Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lunacy at JTA

1. Cheech and Chong to Work as JTA Editors?
See web page for links and photos

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency seems determined to destroy its own
reputation as a respectable source of news. Founded in 1917, the JTA has
long been a leading source for news about Jews and Jewish communities. It
occasionally lets its liberal bias show (do a search of its pages for
"Tikkun Olam" - the assimilationist liberal version of the term - if you
want to see an example). It tends not to distribute non-liberal opinion
columns and treats buffoons like Michael Lerner with deference, calling
him "Rabbi." I counted 25 articles on the site by Leonard Fein, 16 by or
about Arthur Waskow, and none at all by me (I have published scores of
articles just in the NY Jewish Press).

Well, JTA's chances of being taken seriously are going up in a puff of
hashish smoke! The FORWARD reports that JTA has hired Daniel Sieradski,
better known for his nickname "Mobius," as their "Jewish Telegraphic
Agency.s director of digital media."

We recently commented on "Mobius" and his campaign to promote the use of
illegal drugs among Jews. Mobie is also a far leftist calling himself an
"anarchist," who has been active in trying to help the "anarchists" tear
down Israel's security fence to make it easier for terrorists to murder
Jews. He runs a number of web sites promoting drugs, "anarchism" and
Hip-Hop "music" as the highest ultimate Jewish values. He is quoted here
as saying:

My belief is that psychedelics can inform our understanding of Jewish
theology and ritual, and my hope is to eliminate the stigmas towards drug
use in the religious community so that we can address the subject of drug
abuse from an informed and rational place. Ultimately I would like to see
it regarded as .okay. to use psychedelics ritually, while drawing a clear
line between productive spiritual exploration and overt, damaging drug

We certainly hope JTA makes Mobius show up wearing a tie and shoes. Since
Mobius usually uses the "F" word instead of punctuation marks, JTA
postings may be getting spicier soon.

Mobius (on left) without his hookah:

Of course, it is also possible that having a real job could change Mobius
for the better.

There is a new cowboy song, based on the old "Get Along you Old Doggies,"
with revised chorus "Yuppie Tie Yay Yo Get a Job you Old Hippie, Trade
your dungaree jacket for a suit and a tie. Yuppie Tie Yay Yo, Git Upwardly
Mobile, cause the almighty dollar's gonna be your new high."

2. Israel's Deluded Duo:

3. A little long but fascinating:
August 21, 2007


Make Up Your Own Mine
August 21, 2007; Page A15

The recent tragedy in Utah has brightened the spotlight on mining, already
under assault by environmental and anti-globalization activists
world-wide. These activists have produced several documentaries, and the
anti-mining campaign has attracted the attention of billionaire George
Soros and actress Vanessa Redgrave -- and enough charges of greed or
hypocrisy to fill a mine shaft.

Tonight, PBS will air "Gold Futures," a film by Hungary's Tibor Kocsis.
The film focuses on residents in Romania's Rosia Montana, a rural
Transylvanian town, who are divided over the benefits of a proposed gold
mine. It also features Gabriel Resources, the Canadian mining company
trying to convince them to relocate so it can dig for a huge gold deposit
estimated at 14.6 million ounces, worth almost $10 billion. PBS describes
the film as a "David-and-Goliath story."

While the film gives time to supporters and opponents of the mine, it
leaves unsaid that half of the villagers voicing opposition have now
either sold their homes or will not have to move, because they live in a
protected area where the village's historic structures and churches will
be preserved. Viewers who see pristine shots of the Rosia valley won't
realize the hills hide a huge, abandoned communist-era mine, leaking toxic
heavy metals into local streams -- or that while the modern mining project
will level four hills to create an open pit, it will also clean up the old
mess at no cost to the Romanian treasury.

The other side to the controversy is told in a new film that will never be
shown on PBS, but is nonetheless rattling the environmental community.
"Mine Your Own Business" is a documentary by Irish filmmakers Phelim
McAleer and Ann McElhinney. They conclude that the biggest threat to the
people of Rosia Montana "comes from upper-class Western environmentalism
that seeks to keep them poor and unable to clean up the horrific pollution
caused by Ceausescu's mining."

Mr. McAleer, a former Financial Times journalist who has followed the mine
battle for seven years, says he "found that everything the
environmentalists were saying about the project was misleading,
exaggerated or quite simply false." He produced his film on a shoestring
$230,000 budget largely provided by Gabriel Resources, but says he was
given complete editorial control.

