of the CoFR and the Council have been neck deep, ears deep in decades of the mess. Clemons, another one quoted, is gaga for Ob…

Even with such caveats, there is ­growing agreement, among Republicans as well as Democrats, on the need to engage Hamas to achieve a sustainable peace in the Middle East – even among Obama’s close advisers. In an article published on Wednesday on the website Foreign Affairs, but apparently written before the fighting in Gaza, Haass, who is president of the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote: “If the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas continues to hold and a Hamas-PA reconciliation emerges, the Obama administration should deal with the joint Palestinian leadership and authorise low-level contact between US officials and Hamas in Gaza.” The article was written with Martin Indyk, a former US ambassador to Israel and an adviser to Hillary Clinton….snip

We’ve often negotiated, with all sorts, and say we don’t. hell Iran provided assistance in our invasion of Afghanistan. They just don’t admit to the hardliner rank and file, here or there.

My thought, this will harden Israel to fully occupy and not pull forces out of Gaza. The wail will be that they have improved rockets that now fall just short of Tel Aviv. Or if they pull out, then, as we already have forces at the Rafah side (I put up a link yesterday) there will be a joint or “international” military encampment at the “borders” and checkpoints.

Such luck.

81. BooHooHooMan - 8 January 2009

It IS a Profile and serviceable only so far…Now when I see a middle aged guy with a flat topped hair cut am I to infer much more about him? Add in a big truck? An American Flag Window Decal? Throw in a gun rack? Maybe an NRA sticker on one side of the bumper, a Bush Cheney on the Other, with a Power Of Pride one right below the “Fred’s Flapack House” stenciled on the tailgate?

Now he may be a Peace Luvin Buddistavitcher decended from an Ancient and Great Faith. Maybe it’s not even his truck. And maybe Fred – if it’s him – has the finest flap jacks in town… Shouldn’t I patronize his restaurant because it’s unfair to Flat Topped Gun Rack Accessoried Big Truck Drivin Funny Sticker Lovin Happen to Be Just The Finest Flap Jack Flipppin Hunks of Humanity Out There? LOL. Should I reconsider because, Statistically, it’s a 50% shot
he’s a Liberalisher? or Catholic? 25% he’s BOTH? LOL.

For me The only thing it’d depends on is if I happen to feel like flap jacks and literally the Shadow of the Killer Asteroid just blocked out the Sun. But truthfully just a couple a bits of info works in most cases.

Are we talking differential diagnosis here? A matter of life and death where discretionary income goes? No. But people still have power, however little, in their choices. Hopefully wisely, which is easier to do WRT to services and small businesses in community settings.

The problem remains:: what do you do about an aggressor group who uses their religious and ethnic cohesion as perhaps its primary shield? Pick away at it tangentially ad nauseum? It is the same with USA!USA! types. Bash their religion and precious whitey-hood.
Even if it’s Ob.

82. BooHooHooMan - 8 January 2009

People HERE at least still have power. The Palestinians HAVE to deal with the Jewish Nation State , a State which defines itself well beyond the triffles of borders, in fact is extended by religion and ethnicity worldwide..Is what it is.

83. marisacat - 8 January 2009

anothr clip… and ALL the names coming out for the special envoy stuff are Clintonista. All of them. Ross for IRan, for one.

He is expected to demonstrate that commitment to charting a new foreign policy within days when he is expected to name a roster of envoys to take charge of key foreign policy areas: Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, India-Pakistan, and North Korea.

84. marisacat - 8 January 2009

82

they are completely trapped. And few seem to get taht. Penned in.

But as Simon said in CR, no one will take them. Not even Jordan with a Palestinian wife. Which they just use as PR.

Stateless people… truly.

85. BooHooHooMan - 8 January 2009

See that’s where I disagree IB, that solicitation of funds and donation does not equal complicity…Try defending buying a third, fourth, or fifth gun for the guy who says he just needs to pinch a loaf of bread at the corner store cross town. Well you could claim innocence.Butwhatif he made no bones about the new plot because of “those problems” he wasn’t able to resolve over the last few stick ups gone wrong.. In the first instance at best you get contributory negligence in a civil claim an accessory charge in a criminal case..People aren’t relieved of their liability.

So they think they’re doing the Lords Work.Protecting their Heritage..

