Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Kim achieves centuries of dignity

From (North) Korean News:
Songun politics pursued by the Workers' Party of Korea fully incorporates the steadfast faith in independence, stout-hearted grit, unswerving political decision and distinguished political ability of Kim Jong Il, says Rodong Sinmun in an article Tuesday.

The DPRK's high dignity and authority are immediately his unquestioned authority and all the victories and epoch-making changes are historical miracles wrought by his Songun politics, notes the author of the article, and goes on:

The DPRK has been throwing its rays as a dignified independent power century after century. This is unthinkable apart from Songun politics of Kim Jong Il.
That's what it says.
The WPK's Songun politics is one resolutely safeguarding the sovereignty and dignity of the country and the nation.

Regarding it as the paramount issue of principle for defending the supreme interests of the state and the basic interests of the revolution to safeguard the sovereignty and dignity of the country and the nation, this policy relentlessly strikes back any attempt to provoke or infringe upon the sovereignty and dignity of the DPRK, without the slightest concession and compromise.

Songun is, immediately, independence and dignity. It is owing to the great Songun politics that no one dares provoke the dignity of the DPRK and the Korean nation.

The WPK's Songun politics is the one solving all the problems arising in the revolution and construction in its own way.

Basing itself on the principle of independence, the WPK decisively rejects the interference and pressure of any outsiders and resolves all the questions arising in the revolution and construction in its own way in conformity with the interests of the Korean revolution and the situation of the country, not wedded to any ready-made theory and formula. This is why the WPK's Songun politics is the most authoritative and viable politics.

The WPK gives a steadfast continuity to independence in the external relations, too.

It resolves all the problems arising in external relations fairly and squarely in accordance with its opinion and will. In the international arena, the DPRK pushes through its intention, saying what it wants to say, neither reading other's face nor bound by any fetters.

Songun politics of the WPK is the most steadfast politics of independence which makes it possible to highly display the dignity of the nation and bring only brilliant victories.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

IRNA: "President: Defeat meaningless for those believing in martyrdom"

Just a little bit of terror-promoting creepiness from Ahmadinejad. The "Sacred Defense" refers to the Iran-Iraq war.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday that defeat is meaningless for those believing in martyrdom.

Speaking to officials in charge of holding ceremony commemorating martyrdom of 36,000 army commanders during eight years of sacred defence, he said martyr seeking spirit would is the strongest shelter against enemies' guns and machine guns and no one can confront a nation with such a high morale.

"The martyrdom seeking culture will protect us against all social problems," he said.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Linkim 7/29/07

Haveil Havalim 127 is up! Carnival of the Insanities is up!

Campus Watch: "Bernard's Shame and Columbia's Dirty Deal"*

Solomonia: "Joseph Massad and Nadia Abu El Haj at Columbia / Barnard"

Assaf Wohl: "My Jewish Narrative"*

Life-of-Rubin: "Last Thoughts on Matisyahu"

EOZ: "Breathtaking stupidity by the US"

Israel Matzav: "Israel to release 600 more 'Palestinian' terrorists?"

Judeosphere: "A Candid Assessment"

Captain's Quarters: "The Naivete Sweepstakes"

Caroline Glick: "Column One: Iran, 2; Israel 0"

Amir Taheri: "When People Refuse to be Terrorized"

*(h/t: Martin Kramer)

Let's Expand!

Canadian Jewish News has a current article, "Expanding the definition of 'kosher,'" picked up from American Jewish World and concerning the proposed "Hechsher Tzedek"--the Social Justice Hechsher! We learn:
Rabbi Morris Allen of Beth Jacob Congregation in Mendota Heights, a suburb of St. Paul, Minn., is passionate about both kashrut (Jewish dietary laws) and social justice. These concerns have developed into the Hechsher Tzedek (justice certification) movement, which brings social justice in the workplace into the discussion of kashrut.

"I really do believe that kashrut is a central part of Jewish life," Allen told the AJW . . .
Despite Rabbi Allen's kashrus centrality convictions, the reproach against normal kashrus observance and certification is not slow in arriving, of course:
[...] "It is not enough anymore in the 21st century to say that a product is kosher according to the ritual debate," Allen said. "It is also necessary to ensure that a product matches our ethical debate."

The Hechsher Tzedek program will seek to certify foods that are produced in proper and healthy working conditions. Products that are certified will be stamped with the official seal.

To evaluate the social justice standards in the kosher food industry, the program will look at six areas: wages and benefits, worker health and safety, animal welfare, corporate transparency, employee training and environmental impact. [...]
The big question is why is he picking on kashrus? I understand that this all came about because of allegations of poor working conditions at Agriprocessors, but if existing labor laws are not adequate to insure good working conditions and if laws addressing evironmental and other concerns are also not adequate, why doesn't he just develop a social justice certification for any product? Why not bicycles as well? The trouble with expanding definitions is that they often develop into blob-like masses of all-devouring goo:
[...] "We are not interested in replacing traditional hechshers; our goal is essentially to supplement the fine work in determining the narrow definition of kashrut into something much broader," he said.

Both Rosenthal and Allen noted a growing spread of the scope of Hechsher Tzedek beyond the Conservative movement, and even beyond Judaism.

"We are capable of adding to the discourse in American religious life in general about what it really means to be a person of faith," Allen said. "Our goal is to demonstrate the holistic nature of Jewish life. All religions, Jewish and non-Jewish, are increasingly narrow in their focus." [...]
There you go--he's out to fight the increasing narrowness of "all religions." So again, why pick on kashrus? Judaism does not have nearly the membership of some other world religions. Perhaps Rabbi Allen would be happier inventing eco-halal.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Saturday, July 28, 2007

LA Times: Catch a wave and you're sitting on top of the Gaza Strip?

Somehow a story about surfing-as-freedom should not be so drearily predictable:
The surfer paddled out from the shore.

Lying on his battered board, he scanned the horizon. The turquoise water glittered in the midday sun.

Moments later, he caught a wave, effortlessly.

Back at the shore, Ahmed Abu Hassan, a 28-year-old Palestinian, pulled his board from the water and walked along the Gaza beach where green Hamas flags competed for space with red and yellow umbrellas. It looked as though Islamic militants and ice cream vendors had engaged in a turf war over the golden sand.

"It's a joy," said Hassan, a taciturn and graceful surfer.

If surfing is a quest for freedom, nowhere is such a pursuit more relevant than in Gaza, an overcrowded, poverty-stricken strip of land on the Mediterranean controlled by Hamas and cut off from the rest of the world by Israel. [...]
You can guess the rest. At the beginning of the next paragraph someone observes "Gaza is like a prison" . . . (The LA Times also currently features an article about someone who thinks "Islam is the ultimate sexuality.")

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Press TV (Iran): "Whose side is Al-Jazeera on?"

The pot calls the kettle a son of pigs and monkeys?
In a bid to undermine Iran's positive role in Iraq, Al-Jazeera TV network has made efforts to downplay the importance of the US-Iran talks, which can guarantee security in Iraq.

While the Iraqi government has described the second round of the talks as a big achievement for the Iraqi nation, the Al-Jazeera TV website tends to question Iran's positive role in the region by posting an article headlined "US and Iran clash at Iraq talks".

Al-Jazeera's attempt comes at a time when Iran, Iraq and the US have agreed on a new initiative to stymie the violence in Iraq while security experts from the three countries are slated to form a tripartite committee to support the Iraqi government.

Pundits did not expect such an early constructive result from the talks.
And still don't expect any kind of "constructive result" at all.
The Iranian Ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, who headed the Iranian delegation, said that all sides had expressed their readiness to support the Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and pledged to use their influence and clout to achieve this aim. Commenting on the results of the meeting, Qomi said, "If the talks make the US correct its policies in Iraq, it could be considered as a step forward."

Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari meanwhile said in a statement released on Tuesday, "This meeting has been challenging but productive and we feel it has produced some real results". He said the tripartite committee's objectives are "to battle al-Qaeda insurgents and support general stability in the country".

The Iraqi government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh who described the talks as a big achievement for the Iraqi nation, said in an interview with al-Alam TV channel that the second round of trilateral talks was quite 'successful'. The Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Bahram Salih also supported Iran-US agreements saying the talks would benefit the Iraqi nation, its neighbors and the US.

The US Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker who headed the US delegation, also commented on the meeting saying, "We made the point that the agreement on principle is important and the principle that both Iran and the United States support is a democratic, stable Iraq."

He also said, "No people have suffered greater harm under Saddam Hussein than the Iraqis themselves, but second only to the Iraqis are the Iranians. The vicious eight-year-war that Saddam launched against them has to be something that no Iranian will ever forget."

Al-Jazeera has always tried to suggest that the Iran-US talks will be of no benefit to Iraq, but the question that remains is: apart from serving as a platform to broadcast footage of terrorist organizations, what does Al-Jazeera do in order to help the situation in Iraq?

Why does Al-Jazeera fuel sectarian and religious violence in Iraq and elsewhere in the region and try to undermine the efforts geared to improve security in Iraq? When all sides except the extremists seem satisfied and hope to defuse the crisis in Iraq, why is Al-Jazeera so angry about the trilateral negotiations?

Whose side is Al-Jazeera on?
They are subtly hinting at the answer with the image reproduced above.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Friday, July 27, 2007

Dar Al-Hayat: "Hizbullah's Ambush"

The Leftist line is that Israel planned the Lebanon war in advance. According to the present article (responding to this speech?) Hizbullah actually planned its cross-border raid in advance. The article is also nicely scornful of bellicose "Arab satellite channel" reporters and "truth twisting" apologists for Syria. The Western press could use more writers like this one:
Standing on the very same spot from which he covered last summer's war in Tyre, South Lebanon, a reporter for an Arab satellite channel pans his camera out to the sandy shore of the beach to reveal swimmers of all ages cooling off in the water under the summer heat. This reporter proceeded to assure his audience that these people - among others in South Lebanon and the Lebanese in general - were "prepared to sacrifice once more if such a sacrifice would lead them to another victory." He made this bold assertion without bothering to ask any of the swimmers in the water - whose numbers included many women and children - the position he had just taken in their name.

Anyone listening to the recent speeches of Hizbullah Secretary General Hasan Nasrallah knows now that the ambush of Israeli soldiers that forced the Lebanese to make the sacrifices the reporter referred to was in fact three months in the making. Thus, the same Hizbullah that had been attending the famous national dialogue and reassuring the Lebanese that the summer and tourist season of 2006 would be a peaceful one was planning an operation that would inflict pain on Lebanon as a whole and not just on two kidnapped Israeli soldiers. Throughout this planning, Hizbullah did not bother to grant others a say in the matter which would affect them - or to ask whether or not others were willing to pay the necessary price for Hizbullah's actions.

Hizbullah's reasoning bears a remarkable resemblance to the reporter's belief that he may speak freely on behalf of others without consulting them on his own plans for their future, and content himself with rallying them behind slogans of 'the road to paradise' - slogans fundamentally incompatible with the consensual democratic arrangement cemented in Lebanon's Taif Accords.

Sayyid Nasrallah went on to launch a scathing attack on Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and on his insistence throughout last summer's ceasefire negotiations on a full resolution of the issue of Hizbullah's weapons and on the state's monopolization over armed force in Lebanon. Thus, Nasrallah is condemning Siniora for implementing the duties delegated to him by the Lebanese people: the establishment and preservation of the power of the state rather than that of factions and parties. Nasrallah seems to have forgetten that it was Siniora who was relaying the conditions expressed by Israel through the United States government. This was due to Hizbullah's decision to use the Prime Minister and Speaker of Parliament as a conduit in negotiations owing to the party's own political taboos and security constraints. By that reasoning, why does Hizbullah not also accuse Speaker Nabih Berri of pushing for the creation of an enclave dominated by multinational forces in Southern Lebanon?

As for Nasrallah's defense of Syria - who stood idly by while Lebanon was pummeled with several thousand tons of explosives - on the grounds that Damascus threatened Israel with military action should it take the war to Syrian territory, his statement is more an indictment than a defense. For it indicates that Syria is concerned only with her own security and not with that of its neighbor whom it dominated for years and with whom it has signed many a defensive pact. In addition, if Damascus' threats really prevented Israel from taking the fight to Syria, why did Damascus not issue warnings against attacks elsewhere?

So it seems that twisting the truth and switching positions are part of the 'politics of ambush' embraced by Hizbullah both publicly and in secret. And anyone who buys into the idea that the national unity government demanded by Hizbullah and its allies will remove Lebanon from destructive regional axes and restore peace and stability in the country has fallen victim to the politics of perpetual ambush.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

On Al-Ahram planet, Pals have "acceptance of their enemy's humanity"

Yes. despite it all, they have not responded in kind to all that nasty Zionist hatred:
[...] The Palestinians are strikingly unburdened by the pathologies of their oppressors, not least of all because they do not reciprocate their occupier's widespread racism. Their responses to their sadistic dispossession and unbearable suffering run the gamut from peaceful to violent resistance, including the desperate barbarity of suicide bombings. Yet unlike their tormentors, they've not lost their humanity and essential decency, their acceptance of their enemy's humanity, their cultural generosity of spirit and life, their respect for the sacredness of all life . . .
The article, entitled "The closing of the Jewish mind" by the way, also includes the following anecdote, which the author finds important and illustrative:
[...] American Jewish sensibility is illustrated by a personal story. In September 2002, a local college organised a symposium on global peace. Hanan Ashrawi, an indefatigable humanist and proponent of Palestinian- Israeli peace, was the keynote speaker. The usual smear and pressure campaign was exerted on the college by Jewish organisations, portraying Ashrawi as a terrorist unfit to speak, organising loud protests on the college campus, bussing droves of people from a nearby city, and even flying in the fanatic Daniel Pipes to lead the protest. The school went ahead with Ashrawi whose address was global in substance, concerned with human rights and international institutions, hardly, if at all, mentioning Palestine-Israel. Because of lack of room in the packed auditorium, many, including myself sat on the grassy field and listened to Ashrawi through loudspeakers.

And there were these two: a Jewish man and his college-age daughter, sitting atop a picnic table, each facing opposite directions, bracing and balancing each other with their backs. I observed them with fascination as Ashrawi spoke, including their expressions and almost unconscious, incoherent mumbling and heckling as they rocked back and forth like an agitated seesaw, furiously chewing gum throughout a long talk, livid as they listened to Ashrawi say, well, virtually nothing about Palestine. I realised then the profound shutdown of the American Jewish mind. Ashrawi's topic was not on Palestine but they managed to experience what they expected. A total disconnect from reality. They were so utterly threatened and fixated on their hatred of this articulate Palestinian and what she represented that they literally did not hear what was, in the end, an innocuous talk, as far as they should be concerned. [...]
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hebrew Quran translation to avoid term "Israelites"

From Asharq Alawsat:
The translation of the Holy Quran into Hebrew will take over one full year, according to Dr. Mohammed bin Salim al Awfi, the secretary general of the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Quran, the Saudi Arabian body authorized to issue and publish translations of the Holy Quran into various languages.

