Monday, November 15, 2010

I think we need to tax stock market holdings while they are held maybe by averaging all the valuations of a stock over the course of a year and assessing an income tax on the mean average price in that year. The selling taxes could be eliminated and we would have a more stable income stream which would not be prone to sudden dumping as it is now on bad news. You couldn't park money in the speculative vehicle of the stock market without a tax. You would spend more and stimulate things around you.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Radical Centrism

30 Day Eviction Notice:
All assets held by Israeli dual citizens are to be immediately frozen awaiting the resolution of their dual citizenship status by the following:

Those Israeli's with dual citizenship currently outside the US cannot ever officially return to the United States unless they turn in their Israeli passport and pledge their sole allegiance to the US while canceling their Israeli citizenship upon their return to the US. Failure to comply with this provision will result in immediate deportation and forfeiture of all their US holdings and assets and they shall forever be denied the right of return to the United States.

Any traveling Israeli within the United States shall leave the United States within two weeks unless they reject their Israeli citizenship; only then will be allowed to apply for US citizenship as a refugee fleeing the terrorist pariah state of Israel.

A most disturbing thing is that a majority of these IDF forces are just jejunely credulous American kids who drank the kool-aid of Israeli legitimacy from some organ-dealing Brooklyn rabbi and now murder equally and as brutally as American 18 year-olds murder in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Some of these IDF children soliders are dual citizens so they come home and play American citizen as returning GI's and then go back to the IDF and to double-dip murdering Arabs and we are expected to calmly accept this as Americans watching the madness on the sidelines. What happens when they wake up to their self-imposed schizophrenia while on leave, forgetting what national role they are playing today? Several million "Son of Sam" zombies seeking revenge on liberals in Berkeley, Austin, Seattle, Portland, and Ann Arbor ?

... Friend, I object to the actions and I clearly remember Meier Kehane who started this mess from Brooklyn along with encouraging decades of assassinations by the JDL and ADL murders into the present (ask Darryl Issa about that) and then spread the disease to Israel. This IS happening. Is it the exposure of the mechanism which makes you quibble, is it my uncomfortable historical framing? Maybe it is time to take of the kid gloves and speak truth to both the powerful and the meek seeking a backbone to solve these issues ? Have you forgotten the "two for one" t-shirts depicting pregnant Palestinian women as targets given out at the graduation parties of IDF forces? That is just the sort of jejunely credulous murderous brain-washing that occurs in the IDF. I have encountered these crazies right here in academic environments BCC and CSUEB bragging about what they are pulling off. Don't shoot the messenger !

... There is no redemption with these sorts they murder to instill fear and unfortunately fear is the only way they will heel to the will of the world's citizens. They continue to escalate and we must respond by exposing them at every step of the way. Any manner of opportunity to make their parents re-think their sending their beautiful children off to become murdering monsters in Israel should be explored. And plain talk is the first step.

... This is interesting tidbit but nothing more; in my opinion there will never be any prosecutions for these murders, no impartial investigations, and no relief for the people of the world from Israeli madness. Just whitewash and US "state secret privilege" invoked when it is revealed that Rahm Emanuel brokered and took part in the planning directly with Netanyahu during his "bar mitzvah" visit with his son he used as a theatrical prop...Israel does nothing without our covert approval..reminds me of the October Surprise manuever when Reagan sent George Bush to Iran to stall the hostage release to prevent Jimmy Carter from being re-elected. And since Rahm Emanuel is a Reserve Officer in the IDF, Netanyahu is his commander in chief.

... And to think that a great journalist just now is forced to retire for stating the truth..Helen Thomas I love you.

... Talk to Russell Bates the bumper sticker vendor on Telegraph Ave what these IDF/Mossad reservist types did to him recently. He's out there 5 days a week. Get down with the people Friend, get your hands dirty. I support your moderate bid for Congress when you feel it is appropriate to announce it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The fatal use of the cell phone by a journalist in Baghdad

What I want from the Pentagon

APR 21, 2010 15:30 EDT

This op-ed by Editor-in-Chief David Schlesinger appeared in The Guardian.

When Wikileaks published the harrowing video of the deaths in Iraq of my colleagues Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his assistant and driver Saeed Chmagh, 40, the world finally had the transparency it should have had about this tragedy.

