The Green Blues Show – Edition 36

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In today’s edition of the Green Blues Show: a conversation with jailed Palestinian feminist and legislator Khalida Jarrar. And deep carbon – unimaginably huge numbers of microbes living deep beneath us.

 

Tom Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison and all those guys would roll over in their graves if they knew what America’s 45th president is doing to the political system they created – all in the name of “Making America Great Again.”

Now in its 30th day, the longest in American history, Donald Trump’s government shutdown has cut off the income of 800,000 public servants, including – most ironically – thousands of ‘Homeland Security’ agents tasked with defending the Wall Trump’s shutdown is aimed to secure. Many are now working without pay.

Imagine all the sorts of hardworking Americans you can lay off! Social service administrators in charge of issuing Medicaid and old age benefits to millions of vulnerable Americans; food inspection and air traffic control workers tasked with keeping the nation’s food supply and bustling airspace safe. (very gratifying to hear about their Canadian traffic control colleagues, ordering them pizzas). And don’t forget all those prison guards, federal police and tax collectors. The list goes on and on.

Unpaid for a month now, federal employees are at wits end. Many have families. They turn to food banks. Some are going as far as to sell their blood for quick cash, as Trump vows to shut down government for years.

America’s great federally managed museums have been shuttered.

And in the absence of federal policing and management services, trash and sewage have been overflowing at legendary national parks like Joshua Tree and Yosemite. Natural features are at risk.

Will Trump back down and restore federal government? Will the Republicans make him? Will the Democrats remain obdurate in their refusal to fund Trump’s Wall, no matter how long America’s Chief Executive Officer’s shutdown endures?

Observers hope the best for America, from afar. If they were to be observing from their graves, or from way on high, America’s Founding Fathers might well shed a tear.

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Why is the state of Israel so afraid of Khalida Jarrar? Does Israel think she poses a threat to its existence? Or has Israel jailed the 56-year-old feminist, human rights activist and legislator simply as a display of power?

Khalida Jarrar following her release from an Israeli jail on June 3, 2016 (Credit: Nedal Eshtayah)

Hard to say. Jarrar is one of almost six thousand Palestinians currently languishing in Israeli prisons, inside Israel’s legal borders. Article 49(6) of the the 4th Geneva Convention (1949) forbids an occupying power from forcibly transferring occupied subjects out of occupied territory, into its own. Israel does it anyway, and the international community lets it, at no cost.

Two hundred and fifty of Israel’s illegally transferred prisoners are children. Some 500 are ‘administrative detainees’ – held without trial, based on secret charges, for renewable six-month periods which tend to get renewed again and again. Eight of Israel’s prisoners are members of the democratically-elected Palestinian Legislative Council.

Khalida Jarrar is one of these. She won her seat in January 2006 (the election Hamas captured Gaza), representing the left-leaning Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The PFLP is the second largest party faction within the Palestine Liberation Organization – number one being Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah. Founded by George Habash in 1967, the PFLP is considered a ‘terrorist’ organisation by Canada, the US, Australia, Japan and the EU. Khalida Jarrar is the PFLP’s deputy leader.

Jarrar was jailed for the first time between April 2015 and June 2016, on secret charges, presumably for her involvement in Palestine’s successful bid to join the International Criminal Court. She was re-arrested in July 2017 and has been in jail ever since. She reportedly suffers from a host of medical ills. I had the chance to sit and talk with Khalida Jarrar, back in the Fall of 2007. Here’s the complete version of our conversation:

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Earth’s biosphere has been described as a thin film of life clinging to the planet’s surface – kind of like a layer of paint covering a soccer ball.

In fact, the biomass of organisms residing beneath Earth’s surface, deep down in rock and submarine sediments, may outstrip the total mass of all humans on the planet by over a hundred fold. (not surprising, perhaps; an adult human consists of about ten trillion of their own cells, and a hundred trillion bacteria, mostly deep in the gut). These are bacteria and their single-celled cousins, the Archeans.

A consortium of Earth scientists has just completed a ten-year study mapping these subterranean prokaryotes, which constitute an incomprehensibly massive pool of deep carbon — an estimated two and half billion cubic kilometers-worth, almost twice the volume of the oceans!

For a rundown on all this, I spoke with Karen Lloyd, an Assistant Professor of microbiology at the University of Tennessee, and a member of the Deep Carbon Observatory. Listen to our complete conversation here:

 

In this edition of the Green Blues Show, songs by Little Walter Jacobs and Memphis Minnie.

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