Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Capitalism and Circumcision

A current pro-Finkelstein diary at Daily Kos offers a long excerpt of a piece from a site called the Dissident Voice. Whoa! Where has this site been all my blog-life? It's the bomb, the mother-lode, or maybe it's the mother-ship. Anyway, here's an article called "How Capitalism Turns Intimate Relationships into a Battleground":
Relationship conflicts are a universal source of pain and confusion. I frequently counsel couples in distress where the woman is angry and the man is depressed. The woman cannot understand why the man won’t fix the problems in the relationship. The man feels inadequate. Nothing he does is good enough. The woman cannot understand how any man could feel inadequate, because men are supposed to be superior beings. In her mind, he has simply stopped caring about her.

The vulnerability of men is one of society’s best-kept secrets. Men are expected to provide and protect and solve all problems. They aren’t supposed to feel needy, vulnerable or inadequate like women. Yet, in some ways, men are more vulnerable than women.

As early as five years of age, males are more likely than females to kill themselves. This difference increases through life. By age 22, men are six times more likely and by age 85 fifteen times more likely to kill themselves. When a relationship breaks up, the man is 11 times more likely than the woman to commit suicide.

Capitalism demands that men be tough to compete and endure hardship, while denying them the emotional support necessary for genuine inner strength.

To “toughen” males, society directs an astonishing level of violence against them. The most sensitive parts of their bodies are singled out for attack. Parents are pressured to circumcise infant sons in the first week of life, a traumatic procedure that is commonly performed without anesthetic . . .
And that's Capitalism, is it?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

(North) Korean News: "Rodong Sinmun Calls for Intensifying Cultural and Emotional Cultivation"

I can't manage any more revolutionary zeal and pulsating spirit--just leave me alone already!!!!
Rodong Sinmun in a by-lined article today says it is an important principle consistently maintained by the Workers' Party of Korea in its ideological work to steadily intensify cultural and emotional cultivation.

It goes on:

When it is intensified so that everyone may work with a high cultural standard, full of hope and optimism for the future, the advantages of Korean-style socialism centered on the popular masses will be given full play.

Intensifying cultural and emotional cultivation is an important undertaking to vigorously speed up the building of a great prosperous powerful nation by giving full scope to the revolutionary zeal and optimistic fighting spirit of the Korean people. And it is an important demand in strictly curbing the reactionary ideological and cultural infiltration of the imperialists and firmly defending socialist ideology and culture in the DPRK.

The revolution victoriously advances where songs reverberate far and wide and miracles are wrought and feats performed in a place overflowing with rich emotion and optimism. When cultural and emotional cultivation is decisively intensified in all fields and at all units, the whole country will brim over with pulsating spirit and constant leaps be made in building a great prosperous powerful nation.
One day Kim Jong Il is going to wake up to discover that all his subjects have spontaneously expired. Then where will he be?
Only when cultural and emotional cultivation is intensified, the people can clearly understand that socialist cultural and emotional life in the DPRK is the most superior cultural and emotional one conforming to the independent nature of man and can actively turn out in the struggle against bourgeois ideology and culture and mode of life with full knowledge of their reactionary and harmful nature.

In the DPRK today there is no room for any alien and decadent culture with nothing in common with the most superior Korean-style socialist culture to set foot. The people in the DPRK are most sound and pure not only in ideology and spirit but also in culture and morality. There lies in intensifying cultural and emotional cultivation a sure guarantee for firmly defending Korean-style ideology and culture by frustrating the reactionary physiological smear campaign and ideological and cultural infiltration of the imperialists.
That reminds me: I have some Imperialist skullduggery to attend to.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

IRIB: "Zionists behind published blasphemy"

Plots 'R' Us:
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday castigated a Swedish daily for publishing blasphemy against the noblest Messenger of Allah Hazrate Mohammad (PBUH) and said that the Zionists, who do not believe in religion, are behind such a dirty job.

"Religions call for friendship, equality, justice, peace and respect for divine prophets (Peace Be Upon Them). The Zionists only pretend to believe in religion. They are telling lies. They are perpetrating oppression against the Europeans and putting at risk the prestige of Europe," the President said.

He said that the Zionists are the minority whose population is very small, but, they are doing things in an organized manner. They are suffering from psychological complex since blasphemy against one prophet accounts for blasphemy against all of them."

The President said that the UN nuclear agency has closed Iranian case of Plutonium adding that the agency is doing its job free from political objectives.

He reaffirmed Iran's commitment to international conventions and said that the Islamic Republic of Iran supports the IAEA in its professional job.

"It is a dirty act to settle your scores with Iran by misusing the name of an international organization," the President added.
Elsewhere in the Iranian press today we learn that "Ahmadinejad Approves of Stone Film":
(Fars News Agency) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has expressed his approval of acclaimed director Oliver Stone's plans to make a film about him.

"I have no objection, generally speaking, but they have to let me know what are the frameworks. They should talk to my colleagues. Principally speaking, I have no objection," President Ahmadinejad told reporters during a press conference here in Tehran on Tuesday.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Caliphate Debate

MPAC-UK as the reasonable side?

So far the comments thread at the MPAC-UK site consists mostly of support for her.

Linkim 8/28/07

Men's Health: "The 10 Best Foods You Aren't Eating" (h/t: Huffpo)

CBS News: "Did Fonda's Videos Give People Arthritis?" (h/t:

New Republic Online: "Is Everything We're Told About Saving the Planet Wrong?"

Tim Blair: "Dinosaur Blamed"

Arab News: "Palestinian Govt Closes Scores of Charities"

Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed: "Gaza’s Farce: Electricity and Missiles"

Kamangir: "Is Iran going to fight America with American Weapons?"

Hitchens: "Which Iraq War Do You Want To End?" (h/t: RCP)

EOZ: "Arabs freak out over obscure Israeli paper in the UN"

JoeSettler: "My fifth favorite food"

Some Ahmadinejad pronouncements

Two brief articles from IRNA feature Ahmadinejad revealing the latest vague blather that Iranians have to pretend is very meaningful and profound or else risk getting beaten up by an Islamic revolutionary guidance committee. What do we have to do to establish "security, peace, equality and justice"? Appoint "right individuals," bring about a "change in attitudes of those leading the world," and also encourage "managers and politicians" to "revise their way of thinking" so that their "attitude, behavior and way of thinking" will "become more humane." And this has something to do with "all prophets," as we can see from the "Jewish school of thought," "Christianity," and, of course, "the holy religion of Islam," where all this stuff is "obvious and clear."

"President says managerial reforms key to solving world problems":
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said here Tuesday that the reforms in the world's managerial system and appointing right individuals to run state of affairs are the keys to solving world problems.

President Ahmadinejad told a press conference that change in attitudes of those ruling the world would guarantee establishment of security, peace, equality and justice worldwide.

"If managers and politicians revise their way of thinking and if their attitude, behavior and way of thinking become more humane, the international community will have the pleasure of security, peace, equality and justice," said President Ahmadinejad.

He said that all prophets have been assigned to lead mankind to the point of perfection.

He added that a look at the Jewish school of thought reveals Jews' hope for coming of an individual who will lead human beings.

The same is true with Christianity which gives the good tiding of appearance of a man who will lead human being, said President Ahmadinejad, adding that in the holy religion of Islam that's something obvious and clear.
Moving right along with more concise analysis of "all problems prevailing in the World" and their solutions:

"President: World order is inappropriate for humanity":
President mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday that the current situation in the world is inappropriate for the dignity of humanity and does not guarantee prosperous life for the nations.

He told a press conference that all the intellectuals and well wishers of mankind are anxious about the current world order.
Ill-wishers of mankind are a little uneasy as well.
"Wars, threats, insecurity, arms race and massacre of nations, spread of lies and rumors have drawn a gloomy prospects for the humanity."

