Archive for October, 2008

As reported earlier in The Real Axis, a major threat that is not sufficiently explored or countered is the alliance between drug gangs, terrorists, and the authoritarian regime of Hugo Chavez.  Now Colombia has uncovered a Hezbollah-linked drug ring that was trafficking drugs and laundering cash.

Hezbollah-led drug stashes seized in Colombia

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Sheep in a Tunnel

Published under Gaza Oct 25, 2008

Can you guess what is the meaning of this picture?

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Hint: It happens in Gaza.

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A silver lining to the recession may be that oil prices are going down, though still at far higher levels than they were just a couple years ago.  The bravado of Ahmadinejad, Chavez, and Putin may be at least slightly tamed.  Authorized Authoritarianism has gone hand in hand with oil wealth in Iran, Venezuela and Russia.  Its license may now start to expire.

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Some powerful precepts from a conversation I had with Chief Rabbi David Rosen, President of the ICJRC and the pre-eminent leader in relations between different faiths:

There is a lot that divides us [of different faiths], but more which unites us [as human beings with a shared destiny].

If we affirm an omnipresent deity that relates to us in all our diversity, then there must be diverse ways of relating to God.

The idea that you can encapsulate the divine within one religious tradition, or that any tradition should have a totality of the truth about the divine, should be absurd.

Not all religious figures agree.  Some insist they have a duty to try to convert you, like an early encounter that Chief Rabbi Rosen had when he was the Chief Rabbi in South Africa.  South African Dutch Reform Church Minister (Doeminee) reacted with disagreement to the above precepts, ardently insisting, "No, it is my role and duty to convert you in order to save you."  To me, this encapsulates the opportunity and challenge that organized religion has for society.

Another important religious precept from the conversation with Rabbi Rosen:

‘be wary of responding to an extreme action with an extreme reaction.’

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My friend Eytan Heller conceived this fantastic inspirational video and campaign (sponsored by PeaceWorks Foundation) allegorically calling for the 2018 World Cup to be co-hosted by Israel and Palestine – to help Palestinians and Israelis visualize what a peace agreement could bring about.  It is part of the Imagine 2018 campaign of the OneVoice Movement.

Now life is moving in the direction of civic activism and art.

Tomorrow for the first time in history, an international match (between Jordan and Palestine) will be held in the West Bank town of Ram, at a Palestinian stadium built to FIFA’s standards, and attended by FIFA’s President Sepp Blatter.

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Only one food product was selected from among thousands at the Natural Products Expo East in Boston last weekend as the Best Product of the Year: PeaceWorks’ KIND PLUS Mango Macadamia nutritional bar.

Here is a report from Gourmet Retailer:

The Mango Macadamia flavor of KIND Plus – the first new line of products since the launch of PeaceWorks’ original KIND Fruit + Nut Bars – was singled out at the massive tradeshow’s New Product Showcase as the best new food item. Introducing six new distinctive flavors like Cranberry & Almond, Almond & Cashew, and Passion Fruit Macadamia, KIND Plus brings enhanced nutrition to the delicious taste consumers have come to expect from KIND by adding targeted supplements like calcium, antioxidants, protein, and Omega-3.  Learn more about KIND by visiting www.kindsnacks.com.

The Gourmet Retailer

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Hamas has started oppressing Gazans to a deeper degree.  It is ferreting out freedom of assembly – even for innocuous civil society groups that are non-partisan and non-political. Here are emails from other groups of friends that circulated what they encountered:

The town hall meeting in [city name removed for protection] scheduled for today had to be canceled. [Name], the Director for the [host organization], the NGO which invited us to do the town hall meeting, informed me that Hamas Executive Force came into his office and asked him if he is planning on having any activities today, since he brought chairs & drinks and people are gathering around the office. [Name] told them that [Y] is scheduled to have a town hall meeting around 4:00pm. Hamas Executive Force told him to cancel the meeting; and  he had to sign a paper stating that in the future if he wants to schedule any activity he needs Hamas approval in advance. I will update you if any new thing happen.

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Have you ever wondered about the qualifications or provenance of all the insta-pundits that keep popping up across cable news? Jon Stewart did an intensive investigative report…

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In contrast to Pepsi’s CEO who is earnest every time she is interviewed and every time she formulates strategy and advertising, Coke’s CEO seems to be in denial about the impact soft drinks have on health, and is intent on fighting the evidence. 

This is the best he could do in his argument:

"People need to understand that obesity is not about a beverage or a candy bar or a restaurant meal or a PlayStation game or about working longer hours," Kent said in prepared remarks for his keynote address at the InterBev 2008 conference. "It’s a systematic lifestyle issue that we must address individually and collectively as a society."

Yes, of course, and so? Coke still has huge doses of high fructose corn syrup.  Muhtar Kent is going to alienate so many people by combating facts (and claiming Coke is all natural), while Pepsi is going to change its portfolio of foods to add healthy snacks.  Who do you think will win?

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as confirmed by a new study by the Mayo Clinic

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