Wednesday, 24 May 2017

From The Liberty Wall – Nations without States – Syria’s ‘Hierarchy Of Suffering’ (Part 2)
THE END of last month saw Nations without States (NwS) reproduce the first part of an article – http://nationalliberal.org/from-the-liberty-wall-%e2%80%93-nations-without-states-%e2%80%93-syria%e2%80%99s-%e2%80%98hierarchy-of-suffering%e2%80%99-part-one – by Bob Fisk. The article itself had originally appeared in The Independent. Fisk is is the multi-award winning Middle East correspondent of The Independent.

The original article was published after two horrific attacks in Syria – one of which led US President Donald Trump to launch a missile attack on a military facility loyal to President Bashar al-Assad’s government. The other attack was carried out by opponents of President Assad, but there was no retribution by the US. With this in mind, Fisk appears to argue that there is a ‘Hierarchy Of Suffering’ in Syria.

This is the second part of Fisk’s original article. NwS has reproduced it in an effort to stimulate debate concerning the situation in Syria. It goes without saying that there are no official links between Robert Fisk, The Independent or Nations without States.

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If Trump cares so much about Syrian babies, why is he not condemning the rebels who slaughtered children?

US President Donald Trump (left) and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (right). Trump sudenly went from being the devil incarnate to a ‘good guy’ after launching a missile attack on a pro-Assad military facility.

There’s no doubting the flagrant, deliberate, vile cruelty of Saturday’s attack. The suicide bomber approached the refugee buses with a cartload of children’s cookies and potato chips – approaching, I might add, a population of fleeing Shia civilians who had been starving under siege by the anti-Assad rebels (some of whom, of course, were armed by us). Yet they didn’t count. Their “beautiful little babies” – I quote Trump on the earlier gas victims – didn’t stir us to anger. Because they were Shias? Because the culprits might have been too closely associated with us in the West? Or because – and here’s the point – they were the victims of the wrong kind of killer.


For what we want right now is to blame the “evil”, “animal”, “brutal”, etc, Bashar al-Assad who was first “suspected” to have carried out the 4 April gas attack (I quote The Wall Street Journal, no less) and then accused by the entire West of total and deliberate responsibility of the gas massacre. No-one should question the brutality of the regime. Nor its torture. Nor its history of massive oppression. Yet there are, in fact, some grave doubts about Bashar’s responsibility for the 4 April attack – which he has predictably denied – even among Arabs who loath his Baathist regime and all it stands for.

Even the leftist but hardly pro-Syrian Israeli writer Uri Avneri – briefly, in his life, a detective – has asked why Assad should commit such a crime d (1) when his army and its allies were winning the war in Syria, when such an attack would gravely embarrass the Russian government and military, and when it would change the softening western attitude towards him back towards open support for regime change.

And the regime’s claim that a Syrian air attack set off explosions in al-Nusra weapons store in Khan Shaykoun (2) (an idea which the Russians also adopted) would be easier to dismiss if the Americans had not used precisely the same excuse for the killing of well over a hundred Iraqi civilians in Mosul in March; they suggested that a US air strike on an Isis arms lorry may have killed the civilians.

But this has nothing to do with the weekend’s far more bloody assault on the refugee convoys heading for western Aleppo. They were part of a now-familiar pattern of mass hostage exchanges between the Syrian government and its opponents in which Sunni opponents of the regime in villages surrounded by the Syrian army or its allies have been trucked out to Idlib and other “rebel”-held areas under safe passage in return for the freedom of Shia villagers surrounded by al-Nusra, Isis and “our” rebels who have been allowed to leave their villages for the safety of government-held cities. Such were the victims of Saturday’s suicide bombing; they were Shia villagers of al-Foua and Kfraya, along with several government fighters, en route to what would be – for them – the safety of Aleppo.
Whether or not this constitutes a form of ethnic cleansing – another of Bashar’s sins, according to his enemies – is a moot point. Al-Nusra did not exactly urge the villagers of al-Foua and Kfraya to stay home since they wanted some of their own Sunni fighters back from their own encircled enclaves. Last month, the governor of Homs pleaded with Sunnis to leave the city on “rebel” convoys to Idlib to stay in their houses and remain in the city. But this is a civil war and such terrifying conflicts divide cities and towns for generations. Just look at Lebanon 27 years after its civil war ended.