He said that all the problems prevailing in the world concerns the system governing the world.

The president said that nations want to live together in peace and friendship enjoying equality, but, the ruling system has always been responsible for escalating tension.
This probably has something to do with the World Arrogance and bullying powers. Stay tuned: we'll undoubtedly be traversing more of Ahmadinejad's thought-landscape in the days and weeks to come.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Monday, August 27, 2007

Finkelstein threatens "nonviolent civil disobedience"

I must say that this has been one of the more enjoyable Elders operations:
When DePaul University rejected Norman Finkelstein’s bid for tenure in June, all the documents in the very divided review of his record suggested no dispute over the high quality of his teaching. The tenure denial also said that Finkelstein would receive a contract for this coming academic year — the "terminal year" contract that is standard for colleges to offer those who have been denied tenure.

But DePaul is having second thoughts on letting Finkelstein have a terminal year. It has canceled his classes, even though students were registered and excited about them, and the university told him that he cannot have an office. The latest actions by DePaul — which already is being criticized by faculty groups for the initial tenure denial — have added to the anger about the situation. And Finkelstein is vowing to show up, teach and use his old office.

In an e-mail interview, he said: "If the university attempts to impede my movements I intend to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience and go to jail. If incarcerated I intend to go on a protracted hunger strike until DePaul comes to its senses.
What if it "comes to its senses" right away and decides that whether he eats or not is his problem?
It is regrettable that I have been driven to such drastic actions to defend basic principles of academic freedom and my contractual rights, upon which DePaul has been riding roughshod for so long."

"This just seems so unjust and ridiculous," said Daniel Klimek, a rising senior in political science and one of the students recently informed by the university that Finkelstein’s course "Equality and Social Justice" was among those called off. Klimek said that he had felt honored to be in one of Finkelstein’s final courses at DePaul, and that the cancellation reinforced his view that "this is all about politics." Klimek is among the organizers of the DePaul Academic Freedom Committee, which has been organizing protests against the tenure denial.

John K. Wilson, on his blog College Freedom, wrote: "If anyone doubted whether DePaul was violating Finkelstein’s rights, that doubt must end with this decision.... Even if DePaul pays off Finkelstein, it is violating his academic freedom (and the freedom of its students) by refusing to let him teach and effectively silencing his voice in its classrooms."

DePaul is in fact paying Finkelstein his full pay and benefits, but has placed him on administrative leave for the academic year, which means he is relieved of teaching responsibilities. [...]
He could guest-lecture to Nadia El-Hajj's students. (Hat Tip: Martin Kramer)

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Linkim 8/26/07

Haveil Havalim 131 is up! Carnival of the Insanities is up!

Jameel needs recipe help.

Judeosphere: "Walt & Mearsheimer: The Second Coming" 'Hamas planning mega-terror attack in Israel'

On the Contrary: "Uncle Moishy’s Last Recording" (Snurfle!)

Joseph Hertzlinger: "Market Failure and Linguistic Failure"

Big Pharaoh: "Bye Bye Hamas Welcome Hezb al-Tahrir"

Kamangir: "Zionist Thieves"

Jack asks "Do You Force Yourself To Blog?"

Ramattan: "Hamas regrets assaults against journalists"

Steyn: "They wait for us to run again"

Press TV (Iran): "Another plot to kill Nasrallah"

The World Arrogance revolves around the Jewish-Arab axis:
Informed sources have revealed a plot by Tel Aviv, Riyadh, Amman and the Lebanese March 14 bloc to assassinate the Hezbollah leader.

According to the report, the Deputy of Israeli military intelligence, an advisor to the Israeli Premier, the Saudi ambassador to Lebanon, Deputy of the Saudi National Security Council and head of the Jordanian General Intelligence Department held a meeting in the house of Saad Hariri, the leader of the March 14 faction, on August 4 to discuss the assassination of Seyyed Hassan Nasrollah.

The participants in the meeting believed that the move could deal a blow to supporters of Nasrallah in Lebanon. They also underlined the need for another Israeli war against Hezbollah.

The reports added that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert- in an earlier secret meeting with Jordan's King, Abdullah II- had rejected launching a war to kill the Hezbollah chief, saying that the Israeli army could not enter another war with the movement.

Hezbollah, which has become aware of the plot, has beefed up security measures in order to protect Nasrallah and his family.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

The Hechsher Tamim: An idea whose time has come

The current enthusiasm for reinventing all forms of regulatory oversight on the model of kosher supervision, while promising new levels of consumer-driven justice-advocacy never before attained, unfortunately has led to a number of serious abuses and violations of the Tikkun Olam-oriented, non-narrowly ritualistic aspects of the Torah. The question arises: Who, exactly, is overseeing the overseers?

We therefore propose the long-overdue, even though not yet thought-of, HECHSHER TAMIM. As Rabbi Morris Allen has so eloquently stated, "If we don’t connect [kashrut] to the world and the values we hold, then we fail to take kashrut at its core level." Therefore the Hechsher Tamim proposes to broaden and extend kashrut supervision to the critical area of kashrut-expansion-advocacy itself.

Henceforth, any committee formulating standards, any seminar, any partnership-building session, any press-conference concerning the development of the social justice aspect of kashrut observance should be required to display its HECHSHER TAMIM CERTIFICATION CERTIFICATE before proceeding with its laudable activities.

To qualify as a certified individual, organization, or other entity in good standing, the applicant for supervision must undergo a rigorous inspection regime which focuses on the following six areas:

1. Violation of Ethical Mitzvot such as the prohibitions of motzi shem ra, rechilut, and hasagat g'vul: Has the applicant encouraged an atmosphere in which warmed-up allegations about a certain meat-packing facility are being served up with reckless abandon?

2. Vagueness: All applicants for the Hechsher Tamim certification certificate shall be examined to make sure that no vague and undefined references to the ethical mitzvot of the Torah have been made. Statements such as "I would think you would be interested in promoting important mitzvot such as having just weights and measures" or questions such as "Don't you care about Choshen Mishpat?" will result in the immediate disqualification of the applicant. Applicants must show that the *specific* standards promoted have a Torah-basis and address the question of *specific* methods of implementation.

3. Neo-Kara'ism: The following sort of statement will immediately disqualify the applicant: "I would suggest to you that the Torah says little about glatt kosher meat; says little about halav Yisroel, says little about the time we are to wait between fleishiks and milchiks to name just a few."

4. Trend-chasing: Statements such as "the relationship between religion and food is changing, and not just in Judaism" will immediately disqualify the applicant.

5. Sanctimony: The inspection will search for problematic elements such as spurious claims to broadmindedness, and the cultivation of an accusatory tone that equates all criticism and skepticism over the certification scheme with lack of concern for working conditions and other social justice matters.

6. Inanity: Statements such as "All religions, Jewish and non-Jewish, are increasingly narrow in their focus" will immediately disqualify the applicant.

Tamim tiheyeh im Hashem Elokecha! (Devarim 18:13)

And remember, if you don't think this is a good idea, you must not really care about the ethical dimension of the Torah.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Watch out for falling windmill fragments!

Sometimes you tilt at the windmills and sometimes the windmills tilt at you. From Der Spiegel:
[...] After the industry's recent boom years, wind power providers and experts are now concerned. The facilities may not be as reliable and durable as producers claim. Indeed, with thousands of mishaps, breakdowns and accidents having been reported in recent years, the difficulties seem to be mounting. Gearboxes hiding inside the casings perched on top of the towering masts have short shelf lives, often crapping out before even five years is up. In some cases, fractures form along the rotors, or even in the foundation, after only limited operation. Short circuits or overheated propellers have been known to cause fires. All this despite manufacturers' promises that the turbines would last at least 20 years.

