Thursday, July 31, 2008

I hear there's a lot of water in ANWR . . .

From the Independent:
Scientists have devised a cheap and simple method of turning water into rocket fuel using solar power in a development that could generate a new source of green energy for the home and workplace.

The researchers used electricity from solar panels to split water into oxygen and hydrogen – the constituents of rocket fuel – with a technology that scientists believe could solve many of the problems that have hampered the development of solar energy.

With the help of a simple and yet highly efficient "chemistry set" made out of commonly available materials, the scientists have found a way of storing solar energy as a chemical fuel that can be used to power pollution-free electricity generators known as hydrogen fuel cells.

Until now the concept has stagnated because it has been too costly and difficult to use solar-generated electricity to split water into oxygen and hydrogen in a domestic setting, but the new method relies on the discovery of a catalyst that speeds up the conversion of water into high-energy fuel.

Daniel Nocera of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, said the discovery could remove one of the major obstacles that has prevented solar power from being taken up widely as a viable alternative to fossil fuels such as oil and gas. [...]
Interesting, no?

Yemen Times: "Islam is Democracy"

This is not an Islam-bashing blog, but I couldn't resist the naivete:
I am a young woman who embraced Islam a few months ago and was in the process of considering moving to the Middle East because I was hoping that moving to that part of the world would enable me to live in a more Islamic environment.

After speaking to several sisters at my local mosque, I was surprised to hear the negativity Arab Muslim women feel about their homelands. I was even more surprised at their shocked looks when I said that I’d prefer living in a society that is an Islamic state rather than living in a society driven by Western democracy.

My three years of research and studying Islam prior to reverting leads me to believe that Islam is democracy, so why do we look elsewhere? I believe no form of democracy can measure up to the rights and freedoms Islam gives men, women and children in all matters, whether personal, marital, legal or state affairs.

My question then is why aren’t all Middle Eastern nations Islamic states? Why do we need a "domino effect" geared by the West to begin the process of their version of democracy when in reality, Muslim countries already have the tools to create such an environment for their peoples?
See the letter which follows and look up the Muhsen sisters.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Zimbabwe solves zero problem

As Jethro once observed: "Funny thing about them naughts, when they're by themselves, they aint worth shucks but when you put them behind some other numbers, them rascals is dynamite." From Al Alam (Iran):
Zimbabwe will drop 10 zeros from its hyper-inflated currency -- turning 10 billion dollars into one -- the country's reserve bank said Wednesday.

On Wednesday, central bank governor Gideon Gono announced he was dropping 10 zeros from the currency, effective Friday. That comes a week after he introduced a 100 billion-dollar note which was not enough to buy a loaf of bread . . .

Computers, electronic calculators and automated teller machines at Zimbabwe's banks cannot handle basic transactions in billions and trillions of dollars . . .
Besides the problem of adjusting the amounts to compensate for the inflation that occurred since the beginning of the ATM transaction.

Update: Irony alert--"Zimbabwean banknotes with face values of up to 100 billion dollars are changing hands on eBay for hundreds of times their actual worth."


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Obama explained

Markus Feldenkirchen, writing in Der Spiegel, has sipped from the Obama fountain and he's a bit tipsy. He observes: "If Barack Obama accomplished one thing in Berlin, it was to make it painfully obvious just how uninspiring German politicians are." American Politician John Kerry is sleep-inducing, he avers, and Angela Merkel is metaphor-challenged. What does he like about Obama?
This is how French writer Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry once described the key to instilling passion into people: "If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, ... teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea." Obama has made this sentiment his mantra.
What explains that quality?
Obama, notwithstanding his unique abilities, is a typical product of American culture, the outcome of an approach to developing a child's personality that begins in kindergarten. In the United States, even three-year-olds are encouraged to bring their favorite things to school and explain them to other children. In high school, the art of giving presentations is a fixed part of the curriculum. The goal is to teach young Americans early on how to talk about one thing above all else: themselves . . .
I'd say that's an apercu. (Hat Tip: Lucianne)

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Monday, July 28, 2008

Want another empty interview with a prominent Iranian?

This seems to be the season for worthless interviews with Iranians. In an interview with Morris Motamed, the sole Jewish representative in Iran's parliament, the interviewer, Trish Schuh, fails to elicit any concrete information at all about the treatment of Jews in Iran. No surprises there since it appears at the ultra-leftist Counterpunch site. The following is typical of the interview:
What is most difficult about life in Iran?

There is no difference between the way of life of the minority communities and the main body of the society, which means the Muslims.
The interview veers into the despicable in the following exchange which asks Motamed to comment on a now-debunked canard:
Recently, an Israeli government official has threatened the Palestinians in Gaza with a "Holocaust". Could you comment on the use of this word in this context?

Because of what is going on nowadays in Gaza... where we are witnessing the killing and injuring of innocent people -- old men, children and women -- as a representative of the Jewish community, I'm very sorry. We have set forth our revulsion on this matter, with a declaration. 'Holocaust means 'genocide'. Here’s a person who knows what occurred during the second world war by Holocaust, and who now himself wants to bring up the specter of another Holocaust. This kind of statment is shameful and embarassing.
In one interesting moment, the interviewer evidently seeks confirmation of the Juan Cole interpretation of Ahmadinejad's remark about "wiping Israel off the map":
Please comment on the alleged statement of Iranian President Ahmedinejad's threat to "wipe Israel off the map". What did he actually say in Persian?

One of the basic principles of democracy is freedom of speech, so that a person can freely express his ideas and viewpoints as did Mr. Ahmedinejad. So after his speech we observed that some Iranian political authorities talked in a different manner ad said that Iran doesn't seek the wiping out or destruction of any nation from the page of history or from the map.
Is that Motamed not playing along? In a "footnote" at the end of the article, the interviewer adds a few facts about recent instances of Ahmadinejad's bellicose rhetoric and the destruction of seven synagogues. That's better than nothing although not by much. The interview itself is worse than nothing.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Tags: Iran, Jews, Motamed

Sunday, July 27, 2008

North Korea celebrates victory in "Fatherland Liberation War"

(North) Korean News currently has a number of articles on that great victory. It was all due to that mental power we keep hearing about:
"Standoff with the invader is standoff of mental power."

This is the philosophy which the Fatherland Liberation War in the 1950s left in the world history of wars.

No one imagined the young DPRK would emerge the victor in the Fatherland Liberation War. The war, however, showed clearly that the outcome of a war depended not on the size of a territory and its population and economic and military potentials but on the mental power of the army and the people.

The Korean War was the biggest war in history after the two world wars.

The U.S. imperialists committed atrocities which would make even the beasts blush wherever they went. They did not think twice about starting a germ warfare. They dropped an average of 18 bombs per square kilometer on the DPRK, leveling its cities and villages with the ground . . .
Still, however, the "U.S. Imperialists" experienced massive losses:
During the three-year long war, the U.S. imperialists lost nearly 1.57 million troops including more than 405,000 GIs and enormous amount of military and technical equipment and war supplies including over 12,200 aircraft and knelt down before the Korean people.
We also learn that "Workers in the rear made hand grenades with bare hands and ensured wartime production by turning wheels with hands." Similar efforts resulted in the latest editions of Haveil Havalim and Carnival of the Insanities.