It was impossible for me to watch and not feel outrage and great sorrow – but this is not about trying to tell anyone else what to feel. This is about trying to find out exactly what happened and how to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

What I want from the Pentagon – and from all militaries – is simple: Acknowledgment, transparency, accountability.

Acknowledgment means both understanding at headquarters and training in the field that journalists have a right to be on the battlefield, and not just those embedded with a military unit. A journalist’s mission is to provide understanding, provide context and provide the reporting that citizens deserve. That mission requires journalists cover the story from multiple angles, including ones that potentially put them in harm’s way. A war prosecuted in darkness is a war without accountability. The journalist’s role is vital for a democracy and it must be acknowledged.

Then, there must be acknowledgment that true journalists come in every race, both sexes and a multitude of nationalities. Within Reuters, our 2,800 journalists come from 80 different nationalities. They all have a right to safety.

As too many tragic deaths, including those of Namir and Saeed, have proven, soldiers in tense warfare repeatedly mistake cameras and tripods for weapons. They’re not. There must be a way of training soldiers to distinguish the forms. It is imperative to have the consciousness that the shape in the scope might not be a threat.

Transparency is vital. This is the honesty for all to learn lessons from what has transpired. Soon after the incident, Reuters editors were shown only one portion of the video . We immediately changed our operating procedures – the first portion of the video made clear that anyone walking with a group of armed people could be considered a target. We immediately made it a rule that our journalists could not even walk near armed groups.

However, we were not shown the second part of the video, where the helicopter fired on a van trying to evacuate the wounded. Had we seen it, we could have adjusted our procedures further.

Transparency saves lives.

We have been trying for more than two and a half years to get this video from the military through formal legal means without success and in fact have an appeal to their last denial of our request still pending; now it transpires that officials who repeatedly told us that what the video contained was important enough for security reasons to withhold it from us, made no efforts to secure it and weren’t even clear where it was. It took a whistleblower to make sure the world had the transparency it needed and deserved.

I want the Pentagon to join me in a search for thorough and complete transparency.

Finally there is accountability. There are rules of war as there are in peace. The lack of transparency has meant there’s been absence of accountability.

Let’s dig behind the video. Let’s fully understand the rules the military were operating under. Let’s have a complete picture of what was going through the fliers’ minds. Let’s hear the Pentagon explain its interpretation of the rules of engagement and the Geneva Convention and how the actions either did or did not accord with them in its view. And importantly, let’s keep in mind that while we focus on this particular tragedy, it is the rare circumstance that when a journalist is injured or killed in a conflict area, there is a video of the death, and even more rare as this case demonstrates, for the public to see such a video.

And then let’s have the debate. Seeing the hundreds of articles and thousands of comments in the wake of the video’s release, it’s clear that people on every side of the issue have strong feelings. Let’s have a debate based on fact and not on emotion.

Acceptance, transparency and accountability – these add up to true justice. And that, in the end, is what I am after. I want justice for the journalists who lost their lives.

Justice is not vengeance. Justice is about holding all to account to make sure that proper lessons are learned, that mistakes aren’t repeated and that tragedies don’t happen again.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sarah McSherryThe legality of the use and abuse of foreign passports? The falsification of passports and identity theft are serious criminal offences under British law. No doubt they are too under Israeli law. Falsification of a British passport by a member of the Israeli intelligence services is therefore more than just a clear breach of diplomatic relations. Moreover, there would be serious implications were it to transpire that the British government was aware that falsified travel documents were being used by Mossad as has been suggested by one British security source.

What are the steps the governments of these foreign passport-holders should do in light of these revelations?

The respective governments should:

  • Condemn the extra judicial killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh as a breach of international law;
  • Unequivocally declare whether they were aware that falsified travel documents were being used by Mossad in relation to this operation and/or any other;
  • Require the Israeli government to confirm whether its intelligence services were involved in the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh;
  • Require the Israeli government to confirm whether or not their intelligence services used falsified passports for this or any other operation or whether they have done since any assurance that they would not do so;
  • Seek an assurance from the Israeli government that their intelligence operatives will never falsify passports for use in operations;
  • Require the Israeli government to condemn the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh as a breach of international law;
  • Seek an assurance from the Israeli government that they will extradite any of those identified by the Dubai authorities as having been involved in the killing to Dubai to face trial for murder and to Ireland, Britain, France and/or Germany to face trial for offences arising out of the abuse of passports issued by those countries.

