Thursday, July 24, 2014

What might be different today had Netanyahu given peace a chance last April?

Does anyone remember last April?

Hamas and Fatah announced an historic reconciliation agreement.

Netanyahu went on the attack immediately. Abbas was choosing terror over peace, etc..

Well, maybe he wasn't.

Maybe Hamas was prepared to give peace a chance.

Too bad Netanyahu didn't.

What would be different today?

Several dozen IDF funerals wouldn't have happened.

800 Palestinian dead would still be alive.

Thousands injured would have remained whole.

But Netanyahu knew from the first moment he was having none of that.

What did he have to lose?

And what is he winning now?

Ukraine; Yats bails as country circles drain

Arseniy "Yats" Yatseniuk, the Ukrainian PM "democratically elected" last February by US ambassador Geoff Pyatt and State Department no. 2 Victoria Nuland, has announced that he is abandoning ship. He will no doubt turn up soon in a non-teaching "teaching post" at a prominent American University, or as a "senior fellow" at a big-name think tank. Maybe both!

After all, he deserves it, having done what he could to deliver his country into the apparently not-too-eager arms of the West.

While the West is keen to use Ukraine as a tool to browbeat Putin, thus far they have been somewhat niggardly in coming up with tangible support. Just today it emerged that Canada, by far the loudest booster of Ukraine's turn to the West, has yet to get at the paperwork involved in processing that $200 million they promised months and months ago.

Meanwhile, President Poroshenko struggles with an official army that doesn't follow orders, a "new" army made of hastily conscripted neo-fascist nutters and foreign white-power mercenaries that doesn't follow orders either, and a new sugar daddy in the EU who makes lots of promises but seems in no hurry to cover that multi-billion dollar Gazprom tab that the snubbed Putin would prefer to see cleaned up before he turns the taps back on for next winter.

These have to be trying days for The Chocolate King, as he finds himself a victim of history instead of a maker of history.

So it's forward full steam with the default strategy; hunker down in his office and issue non-stop press releases blaming Russia for everything.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's not just the telegenic dead babies; Israel's public image goes down the toilet

The "greatest leader since Moses" got some bad press recently for his cynical remarks about how the "telegenic dead" are being ruthlessly exploited by Hamas to make Israel look bad.

That's the trouble with dead babies; gift dozens of dead babies to people like Hamas, and God only knows what the opportunistic bastards might do with them... surely it was predictable that some of them would end up in the international media.

Telegenic dead are common in conflicts everywhere, but in Israel the dead babies are getting lots of help from people whom one might expect to know better.

For example, here is Professor Mordechai Kedar of Bar Ilan University musing about using rape as a terror deterrent. Such a gift is beyond anything the Hamas propaganda department could possibly make up.

And here's another upbeat headline guaranteed to bring joy to anti-Semites everywhere; "Jewish law permits destruction of Gaza to bring safety to Israel."

Is this what Israel is becoming?

How to bury Gaza

I've been reading newspapers long enough to know that the biggest stories go on the front page. Or at least the story that the editors deem to be the biggest.

For a whole lot of reasons, the Gaza story is by far the most important at the moment. Sure, global warming could bake us to a crisp, but not this week. MH17 is a plane crash that killed three hundred people. That deserves to be front page news, for a day or two, maybe a little longer if there are peripheral elements to the story, such as when that plane is shot down by a missile.

I was therefore perturbed when, as I was perusing the front page of Canada's newspaper of record yesterday morning, I couldn't find Gaza. Instead, five days after the event, MH17 remains the top story.

Except it's not so much about MH17 anymore; it's all about what Putin will do next, which could be anything from shooting down another civilian airliner to annexing Lithuania or Poland or the rest of Ukraine, apparently. Other stories deemed worthy of the front page are the Duffy Drama, a Chinese guy in BC charged with spying for China, and a court ruling about Canadian's right to portage a canoe.

But no front page news about Gaza.

I'm leafing through the paper... mayor dies of wasp sting... car gets stolen... Rob Ford...

Pages 6 and 7 are entirely given over to anti-Putin propaganda presented as an insiders report on the imaginary Donetsk People's Republic.

