26 Jan 2010

Straw rejected advice that Iraq invasion was 'unlawful'

Jack Straw rejected advice in the run up to war that invading Iraq without UN backing would break international law, the Iraq inquiry heard.

read more about the Iraq inquiry by clicking on the title

25 Jan 2010

Benjamin Netanyahu: Israel will never quit settlements

"Our message is clear: We are planting here, we will stay here, we will build here. This place will be an inseparable part of Israel for eternity", he said.

24 Jan 2010

McDonald's Pounded Over 'Bob' Menu Advert

A new advert for McDonald's has come under fire over its inaccurate use of the English language.

The advert, which promotes the Pound Saver Menu, begins "the pound, also known as a bob", a statement which, strictly speaking, is not true.

Technically, a bob is a term for a shilling, or five pence, and of far less value than a pound.

The American fast food giant's blunder has stirred up some incensed online debate about English currency slang, blaming executives in the US for not properly researching the UK market before broadcasting the advert.

read the rest of the article by clicking on the title...
Yet, this would not the the first blunder from the yanks. The "I'm loving it" bastardization [oops, sorry! I meant...] "vernacularization" of the English language must still rank a lot higher than that. The moronic, "living", cool street-lingospeak-ers don't give a toss about the correct use of the present simple/progressive... Long live the Bologna process!

23 Jan 2010

Did you know the US... "does not want to interfere in Iraqi politics"?

At least that's what Joe Bidden told his guy in Iraq... Before you start laughing, have a look at the BBC article by clicking on the link provided in the title...

'Bomb detector' maker, Jim McCor-mick, arrested

Amongst Wall Street's Ponzi schemers, this rather credible con artist is the embodiment of capitalism's raison d'etre... read the "sad news" by clicking on the link provided in the title. It is truly, madly, deeply funny! Enjoy!

The plot thickens: McCorr (blimey, the) mick's not budging! Them yanks and their proxy stooges aren't going to get his secret: No, sir! http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8477601.stm

US firm to remove Biblical references on gunsights

A US military contractor has said it will stop engraving Biblical references on rifles used by the US army.
The references - first reported on by ABC News - had raised concerns that they broke a US rule barring troops [from] proselytising in the predominantly Muslim countries of Afghanistan and Iraq, where they are widely used by both the US and British military.

In a letter sent to the US president on Thursday, the head of the Interfaith Alliance said the gunsights "clearly violate" the rule.

"Images of American soldiers as Christian crusaders come to mind when they are carrying weaponry bearing such verses," Welton Gaddy said.

Earlier in the week, the Church of England told the UK's Guardian newspaper: "People of all faiths and none are being killed and injured in these ­conflicts, on all sides, and any suggestion that this is being done in the name of the Bible would be deeply worrying to many ­Christians."

Read all about it by clicking on the link provided in the title!...

22 Jan 2010

John Edwards: Notes on a scandal

read Kevin Connolly's excellent BBC article by clicking on the link provided in the title... it speaks volumes about American politics!

21 Jan 2010

Et Tu, Brutus?

What is going on here? Obama, the Wall Street's corporate agent, is pushing for new bank regulations?!...
read the BBC article by clicking on the link in the title

19 Jan 2010

Why does "God" allow natural disasters?

At the heart of Haiti's humanitarian crisis is an age old question for many religious people - how can God allow such terrible things to happen? Philosopher David Bain examines the arguments...

[see them by clicking on the link provided in the title!]

18 Jan 2010

The Invention of the Croatian Diaspora: Unpacking the Politics of "Diaspora" During the War in Yugoslavia

Abstract: The Croatian “diaspora” is an invention of the 1990’s. Over the course of the 20thcentury, Croats living abroad were traditionally divided into three socio-political categories: “old emigrants,” “political émigrés” and “guest workers.” At the turn of the 1990’s, rising ethnic tensions in Yugoslavia pushed these groups towards a short-lived unity when diasporic organizations provided a vast humanitarian, military and lobbying support for the newly founded state of Croatia. At the end of the war, Franjo Tudjman’s Croatian Democratic Union used the supposed moral debt of the country to the “diaspora,” to enact discriminatory citizenship laws and enforce a de facto de-territorialized annexation of part of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Drawing on several years of research on diaspora politics in the former Yugoslavia, this paper highlights several simple yet often overlooked insights about the role of diasporas in international relations and conflicts. Firstly, it argues that “diasporas” are not agents of international politics in and of themselves. The agents are the organizations and institutions representing, or claiming to represent, a diaspora. The second argument is that “diasporas” should not be considered as unitary actors. Even if at times diasporic institutions might build coalitions, or unanimously support a cause for a certain period of time, in different circumstances these organizations can be significantly divided, disrupting notions of diasporic homogeneity. Finally, this paper shows that the all-encompassing label of “diaspora” can be appropriated by a government and used to push policies that have little to do with the “diaspora” itself but instead justify national policies that would otherwise be considered illegitimate.

