Monday, July 28, 2014

Another day in the life

by Shani Paluch Simon

This morning I got up and decided to offer Mia (7) to spend the day with me. We were not going to spend the day at my clinic in the hospital, nor were we going to have a fun girly day with mani-pedis and lunch in Tel Aviv. Today was a day to demonstrate support and solidarity - it would be sad, but it was important, and not everything we need to do in life is fun or pleasant.

We started off at the local supermarket and picked up several cartons of drinks, several kilos of baked goods and we set out on our journey.

Our first stop was Neve Yaakov, a suburb in Jerusalem that I had never visited before. I placed an address in my Waze and set off. Next thing I knew I was driving through Kalandiya, along the separation fence, road strewn with rocks and debris from clashes that had taken place between border police and local Palestinian villagers this past week. I checked if I could re-route but the other option was to drive through Shuafat - which did not appear a more appealing option.

Mia asked me about the separation fence. I tried explaining that the fence is a scar on our land, an un-healing, seeping wound on our soul and their soul. That the fence protects us and it hurts us. My heart felt heavy, I wanted the fence to end, I wanted to get to our destination already.

We arrived in Neve Yaakov, a poverty stricken suburb on the outskirts of East Jerusalem. Mia looked around, her beautiful big eyes, even wider than usual. As we made our way, hands laden with the goods we had purchased for the family of the fallen Ethiopian soldier, Moshe Malko z"l, Mia missed no detail - the neglected buildings, the rubbish on the streets, the rusty remains of what once must have been public playground equipment. Jerusalem is one of the poorest, most neglected cities in Israel.

Along with many others, we came to give our support and condolences to the family of a soldier who had lost his life to protect us. We approached Moshe Malko z"l's father - a lone tear streaming down his face, a broken heart, a broken soul - life would never be the same. How many kilometers had he walked in the deserts of Ethiopia to come to this land? What had he dreamed of for his future when he gazed at the stars in the desert skies on his journey to Israel? How much hardship had he and his family endured acclimatizing to life in Israel? And now this. How cruel life can be.

From Neve Yaakov we made our way to the military cemetery at Mount Herzel - us and 30,000 other people, who came to escort and support the family of Max Steinberg z"l on his final journey. Max was a lone-soldier - he had first come to Israel on Birthright - he fell in love with the country, with the people and chose to leave the comforts of Los Angeles, to make aliya and to serve in the army. Max's parents arrived in Israel for the first time in their lives yesterday - to bury their son.

Mia was astounded by the numbers of people attending the funeral, but she was even more astounded by the endless rows of graves. "Mummy, I don't understand - how many soldiers have died for our country? Did they all die young, before they had a chance to marry and have families?"

Too many soldiers Mia - and each soldier that dies has died too young - irrespective of whether they had married or had children.

Too many.

Too young.

This last week alone, 32 more - each a son, a brother, cousin, friend, partner, father.

We listened to the many eulogies, the personal stories of Max's z"l family and friends. We left before the military ceremony of the funeral. The message to Mia had been clear, it was enough for one day. When I considered whether to have Mia spend the day with me - I asked myself if she was too young - yes, she was too young - too young for air-red sirens, for sleeping in a bomb shelter, for hearing loud booms over our heads. Our soldiers are too young - too young to go to war, to bear weapons, to die. In my dialogue with myself I could suddenly hear my grandmother's voice, the words she would say in resignation each time tragedy rudely knocked on the door of our people - אלה הם חיינו - "this is our life".

When I look into the eyes of my children I need to hope that this is not true - I need to hope that the fences will come down, that when I wake -up tomorrow and Gili is suddenly 18 that we will no longer need an army. Some might say that I need to wake-up - today. That my grandmother was right.

 I need to dream and hope a little more. Please.



What I Don’t Like About Life in the American Police State

By John W. Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute

There’s a lot to love about America and its people: their pioneering spirit, their entrepreneurship, their ability to think outside the box, their passion for the arts, etc.  Increasingly, however, as time goes by, I find the things I don’t like about living in a nation that has long since ceased to be a sanctuary for freedom are beginning to outnumber the things I love.

Here’s what I don’t like about living in the American police state: I don’t like being treated as if my only value to the government is as a source of labor and funds. I don’t like being viewed as a consumer and bits of data. I don’t like being spied on and treated as if I have no right to privacy.

I don’t like government officials who lobby for my vote only to ignore me once elected. I don’t like having representatives incapable of and unwilling to represent me. I don’t like taxation without representation.

I don’t like being subjected to scans, searches, pat downs and other indignities by the TSA. I don’t like VIPR raids on so-called “soft” targets like shopping malls and bus depots by black-clad, Darth Vader look-alikes. I don’t like fusion centers, which represent the combined surveillance efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement.

I don’t like laws that criminalize Americans for otherwise lawful activities such as holding religious studies at home, growing vegetables in their yard, and collecting rainwater. I don’t like the NDAA, which allows the president and the military to arrest and detain American citizens indefinitely. I don’t like the Patriot Act, which opened the door to all manner of government abuses and intrusions on our privacy.

I don’t like the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which has become America’s standing army. I don’t like military weapons such as armored vehicles, sound cannons and the like being used against the American citizens. I don’t like government agencies such as the DHS, Post Office, Social Security Administration and Wildlife stocking up on hollow-point bullets. And I definitely don’t like the implications of detention centers being built that could house American citizens.

