Saturday, June 5, 2010

Blog # 144: A State of Pirates?

Palestinians on boats protest at the Gaza Seaport against Israel's interception of of Gaza-bound ships. Israel, deflecting a U.N. demand for an international investigation, proposed an Israeli inquiry with the participation of outside observers. For our reaction see . . . Piracy is Piracy . . . below. Photo: Mohammed Salem-Reuters

Piracy is Piracy . . .

. . . is Piracy . . . is Piracy . . . is

Congratulation Bibi. You have managed to turn the world’s view of an Israeli citizen into that of a hard headed monster, rather than a bright creative mind seeking peace. You have managed to prove yet again, that when a tactic (the use of force) doesn’t work, rather than seek out a new tactic your simple mind simply increases the degree of force the next time around.

Your election after Rabin’s unfortunate assassination told the world that peace in the Middle East was entombed alongside of Rabin. As you have said quietly time and time again, peace with the Palestinians will come over your, and each of your fellow Likud members’, dead bodies.

What a sorry situation, attacking the Free Gaza flotilla, an unarmed flotilla in international waters that was trying to bring food, medicines, and construction materials to Gaza. Aren’t you proud of yourselves, Israel, dropping your paratroopers from helicopters to prevent food, medicines, and building materials from reaching the people of Gaza which you are in the process of starving to punish them for electing Hamas?

That Israeli nonsense may get you by with your US Aye Sayers, but it’s not going to fly in the rest of the world. The flotilla passengers may have attacked your invaders from the sky with what they had handy, chairs, clubs, as any people would after being attacked by paratroopers lowered from helicopters, and your troops answered them with bullets.

And as happened so many times in the past, one or two Israeli injured are avenged by killing Palestinians, or in this case Turks, by the dozens. Not that there were any real victims on the Israeli side. As usual the casualties were all on the other side. Still Israel, in its unholy self-righteousness, releases a video purporting to show poor Israeli paratroopers being attacked with metal chairs, clubs, and the like. Let us all shed a tear for the poor, abused, and horribly misused invading Israeli paratroopers.

Always keep in mind that it was Israel which invaded the flotilla, and in international waters to boot. Armed paratroopers dropped from helicopters onto the flotilla deck. That is piracy on the high seas, state sponsored piracy is no less piracy than the free-wheeling kind. Israeli apologists are going to find this one a tough swallow.

When I was young Israel was a bright spot in the world. With Pete Seeger singing Hava Nagila, and his audience wildly dancing to the words and music, we felt that Israel was a beacon light of goodness and rationality in a clouded and threatening Middle East.

But no longer. First with the assassination of Yitzak Rabin, the slain Israeli general and prime minister who had signed the Oslo peace accords and who had been the leader most likely on course to solve the Palestinian problem and lead the region into peace. And this was followed by the election of Benyamin Netanyahu, the man least likely to broker accord with their Palestinian neighbors and bring true peace to the region. It would be difficult to find an Israeli leader in deeper opposition to anything which might further the peace process, than the man the people of the so-called democracy of Israel elected to succeed the slain Rabin.

I say so-called, for make no mistake, Israel is no democracy. It is a religious state, a state for Jews, Palestinians need not apply. Yet Palestinians have lived on this land for an eternity, until in the wake of World War II, the British government rather arbitrarily and with Jewish terrorism assisting it, decided to take Palestine from the Palestinians and turn it over to Israel, forcing Palestinians into refugee camps throughout the region. To be perfectly fair, our president Harry Truman enthusiastically backed the British in this. This relieved us from the guilt we all had felt at the fate of Jews under Hitler.

To race from the historical to the present, the blockade of Gaza was and is purely a political act, enacted solely to punish the Palestinians in the Gaza for electing Hamas, and is legal only in the eyes of the most dedicated, right wing, “we can do no wrong!”, Israeli zealot.

Attacking a peaceful flotilla in international waters with armed para-troopers dropped from helicopters will fly in no court aside from a blindly Pro Israeli one. Even large segments of the Israeli population are angry at the botched raid, and many probably hope that the incident will bring down the Netanyahu government once and for all, replacing it with one more attuned to seeking peace in the area.

Little Eddy does not bring any expertise to the conflict, other than his opinion as a human being. But how ironic it is that a people who suffered as the Jews suffered under Nazi Germany in World War II, would in turn use the mind set of the Nazis in their own political maneuvering against the Palestinians, a people they uprooted with the establishment of the Jewish State.

For the Israeli people we would wish that they would change their “we can do no wrong” mindset to one of “do unto Palestinians as we would wish them to do unto us.” It is long past time that Israel abandoned it’s opposition to Hamas and wake up to the reality that it, and it alone, is responsible for first putting Hamas in power, and their mindless, arbitrary power will be keeping them in power, with the only real solution is for an 180° change of direction with Israel once again returning to the negotiating table.

