Sunday, July 31, 2011

Carlos Lattuf: bloody ramadan in syria

Report: Israel plans to build separation wall in Golan

The wall will separate the town of Majdal Shams in Israeli-occupied territory from the suburb of Al-Oude and Ain Al-Tinah in GOLAN, Syria (Ma‘an) 30 July -- Israeli authorities plan to build a wall in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, the official Syrian news agency SANA reported Friday. The wall will separate the town of Majdal Shams in Israeli-occupied territory from the suburb of Al-Oude and Ain Al-Tinah in Syria, SANA reported. SANA said the cement wall would be four kilometers long and eight meters high. Earlier this year, Israeli forces killed at least 27 people in the area during demonstrations against the Israeli occupation.

Today's Cartoon by the Syrian Cartoonist Ali Ferzat

Syria......It Became Necessary to Destroy it in Order to Save it!

The Ba'th Party (1963-2011).

A few questions for the Muslim brothers in Tahrir Square on 29 July

I wrote this poem in response to the demonstration in Egypt's capital after prayers last Friday

Tariq Ali, Sunday 31 July 2011

"I address this poem to the Muslim brothers who demonstrated in Cairo's Tahrir Square after Friday prayers on 29 July

Patience exhausted

You emerged from the shadows

To tell us what was forbidden and why.

You spoke loudly and clearly,

Each chant a whiplash:

God is Great!

The laws of God transcend democracy!

Liberals and secularists are the scum of the earth!

Copts too!

And uncovered women!

And leftists, trapped on the wrong side of history,

Their rage impotent, their numbers miniscule!

We Brothers represent the will of God!

Who told you?

Why did you believe him?

Was it the will of God that your leaders collaborate with Mubarak?

What of your rivals at home who claim the same?

And your noisy neighbours, each with their preachers in tow?

The Sultans in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh?

The Ayatollahs in Qom and Karbala?

The godly warlords in the White House?

The Pope in the Vatican?

The Rabbis in the Jerusalem Synagogue?

Their God is great too, is he not?

The Book teaches us there is only one God,

Omnipotent, indivisible, all-seeing.

Why does He speak in so many different tongues and voices?

Is He trying to please all at the same time?

Both Israel and Palestine?

Both oppressor and oppressed?

Leave Him alone for the moment,

Tell us what else you believe in?

How will you deal with our exploiters

starting with those inside your ranks?

Does the sun belong to you alone?

Is your God a neoliberal?

Must the poor live off charity for ever?

Why are our people despairing?

How long will you chain their freedoms?

Whose side are you really on?"

Rep. Luis Gutierrez Gets Arrested at Pro-illegal Immigration Protest

From BreitbartRep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois) was arrested outside of the White House after refusing to move when asked by authorities.Gutierrez, who sat in front of a sign that read "Stop Separating Our Families" with a line of protesters, refused to leave when asked by the police. Gutierrez was in attendance at a rally urging President Obama to do more to stop the deportation of illegal immigrants.

First, for the most part I don't buy Rep. Luis Gutierrez' claim that sending illegal immigrants back to their home countries after their having illegally crossed our border would lead to the separation of families.  I think that claim is exaggerated.  It may happen in some cases but there are a great number of illegal immigrants who leave their families back in their home countries and send money that they earn here in the U.S. back to their families.  Second, these people are violating the law by entering the country illegally.  There are consequences for not following the law.  Third, our immigration policies do need to be reformed but not with the broad stroke that the Dream Act would do.  Fourth, a good number of these illegal immigrants are refusing to assimilate into our culture and instead have this conquer America mentality.  Plus, the immigrants need to learn English and be employed.  Rep. Gutierrez is calling on the President to use his executive powers and grant amnesty to the illegal immigrants.  He has a history of engaging in publicity stunts to promote amnesty for illegal immigrants.  This man is in favor of rewarding those who have broken the law.  The logic of Democrats is unbelievable.  I am all for legal immigration and IMO we do need to increase the number of legal immigrants allowed to immigrate here per year. 

جدل إزاء قدرة الأسد على الصمود

"تباينت آراء المشاركين في ندوة "سوريا بين خيارات ومصالح القوى الاجتماعية واحتمالات التغيير" التي نظمها المركز العربي للأبحاث ودراسة السياسات بشأن مدى قدرة نظام الرئيس بشار الأسد على الصمود أمام حركة الاحتجاجات.

فبينما رأى العديد من المثقفين والباحثين أن نظام البعث يلفظ أنفاسه الأخيرة بفعل اتساع رقعة الثورة، استبعد آخرون قرب حصول التغيير نظرا لصمت الخارج وتماسك النظام.

