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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Uproarious "Saturnalia," One And All!

When did this all begin??

Some historians say our New Year's revelry started with the ancient Roman observance "Saturnalia," carried out in honor of the winter solstice.

Whatever this crazed night's roots, they surely have long branches that now cover the globe.

The haunting melody of "Auld Lang Syne" rings out tonight, a custom dating to the 18th century British Isles where guests ended a party by standing in a circle and belting out the tune. The custom is traced to Scotland because "Syne's" lyrics were written in 1788 by none other than their most celebrated folk poet and party animal, Mister Robbie Burns.

In Scottish dialect, the song is a heart-felt appeal to just forget the past and look to the new year with hope.

But considering how especially rough 2009 has been for so many, I think 19th century poet Thomas Hood's soulful prose is a much better fit:

"And ye, who have met with Adversity's blast,
And been bow'd to the earth by its fury;

To whom the Twelve Months, that have recently pass'd
Were as harsh as a prejudiced jury -

Still, fill to the Future! and join in our chime,
The regrets of remembrance to cozen,

And having obtained a New Trial of Time,
Shout in hopes of a kindlier dozen."

"Cozen," eh? Anybody below Word Merchant rank know exactly what Hood was talking about? I had to look it up--means "to cheat, deceive, or trick."

As in, for instance, the kind of things that recently ran even more amok on Wall Street?? God almighty, Hood was positively psychic.

Let's all shout, rattle, pound, and whistle, then; the ancients said the noise scares away evil spirits. May 2010 indeed comprise a "kindlier dozen."

Gauisus Novus Annus, barbarus!

Monday, December 28, 2009

On The Anniversary Of Its Holocaust......Gaza Still Weeps

Does the world see it?

Do you hear it?

Just outside.....barra, barra.

For the 400 children.

Assalam aleikum....

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Reflection: This Terrible Anniversary Of Israel's Ignition Of The Gaza Blitzkrieg

Jeremy R. Hammond, editor of the online Foreign Policy Journal, is the author of the book, "The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination." He provides a eye-opening perspective on the Gaza Holocaust:

"One year ago today," writes Hammond, "Israel launched 'Operation Cast Lead', a murderous full-scale military assault on the small, densely populated, and defenseless Gaza Strip. The operation resulted in the massacre of over 1,300 Palestinians, the vast majority civilians, including hundreds of children.

This includes only those killed directly by military attacks. The actual casualty figure from Israel’s policies towards Gaza, including the number of deaths attributable to its ongoing siege of the territory, is unknown.

The official pretext for the operation given by Israel and parroted unquestioningly in the Western media is that Israel had to respond with force as an act of self-defense against to an onslaught of rocket attacks against southern Israel from Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza.

Even if this were true, nations acting in self-defense against armed attacks must respect international law designed to protect civilians in time of war. Israel flagrantly violated the Geneva Conventions and other relevant treaties governing the use of force during the course of its operation, committing numerous war crimes.

But the stated pretext itself does not stand up to scrutiny. Six months prior to the assault on Gaza, Israel and Hamas had agreed to a cease-fire. Under the terms of the truce agreement, Hamas would end its rocket attacks against Israel and Israel would similarly cease attacks against Palestinians in Gaza and lift its siege on the territory.

Hamas, for its part, lived up to its obligations under the truce. It fired no rockets into Israel and actively pressured other groups to similarly refrain from launching attacks.

Israel, on the other hand, never lived up to its obligations under the truce. From the beginning, Israel declared a “security zone” on Gaza’s side of the border and Israeli soldiers repeatedly violated the truce by firing at Palestinians, guilty of merely trying to access their own land.

Israel also never eased its siege of Gaza. Israel controlled (and continues to control) the borders of Gaza, its airspace, and its coast, and implementing a near total blockade, including preventing by force the delivery of humanitarian goods into the territory.

Rather than easing the siege, Israel continued to let in only minimal amounts of humanitarian supplies (a practice that also continues today), just enough to prevent a total humanitarian catastrophe, thus keeping the population of Gaza in a state of despair and on the verge of human limits, with untold consequences on the health and mental well-being of the Palestinians.

The complete breakdown of the truce agreement came on November 4, when Israel launched airstrikes and a ground incursion into Gaza, killing four Palestinians. This violation of the cease-fire resulted in its effective undoing.

Israel’s official reason for the attack was its claim that militants were digging a tunnel under the border. The more credible explanation, however, was that Israel wanted to provoke Hamas into launching rockets and thus to claim a pretext for the full-scale military assault that Israel had, at that time, by its own account, already been planning.

Indeed, from the beginning of the truce, it appeared Israel’s intent was to provoke a violent response in order claim a pretext for its military assault. While Hamas scrupulously observed the cease-fire, Israel took deliberate actions to undermine it. Besides those already noted, Israel also stepped up operations against Palestinians in the West Bank, such as the assassination of members of Islamic Jihad shortly after the announcement of the truce.

Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza responded to that incident by firing rockets into Israel, but Hamas criticized the attacks and pressured Islamic Jihad to cease, including with the threat of arrests, and the tenuous truce continued to hold, for a time.

A greater and more provocative action was necessary in order to completely undermine the truce, and Israel’s November 4 attack proved to be that action. From that day forward, the so-called “cease-fire” consisted of tit-for-tat attacks on a daily basis, with Israel launching repeated attacks on Gaza and Hamas and other militant groups launching rockets into Israel.

Israel had achieved the pretext it was looking for in order to gain the political cover necessary to wage its assault on the civilian population of Gaza.