We hope President Obama has the courage and temerity to steer clear of continuing blind US support for the concept that Israel can do no wrong. Israel has long since proved that it can do as much wrong as it damn pleases, and considers it has the power to do anything it pleases, no matter how arbitrary, all the while invoking it’s security as its cover. It is a big world out there. Even Israel’s staunchest European supporters have found this one hard to swallow. Piracy on the High Seas, whether practiced by bandits off the coast of Somalia or in international waters by the Israeli regime, is unlawful and in a just world it will be deemed so and duly condemned and prosecuted.

If the roles had been reversed and it had been unarmed peace loving Israelis lining the deck of that ship, and armed Turkish paratroopers had rained down from the skies, don’t you think those Israelis would have grabbed chairs and clubs and anything else they could find to defend themselves with? But Netanyahu is empathy deprived, empathetically brain dead, you might say. And he only sees in colors of black and white, no shades of gray. Anything Israeli is white, all else is black.

What had begun the decimation of the Soviet Union was it’s arbitrary shooting down of an American airliner which had happened to stray into its air space, a flight which was cryptically labeled 101. Other things happened that helped bring down the behemoth, but that act of arrogance certainly began the process. If our civilization is to succeed we must all live together as nations of laws. The Soviet Union cannot start shooting down commercial airliners because they happen to wander into its air space.

And by the same token Israel has no right to violate the human rights of the Palestinians. And yet under the mantle of Israeli Security it has done this since its inception. and it has been particularly rampant under the various Likud regimes. It is about damn time that Israelis invite themselves back into the human community.

The law is the law, and Piracy on the High Seas is still a violation of international law, and as our dear friend Walter used to say, “and that is the way it is.” Period. Case closed.

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Exciting Playground for AppleNuts

Have a computer? Want an afternoon of fun and knowledge? Open your favorite browser and go here!

What this URL brings you is a page devoted to the primary speaker at Tuesday’s All Things Digital 8 conference, sponsored by the Wall St. Journal and chaired by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. And there for your perusal, are the words of Apple’s C.E.O., Steve Jobs. His questions and answers are broken up into many parts; his thoughts on ATT, on television, on Gizmodo, on iAds, on Apple’s relation with Google, on Foxcom’s string of suicides, on the iPhone’s origins, and Jobs’ reasons for writing his famous essay on Flash, among others.

Apple C.E.O. Steve Jobs

Kara Swisher even came up in an interview with Steve Case, former CEO of A.O.L. who was instrumental in arranging its ill-fated merger with Time Warner. Case recalled that in 2002 he had made a suggestion at a Time Warner board meeting for AOL-TimeWarner to buy Apple Computer and put Steve Jobs in charge of the entire TimeWarner operation. Nothing came of it, of course, but it was an interesting idea.

In addition to the complete videos from Jobs’ appearance at the D-8 convention, his complete appearances at D1, D2, D3, D4 and his complete joint appearance with Bill Gates at D5 are also available with simply a click. We can almost guarantee that no matter how deep your interest in All Things Apple, your interests will be likely be fully saturated after sampling this collection. We have gone through Jobs’ D8 appearance several times, and even got through his D1, D2, and part of his D3 appearances before running out of time and patience.

Below we bring you one video from D-8 which may or may not play. It is Mr. Jobs explaining the iPhone prototype left in a bar, and eventually bought by the blogger Gizmodo for $5,000. Gizmodo’s head honcho Nick Benton’s comment after seeing the interview was that it was good to see Mr. Jobs so animated.

When Mossberg tried to get Jobs to express a tiny bit of guilt at depriving iPad users from seeing Flash videos, Jobs went into an animated lecture about how Apple had been the first technology company to switch from 5” floppies to 3.5” discs, and then with the emergence of its all in one iMac computer it discontinued the use of floppies altogether. He spoke of using technologies in the “spring” of their lifespan, not the fall or winter. Jobs wound up his argument saying, “if our customers feel deprived they will stop buying our products.” Then he went on to suggest that “customers don’t seem to be expressing much frustration as they have been buying iPads at a rate of 1 every 3 tenths of a second since they went on sale, over a month ago.” Case closed.

An ironic footnote of note: All of the video are Flash powered, and all have many stops, where the video needs to buffer before it continues. All would seem to prove Steve Jobs’ point when it comes to the inferiority of Adobe’s Flash.

Other interesting speakers at D8 included included Steve Ballmer and Ray Ozzie, of Microsoft, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook defining Facebooks’ evolving ideas on privacy, and film director James Cameron, who tells about how he assembled underwater cameras to film the Gulf spill, and who told Kara Swisher that he is re-releasing Titanic in 2013 in 3D.

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A polar bear cub, born Nov. 30, plays with its mother at the Saint-Felicien Wildlife Zoo in Quebec. Photo: Mathieu Belanger-Reuters

Capping the Well by August?