ووفقا لمدير المركز المفكر العربي عزمي بشارة فإنه لم يعد واردا النقاش إزاء التغيير في سوريا لأنه بات أمرا محتوما، إنما إزاء نمط هذا التغيير وطبيعته.

ويضيف بشارة أن زيادة الجرعات الإصلاحية في الخطاب الرسمي السوري لا تشير إلى رغبة في التعاطي بإيجابية مع الثورة، بقدر ما تشير إلى تآكل النظام.

ويرى أن سلمية الثورة السورية وقدرتها على التمدد يوما بعد يوم تدحض المزاعم التي تتحدث عن إحباط الشارع هناك.

بدوره أكد المفكر السوري المعارض برهان غليون أن النظام السوري أُنهك سياسيا وأخلاقيا "وانتقل من موقع الهجوم إلى الدفاع لأن الشعب هو صاحب المبادرة".

ويتوقع غليون في حديث للجزيرة نت أن يسقط حكم البعث خلال الأشهر القليلة المقبلة رغم أن "أجهزته الأمنية لا تزال متماسكة ويحظى بتأييد جزء من الرأي العام".

Al-Jazeera Video: 'Scores dead' as Syrian tanks storm Hama

In Syria, the government is the real rebel

The increasing violence in Syria is transforming the country into a Hobbesian state.

A Very Good Piece
By Larbi Sadiki

"There have been many setbacks during the "Arab Spring". None, however, are more flagrantly obvious than in Syria. This leads to one question across the Middle East: Who is the rebel?

The protesters who peacefully demand civil, political and economic rights from monarchical republics and deligitimised ruling elites? Or the states which, such as in Libya and Syria, find themselves literally in a "state of nature", rendering life for the citizen dangerous?

The Assads' 'Leviathan'

Hobbes comes to mind so naturally. More than any other, this English philosopher grasped the ins and outs of human passions and failings, which drive human beings to become their own worst enemies.

Right now, the Assads are in a similar state of affairs. And these affairs disqualify them from ruling over a state and a people, which they are butchering. If only Bashar Assad, who has now bared his political canines to all, had widened his search outside optometry to see the contractual world constructed by Hobbes. Had he done so, he would have learned that strong government does not mean flexing martial muscle.

The excessive use of force against Hama is not an expression of strong and rational government. It is illegal coercion that could one day land the ruling Assads and the top brass of their coercive apparatus in the International Criminal Court.

Hobbes' political theory focuses on the disorder and civil strife caused by unruly human passions, as he knew well from his study of the English Civil War.

Maher Assad's tanks are sinking an entire nation in a "state of nature", and that, for Hobbes, results in a "war of all against all". This is the risk facing the "Arab Spring" in Libya, Yemen, and of course, in our case here, Syria....

Hama 'out of control'?

The sudden military escalation against Hama serves three objectives: to kill the momentum of the protests before Ramadan; to send a not-so-thinly-veiled threat to other cities about the consequences of endless protest; and to reclaim state control over cities, including in Kurdish areas such as Qamishli.

Some of these areas have been in full defiance for weeks, often under a state of siege, with the army guarding all entry points to them.

Hama remains a festering sore in state-society relations: this is the city where an Islamist uprising was quashed violently in the 1982, killing more than 20,000 people. This is the kind of material Hobbes marshals as evidence of how nasty life can be during civil war.

Hama's stand must be seen in this context: it, more anywhere else in Syria, declares the regime to be the rebel, not the peaceful civilian protesters. The marches are not calling only for the dismissal of the Assads, but calling to account an entire regime that nearly 30 years ago victimised almost every family in that city.....

The gentrification of the 'country bumpkins'

The coups of the 1950s and 1960s ruralised the Arab Middle East, bringing into the state officers largely of rural background. They promised republicanism, socialism, pan-Arabism, social welfare, and the liberation of Palestine. They have failed on all accounts.

Instead, the "country bumpkins", who occupied the state in putschist ways, have after 50 years or so in power become the new gentry. Power has been "gentrified". The soldiers of yesteryear have booked a seat in the business class. So today, power comes out of the barrel of a gun only when the new gentry's interests become jeopardised by protest and resistance.

In Syria, a story like this has unfolded. The state has been turned into a milking cow for the new gentry, whose power derives from the billions the state apportions to it. The gentrified officers and partners in power will defend those interests fiercely, and to the bitter end....."

