“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Washington, DC, home of seven of the wealthiest counties in the US and the self-serving American Parasitic Class

Trust and fairness are directly linked in our economy. We trust the market system to act fairly and not play favorites. The marketplace is not an arena where any of us can expect sympathy, understanding, or even mercy, but we do expect it to be fair to all participants and to treat them the same. This is why revelations of insider trading and crony capitalism do so much to raise the level of cynicism about democracy and free market capitalism. 

One of the most interesting, and most valuable, public opinion polls on this subject is the Rasmussen survey, which is currently shedding some light on the extent that people believe that our economic system is fair. 

The Rasmussen folks' most recent poll on this subject, taken in the second week of July 2013, sought the views of 1,000 likely voters on the fairness of the U.S. economy. The results are possibly best described as revealing, if sometimes puzzling.

What the results reveal isn't all that pretty. Only 38 percent of voters view our overall economic system as "very fair" (4 percent) or "somewhat fair" (34 percent). In both categories the July results show a marked and rapid decline from the December 2012 survey, when nearly half the voters (47 percent) viewed the economy as fair.

The reasons for the decline aren't clear from the survey itself, but the numbers do provide fuel for speculation. One clue that the numbers do provide, though, is in the views of voters on how fair the economy is toward the middle class, and toward those willing to work hard. 

The percentage of voters who see the economy as unfair to the middle class reached a new high of 63 percent. This is quite possibly related to the very low number of respondents, only 45 percent, who think that our economy today is fair to people who are willing to work hard.

The survey results prompt several questions about our economy's current state of health and its prognosis. The first is very worrisome: Why is our view of the economy's fairness declining? And the answer is even more worrisome: We don't know.

The survey data shows a general relationship between how well an individual is doing economically and how fair he or she thinks the economic system is. This is very natural, of course, and in this case we might assume that overall, the effects of the economic recession are driving the fairness assessment numbers down. 

This diagnosis, though, is inconsistent with the reported status of our economy, which is supposedly going in the other direction. Our economy is recovering, incomes and job numbers are rising, and this should impart an upward force to the people's view of the system's fairness.

What is also difficult to interpret is that the Rasmussen survey reports that only 33 percent of those polled think that, "the U.S. economy will be stronger in a year's time." That level of pessimism about our prospects is not reflected in other surveys of consumer confidence, or even in related questions within the Rasmussen survey itself. 

Pessimism about our economy's future may possibly be related to a gap between our official economic reports and the economic reality of day-to-day life. Even more likely, it could be the result of a rising level of distrust in government and its willingness to do the right thing when it comes to our economy.

It's all connected, from "Playboy" and BB guns to trust, fairness, and our faith in the future. Trust and fairness have to be our values, the values of our economy, and the values of those we elect to lead us. Accept no substitutes. 

James McCusker is a Bothell economist, educator and consultant. He also writes a monthly column for the Herald Business Journal.


  1. I do not think it is difficult to understand why the American Middle Class thinks it is getting screwed.

    Could it be because they are and who is screwing them?

    1. The American Middle Class thinks it is getting screwed, yet voted for a left wing blank slate for socialist pipe dreams twice. Go figure.

    2. .

      The American Middle Class thinks it is getting screwed

      Thinks it is getting screwed? Good lord.

      No need to go figure.

      Your comment implies one political party is better than the other. Laughable.

      Time to grow up child. You will note that both the presidency and control of Congress has been alternating or the past decade yet nothing happens except that things get worse, the trend continues.

      In truth, they all dicks.


    3. "In truth, they all dicks."


      I was gonna say that!


      "In truth"


  2. Automation, and Globalization. We have more wannabe worker bees than we need; meantime, those that control the capital are getting the money all rounded up.

    1. The most likely way to blow up the logjam would be "higher taxes on the rich, and an increase in the minimum wage (along with various social programs such as universal health insurance.)

