Thursday, October 30, 2008

Your skeleton key to the election

The blogs and even the McCain campaign are making a great deal currently of the Los Angeles Times' suppression of the Khalidi video. Valid conclusions about the LA Times are certainly being drawn, but a valid conclusion about the LA Times does not translate exactly into one about Obama. The feeling on the right, simply put, is that Obama is disguising who he really is and that the press is helping him do it. Is Obama disguising who he really is? Not exactly. I would say that he tends to proclaim his identity in vague or symbolic ways, connecting with like-minded voters, while making periodic statements that confuse potentially unsympathetic voters. One one hand, many have remarked on the "socialist realism" of his campaign posters. On the other, marriage should be between a man and a woman declared one of the few senators who declined to outlaw partial-birth abortion.

Consider Obama’s rhetoric about change, for instance. Yes, it is vague, but how does one strike out in a new direction on the heels of a conservative administration? By veering sharply to the left. Consider also Obama’s frequent assertion that McCain is no different from Bush. Yes it capitalizes on Bush’s low approval ratings, but it also implies something: From a centrist point of view, McCain stands out from Bush. From a point on the political spectrum somewhere between Nancy Pelosi and Bill Ayers, McCain and Bush don’t appear to be that different. Obama’s true political identity is clear for anyone who makes the effort to see it, especially if Obama also wants it be seen—that has been his strength.

The press not only seeks to cover Obama favorably, they have grasped his campaign strategy and they have worked to augment and reinforce it. Obama appeals to a certain restlessness and desire for novelty. McCain’s best hope lies in the deployment of effective counter-symbols and counter-gestures. The press has instinctively sought to dismantle and undermine McCain’s attempts to deploy counter-themes, such as his own maverick image, and counter-figures, such as Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber.

The weakness of Obama’s strategy of hiding his leftism in plain view is that it is eventually bound to be seen through. Time and familiarity can overcome shallow failures of insight, so time is on McCain’s side. The political center of gravity in America is towards the center. Eventually Americans will realize that they won’t get the sort of policies they favor from a figure of the far-left. There is not much time remaining, of course. This is a close election—don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Ayatollah: "hatred for the United States runs deep"

Are there no positive feelings in their hearts at all for the Big Satan? From Fars:
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said Wednesday that his country's hatred for the United States runs deep and differences between the two nations go beyond a "few political issues".

The Leader's comments less than a week before the American presidential elections were seen as a signal that a thaw in US-Iran relations was not expected no matter who wins the Nov. 4 race unless the new White House leaders embark on a fundamental change in their approach towards Iran.

Ayatollah Khamenei said the hatred is rooted in 50 years of US intervention in Iran's domestic affairs and hostility toward Tehran.

"The hatred of the Iranian nation is deep-seated. The reason is the various conspiracies by the US government against the Iranian people and government in the past 50 years," he said.

He was addressing a group of students in Tehran days ahead of the 29th anniversary of the 1979 storming of the US espionage center in Tehran by Islamist students.[...]

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Volokh Conspirator Assisted

David Bernstein at Volokh Conspiracy asks a question I can answer:
Is it supposed to be a great revelation that Obama would like to see wealth more "fairly" distributed than it is currently?

It's true that most Americans, when asked by pollsters, think that it's emphatically not the government's job to redistribute wealth. But are people so stupid as to not recognize that when politicians talk about a "right to health care," or "equalizing educational opportunities," or "making the rich pay a fair share of taxes," or "ensuring that all Americans have the means to go to college," and so forth and so on, that they are advocating the redistribution of wealth? Is it okay for a politician to talk about the redistribution of wealth only so long as you don't actually use phrases such as "redistribution" or "spreading the wealth," in which case he suddenly becomes "socialist"?
Well, yes. You could argue that any tax-funded government undertaking whatsoever causes wealth to be redistributed, but there is difference between saying, for instance, that the suffering of the destitute should be relieved by the government and referring to "redistribution of wealth" as if it is a worthy goal in itself. According to the latter approach income disparities themselves are a problem and there is something unfortunate or even sinful about great financial success. I have my doubts about politicians who refer to a "right to healthcare," but at least such statements don't imply that our system has failed somehow because the guy down the street has more money than I do and that the government should not rest until this lamentable situation is rectified. The phrase "redistribution of wealth" is accompanied by an ethic that any moderate planning to vote for Obama should find troubling.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Monday, October 27, 2008

Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed calls on all Palestinian leaders to resign

Witty and good:
There is no comfortable solution for the Palestinians to repair their domestic affairs other than the leaders abandoning their ambitions to lead. This is a fact that has been known for a long time. However, the problem is how to convince all these leaders when it's apparent how happy Hamas is with its sovereignty over Gaza, and its readiness to give everything to preserve it; the same applies to the others.