Gearboxes have already had to be replaced "in large numbers," the German Insurance Association is now complaining. "In addition to generators and gearboxes, rotor blades also often display defects," a report on the technical shortcomings of wind turbines claims. The insurance companies are complaining of problems ranging from those caused by improper storage to dangerous cracks and fractures . . .

* In December of last year, fragments of a broken rotor blade landed on a road shortly before rush hour traffic near the city of Trier.

* Two wind turbines caught fire near Osnabrück and in the Havelland region in January. The firefighters could only watch: Their ladders were not tall enough to reach the burning casings.

* The same month, a 70-meter (230-foot) tall wind turbine folded in half in Schleswig-Holstein -- right next to a highway.

* The rotor blades of a wind turbine in Brandenburg ripped off at a height of 100 meters (328 feet). Fragments of the rotors stuck into a grain field near a road.[...]
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Friday, August 24, 2007

Today's Sesame Street is brought to you by the number 2, the letter B, and the word "Tahrif"

From Wikipedia with the usual caveats:
Tahrif (Arabic: تحريف "corruption, forgery"; the stem-II verbal noun of the consonantal root ḥrf, "to make oblique") is an Arabic term used by Muslims with regard to words, and more specifically with regard to what Islamic tradition supposes Jews and Christians to have done to their respective Scriptures. Most Muslims believe that Jews and Christians have deliberately changed the text of the Jewish Torah and the Christian Bible, through altering words from their proper meaning, changing words in form, or substituting words or letters for others. This is considered by Islam to be a deliberate change which distorted the word of God, and which thus necessitated the giving of the Quran to Mohammed, to correct this perceived distortion . . .

The doctrine is accepted by most Muslims, excepting groups such as the Mu'tazili and Ismaili sects (who account for a fairly small percentage of the total Muslim population), as well as a few Islamic scholars and members of various liberal movements within Islam . . .

Muslim tradition reads the Quran as accusing the Jews of having deliberately altered the Torah and the rest of Hebrew Bible, and Christians of deliberately altering the New Testament.[citation needed] The Qur'an does not specify exactly which parts are meant, however they are usually considered to be the places where the Qur'an and the Bible differ.

Relevant verses on which the doctrine of tahrif is based are (Yusuf Ali translation):

* 3:78. There is among them a section who distort the Book with their tongues: (As they read) you would think it is a part of the Book, but it is no part of the Book; and they say, "That is from Allah," but it is not from Allah. It is they who tell a lie against Allah, and (well) they know it!
* 4:46. Of the Jews there are those who displace words from their (right) places, and say: "We hear and we disobey"; and "Hear what is not Heard"; and "Ra'ina"; with a twist of their tongues and a slander to Faith. If only they had said: "We hear and we obey"; and "Do hear"; and "Do look at us"; it would have been better for them, and more proper; but God hath cursed them for their Unbelief; and but few of them will believe.[...]
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

IRIB: It's Government Week in Iran!

Whenever you feel down and depressed, just read IRIB. It's so positive and uplifting!
Tehran's Interim Friday Prayers Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said that President Ahmadinejad's government is successful in theory and practice, adding that the world has concluded that his government is a stable, enduring and popular one.

Addressing thousands of worshipers at Tehran University Campus, Ayatollah Jannati said, "Serious confrontation with America's hegemony, being transparent in affairs and frankly announcing enmity with the enemies are among the valuable approaches of the government which are manifestations of its strength."

"If a government is weak, it resorts to flattery, courtesy and respect and even if it is against something, it doesn't dare to announce its opposition, but a strong government announces its opposition frankly," Ayatollah Jannati said.

He added, "The grandeur of this government has been established now everywhere and the world has known about its stability."

Stressing that all the threats and sanctions by the hegemonic powers have been futile, Ayatollah Jannati said they thought that they could reach their objectives by employing the language of force and they used this language in the negotiations but "we never retracted from our positions."

"Thanks Allah, we are now at a point in which no one can deprive us of our nuclear technology," Ayatollah Jannati said.

Congratulating the government on the occasion of Government Week (August 24-30), Ayatollah Jannati expounded on President Ahmadinejad's successes in its two years at office.

Being justice seeking, President's trips to provinces, the courageous decision on rationing gasoline, adopting an economical approach in running affairs and reducing banks rate of interest were among the points which Ayatollah Jannati mentioned as the correct and wise decisions of President Ahmadinejad's administration.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

This invulnerable mode, this orbit, this banner, this Songun

How is this Rodong Sinmun editorial different from all other Rodong Sinmun editorials? Good question.
Songun politics is the fundamental guarantee for the independence of the country and the nation and the most powerful weapon for successfully promoting the human cause of independence, declares Rodong Sinmun in a signed article Monday.

It goes on:

Songun politics is an invulnerable political mode.

The invincibility of Songun politics has been unequivocally displayed in the reality of the DPRK.

The Korean revolution was pioneered and has won victories on the orbit of Songun from the early days and it is advancing along the road of Songun today.

No one dare provoke the DPRK advancing under the uplifted banner of Songun. It is because the DPRK pursues Songun politics that it does not waver under any circumstance. No matter what anyone may say, the DPRK is accelerating the triumphant advance of the revolutionary cause of Juche, the cause of building a great prosperous powerful socialist nation through Songun politics.

The practical experience of the Korean people and the historical review of the Korean revolution show that Songun politics is the life and the future of the country and the nation and that the advance under the uplifted banner of Songun is a sure guarantee for winning the victory of the popular masses' cause of independence in any storm and stress of history.

A bright future is in store for the Korean revolution and the human cause of independence as Kim Jong Il is leading the Korean people to victory and powerfully promoting the world revolution with his outstanding Songun revolutionary leadership.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Imperialism vs. FGM

This is an excerpt from the introduction to Civilizing Women: British Crusades in Colonial Sudan by someone whose name, oddly enough, is Janice Boddy.
[...]As Richard Shweder notes, "the global campaign against what has been gratuitously and invidiously labeled "female genital mutilation" remains a flawed game whose rules have been fixed by the rich nations of the world." This book describes an opening test match in that game, set in Sudan during the first half of the twentieth century under British colonial rule. I offer it as an extended critique of the continuing campaign, the discourse that informs it, and the imperialist logic that sustains it even now . . .

Much literature on the subject is moralizing and polemical, and regularly alienates those in positions to stimulate change. There are noteworthy exceptions, among them Ellen Gruenbaum’s The Female Circumcision Controversy: An Anthropological Perspective, two books edited by Bettina Shell-Duncan and Ylva Hernlund, one edited by Stanlie James and Claire Robertson, and the recent Female Circumcision and the Politics of Knowledge, edited by Obioma Nnaemeka, written under the banner of transnational feminism and framed as a collaborative dialogue among African and Western scholars. These works move beyond judgmental confrontation toward an appreciation of social and historical context and the value of strategic alliances based on mutual respect. Yet in cases too numerous to list, self-righteous critics present and past have leaped to condemn what they’ve only presumed to understand, citing unverified statistics culled from other disparaging publications, relying on self-reference and reiteration to create the truth of their cause. Their typical verdict: that female genital cutting regularly kills, has no valid meaning, and is inflicted on ignorant and powerless women by sadistic men.

My research warns that this view is mistaken, born of little contextual data and a specifically Euro-American set of ideas about person, agency, and gender. I am not arguing that we can reposition an elusive Archimedean point to achieve greater "objectivity"; one can never be truly outside of a culture, there is no such nonplace to be, no "view from nowhere." To say that one’s culture guides and perhaps mystifies understanding is incontestable and trite; taken to its logical conclusion, it applies to analysts as well as their subjects, granting Western critics no unmediated purchase on the practices they decry. Admitting one’s situatedness clarifies one’s responsibility to take seriously what people have to say for themselves, to credit the contexts of their lives. Insight comes neither by Olympian fiat nor through spurious, if therapeutic, empathy.[...]
Boddy seems to have done her anthropological research in a place where the practice is infibulation, the most extreme form of FGM.Is Boddy just another post-colonialist pedant droning on, defending the indefensible? There are glimpses of intelligence in the droning, but sorry, you don't have to be a colonialist to find these practices horrifying and sickening. They should end, and I hope Boddy admits that somewhere in her book.

