• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 17 november 2007

Jannetje Koelewijn en Merel Thie 3

Ik kreeg deze email van Paul:

'hoi stan

Mijn punt was dat je met je belering richting Koelewijn en Thie naar mijn mening pop-sociobiologie (pop-evolutionaire psychologie) bedreef. Dat reduceren van menselijk gedrag naar onderliggende biologie is een van intellectuele fouten van onze tijd. Natuurlijk bezitten mensen die biologische aandriften wel degelijk en de topjongens ongetwijfeld meer dan gemiddeld, maar de mens is tegelijk een door-en-door cultureel wezen. "Man is precisely the animal most desperately dependent on much extra-genetic, outside-the-skin control mechanisms, such as cultural programs, for organizing behavior." "There is no such thing as a human nature independent of culture. Our central nervous system grew up in part in interaction with culture. We are, in sum, incomplete of unfinished animal who complete or finish ourselves through culture." Citaten van Clifford Geertz.

De mens als biologisch/cultureel wezen is voor alles plastisch: zowel in staat tot mensenvreterij als tot de Kritik der reinen Vernunft, zoals Robert Musil zei. Natuurlijk vertoont met name de politiek vaak ongemakkelijk veel overeenkomsten met een apenrots maar dat beschouwen, zoals jij naar mijn mening deed in jouw stukje, als de enige relevante realiteit gaat veel te ver.

Het citaat van Geertz komt uit Hayeks befaamde essay 'Three sources of human values', waarin hij de naieve toepassing van ethologische inzichten in de sociale wetenschappen veroordeelt. Zonder het helemaal eens te zijn met Hayek, die natuurlijk vooral bekend is om zijn ongeremde vrije markt positie als opponent van Keynes, heeft hij veel zinnigs te zeggen over dit cruciale onderwerp.

Vriendelijke groet, Paul'


Dit is mijn reactie:

'beste paul

ik ben het volstrekt oneens met de gedachte dat cultuur en natuur onlosmakelijk met elk verbonden zijn. in mijn visie, gebaseerd op mijn ervaringen, is cultuur een flinterdunne laag die in de meest ontwikkelde culturen van de ene op de andere moment kan verdwijnen. in momenten van crisis nemen onze driften het over en is de cultuur volledig weg. kijk naar de geschiedenis en kijk wat er in de wereld gebeurt. het zijn niet alleen de hoofdapen die door instincten en driften worden gedreven, maar ook de bij-apen zodra ze in een crisis terechtkomen. de menselijke soort bestaat waarschijnlijk al 3 miljoen jaar. tot voor tienduizend jaar geleden leefde hij met een absoluut minimum aan cultuur. pas toen de landbouw werd ontdekt vond er een razendsnelle culturele ontwikkeling plaats. een van de belangrijke redenen dat culturen betrekkelijk snel ten onder is dat de mens niet in staat is op lange termijn te plannen. dat heeft hij evolutionair gezien ook nooit geleerd. als jager levend in een kleine groep moest al zijn intelligentie en energie gericht zijn op het overleven vandaag en morgen, maar niet over een week. het probleem is dat wil de mens als sedentair wezen zien te overleven in zeer grote groepen hij op lange termijn moet plannen, maar dit niet kan, dat vermogen bezit hij niet. vandaar dat je ziet dat mensen blijven consumeren terwijl ze weten dat de natuur dit niet aankan. en in zijn auto blijfven zitten terwijl ze weten dat daarmee het broeikaseffect groter wordt, en de verslaafden blijven roken terwijl ze weten dat ze er kanker van kunnen krijgen, en op politici blijft stemmen terwijl men weet dat ze onbetrouwbaar zijn. dat ons centraal zenuwgestel zich gedeeltelijk tegelijk ontwikkelde in interactie met cultuur is zeer betrekkelijk waar, tenzij je denkt dat 10.000 jaar een fundamentele verandering heeft bewerkstelligt in de evolutie van 3 miljoen jaar. 10.000 jaar is eendriehonderste van 3 miljoen. wat in 3 miljoen jaar is opgebouwd kan niet in 1/300ste deel fundamenteel door cultuur worden veranderd. dat is geen bewering, helaas, maar een ervaringsfeit.
groet
stan

Ik moest aan Paul's woorden denken toen ik deze recente foto zag. Hier staat Bush, de man zonder geweten, die loog om een oorlog te kunnen beginnen, die loog om geweld te kunnen laten uitoefenen op mensen die weerloos zijn, die loog waardoor ook zijn eigen mensen sterven of ernstig verminkt raken. En nu wordt hij even geconfronteerd met de gevolgen van zijn leugen. Wat gaat er in zijn hoofd om? Hij wendt zijn blik af, zoveel is duidelijk. Maar wat gaat er precies in zijn hoofd om? Is voor Bush deze jongeman of vrouw collateral damage, of ziet Bush de man of vrouw voor hem als slachtoffer, slachtoffer van zijn eigen presidentiele misdadigheid? Dit is overgebleven van het gelaat van een jong mens dat verbrandde omdat zijn/haar hoofdaap had gelogen. Had die niet gelogen dan had het slachtoffer nog een gezicht gehad. Nooit kan hij/zij zich nog in het openbaar vertonen zonder dat mensen met afgrijzen terugdeinzen, nooit kan hij/zij ergens vrijblijvend naartoe. Voor de rest van zijn/haar leven zit hij/zij in dit gelaat opgesloten, het is erger dan in een gevangenis, het leven zoals hij/zij die gedacht had is voor eeuwig voorbij. Het slachtoffer is totaan de dood eeenzaam, volstrekt eenzaam, de enige man of vrouw op de wereld, en dat omdat Bush loog. Is het centrale zenuwgestel van Bush nu gevormd door de westerse beschaving met alle normen en waarden die daaraan verbonden zijn, of is zijn centraal zenuwgestel dat van een door driften en instincten gedreven aap? Misschien beter nog: was Hitler het produkt van cultuur of van natuur?

The Empire 305

More US men back from Iraq war have mental disorder
(Agencies)Updated: 2007-11-14 19:51

The number of soldiers needing mental-health care has risen sharply several months after they returned from Iraq, according to a Pentagon research published Tuesday.


US President George W. Bush (R) meets with Lance Cpl. Isaac Gallegos during a visit to the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, Nov. 8, 2007. [Xinhua]


'The military has undertaken an effort to diagnose and treat veterans with a new mental-health screening process.
Of the 88,235 soldiers studied, one in five on active duty and nearly half of reserves were referred to mental health treatment at one of the two time points.
The data came from the Department of Defense's routine screening of soldiers for mental health problems immediately after deployment and a second time several months later using questionnaires and a clinician interview.
Initial screenings of veterans uncovered 4.4 percent who needed treatment for problems such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But six months later, a second screening found 11.7 percent were in need of mental health care, indicating that it might take several months for emotional disorders to emerge.
"It picks up a second group of soldiers who were not identified on the first screen, and it's actually a larger group of soldiers who had the mental health problems," said Dr. Charles Milliken of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.
A previous study, published in Journal of the American Medical Association in March 2006, reported preliminary findings that troops were more likely to report mental health problems months after returning from Afghanistan and Iraq rather than immediately after getting home, making it likely that some problems were being missed.
As a result of those findings, the Defense Department instituted the follow-on screening, which this time included only Iraq war veterans.
From the first to the follow-on screening, the most significant increase in problems reported by returning troops was in interpersonal conflict (active-duty troops, to 14 percent from 4 percent; reserves, to 21.1 percent from 4.2 percent).'


Lees verder: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2007-11/14/content_6254675.htm

vrijdag 16 november 2007

Sietse Fritsma 2


Van de website van David Rietveld:

'De Kamer,

gehoord de beraadslaging,

overwegende dat de voortgaande islamisering van Nederland onmiddellijk tot staan moet worden gebracht,

constaterende dat de voortdurende immigratie van mensen uit met name moslimlanden gepaard gaat met enorme problemen op het gebied van criminaliteit, uitkeringsafhankelijkheid en integratie;

overwegende dat het behoud van de Nederlandse identiteit en kernwaarden onder grote druk staat door de voortgaande immigratie van moslims die onze waarden vaak niet blijken te delen;

verzoekt de regering, er zorg voor te dragen dat zo snel mogelijk een moslimimmigratiestop wordt ingesteld,

en gaat over tot de orde van de dag.


De voorzitter:

Deze motie is voorgesteld door het lid Fritsma. Naar mij blijkt, wordt zij voldoende ondersteund.

De heer Kamp (VVD):

Voorzitter, heeft de heer Fritsma de problemen met immigranten uit moslimlanden, zoals hij het noemt, al eens vergeleken met de problemen met immigranten die afkomstig zijn uit Afrikaanse landen? Als die problemen met elkaar vergelijkbaar zijn, waarom haalt hij dan één groep, die van de moslims, eruit? Waarom niet ook negroïde mensen? Het klinkt zo discriminerend, realiseert hij zich dat?

De heer Fritsma (PVV):

Nee, dit is een doeltreffende maatregel om grote problemen op te lossen. Wij hebben een groot probleem met de islamisering van Nederland. Genoeg is genoeg, er hoeft van ons gewoon geen moslim meer bij te komen. Hele stadswijken worden gedomineerd door moslims, het is een ons wezensvreemde cultuur. Nogmaals, moslims brengen grote problemen met zich mee op het gebied van uitkeringsafhankelijkheid en criminaliteit. Kijk naar Marokkanen, kijk naar Turken. Vandaar deze motie.

