Thomas Friedman Blames it On Hamas

Thomas Friedman blames it on Hamas – American Herald Tribune 

Tom Friedman thinks that if it weren’t for Hamas, Gaza would be another Singapore.  If you look up Singapore you will find that it is an island city-state off southern Malaysia, with a population of about 5.5 million people and a GDP total of $452 Billion. It is a global financial center, a center for global commerce, and a financial and transportation hub. Its standings include: “Easiest place to do business” (World Bank) most “Technology-ready” nation, “top international meetings” city, city with “Best investment potential”, 2nd-most competitive country, 3rd-largest foreign exchange center, 4th-largest financial center, 3rd-largest oil refining and trading center and one of the top two busiest container ports since the 1990s. Singapore’s best known global brands include Singapore Airlines and Changi Airport, both amongst the most-awarded in their industry.


And there’s more. The Singaporean military is arguably the most technologically advanced in Southeast Asia, and none other than Israel made this possible. As a boy I remember my father, who at the time was still a general in the Israeli army, traveling to Singapore very frequently. Israeli Defense Force (IDF) commanders were tasked with creating the Singapore Armed Forces from scratch, and Israeli instructors were brought in to train Singaporean soldiers. As I write these words, Singapore still maintains strong security ties with Israel and is one of the biggest buyers of Israeli arms and weapons systems.


The Gaza Strip on the other hand is arguably the world’s largest concentration camp and is controlled entirely by Israel. For nearly seventy years it has been a refuge for poor, homeless refugees who were forced out of their homes and off of their land by Israel. The authorities in the Gaza Strip are not permitted to build an airport or seaport, and people have no access to trade or commerce; The UN declared the Gaza Strip as “food insecure” largely because of the siege that is imposed and strictly enforced upon it by Israel; the people of Gaza are victims of constant carpet bombings and massive attacks by the Israeli army. So, how exactly was Gaza going to be like Singapore? One has to wonder, was Thomas Friedman high when he wrote this, or is he really so poorly informed?



It was early in February 2016, when Friedman wrote this piece in the NY Times The piece is broad-stroked and superficial, and his main argument is that everyone is to blame for the collapse of the peace talks and the death of the Two State Solution. But what is particular nauseating is the following sentence: “Hamas” Friedman writes, “devoted all its resources to digging tunnels to attack Israelis from Gaza rather than turning Gaza into Singapore.” Wow! Hamas prevented Gaza from becoming another Singapore! This means that Hamas at one point had the ability and the resources to create a paradise on earth in Gaza, to establish a major center for finance and commerce, but chose to spend all those resources to attack Israel instead. More 


Climate Change’s ‘Waking Giant’ to Set off Rash of Volcanic Eruptions, Tsunamis, Earthquakes?


Calbuco Volcano 2

(Last week’s Calbuco eruption in Chile spews massive cloud of ash and sets off a fireworks display of volcanic lightning. Image source: IFLScience.)

If you look at the geological record of the end of the last ice age, there’s something that crops up that’s more than a little bit disturbing. The approximate 10,000 year period in which 4 degrees Celsius of warming took place was also punctuated by a rash of intense volcanic activity, earthquakes and tsunamis.

It was a time of extraordinary geophysical changes that not only saw the, sometimes catastrophic, melting of massive ice sheets and extreme rises in sea level — it also saw severe geological upheaval. In one region alone — Iceland — instances of volcanic eruption increased 30-50 fold during a period starting about 12,000 years ago. Overall, global spikes in volcanism began near the start of major melt events at around 18,000…

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5Cs Daily Tip: Green Product Certification



The terms “green” or “sustainable” often refer to products, services or practices that allow for economic development while conserving for future generations. A green product is one that has less of an environmental impact or is less detrimental to human health than the traditional product equivalent. While on the topic of defining a green product, you must realize that almost no product will ever be 100% “green,” since all product development will have some impact on the surrounding environment.

When looking for green products, look for the certification labeling, if that is not on the product then keep on walking. Over the next few days, we will feature the most common certification labels and their meaning.

Green Seal Green Seal

Green Seal Certification ensures that a product meets rigorous, science-based leadership standards.  It is a lifecycle assessment based labeling program for building products, green operations and maintenance procedures.  A green seal…

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Conference to combat BDS

Conference to combat BDSI was reading a story in Ynet, the online site of the Israeli paper Yediot Aharonot, when a few paragraphs into the story I noticed an ad promoting the “Yediot Aharonot & Ynet Conference to Combat the Boycott.” The Israeli daily says that it decided to put all of its resources to fight the BDS campaign, a fight which it describes as “not easy and requires combining all the available resources.” Reporting on the upcoming conference Ynet writes: “The main culprit behind the boycott of Israel is the BDS movement which is conducting a worldwide campaign.” Ynet characterizes BDS methods as being “without knives or missiles but with an explosive payload consisting of outrageous lies.” The conference will take place in Jerusalem on March 28. Furthermore they add, “any conclusions reached at the conference will be made available in order to assist government agencies and other national institutions that deal with the boycott.”