And make no mistake; Operation Cast Lead was a war on a civilian population, an extremely murderous act of collective punishment.

The death toll itself stands as an undeniable testament to that, but the manner in which Israel waged its operation also leaves no doubt as to its true objective.

As already noted, Israel claims its operation was designed to end rocket attacks. In truth, it was Israel that deliberately violated and undermined the truce.

Israel also claims its operation was aimed at militants. As evidence of its respect for international law and extraordinary efforts to prevent the loss of innocent life, Israel notes the fact that it dropped thousands of leaflets on Gaza prior to its operations warning civilians to flee the oncoming assault.

But the fact is this is not evidence of Israel’s respect for innocent life, but rather strong evidence that its killing of civilians was deliberate and intended. For starters, civilians, told to flee, had nowhere to go. No place in Gaza was safe from Israel’s attacks. Furthermore, in some cases civilians were told to go to city centers, and, after many had done so, those same locations were then purposefully bombed by Israel.

Israel’s claimed respect for innocent life is also belied by its means of indiscriminate warfare. Israel heavily bombarded civilian population centers. It deliberately and systematically targeted civilian locations with protected status under international law, including schools and hospitals.

Israel also used indiscriminate weaponry, including white phosphorus munitions. The use of white phosphorus is permitted under international law for illuminating the battlefield or creating smokescreens. However, its use as an incendiary weapon (it is also a chemical weapon, in that its incendiary effect is the result of a chemical reaction) is a violation of international law and a war crime, particularly when used indiscriminately against populated areas and civilian locations such as schools, as it was in Gaza.

Moreover, Israel, demonstrated extreme contempt for and defiance to the United Nations and the international community by deliberately targeting U.N. sites within Gaza. It targeted U.N. clinics, schools, and other compounds.

Israel attacked humanitarian convoys attempting to deliver much needed supplies to the desperate people of Gaza, and in other cases prevented medical teams, including from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from reaching victims of its assault, also a war crime.

Israel also deliberately targeted a U.N. warehouse where humanitarian supplies were being stored, attacking the site with white phosphorus munitions, resulting in the warehouse and goods inside catching fire and nearly burning to the ground.

All of these actions by Israel, all well documented and incontrovertible, constitute grave war crimes under the Geneva Conventions and other relevant treaties of international law.

The U.S. Role

Israel’s contempt for innocent life, for the international community, and for international law is perhaps matched only by the U.S. willingness to support Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.

Simply stated, without U.S. support, none of this could go on.

The U.S. supports Israel financially. Aid to Israel is on the order of $3 billion a year. This money is given, unlike aid to other countries, with no strings attached, and with little to no oversight about how it is to be used.

Even if it is not used directly to finance Israeli policies and activities in violation of international law, such as its ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories, construction of settlements in the West Bank, construction of a its “separation barrier” within the West Bank, destruction of Palestinian homes and other property, killing of Palestinian civilians, etc., U.S. financial support allows Israel to free up other funding for these illegal activities. It effectively rewards Israel for criminal actions.

The U.S. supports Israel militarily. And military equipment provided by the U.S. is used by Israel for actions constituting war crimes under international law. The massacre in Gaza was carried out with the help of U.S.-provided Apache helicopter gunships, U.S.-provided F-16 fighter bombers, and U.S.-provided munitions, including white phosphorus and cluster munitions.

This military support to Israel is not only a violation of international law and relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions calling on member states not to provide material support for Israeli crimes, but it is also a violation of U.S. law. Besides international treaties such as the U.N. Charter and the Geneva Conventions constituting “the supreme Law of the Land” under the U.S. Constitution, U.S. law forbids the exporting of military equipment to countries that routinely violate international law and commit offenses against human rights. Yet U.S. military support for Israel continues unabated.

The U.S. supports Israel diplomatically. The principle means by which the U.S. does so is through the use of its veto power in the U.N. Security Council. While Israel was using U.S. military hardware to murder innocent Palestinians, the U.S. was actively trying to stall a cease-fire resolution to give Israel more time to carry out its assault.

A watered-down version of the resolution was finally found acceptable to the U.S., which reportedly was ready to vote in favor, but after receiving a call from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, while not going so far as to cast a veto, instead abstained rather than casting a vote for a resolution rightfully critical of Israel."

Well-said, Jeremy. Now if only enough of the American public finally wakes up to the fact that they can help put a stop to the Israeli bloodletting & destruction of the remains of Palestine, if they'd just send a loud, consistent message to each of their congressmen.

And don't lose faith. That brutal Apartheid South African Regime finally crumbled, to be replaced by a birth of new freedom. So, too, will its even more brutal cousin, Apartheid Israel.

A free Palestinian nation can emerge from the ashes. And it will, if Americans armed with the truth just say no to tax contributions for any more of this appalling oppression, murder, and mayhem.

In the meantime, the brave people of Gaza--like those South Africans that once shouted "Cry Freedom!"--will not go down, no matter how many of their children the Israeli storm troopers slaughter.

“No one can take my identity
Away from me,
Not tanks or guns or bombs
Meant to desecrate me and kill me.
My country lives in me.

I am the cry of liberty
No matter what they take from me,
They can't take away my identity
Or my dignity.
Palestinian am I.”

--Edna Yaghi

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Israel's "Cast Lead": The Art Of Murdering Unarmed Women Bearing White Flags

In one of the final days of Israel's blood-thirsty rampage in Gaza last January, a Jewish member of the British parliament rose from his seat to urge an arms embargo on Tel Aviv.

But MP Gerald Kaufman, brought up as an orthodox Jew and Zionist, said something else that caught world attention.