The fact is that the Palestinian president has proposed a negotiations' plan that offers an opportunity for a Palestinian Government without parties or leaders, because he proposed the formation of a technocrat government, i.e. ministers would be experts and not politicians or party members. Therefore, the government would be neither a Fatah nor a Hamas government, and the Palestinians would live in happiness and amicability, and would dedicate themselves to the achievement of two important issues: the first is managing their daily affairs, and the second is leaving the leaders to work on designing a peace plan for themselves, and also a peace plan with the Israelis.

I cannot imagine that this idea, which is assumed to satisfy everybody because it respects everybody, will be approved easily unless Hamas understands that there is only a short way to go on the road along which they are proceeding. Hamas has lived a difficult life, and has tried everything in order to establish a permanent position for itself on the ground; this includes a peace plan that is very generous to the Israelis, with the exception that it calls the plan a truce for 18 years in which it relinquishes Jerusalem, the refugees, and the borders in exchange for the Israelis to leave the Palestinians to fight each other while they live in peace without interference.
Great sentence . . . I think. The phrase "it relinquishes" refers to Israel?
At the time Hamas held a truce with Israel, it tried to engage in skirmishes with the Egyptians, and to drag them into a confrontation with the Palestinians and the Israelis; this attempt nearly succeeded in changing the map and not only the government in Gaza. [...]
What's Arabic for "read the rest"?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Alfred Lilienthal eulogized

"j." formerly the Jewish Bulletin of Northern California, currently has an article that goes about "Remembering the foremost Jewish anti-Zionist." He "loved San Francisco," hated Israel, and wrote that the Diary of Anne Frank "could not possibly have been the work of a teenager."
It was a simple death notice in the Washington Post: “Author, and Middle East expert, Alfred M. Lilienthal, age 94, died peacefully Monday, October 6, at his home in Washington, D.C.”

He may have died peacefully, but Alfred’s life was hardly peaceful. I know because I was his cousin, as well as his friend. [...]

Alfred once worked for the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism. They let him go because his views were so passionately pro-Arab and anti-Israel that even fellow ACJ members were offended. In later years, he offered to endow a chair at one of his alma maters, Cornell University. But he attached so many strings that Cornell turned down the gift.

He spoke at anti-Zionist gatherings in Libya and Iraq in the 1970s, and championed the United Nations "Zionism is racism" resolution in 1975. Sadly, he also became involved with Holocaust deniers, going so far as to write, "'The Diary of Anne Frank' may be a fraud. ...Any informed literary inspection would have shown it could not possibly have been the work of a teenager."

Alfred loved San Francisco and traveled to the city with great frequency. As his own activism increased, San Francisco was a natural destination as it was a center of anti-Zionism. The ACJ claimed that one-third of its national membership was from San Francisco. [...]
The article doesn't quite note the glee with which Neo-Nazis hawked his writings. "I am glad his views did not prevail," the author concludes.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Pravda: "Displacement of Earth’s magnetic poles may turn planet into giant Hiroshima"

I thought you might want to be the first to know:
The planet’s magnetic poles are being displaced. Scientists say that mankind may eventually find itself defenseless against the cosmic radiation, and the Earth will turn into the giant Hiroshima.

The chief scientist of the Central Military Institute for Ground Troops, Candidate of Technical Sciences, Yevgeni Shalamberidze, that that the geographic poles of the planet remain on their previous positions, whereas the magnetic poles have already drifted away 200 kilometers each. This phenomenon affects the processes of global scale.

"The planet relieves its excessive energy into space through crust fractures. When those breakouts close, the negative energy is left on the planet. It is not ruled out that the growing number of catastrophes that rocked the world during the recent years is based on the displacement of the magnetic poles," the scientist said. [...]