Israel, in contrast to the BDS movement, conducts its campaigns by shooting missiles into heavily populated areas and by planting knives on bodies of young Palestinians killed by the IDF.

In the opening page of the site promoting this conference it says the following:

Miko Peled

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Scores of City-Sized Siberian Wildfires Spew 2,500 Mile-Long Plume of Smoke Over Northern Hemisphere


Today’s satellite pass by NASA’s LANCE MODIS array tells a dire story that practically no one in the global mainstream media is talking about. Northern and Central Siberia is burning. Scores of massive fires, some the size of cities and small states, are throwing off a great pall of smoke 2,500 miles long.

The vast boreal forests are lighting off like climate-change-enhanced natural fireworks. The tundra and permafrost lands — some of them frozen for hundreds of thousands to millions of years — are thawing and igniting. But for all of the loudly roaring fires, most of the major media reporting agencies have thus far produced only deafening silence.

Country-Sized Swath of Siberia is Covered With Wildfires

Massive Siberian Wildfires

(Large sections of Russia and Eastern Europe are blanketed by smoke from massive Siberian wildfires in today’s LANCE MODIS satellite shot.)

Imagine an enormous rectangle. At its northwestern end is the Yamal Peninsula…

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This SHIT is DOPE!

It’s no wonder Straight Outta Compton didn’t win a Golden Globe or an Oscar. Why in the world would anyone want to recognize a movie about proud, fearless young Black men who are talented and successful? Especially, Black young men who came out of Compton and made it big against all odds. Young Black men who were persecuted by cops their whole lives, yet were courageous enough to look cops straight in the eye, and knowing they will be beaten and arrested, sang at the top of their voices “Fuck the Police!” No, there is no reason for the Academy to recognize, much less present an award to a movie like that. A movie like this is no more likely to receive recognition than a movie about young Palestinians throwing rocks and facing off Israeli soldiers – they are all practically terrorists.

By contrast America, and I mean White America, loves MLK Jr. For white America he represents the false notion of the good black leader who, unlike the Panthers or Malcolm X, understands that anger and violence are not the way to solve problems. White America has an MLK, Jr. Day, and lots of MLK Jr, streets and highways, but likes to forget the fact that MLK, Jr. was an uncompromising freedom fighter who was murdered, and quite likely by the US government.

Because of its selective memory, White America feels that it has come a long way since the days of Jim Crowe and so they no longer need to feel bad about racism. It is like the myth that the American Revolution was about liberty the American civil war was fought to free the slaves from their evil Southern masters. Where in fact the American Revolution was about white, Christian Europeans who came to colonize America and wanted to keep the spoils of their new found colony rather then pay taxes to other white Christians across the Atlantic Ocean. And in the case of the Civil War, Lincoln may have cared about Black slaves, though not so much for those in the non-Southern states, but he cared more about keeping the Union together.

A Black American friend of mine who is a lawyer and went to Yale Law School told me once that he is a product of affirmative action. “How so?” I asked him and he said that in his class at Yale Blacks made up exactly thirteen percent of the students. Something didn’t seem right to me. I’m a little slow, so it took me about twenty-four hours to figure it out. “If Blacks made up thirteen percent of your class at Yale,” I said, “and we know Blacks make up about thirteen percent of the population, then that’s not affirmative action, that’s quotas. Had it been affirmative action, there would have been at least fourteen or fifteen percent Blacks in the class, not to say thirty or forty percent.” Today people like to argue that Blacks have been pampered enough and it is time to end Affirmative Action and “level the playing field” so that Whites do not suffer discrimination, God forbid. Conveniently they ignore the fact that White exploitation of Black labor and Black talent in America is nowhere near being over and it will take centuries of affirmative action and billions in reparations before the playing field is leveled and Blacks are fully compensated for the holocaust they had experienced. All this to say, it is time to get started with reparations.

Miko Peled

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Overwater Bungalows in the Caribbean: Mexico, Jamaica, Panama – Bloomberg

Overwater Bungalows in the Caribbean: Mexico, Jamaica, Panama 


It used to be that you had to traverse the Indian or South Pacific ocean to sleep in a thatched-roof, overwater bungalow—the epitome of luxury accommodations. With ladders that descend straight into turquoise waters, four-poster beds with gauzy mosquito netting, and private plunge pools, they’re the stuff of honeymoon dreams. 

