Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tootsie Roll Pops, Chocolate Protests, Political Quizzes, and Israel

1. Dreamed about Australia.  

I'm in a store in Australia with a bunch of people.  My mom is there.  I go away from the group, to another part of the store.  I start to hear someone singing "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow".   I go back over and see it's my mom singing.  I'm a bit surprised.

I decide to support her by singing along. But then I kind of question this. Am I being supportive, or intrusive?  Plus, I'm embarrassed because my voice comes out all hoarse.

I think about the song "Waltzing Matilda" for some reason; and I think about a pirate song.  I also start worrying that we're getting close to the end of our trip.  But I decide we're not.  We still have time left. 

I go to the store counter for some reason.  I learn my mom wasn't singing for the fun of it.  She was singing to win a Tootsie Roll Pop.  Then the store person asks me to sing for a Tootsie Roll Pop. I decide to do it, and I'm hoping I sing better this time.  I sing one line, then realize that's all I know.  I ask for help with lyrics, but I'm told knowing the lyrics is part of the contest.  I can't get any help.

2. Listened to Katey Judd sing Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.

If she was in my dream, I'd think she definitely deserves a Tootsie Roll Pop.   Her voice isn't too hoarse, and she at least remembered the lyrics.  

3. Glad to see that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is going after chicken farmers for misleading customers.  

People want to eat their eggs and chicken; but many of them are starting to feel sad about how chickens are mistreated.   SO....because of the kindness in their heart, they pay a bit extra for egg cartons that say things like Free to Roam and Farm Range.

The problem is these chickens aren't necessarily being treated well at all. Chicken producers are hiding the truth, or at least manipulating the truth.

4. Went to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) website.   It's a government site.  I thought it would be; but I wasn't positive.

The ACCC works for consumer protection.

They have information on recalls, scams, product safety, etc.

5. Read about the Israel boycotts on the ACCC site— the ones at Max Brenner.  Apparently, there's something called a secondary boycott. Those are illegal in Australia.

The ACCC ruled that the Max Brenner boycotts are not secondary boycotts, so they're not illegal.

6. Had a brainy moment and realized the meaning of secondary boycott.  A regular boycott would be when you personally stop buying stuff.  That would be someone saying, I hate Israel so I'm not going to shop at Max Brenner anymore.    That's definitely legal. It would be scary if it wasn't. Then life would be like The Hunger Games.

Secondary Boycotts are where people prevent OTHER people from shopping somewhere. But Australians aren't going to be arrested for simply saying to their neighbor, Hey, don't shop at Max Brenner.  It's only a problem if a person is literally prevented from shopping where they want to shop; and if the object of the boycott endures significant loss in their business.

The ACCC says, After careful assessment, the ACCC considers that this protest activity does not contravene section 45D of the CCA as it does not have the effect or likely effect of causing substantial loss or damage to the Max Brenner shops in question. Relevant factors here are the infrequent nature of the protests, their limited duration, and the difficulty in apportioning any revenue impact to this activity versus other factors.

From what I remember reading in comments about the boycott, it seemed Israel and chocolate fans were planning to go to Max Brenner just to SPITE the protesters. I'm wondering if the boycott might have actually helped the chocolate shop.

7. Watched video of Melbourne protest at Max Brenner.

There's supposedly a lot of violence from the police, but I didn't see it on the video. The police looked pretty calm to me—kind of at a loss about what to do.

In a few scenes they arrest people.  I can kind of see that. But I can't see close enough to know if they're being violent about it. I also can't see whether they're giving protesters a chance to be arrested peacefully.  

I don't know why the protesters are being arrested. I don't understand what type of protesting behavior is legal and what's illegal.  

The protesters keep chanting.  This is not a police state. We have a right to demonstrate.    I can't help but feel they had been eagerly awaiting the chance to shout that out repeatedly.  What's a protest if the police don't come and make you feel victimized?

8. Found this website about protesting in Australia.  

They say it's not necessary; but it's a good idea to inform the police before the protest. You tell them what you're protesting and how many people you're expecting. This way the police can help with directing traffic and stuff like that.  

If you do not inform the police and fill out the necessary forms, then you are not allowed to obstruct traffic or pedestrians.