The Gabriel funding caused environmental groups to label the film
"propaganda" and demand the National Geographic Society cancel plans to
rent its Washington, D.C. theater to the free-market Moving Picture
Institute for a screening. The Institute notes opponents rarely challenge
the film's facts. As for Mr. Kocsis's documentary, his Flora Film
corporate Web site lists as its partners Greenpeace, the Hungarian
Ministry of Environment and the George Soros-backed Energy Club of
Hungary, all of which oppose the Romanian project on either environmental
or nationalistic grounds (Transylvania used to be part of Hungary).

High-profile mine opponents such as Ms. Redgrave (who hasn't visited Rosia
Montana), have declared undying opposition to the project: "Our planet is
dying and we have no right to destroy an ecosystem." In April, Mr. Soros,
the chairman of the Open Society Institute and a large funder of groups
opposing Rosia Montana, wrote to Wayne Murdy, then CEO of Newmont Mining,
the Denver company that owns 19% of Gabriel Resources. He urged him not to
invest in "a dubious project such as Rosia Montana," citing "the social
costs involved in involuntarily resettling hundreds of people" and "the
potential for disastrous environmental impact." Mr. Soros did not respond
to an interview request.

Opponents of the mine claim that Rosia Montana residents agree with their
stance. "Local opposition to the mine is strong and organized" says a
statement signed by 80 environmental groups in January. In his letter, Mr.
Soros cites a recent poll organized by some members of Romania's
parliament that "found 90% of respondents rejecting the project." But the
poll turns out to be an unscientific Internet survey, and one of the
environmental groups Mr. Soros funds urged people outside Romania to
participate in it. What is clear: Two-thirds of Rosia Montana's people
have accepted Gabriel's voluntary offer to buy their homes at above market
rates. Most will move four miles away to a less polluted area.

On the other side, Rosia Montana Mayor Virgil Narita supports the mine
because it will create 700 permanent local jobs. He was re-elected with
80% of the vote this year. And in late 2004, the Council of Europe sent
Eddie O'Hara, a British Labour Party member of the European Parliament, to
Rosia Montana to file an official report. Opposition to the mine, he said,
was "substantial," but it was "very much fueled by outside bodies,
presumably well-meaning but possibly counterproductively. It seems in part
at least exaggerated." Mr. O'Hara concluded the opposition "do not take
account of modern mining techniques and in fact the Rosia Montana project
will help to clear up existing pollution." He also warned that not
allowing the mine "would remove any chance of local development for some

And there's the rub. Rosia Montana needs a cleanup and development.
Three-quarters of its 600 families lack indoor toilets, unemployment tops
70% and the only truly viable crop is potatoes. In "Mine Your Own
Business," Andrei Jurca, the local dentist, tells Mr. McAleer "we don't
need foreign advocates. We are smart enough to take our own fate in our
own hands." Other villagers note that concerns about Gabriel's use of
cyanide in gold mining are misplaced. Seven out of nine existing gold
mines in European Union countries use cyanide and the allowable limits in
Rosia Montana will be lower than all of them.

Perhaps local unemployed miner Gheorghe Lucian says it best: "People have
no food to eat . . . I know what I need -- a job." Mr. Soros's Romanian
Open Society Foundation is touting "alternative economic activities such
as organic agriculture and eco-tourism," unrealistic at best. Stefania
Simon, legal counsel for the anti-mine group Alburnus Maior, has no answer
for Mr. Lucian. "Unemployment is a problem, but it will not be solved by
mining," she told Britain's Guardian newspaper. Noting that Gabriel has
only a 17-year lease to mine, she says, "This is a solution for the short
term." But right now, even non-permanent jobs and any cleanup of the
existing pollution looks like a good deal to people like Mr. Lucian.

"Mine Your Own Business" also contains interviews with leading
environmentalists opposing other mining projects who display smug
indifference to bettering the lives of poor people. In Madagascar, Mr.
McAleer finds Mark Fenn, country director for the World Wide Fund for
Nature, who argues that the poor are just as happy as the rich because
they smile more and that if Madagascar locals (who now earn $100 a month)
get more money "they'll buy cases of beer, invite their friends, they'll
throw a party . . . three, four days the money's gone." He then shows off
his new $35,000 catamaran.

Mr. McAleer tells me such encounters should wake up people "who, like
myself, unquestionably believed environmentalists were a force for good in
the world." He still considers himself a liberal but, "it's sad that my
fellow left-wingers and environmentalists who often come from the most
developed countries are now so opposed to development."

Mr. Fund is a columnist for OpinionJournal.com1.

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(1) http://opinionjournal.com/

4. Global Warming What?

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