A year has already passed since the complex announced undertaking the translation of the meanings of the Holy Quran into Hebrew, while other translations into Arabic and Hebrew have been published outside of Saudi Arabia, however containing several flaws. Al Awfi confirmed that the translation takes more than a year in various languages, not only into Hebrew. "Any institution that works on the translation and publication of the meanings of the Holy Quran must try to be accurate in order to present correct and valid meanings in terms of theology, Shariaa, language and style. This requires an accurate method," al Awfi added. [...]

According to al Awfi, there are various measures in the translation process that are based on the theological accuracy of a translation, compliance with Shariaa, observance of the [Islamic] fundamentals and principles, refraining from subjecting translations to denominational views, referring to the established interpretation sources and transferring the meanings of the Holy Quran directly into the target language rather than from an intermediary language as well as refraining from adapting the Quranic verses by adding or deleting, compliance with the translation of the meanings of the Holy Quran, avoiding literalism so as to make it a translation of meanings, transliterating untranslatable words and giving their approximate translations between brackets such as ‘Zakat’, ‘Hajj’, ‘Umrah’, and avoiding the term Israelite and narrations that cannot be confirmed.[...]
I wonder what that's all about. (Hat Tip: Martin Kramer)

IRNA: "Entire affairs of nation must be run based on people's will - Khatami"

The double-talk in these articles is fascinating:
Former IRI President, Mohammad Khatami said here in his hometown Wednesday entire affairs of this nation must be run based on this nation's will.

Speaking on blessed birth anniversary of the 9th Infallible Shi'a Imam Javad (PBUH), Khatami said, "Proper informing of people is among the most important teachings of Islam."

He added, "The entire people should be provided the chance to express themselves, and to have direct influence on country's affairs."

Emphasizing that the ground needs to be paved for participation of the people at all fields, Khatami reiterated, "Taking advantage of collective wisdom in various political, economic and cultural affairs equal to remaining close to the conduct of the Infallible Household of the Prophet (PBUT)."

He also considered legitimate freedom and security as two rights of the people, arguing, "Every single individual must feel secure in this country, unless he, or she disturbs the security of the others." Elsewhere in his address, Khatami stressed, "The freedom we talk about is based on Islamic ethics, and while observing entire positive values, not the hedonistic type."

He meanwhile said, "Those people who argue today in the absence of the late Imam Khomeini that he chose the republic type of government for this country due to an expediency are in fact insulting the leadership of this system, and they should know that the roots for Islamic Republic were depicted from the life styles of Infallible Imams (PBUH) by the late founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran."
Tags: Iran, Khatami

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tariq Alhomayed on the AKP victory and Hamas

More interesting analysis from Asharq Alawsat:
[...]If the AKP abuses its sweeping victory and makes changes in Turkey's core constitution as a way of gaining more power, thereby forcing the army to intervene, it will then prove to be no different than most other Islamist parties, as most Islamist parties who rise to power declare "game over" as soon as they wield it. They soon announce that "Islam is the answer" and that God is the ultimate ruler, and they are His men. Woe unto whoever objects to this, of course!

By this, we are reminded of the Hamas situation. Hamas rose to power via elections that were only made possible in the first place by the Oslo Accords. These same international accords were soon rejected by Hamas, as it decided to change the rules of the democratic game and govern Gaza through weapons and fatwas [religious rulings]. All the facts show that Hamas has lost, not due to a coup of any sort, but have in fact lost by winning the elections!

If the AKP follows suit, it will also suffer great losses and it will only prove the stereotype that no Islamist party can ever rule successfully. If Erdogan's party, however, demonstrates rationality, and governs the country with Turkey’s best interest in mind, while also respecting its constitution and abiding by the rules of the game so that it is fair to everyone, it will then mark the beginning of a new era in the region for Islamist parties and for democracy as a whole. [...]
I'm not holding my breath about that "new era," of course, but how's that for a brief description of Hamas's political trajectory?

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Monday, July 23, 2007

Tisha B'Av Round-up

Algemeiner.com: "A Tzaddik Weeps"

CrownHeights.info: "Why We Mourn on Tisha B'Av"

Chabad.org Blog: "Tisha B'av on Chabad.org"

Hirhurim: "Appropriate Reading for Tisha B'Av?"

Lazer Beams: "Tisha B'av - the 9th of Av"

Divrei Chaim: "9 Av is not 9/11 - churban and chilul kedusha"

Beyond Teshuvah: "Dealing With a Tearless Tisha B’Av"

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sharia "still not well understood"

From The Jakarta Post via Muslim News:
Five years after sharia was first implemented in Aceh, many residents, especially villagers, still do not fully understand it, an Islamic group says.

Many residents are unsure about its implementation, while some groups have politicized it, resulting in a focus on punishments like public caning and the requirement for women to wear a headscarf.
Better not to focus on the public caning.
Gazali Mohammad Syam of the Aceh Ulema Conference Council said there was a need to further familiarize locals with sharia and its regulations, especially in villages.

"Some people might still take sharia's implementation lightly, maybe because they have no knowledge on the matter," Gazali said.

He was speaking at recent meeting on five years of sharia in Aceh, organized by Mitra Sejati Perempuan Indonesia in Berastagi, North Sumatra.

The one-day meeting involved 20 participants from various groups in Aceh, including the sharia office, as well as officials, the police, ulema, academics, activists, lawmakers, the Aceh and Nias Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency and several women's organizations.

Academic Arraniry Hamid Sarong said the poor understanding of sharia had become a serious problem and was beyond explanation given that sharia was introduced to Aceh in 2003.

Sharia was implemented in the province two years after the central government granted special autonomy to Aceh in order to curb the independence campaign conducted by the Free Aceh Movement.

"Back then, when sharia was about to officially introduced, everyone was in high spirits, so they forgot about hot to implement the law," said an expert from the State Institute of Islamic Studies.

He said public caning for men who do not perform prayers three times of Fridays was an example of sharia that had not been enforced correctly.

When the law first came in, people were in high spirits, he said, but when it came to implementing the law, everyone was confused.

"Everyone forgot how to find evidence that a man did not perform Friday prayers. It must involve the police, the prosecutor and the judge," Hamid said.
And then you can cane the guy?
Since sharia's implementation, several qanuns or local ordinances have been passed. They include bans on khamar (drinking), maisir (gambling) and khalwat (premarital sex).

Sharia also bans men and women from eating and selling food during the Ramadhan fasting month and forces Muslim women to wear the headscarf.

Since its introduction in 2005, the sharia court has dealt with 157 cases.

Hamid said the government and the community had a tendency to make things official but got caught up in jargons and symbols instead of getting to the core of the problem.
So much of life is like this.
"Now there is a need to make people understand sharia which has been made official," he said.

Apart from a lack of understanding and familiarity, critics have pointed the finger at officials, saying they have failed to be good role models.

Several officials and even a sharia police officer have been apprehended for premarital sex but escaped prosecution.

"It would be better if the sharia was implemented without making any exceptions," Gazali said.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Tags: Sharia, Aceh, Islam

Linkim 7/22/07

Haveil Havalim 126 is up! Carnival of the Insanities is up! KCC 19 is up! JPix 12 is up!

Israel Matzav is buzzin'

The Daily Star: "Haleh Esfandiari, or the evil of an often impressive Iran" (Martin Kramer calls this the "Comical op-ed of the week.")

EOZ: "Teaching the 'Naqba' to Israeli Arabs - and Jews"

Robert Fisk ("I despise the internet") explains why "the bloggers are winning."

Hier and Cooper: LA Times "unconscionable"

Israel Perspectives on " A Non-Kosher Way to Think."

