Archive for August, 2014

People of the Book: an inter-faith dialogue. UPDATE:1

August 28, 2014

Its time, Dear Reader, to take a cursory look at The People of the Book, the followers of the three monotheistic religions which govern the behaviour of a large percentage of individuals and societies on this planet. The Tanakh. The Bible. The Quran. Very serious texts that have their genesis in the Abrahamic tradition that worships one God, and no bloody Golden Calves. (Really, this so-called entity should be in lower case, but there are conventions.) None of this a polytheistic God for every occasion, but one single voice who doesn’t share his Wisdom and Law with a whole bundle of mongrel competitors as instanced by Hinduism.

Abraham offing his son: the Hollywood version

Abraham offing his son: the Hollywood version

And the question should be, just how do the textual institutions (that includes their religious spokes-types) contribute to the fountain of human happiness in our Global Village, since all provide the final word on the behavioural norms which govern the thoughts and actions of individuals, families and political institutions/the State. And, to be sure, they variously operate in both secular and theocratic States.

Now, when you think about the expected normative behaviour outlined in these Sacred Texts, any reasonable person would assume that these three belief systems would seek to create the greatest good for human kind generally. After all, we don’t expect degrading and/or vicious doctrines to have a long life span, and since all these three religious systems have been around for millennia, we would expect them to be inherently good, and hence beneficial for both the individual and the larger society which they influence, shape and organise.

As wicki notes, “most citizens in the State of Israel are Jewish, and most Israeli Jews practice Judaism in some form”. There is a ton of nit-picking regarding the variants of Judaism of little interest to individuals not belonging to The Chosen People. Furthermore Israel purports to be a secular democracy saturated with Judaic beliefs, so lets cut to the chase and look at the manner which its government treats the Palestinians.

According a number of diaspora Jews:

“As Jewish survivors and descendants of survivors and victims of the Nazi genocide we unequivocally condemn the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and the ongoing occupation and colonization of historic Palestine. We further condemn the United States for providing Israel with the funding to carry out the attack, and Western states more generally for using their diplomatic muscle to protect Israel from condemnation. Genocide begins with the silence of the world.

We are alarmed by the extreme, racist dehumanization of Palestinians in Israeli society, which has reached a fever-pitch. In Israel, politicians and pundits in The Times of Israel and The Jerusalem Post have called openly for genocide of Palestinians and right-wing Israelis are adopting Neo-Nazi insignia”.

And here is their list of Israeli op eds calling for a Final Solution to the Palestinian ‘problem’.

Genocide as a spectator sport

Genocide as a spectator sport

And HERE is a detailed link for the above.

Nazi symbols

Lumpen prole Jews wearing Nazi symbols

And HERE is the link.

I could really ladle on the evidence that Israel is behaving in a manner similar to Nazi Germany – crop destruction, wholesale land clearance via terror tactics, a complex and degrading system of passport controls, ghettoization, etc – it is out there and in plain sight if you dare look.

Postscript.
The Chosen People. Uber exclusivist, informed by an over-overarching monotheistic belief system and plain vicious with a leadership who should be prime candidates for the International Criminal Court. Mining a history of victimisation for all its worth, and getting away with it in an epoch where universal concepts of genocide, human rights etc supposedly have real legal teeth.

And if you are interested in the Palestinian perspective on Israel, the Jewish lobby and recent events in that part of the world, I recommend The Electronic Intifida and the columnist Ali Abunimah in particular.

As Peter Beinart points out his article The American Jewish Cocoon The New York Review of Books Sept-Oct 2013 American Israeli spin merchants only talk to each other and they never explore the Palestinian perspective.

Two additional points:
The former head of Shin Bet Yuval Diskin has stated that “over the past 10-15 years has become more and more racist…….” p20.

Secondly, Beinart makes the point that Abunimah is no slouch when it comes to understanding how the American Israeli lobby thinks, so he is a Palestinian commentator to be taken very seriously.

To be continued.

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UPDATE.

In the last day or so, I ended up in a slanging match with one Ji Xiang – Capital in the North BlogSpot.com – when commenting on another subject on FOARP’S site – Fear of the Red Planet. Now, Foarp has been around for eons and is an individual with balanced views on most matters.

Not so, this one Ji Xiang – a Jewish person probably holding a US passport – who quite obviously spent seven seconds reading the above (ignoring the Israeli media links provided) and then called me out as a Holocaust denier. A serious charge to put it mildly, so its time to ladle on the evidence that Israeli is a State actor every bit as murderous as any in the Middle East. And we certainly have an abundance of murderous scumbag States to choose from in that part of the world.

And just so readers know who I’m talking about, below is my interlocutor Ji Xiang armed for bear in the wilds of Guangxi province in 2009.
DSCN0200

It’s not that Israeli public opinion is monolithic: there are dissenting voice and organisations who believe Palestinians are human beings, not stereotypes and ciphers of the Evil Other and fanatical, crazed Muslims to
boot. In contrast to flesh and blood with aspirations and the usual issues of paying the rent, putting food on the table and getting the brats off to school. We are talking about a very binary perspective and there’s no commonly shared humanity.

Wicki has compiled a list HERE and its well worth a bit of link time, as it connects to a wide range of human rights organisations, and not all focus on Palestinian issues. One such group is B’Tselem, a brilliantly layed-out and authoritive reporting organisation on human rights abuses in Gaza and the West Bank.

The International Legal Assistance Consortium, the Swedish Bar Association and the International Bar Association announced on 11 Sept. 2014 that the 2014 Stockholm Human Rights Award will be presented to B´Tselem. The Stockholm Human Rights Award was established in 2009, and is awarded annually to an individual or an institution for outstanding contributions to the rule of law and the promotion and protection of human rights.

So we have a very credible organisation similar to Human Rights Watch.

Sorry. The dashboard is getting a bit unmanageable, so continue on the next post.
Apol.

The Clive Daily Show.

August 21, 2014

With apologies to The China Daily Show.

This post is prompted by a promise I made on Justrecently’s site regarding Clive Palmer’s recent spray against Mainland China. Since it now involves so many links, decided to post it here AND also refer you to JR’s Weblog above, which is always good value, particularly if you’re Old School.

Now, Australia has its fair share of mining magnates who are either barking mad or come from extremely dysfunctional families. The heirs of the really dead West Australian mining magnate Lang Hancock are a prime example. I won’t bother you with the families genealogical tree, suffice to say it has involves Rose Porteous, who could best be described as a mix of Imelda Marcos and Wendy Deng, Murdoch’s third ex.

God, what is it with rich old white males and Asian gold diggers with long painted nails.

Rose Porteous. See what I mean

Rose Porteous. See what I mean

Then there is her step daughter Gina Rinehart, who is obese, ugly as sin, extremely avaricious and hoping to become even wealthier than the richest woman in the world, which she is presently, by importing Chinese coolie labour (via the 457 visa arrangement) to work in her many mining ventures.

That her four children hate her guts with a living vengeance is a by-the-by, with a long protracted legal struggle over a family trust involving court cases, high court appeals, counter appeals, attempt to suppress the media etc. This high priced legal struggle made the head spin and caused a major run on pharmaceuticals using the valium formula.

Told you so.. meet the new Bunyip aristocracy .

Told you so.. meet the new Bunyip aristocracy .


The sack of potatoes earning capacity

The sack of potatoes earning capacity

Now we come to Clive Palmer and his Palmer United Party, a recent political creation which is forcing the Abbott Federal Government to assume the star fish position.

palmer circus

Context: Cuddly rotund Uncle Clive comes across a bit like Big Daddy minus the cigar in Faulkner’s The Long Hot Summer. Unlike Faulkner’s creation with his plantations, Palmer derives his wealth from a number of dodgy mining ventures.

Now, normally when you have a deranged uncle likely to cause public/political embarrassment, you keep him locked up in the chook pen or family outhouse ie the dunny. Not so in The Great Southern Land: you’ve got a real future in politics. And does he ever.

Even if Palmer implodes in the next three month, a highly likely prospect, the next Federal election will see more fringe independents emerging like an Ebola plague to truly gut the two major parties that presently dominate the landscape in tubbyland. The natives are getting restless and listening to the tom toms of populist simplicities.

And lets admit it, they do have their appeal, not due to their content, but how they have the capacity to strip away the rhetorical drivel which has colonised mainstream political discourse.

Now, I know JR will be giving this scribble a really close reading, so I better provide the link which provides Palmers outburst with background, and of course it is provided by John Garnaut of the SMH.

The first cracks appeared in Clive Palmer’s China story about four years ago, when he collided with the glamorous daughter of the former premier, Li Peng (aka the Butcher of Beijing).

Until then he was happy to sing the Communist Party’s praises while party executives signed opaque iron ore deals, sometimes with the aide of mystery middle men.

The Sino Iron investment in the Pilbara became famous in China as the single most disastrous outbound investment deal in Chinese history and turned Palmer into one of Australia’s richest men.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/mr-china-no-more-clive-palmer-out-of-luck-again-20140819-105yhb.html#ixzz3B4aLuQeK

Garnaut’s account is hilarious and not without some fun irony for readers who follow Chinese media.

More to the point, Palmer’s outburst will have absolutely no negative impact whatosever on Mainland China-Australia trade relations. For the gist of China’s huffing and puffing response, quickly scan the google news screen save below. The usually predictable hurt-feelings swill emanating from Beijing/CCTV and its so-called public intellectuals/toads and parrots.

https://news.google.com/news?ncl=dgQlPkNZNhgOeVMMUqtzKhMmYKtyM&q=china&lr=English&hl=en&sa=X&ei=dYX2U4DgOIOdugSvjYKACA&ved=0CDAQqgIwAg

But the one I liked most of all came from The Global Times, which referred to Palmer’s rampart rascality when denouncing him as a scumbag.

The fact, written in stone, is that the Chinese Government and its SOE’s will do a deal with any govt/regime whatsoever, when it comes to acquiring mineral and energy resources ie North Korea, Russian Federation, Sudan, warlords in the DPR, Kenya etc. They have no shame whatsoever and would even enter into trade arrangements with odious Catholic Poland if the occasion required.

