Friday, October 09, 2009

Space enthusiast gather to watch the impact at Ames Research Centre at Moffett Field in California
Photograph: Peter Dasilva/EPA from

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Dr. Biobrain has a post up about anarchism. After he read a mission statement on anarchism, he came away less than impressed. I encountered anarchism at a young age and still have some affection for the orientation. His post certainly points out why I had to move on once I wanted something beyond slogans.

The appeal of anarchist ideas for me, when I was in high school, is that it discussed political issues from from a perspective that felt familiar. I wasn't well educated about politics or civics when I was young. Almost all of my political education came from reading history, and things where generally much harsher in the past. I knew that I didn't like nazis or totalitarians, but I didn't have a clear set of political values to judge contemporary politicians.

When I started hanging around a music scene, anarchism was kind of a default political position. It had a symbol system, slogans, and utopian ideals. Since, at the time, the political parties didn't even attempt to speak to me, I thought there was something there. It didn't take me long to figure out that all the coherent anarchists thinkers, like Proudhon, were dead and speaking to a different era. Once I figured out that Ron Paul is the most successful politician to espouse views reflective of political anarchism, I knew I had to look at different political orientations for solutions.

Once I paid attention to real political problems, I saw that the Democrats actually fought for helpful practical positions, and I was able to move past the distaste for all elected politicians beaten into me by network news.

Where any political tendency like anarchism or libertarianism works is in articulating politics beyond the parties that are often represented as hopelessly corrupt. For some of us, supporting a major party means learning to hold your nose and look past all of the dismissive rhetoric directed at anyone bold enough to try to do something for real.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Seaching for help wanted postings
The paper turns dryly
The dawn brightens the corner

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

From the Times of London:

January 11, 2009
Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is not self-defence – it’s a war crime

ISRAEL has sought to justify its military attacks on Gaza by stating that it amounts to an act of “self-defence” as recognised by Article 51, United Nations Charter. We categorically reject this contention.

The rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas deplorable as they are, do not, in terms of scale and effect amount to an armed attack entitling Israel to rely on self-defence. Under international law self-defence is an act of last resort and is subject to the customary rules of proportionality and necessity.

The killing of almost 800 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and more than 3,000 injuries, accompanied by the destruction of schools, mosques, houses, UN compounds and government buildings, which Israel has a responsibility to protect under the Fourth Geneva Convention, is not commensurate to the deaths caused by Hamas rocket fire.

For 18 months Israel had imposed an unlawful blockade on the coastal strip that brought Gazan society to the brink of collapse. In the three years after Israel’s redeployment from Gaza, 11 Israelis were killed by rocket fire. And yet in 2005-8, according to the UN, the Israeli army killed about 1,250 Palestinians in Gaza, including 222 children. Throughout this time the Gaza Strip remained occupied territory under international law because Israel maintained effective control over it.

Israel’s actions amount to aggression, not self-defence, not least because its assault on Gaza was unnecessary. Israel could have agreed to renew the truce with Hamas. Instead it killed 225 Palestinians on the first day of its attack. As things stand, its invasion and bombardment of Gaza amounts to collective punishment of Gaza’s 1.5m inhabitants contrary to international humanitarian and human rights law. In addition, the blockade of humanitarian relief, the destruction of civilian infrastructure, and preventing access to basic necessities such as food and fuel, are prima facie war crimes.

We condemn the firing of rockets by Hamas into Israel and suicide bombings which are also contrary to international humanitarian law and are war crimes. Israel has a right to take reasonable and proportionate means to protect its civilian population from such attacks. However, the manner and scale of its operations in Gaza amount to an act of aggression and is contrary to international law, notwithstanding the rocket attacks by Hamas.

Ian Brownlie QC, Blackstone Chambers

Mark Muller QC, Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales

Michael Mansfield QC and Joel Bennathan QC, Tooks Chambers

Sir Geoffrey Bindman, University College, London

Professor Richard Falk, Princeton University

Professor M Cherif Bassiouni, DePaul University, Chicago

Professor Christine Chinkin, LSE

Professor John B Quigley, Ohio State University

Professor Iain Scobbie and Victor Kattan, School of Oriental and African Studies

Professor Vera Gowlland-Debbas, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva

Professor Said Mahmoudi, Stockholm University

Professor Max du Plessis, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban

Professor Bill Bowring, Birkbeck College

Professor Joshua Castellino, Middlesex University

Professor Thomas Skouteris and Professor Michael Kagan, American University of Cairo

Professor Javaid Rehman, Brunel University

Daniel Machover, Chairman, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights

Dr Phoebe Okawa, Queen Mary University

John Strawson, University of East London

Dr Nisrine Abiad, British Institute of International and Comparative Law

Dr Michael Kearney, University of York

Dr Shane Darcy, National University of Ireland, Galway

Dr Michelle Burgis, University of St Andrews

Dr Niaz Shah, University of Hull

Liz Davies, Chair, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyer

Prof Michael Lynk, The University of Western Ontario

Steve Kamlish QC and Michael Topolski QC, Tooks Chambers