En om uw vraag nog beter te beantwoorden, wij volgen twee lijnen. Naast deze moslimimmigratiestop hebben wij voorstellen gemaakt voor het algemene vreemdelingenbeleid: het tegengaan van het opeenstapelen van procedures, de termijn waarna een zelfstandig verblijfsrecht mogelijk wordt, op tien jaar bepalen en maximaal één partner laten overkomen. Die maatregelen hebben betrekking op iedere vreemdeling. Die staan dus naast het voorstel voor een immigratiestop.

De heer Kamp (VVD):

Mij klinkt het voortdurend over één kam scheren van alle moslims en die ook voortdurend associëren met alle negatieve dingen die je maar kunt bedenken, bijzonder onprettig in de oren.

De heer Fritsma (PVV):

Dat is een waardeoordeel waarop ik verder niet hoef te reageren, zo lijkt mij.

De heer Van der Staaij (SGP):

Voorzitter, ik heb nog een meer procedurele vraag. Klopt het dat de heer Fritsma en zijn partij er een hekel aan hebben dat er in Nederland telkens wordt geprocedeerd over exact dezelfde kwestie, ook als er al een duidelijke uitspraak is?

De heer Fritsma (PVV):

Kunt u dit specificeren?

De heer Van der Staaij (SGP):

Ik doel op telkens weer een nieuwe procedure over dezelfde kwestie in asielzaken, op de stapeling van procedures. Daar bent u toch erg tegen?

De heer Fritsma (PVV):

Inderdaad, wij zijn tegen het stapelen van procedures in vreemdelingenzaken.

De heer Van der Staaij (SGP):

Geldt hetzelfde niet voor het indienen van moties? U hebt eerder een motie ingediend met dezelfde strekking. Die heeft het niet gehaald. Zouden er dan niet eerste nieuwe feiten of omstandigheden moeten zijn alvorens dezelfde procedure te starten en met bijna dezelfde motie te komen?

De heer Fritsma (PVV):

Het een is volkomen onvergelijkbaar met het ander. Het starten van telkens nieuwe juridische procedures is niet vergelijkbaar met het indienen van moties in deze Kamer. Ik meen dat ik hier verder niet op in hoef te gaan.

De heer Van der Staaij (SGP):

Dan wil ik nog een zuiver informatieve vraag stellen. Wat heeft het voor zin om als een soort ritueel een motie in te dienen als eenzelfde motie het kortgeleden niet heeft gehaald?

De heer Fritsma (PVV):

De zin daarvan is simpel: wij vinden het belangrijk dat deze maatregel wordt doorgevoerd en omdat dat voor ons van groot gewicht is, blijven wij dit zeggen. Duidelijker kan ik het niet uitleggen.

De heer Spekman (PvdA):

Voorzitter. Ik vind dat de heer Fritsma wederom een vreselijke uitspraak doet. Ik kan daar niet zomaar aan voorbijgaan. Namens mijn partij wil ik mij ervan distantiëren. Mijnheer Fritsma, u zet een hele bevolkingsgroep en een hele geloofsgroep weg op een manier alsof de leden ervan allemaal criminelen of zakkenvullers zijn. Ik vind dat zeer oneerlijk tegenover zoveel mensen die zich in Nederland de pestpokken werken en die in Nederland een bijdrage willen leveren aan de samenleving. Kunt u deze mensen wel gewoon in de ogen kijken en tegen ze zeggen: u hoort hier niet thuis, want u bent in mijn ogen een zakkenvuller, u bent in mijn ogen een crimineel? Kunt u dat zeggen tegen die hele bevolkingsgroep, die hele geloofsgroep?

De heer Fritsma (PVV):

Voorzitter. Mensen die niet crimineel zijn en die onze kernwaarden delen, worden met onze visie niet uitgezet.

De heer Spekman (PvdA):

Iedere moslim deelt dus niet uw kernwaarden. Iedere moslim heeft niet het vermogen om te leven zoals wij dat hier doen.

De heer Fritsma (PVV):

Ik heb het niet over iedere moslim. Er zijn problemen met een grote groep. Ik zeg niet dat er problemen zijn met iedere moslim.

De heer Spekman (PvdA):

Maar u zegt: er mag absoluut geen moslim meer bijkomen …

De heer Fritsma (PVV):

Klopt!

De heer Spekman (PvdA):

… in Nederland, en dat impliceert toch op zijn minst …

De heer Fritsma (PVV):

Rond de één miljoen is voor ons inderdaad meer dan genoeg.

De heer Spekman (PvdA):

Rond, dus het mogen er ietsje meer zijn.

De heer Fritsma (PVV):

Nee, ik ben duidelijk geweest. Wat ons betreft komt er niet één meer bij.

De heer Spekman (PvdA):

Maar daarmee zegt u toch feitelijk dat iedere moslim in principe niet deugt.

De heer Fritsma (PVV):

Nee, dat zeg ik natuurlijk niet. Ik zeg alleen dat wat ons betreft er in Nederland geen enkele moslim bij komt.

De heer Van Haersma Buma (CDA):

Ik vind de vraag van de heer Spekman terecht. Gaat u een geloofstoets invoeren en die gebruiken bij mensen die naar Nederland willen komen?

De heer Fritsma (PVV):

Dit gaat natuurlijk te ver.

De heer Van Haersma Buma (CDA):

Ik stel de vraag nog een keer en dan wil ik een gewoon antwoord van u. Er kan geen moslim meer bij: heeft u dat gezegd?

De heer Fritsma (PVV):

Ja, dat heb ik gezegd. Wij pleiten voor een moslimimmigratiestop. Dat hebt u goed begrepen.

De heer Van Haersma Buma (CDA):

Juist. Gaat u een geloofstoets invoeren en gebruiken bij iemand die naar Nederland wil komen?

De heer Fritsma (PVV):

Wij meten heel simpel. Wij laten deze immigratiestop gelden voor mensen afkomstig uit moslimlanden, zoals Turkije en Marokko. Het gaat bijvoorbeeld om gezinsmigranten. Nederland heeft opengestaan voor gezinsmigranten. Wij zeggen dat gezinsmigranten zich ook in Marokko kunnen vestigen. Waarom moeten zij dat in Nederland doen? Als een Marokkaanse man een Marokkaanse vrouw over wil laten komen, wordt het tot nu toe als vanzelfsprekend geacht dat Nederland de vestigingsplaats is. Wij willen af van die vanzelfsprekendheid.

De heer Van Haersma Buma (CDA):

U zei net: wij willen voor Nederland een moslimimmigratiestop. Nu zegt u iets heel anders. Nu zegt u: wij willen een immigratiestop voor mensen uit Turkije en Marokko.

De heer Fritsma (PVV):

Nee, uit moslimlanden …

De heer Van Haersma Buma (CDA):

Dus een christen uit Turkije …

De heer Fritsma (PVV):

… zoals Marokko.

De heer Van Haersma Buma (CDA):

Mag ik de heer Fritsma nog een vraag stellen, voorzitter?

De voorzitter:

Een heel korte vraag.

De heer Van Haersma Buma (CDA):

Ik geef toe dat dit een raar tijdstip is voor deze discussie, maar de uitspraken van de heer Fritsma zijn zodanig dat zij niet onbesproken kunnen blijven. Mijnheer Fritsma, een christen uit Turkije komt er niet in?

De heer Fritsma (PVV):

Nee, want de immigratiestop geldt niet voor christenen. Het is een moslimimmigratiestop. U kunt wel blijven zoeken naar definities en voorwaarden, maar dat is niet nodig.

De heer Anker (ChristenUnie):

Voorzitter. Wat wij nu doen, is een heel radicale uitspraak van de heer Fritsma op zijn merites beoordelen en nagaan in hoeverre die juridisch houdbaar is. Mijnheer Fritsma, u zegt: er zijn genoeg moslims in dit land, er hoeft er niet één meer bij. Ik heb met mijn bijdrage waardering uitgesproken voor onze rechtsstaat en herinnerd aan verhalen van mensen die in een zeer povere rechtsstaat leven. Zij moeten vrezen voor vervolging vanwege hun geloofsovertuiging en zij worden gediscrimineerd. Mijn vraag aan u is: onderschrijft u onze Grondwet en ons recht op vrijheid van godsdienst? Zo ja, hoe rijmt u dat dan met uw uitspraak dat er voldoende moslims in ons land zijn, dat er niet één meer bij mag?

De heer Fritsma (PVV):

De moslims die in ons land zijn en die niet crimineel zijn, hebben wat mij betreft vrijheid van godsdienst.

De heer Anker (ChristenUnie):

U hebt het gehad over moslims en u hebt gezegd: er zijn genoeg moslims. U hebt het niet gehad over criminelen, maar over moslims. Bent u bereid om uw uitspraken te nuanceren en om misschien te zeggen dat het over misdadigers gaat en om het hele verhaal over moslims erbuiten te houden? Volgens mij bent u een geloofsgroep aan het discrimineren.

