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Member since: Wed Oct 7, 2015, 08:51 AM
Number of posts: 2,208

Journal Archives

Netanyahu: I Don't Want a Binational State, but We Need to Control All of the Territory for the Fore

Source: Haaretz (Israel)

Netanyahu: I Don't Want a Binational State, but We Need to Control All of the Territory for the Foreseeable Future. 'I'm asked if we will forever live by the sword – yes,' says prime minister.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that although he doesn't want a binational state, "at this time we need to control all of the territory for the foreseeable future."

MKs who took part in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting — where the prime minister spoke — told Haaretz that Netanyahu turned to the politicians and said, hinting at the anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination: "These days, there is talk about what would happen if this or that person would have remained. It's irrelevant; there are movements here of religion and Islam that have nothing to do with us." Netanyahu then turned to opposition MKs and said: "You think there is a magic wand here, but I disagree. I'm asked if we will forever live by the sword — yes."

Habayit Hayehudi MK Betzalel Smotrich asked Netanyahu: "Why do you even talk to (Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas? Why pull the world's leg?" Netanyahu responded by saying that Israel "is not talking to bin Laden or ISIS, but I will talk to whoever isn't calling for our destruction."

Read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.682374

This is why I am pessimistic that a two-state peace agreement will ever be reached. Many many Israelis feel that there is an existential need to contain the Palestinians and control the West Bank and Gaza to ensure the survival of the Jewish state. As I have said before, Israel and most Israelis seem to be willing to absorb world condemnation and continued civic unrest to maintain this control.

I don't see a humane endgame to this. The 40 odd-year occupation is essentially a slow motion annexation of the West Bank -- I wonder if it's time to accept this as the fiat accompli it seems to be. Millions of Syrians are fleeing to Europe right now, is it time to open our doors to the 4 million Palestinians also?

Tycoon Wang Jianlin regains top spot in Forbes list of China's richest people

Source: South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)

Property and entertainment tycoon Wang Jianlin has topped a list of China’s richest people compiled by the business magazine Forbes, which said that factors including rises in share prices at the beginning of the year have driven up the total wealth of the nation’s 100 wealthiest people by 20 per cent over the past 12 months.

Wang, chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, has unseated the head of the internet commerce company Alibaba, Jack Ma, to be named the richest man in the country this year, Forbes said.

Wang’s estimated personal wealth has more than doubled over the past year to US$30 billion thanks to the listing of his group’s commercial property arm in Hong Kong last December and its cinema chain on Shenzhen’s stock market in January.

Read more: http://www.scmp.com/news/china/money-wealth/article/1872185/tycoon-wang-jianlin-regains-top-spot-forbes-list-chinas

Just a reminder, this isn't Richard Nixon's China anymore... What an astounding transformation since 1972.

Pope condemns xenophobia against gypsies but says they must obey laws

Source: Reuters

Pope Francis condemned xenophobia and discrimination against Europe's gypsies on Monday but said they also must do their part by respecting the law and sending their children to school.

The pope made his comments at an audience for several thousand Roma, Sinti and other itinerant peoples that was marked by colorful flamenco-style dancing and traditional music of violins and Spanish guitar.

The pope, who has visited several camps of nomads on Rome's outskirts since his election in 2013, condemned the precarious conditions in which many of them live. "We no longer want to see family tragedies where children die of cold or in fires," he said.

In defending their right to keep their culture he said: "The time has come to uproot centuries-old prejudices, preconceptions and reciprocal diffidence that often are at the base of discrimination, racism and xenophobia." But he also said Christian gypsies had to do their part, "avoiding everything that is not worthy of this name: falsehood, fraud, swindles, fighting". He also mentioned drug trafficking, human trafficking and the abuse of gypsy children, many of whom beg on the streets of Europe's big cities.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/26/us-pope-gypsies-idUSKCN0SK1H420151026

Propaganda: Do You Know You’re Soaking In It?

"Each and every day we are subject to propaganda, yet many of us are oblivious to the fact that we are being manipulated so frequently. In light of compelling information and evidence which supports largely predictable outcomes, propaganda can be used to confuse, obstruct, and distract individuals and society from clearly understanding the issues at hand. As we face serious and interconnected challenges, it is important to understand the role propaganda plays in society.
Apart from the inability to disseminate large volumes of information, the main difficulty in distinguishing propaganda from other types of biases is in its subjectivity. For one party the information communicated may be seen as educational, yet for the other party it may be seen as propaganda. Propaganda is about presenting facts and information selectively and impartially so that the message elicits an emotional response. Propaganda is everywhere and is disseminated through media outlets, by politicians, by governments, educational institutions, corporations and through the entertainment industry. Here are some great quotes from Orwell, Chomsky, Pilger, Smith, and Vidal who understand the role propaganda plays in society.