    2. Of course, having the oil that we all rely on go from $10.00/bbl in 1999 to $110.00/bbl, today, hasn't helped any, either.

    3. Don't forget higher taxes on Corporation.

      We already have the highest in The World.

      Might as well go for broke. to speak.


    4. Fuck you, you silly son of a bitch.

    5. We tax corporations on "taxable income," but the majority of their income that they hide overseas does not constitute "Taxable Income."

    6. Rufus IISat Jul 20, 01:48:00 PM EDT
      Fuck you, you silly son of a bitch.

      Rufus 'Caliban' II

  3. Interestingly, Median Household Income peaked in 1999, also.

    Median Household Income

  4. I knew I was getting screwed but couldn't figure out just how until now. Let's just take it all from anybody that's got more than us and share it around. Fix things up. I've never been a parasite but it sounds like a better life than mine and I wanna try it just once.

    1. Don't forget when they share it around they get a cut, service fees you know.

    2. .

      I knew I was getting screwed but couldn't figure out just how until now.

      If only this were true; however, I suspect you are of that 'old dog' group of which it is too late to be learning new tricks. In truth, you likely formed your basic beliefs with regard to America and the 'capitalist' system by the time you were thirty and failed to modify those beliefs over time despite all the evidence contrary to those beliefs.

      As a test, re-read the article above and tell us what you disagree with in it. And if in fact you fully agree with it explain your comments about 'taking from anybody that's got more than us' and wanting to try to be a 'parasite'.

      Speculation on my part, but I suspect that the reason a large part of those surveyed who sense the economy is going in the wrong direction yet don't know exactly why involves people like you who are so invested in the mythology of capitalism that they now find it hard to change their perceptions despite the fact that for the past 30 years this country has been moving away from a 'capitalism' were everyone has a chance to succeed just by 'working hard' and to a 'crony capitalism' system where the economy, the laws, the education system, and taxes are all skewed to the benefit of the 1%.


    3. I'm thinking of moving to Detroit, that democratic, socialist paradise, run by the Democrats for time out of mind, where the living is good, the intellectual life stimulating, the women are all beautiful, and crime rate is low, and you don't need a 9/11 call, thankfully, because they never respond, and everybody is the 1%, and all the ambulances work and the lighting is great at night, and there is plenty of open vacant land to squat upon.

    4. Everybody is "above average" in Detroit.

    5. Additional benefit of Detroit Life: The City of Detroit can never go broke cause a Judge said it can't do that, despite the estimated 100,000 creditors pounding at the city gates.

    6. *** There is no apartheid in America --

      State Judge Nixes Detroit's Bankruptcy Bid...

      Criticizes filing for 'not honoring the president'...

      100,000 creditors...

      Will Not Sell Howdy Doody...

      'Nothing works here'...

      ***Suburb Considers Erecting 12-Foot Wall... drudge

      My Vegas source lives in a walled compound there, with secured entrance/exit gates, guards and procedures, complete with a hundred rent-a-cops, security cameras everywhere, and an estimated response time of 90 seconds by the 'authorities'.

    7. .

      You prove my point.

      First, you praise the capitalism of the good old days, of the little guy getting ahead through hard work.

      Then you cite examples of the 'crony capitalism' currently rampant in the country today and assign it to politics, a truly simplistic explanation.

      And now, you mention examples of the country moving towards 'anarcho-capitalism' one of the likely ends of the current trends.

      Ad yet, while you talk all around the subject, you refuse to answer to the point,

      As a test, re-read the article above and tell us what you disagree with in it. And if in fact you fully agree with it explain your comments about 'taking from anybody that's got more than us' and wanting to try to be a 'parasite'.

      I realize the concept of a thought puzzle is foreign to you but try. Perhaps it is not too late. It can only do you good.

      Your thought processes are currently trapped in a time warp. Try to break free.


    8. I am heavily invested not in the mythology of capitalism, nor in the mythology of socialism. I am invested heavily in the mythology of the monomyth. Nothing else compairs.


