US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says Israel urgently needs more US money for its war on Gaza.
Could we all take some time to talk about how the US is aiding the Israeli government in carrying out a genocide? What is happening in Gaza is despicable, but don’t think for a second that this is something that is happening without the support of foreign governments.
The US is sending money to Israel, which it in turn will use to buy weapons employed to slaughter even more civilians indiscriminately, all whilst Israel’s politicians will continue to claim that they are defending the Israeli state and its citizens. This so-called act of self-defence is, however, an action which rather explicitly violates international conventions, as Palestine constitutes an occupied territory and laws state that occupied nations have the right to resist said occupation, while the occupying nation has no legal right to claim that any violent action carried out against the occupied nation is an act of self-defence.
But I am not sharing this post merely to point fingers at the US government, but to high-light a fact which Swedes seem to conveniently forget when talking about the genocide in Palestine; Sweden exports weapon to e.g. the US which in turn passes it over to Israel, and if we look at the per capita ratio, Sweden is the largest exporter of weapons to other nations in the entire world, and the amount of weapons exported to undemocratic nations is on the rise. Our government loves to claim that it doesn’t support Israel’s army, but we have allowed them to test their planes over Sápmi, and we frequently let the Israeli army borrow helmets and gas masks.
Last year every Swede sold weapons for 1265 SEK (roughly £110) each.
In other words - when you share a gazillion articles about the horrors in Palestine, do think about your own role in this genocide. It’s easy to criticise others, but as Swedes, our first port of call should not be Facebook - social media is great, but not when it’s used without any thoughts behind it - but our own government: why does it continue to work with the Israeli army in any way, shape or form, and why does it continue to export weapons to a state that in turn hands it over to a state which is using it to carry out one of the worst genocides in recorded history?
“Tell us again how the Palestinians are supposed to act when they are, for all intents and purposes, being exterminated. Israel is doing to them exactly what America did to Native Americans. Bit by bit, parcel by parcel, village by village, they’re being exterminated and expunged.”—The Erosion of Palestine (via azspot)
Blackwater guards fired dozens of shots into cars and people, an FBI expert testified, in an example of the brutality of the 2007 killings that left 14 Iraqis dead in Baghdad.
Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, Dustin Heard and Nicholas Slatten appeared dressed in suits and ties before a federal court in Washington as the second trial in the case entered its fifth week.
Slatten, 32, is charged with the first degree murder of a civilian. He faces life in prison if convicted. Slough, Liberty and Heard are accused of voluntary manslaughter of the 13 other victims.
All four have pleaded not guilty.
The Blackwater employees were guarding a US diplomatic convoy when they opened fire, killing 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians according to an Iraqi investigation, or 14, according to the US count. The hail of gunfire also wounded 18 people.
Six of the guards had started the shootings.
FBI expert Douglas Murphy said he traveled to the site of the killings twice to examine the cars involved in the shootings.
As photographs were projected in the courtroom, he spoke of “significant damage” to the 11 vehicles he observed in March 2008 and June 2009.
Murphy pointed to a white KIA riddled with bullet holes, including 29 in the front alone. There was also a Volkswagen that had 13 bullet holes on the driver’s side alone.
In other cases, there was nothing left to investigate because “the entire vehicle has been burnt, the seats are no longer there, the car has no window,” the expert added.
Asked about the weapons and ammunition used by the four defendants that day, Marine expert Shelby Lasater stressed the grenades used are “designed to penetrate armor and to cause casualties or kill.”
"It mushrooms out, it will blow up in a circle and back," he added, noting the grenades could explode across a 540-foot (165-meter) radius.
$1 billion after threat
The killings exacerbated Iraqi resentment toward the United States (and rightfully so), and were seen by critics as an example of the impunity enjoyed by private security firms on the US payroll in Iraq.
Blackwater, whose license to work in Iraq was revoked by Baghdad, was renamed Xe Services in 2009 and then Academi in 2011.
Upon President Barack Obama’s arrival in office in 2009, the State Department canceled its contract with the firm.
Yet the State Department awarded more than a billion dollars in funding to Blackwater and its successor firms even after its top manager in Iraq allegedly threatened to kill a government investigator, The Huffington Post reported.
Last week, The New York Times reported that lead State Department investigator Jean Richter detailed in a memo that the Blackwater official had threatened her for probing the company’s performance just weeks before the deadly shooting in Baghdad’s Nisour Square.
The threat “sent a clear message that the Blackwater contractors saw themselves as ‘above the law’ and actually believed that ‘they ran the place’,” Richter said in a memo cited by the Times.
