21 March 2014


This article is from Antony Loewenstein's blog dated 21 March 2014 and should be read by all those shouting about Russia's involvement in Crimea.

Western hypocrisy over Russia

Bril­liantly strong Gideon Levy in the Is­raeli news­pa­per Haaretz:
Sad­dam Hus­sein has al­ready been ex­e­cuted, and so has Osama bin Laden. But all is not lost for the en­light­ened West. There is a new devil, and his name is Vladimir Putin. He hates gay peo­ple, so the lead­ers of the en­light­en­ment did not go to Sochi. Now he is oc­cu­py­ing land, so sanc­tions and boy­cotts will be im­posed upon him. The West is scream­ing bloody mur­der from wall to wall: How dare he annex ter­ri­tory in Crimea?

The United States is the su­per­power re­spon­si­ble for the great­est amount of blood­shed since World War II, and the blood of its vic­tims cries out from the soil of Korea and Viet­nam, Cam­bo­dia and Laos, Iraq, Pak­istan and Afghanistan. For years, Wash­ing­ton med­dled in Latin Amer­ica’s in­ter­nal af­fairs as though those af­fairs were its own, in­stalling and over­throw­ing regimes willy-nilly.

More­over, the num­ber of peo­ple in Amer­i­can pris­ons, and their pro­por­tion of the pop­u­la­tion, is the high­est in the world, and that in­cludes China and Rus­sia. Since 1977, 1,246 peo­ple, some of whom were in­no­cent of the charges against them, have been ex­e­cuted in the United States. Eight U.S. states limit speech against ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity in ways that are re­mark­ably sim­i­lar to the anti-gay law Putin en­acted. It is this su­per­power that, with its al­lies and vas­sal states, is rais­ing an out­cry against the new devil.

They cry out against the oc­cu­pa­tion of the Crimean penin­sula as if it were the most awful oc­cu­pa­tion on earth. They will pun­ish Rus­sia for it, per­haps even fight a world war for the lib­er­a­tion of Se­bastopol. Amer­ica can oc­cupy Iraq — the war on ter­ror and the weapons of mass de­struc­tion jus­tify that, as every­body knows — but Rus­sia may not in­vade Crimea. That is a vi­o­la­tion of in­ter­na­tional law. Even a ref­er­en­dum is a vi­o­la­tion of that law — which the West ob­serves so metic­u­lously, as every­body knows.

But of course, the truth is as far from the world of this sanc­ti­mo­nious dou­ble stan­dard as east is from west. The an­nex­a­tion of Crimea may be prob­lem­atic, but it is less prob­lem­atic than the oc­cu­pa­tion of the Pales­tin­ian ter­ri­to­ries by Is­rael. It is more de­mo­c­ra­tic than For­eign Min­is­ter Avig­dor Lieber­man’s land-swap pro­posal; at least Rus­sia asked the in­hab­i­tants under which sov­er­eign power they wished to live, some­thing it has never oc­curred to Lieber­man to do.

Rus­sia’s rea­sons for the an­nex­a­tion of Crimea are also more con­vinc­ing than the de facto an­nex­a­tion of the Is­raeli oc­cu­pied ter­ri­to­ries. The Rus­sians and the Is­raelis use the same ter­mi­nol­ogy of an­ces­tral rights and his­tor­i­cal con­nec­tion. The Is­raelis add rea­sons from the Bible, and mix in is­sues like sanc­tity and mes­sianic be­lief. “Crimea and Sev­astopol are re­turn­ing to … their home shores, to their home port, to Rus­sia!” said Putin; in Is­rael, Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu talks about “the rock of our ex­is­tence.” But while most of the in­hab­i­tants of Crimea are Russ­ian, most in­hab­i­tants of the ter­ri­to­ries are Pales­tin­ian — such a minor, in­signif­i­cant dif­fer­ence.