      Painting #6

      Sleeping Beauty Painting by Edward Frederick Brewtnall | Oil Painting

      is what I am heavily invested in.

    10. The happy surprise of the coming of spirit is always depicted as male, the sleeping soul as female, because it seems to come from 'outside'.

    11. .

      The last is a confusing sentence structure leaving some doubt as to which you say is coming from the outside, male of female; however, it is in line with much of your thinking, that is, somewhat muddled.

      Once again, when at a loss for answers you try to change the subject.

      But you waste my time, therefore, I will leave you to waste your time on the silliness of, as you correctly describe it, the 'mythology' of the monomyth.

      The Eloi sitting amongst its windrows contemplating its navel.


    12. Dear Child - It seems to the experiencer that it is coming from the ourside, as a man might come into a woman.

      In reality however it is coming from the inside of the experiencer's own his/her self.

      I know it is hard for you to understand. The painting is just a picture image of an entirely different order of things. It is not about briars and roses.

      And this too is hard for you to understand: myth IS reality.

      As a test, re-read the article above and tell us what you disagree with in it. And if in fact you fully agree with it explain your comments about 'taking from anybody that's got more than us' and wanting to try to be a 'parasite'.<<<

      I disagree with all of it and think the whole topic is waste of precious 'time'.

    13. I shall try this.

      The Prince, don't you see, represents you True Self --

      'My true self runs towards a hill, more, o more, visible'

      -- while the Sleeping Maiden represents your self all entangled in duality.

    14. Matthew 7:6

      King James Bible

      Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

    15. .

      As I expected.

      You "disagree with all of it".

      You deny the polls, you deny the numbers, you deny the reality of the economy, you deny the 'crony capitalism', you deny that trust is required for our system to work, and you deny that people today have a lack of trust in their government and their institutions, you say that our system as it currently exists is perfectly fair, in effect, you deny reality.

      You "think the whole topic is waste of precious time".

      You think "myth is reality".


      Go back to contemplating your navel, Bob. You are artless and callow, a naïf, not yet ready to engage in 'big boy' talk, divorced from reality and lost in the dream, shallow and inconsistent, claiming to deny the very things that you complain about daily, an English major who doesn't understand English.

      Go back to your 'deep thoughts' and enjoy.


    16. .

      1 Corinthians 13:11

      King James Bible

      When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child : but when I became a man, I put away childish things.


    17. Good quote, take it to heart, My Child.

      It is just something like that which I was trying to show unto you.

      >>> you say that our system as it currently exists is perfectly fair<<<

      O Quirko, I have never said any such silly thing.

      You are becoming ratlike, putting words in the mouths of others.

      I don't think any society is ever going to be 'perfectly fair'. In fact I can no more imagine what a 'perfectly fair' society would be like any more than you can imagine what a 'perfectly fair' society would be like. I have a hunch it might be boring. Nothing to get pissed off about, nothing to strike a noble pose over. Nothing to rebel against. And think how much you would dislike no longer being able to say "They're all dicks", except for wise old Uncle Quirk the Better, of course.

    18. Wise old Uncle Quirk the Better once, when pressed, admitted he had no solutions to offer at all.

  5. Moore's Law

    1999 was when a factory manager could gaze sublimely out over the factory floor, squint his eyes just right, and make all the workers disappear.

    1. Bill Gates - You'll overestimate the change in the next Two years, and greatly Underestimate the change in the next 10.

    2. "640 kilobytes ought to be enough for anybody." -- Bill Gates

  6. LAS VEGAS (AP) -- A severe thunderstorm with strong winds swept through Las Vegas, knocking down trees and utility poles and scattering gamblers from the casino floor at CAESARS PALACE as flooding hit parts of the famed Strip.

    Some resorts on the Strip and Fremont Street were without power several hours after the fast-moving storm moved through the city at about 7 p.m. on Friday.