Propaganda in War and Terrorism

“One of the most horrible features of war is that all the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.” George Orwell

“As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: You liberate a city by destroying it. Words are used to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.” Gore Vidal

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” George Orwell

Propaganda in Business and Corporations

“All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.” Noam Chomsky

“People who own the society, the merchants and manufacturers, they are the architects of government policy and they design it in their own interest of course no matter how grievous the effect is on others. The point of corporate propaganda and the educational system is to instill these beliefs and it works pretty well.” Adam Smith

“There is massive propaganda for everyone to consume. Consumption is good for profits and consumption is good for the political establishment.” Noam Chomsky

“The major western democracies are moving towards corporatism. Democracy has become a business plan, with a bottom line for every human activity, every dream, every decency, every hope. The main parliamentary parties are now devoted to the same economic policies — socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor — and the same foreign policy of servility to endless war. This is not democracy. It is to politics what McDonalds is to food.” John Pilger"


One sure sign you are being fed propaganda is when the media stops referring to countries by name but instead singles out one person in leadership there to demonize and then trivialize the issue at hand. It stops being about Iraq, but becomes about Sadam, for example. It stops being about Syria, but becomes about Assad.

Refugee crisis: Apocalyptic message overshadows talks as EU leaders struggle to find agreement

"European leaders meeting for emergency talks in Brussels have lashed out at each other over how to deal with this year’s influx of refugees, amid warnings that the continued uncertainty could threaten the European Union itself.
The leaders were meeting nine days after Hungary sealed its southern border with Croatia, pushing thousands of refugees into Slovenia. In the past week, more than 62,000 migrants have arrived in Slovenia. Croatia, said 11,500 people crossed into the country on Saturday. An estimated 250,000 refugees have passed through the Balkans since mid-September.

The summit gathered the leaders of eight EU countries (Germany, Hungary, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Romania and Slovenia) and three from outside the bloc (Macedonia, Albania and Serbia). While they agreed to co-operate more in managing the flow of refugees from the Middle East to Europe, they failed to approve immediate, concrete measures to help to resolve the crisis.

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said the EU should ensure “that the people who are wandering about and living under unbearable conditions receive help”. She added that all the countries bordering the refugee route through the Balkans were all signatories to the Geneva Convention on refugees."



Clearly, the refugee crisis is testing the moral underpinnings of the European Union. I can't help but feel that one "concrete measure" to help resolve the crisis NOT addressed is this -- INSIST ON PEACE TALKS NOW. The European Union nations should all be insisting on compromise and serious peace talks to end the war in Syria, the major source of the refugee exodus. Until that happens, all other efforts are like applying band-aids to life threatening wounds.

Europe refugee crisis hits sickening low with children forced to engage in ‘survival sex’

Source: News.com Austraila

EUROPE’S refugee and migrant crisis has hit a sickening new low with children forced to prostitute themselves just to survive. The office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees said it had received “credible testimonies” of sexual violence and abuse against women and children on the move in Europe.

Among hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants pouring into southeastern Europe, children were being forced into sex with people smugglers to pay their way onward, the agency reported.

UNHCR cautioned that it doesn’t have a full grasp of how widespread the problem is, but says women and children travelling alone who are short of cash and sleeping in places like parks and train stations are particularly vulnerable.
Some authorities, it said, have increased the risk for children by placing them in detention along with adults while they wait for official processing of asylum applications.

“From testimony and reports we have received there have been instances of children engaging in survival sex to pay smugglers to continue their journey, either because they have run out money, or because they have been robbed,” UNHCR said in a statement.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/europe-refugee-crisis-hits-sickening-low-with-children-forced-to-engage-in-survival-sex/story-fnu2q5nu-1227583141890

It's time to stop the bullshit about Syria.

It's time that the US insists on serious peace talks and broker a comprise to stop this utter madness. There simply is NO MILITARY SOLUTION to the carnage of the Syrian war. Make peace. Save the children, damn it.

Poland lurches to right with election of Law and Justice party

Source: The Guardian UK

Poles consolidated their country’s rightwing shift on Sunday as exit polls showed it had handed an absolute majority in its parliamentary election to Law and Justice, a Eurosceptic party that is against immigration, wants family-focused welfare spending and has threatened to ban abortion and in-vitro fertilisation.

The current ruling party, Civic Platform, conceded defeat following the first exit poll, published by Ipsos moments after polling stations closed at 9pm (8pm GMT), which gave the national conservative Prawo i Sprawiedliwość or Law and Justice party 39.1% of the vote, putting it far ahead of Civic Platform on 23.4%.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Law and Justice’s chairman and the twin brother of Poland’s late president Lech, immediately declared victory.

