06 Oct 2010

Why does Tehran continue playing into America and Israel’s hands? Repression is a bad look, politically and morally repulsive:

Reporters Without Borders is outraged that the Iranian government is reinforcing and extending its online censorship and repression of netizens. Several news and information websites have been blocked in the past few days including those of two influential Grand Ayatollahs, which have been inaccessible in Iran since 3 October. Online women’s rights and student activists are among those who continue to be questioned and threatened.
It is now the ayatollahs’ turn to be censored. It seems that the Islamic Republic’s government, led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and supported by the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, can no longer tolerate the views of some of Iran’s leading clerics. Their websites cater to spiritual needs and are far from being news outlets or sources of information about opposition politics. But they are being targeted by the government. By preventing Muslims from visiting these sites, the Islamic Republic is taking censorship to a new level.
The websites of Ayatollah Yusef Saanei and Ayatollah Asadollah Bayatzanjani were blocked on 3 October, as their offices have confirmed. Both are critical of the government and Supreme leader and both had often objected to the crackdown on protesters following President Ahmadinejad’s disputed reelection in June 2009. 

06 Oct 2010

Wow, tell me something I don’t know:

A Haaretz investigation reveals that since the building freeze in the West Bank was lifted ten days ago, bulldozers have been working furiously on the construction of 350 new housing units in various settlements.
As the end of the freeze approached, the settlements have made great efforts to launch a massive building campaign in response. The Yesha Council has expressed satisfaction at the large amount of construction that has taken place so far.


05 Oct 2010

This is what Israel has created, pure ugliness, racism and hatred. Courtesy of the Israeli tax-payer and allowed to fester for decades. Try undoing this:

The Settlement movement warned Tuesday of a harsh reaction and painful “price tag” style retaliation if authorities proceed in the plan to seal a synagogue which was illegally built in the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Shomron.
Elements in the far Right warned that should the synagogue be sealed, they will stage protests, burn tires, set Palestinian farmland on fire and block roads. Knesset Member Michael Ben Ari (National Union) vowed to entrench himself in the building and physically block any such attempt with his body.

The settlers are enraged that while legal action is taken against their prayer house, no action is being taken again an illegally built mosque in the Burin, an adjacent Palestinian village.

 05 Oct 2010

An interesting idea and one to consider as an alternative to the rampant privatisation agenda pushed by both major sides of politics in the Western world:

Help the unemployed! Cut spending! Provide a safety net! No new taxes! America expects the impossible of government right now, if campaign events are any indication. But what if government could do all that without spending a dime up front? A recent plan from England may prove an inspiration for penny pinchers, bleeding hearts, and rational economists alike.
It’s called a social impact bond, and here’s how it works: Social entrepreneurs or community groups are loaned money by private investors to try out solutions to social problems. If the solution works, the government pays whoever invested in the solution a share of whatever spending is saved. In other words, as one writer put it, “It’s a way of transferring public sector savings to private investors who are willing to put money into preventative initiatives early on.” 
The social impact bond launched earlier this summer in England and it is a global first in government spending, mainly because the government doesn’t spend anything until they get results. And “results” means both cost savings as well as meeting a social goal. Win-win all around if it works, and if it loses, the investors are out, not the government.



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