"My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town," railed Kaufman, "a German soldier shot her dead in her bed. My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza. The present Israeli government ruthlessly and cynically exploit the continuing guilt from gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians."

Tomorrow will mark the official one-year anniversary of the start of the 22 days of Israel's mayhem and massacre on Gaza's 1.5 million men, women, and children. It is hoped that not only will the world take note, but also never release the Israeli regime of war criminals from their accountability.

Insidious and utterly evil it was. And they pulled off day after day of massacres by tossing aside their "purity of arms" facade and replacing it with rules of engagement turning the world's largest open air prison into a free fire zone.

And what, precisely, is meant by "free fire"?

It's really very simple. Just shoot, blast, burn, or demolish anything at will, be it a school, home, or hospital, along with the men, women, and children that go with 'em.

An exaggeration, perhaps? Arab propaganda, maybe??

Not exactly. Here's some chilling testimony from an Israeli soldier and Gaza Massacre vet, who explained the dynamics of their "standing orders."

One of the many international human rights groups monitoring Israel's violations of international law is Human Rights Watch. In their official report on Gaza, they meticulously documented case after case of war crimes, including the fate of the Abd Rabbo family:

"According to all three family members, around noon the family heard the tank outside their house and then a soldier on a megaphone calling on them to come outside. Afraid to send out any men, two women and three female children gathered at the door, at least three of them holding pieces of white cloth.

They stepped outside and saw an Israeli tank about 10 meters away with its turret pointed at the house. On the front steps stood Khalid’s mother, Su’ad, 54, his wife, Kawthar, 26, and their three girls, Su’ad, 7, Samar, 4, and Amal, 2.

Khalid’s mother, Su’ad, explained what happened next:

'We saw one tank and we saw others behind. We were with the white flags in order to make them see that we were civilians. We spent seven to nine minutes waving the flags and our faces were looking at them.

And suddenly they opened fire and the girls fell to the ground. Su’ad fell and when I saw her, I turned to my right and when I turned, I got hit....The shooting came from where the tank was but I don’t know who shot.

Su’ad was wounded in the neck and chest. Amal was hit in the chest and abdomen and her intestines came out. Su’ad died immediately. We took Amal inside and she died in
there because the ambulance could not come. Samar was injured in the chest and the shots exited her back, leaving large holes and damaging the spine. She is now paralyzed...

We had stood there for maybe ten minutes. The soldiers were sitting on top
of the tank. The area was quiet. We saw no people. There was no shelling.
We heard no fighting. They had full control of the area since the first day of
the ground invasion. They had the area and also [nearby] Kashef Hill.'

Interviewed separately, Khalid and his brother, who had both remained inside the house, confirmed this version of events. According to Khalid, the women and girls were outside for about five minutes when an Israeli soldier emerged from the top of the tank and without warning opened fire with automatic gunfire.

The women and girls managed to scramble back inside the house, some of them bleeding badly, he said.

In Brussels, Human Rights Watch interviewed Khalid’s brother Hasan, where he was tending to the wounded Samar in a hospital. His recollection of some details varied slightly from his brother and mother, but his general account was the same.

According to Hasan, the IDF soldiers ordered the family to come outside and then opened fire on the women and children. 'The area where we lived was under Israeli control, it was a safe place for them,' he said. 'There were no fighters.'

....Khalid ‘Abd Rabbo said he cannot understand why an Israeli soldier opened fire on unarmed women who bore white flags, and then destroyed his home:

'I only want one thing. I want to understand whether I did something wrong to
Israel to be punished like this. I want this to be the last crime committed
against Arabs and against Palestinians because we want peace. Hopefully
I’ll be the last one who suffered. I lost my children and house.'"

Sadly, Kahalid, the blood just keeps flowing. Today six more Palestinians were mowed down by Israeli gunmen.

No Palestinian or his family is safe in this hellish world of occupation, humiliation and confiscation. Clearly Israel's "Cast Lead" crew didn't hesitate at outright annihilation--at will--either. The following example shows just how perilous things are, even for a compliant, law-abiding, non-terrorist Palestinian such as Israeli-educated Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish.

He's also a peace activist. But that didn't slow down one bit the "purity of arms" bearing Israeli tank that deliberately blasted a shell into the family home, obliterating al-Aish's three daughters and a niece.

Anyone care to guess if any of their murderers were sporting a "one shot two kills" t-shirt that day?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Might Makes Right? The Promised Land?? It's High Time To Dump The Myths And Say Yes To Accountability.

Christmas night a year ago, a lot of Israeli "One Shot Two Kills" gunmen must have been salivating like mad as "Operation Cast Lead" was just about ready to detonate all over Gaza.

The business of obliterating pregnant Palestinian women and a whole lot of other defenseless civilians would go into overdrive once again, but with much more success than the bungled Lebanon invasion in the bloody summer two years earlier.

The Israeli regime was poised to unleash their U.S.-supplied white phosphorus bombs over densely populated civilian areas, roasting children alive with one of the most hideous chemical weapons on earth, that burns right down to the bone and poisons the body.

The Israelis at first lied outright about the use of their white phosphorus bombs, claiming they were not being used at all. But when the irrefutable physical evidence began flowing in, they had to admit it. And then came the Israeli lie-upon-lie: It was only being used to mask troop movements!

Merely masking troop movements. Simultaneously came the wonderful convenience of using it to attack civilians. Which, as the U.N.'s Goldstone Report showed, was yet another sickening, flagrant war crime perfectly suited for prosecution at The Hague.