Renderings of the overwater bungalows coming soon to the Sandals Royal Caribbean, in Montego Bay.



Now you can get the floating villa experience beyond jetting to Bora Bora, Fiji, and Thailand. A trio of resorts is introducing the concept in Mexico, Jamaica, and Panama—where growing demand for luxury has made overwater bungalows a no-brainer for hoteliers.

The first to open its doors will be the Palafitos at El Dorado Maroma, in the Riviera Maya, with 30 villas that hover over the Caribbean Sea. They’re still under construction, with bookings being snapped up for Sept. 1 and beyond.


Now you can get the floating villa experience beyond jetting to Bora Bora, Fiji, and Thailand. A trio of resorts is introducing the concept in Mexico, Jamaica, and Panama—where growing demand for luxury has made overwater bungalows a no-brainer for hoteliers. The first to open its doors will be the Palafitos at El Dorado Maroma, in the Riviera Maya, with 30 villas that hover over the Caribbean Sea. They’re still under construction, with bookings being snapped up for Sept. 1 and beyond.


Interestingly, the owners say they weren’t inspired by iconic, award-winning properties such as the Four Seasons Bora Bora or Indonesia’s Misool Eco Resort; instead, they say they took a page from the ancestral Aztec community, who built their homes over Tenochtitlan’s lake. For guests, the 800-square-foot bungalows will be more reminiscent of the five-star resorts they’ve seen online: They have custom furnishings made of local Zapote wood and Mexican white granite, thatched palapa-style roofs, outdoor showers, and glass floor panels (so you can spot blue-green pompano fish and silvery sea bream without leaving your room).

Naturally, they’ll also come with butlers. At $665 per night, they’re priced on an all-inclusive basis, including premium booze and 24-hour room service. More


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One really has to question why the Caribbean and particularly the Cayman Islands has been so slow to adopt this wonderful type of visitor accommodation.


Should the Caribbean and Latin America should integrate more ?


Why the Caribbean and Latin America should integrate more

Caribbean nations could work more closely together to promote trade and tourism and battle climate change and can integrate more closely with Latin America, say top politicians.

Dr Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, speaking at the seventh summit of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) in Havana, Cuba, says integration in Latin America and the Caribbean is realistic and would help the region face common challenges.

He urged the nations to work together and use honest dialogue to resolve differences and promote friendship.

Caribbean countries should work together as they are united by history, geography and biology. To achieve the common good, it is essential to maintain a dialogue about air and maritime transport, trade, tourism and technology.

To boost tourism in the Greater Caribbean Region and help it compete more strongly against other nations, air and maritime connectivity between islands and countries should be…

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We have entered a new era of conflict, warns Paul Rogers

We have entered a new era of conflict, warns new book  

Marginalisation – poverty, inequality, and the consequencies of climate change 

The causes of conflict are many and deep – economic, political, societal, environmental, demographic.

In this holistic approach, he points to the enormous and growing gap between the world’s rich and poor. But the old division between rich countries and poor countries no longer applies as figures from the US demonstrate dramatically. 

Rogers points to David Hulme’s book, Global Poverty: Global Governance and Poor People in the Post-2015 Era – while the global poverty rate may be declining slowly, the relative poverty rate in high-income countries has increased, and has more than doubled in the developing world. Meanwhile, the global military-industrial complex consumes some $1,700 bn a year.

There are likely to be two fundamental trends threatening world security, according to Rogers. One is “the increasing marginalisation of the majority of the world’s people caused by the workings of the neo-liberal system of international economic activity” which concentrates most of the fruits of economic growth in the hands of a transglobal elite of some 1.5bn people.

The other is climate change. “It is now well nigh certain”, he writes, “that climate change is going to lead to huge problems of food supply and also to far more dangerous episodes of extreme weather, with profound political and social effects”. The author adds: “Overall, it is the link between environmental limits and a world economy not fit for purpose that underpins the security challenge”.


Gaza has disappeared – Another magic trick by Israel

imageHas anyone seen Gaza lately?


A Palestinian I met the other day told he was from Gaza, he told me about his eighty year old mother living in horrid conditions there, so I decided to look through the newspapers, surf the news online and run through TV channels, local, international and I even looked at news from the Middle East, but all was in vain. I can’t find Gaza, not a single word, not a bit of news anywhere. I know it was there at one time, so I desperately decided to look through old notes, vintage news clips old videos and clearly there are signs that it was there at one time, but now I can find no sign of its existence. Once again, in a magic trick of epic proportions Israel made Gaza disappear.