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While The Great Southern Land has an abundance of slander, libel and hate speech legislation, the Australian Federal parliament nonetheless provides a great forum for insult, invective and other uncomplimentary language. All the same there are rules governing exchanges between the government and opposition, and you can read them HEREOffensive and disorderly words/References to and reflections on members. Cobbled together by the finest constitutional minds in the land and therefore beyond normal comprehension.

Few negotiated this legal minefield better than Paul Keating, PM 1991-1996. Keating really knew how to traverse Parliaments speech constraints and pour it on with vernacular that resonated with the average tubbylander. Try G’Day Scumbags HERE.

Or youtube below:

There is no denying that Keating played the peanut gallery for all it was worth. Forget responsible government and think crowd support in a Premier League game. Lift your side and jeer/insult the opposition. Come to think, if Keating followed PL he would be rabid Crystal Palace supporter.

Now, Uncle Clive is no parliamentary performer by whatever measure. No wit, language facility, in addition to a seriously meandering and contradictory political history which you catch on wicki.

Now, for some forensic analysis of the context where Uncle Clive went feral.

The Q @ A Program is one of the flagships of the Australian Broadcasting Commission – a tax payer funded national broadcaster with a long and venerable history. You can catch its digital presence HERE.

It purports to offer adventures in democracy. Compered by pinhead Tony Jones, who looks like a skinny version of Julian Assange but with a perpetual smirk, it cobbles together a half dozen politicians of diverse stripe, pundits (self-appointed Thought Leaders) and an audience (victims, ngo identity spokes-types and others with something really bloody important to say.

The whole Q @ A format is managed and manipulated to within an inch of its life – very safe fare for the mums and days at home sipping their hot chocolate and labouring under the belief that they will retreat into the land of nod horribly well informed on this or that topic of the day.

In fact, they would be better advised to drink some cheap alcohol, watch a rerun of Baywatch and indulge in a quick grope. And of course, the panellists are expected to push their own agendas while showering all and sundry in the studio with their wit and wisdom.

In brief, Brothers and Sister it is fucking pathetic. More like a Faux Roman Circus of Really Deep Ideas, and if I catch any of the servants watching it they get a sound flogging.
Now
The Palmer United Party leader is embroiled in a legal battle with Chinese state-owned company CITIC Pacific, which has accused the mining magnate of siphoning off $12 million in funds.

Mr Palmer has strenuously denied accusations his company Mineralogy misused CITIC Pacific’s cash to finance PUP’s federal election campaign.

He said the matter was before the Supreme Court this week and he’d keep up the fight against the “Chinese mongrels”.

“I’m saying that because they’re communist, because they shoot their own people, they haven’t got a justice system and they want to take over this country,” he said.

“We’re not going to let them do it.” Courtesy of the SMP.

Lets look at Palmer’s situation via an analogy.

If you were accused of stealing and wearing your sisters underwear on national TV, how would you respond? Answer in the affirmative! Like hell. If you had half a brain, you would probably accuse the Vatican of being a global paedophile cult of extremely evil proportions, which it most certainly is, what with major investigations taking place in Australia, Ireland, Mexico, Brazil, the US, etc. Your peccadillo would be airbrushed off the airwaves, and you would get to enjoy your thrill another day.

Clive was not going to fall on his knees and seek forgiveness before the mums and dads of Australia, and then hope against hope that the High Court would rule in his $12m favour.

While he is a populist clown who enjoys a greater public approval rating than most pundits will admit – such is intense dislike of the Abbott Government – he is no fool when it comes to the public conversation.

Language is a slippery and highly evocative commodity.

When you say that this or that individual has ‘a bit of mongrel in him’, a charge often levelled at Keating, you are talking about a positive, admirable attribute.

‘A mongrel act’ is a despicable action undertaken by an individual, and when you refer to a class of individuals as ‘mongrels’ you are drawing attention to the despicable or unconscionable way they deal with others.

And let’s admit it. The Chinese are not noted for upright behaviour in the business department. At present, twenty plus Australian citizens are being detained and/or prevented from exiting Mainland China, so their joint venture partners can loot and/or take over their businesses.

The ‘communist’ charge. The Big Other which really resonates, although the mums and dads still have problems explaining how a very small percentile of the Chinese population enjoys unimaginable wealth.

‘They shoot their own people’. Forget all the TM history. They have shoot a lot of folk in Xinjiang lately, and life for Tibetans is not exactly a bed of roses.

The Chinese justice system. Not worth comment. Refer to hostile bids above.

“They want to take over this country”. ie taking over the nations ports to steal the nations natural resources. Palmer has a lot of skin in this other claim, and the complexities – involving rail shipping to ports in Queensland – are beyond this scribbler.

But the above doesn’t matter, given the commonplace knowledge that Mainland capital outflows are saturating the real estate markets in the capital cities. Try these graphs provided by The Business Spectator.

While Mainland investment mostly concentrates on the higher end of the market, the public perception is that its forcing up the price of the average family home, and that hurts.

The rain has just finished and so have I.