Adonis Diaries

Archive for October 2014

Why Palestinians in West Bank feel trampled and humiliated by Israel settlers?

The Palestinians are not armed and the Palestinian Authority shields the settlers

A dozen Palestinian youths have been shot and killed at close range with live bullets by settlers and Israel army in the West Bank last month.

A Captain emptied his machine gun on a US Palestinian youth of 14 and was acquitted.

Extracts from 3 Hamas governmental documents that completely debunk the dark picture western media has painted around this organisation, and to re-confirm that it is Israel who is standing in the way of the two-state solution:

“We stress the need to reinforce the spirit of tolerance, cooperation, coexistence among the Muslims, the Christians, and the Samaritans in the framework of citizenship that does not discriminate against any on the basis of religion or creed.”

“The right of return of all Palestinian refugess and displaced persons to their land and properties, and the right to self-determination and all other national rights, are in-alienable and cannot be bargained away from any political concessions.”

“The organizing system of the Palestinian political action should be based on political freedoms, pluralism, the freedom to form parties, to hold elections, and on the peaceful rotation of power.

These are guarantees for the implementation of reforms and for fighting corruption and building a developed Palestinian civil society…

[Hamas will] adopt dialogue and reason to resolve internal disputes, and will forbid infighting or the use or threat of force in internal affairs. [Hamas will] emphasize respect for public liberties including the freedom of speech, the press, assembly, movement, and work.

[Hamas] forbids arbitrary arrest based on political opinion. It will maintain the institutions of civil society and activate its role in monitoring and accountability.

[Hamas] will guarantee the rights of minorities and respect them in all aspects on the basis of full citizenship… Public money belongs to all Palestinians and should be used for comprehensive Palestinian development in ways that fulfill social justice and fairness in geographical distribution without misuse, squandering, usurpation, corruption, and defalcation.”

“We will stress transparency and accountability in dealing with public funds… [and] modernize laws and regulations in order to increase the efficiency of the executive system… and embrace decentralization and delegation of power and participation in decision making.

[Hamas] will revise the policy of public employment in ways that will guarantee equal opportunities on the basis of qualification.”

“The aim is to achieve equality before the law among citizens in rights and duties; bring security to all citizens and protect their properties and assure their safety against arbitrary arrest, torture, or regenge; stress the culture of dialogue…; support the press and media institutions and maintain the right of journalists to access and publish information, maintain freedom and independence of professional syndicates and preserve the rights of their membership.”

“Our hands will remain extended to all. Consultation and dialogue on all issues of common concern will always remain our policy to achieve the supreme national interests of our people and nation. The door for participation in the government will remain open. This homeland is for all, it is the destiny and future of all.”

“Our people have shown all creativity in their resistance to the occupation and set an example of patience, sacrifice, and steadfastness. Their creativity will also, God willing, be displayed in building and construction and in reinforcing the democratic choice, something that, if it succeeds, will be a model to be followed by freedom fighters and noble people in the world.”

Source: Hroub, Khaled (2006) A “New Hamas” Through its New Documents. Journal of Palestinian Studies, 35 (4). pp.6-27

Tonnie Choueiri  pointed out the story of Haia Abdel to my attention.

“We never had Hamas in the West Bank and yet the conditions there are more deplorable than ever!

At least in Gaza, Hamas arms their militants and they can shoot at an Israeli settler who is trespassing into Palestinian property.

I lived in a village in the WestBank for two years and saw horrific incidents happen to my family from these illegal settlers! Israel arms these Ben zonas and places them in the middle of our villages to terrorize and wreck havoc on us.

They come down at night and shoot their ak47s in our streets, burn our crops, inject our crops with chemicals, uproot and steal our trees, burn our cars, and in one case they even kidnapped my 6 year old cousin for an hour!

Remember that we Palestinian civilians cannot arm ourselves, it’s illegal. we can only call the Israeli army who come and protect the settlers instead of protecting us! We are told every time “go to Beit el and make a complaint” we go and then it really depends on the officers mood that day, sometimes he jots something down on a paper in hebrew so we can’t read it, but most of the times, he does nothing.

Slowly and surely every month, they would say that our land is under a military order because of all the problems (remember these are problems the Shilo and mizpe rahel mezdayens caused) and move in closer and closer into our properties, they confiscate it, and give it to the illegal settlers! This is land which my family along with all the other families in the village own deeds to!

So, if we get upset and try to remove settlers from our land, we are arrested, shot at, and labeled terrorists. If we spend money and energy to take these illegal settlers to Israeli courts and the court rule years later that we are right, no one removes the illegal settlers and they stay and build on our land anyway!

What are we to do?

How can we protect our lands and properties?

We are a farming village, our livelihoods depend on our crops and our lands.

I should mention that mizpe rahel already has taken over 1,000 dunums of our land in the past 3 years alone!”
Haia Abdel

 

Handle Expectations with care

Expectations are intangibles, but their effect is quite real.

There is no such thing as “a bad guess, my mistake” in the financial analysis market.

One lousy cent lower than analysts’ forecast and the shares take a plunge.

Many companies bent over backward to meet financial analysts’ predictions. To escape from this Terror, companies started to publish their own estimate labelled “earning guidance

The companies shot themselves in the foot as the analysts were heeding only these internal forecast, and studying more closely the companies performance and errors to boot.

Closely linked to personal expectation  is the placebo effect.

Placebo are pills, treatments and therapies that are unlikely to improve health, but do so anyway.

Apparently, one third of patients who are given placebo get better because the biochemistry of the brain is altered by motivation.

Obviously, if you have a dead brain or a damaged brain (Alzheimer) then placebo has no effects whatsoever.

Teachers who are told that the next  bunch of students have high IQ levels will do their best in order reach the performance expected from these students. These average students actually improve a lot at the end of the year.

Raise your expectations and those you care for in order to increase motivation in matters that you can control.

Best to anticipate surprises in order to better shield yourself from their nastiness.

Read The Art of Thinking Clear

 

Overflow your Enemy with massive pieces of intelligence and information

Why we fail to grasp the critical facts that are available and prefer to rely on massive analysis of data?

It is well known that the biggest investment in energy and time of secret services in any major State is to disseminate pieces of intelligence to the enemy, many are correct so that the critical false information are believed. The tactics of disseminating redundant information in order to overflow the party with erroneous critical pieces of facts is as old as time.

Though the multinational financial institutions don’t mind any piece of intelligence: They have the means to sort out what they want in a moment notice since the kind of data are mostly facts gathered by machines.

The same goes with the State’s intelligence gathering institutions to “monitor” the Affairs of the State.

Only the few in these institutions think they know what exactly they are searching for in order to destabilize the markets and be the first to exploit even the air we breath.

If you never heard of San Antonio and heard something of the city of San Diego, you are inclined to believe that San Diego is more populous than San Antonio, and you’ll be correct. If an information is a household name, such as Chicago people who are familiar with both cities (due to basketball games?), they guessed this fact right 66% of the time, though German people guessed right over 90% of the time. That’s not a proper example for this topic, I just couldn’t help interjecting this fact.

The vast library of research, studies, expert opinions, comments, PowerPoint presentations on the financial state before 2008…. where they all Hot Air?  None of these pieces of intelligence could predict the crisis, and least of all the timing of the financial crash.

My opinion is that the timing was mostly political in nature since the advent of the crisis was confirmed to be unavoidable by the US administration as well as a few major superpowers.

And the timing for declaring the crisis was also known by the major leaders of the economic superpowers that the US had close interest with, economically and politically, such as China, Canada and England, and the preparations were planned and the major critical decisions of “after the crisis” were decided upon.

Daniel J. Boorstin wrote: “The greatest obstacle to discovery is the illusion of knowledge” and the successive paradigm shifts in all disciplines are keeping knowledge on its toes.

Cuba sent early on more Health workers to Ebola afflicted West Africa than the USA did

What Guatemala, Pakistan, Indonesia, Haiti share?

These 4 different nations suffered calamities in the past decade: they were all struck by natural disasters which overwhelmed their under-staffed and under-funded public health systems.

Into the rubble, flooding, and chaos of these distinct cultures and contexts, Cuba dispatched a specialized disaster and epidemic control team to support local health providers.

It was a story of unprecedented medical solidarity by a developing country which few media outlets picked up – until now.

Conner Gorry in Havana posted in the Guardian Professional, Thursday 23 October 2014

Raul Castro and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at the summit on Ebola in Havana
What can the governments of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia learn from Raul Castro’s health policies? Photograph: Xinhua/Landov/Barcroft Media

The Henry Reeve Brigade, as it’s known, was established in 2005 by more than 1,500 Cuban health professionals trained in disaster medicine and infectious disease containment; built on 40 years of medical aid experience, the volunteer team was outfitted with essential medicines and equipment and prepared to deploy to US regions ravaged by Hurricane Katrina (the offer was rejected by the Bush administration). Today, Cuba’s Henry Reeve Brigade is the largest medical team on the ground in west Africa battling Ebola.

