This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Perspective is (almost) Everything

"[U.S. student Otto Warmbler was provided with excellent care by North Korea which spent] all the money for nursing [him]."
"The U.S. administration, or some people with a certain intention, let him die. This must be intended to foster and spread anti-Communist hatred within America."
"The situation on the Korean Peninsula is on the eve of the breakout of nuclear war."
"We can survive [such a war]."
"[ U.S. President Donald J. Trump is] a crazy man, a thug, a pathetic man with a big mouth."
Choe Kang-il, senior official, North Korean Foreign Ministry
Question Image
"There will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!"  BBC News

It seems that Mr. Choe got that one right. Unsurprisingly, he was also describing North Korea's dear little chubby leader to a T. But then he is also advocating in his professions of being able to distinguish acceptable behaviours as opposed to those that are clearly aimed at slurring North Korea's leader as a juvenile enfant terrible best left locked behind bars in recognition of his bellicose threats to turn the world into a fiery cauldron, the perverse direction given to the people of North Korea to regard the United States' ambition to incinerate them post-haste.

The other leader, the crazy man, the thug, the big mouth did, after all say something quite approximating that as a testy rejoinder on Twitter, the official communications organ of the White House. So the expectation is there, a nuclear war in the offing, North Korea matched against the United States. Patriotism is in evidence everywhere with high school students marching in military uniform daily denouncing criminal America in the streets of Pyongyang.

Where billboards and posters on public roads feature missiles sending the U.S. Capital into smithereens, the American flag shredded beyond repair. Even kindergarten playgrounds are not off limits for posters of deadly missiles. State television is fixed on those images. But are North Koreans fearful of any outcome between the two nuclear-possessing adversaries? Not really, since North Koreans have it on the most reliably reassuring advice that it is not America that will win that war.

"If we have to go to war, we won't hesitate to totally destroy the United States", Mun Hyok-myong, 38, and a teacher, stated with confidence. More or less quoting Donald J. Trump in reverse. And since that Trump statement of reckless idiocy there has been an appreciable rise to prominence within North Korea of hard liners, responding to the American president's promise to "totally destroy" their country. Whoops, hard liners in North Korea and the same in America, however polarized their vision happens to be.

While Secretary of State Rex Tillerson engages in a futile effort at diplomacy, his president casually tweaks his nose on Twitter. Trump, it would appear, is confident that his bullying will influence Kim Jong-un to surrender his schoolyard taunts to the greater bully; except that Kim appears to feel he has the upper hand, and in any event, has no intention whatever of giving up his toys; they're his, he wants more and what Kim wants Kim gets.

Mr. Choe iterates what is already generally assumed to be fact, that North Korea took its lesson from Iraq and Libya both of which surrendered their aspirational nuclear programs only to have the United States move in on them removing their regimes, which North Korea takes as its signal that it would be extremely foolhardy to make themselves vulnerable in the same manner. North Koreans cling to the notion of their infallible dear little leader leading them to the apex of world power.

After all, in every obscure, isolated village, in every home there are Big Brother speakers broadcasting morning propaganda doses. The totalitarian state issues its own version of the history of the world and North Korea's rightful place in the order of world influencers and power-mongers. All adults sport facial pins of the Great Leader or the Dear Leader, Kim's grandfather and father, whose portraits appear everywhere in homes, factories, classrooms, public arenas. The most adored portrait, however, is reserved for reverence of Kim himself, the tiny perfect monster.

Of the United States and its people, North Koreans believe that "just as a wolf cannot become a lamb, so an American imperialist can never change his aggressive nature", a bit of a spin on a leopard never changing its spots type of thing. The corollary to which is that a Kim is a Kim is a Kim.

So, given the principles and the principals involved here, let's just hope there are no accidental aerial collisions between an American and a North Korean warplane. And that the U.S. can resist the temptation to bomb a ballistic missile site whose missile, they intuit preventively is in preparation for launch over Tokyo with a nuclear warhead.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Swift Plunge Into Uncertainty of Armageddon

"The US military action hardens our determination that the US should be tamed with fire and lets us take our hand closer to the 'trigger' for taking the toughest countermeasure."
Kim Kwang Hak, researcher, Institute for American Studies, North Korean Foreign Ministry

"Those diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops."
"The President has also made clear to me that he wants this solved diplomatically."
"He is not seeking to go to war."
Rex Tillerson, U.S. Secretary of State

