A write up of today’s news; Increased world hunger

I thought I’d just go through some news today.  Tomorrow I’ll have a look at the London Review of Books. After this, I’ll also report on the latest Jewish News.

Firstly, As’ad AbuKhalil is one of a very small minority who’ve followed closely the suffering of the Palestinians from the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in Lebanon.

Note this discussion of whether Aharon Barak should investigate Israel’s alleged war crimes in Gaza. It is plainly considered a good idea because such an investigation would not be expected to vindicate the Goldstone report.

It was reported in Haaretz that the UK, Britain and France advised Israel to investigate Goldstone’s charges. Israel says the report “”favors and legitimizes terrorism.” This kind of hysterical response is hardly credible. It’s hard to take seriously US (or UK for that matter)pressure on the issue of the Goldstone report, given how well known it is that Abbas was pressured by the US to drop the attempt to hold Israel accountable to it. The UK said: ”

“We note that the Israeli Defense Force has already conducted and is continuing to conduct a number of investigations,” Sawers said. “However, concerns remain…. We urge the Israeli government to carry out full, credible and impartial investigations into the allegations,” he added.  “French Ambassador Gerard Araud urged both sides to initiate “independent inquiries in line with international standards.” ”

Also – has anyone noticed: there’s all this Arab and Islamic support for the Goldstone report, which at length condemns Fatah and Hamas?

I’m not sure Bradley Burston has read the whole Goldstone report. Nevertheless, he concludes it showed a “marked degree of fairness”. I want to publicise the findings: I’m going to write a short article, and I think I’ll post a longish series of highlights (about 10 000 words).

Amnesty calls on supporters to write to the government against racial discrimination. A sensible and brief guide to the facts behind refugee hysteria. Meanwhile, Rudd is channeling Howard. Rudd said “people smugglers”  ”represent the vilest form of people on the planet”. “‘The key thing is to have a tough, hard-nosed approach to border security”.  Jake Lynch has a good article about Tamil refugees on newmatilda.

Murdoch media, of course, gives Israel’s spokesperson space to peddle propaganda without challenge. This is typical of them.

Bob Ellis: this guy is seriously a lunatic. He says that those who oppose Obama getting a Nobel prize are… racist.

It was a classic repressed-racist reaction. He’s got the presidency, God damn it, what else does he want? An Oscar? An Emmy? A Pulitzer Prize? There was no such response when Al Gore won the Nobel for a single travelling slide show. No one said he hadn’t done enough yet, he hadn’t saved the world yet. It was sufficient that he wanted to, and spoke well in that cause.

The racism attendant on the American response was blatantly evident because nobody mentioned who else should have got it. They emphasised only that he didn’t deserve it. He hadn’t done anything yet.

Firstly, Al Gore didn’t deserve the Nobel Peace Prize either. Secondly: racism? Thirdly: no one else who should have got it? I can think of literally millions of people (who I’ve already named). Secondly, Obama deserves a war prize.  Not troubled by the need for consistency, Ellis goes on to say: “It was hard to see how Morgan Tsvangarai had done more for world peace by then, or ever; or Hu Jia had.” What’s that, Mr Ellis? You’ve just named other people suggested as worthy of the prize? Seems like you can contradict yourself in the same article. And how has Obama done more than Tsvangarai or Hu Jia? Ellis thinks Obama’s speech in Cairo warranted a prize. And note how in an article rejecting racism against Obama, because people said he didn’t deserve the prize, Ellis speaks of pacifying a billion Muslims. Yes,nothing shows Ellis’s rejection of racism like his belief that making soothing noises to Muslims warrants a peace prize.

Yet he goes to greater lengths:

Never before had being president been thought a precondition for the Nobel Peace Prize. Mother Theresa never held that office, nor Muhammad Yunus, nor Martin Luther King, nor (though he came close) Al Gore. Nelson Mandela got his prize before he was president, and so did Jose Ramos Horta. They got it for inspiring hope, for the audacity of hope they stirred up in their people. Aung San Suu Kyi and the Dalai Lama, it could be said, in their long pilgrimages of eloquent protest and stifled leadership, achieved almost nothing for their people. But they got the peace prize anyway for trying hard, and for speaking wonderfully and for winning foreign hearts to their cause.

Barack Obama in the past five years, in the 1872 days of his fame, his candidacy and his presidency, has achieved more for the general good (I draw a deep breath here) than all of them put together.

So for those wondering, Obama’s done more good than Mandela and Martin Luther King and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Dean Baker dismisses Fisk’s theory about the dollar. Baker is a very calm, intelligent and reasonable economist who has a long record of being right about just about everything.

The Independent reports: “A combination of the food crisis and the global economic downturn has pushed more than 1 billion people into hunger in 2009, about 100 million more people than last year.” The Independent has a series of q and as on the subject. Democracy Now also has a discussion on the issue. Of course, our media isn’t interested in such a trivial issue.

AMY GOODMAN: We just have thirty seconds, but the message you want to leave our audience with?

DEVINDER SHARMA: Well, two things. First of all, the kind of agriculture that we have here, the subsidy especially, you know, if the American farmers want subsidies, please have it. But if you want to trade simultaneously, please don’t do it, because your subsidies kill our farmers. And I think the message is: please leave us alone. If you want to trade, you can’t have the cake and eat it, too. So, please keep your subsidies, but don’t flood us with cheaper imports. This is what is happening all over the world. You know, the two parts of the world, America and the European Union, are becoming the biggest exporters, and developing countries are becoming food importers. And importing food, for us, is importing unemployment.

Ellis’s rejection of racism like his belief that making soothing noises to Muslims warrants a peace prize.Yet he goes to greater lengths:

Never before had bei


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