Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Recognizing a Mapuche State

The following article has been circulating in some pro-democracy, Latin American blogs and was written Santiago Belmonte. The title of this article is Recognizing a Mapuche State and was written in response to the announcement of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil that they would recognize a Palestinian State.

The Mapuche mentioned in the title are an indigenous people from Southwestern Argentina and South Chile. As most indigenous tribes in these regions, they were killed, persecuted, discriminated against and forced to integrate into the dominant societies. Attempts by Mapuche activists to get recognition resulted in their being prosecuted under counter-terrorism laws. It goes without saying that Mapuche terrorism has been insignificant by international standards and limited to some fires, burning of some structures and some threats. With this background in mind, here is my translation. As with other translations I undertook, all great points are Mr. Belmondo’s. All errors are mine.

Recognizing a Mapuche State, by Santiago Belmondo

The governments of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil have announced the recognition of a Palestinian State. This, they claim, is based on “sentiments of justice, and their traditional lines in the defense of human rights.” Logically, any fool would recognize that their reasons are based on self-interest in no way related to their claims. Therefore, it should not surprise us that the functionaries of the respective governments mentioned expressed this recognition impulsively and with plenty of missinformation.

First let us clarify one element that is public knowledge: No Palestinian State exists. Even the future inhabitants have not proclaimed such a state. Second, the aforementioned functionaries have announced that for a Palestinian state to be viable, “Israel should withdraw to the pre-1967 borders.” It seems that these governments chose to ignore that there never were nor are there today recognized borders among the parties in the Middle East conflict. What existed between 1948 and 1967 was a provisional armistice not negotiated with any Palestinian leader, but with Jordan, which since the beginning of the British Mandate had been known as Transjordan. Trans meaning adjacent to the Jordan River. Argentinean functionaries choose to forget that their government resolved to abstain when in 1947 the United Nations voted a partition plan dividing the land between Jews and Arabs.

Having clarified this point, we are left to ponder if Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay have solved all their problems, if they have resolved all the injustices within their own territories. Are they also prepared to recognize a Kurdish state for the Kurds who are systematically massacred by Iraq and Turkey? And just to name a few; are they ready to fight for the freedom of Tibet and for the rights of those who are systematically exterminated in Somalia and Eritrea?

But let us not go so far away. Let us stay here among the Catholic South American countries. I mentioned Catholic because it would seem that a good Catholic has read the Bible and is aware to whom the land belongs where the State of Israel is located. Those who have read history are aware that the Jews have been forced into exile by Babylonians and Romans, but for two millennia never ceased to yearn and clamor for a return to the land of their ancestors. And now they have returned closing the cycle of exile. Those Catholics who have read the Bible are also aware that that nowhere is there mention of the term Palestinian, nor is there mention of an ethnic entity that could be recognized under such term.

But something completely different occurs in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. There everything occurred in reverse. The original populations and their descendants and legitimate owners of the lands in those countries have been systematically assassinated in bloody genocides, and deprived of their rights by Spanish and Portuguese invaders. Much more just and urgent than the aspirations of the Palestinians is the immediate recognition of a Mapuche State which like the aforementioned Palestinian one has not been proclaimed, has no recognizable boundaries but does have legitimate claims. Should we remind Argentina of the systematic annihilation of the Ranqueles in the XIX century, and the occupation of territories that belonged to the Huarpes, Puelches, Tehuelches, Tobas, Kollas, Diaguitas, and Querandies? Should we remind Uruguay of the genocide of the Churruas, and the expropriation of their lands? Should we remind Brazil of the complete extermination of indigenous nations like the Tupi, Parana, Marubo, Enawene, Nave, Chiripas, Maxakali and Kahingang, besides the expulsion of hundreds of tribes from their land to enrich a few powerful and unscrupulous businessmen in complicity with the Brazilian state.

If Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil are so concerned with the tribulations of marginalized peoples, shouldn’t they start by restituting the property in their countries to their legitimate owners? Shouldn’t they pay compensation for all the suffering they are causing and have caused for centuries?

Conquistadores exterminating and enslaving Mapuches

Dealing with Mapuche activists

This writer, therefore, recognizes immediately, and recommends to institutions around the world to likewise recognize the establishment of a Mapuche State, a Tupi State and the hundreds of smaller, but no less legitimate states in lands currently occupied by Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Goodbye Sweeden

The always eloquent and courageous Pat Condell does it again:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Yes, we are serious!

When CNSNews.com asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday where the Constitution authorized Congress to order Americans to buy health insurance--a mandate included in both the House and Senate versions of the health care bill--Pelosi dismissed the question by saying: “Are you serious? Are you serious?”

You can hear the quesstion and Pelosi's response in the following audiuo:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Let's Save the Planet by Outlawing Water

Here we have a video, courtesy of CFACT, getting people who attended the Conference on Global Warming to sign a petition to cripple the U.S. economy and another to outlaw H2O, or as they call it, “dihydrogen monoxide”. 

Many people would have fallen for this gag, but one would expect radical environmentalists who want us to agree with their points of view concerning global warming, to know better.  What a disappointment. 

Who would have thought that persons attending such a prestigious UN conference would turn out to be actual morons?  Well, maybe I would have.

Why Not Soak the Rich? by Victor Davis Hanson

For the last two years, $250,000 in annual income has become an arbitrary line in the sand of a renewed class war. Those above it must alone have their income taxes raised. Those below are deemed more virtuous and so deserving of a tax cut.