9. Wondered if the anti-Israel protesters informed the police of their boycott.

From what I can see on the boycott, they would have been obstructing people from getting into Max Brenner.

The website about protesting says the police can not say no to your protest.  They'd have to take you to the Supreme Court.  But they can say no to the location of your protest if the location covered by special legislation.

10. Found another site about activist rights.  They say it is an illegal offense to resist a legal arrest—either yours or someone else's. But it is not an offense to not eagerly cooperate.   You can do things such as lie down or refuse to move. If you do this though, then the police have a right to use REASONABLE force to take you.

So at the Melbourne protest, did the police use excessive force before giving the protesters the chance to come peacefully? Were the arrests valid or unfair?

It's hard to know.

I'm sure both sides will have a totally different story.

I think the best thing to do, if protesting is to go peacefully, is to cooperate when the police tell you you're under arrest.  I'm sure there are crazy police out there who will hurt people even then. But my guess is most police don't want a big drama like that.

11. Continued to wonder.  What did certain people do at the protest to get arrested in the first place.   Did they say something illegal?  Did they do too much obstructing?  Did they hurt someone?

12. Watched Jack play Fruit Ninja on the Kinect. I'm feeling very thankful to the Aussie game-programmers.

This is the story.   Jack is a huge video game fan. He was incredibly eager to get a Kinect for his birthday.  He talked about it excessively.  When we went to NYC, much of his attention was geared towards visiting computer/game shops where you could try out the Kinect. We (along with my parents) promised to get the game system for his birthday. He anxiously awaited that day.

Jack was so excited when we handed him the box.  He jumped and shrieked with delight.  I wish we caught it on video.  It might have become one of those classic viral things.  

Sadly Jack ended up not liking the Kinect.  I had a bad feeling the morning after he got it.  Usually when he gets a new game he stays up very late and wakes up way too early in the morning.  That night he went to bed at his usual time, and he woke up at his usual time.  He played a little here and there.  That's it.  A few days later, I got him to admit he wasn't in love with his birthday present.

I kept encouraging him to try it out more.  He did every so often—with reluctance and disinterest.   I felt like such a strange mom; pushing my child to play video games.  I'm sorry, though.  That thing was expensive!

Anyway, so I just went to ask Tim where Jack was; and was delightfully surprised when Tim said He's playing the Kinect.

13. Went back to reading an editorial I was reading before I went to look for Jack.  It's about the Max Brenner protests, and it's written by a Jewish guy named Michael Brull.   

Since he's Jewish, should we assume his editorial is against the protesters?  Well, if we did, our assumptions would be wrong.  Michael's editorial defends the protest.

Well, he seems to think the choice of protesting target wasn't the best.   He says, Suppose, for example, that the protests were successful. Max Brenner suffered crippling financial losses because of the protests. They respond by no longer giving out chocolate to Israeli soldiers. Does anyone think that that would improve life for the Palestinians? That this is the infrastructure of the occupation? That when Israeli soldiers don't get Max Brenner's (mediocre) chocolate products, they'll stop humiliating Palestinians at checkpoints in the West Bank?   

Despite his feelings about the protest, Michael supports the protesters right to protest.   He talks about the videos and says in the ones he watched, he did see police brutality. He saw unfair arrests.

14. Liked the end of the Michael's editorial.  He says, One could be a fanatical Zionist, love everything the Israeli government does, and still think people who disagree should not face criminal or financial penalties for believing otherwise. That is kind of the point of liberal democracy. Even people with really unpopular points of view should be allowed to say what they believe.

I agree; although I still suspect that the protesters wanted to be arrested, and that they wanted to be arrested in ways that would make them victims of brutality.  That's probably unfair of me. Maybe.

I'd feel differently if I learned four things.

A) the protesters had filled out the appropriate form, warning the police of their upcoming protest
B) the protesters did not block hungry chocolate addicts from getting their chocolate
C) The protesters didn't taunt the police when the police showed up
D) The arrested protesters did not physically resist arrest.