On the other hand, I suppose the Israeli storm troopers "oops, sorry 'bout that" slaughter of enough civilians gives them a whopping strategic dividend in their might-makes-right "war on terror."

What if, however, she were your daughter, burned like firewood by these ruthless war criminals? Perhaps it's easy to shrug when the young, nameless child is someone else's, thousands of miles away.

But again--what if she was your child?

Gideon Levy is an Israeli journalist for the country's Haaretz newspaper. After 20 years of covering the occupation and all the brutality, he seen enough to be a credible witness to the horror.

"The conclusion," wrote Levy, just after all the bloodletting was finished in the Gaza War, "is that Israel is a violent and dangerous country, devoid of all restraints and blatantly ignoring the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, while not giving a hoot about international law." He later added that Israel simply must "wean itself of the ideology that force is a solution to everything, and that it is the policeman (aka thug) of the Middle East."

Today, on this Christmas day, Levy provided more perspective in his "Twilight Zone" column, about just how horrendous things are for the surviving victims of the Great Middle East Thug, which continues to use its $10 million daily U.S. allowance to slowly strangle the life out of beseiged Gaza.

"Long before Operation Cast Lead," he reflects, "there were unbearable scenes from Gaza. In January 2005, at Shifa Hospital, we met four children who had all lost both of their legs in the appalling shelling of the strawberry fields in Beit Lahia. They were in their wheelchairs facing the window, silently looking out at the world, their gloomy expressions heartbreaking. A year later I met them on crutches, looking just as lost.

In that same shelling, Kamal the farmer and his wife Maryam lost three sons, two nephews and a grandson. Another son lay in Shifa on a respirator, having lost both legs, a hand and an eye. Where is he today? Did he survive? Are there still strawberries in that blood-soaked plot? When we arrived that day, Kamal still thought his surviving son had lost just one leg.

A dozen kids who had gone out on their first day of school vacation to help the farmers pick strawberries were dead, long before the Goldstone report. And the knee-jerk, blood-curdling response of the IDF Spokesman did not even express regret: 'It must be noted that a terrorist cell operated from within a populated Palestinian area. The IDF is investigating the incident.' Blah, blah, blah. The heartlessness is still chilling.

Long before Goldstone, I became attached to little Maria, who lost her brother Mohammed, her mother Na'ima, her grandmother Hanan and her aunt Nahad as a result of a missile strike by an Israeli plane on the Peugeot her father Hamdi had bought that very day. It was the family's first trip in the car. Maria sat on her mother's lap in the back seat singing songs, a moment before it was all over.

For three and a half years, Maria and Hamdi have been living at the Alyn Hospital in Jerusalem, where she has a breathing tube and is permanently paralyzed from the neck down. A sweet girl who feeds a parrot from a spoon she holds in her mouth, operating her sophisticated wheelchair with her chin while her father tends to her with the most profound devotion I've ever seen. Once every six months or so, the Defense Ministry threatens to expel them back to Gaza; once every six months a small group of dedicated Israelis acts to thwart the evil decree.

In recent weeks, Hamdi has sounded more dejected than ever. The first time we met, on the sandy floor of his home in Gaza, he was limping as a result of his own injury and in total shock. That was two days after the tragedy, and he could hardly utter a sound.

Another person dumbstruck by tragedy was the mother of Dam Hamad - a 14-year-old girl killed by a concrete beam that went flying as a result of an Israeli missile strike, as she lay sleeping in the arms of her paralyzed mother. When we arrived at their impoverished home in the Brazil neighborhood of Rafah, the mother was lying, mute, in bed. Dam was her only daughter. We kept driving.

Also struck by tragedy was Islam, the girl in black whom we met on one of our last trips to Gaza, in November 2006. She sat on a stone wall outside the ruins of her home in Beit Hanoun, after losing eight family members, including her mother and grandmother. All told, 22 people were killed in an instant by shells fired into the heart of the neighborhood, because of a malfunction of an electronic chip in the weaponry, according to the IDF Spokesman. And we drove on.

We met beautiful Fatma Barghout, in her 20s, whose breast cancer had spread and who faced inhuman obstacles, placed in her way by Israeli authorities, barring her from lifesaving treatment in Israel. Once she was even sent away from the Erez checkpoint because her prosthetic breast set off the metal detector; explanations and pleading were of no use. By the time she finally obtained an entry permit, it was too late. A few days before she died in Gaza, I took her out for a day of fun: to the Safari in Ramat Gan, Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv and the alleyways of Old Jaffa. She got to see wild animals, green lawns and unarmed Israelis for the first time in her short life.

And there was the Ghazal family, from the Al-Daraj neighborhood, who once invited us to share in their Id al-Fitr feast: two little salted fish, bought with NIS 10, to feed 13 people.

It's as if the heroes of these columns and others are gone with the wind. Who knows which of them is still alive, who has recovered from his tragedy - or who, God forbid, was killed in Operation Cast Lead, one year ago this week? I'll never know. I wasn't able to meet the many victims of the army incursion; we were prevented from telling their story. Gaza is still closed to Israel journalists, and no one cares."

Levy is one of the few voices that are the overdue conscience of Israel. Israeli historian Benny Morris is another. There are too many people, however, that simply do not care. And maybe it's due to their ignorance of history and how all of this tragedy and injustice and bloodshed came to be.

Go back to just before the middle of the last century. Take a good hard look at Palestine's step-by-step descent into hell and find out where the injustice really started--and which side ignited the conflagration that smolders & flames up to this day.

Al Jazeera is one of the most significant names in international broadcasting. It is also obviously an Arab news network. This of course easily provokes Zionist and right-wing voices to denounce it for being inherently biased.