Ramattan: "Fatah lawmaker holds Israel responsible for Gaza beach blast"

The article ends up calling it a "vague blast":
Fatah parliamentarian Asharaf Juma on Saturday held Israel responsible for Gaza Beach explosion which resulted in the death of six Palestinians.

"I strongly condemn the blast, this is a crime against the Palestinian people, and I call for a national committee to investigate the incident" Juma said in an exclusive interview with RNA.

He called for an immediate meeting between Fatah and Hamas lawmakers to discuss the chaos that erupted after the blast and to work on solving crisis between the two parties.

Fatah parliamentarian demanded Hamas to be patient and to stop all arrests of Fatah members and attacks against Fateh and PLO establishments in Gaza.

Six Palestinians, including five Hamas activists, were killed and more than 20 injured on Friday night in a vague blast in West Gaza strip at Gaza shore.
Along with the claims mentioned in the following Jerusalem Post article (h/t: EOZ), that makes three completely contradictory claims coming from various Fatah-affiliated entities:
A Fatah-affiliated group called Al-Awdah claimed responsibility for the explosion that killed the five Hamas men.

However, Fatah officials in Ramallah strongly denied responsibility and said the killings were part of a "settling of scores" among Hamas militiamen.
There's no excuse for sloppy propaganda.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Update: Islam Online now has an online forum which asks readers to present their opinions of who was responsible. Following several commentators who finger the Zionist entity, one obviously fed-up wag suggests it was the Seven Dwarfs.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Al Ahram takes note of that New Yorker cover

The infamous New Yorker cover featuring Obama in Islamic garb and Michelle toting a machine gun has got to be the coolest thing to hit the public sphere in a long time. Consider this: the cartoon is subtle and cleverly executed. It has a message which is disparaging towards conservatives, but liberals are unhappy anyway. More remarkable still, they are unhappy with some justification. It just doesn't get better than that. Try telling that to Al Ahram, though. They'll never see it. The article compiles quotes from a number of writers, inclucing a point that I find interesting, a lament that the cartoon wasn't cruder:
Pulitzer prize-winning cartoonist Nick Anderson of the Houston Chronicle told Politico: "I think, as a piece of satire, it utterly fails." Anderson believes that the cover might have been more effective if it had included the title of the cartoon, "The Politics of Fear," on the front of the magazine.
The article goes on to hand-wring:
It would not be too much to say that depicting Barack and Michelle Obama as militants and terrorist sympathisers "feeds into the terrible rise in anti-Muslim sentiment" during this election season. The problem with this kind of so-called "spoof" -- which taps into deep and far-reaching racist imagery -- is that a lot of people just won't get the joke (or won't want to), and will use it deliberately for their own Islamophobic purposes. Playing into the worst fears of voters with the image is not thought provoking; it's just hate provoking or fear provoking.
Let's say we don't think Islamophobia is the world's greatest problem, is there nevertheless some artistic failure in the cartoon? Did it it fail to get its message across to anyone but a tiny audience? I don't think so. I think the cartoonist has fun with the image-manipulation. It isn't sneering at conservatives so much as poking them in the ribs a bit. "Wait 'til the Obamas get into office and your worst fears are realized . . . just kidding!" it seems to say. It may be that the audience that can really savor the cartoon's playful approach is small, but that isn't necessary a failing. The audience for Proust is also small. Is that kind of artistic success worth the risk that an angry mob incited by Sean Hannity will hang Obama from the nearest lamp-post or worse still, not vote for him? Sure--anything for art's sake.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Kuntar treasures his new machine gun


Kuntar's release is still fresh news in Iran. I omitted some paragraphs in which he denies his crimes. From Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting:
Five days after his release from an Israeli jail as part of a swap between the Zionist regime and the Lebanese Islamic Resistance Movement, Hezbollah, Samir Kantar is more determined to become a member of the Islamic resistance in Lebanon.

"What I want now is to become a struggler in the Lebanese Islamic Resistance," Kantar said in an interview with Deutsche Presse-Agentur DPA.

Surrounded by his family members, including nieces and nephews, Kantar said, "Two things brought me happiness in the past few days: one is my release from the Zionist jail and the other is the gift I received from Hezbollah, which is the machine gun of the resistance," he said proudly at his family home in the Druze town of Abey, 35 kilometres southeast of Beirut.

Kantar, who turned 46 on Tuesday, received the machine gun as a birthday gift from the Hezbollah command.

Kantar, who unveiled he had received several assassination threats from Israel, stressed that he does not fear for his life, adding he won't give in easily to the Zionist enemy.

"I am taking extra precautions because I do not want to give my martyrdom to the Israelis easily," he said.

Abey residents said since Kantar's arrival, Israeli warplanes have been hovering over the town daiy. But the threats and the planes, did not bother Kantar, who has vowed to put the 30 years he spent in an Israeli jail behind him, and instead focus on the continued armed resistance against the Zionist regime.

He strssed that his praise for Hezbollah was not only because it had secured his release, but because the movement has proven to be the most effective resistance against Israel.

Besides his focus on Hezbollah, Kantar was working on reintegrating into family life, by spending time talking to his nephews and nieces, who keep asking him questions about his days in the prison.

"They ask me questions how I was tortured and how I managed to take a BA in sociology inside the jail," Kantar said. [...]
Is that all one subject?

Update: I may not have received the machine gun of the resistance for my birthday, but I was included in the latest Carnival of Satire. If you like satire, you should check it out.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Losing wars and campaigns

Time blogger Joe Klein applies the label "meltdown" to some recent McCain comments. He quotes McCain:
This is a clear choice that the American people have. I had the courage and the judgment to say I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war. It seems to me that Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign.
He then comments:
This is the ninth presidential campaign I've covered. I can't remember a more scurrilous statement by a major party candidate. It smacks of desperation. It renews questions about whether McCain has the right temperament for the presidency. How sad.
That's a "scurrilous statement"? There is a great deal of pacifist rhetoric out there on the left. Anyone who terms the war "illegal" is implying that America should cease and desist, not win. Does Obama think like this? I hope not, but too many of his political allies do think like this to call the charge "scurrilous."

McCain's statement might be regarded as incoherent, however. What would it mean to choose losing the election over losing the war? Does that mean winning the war in some sense? I guess he means he would rather stick to expressing his convictions about winning the war than win the election. In practice, that could actually mean losing the war. How did we end up with candidates like McCain and Obama?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

(Hat Tip: Memeorandum)

AFP Headline: "Palestinian shot dead after new bulldozer rampage"

Don't headlines like this drive you crazy? I guess it could be worse. It could read "Zionism claims latest victim following operation gone horribly wrong" or "Means of flattening Rachel Corrie utilized by activist." The story informs us:
The White House urged "all parties" in the Middle East to condemn the attack if Israel determines it was an act of terrorism.

"Terrorist attacks do nothing to further the goals of Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace, a goal the president has been advocating for, and that both of those countries' leaders have been working toward," said spokeswoman Dana Perino.
It would be really helpful if the victims would condemn the attack, in other words, and if maybe Nasrallah could put in a few words about how he condemns all attacks on civilians whether by Palestinians or evil bloodthirsty Zionists, that would be good too. I mean, ploughing through a bunch of people with a bulldozer does "nothing to further the goals of Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace" despite the obviously misguided intentions of the driver-activist.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Yemen Times: "Why some men prefer marrying uneducated women"

This is the second part of a series of articles. In Part One we learn of the following unhappy scenario:
An educated woman . . . realizes everything around her. She can not be deceived or easily convinced if she believes in something else. "If the husband does not allow his educated wife to go on a picnic with her friends, for example, she will make lectures on humanity, the psychology of humans, human rights and so on", said that husband. If this is the case, such a husband should accept either to let her go, or to let her go after being forced to listen to a number of lectures which may continue some days after going on that picnic.
Part Two continues:
"Uneducated women rarely ask questions," notes one husband of an uneducated woman, adding that his wife never asks where he’s going or from where he’s coming. This first reflects her trust in him and second, it indicates that she recognizes her husband’s mood, avoiding anything that may agitate him.

According to this same husband, this is what the husbands of educated women suffer. As an example, he tells of his friend who always tries to escape his home because there he must answer "obligatory questions" about everything his wife may think of.
The author concludes (for now):
Every part of this topic can create a framework, particularly for men, so they can make the right choice. Once acquainted with the positive and negative aspects of each side, a man may make the choice suitable for himself in an effort to have a life free of family problems.

Additionally, choosing either an educated or an uneducated wife, a man won’t be surprised by the consequences he may face after marriage because he – and I think everyone of us – will be aware of the positive and negative aspects of each choice.

Finally, I apologize for attacking some critical aspects of educated women, although some men consider these positive attributes. Don’t worry, dear educated women, because next week, I’ll discuss how useful and good it is to marry an educated woman.
See there, he's not so biased . . .

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Saturday, July 19, 2008

"Full Display of Mental Power Called for"

As an article we flagged in January observed, "The Korean people are proud to have the strong mental power peculiar to them." Now, it is time to give it full play:
The present general advance is that based on ideology, and a great revolutionary offensive should be launched on the ideological front to give full play to the inexhaustible mental power of the army and the people.

Rodong Sinmun says this in a signed article on Friday. The present general advance is mainly characterized by the advance of ideology that makes it possible to bring about historic turn in building a prosperous and powerful nation by giving vent to the great mental power of the army and people like the erupting volcano. That is why it has inexhaustible might, the article notes, and goes on:

It is the revolutionary advance fully demonstrating the might of our single-minded unity in which the army and people are closely rallied around the headquarters of revolution with the same idea and purpose.

It is the greatest pride of our party and revolution that the harmonious whole of the leader and the people and the spirit of the great unity have been creditably carried forward to prevail in the whole society century after century.

The ongoing general advance is the march of creation and change in which the Korean people would overcome any sorts of difficulties and hardships and make a leap forward with the might of their strong and independent faith and revolutionary spirit of self-reliance.

The history of revolutionary great upsurge in socialist Korea will be given steady continuity as its army and people's hearts are beating high with the revolutionary spirit of self-reliance created in the thick forests of Mt. Paektu.

It is also an all-people advance for firmly defending our ideology, system and socialist way of life with the revolutionary ideological offensive.

There can be no change in the revolutionary principle and stand of our army and people to resolutely smash the imperialists' reactionary ideological and cultural poisoning with the said offensive. Our ideological position is stable and our own style socialism impregnable as there are the revolutionary army and people who do not make the any slightest compromise or concession in the showdown with imperialism.

The present general advance will be registered in the nation's history as a historic advance bringing about the era of enormous creation and change while fully displaying the inexhaustible mental power of Songun Korea as it is led by Kim Jong Il, a prominent thinker and theoretician and a great statesman.
That's almost restrained for them.

Update: The Jewish people also have a "strong mental power peculiar to them," and this is given full play in the latest Haveil Havalim. Some people might think, of course, that all this talk of mental power is pure insanity. If that's what you think, you'll want to check out the latest Carnival of the Insanities.

Update: Does all that Vanity and Insanity leave you tired and hungry? Check out the latest Kosher Cooking Carnival.

World and 9/11 enigmas to Guardian writer

This is from the Guardian, responding to an earlier article critical of conspiracy theories:
[...] What happened on 9/11 is, in the end, a matter of fact – whatever our worldview might incline us to consider plausible or possible. The true authorship of the attacks is as difficult to establish as anything else about the world of international terrorism and espionage.

For myself, I have no idea what happened, because I have no more idea of how the business-intelligence-political nexus works than I have about what chess grandmasters are up to when they are staring at the board, looking all thoughtful.

The attacks on the US on September 11 2001 were part of a web of events that interconnect with oil, drugs, money, organised crime, imperialism, existing institutions and us. And religion, and a lot more money.
That's quite a bit of certainty for a professed know-nothing. I wonder what those "existing institutions" are.
It might feel wise and sensible to declare that any explanation that differs from the official account requires hundreds of impossibly tight-lipped bureaucratic killers. But that presupposes that we know how the world works, and we don't.

Maybe the 9/11 attacks were all about a small team of terrorists who managed to hold it together in a world otherwise characterised by crossed wires and blundering incompetence. But I don't know . . .
Maybe this article was about a small writer who managed to hold it together in a world of clumsy reasoning and murky writing, but I don't know . . .

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Iran's "strong logic stops enemies"

Who needs nuclear weapons when you've got "strong logic"? From IRIB:
Iranians national resolve and strong logic have prevented enemies from achieving their goal of halting IRI's nuclear program, a Majlis security commissioner said on Saturday.

Vice-Chairman of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Ismael Kosari said that resistance of the Iranian nation to the Western governments psychological warfare and their economic sanctions have led to a shift in the America's policy vis -a-vis the Islamic Republic of Iran.

He made the remarks commenting on the participating of the American Under-Secretary of State William Burns in current talks between Iran's top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and Javier Solana underway in Geneva.

Kosari said that IRI's peaceful nuclear activities have been made in accordance with the rules of the International Atomic Energy Agency and Non-Proliferation Treaty.

He noted that all Western countries have known it very well that Tehran's nuclear activities were "only for civilian purposes."
Take that, World Arrogance!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

IRIB: Kuntar and cohorts visit Mughniyeh grave

Iran is happy:
The five Lebanese militants set free as part of a prisoner swap with the Zionist regime prayed at the grave of a murdered Hezbollah military commander, pledging to follow in his footsteps and to continue fighting 'Israel'.

Wearing military fatigues, the five walked down a red carpet laid out for them outside Imad Mughniyeh's burial spot at a cemetery south of Beirut.

They laid wreaths and gave a military salute at the grave as people showered them with rice.

Mughniyeh was martyred in a car bomb in neighboring Syria in February.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lawrence of Cyberia gets a D+ in Ahmadinecology

Lawrence of Cyberia asserted recently that Ahmadinejad's ravings about the Holocaust actually contain a valid point that was also made by Arnold Toynbee. He explains:
When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said of the Holocaust: "If you (Europeans) committed this big crime, then why should the oppressed Palestinian nation pay the price?", most of us in the U.S. didn't hear anything beyond the initial "if". We heard that "if", and immediately launched into a cacophony of "If? What does he mean 'If'? Is he saying it never happened? He's a Holocaust denier!".