De heer Fritsma (PVV):

Nee, nee, nee. Ik nuanceer niets. Nogmaals, u zegt dat ik het over criminelen heb. Ik zeg niet dat alle moslims Nederland uit moeten, die woorden probeert u mij een beetje in de mond te leggen. Ik zeg dat in elk geval criminele vreemdelingen teruggezonden moeten worden naar het land van herkomst. Met mensen die niet crimineel zijn, gewoon werken en de Nederlandse kernwaarden accepteren en respecteren, hebben wij natuurlijk geen enkel probleem.

De heer Anker (ChristenUnie):

Dan is mijn conclusie dat u voortaan het woord "moslims" daar niet meer mee in verband moet brengen, en dat hebt u wel gedaan. Volgens mij is dat ook de tekst van uw motie.

De heer Fritsma (PVV):

Ik vraag om een beetje realiteitszin. Als je kijkt naar de criminaliteitscijfers dan weet je dat die bij bijvoorbeeld Marokkanen vele malen hoger liggen dan bij autochtonen. Deze verontwaardiging kan ik mij niet zo goed voorstellen. Het belang van de Nederlandse samenleving moet in onze ogen gewoon zwaarder wegen dan het belang van potentiële immigranten uit moslimlanden.

De heer De Wit (SP):

Ik doe dit niet graag, omdat ik vind dat elke fractie de motie moet kunnen indienen die het van belang vindt, maar een discriminerende motie wil ik niet geacht worden te steunen. Mijn fractie trekt de steun die de heer Fritsma gevraagd heeft voor deze motie, bij dezen in.

De heer Van Haersma Buma (CDA):

Mijn fractie had die steun niet uitgesproken.

Mevrouw Azough (GroenLinks):

Dat geldt ook voor mijn fractie. Deze motie hoort niet in een democratische rechtstaat.

De heer Spekman (PvdA):

Dat geldt ook voor mijn fractie. Ik vind het een schande.

De heer Anker (ChristenUnie):

Ik hield mijn hand bewust omlaag.

De heer Kamp (VVD):

Wij hebben deze motie ook niet gesteund.

De heer Pechtold (D66):

Ik heb niet mijn hand opgestoken bij deze motie.

De heer Fritsma (PVV):

Ik vind het veelzeggend. Het belang van de Nederlandse samenleving wordt met dit gedrag ondermijnd. Dat is de conclusie die ik hieraan verbind. En het benodigde respect voor standpunten van collega-politici wordt hierdoor ook ondermijnd. En dat vind ík een schande.

Sietse Fritsma



Dit is het hoofd van de volksvertegenwoordiger Sietse Fritsma van de Partij van Wilders.

Elsevier bericht over deze Friese volbloed:

''Tweede Kamer weigert PVV-motie immigratiestop
vrijdag 16 november 2007 08:03

De PVV is verbaasd dat fracties in de Tweede Kamer een voorstel voor een immigratiestop voor moslims discriminerend noemen en de motie zelfs hebben geweigerd. Collega's in het parlement proberen me het onmogelijk te maken om een standpunt uit te dragen, vindt PVV-Kamerlid Sietse Fritsma.
De partij van Geert Wilders stelde in de motie dat het behoud van de Nederlandse identiteit en kernwaarden onder grote druk staan ‘door de voortgaande immigratie van moslims die onze waarden vaak niet blijken te delen’.
SchandeSP-Kamerlid Jan de Wit sprak van een discriminerend verzoek en gaf de voorzet tot een Kamerbrede afwijzing. De PvdA noemde het voorstel een schande en volgens GroenLinks hoort dit soort gedrag niet thuis in een rechtsstaat.
Tweede Kamerlid Sietse Fritsma reageerde verongelijkt op het besluit om zijn motie niet in behandeling te nemen. ‘Het belang van de Nederlandse samenleving wordt met dit gedrag ondermijnd,’ zei hij. De PVV'er verweet zijn collega's in het parlement tevens dat het hem onmogelijk wordt gemaakt een standpunt uit te dragen.'

Lees verder: http://www.elsevier.nl/nieuws/politiek/artikel/asp/artnr/179642/index.html

Op de site van de Tweede Kamer is te lezen dat Sietse in Israel heeft gewerkt. Ik denk dat zijn verblijf in 'het beloofde land' niet goed voor hem is geweest. Hij is de war geraakt, Sietse weet niet dat dit soort racisme weliswaar in Israel geaccepteerd wordt, waar de Palestijnse inwoners van het land als tweederangsburger worden behandeld, maar niet in een democratische rechtstaat als Nederland, waar niet op godsdienst of etniciteit, of ras of levensbeschouwing of kleur mag worden gediscrimineerd. Dat mag niet van de grondwet. Het feit dat onze Sietse dit niet weet, pleit niet voor de Partij van Wilders. Waarom heeft niemand hem dit verteld voordat hij - tegen een vorstelijke salaris - onze belangen ging behartigen. Sietse, lees eerst de grondwet eens of ga terug naar Friesland. Daar leven nog wel raspaarden, het Friese peerd is het enige inlandse raspaard dat Nederland rijk is. Maar dat is de provincie, in de grote mensenwereld is alles gemengd geraakt. Godzijdank, zodat provinciale volbloeden nu tot de grote uitzonderingen zijn gaan behoren. Je zult er aan moeten gaan wennen, beste man. Ook in Israel zijn er genoeg fatsoenlijke mensen die tegen een etnische scheiding zijn en de Apartheidsmuur verafschuwen. Weet je Sietse, het grote probleem van generatieslang in je eigen kringetje blijven doormodderen is dat je op den duur inteeltverschijnselen krijgt, juist bij raspaarden, vandaar dat vermenging altijd goed is. Anders begint, voordat je het weet, je haar uit te vallen, of je tanden los te zitten, of erger nog, je begint allerlei maffe ideeën te krijgen, waarmee je anderen gaat lastig vallen. Ik zou maar uitkijken als ik jou was, je hebt al zo weinig haar op je hoofd.

John Pilger 19

'Lest We Forget
By John Pilger

On Remembrance Day 2007 – Veterans Day in America – the great and the good bowed their heads at the Cenotaph. Generals, politicians, newsreaders, football managers and stock-market traders wore their poppies. Hypocrisy was a presence. No one mentioned Iraq. No one uttered the slightest remorse for the fallen of that country. No one read the forbidden list.
The forbidden list documents, without favor, the part the British state and its court have played in the destruction of Iraq. Here it is:
Holocaust denial
On 25 October, Dai Davies MP asked Gordon Brown about civilian deaths in Iraq. Brown passed the question to the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, who passed it to his junior minister, Kim Howells, who replied: "We continue to believe that there are no comprehensive or reliable figures for deaths since March 2003." This was a deception. In October 2006, the Lancet published research by Johns Hopkins University in the US and al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad which calculated that 655,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the Anglo-American invasion. A Freedom of Information search revealed that the government, while publicly dismissing the study, secretly backed it as comprehensive and reliable. The chief scientific adviser to the Ministry of Defense, Sir Roy Anderson, called its methods "robust" and "close to best practice." Other senior governments officials secretly acknowledged the survey's "tried and tested way of measuring mortality in conflict zones." Since then, the British research polling agency, Opinion Research Business, has extrapolated a figure of 1.2 million deaths in Iraq. Thus, the scale of death caused by the British and US governments may well have surpassed that of the Rwanda genocide, making it the biggest single act of mass murder of the late 20th century and the 21st century.
Looting
The undeclared reason for the invasion of Iraq was the convergent ambitions of the neocons, or neo-fascists, in Washington and the far-right regimes of Israel. Both groups had long wanted Iraq crushed and the Middle East colonized to US and Israeli designs. The initial blueprint for this was the 1992 "Defense Planning Guidance," which outlined America's post-Cold War plans to dominate the Middle East and beyond. Its authors included Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and Colin Powell, architects of the 2003 invasion. Following the invasion, Paul Bremer, a neocon fanatic, was given absolute civil authority in Baghdad and in a series of decrees turned the entire future Iraqi economy over to US corporations. As this was lawless, the corporate plunderers were given immunity from all forms of prosecution. The Blair government was fully complicit and even objected when it looked as if UK companies might be excluded from the most profitable looting. British officials were awarded functionary colonial posts. A petroleum "law" will allow, in effect, foreign oil companies to approve their own contracts over Iraq's vast energy resources. This will complete the greatest theft since Hitler stripped his European conquests.
Destroying a nation's health
In 1999, I interviewed Dr. Jawad Al-Ali, a cancer specialist at Basra city hospital. "Before the Gulf War," he said, "we had only three or four deaths in a month from cancer. Now it's 30 to 35 patients dying every month. Our studies indicate that 40 to 48 per cent of the population in this area will get cancer." Iraq was then in the grip of an economic and humanitarian siege, initiated and driven by the US and Britain. The result, wrote Hans von Sponeck, the then chief UN humanitarian official in Baghdad, was "genocidal ... practically an entire nation was subjected to poverty, death and destruction of its physical and mental foundations." Most of southern Iraq remains polluted with the toxic debris of British and American explosives, including uranium-238 shells. Iraqi doctors pleaded in vain for help, citing the levels of leukemia among children as the highest seen since Hiroshima. Professor Karol Sikora, chief of the World Health Organization's cancer program, wrote in the BMJ: "Requested radiotherapy equipment, chemotherapy drugs and analgesics are consistently blocked by United States and British advisers [to the Sanctions Committee]." In 1999, Kim Howells, then trade minister, effectively banned the export to Iraq of vaccines that would protect mostly children from diphtheria, tetanus and yellow fever, which, he said, "are capable of being used in weapons of mass destruction."
Since 2003, apart from PR exercises for the embedded media, the British occupiers have made no attempt to re-equip and resupply hospitals that, prior to 1991, were regarded as the best in the Middle East. In July, Oxfam reported that 43 per cent of Iraqis were living in "absolute poverty." Under the occupation, malnutrition rates among children have spiraled to 28 per cent. A secret Defense Intelligence Agency document, "Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities," reveals that the civilian water supply was deliberately targeted. As a result, the great majority of the population has neither access to running water nor sanitation – in a country where such basic services were once as universal as in Britain. "The mortality of children in Basra has increased by nearly 30 per cent compared to the Saddam Hussein era," said Dr. Haydar Salah, a pediatrician at Basra children's hospital. "Children are dying daily and no one is doing anything to help them." In January this year, nearly 100 leading British doctors wrote to Hilary Benn, then international development secretary, describing how children were dying because Britain had not fulfilled its obligations as an occupying power under UN Security Council Resolution 1483. Benn refused to see them.
Destroying a society
The UN estimates that 100,000 Iraqis are fleeing the country every month. The refugee crisis has now overtaken that of Darfur as the most catastrophic on earth. Half of Iraq's doctors have gone, along with engineers and teachers. The most literate society in the Middle East is being dismantled, piece by piece. Out of more than four million displaced people, Britain last year refused the majority of more than 1,000 Iraqis who applied to come here, while removing more "illegal" Iraqi refugees than any other European country. Thanks to tabloid-inspired legislation, Iraqis in Britain are often destitute, with no right to work and no support. They sleep and scavenge in parks. The government, says Amnesty, "is trying to starve them out of the country."
Propaganda
"See in my line of work," said George W. Bush, "you got to keep repeating things over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."
Standing outside 10 Downing Street on 9 April 2003, the BBC's then political editor, Andrew Marr, reported the fall of Baghdad as a victory speech. Tony Blair, he told viewers, "said they would be able to take Baghdad without a bloodbath, and that in the end the Iraqis would be celebrating. And on both of those points he has been proved conclusively right. And it would be entirely ungracious, even for his critics, not to acknowledge that tonight he stands as a larger man and a stronger prime minister as a result." In the United States, similar travesties passed as journalism. The difference was that leading American journalists began to consider the consequences of the role they had played in the buildup to the invasion. Several told me they believed that had the media challenged and investigated Bush's and Blair's lies, instead of echoing and amplifying them, the invasion might not have happened. A European study found that, of the major western television networks, the BBC permitted less coverage of dissent than all of them. A second study found that the BBC consistently gave credence to government propaganda that weapons of mass destruction existed. Unlike the Sun, the BBC has credibility – as does, or did, the Observer.'

