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Friday, March 20, 2015

Mars Zero.

I don't know, Mitch. It could work, or maybe not. Let's give it a shot, then. Just promise me one thing - no launch tests in the courtyard, okay? Last time you tried a stunt like that the neighbors called in the local SWAT team. It took all of our collective savings to get Marvin (my personal robot assistant) out of jail.

Talk about LAME!Oh, hi. Just settling a few details with our mad science adviser, Mitch Macaphee, recently repatriated from the dwarf planet Ceres. Mitch is helping us plan the launch of Big Green's newest venture. Let me give you the background. You've all heard of Bas Lansdorp's Mars One project, no doubt. Lansdorp is inviting volunteers to go on a one-way mission to colonize Mars. He says he can get the whole thing going in time for a 2025 launch date.

Well, here at Big Green's abandoned Cheney Hammer Mill, we way that's pure bullshit. Lansdorp is obviously engaging in gross exaggeration - an exercise in self-aggrandizement, no doubt. 2025 indeed! The notion is ludicrous on its face. Why, with Mitch's help, we could get to Mars tomorrow (or, at least, next week sometime). And it wouldn't be a suicide mission like Lansdorp's; our missions are decidedly two-way. That's just how we roll.

So we've decided to launch a new project we're calling Mars Zero. No, it's not a new low-calorie candy bar or soft drink. Mars Zero is our effort to claim Mars for colonization a full five years before Lansdorp's goons get there. The red planet is ours! We saw it first! (I'm speaking for Mitch, here. He gets a little overheated about this stuff.)

Check out our podcast, This Is Big Green.Want to be a part of the Mars Zero crew, set to leave the surly bonds of Earth in April of 2020? Just contact us via our comment form or our Facebook page or our Twitter account - whatever. We'll test your endurance through feats of strength and ... um ... endurance. (Send us valuable government coupons, known as money, and we'll waive the feats of strength.)

Cowboy Scat on YouTube. Speaking of endurance tests, we've uploaded the first installment of our album Cowboy Scat: Songs in the Key of Rick to our YouTube channel. Give it a listen and let us know what you chuck ... I mean, think.

Another term.

As you can see, Netanyahu (I won't call him "Bibi", as cute nicknames seem kind of inappropriate for mass murderers - like calling Suharto "Susu", etc.) won re-election again. Predictions of his political demise were somewhat premature. As Ali Abunimah pointed out, he basically pulled the same tactic he used in 1996: wait until the last days of the election, then make a big push for the bigot vote, crying alarms about the Arabs "voting in droves" and how the Israeli center-left is a bunch of surrender monkeys. Works every time, apparently. Likud pulled down 30 seats in the Knesset, considerably more than was predicted and against most of the polling (including exit polls).

And THIS is the night before the election.What's ugly about this is that the man who ordered the killing of more than 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza last year, including many children, and destroyed much of what was left of Gaza's already distressed infrastructure, that man has been rewarded by the voters in Israel. A government whose Foreign Minister has advocated beheading Israeli Arabs, expelling them, etc. - that government appears to be sailing back into power, triumphant. It's hard to argue that Israelis, in general, are not fully in favor of what was done last summer - terror bombing UN schools, destroying neighborhoods, hitting hospitals with high explosives, and so on. That's pretty ugly, and disappointing, as the few Israelis I know are not supporters of blowing people up at random.

But the suggestion being circulated in the U.S. press that this outcome is somehow worse for the so-called "peace process" is frankly laughable. Israel's center-left has no more commitment to permitting some reasonable form of Palestinian nationhood than Likud has. Settlement activity in the West Bank and the outward expansion of Israeli-held East Jerusalem has continued under both groupings. The stalemate and steady dispossession of Palestinians is settled policy in Israel; it would take a major sea-change in Israeli society to depart from it, even if many Israelis grumble about the cost of supporting West Bank settlements (a considerable drain on a society which offers little opportunity for affordable housing and a decent standard of living for its young people).

So, here comes the old boss, same as the new boss. No difference to be had here. The only thing we can do is continue to pressure our own government towards a more equitable policy with respect to Israel/Palestine. Two states, based on the pre-June 1967 borders; right of refugee return (to the Palestinian state, at least); confidence building measures, etc. It's not beyond the realm of possibility, but it's a steep climb, and it will never happen without a change on this side of the ocean.

luv u,

jp