But what ultimately proves our own participation in this immoral and unjust and frightful civil war is our reaction to those two massacres of the innocents. We cried over and lamented and even went to war for those “beautiful little babies” (3) whom we believed to be Sunni victims of the Assad government. But when Shia babies of equal humanity were blasted to pieces this weekend, Trump could not care less. And the mothering spirit of Ivanka and Federica simply dried up.

And we claim that Middle East violence has nothing to do with us.

(1) http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1492111523

(2)  http://www.independent.co.uk/topic/khan-sheikhoun

(3) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-basarl-al-assad-syria-military-strike-sarin-nerve-gas-a7671291.html

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The National Liberal Party Says On 8th June Vote … NOTA!

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National Council Statement: The National Liberal Party will not be standing in the General Election

The party had been preparing to fight the expected General Election in 2020 as part of an electoral Coalition we presently describe as the ‘Centre Alliance’. This is presently composed of the People’s Democratic Party, Young People’s Party, Friends Party and the National Liberal Party. Unfortunately, we have been awaiting an official acknowledgement of that Alliance.

No-one expected however there would be a snap election. Indeed, the Prime Minister stated on many occasions that there would be no such Election, and it wouldn’t therefore take place until 2020 (under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act).

Without our electoral alliance and without the necessary preparatory work any campaign would be costly and ineffective. Thus the party’s ruling National Council has decided that it would not deviate from its plans and would not stand candidates at this election but rather in 2022.

NONE OF THE ABOVE!

Some of our partners’ maybe standing some candidates and we will advertise those details in due course so that our members/supporters can assist where possible. The NLP will instead be running a national None of the Above (NOTA) campaign. This is part of a similar campaign we have previously run calling for a NOTA box on ballot papers. This is necessary in order to maintain and even increase electoral turnouts that have been falling for decades. Many of the parties and candidates offering themselves for election are simply unpalatable to many.

Since we too don’t trust any of the establishment parties we will be calling for a None of the Above on the ballot papers!

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From The Liberty Wall – Free Speech: How Do We Protect It? – Tyranny Of The Minority (Part 2)
TOWARDS the end of March we published Part 1 of Tyranny Of The Minority http://nationalliberal.org/from-the-liberty-wall-%e2%80%93-free-speech-how-do-we-protect-it-tyranny-of-the-minority-part-1written by Mick Hume. Hume will be familiar to freedom lovers as the author of the thought-provoking book Trigger Warning: Is the Fear of Being Offensive Killing Free Speech?

Tyranny Of The Minority is based on his new book Revolting! Part 1 of this article looked at how – in the light of Brexit and the election of President Donald Trump – some members of the elite are wondering if ordinary voters are fit to make decisions on major issues. Part 2 continues with this theme.

As we’ve previously noted, this article originally appeared in the Daily Mail in late February. However, we’ve taken the decision to reproduce it in four sections – as we feel that this is the best way to stimulate debate. Thus, if you have any comments please leave them on the Free Speech Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/groups/1607711629485795/ once you see this article appear.

It goes without saying that there are no official links between Mick Hume, the Daily Mail and Free Speech.

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Tyranny Of The Minority: How the most sinister trend of our age is a poisonous conviction taking root on the Left and among the elite that ordinary people are too stupid to be trusted with voting

Members of the elite are wondering if ordinary voters are fit to make decisions on major issues like Brexit.

In the eyes of the Establishment, the only possible explanation was that those millions were simply too ignorant, uneducated, gullible, bigoted or emotional to understand what they were being told.