Lees verder: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18726.htm

donderdag 15 november 2007

De Israelische Terreur 275

'The Book That Can’t Be Published In America
By Alan Hart, author of Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews


The question Americans asked in the immediate aftermath of the horror of 9/11 was “Why do they hate us?” And in many American minds the “they” of the question were not only the violent Islamic fundamentalists who, according to the official version of events, were solely responsible for bringing down the Twin Towers, but Arabs and Muslims everywhere - about a quarter of humankind.
Since that particular shocking and awesome event, I have often asked myself how different the world today might have been – how much less destruction and killing there would have been - if President Bush had said something like: “That’s a very good question. We must and will seek the answer to it before we decide how to respond.”
If an attempt had been made to answer the question, the first thing that would have been established is that the overwhelming majority of Arabs and other Muslims everywhere do not hate Americans or America. If they could, very many Arabs and other Muslims, perhaps even half of them, would live in America to enjoy the apparently good life there.
What they hate is American foreign policy. And the underlying prime cause of that hatred is Congressional and White House support for the Zionist state of Israel right or wrong. But Israel’s American-endorsed arrogance of power and contempt for international law is only one of two factors in the equation that, over the past 60 years, has seen Arab and other Muslim hurt, anger and humliation turn to hatred on account of the conflict in and over Palestine. The other is the impotence of the regimes of the existing mainly corrupt and repressive Arab Order, regimes which, genereally speaking, are perceived by their masses to be, in effect, American-and-Zionist stooges.
On 11 September 2001, I was well into the writing of Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, so I didn’t start out with the idea of answering the “Why do they hate us?” question, but the book does provide for Americans a complete, comprehensive, detailed and fully documented answer to it.
With The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, Mearshimer and Walt have provided taboo-breaking insight into one aspect of what used to be called the Arab-Israeli conflict. My book is concerned with the making and sustaining of the conflict in all of its aspects. My purpose is to enable readers to make sense - I dare to say for the first time ever in many cases - of the whole thing, by seeing how all the pieces of the most complicated and complex jig-saw puzzle fit together. And that’s why what happened behind closed doors in London, Paris, Washington and Moscow has its place in the story as I tell it as well as events in Palestine that became Israel and the capitals of the Arab world. My purpose is also to assist citizens to understand why a resolution of the conflict has remained, and seems set to remain, beyond the reach of politics and diplomacy, and who must do what and why for justice and peace. The alternative is catastrophe for all, and by all I don’t mean only the Arabs and Jews of the region. I mean all of us wherever we live. (In Volume One I recall an interview I did for the BBC’s Panorama programme with Mother Israel, Golda Meir. At a point I interrupted her to say: “Prime Minister, I want to be sure that I understand what you’re saying… You are saying that if ever Israel was in danger of being defeated on the battlefield, it would be prepared to take the region and the whole world down with it?” Without the shortest of pauses for reflection, and in the gravel voice that could charm or intimidate American presidents according to need, Golda replied, “Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.” Within an hour of that interview being transmitted, The Times of London changed its lead editorial. The new one quoted what Golda had said to me and added its own opinion - “We’d better believe her.”) '

Lees verder: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18716.htm

Klimaatverandering 120

'The real issues behind Locke's crusade against climate policy

The Institute's special report released this week -- exposing the NC-based John Locke Foundation's crusade against state climate policy, and the corporate interests backing them -- continues to rage on.See, for example, the spirited discussion over at Ed Cone's blog. Once you get past the odd food-fight debate tactics -- like John Hood of the Locke Foundation trying to link us to Fidel Castro (huh?) -- there's a useful debate developing about the importance of disclosing one's funders, and the role financial backers play in shaping politics.There's more coverage over at NC Public Radio's policy blog Isaac Hunter's Tavern, although writer Laura Leslie bypasses these key issues and focuses on one narrow aspect of the study:
What's missing from the [Institute for Southern Studies] report is the fact that JLF took in somewhere north of $8.5 million in that timeframe. That puts the allegedly oil-tainted money at less than 1.5 percent of its budget, which would be a fire-sale price for a major policy position.
Leslie is overlooking the central thrust of our report, which is about disclosure: the fact that the John Locke Foundation has publicly gone after the Center for Climate Strategies for taking money from "environmentalist foundations" -- which, in Locke's eyes, undermines the credibility of the entire operation -- yet it has taken a series of steps to obscure and conceal many of its own funders.Yesterday, my colleague Sue Sturgis elaborated on several ways in which the Locke Foundation has been less than forthcoming with such information. When Locke is so secretive and disingenuous about their funding -- and other issues like their sponsorship of the Climate Strategies Watch website, their connection to the Heartland Institute, etc. -- the question looms: what are they trying to hide? Second, in our report we clearly note that there are other corporate interests that give money to Locke who have an interest in defeating global warming legislation, beyond the $126,000 in energy-related funding. We devote two paragraphs to Art Pope -- far and away Locke's leading backer -- and explain why he also has a "dog in the fight" of defeating energy regulations. Further down, we note both the energy industry AND automotive industry money tied to Sen. Robert Pittenger, Locke's leading advocate for defeating climate policy in the NC legislature.Finally, does it really make sense to measure the impact and influence of corporate contributions to an outfit like Locke in terms of the percentage of its annual budget? The history of politics is filled with seemingly small contributions that exert a major influence; for example, deposed North Carolina House Speaker Jim Black received only $8,000 from video poker PACs in 2004 (pdf) -- a miniscule percentage of his total haul -- but it was symbolic of a relationship that was central to his operation (and downfall).'

Oil 16

'The western appetite for biofuels is causing starvation in the poor world
Developing nations are being pushed to grow crops for ethanol, rather than food - all thanks to political expediency George Monbiot The Guardian

It doesn't get madder than this. Swaziland is in the grip of a famine and receiving emergency food aid. Forty per cent of its people are facing acute food shortages. So what has the government decided to export? Biofuel made from one of its staple crops, cassava. The government has allocated several thousand hectares of farmland to ethanol production in the district of Lavumisa, which happens to be the place worst hit by drought. It would surely be quicker and more humane to refine the Swazi people and put them in our tanks. Doubtless a team of development consultants is already doing the sums.

