Let’s Pick-SF 60’s Sound

This just comes up in between my Fleetwood Mac series and any other more grassin kind of Pickin Posts I’m doing, because somewhere, this first Janis song crept into my head.

‘N as I was surfin from clip to clip of this song, it occurred to me that there was a damned obvious sound that Jefferson Airplane had, git wise. Hell, Moby Grape had that sound, too, but I digress.

Funny, Skip Spence was Jefferson Airplane’s first drummer, then he lept to Moby Grape to play 2nd or 3rd git and sing lead and harmony.

So we can establish that link with surety.


Here’s a nice live cut (audio live, video is compiled stuff) of Janis, with Big Brother, doin By By Baby, one of my fave’s of hers. That rock hall sound in the gits is unmistakable, if ya were there. It just rings.

Got to see Janis N BBrother once, I was likely 13 or 14, my older sister was forced to drag me along. It was in San Carlos, CA, at the old Circle Star Theatre.

I recall completely flipping out when they did Blind Man.

But here’s By By Baby, 1966, in CA.


That git feeling I have for this one and The Airplane with Skip Spence first on drums? It was that rock hall sound back then.

I never saw the first Jeff Air band, but I wore out a few copies of that first album, n still have two in my vinyl stash.

N the sound is unmistakable here, as it was in the rock halls of The City when I was teenager from ’68-’71. I got in on the tail end of the SF Love Rock Scene, but man it looms heavy in my ears to this day.

So here’s Jeff Air, with Skip Spence on drums, Signe Toly Anderson on vocals, Marty Balin on vocals, Jorma on git, Paul Cantor on 2nd git n harmony, Jack Cassidy thumpin bass. N here’s that SF Rock Hall Sound, on the gits. Damn I miss that sound.

N I gotta say, it’s one of the few clips I’ve ever seen of Signe Toly Anderson. She was gorgeous, n her voice was insanely folkie growly n sweet with Marty’s.

This is good stuff folks.

N that’s No Secret.


For a finale, here’s Moby Grape with Skip Spence upper left stage git sangin harmony on one of their best tunes, ‘8:05′. Man, that band had the sound, too, from back then.

Sounds muddled, it’s old video, but hey, it’s Moby Grape, and they made it onto the Mike Douglas Show! ’66 or so?

I’m gonna bust out bawlin like a baby.

Late Late Night FDL: Strangled Eggs

Foghorn LeghornStrangled Eggs.  This Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoon was released on March 18, 1961.

Directed by Robert McKimson.  Story by Tedd Pierce.  Animation by Warren Batchelder, Ted Bonnicksen, George Grandpré, and Tom Ray.  Layouts by Robert Gribbroek.  Backgrounds by Bob Singer. Film Editing by Treg Brown.  Voices by Mel Blanc (Foghorn Leghorn, Henery Hawk) and Julie Bennett (Miss Prissy – uncredited).  Original Music by Milt Franklyn.

Grab your popcorn, put your feet up on the seatback in front of ya, and aim your spitballs at the ushers please. This is Late Late Night FireDogLake, where off topic is the topic … so dive in. What’s on your mind?

Late Night: Useless, Snotty, Airhead Aristocracy Wastes World’s Time Throwing Grotesquely Opulent Pompous Nauseating Gala

No, not the royal wedding. The royal wedding was an event I am more than capable or regarding with my customary benevolent equanimity. The carryings-on of the British aristocracy are frivolous, and the tabloid obsession with them ranges from vacuous to terrifying, but overall –eh, the British Royals, whatever they get up to, I worry about them precisely as much as I worry about what their namesakes from Kansas City are doing with their relief pitching.

Nah, the title refers to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Which is tonight.

I vaguely wish the British royal couple well, and I suppose I encourage the Kansas City bullpen to throw strikes: why the hell not, you know? I’m not British, and I’m a Mets fan (for my sins).

On the other hand, I fervently wish that everyone who goes to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner gets scabies.

For any reader who does not know what the White House Correspondents’ Dinner is… by the Holy Tits of Santa, I envy you. Basically it’s an event where rich and famous people from media and politics gather to remind themselves that even though they should be doing other things beside from acting like Britney-class celebrities, fuck that shit. And then celebrities show up….

In other words, it’s exactly like the royal wedding, except that it seems several billions of people seem either kindly or indifferently disposed to the royal couple…

… And pretty much all of America, and probably the world, and likely even lifeforms heretofore undiscovered, is united in fervently wishing that everyone who shows up to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner contracts scabies. Nasty-assed scabies, too. Targeting their underpants regions especially.