(Hat Tip: Martin Kramer)

ISNA: Stone determined to make Ahmadinejad flick

The public never gets to see the Ahmadinejad with a song in his heart, but Oliver Stone is pressing on in his quest to bring him to the silver screen:
Oliver Stone has made his second request for depicting Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Alireza Sajadpour, an Iranian film producer said "Stones promotion manager Michele Nicholson made a second request through an e-mail."

Nicholson while pointing to the Ahmadinejad's letter to the American people said "I believe that negotiation between the two nations is what we need at the time and producing this film is a step on this way."

She regarding the Islam and Muslims' inappropriate image in the American media noted "Producing this film is an opportunity to rectify this image."

An official also said "The creators of this wrong image are the American media and Hollywood, and it is interesting to know how Mr. Stone will be able to conduct this reconciliation."

He regarding Ahmadinejad's opinion over the issue said "He has no objection against this project and he has asserted it before."
Stone's motivation is certainly evident. The true Mahmoud, for instance, appears in the following Mehr News article: "'Messenger of Love and Hope' symphony is a monumental artwork: Ahmadinejad":
President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, accompanied by several members of the cabinet, was a spectator at the 10th performance of the “Messenger of Love and Hope” suite symphony which was performed at the Vahdat Hall on August 19.

After the performance Ahmadinejad went on stage and expressed his appreciation to the artists. He stated that artworks constitute the best paraphrase for the truth and that this comprehensive and interesting musical composition is a monumental work in the history of Iranian art. [...]

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Shelo asani Karl?

Giving thanks, speaking truth to power, remorseful about beating up a tree, but glad to be non-Rove. From and the actual title is "Thank God You Are Not Karl Rove":
Yep, you've done some horrible things in your life. Embarrassing things. Stupid. Mean. Violent, even. Eaten dirt. Smacked a baby. Kicked a kitten. Stomped some flowers. Stole. Lied. Cheated. Beat up a tree. Spit instead of swallowed. Drank bad wine. Voted Republican. Shared a needle. Promised to call and then didn't. You know, the usual.
The only explicitly political thing on this list of bad things one might have done is "Voted Republican"--and somehow I don't think anyone grooving to this little composition ever did that.
But maybe some of these things now make you cringe and recoil and slump down a little lower in your chair when you think about them, because, well, maybe you've developed something resembling a conscience over the years, or maybe you've even gone so far as to consider the possibility of karma, of cosmic consequence, of the dire effects of wallowing for far too much of your life in all that goopy, stupid low vibration we sometimes call war or hate or religious dogma or the Olsen twins.

Yes, perhaps you can now admit you've wasted far too much of your time simmering like bad meat in a gloomy stew of illness and ugliness and ignorance and now maybe, just maybe, you're trying to evolve to a point where you can step back and look over it all with a bit of wisdom, sly perspective, a big healthy healing sigh.

Whew. It is, as they say, a hell of a lot to process. It is, after all, one hell of a messy life.

But then, something happens. In the midst of all this consciousness review and energy sifting, you pause. You take a karmic time-out. You lift your head from the hardscrabble tumult of your cosmic computations and look around, maybe read the papers and take in the recent headlines and suddenly it hits you like a dominatrix spanks her evangelical preacher in the hot fetish dungeon of cosmic irony: The stuff you've done? That horrible little army of things you think are so dire and awful and mean? Child's play. Trifles. Piddly little nothingness of who-the-hell-cares, barely registering on the Richter scale of pain and injustice and true human misprision.
You're making a whole bunch of assumptions there, Pal.
Because now perhaps you are reading up on the rise and fall and much-desirable end of this one particular man, this dank, sweaty, adipose embodiment of a sad political caricature, this shockingly powerful force of darkness and cruelty and pure, unfiltered iniquity known to the world as Karl Rove.

And somehow, looking at him, seeing the glistening, pallid face of true contempt as he finally, blessedly exits the main political stage, you feel better. Much, much better. In fact, somehow you feel like falling to your knees and offering sincere thanks, hot heaps of glorious gratitude to the gods of fate and time and love that you are not Karl Rove.

It is, in its way, a simple acknowledgment, a supremely fundamental idea. But trust me when I say, it holds tremendous power.

You are not Karl Rove. You are not, so far as you know, the master orchestrator of what is increasingly recognized as the most disastrous, divisive, scandal-ridden, secretive, abusive, warmongering, hate-inspiring, homophobic, morally debilitating neoconservative administration in modern American history.[...]
There were other, not so homophobic, neoconservative adminstrations? Or does he mean that this is the most neoconservative adminstration in recent history? I know, I'm trying to impose patriarchal linearality on the thing. Oppressor.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Sunday, August 19, 2007

AP: "Artificial life likely in 3 to 10 years" but it will have a poor self-image

The trouble with creating artiificial life is that it never comes to visit you:
Around the world, a handful of scientists are trying to create life from scratch and they're getting closer.

Experts expect an announcement within three to 10 years from someone in the now little-known field of "wet artificial life."
They haven't yet figured out how to to give it enough sense to come out of the rain evidently.
"It's going to be a big deal and everybody's going to know about it," said Mark Bedau, chief operating officer of ProtoLife of Venice, Italy, one of those in the race. "We're talking about a technology that could change our world in pretty fundamental ways — in fact, in ways that are impossible to predict."

That first cell of synthetic life — made from the basic chemicals in DNA — may not seem like much to non-scientists. For one thing, you'll have to look in a microscope to see it.[...]
Thus alleviating the danger that the other articificial life will make fun of it.
Bedau said there are legitimate worries about creating life that could "run amok," but there are ways of addressing it, and it will be a very long time before that is a problem.

"When these things are created, they're going to be so weak, it'll be a huge achievement if you can keep them alive for an hour in the lab," he said. "But them getting out and taking over, never in our imagination could this happen."
That's what they said about Napoleon.

Emirates Today: "Superdaad!"

I get it: his name is Daad. Emirates Today is a strangely coded site. I can't even figure out how to come up with a URL that points to this article alone.
A one-legged father-of-78 is preparing for his next two marriages as he closes in on his target of having 100 children by 2015.

UAE national Daad Mohammed Murad Abdul Rahman, 60, has already had 15 brides, though he divorces wives to make way for new ones in order to stay within the legal limit of four. His youngest child, Tariq, is 20 days old and his oldest, Ayoob, is 36. And he has more babies on the way from two of his three current wives.

Daad Mohammed lost a leg in a road accident and plans to have an artificial limb fitted in Jaipur in India – and while there he hopes to find one of his new brides. One more has already been lined up in Baluchistan, Pakistan.

“In 2015 I will be 68 years old and will have 100 children,” he said. “After that I will stop marrying. I have to have at least three more marriages to hit the century.[...]
It's good to uphold family values . . .

Al-Buraq Bard Brigades Bomb

Dan Chiasson brings sound aesthetics and bad politics to bear on the Gitmo poets. From the NY Times:
. . .It is hard to imagine a reader so hardhearted as to bring aesthetic judgment to bear on a book written by men in prison without legal recourse, several of them held in solitary confinement, some of them likely subjected to practices that many disinterested parties have called torture.
It's poetry, Man! Do what you must!
You don’t read this book for pleasure; you read it for evidence. And if you are an American citizen you read it for evidence of the violence your government is doing to total strangers in a distant place, some of whom (perhaps all of whom, since without due process how are we to tell?) are as innocent of crimes against our nation as you are.

