Friday, June 15, 2018

Trump and Kim accord Is A Good Thing

And we need to see more of that kind of mutual agreement!

(Sadly it hasn't been present elsewhere, most of all with Syria, then Yemen, then Afghanistan, and so on, or simmering wars, and the dangerous threatened war with Iran--who wants to be our friend.  And our punitive disagreeablenesses, such as with Russia and Cuba, which does nothing useful.  Which is why we should pay attention to those things also.)

But in and of itself it is a good thing and should be heralded!  Those Democrats who criticize on trumped up National Security grounds, are traitors to the all who oppose needless war, which is most of humanity.

Our handling of NK has been abonimable, from the start.  They wanted and deserved independence, we were creating a zone of allies in the far east, because we could do so, by force and bluster.

So, we bombed all their cities flat, then their dams, then their hospitals.  Such as Lemay bragged about how we had bombed them.

And we've been treacherous to every agreement since.  Agreements made by one President are immediately abrogated by the the next, leaving the North Koreans in the cold and starving.

But like all our supposed "enemies" they want to be our friend!  The would rather be part of global trade, rather then the ultimate outsider.

The military excercises on North Korea's border was a needless and expensive provocation.

We are safer without them, and welcoming North Korea as a full partner in the international community.

Anything less is warmongering, serving the US Deep state and military/media/cia/fbi industrial complex.

Friends of mine have given up with the Democratic Party altogether.  I separate that from voting for the lesser evil, when I have to, and supporting the moderately good ones.

But I'm tired of Russiagate, fighting in Syria, supporting the war in Lebanon, shielding the Israelis from international censure, still waging the cold war in Cuba and much of Latin Americal, threatening Iran, threatening to heat the planet to catastropy.

All the things the Democratic Party has been quite involved with, even St Obama approving drilling on a massive scale where none had existed before.  And St Jerry Brown approving more fracking permits than all governors before him.  And so on.

This doesn't mean I've given up some considerable concern and reason.  I will continue to vote and persuade others to vote for the lesser evil, when I have to.

But the Democratic Party is as corrupt as the Blairite wing of the Labour Party that's been trying to take over from Corbyn.

Both serve Israel, and Great Wealth, first.

Debunking the Hasbara of the Medic

I'd been thinking of other Hasbara rhetoric.  Imagining the assignment in some class, sometime in the future.  Debunk this or that Hasbara claim.

Such as the famous, "Israel has a right to exist."

Chomsky famously debunks this claim, and points out that the very notion of a states right to resist, began with Israeli rhetoric.

Of course states don't have an unconditional right to exist.  Nazi Germany, the Third Reich, certainly didn't.  Any state depends on good will toward those within and without.  Any group or state that doesn't act in good will, doesn't "deserve" to exist, but to be replaced which one which does act in good will and is democratic, not that could ever be imposed, or has.

And no group of people deserves to take the land of another, to forcibly eject an undersired population for some internal reason.

In this and many other ways, Israel is not a democracy.  Nor is the US, of course.  They are vassal states of each other.

It's the same old game played over 57 previous times in history.  The ruling empire controls Palestine, it has mostly been called, now effectively Israel.  Jerusalem--named after a Cananite god--has changed hands 57 times.

In between the hundreds of years of Greek control, and the hundreds of years of Roman control were a scant 80 years of "Jewish" sovereignty, "the Hashemite Kingdom," which was really a coalition of Jews, Gallileans, Samaritans, and other Cananite groups.

The "Jews" (the rich elites, especially in Jerusalem, the ancient city) were the ones forced out by the Romans after the bar Kochba revolt,, but most of the others in the holy land remained.  And so their descendants have as much or more claim to sovereignty to the Holy Land territories, even assuming "the Jews" were a group of true descendents rather than religious title that people can claim by going through "conversion" which many people do, often to get married to a Jew, and that the Jews had some reason for a unique claim over many others on any such assumed claim, such as ancestry to descendant from the region.  And of course that sovereignty were determined by a religious nation's "God"'s,, rather than the brutal conflict that caused Jerusalem to change hand 57 times.

It gets difficult, the deeper into the Hasbara you get.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Photos Please

Israelis claim they needed to shoot unarmed protestors, including children, clearly identified journalists, and paramedics, because ... Hamas had organized this to storm the fence and attack Israel.

However, I have not seen any photos indicating anything like this.  I have seen photos of teargas and shots into masses of people hundreds of yards from the fence.  In one case, marchers were simply marching along the fence itself (as I think good if not best of all) smoothly and with no shots (yet?).

