Monthly Archives: September 2010

Water, water everywhere

It keeps being said, but reports like this indicate there is little action: we are destroying our planet. There are many headlines that drown the fact that polluted water resources are destroying life forms vital to our well being. The “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” in portentous as the albatross guiding us out of trouble is shot as the wealthy nations and corporations continue control to exploit natural resources. Plenty of food but the world goes hungry. Plenty of water but our thirst cannot be quenched.
While emphasis has been placed on the degradation of major rivers of Africa and Asia the report belies self-satisfaction that those in industrialised USA and Europe have been cleaned up. Far from it. The author of the report says “he hoped the global report would highlight the need to address the root causes of the degradation of rivers. ‘We’re spending trillions of US dollars to fix a problem we’ve created in the first place. It’s much cheaper to treat the causes rather than the symptoms, which is what we do in the developed world today,’ Source Guardian.
Water has become another commodityused by the profiteers. You can turn it into sweet, sickly, poisonous beverages that sell bottles in billions. The life giving supplies dry up before they can reach araes once fertile and abundant with crops.

Update on Mordechai Vanunu

Ernest Rodker is a long supporter of Vanunu and sent the following message via Zarina Bhatia:
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Ernest Rodker
Date: 28 September 2010 20:32
Subject: Vanunu on Facebook – 30th September action
To: Dear Friends and Supporters,
Just a quick update and a suggestion for an action you can take as outlined below. Since our last circular and Mordechai’s surprise release from prison, two weeks early, he has left Jerusalem and moved to Tel Aviv. With help from friends he has found a simple place to live, and he tells us he greatly enjoys swimming at least once every day in the sea.
Also, a new appeal, the fifth, regarding Mordechai’s restrictions has just been sent to the Supreme Court, but no date has yet been set for the hearing.
Now, for all of you on Facebook we would like to encourage you to take up Mordechai’s novel suggestion – below – as well as to circulate the idea as widely as possible with sympathetic groups and people.
Message from Mordechai:
I have a mission for you and others, to ask world wide facebook people, to write on their page on September 30th: “FREEDOM FOR VANUNU NOW,” This is 24 years since I lost my freedom 1986-2010. “FREEDOM FOR VANUNU NOW,”
Thank you to all who post on their Facebook page/wall, and forward onto others, to appear on 30th September 2010: FREEDOM FOR VANUNU NOW.
Also, check out Mordechai’s Facebook – his Friend count is increasing rapidly – this is another way to keep in touch with him and express your support.
For and on behalf of the Campaign for a Nuclear Free Middle East, our best wishes,
Ernest, Hope, David, Marie, Adeline

Campaign for a Nuclear Free Middle East

Chavez wins but is under pressure

Hugo Chavez has retained power in Venezuela but the opposition gained seats. Western media had put up a long and sustained battery of disinformation and caricature of him. This was inevitable given the challenge to the “Evil Empire” which has always sought to dominate what it regards as its own backyard.
That the US is intent on exporting terrorism rather than combating it is illustrated in an article about Cuba. The “Cuban Five” have long since been holed up in US prisons when their crime was to uncover a terrorist plot in the US, but since it was against Cuba it was OK and the criminal perpetrators remain free.
Election day itself is said to have gone smoothly. Given the passion and polarisation that is portrayed it has to be said that this is a considerable achievement with a turn out of around 70%. While there is talk of the “Bolivarian Revolution” it has to be recognised that this is a democratic process. Since governments and media in the west shout and bawl about its importance it does not get recognition if the regime doesn’t suit. Witness Honduras when the US backed a coup against the legitimately elected but left-wing Zelaya, with Hilary Clinton included a visit to the new regime approving what had taken place. In Palestine Hamas gets no recognition for having been voted into power democratically.

Ed Milibilly wins. You’d think there had been a revolution from right wing reaction

Against expectations Ed Milibilly has won the leadership battle of the Labour Party. That won’t please Mandelson and the New Labour group that expected the Second Coming with Milibilly D. in charge as the Blair look-a-like candidate.
Well I suppose it’s better than nothing but what transpires we’ll wait and see. I watched videos of Ed and then Diane talking to Polly Toynbee who is not renowned as a walkover. If the Murdoch dominated press fear Ed what would they have done if Abbot had waltzed in? The interview is certainly more impressive than the weekly sofa sessions with Portillo. If I was in the Labour Party I would have voted for her – I didn’t vote for Blair. It was Margaret Beckett when the choice was TB, Prescott and her. Thought she did reasonably well when she took up the acting leadership role following John Smith’s sudden demise. One point Abbot makes is that the resources available to Milibillies et al weren’t available to her, so you need the cash to get elected in Labour as anywhere else!
Socialism – it used to be the word “Communism” that scorched the page – is there a likelihood? Capitalism is so discredited yet the media-frenzied climate makes it difficult to even bring the obvious alternative up for discussion. When do you see a serious Socialist included on Question Time when Dimblebum shuts up anyone in the audience who dares to start out in that direction. In the past few elections it has been exceedingly tough to get a word in edgewise. I found this at the self-proclaimed “left” group Compass conference with Polly Toynbee once again to the fore batting off any mention of the S word.
Don’t know what Ed’s attitude will be to treatment of Palestinians. David followed Blair’s tolerance. Many Jewish people hate the fascist Israeli government but not Milibilly D. All seemed fair and square to him.