"Our president has been really clear, he's not going to permit this regime and Kim Jong Un to threaten the United States with a nuclear weapon."
"He's going to do anything necessary to prevent that from happening."
"What Kim Jong Un should recognize is that if he thinks the development of this nuclear capability is keeping him safer, it's actually the opposite."
"Our military leaders are refining, improving plans every day."
"We hope we don’t have to use them, but we are ready. All of our officers are at a high, high state of readiness."
"The real danger is in terms of communicating with Kim Jong Un is that he doesn’t understand how serious we are about his behaviour and the behaviour of the regime."
"The president has been very clear on that. North Korea will be shocked by how serious we are."
General H.R. McMaster, U.S. Secretary of Defense
North Korea calls Trump a 'strangler of peace'
North Korea calls Trump a 'strangler of peace'    CNN

When the world watched horrified, in real-time television news coverage of the multiple al-Qaeda-launched mass-atrocity-by-passenger plane attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, images of incipient Apocalypse were not far from everyone's mind. Fear, uncertainty and apprehension of the future enveloped the minds of those who witnessed what might seem in saner times to be the impossible. Our minds have since settled down.

The images and the hopelessness of the situation as it unfolded made for bleak, dark theatre, only we knew this was not theatre, but quite possibly a damning rehearsal for events of greater magnitude at some time in the future. Yes, there were horrors that occurred long before, when Ottoman Turkey unleashed their genocidal assaults on Turkish Armenians, accusing them of treachery in supporting Russia during World War I.

There was the countless millions dying during the Communist Revolution, the mass starvation in Ukraine during the Holdomor, the incalculable death toll with the partition of India and Pakistan, Pol Pot in Cambodia, and more, there was always more: Rwanda and Darfur's anguish in Sudan, and then along came the Syrian regime's war on its Sunni Syrian citizens. The Holocaust years that were meant to eradicate the presence of Jewish life in Europe was an elaborate Nazi administrative priority.

And when the United States' President Truman decided the ultimate persuasion to prod Imperial Japan to sue for peace, the world watched in fascinated disbelief as two atomic bombs were dropped, one each on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The plight of civilians melted into nothingness where they stood a moment earlier, the fallout of the radiation imperilling countless lives, the sheer destructive force of a nuclear impact taught us all that this truly was the last spike in the railway taking us to self-destruction.

No nation valuing the 'deterrent effect' of its arsenal of nuclear weapons would ever use them as anything other than for their mutual assured destruction value of brute suasion. That's what we thought because our minds could not bring us around to believing that anyone in any position of national authority with the responsibility to make such decisions would ever deem it needful to authorize the use of such a massive death-deliverance.

And because we could not recognize the potential in the unthinkable we tucked what we preferred not to ruminate on away in the dark  recesses of our minds -- all of us, from ordinary citizens, to authority figures and scientists and members of the military, because the simple truth is how do you deal with an issue so enormously out of control that threatens human existence?

So, could we respond in the event that the unthinkable occurred? How would we do that? Assuming we weren't among those whose lives were immediately forfeit, what steps to take for survival?
North Korea Missile
The North Korean government is purported to have launched a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile, as shown in this July 28 photo distributed by the country. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

What kind of experience have we had in avoiding death under circumstances that created the conditions for a lingering, anguished death? Are we in any way equipped to respond to this ultimate emergency? To limp along as best we can under the most primitive of conditions? When the Twin Towers fell in New York, it took a few days before 'normalcy' returned. There was no interruption to communications, to the power system, to the transportation system, to the work conducted by civil society to ensure that the infrastructure and the community could re-commence its normalcy.

The electrical grid was functional, the water and purification plants, hospitals and emergency personnel, municipal functions and infrastructure were all intact but for the destroyed Twin Towers and the unforgivingly malevolent loss of life that brought a universal sorrow not only to distraught New Yorkers but to the world at large -- with some exceptions. The military with its engineering arms were responsive as were police and firemen, who mourned the loss of their own in that great tragedy.

As a worst-instance scene, that infamous day stands out as among the most difficult North America faced resulting from the deadly enmity of a foreign ideology based in a religion of conquest. In contrast, the First World War accident that befell Halifax in the great explosion that took place when a vessel carrying war munitions exploded in its harbour through an accidental collision, destroying most of the city's downtown and killing two-thirds of the number that perished during 9-11.