Have a look at Al Jazeera's examination [Part I] of the conflict and decide for yourself. Within the clip, you'll see a shot of Jerusalem's Grand Mufti, with no mention that he had Nazi connections. Al Jazeera should have, and balanced this with the Jewish terrorist Stern Gang's Nazi connections.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

In Remembrance: Israel's Warsaw Ghetto Inspired Massacre Of Gaza

A year ago today, the U.S.-bankrolled gunmen had changed from their off-hours t-shirts into combat garb and were ready to go on a civilian killing spree.

In just a matter of days, they would drench the streets with blood of the women and children they were holding captive in Gaza, the world's largest open air prison. In subsequent months, the heinous truth emerged through the testimony of the soldiers themselves, in a report by the Israeli dissident military group, "Breaking The Silence."

The facts were shocking, and could have come from Nazi stormtroopers reminiscing about the slaughter in 1944 Warsaw. One of the Israeli veterans of "Operation Cast Lead" confessed:

"The soldiers were made to understand that their lives were the most important, and that there was no way our soldiers would get killed for the sake of leaving civilians the benefit of the doubt....they were told that from a certain distance when they approach a house, no matter who it is - even an old woman - take them down."

The Israelis were relentless, thorough, utterly barbaric, "casting" not just lead, but chemical weapons. And make no mistake--these war criminals couldn't pretend that Hamas fighters were hiding under the cribs where infants were obliterated by American-supplied rockets. According the Israeli human rights group, B'Tselem, the soldiers were merciless and murderous with the civilians: "Whole families were killed; parents saw their children shot before their very eyes; relatives watched their loved ones bleed to death; and entire neighborhoods were obliterated."

This coming Sunday, December 27, is the anniversary of Day One, when yet another bit of holocaust was unleashed on the Palestinians. Let there be remembrance. Let it be for a long, long time, enough for our cowardly Congress to finally step up and explain why they not only said nothing in protest but scores of them even cheered on the mass murder, such as Senators Barbara Boxer, Saxby Chambliss, Christopher Dodd, and Barbara Mikulski, to mention just a few.

Let these opportunistic, gutless wonders go to Gaza and spend a night or two in some of the rubble that used to be family homes until demolished by munitions that these senators authorized. Send them to volunteer in the Gaza hospitals filled with old and young Palestinians burned beyond recognition by the horrifying white phosphorous chemical weapons--that these senators approved.

And one day, let there be real, long-overdue accountability for those Israeli war criminals that oversaw this slaughter fest. Like the murderous Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, arrest Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni, and Ehud Barak (as a start) and put these psychopaths on trail for crimes against humanity.

Until then, go get your Christmas shopping done and trim the tree.

And, should you have any extra time, perhaps you might say a prayer for the children of Gaza.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Studies Are In: The "Mystery" To America's Killer Obesity Epidemic Finally Solved!

The following report comes from the S.C.O.R.("Specialized Coronary Outpatient Rehabilitation") group, of Solvang, California:

".....The diet of the American population has changed over the last 100 years.

Our diet since the early 1900's has evolved into an abundance of progressively more unhealthy, life-threatening foodstuffs filled with harmful vegetable fats which is also devoid of many vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids as well. Our

grandparents and great-grandparents who were raised in the late 1800's and early 1900's lived a primary agricultural existence with 80% of Americans living on small family farms or in rural areas. Before 1910, heart attacks were virtually unheard
of. By 1930, heart attacks accounted for no more than 3000 deaths/year.

By 1960 that number had risen to over 500,000. Genetics cannot explain this huge
increase over one or two generations. Some lifestyle change caused this
increase. What was it???...."

Indeed. What on earth was it??

The 14th Century's Black Death that wiped out a third of Europe's population had its flea.

The 1918 Spanish Flu that killed up to 100 million people worldwide was driven by the A virus strain of the H1N1.

Like a lot of you, I relish a slice of good pizza. But I also make every effort to indulge in the wicked treat no more than once a month.

I don't do this fearing that more than a monthly pizza fest will automatically prove fatal. Just that, well, it's common sense to practice dietary vigilance.

But would I--at my monthly sit down with that wondrous cheesy delight--ever dare to mix it with some devastating fatty fried cinnamon sticks?

What, you think I've got some kind of death wish??

Anyway, here's the official scoop on "the limits of what humans will eat."

[Domino's, for the record, you're not the only culprits--but for now, the most convenient....]

Friday, November 27, 2009

Toffler: "The great, growling engine of change -- technology."

Nearly a quarter century after publishing his landmark "Future Shock," famed sociologist Alvin Toffler commented in a 1994 interview:

"...It occurred to us that big technological and social changes were occurring in the United States, but that the political system seemed totally blind to their existence. Between 1955 and 1960, the birth control pill was introduced, television became universalized [sic], commercial jet travel came into being and a whole raft of other technological events occurred.

Having spent several years watching the political process, we came away feeling that 99 per cent of what politicians do is keep systems running that were laid in place by previous generations of politicians. Our ideas came together in 1965 in an article called 'The future as a way of life', which argued that change was going to accelerate and that the speed of change could induce disorientation in lots of people.

We coined the phrase 'future shock' as an analogy to the concept of culture shock. With future shock you stay in one place but your own culture changes so rapidly that it has the same disorienting effect as going to another culture."

Disorientation ripples? Yeah, think he put his finger on it...

Now just imagine if Toffler had written "Future Shock" not in 1970 but in 2009, after watching "Social Media Revolution." The attached video is picking up more and more attention. Sure, some are skeptical about some of the factoids producer Erik Qualman blasts you with ferocity, and a whole lot of rhythm.