. . . a better subtitle might have been “The Detainees Do Not Speak” or perhaps “The Detainees Are Not Allowed to Speak.” But the best subtitle, I fear, would have been “The Pentagon Speaks.” To be sure, it’s hard to imagine a straightforward propagandistic use for the lines “America sucks, America chills, / While d’ blood of d’ Muslims is forever getting spilled”; but you can’t help suspecting that this entire production is some kind of public relations psych-out, “proof” that dissent thrives even in the cells of Guantánamo. (Does that sound paranoid? Can you think of another good reason the Pentagon would have selected these lines out of thousands for publication?)
Thousands of lines? Does that portend a future unabridged Gitmo anthology?
You have to be in the mood for some death-defying Orwellian back-flips, then, to read “Poems From Guantánamo.” When Martin Mubanga, an “athletic kickboxer” and a “citizen of both the United Kingdom and Zambia” (the poems come with extensive biographical notes, often more evocative than the poems themselves) refers to “hard-core detainees like you an’ me” — is this a case of the Pentagon’s missing the irony or, more likely, has the Pentagon deemed that analogy so absurd as to reveal a dangerous criminal mind-set? Since the poem, written in an absurd ersatz-gangsta patois, possesses exactly zero literary interest, what is a reader to do besides try to locate the governmental cunning in clearing it for publication?
Perhaps Rove took it with him when he left?
But the bulk of these poems are so vague, their claims so conventional, that they might have been written at any point in history by anyone suffering anything. “What kind of spring is this, / Where there are no flowers and / The air is filled with a miserable smell?” Even though these lines were, we are told, carved into a Styrofoam cup (the detainees were for a time denied pen and paper), they mimic the kinds of things sad or frustrated people have always written. But surely being imprisoned in Guantánamo rises to a level of wretchedness beyond mere sadness or frustration. When Sami Al Haj, a detainee whose biography says he was “tortured at both Bagram Air Base and Kandahar” before ending up at Guantánamo, writes that “hot tears covered my face,” he sounds like a teenage sonneteer, not the victim of nearly unimaginable physical cruelty. Such are the unfortunate diminishing returns of poetic figuration, which, except in extraordinary cases, blunts where it purports to sharpen, blurs where it promised focus.

The effect of this volume is therefore curiously to make Guantánamo and our abuses there unfold on an abstract “literary” plane rather than in real life and real time. That’s too bad, since Falkoff and the other lawyers behind this project have acted in enormous good faith and some day will be recognized for their legal work as national heroes . . .
Chiasson concludes "the Pentagon ought to get an editor’s credit on 'Poems From Guantánamo.'" Perhaps they should put out a Gitmo prose anthology and hire Chiasson to ghostwrite it. (Hat Tip: Power Line)

More on the Gitmo Bards:

Gitmo Poetry Preview!
Gitmo Poetry Preview II

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

(North) Korean News: "Rodong Sinmun Calls for Frustrating Imperialists' 'Human Rights' Offensive

Songun's just another word for nuthin' left to lose . . .
Rodong Sinmun today in its editorial article calls for resolutely frustrating the imperialists' "human rights" offensive, noting that it is a grave factor of preventing the independent development of each country and nation and threatening the global peace and security.

The imperialists consider the "human rights" offensive as important leverage in carrying out their strategy for world supremacy, the article says, adding that it is, in essence, intended to force other countries and nations to introduce the "model of human rights" of Western style in a bid to Westernize and Americanize the world.

The danger of the offensive lies in that it is used as a lever for openly interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and infringing upon their state sovereignty and a prelude to the war of aggression against other countries, the article notes, and goes on: The above-said offensive is mainly targeted against anti-imperialist independent countries, the revolutionary countries.

The offensive against socialist countries is the most persistent and vicious of the imperialists' reactionary "human rights" rackets.

The imperialists' moves to destroy the politico-ideological unity and the collectivist way of life of the socialist society have reached a phase of dangerous actions.

Their offensive is fierce as it is aimed at defaming and bringing down the socialist state and social system.

The main thrust of their offensive is to slander the leadership function and role of the party.

Thoroughly frustrating the imperialists' "human rights" offensive is the key to winning the victory of the popular masses' cause of independence against imperialism and consolidating and developing the socialist society, the article points out, and continues:

The practical experience of the Korean revolution clearly proves that it is important to firmly defend the country's sovereignty and adhere to the revolutionary principle, the working-class principle in order to smash the imperialists' "human rights" offensive.

It also proves that it is necessary to hold aloft the banner of Songun in order to foil the above-said offensive.
I think we have a Juche sentence of the day:
It was entirely thanks to the Songun policy that the DPRK government could take a series of self-defensive measures to protect the country's sovereignty and dignity in the period when there prevailed a touch-and-go situation and greet the dawn of a great prosperous powerful nation after victoriously concluding the "Arduous March," the forced march.

Songun precisely means the life and soul of the Korean people. This is the faith they enshrined while weathering out stern trials.

They will hold higher the banner of Songun in the future, too, and eternally glorify Korean-style socialism where genuine human rights are fully guaranteed.

Linkim 8/19/07

Haveil Havalim 130 is up! Carnival of the Insanities is up!

Kamangir asks "Have you stayed in the Evin Prison-Hotel?"

Simply Jews presents "A man, a pistol, a Guardian headline, nitpicking"

Solomonia reports that "CAIR Goes After ADL"

Israel Matzav reveals that "Bloggers foil Olmert's vacation"

Michael Ledeen on "Talking to Iran" (h/t: Martin Kramer)

Diana Muir discusses "Risks in a Muslim Reformation." Captains Quarters adds some further thoughts.

Oleh Musings describes "Democracy in Action"

Al-Ahram: "Empowering the Copts" (Human Rights Watch worries that aid specifically for the Copts might not "sit well with the Egyptian population.")

Der Spiegel: "Killer of US Troops Released" ("Since she has been in prison, Haule has -- like Brigitte Mohnhaupt, who was released from jail in March -- opted to show no remorse for her actions as an RAF member.")

Pilger: "what we see happening in Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela and other countries is an epic attempt at participatory democracy"

A current "Comment is Free" feature at the Guardian has John Pilger, who inspired the word "Pilgerize," answering reader's questions. Almost miraculously, there is no Israel-bashing (one of Pilger's specialties) until the comment thread. Here are three of the questions and answers:
3. What are your thoughts on Hugo Chavez's recent steps towards ending term limits in Venezuela, ie removing the limit to his own term as president? (blether2)

It's too early to assess what Chavez's intentions are. This of course is what Franklin D Roosevelt did during the extraordinary years of the Depression and war.

4. Is democracy possible in a one-party state? (presidentD) Is it possible in a society without an educated electorate? (wkrj)

The question above all surely is: what is democracy? What is fascinating about developments in Latin America is that the old preserve of the western liberal elite of the concept of democracy belonging to them, and them only is being challenged. Rousseau wrote about popular sovereignty; these days we call it participation. In western democracies, especially Britain and the US, there is a crisis of participation. Liberal elites have failed in defending the most fundamental civil liberties. Latin America has long been a source of democratic experiment; and what we see happening in Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela and other countries is an epic attempt at participatory democracy. The debate in Venezuela, which is an electoral democracy, is the relationship between the state and communities. In other words, the communities representing grassroots democracy can be the opposition to a state assuming unaccountable powers. As for the question about an educated electorate, in my experience education never guarantees democracy; on the contrary it can allow the "training" of a particular class who are beneficiaries of power.