A nuclear explosion targeting a North American city on the other hand, would result in a catastrophic event of far greater and wider proportions. Destruction would be complete, deaths too numerous to imagine, injuries with nowhere to be treated since hospitals would have been destroyed along with all other buildings, and no infrastructure reflecting civilized life would remain. Rescuers? From where, and how long might it take to hope to address an emergency of such absolute dimensions?

Were a single, 150-kiloton nuclear head to be detonated in any city, some 55,000 people would be estimated to die outright. All the networks we depend upon would have been destroyed, from communications  to transportation and services networks, let alone the infrastructure or emergency response. Chain of command? No further than your own devices, depending on your ability to respond in your own survival defence. You and any other survivors would need food, medicine, water and in short supply it would lead to mayhem.

Everywhere, radiation refugees, people in varying states of illness or slow recovery -- or eventual death. No buildings to shelter in, no one to consult with, everyone distracted and busy jealously guarding whatever they could find to sustain themselves. The dead left to fester and inevitably dread diseases to spread. Total civil order breakdown; how could it be otherwise? People foraging, to extend their miserable lives, waiting for some vestige of outside rescue.

More than one bomb dropped elsewhere, so that others are in the very same plight of hopelessness? Would there be any comfort in the thought that as soon as the authorities in your country became certain that the bombs were impending they sent their own in a counter-offence, and the other nation that had invaded yours with nuclear devices would be suffering in the very same way? Unlikely.

But we shouldn't be concerned. Not to worry. Sane minds will prevail.

The sane mind, as example, of Kin Jong-un; his threats of destroying his nemesis, the United States are not to be taken seriously; they represent, after all, the juvenile musings of an arrested adolescent -- oh, and minds arrested in the adolescent phase of maturity are known for impulsive, self-destroying behaviour.

On the other hand, there's the rational intelligence of the most powerful man on the planet, the President of the United States of America....

World War 3 North Korea
The graphic flyer is one of many pieces believed to have been sent over the border  Getty/Twitter

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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Abduction ... Rescue ... Lawsuit

"We have waited since 2012 for somebody to understand our problems, the Kafkaesque nightmare in which we find ourselves."
"Our children have seen their mother defiled."
"God has given me and my family unparalleled resilience and determination."
"[His captors] did not even make a pretense of being Muslim [were guided] by their own agendas." "The criminals who held us, they were not good Muslims, they were not even bad Muslims, they were pagans." 
Joshua Boyle, 34, Canadian misadventurer, proto-humanist,

"Taking your pregnant wife to a very dangerous place, to me, and the kind of person I am, is unconscionable."
Jim Coleman, Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, father of Caitlan Coleman, 31

"It was amazing. He [son Joshua Boyle] told me how much his children were looking forward to meeting their grandparents and that he would see me in a couple of days."
"They kept themselves strong for so long, for each other and for the kids."
"I think it's going to catch up with them, and they're probably going to have some real crashes, I expect, but we're here for them."
Linda Boyle, mother of Joshua
Afghanistan Missing Couple
Joshua Boyle and Caitlan Coleman were hiking in Afghanistan when they were captured in 2012. (Coleman Family/Associated Press)

Joshua Boyle, formerly of Smiths Falls, Ontario, more latterly resident with his wife in Afghanistan, distinguished himself some years ago by deciding to marry Zaynab Khadr, knowing her father was a financier of al-Qaeda and an intimate of Osama bin Laden, that in fact the family, including the woman he married was fierce in their public protestations of the justness of the al-Qaeda cause. This man seems to relish gravitating toward sympathetic support of ideologies and their supporters who dedicate themselves to mass brutality, threatening the stability of the Western world by terrorism.

But this is not, evidently, how he visualizes what is abundantly clear to intelligent minds, rather he sees a misinterpreted 'cause' to which the West is hostile, because of racism and he is averse to racism, while forgiving violent jihad because he can understand why tribal peoples who are made to suffer under the imperialist designs of the West will assert their humanity by resorting to inhumanity. For reasons not divulged publicly his original marriage was dissolved, and this simpleton married another woman who shared his delight in Star Wars.