But of course Ahmadinejad didn't just say, "If it happened...". He said "If......, then why.....?". If Europeans did it, why are Palestinians paying? If Europeans were responsible for the Holocaust of the Jews, and the Holocaust is justification for a Jewish state, then why isn't that state in Europe? And that's a different issue altogether than simply denying the Holocaust took place.
He goes on to quote Toynbee:
If the creation of a new state of Israel was judged to be a legitimate form of compensation to the surviving Jews, the territory for this state should have been taken from the Europeans, not from the Arabs.
Same point, right? Not if you actually follow Ahmadinejad's train of thought. The historical truth of the Holocaust and the justification for the founding of Israel are indeed two different subjects. So there is an apparent odd lurch in focus involved in coupling whether the Holocaust happened and whether it justifies the founding of Israel. Unless, like Ahmadinejad, you think that the claim that the Holocaust occurred is a lie that was created expressly for the purpose of cheating the Palestinians and that otherwise nobody would ever entertain such a notion.

Holocaust denial, after all, is a giant conspiracy theory, and every conspiracy theory includes a notion of what the conspirators are trying to accomplish. Here is an account of Ahmadinejad's views from Iran's PressTV:
Ahmadinejad said the Holocaust was a pretext to occupy Palestine and displace millions of peoples, therefore its aspects should be studied. "They displaced the Palestinian nation under the pretext of the massacre of the Jews; if it is revealed that the Holocaust has nothing to do with the issue of Palestine and the figures in this regard are exaggerated, they will have nothing to say."
So in Ahmadinejad's mind he is delivering the ultimate gotcha point--that World Arrogance lie, he is proclaiming triumphantly, doesn't even serve the justification it was created for. As an abstract point, Toynbee is saying something that has a certain validity: one person should not pay for another person's sins. Ahmadinejad's point, however, is all part of the Holocaust-denying fun.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Military Might and the Iranian Imagination

This may be an example of Iranian propaganda at its silliest, but it is also a revealing glimpse of what military might means to Iran, and it seems to involve the depopulation of Israel. From Ynetnews:
Iran continues to enjoy the dubious success of the military missile drill, which the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Guard held last week. The Iranian news agency IRNA reported to the country's residents on Monday that the Israelis were so terrified by the display of power that it has sparked a mass emigration.

Iran's national news agencies have become famous for their hyperbolic reports on the state's successes, and this time was no exception. According to recent reports, there has been an increase in "massive emigration from Tel Aviv following the military maneuver."

The report was not actually referring to the bustling city, but rather using Tel Aviv as a general term signifying Israel, which Iran has refused to recognize or mention by name.

"Following the successful maneuver executed by Iran last week, which included the firing of new missiles, Zionist residents living in occupied Palestine have begun to flee from there," the report said. "The residents told their illegitimate government that this was the reason they refused to go on living there." [...]
(Hat Tip: Eye on the World)

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Update: These things are always so much more fun coming straight from the horse's mouth. So without further ado, take it away Fars News!
Israelis have begun to fearfully evacuate occupied Palestine following the last week military maneuver and missile tests by Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

Iran's display of power has terrified Israelis so deeply that they have started mass emigration.
So where are they headed to? Iran?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Yud Beis-Yud Gimmel Tammuz

The 12th and 13th of Tammuz are celebrated by Lubavitcher Chassidim as the anniversary of the release of the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, from imprisonment by the Soviet Government. The following passage relates the events that took place when the Rebbe was informed that his original death sentence was commuted:
Thursday, Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, (June 30) eleven o'clock in the morning, a guard entered the Rebbe's cell and commanded him to stand. The guards spoke Russian, but it was the Rebbe's decision to respond to them in Yiddish, and he replied that he would not stand.

Prison procedure required that the prisoners stand whenever they received any kind of information. This was to demonstrate that the prisoner was subject to the authority of his captors; it was for this very reason that the Rebbe refused to stand.

It seems that one of the guards was a Jew who understood the Rebbe's Yiddish reply. To the Rebbe's answer, the guards responded in Russian, "If you will not obey, we will beat you." The Rebbe responded with a non-committal "Nu..." The guards beat him harshly and departed.

Later another group of guards entered the cell, with Lulav among them.

"Rebbe," Lulav said, "why this strange conduct with them? Why are you so stubborn? They have come to inform you that your sentence has been lightened; therefore, if you are told to stand, then do so!"

The Rebbe remained totally unresponsive. Lulav asked, "Should they beat you?" Again the Rebbe did not answer.

Once again the guards began to pummel the Rebbe and then left. One of them struck him under the chin, and the Rebbe suffered pain from this blow for years afterwards. A group of guards came to the cell for the third time; among them was a Jew named Kavelov. They instructed the Rebbe to stand, and he again refused. Kavelov began to beat him, but to no avail.

Kavelov, infuriated, cried out in Russian, "We shall teach you!"

The Rebbe replied in Yiddish, "We shall see who will teach whom."

After a while some guards came to the cell and told the Rebbe to proceed to the office. There he was informed that his sentence had been reduced, as Lulav had mentioned. He was to be freed from prison and sent for three years exile to the city of Kastroma.

As the Rebbe approached the table, he observed the documents of his case lying there. He noticed that the first line had been crossed out, nullifying the original death sentence. The next line stated that the Rebbe should be sent away to prison for ten years to Solovaki; next to it was written, Nyet! ("no!) On the last line was written: "Three years Kastroma."

When the Rebbe was told he was being sent to Kastroma for a three-year term, he was asked at the same time which class train accommodations he desired, and he answered, Mezhdunarodni -- international -- the top class reserved for high government officials and affluent businessmen. He was asked if he was capable of paying the high price, and the Rebbe replied that if the money confiscated from his bureau at the time of his arrest was inadequate, he would instruct the members of his household to pay the remainder.

It was Thursday; the Rebbe asked when the train would arrive in Kastroma, and he was told on Shabbat. The Rebbe declared that he would not travel on Shabbat under any circumstances, so he remained in Spalerka [prison] over Shabbat.
The rest of the Rebbe's Prison Diary is equally gripping.

New Movement in Art: "Anti-Japanese guerrilla-style"!

I bet you always assumed that North Korean art must be a bit politicized. I bet you didn't imagine this kind of Bizarro World:
The working people of all strata of the DPRK are taking an active part in art activities as creators and enjoyers of art.

It is a precious fruition of the wise leadership of Kim Jong Il that the flower garden of Juche art is flourishing daily across the country.

His guidance to a performance of an art group of Samjiyon County in July, Juche 65(1976) marked a historical milestone in bringing a radical turn in the development of mass art in the country.

Saying that the activities of art groups must under all circumstances follow the anti-Japanese guerrilla style, he elucidated the essence of the Korean-style mass art activities and indicated detailed orientation and ways for carrying through the policy of popularizing art, drawing the masses into it.

The anti-Japanese guerrilla-style art activities expounded by him is mass art activities for giving militant and mobile performances of life-like and realistic stage pieces with simple popular musical instruments, not wedded to time and place, and amusing performances by actively developing talents of the masses.