This is a Great Way To Help The Flood Devastated Minot

This is a repost via Conservative Hideout:

King Shamus has a post with an opportunity to help the town of  Minot, North Dakota.  As regulars here know, Minot is  the home of  CH2.0 contributor, John Carey.
As many of you know, John Carey over at the great Sentry Journal has been documenting how brutal floods have devastated the town of Minot, North Dakota.  This spring and summer have been pretty rough on a lot of folks, but Minot has really gotten hammered.  But there could be a way for us to help out.  Let John explain:
I have one last favor to ask in regards to Minot’s flood One of our city parks (Oak Park) was inundated by the flood waters and was destroyed. Coco-Cola is sponsoring an event where you can vote for your favorite park. Coco-Cola will provide a $100,000 grant to the park that receives the most votes.
I’ve never been anywhere near Oak Park, but I am sure it’s my favorite park in America.
Clickie this linkie.  All you have to do is type in ”Oak Park” in the map’s search engine and it’ll get you to the voting page.  Our friends in Minot could use a win here.  It’s easy, it’s free and it’ll provide a nice boost in morale to a great American town.

I found this information on the recovery in Minot and the government's efforts to avoid flooding in the future.  I am not sure whether the cause of the massive flooding has been identified as of yet. It does look like both local and federal government officials are trying to figure out how to avoid this type of flooding from happening in the future. 


North Dakota Senators Kent Conrad and John Hoeven have drafted a letter to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton asking her to consider re-working the agreement between the United States and Canada and how the two nations manage the Souris River.

Local and state officials hope to improve the way the river is controlled and monitored north of the border. In their letter, Conrad and Hoeven mention that the lack of adequate and timely data about rainfall in Canada only made flood preparation more difficult here. Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman said closer monitoring of reservoir levels is needed when flood danger is highest, like it was this year.

"Certainly, what we would want to talk to the Canadians, as well as the folks at Lake Darling, about is bringing the level of those dams down lower as we see this water coming. That would be part of what we`d be visiting with the Canadians about, " said Zimbelman during a press conference Friday afternoon.

The river damaged more than 4,000 homes in Minot and now the city is looking at some potential changes along the river to prevent catastrophic flooding again.

But to prevent that flooding, some plans may call for homes and structures to be removed in order to make way for flood control structures.

The State Department of Emergency Services said calling this a "buyout process" is misleading.

"There`s an impression or sometimes an expectation that the government may show up and offer you a check for your home and you can move on with your life. That`s not the case," said department spokesman Ray Morrell.

What will happen takes months. The city must come up with a plan and then that plan must be approved on the state and federal level after being finalized. Minot cannot make any official headway on acquiring property before they secure grant funding to do so. Any homes, structures, or land that the city buys with federal Hazard Mitigation money comes with major strings attached.

"Which means open space requirements in accordance with federal law; it can never be built on again," added Morrell.
That includes permanent dikes and levees, which means local government will have to use money separate from Federal Hazard Mitigation funds to buy properties where future levees will stand. The most likely option to fund those acquisitions is a Community Development Block Grant, like the city of Grand Forks did after flooding in 1997.

Here are a couple of videos I found on the net. 

This is a good cause so please do click on the link and vote for Oak Park in Minot. 

Ramadan: Fasting strengthens discipline. The lack of discipline is not only the death of the individual; it also is the death of the family and the death of the society

By the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan

Since fasting is given to us as a prescription—and a prescription is given to us by a doctor, telling us to take a certain medicine at and for a specified time, to effect a cure for a certain illness—in this case, Almighty God Allah is The Doctor prescribing for all of humanity. And now we are speaking specifically to the Black people of America, that fasting is to be used as a cure for a sick spiritual, moral, social and physical condition.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that fasting produces discipline. How? We know that we are creatures with desires and basic human needs: Food, shelter, and love. We need to be respected in our community. We have a hunger for love, and for expressing our own being. All of these hungers, all of these needs, must be disciplined and controlled if society is to be successful.

Whenever the human being lacks discipline, the society reflects that lack of discipline in the manifestation of excesses: Excessive eating, excessive drinking, excessive sex, the lust for material things, the greed for power, the overpowering of our intelligence by anger and envy. All of these excesses break the spirit of brotherhood and destroy human society.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that the first law of the Universe is motion. After something is put into motion, the second law is order. That which is in motion must come under order. This order presupposes discipline. And when there is no discipline, there is no order—whatever motion we have will be brought to an end.

The lack of discipline, therefore, is not only the death of the individual; it also is the death of the family and the death of the society.

Thus, fasting is prescribed for us as it was prescribed for those before us that we may guard against evil.  Final Call

Al-Jazeera Video: Deaths in Syrian city of Deir Az Zor

Article: Thumbs Down For Governor Rochas Okorocha