    The Las Vegas Review-Journal (HTTP://BIT.LY/12UXRDS ) reports that Clark County fire units also responded to several calls of people needing water rescue near the Strip.

    Have request for info from my Vegas source now.

    Will report.

    Water rescue? In Vegas?


    1. After nine days I let the horse run free
      'Cause the desert had turned to sea
      There were plants and birds and rocks and things
      there was sand and hills and rings


    If Obama Had A City, It Would Look like Detroit
    Richard Butrick

    Consider the following regarding the city of Detroit:

    40% of its street lamps don't work.

    210 of its 317 public parks have been closed.

    It takes an hour for police to respond to a 911 call.

    Only a third of its ambulances are drivable.

    One-third of the city has been abandoned.

    Forty-seven percent of adults are functionally illiterate

    Evidently 50 years of governance by compassionate Obama community organizer types have driven out the business class and now there is no one left to rail against.

    To top it off, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina declared Detroit's bankruptcy "unconstitutional." Evidently, as Mark Stein puts it, in Michigan," reality is unconstitutional."

    Make that, "If Obama had a country, it would look like Detroit"

    1. But you can play golf from vacant lot to vacant lot all across the city.

  8. Sharia enforcement in Seattle: FBI counterterror ads censored

    AP lauds as "innovative" a Pakistani mosque where the imam says Jews and Christians are accursed

    Ramadan observance in Iraq: Shi'ite Muslims bomb Sunni mosque, murdering at least 17 people

    Ramadan interfaith outreach in Nigeria: Muslims murder dozens of Christians and destroy church buildings

    Foreign jihadis pouring in, madrassas emptying as jihadis prepare for final assault against Americans in Afghanistan

    The suffering children of Gaza, 2013
    Jul 19, 2013 02:48 pm | Robert
    Elder of Ziyon (thanks to Ken Zevo) has the latest from the world's largest concentration camp: Last April, the Dolphin Club and Resort opened south of Gaza City. It's just like a concentration camp, just with a Facebook page. He has more photos here....

    More jizya, dhimmi: Karzai regime imposes harsh exit levies on U.S. contractors

    Steve Emerson fights defamation from Islamic supremacist Cyrus McGoldrick

    Dissatisfied with his apology, Islamic groups demand Vatican envoy leave Malaysia

    Indonesia: Muslims force closure of 17 churches

    Today's offering from JihadWatch

  9. Published: July 20, 2013

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's new foreign minister says Cairo is reevaluating its relationship with Syria following the military's ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

    Nabil Fahmy said Saturday in his first public comments since becoming Egypt's top diplomat that the country continues to support the Syrian uprising but that Cairo has no intention of waging jihad, or holy war, in Syria.

    Fahmy's comments signaled a shift from Morsi's approach.

    Just weeks before Morsi was deposed on July 3, a senior presidential aide said authorities would not prevent Egyptians from traveling to Syria to join the rebel cause.

    Morsi also attended a rally on June 15 in which hard-line clerics urged young Egyptians to go fight in Syria. Speaking at the rally, Morsi announced he was severing diplomatic ties with Damascus.

    1. Now if we could only get FUkUS and Israel to stop supporting jihad in Syria.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. John McCain, the Republican's Republican has put a hold on the nomination of the Chief of the Joint Chiefs, because the General did not agree with Mr McCain's description of US policy towards Syria.

    Th US has not, in McCain's opinion, been active enough.

    The General said that the US did not want to support jihadi.

    The GOP is all in, the US must arm the international terrorist jihadists

    Around the halls of the Pentagon, some US military officials like to joke that McCain is perpetually “one war away from happiness.”

    In any event, why did McCain come down so hard on Dempsey?

    On the subject of Syria, the Senate Armed Services Committee member has been adamant about his desire to arm rebels and establish a no-fly zone.

    Dempsey, by contrast, has cautioned that the contingent of rebels who are the most skilled and dominant may also be Islamist extremists unlikely to remain allied with the United States beyond their interest in getting more weapons.