Over the last three decades and more since then the Korean people have properly carried forward the revolutionary tradition established in the days of the anti-Japanese armed struggle and, with it as the model, briskly conducted mass art activities.

The mass art of the DPRK has reached a remarkably high stage in the Songun era.

General Secretary Kim Jong Il has always paid deep attention to mass art activities, inspecting the front and giving on-the-spot guidance.

At posts, he listened to songs of soldiers and, at factories and villages, he saw performances of workers' art groups and masque dance of peasants. The soldiers and people all over the country have grown to be true heroes of art.

Busy as he was in Songun leadership, he appreciated performances given by art groups of servicemen's families and pushed wives of servicemen to the foreground as second ranks of Songun buglers who have created the model of mass art in the Songun era.

Under his loving care servicemen's wives have lifted the mass art of the Songun era to a new height by their revolutionary and militant performances. And, in this course, they have grown to be admirable "composers and scriptwriters", "instrumentalists" and "actresses". [...]
The one alternative to anti-Japanese guerrilla style is, of course, re-education camp style.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Relentless Struggle against Imperialists' Aggression and War Called for"

(North) Korean News is in top form here. Note the stunted paragraph development:
The imperialists' ceaseless military intervention and moves to ignite a war against the progressive countries are driving the international situation to constant uneasiness and bringing great misery, sufferings and disaster to the people. Rodong Sinmun today observes this in a signed article.

It goes on:

Aggression and war are the imperialists' mode of existence. They pave the way for the imperialists' unlimited plunder and accumulation of wealth.

It is the imperialists' way of thinking and theory of existence that their escalation of the war of aggression against other countries would make them richer and enable them to wallow in luxury.

The imperialists' greed precisely means aggression and war.

The course covered by the imperialists means a history of aggression and war.

The two world wars which recorded unforgettable tragedies in the human history in the past century clearly prove that imperialists are the worst enemy of mankind and the most brutal war force.

The imperialists perpetrated brigandish wars of aggression against the progressive countries, socialist countries in different parts of the world by beginning with the Korean war in the 1950s.

They are resorting to more vicious and crafty methods to realize their brigandish ambition for aggression.

They are becoming more crafty and vicious in their methods to perpetrate aggression and plunder under the changed situation and amidst the trend of the world.

The imperialists make no scruple of perpetrating brigandish aggression and military intervention against the sovereign countries under the signboards of the "establishment of a democratic order", "defence of human rights" and "guarantee of peace".

If there be any change in the imperialists, it is not their aggressive nature but the more crafty and vicious methods of aggression.

Independence and peace do not come of themselves. They can be achieved only through a relentless struggle against the aggressor forces, concludes the article.
Achieve independence and peace by relentlessly checking out Carnival of the Insanities and Haveil Havalim.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Seattle Greenies: Please take our money

What a bash! What greater spectacle of happiness could there be than a person with a child named "Sequoia" contemplating a "green-fee" for grocery bags?
Standing with her 5-month old son, Sequoia, in her arms, Ravenna resident Liz Tatchell told a Seattle City Council panel what members would hear from citizens throughout the night -- Seattle is ready to bag the grocery bags.

"I think it's a great step in the right direction," Tatchell said Tuesday during the first public hearing on a proposed ban on foam food containers and a fee for disposable grocery bags. "It's more than just the bags -- it's a lifestyle change."

Like Tatchell, nearly all of the dozens of Seattleites who spoke during the lively hearing supported the proposal. Representatives of the grocery industry were less sanguine, with most arguing for a flat fee rather than a per-bag charge.

At issue during the hearing before the council's Environment, Emergency Management and Utilities Committee was a total ban on polystyrene containers and a fee on disposable bags, be they plastic or paper.

The hearing served as a coming out party for the proposed regulations, which were floated by Mayor Greg Nickels in April. If enacted, the new regulations would ban not-so-green food containers -- from polystyrene to-go boxes to plastic sauce cups and forks -- and would assess a 20-cent-per-bag "green fee" on shopping bags.

Since its unveiling, the proposal has been received alternatively as a bold step toward a sustainable Seattle or an attack on Seattle's poor and middle-class residents.

Tuesday's event got off to a silly start, with a short statement by a Shoreline city councilwoman accompanied by a woman wrapped in 400-plus plastic bags. Her presentation was followed nearly two hours later by an appearance from the "Plastic Menace" -- one Jake Harris of Wallingford, wrapped in plastic bags.

Members of the activist organization Raging Grannies belted out a slightly revised version of the Woody Guthrie standard "This Land Is Your Land" that urged conservation. [...]
Oh, to have been there . . .

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Friday, July 11, 2008

Americans eating bagels to counter depression

According to the Dissident Voice the real cause of the obesity epidemic is "mild depression." Later the article mentions stress and lack of sleep, but that isn't exactly depression. What are we depressed about? The Bush presidency? And what does the author have against bagels? Do you reach for a bagel in the same circumstances in which you would reach for some potato chips?
Contrary to what Americans have been led to believe, the epidemic rise of excess weight gain and obesity in this country is not the result of overeating fat laden foods. The obesification of America is the direct result of a mild depression that causes people to savagely crave, and then overeat, junk food carbohydrate (sugar).

Junk food is the trillion dollar food industries legal drug for this mild depression and, although it’s been very profitable for the food companies, it’s been devastating for the health of the American public. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 368,000 Americans died last year from obesity related illnesses. In comparison, fewer than 14,000 Americans die annually from all the illegal drugs combined. This epidemic is an ominous threat to our country’s future.

America’s overconsumption of the chips, bagels, sodas, pastries, sweets, fries, etc., stems from ferocious cravings that are triggered by low levels of a key neurotransmitter or chemical messenger in the brain called Serotonin. Serotonin is the feel good hormone that affects mood and cravings.

Depleted levels of Serotonin are caused by the contemporary lifestyle factors of stress, poor nutrition, and the lack of quality sleep. [...]
And we all know what causes lack of sleep: blogging!

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Thursday, July 10, 2008

MPAC-UK asks "Will The Zio-Powers Attack Iran?"

You know, the Zio-Powers. The United States and Israel, the Big and Little Satan. The article is from Arab American News, but the title is fine vintage MPAC:
[...] Common sense tells you that at a time when the United States is already neck-deep in two disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is not likely to open another front in Iran. Especially when it's doing so miserably on both fronts.

And particularly when the U.S. and world economies are in such a mess and oil prices are shooting sky high. Besides, there are less than six months before this born-again president leaves the White House.

This is why the idea of an attack on Iran seems so utterly absurd and downright stupid. This is totally illegal too, because according to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – to which Iran is a signatory – every signatory state has a right to peaceful nuclear power. And uranium enrichment is part of this right.

Which is why even these sanctions – three rounds of them, which the E.U. and United States have imposed on Tehran – are illegal too. These sanctions have been inflicted on Iran despite the fact that it has taken every step of its nuclear program under the watchful eyes and cameras of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). [...]

Last time around when they came for Iraq despite opposition from the U.N. and endless protests in Western capitals, a deafening silence descended on the Arab and Muslim world.