This is one of many examples of a trade that was described last month by Jean Ziegler, the UN's special rapporteur, as "a crime against humanity". Ziegler took up the call first made by this column for a five-year moratorium on all government targets and incentives for biofuel: the trade should be frozen until second-generation fuels - made from wood or straw or waste - become commercially available. Otherwise, the superior purchasing power of drivers in the rich world means that they will snatch food from people's mouths. Run your car on virgin biofuel, and other people will starve.
Even the International Monetary Fund, always ready to immolate the poor on the altar of business, now warns that using food to produce biofuels "might further strain already tight supplies of arable land and water all over the world, thereby pushing food prices up even further". This week, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation will announce the lowest global food reserves in 25 years, threatening what it calls "a very serious crisis". Even when the price of food was low, 850 million people went hungry because they could not afford to buy it. With every increment in the price of flour or grain, several million more are pushed below the breadline.
The cost of rice has risen by 20% over the past year, maize by 50%, wheat by 100%. Biofuels aren't entirely to blame - by taking land out of food production they exacerbate the effects of bad harvests and rising demand - but almost all the major agencies are now warning against expansion. And almost all the major governments are ignoring them.
They turn away because biofuels offer a means of avoiding hard political choices. They create the impression that governments can cut carbon emissions and - as Ruth Kelly, the British transport secretary, announced last week - keep expanding the transport networks. New figures show that British drivers puttered past the 500bn kilometre mark for the first time last year. But it doesn't matter: we just have to change the fuel we use. No one has to be confronted. The demands of the motoring lobby and the business groups clamouring for new infrastructure can be met. The people being pushed off their land remain unheard.
In principle, burning biofuels merely releases the carbon the crops accumulated when growing. Even when you take into account the energy costs of harvesting, refining and transporting the fuel, they produce less net carbon than petroleum products. The law the British government passed a fortnight ago - by 2010, 5% of our road transport fuel must come from crops - will, it claims, save between 700,000 and 800,000 tonnes of carbon a year. It derives this figure by framing the question carefully. If you count only the immediate carbon costs of planting and processing biofuels, they appear to reduce greenhouse gases. When you look at the total impacts, you find they cause more warming than petroleum.'

Lees verder: http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,,2206002,00.html

Al Jazeera

'Happy Birthday Al Jazeera
By Radio Netherlands. 15 Nov 2007-->

November 15, 2007 marks the first anniversary of the launch of Al Jazeera’s English service. The Qatar-based 24-hour TV news station has quickly built up a good reputation for the quality of its journalism and, according to its Managing Director Nigel Parsons, “proved the sceptics wrong.” Apart from those in the US, that is.
It’s still almost impossible to find Al Jazeera on any of the US cable systems, and that’s a pity because in my opinion it delivers an international news service that is infinitely superior to what’s on offer from the domestic US networks, including Fox News and CNN.
Cable company concerns
Americans are able to view Al Jazeera via its website, and the majority of the comments I’ve seen from those who have done so are in favour of it being shown on TV screens in the US. The problem is that the cable companies are unwilling to sign carriage agreements with Al Jazeera in case this upsets the US government, or harms their business, such as consumers terminating their contracts in protest.
Other Western countries are more relaxed about Al Jazeera. In Britain, which stood shoulder to shoulder with the US over the decision to go into Iraq in 2003, Al Jazeera English has been available on the Sky satellite platform since Day One, and there appears to have been no backlash. On the occasions when I have watched Al Jazeera, it has struck me as a network which strives to cover areas of the world that the US and British networks tend to overlook - large parts of Africa, for example.
Selective snippets
The problem, of course, is that before Al Jazeera English was launched, those outside the Arab World usually only saw snippets of Al Jazeera when it broadcast video messages from Osama bin Laden on its Arabic service. Western TV channels always seized on these broadcasts as major news items, and created the impression that Al Jazeera was just a mouthpiece for Al-Qaeda. They did not report the reactions and analysis to these bin Laden videos within the Arab world, notably on al-Jazeera itself.
There’s an irony about the US attitude to Al Jazeera. On The Nation website, Kristen Gillespie notes that “The headquarters of the channel that has been branded “Terror TV” by some US officials is only half an hour away from one of America’s most important strategic outposts, where tanks and planes damaged in Iraq are repaired and sent back into battle.” Yes, there’s a US airbase in Qatar, even though most American’s aren’t able to watch an English-language TV station from there.'

Lees verder: http://www.mediachannel.org/wordpress/2007/11/15/happy-birthday-al-jazeera/

Het Neoliberale Geloof 65

'The housing boom? It's over, Realtors told
By Elizabeth Rhodes
Seattle Times real estate reporter

LAS VEGAS — The National Association of Realtors' annual convention started with a bang — literally — Tuesday morning when the nearby Frontier hotel imploded, sending up a huge plume of dust and making the ground shake.

It was a decent metaphor for the current state of the real-estate industry. The boom is over and the dust is now settling, Lawrence Yun, the group's chief economist, told the thousands of real-estate professionals meeting here.

This is the first year since the Great Depression to register a nationwide decline in median home prices, Yun said. His latest numbers put the drop at 1.7 percent. "We're in a time of fear," he said.

For 2008, Yun is predicting prices nationally will be flat, as buyers react to gloomy housing-industry news by sitting this one out.

But, as Yun said repeatedly, real estate is intensely local. National trends mean about as much to buyers and sellers in any one city as a national weather forecast would mean to them.

That's why things will be bad in some areas, such as Ohio, which has experienced significant job losses, and good in others.

Yun suggested Seattle will continue as one of the bright lights, which it's been this year. Median year-over-year home prices have risen every month save October, when they were down slightly.

But Seattle's strength may go beyond the usual reasons: a strong local economy and good job growth propelling housing demand.

Yun suggested that Seattle may be joining such cities as New York and San Francisco as "superstar cities" whose desirability attracts affluent newcomers who bring the buying power to continue pumping up housing prices.

In Washington, the group issued its ninth-straight downwardly revised monthly forecast, saying nationally existing home sales will fall 12.7 percent this year to 5.66 million, down from 6.48 million last year and the lowest level since 2002.

The group forecast sales will rise slightly next year to 5.69 million, but that is down from last month's prediction of 6.12 million.'

Lees verder: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2004012642_realtor14.html

The Empire 304

'Outrage fatigue? Get over it
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

Are you sick of being sick? Suffering way too much Bush-induced nausea? Well, tough
I know how it is. You've had it up to here. There are only so many stories about blood and death and pain you can take, only so many times you can hear about random shootings and corporate malfeasance and how BushCo's squad of scabrous flying monkeys have, say, supported torture or endorsed wiretapping or gouged the nation for another $200 billion to pay for a failed war. Your nerves are raw and your heart is tired and the media will just not shut the hell up already about the sadness and the war and the mayhem and the Cheney and the doom doom doom.
It is outrage fatigue, and it is epidemic. It's that feeling that we are being hammered unlike any time in recent history with so many appalling and disgusting and violently un-American incidents and scandals and manipulations that our b.s.-detectors are smoking like an old V-8 engine on a hot summer's day and it's all we can do to get up every day without screaming.
What's more, it's not the mere quantity of moral insults, either. It's the bizarre absurdity of the subject matter, the things we are being forced to consider, or reconsider, that seem to make it all so horrific.
Torture? Are you kidding? Allegedly the most civilized, the most morally aware nation on the planet and we are still debating, in the highest courts and government offices in the land, about whether the United States should strap human beings to gnarled metal benches in rancid foreign bunkers and inflict such inexplicable terror and fear upon them that they confess to things they didn't even do just to get us to stop? Is this the Middle Ages? Are we regressing back to the goddamn cave?
Oh my, yes, plethoric are the reasons you should be outraged indeed, and torture just might be one of the most incendiary reasons in the past few years. If nothing else, its disgusting return to U.S. political dialogue certainly means it's no time to be laying down arms in exhaustion, no matter how tempting it might be.
Take this fine example: Keith Olbermann, as is his wont, executed another pitch-perfect bout of outrage recently on his excellent MSNBC show, taking BushCo to task on the issue of waterboarding like you never hear in major on-air media anymore.
Olbermann only barely held on to his trademark fierce hyper-articulation against the sheer disgust he/we have to endure at the idea that a sitting American president obviously thinks medieval torture is a gul-dang swell idea, no matter what psychologists, military experts, ethicists, the United Nations, the Geneva Convention and Jesus himself all say.'