With her he embarked on a backpacking trip, while his wife was very obviously pregnant. And while they were moseying about, why not enter Afghanistan and give aid to impoverished villagers? Leading to hospitality extended to them for a prolonged stay, courtesy of the Taliban who have a penchant for abducting people and demanding ransom. And though his daddy, as a federal court tax judge must have ample income, no word reached the public that a ransom was demanded for the release of the two adventurers over their five-year stay in Afghanistan.

This man now claims to view his abductors with contempt, accusing them of killing a child and of raping his wife. Over their five years of captivity, which in essence this man engineered when he decided to travel there with a woman heavily pregnant, he lived as tribal Afghans do; his wife held from public view as he impregnated her continually so that over that five-year period she gave birth four times. In Islam it is a man's 'right' to have intercourse with his wife; in a just world recognizing the situation they were in a caring man would abstain.

In accusing the Taliban, fierce Islamists jihadis for whom life is incidental to the obligation to Islam as well as their wholesale dedication to tribe and clan, women are disposable adjuncts to male existence, favoured by Allah -- Joshua Boyle behaved no differently than the Taliban did; oblivious to his wife's need to be respected by him, to be less favouring of his own entitlements in view of the situation to which he alone was responsible for placing them in. Concern for the welfare of any children that might result, living in such inconspicuously unhealthy circumstances?

His "problem" is well understood. It is one of warped sympathies and personal entitlements that transcend all measures of human decency. Three children have been taken out of a primitive enclave that nourished their infancy, and evidently withheld sufficient nourishment for a third, while a fourth was sacrificed to the vagaries of life among savages. His problem was one he foisted upon four innocent children who had the misfortune to become his offspring.

He does not appear to have any manner of experience in earning a living. But, given the vicarious experience he will have been indulged in through his previous marriage, the millions that the Trudeau government lavished on his former brother-in-law might inspire Joshua Boyle to launch a law suit against the Liberal government for having failed to initiate a rescue of the Boyle family from Afghanistan, so that due compensation would be paid in honour of which multiple millions would be helpful.
"Today, we join the Boyle family in rejoicing over the long-awaited return to Canada of their loved ones."
"Canada has been actively engaged on Mr. Boyle's case at all levels, and we will continue to support him and his family now that they have returned."
Global Affairs Canada statement

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Friday, October 13, 2017

De-Heritaging Israel

"[There should arise] a new day at the United Nations, where there is a price to pay for discrimination against Israel."
"UNESCO has become a battlefield for Israel bashing and has disregarded its true role and purpose."
Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon

"[The decision was made by the United States to remove its support for UNESCO is linked to] the unfortunate politicization of the mandate of UNESCO, where anti-Israel bias has been a major factor and something the United States has been struggling to address."
U.S. charge d'affaires and U.S. representative to UNESCO, Chris Hegadorn

UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France. Photo: UNESCO

"Universality is critical to UNESCO's mission to strengthen international peace and security in the face of hatred and violence, to defend human rights and dignity."
"This is all the more true today, when the rise of violent extremism and terrorism calls for new long-term responses for peace and security, to counter racism and antisemitism, to fight ignorance and discrimination."
"UNESCO will continue to work for the universality of this Organization, for the values we share, for the objectives we hold in common, to strengthen a more effective multilateral order and a more peaceful, more just world."
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova
The director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Lebanon, Ann Dismorr, poses with a map devoid of any trace of the State of Israel, instead presenting it as a map of "Palestine," May 2013. (Image source: Palestinian Media Watch)
While Irina Bokova expresses her profound dismay in an exercise of righteous sanctimony, she and the arm of the UN she headed were complicit in rewarding the Palestinian Authority which incites to violence against Israel and Jews by confiscating Jewish heritage and awarding it to Palestinians. The sacred heritage sites of Jews throughout ancient history have suddenly been usurped by claims made by Palestinians that those sites are unique to Arab Palestinians not Jews and Israel and those claims were honoured by UNESCO, dishonouring UNESCO.

So much for the defence of human rights and dignity; awarded to those whose presence and actions though morally indefensible, have the benefit of support in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Unaligned Bloc of nations placing their clout where it defames and delegitimizes Israel, depriving it of its heritage. So much for universality and respect, and values shared, for commonly held objectives, all of which appear to focus on lashing Israel with contempt for its very survival.