Francesco Ragazzi

Ph.D. candidate, Institut d’Etudes Politiques (Paris) and Northwestern University (Chicago)

Letter to a soldier

by John Wight, December 28th 2009

On December [the] 27th, 2008 you launched your murderous air assault against 1.5 million men, women, and children, hermetically enclosed in the most overcrowded piece of land on earth, the Gaza Strip. Starved, besieged, yet unbowed, they could do nothing except endure as your bombs and your missiles rained down, targeting hospitals, schools, civic buildings, homes, police stations, and even UN compounds where people had sought sanctuary; still believing, despite decades of disappointment and betrayal, in the sanctity and protection of international law.
Then, on January 3, you began your ground invasion, and who could ever forget the pictures of you and your comrades, fully armed and equipped for combat, marching into the night, marching over the hopes and lives of the children who in just a few hours were destined to be blown apart by the guns and the bullets you carried so proudly as a testament to your superior civilisation and values.
Guernica 1937: the Warsaw Ghetto 1942: My Lai 1968: Fallujah 2003: and now Gaza 2008/09...

Read the rest of John Wight's letter by clicking on the link provided in the title...

17 Jan 2010

Spanish MP's photo used for Osama Bin Laden poster

A Spanish politician [Gaspar Llamazares] has said he was shocked to find out the FBI had used his photo for a digitally-altered image showing how Osama Bin Laden might look.

"I was surprised and angered because it's the most shameless use of a real person to make up the image of a terrorist," he told a news conference.

"It's almost like out of a comedy if it didn't deal with matters as serious as Bin Laden and citizens' security."

The FBI claimed to have used "cutting edge" technology, but Mr Llamazares said it showed the "low level" of US intelligence services and could cause problems if he was wrongly identified as the Saudi.

"Bin Laden's safety is not threatened by this but mine certainly is," he said, adding that he was considering taking legal action.

11 Jan 2010

Religion: Opiate of the People?

The Marxist view of religion has been greatly over-simplified, typically identified with the well-worn refrain that it’s the “opiate of the people.” In this article, MICHAEL LÖWY challenges this misconception, and presents us with a richly nuanced view of Marxism and religion.

The High Cost of Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism

Israel's ultra-orthodox Jews, also known as Haredim, make up roughly 10% of the population. Most live their lives in voluntary isolation from the secular world.

Men tend to spend their days studying the Jewish scriptures, which are the primary focus of education for both genders.

Posters on the walls of ultra-orthodox areas pass on community news, as many residents shield themselves from what they see as the secular influence of television and radio.

Images of women are banned, and anyone driving on the Jewish Sabbath is likely to have stones thrown at their car.

Every detail of life is determined by religious observance, says Mr Lev, "even how you put on your shoes".

Read the rest of the article by clicking on the link hidden in the title...

Other BBC articles/internet links confirming that (all) religions are the opium of the people include:
"Rabbis black-list non-kosher music" http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7609859.stm;
"Set apart for God and Torah" http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7553860.stm;
"Aish HaTorah" http://international.aish.com/aishint/;
"Jewish beliefs" http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/judaism/beliefs/beliefs_1.shtml.

6 Jan 2010

Romania's "Middle Class"

Alas, Romania's "Middle Class" is made up of 11700 post-socialist transition winners! This means it's real size is a mere 0.05% of its 21.5 million transition losers!...

5 Jan 2010

Star-Spangled Massacre

"It was a sad day for all people of good will on October 9th 2009 when the Nobel Committee announced the award the Peace Prize to US President Barack Obama. At the ceremony Obama was obliged to defend his decision to authorize the sending of a further 30,000 US troops to war-torn Afghanistan in a continuation of the war against terrorism promoted by former President Bush and planned [by] his neocon acolytes, such as Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Douglas Feith amongst others..."

The rest of Arturo Rosales' Axis of Logic article can be accessed by clicking on the link provided in the title.

1 Jan 2010

A 2010 New Year's Resolution?

During the Depression of the 1930s, the League for Social Reconstruction (LSR), a progressive think-tank, emerged in Eastern Canada, while a new political party, the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) was born in Calgary. The Regina Manifesto and its 14-point program, initially written by LSR academics, was approved by the delegates attending the first full national CCF convention in 1933. Last October, the Saskatchewan branch of the CCPA invited CCPA senior economist Armine Yalnizyan to address its fundraising events in Regina and Saskatoon and speak about the Manifesto and its continuing relevance today. Her address can be viewed by clicking on the link provided in the title