As I write these words, I sit in front of my computer screen scratching my head. How did it disappear? Where did Gaza go? Almost two million people vanished into thin air. Now I suppose there is no need to worry about the tens of thousands of people injured in Israeli attacks and then forsaken with no care. We can all conveniently forget about the countless children traumatized by the constant humming of drones and the terror of missiles destroying homes and killing family members. We can stop worrying whether or not there are sufficient supplies of medicine reaching the besieged people or if there is any electricity to keep people warm and maintain hospitals. We can rest assured that there are no more babies born prematurely who are likely to die due to lack of proper postnatal care.

When Gaza was there it was really quite terrible. There were people there with no access to clean water, there was food insecurity and thousands were homeless because Israel destroyed their homes. What made it even worse is that five minutes from where Gaza used to be, Israelis were living perfectly secure, with plenty of food and water, no shortage of electricity, warmth in the winter and cooling in the hot summers. Hospitals were functioning and medicine was available for anyone who required help. But the people in Gaza had no access to any of this because Israel did not allow them out of what used to be a huge concentration camp. With few exceptions, Israel also didn’t permit people who wanted to go to Gaza to help, to do so, Israel didn’t allow food, water or medicine in and when the people in Gaza dug tunnels in order to smuggle food and other necessities, these tunnels were destroyed by Israel’s great ally, President/Generalisimo Abdel Fatah Sisi of Egypt.

Before Gaza disappeared there would be occasional rocket fire from Gaza and attempts by Palestinians to fight off the Israeli military. The rockets were called “Qassam” rockets and the fighters were called terrorists. Even though there were cases in other parts of the world where people who fought for their freedom were called heroes, this never happened in Gaza. Young fighters in Gaza who sacrificed everything and died attempting to fight the Israeli war machine were never called heroes, because, and one can only guess because Gaza is no longer there to verify, but one assumes it is because in this world in which we live, Palestinians are not permitted to be heroes. No, Palestinians are only accepted as victims or as terrorists. Heroism is not permitted for the people who used to exist in what used to be Gaza.

The gentleman I met the other day who said he was from Gaza described a story that was heart wrenching, but since it cannot be verified I have to doubt its validity. It cannot be possible that such horror, such suffering exists only minutes from Israeli towns and cities, and barely an hour drive from Tel-Aviv and no one would report it, not a single news outlet would pick it up. It is inconceivable that almost two million people would be caged in like animals, living in conditions that can only be described as inhumane – and the world would be completely silent. After all the enlightened Western civilization, the developed world, the major countries of the world wouldn’t just sit there and say nothing, do nothing and allow this to continue. After all, we are not talking about some remote hilltop in Afghanistan or some unheard of village in Kurdistan or Iran we are talking about Israel. Yes, Israel, an ally of the US, a country hailed by the UK, France, Germany as the only democracy in the Middle East.

Had Gaza and the nearly two million people who used to live in it hadn’t mysteriously disappeared, someone would have demanded that Israel, the recipient of billions of dollars in foreign aid would use that money to provide relief to the people in Gaza. That it would use these billions of dollars to build homes for the homeless, provide food for the hungry, medicine and medical care for the sick and injured and provide comfort for the hundreds of thousands of traumatized children who have been emotionally scarred because of the brutality of Israeli terrorism. The world would demand that those within Israel who were responsible for the terrible crimes committed by the Israeli army in Gaza be brought to justice, pay for their crimes agains innocents.

Israel had used magic tricks to fool the world before, but this time it really outdid itself. Does anyone remember the Iran smoke screen? The nuclear threat that never was? The existential threat that never existed? Yes, these were all quite amazing and very effective. They fooled millions of people the world over. But to make Gaza disappear is an even grater achievement. Its more complex than the “self-defense” trick where Israel bombed Gaza and murdered thousands of people who never hurt a soul, and then convinced the world that murdering people in Gaza was an act of self-defense.

I think of this gentleman from Gaza, Mohammad is his name, I’m amazed. He is a highly educated, successful man, he has seven children and he works hard to provide them with an education. One of his daughters is a heart surgeon. He came up to me after a recent lecture in Huntsville, Alabama and I was moved by his story. He even bought a copy of my book, and as he leafed through it and saw the photo of the Palestinian hero Abu Ali Shahin he told me that Abu Ali was his uncle from his mother’s side. His mother’s family came from the village of Besshit, the same village, now destroyed by Israel, from where Abu Ali Shahin told me that he came. So I am puzzled. Mohammad told me a story that was real, painful. He told me he can’t visit his mother, nor can he send her the medicine she needs but cannot find in Gaza. So is it possible that Gaza didn’t disappear? Could it be that it is still there and no one talks about it?

Miko Peled

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