Over 2,000 Palestinians were killed in all three military operations in Gaza, not including the Second Intifada. Most of them were civilians. I’ve exchanged emails with people in Gaza in the past few days. These are people who don’t care much for Hamas in their everyday lives, whether due to its fundamentalist ideology, political oppression or other aspects of its rule. But they do support Hamas in its war against Israel; for them, fighting the siege is their war of independence. Or at least one part of it.
For the Palestinians, the choice is between occupation by proxy in the West Bank and a war in Gaza. Both offer no hope, and neither are forms of freedom. The Israeli promise — that an end to armed struggle will bring freedom — is not trustworthy, as the experiences of past years has shown. It simply never happens. The quiet years in the West Bank have not brought the Palestinians any closer to an independent state, while the truce in between wars in Gaza has not brought about a relief from the siege. One can debate the reasons for why this happened, but one cannot debate reality.
Hamas tells the Palestinians the simple truth: freedom comes at the cost of blood. The tragedy is that we usually provide the evidence. After all, the evacuation of settlements in Gaza came after the Second Intifada, not as a result of negotiations. The Oslo Accords came after the First Intifada; before that, Israel turned down even the convenient London Agreement between Shimon Peres and Jordan’s King Hussein.
Israelis are convinced they are fighting a terror organization driven by a fundamentalist Islamic ideology. Palestinians are convinced Israelis are looking to enslave them, and that as soon as the war is over the siege will be reinforced. Since this is exactly what Israel intends to do, as our government has repeatedly stated, they have no reason to stop fighting.
Facebook has apparently conducted a “massive” psychological experiment and published the results in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS). The study sought to manipulate the emotional responses of 689,000 Facebook users by controlling the types of content that appeared on their feeds in order to see whether or not emotional traits can be “transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness.”
This is a good explanation of how massively unethical this project was. And I’ll: creepy as fuck.
this is not helping the case that i ought to be on facebook
Creepy and right in line with why Facebook exists.
As they get ready to bargain with federal public sector unions, which together represent around 200,000 workers, the Harper Conservatives have been spreading a lot of misinformation about the sick leave system in the public service in order to set the context for the introduction of a private, for profit insurance scheme that will only benefit big insurance corporations.
1. Tony Clement can’t be trusted on how much sick leave public service workers use.
Clement gives the impression that there’s some kind of free for all in the public service, with workers taking sick days indiscriminately. But this is simply wrong: every hour of sick leave taken by a public service worker must be approved by management.
2. It’s not true that public service workers take way more sick leave than private sector workers.
The Harper government likes to claim that public service workers abuse sick leave but, in September 2013, Statistics Canada issued a study that compared absenteeism in the public and private sectors and found that when adjusted for unionization, age and gender, the gap in the number of sick days used amounts to around a day per year.
3. Sick leave helps ensure productivity and helps avoid spreading diseases like mono, flu, avian flu, SARS, H1N1, and whatever comes after H1N1.
Paid sick leave provisions enhance overall productivity by ensuring that workers who are sick with colds and flus don’t come in to work and spread it to other workers. To the Conservatives out there, it’s good for the economy!
4. Sick leave is NOT cashable.
Unused sick leave accumulates each year but, contrary to media and government claims, is in no way cashable upon retirement or departure from the public service. Sick leave that is not used by the time a public service worker quits or retires is lost, not cashed out.
5. How can sick leave cost the government $5 billion if employees can’t cash it out?
Tony Clement claims that accumulated sick leave days represent over $5 billion in liability to the government. This is utter nonsense: most public service workers have many unused sick days when they quit or retire, and this does not cost the government anything. Again, sick leave is not cashable.
UPDATE: In July 2014, the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) concluded that there is virtually no incremental cost to government (and taxpayers) stemming from the federal public service sick leave system.
6. The current system should be improved for young workers, not destroyed.
Young public service workers tend not to fall sick very often and so can accumulate their sick days for use when they are older and more likely to fall ill. Sometimes, however, young people do become seriously ill or suffer a major trauma like a concussion from a sport. In such cases, they may have to stay off work for months but would possibly not have enough sick days accumulated to cover the 13 week period before long term disability insurance kicks in.
Both the unions and the government agree that this is a problem, but the solution is not to get rid of the current sick leave system and replace it with a private short term disability plan, as Tony Clement has suggested. In fact, making young workers, who as a whole don’t take much sick leave, pay premiums to an insurance company in order to cover the more frequent sick leave of older workers, also seems problematic.