The royal family at least has the grace to be without power. The asshole DC media.. and asshole DC… not so much. These are the people piously holding elementary school teachers to account for almost destroying the nations’ economy by inventing shyster real estate credit scams.

Here are selections from the Politico live blog of the red carpet to the  White House Correspondents’ dinner.

This exists.

“Glee” star Matthew Morrison tells POLITICO he is wearing Calvin Klein underwear.

Rupert Murdoch and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) seen chatting at the Wall Street Journal party.

It’s all about “Gossip Girl” star Chace Crawford at the pre-parties. Guests one after the next are asking him to pose for pictures.

Out of sight, out of mind? David Axelrod (back from Chi-town) and his wife Susan walked into the hotel hall with little fanfare.

Steve Buscemi is at the TIME/People pre-party, doing a little mingling.

Meghan McCain, blonde tresses up in a bun, is being stopped literally every five feet by passersby. She is happily chatting.

Jane Lynch of “Glee” is mingling the in TIME/People pre-party, as her co-star and onscreen nemesis, Matthew Morrison, leaves the party. “She’s not wearing her tracksuit.”

Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown has two dates tonight: His wife, Gail, and his eldest daughter Ayla.

Bristol Palin, wearing a white sequined dress, is posing for pictures with gobs of people at the TIME/People party. (She’s attending the dinner as a guest of People.

Mila Kunis, walking in escorted by Wolf Blitzer.

“SNL” star Andy Samberg, co-star of WHCD emcee Seth Meyers, chatting up Mindy Kaling of “The Office.”

“Sorry, she’s not doing interviews,” a handler says when reporters approach Bristol Palin at the pre-party. “This is a social event.”

The Donald has arrived.

ABC to Donald Trump: “Why are you here?” The Donald responds, “I was invited. By a lot of people.” (He is a guest of the Washington Post.)

I thought ten thousand middle fingers must have leaped from their keyboards to avenge this awful bullshit. But the age of chivalry, or something, is gone. FUCK ME.

Or else, “let’s hear it for scabies.”

NY-26: Democrat Within Striking Distance in Red Seat on Strength of Opposition to Ryan Budget

Kathy Hochul

There are two special elections coming up in May. One is here in my Congressional district to replace Jane Harman. And it’s a top-two primary with 16 candidates, so it’s almost certain we won’t know the final result until a runoff in July. The other race is in NY-26, to replace Craigslist Chris Lee. That’s a fairly Republican seat, but Democrats in the area have been boosted by two things: 1) the presence of a this third party candidate, Jack Davis, that could split the conservative vote; 2) the presence of the Paul Ryan budget, which Democrat Kathy Hochul is using to pummel Republican Jane Corwin.

The most recent poll of the race shows that this is having an impact:

In the special election for the 26th Congressional District seat, Republican Jane Corwin currently has a small lead, with the support of 36 percent of voters. Democrat Kathy Hochul is supported by 31 percent, and independent Jack Davis, running on the Tea Party line, has the support of 23 percent of voters, according to a Siena (College) Research Institute poll of likely 26th CD voters released today.

Voters identified the federal budget deficit and jobs as the two most important issues they want their new Representative working on in Washington. Voters strongly support (58-36 percent) repealing the recently-enacted federal health care legislation. They strongly oppose cutting Medicare and Social Security benefits to help close the deficit (59-38 percent), however, they strongly support increasing personal income tax rates for the wealthiest Americans (62-35 percent), and they are divided (48-47 percent) on increasing corporate taxes.

There’s actually a fourth-party candidate, Ian Murphy of the Buffalo Beast (the guy who made the Koch prank call to Scott Walker), who only got 1% support in the poll. Not sure what kind of impact he will have on the race. And I don’t know if Davis will hold a quarter of voters among Democrats, Republicans and independents, the way the poll shows now. With our first-past-the-post system, typically the third-party candidates lose support as the election nears.

This race is a test case, if a somewhat imperfect one because of the third party effort, on the potency of the argument against dismantling social safety net programs. Clearly, voters are on Hochul’s side on that issue, and she has been working to frame the race entirely around that. We shall see if that will carry the day. The election is May 24.

Israel: Latest victim of America’s weird foreign policy?