15. Read some of the comments on Michael Bull's editorial.  There's a nice variety.

Melanie says, And finally on the point of the accusation that the protests are anti-semitic, this is entirely false! One of the arrested protesters is a proudly Jewish man who has spent time in Israel and Palestine and observed human rights abuses first hand. There are many Jews and Israelis who support the BDS campaign both within Israel and internationally. The accusation of anti-semitism is nothing more than an offensive diversion.

Yes.  But Jews can be anti-semitic too.  Just because you happen to have Jewish heritage; it doesn't mean you're pro-Jewish and pro-Israel. That's not to say all Jews who criticize Israel are anti-semitic or self-hating.  That's unfair.  But if someone is very anti-Zionist and very vocal in their hatred of Israel; being Jewish is not proof against them being anti-semitic.

And how would the Islamic community respond to a group of Muslims who loudly protested against Palestine?   Are their vocal Muslims like that—ones who are very supportive of Jews and Israel?   How are they treated by other Muslim groups?

Ronk says....their "rights" do not extend to being able to blockade innocent people from entering or doing legal business with a legal shop. Or screaming obscene and anti-semitic abuse through a megaphone at people (some of the elderly Holocaust survivors) who are peacefully going about their own business.

I didn't hear the obscene anti-semitic abuse on the videos.  Maybe that was done off camera?   I don't know.  Or maybe Ronk is exaggerating.  I kind of wish he'd say what was said. Then I could judge for myself whether it was awful or not.

Bazzant responds to commenters who call Israeli an Apartheid state.   He says,

Israel has a political system which since 1949 has ensured that there are Arab MPs in its parliament. Assuming these Arabs are "Indigenous", there have thus been quite a few Indigenous Israelis (that is, Palestinian Israelis) elected as parliamentarians. In fact, 63 since 1949 (see:

What of Australia? There have only been three Indigenous federal parliamenterians since federation in 1901. The political system here is such that aspiring federal Indigenous politicians have little chance of ever being elected.

So which, if any, is the Apartheid state?

That's what bothers me the most about Americans and Australians criticizing Israel. It's incredibly hypocritical.

Has Australia treated the Aboriginal people better than Israel has treated the Palestinians?  Has America treated Native Americans better than Israel has treated the Palestinians. No.  I don't think so.  
16. Saw other commenters that agree with Ronk.  They say they saw bullying and intimidation of elderly customers. 

One of them....Minnie says, I have seen one of those 'peaceful' protests myself. It was sickening. The hate pumping out of these 'peaceful' demonstrators was appalling. They abuse people going in or coming out, often coming up close and really threatening customers because they weren't doing what the protesters wanted.

If all this is true, then I think the protesters were out of line. It's one thing to hear protesters in the background as you're going about your business.  It's another to have them actually approach you and make you feel intimidated.    

17. Read Fruitcake's post in which she gives a sympathetic view of the American rednecks.  At one point she says, And so they cling to their belief in the bible and the constitution, and seek the minimisation of government – a return to the days when they were almost self-sufficient, had little to do with government, and lived in small, caring, viable communities.

I think that's a bit how my friend feels. Sometimes I'll feel she's a racist—well, because she talks about being against multiculturalism.   But then I think, she can't be that racist. Her children's best friend is a half-Asian child who's also ethnically Jewish.

I think people like my friend want to go back to the good old days. The problem is it wasn't so good if you weren't white and Christian.  Now there's a backlash though.   If you're white, openly Christian, and right-wing, people in certain circles are going to look down at you.  I live in a community where that's not going to happen too often.  We're in the Bible Belt, and here it's seen as a good thing to be Christian and Republican.  But if we look at America media (outside of Fox News, which is heavily criticized and ridiculed) I think it does seem to favor the left.  I'm not talking about just news programs, but also fiction stuff. 

Anyway, I don't know if there's a way to return to the old ways.  I don't think the variety of skin colors, religions, sexual orientations, etc. would do that much to prevent this. I think the HUGE amount of people is the main problem.  Our planet is becoming more and more crowded.  It's just like a classroom.  What's going to work better; a class with 10 kids or a class with 35?

18. Walked to the library.  I got two books. One is by an Australian author; Kate Morton.

I don't think the book is about Australia, though.  It's about England. That's fine. I like British stories sometimes.  