BTB: "Bad News Abounds"

Judeosphere has a good post on "Bad Medicine."

Jack asks "What Are Your Favorite Blog Names?"

SerandEz features a Slug-saga.

Kamangir reveals that it is illegal to convert to Islam in America!

Solomonia: "Hamas Leader's Shoes Stolen -- Fatah Blamed"

IraqPundit: "The Sworn Conspiracy" (h/t: Martin Kramer)

Steyn: "Look who's holding hostages again"

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Northern California Jewish News: Customer told "Jews need to be killed"?

Rainbow Grocery Cooperative, a San Francisco store that has received some notoriety because of an anti-Israel boycott, is now back in the news. According to Northern California Jewish News, a customer was subjected to an "Alleged anti-Semitic tirade":
“Paper or plastic?” is a checkout line conversation-starter David Alexander Nahmod has heard a million times.

But “Jews need to be killed, it’s the only way to get them off Palestinian land” and “You’re just a stupid Jew” are snippets he says he heard at the checkout line once — and that was enough.

Nahmod, a 51-year-old freelance writer and Sephardic Jew, recently filed a complaint with San Francisco’s Human Rights Commission claiming discrimination when a counterwoman at the Rainbow Grocery Cooperative allegedly showered him with anti-Semitic invective late last year.

Nahmod further claims that when he complained to customer relations about the incident, the attendant told him to leave him alone or he’d “whoop” him.

Rainbow officials declined to field j.’s [Northern California Jewish News] numerous phone calls. One member of the store’s board abruptly hung up during a phone interview, while another demanded that an interview request be submitted in writing. It was. We then received a fax claiming Nahmod was banned from the store because of his “continued documented harrasment.” [...]
Sounds incriminating. And you can't say that "j" isn't sympathetic to progressive people.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Friday, July 20, 2007

IRIB: "'In Name of Democracy' reveales [sic] US plots"

Imprisoned American-Iranian scholar Haleh Esfandiari was recently shown on Iranian television making an apparently coerced confession. Her daughter writes in the Washington Post:
The program . . . was supposed to show Iran and ostensibly the world my mother's complicity in a plan to undermine the Islamic Republic using, of all things, female activists and academics. But the footage turned out to be a typical secret police job of deception, vicious in intent yet clumsily contrived.
(The Guardian's charming title for an article about the confessions was "US academics admit aiding Iran democracy drive.") "In the Name of Democracy" is a phrase from Esfandiari's statement that was used as the title for the television program. This IRIB article, interestingly and typically, does not mention Esfandiari and two other supposed conspirators by name:
Interim Friday Prayer leader of Tehran Ayatollah Sayed Ahmad Khatami said on Friday in his second sermon confessions of three American agents proved Washington is after launching soft and velvet coups not only in Iran, but also in many other countries.
From here until the end the original article is in boldface.
According to IRNA Political Desk reporter from central campus of Tehran University, addressing thousands of Tehrani worshipers, this week's Friday preacher of Tehran added, "This policy has worked in some countries, but in Iran, it has faced defeat, just like the other failed American policies on Iran."

Khatami reiterated, "In order to pursue its interferences in independent countries of the world, the American officials always backs up the process of soft coups, resorting to promotion of Western culture in so-called civil societies, creation of gaps be tween the nations and their governments through crisis generation and systematic activities of certain individuals, and launching psychological wars."

He added, "Then in the long run, taking full advantage of the press, mass media, and intellectual circles, and launching feminist campaigns, they try to reap the fruits of their vast scale efforts."

Pointing out that getting involved in such broad activities aimed at interference in foreign countries costs millions of dollars, he once again referred to the confessions of the arrested American agents in Iran, arguing, "Those confessions have enraged the country's statesmen and press, prompting them to react angrily."

Ayatollah Khatami reiterated, "During the past fifty years the American officials has directly or indirectly interfered in the internal affairs of 25 countries of the world militarily, and the funny thing is that Washington also claims it is after the establishment of democracy throughout the world."

Member of the Leadership Assembly of Experts highlighted the Islamic Republic of Iran's role in preserving stability and security in the Middle East region, adding, "Iran's policies regarding Iraq have always been aimed at promoting security measures there and serving the oppressed Iraqi nation, and yet America has always, resorting to fake pretexts, been accusing Iran of interference in Iraq's affairs."

He added, "The American officials policy in Iraq today is aimed at bringing the Ba'th Party back to power, and fueling the flames of tribal and sectarian wars there."

Elsewhere in his second sermon, Ayatollah Khatami referring to the Palestine issue, said, "In Palestine, the government and parliament took shape relying on people's votes, but you noticed how the oppressive powers treated that government and that parliament."

He added, "Now the world nations know very well that the only matter about which America does not care about the slightest bit is establishment of democracy, and that at the peak of that country's ideals there is exertion of America hegemony in as many independent countries in the world, as possible. [...]
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Zionists exposed

OK, that explains the comments. But what Zionist operative is responsible for the posts?

Linkim 7/18/07

Kamangir: "No Gas: Police Investigation Halted, Corpses to be Abandoned"

Right Wing Nut House: "Iran: War Can Wait"

Der Spiegel: "Should Germany Republish 'Mein Kampf'?"

Soccer Dad: "A president's legacy quick fix playground - the middle east"

Caroline Glick: "The Joke's on Us"

Must Gum Addict at The Muqata: "It MUST be the Torah!"

Judeosphere: "British Academic Boycott Round-Up"

Ynetnews.com: "Jews urged to 'come to New Orleans'"

A Simple Jew: "Question & Answer With Dixie Yid - The Irony Of Anonymity"

History News Network: "Apologia for Hamas at Harvard" (h/t: Martin Kramer)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

(North) Korean News: "Great Leadership in Upholding Juche Character and National Character"

The invincible prose-style of Mt. Paektu will dispel any Imperialist thoughts from your mind with one blow!
Socialism in the DPRK owes it entirely to President Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il that it is throwing ever brighter rays as socialism of Juche and socialism of patriotism, declares Rodong Sinmun in an article Monday.

Noting that Kim Il Sung was the first distinguished thinker and theoretician and peerless veteran statesman in history to put forward the idea of preserving the Juche character and national character and successfully apply them to the revolution and construction, the author of the article continues: His outstanding leadership and immortal exploits have been successfully carried forward by Kim Jong Il.

The sagacity of the leadership of Kim Jong Il in firmly adhering to the Juche character and national character in the revolution and construction finds manifestation in that he has built a strong military power which can firmly guarantee the sovereignty of the country and the nation under the banner of Songun.

The Korean People's Army is demonstrating its might as an invincible revolutionary army of Mt. Paektu which is strong enough to defeat any formidable imperialist army at one blow and the defence industry of the DPRK has been put on a very high level to produce for itself any military and technical equipment for modern warfare. Great unity of the army and people has been achieved and the whole country turned into an impregnable fortress, so that the DPRK can be placed in full preparedness to meet any contingency on the initiative.

His wise leadership also finds manifestation in that he has led the work to build a great prosperous powerful nation of Korean-style on this land by the efforts of the people themselves and further fully developed in depth the work to give sufficient play to the superiority of the Korean nation in all aspects of social life.

The Songun politics pursued by Kim Jong Il is the most steadfast policy of independence and patriotism. It is the rock-firm faith deeply rooted in the hearts of the army and people of the DPRK that the high dignity of the country and its powerful prosperity are possible when upholding his Songun leadership.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Iranian Press Today: Some conspiracy, some inter-Axis blather, some Supreme Leader pronouncements

IRIB: "When time is up for Osama Ben Laden?"
As soon as the time is up for Osama Ben Laden, American President George W. Bush will announce capture of the al-Qaeda leader, a Persian daily, Iran, said on Sunday.