5. What level of democracy do you consider the whole of Latin America to be at? (Scharlach)

Again, what is democracy? The Chartists made clear that democracy really didn't exist unless it had three components: electoral democracy, social democracy and economic democracy. You can substitute the word "justice" in all three of those concepts. I listened to Chavez describing the Chartists' view of democracy and I have to say I have never before heard a leading politician invoke those principles. I believe Latin America has a long way to go before it embraces all three, but a start has been made. It would be good if a similar start, or renewal, was made in Britain!
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Saturday, August 18, 2007

IRIB: "Muslim discord has foreign roots"

This speech is getting some coverage from non-Iranian sources. Here it is straight from the Mullah's mouth:
Division among Islamic world has external roots and is created as a result of enemies presence and interference in regional affairs, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Saturday.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the Fourth Ahl-ul-Bait General Assembly, he said: "Islam is a complete truth which is partly seen in Judaism, in Christianity and in other divine faiths."

Criticizing the present division among different divine religions, the President said: "The present world is going through one of its most sensitive historic periods as we are witnessing massive, quick and various changes."

The international equations are rapidly changing in favor of justice and against falsehood," stressed the President.

Referring to the position of arrogant powers, he added the Western arrogance started deploying its forces worldwide following the collapse of the former Soviet Union.

President Ahmadinejad said the American invasion of Iraq and its occupation as well as massacre of defenseless people of Palestine and Lebanon were clear examples of America and the Zionists crimes against humanity.

Noting that the enemies were trying to sow discord among Muslims, the President said: "Despite all these efforts they (enemies) are caught in a quagmire from which they would hardly find a way out."

Stressing that nobody believed in the American-style democracy worldwide, President Ahmadinejad said: "No one supports the world arrogance's war-mongering policies."

"They (arrogant powers) have even failed to implement a true Liberal-Democratic system in their own countries," criticized the President.

Noting that Zionism was the pioneer of Western-style Liberal Democracy and the vanguard of occupation and aggression worldwide, he said, "The Zionist regime is the flag of Satan."[...]
More of Ahmadinejad's remarks: "President warns about man-made religions":
Enemies are trying to replace Islam and Christianity with misleading man-made schools of thought by sowing discord among divine religions, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Saturday morning.

Addressing the opening ceremony of The Fourth Ahl-ul-Bait General Assembly, he said, "Misled groups with the least knowledge of Islam have been equipped by enemies during recent years to disgrace Islam by killing Muslims in the name of Islam."

"This is the same logic of the hegemonic system," stressed the president in his address to participants of the two-day gathering from over 100 world countries.
"The same logic of the hegemonic system"? Is this just bad English? Deliberate vagueness?
He stressed the necessity of maintaining unity and solidarity by Muslim nations and urged the participating Muslim scholars to protect souls of "the faithful whose hearts are prepared to accept the call of divine religions and prophets."

"We are not only responsible for world Muslims," said the president, "but also our duty is far beyond that," said the president.

He stressed, "People of the world are fed up with inefficient man-made schools of thought in addressing problems facing the world nations."

People of the world dislike the existing situation despite all abrications and concealing of the facts on the part of world arrogant powers," President Ahmadinejad added.[...]
I guess that word is "fabrications."

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Friday, August 17, 2007

The skies above are clear again, Songun days are here again

Before Shabbos it is always good to go to the mikveh and work on your Juche character:
It is the sacred national duty of all Koreans to uphold Songun.

Rodong Sinmun today observes this in a signed article.

It goes on:

Songun serves as a powerful weapon for independently carving out the destiny of the country and nation and an invincible treasured sword for meeting the common requirements and interests of the nation.

Songun provides a guarantee for protecting the peace of the nation and achieving its independence now that foreign forces are working hard to prevent the Korean nation from independently carving out its destiny by mobilizing huge military force.

It is thanks to Songun that a nuclear war is averted on the Korean Peninsula and the DPRK's sky remains so clear and blue and the Korean people are known to be a proud and dignified one independently carving out their destiny despite the interference and challenge from any foreign force.

But for the Songun politics, Koreans would have neither greeted the June 15 era of reunification nor witnessed such eventful reality in which they are pushing ahead with the movement for independent reunification by their concerted efforts despite such threat of a war of aggression posed by foreign forces.

The ultimate aim sought by the DPRK in holding aloft the banner of Songun is to build a great prosperous powerful reunified country, the first of its kind in the nation's history spanning 5,000 years.

Practically every Korean has benefited from Songun.
Practically???!!! Re-education camp for you!
History and reality go to clearly prove that a bright future of the nation depends on Songun.

National reunification and prosperity will come earlier when all Koreans add shine to the June 15 era of reunification under the uplifted banner of upholding Songun.
It certainly was a Songun week here at Judeopundit. We broke the news of Castro's Press Dignity Award, and thanks to the Revolutionary Guidance of Comrade Soccer Dad, even the arch-capitalist Wall Street Journal took notice. And, of course, Guardian of the Revolution, General Hugo Chavez made a great leap forward towards the day when the Venezuelan people, undistracted by bothersome food preparation, can give ever greater play to single-minded unity under the watchful loving eyes of the Revolutionary Guidance Committees. Have a Songun Shabbos!

Weird Al does Weird Bob

Tim Blair calls this "Subterranean homesick palindromes."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

IRIB: "Clergyman urged using 'Allah' instead of God"

Sometimes it is interesting simply to see what shows up on the Iranian radar screen, so to speak. Can a Judeopundit really object to the idea that Semitic languages have advantages over Germanic ones?
A Christian clergyman called for using the Arabic word of "Allah" instead of its English equivalent "God."

According to al-Shargh al-Awsat daily, Tini Muskinos, bishop of Brida church in the Netherlands said that "the Arabic word, "Allah" is more beautiful and better than its English equivalent.

The 71 year old clergyman who has lived in Indonesia for a while added "Indonesian people use the Arabic word of Allah instead of its English equivalent and I aked myself why we shouldn't use it in Europe."

The clergyman, now is waiting for the answer of Vatican to his call.
Let's not get carried away.

Out walked Max

Drummer Max Roach is dead. That's on the order of the death of Ellington or Coltrane or Bird or Diz. He didn't quite become a household word as did the figures just mentioned, but that's the world's problem. The Massey Hall Concert, known as the world's greatest Jazz concert, featured Bird, Bud, Diz, Max, and Mingus. Max was the last one alive. I was steeped in music of all kinds before becoming a Ba'al Teshuvah, and it it gets to be obvious after a while if you read this blog regularly, but unless I'm forgetting something, this is my first post solely about an event in the world of secular music.

Daily Star demands carrots not sticks for Iran

The Daily Star weighs in on the "disastrous foreign-policy blunder" of designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group:
[...] The Bush administration's policy of dealing with Iran by using sticks, tough talk and threats has already proven ineffectual on all fronts. The only measurable impact of backing Iran into a corner - without offering a way out - is that the regime has been given a perfect excuse to impose domestic restrictions in the name of national security.

Labelling the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group will give the Iranian people even greater reason to rally together in the face of perceived American hostility and will strengthen the hand of those who are already restricting Iranian civil society. Such a move would serve to bolster the view that regardless of what the Iranian government does, the Americans will continue to pursue the objective of regime change in the Islamic Republic. The voices of those Iranians who have been calling for greater cooperation with the West over Iraq and the nuclear file will likely be drowned out by those who say that such a policy is futile.