19. Continued to read Catching Fire  The character that Liam Hemworth is playing in The Hunger Games seems to have a pretty substantial part in this book. 

If the movie does well, Hemworth might end up going the same route as Robert Pattinson—enduring that absurd amount of popularity.  I'm sure it's fun in some ways; but I think it would be awful in other ways.  

I guess we're going to have to choose between team Peeta and team Gale.  For now, I'm team Peeta.   And for the record, I'm team Edward; and I'm not sure whether I'm team Bill or team Eric. Probably Eric, but I still like Bill a lot too.

20. Went to Tallygarunga.   Today I'm going to read a thread called I Don't Mean To Stare, We Don't Have To Breed.   That's an interesting title.  

There's only one character in the story for now, and that's a seven year student named Frankie Dean.   I don't think I've encountered him before; but I could be wrong.

The story takes place on Calder Avenue which is in Narragyambie, the town next to Tallygarunga.   Calder Avenue is the place where the massive dramatic family dinner took place.  It was one of the first stories I read in Tallygarunga.  

21. Saw that the story thread I'm reading today takes place today.  It's September 8.

22. Started reading. Frankie has a girlfriend. Her name's Gemini Chevalier. They've done a lot of kissing.  Frankie wants to go much farther than that.

23. Wondered why Firefox didn't try to tell me I spelled Chevalier before.  I must have that word in my dictionary already   Did I write about her before? I don't have any memory of that. Or maybe I wrote about another Chevalier?

24. Started to read the biography of Frankie Dean.

He's a Sturt student. They're the ones that have the reputation as being mean bullies; but they're not always that way.

25. Saw that Frankie's face claim is Matt Lanter.

Lord Wiki says he was in Vampires Suck.  I've seen some of that movie. Lanter does a good job of imitating Robert Pattinson.  

26. Learned that Frankie was born in Los Angeles.

27. Reminded of someone I know when I read this. Carrying himself on a solid, well toned frame and never wearing the same clothes twice Frankie is also seemingly fixed with the same constant pout and casual glare as if expecting a sudden photo shoot to come descending down on him.   

This person I know has gotten into modeling...which is fine.  But every time the camera is pointed at them, they do their modeling thing.  It's way over the top.  Vanity is fine in small doses. Well, I have to say that because I'm vain.  But when people take vanity too far; I think it actually detracts from their beauty.  They begin to look silly.  Beautiful people are more beautiful when they don't care about being beautiful, when they're just being fun and casual.

28. Learned that Frankie isn't a very nice guy.  He's arrogant and brutal.

I think this line is a great description. Secretly he’s resentful of the world, jealous of the lives of the mundane sheep he claims to be above and their apparent freedom from the kind of complications he was born into.  

I don't mind much when people long as it's in moderate doses. Life sucks sometimes.   It's nice to vent.  But I don't like whiners with a superiority complex; or those who seem to think everyone else has an easier time than them.

29. Started to read Frankie's history.  He's part of a Hollywood wizarding dynasty.

He came to Australia to work on a Power Rangers TV show.   

30. Thought more about the Max Brenner thing, and read various things here and there around the internet.

Even though the protesters may have been annoying and in-your-face; Even if they did say anti-semitic things; even if they were obnoxious and blocked business in the area for awhile; well, it's better than people who bomb buildings or enter camps and shoot children. It's better than rioters who loot and burn down buildings.

I wasn't there, and it's hard to get a clear glimpse of things on the video.  I don't know why people were arrested.  The police might have felt they needed to do this to maintain control.  They might have been overexerting their power.  Who knows....

I don't.

I don't agree with the far-left when it comes to Israel. But I definitely think they have a right to protest.  And the other side has the right to counter-protest; or guy buy extra Max Brenner chocolate.

31. Decided to take the Political Compass test again.   Lately I feel myself siding with the right. I'm worried I'm slipping to the dark side.  

32.  Got my results.  I'm still Left and Libertarian.  My left score is -3.75.  My libertarian score is -4.87.  

I'm around the same area as the Dalai Lama.  That's really cool.