I don’t like the fact that since President Obama took office, police departments across the country “have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.”

I don’t like America’s infatuation with locking people up for life for non-violent crimes. There are over 3,000 people in America serving life sentences for non-violent crimes, including theft of a jacket, siphoning gasoline from a truck, stealing tools, and attempting to cash a stolen check. I don’t like paying roughly $29,000 a year per inmate just to keep these nonviolent offenders in prison.

I don’t like the fact that those within a 25-mile range of the border are getting a front row seat to the American police state, as Border Patrol agents are now allowed to search people’s homes, intimately probe their bodies, and rifle through their belongings, all without a warrant.

I don’t like public schools that treat students as if they were prison inmates. I don’t like zero tolerance laws that criminalize childish behavior. I don’t like a public educational system that emphasizes rote memorization and test-taking over learning, synthesizing and critical thinking.

I don’t like police precincts whose primary purpose—whether through the use of asset forfeiture laws, speed traps, or red light cameras—is making a profit at the expense of those they have sworn to protect. I don’t like militarized police and their onerous SWAT team raids.

I don’t like being treated as if I have no rights.

I don’t like cash-strapped states cutting deals with private corporations to run the prisons in exchange for maintaining 90% occupancy rates for at least 20 years. I don’t like the fact that American prisons have become the source of cheap labor for Corporate America.

I don’t like feeling as if we’ve come full circle back to a pre-Revolutionary era.

I don’t like technology being used as a double-edged sword against us. I don’t like agencies like DARPA developing weapons for the battlefield that get used against Americans back at home. I don’t like the fact that drones will be deployed domestically in 2015, yet the government has yet to establish any civil liberties protocols to prevent them from being used against the citizenry.

Most of all, I don’t like feeling as if there’s no hope for turning things around.

Now there are those who would suggest that if I don’t like things about this country, I should leave and go elsewhere. And there are certainly those among my fellow citizens who are leaving for friendlier shores. However, I happen to come from a long line of people who believe in the virtue of hard work and perseverance and in the principle that nothing worthwhile comes without effort.

So I’m not giving up, at least not anytime soon. But I’m also not waiting around for the government to clean up its act. I’m not making any deals with politicians who care nothing about me and mine. To quote Number Six, the character in the British television series The Prisoner: “I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered! My life is my own!”

I plan to keep fighting, writing, speaking up, speaking out, shouting if necessary, filing lawsuits, challenging the status quo, writing letters to the editor, holding my representatives accountable, thinking nationally but acting locally, and generally raising a ruckus anytime the government attempts to undermine the Constitution and ride roughshod over the rights of the citizenry.

As I make clear in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, we’re at a crisis point in American history. If we don’t get up off our duffs and get involved in the fight for freedom, then up ahead the graveyard beckons. As Martin Luther King Jr. warned, “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality.”



Scientists discover way to stop malaria parasite in its tracks

The global race to develop the next generation of malaria drugs has been given a boost after Australian scientists discovered how to starve the malaria parasite of nutrients, effectively killing it before it takes hold.

The breakthrough, published in Nature on Thursday, comes at a time when the parasite has developed a resistance to anti-malarial drugs, with researchers and health care workers growing increasingly desperate for replacement treatments.

‘’It’s really exciting because we are on our last drug and when that drug goes, there are no more drugs to treat malaria,’’ Burnet Institute director Brendan Crabb, a microbiologist and co-author of the paper, said.

Parasite resistance to the present drug, artemisinin, has been detected in four countries in south-east Asia: Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. The mosquito that carries the parasite has also developed a resistance to at least one insecticide used for malaria control in 64 countries.

Transmitted via infected mosquitoes, the malaria parasite multiplies in the liver and then invades red blood cells.

Once inside a red blood cell, the parasite settles in and starts spreading its proteins through the red blood cell cytoplasm, which helps it survive and absorb nutrients.

‘’There are hundreds and hundreds of proteins that the parasite needs to get across into the red blood cells and this study has shown that there is only one way for all the proteins to get out into the red blood cells,’’ said co-author Tania de Koning-Ward, from Deakin University’s medical school. ’’If we block that pathway, then we kill the parasite.’’

The two collaborating research groups, one from the Burnet Institute and the other from Deakin University, each managed to deny the parasite the proteins it needs to survive but did so using different techniques.

Professor Crabb and colleague Paul Gilson worked with infected human blood cells grown in the incubator at the Burnet Institute, while Associate Professor de Koning-Ward and her team used the parasite that causes malaria in mice to test the efficacy of blocking the proteins from being released.

‘’We basically showed the same results,’’ Associate Professor de Koning-Ward said.

The team first outlined its theory in a 2009 Nature paper but this latest research proves the theory works in practice.

The development is significant as it relies on a new mechanism, which means drugs developed using this novel technique will be unlike the drugs now on the market.

Blocking the release of the parasite’s proteins also appeared particularly potent, killing the parasite within six hours.

The malaria parasite has about 5000 genes. The study used genetically modified parasites, with the gene responsible for transferring proteins manipulated so it could be switched off.

Professor Crabb said the cost of developing new malaria drugs was about half a billion dollars. He said it took five to 10 years for new treatments to reach the market.

According to the World Health Organisation’s 2013 World Malaria Report, released last December, about 207 million cases of malaria were recorded in 2012 with 627,000 deaths. Ninety per cent of all malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


No comments: