By Elliott Negin, EcoWatch
“Clean air is vitally important,” Trump declared during a Nov. 22, 2016 interview with The New York Times. “Clean water,” he added, “crystal clean water is vitally important. Safety is vitally important.” And when he announced Pruitt’s nomination in early December, Trump vowed that the attorney general would “restore the EPA’s essential mission of keeping our air and water clean and safe.”
Putting aside the fact that the EPA has not forsaken that mission, Pruitt’s track record indicates that he would do the exact opposite. Under Pruitt, the acronym EPA would stand for Every Polluter’s Ally.
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Photo published for Trump Picks ‘Puppet of the Fossil Fuel Industry’ to Head EPA
Since he took office as Oklahoma’s attorney general in 2010, Pruitt has repeatedly sued the EPA to block key safeguards limiting power plant pollution, most notably the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which limits sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides and the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), which curb mercury, arsenic, cyanide and other emissions.
Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are primary ingredients of soot and smog pollution, which cause a number of respiratory problems, including bronchitis and aggravated asthma, as well as cardiovascular disease and premature death. Mercury and other toxic pollutants covered by MATS have been linked to heart disease, neurological damage, birth defects, asthma attacks and premature death. Some 25 million Americans suffer from asthma, alone. That’s one out of every 12 people.
The potential benefits of the Cross-State Rule and MATS are considerable. Taken together, they are projected to prevent 18,000 to 46,000 premature deaths across the country and save $150 billion to $380 billion in health care costs annually. In Pruitt’s home state, the two regulations would avert as many as 720 premature deaths and save as much as $5.9 billion per year.
Pruitt also has sued the EPA to prevent the agency from implementing a rule that would reduce the amount of ground-level ozone or smog, which the American Lung Association says is the most widespread pollutant nationwide and one of the most dangerous. Produced when sunlight heats nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide from power plants, industrial facilities and automobiles, ozone pollution has been linked to respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease and premature death. It is particularly harmful for the most vulnerable, including children, the elderly, and people already suffering from asthma or another respiratory disease.
No matter. In October 2015, Pruitt joined with four other states to challenge the new ozone rule in court, despite the fact that earlier that month, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality said the state could meet the new EPA limits.
Pruitt also has targeted clean water safeguards. In July 2015, he sued the EPA over the Clean Water Rule, which the agency and the Army Corps of Engineers had just issued to clarify the scope of the Clean Water Act. The rule was in response to two Supreme Court decisions—in 2001and in 2006—that called into question whether the federal government had the authority to protect smaller streams, wetlands and other water bodies that flow into drinking water supplies. From a scientific perspective, it’s a no-brainer. As EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy explained in a statement: “For the lakes and rivers we love to be clean, the streams and wetlands that feed them have to be clean, too.”
Pruitt doesn’t see it that way. In a March 2015 column he co-wrote with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul for The Hill, Pruitt called the Clean Water Rule “the greatest blow to private property rights the modern era has seen.” Pruitt and Rand maintain that states should be responsible for protecting the environment within their respective borders, not the federal government. Never mind that air and water pollution do not honor political boundaries and state legislatures are all too often dominated by corporate interests.
Besides Pruitt’s disdain for air and water safeguards, he is no fan of federal efforts to address climate change, which he falsely insists is an open scientific question. Pruitt, who has received generous contributions from fossil fuel interests, is not only party to a pending lawsuit against the EPA over its Clean Power Plan to curb electricity sector carbon emissions, he also attempted unsuccessfully to overturn the agency’s science-based “endangerment finding” that greenhouse gases threaten public health and welfare, a cornerstone of the EPA’s climate work.
Public health advocates are rightly horrified at the prospect of Pruitt running the EPA. The response from Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, was typical.
“The EPA plays an absolutely vital role in enforcing long-standing policies that protect the health and safety of Americans, based on the best available science,” Kimmell said in a press statement. “Pruitt has a clear record of hostility to the EPA’s mission, and he is a completely inappropriate choice to lead it. … It’s this simple: If senators take seriously their job of protecting the public, they must vote no on Pruitt.”
Once More The New York Times Provides Space for Front Organizations Paid By Oil Barrons. This one is one more time about The Oil Crude Replacing Reality When Petroleum Refiners Use Ethanol Octane Boosting Additive to Gasoline.
An Oil money backed so called think tank is at it again. Again we hear that using oil in order to make gasoline is a better idea then trying to use less oil crud and make better gasoline. This is the story of ethanol additive to gasoline after the government ruled the elimination of lead compounds that were used by the refiners in the formulation of gasoline.
We know this issue well and do not consider this blatant attack funded by the big funders of the repeat creation in think-tank forgeries that their only purpose is to keep us dependent of oil – their own investment of choice. DISGUSTING.
The Opinion Pages | Op-Ed Contributor
By ROBERT BRYCEMARCH of the Manhattan Institute – a Right Wing Think Tank that pays visits to the Koch Brothers.
WITH the collapse in global oil prices, members of Congress are once again pushing to raise the federal gasoline tax, with the proceeds going to new roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects. While some in Congress might be averse to a tax increase of any kind, they might find it more palatable if it came packaged with a tax cut.
Fortunately, there is a perfect option, a hidden levy that has benefited a small group of farmers and manufacturers in a handful of states: the corn ethanol tax.
The tax is hidden because, on paper, it appears as a clean-energy mandate. Federal law currently requires fuel retailers to blend about 13 billion gallons of corn ethanol per year into the gasoline they sell to the public, making the gas more expensive. This year, that mandate, known as the Renewable Fuel Standard, will impose about $10 billion in additional fuel costs on motorists.
Congress created the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2005 with several goals in mind: energy security, rural economic development and environmental protection. But the indirect environmental costs involved, including growing, harvesting and processing corn into fuel, are significant. Ethanol diverts corn from the food supply, driving up food costs; it promotes inefficient and harmful land-use strategies; and it can damage small engines. But a more fundamental problem is its high cost when compared with conventional gasoline. And that higher cost is directly related to its lower energy density.
Ethanol contains about 76,000 B.T.U.s per gallon. Gasoline contains about 114,000 B.T.U.s per gallon. Therefore, to get the same amount of energy contained in a gallon of gasoline, a motorist must buy about 1.5 gallons of ethanol.
And that takes us to the cost issue. Since 1982, officials in Nebraska (which is the second-largest ethanol producer, behind Iowa) have been monitoring monthly and annual wholesale, or “rack,” prices for ethanol and gasoline at fuel depots in Omaha. In December 2014, the rack price of a gallon of ethanol was $2.40, while a gallon of unleaded gasoline was $1.73. But recall that we need 1.5 gallons of ethanol to match the energy contained in a gallon of gasoline. That means you would need to pay about $3.60 to get the same amount of energy as from a gallon of gasoline, making ethanol about twice as expensive.
That’s not unusual. Since 1982, the price of an energy-equivalent amount of ethanol has, on average, been about 2.4 times the price of gasoline. Furthermore, for eight full years between 1986 and 1998, ethanol cost at least three times more than an energy-equivalent amount of gasoline. In fact, since 1982, ethanol has always been more expensive than gasoline.
The same energy-equivalent prices allow us to estimate the annual cost of the ethanol tax. Between 2007 and 2014, about 92.5 billion gallons of ethanol were mixed into domestic gasoline supplies. Over that eight-year period, the energy-equivalent cost of ethanol averaged about 90 cents per gallon more than gasoline.
Motorists thus incurred about $83 billion — roughly $10 billion annually — in additional fuel costs over and above what they would have paid for gasoline alone.
The United States now has about 212 million licensed drivers. That means that the ethanol tax is soaking the average driver for an additional $47 per year in excess fuel costs.
In the last session of Congress, 169 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Gina McCarthy, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, urging her to reduce the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline supplies because the mandates could cause “economic and environmental harm.” Nothing came of it.
The push to end the ethanol tax has continued with the new Congress. Three senators — Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, along with two Republicans, Patrick J. Toomey from Pennsylvania and Jeff Flake from Arizona — have introduced legislation to repeal the ethanol mandate. Their bill is supported by three dozen groups, ranging from industry groups like the American Petroleum Institute and the National Marine Manufacturers Association to environmental organizations like the Clean Air Task Force and Friends of the Earth.
Similar moves are afoot in the House, where Representative Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, and three co-sponsors — Steve Womack, a Republican from Arkansas, and two Democrats, Peter Welch of Vermont and Jim Costa of California — are pushing a similar bill. In a statement, Mr. Goodlatte implored his colleagues “to stop this boondoggle.”
Given the high cost of the ethanol tax, the word “boondoggle” seems too polite. Let’s call it what it is: a rip-off.
Robert Bryce is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the author of a new report from the institute, “The Hidden Corn-Ethanol Tax.”
A version of this op-ed appears in print on March 10, 2015, on page A21 of the New York edition with the headline: End the Ethanol Rip-Off.
The clincher for them was when Francis wrote an official Papal document in which he asked in outrage: “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?” See, cried the carpers, that’s proof that Francis is the Red Pope!
25 December 14
Tere’s a twist on Christmas that would make Jesus weep.
First, a right-wing faction in the US has been wringing its hands over a hokey cultural “crisis” cooked up by the faction itself, namely that liberals, atheists, humanists, and – God Forbid – Marxists are waging a “War on Christmas.” The infidels are not accused of lobbing bombs in this war, but Words of Mass Destruction. Specifically, the right-wing purists wail that unholy lefties are perverting the season by saying “Happy Holidays,” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
Second, some ultra conservative members of this same faction have launched their own war – against Jesus! How twisted is this? They say no one should mess with the word “Christmas,” yet they’re messing with the guy Christmas is supposed to be about.
They’ve decided that the Pope is a “Marxist,” pointing out that Francis speaks often about “the structural causes of poverty,” the “idolatry of money,” and the “new tyranny” of unfettered capitalism. Obviously, say the Pontiff’s pious critics, that’s commie talk.
The clincher for them was when Francis wrote an official Papal document in which he asked in outrage: “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?” See, cried the carpers, that’s proof that Francis is the Red Pope!
But wait – that was a very good question he asked, one ripe with the moral wrath that Jesus himself frequently showed toward the callous rich and their “love of money.” Indeed, the Pope’s words ring with the deep ethics you find in Jesus’ sermon on the Mount. Was he a commie, too?
A FEW OF THE COMMENTS:
+52 # RCW 2014-12-25 14:07
+10 # goodsensecynic 2014-12-25 15:33
+36 # Pickwicky 2014-12-25 14:14
Merry Christmas, everyone.
+2 # LGNTexas 2014-12-25 17:25
+1 # Charles3000 2014-12-25 19:07
+4 # Brian Flaherty 2014-12-25 14:45
It seems that He has dropped the ball somewhere over the past 2000 years and it’s gonna take awhile to get him back on track if he wants to play the lead in the Passion Play! If he won’t “play ball” they’ll just hafta replace him with a “body double” who’s willing to do the Cruci-FICTION and wear the thorny Crown while saying all the “RIGHT” Things!
+9 # DaveM 2014-12-25 15:03
+6 # Brian Flaherty 2014-12-25 15:16
+14 # asbpab1966 2014-12-25 14:52
+11 # goodsensecynic 2014-12-25 15:43
The point is that there are lots of cultures (especially where snow falls regularly) that get cheerful when the days begin to get longer.
+15 # margpark 2014-12-25 15:01
0 # Regina 2014-12-25 18:59
+6 # Corvette-Bob 2014-12-25 15:18
+12 # goodsensecynic 2014-12-25 15:28
And, as for the unpleasantness in the temple, it certainly wasn’t a sign that we should be mad at Wall Street (after all, Jesus only went after the “Jewish” moneylenders!).
The real problem comes in Acts 4(32), where it is written that none of the apostles ever said “nought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things in common.”
Or worse, Acts 4(34-35) in which we learn that “neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man as he had need.”
Now, fast forward 1800 years to Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program (1875), where he says “from each according to his ability; to each according to his need.”
So, either the disciples were communists or Marx was a Christian (absent the “God” part).
In any case, Marx can be accused of many things but only one charge firmly sticks: Plagiarism!
+2 # Arden 2014-12-25 16:39
+1 # goodsensecynic 2014-12-25 17:55
I don’t know the truth of it or if Jesus even existed or if he said anything remotely similar to the words reported in Matthew 19(24); but, I do know that those words, taken literally, would knock Michele Bachmann and the rest of them for a loop. So, absent overwhelming evidence, I’ll stick with the way King James’ translation committee expressed it.
+7 # kalpal 2014-12-25 15:30
-2 # Arden 2014-12-25 16:45
0 # Regina 2014-12-25 19:02
-2 # anarchteacher 2014-12-25 15:54
The outstanding chronicler of Political Religions writing today is Michael Burleigh, who is following in the bold path blazed by scholars such as Eric Voegelin, Murray Rothbard, Norman Cohn, Gerhart Niemeyer, James Billington, and Henri de Lubac.
Utopian Nightmares and Gnostic Political Religions – an Amazon book list
I have long believed that at the core of the political and economic challenges we face as a civilization is an ongoing warfare within the spiritual dimension at the root of our being.
For two millennia, Western civilization has been rent and torn asunder by this struggle.
The unity of Christendom was shattered by the Reformation. After Martin Luther came the seeds for the rise of the leviathan state. The fertile soil of Europe had been sown but the time was not yet ready. The gestation would take centuries to come to full fruition.
-3 # anarchteacher 2014-12-25 15:59
The Enlightenment, Freemasonry, Illuminism & the Religion of Humanity – an Amazon book list
It was Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose writings so influenced the French Revolution, who first announced that human beings could be transformed for the better by the political process, by social engineering. This idea would have fatal consequences for millions in the 20th century.
0 # ericlipps 2014-12-25 17:22
-3 # anarchteacher 2014-12-25 16:02
Secularism and the crisis of faith, born of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, would provide the vital fertilizing nutrients for totalitarianism to finally bloom in the 20th century.
For it was in the 20th century where the West faced its greatest challenges via two satanic-inspired regimes, that of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. These two antipodal gnostic political religions were bent on using terror and mayhem to subjugate and remold humanity.
They wanted to coercively refashion a New Aryan Man or a New Soviet Man from our spiritual and material essence created by the hand of God.
Millions died in this cataclysmic process of “social engineering.”
In the 21st century our increasingly post-Christian West faces many new challenges but two in particular stand out: a return to its spiritual roots and a renascence of growth, promise, and renewal; and the renunciation of the deceitful illusions and lies upon which the corporatist welfare-warfare state was built and imposed on our civilization, this secular monstrosity which has led to so much misery, false hope, and insecurity.
If that means what I think it means; namely, that people squabble about their competing versions of “spirituality” and that inequalities of wealth and power arise from the results of those contests, then I respectfully submit that the relationship is exactly the reverse and that explicitly religious or ideologically political world-views are mainly propagandistic cover for local and geopolitical struggles that are more about material than spiritual matters.
That said, while I agree with your condemnation of 20th century “political religions” and your rejection of “social engineering,” I do not think that rejecting the “corporatist welfare-warfare state” is a sound alternative. In fact (unless you’re saying that it’s the corporations that get the welfare), public policies dedicated to social equity are the basis upon which the quest for social justice must be built – either that or we can all gather in self-sustaining anarcho-syndicalist communes (which is charming but unlikely, except perhaps in the wake of a global ecological collapse and/or military conflagration – not impossible, I admit).
Even less likely, however, is some sort of spontaneous spiritual process of “renunciation” and “renewal.” How, precisely, would that work?
-2 # goodsensecynic 2014-12-25 17:08
As a final query, what exactly do you mean to be the content of the “renascence of growth, promise and renewal.” At the risk of sounding churlish, it sounds a little too much like President Obama’s “hopey-changey- thingie” (the only apt thing Sarah bin-Palin ever said).
-2 # goodsensecynic 2014-12-25 17:08
As a final query, what exactly do you mean to be the content of the “renascence of growth, promise and renewal”? At the risk of sounding churlish, it sounds a little too much like President Obama’s “hopey-changey- thingie” (the only apt thing Sarah bin-Palin ever said).
+5 # JetpackAngel 2014-12-25 16:05
0 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-12-25 17:17
-2 # goodsensecynic 2014-12-25 17:51
Of course, what Americans mean by Conservatives (i.e., neoliberals), Liberals (i.e., center-right liberals) and Socialists (i.e., the hordes of Hell … or people with library cards who use public transit) is a matter of eternal mirth to those outside the fabulous fifty states.
Perhaps a global conference should be called to officially designate which color applies to which ideology (I suspect the biggest fight would be between ISIL and the Anarchists over the color BLACK.
Me? I would support anyone who claimed to wave a WHITE flag (and I’m not – believe me – being “racist” here).
+42 # Corvette-Bob 2014-12-25 14:20
+13 # asbpab1966 2014-12-25 14:48
ISIS is to America as Hamas is to Israel
Austria is Rising with Queen Conchita Wurst. Chancelor Werner Fayman And Education Minister Dr. Jposef Ostermayer have recognized the transformative moment of Tom Neuwirth’s win of the Eurovision 2014 as self-declared example of diversity. We also mention here Dana International who won the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest in Birmingham.
AUSTRIA, SINCE THE MAY 11, 2014, CROWNING IN COPENHAGEN, HAS A QUEEN –
Eurovision Song Contest 2014 The winner
Performer: Conchita Wurst
Rise Like a Phoenix
Waking in the rubble
Peering from the mirror
You wouldnt know me at all today
Rise like a phoenix
Go about your business
From the fading light I fly
I rise up to the sky
And rise like a phoenix
Eurovision 1998, that was held in Birmingham, the UK, was won by someone very similar to To Tom Neuwirth / Conchita Wurst.
That person was the Israeli performer of Yemenite and Romanian Jewish parentage, named Dana International, whose real registered name was Sharon Cohen born February 2, 1972 as Yaron Cohen. She was a clear trans-gender woman that was born a man.
Dana was chosen to represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Diva“. Orthodox Jews and others with conservative views were opposed to her appointment and attempted to void her participation in the contest. However, in May 1998, Dana performed “Diva” at the Eurovision final and won the contest with 172 points.
Conchita Wurst, a transvestite dressed in woman’s closing but sporting a beard to match in color her long black hair wig, won the Copenhagen 2014 Eurovision getting the smashing 290 points result. Indeed – in these last 16 years the world made tremendous progress in recognizing the human diversity as stressed by Tom Neuwirth when he chose to himself the name “WURST” which in German signifies – “it does not matter – all is equal to me.”
I am talking here politics and must notice that despite tremendous progress – nevertheless not every thing has changed. This is signified by the fact that nobody in the media has remembered Dana International. Is this because of her Israeli origin? Also, so far as I know, our website was the only example in the media that linked the Mauthausen Memorial of Sunday May 11, 2014 with the Eurovision Song Contest that gave such acclaim to Wurst – the person – and let us also say – the concept.
Further, let me stress that Austria is in the forefront of these achievements – the same Austria that it’s people were responsible for running the Mauthausen extermination plant in the 1940’s established to wipe out all diversity has now a Chancellor, the Honorable Werner Faymann, Who sat for four hours on May 11th, and watched the march of memory at Mauthausen and gave recognition to the honored documentary journalist Arnold Schwarzman who in 1981 helped prepare the Mauthausen documentary GENOCIDE and now was the US Representative at the 2014 Memorial. We wrote this up at:
One week later, on Sunday May 18, 2014, the Chancellor and his Minister of Culture, Dr. Josef Ostermayer, and their wives, stood in the official halls of Austrian Government, in front of the Nation’s cameras – or all to see, and with 10,000 people gathered in front of his windows facing the Balhausplatz, and acclaimed Conchita Wurst’s victory saying this was a victory for Austria. We say – this was a recognition that not only Tom Neuwirth and his friends have risen from the Mauthausen ashes – but all of Austria ought to consider itself as risen from its ashes. Yes, we know that there are exceptions also in Austria – but at least the leadership is stating that the change is welcome.
We are not going to post our notes from the Balhausplatz event, which I watched on location as media, and the Chancellor’s speech. Those were covered by the media in general. Watching the debates towards next Sunday’s elections for the European Parliament we are aware that not all Europe has not overcome the disease of excessive Nationalism and hatred of diversity. We will get back to this after the results of the elections are in and do not want to preempt this.
For now, trying to contribute here something the rest of the media does not focus on to their discredit,
1990–93: Dana International
At 18 years of age, Cohen (still legally male) earned a living as Israel’s first drag queen parodying many famous female singers. During one of her performances, she was discovered by Offer Nissim, a well-known Israeli DJ, who produced her debut single “Saida Sultana” (“My Name is Not Saida”), a satirical version of Whitney Houston‘s song “My Name Is Not Susan“. The song received considerable exposure and helped launch her career as a professional singer.
In 1993, Dana International flew to London for male-to-female sex reassignment surgery and legally changed her name to Sharon Cohen.Returning home with her new name, that same year Cohen released her first album, titled Danna International, in Israel. Soon after, the album was also released in several other countries including Greece, Jordan, and Egypt (In Jordan and Egypt the album sold illegally). Sharon’s stage name Dana International comes from the title track of the album, and was originally spelled with two n:s. Danna International soon became a gold record in Israel.
1994: Umpatampa and Best Female Artist
In 1994, Dana released her second, Trance-influenced album Umpatampa, which built on the success of her debut and provided further hit singles. The album went platinum in Israel and has sold more than 50,000 copies to date. Because of her popularity and the success of this album, she won the award for Best Female Artist of the Year in Israel.
1995: Eurovision song contest
In 1995, Dana attempted to fulfill her childhood dream of performing in the Eurovision Song Contest. She entered the Eurovision qualifying contest in Israel with a song entitled “Layla Tov, Eropa” (“Good Night Europe”) which finished second in the pre-selections, but became another hit single.
In late 1995, Dana released an E.P. called E.P. Tampa with three new songs and four remixes and special versions of her earlier songs.
1996–97: Consolidating popularity
In 1996, Dana released her third album, Maganuna. Although this album was less successful than her previous efforts, it still reached gold record sales in Israel and included the hits “Don Quixote,” “Waving,” and the club smash “Cinque Milla.” In 1997, Dana collaborated with the Israeli artist Eran Zur on his album Ata Havera Sheli, and together they sang the duet “Shir Kdam-Shnati (Sex Acher)” (“Pre-Bed Song (A Different Kind of Sex)”) which became a huge hit.
1998: Diva and mainstream spotlight
Dana was chosen to represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 1998 in Birmingham with the song “Diva“. Orthodox Jews and others with conservative views were opposed to her appointment and attempted to void her participation in the contest. However, in May 1998, Dana performed “Diva” at the Eurovision final and won the contest with 172 points. She became an international superstar, and was interviewed by CNN, BBC, Sky News, and MTV among others mostly focusing on her life as a transsexual person before winning the contest. Dana’s own words “the message of reconciliation” were; “My victory proves God is on my side. I want to send my critics a message of forgiveness and say to them: try to accept me and the kind of life I lead. I am what I am and this does not mean I don’t believe in God, and I am part of the Jewish Nation.”
Dana released “Diva” as a single in Europe and it became a hit, reaching number 11 in the UK charts and the top ten in Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, and the Netherlands.
1999–2001: Stage falling, Streisand cover and new albums
In 1999, Dana released Woman In Love, a Barbra Streisand cover, but it was not the hit that “Diva” had been. In May 1999, Dana again participated in the Eurovision Song Contest held in Jerusalem. Dana was a part of the interval act and sang the Stevie Wonder song “Free”. She also presented the award to the winners of the contest but accidentally managed to steal their thunder. Whilst she was carrying the heavy trophy, one of the composers of the winning Swedish entry by mistake stepped on the long trail of her dress and she fell over on stage – in front of a television audience estimated be to one billion or more, making it one of the most memorable moments in the 50-year-long history of the contest.
She released her next album Free in Europe in 1999, which enjoyed moderate success. A few months later Dana moved back to Israel and started to work on different projects. Israeli and Japanese editions of Free were released in 2000. That same year, an Israeli documentary film was made about Dana called Lady D.
In 2001, after a break, Dana released her seventh album Yoter Ve Yoter (More and More). The album put her career in Israel back on track and provided two hits called “I Won” and “After All”, which eventually both went gold.
2002–06: Fading from the scene and Sony incident
Dana was about to sign with a major label, Sony/BMG, for an international recording contract but something went wrong in negotiations. These were disagreements that led to Sony cancelling the deal before it was completed. In 2002, she released another album, HaHalom HaEfshari (The Possible Dream), which was a minor chart success. In 2003, she released an exclusive 8-CD box set, containing all singles from The Possible Dream and a new house version of the hit single “Cinque Milla”, titled A.lo.ra.lo.la. A few years later, in 2005, Dana participated in the 50th anniversary of the Eurovision song contest, held in Copenhagen, after “Diva” was selected as one of fourteen songs considered to be the best Eurovision songs. The song did not make it into the final top five but, Dana got the chance to perform both “Diva” and an old Eurovision favourite of hers; Baccara‘s 1978 entry “Parlez-Vous Francais?“. She also recorded the song “Lola” (sung in French), to which she released a video. This video can be found on the CD Hakol Ze Letova, released in 2007 as a bonus CD-rom video.
In 2005, Dana was voted the 47th-greatest Israeli of all time, in a poll by the Israeli news website Ynet, to determine who the general public considered the 200 Greatest Israelis.
2007–11: Return to music and Eurovision comeback
After a few years away from show business, together with the relaunch of her official website, a first single of the upcoming album was released in March 2007: “Hakol Ze Letova” (“It’s All For the Best”). The second single to be released from the album, “Love Boy”, became the most played song on Israeli radio in a decade. It also gained a respectable place on the airplay of the Greek radio station FLY FM 89,7. The following album, also titled Hakol Ze Letova, was released on August 15, 2007. “At Muhana” was the third single and “Seret Hodi” (feat. Idan Yaniv) the fourth to be released from the album, which became a bestseller in many online stores. The next single released from the album was “Yom Huledet”.
On February 26, 2008, Dana gained an additional achievement when the song “Ke’ilu Kan” written and composed by her and performed by Boaz Mauda, was chosen on Kdam Eurovision to represent Israel at Eurovision Song Contest 2008 in Belgrade, Serbia. It came 5th in the semi-final and gained 9th place in the final rank.
Dana also recorded the song “Mifrats Ha Ahava” (“The Love Bay”) for an Israeli version of the TV-show “Paradise Hotel”. She also collaborated with the Ukrainian duo NeAngely (Not Angels), recording “I Need Your Love” and releasing a video. In 2009, Dana starred in a mock reality show called Dana Kama/Nama for cellphone provider Cellcom
Dana campaigned for Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni shortly before 2009 legislative elections in Israel. At a women’s political rally in Jerusalem Dana performed a disco song alongside Livni onstage, announcing “I now formally invite you to the diva sisterhood.”
In April 2009, Dana performed in the opening concert of Tel Aviv-Yafo Centennial Year. She performed a cover version of Danny Robas‘ song “Lo nirdemet Tel Aviv” (Tel Aviv Doesn’t Fall Asleep) in front of 250,000 people.
Dana made a guest appearance, as herself, in an episode of the second series of UK sitcom Beautiful People, which was set around her Eurovision appearance.
On March 8, 2011, Dana International won the Israeli National Final for Eurovision with the song Ding Dong, and represented Israel at Eurovision for a second time. However, she did not make it into the final; she was the first Eurovision winner not to do so.
2013–present: new singles, TV show and album
In April 2013, after a two-year break, Dana released a new single, “Ma La’asot”. It was released digitally worldwide on April 24, 2013. On May 29, Dana released a video clip for the song Loca, to promote the Gay Pride Tel Aviv 2013. Dana will perform on the main event for the Gay Pride on June 7. Her third single for that year, “Ir Shlema”, was released in July. Late in January 2014, Dana’s new music reality show “Yeshnan Banot” premiered. Dana is the main judge on the show, attempting to find Israel’s next girl group.
THE WORDS OF THE SONG “DIVA.”
She is all
And when she cries
And when she cries
The Opinion Pages — Op-Ed Contributors to the New York Times
Global Warming Scare Tactics.
OAKLAND, Calif. — IF you were looking for ways to increase public skepticism about global warming, you could hardly do better than the forthcoming nine-part series on climate change and natural disasters, starting this Sunday on Showtime. A trailer for “Years of Living Dangerously” is terrifying, replete with images of melting glaciers, raging wildfires and rampaging floods. “I don’t think scary is the right word,” intones one voice. “Dangerous, definitely.”
Showtime’s producers undoubtedly have the best of intentions. There are serious long-term risks associated with rising greenhouse gas emissions, ranging from ocean acidification to sea-level rise to decreasing agricultural output.
But there is every reason to believe that efforts to raise public concern about climate change by linking it to natural disasters will backfire. More than a decade’s worth of research suggests that fear-based appeals about climate change inspire denial, fatalism and polarization.
For instance, Al Gore’s 2006 documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” popularized the idea that today’s natural disasters are increasing in severity and frequency because of human-caused global warming. It also contributed to public backlash and division. Since 2006, the number of Americans telling Gallup that the media was exaggerating global warming grew to 42 percent today from about 34 percent. Meanwhile, the gap between Democrats and Republicans on whether global warming is caused by humans rose to 42 percent last year from 26 percent in 2006, according to the Pew Research Center.
Other factors contributed. Some conservatives and fossil-fuel interests questioned the link between carbon emissions and global warming. And beginning in 2007, as the country was falling into recession, public support for environmental protection declined.
Still, environmental groups have known since 2000 that efforts to link climate change to natural disasters could backfire, after researchers at the Frameworks Institute studied public attitudes for its report “How to Talk About Global Warming.” Messages focused on extreme weather events, they found, made many Americans more likely to view climate change as an act of God — something to be weathered, not prevented.
Some people, the report noted, “are likely to buy a SUV to help them through the erratic weather to come” for example, rather than support fuel-efficiency standards.
Since then, evidence that a fear-based approach backfires has grown stronger. A frequently cited 2009 study in the journal Science Communication summed up the scholarly consensus. “Although shocking, catastrophic, and large-scale representations of the impacts of climate change may well act as an initial hook for people’s attention and concern,” the researchers wrote, “they clearly do not motivate a sense of personal engagement with the issue and indeed may act to trigger barriers to engagement such as denial.” In a controlled laboratory experiment published in Psychological Science in 2010, researchers were able to use “dire messages” about global warming to increase skepticism about the problem.
Many climate advocates ignore these findings, arguing that they have an obligation to convey the alarming facts.
But claims linking the latest blizzard, drought or hurricane to global warming simply can’t be supported by the science. Our warming world is, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, increasing heat waves and intense precipitation in some places, and is likely to bring more extreme weather in the future. But the panel also said there is little evidence that this warming is increasing the loss of life or the economic costs of natural disasters. “Economic growth, including greater concentrations of people and wealth in periled areas and rising insurance penetration,” the climate panel noted, “is the most important driver of increasing losses.”
Claims that current disasters are connected to climate change do seem to motivate many liberals to support action. But they alienate conservatives in roughly equal measure.
