Israeli Terrorism Cripples Palestinian Farmers


Mel Frykberg/IPS

Olive harvest season is under way across the occupied Palestinian territories…Traditionally a festive season, this year’s harvest is once again overshadowed by tight Israeli restrictions, settler attacks and a weaker yield due to harsh climatic conditions.

A study published in 2012 by The Applied Research Institute Jerusalem estimated that since 1967, Israeli authorities have uprooted 800,000 Palestinian olive trees in the West Bank.

In the past year alone, more than 9,300 trees were destroyed in the West Bank, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross…

Besides the physical destruction of these olive trees, many Palestinian farmers in the West Bank require Israeli permits to access their land in restricted areas near illegal Israeli settlements.

Israeli settlements are Jewish communities built illegally on Palestinian land. Today, between 600,000 and 750,000 Israeli settlers live in at least 250 illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Both sides of my family come from a farming history…from Scotland and Canada on my father’s side…from Italy and SudTirol on my mother’s side; but, my youth and adult life is urban and industrial. Till retirement, that is. Here I am in semi-rural northern New Mexico. Still, no farming in my life. But, I understand the needs and pride that accompanies farming life. And fightback against illegal colonial settlers doesn’t require a stretch to get my support.

Our government can’t “afford to” spend more on healthcare and education

Roughly, this averages out to $290 million every day for 7,300 days. That’s how much money America spent on 20 years of war and nation-building in Afghanistan, according to Brown University’s Costs of War project.

I’ve been around a long time. Our government, the two incompetent political parties we have [we’re essentially allowed], have used the same lies to justify destructive behavior like this…and will continue to do so unless and until the people of the United States rise up and throw the bastards out of office. I ain’t holding my breath. This is a nation of ignorant, deluded sheep!

[OK. I was too pissed-off when I posted this morning. Foot-dragging drives me crazy. We’re way too polite to Congress!]

Reagan and Gorbachev agreed to put Cold War on hold to join forces against an Alien Invasion


“What’s that up in the sky?”

…During a 2009 interview with Charlie Rose and Reagan’s Secretary of State George Shultz, Gorbachev revealed that Reagan asked him point-blank if they could set aside their differences in case the world was invaded by aliens…

As far as we know, aliens never tried to take over the planet during the 1980s, so Reagan and Gorbachev’s informal agreement wasn’t put to the test. But perhaps unsurprisingly for a president whose nuclear deterrent plan was nicknamed “Star Wars,” Reagan was a big science-fiction fan. He had grown up reading Edgar Rice Burroughs’ epic science-fiction novels, whose characters included John Carter of Mars and Tarzan

Please, please, no one ask El Trumpo if he’s ready to defend the world against Alien Invaders? The former head of Israel’s Space Security agency says Trump almost revealed the “truth” when he was in office but the Galactic Federation stopped him.

An existential accident

Lord Howard de Walden, landlord to many eminent figures in the medical profession and last of the great British racehorse owner-breeders, has died, aged 86.

He inherited 120 acres of London’s west end and bred and owned the 1985 Derby winner, Slip Anchor. But the story he loved to dine out on was when, as a young Cambridge student fresh out of Eton, he was driving a new car in Munich when a man walked out in front of him and was knocked down. “He was only shaken up,” recalled de Walden. “But had I killed him, it would have changed the history of the world.” The man was Adolf Hitler.

This is the lead-in to an article published Sun 11 Jul 1999…just after Lord Howard’s death. And think what this autobiographical note means to the world unchanged.

If the event had changed the course of the world, we wouldn’t know that it had. The event might not be worth a mention in the life of a British aristocrat.

Taliban Thanks American Taxpayers for all the Presents

How much U.S. military equipment does the Taliban now control?

We’ve made the Taliban into a major U.S. arms dealer for the next decade,” said Andrzejewski. “They now control 75,000 military vehicles. This is about 50,000 tactical vehicles, 20,000 Humvees they control about 1,000 mine-resistant vehicles, and even about 150 armored personnel carriers…”

“We found a Federal Audit that detailed up to $200 million worth of drones that had disappeared,” said Andrzejewski. “We don’t know where 600,000 weapons are within the country.”