Rus­sia is also more hon­est than Is­rael: It states its in­ten­tion of an­nex­ing the ter­ri­tory. Is­rael, which for all in­tents and pur­poses an­nexed its ter­ri­to­ries long ago, has never dared admit it.

The Is­raeli oc­cu­pa­tion does not cry out to the world — not for sanc­tions and cer­tainly not for threats of war — as the oc­cu­pa­tion of Crimea does. Ne­tanyahu is not the devil, ei­ther in the eyes of the Amer­i­cans or the Eu­ro­peans, and Is­rael’s vi­o­la­tions of in­ter­na­tional law are al­most never men­tioned. The Is­raeli oc­cu­pa­tion, which is more cruel than that of Crimea, is not rec­og­nized, and the West does not do a thing to truly bring it to a halt. The United States and Eu­rope even pro­vide it with fund­ing and arms.

This is not to say that Rus­sia does not de­serve to be crit­i­cized. The legacy of the So­viet Union is hor­rific, and democ­racy in Rus­sia is far from real, what with Putin de­clar­ing war on the media and on free ex­pres­sion and with the dis­grace­ful Pussy Riot af­fair; there is ris­ing cor­rup­tion and, with it, the rule of the oli­garchs. Putin does not speak as nobly as U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, but then Guan­tanamo is run by Amer­ica, not Rus­sia.

For all the pompous West­ern talk of jus­tice and in­ter­na­tional law, it’s ac­tu­ally the West­ern devil who wears Prada, all the while doing far more than Rus­sia to un­der­mine those vaunted val­ues.

10 March 2014


Early electric car between 1890 and 1915

Electric vehicles have never been popular, certainly at least since the internal combustion engine was developed and oil was found around the world in very large quantities.

The electric vehicles developed in the 19th century were, by today's standards, very basic and with technology which was on the verge of great breakthroughs.

Then main technology which has not allowed electric vehicles to be widely used is the fact that the batteries required to power electric vehicles have not yet had the breakthrough which they require for the vehicles, in general, to become more and more usable and popular.

However, what needs to be included in the equation is the development in the 21st century of vast renewable energy technologies which allows so many households and business establishments to install enough power generation to sustain fleets of electric vehicles or vehicles for city daily driving not requiring vast differences for their daily trips.

There is now sufficient advance in battery development to allow more people in general to be able to commute to and from work, take families daily to destinations not requiring vast travel distance and to be powered and charged at home and/or at work.

Newspapers carry supplements on vehicles of all sorts and these sections of the papers are called "Drive" or "Cars Guides" or names similar to these.

In years gone by there have been the occasional articles about developments in electric vehicles and the technologies used to drive the vehicles, but lately, at least since the beginning of 2014, such articles have all but dried up.

Australian car manufacturing industries are busy grinding to a halt with the last 3 locally manufactured car organisations about to close shop.

Nowhere does there seem to have been any suggestion that electric vehicle manufacture could help sustain at least one of them in Australia.

To add to the woes of vehicle disappearance, one of the few local industries which has had to shut up shop in the last few years was an enterprising organisation which was converting petrol engined cars to electric drive.

One day, particularly at the rate of world consumption as it is in the 21st century, oil supplies will diminish to the extent that vehicles relying on oil to run and maintain them will start running out.

The roads are choked with vehicles and noxious gases and we are all slowly being poisoned by the foul air we are forced to breathe!

Electric vehicles offer clean alternatives with so much in alternative renewable energy sources now available. All that is required is a few far-sighted and wealthy entepreneurs willing to put a few million here and a few million there into developing and installing the technologies for running and maintaining electric vehicles and Australia could be at the forefront of this sort of development.

As I have said in many of my blog posts, don't hold your breath!

If you have read as far as the end of my overheated rave about electric cars, have a look at my web pages and get some idea of what I am talking about:

Electric Vehicles Part 1
Electric Vehicles Part 2
Electric Vehicles Part 3
Electric Vehicles Part 4
Electric Vehicles Part 5

This is an electric van from Renault - circa 2013


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Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm