Is There a Peace Partner in Israel? - The path Abbas opted to take was not an easy one, especially given that it came in the aftermath of the Second Intifada with its many casualties and damage...
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"I will admit to you that the reason I'm going ahead with this attempt now is because I cannot wait any longer to impress you. I've got to do something now to make you understand, in no uncertain terms, that I'm doing all of this for your sake! By sacrificing my freedom and possibly my life, I hope to change your mind about me."
"In the last year the price of a barrel of oil has gone up by $45 or 65 per cent. It averaged $70 in 2007, while this year it is looks to average $115.
In Canada, as recently as 2003, the cost of producing a barrel of oil, including royalties, averaged only $5.57. Of course, that year Canadian royalties were again among the lowest in the world, 23 cents a barrel.
For natural resources, the difference between the cost of production, including normal profits and the selling price, represents the resource rent, a one-time benefit to the owners. If we assume the cost of production has nearly doubled since 2003, including small royalties increases in Alberta, the resource rent per barrel this year is $105.
This resource rent money has been treated as a windfall profit and has gone directly into the pockets of the oil producers. As many of them are foreign-owned, the profits go directly out of the country.
Since, under the constitution, the beneficial owners of the resources are the people of the provinces where the resources are located, the rent belongs to the people, and it should have subject to an excess profits tax. Indeed when the price of oil increased in the late 1970s, the Alberta government introduced just such a measure.
The logic is simple. If oil companies are making money at $70 a barrel, and through no action on their part, their price increases to $115 a barrel, why should they get to pocket the difference?"
"The situation is similar to what happens in wartime. Some companies get rich producing war materials, while others pay the ultimate price fighting the war. Proceeds from excess profits taxes are used to pay for spousal veterans benefits."
"Born in Toronto to Russian and Ukrainian parents in 1914, the meanderings of this violinist-turned-revolutionary-cum-journalist-turned-businessman have made him a living relic.
He delivered hats off Wall Street during the Crash of '29, sipped coffee with George Orwell on Las Ramblas during the Spanish Civil War and stood guard over Trotsky's corpse in Mexico. He built homes in Toronto, edited his most recent book on economics a few months ago, and now spends his days practising his violin and readying for one final accomplishment."
"By 1934, he was a radical and formed the League for Revolutionary Worker's Party, a group of Trotsky-inspired Marxist youth in Toronto.
While on a visit to Brussels in fall 1936, the prospect of 'seeing revolution in the streets' drew Krehm over the Pyrenees to Barcelona, where like-minded Trostkyites were fighting Stalin-backed republicans and Nazi-backed nationalists.
He remembers standing atop Mount Tibidabo, watching planes from the German Condor Legion speed overhead on a bombing run, and fondly recalls meeting George Orwell, who was there supporting the Trotskyites.
'He was very approachable,' Krehm says of his encounters with the famed novelist at a downtown café. 'He wasn't puffed up at all. He was having a hell of a time in Spain.'
Because of his links to Trotsky, Krehm chose not to join the 1,500 radicalized Canadian volunteers fighting with the International Brigades under the direction of Moscow.
'They would have slit my throat in no time at all. Trotskyites were sneered at by Stalinists, you see,' he says.
Barcelona was raided by Stalinists in spring 1937. Krehm and other Trotskyites were rounded up.
'Anyone with direct links to Trotsky was never seen again,' says Krehm, who counts himself luckier than most of his colleagues (including Orwell who, having been shot through the neck, barely got out of Spain alive).
Krehm spent several months in a crowded, plywood prison before a hunger strike resulted in his transfer to hospital.
He recovered and was released, or rather, 'stripped of my belongings and dumped into France' by communist forces, now losing their war against the fascists"
". . . in Mexico he stayed, anchored by his political proclivities. Krehm tried to return to Canada to join the fight against fascism in Europe – World War II – but the United States would not permit him to cross its borders. He was stuck.
As it happens, he was there when his role model had his head run through with an ice pick. Feeling compelled to pay his respects to the man whose writings had influenced him, Krehm stood guard over Trotsky's body at his funeral.
Krehm soon landed a job with Time Magazine, covering a series of revolutions that broke out in Latin America during World War II.
But by 1947, with the Cold War heating up, his revolutionary past came back to haunt him.
'I ruffled some feathers,' he says, about his dispatches on American involvement in several coups in Latin America. He was fired by Time."
". . . Krehm became an entrepreneur, founding a property management company, O'Shanter, now owned and operated by his sons, Adam and Jonathan.
He retired from O'Shanter in the early 1980s and began writing again, this time on economics.
As co-founder of the Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform, an economics-oriented publishing house in Toronto, Krehm has written several works arguing against the government practice of combating inflation by increasing interest rates.
He says this has not only been detrimental to society, it runs counter to the Bank of Canada Act, which has been on the books since 1934."
"That nationalization made possible the financing of a major part of the federal government’s capital projects with the Bank of Canada on a virtual interest-free basis. The money paid to the BoC as interest on such loans came back to the federal government as dividends. An essential part of the mechanism that made this possible were the statutory reserves that required the banks to redeposit with the BoC some 8% to 12% of the deposits received by banks from the public in chequing accounts.