The displacement of poles can result in the disappearance of the atmosphere, which in its turn will cool the planet to 273 degrees below zero Centigrade. The biosphere of the planet will virtually be killed in this case; only those located close to the Earth’s axis will survive the disaster.[...]
While there's still time, check out the latest Haveil Havalim, Carnival of the Insanities, and KCC.

Chomsky: US public opinion "overwhelmingly holds that Iran should have the right to develop nuclear energy"

What greater spokesman for the American people could there be than Chomsky?
The American people support Iran's right to enrich uranium and are "strongly opposed" to issuing any military threats against the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program, said a leading US foreign policy expert in an exclusive phone interview with IRNA in Berlin on Saturday.

Noam Chomsky lashed out at western media reports saying Tehran was "defying the world" over its nuclear program.

"That's a funny definition of the 'world'. The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), for example which is the majority of countries, endorses Iran's right to enrich uranium," said Chomsky.

"Now nobody thinks they have the right to develop nuclear weapons, however that's different issue. But the majority of the (American) population agrees (on Iran's right to enrich uranium)," he added.

Iran has repeatedly stressed that having nuclear arms would be against its Islamic teachings and laws.

The distinguished 80-year-old professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) said, "Public opinion here overwhelmingly holds that Iran should have the right to develop nuclear energy..."

Chomsky reaffirmed also that Iran was "of course entitled to uranium enrichment as a member of the NPT." [...]

"Nobody is seriously concerned about Iranian aggression. There has been no sign of any. But they are upset about Iran's influence in the region. Also in the background is the concern that Iran might turn East. That's not discussed very much but that's certainly a policy concern," the feisty US political dissident added. [...]
Iran has dissidents also, but somehow I don't think they are cheered very much by the "feisty" views of their American colleague.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Friday, October 24, 2008

Stop the Presses!! (Obama lives across the street from a Shul)

This is one of the sillier Daily Kos diaries I've seen, and that's saying something:
[...] They dropped a whopping $1.6 million for a six bedroom house in the northern end of Hyde Park. OK -- that might seem like a lot of money for most of us, but that's not the big shocker here. It's not that extravagant for a U.S. Senator and best-selling author.

The really shocking information -- that revelation that will put to rest the anti-Semitic rumors:

The Obama's new house is across the street from a synagogue!! [Bold in original]

Let me say that again: The Obama's new house is across the street from a synagogue . . .

Where do the Obamas live? Across the street from a synagogue.... [Italics in original]

Yes, they deliberately moved to a house that is literally across the street from a local center of Jewish culture -- a house of Jewish worship! Perhaps, this reflects some naivete -- they might not have realized how difficult it would be to find street parking on the Jewish High Holidays. Still, it seems hard to argue that a true anti-Semite would invest such a princely sum to buy a home across the street from a synagogue.

So, the next time you talk to a Jewish relative about the election and they say he's anti-Semitic, just tell them he moved into a nice house across the street from a synagogue in Hyde Park. What kind of anti-Semite spends seven figures to buy a home across the street from a synagogue?
Why . . . why . . . they'll be davening Shacharis there!! Maybe there's a Gemara shiur in the morning and just across the street Obama will be finishing his morning waffle. What's wrong with you Jewish Republicans?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Tags: , ,

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"Botch Your Mother's Operation Day" suggested as response to "Hit a Jew Day"

Now they've gone and done it:
A number of students reportedly sustained minor injuries, and one child was slapped in the face, during "Hit a Jew Day," an activity organized by sixth-graders at the Parkway West Middle School in Chesterfield. About 35 Jewish students are believed to attend the 850-student school.

The incident came as part of an unofficial "spirit week" that began innocently with "Hug a Friend Day" and "High Five Day." School officials said that during "Hit a Jew Day," most students were only tapped on the shoulders or back, but one student allegedly was slapped.