Lees verder: http://www.sfgate.com/columnists/morford/

The Empire 303



'Recession? What Recession?
Written by BOB HERBERT

If it looks like a recession and feels like a recession ...
"Quite frankly," said Senator Charles Schumer, peering over his
glasses at the Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke, "I think we are at a
moment of economic crisis, stemming from four key areas: falling
housing prices, lack of confidence in creditworthiness, the weak
dollar and high oil prices."
He asked Mr. Bernanke, at a Congressional hearing Thursday, if we
were headed toward a recession.
An aide handed the chairman his dancing shoes, and Mr. Bernanke
executed a flawless version of the Washington waffle. He said: "Our
forecast is for moderate, but positive, growth going forward." He
said: "Economists are extremely bad at predicting turning points, and
we don’t pretend to be any better." He said: "We have not calculated
the probability of recession, and I wouldn’t want to offer that today."
With all due respect to the chairman, he would see the recession that
so many others are feeling if he would only open his eyes. While Mr.
Bernanke and others are waiting for the official diagnosis (a decline
in the gross domestic product for two successive quarters), the
disease is spreading and has been spreading for some time.
The evidence is all around us. Representative Elijah Cummings of
Maryland told Mr. Bernanke that many members of Congress are holding
forums in their districts "to help people who are coming to our
doors, literally with tears in their eyes, and trying to figure out
how they’re going to manage a foreclosure that’s right around the
corner."
The housing meltdown is getting the attention, but there’s so much
more. Bankruptcies and homelessness are on the rise. The job market
has been weak for years. The auto industry is in trouble. The cost of
food, gasoline and home heating oil are soaring at a time when
millions of Americans are managing to make it from one month to
another solely by the grace of their credit cards.
The country has been in denial for years about the economic reality
facing American families. That grim reality has been masked by the
flimflammery of official statistics (job growth good, inflation low)
and the muscular magic of the American way of debt: mortgages on top
of mortgages, pyramiding student loans and an opiatelike addiction to
credit cards at rates that used to get people locked up for loan-
sharking.
The big story out of Mr. Bernanke’s appearance before the Joint
Economic Committee was his prediction that the economy was likely to
worsen. Only the people still trapped in denial could have believed
otherwise.
This is what Representative Maurice Hinchey of upstate New York told
the chairman:
"This economy is not doing well. And the example of the mortgage
closures on 2 million people — and maybe a lot more than that as time
goes on — is really not the cause of the economic problem we’re
facing, but it’s just a factor of it. It’s a factor of the weakness
of this economy."
In an interview after the hearing, Representative Hinchey discussed
the disconnect between official government reports and the reality
facing working families. He noted that the unemployment rate does not
include workers who have become so discouraged that they’ve given up
looking for a job.
And the most popular measure of inflation, the Consumer Price Index,
does not include the cost of energy or food, "the two most
significant aspects of the increased cost of living for the American
people."
The elite honchos in Washington and their courtiers in the news media
are all but completely out of touch with the daily struggle of
working families. Thirty-seven million Americans live in poverty and
close to 60 million others are just a notch above the official
poverty line.
An illness, an auto accident, the loss of a job — almost anything can
knock them off their rickety economic perch.
We hear over and over that consumer spending accounts for 70 percent
of the gross domestic product, but we seldom hear about the
frightening number of Americans who are trying desperately to
maintain a working-class or middle-class style of life while
descending into a sinkhole of debt.
"We have an economy that is based on increased debt," said Mr.
Hinchey. "The national debt is now slightly above $9 trillion, and
ordinary working people are finding that they have to borrow more and
more to maintain their standard of living."
"The average now is that people are spending close to 10 percent more
than they earn every month. Obviously, that can’t be sustained."
The chickens of our denial are coming home to roost with a vengeance.
Meanwhile, the elites are scouring the landscape for signs of a
recession.'

The Empire 302

'The U.S. government said the number of Americans who went hungry in 2006 was held in check at 35 million people from the prior year, but food advocacy groups said on Wednesday more needs to be done.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said a total of 12.65 million households were "food insecure," or 10.9 percent of U.S. homes, up from 12.59 million a year ago.
The USDA defines food insecurity - its metric for measuring hunger - as having difficulty acquiring enough food for the household throughout the year.
"It looks very stable from this year to last year," said Mark Nord, who co-authored the annual report for USDA's Economic Research Service.
Overall, 35.52 million people, including 12.63 million children, went hungry compared with 35.13 million in 2005. The survey was conducted in December 2006 and represented 294 million people, an increase of 2.5 million from 2005.
Food advocacy groups said the figures showed the United States was not doing enough to combat hunger, and feared conditions could worsen.
"As costs for food, energy, and housing continue to rise and wages stagnate or decline, households are finding themselves increasingly strapped," said Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center. "This may mean even worse numbers in 2007."
Very low food security was most prevalent in households with children headed by a single woman -- 10.3 percent in 2006, USDA said.
Food stamps and other public nutrition programs account for about 60 percent of the USDA's spending. Funding for the department's 15 nutrition assistance programs has risen 70 percent since 2001 to $59 billion in 2006, and 20 percent of all Americans are impacted by the programs each year.
Some 27 million people are enrolled in the food stamp program alone, which helps poor Americans buy food. USDA has estimated 65 percent of eligible people participate in the program, up from 54 percent in 2001.
"We have more work to do," said Kate Houston, USDA's deputy undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. "We can't say that everybody that is eligible for our programs is participating."'

Lees verder: http://www.progressiveexchange.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3102&Itemid=1

The Empire 301



'Iraq war is a betrayal of American democracy

By Matt Howard Editor's note:

Matt Howard gave this statement at a recent protest at the Statehouse. -

In 2003 I illegally invaded the sovereign nation of Iraq with 1st Tank battalion 1st Marine Division. My commander in chief unleashed the world's fiercest fighting force upon the country and people of Iraq, and now those of us used and betrayed by him are demanding justice.Four and a half years after our opening "shock and awe" Bush's lies are known throughout the world, and yet he continues to act with impunity. Four and a half years later the Bush regime has unleashed a hell upon the country of Iraq that only those who have been there can truly understand.As a two-tour combat veteran of this brutal war, I have a responsibility to speak honestly and openly about what has been done and what continues to be done in our name. We veterans know that this war is not the one being sanitized on the nightly news. It has nothing to do with the liberation of the people of Iraq; instead it has everything to do with the subjugation and domination of these people in the name of U.S. imperial economic and strategic interests.We did not go to war with the country of Iraq, we went to war with the people of Iraq. During the initial invasion we killed women. We killed children. We senselessly killed farm animals. We were the United States Marine Corps, not the Peace Corps, and we left a swath of death and destruction in our wake all the way to Baghdad.Let me say again so that there is no misunderstanding. I stand here today as a former U.S. Marine saying we are killing women and children in Iraq. This is the true nature of war. War lends itself to atrocities. Don't think you can use an organization designed to kill other human beings for anything humanitarian. That has never been our mission. That was crystal clear from the moment I was forced to bury the crate of humanitarian food given to me in Kuwait.Four and a half years later we as soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are done. We are done being told under threat of court martial to run over children that get in the way of our speeding convoys.We are done raiding and destroying the homes of innocent Iraqis on a nightly basis.We are done abusing and torturing prisoners.We are done being hired thugs for the 160,000 contractors and U.S. corporate interests in Iraq.We are done being poisoned by depleted uranium, the unspoken Agent Orange of this war.We are done coming home broken, from two, three, four tours of duty – only to find our commander in chief has actually tried to CUT funding to the Department of Veterans Affairs. To find our doctors being told to diagnose us with pre-existing personality disorders instead of post traumatic stress syndrome.We are done killing for lies.So Iraq Veterans Against the War is taking back our history – the history that has been robbed from us. We are dispelling the myth that the Vietnam war ended when the Democrats started voting against it. Instead we are spreading the truth about how the American War in Vietnam ended.The Vietnam War ended when soldiers put down their weapons and refused to fight; when pilots dropped their bombs in the ocean.We are re-educating the public to let them know that the power ultimately lies with the people. Just take a look at the thousands of pages of internal documents from the Department of Defense explicitly detailing how at the end of the Vietnam war the military had collapsed. It was literally in a state of mutiny. And that movement is slowly starting again. Because ultimately in every war waged throughout human history, those forced to fight quickly realize they have much more in common with those they are being told to kill than with those telling them to do the killing.'

Lees verder: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18718.htm

Jannetje Koelewijn en Merel Thie 2




Ik kwam vandaag een oude vriend tegen die me zei dat mijn uiteenzetting over hoofd- en bij-apen te biologisch is. Een man bezit ook heus nog wel een vrije wil. Ik liet mijn vriend vervolgens deze twee afbeeldingen zien en vroeg hem welke zijn aandacht meteen trok. En inderdaad, die leuke jonge dame.
Daarom, speciaal voor hem en Jannetje Koelewijn en Merel Thie een citaat uit Massa en Macht van Elias Canetti. Over de hoofdaap schreef hij: 'Door zelf te doden bevrijdt hij zich van de dood. Voor hem is het een zindelijke en geen lugubere zaak. Het afgrijzen dat hij in anderen opwekt heeft hij niet in zich. Het is van belang dat men zich dit duidelijk bewust is: de officiele moordenaars zijn innerlijk des te tevredener naarmate meer van de door hen ontvangen bevelen direct tot de dood leiden... Men kan zich niet onttrekken aan het vermoeden dat achter elke paranoia, zoals achter elke macht, dezelfde diepere tendens schuil gaat: de wens de anderen uit de weg te ruimen, om de enige te zijn of, in de mildere en vaak toegegeven vorm, de wens zich van de anderen te bedienen, zodat men met hun hulp de enige wordt.'