And if this is the way that UNESCO sees itself clear to supporting and defending a more peaceful, just world, it inhabits an entirely other reality than that most clear to logic and the study of history. The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization whose purpose is meant to protect cultural sites and traditions through its World Heritage program has succeeded in aiding and abetting malevolent forces seeking to drive Israel out of existence; not only through physical attacks but by denying its historical heritage and ownership of its own sacred Judaic sites.

The legitimacy of the historical occurrence of the Holocaust is bandied about, and now the very reliability of that ancient document of Judaic monotheistic belief and history, the Old Testament which in its scribal testimony describes Judaic heritage, its prophets and its principle figures of authority, along with its geographic sites of sacred memory. In short, UNESCO has lent itself to the effort to destroy Jewish heritage links to Israel itself, transferring the historical impact to Arab Palestinians in one fell and false swoop of iniquity.

Welcoming "Palestine", a state which does not yet exist, as a member of UNESCO with all member rights and privileges in 2011 was but the prelude to the carnage to Israeli heritage yet to come. UNESCO itself as an arm of the United Nations has inherited the same anti-Semitic bias that runs rife through the international institution pledged to the advancement of peace and world stability, some of whose most influentially powerful members are base human-rights abusers accusing others of what they themselves practise.
On July 7, UNESCO voted for a resolution defining the Old City of Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs as Palestinian heritage sites. Before that, in 2016, two resolutions making the same type of counterfactual assertions concerning the Old City of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall were adopted. And the year before that, in 2015, UNESCO again upended history to rename two ancient biblical sites, Rachel's Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs, Islamic holy sites -- even though Islam did not even exist at that time."
"The Palestinian Authority (PA), which aspires to replace Israel with itself, is behind the resolutions on Jerusalem and Hebron and plays a key role in the transformation of UNESCO. The PA has constantly advocated and supported terrorism and has never stopped wanting to destroy Israel. Allowing the PA to have entered UNESCO is now having serious consequences."
"That the Muslim world supports the transformation of UNESCO and the resolutions proposed by the Palestinian Authority is predictable. Many Muslim countries directly or indirectly finance terrorism and approve the PA's genocidal goals. A large part of the Muslim world mentally lives in a parallel reality, in which a seventh century "Muslim history" of the world replaces the factual history of the world. The Muslim world considers itself in a conflict with the Western world, and sees Israel as a Western enclave to be excised or at least suppressed."
"That Third World countries also support the transformation of UNESCO and these resolutions is also predictable. Many Third World countries are imbued with an anti-Western resentment that leads them to conclude that that they are in a conflict with the West and must therefore support decisions taken by the countries of the Muslim world."
Dr. Guy Millière, professor of French literature, University of Paris

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

All In The Family

"My heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain because of these unforgivable actions."
"I have chosen to leave my husband. Caring for my young children is my first priority and I ask the media for privacy at this time."
Georgina Chapman, New York

"[I] had no idea he [Weinstein] was capable of these horrible actions [as an 'entitled' sexual predator].
"Fired [the] Weinsteins [from Miramax] because they were irresponsible, and Harvey was an incorrigible bully."
Michael Eisner, (former) Disney chief executive

"A culture of complicity [has prevailed at both The Weinstein Co. and his previous film company, the Walt Disney-owned Miramax]."
"Numerous people throughout the companies [were] fully aware of his [Harvey Weinstein's] behaviour but either abetting it or looking the other way."
New Yorker magazine
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation's A Magical Evening Gala - Inside
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: Harvey Weinstein and Meryl Streep on stage at the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation's A Magical Evening Gala at Cipriani, Wall Street on November 28, 2012 in New York City.  (Mike Coppola / Getty Images)

No one knew that among the celebrated producers in Hollywood one in particular was loyal to the old urban legends of the industry's fabled giants' propensity to prey on women anxious and eager to make a name for themselves, who saw no option for themselves but to betray their dignity and sighing, faced the inevitable; sleeping their way to fame and fortune. Evidently this man, skilled in the trade that made his name, was an inveterate womanizer, a man who compulsively threw his considerable clout in favour of any actor who submitted to his unwanted blandishments for sex.

And in that fine old tradition he was proud to make his own, any comely actress who failed to respond positively, in the manner he felt entitled to expect, simply wouldn't make the grade; his mentorship withdrawn, they'd have to promote themselves as best they could. And knowing the unlikelihood of that succeeding, Harvey Weinstein had a certain arrogant confidence that his offer was a not-unreasonable expectation.

