Saturday, January 31, 2009

Adventures in Medicine and something completely different...The Mean Kitty Song

The Mean Kitty song

It's been a long while since I've posted and still, the visitors kept coming. Apparently, "Obama knows babies" was/is quite the hit. It's a testimony to my many posts(-ing) that I have anyone visiting at all! I know I have some of my blogger buddies checking me out but on the whole, the majority of visitors do their searches and google nicely steers them towards me.
One of the searches that apparently puts me 'up there' is 'the ugly parent syndrome'. I posted on that a long time ago and for some strange reason, there are many Aussie searches for that one. Hmmm..what does that signify eh??

Anyway, I've been awol from the blogosphere due to 'adventures in medicine'. Last week, my son's allergies spiked severely (unusually high cedar count and he's taking three different allergy shots even, he's got a slew of allergies, animal, food and various pollen with the occasional cockroach..yes yes)..anyhow..his histamines went to work and what was in his head ended up in his chest, causing tightness and that is for the most part his asthma related issues. We were in two separate ERs last week. One 'regular' one and the next day, I just thought no, he needs to go to the children's ER (20plus miles away). Then a follow up doctor's appointment with exrays (oh, and a chest xray at the children's ER)..pfff...and this week, a final doctor's follow up with the ok to go back to school..hooray! He had to endure a week of prelone (makes you hyper), on top of his numerous maintenance meds. Plus, in the beginning, on top of the medicine, I gave him stuff with guefenisin so his chest would get loose.

Then I had something going on (blood test showed too low potassium but I realized afterwards I had a LOT of black licorice over the past couple of weeks (one of my b'day presents) that depletes potassium in your body. So of course, a follow up blood test for me (low potassium in especially women can cause heart problems, think keeling over) so..I'll be glad when this month is done. I haven't had time to actually focus on what I had planned to do..

So hence, in the spirit of, 'and now for something completely different'..this kitty cat vid that my kids stumbled upon..
have a good weekend and hope you're safe and warm whereever you are..

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Friday, January 16, 2009

The Independent's 'Dave Brown'.

Saturday, I have my eldest birthday party (11) and I've been quite busy and scattered, errand wise. Hopefully, I can get my posting back up. I haven't even had time to check out 'ya'll's posts, let alone think about what I feel or want to post on. This Gaza nonsense has just made me feel kind of desillusioned and maddened, once again. Politics does that.
Goodbye Bush..ya dumb puppet. We need to keep paying attention to the players who made it all happen, they're definitely not going to disappear any time soon. That and the military industrial complex, follow the resource as I've mentioned below. That and the money trail.
That, and the trail of dead bodies...

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Happy Birthday To 'Ya'..

Trying to 'going on being' and that is one of my goals for the year. It 'is' convenient for my birthday to be at the beginning of the year. That said, most people are recupering this month from their December gluttony and splurches and tend to forget 'us' January babes. Well, in honour of Martin Luther King's birthday next week (this song was composed for him) and Obama's inauguration, I'll play this song.
That, and the following people (for those entertainment junkies):

1875 Albert Schweitzer (humanitarian, physician, musician, philospher)
Faye Dunaway born on January 14, 1941
Lawrence Kasdan born on January 14, 1949
Claude Chirac born on January 14, 1962
Steven Soderbergh born on January 14, 1963
"Moi", 1964
Emily Watson born on January 14, 1967
LL Cool J born on January 14, 1968
Jason Bateman born on January 14, 1969

You know it doesn't make much sense
There ought to be a law against
Anyone who takes offense
At a day in your celebration
'Cause we all know in our minds
That there ought to be a time
That we can set aside
To show just how much we love you
And I'm sure you will agree
It couldn't fit more perfectly
Than to have a world party on the day you came to be

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday

I just never understood
How a man who died for good
Could not have a day that would
Be set aside for his recognition
Because it should never be
Just because some cannot see
The dream as clear as he
That they should make it become an illusion
And we all know everything
That he stood for time will bring
For in peace our hearts will sing
Thanks to Martin Luther King

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday

Why has there never been a holiday
Where peace is celebrated
all throughout the world

The time is overdue
For people like me and you
You know the way to truth
Is love and unity to all God's children
It should be a great event
And the whole day should be spent
In full remembrance
Of those who lived and died for the oneness of
all people
So let us all begin
We know that love can win
Let it out don't hold it in
Sing it loud as you can

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday

(Background Stevie)
Happy birthday Ooh yeah
Happy birthday,
To you

We know the key to unity of all
Is in the dream that you had so
Long ago
That lives in all of the hearts
Of people
That believe in unity
We'll make the dream become
A reality
I know we will
Because our hearts tell us so

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Natural Gas drilling by BP off-shore at Gaza

Well peeps, I was 'wrong'. Well, wrong about this particular Israel-Gaza war. With all these casualties, this is a full blown war. This cannot even be considered an 'exchange' as it's so lopsided's lopsided for a reason.

This particular Gaza invasion came about due to there being gas fields off-shore Gaza. And well, most of us 'truth seekers', unfortunately mostly progressives and libertarians know that all these (US/Isreal/Russia, future China?) war on 'this and that' abroad is always about a resource of sorts. One could say in political science terms that these days, you need to look at it from a political economy perspective. History helps too though. It's still a great predictor. Israel has been very aggressively pushing away the Palestinians off their lands ever since the state was formed (water AND land being the main reason, nicely cloaked in religious terms and using antagonism to provoke and cause reactions) this time, it is all about the off-shore gas fields. Naturally, they'd stood to benefit Gaza but naturally...can't have that.

Excerpt from Michel Chossudovsky's War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza's Offshore Gas Fields:

"The military invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israeli Forces bears a direct relation to the control and ownership of strategic offshore gas reserves.

This is a war of conquest. Discovered in 2000, there are extensive gas reserves off the Gaza coastline.

British Gas (BG Group) and its partner, the Athens based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) owned by Lebanon's Sabbagh and Koury families, were granted oil and gas exploration rights in a 25 year agreement signed in November 1999 with the Palestinian Authority.

The rights to the offshore gas field are respectively British Gas (60 percent); Consolidated Contractors (CCC) (30 percent); and the Investment Fund of the Palestinian Authority (10 percent). (Haaretz, October 21, 2007).

The PA-BG-CCC agreement includes field development and the construction of a gas pipeline.(Middle East Economic Digest, Jan 5, 2001).

The BG licence covers the entire Gazan offshore marine area, which is contiguous to several Israeli offshore gas facilities. (See Map below). It should be noted that 60 percent of the gas reserves along the Gaza-Israel coastline belong to Palestine.

The BG Group drilled two wells in 2000: Gaza Marine-1 and Gaza Marine-2. Reserves are estimated by British Gas to be of the order of 1.4 trillion cubic feet, valued at approximately 4 billion dollars. These are the figures made public by British Gas. The size of Palestine's gas reserves could be much larger.

Who Owns the Gas Fields

The issue of sovereignty over Gaza's gas fields is crucial. From a legal standpoint, the gas reserves belong to Palestine.

The death of Yasser Arafat, the election of the Hamas government and the ruin of the Palestinian Authority have enabled Israel to establish de facto control over Gaza's offshore gas reserves.

British Gas (BG Group) has been dealing with the Tel Aviv government. In turn, the Hamas government has been bypassed in regards to exploration and development rights over the gas fields.

The election of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001 was a major turning point. Palestine's sovereignty over the offshore gas fields was challenged in the Israeli Supreme Court. Sharon stated unequivocally that "Israel would never buy gas from Palestine" intimating that Gaza's offshore gas reserves belong to Israel.

In 2003, Ariel Sharon, vetoed an initial deal, which would allow British Gas to supply Israel with natural gas from Gaza's offshore wells. (The Independent, August 19, 2003)

The election victory of Hamas in 2006 was conducive to the demise of the Palestinian Authority, which became confined to the West Bank, under the proxy regime of Mahmoud Abbas.

In 2006, British Gas "was close to signing a deal to pump the gas to Egypt." (Times, May, 23, 2007). According to reports, British Prime Minister Tony Blair intervened on behalf of Israel with a view to shunting the agreement with Egypt.

The following year, in May 2007, the Israeli Cabinet approved a proposal by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert "to buy gas from the Palestinian Authority." The proposed contract was for $4 billion, with profits of the order of $2 billion of which one billion was to go the Palestinians.

Tel Aviv, however, had no intention on sharing the revenues with Palestine. An Israeli team of negotiators was set up by the Israeli Cabinet to thrash out a deal with the BG Group, bypassing both the Hamas government and the Palestinian Authority: Read the rest".

Like the US' pursuit of oil abroad, setting up situations for justification to go to war, likewise, Israel has done the same. Hamas came legally into government, however, the Israeli government had no intention of working with them because of all what they needed to give up; claims to land, water, and now, gas. When one has the upper hand politically (being protected by the US by way of military aid and vetoes in the UN) and militarily, one doesn't need to be very compromising right? Right.

And so the Energy geopolitics continue. Be sure to read the rest of the article. And get out your world atlas and check out some maps. It's time to 'see' how the Middle East/Georgia area fits together.

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Real Gaza story

Israel Aquifers

What is the real reason behind all these Israel-Palestinian conflicts? WATER!!

As I asked a fellow Israeli blogger recently, does Israel still have an open door policy? (called the Law of Return)It used to be such that Israel allowed any Jew from anywhere in the world immigration even though the size of Israel can safely be considered too small to accomodate the many millions that might want to live in the "promised land". He answered yes.

So how sustainable is having an open door policy when you live in a sliver of land in a dry arid region called Israel?!
There's always been that pesky problem of uncooperative Arabs who've lived there ever since the diaspora a few thousand years ago.

So in very short, (there are books and articles galore to elaborate), this has become Israel's policy for the Palestinians from day one and how it played out in this time's "Operation Cast Lead".

Johann Hari from the Independent explains this 'ever confusing' who-did-what-first-and-why in one perfectly laid out column. Something you will not likely find in any mainstream American treatment. Here goes:

"According to the Israeli press, Yuval Diskin, the current head of the Israeli security service Shin Bet, "told the Israeli cabinet [on 23 December] that Hamas is interested in continuing the truce, but wants to improve its terms." Diskin explained that Hamas was requesting two things: an end to the blockade, and an Israeli ceasefire on the West Bank. The cabinet – high with election fever and eager to appear toughrejected these terms.

The core of the situation has been starkly laid out by Ephraim Halevy, the former head of Mossad. He says that while Hamas militants – like much of the Israeli right-wing – dream of driving their opponents away, "they have recognised this ideological goal is not attainable and will not be in the foreseeable future." Instead, "they are ready and willing to see the establishment of a Palestinian state in the temporary borders of 1967." They are aware that this means they "will have to adopt a path that could lead them far from their original goals" – and towards a long-term peace based on compromise.

The rejectionists on both sides – from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran to Bibi Netanyahu of Israel – would then be marginalised. It is the only path that could yet end in peace but it is the Israeli government that refuses to choose it. Halevy explains: "Israel, for reasons of its own, did not want to turn the ceasefire into the start of a diplomatic process with Hamas."

Why would Israel act this way? The Israeli government wants peace, but only one imposed on its own terms, based on the acceptance of defeat by the Palestinians. It means the Israelis can keep the slabs of the West Bank on "their" side of the wall. It means they keep the largest settlements and control the WATER supply. And it means a divided Palestine, with responsibility for Gaza hived off to Egypt, and the broken-up West Bank standing alone. Negotiations threaten this vision: they would require Israel to give up more than it wants to. But an imposed peace will be no peace at all: it will not stop the rockets or the rage. For real safety, Israel will have to talk to the people it is blockading and bombing today, and compromise with them."


"To understand how frightening it is to be a Gazan this morning, you need to have stood in that small slab of concrete by the Mediterranean and smelled the claustrophobia. The Gaza Strip is smaller than the Isle of Wight but it is crammed with 1.5 million people who can never leave. They live out their lives on top of each other, jobless and hungry, in vast, sagging tower blocks. From the top floor, you can often see the borders of their world: the Mediterranean, and Israeli barbed wire. When bombs begin to fall – as they are doing now with more deadly force than at any time since 1967 – there is nowhere to hide."


"The most detailed polling of Palestinians, by the University of Maryland, found that 72 per cent want a two-state solution on the 1967 borders, while fewer than 20 per cent want to reclaim the whole of historic Palestine. So, partly in response to this pressure, Hamas offered Israel a long, long ceasefire and a de facto acceptance of two states, if only Israel would return to its legal borders.

Israel's pre-1967 borders and land distances

Rather than seize this opportunity and test Hamas's sincerity, the Israeli government reacted by punishing the entire civilian population. It announced that it was blockading the Gaza Strip in order to "pressure" its people to reverse the democratic process. The Israelis surrounded the Strip and refused to let anyone or anything out. They let in a small trickle of food, fuel and medicine – but not enough for survival. Weisglass quipped that the Gazans were being "put on a diet". According to Oxfam, only 137 trucks of food were allowed into Gaza last month to feed 1.5 million people. The United Nations says poverty has reached an "unprecedented level." When I was last in besieged Gaza, I saw hospitals turning away the sick because their machinery and medicine was running out. I met hungry children stumbling around the streets, scavenging for food.

It was in this context – under a collective punishment designed to topple a democracy – that some forces within Gaza did something immoral: they fired Qassam rockets indiscriminately at Israeli cities. These rockets have killed 16 Israeli citizens. This is abhorrent: targeting civilians is always murder. But it is hypocritical for the Israeli government to claim now to speak out for the safety of civilians when it has been terrorising civilians as a matter of state policy."

emph and underlined and bold added as usual, by yours truly.

Read Johann Hari's story in whole; The true story behind this war is not the one Israel is telling

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