De Israelische Terreur 274





Sonja emailde me dit bericht uit Haaretz:


'My god, what did we do?
By Dalia Karpel

One night, Tamar Yarom was awakened by one of the soldiers in her unit. He said he wanted to show her something in the basement of the abandoned building where they were staying. "Before we opened the door, I heard this awful noise from a generator and there was a strong smell of diesel fuel. I saw a middle-aged Palestinian detainee lying with his head on the generator. His ear was pressed against the generator that was vibrating, and the guy's head was vibrating with it. His face was completely messed up. It amazed me that through all the blood and horror, you could still see the guy's expression and that's what stayed with me for years after - the look on his face." Yarom, now a film director, made two films following her army service as a mashakit tash (welfare officer) in an infantry company in the territories. She was drafted in 1989 and served at a basic-training base near Jerusalem until her unit was transferred to Gaza. She accompanied the recruits from their first day in the army and felt close to them, and they told her about what they did in the territories. "I tried not to judge them. Mostly I was glad that they were feeling good and finally had self-confidence." That's how it works, she adds: "When you're told things that you don't see with your own eyes, you can prettify them in your mind." But then she was taken to that basement. Why did the soldier take her there? "He wanted to share the horror with me," she says. "Maybe he hoped that I'd do something, that I'd raise an outcry. I don't remember how we left there or what happened afterward. The next day I asked one of the commanders what happened in the basement and he politely explained to me that I mustn't interfere in things that were none of my business. That detainee I saw taught me something about myself that I would never have learned in years of university. And he's imprinted in my memory, engraved in every cell of my being. I saw a person in the lowest, most suffering state. A victim of cruelty I didn't know existed. And I stood there unmoved, apparently."

Sandler cleans bodies In 2002, 12 years after completing her military service, during the second intifada, Yarom directed the drama "Hatza'it dema'ot" ("Sob Skirt" - a nickname for a female welfare officer), based on her experiences during the first intifada. It won the best drama prize at the Haifa Film Festival that same year, but Yarom felt she hadn't yet given full expression to the trauma - "the real thing," as she calls it. Now Yarom was ready for the real thing. Her second film, "Lir'ot im ani mehayekhet" ("To See If I'm Smiling"), is a documentary. It focuses on the testimonies of six female soldiers about their service in the territories during the first and second intifadas. Yarom spent four years working on the film - to be aired on November 15th on cable Channel 8 - which won the best documentary award at the most recent Haifa Film Festival. "I wanted to make a film that shows admiration for these girls, who are coping with crazy pressure and have daily responsibility for human lives. I got to know female soldiers who served as lookouts, operations sergeants, whose job was to apply make-up to soldiers going undercover as Arabs. A whole world of women on the 'second' line, in 'combat support.' I was impressed by the way they grappled with the difficulties and the psychological pressures. One of the comments I most identify with was by Meytal Sandler at the beginning of the film: 'Sometimes I think that I'm insane, because I have memories that are not connected to reality and maybe never happened. But I know that they did happen because of the intensity with which I feel them today.'"




De Nederlandse regering weet dit allemaal. Het ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken wordt regelmatig op de hoogte gehouden van de Israelische terreur door Nederlandse diplomaten in Israel en Palestina. De Nederlandse regering sanctioneert stilzwijgend de Israelische schendingen van het internationaal recht.

Jannetje Koelewijn en Merel Thie



Gisteren stond in mijn dochter's NRC.Next dat koning 'Willem III halfwaanzinnig' was. Als argument voerden de journalisten Jannetje Koelewijn en Merel Thie het volgende aan: 'niet lang na de troonsbestijging gaat het toch mis. De koning heeft veelvuldig woede-uitbarstingen en is onberekenbaar. In die eerste jaren beval hij onder meer het Binnenhof te belegeren en ministers te executeren. Oorlogsminister Weitzel beschreef hoe de koning op een balkon in Montreux zijn kamerjas opengooide om zijn geslachtsdelen te tonen aan passagiers van langsvarende boten.'

Mooi zo, 1 ding blijkt hieruit, niet dat Willem III halfwaanzinnig was, geenszins, maar dat Jannetje en Merel niets van mannen begrijpen en al helemaal niets van macht.

Daarom, beste Jannetje en Merel, omdat - naar ik aanneem - jullie goede journalisten willen worden, leg ik het speciaal voor jullie nog 1 keer uit.

Je kunt mannen in grofweg twee groepen verdelen: de hoofdapen en de bij-apen. Het verschil is deze: hoofdapen mogen het met alle meisjes doen, bij-apen niet. Om dat nog eens te benadrukken moet de hoofdaap af en toe laten zien dat hij een hoofdaap is door dingen te doen die de bij-apen niet mogen en niet durven, in dit geval op een balkon je geslachtsdeel laten zien. Een bij-aap als Weitzel staat daar natuurlijk jaloers naar te kijken, maar zal het niet in zijn hoofd halen om hetzelfde te doen. Dat zou namelijk een aantasting zijn van de macht van de hoofdaap, en dat zou de minister van oorlog de kop hebben kunnen kosten.

Dan het feit dat hoofdapen de bij-apen willen liquideren. Daar is niets vreemds aan. Dat doen hoofdapen al sinds het begin van de mensheid. Sterker nog: dat doen ze nog steeds, overal ter wereld, nu even niet in Europa, maar dat gaat straks gewoon weer beginnen zodra het economisch of anderzins fout gaat. Ook dat weten we uit de geschiedenis. Iets meer dan een halve eeuw geleden gebeurde het massaal in het hart van de christelijke beschaving. Maakt dat Willem III halfwaanzinnig? Nee, het is evolutionair volkomen verklaarbaar gedrag. Als hij halfwaanzinnig is dan zijn alle hoofdapen halfwaanzinnig. En nu komen we op het punt waar ik zijn wil. Hoofdapen zijn niet halfwaanzinnig maar totaal waanzinnig, zolang hun macht niet telkens weer beperkt wordt door de bij-apen. En leer nu op deze manier te kijken naar een hoofdaap als Bush bijvoorbeeld, of Putin, of dat hoofdaapje in Den Haag en de hoofdaapjes op jullie redactie. Ze willen maar 1 ding, geloof me.

Tenslotte dit: kijk eens goed naar de bij-aap op de foto. Zien jullie dat hij met open mond naar de hoofdaap staat te kijken? Tja, zo gaat dat in de wereld, meisjes. En kijk eens naar het fotootje hieronder. Hoofdapen doen er alles aan om hun macht te handhaven, inclusief moorden vanuit een onaantastbaar vliegtuig. Een echte hoofdaap is altijd onberekenbaar, dat is nu juist het kenmerk van een hoofdaap.

woensdag 14 november 2007

The Empire 300



'Another day, another Bush veto, another battle
by Mark Silva, and updated

President Bush has vetoed another spending bill: A $150.7-billion Labor, Health and Education appropriations bill.
This is the second spending bill that Bush has vetoed for over-spending (he also vetoed a children’s health insurance bill over objections for its extension of benefits). And Congress overrode the president’s veto of the other spending bill, a water resources development act.
Bush signed another appropriations bill, for Defense -- with the White House calling it "not a perfect bill, but "essential to deliver these funds to our military in a time of war.''
But, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said en route to Indiana with the president for a speech about the economy and congressional spending, the vetoed bill provided $10 billion more than the president wanted and included some 2,000 "earmarks'' -- special projects inserted at the behest of individual congressmen.
"He will ask Congress to take out the park and reduce the overall spending level and return it to him quickly,'' Perino said.
Democratic leaders are accusing the president, whose a speech in Indiana today iwill include complaints of excessive congressional spending, of playing “pure politics.’’
“The same president who is asking us to spend another $200 billion on the misguided war in Iraq and is insisting on providing $60 billion in tax cuts next year to folks who make over a million bucks a year, is now pretending to protect the deficit by refusing to provide a $6 billion increase to crucial domestic investments in education, healthcare, medical research and worker protections that will make this country stronger,’’ said Rep. David Obey, (D-Wis.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
“That is not responsible and it is not credible,’’ Obey said of the vetoed bill. “There has been virtually no criticism of its contents. It is clear the only reason the president vetoed this bill is pure politics.”
Bush, in his veto message to Congress, wrote: "This bill continues to fund programs that are duplicative or ineffective. The Congress continues to fund 56 programs totaling more than $3.2 billion that I proposed to terminate because they are duplicative, narrowly focused, or not producing results.'''

Lees verder: http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/politics/blog/2007/11/another_day_another_bush_veto.html

Tony Blair 9

'MP says Kelly's 2003 death not suicide
By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) - A former U.N. weapons inspector, whose death caused one of the biggest crises of Tony Blair's premiership, did not commit suicide as official accounts state, an MP claims in a new book.
David Kelly was found dead in woods near his home in July 2003, just days after it was revealed that he was the source for a BBC report that said Blair's government had deliberately "sexed-up" intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq.
News of the death rocked Blair and his government, with critics saying Kelly's identity had been made public in order to discredit the BBC's story.
The Ministry of Defence had confirmed to reporters that Kelly was the BBC's source and the mild-mannered microbiologist was then subjected to a high-profile mauling by a parliamentary committee two days before his death.
Senior judge Lord Hutton carried out an independent inquiry into the circumstances and ruled in January 2004 that Kelly had slit his left wrist after taking painkillers during a walk near his home in Oxfordshire.
He concluded that Kelly ended his life due to a severe loss of self-esteem, his feeling that people had lost trust in him and his dismay at being exposed in the media. Hutton also cleared Blair and his officials of any wrongdoing
However, Norman Baker, a Liberal Democrat MP who has spent a year investigating the case for his book "The Strange death of David Kelly", says he believes the scientist did not kill himself.
"It became clear to me and others that the suicide verdict that Lord Hutton had reached was unsafe," he told reporters at the book's launch as he explained his reasons for writing it.
Baker, who along with his party opposed the war from the outset, said his investigations had uncovered a host of reasons which led to him querying Hutton's "unreliable" findings.'