But none such as the Times of Israel and UN Watch "report."  Even their photos, if they have any, are hardly damning and just as I describe.

To even have any feeling that shooting would remotely be permissible, it would seem to me that a person need be either actually crossing the fence (or other true boundary), not just being close to it, or  sending dangerous projectiles.  (I have seen no such photos.)

Even then, shooting shouldn't be shooting to kill.  Shooting to kill is commonly understood as only being permissible when the defender's life is threatened.

Even if protestors were to cross through the fence, the first thing would be that they would fall into 100 foot ditch Israel dug around the fence in previous operations.  From there, if they had not already died from the fall, they could be easily shot by snipers who are perched above the ditch on the opposite side.

[And there's some question in my mind where this ditch is actually dug.  I strongly suspect the ditch is still on "Gaza's" side and territory commonly-understood-as-Israeli only begins on the other side, perhaps where the snipers are, or even further, far further back.  I remember reading something about how this was being done at the time, in 2014 I believe.]

Not to say even then shooting is justified.  It could be justified only if the defenders felt they would otherwise be overwhelmed and in bodily danger.  But just how quickly could the protestor-attackers be climbing the other side of the 100 foot ditch?  There have not even been stories about this being attempted specifically.  It would not be easy and require a few tricks.

In principle, and assuming they even had the right to detain Palestinians, Israelis could detain, and return protestors attempting to escape during the March of Protest.  There are no stories of this.

It is even arguable Israelis have the right to detain Gazans leaving from Gaza at all if their destination is the West Bank.  In fact I believe Israel detaining those in Gaza and the West Bank, preventing them from leaving or entering, is a crime under current law and UN resolutions as well as UNSC resolutions.

Meanwhile it is certainly not true that Israel has the legal right to detain Gazans coming and going from Gaza through the ocean.  It is illegal, immoral, and unconsionable.  As actually are the other forms of detention, dispossessing, wounding, and killing.

But they claim this is "War."  Hamas is "at War with Israel" and this justifies, to Israelis, endless forms of repression against civilians as well.  This is, of course, a War Crime.

The creation of Israel itself, the Nabka dispossession of 750,000 indigenous Palestinians, the continuing ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and repression, and the wildly unasymmetrical responses to any resistance, armed, or even journalistic...this is beyond merely being a war crime.

My friends feel that Palestinians are stupid when they use violence, even stone throwing, to express their great loss.

I feel it would be hard for anyone, under such circumstances, to bear such loss non-violently.  I am not going to judge.

But further, for me the Palestinian cause is clearly in the right.  Zionist Israel attacked and replaced their country.  They have a right to resist violently, even harming "civilians" of this invading force.

This is just my opinion, but I feel it is consonant with existing rules of war, all that's necessary is to recognize Zionist Israelis as an attacking force.

Israel has turned this around to claim that the Palestinian resistance to their aggression and illegal annexation and dispossession and killing is "terrorism," when clearly the State they defend is terrorist in its founding and in its present and for the forseeable future.

The best thing, of course, would be for the Zionist Israelis to wake up.  They had a chance...they could have groomed a Palestine...strictly within the recognized borders, done everything possible to make it work rather than otherwise.  I am sure they are smart enough to have done it, it's a matter of orientations.  But that opportunity has ceased.

Now there is no alternative to ending the Ethnic State, whose very definition is racist.  Every defense of Israel is fundamentally racist, according to legendary scholar Steven Salaita.  What is needed is a state of equality of all of it's citizens, including those who have been expelled by force.  He deftly deconstructs many of the pro Israel arguments.

Salaita points out that Likud and the other major Israeli parties have been responsible for far more deaths than Hamas, the party the Gazans selected to represent them.

Now, it is true, the great scholar and historian Norman Finkelstein, scrupulous about proving Israeli deceits and crimes in the widest possible picture of what has happened, nevertheless insists we must only consider "reasonable" solutions.  This very point is discussed by the also distinguished historian Salaita, who strongly disagrees, and this point is discussed further in the comments.

I side with those we must start with the heart, with justice, and work from there.

One view of justice in the imposition of a settler colony would be to say that all the colonists must leave and pay reparations.

Virtually every view of justice would be that the Palestinians and their descendants have the right to return, and all Palestinians be regarded as citizens with equal rights in all Israel/Palestine (heretofore to be called TheHolyLands).

The UN Partition Plan hardly qualifies as justice.  Both the native Palestinians and all the Arab majority nations refused to vote, calling it an unauthorized theft of a country.