Just because the wide eyed Church Fundraiser thinks they’re promoting the “Goodness” of the Church and the “Holy Father’s” Work doesn’t make it “good”, “holy”, “work” or anything else.
It’s fucking ludicrous. And why shouldn’t other people twist the screws on anybody coming out of the Record Fundraising Ladies Auxillary ??

86. marisacat - 8 January 2009

ugh… just heard that ANSWER horned in on the protest last nigth in Oakland. That possibly explains some of the people who I saw with bullhorns and who got to the media mics. hmm Becuase it was different than the original mix of people gathered at the Bart station…

87. marisacat - 8 January 2009

gnu thred…

LINK

…………… :twisted: …………………

88. BooHooHooMan - 9 January 2009

#69 IB :GMAFB with the Jewsih Heritage (me)
Wanna be blackballed for your ancestors’ name? (you)
fork over the mailing lists if you got em(you)
How else you gonna separate guns from butter?(you)
Mercury?(you)

Here’s how I render the the question of “blackballing” by ancestry moot…

If somebody told me “I’m sorry but I don’t feel comfortable with you” for any reason concerning how they spend their time and labor or its currency, Money —> that is THEIR RIGHT…

It is especially so given less than clean market value work which is the present state of economic affairs….Perhaps you don’t accept that.

It is of course legitimite to consider whether it is warranted. Individuals will decide that for themselves though..

But Who owes me a buyer of my services in the present market- we’re talking about what IS now- conditions as they are- not what anyone may *Hope Their Ass For sin times to come…Right now, aggregation, coordination, and political leverage are used to benefit powerful individuals and groups alike. And it certainly is done with great advantage over “the rugged” and not so rugged individuals without similar tactics…

Yet within this reality you’re positing that somehow its unethical for individuals to discriminate with how they SPEND their labors value? Labor values bargained in market on largely a less than level playing field basis? No-one should be compelled or forbidden to make political and economic choices that are readily available to others.

This is simply a balance of poweres equation here.

Are you observing the same reality WRT how “coin” and political power is assembled and used? How do you expect to build a better mousetrap outside of what is? And in the time-to-market cycle in which it is so desperately needed?

Are you observing the same reality WRT to Israel rolling over the Palestinians and moving the goalposts on every Peace Effort attempted so far? Do you not think American Jewry plays a critical lynchpin in this dynamic? I do.

I think the same applies to American Catholics who have warped reproductive and so many other civil rights in this country. Start sorting them out one by one? Why would either statement on American Jewry or Catholics be that controversial?

Personally, I’m past concerns whether its warranted – other individuals will choose for themselves to Act Up or not as they see fit– I’m more concerned with whether group shaming ,confrontation, and denial of resources is effective….”cause We’re not talking Country Club memberships here in cases as similarly evil as Israel and her benefactors.

For Example the religious ,ethnic, and political shield used by the Catholic Church to trample Human Rights as well as hide the atrocity of Child Rape.

In the case of the Catholics and the beloved “Church” NOT ENOUGH Cultural Shaming or Financial Sanction was leveled for their abuse as it still continues, though damages against “The Church” WRT Systemic Rape was picked up – theoretically at least – in some small measure by the adherent fools who continue to support an Institution Guilty of Systemic Abuse. Why shouldn’t somebody shit on cars packed into the Abuse Enablers Parking Lots? Especially When the Record was Plain as Day?

Will it be effective? is my only concern: Any Exceptional People’s Precious sensibilities WRT to “Heritage” – and here’s the critical qualifier- that trumps Humanity? Fuck that and particular religious, ethnic, and political shields covering abuse.They are unworthy of support.

89. Intermittent Bystander - 9 January 2009

Gah . . . gah! Crashed out, and spent my own clean market labor in sleep!

See that’s where I disagree IB, that solicitation of funds and donation does not equal complicity…

No no no NO! By saying solicitation = / = complicity, I meant that while most Jews in the US are likely to BE solicited by the Israeli fund-raising orgs, NOT ALL of the solicitees GIVE. Or BUY the exceptionalist, heritage-heavy, war-mongering bullshit!

Yet within this reality you’re positing that somehow its unethical for individuals to discriminate with how they SPEND their labors value?

Sorry if my words were ambiguous, but jump to the Island of Conclusions, why dontcha!

What I’m pointing out is that just like you, plenty of Jews (and Catholics, etcetera etcetera) ALSO just say NO to funding oppression, occupation, and war. Inasmuch as any of us can, that is, while still paying taxes here at home.

Hope that clarifies! If not, will need more coffee to try again.


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