There are other solutions, though—for example, ‘sick day loans’. If the banks can lend you money to buy a house, surely your employer can lend you sick days with the expectation that you’ll be back at work. In fact, at the discretion of managers, this is already currently possible in the public service.
7. Sick leave is a NEGOTIATED benefit.
The current sick leave system didn’t just happen—it was negotiated by members of federal unions such as PSAC, CAPE and PIPSC, in previous rounds of bargaining. And like other non-monetary benefits in collective agreements, it was agreed to in exchange for other things, such as withdrawing demands for wage increases during recessionary periods. If the Conservatives want to change the sick leave system, they need to negotiate with unions and not legislate changes, as many suspect they will try to do.
9. If the government has its way, insurance companies will be the only winners.
The government’s plan to get rid of sick leave and replace it with a private, for profit, short-term disability (STD) insurance plan is good….for big insurance corporations, which stand to win a massive contract. Indeed, STDs are never good for flesh and blood persons, and this one will cost public service workers more in insurance premiums and involve more time-wasting paperwork. Every time a worker is sick, even if for only a day, the insurance company will demand all sorts of paperwork before it issues a cheque to cover lost wages. This will have the effect of dissuading workers from staying home when sick.
10. Like in New York City, sick leave should be extended to all.
In 2014, New York City passed a law expanding paid sick leave to workers in all businesses with more than five employees. Today, any employee working for a business of this size can take up to five paid sick days off per year without fear of losing their jobs. In fact, workers can even use their paid sick days to take care of family members, including grandparents, grandchildren and siblings. Why don’t governments in Canada take inspiration from this and pass laws to ensure sick leave for all workers rather than attacking the negotiated sick leave of workers who deliver important public services?
A pristine patch of Florida forest, the home to dozens of animals species that biologists say are found no where else on the planet, will be bulldozed to make room for a Wal-Mart shopping center.
The 88 acres of rockland was sold by the University of Miami to a developer working for Wal-Mart who plans to build the retail store as well as a Chick-fil-A and Chili’s restaurant. As a concession the…
Addressing reporters at a press conference on Sunday, Youssef Abul Resh, undersecretary of the health ministry in Gaza said, “Medical teams have registered injuries consistent with those caused by DIME [dense inert metal explosives] and other banned weapons.”
Mainstream media outlets arereporting that Hamas has rejected a ceasefire agreement with Israel brokered by the Egyptian government. The Israeli government accepted the terms of the ceasefire, but Hamas rejected them. This, of course, makes Hamas look even more terrible than they already are.
But if you dig into the actual terms of the “ceasefire,” alongside the Israeli government’s history of violating previous ceasefire agreements, you realize that even a more moderate Palestinian government likely would have rejected the terms of the ceasefire. Here is Mya Guarnieri: …
“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”
“…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”
“Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.”
Henry Anslinger, first Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and chief proponent of marijuana prohibition. (via lost-and-searching-in-america)
oh yes… the War on Drugs started out of racism— the U.S government banned opium in order to get rid of Chinese immigrant workers in the United States. The drug war has always been based on racism and pure hatred for people of color. To this day, the War on Drugs is still very much a war on POC communities.
“Gaza was bombarded with 273 airstrikes yesterday (8th July). That’s an average of 11 an hour. Gaza is about 25 miles long and 4 miles wide, with a population of 1.7 million crammed into that tiny space. It is under Israeli occupation and Israeli siege. Hospitals estimate they will run out of resources to treat the wounded in about two days. Electricity is intermittent. Gaza has no army, air force or navy. Israel is the fourth largest military power in the world. Resistance to occupation is allowed under international law. Israel’s occupation, siege and collective punishment of Gaza is not.”—Palestine Solidarity Campaign UK (via america-wakiewakie)
Although the particulars may be different, Kathleen Wynne has just as much reason to worry about a new pipeline passing through central Canada as Christy Clark does about seeing one head to the West Coast.
Part of TransCanada’s plan for building Energy East includes converting an existing natural gas pipeline to carry bitumen from the oil sands. The move to retrofit the line isn’t without costs to the province. Ontario’s supply of natural gas would be cut by roughly 25 per cent, leaving some regions with few obvious alternatives to substitute for the loss.
An offer from TransCanada to build a new natural gas line to the province seems good on the surface, but considerably less magnanimous when you consider it’s asking the Ontario Energy Board to approve a 52.3-per-cent increase to the rates it charges to some of its customers.
Why natural gas users in eastern Ontario should subsidize the transit of Alberta bitumen through their backyard remains unclear.