The daily said in an editorial that the September 11 terrorist attack in 2001 was made under suspicious circumstances for which Ben Laden was held responsible, but, political observers were aware of the fact that Ben Laden had connections with America where he had undergone training arranged by the Central Intelligence Agency.

"The CIA had helped Ben Laden organize Taliban in Afghanistan and it was clear that Ben Laden's possible involvement in twin towers terrorist attack could not be successful in the absence of coordination with the neo-conservative war mongers in the White House."

The events which took place in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in America helped raise the theory of complicity of the White House in the twin towers explosion, the editorial said.

"Declaration of crusade against Islam and subsequent propaganda campaign against Muslims led to a war against the Muslim Ummah as the great nation standing up to America hegemony."

"Invasion of Afghanistan put America on the forefront of clash of civilizations which was the strategic depth of America in advancing its hegemony," part of the editorial written by IRNA Managing Director Jalal Fayyazi said.[...]
IRNA: "Sensitive regional status necessitates Ahmadinejad's Syrian visit - Syrian diplomat":
Head of Syrian Foreign Ministry's Strategic Studies Center said here Monday "extremely sensitive" regional status makes President Ahmadinejad's upcoming visit of Damascus quite necessary.

Samir al-Taqi further emphasized in an exclusive interview with IRNA correspondent in Damascus, "The situation in the region is quite alarming today and in need of close consultations and full harmony among allies in order to confront the crises and challenges with which regional countries are faced with." [...]
Fars News: "Leader Rejects World Division into Hegemonic, Submissive Nations":
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei rejected the present conditions in the world, where efforts of the bullying powers to monopolize science and technology have divided the world into "advanced and under-developed" or "hegemonic and submissive" nations.

The Leader made the remarks during a visit to Rouyan Research Center and an exhibition of the achievements of University Jihad here on Monday.[...]

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Linkim 7/15/07

Haveil Havalim 125 is up! Carnival of the Insanities is up!

Richard Falk: "Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust" (h/t: Martin Kramer)

JTA: "British journalists reject boycott of Israel"

Bagel Blogger: "Mahmoud really is Nuts! Iranians arrest 14 squirrels for spying"

LGF: "Killer Bee Replaces Death Cult Mickey"

Palestinian Chronicles: "Ramzy Baroud: The Alternative Media"

: "Iran bans political campaigning" (h/t: Kamangir)

Amir Taheri: "Calls for Ending the War Can Prolong It"

Tehran Times: "today Zionism is talking through Angela Merkel"

Angela Merkel, who received one of Ahmadinejad's famous letters to world leaders, you will recall, recently said some critical things about Iran. Tehran Times replies:
In an undiplomatic and provocative speech at a school of Jewish studies in Heidelberg, German Chancellor Angela Merkel referred to the anti-Zionist statements of Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and said that the threat can only be eliminated by isolating Iran.

At first glance, it seems the German chancellor’s statements could have been influenced by the fact that politicians usually try to mention points which the audiences of such meetings expect to hear.

However, nowadays the world expects high-ranking officials to analyze the situation and take others’ views into consideration when they make statements.

Angela Merkel has made a number of statements about the Holocaust issue since taking power, which can be viewed from various angles.
"Various angles"? Perhaps she took "others’ views into consideration."
Although the Zionist regime has been playing the Holocaust card to take advantage of other nations’ emotions for years, the rest of the world is finally catching on to the game.

Using history as a tool to appease a particular group only creates more divisions between nations.

As a major industrialized country, Germany, has been yearning to play a role in the international arena by seeking to build consensus among nations.

However, it seems the chancellor’s biased statements about the Iranian president, which are a result of Zionist pressure, will cause a loss of prestige for Germany in the world, and in Europe in particular, and will negatively affect the longstanding ties between Iran and Germany, which had been expanding in recent years.

Indeed, Merkel’s indiscreet statements are in line with the interests of the Zionists, to the detriment of the interests of Iran and Germany. In other words, today Zionism is talking through Angela Merkel.

Such statements are regrettable, since throughout the history of Iran-Germany relations, the interests of the two countries have always been prioritized over short-term issues.

Over the course of history, leaders have always tried to make amends for the bitter chapters of their country’s history by making speeches, especially to minorities, in order to gain their support, often playing to the people’s emotions in order to escape from political and psychological pressure.

Merkel’s threatening tone can be viewed in this light.

Whatever Merkel’s motivations may have been, her position will now be deemed as threatening and hostile by other nations and governments.

It seems that Merkel selected her words in such a way so as to appease the Jews in her country and make amends for the dark events of Germany’s past, in which she and the members of her generation actually played no part.
No generation is immune from Fake Regime machinations!

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Why does everybody hate Hillary?

"Why is she hated by progressives and right-wingers alike?" The Independent's title asks. This is more puzzling to The Independent than it should be:
She is probably the most competent in the field. Virtually everyone agrees that she should have the best chance of wresting the presidency from the Republicans in 2008 and repairing the damage from the wrecking ball (omega) of the Bush presidency. She also has Bill Clinton by her side, a formidable campaigner who took to the road for the first time in Iowa this month.

But behind the scenes, Americans are deeply worried at the prospect of having Hillary (and Bill) back in the White House. While she inspires ordinary women voters, men are not so moved and she has the highest voter-disapproval ratings of any top-tier candidate in the race. She also has a big problem with left-wing feminists.
According to the sub-title:
They say she is a scheming control-freak who will stop at nothing in her bid to become the first Mrs President.
Jane Fonda is also quoted, calling her a "ventriloquist for the patriarchy with a skirt . . . " That's what Hillary gets for trying to disguise her leftism as centrism. The radicals scream with rage and everyone else senses that she is a phony, and a not particularly charismatic one at that. Did I mention that she wants to bring back the 55 miles-per-hour speed limit?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

TimesOnline: "Carlos the Jackal sneers at Al-Qaeda’s ‘amateur’ killers"

Despite The Times' catchy title for this item, we learn little about Carlos Ilich Sanchez's fairly recent support for Al Qaeda. According to Amir Taheri, Sanchez's 2003 book "Revolutionary Islam"
urges "all revolutionaries, including those of the left, even atheists," to accept the leadership of Islamists such as Osama bin Laden and so help turn Afghanistan and Iraq into the "graveyards of American imperialism."
Taheri adds that "Carlos is wholly dedicated to inciting Muslims to hate the United States and not at all interested in inspiring them to change the regimes that oppress them." According to The Times:
In his first telephone interview with a newspaper, the Venezue-lan-born Vladimir Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, 57, said he was saddened by any loss of life in London, where he lived as a young man. He also attacked what he called a lack of professionalism in some cells linked to Al-Qaeda.
A number of paragraphs later the article again touches on the recent failed terror attacks:
He condemned Al-Qaeda followers without specific targets, saying: “They are not professionals. They’re not organised. They don’t even know how to make proper explosives or proper detonators.”

Sanchez was a self-styled “professional revolutionary” who studied in Moscow in the 1960s before signing up with a Palestinian guerrilla movement . . .
Again, the image of the professional sneering at amateurs is catchy, and the author does point out that Sanchez "showed no remorse" for his crimes, but is Sanchez still promoting the ideas in "Revolutionary Islam"? Inquiring minds want to know.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Friday, July 13, 2007

Daily Star: Lebanon war "a divine victory for disinformation"

Michael Young identifies "three myths" associated with the Lebanon war:
[...] The first myth was that of Lebanese unanimity in the face of Israel. Soon after the war began, a spectacular bit of disinformation surfaced when the Beirut Center for Research published a poll that allegedly showed overwhelming support for "the Resistance" - shorthand for Hizbullah . . .