    “In the beginning of the year, there was a period where it was pretty evident that the extremist groups were prevailing inside the opposition,” he noted.

    Gotta hand it to the GOP Standard Bearer, he is consistent in his desire to have the US engaged in perpetual conflict. Even where the US has no national interests. The US has been disengaged from Syria for decades, it should remain so.

    The US should not be arming international jihadists.

    1. .

      You confuse standard bearer with postscript.


    2. Not at all, Q.

      Mr McCain is the face of the Republican party. He is the only Republican that has ever been nominated for President that still makes public statements. The only one that holds public office.
      He is the only Republican candidate for President that is not in hiding.

      He is the one that is carrying the Republican flag.

      If a person thought himself a Republican and is not in step with Mr McCain, well, the answer is obvious, that person can be characterized as a RINO. At least until the Republicans find another Standard Bearer that will go out into the light of day.

    3. McCain must have done some real sorry shit when he was being held in Hanoi. He sure seems like a man trying to prove something.

  12. .

    (4) Speaking of the Obama DOJ attempting to block judicial adjudication of the legality of its actions: a different federal judge heard a lawsuit yesterday challenging the constitutionality of Obama's extra-judicial killings by drones of three American citizens, including the 16-year-old American-born Abdulrahaman Awlaki, whose grandfather wrote this powerful Op-Ed in the New York Times this week under the headline "The Drone That Killed My Grandson". The judge repeatedly expressed incredulity at the DOJ's argument that courts had no role to play in reviewing the legality of these killings, which then led to this exchange:

    "'Are you saying that a US citizen targeted by the United States in a foreign country has no constitutional rights?' she asked Brian Hauck, a deputy assistant attorney general. 'How broadly are you asserting the right of the United States to target an American citizen? Where is the limit to this?'

    "She provided her own answer: 'The limit is the courthouse door' . . . .

    "'Mr. Hauck acknowledged that Americans targeted overseas do have rights, but he said they could not be enforced in court either before or after the Americans were killed.'"

    Re-read that last line, as it's the Obama administration in a nutshell: of course you have those pretty rights, dear citizens. It's just that nobody can enforce them or do anything to us when we violate them...


  13. Detroit had the highest per capita income in the Nation in 1960.

  14. Victimhood: Rhetoric or reality?

    Walter Williams
    Jewish World Review June 8, 2005

    What about the decline of the black family?
    In 1960, only 28 percent of black females between the ages of 15 and 44 were never married.

    Today, it's 56 percent.

    In 1940, the illegitimacy rate among blacks was 19 percent, in 1960, 22 percent, and today, it's 70 percent.

    Some argue that the state of the black family is the result of the legacy of slavery, discrimination and poverty.

    That has to be nonsense.

    A study of 1880 family structure in Philadelphia shows that three-quarters of black families were nuclear families, comprised of two parents and children.

    In New York City in 1925, 85 percent of kin-related black households had two parents.

    In fact, according to Herbert Gutman in "The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom: 1750-1925," "Five in six children under the age of 6 lived with both parents."

    Therefore, if one argues that what we see today is a result of a legacy of slavery, discrimination and poverty, what's the explanation for stronger black families at a time much closer to slavery — a time of much greater discrimination and of much greater poverty?

    I think that a good part of the answer is there were no welfare and Great Society programs.


    It is one of the great tragedies of modern America that the disintegration of the African-American family has not abated.

    72 percent of African-American children are born out of wedlock.

    It is now a truism that children born out of wedlock are far more likely to experience a host of negative outcomes than are children raised by their own biological, married parents.

    - Peter Kirsanow

    1. ...the rest of our society is following suit, of course.

    2. Seems that the US is losing the "War on Poverty"

    3. The US did not do well in any of LBJ's wars of choice.


    >>>>A severe thunderstorm with a 71-mph wind gust measured at Nellis Air Force Base swept across the Las Vegas Valley on Friday evening, causing heavy damage in places, stranding drivers in flash floods, snapping power poles and tearing trees from the ground.