As a result, a terrorist classification would undoubtedly undermine whatever progress has been made toward a cooperative approach to stabilizing Iraq. And in that regard, the American move will represent yet another tragedy for this crisis-plagued region.
This editorial has it almost completely backwards. The Iranian people are themselves terrorized by the Revolutionary Guards. The question is whether those who are fighting the tyranny of the regime are going to feel that they have support from outside of the country or whether the advocates for negotioations at all costs are going to prevail and leave them abandoned to fight alone. When the Mullahs gloated over the recent talks with the US, one of the messages undoubtedly was that opposition might as well give up: not even the US is standing up to the Mullahs. There is something to be said for refraining from direct military action at this time, but carrots are an equally bad idea--please don't feed the Mullahs.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

"Servitudes in Persia"

This is a document entitled "Servitudes in Persia" from The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam by Bat Ye'or, Associated University Press, 1985, p. 336. I expanded the bibliographic citation at the end. By the way, those "advantages in inheritance" are in effect in Iran right now, according to the BBC.
At Hamadan in 1890, Shah Nasr-ad-Din (1848-1896) renewed his 1880 edict, which forbade advantages in inheritance for a Jewish convert to Islam to the detriment of the other Jewish heirs. This royal edict incited the mollahs and the mob to force the Jews of Hamadan in 1892 to conform to the following obligations, under threat of death or conversion:

1. The Jews are forbidden to leave their houses when it rains or snows [to prevent the impurity of the Jews being transmitted to the Shiite Muslims].
2. Jewish women are obliged to expose their faces in public [like prostitutes].
3. They must cover themselves with a two-coloured izar (an izar is a big piece of material with which Eastern women are obliged to cover themselves when leaving their houses).
4. The men must not wear fine clothes, the only material permitted them being a blue cotton fabric.
5. They are forbidden to wear matching shoes.
6. Every Jew is obliged to wear a piece of red cloth on his chest.
7. A Jew must never overtake a Muslim on a public street.
8. He is forbidden to talk loudly to a Muslim.
9. A Jewish creditor of a Muslim must claim his debt in a quavering and respectful manner.
10. If a Muslim insults a Jew, the latter must drop his head and remain silent.
11. A Jew who buys meat must wrap and conceal it carefully from Muslims.
12. It is forbidden to build fine edifices.
13. It is forbidden for him to have a house higher than that of his Muslim neighbour.
14. Neither must he use plaster for white-washing.
15. The entrance of his house must be low.
16. The Jew cannot put on his coat; he must be satisfied to carry it rolled under his arm.
17. It is forbidden for him to cut his beard, or even to trim it slightly with scissors.
18. It is forbidden for Jews to leave the town or enjoy the fresh air of the Countryside.
19. It is forbidden for Jewish doctors to ride on horseback [this right was generally forbidden to all non-Muslims, except doctors].
20. A Jew suspected of drinking spirits must not appear in the street;
if he does, he should be put to death immediately.
21. Weddings must be celebrated in the greatest secrecy.
22. Jews must not consume good fruit (1:377).

K Leven. English translation in Littman, D. G. "Jews Under Muslim Rule: The Case of Persia." WLB 32 (1979): 7-8
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Kos diarist expert on Judaism, O'Reilly not

This is so cutting-edge:
[...]I'm Jewish.

Not only am I Jewish, but I am professional Jewish, meaning I have an advanced degree in Jewish Studies ( Modern Jewish Studies from Oxford) above and beyond my Ph.D. in Anthropology. That means I am officially licensed and have been paid to talk, write and otherwise be an expert on Jewish stuff. In fact, one of the things I have written about is anti-Semitism--all kinds of anti-Semitism. I know, for example, that when you write "anti-Semitism," you capitalize the "S." Many people do not know that, but I do.

Among the many things I know about Jews, Judaism, one thing I know for certain is that Bill O'Reilly is not an expert on Jews and Judaism. If he was an expert, I would have come across that fact at some point in my studies or, if he had become an expert so recently that he was not yet mentioned in books or articles, then one of my many Jewish studies expert friends would have told me. It probably would have happened at at Jewish Studies conference (we have them every year) with a friend walking up to me and saying something like: 'Did you hear? Bill O'Reilly is now an expert on Jews and Judaism.'

That hasn't happened. [...]
Glad that's all cleared up now?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

SF Chronicle: Israel "ripe for boycott"

The author is George Bisharat. We're seeing this sort of thing with increasing frequency in left-leaning newspapers:
. . . "the worst first" has never been the rule for whom to boycott. Had it been, the Pol Pot regime, not apartheid South Africa, would have been targeted in the past. It was not - Cambodia's ties to the West were insufficient to make any embargo effective. Boycotting North Korea today would be similarly futile. Should every other quest for justice be put on hold as a result? [...]

What state actions should trigger a boycott? Expelling or intimidating into flight a country's majority population, then denying them internationally recognized rights to return to their homes? Israel has done that.

Seizing, without compensation, the properties of hundreds of thousands of refugees? Israel has done that.

Systematically torturing detainees, many held without trial? Israel has done that.

Assassinating its opponents, including those living in territories it occupies? Israel has done that.

Demolishing thousands of homes belonging to one national group, and settling its own people in another nation's land? Israel has done that. No country with such a record, whether first or 50th worst in the world, can credibly protest a boycott.[...]
How do you like "Expelling or intimidating into flight a country's majority population" as a description of the '48 war? And coupling home demolitions with settlement is a cute trick. I guess those demolitions were to make room for settlements! The editorial talks a lot about South Africa, commenting "The opprobrium suffered by white South Africans unquestionably helped persuade them to yield to the just demands of the black majority."

What are the Palestinians' "just demands"? What would Israel have to do, exactly, to yield to Bisharat's boycott? Withdraw to the '67 borders? Doesn't that only get them a hudna? White South Africans comprised a small minority of the population of a large country, and it was expected that they would simply relinquish power. They were expected to recognize, in other words, that they had no right to self-determination as Whites. I think that is often part of the appeal of comparing Israel to South Africa. It enables one to call for Israel's dissolution without having to state it openly.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Nasrallah: "The West tried to separate the Arabic homeland to smaller parts and it was happened"

Nasrallah speaks for all "freedom seekers" and essentially describes the map of the Middle East as a giant Western plot. From IRIB, although the mangled English (even by IRIB standards) suggests it was taken from somewhere else:
Secretary General of the Lebanese Islamic Resistance Movement, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah underlined that the West's goal was isolation of the Resistance, so they focused on religious and tribal conflicts.

"They tried to pretend that this victory was for a certain party or tribal but as I said in August 2006, the victory belongs to all of Lebanese people, all Arabs and all of the Muslims and freedom seekers around the world," Nasrallah said.

"The West wants to sow the seeds of discord among us. This is their plot. When we fight each other, they will succeed and we will defeat," he added.

"We said that we were fighting as representative of Islamic Ummah. If we were defeated in that war, it would have affected the fate of Palestine, Syria, Iraq and even Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt," Nasrallah said.

"If the Resistance had been failed, Jordan would have changed into the everlasting residence for Palestinians and the Saudi Arabia would have been separated," he revealed.

"We nipped the new Middle East plan in the bud, Nasrallah said, warning that "they want to revive it again."

Pointing to remarks of the World Zionism founder, Teodor Hertzel that had said" we should establish common wealth union in the Middle East in which the 'Jew state' has an active role," Nasrallah warned all of Lebanese and Arabs about Zionists' old plot.

"The West wanted to carry out two plots. First, they planned to make a powerful human shield to separate the Arab countries in west of the Suez Canal from those in eastern part of the Canal. Second, they wanted to make the Suez Canal, enemy of the regional nations. So they established 'Israel' in line with the mentioned goals, he added.

"The West tried to separate the Arabic homeland to smaller parts and it was happened," Nasrallah said.
Those who think the Palestinains are a historically distinct nationality should take note.
"America tried to establish some states in the region to put them in permanent religious and racial enemity. It wants to make the Zionist regime the gendarme in the region," Nasrallah warned.