A second myth, peddled most forcefully by American journalist Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker, but whose implications were picked up by many critics of the Siniora government, was that the Lebanese war was a practice run for a US military campaign against Iran's nuclear facilities. This appraisal served several purposes, most importantly that it situated the Lebanese conflict in the context of a larger American and Israeli plot to change power relations in the region. There was some truth there: once the war kicked off, Washington saw a golden opportunity to weaken Hizbullah, and by extension Iran and Syria. However, there was little evidence then, or today, to indicate that Israel had launched a pre-planned attack.

If anything, Israeli press reports soon after the war, but also the first release of the Winograd commission's findings, emphasized that Israel's government was guilty of a confused response that seemed to belie a pre-planned attack . . .

One might add a third myth, this one recent and more a topic of divination than a case of mendacity. It is the statement that because Israel cannot accept defeat in Lebanon, it is bound to attack the country again in the future. The Lebanese war was not one that Israel's generals will soon forget. However, such a statement is disturbing not only because it suggests that war is inevitable, though one can be avoided if border issues are managed through negotiations; but also because it gives Hizbullah an excuse to retain its weaponry . . .
Read the rest. (Hat Tip: Martin Kramer)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Patrilineal triumphalism

This is from a Los Angeles Jewish Journal article entitled "'Half-Jews' fight for acceptance":
[...] In 2006, outreach activist Robin Margolis launched the Half-Jewish Network (http://www.half-jewish.net), an online community where those with some family connection to Judaism can express themselves openly whether they identify as Jewish, half-Jewish, Christian or nothing.

"A lot of these people have been greeted by organizations where the first demand is 'make a choice,' and if they don't, they're not welcome," says Margolis, who attends a Jewish Renewal congregation.

The Reform movement, which accepts Jewish patrilineal descent, does not allow children in its religious schools to receive education in a second religion.

Some half-Jewish activists believe demography will prove a stronger force than tradition.

Nearly half of American Jews are intermarrying, according to the 2000-2001 National Jewish Population Survey. As more of these interfaith families assert their place in the Jewish community, they likely will gain a more influential role in determining how the community views their distinct identity.

"We'll be the majority of Jews in this country by 2030," Margolis says. "Then the playing field changes. If we're the majority, we'll decide who's a Jew."
"Majority"? Of what? People with some Jewish ancestry? Why would that particular majority "decide who's a Jew" (or anything else)? Isn't the prospect of all products of intermarriage marching together in semiexistence-asserting solidarity a little unlikely?

Update: The more you look into this half-Jew business, the odder it gets. It turns out that Robin Margolis, this half-activist, this divider of the world into halves and half-nots, this would-be raiser of semi-consciousness, is fully Jewish! I looked at her website. Her mother was Jewish.

Zionist operative infiltrates Egypt

Mission accomplished! The seeds of complete societal collapse have been planted:
A seminar organised by Ain Shams University's Centre for the Study of Contemporary Civilisations (CSCC) ended in uproar when several participating Egyptian professors discovered that Robin Firestone, the American professor delivering a paper on the "Problematic of the Chosen in Monotheistic Religions", was a rabbi.

"Although Firestone promised at the beginning of his speech to be neutral he failed to be objective while presenting his thesis," claimed Khaled Fahmi, a professor of Phonetics at Menoufiya University. Fahmi added that he had not been informed before the seminar that Firestone was a rabbi.

Firestone did not, says Fahmi, deal with the idea of chosenness in Islam on an equal footing with the same concept in Judaism, and described the passage in the Quran which talks about Muslims as the best nation brought forth for humanity as unclear. Firestone also adopted the Christian and Jewish view that it was Isaac, son of the Prophet Abraham, who God ordered to be sacrificed, and not, as Muslims believe, his stepbrother Ismail.
The insult to Islam is only the tip of the iceberg. Neural programming was implanted in Egyptian brains at the time of the Lavon Affair. This programming has remained dormant all this time, but it is activated by references to Isaac as the one bound on the altar.
Mohamed El-Hawwari, head of the CSCC, defended the choice of Firestone as a lecturer. Interviewed by Al-Ahram Weekly El-Hawwari stressed that Firestone, while entitled to call himself a "rabbi", does not work in the religious field. "He is an American academic professor and it was in this capacity that he was invited to deliver his lecture."

In a statement issued once the row had become public, El-Hawwari described Firestone as a professor of Jewish history at Hebro Union College, California, and the author of many books on both Jewish and Islamic history.

"I have known the guy for more than 20 years. He has never attacked Islam, which he respects and appreciates," said El-Hawwari. "His lecture was based on texts derived from the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Talmud. [...]

"Our main problem is that we still cannot accept the other. Whoever differs with us becomes our enemy," El-Hawwari continued. Yet the aim of holding such lecture series is to help in understanding the views of the other "in the hope this will facilitate a rapprochement between cultures and civilisations".

El-Hawwari dismissed allegations that the lecture's real aim was to provide propaganda for normalising relations with Israel as nonsense, and an insult to the integrity of Egyptian academics.
El-Hawwari's tone of voice was strangely mechanical when defending Firestone.
The furore has caused ripples beyond academia, with 20 parliamentary members quick to jump on the bandwagon and demand that the speaker of the People's Assembly summon members of the parliament's Educational Committee for an urgent meeting to determine who is responsible for the convening of such seminars.

They have also demanded that Hani Helal, the minister of higher education, be sacked.

"We are not going to allow Jews to desecrate our universities, spread their Zionist views and brainwash our students," railed independent MP Gamal Zahran. [...]
Too late, Zahran. (Hat Tip: EOZ)

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Impending Lokshen Shortage!

Bad news for the ketchup manufacturers but good news for potato growers? From Der Spiegel:
Italian pasta makers say bad harvests and competition from biofuel manufacturers have led to a durum disaster. Consumers will be paying for it by summer's end.

Pasta prices are going up. And it's not just the truffles.
Mamma mia! The price of a plate of pasta is expected to rise 20 percent this summer as a bad wheat harvest and increasing competition from biofuel manufacturers send the price of delicate, delicious durum wheat skyrocketing.

Italian consumers, accustomed to paying 70 euro cents ($1) for a pack of the good stuff -- half the cost of a cup of coffee -- will be the first to feel the pinch, but the Italian Pasta Manufacturer's Association will be passing the costs on to export customers as well. "Pasta producers have tried, with growing difficulty that has now become no longer sustainable, to absorb the high cost differentials," the Association announced last week. "But this situation cannot go on any longer in the face of the dynamics of the durum wheat market."

Italy's famous macaroni makers are the latest to find themselves at the wrong end of competition from the booming biofuel industry, which converts corn, sugar, wheat and other crops to fuel and energy. As biofuels catch on, governments are increasing subsidies. Farmers are finding themselves in an unfamiliar position: a seller's market. Courted by food manufacturers and energy firms alike, they're raising prices and shifting production to crops that can be used to make ethanol for cars, heat homes or generate electricity [...]

Berlin biofuels expert Bjoern Pieprzyk . . . admits that it may take a long time -- 15 years or more -- for production to catch up to demand. In the meantime, spaghetti dinners may no longer be synonymous with cheap eats in Italy or elsewhere.
And the race is on to develop alternative kugel!