What works, say environmental pollsters and researchers, is focusing on popular solutions. Climate advocates often do this, arguing that solar and wind can reduce emissions while strengthening the economy. But when renewable energy technologies are offered as solutions to the exclusion of other low-carbon alternatives, they polarize rather than unite.
One recent study, published by Yale Law School’s Cultural Cognition Project, found that conservatives become less skeptical about global warming if they first read articles suggesting nuclear energy or geoengineering as solutions. Another study, in the journal Nature Climate Change in 2012, concluded that “communication should focus on how mitigation efforts can promote a better society” rather than “on the reality of climate change and averting its risks.”
Nonetheless, virtually every major national environmental organization continues to reject nuclear energy, even after four leading climate scientists wrote them an open letter last fall, imploring them to embrace the technology as a key climate solution. Together with catastrophic rhetoric, the rejection of technologies like nuclear and natural gas by environmental groups is most likely feeding the perception among many that climate change is being exaggerated. After all, if climate change is a planetary emergency, why take nuclear and natural gas off the table?
While the urgency that motivates exaggerated claims is understandable, turning down the rhetoric and embracing solutions like nuclear energy will better serve efforts to slow global warming.
Weakness has a cost beyond the first issue when you create expectations and flee implementation. The Washington Post seems to step away from traditional Jounalistic neutrality writing – “Iran fantasy, Syria farce.”
The Post reports: “The U.N. Security Council on Saturday unanimously approved a resolution demanding that Syria immediately halt attacks on civilians and allow unfettered humanitarian access to besieged areas and across neighboring borders, threatening unspecified ‘further steps’ if the government does not comply. The action marked the first time Russia has agreed to a binding resolution against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime since the conflict in his country began nearly three years ago. China, which vetoed three previous resolutions along with Russia, joined in approving the measure.” This is a cruel joke, and for Russia which has supported Bashar al-Assad, a cynical one.
Mind you — to reach this empty gesture took “lengthy negotiations over the past week.” In order to accommodate the Russians, in fact, the agreement had to be as tough on the rebels as it was on Assad. (“To secure Russia’s agreement, sponsors of the resolution agreed to include specific demands for opposition fighters to cease their own violations of human rights international law, to condemn terrorism and to drop a demand that government violators be referred for prosecution to the International Criminal Court.”) The last is an abomination; if ever a pack of murderers should be prosecuted for war crimes it is Assad and his cohorts.
So now the message to rogue states is: If you use WMD’s against your own people, you might have to very sloooowly give part of your treasure trove back. And if you continue to kill thousands by other means, you need not worry about prosecution for war crimes. The complete lack of seriousness – geopolitical and moral — is quite striking:
What happened to Power’s doctrine that the United States should use force to stop mass human rights atrocities? You need more than words, she acknowledges but actions now can be just words. No, really: “‘A resolution is just words. It is implementation that matters, and that’s what we are starting to measure right now.’ Language committing the council to further actions, she said, is a ‘significant hook, a significant commitment by the parties on the Security Council.’” You wonder if even she can believe such double talk.
And in calling for further political negotiations, this following the failed Geneva talks, the Obama administration itself signals that it has lost touch with reality. Reality, of course, does not include the fantasy that a decade of war is “ending.” It does not permit the United States to shrug its shoulders and declare it merely wants to “nation build at home.” And reality means that when you dawdle for three years, do not take swift and forceful action to back nonjihadi rebels and do not exact a price for use of WMD’s, the country will descend into chaos, sending a stream of refugees pouring into surrounding countries.
Even more troubling than the lack of a Syria policy that could pass the laugh test is the impression this certainly makes with the mullahs in Tehran. They by now consider the United States to be gullible and all too eager to make a deal that will mask Iran’s status as a nuclear threshold state. Seeing the Syrian sideshow must convince Iranian negotiators that any fig leaf will do for the United States to end remaining sanctions.
Former deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams this week warned that we should be wary of just such a deal with Tehran. In a press call he explained, “My biggest worry is that the administration is desperately committed to the appearance of a foreign policy success and that they will therefore agree to a deal and claim that it’s a great deal, but it will not actually do much to retrain and limit the Iranian program.” If that wasn’t obvious before, surely our farcical approach to Syria would leave little doubt that the United States is unwilling to back up what it says with hard power. We seem to be systematically undercutting what credibility we have, first with the interim deal and now with our feckless approach to Syria. Abrams worries, “The more immediate problem is, there’s very strong Iranian rhetoric now suggesting that any terms like those that, for example, [Iran experts] seem to me to be talking about would be acceptable to Iran, and Iran may think that it is seeing a weakened P5-plus-1 unity, it is seeing a weakened American determination to maintain the sanctions, in which case we’re in for, at the very least, an extremely tough negotiation and, at worse, no deal.”
So there you have it. “Smart diplomacy” detached from a willingness to use U.S. power (economic and military) serves as a green light for rogue regimes to continue their bad behavior. To the extent there are any “moderates” in Iran (I personally think the notion is absurd, but let’s assume so for purposes of discussion), then our weakness only undercuts them and enhances the stature of so-called hard-liners. (“I think that you need to show that bad behavior on the part of the Iranians will hurt Iran. I don’t think that, for example, weakening our position so that we give gifts to the so-called moderate [President Hassan] Rouhani or the so-called moderate [Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad] Zarif, who just visited the tomb of Imad Mughniyeh. I don’t think that’s the way to do it. I think the way to do it is to show that we have a united front at least of the E.U.-3 plus the United States and that Iranian refusal to compromise will be punished by very heavy additional sanctions.”)
All of this suggests the administration, having lost its credibility, will find it difficult to get it back, which in turn will make the situations in Syria and Iran worse. It should also serve as a reminder to opponents on the right and left of a muscular foreign policy that refusal to confront real dangers when they are manageable results in fewer options and greater threats to U.S. security down the road. This is no way for a super power to behave.
Polar Bears, Grizzlies to Merge.
16 February 14
n what observers are calling the largest merger ever between two species of mammal capable of mauling humans to death, polar bears and grizzly bears announced on Friday that they were joining forces in a friendly acquisition.
If the merger goes through, the polar bears and grizzly bears would together be able to terrorize a much larger landmass than ever before, experts said.
Speaking at a packed press conference in New York accompanied by their investment bankers from Goldman Sachs, the jubilant bears gave their spin on the unprecedented deal.
“To say that we’re excited would be an understatement,” said a spokesman for the grizzlies. “For years, we’ve admired the way polar bears have dismembered hikers who’ve encroached on their territory. To be on the same team with talent like that—whoa. It’s a dream come true.”
While critics of the merger have argued that it is anticompetitive, a spokesman for the polar bears disagreed.
“I think working with the grizzlies is just going to push us to savage more human flesh than ever before. Speaking for myself, I’m ready to start mauling,” he said, underscoring his point by eating a reporter.
The merger is not expected to face regulatory hurdles.
This time, top honors goes to the Federalist, which can’t get over the irony of Senate Democrats scheduling a hearing on global warming right as a blizzard is expected to hit D.C. In fact, there’s good reason to believe that global climate change is linked to extreme weather like this, but arguing that is an advanced move. Demonstrating that cold and snowy weather in no way disproves global warming? Anyone can do that.
Below, three tried-and-true retorts to climate deniers. You can try a fast and simple zinger, back it up with a blunt chart or, if you’re tired of explaining, let one of these smart videos do it for you. Why not try a healthy combination of all three? And, as a last resort, there’s always the weather report for Australia.
– SkepticalScience, a reliable font of detailed information, also breaks it down into this one-sentence explanation:
“A local cold day has nothing to do with the long-term trend of increasing global temperatures.”
– Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy is something of an evangelist for the cause. He recently tweeted:
– Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer sums up the current reality of climate change:
“Shorter snow season, less snow overall, but the occasional knockout punch. That’s the new world we live in.”