Principal Lindo Lelonek called an assembly Tuesday to address the incident. Lelonek said discipline will range from parent conferences to suspensions. Four or five students reportedly are involved.[...]
It is expected that Lelonek will be informed of the possibly calamitous consequences of an insufficient disciplinary response shortly. Sixth-graders are a bit young to have access to the full range of available punitive medical and international financial options, but most of them have elder siblings.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"The term 'Middle East' was coined by the British to replace the term 'the world of Islam' so as to undermine unity of the Muslim world"

According to Iranian official Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, "Head of Majlis Cultural Commission." Just think a bit about how loony that claim is:
Former Majlis speaker said in Tehran on Tuesday that `Middle East' is a term forged by Britons to replace the `world of Islam'.

"The term `Middle East' was coined by the British to replace the term `the world of Islam' so as to undermine unity of the Muslim world," Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel said in an address to the one-day Conference on British Colonialism and Iran at Tehran Unive rsity.

Haddad-Adel, who is also Head of Majlis Cultural Commission, told the meeting that Zionists' presence in the region is an instance of British colonialism.

He said that the Britons were also responsible for heavy damage Iraq inflicted on Iran in the past decades and recent years.

He said as long as the Iranian nation is vigilantly on the scene, definitely the story of British colonialism will no longer be repeated.
That's a relief.

Tags: ,

Iran ridicules the idea that it has a moderate position on Israel

This is an article from Iran's most official news agency and it is entitled "Iran's 'leniency' towards Israel a joke - Larijani":
Iran's Parliament speaker said here at a press conference news on Islamic Republic of Iran's 'leniency' towards Israel resemble a joke, since Iran pursues a certain policy regarding Israel.

Speaking to reporters at Manama's Al-Khalij Hotel on Wednesday evening, Larijani made the comment in response to a reporter who had opined that President Ahmadinejad's recent remarks on Israel conveys a kind of leniency.

Larijani further emphasized, "Such interpretations of the Islamic Republic of Iran's president's remarks are inaccurate, since he has meant quite the contrary, and he has always pursued a certain stand against the occupying regime of Holy Qods."
The Majlis speaker added, "The Islamic Republic of Iran emphasizes that a free referendum must be held in which the entire Palestinians could cast their votes, and Iran's policy regarding Israel is quite transparent." [...]
Remember, the word "Palestinians" doesn't refer to "Zionists," i.e. Israeli Jews.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Gut Yom Tov!

Sukkos is called "Zeman Simchaseinu"--the "time of our rejoicing." Thus, the holiday is particularly associated with rejoicing, and I hope you have an especially joyous one. I usually don't post on Chol Hamo'eid--see you after Simchas Torah.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

"Songun Politics Praised as Treasured Sword for National Security and Peace"

They're simply smashing . . . smashing the criminal moves of the U.S. imperialists, that is . . .
The Songun politics pursued by the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) is a powerful treasured sword for peace which is able to frustrate any military challenge of any imperialist aggression forces.

Rodong Sinmun Thursday observes this in a signed article.

The U.S. regarding "strength" as almighty is attempting to realize its wild ambition for domination over the DPRK by military strength, the article notes, and goes on:

The WPK's Songun politics mercilessly deals a telling blow based on arms of justice at the aggressors seeking to violate the sovereignty of the nation. It also reliably defends the nation's sovereignty, dignity and vital rights with the invincible military capabilities from any infringement by outside forces.

The Songun politics put an end to the distress-torn history of the Korean nation in which its dignity and sovereignty was violated by outside forces as national strength was weak. It is resolutely smashing the criminal moves of the U.S. imperialists who have run amuck to enslave the whole Korean nation after occupying south Korea.

Now the U.S. dare not touch even a blade of grass or a tree in the DPRK. The DPRK is demonstrating its might as a military power, frustrating the U.S. highhanded and arbitrary practices on the strength of Songun. This reality proves once again that it is nothing but the Songun politics that is able to defend the sovereignty of the country and the nation and the security of all the Koreans.

But for arms of Songun, the DPRK would have failed to defend the red flag of socialism and many wars would have broken out in the Korean Peninsula.

It is the great fortune and high pride of the Korean nation to have such invincible treasured sword, a powerful weapon for defending the nation, as arms of Songun. Thanks to the strong arms of Songun, the dignity and glory of the Korean nation is getting higher, its consciousness of independence and self-esteem growing stronger and its cause of independent reunification vigorously advancing.
Thanks to the powerful treasured sword of Haveil Havalim and Carnival of the Insanities, the dignity and glory of the blogosphere is getting higher.