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

(North) Korea News: "Rodong Sinmun on Victorious Songun Politics"

How many North Koreans does it take to screw in a light bulb? One to hold the ladder and the rest to demonstrate single-minded unity and give ever greater play to the revolutionary ideal of Mt. Paektu in building a great powerful prosperous invincible light bulb installation with the might of Songun:
The Songun politics of the Workers' Party of Korea is powerful one as it surely guarantees the victorious advance of the revolution despite any storm and stress in history and invincible one as it ensures steady victory not only in the confrontation with imperialism but in socialist construction.

Rodong Sinmun Tuesday says this in a signed article.

The WPK's Songun politics has displayed its might as victorious one representing the revolutionary faith, will and grit as it is based on the great guiding idea, invincible single-minded unity and matchless military power, the article notes, and goes on:

The Juche idea, Songun idea of the WPK is the great revolutionary idea most correctly reflecting the requirements of the times and the wishes of the popular masses and indicating the way of meeting them. The single-minded unity of the DPRK is invincible unity based on one centre, monolithic idea and revolutionary comradeship and sense of obligation. The Korean People's Army has demonstrated its dignity as an ever-victorious revolutionary army of Mt. Paektu fully prepared politically and ideologically and in military technique, an army that no revolutionary army of other countries can ever match, and firmly guaranteed the cause of socialism in the DPRK and its cause of building a rich and powerful country with arms. Thanks to the great guiding idea, invincible revolutionary forces and its politico-military might the DPRK has emerged victorious in the acute confrontation with the U.S., defended socialism and brought a turning phase to the building of a great prosperous powerful nation despite all sorts of difficulties and hardships in the way of the revolution.

The greater a country becomes in its politics, the more prosperous it gets and the better its people's mind-set will be.

Politics based on faith and grit keeps the country and nation alive in the world where highhanded and arbitrary practices of the U.S. imperialists and other imperialist reactionaries are rampant. It is the firm faith and will of the army and people of the DPRK to remain true to the Songun leadership of Kim Jong Il to the end of the world despite rain and snow.

Do American students write better than British ones?

Sarah Churchwell, writing in the Independent, asks "Why can't British students write like Americans?"
For eight years I've been teaching extremely bright, overwhelmingly middle-class university students studying American and English literature, who achieved minimum A-level scores of three Bs. They are intelligent, skilled at passing exams, and most of them don't know what defines a complete sentence. This is not sarcasm: every year I ask my students to name the three parts of a complete sentence. Usually they mumble, "subject, verb, object" or "subject, verb, predicate". I have never had an English student who knew the answer. The Norwegians and the Greeks do. So do the Americans, because they were taught grammar, vocabulary, and spelling. The majority of middle-class Americans who went to a state school, like me, have known the definition of a complete sentence since age seven. (In case anyone is wondering, the answer is: subject, predicate - which essentially means verb - and complete thought.)
One source of the problem she identifies is something called "Affirmative teaching":
. . . students are taught how to give the correct answers to the questions they will be asked, and thus enter university with an entirely inaccurate sense of their own competence. These students seem to arrive at university expecting to have their existing knowledge and skills recognised, indeed "affirmed". It comes as a shock to them to discover that there may be limits to their abilities, or deficits in their knowledge - and they resent hearing it. Learning doesn't appear to be the goal. A colleague of mine recently received an aggrieved email from a student demanding that he stop using words in seminar that the student didn't understand.

The point is not pedantic. An impoverished understanding of their own language combined with an inflated sense of their own talents doesn't merely result in smug graduates with a beggared ability to express ideas. Sophisticated ideas cannot flourish in a linguistic vacuum. Expression and thought are inextricably linked: crude language permits only crude thinking. It's bad enough that these university students can't communicate their thoughts intelligibly; but those thoughts are themselves constrained by embryonic language skills. [...]
Somehow I doubt that American students have avoided these problems, but I applaud Churchwell's emphasis on learning grammar and reading literature. Read the rest.

U-Blog-it: Which is crazier?

Hello, good evening, and welcome to U-Blog-it. Tonight's question on U-Blog-it is which is crazier?

The Los Angeles Times or Arabic News?

(Hat Tip: Discarded Lies)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Taking Sheehan seriously

John Nichols, in one of the blogs featured on The Nation website, surely seeks to answer the various flippant and frivolous right-wing responses which have appeared to Cindy Sheehan's challenge to Nancy Pelosi. What prompted Sheehan to deploy her giant-like moral authority against Pelosi? Pelosi's assault on the constitution itself!
Before last year's election, Pelosi announced that impeachment was "off the table." It is probably good that she did not try to nullify another section of the Constitution -- say, the part about freedom of speech. But Pelosi did serious damage to the system of checks and balances when she declared that her House would not use the tool created by the founders to assure that the legislative branch could keep errant executives in line.
Does that have anything to do with trying them for high crimes and misdemeanors? Here are Nichols' concluding paragraphs:
. . . Sheehan's notoriety would make the race a more serious one than the easy runs Pelosi has enjoyed since she won her House seat in a 1987 special election.

Could a Sheehan challenge actually upset Pelosi? That's a long shot -- and Sheehan, who is far more savvy about politics than her critics recognize, knows this.

But she also knows that politicians are most likely to respond to political pressure. So Cindy Sheehan is turning up the heat on Pelosi with a political threat that George Bush -- after his long and bitter experience of tangling with the "Peace Mom" -- would undoubtedly advise the Speaker to treat with a good measure of seriousness.
That's the key: seriousness. Not flippancy.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Iran Daily: "Enemies Wanted to Use Gasoline Weapon"

Did I mention that Ahmadinejad has been facing criticism for his economic policies? Never mind--it's all been cleared up! Look at those smiling faces!
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday enemies wanted to threaten Iran with gasoline.

Talking to reporters who accompanied him during his provincial visits, the chief executive noted that gasoline use should be optimized and reduction of gasoline consumption needs improvement of public transportation, IRNA reported. Noting that gasoline consumption should be reduced, Ahmadinejad said high gasoline imports create many problems, including gasoline smuggling, excessive consumption and unnecessary journeys.
Imagine all the journeys to gas stations that can be eliminated!
“We do not agree with selling gasoline in the free market. We believe that gasoline should be imported in the right manner because gasoline accounts for 80 percent of journeys taking place in the country,“ he said.

He pointed out that reducing gasoline consumption can help the government build 1,000 kilometers of railroad annually.

Asked whether he believes his rivals will use the issue of rationing gasoline against him, the chief executive said the people elected him to serve them and he is nobody’s rival.

“Setting free market price for gasoline is harmful to the economy, under the present circumstances,“ he said.

The president noted that the gasoline rationing scheme saves a minimum 100 billion rials per day, which will exceed 40 trillion rials per year.
And the Revolutionary Guards will undoubtedly be happy to visit anyone wanting a closer look at where the numbers came from.
He enumerated establishment of gasoline refineries and railroads, strengthening social security insurance and paying financial aid to the unemployed as cases that can be promoted from the gasoline saved.

Commenting on the possibility of holding the second round of Iran-US talks on Iraq, Ahmadinejad pointed out that he will do whatever he can to assist the Iraqi people.

“The notion of justice and strengthening the spirit of serving people depends on the national will and on adopting a national perspective toward the country’s media,“ he said.

Referring to his visit to 29 provinces, Ahmadinejad pointed out that more than 780 sessions were held for provincial tours and a total of 29,000 person-hour of work was accomplished.
In other words, "No unnecessary journeys there!"