The military-industrial corporations have all been paid-off. We picked up the tab for that plus shipping. Maybe we could get UPS to pickup every Congress-critter who voted to spend all this money and deliver them to Kabul. Leave them to wander around and try to find an honest job.

Josephine Baker to be first Black woman to enter France’s Panthéon


Receiving the Légion d’honneur and the Croix de Guerre

The remains of Josephine Baker, a famed French-American dancer, singer and actor who also worked with the French resistance during the second world war, will be moved to the Panthéon mausoleum in November, according to an aide to President Emmanuel Macron.

It will make Baker, who was born in Missouri in 1906 and buried in Monaco in 1975, the first Black woman to be laid to rest in the hallowed Parisian monument.

“She was an artist, the first Black international star, a muse of the cubists, a resistance fighter during the second world war in the French army, active alongside Martin Luther King in the civil rights fight,” the petition says.

Another member of the campaign group, Pascal Bruckner, said Baker “is a symbol of a France that is not racist, contrary to what some media groups say”, as well as “a true anti-fascist”…

The Panthéon is a memorial complex for great national figures in French history from the world of politics, culture and science.

Josephine Baker was a significant African-American talent in dance, music and film in the United States. A brave anti-fascist fighter in the French Underground during World War 2. Activist in the US civil rights movement.

Do You Ever Wonder Why Americans Can’t Have Nice Things


Chinese workers building a high-speed railroad

All the recrimination-filled reporting and commentary about how fast Afghanistan fell to the Taliban after President Joe Biden made the courageous decision to finish withdrawing our troops misses a much more important story.

This story concerns why Americans can’t have nice things anymore while our main economic competitor China does and is investing in a lucrative and influential future.

It’s the story of jettisoning the sensible Powell Doctrine of asking if war is quickly winnable before rushing into military action in favor of chronic combat. Endless war creates enormous fortunes for investors in the military-industrial complex, enabled by jingoistic political cowardice in Washington.

For two decades our elected leaders foolishly spent our money trying to impose democracy at the point of a rifle in a country with no democratic culture or tradition…

To date, U.S. taxpayers have spent about $2.3 trillion on an undeclared war that cost 2,448 American troops their lives avenging about the same number of lives lost on 9/11/2001. More than 100,000 Afghans died in the 20-year war…

The total ultimate Afghan war bill? More than $6.4 trillion, according to the Cost of War Project at Brown University. That’s more than $100,000 for the iconic family of four.

Please read Johnston’s rant in its entirety. Someone has to explain this arrogance, ignorance and futility to American taxpayers and, believe me, that someone won’t be speaking on behalf of the Democrats or Republicans treasured 2-party system.

German Army had to help the police tidy up an illegal collection of weapons of war in this basement

For decades, a German man has stockpiled Nazi weapons of war in his basement, including a 45-ton Panzer-V (Panther) tank and an 88-millimeter anti-aircraft gun. Now, a German court has given him a 14-month suspended sentence and fine of about $300,000 for the arsenal, which was seized in a raid in 2015.

While it takes some effort for German citizens to legally buy and carry loaded firearms, it’s entirely prohibited to own any weapons of war. According to Insider, the man violated the Weapons Control Act by possessing military-grade weapons. His lawyers, however, argued that because most of his collection was non-functioning, he could not be charged.

The man, identified in court documents as Klaus-Dieter F. from Heikendorf, had also amassed a torpedo, 70 rifles and machine guns, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, and an unspecified number of semi and fully automatic pistols…

According to locals, the tank was an open secret, and the man even used it as a snowplow once during a particularly harsh winter shortly after acquiring it from an English junkyard.

He got a suspended sentence and paid a hefty fine. I’m not certain why he didn’t make the effort to become a licensed collector. That is perfectly legal in Germany and, in fact, legal collectors are now buying the collection of armaments from the police department which confiscated them. I hope he gets a piece of it to cover his $300,000 fine for breaking the law.