The small island nation has pledged 461 doctors and nurses to provide care in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the largest single-country offer of healthcare workers to date.

While United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon decried the pallid aid commitment from around the globe calling for “a 20-fold resource mobilisation and at least a 20-fold surge in assistance” Cuba already had 165 of these specially-trained healthcare workers on the ground in Sierra Leone.

Each of these volunteers, chosen from a pool of 15,000 candidates who stepped forward to serve in west Africa, has extensive disaster response experience.

Preparation for this mission required additional, rigorous training at Havana’s Pedro Kourí Institute of Tropical Medicine with biosecurity experts from the United States and the Pan American Health Organisation.

This rapid mobilisation of sorely-needed health professionals begs the question: how can a poor developing country spare qualified, experienced doctors and nurses?

By pursuing a robust medical education strategy, coupled with a preventive, community-based approach, Cuba, a country of just 11.2 million inhabitants, has achieved a health picture on par with the world’s most developed nations.

This didn’t happen overnight. Rather, Cuba’s admirable health report card results from decades of honing a strategy designed specifically for a resource-scarce setting.

By locating primary care doctors in neighbourhoods and emphasising disease prevention, the health system – which is universal and free at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels – makes care accessible and keeps people as healthy as possible, as long as possible, saving resources for more expensive treatments and interventions in the process.

But prevention and health promotion by community-based healthcare workers are only part of the story. Cuba’s policies and practices, both at home and abroad (currently more than 50,000 Cuban health professionals are serving in 66 countries) are built on several principles proven effective in resource-scarce settings.

First, coordinating health policies at the local, regional, and national levels is essential; this is particularly important where infectious diseases are concerned since uniform protocols are integral to containment.

Next, health initiatives must be cross-sectoral and based on integrated messages and actions. A fragmented, uncoordinated response by and among different agencies can prove dangerous and even deadly.

This was tragically illustrated by the death of Thomas Eric Duncan in Dallas and the US Centers for Disease Control allowing a nurse who has Ebola to travel on a commercial flight.

Finally, infectious disease outbreaks must be addressed quickly – easier said than done in poor settings, where public health systems are already strained or collapsing already.

The Ebola outbreak snaps the need for Cuba’s approach into sharp relief: only a coordinated response, provided by well-trained and – equipped primary healthcare professionals will contain this – and future – epidemics.

Indeed, policymakers such as World Health Organisation’s Margaret Chan and US secretary of state John Kerry have lauded the Cuban response, underscoring the importance of collaboration as the only solution to this global health crisis.

Forging this solution, however, requires harnessing the political will across borders and agencies to marshal resources and know-how. Havana took up the challenge by hosting a special Summit on Ebola with its regional partners and global health authorities on 20 October.

Noticeably absent were US health representatives; if we’re to construct a comprehensive, integrated, and effective global response, all resources and experiences must be coordinated and brought to bear, regardless of political differences. Anything less and Ebola wins.

Conner Gorry is senior editor of Medicc Review. Follow @ConnerGo on Twitter.

How Bonuse systems destroy Motivation in employees?

Wolfenschiesen is a Swiss village in the center of the country. It was selected to store radioactive waste.

About 51% od the inhabitants were in favor of the proposal for various reasons, including the prospect of new jobs.

When researcher Bruno Frey mentioned a hypothetical reward of $5,000 for each town person, paid by the Swiss tax payers, those in favor dropped to 25%.

What of the problem of late parents coming to pick up their kids at closing time? As the day care center introduced a”late feetardiness increased: Parents were willing to pay the fee and delay the pick up arrival from work.

Apparently, a certain level of monetary incentives crowd out other types of incentives.

When people are willing to do a good deed, payment throw a wrench into the work.

Small and modest payment to NGO activists increased the motivation of the members, until a substantial bonus system encouraged teams to snub tasks that bring no extra rewards.

For uninspiring jobs such as bankers, insurance agents, financial auditors… financial motivation work wonders: What else could motivate people who are not that proud or enthused of what they are doing?

If you want your kids to do their homework, practice their talents every day, mow the lawn one a week… just give them a fixed amount of pocket money each week.

Any reward for each tasks will ruin the system since people believe that they are not For Sale.

Pocket money each week initiate the kid for saving his money and appreciating the value of money and the object he purchases.

This Day-Saving hour. Let’s save 2 hours, once for all and in all seasons

And delay the school schedules for kindergarten and elementary kids 2 hours.

It stands to reason that these tiny creatures be saved from this modern initiation to early slavery apprenticeship.

Kids need to wake up as the weather is warmer.

And the elderly be saved from staying awake longer than necessary during the extended day seasons.