What is curious is that those from the liberal and Left wings — the ones who claim to be most in favour of change in the UK — were most upset.
But instead of trying to understand, the response of many was to dismiss the result as merely a ‘howl of rage’ by voters who must have taken leave of their senses — and to find ways to block it. The Guardian paper, alleged voice of liberal Britain, produced an official post-referendum T-shirt that declares: ‘Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers.’
Its columnist Polly Toynbee, grande dame of British liberalism, demanded that 231 Labour MPs — 70 per cent of whose constituencies voted for Brexit — must ‘save us’ from the referendum result. In the name of ‘democracy’, of course.
Such responses let slip the mask and revealed the ugly fact that this country’s political elite believes that matters of government are far too complex and sophisticated to let the governed decide.
For the record, I voted Leave with passion, but my attack is not aimed at the 16.1 million who voted to Remain. They made a rational choice, just as the Leavers did. The difference is that most Remainers now accept the result, unlike elitists such as Tony Blair or Richard Branson — or their poster girl Gina Miller, the City financier who led the court challenge, declaring that the revolting voters’ verdict ‘made her physically ill’.
The reaction from those on the Left was the same when the American electorate handed Trump the keys to the White House.
He had been denounced as a disgrace to U.S. politics not only by the political establishment and the media but also by alpha intellectuals Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Lady Gaga and Madonna, Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. How could Americans resist being dazzled by such a star-studded appeal, you might think?
Yet more than 62 million Americans did just that. They voted Trump in — to the consternation of every ‘liberal’ voice in the land. On campuses, students held protests and college authorities offered counselling and time off to ‘grieve’, as if they were victims of a tragic disaster.
Personally, I have no truck with the illiberal, free-speech-stomping, narrow-minded Trump. But what I don’t get is their astonishment and hysteria at what happened.
After the election, everybody suddenly started asking: ‘How could they vote for him?’
But it should not have been difficult to get a sense beforehand of the growing anger against the political elite among the voters Clinton branded ‘deplorables’.
It was just that nobody had ever bothered to ask those ‘deplorables’ what they thought. The underlying problem in the UK, the U.S. and other Western societies is that politics and public life have increasingly become the preserve of a self-regarding elite of officials, opinion formers, intellectuals and so-called experts. They treat ‘ordinary people’, the masses, as outside of politics and beyond the pale, their concerns marginalised and ignored.
The Brexit vote marked a revolt against the ‘enforced conformity’ preached by this elite. That it came as such a shock to them was a sign of how little contact they had with the real world. And still many of them don’t get it.
In the Left-wing New Statesman magazine, Professor Richard Dawkins, the leading evolutionary biologist and renowned humanist was unable to suppress his true feelings that the large slice of humanity who voted Leave were ‘stupid, ignorant people’. He protested that ‘it is unfair to thrust on to unqualified simpletons the responsibility to take historic decisions of great complexity and sophistication’.
Presumably such decisions would be better left to highly intellectual minds such as his own. Great atheist that he is, he appears to think the rest of us should have blind faith in people like him.
Meanwhile, the normally unflappable ‘leading man of the Left’, philosophy professor A.C. Grayling, wrote to every MP (apparently in the name of his students), demanding that they vote to ignore the result — which he said was driven by mere ‘demagoguery and sentiment’ — and remain in the European Union.
His extraordinary contention was that the majority of people are what he called ‘System One’ thinkers, who make decisions on impulse — and that what we need is to pay more heed to ‘System Two’ thinkers, who seek information, analyse it, and weigh arguments in order to come to decisions. People similar to him, presumably.
• For an excellent review of Trigger Warning click here: https://countercultureuk.com/2015/07/26/trigger-warning/
• To check out a review of Free Speech click here: http://nationalliberal.org/review-of-issue-1-of-free-speech
• Check out Free Speech: How Do We Protect It? Click here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1607711629485795/
• Check out Revolting! Click here:  https://www.amazon.com/Revolting-Establishment-Undermining-Democracy-Theyre/dp/0008220824/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1490209013&sr=1-1&keywords=mick+hume

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If You Live Or Work In Tweeddale … SHOP LOCAL!

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TWEEDDALE is the local name for the County of Peebles, which is a shire in southern Scotland. Neither Peeblesshire nor Tweeddale has an official flag – although the proposed flag for Peebleshire can be found here: https://britishcountyflags.wordpress.com/2016/11/17/a-flag-for-peeblesshire/ However, our artwork features the historic arms of the Marquess of Tweeddale.
To some extent it doesn’t matter what the area is called or what its official flag is like, the main issue is to support local shops, entrepreneurs, small businesses and the self-employed.  One very easy way to do this is to shop local, particularly in the three main towns of Peebles and Innerleithen and the village of West Linton.
In the coming weeks and months we’ll examine how ordinary working folks can support their communities via a policy of localism.   Localism represents a rejection of the gargantuan and a move towards the local production and consumption of goods, local control of government, and promotion of local history, culture and identity.  It can effectively be summed up in the slogan Small is Beautiful!

•  For more information about Tweeddale/Peebleshire check out https://wikishire.co.uk/wiki/Peeblesshire

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Green & Healthy Cities?

THE CORE VALUES of National Liberalism include Liberty, Democracy, Independence and Ecology. In respect of the latter, we believe that it’s the duty of man to live in harmony with nature – and not destroy it.

National Liberals believe that we need to live a more sustainable way of life – being less greedy, being less wasteful, using less natural resources and knowing where our food comes from. We feel that this will lead to a more rewarding, healthy, considerate and possibly ‘simpler’ life.

We also passionately believe in the concept that Small is Beautiful! With this in mind, it’s hardly surprising that we are not great fans of massive cities and towns. Indeed, we would like to see a wholescale – but totally sustainable – move back to the land.

However, even with our focus on ruralism, cities are a fact of life. The question is how do we make them greener and healthier places in which to live? We believe that the answer may be provided by a project – based in Detroit – run by the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative, which seems to successfully combine environmentalism and localism.

The article below originally appeared on the web-site of the Food Revolution Network – https://foodrevolution.org/blog/food-politics/first-sustainable-urban-agrihood/ – to whom we extend acknowledgements. It goes without saying that there are no official links between the Food Revolution Network, the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative and the National Liberal Party.

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The First Sustainable Urban Agrihood in the U.S. Could Serve As A Model for Urban Development

Could fresh, healthy, affordable food be the future of urban neighborhood development?

In Detroit, Michigan, “the first sustainable urban agrihood” in the U.S. centers around an edible garden, with easily accessible, affordable produce offered to neighborhood residents and the community.

Each year, this urban farm provides fresh, free produce to 2,000 households within two square miles of the farm. They also supply food to local markets, restaurants, and food pantries.

The concept of agrihoods isn’t new —the Urban Land Institute estimated that about 200 agrihoods had been or were under construction across the U.S. — but this agrihood is unique because it’s the first truly urban agrihood. It plans to operate in a sustainable way and is more accessible than most other agrihoods.

Agrihoods, also called agritopias or community-supported development, are an exciting concept because they create a remarkable improvement to the dominant food system.

They help tackle food insecurity and other community problems. They make it easy for people in low-income communities to get fresh, healthy food. And they give people a connection with the food they eat, the earth, and each other.

All About The First Sustainable Urban Agrihood

The first sustainable urban agrihood, which recently debuted in Detroit, is the project of the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative — an all-volunteer nonprofit, which seeks to empower urban communities using sustainable agriculture.

The three-acre development has vacant land, along with occupied and abandoned homes centered around a two-acre urban garden, with more than 300 organic vegetable varieties, like lettuce, kale, and carrots, as well as a 200-tree fruit orchard, with apples, pears, plums, and cherries, a children’s sensory garden, and more.

The nonprofit is also working on other projects that go beyond farming, including:


  • Turning a long-vacant building into a community resource center, which will offer educational programs, event and meeting space for the neighborhood, a nonprofit incubator, and two commercial kitchens
  • Developing a healthy food café, and
  • Restoring a home into student intern housing and an off-grid shipping container.

Other projects to make the place more sustainable include:
  • Installing solar panels,
  • Converting a basement into a water harvesting cistern that will automatically irrigate the garden
  • A public composting toilet, and
  • A retention pond made from the foundation of a blighted home to supply the farm with water.

Could Sustainable Agrihoods Work In Other Urban Areas?

In the U.S., food travels 25% farther than it traveled about 20 years ago. With all this travel, freshness suffers and so does the environment. But more and more people are seeking out locally grown food, so communities that solve this problem in a sustainable way could make a big difference.

With its agrihood in Detroit, the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative is rethinking how urban spaces are developed and redefining what life in an urban environment looks like.

And perhaps other communities will look to this agrihood as a model to increase healthy, local food and to solve community problems, like hunger and access to fresh food – all while giving people a greater sense of community and happiness, creating more sustainability for cities, and improving our food system.
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