There was not a single voice of protest in the so-called Arab and Muslim street. And their leaders persuaded themselves that perhaps the Baathist dictator after all deserved this disgraceful end. They told themselves, okay, Iraq is different. They convinced themselves this wouldn't happen again.

And now they are preparing to take out Iran. And they will come again and again to take out everyone who stands up for one's rights and refuses to surrender to big bullies . . .
The world arrogance and bullying powers?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

More Explosive News: "Mysterious explosion," "third round" of Jewish Qassams

Life is full of mystery:
Unknown assailants blew up the headquarters of the Yabous Charitable Association in Rafah in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Eyewitnesses said they heard a huge explosion at 2 am.

The huge explosion destroyed the entire building, but no one was injured.

The reasons behind the attack remain unknown and the de facto government's police force have begun an investigation.
Life is full of irony:
Israeli settlers, taking a page from Palestinian armed groups in Gaza, launched three homemade projectiles at Palestinian villages south of the city of Nablus, in the West Bank on Wednesday.

Palestinian security source told Ma’an: "The projectiles were launched on Tuesday evening from the settlement of Bracha at the villages of Burin and Madama, they landed near civilians’ houses with no injuries reported."

This was the third such attack. The Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israeli army are investigating the incident.

Information delivered by Israeli army to the PA says that the projectiles were launched by a group of extremist students at a theological school located in the settlement.

No arrests were made in the previous two projectile attacks.
Not to mention the thousands of rounds of projectile attacks going in the other direction.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

IRIB: "Zionists doomed to annihilation"

"IRIB" stands for Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting in case you were wondering. The word "annihilation" suggests violent destruction, but Israel according to Ahmadinejad here is "inherently doomed to annihilation." This is pretty typical of Iranian Press accounts of Ahmadinejad speeches--a threatening-sounding title somewhat undercut be incoherent posturing. (Note to leftists: another typical mode is more straight-forwardly threatening.)
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday that the Zionist regime is inherently doomed to annihilation and there is no need for Iranians to take action.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of D8 summit in Malaysia, he said the Zionists themselves are well aware of the fact that their time is over.

"They label us as aggressors but this is a big lie because the Iranian nation throughout the history never attacked any nation," he said.

The Zionists are assigned to commit crimes, threaten others and invade Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon as well as threaten Iran and Iraq, he said.

On current developments in Palestine, he said the Islamic Republic of Iran has proposed a free referendum for all Palestinians around the world but the so-called advocates of democracy have opposed it, he said.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Explosive Palestinian news coverage

Palestinian life and politics frequently involve explosives and explosions. According to Maan, the PA Attorney General escaped a car-bomb assassination attempt:
The Palestinian Authority's Attorney General Ahmad Al-Mghanni survived an assassination attempt on Tuesday.

A bomb detonated in the boot of his car in the Al-Maysoun neighbourhood of Ramallah in the central West Bank as Al-Mghanni started the engine of his car. He escaped unhurt.

Al- Mghanni told Ma'an that as he was starting his car, he heard an explosion, which damaged the fuel tank.

Palestinian police have opened an investigation.

Al-Mghanni said he did not know who was behind the attack and he was waiting for the results of the investigation.

The head of the Palestinian Supreme Court Judge Issa Abu Sharar condemned the attack. "The attempt to assault Attorney General is a serious attack aimed at paralyzing the judiciary and the prosecution," he said.
Meanwhile, at a Hamas training camp there was a "training explosion." Does that mean that a practice attack ended in a real work-accident?
Two militants of Hamas' Al-Qassam brigades were killed and another was injured on Tuesday during a training explosion in Khanyounis city, Hamas sources said.

Ramattan reporter said that a huge explosion took place in a training camp of Ezz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas movement in Khanyounis city, in southern Gaza strip.

Palestinian nedics siad that the injured was in seriously injured. Hamas sources identified the killed militants as Mohammed Abd Al-Shakour 28, and Weal Mustafa 30, added that the ambulance crews evacuated the casualties from the explosion site.
That was Ramattan. PalPress has some different details:
At least two members of Hamas lawless movement were killed while two others were injured after a big explosion shook a Hamas affiliated training military site western of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza.

The blast occurred at the freed settlement of Gani Tal western of Khan Yunis where the military position lies, and it resulted in the complete destruction of the building, medical crews are working on evacuating the dead and the injured.

Chief of the emergency and aids department in the Palestinian Health Ministry Dr. Muawiyah Abu Hassanein said that two dead and two injured where transferred from the area of the blast to hospital, not ruling out the possibility of finding more injured.

Today's blast is not considered the first of it's kind, several explosion shook Hamas affiliated training sites and military headquarters, the matter which resulted in killing and wounding many of it's members in addition to victims among civilians.
"Not considered the first of its kind"--we noticed.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Update: See EOZ.

"Deconstructing Barry" involves comparing him to Henry James

In a recent New Republic offering "A literary critic reads Obama." Here is the Henry James part:
It is hard for any writer, no matter how selective his memory or guarded his words, to conceal himself in his writing. I suspect (I've never met him) that the weaknesses and strengths of Obama's writing reflect those of his character-- a virtuosity that tempts him to be pleased with himself and impatient with others, but also an awareness of human complexity that made me think of a writer to whom he does not allude, Henry James, whose criterion for the artist as someone "on whom nothing is lost" he meets.
Here is the final paragraph:
To some, it all seems calculated and hubristic, and they will no doubt continue to detect in his style a self-involved inwardness. But, to me, it feels like heartfelt homage from someone with a keen sense of the complexities and commonalities of human experience. On the hopeful premise that style really does tell us something about the man, this man--to my ear, at least--is the real deal.
Not much "Deconstruction" there, and I know what the word means. We are told that the author, Andrew Delbanco, "teaches at Columbia, where he is Levi Professor in the Humanities and director of American Studies." I wonder what his politics are.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Colombian hostage rescue has added bonus!

One seldom encounters good news for righties at the Dissident Voice:
Amidst all the joy and celebration resulting from the Colombian military’s successful rescue of 15 hostages last week, the fact that the tactics utilized in the mission will likely endanger the lives of journalists and aid workers in the future has been completely ignored. By having soldiers pose as journalists and aid workers in order to gain access to the hostages, the Colombian government has increased the already high risks faced by legitimate reporters and NGO workers. In a country that is already one of the most dangerous places in the world in which to work as a journalist or a defender of human rights, the armed actors will now be even more suspicious of anyone claiming to work in those fields. [...]

The tactics used by the Colombian government will undoubtedly increase the risks faced by journalists and NGO workers who operate in the country’s rural conflict zones. Colombia’s armed groups, particularly the FARC, will now be even more distrustful of anyone who claims to be a reporter or aid worker. This is likely of little concern to Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe, who has repeatedly endangered the lives of human rights defenders critical of his security policies . . .
Related: Everything you've been told about the rescue is a lie, a lie I tell you . . .

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Nimzo-Indian rope-a-dope can't compensate for glass jaw and weak pawn-structure

Touting his strategy of "float like a butterfly, introduce a really nice theoretical novelty in the Pirc Defense," Russian Nikolai Sazhin triumphed in the world champion chess boxing match on Sunday:
Rarely do brains and brawn come together in this way. A Russian was crowned world champion Sunday in the novelty sport of chess boxing that requires equal skill at moving pawns and throwing punches.