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Pope in Brum

The Pope is in Cofton Park, Birmingham, here to beatify John Henry Newman, one time Anglican priest who decamped to Catholicism. A real catch one might say. Is this really as devotional as is being made out in all the pomp and ceremony, or is it a highly political act?
As he arrives the Pope is met by the Mayor of Birmingham, none other than Gridlock Gregory now relieved of bringing traffic to a grinding halt throughout Birmingham. And yes, surely that’s Cllr Alan Rudge (aka Grudge or Drudge and referred to here as “Alan Birch”). Another similarly uninspiring presence he presents Il Pape with a crucifix which probably set back the cash strapped Birmingham City Council a bob or two.
Newman, part of the Oxford Movement, moved to Birmingham on his change to Catholicism, and set up camp at the Birmingham Oratory. He himself was probably prepared for someone proclaiming a saint in the future. When anyone is declared Blessed as the final act before sainthood their mortal remains are dug up. It appears he had the last laugh as virtually nothing remained. Soil and probably a few worms have been retained in place of the bones that usually form part of the “Holy Relics”. Evidently Newman instructed that the soil in which he and his friend were buried would do their work quickly. It worked so there was little trace to be found.
In the park there was a gigantic cross. on this occasion not complete with tortured body. Was this a gesture towards Protestantism which prefers the empty cross to symbolise a risen Lord? On the altar, likened by the Beeb presenter to “a hanger”, there was a dramatic revealing of a huge picture of Newman. This was a rather less severe presentation, and more saintly, than the earlier metal statue where the great man looks a little cross to say the least.

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Arms industry crucial to economies of Capitalism. Morality doesn’t exist for them.

The US is pushing an arms deal worth $60bn for Saudi Arabia. It will create 75,000 jobs. On the other hand what will this do to hold back global warming, the ever present threat to life on this planet? Plenty of jobs could be created to combat that, but the US administration faces huge opposition to environmentalists.
What is the legacy of military intervention? The same edition of Al Jazeera reports torture and secrecy in Iraqi jails as the U.S. begins to pull out. Selling arms, security and other lucrative services and commodities is one thing. Considering what happens afterwards isn’t a factor. The comfort zones we have created for ourselves western “civilisation” just don’t bear scrutiny. Live today whatever is in store for our children. Yes it is not others far away who are threatened, it is our own lives and future which is at stake.

“We need to get rid of Capitalists before they get rid of us” Hugo Blanco in Birmingham

Hugo Blanco was speaking in Birmingham during the Green Party Conference in a fringe meeting of Green left. Speaking before Hugo, Derek Wall, author, pointed out that it had been forgotten that Karl Marx was relevant to environmental issues, and that he referred to indigenous people and their value systems. This ties in with his socialist ideas and is possibly an influence on them.
Hugo Blanco, speaking in Spanish through an interpreter, spoke of the continuing struggles of indigenous people. They were confronting various organisations intent on extracting mineral wealth, destroying large areas of forest and creating pollution in their wake. In Peru some groups had succeeded in stopping the destruction of the Amazon Tropical Rain Forest, so vital to our planet and well being. In other cases there were massacres of indigenous people who were fighting to uphold their rights.
On his travels Blanco had met up with indigenous people across the world, including the U.S. and Canada. He found that value systems were similar – and that many were facing exploitation of land and pollution from multinational corporations. This was also true in India and Africa.

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Two French women who were talented composers

The names of Louise Heritte-Viardot (1841-1918) and Mel Bonis were unknown to me until I listened to a programme “Hidden Composers” on Radio 3. Its presenter gives more away on her blog.
Camille Saint-Saens thought women as composers was a non-starter, yet he was forced into admitting that these two had considerable talent. While much of Heritte-Viardot’s music is lost there is much more of Bonis still in existence.

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In war there are no civilians

The death of Rachel Corrie in Israel demonstrates a universal truth: in war there are no civilians. Continually the Israeli government displays contempt human life. Palestinians are particularly at risk of course. Imprisoned in Gaza and the West Bank they have little choice but international activists who show support in peaceful demonstrations are likely to come under fire as Rachel and Tom Hurndal exemplify. Not that Israeli citizens can expect absolute protection. Those workers in the now elderly and dangerous nuclear plants exposed to radiation get no sympathy. They are told to shut up or expect the treatment handed out to Mordechai Vanunu.
But look our economies are dependent on corporations which include the arms industry. Military spending sustains the U.S. economy, as it does other states. I suspect Israel is one of them. Other large corporations cash in on servicing the wars in a civilian capacity, an area of expansion which has led to huge controversy as armed civilians kill and maim. There are no rules of engagement. (Not that you’d notice they exist in combat anyway).

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I haven’t read Tony Blair’s memoirs, but I can’t believe they’re that bad

As I’ve already confessed I wouldn’t spend “a brass farthing” on anything to do with Tony Blair, less promote his empire even if the proceeds are supposed to be going to a charity. Blood money? Someone who knows him well has read the only copy in Iran. She says they can’t wait for a consignment to arrive when they “will fly off the shelves”.
Lauren Booth has decided to write to her brother-in-law and she shared the letter with Gilad Atzmon. Well worth a look don’t ya think?