– And, courtesy of the NRDC, a simple analogy:
“The effect of global warming on our climate is not unlike the effect of steroids on an athlete’s performance: It supercharges storms; it causes abnormal conditions like drought and heat and ultimately, it causes damage.”
Here, data from the NOAA and NASA clearly shows that global temperatures have been higher than average for the past 37 consecutive years:
This one, courtesy of Skeptical Science, plots the annual numbers of record high maximum temperatures (the red dots) along with the record lows (the blue dots), averaged over the U.S. That black line — the one that doesn’t line up with what’s plotted — shows where the dots would theoretically lie should no global warming or cooling be taking place. You can see how, over time, we’ve ended up with more record highs than lows:
Heavy precipitation (Oppenheimer’s “occasional knockout punch”) is also becoming more common, as this next map from the Global Change Research Research program shows:
As to the less overall snow, SkepticalScience has this nice breakdown of seasonal and annual snowfall in the Northern Hemisphere. It demonstrates how earlier and more extensive melting in the spring and summer more than makes up for the smaller increase in fall and winter precipitation. The total decline in snow extent between 1972 and 2010 was a full 1.3 million square kilometers:
Chris Hayes, an ironic sparkle in his eyes, asks climate scientist Michael Mann how it’s possible for snow and global warming to be happening at the same time. His reply: “Well, we climate scientists actually have a technical term for this phenomenon. It’s called winter” (you can file that one away with the other zingers):
Peter Sinclair of ClimateCrocks delves deeper into the science with this 2009 video response to that infallible argument: ”I looked outside, and it was snowing, therefore, there is no climate change”:
The Climate denial crook of the week said that The White House released this “propaganda” in honor of the infamous polar vortex, which received a fair amount of trolling. Featuring John Holdren, President Obama’s science adviser, it’s notable both for its acknowledgment that man-made climate change could actually be responsible for patterns of extreme cold, and for its reminder that no single weather event can either prove or disprove global warming.
To see the videos go to original – www.alternet.org/environment/ulti…
The Cat of the Vizhnitz Cemetery (former Seat of a major Rabbi’s Court in the former Austrian Bukowina – now the Chernivtsi Oblast in the Ukraine) that haunts Middle East negotiations. The Rabbi sits in Haifa, Israel.
Annexation and the return of the one-state solution.
Monday, January 6, 2014 – published by the Palestine Center, The Jerusalem Fund, Washington DC – Written by Jack LeVine it was previously posted by Al Jezeera.www.thejerusalemfund.
From time to time, the Palestine Center distributes articles it believes will enhance understanding of the Palestinian political reality. The following article is by Mark LeVine was published by Al Jazeera on 2 January 2014.
Mark LeVine writes what he writes – and we like to extend it to its logical target – the establishment of an Abrahamic State that is neither Jewish nor Muslim, in parts of the pre-Abraham Land of Canaan, and to allow our readers the right to think for themselves and decide if this albatross can fly:
“Annexation and the return of the one-state solution “
In direct response to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s attempt to establish a set of “security arrangements” that would, some day (Kerry apparently is suggesting after another decade), allow some level of Palestinian control over the security of the West Bank (wasn’t that supposed to happen during Oslo? And isn’t it in fact already the de jure arrangement in Areas A and B?), the Ministerial Legislative Committee voted to annex the Jordan Valley permanently to Israel.
This is, by no means, the first vote or decision taken by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu government to challenge the Obama Administration’s attempts to play at peace-making in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In fact, announcing settlement expansion plans whenever a senior US official is visiting Israel to “jumpstart” or “save” the “peace process” has long been standard operating procedure for the Israeli government, as the Obama Administration learned early in 2010 when Vice President Joe Biden was greeted upon arriving in Israel with the “highly inflammatory announcement” of plans for 1,600 new homes in East Jerusalem. The Americans feigned anger at the “brutally contemptuous rebuff” to their good-faith efforts to resuscitate Oslo, but no one should have been surprised at the actions of Netanyahu then, or now. Indeed, Netanyahu has been outmanoeuvering Obama since day one of the relationship.
This latest slap in the face comes after PA President Mahmoud Abbas once again “renounced claims” to Israel within its 1967 borders, this time singling out the one-time Palestinian-populated towns of Jaffa and Haifa, and accepted on-going settlement construction in return for freeing Palestinian prisoners. A few hundred Palestinian “detainees” are wonderful bargaining chips to play in lieu of actual policy changes whenever negotiations get serious.
Not surprisingly, the vote on annexation provoked the usual outcries by Palestinian officials, who decried the “indifference” to and “disrespect” for international law the vote represented.
Falling on deaf ears
This evaluation is certainly true, although the PA attacking Israel for disregarding international law is about as meaningful as the US criticising Saudi Arabia for refusing to let women drive. That is to say, it’s utterly devoid of meaning as long as they continue business as usual, which for the PA means doing whatever is necessary to keep the foreign aid, and salaries, flowing through its coffers.
But this latest attempt to annex the West Bank, as 2013 came to a close, offers both a tantalising glimpse of the future of Israel/Palestine and a good opportunity for Palestinians to start the New Year off in a way that throws the Israeli government back on its heels. It could also turn the tide in the century-long conflict over the territory of Mandate-era Palestine. It was not the PA, however, but the liberal Zionist Party Meretz that have taken the lead in doing so however.
Rather than denouncing the latest attempt to annex the West Bank as marking yet another nail in the coffin of a long rotted Oslo peace process, Meretz publicly declared it would no longer oppose votes to annex the Jordan Valley, which increases the likelihood such a vote could in fact pass the Knesset.
Meretz leaders have neither suddenly become territorial maximalists nor have they joined the one or bi-state camp that most self-described Zionists, regardless of how comparatively liberal their politics (from an Israeli perspective), still broadly refuse to support. But I don’t buy the refusal of Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Galon even to discuss a one-state future as reflecting the true nature of the shift inside Israeli liberal politics. As the Israeli right becomes ever bolder in asserting territorially maximalist policies, and the religious establishment more blatantly bigoted, there is simply less space for liberal Zionists to operate as both liberal and Zionist.
The fact is that soon Israeli liberals, who are still a sizable minority of the population, are either going to vote with their heads or their feet – if the mainstream of Israeli political culture keeps moving to the right. A democratic state with rough demographic parity with Palestinians suddenly would offer a more positive alternative than an ultra-chauvinistic Jewish state that holds them in almost as much scorn as it does “Arabs” and “Africans”.
A new coalition?
The question is: When will the majority of Palestinians, who long ago lost faith in Oslo and in their hearts would prefer a one-state solution, give up the two-state illusion and come out in force demanding precisely what the Ministerial Legislative Committee voted to do – be annexed to Israel, and have the same voting rights as their fellow Palestinians across the quickly evaporating Green Line. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned of just this eventuality as the doomsday scenario facing Zionism, which is why a man who did more than almost anyone to create a Jewish-dominated Jerusalem became a firm supporter of two-states.
The PA will never go down this route because it would mean its dissolution and the loss of jobs, money and power for the entire political class, and perhaps the fatal weakening of Fatah along with it. Neither, strangely, would Hamas accept it as it would become moot in a one or bi-national solution.
Of course, while the Israeli right would actually welcome Palestinian acquiescence to the annexation of the West Bank, whose population can be absorbed into Israel without creating a Palestinian majority, their plan for a Greater Israel specifically excludes Gaza, whose incorporation would tip the demographic balance immediately, and permanently, in the Palestinian’s favour. A test of wills and political strategisation would emerge between the two sides as to whether Israel could convince West Bank Palestinians permanently to separate their fortunes from benighted Gaza, or Palestinians once “inside” Israel would constitute a large enough force with 1948 Palestinians and liberal/left Israeli to push, however fitfully, for a bi-national or even parallel states solution.
This leads to a final question:Will 2014 be the year Palestinian and Israeli exhaustion with Oslo and fear of a bleak and chauvinistic future creates the unstoppable force that finally buries Oslo and moves both peoples, and the land they inevitably share, towards a common future?