His reputation was the talk of the town -- both towns, Hollywood and New York. Well known, remarked upon and either shrugged off or silently deplored, depending on your gender, it would seem. In the world of 'making it' by 'making out', women stood to gain if they rendered unto this Caesar what he felt was  his. He was not, it appears, particularly discreet. But then, there's a certain pattern that emerges among entitled men; they simply feel they are owed homage reflecting their exceptionality.

Which certainly helps to explain why former U.S. President Bill Clinton may have felt so at ease with this Hollywood production mogul. Among the many who now see fit to declare they had no idea that their former colleague was behaving in such an unacceptable, immoral manner, pressing himself on vulnerable women, Bill Clinton prefers to stand aside and let others condemn his old friend.

Mind, even those with no axe to grind either way, like Lindsay Lohan who had declared her empathy for Weinstein in an Instagram video -- explaining she had never been sexually harassed by him through their professional relationship -- felt obliged to delete it, lest she be seen to be on his 'side', a very lonely place to be.

A sexual predator is one with an absent conscience. The violence used in this instance against women was to deny them their aspirations. Such predation takes many forms, this among them; it is, in essence, an assault against their right of sovereignty over their bodies. Of course it is a matter of free choice whether or not to submit, unless physical force is used and then the deplorable becomes a crime of rape.

Many men who have captured the popular imagination and who have had great popular acclaim for their personal and professional attributes have failed the test as decent human beings, Weinstein is just another of them. Like Jian Ghomeshi formerly with the CBC, like the British television and radio personality Jimmy Savile whose crime was against children, like the popular Fox News men and certainly like former Black comedian Bill Cosby, everyone's favourite jokester. And who can forget the two Kennedy brothers, Ted and his brother John?

This too shall pass. As it has done involving the clergy, business leaders, boy scout leaders, sport figures, the military, where corrupt and influential people betrayed the trust that society lent them, some of them sociopaths, psychopaths, and just plain predators. This is life. This is the perpetual story of human fallibility. It is the story of people who believe themselves exceptional, entitled, free to act on their own agency in ways that harm others, to satisfy their urges.

But there are also the enablers, those who know and don't really care as long as it doesn't impact them personally. "When I founded Talk magazine in 1996 with Miramax, the movie company Harvey founded with his brother Bob, I also took over the running of their fledgling book company. Strange contracts pre-dating us would suddenly surface, book deals with no deadline attached authored by attractive or nearly famous women, one I recall was by the stewardess on a private plane. It was startling -- and professionally mortifying -- to discover how many hacks writing gossip columns or entertainment coverage were on the Miramax payroll with a 'consultancy' or a 'development deal'," wrote Tina Brown, celebrity journalist, scathingly.

Evidently the mortification she felt never compelled her to leave her editor's position with the magazine, enabling her to continue picking up her big, fat salary cheques from Miramax, and amusing herself attending the parties her employer put on with his impressive guest list of celebrities.... Including of course, Meryl Streep, who referred to Weinstein as "God" at the 2012 Golden Globe awards, but who found Donald Trump's sexual transgressions disgustingly odious.

This, the man whom countless Hollywood aspirants and those who succeeding beyond their wildest dreams of success, are grateful to for his helping, groping hand. Oh, and Harvey Weinstein's wife, Ms. Chapman, whose fashion line he so generously promoted, 'recommending' that 'his' stars appear at soirees wearing Marchesa apparel....

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Israel, a Jewish State in an Arab Geography

"This year is looking to maybe even be a record year."
"It's without doubt due to the fact that there have been changes in the White House."
Hagit Ofran, director, Settlement Watch, Peace Now, Israel

"Israel is bent on entrenching the military occupation and its illegal settlement enterprise, further reaffirming its intentions of displacing Palestine and replacing it with 'Greater Israel'."
"[The] global community [should] hold Israel accountable for acting outside the law before it destroys the prospects of a viable Palestinian state, peace and stability indefinitely."
Hanan Ashrawi, executive committee, Palestine Liberation Organization

"There will be no more uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel."
"We are here to stay."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
A January 26, 2017, photo of new apartments under construction in the Israeli settlement of Har Homa.
A January 26, 2017, photo of new apartments under construction in the Israeli settlement of Har Homa.