These statutory reserves served two vital purposes: (1) they provided more elbow room for the federal government to finance its capital projects from the BoC within the constraints in force on an interest-free basis; and (2) they offered an alternative to raising the benchmark rate of interest set by the BoC for overnight loans between chartered banks to help them meet their cheque clearing obligations. Once these reserves were phased out over a two-year period in the 1991 revision of the Bank Act, higher interest rates became 'the one blunt tool' for 'controlling inflation.' The result: by the mid-1970s the Bank of Canada had held well over 20% of the federal debt. Within a few years it was down to almost 5%.
We note that the NDP did include bringing back the statutory reserves among its policy options. More than that, it is an absolute necessity to reverse the trend of Canadian politics towards disaster bred by greedy privilege.
The NDP could reclaim the traditions of Tommy Douglas, by proposing a gradual reintroduction of the statutory reserves, say over a three-year period. Neither the UK nor the US ended reserves as Canada and New Zealand did. In Britain they were simply reduced to 0.35 of one percent but are still on the books; in the US they also remain but have been reduced to irrelevance by the shifting of deposits from reservable accounts to non-reservable accounts at the close of bank hours, and back to reservable accounts when the banks open their doors again. Bringing the reserves back in Canada to their former levels over a two or three-year period would give the banks an ample opportunity to readjust to the return to a statutory reserve regime. This is of particular importance since the Bank of Canada is in the process of pushing up interest rates again despite the limp state of the economy."
"This week Israel's Military Intelligence Chief, Major General Amos Yadlin complained to the Israeli daily Haaretz that 'Hezbollah proved that it was the strongest power in Lebanon... stronger than the Lebanese and it had wanted to take the government it could have done it,' He said Hezbollah, continued to pose a 'significant' threat to Israel as its rockets could reach a large part of Israeli territory.'
Yadlin was putting it mildly.
But what Intelligence Chief Yadlin did not reveal to the Israeli public was just how 'significant' but also 'immediate' the Hezbollah threat was on May 11. Nor was he willing to divulge the fact that he received information via US and French channels that if the planned attack on Lebanon's capitol went forward that Tel Aviv was subject, in the view of the US intelligence community to 'approximately 600 Hezbollah rockets in the first 24 hours in retaliation and at least that number on the following day'.
The Israeli Intel Chief also declined to reveal that despite Israel's recent psyche-war camping about various claimed missile shields 'the State of Israel is perfecting', that this claim is being ridiculed at the Pentagon. 'Israel will not achieve an effective shield against the current generation of rockets, even assuming no technological improvements in the current rockets aimed at it, for another 20 years. And that assumes the US will continue to fund their research and development for the hoped for shields' according to Pentagon, US Senate Intelligence Committee, and very well informed Lebanese sources."
"Something that struck me was the fairly narrow notion of Jewish experience outside Israel, in the Diaspora, that was implied. A Toronto prof. quoted in The Post, said: 'Everything they do to us ... strengthens our deep-seated perception that fuels our identity of being a persecuted people.' This rings true to me not as how things are, but as how many Canadian Jews see them. I have friends and relations, often wealthy and accomplished people, who feel anti-Semitism is always imminent, though they've rarely or never experienced it. It shapes their attitude toward Israel as the only refuge for Jews, and makes them less willing to hear criticisms of it than most Israelis are. It seems to me irrational and I wish I understood it better.
When we were kids in the 1950s, we studied a book called Sufferance is the Badge, based on Shylock's line, 'Sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.' It interpreted Jewish history as a tale of torment. But that was in the shadow of the Holocaust. When I was married in my 20s, my mother-in-law did a painting in her art class that showed religious Jews clutching Torah scrolls as they fled. Their beards and prayer shawls streamed behind. My father-in-law, a manufacturer, called it caustically, The Jews Running. I think he meant it was sentimentalized and overstated, and he wasn't buying that version of our past, at least not outright.
All this resonated in the aftermath of Hitler, and was helpful in raising support for the fragile state of Israel. But, at bottom and for understandable reasons, it distorted two millennia of Jewish history that were rich and complex. Almost all Jewish literary and intellectual accomplishment occurred in the Diaspora. There were golden ages of relative integration, along with expulsions and pogroms. That's a big chunk of time. Crisis comes and goes in all collective and individual lives. Jews prayed for a return to Zion, but only in the messianic future that God alone would bring about. Anyone who tried to 'force the end,' was considered a heretic. They didn't just make do in the Diaspora; they settled in and often thrived.
It seems to me that a more nuanced, positive view of the Diaspora might open many Jews to a different relationship to Israel, in which they felt freer to offer criticism. It would also correspond better to their real lives. And it would fit the increasingly diasporic nature of a globalized world."
"In a heated phone call with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi late last month, Hillary Clinton supporter Harvey Weinstein threatened to cut off campaign money to congressional Democrats unless Pelosi embraced a new plan by the movie mogul to finance a revote of the Democratic presidential primaries in Florida and Michigan, according to three officials who were briefed on the contents of the conversation."
"Hillary Clinton’s campaign aides admitted Thursday they were consulted by their big donors before the group sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi containing a veiled threat that she would risk their financial support unless she reversed her view that superdelegates should follow the will of voters."