    No injures had been reported as of 10:30 p.m. Friday, though emergency responders were still taking stock of the damage well into the night.

    Falling trees and gas lines severed by “tornado-like” winds forced evacuation of 200 units at the Atrium Garden Condos near Washington Avenue and Pecos Road on the city’s east side, said Las Vegas fire spokesman Tim Szymanski. Fifteen units were damaged by falling trees, and about 50 residents of the complex were expected to take shelter at nearby Desert Pines High School, with emergency services provided by the American Red Cross.

    Joyce Mason, a longtime resident of the complex, said she has been concerned about potential storm damage since she first moved in, with heavy trees close to units.

    “I’m just praying for no gas explosion or anything like that,” she said. “I don’t believe it’s going to be fixed tonight.”

    The entire condo complex — 300 units in total — was cordoned off by fire trucks and yellow emergency tape hours after the storm was over.

    “They just say we have to evacuate. We have some broke gas pipes,’’ said Daniel Cordova, who was at the Atrium Gardens to pick up his mother, who is recovering from hip surgery.

    The storm hit shortly after 7 p.m., with that 71-mph gust recorded at 7:09 p.m., said the National Weather Service. Multiple buildings in the Nellis area were reportedly struck by lightning.

    Szymanski said an area roughly bordered by Stewart and Washington avenues and Eastern and Nellis boulevards were hit hardest.

    Some resort properties on the Strip and the Fremont Street Experience remained without power long after the fast-moving storm raged the full length of the city from north to south.

    Standing water was reported on the casino floor at Caesars Palace, where gamblers were forced to scatter to avoid getting wet.

    NV Energy was working on 20 scattered outages affecting 33,000 people across the valley as of 10:30 p.m., spokeswoman Kelley Mulroy said. Additional crews were called in to assist, she said.

    Clark County fire units also responded to multiple calls of people needing water rescue near the Strip.

    More than an inch of rain was recorded in Henderson, and a new daily rainfall record of 0.22 inches was set at McCarran International Airport. The previous record of 0.17 inches was set in 1951.

    Some of that record rainfall kicked a hole in the roof of Gilley’s Saloon, the Western-style bar at Treasure Island where patrons watched in awe as sheets of water sluiced in.

    As the thunderstorm moved from north to south at about 15 mph it knocked out power at Primm as well. Staff at Buffalo Bill’s Resort and Casino reported power outages in the casino and nearby outlet mall, along with strong wind and rain.

    Temperatures dropped more than 20 degrees Friday due to the storm. The weather service reported 109 degrees early in the afternoon and 83 degrees at 10 p.m.

    Early Friday, multiple flash flood watches for the Las Vegas Valley and surrounding area were put into effect for the weekend.

    The Spring Mountains will have a watch starting today at noon and will remain in effect through the end of the weekend.

    The highest risk for flash flooding in that area is early Saturday afternoon, said the National Weather Service.

    Temperatures will drop slightly going into the weekend, with 103 degrees forecast for today and dropping to 97 degrees by Monday.<<<<

    Massive thunderstorm slams Las Vegas, leaving damaged homes, power outages and uprooted trees

    Still awaiting written report from my walled compound Vegas source.

    1. Coincidentally, this all started to occur when Quirk, on mission, entered the City Limits of Las Vegas proper.

    2. Look what he's done to Detroit!


    3. He is magnificent, though, when the chips are really down.

      He might do well enough as a County Planner, but keep him away from the cities.

  16. This is good. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz nailing down the 'revivalist vote' in Iowa. Nifty pictures of prayer circles surrounding these two politicians and the laying on of hands -

    >>>Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Praying for Spiritual Revival In America

    It was a sight to behold inside a conference ballroom at the downtown Marriott hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, as hundreds of Iowa pastors called out to God and prayed over two U.S. senators, both of whom seem interested in running for president of the United States.<<<

    >>>Other highlights of the conference: RNC Chairman Reince Priebus was on hand. The pastors prayed for him as well (Picture below).<<<

    1. They need an Organist from a Black Church to complete The Gestalt.

      ...and a Plastic Surgeon for Cruz.