It was another Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, who had decided to experiment by unilaterally having Israel withdraw settlements and its military from the Gaza Strip. Having done so, it represented an opportunity for Gazans to mount an internal program to build state infrastructure in preparation for assuming future statehood. Instead, armed Palestinian groups wrought havoc and violence throughout the Strip. Until Hamas came in, dispersed their rival Fatah, and imposed Islamist rule. The Hamas charter clear in its purpose; to destroy the State of Israel.

Hanan Ashrawi, a spokesperson and executive committee member for the PLO speaks venomously of Israeli intentions, decrying its hamstringing of the Palestinian Authority to construct a viable state. That state-in-waiting is hugely dependent on the Israeli military to keep Hamas from destroying Fatah's hold on the PA. And veiling the Palestinian Liberation Organization as a group interested in peace and stability is rather a stretch given the violence and death it strewed in Israel, reaching into the global community to kidnap, bomb and hijack airliners and sea vessels to kill Jews.

It was a viciously murderous wing of the PLO (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) that murdered Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. So for the PLO to lecture the world on Israel's failings as a country dedicated to peace and getting along with its neighbour is rather pathetic. An estimated 400,000 Jews occupy about 150 settlements built in the West Bank, with another 200,000 Israelis living in East Jerusalem, part of greater Israel, which Palestinians aspire to gain as their future state capital.

On the other hand, fully 1.7-Million Arab Palestinians live within Israel with full citizenship rights, and thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank travel daily to Israel for employment because the Palestinian Authority is so consumed with slandering Israel internationally and pocketing the funding that comes its way as charity from Europe and the United Nations, it hasn't the time to make the effort to build adequate civil structures that would create employment other than with government.
An Israeli settler holds a flag with slogans at the Amona outpost, northeast of Ramallah, on February 1, 2017.
An Israeli settler holds a flag with slogans at the Amona outpost, northeast of Ramallah, on February 1, 2017.

Most countries independent of one another and fully sovereign but living next to one another, recognize an exchange of people, citizens of one or the other country often travel to live and to work in the neighbouring country. There is no animosity, no threats, no danger from one to the other. Should a Jewish Israeli, on the other hand, happen to wander into a Palestinian West Bank town or city their lives would be immediately forfeit, such is the extent of enmity deliberately cultivated by Palestinians against Jews.

During the Great War, when France and Britain and Russia among the Entente powers were fighting the German-led Central powers and on the Eastern Front the Arabs, subservient to the Ottoman Empire initiated an uprising. At that time too, Zionism began to exert its influence. As the Arabs, with aid from France and Britain, succeeded in freeing themselves from their Turkish overlords, they anticipated being lords in their own lands, even while France, Britain and Italy were occupying powers.

It was in 1918 that Britain informed the Arab leadership of the existence and meaning to them of the Balfour Declaration and attempted to convince Sharif Hussein ibn Ali to accept the Jews as neighbours in a parcel of land dedicated to the Jewish diaspora return to their native heritage geography in Palestine. Arab refusal was swift, and though 100 years have passed, their attitude has been unchanged.

Palestinian leaders have time and again refused to sign peace agreements with Israel that would lead to having a Palestinian state side by side with that of the Jewish state. The agenda is to destroy the Jewish state which they will never recognize, and to regain the land upon which it sits, whereupon the longed-for Palestinian state would arise, triumphant, an intention shielded from international eyes and ears, but well publicized for Arab eyes and ears.

Israel, truth be told, has no negotiating partners. Palestinian leaders who outright refused the UN's offer of partition in 1948, which Israel gratefully accepted, continue to refuse partition.

Israeli soldiers stand guard blocking an entrance to the Jewish settlers zone of Hebron's Tel Rumeida neighbourhood, on September 18, 2016.
Israeli soldiers stand guard blocking an entrance to the Jewish settlers zone of Hebron's Tel Rumeida neighbourhood, on September 18, 2016.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Threatening Kurdistan

"The threats don't work against Kurds, and it's much better to engage in dialogue with us now."
"Baghdad and Erbil still need to cooperate against ISIS and the humanitarian crisis in Iraq."
"All we've done is hold a referendum. We have not unilaterally declared independence."
Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, Washington representative, Kurdistan Regional Government
Patrons peruse the grand bazaar the Kurdistan region’s Irbil on Sept. 30. Kurds voted for independence weeks ago, but some elements have impeded the area’s quest for autonomy.

Kurdish leaders in the Kurdistan Regional Government had good enough reason to believe that Washington -- despite its ongoing warning to President Masoud Barzani that the time is not right, that Kurdistan would do better to await another opportunity once the current prevailing atmosphere of conflict and uncertainty is past, to engage in their movement toward sovereignty, abandoning the autonomy that Iraq agreed upon, post-Saddam Hussein's reign of terror, once it carried out its plebiscite and the voters gave ample proof of the people's will -- would support it.

When would an appropriate time to declare Kurdistan's intention to finally become fully independent as a functioning state? Simply by continuing to pursue the status quo, surrendering its full sovereignty to Baghdad and the whims of whoever was placed in the top echelons of executive government would merely prolong the dissatisfaction of millions of people whose ethnic roots long predated those of the Arab tribes ensconced on heritage geography of the Kurds. Without doubt President Barzani might have felt he must lead his people to strike while their iron was still hot.

Waiting until such time as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was fully routed, their caliphate geography a phantom of failure, would simply go on to 'normalize' Kurdistan as an ongoing autonomous region subservient to an Arab political culture that had historically persecuted the Kurds. That four countries claimed land traditional and by heritage the Kurds' throughout history vastly contributes to the emphatic rage of denial by Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

While Syria's President Bashar al-Assad mounts his ongoing campaign against his majority Sunni citizens by slaughtering hundreds of thousands of civil dissidents he terms 'terrorists', he has the eager assistance of Iran, Lebanon (through the Iranian militia proxy Hezbollah), Turkey and Russia whose interests in a deep-sea port and land base in Syria leads it to airborne military support of the regime enabling Assad to continue his atrocities against his own citizens.

But the overtures to Iraq's parliamentarians by Kurdistan's government to come together at a negotiating table in a civilized manner to discuss the means by which each would be satisfied by an amicable (albeit unwillingly grudging Iraq) to accept Kurdistan's sovereignty is considered beyond the pale, an assault and horrible affront against Arab dominance in the region. Iran has closed the land border with the Iraqi Kurdish region while threatening flights and accusing President Barzani of links to the Israeli Mossad.

Turkey is threatening to close off the Kirkuk oil spigot delivery system despite Russia's massive investment in Kurdistan's oil and gas output and despite Russian President Vladimir Putin's overtures toward reasonableness. Equable reasonableness is the furthest civil attribute that Recep Tayyip Erdogan could conceivably muster on any occasion for any reason that he feels threatens his own Caliphate. The malice that he evinces toward Kurds, not only those within Turkey, but in Syria and Iraq is incalculable.

It is time for the United States administration to recognize its indebtedness to an ally, the only one it could depend upon to rally to the enormous task of challenging and ousting the Islamic State from Iraq. It has been the Kurdish Peshmerga who have performed this task, not the Iraqi military whose courage has been demonstrated to be wanting; they had the U.S.-supplied weapons and rolling stock to effect a winning conflict with ISIL, and melted away in confused panic, leaving the weaponry to benefit Islamic State.

Peshmerga forces led the battles against ISIL with antiquated, inadequate weapons, awaiting the transfer of U.S.- and other NATO-allied nations providing war machinery and updated weapons to the Peshmerga through the government of Iraq; somehow those weapons failed to filter through to the only forces that required their immediate delivery. So, why should the Kurds continue to place any trust in Iraq, a nation whose leaders are more comfortable penalizing the Kurds for not being Arabs than cooperating with them?

It is past time for the Trump administration to threaten to cut off military and economic aid to Iraq and Turkey for their reactions to Kurdish aspirations. The Kurds have been loyal and trustworthy allies to the American war against Islamic State. By taking drastic steps to cut off international access and constrict the economy of the Kurdish region, Iran, Iraq and Turkey are busy with their intention of starving Kurdistan of its due in financial health in line with their plan to punish it for dreaming of nationhood.

If they see fit to threaten war against Kurdistan, the United States has the moral obligation to quietly, diplomatically, inform the threateners that they too will come under threat.
Iraq Vice President Ayad Allawi says there could be a "violent conflict" over the Kurdish-administered city of Kirkuk if talks over Kurdish independence are left unresolved.
Iraq Vice President Ayad Allawi says there could be a "violent conflict" over the Kurdish-administered city of Kirkuk if talks over Kurdish independence are left unresolved.  The National

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