"We (Islamic Ummah) should be vigilant. We should recognize priorities and resist against the plots with unity and solidarity," he added. [...]
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Al-Ahram: "Marx . . . saw by the 1840s that the Jewish god was really money"

Pretty disgusting. And ever-obliging, Al-Ahram saved MEMRI the trouble of translating it for us:
[...] This pact with the devil -- Zionism using anti-Semitism to justify and assist the creation of a Jewish state -- eventually led to Zionists actually abetting Hitler in his desire to expel all Jews from Europe, since the Zionists very much wanted all Jews to move to Palestine. The term becomes a farce when applied to Arabs, who are the real Semites and are the very real victims of racism today. It is well known that Muslims and Jews lived in harmony for their entire history until the rise of Zionism . . .

. . . the real situation is the opposite of what is touted by Israel and its friends. Frustrated, powerless anti-Zionists let off steam by spray-painting swastikas on synagogues or blowing themselves up, not a pretty thing. But the real racism is by the militarily dominant Jews of Israel and America -- the Zionists, the causus racismi. The Zionists manage to have their cake and eat it -- use "anti-Semitism" to attack their enemies and promote the continual expansion of a religious, imperialist state. And so far, the world has let them get away with it.

Then there's the devastating socio-economic critique of Judaism by Marx, who saw by the 1840s that the Jewish god was really money. The Jews were the traditional usurers and this had become the touchstone of Judaism over the past 2,000 years. Marx's Das Kapital begins with "making money out of money", with usury as the zenith of obfuscation -- a gold coin just sitting there magically reproducing itself. Beats the hell out of the Golden Calf. "Money is the essence of man's life and work which have become alienated from him: this alien monster rules him and he worships it." Who can deny that we all worship money today? A Jew himself, Marx renounced this negative heritage and called for assimilation (and revolution, to be sure).

Add to this economic role the power-behind-the-throne aspect of Jews, who have throughout history surrounded princes and even sheikhs as advisers or -- surprise -- moneylenders, trading with both sides during the many European wars and marrying into royal families. It should therefore come as no surprise if a Jewish agenda creeps into the plans of Christian or secular imperialists, more so today after the spectacular success of Jews in the past two centuries. Just look at the roster of Clinton's and Bush's advisers. Who says politics and religion no longer mix? [...]

The True Torah Jews or Neturei Karta reject Zionism and call for dismantling the state of Israel. They even sent a delegation to the recent notorious anti-Zionist conference in Tehran. But they are a tiny sect which is disowned by mainstream Jews. Their version of Judaism is probably closest to the original Judaism and seems quite harmless. But take a glance at Old Testament texts such as Joshua or Numbers for blood, gore and racism. Yahweh regularly helps the Jews massacre their enemies, including women and children, though occasionally turning his considerable wrath against the Jews themselves for straying.

This is hardly the New Testament or Quran's God of compassion. Then there's the Babylonian Talmud, which boasts of murdering Jesus, who is roundly insulted in the worst possible language and where goyim, especially Christians, are dismissed as less than human. And Jewish holidays, apart from the wonderful Day of Atonement, all seem to focus on massacres of Jewish enemies -- Purim, Hannukah, even Passover. Could this have to do with the frightful remorselessness which Israelis show in their daily murdering of Palestinians? [...]
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Tehran Times: "Sans brain, Bush will be a better president"

I often sneer at Mullah-induced warpage in the Iranian Press. This reminds us, at first anyway, of literary traditions that are not so sneer-worthy:
Noon Meem Rashid, the “poet of poets” and pioneer of free verse in Urdu, was also a decorated diplomat who represented Pakistan in numerous cities throughout the world from New York to Jakarta . . .

In one of his fascinating poems, he tells the tale of a leading politician of a rich country who accidentally lost the major parts of his brain. His government panicked over the sudden loss of the prime minister’s brain. A national state of emergency was declared. In an extraordinary session, ministers, government functionaries, advisers, and bureaucrats brainstormed and came up with the idea of sending the brainless leader to the Persian city of Shiraz.

An unusual barber used to live there, expert in his own field, but who was also given another extraordinary gift from God Almighty. He possessed a unique talent for cutting the human skull, removing the brain, and cleaning it before putting it back in the skull or even replacing it if the brain was too badly damaged.

After hectic diplomatic efforts and desperate appeals from the patient’s family, the barber agreed to perform the unusual operation on the foreign leader. While the operation was being performed, a tragedy struck. Somehow the barber wasn’t paying attention for a moment and out of the blue a cat came, picked the brain up off the operating table, and ate it.

The wise barber didn’t panic at all. With the aplomb of a man skilled at his profession, he called his assistants and asked them to immediately bring him a bull’s brain. He then placed the bull’s brain in the politician’s skull and discharged the patient, giving him a clean bill of health.

After he returned to his country, people noticed that the prime minister had become more active, agile, alert, and wise in the affairs of state . . .
That part is pretty charming. It is followed by a bunch of editorializing, unfortunately. Just a little sample of that:
Rove, Bush’s chief strategist and the mastermind of his two presidential election victories, who was often called the president’s “brain”, played a major role in orchestrating death, destruction, and misery from Iraq to Afghanistan, to Palestine, to Lebanon.
Rove "orchestrated" Palestinian "misery." Interesting . . . and I thought it was Tel Aviv that calls the shots for Washington.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Tags: Iran, brains, Rove, Bush

ACN: "Fidel Castro Awarded Cuban Press Dignity Award"

There hasn't been such a great day for humanity since Kim Jong Il won the International Kim Il Sung Prize!
The Cuban Journalists Union (UPEC) granted President Fidel Castro the Prize to Dignity for his exceptional merits and his work in favor of the Cuban press.

In a ceremony held at the UPEC's headquarters, the president of the organization, Tubal Paez, said Fidel embraces in himself the dignity of all Cubans, of the country, and of humanity."
Shame on all the Imperialist vultures circling and waiting for him to kick the bucket!
Paez said Cuban journalists have been encouraged by the work of Fidel and Raul. For that reason they decided to give the award to the Cuban President, he said.

Other reporters receiving the prize were Nicolas de la Pena Rubio; Tomas Alvarez de los Rios and Nydia Sarabia Hernandez, for their service to the Cuban press and the Revolution, reported Granma digital Tuesday.

The ceremony was presided over by Alberto Alvarino, deputy head of the Central Committee of the Communist Party's Ideological Department; Ernesto Vera, President of Honor of the Latin American Journalists Federation; and other UPEC members and reporters.
Do you think Chavez and Ahmadinejad will congratulate him? I can't wait!

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Update: Castro's award is garnering other blog reactions.

Update: Soccer Dad points out that Jeff Jacoby wrote the following a few months ago:
Freedom House gives Cuba its lowest possible rating for civil liberties and political rights, placing it with Burma, North Korea, and Sudan as one of the world's most repressive regimes. Hundreds of political prisoners are behind bars. Among them, writes Carlos Alberto Montaner in Foreign Policy, are "48 young people [imprisoned] for collecting signatures for a referendum, 23 journalists for writing articles about the regime, and 18 librarians for loaning forbidden books."

Brush up your Sheik Zubair

The results can sometimes be impressive when the resources available to a head of state are turned to scholarly pursuits. We have all heard, no doubt, of the contributions of Chairman Mao and James I of England to literary theory. Now, evidently, Muammar Gadhafi has discovered that Shakespeare was an Arab. From the New York Sun:
In the mid-1980s, I had an eight-hour session with Colonel Muammar Gadhafi that began at midnight at an encampment by the Gulf of Sidra in Libya.

Like several press interviews before and after, it essentially consisted of an uninterrupted monologue about his "Green Book" — a thin volume of platitudes he authored — along with his theories on human evolution, relations between males and females, and his belief that Shakespeare was an Arab Bedouin whose original name was Sheik Zubair. (No kidding.) [...]
(Hat Tip: Martin Kramer)

Crossposted on Soccer Dad