Lees verder: http://uk.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUKL1239893620071112?sp=true

Het Neoliberale Geloof 64


'Carnage on Wall Street as loans go bad
By Steve Schifferes Economics reporter, BBC News, New York

The scale of the losses that will hit Wall Street banks could approach half a trillion dollars as large numbers of sub-prime home loans go bad.
And the carnage in the financial markets could cause a credit squeeze that will dampen economic growth for years to come.
The US sub-prime crisis is leading to a wave of foreclosures across the US that is having a devastating effect on the US housing market, and is likely to lead to the halving of the US economic growth rate in the next six months.

At the root of the problem is the breakdown of the new model of mortgage lending, when instead of giving mortgages directly to their customers, banks borrowed money from credit markets to fund a growing volume of mortgages.
See how the new model of mortgage lending went wrong
But its biggest impact is likely to be on the financial sector, which made billions of dollars in profits in the past few years by betting heavily on the sub-prime market.
Already the big Wall Street banks have revealed losses totalling $50bn (£24bn), and the head of the biggest bank - Chuck Prince of Citigroup - and the biggest investment firm - Stan O'Neill of Merrill Lynch - have departed.
Show and tell'

Lees verder: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7086909.stm

Het Neoliberale Geloof 63

'Bernanke says US economy to slow.

Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke has warned that the US economy will slow noticeably before the end of the year.
He blamed the slowdown on the credit crisis, which has made it harder for banks and individuals to borrow money.
He said that there was likely to be more "financial restraint on economic growth as credit becomes more expensive and difficult to obtain".
In the longer term, he said that the greater premium attached to risk may lead to a healthier financial system.
"Investors have also become more cautious and are demanding greater compensation for bearing risk," he said.
The credit crisis, caused by an abundance of debt of questionable value, has made banks more reluctant to lend money.
Mr Bernanke acknowledged that this was causing particular problems to homeowners who wanted to refinance their mortgages to offset the end of special offer rates.
''Sluggish growth'' '

Oil 15


'The Peak Oil Crisis: A Message from Houston

We gathered at a hotel near the Convention Center, some 525 of us from 18 countries and 36 states attending the Association for the Study of Peak Oil-USA’s 3rd annual conference. The PowerPoints flashed by at mind-blowing speed as speaker after distinguished speaker shared the latest thoughts and insights into the peaking of world oil production.
For those of us acquainted with the field, there was nothing startling. World oil production has either peaked already or is certain to do so within the next few years if the world’s petroleum industry manages to eek out a little more production. But the good times are clearly over.
Peak production of conventional oil came 30 months ago and although new production projects will come on stream in the next few years, they will have a hard time balancing the depletion from existing fields which various speakers placed at 4-5 percent a year and probably increasing. As a greater share of world production shifts to undersea production, which is expensive and is usually water flooded to get the oil out as quickly as possible, some believe the annual world depletion rate could increase to six percent or more.
The most ominous development for countries such as the U.S., which must import most of its oil, is the emerging concept of “peak exports” which was discussed by several speakers. Peak exports simply means that oil-producing countries are using more and more oil at home – leaving less to sell abroad. Moreover, sentiment is starting to develop in many nations that they must save some oil for future generations, not just sell it to the foreign devils as quickly as possible.
This clearly means that major oil importers will face a shortfall in their ability to obtain oil many months or years sooner than they had been anticipating. The fall in the amount of oil available for purchase is likely to drop much more quickly than declines in production. When world oil exports fall, if they have not started doing so already, effects are likely to sharp and painful.
For me, the most interesting insight of the conference had nothing to do with oil production but rather was an insight I gained into the psyche of the American people. A keen observer of the American scene pointed out that most literate Americans are aware that we have some sort of energy problem. If for no other reason than unprecedented gasoline prices and the TV ads featuring yellow corn-fueled cars, most have at least an uneasy feeling that some sort of transformation is coming.'

Lees verder: http://www.fcnp.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1984&Itemid=35

Klimaatverandering 119

'Climate change disaster is upon us, warns UN
· Emergency relief chief calls for swift action · 12 out of 13 'flash' appeals in 2007 related to weather · In pictures: floods, droughts and storms across the world· World in crisis map, 2007

'A record number of floods, droughts and storms around the world this year amount to a climate change "mega disaster", the United Nation's emergency relief coordinator, Sir John Holmes, has warned.
Sir John, a British diplomat who is also known as the UN's under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said dire predictions about the impact of global warming on humanity were already coming true.
"We are seeing the effects of climate change. Any year can be a freak but the pattern looks pretty clear to be honest. That's why we're trying ... to say, of course you've got to deal with mitigation of emissions, but this is here and now, this is with us already," he said.
As a measure of the worsening situation, Ocha, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - part of the UN secretariat that employs Sir John - has issued 13 emergency "flash" appeals so far this year. The number is three more than in 2005, which held the previous record.
Two years ago only half the international disasters dealt with by Ocha had anything to do with the climate; this year all but one of the 13 emergency appeals is climate-related. "And 2007 is not finished. We will certainly have more by the end of the year, I fear," added Sir John, who is in charge of channelling international relief efforts to disaster areas.
More appeals were likely in the coming weeks, as floods hit west Africa. "All these events on their own didn't have massive death tolls, but if you add all these little disasters together you get a mega disaster," he said.'



Lees verder: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/oct/05/climatechange

dinsdag 13 november 2007

De Pro-Israel Lobby 61




De Amerikaanse hoogleraren Mearsheimer en Walt, auteurs van De Israel Lobby, gezeten naast de pro-Israel lobbyist Leonard Ornstein die afgelopen zaterdag een bijeenkomst van HappyChaos voorzat die speciaal gewijd was aan de verschijning van de Nederlandse vertaling van het boek.


Gaandeweg de avond begon Ornstein zich steeds meer op te vreten. Hij ergerde zich paars aan de opeenstapeling van feiten die hij als journalist altijd nauwlettend verzwegen had. Ik heb vandaag de geluidsopname van die avond afgeluisterd. Je hoort Ornsteins woedde aan zijn stem, die steeds vaker omhoog schiet. Op een bepaald moment zegt Mearsheimer over de Israelische houding ten opzichte van het VN-Verdelingsplan uit 1947:



'The Israeli's rhetorically accepted it, and the Palestinians rejectted it. We now know that the Israeli's had in 1937 and 1947 no intention of partitioning Palestine...'



Ornstein op hoge toon: 'How do you know? How do you know!''



Mearsheimer: 'Because there has been an extensive documentation...



Ornstein: 'You have the documents?'



Mearsheimer: 'Yes, and...



Ornstein onderbreekt op bevelende toon: 'Explain!'



Gelach in de zaal om zoveel woede en onkunde.



Mearsheimer: 'This is dangerous for Leonard to ask us to go into it. I would suggest that anybody who has any doubts about this should get a book by Avi Shlaim, who teaches at Oxford. Avi Shlaim.' Vervolgens spelt Mearsheimer de naam. 'His book is called Collusion across the Jordan. And all you have to do is spend 20 minutes thumbing through it.'



Maar zelfs dat doorbladeren van documentatie doen de pro-Israel lobbyisten en journalisten niet. Israel is voor hen ideologie, feiten tellen niet in een ideologische wereldbeschouwing. Uitgebreid gedocumenteerde feiten, aangedragen door onder andere Israelische historici die de archieven van de Israelische Strijdkrachten naplozen, kennen ze niet. En toch zien we elke keer weer in Nederland Leonard Ornstein opduiken zodra het over Israel gaat. Wat is dat toch? Ongeinformeerd, emotioneel betrokken bij de "joodse natie," uitgesproken standpunten. Het gruwelijke is dat zijn propaganda voor hem consequentieloos is, maar niet voor alle slachtoffers van die propaganda, de gedode kinderen, burgers, vrouwen, bejaarden. Wat mankeert iemand als Leonard Ornstein? Waarom wekt Leonard de indruk dat hij als joodse Nederlander meer recht heeft op een stukje Israel dan een Palestijnse ingezetene van het 'beloofde land'? Dat hij terecht het recht op terugkeer bezit en een Palestijn die in 1948 of 1967 etnisch gezuiverd werd niet. Waar berust die ondemocratisch gedachte op? En is het verstandig om dit soort tendentieuze journalisten het Midden Oosten te laten doen? Vertel me Leonard. Je hebt ongecensureerd toegang tot mijn weblog. Email me en laten we hier op deze weblog in het openbaar discussieren. De taal is het enige dat wij hebben. We bezitten geen wapens, maar wel onze hersenen. Laat me weten. Wat heb je te verliezen? We kennen elkaar al lang, we zijn collega's. Wij verdienen ons brood met het informeren van mensen. Ik stuur dit verzoek naar je via je werkgever: redactie@eenvandaag.nl

Hier kunt u naar het fragment van Mearsheimer en Walt versus Ornstein beluisteren. De kwaliteit is niet optimaal: http://webdisk.planet.nl/houck006/default.aspx In de rubriek: Interviews.