Mathematics student Nikolai Sazhin, 19, competing under the name "The President" knocked out a 37-year-old German policeman, Frank Stoldt, who served as a peacekeeper in Kosovo until recently.

The loser said he was simply too punch drunk to fend off checkmate.

"I took a lot of body-blows in the fourth round and that affected my concentration. That's why I made a big mistake in the fifth round: I did not see him coming for my king," he said. [...]
Sazhin commented, "I been trainin' real hard. It came down to a tricky end-game where I would have had to mate with just a knight and bishop. So I just clobbered his sorry butt instead."

Palpress: More Jewish Qassams--Sharon 1 and Sharon 2

An earlier story of this nature ended with the alleged rockets being identified as "cylindrical bins used to hold flares or firecrackers." In this latest report the rockets are called "Sharon 1" and "Sharon 2." Those are awfully Palestinian-sounding names, somehow, but this could be real. What should the rockets be named, though? If they are going to be named after Sharon, we could call them "Arikels" maybe. They don't have to have a Sharon-theme name at all, of course. How about "Cholent and Kugel 1"?
Ramallah-PalPress- Israeli settlers from the Bracha settlement south of Nablus launched two homemade projectiles at a neighboring Palestinian villages on Tuesday afternoon, no injuries were reported.

Palestinian security sources said that the Israeli settlers launched two projectiles as a test for the 'Sharon 1' and 'Sharon 2' projectiles they are producing.

The sources added that the projectiles landed dozens of meters away from the houses of the Palestinian citizens pointing out that the lengths of the projectiles ranged between 15 and 30 cm.

This is the considered the second incident in which Israeli settlers fire homemade rockets towards the Palestinian villages close to the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
I wonder if the Iranians will send advisers.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Your daily dose of invincibility

Where else but Korean News, do you see the word "invincible" used twice in the same sentence!
[...] The Songun politics is an original political mode that helps carry out revolution and construction by our own efforts and our own way in conformity with the actual conditions of our country. It also serves as an all-powerful treasured sword for winning victory in all fields of revolution and construction despite any grave situation and ordeal. This is the important idea that runs through the work.

The publication of the work helped the servicepersons and people of the DPRK enshrine the firm faith that Songun is a science and undisputed truth and serves as an invincible socialist banner and provided them with effective ideological and theoretical guidelines for giving full play to the invincible vitality of the Songun politics, the Songun revolutionary line of the Workers' Party of Korea.

Thanks to Kim Jong Il's Songun politics the political and ideological might of our revolutionary ranks has grown exceptionally stronger and our country came to demonstrate its might as an invincible socialist military power which no formidable enemy can provoke and the country could greet the year of historical turn in the building of a rich and powerful nation. [...]
The latest editions of Carnival of the Insanities and Haveil Havalim are also all-powerful treasured swords for winning victory in all fields of revolution and construction, so check them out, displaying single-minded unity in the spirit of Mt. Paektu!

Tehran Times accuses Sy of Sy-ops!

In which Tehran Times (by way of Mehr News) accuses Sy Hersh and John Bolton of "singing the same song":
Spare us the pain of yet another repetition of the "Chicken Little, the sky is falling" syndrome, as journalist Seymour Hersh so accurately stated about his own writings on Iran during a recent edition of the CNN talk show Late Edition.

The substance of the latest 'revelations' of "Preparing the Battlefield", published in the June 29, 2008 issue of The New Yorker, is no more than a rehash of very old news packaged under an alarmist-intended title. The so-called 'facts' do not amount to more than their intended purpose: to further dramatize the threat of military attack against the Iranian people and nation, in the form of the ceaseless psychological warfare, known as psyops, emanating from the Western mass media.

It seems one of the motives in writing this latest 'exposĂ©' of the Bush administration’s well-financed covert operations against Iran was best illuminated in Hersh’s discussion and retelling of the Pentagon’s version of the Iranian patrol boat incident back in January 2008. "Weariness with the war in Iraq has undoubtedly affected the public’s tolerance for an attack on Iran, but this mood could change quickly," writes the investigative journalist, citing the Iranian patrol boat incident as a clear example of the "potential for escalation". Although Hersh referred to a Gallup poll taken last November, when seventy-three percent (73%) of the Americans surveyed favored economic means and diplomacy to address the issue of Iran’s nuclear program, compared to only eighteen percent (18%) who favored direct military action, he went on to repeat George Bush’s characterization of the incident as "provocative" and "dangerous" on the day Bush was heading for an eight-day trip to the Middle East. "There was, very briefly, a sense of crisis and outrage at Iran," Hersh wrote.

What was left out of this story was that the purpose of the Bush trip was to gather support for the administration’s sagging efforts to convince some of the Arab governments to comply with the U.S. foreign policy objective of isolating Iran so as to advance the United States’ hegemonic goals in the region. Furthermore, in repeating only a part of the old news, Mr. Hersh neglected to mention that the Iranian government produced actual audio-video footage of the so-called 'provocative' encounter, blowing so many holes in the official version that a week later the Pentagon had to sing a different tune. As we recall, Bush’s efforts, as well as the ridiculous Pentagon version of Navy warships being threatened by five small Iranian speedboats, fell flat on its face, and to this day Iran continues to enjoy a certain stature among its neighbors. [...]

Given the rising tension between Iran and the U.S. these days, which could be read in the price of a barrel of oil, of course, it is politically safer not to downgrade the U.S. threat, but to yield to and resound the Washington-Tel Aviv war drum beats serves the conservative causes of the warmongers in the psyops battleground. It may be worth noting that the day after Hersh’s CNN interview, CNBC, the stock market channel, was giving airtime to John Bolton, a very hawkish neoconservative, spreading his threat that Israel will bomb Iran’s strategic facilities, at the same time Seymour Hersh was being interviewed on Democracy Now. Why are Bolton and Hersh singing the same song? [...]
Sy is evidently naught but a tool of the World Arrogance!

Gimmel Tammuz Links

A Simple Jew

Life of Rubin

Crown Heights Info

Aussie Echo

Chabad.org

Rabbi Shishler Online

Magdeburger Joe

Dwelling Place Below

Friday, July 04, 2008

Israel considers bulldozing house, builds cute bomb-shelter for Sderot children

According to the BBC:
Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak has ordered the army to prepare to demolish the home of the Palestinian who killed three Israelis in Jerusalem.

The order follows advice by Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz that the proposed demolition could create legal difficulties, but would not be illegal.

An Israeli rights group has said such a move would be collective punishment. [...]
In what I see as a related story:
The children of Sderot will soon be able to run for cover from rocket attacks, even on the playground. The new bomb shelter will look playful, however.

The city is in the final stages of building a playground that includes a tunnel for a quick escape from Kassam rocket barrages, reports the Sderot Media Center (SMC).

According to construction manager Boaz Etzion, "The idea of the park is that when there is a Color Red [incoming rocket] alarm, the children can run quickly to safety in the tunnels" [...]