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Jerusalem Fund.
And an Israeli description of what it looks like now in the Israeli political arena – the Uri Avnery article of this week –
January 11, 2014
PERHAPS I am too stupid, but for the heck of me I cannot understand the sense of the Israeli demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
On the face of it, it seems like a clever trick by Binyamin Netanyahu to divert attention from the real issues. If so, the Palestinian leadership has fallen into a trap.
Instead of talking about the independence of the putative State of Palestine and its borders, its capital in Jerusalem, the removal of the settlements, the fate of the refugees and the solution of the many other problems, they quarrel endlessly about the definition of Israel.
One is tempted to call out to the Palestinians: what the hell, accord them this damn recognition and be done with it! Who cares!?
THE ANSWER of the Palestinian negotiators is twofold.
First, recognizing Israel as a Jewish State would be an act of betrayal towards the million and a half Palestinians who are citizens of Israel, If Israel is a Jewish State, where does that leave them?
Well, that problem could be solved by a provision in the peace treaty stating that irrespective of anything else in the agreement, the Palestinian citizens of Israel will enjoy full equality in every respect.
Second, that the recognition of Israel’s Jewishness would block the return of the refugees.
That argument is even less valid than the first. The solution of the refugee problem will be a central plank of the treaty. The Palestinian leadership, at the time of Yasser Arafat, already tacitly accepted that the solution will be an “agreed” one, so that any return will be at most symbolic. The recognition issue will not affect it.
The debate on this Israeli demand is entirely ideological. Netanyahu demands that the Palestinian people accept the Zionist narrative. The Palestinian refusal is based on the Arab narrative, which contradicts the Zionist one on practically every single event that happened during the last 130 years, if not the last 5000.
Mahmoud Abbas could just come forward and announce: OK, if you accept our practical demands, we shall recognize Israel as whatever you want – a Buddhist State, a Vegetarian State, you name it.
On September 10, 1993 – which happened to be my 70th birthday – Yasser Arafat, on behalf of the Palestinian people, recognized the State of Israel, in return for the no less momentous recognition of the Palestinian people by Israel. Implicitly, each side recognized the other as it is. Israel defined itself in its founding document as a Jewish State. Ergo, the Palestinians have already recognized a Jewish State.
By the way, the first step towards Oslo was made by Arafat when he told his representative in London, Said Hamami, to publish in the “Times” of London on December 17, 1973, a proposal for a peaceful solution, which stated among other things that “the first step must be the mutual recognition of these two sides. The Jewish-Israelis and the Palestinian-Arabs must recognize each other as peoples with all the rights of peoples.”
I saw the original draft of this statement with corrections in Arafat’s hand.
THE PROBLEM of the Palestinian minority in Israel – about 20% of Israel’s eight million citizens – is very serious, but it has now acquired a humorous twist.
Since his acquittal from corruption charges and return to the Foreign Office, Avigdor Lieberman is at it again. He has come out supporting John Kerry’s peace efforts, much to the chagrin of Netanyahu, who does not.
Why, for heaven’s sake? Lieberman aspires to become prime minister some day, as soon as possible. For this he has to (1) unite his “Israel Our Home” party with the Likud, (2) become leader of the Likud, (3) win the general elections. But over all these there hovers (4): obtain the approval of the Americans. So Lieberman now supports the American effort and peace.
Yes, but under one condition: that the US accept his master plan for the Jewish State.
This is a masterpiece of constructive statesmanship. Its main proposal is to move the borders of Israel – not eastward, as could be expected from an arch-nationalist, but westward, slimming Israel’s narrow hips even further, to a mere 9 (nine!) km.
The Israeli territory that Lieberman wants to get rid of is the site of a dozen Arab villages, which were given Israel as a gift by the then king of Jordan in the armistice agreement of 1949. Abdallah I, the great-great-grandfather of the current Abdallah II of Jordan, needed the armistice at any price. Lieberman now wants to give these villages back, thank you.
Why? Because for this stalwart of Jewish Israel, the reduction of the Arab population is a sacred task. He does not advocate expulsion, God forbid. Not at all. He proposes attaching this area, with its population, to the Palestinian state. In return, he wants the Jewish settlement blocs in the West Bank to be joined to Israel. A transfer of areas with their populations, reminiscent of Stalin’s redrawing the borders of Poland, except that Lieberman’s borders look completely crazy.
Lieberman presents this as a peaceful, liberal, humane plan. No one will be displaced, no property expropriated. Some 300 thousand Arabs, all of them ardent supporters of the Palestinian struggle for statehood, will become Palestinian citizens.
SO WHY do the Palestinians in Israel cry out? Why do they condemn the plan as a racist assault on their rights?
Because they are far more Israeli than they care to admit, even to themselves. After living in Israel for 65 years, they have become accustomed to its ways. They don’t love Israel, they don’t serve in its army, they are discriminated against in many ways, but they are deeply rooted in the Israeli economy and democracy, much more than is generally recognized.
“Israeli Arabs”, a term they hate, play a significant role in Israeli hospitals and courts, including the Supreme Court, and in many other institutions.
Becoming citizens of Palestine tomorrow would mean losing 80% or 90% of their standard of living. It would also mean losing the social security net enjoyed in Israel (though Lieberman promises to continue payments to those currently eligible(. After being used for decades to fair elections and the lively give-and-take of the Knesset, they would have to get used to a society in which, as of now, important parties are forbidden, elections are postponed and parliament plays a minor role. The place of women in this society is very different from their role in Israel.
The situation of the Palestinians in Israel is unique in many respects. On the one side, as long as Israel is defined as a Jewish State, the Arabs will not be fully equal. On the other side, in the occupied Palestinian territories, these Israeli citizens are not accepted as fully belonging. They straddle both sides of the conflict. They would like to be mediators, the link between the two sides, bringing them closer to each other. But this has remained a dream.
A complicated situation, indeed.
IN THE meantime, Netanyahu and Lieberman are hatching another plan to make Jewish Israel even Jewisher.
There are today three factions in the Knesset which derive their votes from the Arab population. They constitute almost 10% of the Knesset. Why not 20%, to reflect their part in the general population? First because they have many more children, who have not yet reached voting age (18 years). Second, their rate of abstention is significantly higher. Third, some Arabs are bribed to vote for Zionist parties.
The part of the Arab MKs in enacting laws is negligible. Any bill they introduce is almost automatically voted down. No Jewish party ever considered including them in a government coalition. Yet they have a very noticeable presence, their voice is heard.
Now, in the name of “governability” (a trendy new term that can be used to justify any attack on human rights), Bibi & Libie, as someone called them, want to change the minimum share of votes that any election list needs to enter the Knesset.
I was elected three times to the Knesset when the threshold was 1%. Later it was raised to 2%. Now the plan is to raise the threshold to 3.25%, which in the elections a year ago would have equaled 123,262 votes. Only one of the three “Arab” parties crossed this line – and then only barely. There is no assurance that it could do so again.
In order to survive, they would have to unite and form a large Arab bloc. Many would think that this was a good thing. But it is very difficult to accomplish. One party is communist, another Islamist, another secular-nationalist. Also, competing extended families play an important role in Arab electoral politics.
The Arab lists may disappear altogether. Or two may unite, eliminating the third.
Some Israeli leftists fantasize about a dream party – a united parliamentary bloc that would include all the Arab parties with the Labor party and Meretz, turning it into a formidable challenger of the right wing.
But that would be too good to be true – no chance at all of this happening in the near future.
IT SEEMS that Kerry and his Zionist advisors already identify with the Israeli demand for recognition as a Jewish State or, worse, the State of the Jewish People (who were not even consulted).
The Palestinian side is unable to accept this.
If the negotiations come to naught on this point, Netanyahu will have achieved his real aim: to abort the negotiations in a way that will enable him to blame the Palestinians.
As long as we have a Jewish State – who needs peace?
Israelis Demand End to US Spying.