It nevertheless is a stark, compelling wake-up call about the nor'easter winds of change engulfing us.

"BryanSD" commented on another blog carrying this video:

"My wife and I got an unsettling reminder," he said, "of the changes happening in IT just a few weeks ago.

After trying to call teenage baby sitters, we recently found that a lot of the girls prefer us to send text messages to their cell phone and not leave voice messages. In fact some of the teens don't (or won't) use their cell phones to talk but instead only to text message. To many in that actually use the cell phone to talk is considered uncool and not really a part of their culture.

If the tech culture of the youngest generation is changing so fast that cell phones aren't being used for vocal can imagine the impact this generation is going to have on content management...."

Point taken. Now sit back and watch the video. On your computer.

P.S. I got it from a a big ol' village called Facebook.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

"Pathological" Israeli Symptoms, Again

The Israeli regime recently regurgitated out another empty offering to the Palestinians, saying they might "freeze" their massive colony expansion mutilating the West Bank, with not even a word about the obvious real solution: Get those nearly one-half million Zionist squatters out of remaining Palestine!

And occupied East Jerusalem, where about half of the illegal settler population has stolen swaths of land from a future Palestinian state? Well, no freeze AT ALL.

It's no wonder, then, why one prominent American Jewish leader would call this relentless Israeli ethnic cleansing policy for what it is: Pathological.

Henry Siegman, former national director of the American Jewish Congress and current director of the U.S./Middle East Project, wrote a scathing critique in a New York Times editorial earlier this month that pointed to the most obvious sticking point in achieving a just, lasting peace in the Middle East.

"The Israeli reaction to serious peacemaking efforts," says Siegman, "is nothing less than pathological.....Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, whose assassination by a Jewish right-wing extremist is being remembered this week in Israel, told Israelis at his inauguration in 1992 that their country is militarily powerful, and neither friendless nor at risk. They should therefore stop thinking and acting like victims.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s message that the whole world is against Israel and that Israelis are at risk of another Holocaust — a fear he invoked repeatedly during his address in September at the United Nations General Assembly in order to discredit Judge Richard Goldstone’s Gaza fact-finding report — is unfortunately still a more comforting message for too many Israelis.

This pathology has been aided and abetted by American Jewish organizations whose agendas conform to the political and ideological views of Israel’s right wing. These organizations do not reflect the views of most American Jews who voted overwhelmingly — nearly 80 percent — for Mr. Obama in the presidential elections.

An Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement has eluded all previous U.S. administrations not because they were unable to devise a proper formula for its achievement; everyone has known for some time now the essential features of that formula, which were proposed by President Clinton in early 2000.

Rather, the conflict continues because U.S. presidents — and to a far greater extent, members of the U.S. Congress, who depend every two years on electoral contributions — have accommodated a pathology that can only be cured by its defiance.

Only a U.S. president with the political courage to risk Israeli displeasure — and criticism from that part of the pro-Israel lobby in America which reflexively supports the policies of the Israeli government of the day, no matter how deeply they offend reason or morality — can cure this pathology."

Until that president has the guts to stick to an effective, genuine prescription, then we're going to be subjected to an eternity of the continuing Frankenstein horror show, graphically presented in the "I Am Israel" expose.....

Monday, November 23, 2009

How Much Longer Will We Tolerate The U.S.-Funded Israeli Genocide In Gaza??

This goes far, far beyond tragic, outrageous, appalling.

It's war crimes, pure and simple. The United Nations has already corroborated this fact, along with international human rights investigators that include Israeli observers.

For $10 million American tax dollars a day, the brutal storm troopers continue suffocating and slaughtering Palestinian refugees. The same families they had originally driven from their homes in ethnically cleansed Israel.

Today, the world continues turning its blind eye shamelessly in another direction, anywhere but into Gaza. Pres. Obama does little more than lip service in "opposing" the Israelis' ruthless destruction of the 22 percent remaining piece of what was once the Palestinian homeland. He doesn't seem to give a damn that our nation supports & harbors a war criminal regime.

The following short film lets us and rest of the world bear witness to the kind of horror once perpetrated by the Nazis on the Jews of Warsaw some 65 years ago.

Sickening, horrendous irony. Once victims, now utterly merciless victimizers inflicting endless savagery on women and children.

When will this American-subsidized mass murder stop?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

On And On.....Across The Universe

It's the middle of the night, first of November.

A song John Lennon thought perhaps his greatest, most poetic lyric ever done flows in....

"Words are flying out like
endless rain into a paper cup
They slither while they pass
They slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow waves of joy
are drifting thorough my open mind
Possessing and caressing me...."

Last year, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the release of "Across The Universe," NASA took a 70m antenna in its vast Communication Complex and transmitted the message in the direction of the star Polaris, 431 light years from Earth.

It was the very first time a song had ever been intentionally transmitted into deep space.

"....Images of broken light which
dance before me like a million eyes
That call me on and on across the universe
Thoughts meander like a
restless wind inside a letter box
they tumble blindly as
they make their way across the universe...."

Thoughts surely are meandering.

The anguishing year is drawing to a close, with a very restless wind swirling above. Beneath us are some big pools of sorrow.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is currently blathering the same old line as she waltzes around the room with Israeli War Criminals, Inc. "There are always demands made in any negotiation that are not going to be fully realized," said Clinton, alluding to America's indifference to Zionism's Final Solution--systematic destruction of the last remains of Palestine.