What steps should be taken to prevent this from happening in the future? If the Israeli government fails to comply with any of the requests made of them, the government could expel the Israeli ambassador from the country, break off diplomatic ties and/or impose sanctions which could deter future occurrences.

Sarah McSherry,
Human Rights Lawyer and Solicitor at Christian Khan

Sunday, February 21, 2010

From George Lakoff

The experimental results confirming our theories of embodied cognition have been coming in regularly, especially in the area of metaphorical thought. Natalie Angier, on February 1, summarized some of the recent research very clearly.

  • A University of Amsterdam study showed that subjects thinking about the future leaned forward, while those thinking about the past leaned backward. This was predicted by the 1980 analysis of common European metaphors in which The Future is Ahead and The Past is Behind. This is not just a matter of language, but of thought, as Johnson and I showed.
  • At Yale, researchers found that subjects holding warm coffee in advance were more likely to evaluate an imaginary individual as warm and friendly than those holding cold coffee. This is predicted by the conceptual metaphor that Affection is Warmth, as in She gave me a warm greeting.
  • At Toronto, subjects were asked to remember a time when they were either socially accepted or socially snubbed. Those with warm memories of acceptance judged the room to be 5 degrees warmer on the average than those who remembered being coldly snubbed.
  • Subjects asked to think about a moral transgression like adultery or cheating on a test were more likely to request an antiseptic cloth after the experiment than those who had thought about good deeds. The well-known conceptual metaphor Morality is Purity predicts this behavior.
  • Students told that that a particular book was important judged it to be physically heavier than a book that they were told was unimportant. The conceptual metaphor is Important is Heavy.
  • In a parallel study with heavy versus light clipboards, those with the heavy clipboards were more likely like to judge currency to be more valuable and their opinions and their leaders more important.
  • And in doing arithmetic, students who used their hands to group numbers together had an easier time doing problems that required conceptual grouping. This is predicted by the analysis of mathematics in Where Mathematics Comes From by myself and Rafael Núñez where we show how mathematics from the simple to the advanced is based on embodied metaphorical cognition.

These results don’t happen by magic. How can these results be explained?

read the whole post on

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

relayed through Counterpunch

A Strictly Humanitarian Mission

We Send Doctors, Not Soldiers


Two days after the catastrophe in Haiti, which destroyed that neighboring sister nation, I wrote:

“In the area of healthcare and others the Haitian people has received the cooperation of Cuba, even though this is a small and blockaded country. Approximately 400 doctors and healthcare workers are helping the Haitian people free of charge. Our doctors are working every day at 227 of the 237 communes of that country. On the other hand, no less than 400 young Haitians have been graduated as medical doctors in our country. They will now work alongside the reinforcement that traveled there yesterday to save lives in that critical situation. Thus, up to one thousand doctors and healthcare personnel can be mobilized without any special effort; and most are already there willing to cooperate with any other State that wishes to save Haitian lives and rehabilitate the injured.”

“The head of our medical brigade has informed that ‘the situation is difficult but we are already saving lives.’”

Hour after hour, day and night, the Cuban health professionals have started to work nonstop in the few facilities that were able to stand, in tents, and out in the parks or open-air spaces, since the population feared new aftershocks.

The situation was far more serious than was originally thought. Tens of thousands of injured were clamoring for help in the streets of Port-au-Prince; innumerable persons laid, dead or alive, under the rubbled clay or adobe used in the construction of the houses where the overwhelming majority of the population lived. Buildings, even the most solid, collapsed. Besides, it was necessary to look for the Haitian doctors who had graduated at the Latin American Medicine School throughout all the destroyed neighborhoods. Many of them were affected, either directly or indirectly, by the tragedy.

Some UN officials were trapped in their dormitories and tens of lives were lost, including the lives of several chiefs of MINUSTAH, a UN contingent. The fate of hundreds of other members of its staff was unknown.

Haiti’s Presidential Palace crumbled. Many public facilities, including several hospitals, were left in ruins.

The catastrophe shocked the whole world, which was able to see what was going on through the images aired by the main international TV networks. Governments from everywhere in the planet announced they would be sending rescue experts, food, medicines, equipment and other resources.