22 December 2013
enior Israeli officials on Sunday demanded an end to U.S. spying on Israel, following revelations that the National Security Agency intercepted emails from the offices of the country’s top former leaders.
It was the first time that Israeli officials have expressed anger since details of U.S. spying on Israel began to trickle out in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The scandal also spurred renewed calls for the release of Jonathan Pollard, a former American intelligence analyst who has been imprisoned in the U.S. for nearly three decades for spying on behalf of Israel.
“This thing is not legitimate,” Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israel Radio. He called for both countries to enter an agreement regarding espionage.
“It’s quite embarrassing between countries who are allies,” Tourism Minister Uzi Landau said. “It’s this moment more than any other moment that Jonathan Pollard [should] be released.”
Documents leaked by Snowden and published in The Guardian, Der Spiegel and The New York Times last week revealed that British intelligence agency GCHQ worked with the NSA from 2008 to 2011 to target email addresses belonging to the offices of then-serving Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Amir Dan, a spokesman for Olmert, played down the revelations. He said the email address targeted was one meant for queries from the public and was not used for sensitive communications. “There is no chance there was a security or intelligence breach caused from this email address,” Dan said.
Barak could not immediately be reached for comment.
But top Israeli officials work on the assumption that they are being monitored. Officials use special secure lines for certain types of communications, and for the most sensitive matters, issues are discussed only face to face in secure rooms.
Even so, Israeli officials reacted with uncharacteristic anger toward the U.S., Israel’s closest and most important ally.
Lawmaker Nachman Shai, a member of the parliamentary foreign affairs and defense committee, which deals with intelligence matters, called for an urgent intelligence briefing on the reported spying.
Shai called for a “full report about what we know, what we have done, and just to find out.”
He added that he was “really surprised that my government, which is very easily responsive on any given issue, on this we keep silent, which is not the right policy and right behavior.”
Espionage is a sensitive subject between Israel and the U.S. because of the Pollard affair.
Pollard, a former civilian intelligence analyst, was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for passing classified material to Israel. Israeli leaders frequently call for his release and say his nearly three decades in prison are punishment enough, but stiff opposition from the American military and intelligence community has deterred a string of American presidents from releasing him.
Since Pollard’s conviction, Israel has promised not to spy on the U.S. Ministers stressed Sunday that Israel does not spy on the U.S. president or defense secretary. “I think we should expect the same relations from the U.S.,” Steinitz said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a more subdued reaction, saying that Israel continues to press for the convicted spy’s release.
“This is not conditional and not connected to the latest events, even though we gave our opinion about these developments,” Netanyahu told his Cabinet, presumably referring to the reported U.S. spying.
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– The RSN Team
ENJOY AND BE MERRY – ONLY IN MODERN BIZANTINE WASHINGTON DC OF 2013 CAN THIS FLY AS AN ALLIANCE OF INTERESTS.
True to our motto – “Basta, Enough – We interpret all that is worthwhile to be said” and with the closing of the 5th Session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals for the post-2015 era at the UN in mind, we post this as an observation and holiday fun.
We will be reporting in other postings on the good work of many delegates to the UN and as well point out how insiders at the UN undermine that work. That is our job – both – as Sustainable Development media and as stakeholders at the UN because many of us at the World Association of Former UN Interns and Fellows (WAFUNIF) have invested their time and money in the UN organization. Myself, I have not received those single dollars per year that the UN contracted to pay me while a Fellow of the organization on a One Dollar per year basis. Neither did I get those $3000 the UN contracted me for work on an issue paper for the 1982 Nairobi UN Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy. Those are clear motivations to tell things as they are.
We understand that Saudi Arabia is leading now the Arab States to a position of disregard of the UN. We may share their evaluation of the situation as it is today, but we keep pointing out that it is crystal clear that they are a main reason why the UN is incapable to live up to its intended goals.
This week I had the opportunity to watch those sitting side by side in the seats of Egypt and Saudi arabia – their hugging and kissing and disinterest in what went on in the room. Then the Saudi wished a Happy Christmas holidays at the breaking up of the meeting which led to the dry remark from the chair that the meeting will restart in two weeks – on December 9th – that is prior to Christmas. The delegate from the Netherlands then made sure that all get the correct notion that the break is for the Thanksgiving and Chanukah holidays.
Furthermore, when the chair asked specifically that the delegations speak only to topics that were the subjects of panels, and to leave National statements to a different timing which he programed for that purpose, the Tunisians had a lower level member of their delegation read a statement in the name of the Arab States that was old boiler-plate stuff that had nothing to do with the topic of the meeting. On the other hand, Iranian Mission’s Councelor Mr. Taghi M. Ferami, whatever his country’s position in other matters may be, he tried to show that he is on board with the topics dealt with.
The UN may sometimes be likened to a urkey or a camel – being that seem to be the result of planning by committee – so let us at least follow now with the fun that was dished out to us in the New York Times of today – an edition full as well with serious matter about the meaning of giving thanks.
The Turkey’s Turkey Connection.
By MARK FORSYTH who wrote this for the New York Times
A Journalist from O Estado de S. Paulo, largest Brazilian Daily, learns first hand the short end of Yale University Police hiding the Brazilian Chief Justice who was a Person-of-Interest to the paper.
The Journalist says:
The University says:
A Brazilian reporter trying to interview Brazil’s Supreme Court President, Joaquim Barbosa, was arrested for trespassing after she allegedly entered a Yale Law School building on Thursday.
O Estado de S Paulo correspondent Claudia Trevisan claims the University was trying to keep quiet Barbosa’s participation in the 2013 Global Constitutionalism Seminar (one of the University’s “signature international programs“), and denied her request to attend, saying it was held in a private building.
Trevisan says she told Yale Law School communications director Janet Conroy that she would go anyway and wait for Barbosa on the sidewalk.
According to Trevisan, she eventually entered Woolsey Hall, a Yale concert hall, where tourists, students, and pedestrians were walking around, to find out if she was in the right place. She asked a Yale police officer if the seminar was in that building, and he apparently recognized her as a journalist and began questioning her. She says the officer also took her passport, detained her for an hour inside a police car, then handed her over to New Haven Police, where she was held in a cell for more than three hours. Trevisan was reportedly able to report her arrest over the phone to a diplomat at the Brazilian embassy.
A second reporter for Folha de São Paulo, also there to talk to Barbosa, was apparently better received — a policeman escorted him outside of the building and warned him if he tried to enter again he would be arrested.
A spokesperson for Yale gave a statement to the Guardian, saying that Trevisan was dishonest with police.
No one answered at the Yale Police Department communications line, but according to the Yale PD website, there was an arrest for trespassing outside Woolsey at 6:44 p.m. Trevisan says she arrived at Yale at 3:30 p.m.
Yale says that because the seminar was a private event closed to the public and the media, Trevisan was not permitted on Yale property. This raises an interesting question since Trevisan claims that the building was open to the general public — and that she was singled out as a journalist merely for entering to ask a cop if she was in the right place. Legally, she was probably fine on the sidewalk, while the building would probably be classified as a “limited public forum”. If other tourists and non-members of the seminar were permitted to ask the cop inside for help or directions, arresting Trevisan for engaging in the same behavior while being a journalist could be illegal.
Either way, the argument will probably never be heard — Yale says it does not intend to pursue the trespassing charges.
Wise Guys Say:
If you are in a place you aren’t supposed to be don’t the authorities to ask. Ask someone that looks like a student not the cops.
Since she had previously contacted them to ask for credentials, I think it’s quite likely (especially if they had give so far as to let cops know who she was) that she was in fact not welcome. She probably would have been better off never having asked ahead of time.
Having said that, arresting, handcuffing and jailing a journalist under these circumstances is a ridiculous abuse of power. On the other hand, her stealth reporting skills need some honing.
If you *bought anything* in the State of São Paulo you´ve paid a sales tax, and 10% of this sales taxes goes directly to the State Universities, including the Universidade de São Paulo.
You – and everyone else – had the right to walk there.