Meanwhile, at home, any meaningful change to our Big Insurance/Big Pharma Death Panel Regime appears increasingly remote. The report out is that Congress's weak-kneed proposal for a public option would cover barely two percent of those under 65, when and if it ever is brought into law.

Gotta hand it to them bright-eyed Town Hall rabble rousers, eh??

Yeah, they did have just a liiiitle bit a help from their friends. An excerpt from Rolling Stone's September expose, "The Lie Machine":

"The insurance industry is up to the same dirty tricks, using the same devious PR practices it has used for many years, to kill reform," says Wendell Potter, who stepped down last year as chief of corporate communications for health insurance giant CIGNA. "I'm certain that people showing up at these town halls feel that they're there on their own — but they don't realize they're being incited, ultimately, by the insurance industry and the other special interests."

Behind the scenes, top Republicans — including House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Minority Leader John Boehner and the chairman of the GOP's Senate steering committee, Jim DeMint — worked hand-in-glove with the organizers of the town brawls. Their goal was not only to block health care reform but to bankrupt President Obama's political capital before he could move on to other key items on his agenda, including curbing climate change and expanding labor rights. As DeMint told an August teleconference of nearly 20,000 town-hall activists, "If we can stop him on this, the administration won't be able to go on to cap and trade, card check and the other things they want to do."

And, of course, there's our illustrious heroes of Wall Street. Hard to find a more vivid demonstration of the wreckage that rapacious, slobbering free enterprisers can REALLY inflict on us when a coopted Congress lets 'em off the leash.

In fact, like the Everready Bunny, this is one monster that will just keep on tickin'.

One reviewer of Jonathan Tasini's new book, "The Audacity of Greed," summed it up this way:

"Mad Magazine once satirized the movie Rocky complete with a re-christened character called "Appalling Greed." And the greed of corporate the CEOs chronicled in here is just that, appalling and at times nothing short of pathological. Tasini cites instances where certain CEOs were involved in schemes to illegally back date the stock options that provide them with so much of their wealth, when they were already getting away with murder by legally backdating and re-pricing options."

"For the epitome of this orgy of greed and the metaphor for the age, Tasini chooses the party Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski threw for his wife on her 40th birthday on the isle of Sardinia, replete with a replica of Michelangelo's statue of David rigged to spray vodka....! Yes, this is right up there with the bacchanalian excesses of late imperial Rome or the extravagances of Marie Antoinette. And if this kind of thing keeps up the United States may some day soon follow these historical predecessors into similar oblivion."

We have little choice than to try, struggle, hold on.




That was the message in Lennon's third stanza.

"....Sounds of laughter shades of life
are ringing through my open ears
exciting and inviting me
Limitless undying love which
shines around me like a million suns
It calls me on and on across the universe...."

It's the limitless undying love. That's the secret. And the redemption.

It's the strength I draw from the eternal love for my two daughters despite--in the line from one of the greatest films of all time--"the whole silly world going to pieces around us."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Much Was Taken.....Much Abides

It was a piece of a poem he quoted in his famed 1980 "Dream Shall Never Die" Democratic Convention speech, which the Lion of the Senate prefaced:

"And may it be said of us, both in dark passages and in bright days, in the words of Tennyson that my brothers quoted and loved, and that have special meaning for me now:

'I am a part of all that I have met
To [Tho] much is taken, much abides
That which we are, we are --
One equal temper of heroic hearts
Strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield'

For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end."

With the passing of Sen. Ted Kennedy comes the inevitable repeat calls about "The End of Camelot." We'd heard that the first time, with the news of his brother John's assassination 46 years ago, followed just five years later with the anguish of brother Bobby's murder.

Now, like the famous remark when Abraham Lincoln succumbed to death, Teddy "belongs to the ages" with his brothers.

Checkered would be a generous description of this Kennedy's life. There's absolutely no questioning his impact on us emotionally, as well as the influence he had in the Senate, in a long career dedicated to improving the plight of the poor, the disenfranchised, the sick.

One of the most lucid insights comes from MSNBC's Mike Celizic, who writes:

"With Sen. Edward Kennedy’s death comes not only the end of a political dynasty, but also of one of the most enduring — and cherished — American myths. Camelot is no more.

The myth was so powerful that it transcended generations. Unlike many allusions to the 1960s, it needs no explanation to those who don’t remember that time.

John F. Kennedy, the eldest brother, was King Arthur, and wife Jackie his Guinevere. Bobby, the second brother, was Lancelot, defender of the powerless and, it is said, secretly in love with the queen.

And then there was the youngest of them all: Teddy, in whom the best and the worst of everything Kennedy seemed to come together.

It was he who would ultimately become this Camelot’s Galahad. Though far from perfect and nowhere near a man of great virtue, Edward M. Kennedy was the knight who ultimately set for himself a quest.

Its object was no less momentous than the Holy Grail itself: universal health care."

Quite understandably, there is a horde of dragons blocking access to the grail. This nation's "compassionate conservatives" in Congress, on the air waves, and at town hall meetings (the hysterical, screaming yahoos in the audience) all would rather shill for the insatiable parasites that control the American Medical-Industrial Complex.

And who better to delude & inspire the hordes than radio's Oxycontin Beast Rush Limbaugh? Today this revolting garbage bag patted himself for predicting the obvious incoming calls to have "Ted Kennedy Memorial" tacked onto the national health care bill's title. He makes these kinds of cracks into the ear of a dying man and ridicules another, actor Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's Disease.

The truly shocking and disgusting thing is our country's multitude of knuckleheads subscribing to this bloated psychopath's ravings.