      - to fend off the MSM's winnowing process on his many images down to the ones portraying a Thoroughly Unelectible WeirdoFace.

    2. Gotta get that theologian vote.

  17. Hasn't Priebus joined Ryan, McCain, and the boys on Amnesty?

    ...doug has yet to go to bed last nite/today.

    Woe is me.

    1. If you do not support Comprehensive Immigration Reform, as passed in the Senate, why then, you are a RINO.

      That is if you had thought that you were a Republican.

      Get on the GOP band wagon, or get thrown under the bus.

  18. Joanne Naiman is professor emerita of sociology, Ryerson University, Toronto, and a member of Independent Jewish Voices (Canada). She was formerly chair of Canadians Concerned About Southern Africa and is a co-author of “Relations Between Canada and South Africa,” prepared for the United Nations Centre Against Apartheid in 1984.

    South Africa, Israel and the continuing struggle against Apartheid

    BY JOANNE NAIMAN | JULY 17, 2013

    With Nelson Mandela recently in the news, Matthew Fisher reminded Postmedia readers of an often forgotten aspect of Apartheid South Africa, its hated Pass Laws. Until 1986, every Black South African over the age of 16 outside their designated tribal homeland had to carry a passbook at all times. Failure to produce the passbook whenever required, or to be found in an area reserved for Whites without official permission, commonly resulted in instant imprisonment.

    Since the period of early colonialism, various means of controlling Indigenous populations developed around the world -- including Canada -- and each has had its own local specifics. Apartheid (from the Africaans word for “apartness") was a term first used after 1948 to describe a particular form of institutionalized racism in both South Africa and South West Africa (Namibia).

    The term Apartheid now has a broader meaning. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court defines Apartheid as inhumane acts "committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime." The term "racial" here is used in its broadest meaning (as per the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination) to include race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin. Racial discrimination refers to any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on one or more of these categories.

    Today in Israel -- one of only a few countries having no constitution -- collective rights are guaranteed to Jews only. Israel's Law of Return (1950) specifically defined Jews as a single nationality. As a result, all Jews, no matter where they are born, can become Israeli citizens, while the majority of Palestinians who inhabited the land for many generations lack this ability. The same institutions that helped form this definition, such as the Jewish National Fund and the Jewish Agency, remain the guardians of this “Jewish nationality” and control access to many elements of Israeli society, particularly those involving commerce, land, housing and public services.



    1. {…}
      All residents of Israel sixteen years of age or older must carry an identification card (Teudat Zehut) at all times, and present it upon demand to a senior police officer, head of a Municipal or Regional Authority, or a policeman or member of the Armed Forces on duty. Even stores or offices may ask for the card, and most Israelis know their card number by heart.

      While only cards issued prior to 2005 now note "nationality," it is easy for any official to instantly tell whether the bearer is Jewish because of a number of distinctive elements on the cards. Since the establishment of Palestinian National Authority, the PNA issues its residents with Palestinian ID cards that require Israeli government approval.

      An ID card may seem a mundane and minor aspect of life. However, in Israel and the post-1967 occupied Palestinian territories, these cards -- like passbooks in Apartheid South Africa -- have been utilized to control minority populations. There are different rights and privileges for different categories of people that determine how and where they can live and work, with whom they can associate, where they can travel, whether they can live with their spouse, and so on. Permits for Palestinians to travel beyond their assigned areas are stringently controlled and largely dependent on "good" behaviour. The citizenship card also determines access to or exclusion from social benefits such as health care, education and welfare.

