Posted by: quiscus | November 13, 2010

November 13, 2010

1.  “Amexica: War Along the Borderline by Ed Vulliamy – review

A vivid dissection of the calamitous US-Mexico ‘war on drugs’ is illuminating and horrifying

Far from controlling the trade in non-alcoholic narcotics, this “war” has put money into the pockets of the traffickers. Far from relieving the sufferings of the addicts, it has cut health standards wherever it has been practised. Far from bringing a flowering of civic virtue, it has spread corruption in all strata of US and Mexican society, from the humblest youth making a buck with a spliff or two on a street corner to the most senior officials and bankers concerned with the “war”. Far from bringing peace to the streets, it has produced a cash bonanza for weapons manufacturers in the US and retailers in Mexico. And far from oiling the wheels of diplomacy between the two neighbours, it has tempted the richer – and more confused – one to interfere in the politics of the poorer.”

2.  “South Africa illegal kidney deals tied to Israel

Netcare, the biggest health care provider in South Africa, has pleaded guilty to charges of performing illegal kidney transplant operations using Israeli-linked organ trafficking syndicate. In return for charges being dropped against Netcare’s Chief Executive Richard Friedland, the firm acknowledged in a plea bargain that, “payments must have been made to the donors for their kidneys, and that certain of the kidney donors were minors at the time that their kidneys were removed.”

The suit follows a seven-year investigation into the illegal operations at St. Augustine’s Hospital in Durban in association with an Israeli-linked organ trafficking syndicate.

According to reports, while organs had originally been sourced from Israeli citizens, they were later obtained from poor Romanians and Brazilians at a lower cost.

According to prosecutors, the Israelis were paid about USD 20,000 for their kidneys, while the Brazilians and Romanians were paid an average of USD 6,000.

Other related reports surfaced regarding 25,000 Ukrainian children who had been brought to Israel over the past two years to be used by Israeli medical centers for their “spare parts.”

3.   What a moron.

“Plagiarism? George Bush Book ‘Decision Points’ Lifted From Advisers’ Books

Crown also got a mash-up of worn-out anecdotes from previously published memoirs written by his subordinates, from which Bush lifts quotes word for word, passing them off as his own recollections. He took equal license in lifting from nonfiction books about his presidency or newspaper or magazine articles from the time. Far from shedding light on how the president approached the crucial “decision points” of his presidency, the clip jobs illuminate something shallower and less surprising about Bush’s character: He’s too lazy to write his own memoir.


Bush, on his book tour, makes much of the fact that he largely wrote the book himself, guffawing that critics who suspected he didn’t know how to read are now getting a comeuppance. Not only does Bush know how to read, it turns out, he knows how to Google, too. Or his assistant does. Bush notes in his acknowledgments that “[m]uch of the research for this book was conducted by the brilliant and tireless Peter Rough. Peter spent the past 18 months digging through archives, searching the internet[s], and sifting through reams of paper.” Bush also collaborated on the book with his former speechwriter, Christopher Michel.

In a final irony, Bush appears to draw heavily from several of Bob Woodward’s books and also from Robert Draper’s “Dead Certain”. The Bush White House called the books’ accuracy into question when they were initially published. ”

4.  “Eric Cantor’s Pledge of Allegiance

Leave aside the absurdity of believing that Israel needs to be protected from the extremely deferential and devoted Obama administration.  So extraordinary is Cantor’s pledge that even the Jewish Telegraph Agency‘s Ron Kampeas — himself a reflexive American defender of most things Israel — was astonished, and wrote:


I can’t remember an opposition leader telling a foreign leader, in a personal meeting, that he would side, as a policy, with that leader against the president. Certainly, in statements on one specific issue or another — building in Jerusalem, or somesuch — lawmakers have taken the sides of other nations.  But to have-a-face to face and say, in general, we will take your side against the White House — that sounds to me extraordinary.

As Kampeas notes, Cantor’s office quickly disputed his understanding, but this is hardly the first time Cantor has violated supposedly sacred political conventions in order to side with Israel over his own country.

Anticipating that the extreme austerity measures which his party is demanding might sweep up foreign aid — and therefore threaten the billions of dollars every year in American taxpayer money transferred to Israel — Cantor last month proposed that money to Israel not be classifed any longer as “foreign aid” — in order to shield it from all cuts.  In other words, Cantor wants American citizens to sacrifice in the extreme, to lose all sorts of benefits and security in the name of austerity, but wants to shield Israel — with a higher standard of living — from those cuts.  Put another way, Americans should give up Social Security and Medicare benefits so that they can continue to transfer billions of dollars every year to Israel, a foreign country which offers far more of a safety net to its own citizens.  But don’t you dare accuse Eric Cantor of haboring allegiance to Israel and subordinating U.S. interests to this foreign country.  That would be extremely wrong of you to insinuate.”


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