In conformity with the position publicly announced by Cuba, medical staff from different countries--namely Spain, Mexico, and Colombia, among others--worked very hard alongside our doctors at the facilities they had improvised. Organizations such as PAHO and other friendly countries like Venezuela and other nations supplied medicines and other resources. The impeccable behavior of Cuban professionals and their leaders was absolutely void of chauvinism and remained out of the limelight.

Cuba, just as it had done under similar circumstances, when Hurricane Katrina caused huge devastation in the city of New Orleans and the lives of thousands of American citizens were in danger, offered to send a full medical brigade to cooperate with the people of the United States, a country that, as is well known, has vast resources. But at that moment what was needed were trained and well-equipped doctors to save lives. Given New Orleans geographical location, more than one thousand doctors of the “Henry Reeve” contingent mobilized and readied to leave for that city at any time of the day or the night, carrying with them the necessary medicines and equipment. It never crossed our mind that the President of that nation would reject the offer and let a number of Americans that could have been saved to die. The mistake made by that government was perhaps the inability to understand that the people of Cuba do not see in the American people an enemy; it does not blame it for the aggressions our homeland has suffered.

Nor was that government capable of understanding that our country does not need to beg for favors or forgiveness of those who, for half a century now, have been trying, to no avail, to bring us to our knees.

Our country, also in the case of Haiti, immediately responded to the US authorities requests to fly over the eastern part of Cuba as well as other facilities they needed to deliver assistance, as quickly as possible, to the American and Haitian citizens who had been affected by the earthquake.

Such have been the principles characterizing the ethical behavior of our people. Together with its equanimity and firmness, these have been the ever-present features of our foreign policy. And this is known only too well by whoever have been our adversaries in the international arena.

Cuba will firmly stand by the opinion that the tragedy that has taken place in Haiti, the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, is a challenge to the richest and more powerful countries of the world.

Haiti is a net product of the colonial, capitalist and imperialist system imposed on the world. Haiti’s slavery and subsequent poverty were imposed from abroad. That terrible earthquake occurred after the Copenhagen Summit, where the most elemental rights of 192 UN member States were trampled upon.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, a competition has unleashed in Haiti to hastily and illegally adopt boys and girls. UNICEF has been forced to adopt preventive measures against the uprooting of many children, which will deprive their close relatives from their rights.

There are more than one hundred thousand deadly victims. A high number of citizens have lost their arms or legs, or have suffered fractures requiring rehabilitation that would enable them to work or manage their own.

Eighty per cent of the country needs to be rebuilt. Haiti requires an economy that is developed enough to meet its needs according to its productive capacity. The reconstruction of Europe or Japan, which was based on the productive capacity and the technical level of the population, was a relatively simple task as compared to the effort that needs to be made in Haiti. There, as well as in most of Africa and elsewhere in the Third World, it is indispensable to create the conditions for a sustainable development. In only forty years time, humanity will be made of more than nine billion inhabitants, and right now is faced with the challenge of a climate change that scientists accept as an inescapable reality.

In the midst of the Haitian tragedy, without anybody knowing how and why, thousands of US marines, 82nd Airborne Division troops and other military forces have occupied Haiti. Worse still is the fact that neither the United Nations Organization nor the US government have offered an explanation to the world’s public opinion about this relocation of troops.

Several governments have complained that their aircraft have not been allowed to land in order to deliver the human and technical resources that have been sent to Haiti.

Some countries, for their part, have announced they would be sending an additional number of troops and military equipment. In my view, such events will complicate and create chaos in international cooperation, which is already in itself complex. It is necessary to seriously discuss this issue. The UN should be entrusted with the leading role it deserves in these so delicate matters.

Our country is accomplishing a strictly humanitarian mission. To the extent of its possibilities, it will contribute the human and material resources at its disposal. The will of our people, who takes pride in its medical doctors and cooperation workers who provide vital services, is huge, and will rise to the occasion.

Any significant cooperation that is offered to our country will not be rejected, but its acceptance will fully depend on the importance and transcendence of the assistance that is requested from the human resources of our homeland.

It is only fair to state that, up until this moment, our modest aircrafts and the important human resources that Cuba has made available to the Haitian people have arrived at their destination without any difficulty whatsoever.

We send doctors, not soldiers!