As well as kids. They don’t have to get used to black rags covering their eyes to sleep.

And reducing significantly the Time Zones around the world.

And saving much needed electric bills on the sprawling mega-polis that are kept illuminated at night

Benjamin Franklin’s ingenious idea was mind boggling 3 centuries ago, and he managed to convince the French King Louis 16 to save one day hour during winter so that people will be more productive (and maybe save a few whales for their precious oil)

Every year, Russia is still undecided and keeps altering its decisions: No for switching hours, no for decreasing Time Zones from 11 to 9…

People need something that don’t change all year round, anything that make them feel safe and secure in their convictions.

Production my ass.

Have anyone asked people how they want Time to be altered?

This Endowment effect

Why do we consider what we own to be more valuable as soon as we get possession of?

Though we bargained hard considering the “property” as far less valuable than what it is?

Why do you tend to cling to things that can be sold at good prices, and end up cramming every empty space in your house and feeling terrible that you have no more space for new acquisitions?

We are better at collecting properties than at casting them off

And we want to charge more than we are willing to spend on acquired objects.

It looks like Emotional attachment systematically adds a few zeros to your selling price.

For example, if group A of people are given mugs to take home or to sell, and another group B who are Not given mugs are asked to buy mugs from group A.

We could assume that 50% of group and 50% of group B would be willing to trade.

It turned out that far less than 50% in both groups were willing to trade. Why?

People in group A hiked the market price and people in group B wanted to buy below the market price.

Associated with Endowment tendencies is Winner’s Curse in auctions.

You keep bidding higher than the market value simply because you feel that you are participating in the ownership, even if you don’t get the property.

Warren Buffet warned “Just never go to auctions. Period” Why?

Most often, the winner in the bidding contest game ends up going bankrupt pretty soon.

For example, if you were unlucky and were allowed to go through all the stages of a selection process, the hurt in the final rejection is much bigger than if you were rejected outright in the initial phases.

Endowment is a broader term for inheriting properties. Most the 10% richest people earned their wealth from inheritance and they control 80% of the world wealth

Read: “The Art of Thinking Clear”

 

Palestinian-American killed by Israeli military in West Bank protest

Does Israel need to cut the throat of a US citizen in order for the US administration to add another terrorist State to its list of targets?

Last week, protests erupted when Muslims were prevented access to East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque while Israelis were allowed to enter.

The Israeli Parliament is about to decree that Israeli Jews should have the right to pray in Al Aqsa, kind of sharing this religious site.

The West Bank is in effervescence since then.

Orwah Hammad, 14, is the latest casualty in ongoing tensions in Jerusalem and the West Bank

A Palestinian-American teenager was shot and killed Friday by the Israeli military, and 12 Palestinians were wounded during protests, amid heightened tensions in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Orwah Hammad, 14, shot in the northern West Bank village of Silwad, is the second Palestinian teen to be killed by the Israeli military in eight days.

Bahaa Samir Badr, 13, was killed last week in the village of Beit Laqia.

5-year-old Palestinian girl was also hit and killed by a car driven by an Israeli settler in the West Bank on Oct. 19.

The Israeli military, responding to Hammand’s death, said soldiers “prevented an attack” by opening fire on a Palestinian who was throwing fire-bombs at traffic on a highway.

A relative identified Hammad as a U.S. national who was born in New Orleans, the Associated Press reported.

Israelis  kidnapping and burning alive a Palestinian teenager in east Jerusalem (pouring gasoline in his mouth), sparking riots.

The kidnappings set off a series of events that led to the 50-day Gaza war, which left more than 2,100 Palestinians and 71 Israelis, mostly sodiers, dead.

Thomas Coex / Getty Images
 

Al Jazeera and wire services

Why Jerusalem tensions have reached a boiling point” class=””>Why Jerusalem tensions have reached a boiling point

Last week, protests erupted when Muslims were prevented access to East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque while Israelis were allowed to enter.

On Wednesday, a 21-year-old Palestinian from the village of Silwan crashed his car into a crowd of people at a light-rail stop killing a 3-month-old Israeli. The driver was shot and killed by Israeli forces.

 

Another endangered species? The Middle Class?

Is that Piketty’s prophecy comes true?

According to a new report, the richest 1% have got their mitts on almost half the world’s assets.

Think that’s the end of the story? Think again. This is only the beginning.

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014

New research reveals the superrich have grabbed half the world’s resources — and their wealth is only growing

The “Global Annual Wealth Report,” freshly released by investment giant Credit Suisse, analyzes the shocking trend of growing wealth inequality around the world.