Don’t even get me started on America’s failed foreign policy in the Middle East. Just try to name even one country east of Suez that America hasn’t tampered with and made a mess of. “Israel?” you might say. Yeah right. Just imagine what Israel would be like today if America had resisted the temptation to interfere with its policies, the direction it was taking and its priorities.

America, like some strange King Midas in reverse, seems to have completely screwed up everything that it touches in the Middle East. And, yes, this statement appears to include Israel too.

First of all, in any kind of sane world Israel would have gotten its hand slapped for bombing the USS Liberty back in 1967. But it didn’t. 34 U.S. sailors were deliberately and callously murdered by Israeli armed forces and apparently no hand-slapping was involved — with the possible exception of some bizarre spy vs. spy story from Wayne Madsen about America then sinking an Israel submarine in retaliation and then Israel sinking a French submarine to get even and also sinking a U.S. cargo ship returning empty from Iran after dumping off tons of weapons from Reagan to the Ayatollah, thus getting in the last word. http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/oldsite/article.asp?ID=10051.

If this bizarre story is true, however, America’s and Israel’s leaders’ foreign policies and moral compasses are even more off-base than we thought!

And after the USS Liberty incident, Israel’s leadership must have been on top of the world. “Wow!” they must have said to themselves in stunned disbelief. “If Americans let us get away with deliberately murdering 34 U.S. sailors in cold blood, they’ll let us get away with anything! Let’s go for it guys.” And apparently they did.

America over the past several decades has appeared to support every single bad thing that Israel has done since its inception. “America NEVER sends us to our room without any supper — no matter how badly we behave!” seemed to the message that America sent to Israel’s leadership after the USS Liberty was heartlessly attacked, bombed and strafed.

So Israel, like some naughty child, was allowed to pull as many wings off as many Middle East butterflies at it wanted to. That mess in Lebanon in the 1980? That mess in Lebanon in 2006? The heartless bombing of Gaza with deadly white phosphorus that killed hundreds of women and children in 2008? Rachel Corrie’s death-by-bulldozer in 2003? Go for it!

And even more important, Israel has suffered inestimable harm to its international reputation as a religious nation. And it has suffered economic harm. And moral harm. And its citizens have become racists and murderers without even a qualm. The whole country looks like South Africa during Apartheid or Warsaw during World War II. Yuck! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylVlFfFUk8w&

Not to mention the price Israel has to pay as its returning soldiers suffer from PTSS.

Not to mention the price Israel has to pay as its entire civilian population suffers from PTSS!

“But Jane,” you might say, “if Israelis hadn’t fought back, then Palestinians would have thrown them into the sea!” Not true. That “Poor Me, underdog, David vs. Goliath” story is getting more and more unbelievable every day days. Did David own a whole fleet of F16 jets or over 200 nuclear weapons? I think not.

Not only that, but a huge number of Israelis these days are voluntarily throwing their own selves into the sea. We will never know how many Israelis with European roots have packed up their families in the middle of the night and moved back to Europe where it is safe and where Europe’s leadership doesn’t use them as fall-guys for some real estate grab and their children won’t grow up to be bigots. I’ve heard that there are more Israelis living in Berlin right now than there were even back in the 1930s.

In an article entitled, “Three Myths of Israel’s Insecurity,” Ira Chernus lists three frequently-told stories that are actually purely myths. “Myth Number 1: Israel’s existence is threatened by the ever-present possibility of military attack. In fact, there’s no chance that any of Israel’s neighbors will start a war to wipe out Israel….

“Myth Number 2: The personal safety of every Jewish Israeli is threatened daily by the possibility of violent attack. In fact, according to Israeli government statistics, since the beginning of 2009 only one Israeli civilian (and two non-Israelis) have been killed by politically motivated attacks inside the green line (Israel’s pre-1967 border). Israelis who live inside that line go about their daily lives virtually free from such worry.

“Myth Number 3: Israel’s existence is threatened by worldwide efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state. Early in 2010, Military Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin told the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, that the country was not ‘suffering from terror or from an immediate military threat.’” http://original.antiwar.com/engelhardt/2011/04/17/the-great.israeli-security-scam/print

Now let’s talk about the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) economic movement worldwide — where both Israeli and American companies who support apartheid are being boycotted. This movement is putting Israel in more danger than possibilities of violent attack. And the BDS movement is a direct result of Israel having been influenced by America’s ineffective, weird and immoral foreign policies in the Middle East. And I have the YouTube flash mob videos to prove it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ww7OUUfjoBQ

Of course I could continue to cite you cases in point here all night about how Israel’s military, economic and racist policies are failing it bigtime all over the Middle East, and also in the eyes of world opinion, with regard to Israel’s military and foreign policy strategy. For instance, there’s the case of the new Arab Spring movements that appear to have been originally inspired by Arab hatred of injustice in Palestine. However, I am more of a philosophical person than a military fact-checker or foreign-policy wank and would prefer to focus on investigating how Israel’s American-inspired-and-funded cruel, unjust and apartheid policies appear to be also destroying Israel from within as well as allegedly from without.

Most practicing Jews — both outside of Israel and inside it — are religious and righteous people who put a heavy emphasis on observing mitzvahs and pursuing justice. And slowly but surely these practicing Jews are becoming fed up with the vicious persecution of Palestinians that currently makes Israel more resemble Warsaw than the Promised Land.

And not only that, but Israelis have stolen — stolen! — millions of olive trees from Palestinian farmers. You gotta sink pretty low in order to steal some poor farmer’s olive trees. Where in the Talmud does it say that olive-tree-stealing is kosher? Nowhere!

Arab Jews in Israel are also getting fed up with being prejudiced against — even though they are in the majority in Israel. In an article published recently by a group of Arab Jews in Israel, young Mizrahi Jews stated that, “We believe that, as Mizrahi Jews in Israel, our struggle for economic, social, and cultural rights rests on the understanding that political change cannot depend on the Western powers who have exploited our region and its residents for many generations.” http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/young-arab-jews-open-letter-to-arab-peers.html

Arab Jews are also getting prejudiced against in Israel — remember those famous ringworm experiments that maimed thousands of Jewish children of Arab origin? The ones where children were irradiated deliberately? And paid for by America?

It’s not only Christian Arabs and Muslim Arabs that are getting kicked around in Jerusalem. Arab Jews are getting kicked around there too. That’s just wrong!

For decades, America has offered Israeli leaders billions and billions of dollars if Israel only will serve as its cats-paws in the Middle East. And Israeli leaders just hold out their hands, happily selling out their country, willingly corrupted by wealth.

And then there’s that infamous Subaru ad where a Zionist driver thinks it’s just peachy to run over Palestinian children. Now tell me again how Israelis could have sunk so low morally? It’s amazing what the power of American money will do when it is waved in your face. http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=198500236852998

Just like Americans have been corrupted into believing that killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of women and children in the Middle East is both necessary and cool, Israelis have also sold their birthright as moral human beings in order to serve bogus U.S. foreign policy goals in the Middle East that do NOT serve Israel’s own national interests at all — nor America’s either.

PS: Here’s a link to an article written by Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, “As a Holocaust Survivor, AIPAC Does Not Speak for Me”: http://www.moveoveraipac.org/2011/04/as-a-holocaust-survivor-aipac-does-not-speak-for-me/ “At the end of one of my first journeys to the Israeli-occupied West Bank in 2004, I endured a shocking experience at Ben-Gurion Airport. I never imagined that Israeli security forces would abuse a 79-year-old Holocaust survivor, but they held me for five hours, and strip-searched and cavity-searched every part of my naked body. The only shame these security officials expressed was to turn their badges around so that their names were invisible….”

Well, Just for fun…. Why is it that…?

Well, Just for fun……Why is it that…?
1.  First things first, why do our politicians all of a sudden need no less than 20,000 American flags behind them when they give press conferences?   Furthermore, is there any relationship between the number of American flags displayed at a given event, and the truthfulness of statements made by the speakers in attendance?
If Teabaglican rallies and joint announcements by Republican members of the house and Senate are any indication, an increase in American flags on display would seem to  indicate a remarkable decline in the honesty of the statements made by the speakers.
Why is  it that when politicians and political pundits get called out on any particular lie that they happen to be peddling at the time,  they get offended?
Is it just me?
Why do they react as if they’ve been slapped in the face with a pristine white leather glove wielded by a tuxedo clad  talking rabbit in a cartoon?  The surprised/offended/ afraid look on their faces seems to convey  that unmistakable message of How dare you?
Just look at some of the recent footage of the current crop of  Republican brotherhood blood sucking  predators currently holding public office and portraying ‘Representatives’ nationwide at their town halls http://thinkprogress.org/2011/04/29/town-hall-ryan-grimm/ .  When little old ladies and little old men ask them actual, well thought out,  intelligent questions, they look as if they’ve been  punched in the junk by Mr. T.
WTF?   Since when did being asked a direct question merit a response that makes our politicians  look as if they have just seen their pastor hitting on their spouse at church?
Is the truth http://crooksandliars.com/john-amato/history-politcal-lying really so offensive to these people?
Well  the answer is yes, yes it is.   Apparently the truth is so offensive that certain Rethug operatives pretending to be public servants have had folks arrested for daring to ask thoughtful, intelligent questions http://crooksandliars.com/karoli/nicole-sandler-arrested-allen-wests-town-ha
2. Have the vast majority of LIEbertarians, Teabaglicans and Rethugs ever actually stopped and thought about what their lives would be like if they ever had the good fortune to live in the magical world that they have wet dreams about every night?
This one always puzzles me.
If they ever succeeded at removing all of these ‘pesky’ regulations (what little remain) like worker protections and child labor laws,  how would they feel about being seriously injured at work due to unregulated  work safety issues, then having no right to sue for damages do to ‘tort reform’ and then having to send their small children to work  performing manual labor so that they could afford to eat the suspect food available due to the absence of any semblance of the FDA, ‘buyer beware’.
Seriously, would this make them happy?
Have they given their ridiculous political positions and their irresponsible voting habits any serious thought?
Of course Not http://crooksandliars.com/karoli/their-own-words-tea-partiers-talk-election– !  They are too busy examining birth certificates, attending pro-birth rallies followed by anti immigration rallies, followed by nullification rallies. Manny of them  are out vandalizing museums (probably right now), donating to secessionist movements with money from their social security checks, flying out of church like a bat from hell to go gamble at a casino on a reservation, drinking gin and tonics while tripping off of government subsidized prescription drugs from Prozac to Zoloft to prescription grade mary j, and of course Viagra,  all the while talking shit about ‘Big Government’ and the ‘moral decline’ of America.
These people will literally leave an anti immigration rally and swing by Lowes or Home Depot on the way back to see if they can find some low wage undocumented workers to fix the roof on their house.
These people are off the chain, many of them are old, stupid, and racist.  Hell, many of them aren’t even awake for most of the day (which is why Fox News never stops pumping out the propaganda ).
So NO, I have to conclude that  they will not be bothered to think anything through, that’s what Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reiley, Frank Graham,  Pat Buchanan,  Ann Coulter,  Neal Cavuto, Joe Scarborough,  Harold Ford, Michael Savage, Neal Boortz, Rick Santeli, Rush Limbaugh, Jon Kyl, Lindsey Graham, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnel,  Paul Ryan,  etc. etc. are there for, to tell them what to think so that they don’t have to take time out of their frantic, functionally illiterate, hectic and busy days spent being racist, xenophobic, selectively religious and ignorant…….and asleep.
It is obvious that, the vast majority of these folks have never spent more than one 1000th of   ¾ of a second actually analyzing any of
their ‘deeply held’ beliefs, or those of the leaders of the movements they profess to support.  If they  ever did they would realize that when people like Grover Norquist say things like ‘my goal is to cut government in half in 25 years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub’ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/g/grovernorq182534.html that life under such conditions would probably not be very good for them.
After all, many of them survive thanks solely to government funded programs. Hmm?
But as we have all seen and heard from CONservative  minded friends and relatives, the ‘Freedom’ argument is often strong enough to diffuse any semblance of common sense from rearing its pointy egg shaped head into the debate.
But have they really thought about those ‘freedoms‘?
I say NO.  After all,  there were a lot of ‘freedoms’ that folks once had before they collectively agreed to form societies (and even afterward), below is a just a small, painfully inadequate list of ‘freedoms’ that people long ago foolishly traded in order to embrace the concepts of society and rule of law:
A. The freedom to starve to death, at a place, (not so much a Time) of your own choosing   Yeaaaaahhhh Boyyyyyyyyyyy!     I list this as number one because there is nothing quite like the feeling of  knowing that you are slowly dying while your body attempts to digest itself,   to let you know that you are one free motherfucker! In the good old days (before dirty, stinking, looter, socialist concepts like government assistance to the poor came about) people enjoyed the absolute and sacred freedom to starve to death, either in their own homes or right on the street while rich folks walked by on their way to the butcher shop to buy fresh meat for their sporting dogs!    They must really miss the good old days? (on a side note, this one is making a comeback in the U.S. )
B. The freedom to have no form of legal redress when someone bigger than you decides to pull your card or, as I like to call it [the Deebo principle].   In the good ole days, before commonly accepted laws and a court system supported by mutual contribution of taxes came about,  the only real law in force was ’the bigger stick wins’. And the bigger stick always won, regardless of such frivolous and trifling notions of right and wrong, the bigger stick won and everyone and everything else lost., and the best thing about that was, unless you could manage to find a bigger stick you had no one to turn to for assistance and you were absolutely fucked! They must really miss the good ole days, because they are feverishly voting to get us back those ‘freedoms‘, YES!
Under the bigger stick rule, everyone enjoyed several fringe benefit freedoms like,
(1) the freedom to be minding your own business one day, not bothering anyone, only to suddenly be killed out of hand merely to serve as an example to others by someone with a bigger ‘stick’ than you,  and the  best part about that?  The freedom of your surviving relatives to have no one to seek justice from.  Rock On!
(2) the freedom of you and all of your friends and  relatives to be overrun by more powerful people and sold into slavery, or used as material for science projects.  Hooorrrraaaaaaay!  Now that’s some biblical freedoms type shit right there boy, no bullshit United Nations around to be bothered with shit like war crimes!   I’m talking Rwanda type freedom…..Bitches!
(3) the freedom to get paid in Company Script! What! What!   You didn’t think the Deebo principle applied only to invading foreigners and neighborhood bullies did you?  No, it applied (and still applies) to the good ole ‘producer’ class right here at home!  No commonly accepted (govt. backed) currency for you bitch ( no gold or silver either)  just these  fake certificates http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474977517353 ‘privately’ ’produced’  by ‘private’ companies, so you could  privately walk your happy ass into the ‘privately owned’  company store, and ‘privately’ pay twice what everyone else was who wasn’t ’privatized’ was paying for goods that you needed in order to  ‘personally’ survive,  and if you tried to spend that bullshit company script anywhere else, some nice and respectable shop keeper would tell you to  ‘privately’ …..“get the fuck out of my store“.      They must miss the freedom to be oppressed, extorted, and robbed all in the name of the free market and commerce?
C.  The ‘Freedom’ to be fucked by an entity that you did not have an opportunity to elect, petition, ridicule, or otherwise speak freely about.   ‘Nuff said.
The craziest thing is that, while we lose real freedoms all the time,  it’s usually the folks who parade as ‘patriots’ and ‘freedom’ lovers who consistently vote for the very interests who would love nothing more than to ‘take the country back’…right back to the good ole days.
And if you choose to, please listen to this awesome song  and enjoy the live retro concert footage by Parliament the song is called Gaming on ya http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swe-VzMdENg
My favorite line from the song  “ people keep waiting on a change, they aint got sense enough to come in out of the rain”

Some Positive Feedback, More Analysis, And New Details Emerge On The Hamas-Fatah Unity Deal

Well, it’s about time that some of the prominent Proponents for the Palestinians made their voices heard…

Carter hails Hamas-Fatah reconciliation

The Carter Center, founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn, issues a statement commending the Palestinian organizations for its ‘vision’ of reunification of the Palestinian people.

This is also very encouraging on the part of the UN…

UN chief welcomes Palestinian unity deal

Ban Ki-moon says the unity agreement should not undermine peace with Israel and wants Abbas’ more moderate Fatah movement to lead any unity government.

Naturally, Israel is ‘very concerned’ over the plans to open the Gaza border with Egypt…

…Speaking on condition of anonymity, the Israeli official said Gaza’s Hamas rulers had already build up a “dangerous military machine” in northern Sinai which could be further strengthened by opening the border.

“We are very concerned about the situation in northern Sinai where Hamas has succeeded in building a dangerous military machine, despite Egyptian efforts to prevent that,” he told AFP, without giving further details.

“What power could they amass if Egypt was no longer acting to prevent that build up?”

FM Lieberman wasn’t so hesitant in displaying his Xenophobia…

Lieberman to Ashton: Hamas-Fatah reconciliation gives Hamas opening for West Bank takeover

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman cautions EU’s Catherine Ashton that reconciliation may mean takeover in West Bank similar to that in Gaza in 2007, may use West Bank to perpetrate terror against Israel.

To Abu Mazen’s credit, he’s also talking to the EU…

Now, looking at some hard-nosed analysis, Col. Pat Lang, no shrinking violet, calls it like he sees it…

…Israel does not want to make peace with the Palestinians except on the basis of the creation of a ‘bantustan’ that is neither a competitor economically nor a conceivable threat of any kind. In pursuit of that “end state” they want a Palestinian leadership that is compliant and “biddable” and that will not control the borders of its possible “state.” Neither may such a “state” have any armed forces.

Hamas refuses to recognise Israel as a permanent feature of the Middle East. Hamas has indicated its willingness to conclude a religiously binding truce with Israel for ten years. Such truces are indefinitely renewable, but that is not good enough for Israel. They want Palesinian acknowledgement of the permanent loss of part of their national homeland.

Bottom Line: These will be no peace in the Holy Land.

Interestingly, the Egyptian military junta brokered this deal. They did it in the certain knowledge that Israel would not accept a relationship with the resulting Palestinian union. If the Egyptian Army did this, what will the elected government do about the peace treaty with Israel and the gas pipeline to Israel?

Guess. pl

Btw, about that gas pipeline…

I’d also like to feature one of the comments on that particular thread of Pat’s…

I just returned from 2 weeks in Israel celebrating the Holidays as I always do. During my time there I listened to talks by Danny Ayalon, Benny Begin and Danny Danon, all members of Netanyahu’s inner cabinet.

It’s still clear from their statements about Netanyahu’s position on peace compromises that Israel is still pursuing the Allon Plan from the late 1960’s. This would break the West Bank into cantons without any direct contact to the outside world, as Pat mentioned.

The Jordan Valley would go to Israel, for supposed security reasons. Israel would expand Ma’ale Adumim all the way to Jericho cutting the West Bank in half. A new wrinkle has been added to the Allon Plan because the corridor encompassing Ariel is being expanded to include Eli and Shilo thus cutting the northern west bank half into two non-continguous cantons.

Just to add insult to injury I was in Kiryat Arba when municipal authorities were told not to worry since the Gush Etzion block would be expanded all the way out to Hebron to encompass the 10,000 Jews living in Kiryat Arba.

I have been going back and forth to Israel twice a year for more than 5 decades. Over that time I have watched my people and a country I love, slowly but surely losing it’s soul. It is stunning how much the people and country have changed since my bar mitzvah in Haifa in 1956.

Netanyahu’s coalition merely reflects the emotions and thoughts of the general public. That is why I am pessimistic about the future of peace. If Bibi is replaced, the next coalition will be just as insensitive to the needs of Palestinians or, for that matter, any gentiles. Only a SEVERE shock to the nation will alter its course and ensure its future.

Ironically, I’d argue that The Allon Plan is almost entirely completed…

Interestingly, maybe, Bibi is finally grasping the full scope of Mubarak’s demise, literal even: Egypt justice minister: Mubarak could face death penalty… But, I digress…

Netanyahu mulls sending envoy to Egypt for talks with interim leaders

PM’s possible Egypt outreach seen as a response to a comment by the Egyptian army chief who advised Israel not to interfere in Cairo’s decision to open the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

Oh snap…!

Incidently, I’m sure Bibi just adored this juicy tidbit:Muslim Brotherhood will run for half of Egypt’s parliament…

Here’s the latest overview of what is being agreed upon by Hamas and Fatah…

1. Elections: Both sides agreed to name members of the Central Elections Committee in accordance with the Palestinian factions. Both sides also agreed to present the candidacy of 12 judges as members of the Elections Court. The presidential and parliamentary elections would be held simultaneously one year after the signing of the accord.

2. PLO: Both sides agreed that the missions and decisions of the interim leadership could not be obstructed – and would not stand in contradiction with the authorities of the PLO Executive Committee.

3. Security: Both sides agreed on the formation of a higher security council, that would consist of professional officers.

4. Government: Both sides agreed on the formation of a Palestinian government and the appointment of a prime minister and cabinet ministers.

The government’s tasks would be to prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections; overseeing issues related to the internal reconciliation; rebuilding the Gaza Strip and ending the siege; implementing the unity agreement; tackling civilian and administrative matters resulting from the division and reuniting PA institutions.

5. Palestinian Legislative Council: Both sides agreed to revive the Palestinian Legislative Council (parliament) according to the Palestinian Basic Law.

I’d also add that both, Hamas and Fatah, have agreed to release the ‘political’ prisoners, non-criminal, each side has locked up…! Too bad Israel will probably only immediately arrest any Hamas member that Fatah does release…! But still, to me, that will be the most fundamental determinant in the subsequent success, or failure, of this push for Unity…!

All my fingers and toes are crossed…!

Stay tuned…

Royal Weddings and the Rule of Law

Kate & Wills (photo: anonlinegreenworld)

Apart from taxes & tyranny, warm beer and the Beatles, Robin Hood and Royal Weddings, what has England ever given us? For starters, the rule of law.

We talk about it here a lot, about how it no longer seems to apply to government and corporate elites. Like a hole in the sidewalk on a snowy day, that creates a slush-filled pool. We can step in it day after Groundhog Day. Or we can learn more about what “the rule of law” means and repair the crack.

A good place to start is Tom Bingham’s short book, called simply, The Rule of Law (reviewed here and here). He doesn’t answer the question which laws apply when the police interrogate you, when you can’t read your phone bill, when you open that envelope marked, “Penalty for Private Use $300″. He answers the question what is necessary for those laws to mean what you and I think they should mean.

Tom Bingham was a trial lawyer. He rose to become the senior judge, first, of Britain’s civil courts, then its criminal courts, and lastly, what is now its Supreme Court. Widely regarded as the best legal mind in a hundred years, he was down to earth. He didn’t sit on the veranda with a gin & tonic and admire the view. He knew the shoveling and troweling, the hoisting and measuring it took to make the bricks of civil liberties and the mortar of policing hold together.

Bingham summarized his lifetime in the courts in a handful of rules for a civil society. They are ingredients. They make our daily bread nourishing, rather than full of poisons or empty calories. Like A People’s History, his work is a quick tutorial, in his case, on the meaning of a phrase we take for granted, but which is slipping from our grasp.

He starts with Tom Paine’s description “that in America, THE LAW IS KING”, and asks whether it is still accurate. With eight quick strokes, he turns a rough meadow into a playing field. That gives direction, allows us to measure gains and losses, and lets us decide whether to believe the umpire, the coaches or our lying eyes:

1. Laws must be clear, predictable and public.

2. As far as possible, laws, not an executive’s discretion, should govern.

3. Laws must apply equally.

4. Laws must protect fundamental human rights, the rights of living people.

5. The cost to use the law, to defend our rights, must be reasonable, with public aid provided to make it so.

6. Public officials have a duty to act in good faith, to use restraint, to operate within the recognized limits of their powers.

7. Procedures in court must be open and fair. They must bind the state in the same way they bind those in conflict with it.

8. Binding law inherently includes international treaties and customary laws.

Bingham considered those rules axioms, not open to serious debate, though he recognized they were all under political attack in Britain and the United States. Legal aid in both countries was being cut back, even as legal costs rose. The courthouse doors were being barred to some defendants, a paid meter was being put on them for others, and some would be defendants were free never to have to walk through them. He knew that four or five of our present Supreme Court Justices would gag before treating international law on par with domestic law. He would not have been surprised that those same Justices put corporate speech on the same – meaning superior – footing as personal speech. He knew which views were more radical.  [cont’d.] (more…)

Canadian 2011 federal election, April 30th update

John Walker’s already written a post covering some of the basics. I thought it’d be good to write up a follow up for those interested, or ex-patriot Canadian firepups who haven’t been keeping up. Before I get started, I should note I am a member of New Democratic Party (of Canada). Anyhow, I’ll do my best to inform you readers with my personal take on the election, and how it’ll end. I’ve also included my thoughts on each of the different political parties vying for seats in the Parliament of Canada.

In polling, the Conservative Party sits in first place, while the NDP has vaulted into second place, taking many by surprise. The Liberal Party has slid to third place, which has shocked the electorate, and possibly demoralized its party supports. The final member party of parliament before dissolution, and fourth place party (in polling), is the Bloc Québécois, which has also lost major ground in the latest polls. There is also another major national party, the Green Party, which is polling a little under its results from the 2008 election. Aside from these parties, there are a number of minor parties that either aren’t contesting all ridings, or have no seats in parliament.

The final seat count could vary quite a bit, since the polling has been so volatile. The Conservatives will finish with 130-165 seats. The Liberals with 40-70 seats. The NDP, however, could finish anywhere from 50 to 100 seats! The Bloc could finish with 10-40 seats. The numbers are so volatile and unprecedented, that who knows how it’ll end? Let’s all cross our fingers for a high voter turnout as that would be most likely to upset the status quo of Canadian politics. (more…)