Now here's my prediction: When it comes time for Limbaugh's hate-encrusted carcass to expire, his generous lobby pals at AHIP (American Health Insurance Plans) will be certain to construct a memorial of their own -- a elephantine "Rush" monument, right out in front of their Congressman Purchasing Outlet at the Pennsylvania Avenue HQ.

Celezic continues with the Kennedy, and Teddy, saga:

"This is a family that Aeschylus and Sophocles and Homer would have written about, a family that Norse poets would have immortalized in sagas, a family that medieval troubadours would have sung about, a family that Shakespeare would have devoted a trilogy to, a family that America transformed into a vision of its ideal self.

Teddy was the kid brother of that family, the youngest kid who was faced with the Everest of expectations established by his three older brothers.

Joseph Jr. had died heroically as a pilot defending London against the Nazi blitz. Jack, the second-oldest, became the embodiment of the Camelot myth that would follow the family to the present. Bobby, the third brother, was the brilliant orator and idealist who was on his way to the White House in 1968 when he was cut down by an assassin’s bullet.

It was a lot to live up to. It was both a curse and a blessing that Teddy alone among the brothers lived out his natural life. It was a curse because the reality of his personal life became public at Chappaquiddick, when Mary Jo Kopechne, a young campaign worker, died, and the famous senator neglected for nine hours to tell anyone about it."

This, above anything else, is the most vile and reprehensible and, yes, criminal part of the story. Some critics have likened him to an O.J. Simpson of politics, despite the infinitely more heinous nature of the Simpson Crime. There's little avoiding the fact that Ted Kennedy used his political clout, as Simpson did with his celebrity, to "get away with it."

And he shouldn't have.

But, he did.

Celezic added:

"There was more. After his unsuccessful challenge to incumbent President Jimmy Carter in 1980, Ted Kennedy outraged his Catholic base by divorcing his wife, Joan.

Much of the 1980s seemed to be a blur of excess, of public drunkenness and lechery. In a Greek tragedy, that would have been the last act: a great man brought down by his own excesses, due to the original sin of hubris.

But life doesn’t always imitate art. In the 1990s, Ted Kennedy met his second wife, Vicki, and finally became what the Kennedy myth had always held him and his brothers to be.

His redemption began with a very public confession of his own sins. In a remarkable 1991 speech at Harvard, the senior senator from Massachusetts did something that we were not accustomed to seeing our political heroes do: He admitted to being less than what he seemed.

'I recognize my own shortcomings, the faults and the conduct of my private life,' he said in the distinctive Kennedy accent. 'I realize that I alone am responsible for them, and I am the one who must confront them.'

In an interview with NBC News the following year, he explained that speech, saying, 'I owed them some explanation, or at least the recognition that I understood.'

That would be what ultimately set Ted Kennedy apart, and what transformed him into a man who would be eulogized as one of the greatest senators in American history. Unlike so many others, Ted Kennedy proved by his actions that he really did understand.

His legislative resume is a towering testament to his ideals. And in those ideals, he was always consistent. His brother Bobby had swung from the right to the left of the political scale, and Jack had been a centrist and a political pragmatist. But Ted was consistent for four decades in his defense of the least of us, in his belief in the common man and woman."

One of the greatest senators? Certainly after Chappaquiddick he would labor to redeem himself, but his tireless work for the underprivilaged and downtrodden began years before that.

In his very first Senate speech in 1964, he spoke out in support of the Civil Rights Act. Kennedy led the charge in anti-discrimination legislation and championed Head Start, a program that fought childhood hunger and illiteracy. When the Pres. Ronald Reagan (the right-wing's bogus "champion of freedom") refused to back sanctions that ultimately ended the horror of South Africa's Apartheid, it was Kennedy -- not St. Ronald -- that lead the way to freedom.

It was Kennedy who helped pass the Americans With Disabilities Act, as well as Medicare & Medicaid laws.

“We must begin to move now to establish a comprehensive national health insurance program," he announced 40 years ago, "capable of bringing the same amount and high quality of health care to every man, woman, and child in the United States.”

This would henceforth be, he vowed, "the cause of his life."

Laudable, too, was Kennedy standing brave and wise with 20 other Democratic senators voting no on the insidious 2002 Iraq War Authorization. He called it a "political product" and a fraud "made up in Texas."

Political product it surely was, manufactured by the most grotesque scam artist that ever sat in the White House.

"The life and death issue of war and peace is too important to be left to politics," Kennedy warned just six months before Bush & Cheney launched their reign of war crimes. "And I disagree with those who suggest that this fateful issue cannot or should not be contested vigorously, publicly, and all across America. When it is the people's sons and daughters who will risk and even lose their lives, then the people should hear and be heard, speak and be listened to."

I'm sure the thousands and thousands of Americans that watched their loved ones be maimed and slaughtered thanks to the Bush Big Lie really wish that the powers that be had listened to Kennedy.

The other of Teddy's most powerful speeches was of course the eulogy he delivered for Bobby. Pres. Obama, with his gift of oratory, will not disappoint us when he eulogizes the Senator at his funeral on Saturday. But it would be hard to match the poignancy of the words spoken by a grieving brother 41 years ago.

May this family, The Kennedys, all the children who grew up with a man who was much more than "Uncle Ted," but a surrogate father to all his orphaned neices & nephews -- be comforted in yet another wave of unbearable grief.

A passage from scripture:

They shall hunger no more --
neither shall they thirst

For the lamb which sitteth in
the midst of the Throne

Shall lead them into
living fountains of waters

And God shall wipe away
all tears from our eyes