What the researchers find is that global wealth has increased every year since 2008, and that personal wealth seems to be rising at the fastest rate ever recorded, much of it driven by strong equity markets.

But the benefits of this growth have largely been channeled to those who are already affluent.

While the restaurant workers in America struggled to achieve wages of $10 an hour for their labor, those invested in equities saw their wealth soar without lifting a finger. So it goes around the world.

The bottom half of the world’s people now own less than 1 percent of total wealth, and they’re struggling to hold onto even that minuscule portion.

On the other hand, the wealthiest 10 percent have accumulated a staggering 87 percent of global assets.

The top percentile has 48.2 percent of the world wealth. For now.

One of the scary things about the wealth of the super-rich is what French economist Thomas Piketty pointed out in his best-selling book, Capital in the 21st Century.

Once they’ve got a big chunk of wealth, their share will get bigger even if they sit by and do absolutely nothing.

Piketty sums up this economic reality in a simple and horrifying formula: r > g.

Basically, this means that when rate of return on wealth is greater than the overall rate of growth of the economy, as it has nearly always been throughout history, the rich will grow inevitably richer and the poor poorer unless there is some kind of intervention, like higher taxes on wealth, for example.

If r is less than g, the assets of the super-wealthy will erode, but if r is greater than g, you eventually get the explosion of gigantic inherited fortunes and dynasties.

This is happening now: If you look at the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people in America, you see a lot more inherited fortunes in the upper ranks than you did a couple of decades ago, when the policies that held inequality at bay began to get dismantled.

In today’s top 10, there are more scions of the Walton family than entrepreneurs like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. These people have essentially done nothing of value for society, and yet their undue influence shapes our political landscape with the wave of a wad of cash.

There have been moments in history when things were not so lopsided.

During the post-war period, inequality was contained because governments made sure their rich didn’t accumulate at such alarming rates by doing things like taxing their estates at a high rate. At the same time, they created policies to lift the incomes of the less well-off and allow them to have some basic security.

But that’s an exception in history. Most of the time, this kind of intervention did not happen, and so the rich kept gobbling more and accumulating more power to keep it that way until one of two things happened — a revolution or some kind of catastrophe or disruptive event, like a war, shook things up.

As the Credit Suisse report states:

“[Wealth inequality] has been the case throughout most of human history, with wealth ownership often equating with land holdings, and wealth more often acquired via inheritance or conquest rather than talent or hard work.

However, a combination of factors caused wealth inequality to trend downwards in high income countries during much of the 20th century, suggesting that a new era had emerged.

That downward trend now appears to have stalled, and possibly gone into reverse.”

That’s right. We’re on a turbo-charged ride back to the days of Downton Abbey.

Piketty warns that we’re in the early stages of reverting right back to periods of massive inequality, like 19th-century Britain or 18th-century France, where great dynastic fortunes ruled and everybody else fought for scraps.

(The new power of Germany, which didn’t accumulate capitalist wealth, was a handicapped for the capitalist nations of England and France that ignited the WWI in order to stop the increased trade exchange of Germany in world market)

What the statistics and formulas don’t show is the kind of human suffering that results from this kind of extreme inequality.

While the global elite zip around the world in private jets and watch their stock portfolios expand on computer screens from within their gated mansions, the bottom half stays awake at night trying to think of how to pay for medicine for a sick child.

The things that give life dignity and meaning, like a quality education, a decent job, and the security of knowing you have a roof over your head and a doctor to care for you when you are ill grow further and further out of reach.

Anxiety never leaves because one unforeseen mishap can push you down into poverty, and if you’re already there, you spend much of your time searching, often fruitlessly, for a way out.

But there’s a little bit of anxiety percolating at the top, too.

On the June cover of the conservative magazine American Spectator, a cartoon shows an incensed mob looking on as a monocled fatcat is led to a bloody guillotine — a scene evoking the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. The caption reads, “The New Class Warfare: Thomas Piketty’s intellectual cover for confiscation.”

In the story that accompanies the image, James Pierson warns of revolution and a growing class of suffering people who want to punish the rich and take away their toys.

That would be one way to address things. Another would be the recognition that inequality is extremely destabilizing and dangerous, and that non-violent interventions are possible, as we saw in America with the New Deal.

Things like robust tax reform, unions, regulation, changes in corporate governance and CEO pay, affordable education, jobs programs, expansion of Social Security and universal healthcare.

Or we could just do things the old-fashioned way and wait for a disaster even bigger than the meltdown of 2007-’08. In that case, fasten your seatbelts. This ride could get very rough.


adonis49

adonis49

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