33. Looked at Australia Political parties on the Political Compass.   According to them, I'm more left than the Green Party. I'm doubtful of that; so maybe the test isn't completely valid.  Or it could be that I confuse the Green Party with the more extreme leftist groups in Australia.

34. Decided I'm left when it comes to gay rights, animal rights, multiculturalism, helping those less fortunate, health care, separation of church and state, etc.  I'm not with the left when it comes to those with the attitude of let's hate rich people and Israel.    

35. Took another political quiz.  This one's about Americans, although I guess other people could do it too.

Anyway, my results were...

I'm a social progressive....very much so.  I'm one step away from the super progressive notch. 

I'm a moderate capitalist.   

I'm close to the middle when it comes to being libertarian and authoritarian; but one step over to the libertarian side.  

I'm a pacifist, but not an extreme one.

36. Liked what the website says about social progressive people. You generally consider yourself a humanist first. You probably think that religion and patriotism go too far in society. You probably consider yourself to be a citizen of Earth first rather than a citizen of your country.

Yeah.  I do feel that way.

Actually, I feel like a citizen of the universe...not just the Earth.

37. Saw that my Australian of the day is Ernest Clayton Andrews. He was a geologist.

38. Learned that Ernest was born in Balmain, Sydney in 1870.

His father was not an Andrews. He was an artist with the surname Montague. For some reason, Ernest and his younger sister were unofficially adopted by a guy named John Andrews.

The Australian Dictionary of Biography says Ernest's stepfather was strict. Is the stepfather his adoptive father?  I'm so confused.   Why was this Mr. Andrews guy raising the kids? 

It would make sense to me if there was only one mother mentioned in the story, but there's not. Mr. Montague was married to Alice. Mr. Andrews was married to Mary Ann.

Maybe Alice married Mr. Andrews, and then she died. Then maybe he was left with the kids and later got himself a second wife?

39. Learned that Ernest was a teacher. He got into that early in life.  As a child, he taught younger students.

40. Learned that when Ernest was teaching in Bathurst, he became interested in natural history.    That led to the whole geology thing.  

41. Started to look at more of Arthur Chapman's Australian birds Flickr set

Here's a Magpie, and here's a Magpie-Lark.  

I'm starting to get the two confused.  I think though that the regular Magpie is more severe looking.

Or maybe not.

I'm looking at the pictures of both of them.  The Magpie has a bigger beak. That's a good way to tell them apart.   

42. Thought it would feel weird to have legs this long.  

43.  Wondered what this Yellow-faced Honeyeater is protesting?   Max Brenner?   Or something else?  

44. Thought this Pink-eared Duck looks very unusual.  

45. Started to read an editorial written by Philip Mendes.  He went from being pro-Palestinian to pro-Israeli.  I'm hoping he's on the left.  I feel that every time I find someone who's pro-Israel, they're on the far right.  It's just like it seems vegetarian are always on the left. I'd like to find more left-wing Israel supporters and right-wing vegetarians.  I like to find people that are different from what I expect.

46. Continued to read the editorial and learned that Phillip is Jewish. He says he used to say he was pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian, but he secretly sided with the Palestinians.  

47. Wondered if there's truth to what Phillip says here. He says Australian leftists don't want a two-state solution.  They want a one state solution.  Phillip says, In practice, it means that Israel will cease to exist either by military violence or political coercion, and will be replaced by an exclusivist Arab state of Palestine, neither secular nor democratic, in which Jews will at best be allowed to remain as a tolerated religious, not national, minority.   

I thought the left wanted a two state solution.

48. Happy to see that Phillip Mendes is on the left.  He supports Israel, but he's not supportive of some aspects of the Israeli government.  I like what he says here. But just as I remained proud to be an Australian during the Howard government years whilst vehemently rejecting the policies of the Coalition government so I proudly remain a strong friend of Israel and its people regardless of the views of its current government.

49. Realized I'm wrong. I do know people who support Israel who aren't on the far-right. I think it's just that people who are very vocal with their support seem to be on the far right, and also very anti-Muslim.   Then people who are on the far-left seem to be always anti-Israel and pro-Palestinians. Or at least those far-left people are the most vocal.  