Still no Gaza news.

On page 8 I was shocked to learn that big-talkin' John Baird wants Europe to take a tougher line toward Moscow.

Finally, on page 9, I encounter a Gaza story; "Hamas shows resilience despite shelling."

Hmm... that's not a good sign. Globe editors with an admiring headline for Hamas? Things must be going worse than we realize in Netanyahu's "Operation Over the Cliff."

OK, no wonder they buried it on page 9.

So today I pick up my paper, and guess what the top story is? Putin! Oh for f@cks sakes! And once again two pages of anti-Putin propaganda on pages 6 and 7!

First glimpse of Gaza-related news comes on page 8, where I learn that Ottawa has not yet formally banned flights to Israel but Air Canada is cancelling them anyway.

They're probably anti-Semites.

The editorial board at The Globe and Mail, on the other hand, should know better than to bury the biggest story in the world deep in their newspaper.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Let's all say NO to the scourge of nationalism

Seems to me that the ground-level conscripts in the Ukrainian Army and the ground-level fighters in the so-called separatist movement have way more in common with one another than they do with the oligarchs manipulating the respective sides.

That's pretty much true in the latest Israel-Hamas conflagration too. An awful lot of those IDF "heroes" will return to a civilian life in which they will struggle to find a job or an apartment. The big dogs on either side will have no such difficulties.

And do those NASCAR fans in those huge race-track stadiums wonder why half the seats are empty when they stand for the benediction and the mandatory fly-over by the air force that has brought death and destruction to millions the world over?

If they gave it a moment's thought they would realize that the air force they are saluting mows down people just like them; folks who want to go to work and raise their family and make it to a special event once or twice a year.

The reason half those seats are empty is because America's oligarchs have profited mightily from throwing half the middle class, the folks who used to sit there, into the dumpster these last 30 years.

People are people. They have pretty much identical aspirations the world over, regardless of creed or skin color. Live their lives, raise their children, and leave the world a better place than they found it... if for no other reason than that their children will be living in that world.

So why do we have to hate one another?

Toronto Maple Leafs management back on crack; hire 28 yr old weenie as Assistant GM

Kyle Dubas has quite the track record.

For two of the three years that he was GM of the OHL's Soo Greyhounds, they made the playoffs.

Yup, that's it. Made the playoffs, as did 15 other teams.

Apparently he's a wizard with "analytics."

I suppose that might be better than pyramids under the team bench... but analytics?

Maybe Shanahan is a wizard at spotting young management talent.

Or maybe he's just sticking to sticking up for the insider network.

We shall see.

Canada's Foreign Minister Baird in throes of mid-life crisis; accidentally brings peace to Middle East by embracing UN charter!

Well, that's better than embracing a teen-age hooker in the throes of your mid-life crisis, I suppose.

Today Baird informed the world that he was "appalled" to learn that a UN school in Gaza had discovered a rocket stash on the premises, and may have turned those rockets over to Hamas.

It's not exactly the best of times in Gaza these days, and I have a hunch that if such a thing happened, it may not have been an entirely consensual transaction.

But Baird, generally more inclined to piss on the UN Charter than to promote it, saw this as the moment to remind us of the sanctity of this document by quoting from Article 1;

Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations states that the UN’s purpose is to “…maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace.”

Since Mr. Baird brought it up, let's have a closer look. Hmm... "take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace?"

So I'm a little confused here... Sounds like Little John is going to speak out and condemn Israel's nuclear arsenal, the only one in the Middle East. After all, what could constitute a greater threat to the peace?

Does that mean he will lobby to have Israel sign the nuclear non-proliferation pact, as Iran has? Will he lobby Israel to join Iran in advocating for a nuclear-free Middle East?

Hey, I'm behind you 100% Mr. Baird!

And seeing you quote the bit about "principles of justice and international law" would seem to hint that, going forward, you will use your masterful powers of persuasion to convince your friends in Israel to abide by international laws, principles of justice, Geneva Convention, and so forth, ad infinitum.

Great news! You will go down in history as the man who brought peace to the Middle East!