The escape tunnel, at a cost of 150,000 shekels ($46,000) is being built in the shape of a centipede to make it appear to be part of the playground and not like a bomb shelter.
What do these two stories have to do with each other? They illustrate that Israel operates in a sort of weird gray area between tolerating terrorism and fighting it. Instead of building cute bomb shelters for Sderot children and wondering whether or not to destroy a building, Israel should go on the offensive militarily and not stop until its enemies--Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al-Aqsa Brigades, whoever else is foolish enough to keep fighting--are destroyed. I offer you Goodman's Law of Israel News Developments: Whenever Israel is accused of "collective punishment," it may or may not be guilty, but it is not acting in its own interests. Whenever Israel is accused of using "disproportionate force," it is acting wisely. (Hat tip: Israel Matzav)

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Press TV (Iran) reports the FARC ransom story

This story has already been noted in the blogosphere. Iran's buying it:
Swiss radio alleges that two FARC guards were paid millions to turn against the rebel group and free Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other hostages.

The 15 hostages released Wednesday "were in reality bought for a high price, and the whole operation afterwards was a set-up," the radio's French-language channel said on Friday quoting a 'reliable source', AFP reported.

The United States with three citizens at stake was the main player behind the 20-million-dollars deal.

According to the radio's foreign desk editor Pierre Bavaud, the money was a bribe to incite two of the hostages' guards to betray the group, rather than a ransom paid to FARC.

The guards, who were evacuated alongside Betancourt, were expected to be granted amnesty in another country.

"It's a turn-around. There is a special fund in Colombia of some 100 million dollars to turn the FARC rebels," Bavaud said. [...]
I bet they're relieved to learn that the supposed World Arrogance victory was illusory.

More on the Jewish Refugees . . . er . . . um . . . Immigrants to the Zionist entity

In a Guardian article I recently posted about, Rachel Shabi, a progressive person of Iraqi descent by way of Israel, writes as follows:
Broadly, you could say that any Middle Eastern Jew ("Oriental" or "Mizrahi" Jew) who defines their migration to Israel as "Zionist" cannot also be a refugee: the former label has agency and involves a desire to live in the Jewish state; the second suggests passivity and a lack of choice.
Sometimes it's hard to have one's consciousness raised. Try as I might, I just can't help thinking of some Mizrachi Jews as refugees. So I thought I would do a post or a few posts in which I mournfully rehearse some of the historical facts that formerly led me to misuse the word refugee. Perhaps it will be therapeutic. Let's start with Operation Magic Carpet: Norman Stillman (The Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times, p. 157) writes:
The Yemenite refugees poured into Aden at a rate and in numbers that were beyond anything that had been expected and overwhelmed the camp facilities and relief efforts. Many refugees arrived undernourished and in frightful physical condition after having trekked hundreds of miles over rough terrain, in many cases entirely on foot. Several thousand individuals were stricken with malaria, and 70 to 80 percent of all refugees were suffering from eye diseases. Approximately 600 people died in the camps, nearly half of these during September and October 1949, when the influx of refugees was at its height. Fearing the outbreak of an epidemic, the British authorities Aden closed the border for five weeks during this peak period, causing near starvation among the hapless refugees stranded on the other side. The situation demanded that the facilities be expanded and the refugees transferred as quickly as possible. Between June 1949 and September 1950, approximately 44,000 Yemenite Jews were brought from Aden to Israel in a dramatic airlift, dubbed Operation On Wings of Eagles (see Exod. 19:4), later renamed Operation Magic Carpet. The airlift was carried out by a specially formed American charter airline, the Near East Air Transport Company, in 430 flights, with at times as many as eleven planes flying around the clock during height of the exodus in the fall of 1949.
Another writer (Reuben Ahroni, Jewish Emigration from the Yemen, 1951-98: Carpet Without Magic, Introduction) discusses a later stage:
The second phase of Operation Magic Carpet concentrated on the native Jews of Aden. These Jews had just emerged from the devastating pogrom of December 1947, in which 82 Jews were killed and 76 Jews were wounded. Faced with economic devastation, destruction of most of their homes, bleak prospects for recovery, and the dashed confidence in the ability of the British flag to safeguard their security, most of the Jews of Aden took full advantage of Operation Magic Carpet and left Aden for Israel.
There, I think I'm on the way to recovery!

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Thursday, July 03, 2008

MPAC person "Bulldozed by Al-Jazeera"

My favorite civil rights group, and yours too no doubt, MPAC-UK, is not pleased by press coverage of the bulldozer terror-attack in Jerusalem. "Bulldozed by Al-Jazeera" is their title:
I'm not really surprised when I see bias reporting on Fox, Sky, or even the BBC, but I was taken aback with what I saw on Al Jazeera English this afternoon.

Since its launch, Al Jazeera English has easily become my favourite choice of news coverage - a crusader for truth in the murky mass of Zionist influenced media.

However, today the bubble burst. I was aghast at the blatant lack of balance in Al Jazeera's 5pm top news bulletin regarding the Palestinian bulldozer attack in West Jerusalem, and more shocked to be savaged by one of their representatives when I telephoned to give my feedback . . .
"Savaged" here means "not taken seriously."
You need to see the TV coverage to understand my sentiments in full; I was genuinely sad about the needless loss of human life - three Israeli civilians dead and dozens injured. However, as I watched the coverage I became shocked at the pro-Israel bias, which included an interview with a representative of the Jerusalem Post . . .
The Jerusalem Post . . . horrors! Here's where the actual "bulldozing" occurs, I suppose:
I phoned Al Jazeera English to air my grievance and the initial point of contact listened courteously, acknowledged my comments and then put me through to someone who I understand has some editorial control. She was rude, abrupt and downright aggressive. She barked "Give me a break, lady" . . .
I wouldn't have been that polite. In case you didn't guess, I excerpted the article in such a way as to omit a great deal of pro-Palestinian hand-wringing, but go ahead and read the rest if you're so inclined. More on the press coverage of the attack here and here and here.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Other Black National Anthem

An audience in Denver was recently stunned by a surprise exhibition of majestic identity grandeur:
A jazz singer shocked some Denver residents after replacing the words to the national anthem with those of the "Black National Anthem" during the annual State of the City address this week.

Rene Marie was asked to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper delivered the annual address on Tuesday. Instead, she sang the lyrics of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" — a hymn commonly referred to as the "Black National Anthem" — to the tune of the national anthem, MyFOXColorado.com reported.
Many people were unaware until now of the existence of a Black National Anthem and fewer still are aware of its rich history. Before the present one achieved universal acceptance a number of different proposed songs were considered candidates. One prospective candidate anthem came so close to being chosen that even now it is known as "The Other Black National Anthem." The alternate BNA has been mostly preserved through oral tradition, so it is only with great difficulty that we obtained the text of the words. So far we have been unable to determine the tune that should accompany the following soaring lyric:

O Melanin
Tint of dignity
CNS + EMS = HB
With glowing skin we see thee rise
The true hue-manity
Oh precious neuromelanin
Our thought's enhanced by thee
Oh keep our glorious pigment
Albino-photon-free
Oh Melanin, they raised the bar for thee
Oh Melanin, they raised the bar for thee

Crossposted on Soccer Dad