      Many continue to insist that the situation in Israel bears no resemblance to the South African Apartheid system. Israel is certainly not identical to South Africa, but that does not mean it is not an Apartheid state. In fact, according to Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, there are over 50 Israeli laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel in all areas of life, with a dozen more in the works. Some of the laws also violate the rights of Palestinians living in the occupied territories. (Full details of the various laws can be viewed in the next post.)

      In a recent letter to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ismail Coovadia, the former South African ambassador to Israel, rejected a gift from the Jewish National Fund of trees to be planted in honour of his retirement. He wrote, “I have supported the struggle against Apartheid South Africa and now I cannot be a proponent of what I have witnessed in Israel, and that is, a replication of Apartheid."

      In 2001 Nelson Mandela became one of only five individuals who have been given honourary Canadian citizenship. One can only wonder what he'd say today, knowing the affection that the Harper government seems to have for Apartheid Israel. Our Prime Minister has declared Canada to be Israel’s closest friend, while Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, just prior to a recent visit to Israel, stated that "Our shared values are a foundation for future growth that benefits both countries…"

      Shared values? Given that Canada is a country with tremendous diversity within our population, shouldn't we all be concerned?

  19. There are over 50 Israeli laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel in all areas of life, with a dozen more in the works. Some of the laws also violate the rights of Palestinians living in the occupied territories. This link highlights the fifty specific laws:

  20. Imagine if any one of us had to live under this law:

    Criminal Procedure Law - Interrogating Suspects - Amendment No. 6

    Name: Criminal Procedure Law - Interrogating Suspects - Amendment No. 6
    Enacted: 2012
    Status: Active
    Themes: Criminal Law and Procedures

    Description: This amendment, which passed in the Knesset on 4 July 2012, extends the period of Amendment No. 4 to the Criminal Procedure Law which allows the interrogations of “security suspects” not to be recorded. Almost all of “security detainees” are Palestinians from the OPT or Palestinian citizens of Israel.

    The law, passed in 2002, required the police to make audiovisual recordings of interrogations of suspects charged with crimes carrying a minimum sentence of at least ten years. The law established a schedule for its gradual implementation, with recordings of interrogations of “security suspects” to become mandatory from 2008, under Article 17. That year, however, the Knesset passed a temporary order extending the exemption until July 2012, ten years after the law was originally enacted. With the passing of amendment no. 6, the exemption is extended until July 2015. Notably, the requirement to make audiovisual recordings of interrogations does not apply to the Israel Security Agency (ISA) (also known as the GSS or Shabak).

    On 21 December 2010, Adalah, together with Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Al Mezan and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), filed a petition to the Supreme Court requesting that the exemption be cancelled. The petition was dismissed in February 2013, based on the justification that a new Knesset had just been elected, and the government promised to do a thorough examination of the amendment.

  21. Israeli Prisons Ordinance - Amendment No. 40 (Meetings with Lawyers)

    Name: Israeli Prisons Ordinance - Amendment No. 40 (Meetings with Lawyers)
    Enacted: 2011
    Status: Active
    Themes: Criminal Law and Procedures
    Allows the Israel Prison Service (IPS) to prohibit prisoners involved in “security crimes” from meeting their lawyers if the IPS “suspects” that such meetings may lead to the transfer of information relating to a terror organization. The law targets and discriminates against “security prisoners”, who are overwhelmingly Palestinians, as well as their lawyers, who are also generally Palestinians. As of May 2012, there were over 4,600 Palestinian political prisoners being held as “security prisoners” in Israeli prisons.

    Under the law, the IPS can prevent prisoners’ meetings with lawyers for 96 hours (previously 24 hours), a period that could be extended for up to as many as 14 days (previously 5 days) with the approval of the state prosecutor. A district court can extend this prohibition for six months (previously 21 days) and up to maximum period of one year (previously three months). The Supreme Court can extend the ban for unlimited periods after one year (Supreme Court supervision was required after three months under the previous law). These sweeping restrictions further increase prisoners’ isolation and prevent them from effectively accessing the courts and obtaining redress.