But certainly even that, still a grave injustice, would be preferable to the present situation.  And while it would not be full justice in any accounting I consider would actually be internationally legal, having passed various tests.  This is the solution those like Finkelstein and Chomsky would comment, I believe, close to the UN Plan (except, the 67 borders are far more generous to Israel than the Mandate).

Israel to return to pre-67 borders.
All Palestinians to have full right of return to the new Palestinian State.
The Palestinians have unconditional sovereignty, regardless of politics.
Passage to be granted between Gaza and the fully restored West Bank (in the UN plan, they had bridging territory).
All of Jerusalem to an international city, or minimally East Jerusalem to be Palestinian.

But if the UN plan was theft, as Arabs complained at the time, the 67 borders are far worse.

Anyway, if Israel did these things...and refrained from attacking Palestine would be fully legal and acceptable.

As long as it doesn't, or can't, the only alternative is the superior anyway solution, the full right of return of Palestinians to their homes anywhere in Israel/Palestine, and full and equal rights.

That is as morally correct as it gets, other the complete exit of Zionists from Palestine.

I believe the moral principles here are obvious.  No amount of suffering caused by Germans, Russians, and others to Jews, grants them the right to steal the country of Palestinians.

The most morally important thing to do is allow the Palestinians to return to their homeland.  Whether the Zionists remain or leave afterwards is far less important to the moral aspect of it.  But along with the return, they must have rights no less than any others.

This has nothing to do what what one thinks about Jews.  I think, before the rise of Zionism especially, Jews were among the best people and still are, and are most of my favorite authors and reporters as well.  Their culture produces very intelligent and often very clear thinking people, who have always been leaders in many fields (including Anti-Zionism).

The conflation of Zionism and "Anti-Semitism" (Anti-Jewishness) is a Zionist trap, not a Jewish one.

Many Jews opposed the creation of Israel before it was created, and still do now.  They demonstrate against it, disavow it, regularly.  The fairest interpretation of the Torah forbids the creation of a Jewish State, in the view of many Rabbis.  The Zionists were not very religious, and cared more about material things, as well explained by Rabbi Shapiro.

Western Societies strongly back Zionist not merely because of pressure from Jews, but because it fits the geopolitical agenda of the dominant northern powers in subduing the resourch-rich southern region.  Not unlike the kind of considerations involved in the return of Jews to Palestine by the emperor Cyrus.  He wanted to conquer Egypt, which his son did.

The risks involved here this time are obvious.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Rima Rigas' Blog #42

A sharp and on point comment to the (unusually correct) article at NYTimes about the rollback of Dodd Frank today led me to the website of the comment's author, Rima Rivas.  It is Blog #42, which contains excellent critiques of neoliberalism and phony centrism.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Murder of Hypatia and the Library of Alexandria

This seems to be a generally good account of the murder of Hypatia, followed by a long interesting discussion.

Comments are no longer open, otherwise I would ask why the Enlightenment historian Gibbon, who was legendary for insisting on primary sources when available, could have gotten it so wrong.  In his famous documentary Cosmos, Carl Sagan, who is generally reliable on science, seems to have followed Gibbon's account.

Regardless of the backstory Tim O'Neil (an amateur historian) presents, the truth remains that Hypatia was murdered by an angry Christian mob, and she was a famous "pagan" (i.e., non-Christian) of the day. The only question is whether the Christianity of the mob was in any way a motivating factor.  Self-described atheist O'Neil explains Hypatia's murder as an unfortunate consequence of a violent feud between two leading Christians of Alexandria, Cyril--the bishop, and Orestes--the Prefect (a civil authority).

While O'Neil attempts to brush aside Christianity as a motivating factor, the fact remains that Cyril was a more hardline Christian, and that may have been a motivating difference especially among his fanatical followers.

So while one should not blame Christians in general, it does seem that specifically Christian Zealots were to blame.

While I was initially tempted to consider O'Neil authoritative, his erudite deconstruction might be considered primarily spin.  It is not wise to trust the self declared orientations of those who raise concerns regarding the narratives of their own alleged tribe.  Concern Trolls are to be found everywhere.

However AFAIK the murder of Hypatia had nothing to do with the destruction of the famous Library of Alexandria, which no longer existed in her day.  The only partly destructive fire was an unintended consequence of the attack of Julius Caeser hundreds of years before, and by all accounts the Library fell into a slow decline thereafter.

However, Hypatia's temple that was also destroyed by the mob may indeed have contained a small subset of books that we will never see again.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Are Time and Space Continuous or Discrete ?