New horizons in ethics

Mankind has never been as advanced as it is at present. We have now developed concern for plant dignity:
For years, Swiss scientists have blithely created genetically modified rice, corn and apples. But did they ever stop to consider just how humiliating such experiments may be to plants?

That's a question they must now ask. Last spring, this small Alpine nation began mandating that geneticists conduct their research without trampling on a plant's dignity.

"Unfortunately, we have to take it seriously," Beat Keller, a molecular biologist at the University of Zurich. "It's one more constraint on doing genetic research."

Dr. Keller recently sought government permission to do a field trial of genetically modified wheat that has been bred to resist a fungus. He first had to debate the finer points of plant dignity with university ethicists. Then, in a written application to the government, he tried to explain why the planned trial wouldn't "disturb the vital functions or lifestyle" of the plants. He eventually got the green light.

The rule, based on a constitutional amendment, came into being after the Swiss Parliament asked a panel of philosophers, lawyers, geneticists and theologians to establish the meaning of flora's dignity.

"We couldn't start laughing and tell the government we're not going to do anything about it," says Markus Schefer, a member of the ethics panel and a professor of law at the University of Basel. "The constitution requires it."

In April, the team published a 22-page treatise on "the moral consideration of plants for their own sake." It stated that vegetation has an inherent value and that it is immoral to arbitrarily harm plants by, say, "decapitation of wildflowers at the roadside without rational reason." [...]
The notion of animal rights often goes hand in hand with the idea that it is wrong to eat animals. Is the notion that it is wrong to eat plants on the horizon? Can people derive nourishment without eating animals or plants? Perhaps we should limit ourselves to eating only the most primitive plants, such as algae. Or perhaps this development puts plants and animals on an equal footing and there is no ethical basis for vegetarianism anymore. And are we going to see picketing on Sukkos from the Arba Minim Liberation Front? What will we two-legged animals do? Call in PETA!

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cook discovers Sand

Jonathan Cook, writing for an Abu Dhabi news site, discovers crackpot Shlomo Sand, who argues that modern Jews have no connection to ancient Israel largely based on an expanded version of the long-discredited (but much beloved by anti-Semites) Khazar theory of the origins of Ashkenazi Jews:
Jews travelled to other regions seeking converts, particularly in Yemen and among the Berber tribes of North Africa. Centuries later, the people of the Khazar kingdom in what is today south Russia, would convert en masse to Judaism, becoming the genesis of the Ashkenazi Jews of central and eastern Europe.

Dr Sand pointed to the strange state of denial in which most Israelis live, noting that papers offered extensive coverage recently to the discovery of the capital of the Khazar kingdom next to the Caspian Sea. Ynet, the website of Israel’s most popular newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, headlined the story: "Russian archaeologists find long-lost Jewish capital." And yet none of the papers, he added, had considered the significance of this find to standard accounts of Jewish history.
And what is that significance exactly? Nobody doubts the Khazars existed, but the notion that their existence accounts for the existence of Ashkenazi Jews doesn't seem to rest on any of that evidence thingy. Here is Cook approvingly quoting Sand on the subject of Zionism and Jerusalem:
"Zionism changed the idea of Jerusalem. Before, the holy places were seen as places to long for, not to be lived in. For 2,000 years Jews stayed away from Jerusalem not because they could not return but because their religion forbade them from returning until the messiah came."
Actually, Jews became the majority population in Jerusalem once more around 1840, some 40 years before the first Zionist arrivals. Not even the Neturei Karta, proponents of a take on Judaism and the Holy Land which is being mangled here, have ever argued that Jews are supposed to "stay away" from Jerusalem. Cook, the sort of Journalist who writes anti-Israel articles for the Guardian, reports that Tom Segev finds Sand's book to be "fascinating and challenging." That's enough to make Cook start swallowing warmed-over Arthur Koestler, who is probably a much more entertaining writer than Sand will end up being when the inevitable English translation comes. I know about Cook's article because it was picked up by Electronic Intifada and then MPAC-UK. Need I say more?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Yom Kippur

Gemar Chasimah Tovah!

Easy Fast!