But what exactly is "rich"? Zillionaires such as Warren Buffett, Bill Gates or George Soros surely are. But these wealthiest individuals have so much money at their disposal that they don't care much about income tax rates. Their tax lawyers have found ingenious ways to divert millions of what would be owed to Uncle Sam by funding tax-free pet causes, private foundations and favored charities -- in a way not true of those who make far less than a million dollars a year.

Is annual income a good gauge of wealth? Who is richer -- the architect in Monterey, Calif., who makes $250,000 a year and pays $700,000 for a modest house while picking up the full tab of $40,000 a year for his daughter at a private liberal arts college, or the engineer in Utah making $100,000 a year with a house twice as large at half the cost, with a son on a need-based scholarship at the university? Should annual income alone trump all other considerations when the costs of living vary widely by region, and eligibility for billions of dollars in federal and state subsidies is predicated on income levels?

By the same token, what exactly is "poor" in a globalized world of cheap imported TVs, cell phones and high-tech gadgetry available to most Americans at Walmart and Target? The middle class has better access to what were once called luxury items than did the super-wealthy just two decades ago.

How do we define tax "cuts"? Were the George W. Bush income tax rates really "cuts" for the rich? Or were they across-the-board cuts only in comparison to the higher Clinton rates? In turn, were the Clinton rates actually "hikes" on top of the George H.W. Bush "hikes"? Both upped the lower Reagan rates, which in turn had been "cuts" from the higher Carter rates. In fact, every president's newly adjusted income tax rate is derided mostly on partisan political grounds as either a counterproductive hike that "kills small business" or an unfair "trickle down" cut.

Income taxes don't occur in a vacuum. That the "rich" should pay 39.5 percent on their income might seem justified in isolation. But what about property, state income, payroll and other taxes that together can take up to 65 percent of some incomes in high-tax states?

In addition, income taxes are already graduated, as one pays a higher percentage on income the more one makes. Yet 50 percent of Americans pay no income taxes, while 5 percent of taxpayers pay nearly 60 percent of the total collected. The result is that half of Americans are likely to favor both higher entitlements that they may well receive and higher income taxes that they most certainly will not pay.

Did the staggering annual national deficit arise from a lack of revenue or out-of-control spending? California manages to have the highest income, sales and gas taxes and the largest deficits. Over the last decade, federal income tax revenue -- and budget deficits -- increased almost every year.

Income levels are not static. Belonging to the upper brackets is not always a matter of privilege or inheritance. Some Americans go in and out of the top tax brackets depending on the economy. Others are "rich" only for a few years in their 50s and 60s -- making far less before and after.

If we prefer high rates, we will see either more tax avoidance or a certain reluctance to work an extra day, buy new equipment or hire a new employee -- given than any additional income will be mostly eaten up in taxes. Those who make over $250,000 are those who would be more likely to hire new employees, and they usually can do it far more efficiently than the federal government.

Finally, if the goal is to increase federal revenue, then it is wisest to keep taxes as they are. That encourages Americans to make as much as they can, hire and buy, and thereby enrich the nation at large. But if the aim is instead to ensure that we mostly end up about the same, then raising taxes on the already highly taxed might make us more equal -- and collectively all poorer as well.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Presbyterians Against Israel - WSJ.com

Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper: Presbyterians Against Israel - WSJ.com

"Our Job is Not to Protect the United States"

Here is a video showing Time Magazine editor Richard Stengle on CNN Reliable Sources discussing the publication of the Wikileaks documents. I can accept several explanations for the press explaining why they published what they did. However, Mr. Stengel chose to say, "Our job is to publish and be damned" and "Our job is not to protect the United States". Let's see. We need freedom of the press to protect journalists who protect the United States by not believing in protecting the United States.

Can you imagine an editor in 1944 publishing the date and location of V.E. Day?

Hey Big Sis; Get off My Back

And so the insanity continues.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today announced the expansion of the Department’s national “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign to hundreds of Wal-Mart stores across the country—launching a new partnership between DHS and Wal-Mart to help the American public play an active role in ensuring the safety and security of our nation.

Let’s see. If I go to Wal-Mart should I say something if I see an unattended box, or a shopping cart full of containers? Last time I went shopping I saw dozens of boxes all over the place. Should I say that I saw a Muslim employee placing suspicious toy boxes? I saw one the other day placing a suspicious box with something called transformers. And what about Target, and Macy’s, and Kohl’s, and Beds, Baths and Beyond, and so many other stores.

This insane campaign has nothing to do with security, and everything to do with bureaucrats justifying their existence and their checks. I can’t wait for the scanning machines arriving at my local supermarket.

And the media will interview a few hundred customers until they manage to elicit the typical response from a moron who will say “I don’t mind sacrificing a few minutes if it will improve security.” Well, I do.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Israel, the canary in the coalmine

Below is a speech given by Pastor John C. Hagee from Christians United for Israel, a Christian Zionist organization. All I can say to him is Thank You!

American Jews, wake up and see who your true friends are. For those of you who claim that all this is an attempt to convert us, listen to the 20th minute of the video.

Cablegate? I Kinda Like It, Actually

Michael Ledeen discusses the WikiLeaks. Interesting read from a former State Department employee. You'll love the Kissinger quote.

Faster, Please! » Cablegate? I Kinda Like It, Actually