If the polling is confirmed, the result would give Law and Justice 242 seats in the 460-member lower house of parliament, meaning the party could govern alone and that lead candidate 52-year-old Beata Szydło is likely to be appointed prime minister.

Distrustful of Germany and the EU, Law and Justice wants more sovereign control and believes a strong Nato hand is required to deal with Moscow. The party promises more welfare spending, a higher retirement age and new taxes on foreign banks. Szydło has also campaigned against the EU forcing member states to accept a set number of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/25/poland-lurches-to-right-with-election-of-law-and-justice-party

Yep. They're definitely a rightwing party, and probably have a majority government too -- meaning a free hand to pass their agenda without other political parties' support.


Source: AP/Huffington Post

Republican voters view Donald Trump as their strongest general election candidate, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll that highlights the sharp contrast between the party's voters and its top professionals regarding the billionaire businessman's ultimate political strength.

Seven in 10 Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters say Trump could win in November 2016 if he is nominated, and that's the most who say so of any candidate. By comparison, 6 in 10 say the same for retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who, like Trump, has tapped into the powerful wave of antiestablishment anger defining the early phases of the 2016 contest.

"It's the lifelong establishment politicians on both sides that rub me the wrong way," said registered Republican Joe Selig, a 60-year-old carpenter from Vallejo, California. "I think Trump is more electable. He's strong. We need strength these days."

Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_AP_POLL_GOP_2016?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-10-25-08-37-25

"I think Trump is more electable. He's strong. We need strength these days."

ut oh.... I think I've heard this refrain before...


Why are young feminists so clueless about sex?

DISCLAIMER: Margaret Wente is a conservative columnists for the Globe and Mail, a conservative pro-business Canadian newspaper.

A few months ago, a Harvard senior named Reina Gattuso wrote a column in the school newspaper. It described her crummy night of drunken sex with a couple of men she didn’t know. “I have so much to drink my memory becomes dark water,” she wrote. She freely admitted that she consented. Enthusiastically. And that was the problem. She thought she would enjoy it, but instead she just felt rotten!

Most people might conclude from this experience that random sex with drunken strangers is a poor idea, and Ms. Gattuso really should not try that again. Old-fashioned moralists might even call such behaviour tawdry, degrading and sluttish. Not Ms. Gattuso. And not Rebecca Traister, the New York Magazine writer who wrote about it. To them, the moral of the story is that the world is awash in bad consensual sex. This is due to the persistent power imbalances between women and men. Until we fix this, women cannot be sexually happy. As Ms. Traister argues, “The game is rigged.”

Ironically, today’s feminists are serious about consent but casual about sex. And to their shock, they’ve discovered that there’s an awful lot of bad sex out there. They did not expect this. They’ve been told they are supposed to be having a super-positive sex life – unconflicted, joyous, casual and abundant. They’ve been told they should be able to have as many partners and initiate sex just as often as men do. And they’ve tried that. And it hasn’t worked out very well. Instead of feeling super-positive, they feel sexually dissatisfied, emotionally disconnected and more than a little used.

The surprise is that so many young women are surprised by this. Haven’t they watched Girls?

The trouble isn’t men, of course. Nor is it the culture. The trouble is that these women have been sold a lie. They’ve been told that the profound sexual and behavioural differences between men and women are merely matters of individual preference, which would largely dissolve if we ever managed to shed our noxious cultural baggage.



WOW. Just wow. Ok, I went and checked Margaret's age, it turns out she was born in 1950 and is 65 years old. Seems I was fooled by her using an outdated/airbrushed photo. lol OK, that explains a lot...

Her usual headshot from the Globe and Mail

China communist party paper says country should join U.S.-led trade pact (TPP)

"China should join at an appropriate time the U.S.-backed regional trade accord the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as its broad aims are in line with China's own economic reform agenda, an influential Communist Party newspaper said on Sunday.

China is not among the 12 Pacific Rim countries who earlier this month agreed the trade pact, the most ambitious in a generation. The accord includes Australia and Japan among economies worth a combined $28 trillion.

China's trade minister has said the country does not feel targeted by it, but will evaluate the likely impact comprehensively.

In a commentary, the biweekly Study Times, published by the Central Party School that trains rising officials, admitted there were those in China who viewed the TPP as a "plot" to isolate and restrain the country's global ambitions.

But the broad aims of the TPP, including reducing things such as administrative approvals and protecting the environment, were what China wants to achieve too, it wrote."



But I thought the main point of the TPP was to "isolate and restrain" China's global ambitions. Interesting to see that China sees merit in the TPP now -- did they get to see an early release of it or something?
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