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Human race annihilated

From Dar Al Hayat:
[...] Since there are in liberal and leftist circles those who justify terrorism or gloat over the plight of its victims, I have noticed that some pro-liberal writers and thinkers play the Right's game in denying any responsibility for it. I still remember that after the terrorist act of 7/7/2005 in London Nick Cohen, whom I had long considered a centrist writer, wrote in the distinguished Observer newspaper three days later, 'Face the truth. We all know who is responsible for the Thursday crimes … It is neither Bush nor Blair.'

It is definitely Bush and Blair, along with the terrorists, not as individuals but in terms of the accumulated and inherited policies of the United States and Britain up to the evil war on Iraq that was launched for fabricated reasons. Western democracies do not deserve this designation unless those responsible for the war are tried in the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague for annihilating the human race as the blood of a million victims is crying out for justice.[...]

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Iran about to become even more repressive?

Iran's official news agencies often sound like the voice of a government that long ago crushed all opposition. This isn't true, evidently, but Iran seems to keep taking steps in that direction. According to the Guardian:
Allies of Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have accused the media of trying to depose him in a "creeping coup", raising fears of a fresh clampdown on opposition newspapers and websites.

The accusation, from the president's allies, coincides with disclosures that Mr Ahmadinejad has authorised aides to establish a special team to counter "black propaganda against the government".
It is thus interesting that Mehr News, not a website known for even admitting that Ahmadinejad has critics, is reporting that Ahmadinejad is meeting with critical "economic experts":
President Mahmud Ahmadinejad will hold a “frank and friendly” debate with a number of economic experts who have criticized his government’s economic policies, the press department of the presidential office said on Sunday.

The meeting will take place at the president office on Thursday at 16:30 local time.

The press department said the president will elaborate on his government’s economic policies and will discuss the opportunities and challenges facing his government.

Last month, 57 economists signed an open letter warning about the government’s economic policies.

The president office said it has invited all the signatories of letter to meet the president on Thursday afternoon.

In an earlier announcement on June 25, the president expressed his readiness to meet experts who warned his economic policies risked plunging the country into financial chaos.

The experts claimed the economic policies have fuelled inflation, hurt the poor and laid the seeds of future crises.

The letter - whose signatories included former economic advisers to previous governments and an ex-head of the Tehran stock exchange - also accused the government of lavishing Iran's oil revenues into ill-conceived projects while masking its economic failures behind falsified statistics.

"The price of decisions that have no scientific basis is very high and irreversible, in particular for those who are worst off," the letter said.
Elsewhere on Mehr, we see the usual presentations of the Government line:
The head of the Islamic Ideology Dissemination Organization (IIDO) said Sunday that gasoline rationing will prevent the depletion of national resource.

Hojjatoleslam Seyyed Mehdi Khamushi added that gasoline rationing helped people perceive the value of fuel and use it appropriately. [...]
Are Iranians about to take great leaps forward in appreciating the "value of fuel"? Stay tuned.

Update: "President: Fuel rationing, a timely, proper tactic to thwart enemies plots"

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

No good deed goes unpunished

You always have to go on High Irony Alert when one of these hostage releases takes place. According to Times Online, Alan Johnston's kidnappers are disgusted that there is just no gratitude in this Allah-forsaken world:
[...] The kidnappers expressed bizarre resentment that Johnston, 45, had done nothing to thank them for their hospitality while they held him at gunpoint in a tiny cell.

“We used to give him everything he wanted,” Abu Zobayer, an aide to Dagmoush, said.

“We spent £70 on his food every week. The Matouk restaurant [one of the best eateries in Gaza] got rich because we had to feed him.”

Johnston has said that he fell ill from the food he was served. Zobayer commented: “It’s not our problem that we gave him everything and he only ate a little.”
I hear the Hostage Journalist's Plate comes with a free drink.
Although they did not torture him physically, the kidnappers seemed to have no concept of the psychological torture they were inflicting on the BBC correspondent.

“We had people with him all the time to try to help him to relax,” said Zobayer.

“We gave him a radio so that he could listen to his own channel. I myself sat with him to try to make him feel comfortable and feel that he will be released.” [...]
(Hat Tip: Discarded Lies)

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Linkim 7/8/07

Haveil Havalim 124 is up! Carnival of the Insanities is up!

IRIB: "Hezbollah popularity increases"

IRNA: "Resistance only way of victory for Palestinians: Rafsanjani"

(North) Korean News: "Precious Sword for National Sovereignty and Destiny"

SANA: "Sudanese Vice President hails Syria's Stances"

Israel Matzav: "Avigdor Lieberman a Muslim?"

Steyn: "British bomb plot and Michael Moore-style health care"

Financial Times: "Al-Qaeda linked to operations from Iran" (h/t: Iran Focus)

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Daughters tricked out of martyrdom

One of the more dramatic stories to come out of the "Red Mosque" stand-off. From Times Online:
[...] For one family at least there was a happy ending of sorts. As a gun battle raged late on Friday, with snipers on the roof of the mosque forcing the army back to its lines 100 yards away, Khan, the father who had been pleading with his two daughters to leave, called them on their mobile phone and told them their mother was outside. She had been taken ill and lay unconscious on the pavement, he said.

It was a lie but it worked. The two girls quickly left the compound and found their waiting father in the crowd. “I’m taking them back to our village,” said Khan. “They were ready for martyrdom and they’re very angry with me. I’m just happy I’ve got my daughters back, and sorry for those whose daughters are still in there.”

Saima, in a bitter, fanatical voice that belied her 10 years, told The Sunday Times her father had cheated her of martyrdom. “The teachers taught us about martyrdom and that it is a great achievement,” she said.

“I could see the fighting was in front of me and I could understand that we would die. I felt real anger about what my father did. He tricked me.”
Is there some sort of father-of-the-year award?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Latest Pilgerization: "These are Brown's bombs, too"

John Pilger, the journalist who inspired the coinage of the word "pilgerize," evidently does not think that Muslims are angry enough:
Just as the London bombs in the summer of 2005 were Blair's bombs, the inevitable consequence of his government's lawless attack on Iraq, so the potential bombs in the summer of 2007 are Brown's bombs. Gordon Brown has been an unerring supporter of the unprovoked bloodbath whose victims now equal those of the Rwandan genocide, according to the American scientist who led the 2006 Johns Hopkins School of Public Health survey of civilian dead in Iraq. While Tony Blair sought to discredit this study, British government scientists secretly praised it as "tried and tested" and an "underestimation of mortality". The "underestimation" was 655,000 men, women and children. That is now approaching a million. It is the crime of the century.

In his first day's address outside 10 Downing Street and his statement to parliament on 3 July, Brown paid not even lip service to those who would be alive today had his government - and it was his government as much as Blair's - not joined Bush in a slaughter justified with demonstrable lies. He said nothing, not a word.

He said nothing about the added thousands of Iraqi children whose deaths from preventable disease have doubled since the invasion, caused by the wilful destruction of sanitation and water purification plants. He said nothing about hospital patients who die every day for want of equipment as basic as a syringe. He said nothing about the greatest refugee flight since the Palestinians' Naqba. He said nothing about his government's defeat in Afghanistan, and how the British army and its Nato allies are killing civilians, including whole families. Typically, on 29 June, British forces called in air strikes on a village, reportedly bombing to death 45 innocent people - almost as many as the number bombed to death in London in July 2005. Compare the reaction, or rather the silence. They were only Muslims. And Muslims are the world's most numerous victims of a terrorism whose main sources are Washington, Tel Aviv and London.[...]
The Big, Little, and Medium Satans.

Further thought: Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed writes "Anyone who seeks to present some kind of political justification for such crimes is in fact an emotional accomplice to these criminals considering the gravity of the damage inflicted upon millions of Arabs and Muslims and advocates of real causes."

Crossposted on Soccer Dad