And Other Dreams

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What a fiasco the great oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is becoming, with statistics changing almost hourly, and all for the worst. Although nothing like it had ever happened before, the industry was entirely unprepared to handle and close a leak at that depth. And while James Carville and other Louisiana lovers of nature and area seafood scream and holler at the region’s fate being left to the hands of BP, gigantic plumes of oil threaten all of the Gulf’s marine life, and many a fisherman’s livelihood is threatened, and visions of supertankers in the Gulf sucking up the oil and water, separating it, and returning the water, seems an option far into the future, if at all. But nothing else seems capable of solving the enormous problems the spill is creating.

The disaster, like the regulators relationship with the industry is pure Bush/Cheney, with the particular onus on Cheney as the policy, or lack thereof, was done by him in cahoots with the oil industry barons themselves, all in complete secrecy, and thanks to the courts it has remained secret until this day. Notice how quiet the Cheneys’ have been since the day the leak started. It’s been what, well over a month, and not a word out of any of them about how in danger the country is in thanks to Obama’s not having a clue about handling the terrorists. Well, thanks to Bush/Cheney’s oil policies which President Obama didn’t change fast enough, we now know the measure of real devastation.

Oil floats on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico around a work boat at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Tar balls and other oil debris from the giant, fragmented slick have reached Alabama's Dauphin Island, parts of Mississippi and are now less than 10 miles from Florida's northwest Panhandle. Photo: Sean Gardner-Reuters

Congress will of course have to investigate this disaster after the fact, and armed with proper subpoenas hopefully the country will finally learn just who added what to the Bush/Cheney top secret vision of the nation’s energy policy. And hopefully the Congress will finally ask, just why Cheney’s energy policy was labeled top secret in the first place; just what parts of it Dick Cheney was ashamed of, what parts he didn’t want people to know about? And why does a Democratic nation like ours accept secrecy in the formation of public policy in the first place?

Meantime, a fellow with the unlikely name of Leroy Stick set up a Twitter account pretending to be BP’s public relations department: Here are a few of his posts:

• Can we just start calling it the oilcean and move on please? #bpcares

• We've created something that will affect your children's children. Can YOU say the same about YOUR life? #nailedit #bpcares

• Think about it this way, the ocean is like rootbeer and oil is like ice cream. We just made America a giant rootbeer float!

• Just got the concession call from Exxon Valdez. They were great competitors and remarkably evil about everything. #bpwins!

• Lots of people blaming this on Bush or Obama. Pph, we wish. The truth is Presidents don't have any control over what we do. #bpcares

• A bird just stole my sandwich! You deserve everything you get, nature!!! #bpcares

• If Top Kill doesn't work, we're just gonna toss a giant “Get Well Soon” card into the gulf and hope for the best. #bpcares

• New solution: Everybody drive your cars into the gulf with your gas caps open! You'll get a full tank and we'll only charge $20 cash!

• Please help us with rebranding. We're not calling it an “oil spill” anymore, now it's a “Southern Fun Party.” #bpcares

• I'm sorry, are people mad at us for drilling in the ocean?!? Maybe God shouldn't have put oil there in the first place. DUH. #bpcares

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What this country needs is an ombudsman. A person with the power to question things like regulators relations with the companies they regulate. A person with the power to call persons to the witness chair before a disaster like the Gulf spill happens, not just conduct an inquiry after the fact. What’s the chance of having such an ombudsman put into place? None to zero. No president, Obama included, would willingly allow such a usurpation of the powers of the president and of the congress. However that in no way negates our pressing need for one.

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Ex-Beatle McCartney Wins Gershwin Award

Singer Paul McCartney accepts the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from President Obama in the East Room of the White House. Photo: Alex Brandon-AP
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And with echoes of “Yesterday” running through our ears we bring another Little Eddy blog to a close. We apologize if we offended any Israelis with our comments on the raid, no scrap that. We will apologize to Israel right after she apologizes for attempting a blockade of Gaza aimed at starving its citizens to punish them for electing Hamas. As long as Israel refuses to recognize its own role in electing and keeping Hamas in power, peace in the middle east remains entombed along with Yitzak Rabin. What a crying shame.

Anyway to return to a positive note, it was good to hear McCartney reliving his Beatles hits. How sad that the other major Beatle lost his life at an assassin’s hand. One can only dream of which might have been had Mark David Chapman had kept his sorry ass in Hawaii.

A medical note as we close. Saw my new Oncologist Friday, he plans to do another bone marrow in July. He was hopeful that I possibly don’t have cml (chronic myeloid leukemia), but of course that will depend on the results of the bone marrow. He reports that there are now three drugs used in the treatment, and although all are expensive, it is possible to obtain them through plans. We will see what we will see.

At any rate, we’ve played out our hand for this week. Join us again next week for more of this irrelevant irreverence. Meantime, bye bye, keep your guard up and your chin down.

The Real Little Eddy §

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