Here is "Yom Kippur in a Nutshell" from
Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year--the day on which we are closest to G‑d and to the quintessence of our own souls. It is the Day of Atonement -- "For on this day He will forgive you, to purify you, that you be cleansed from all your sins before G‑d" (Leviticus 16:30).

For twenty-six hours--from several minutes before sunset on Tishrei 9 to after nightfall on Tishrei 10--we "afflict our souls": we abstain from food and drink, do not wash or anoint our bodies, do not wear leather shoes, and abstain from marital relations.

Before Yom Kippur we perform the Kaparot atonement service; we request and receive honey cake, in acknowledgement that we are all recipients in G-d's world and in prayerful hope for a sweet and abundant year; eat a festive meal, immerse in a mikvah, and give extra charity. Late afternoon we eat the pre-fast meal, following which we bless our children, light a memorial candle as well as the holiday candles, and go to the synagogue for Kol Nidrei services.

In the course of Yom Kippur we hold five prayer services: Maariv, with its solemn Kol Nidrei service, on the eve of Yom Kippur; Shacharit--the morning prayer; Musaf, which includes a detailed account of the Yom Kippur Temple service; Minchah, which includes the reading of the Book of Jonah; and Ne'illah, the "closing of the gates" service at sunset. We say the Al Chet confession of sins eight times in the course of Yom Kippur, and recite Psalms every available moment.

The day is the most solemn of the year, yet an undertone of joy suffuses it: a joy that revels in the spirituality of the day and expresses the confidence that G-d will accept our repentance, forgive our sins, and seal our verdict for a year of life, health and happiness. When the closing Ne'illah service climaxes in the resounding cries of "Hear O Israel... G-d is one" and a single blast of the shofar, followed by the proclamation, "Next year in Jerusalem." Then joy erupts in song and dance (a Chabad custom is to sing the lively "Napoleon's March"), followed by the festive after-fast meal, making the evening after Yom Kippur a Yom Tov (festival) in its own right.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Mashaal on throwing Israelis into the sea

In an Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting article. Syrian-based Hamas Politburo chief Khaled Mashaal is asked if he wants to, you know . . .
Mashaal was asked to respond to the interviewer's claim that "many Israelis say you want to throw them into the sea."

"That's not true. We have no problem with the Jews, only with those who occupy our land and rob us of our right. Their religion or race is irrelevant," he explained.
Doesn't exactly answer the question, does it?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

This is your brain on Obamatol 2

Courtney E. Martin, writing in the CS Monitor, unwittingly makes a great case for voting for McCain:
Like so many Americans, I feel as though I am holding my breath.

Could the quiet seed of joy that was planted in my heart the day I heard Barack Obama speak for the first time take root and grow without fear of the brutal storms of disappointment?

Could a leader that evokes awe in me actually win a presidential election? Could the beauty – and logic – of his words win over the majority of this country's voters? Could they see past the lies and distractions to the center of a human being who sincerely wants to invoke citizens' higher selves?

Could a system that seems so broken, so moneyed, so corrupt actually serve to help the American people elect an authentic, complex thinker? Could it be that – despite all that is wrong with the electoral process – there is enough right to allow a thoughtful candidate to get through the muck and emerge earnest and excited to lead? [...]

If Obama is elected, if I am invited to rejoice with the majority of Americans, the best part of me will have a chance to smile triumphantly at the worst.

Sometimes you believe in someone and they inspire you right back. Sometimes kindness and wisdom triumph over fear and brutality. Sometimes this country is as amazing as your wildest imagination of it.
This thing is entitled "Dare I believe Obama can win?" It seems to prove that Obama is what his associations with Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers always suggested: an extremist. Why would a normal liberal inspire this sort of writing? The author obviously never thought she would ever see a Eugene Debs or a Gus Hall in the Oval Office and now she is wondering if she should dare to hope. Should she? I hope not.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Ahmadinejad: Hague tribunal "ruined its credibility" by acting against Sudan

Now they've gone and done it. They've ruined their credibility. They're just tools of the World Arrogance and bullying powers. From IRIB:
IRI's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday the corrupt superpowers do not wish to see even a single developed and powerful Islamic country to exist in the world.