50. Consulted Lord Wiki about the one-state solution.  I kind of knew what he was going to say.   It's not popular with Jews.   What it would mean is that Jews and Palestinians have equal rights.  One of those rights is to freely move back into the country. Right now, there's this rule that Jews all over the world have the right to move to Israel. It's our country even though it's not our country.

Arabs are not given the same rights.

It can be seen as being very unfair.

But the whole purpose of Israel was to give Jewish people their own country, where they could be safe and protected, in the case that almost a whole continent tries to off them again.  

There are not many Jews in the world compared to Arabs.  If Arabs had the same right to move to Israel as Jews, there'd be a definite shift in population. And during election time, the Jews would be thrown out of power. It would no longer be a Jewish state.

51. Consulted Lord Wiki about population statistics. He says there are three hundred million Arabs in the world. There are about thirteen million Jews.

There are eleven million Palestinians.  I guess they could say ONLY Palestinians could return.    Then it would be only a problem if all eleven million decided to move back. 

In response, all the Jews living elsewhere could move to Israel.

I don't really want to do that, though.  If I'm going to move away from America, I'd much rather live in Australia.  

Plus, if all these people are going to move back, it would get really crowded.

Israel's so small.

52. Remained unsure of whether or not Phillip Mendes is right about left-wing people wanting the one-state thing.

53. Went to the BDS website.  They're the group that protests against Max Brenner.

I don't get the idea they support two states, although they don't explicitly say that (as far as I can see).

54. Found this American website.  They say they're pro-Israel and pro-peace.  They're also against the BDS.  Are they another right-wing group?    

The site says, As laid out in that site, the BDS movement fails to explicitly to recognize Israel’s right to exist and it ignores or rejects Israel’s role as a national home for the Jewish people. In addition, the promotion by some in the BDS movement of the return to Israel of Palestinian refugees from 1948 and their families indicates support for an outcome incompatible with our vision of Israel and incompatible with a two-state solution to the conflict.

55. Excited to see that they're not anti-Palestinian and overly pro-Israel.   They actually seem balanced.  They say,  We oppose the occupation of the West Bank and the expansion and entrenchment of settlements there. We also oppose encroachment on Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem, which must be part of a future Palestinian capital if a two-state outcome is to be achieved. We support loosening the blockade of Gaza, since – in addition to the humanitarian concerns it raises – Israel has smarter, more effective ways of ensuring security through monitoring rather than blocking imports into Gaza at secure crossings.

THANK YOU!!!!!!!

I think I have found my least when it comes to Israel.   

56. Read another editorial about all this. It's written by Naomi Chazen.

Naomi explains why she supports the two-state solution. She says,

I advocate a two-state solution for two reasons: firstly, to occupy another people is immoral, undemocratic and un-Jewish. It goes against the grain of what human beings should do to other human beings.

Secondly, the occupation is a cancer for the occupier as well. Ruling over another people against their will is inevitably going to become a malignancy within our own society.

I agree.

Naomi then explains why she's against the BDS movement.

One of the things she says is, To question the existence of Israel is akin to calling for the elimination of Israel. Sometimes it's a codeword for a one-state solution, which denies the right of Israel and Jews to self-determination. I have no suicidal tendencies whatsoever. I will not be party to my own self-destruction. I have one passport – an Israeli passport – and I intend to keep it and am perfectly happy for our borders to shrink substantially to do so.

So what she's saying is she'd rather have a very small Israel than no Israel.

57. Horrified by what Naomi says about academic events.  She says the BDS has caused discrimination of Israeli academics. They've been uninvited to events. Their articles have been rejected from journals.

It's probably hard to prove though that it's because they're Israeli.  But sometimes there's enough indication of such things to make you wonder.

58. Thought Naomi had a very good point here.   She says, I come from a country that is very strong but is guided by a victim mentality. Every day that the BDS movement exists, it is strengthening the right-wing and extremist forces in Israel. In Israel we call it a boomerang!    

Just as Satan can be seen as an instrument of God, the far-left can be seen as an instrument of the far-right....even if they don't mean to be. 

If I think about it, who strengthens the left more in America; Noam Chomsky or Glenn Beck?

I would guess it's the latter.