I think this question is best understood as a scientific question, to be addressed by scientific theory and ultimately experiment.  Others think it is a metaphysical issue, to be addressed by philosophy or intuition.  A friend of mine feels that the question is a non-question, the very idea of time and/or space being discrete being a nonsense idea, and he does not accept my characterization of his approach as being metaphysical but "real."  He insists I must explain how time or space could be quantized before accepting this as a valid question.

I don't know the answer, and the highest rated answer in one of many physics stack exchange threads on this topic (there are many!) being that the answer is not known.  Central physical theories including General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics essentially assume that time and space are continuous by standard interpretations.  But we know because these central theories are incompatible that they must not be the complete story.  A number of leading contenders for a new Theory of Everything such as Quantum Gravity do propose the quantization of time and/or space.  For some time now, the often proposed granularity of spacetime is derived from Plank's constant.  However, critics of this point out that just because this is very very small (as we know must be required) and has units of spacetime, does not mean that IT is the ultimate quantization limit.  Some recent experimental evidence suggests that if there is a quatization limit, it must be much smaller than even Plank's constant.  Even that is contested.  However FWIW physicists almost universally accept this as a "scientific" question to be settled by science rather than philosophy or intuition.  And as a valid experimentally testable question, not nonsense.

Given my friend's hardened position, I'm finding myself to lean more and more in the opposite direction.  And various thoughts and theories come to mind.

1) Measurement as commonly understood is essentially discrete.  Generally we seek numbers to describe our measurments, and such numbers can only be finite.

1a) It would be possible to do something like measurement in an analog way.  For example, I could set a mechanical spanner to a particular opening size, and as long as I do not interpret this numerically, you could argue it represents an infinitely small quantization size, though practically only a finite actual precision.

1b) Given that measurement is quantized, and will only ever have limited precision as well, you could argue that continuousness is only and ever a theory.  Everthing we can actually measure is either explicity quantized or of limited precision.

1c) This suggests that while quantization CAN be proven (as we have done for masses and particles), and continuousness will only ever be a theory which can never be proven by experimental means, only disproven.

2) Following from that, "information" itself must be discrete.  Perhaps this is limited to what you might call "representative" information such as numbers.  Direct or physical information, such as the opening width of a mechanical spanner, or the elapsed time between two instantaneous events*, could potentially be continuous.  However this does NOT apply to things where the physical "information" is materially based, only spatially or temporally based.  For example vinyl records and analog magnetic tape recordings must ultimately be limited at least by the sizes of various particles, such as molecules of vinyl or magnetic domains.

(*Of course, no physical events can actually be instantaneous.  However, we could define the "time" of the event as the time at which it starts, which sounds like it could be infinitely small.  However any possible physical event involving matter, energy, or physical forces, even the "starting" time does not have infinite quantization.  Everything that starts takes a finite time to start, such as the time it takes to generate a photon from an orbital shift.)

3) Ultimately, continuousness would suggest that there is infinite information in every spacetime difference.  A universe of such infinities within even the smallest spacetime differences seems absurd to me.

Friday, April 13, 2018

No War in Syria!

Once again, we must bomb the country to save the children, we are being told.  The US has been funding violent terrorists against Assad and his father for decades because Syria is a client state of Russia, and the US and Israel and Saudi Arabia want to own the middle east through Sunni Wahabi fundamentalist client states, the likes of which most Syrians do not want to be a part of.  Among secular Syrians, Assad is considered too soft on terrorists.  Alleged chemical attacks going way back have always been fake or false flag, staged by rebels precisely when they are being beaten.  These rebels have the supplies to make chemical weapons, which have been proven to come to them through US clients.  White Helmets who make the reports are rebel agents.  Assad has no reason to use chemical weapons because he has vastly superior conventional forces and knows full well that chemical attacks would justify US intervention.  US Citizens are the most brainwashed in the world through a multi-sided Big Lie media which actually speaks on only one side when it comes to matters of war and geopolitics.

Checking the news just now, it's all about Mueller and Comey and so on.  I am relieved to see that war has not broken out yet.  All these Mueller and Russiagate things are all about putting pressure on Trump to follow Deep State militarism.  Mueller himself was a leader in propagating lies about 9/11 and the need to attack Iraq back in the day.  He is still serving that function, but on the other side, by constantly blackmailing Trump into being more of a War President.  When these deep state actors are pounding on Trump, that shows they are not getting their way.  When Trump acts like the Deep State wants him to, the media lets up for a few seconds on Russiagate and the like.