"They always put hurdles in their path and of course the best way to make corrupt powers fail is to further boost cooperation among nations and to keep resistance, President Ahmadinejad told Sudan Ambassador in Tehran.

"Today, the world's corrupt superpowers are declining. It is necessary for countries and nations to stand side by side and resist so that the residues of colonialism and arrogance disappear, he said after receiving the credentials of the new Sudanese Ambassador, Suleiman Abd ul-Tawab al-Zayn.

President Ahmadinejad called the recent move of the Hague tribunal against the Sudanese President as ugly and unfair.

"This court by its move ruined its credibility and their legal activities lost their values. It became evident that they not only do not serve justice and rights of nations but they are tools in hand of arrogant superpowers to exert pressure on other countries," he said.

Palin/McCain campaign pushes subtle racial subtext with remarks about Ayers

Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin seems to have entered racially-charged territory in her remarks linking Obama to white, middle-class terrorist William Ayers.

As a certain news agency put it: " . . . though she may have scored a political hit each time, her attack was unsubstantiated and carried a racially tinged subtext that John McCain himself may come to regret."

A prominent political analyst noted, "He wants everyone to think he is this big historic African-American candidate, but Ayers is going to make people think about the heyday of spoiled white middle-class terrorist-groups such as the Weather Underground and the Baader-Meinhof Gang."

"Crap," the distinguished analyst continued, "Meinhof's name was freaking Ulrike. That's like being called Brunnhilde or something. She might as well have been wearing a helmet with horns and singing the freaking Ride of the Valkyries."

People may start wondering, as another analyst put it, "Why is Obama black? . . . Other than providing 50 percent of his genes, his black father played no more than an absentee role as parent. So why does this man identify himself as black and not white, or at least as mixed race?"

Other political experts pointed out that Obama was only 12 when Bill Ayers' father became CEO of Commonwealth Edison, so the McCain campaign may come to regret this attempt to undermine Obama's black, underprivileged bona fides.

Anniversary of Kim Jong Il's Potato Treatise

He may not be long for this world, but his immortal Songun potato treatise will live on:
A national meeting took place in Taehongdan County, Ryanggang Province on Tuesday to mark the 10th anniversary of the publication of General Secretary Kim Jong Il's famous work "On Bringing about a Signal Turn in Potato Farming".

Kim Jong Il in the work published in October Juche 87 (1998) comprehensively clarified all matters arising in bringing about a signal turn in potato farming including the issues of cultivating in a big way potato, a high-yield crop, raising the per-hectare yield, intensifying the scientific researches into seed potato and its cultivation, increasing the state investment, setting an example and generalizing it and transporting, storing and processing potato.

Present at the meeting were Choe Thae Bok and Choe Yong Rim and Kwak Pom Gi, vice-premier of the DPRK Cabinet, Pak Nam Gi, department director of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, leading officials of ministries and national institutions, officials and other working people in the above-said province.

Choe Thae Bok said in a report that Kim Jong Il's work is an important work as it laid a milestone for effecting a landmark turn in solving the people's problem of food and developing agriculture, and a banner for dynamically pushing forward the work to improve the standard of people's living and the building of a great prosperous powerful nation.

Referring to the fact that Kim Jong Il has wisely led the struggle to implement the WPK's policy of bringing about a signal turn in potato farming, the reporter noted that Taehongdan County has turned into a model unit in the drive to bring about a signal turn in potato farming and its example has been generalized throughout the country under the care of the peerlessly great man to make the waves of the above-mentioned drive sweep all parts of the country.

An important achievement made in carrying out the above-said policy is that a productive surge has been effected in potato farming, a solid scientific and technological foundation laid for it, dependable core forces for potato farming have been built and a radical turn taken place in the people's way of thinking and work style, the reporter added.

He called on all the servicepersons and people to unite closer around Kim Jong Il with one thought and purpose and dynamically accelerate the cause of building a rich and powerful nation with the might of their single-minded unity.
Dependable core forces for blogging have also been built and a radical turn taken place in people's way of blogging due to the latest editions of Carnival of the Insanities, Haveil Havalim, and J-Pix.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Guardian: "Ahmadinejad accepts Israel's right to exist"

In a rare instance of idiocy above and beyond the call of usefulness, Peter Tatchell proves himself incapable of noticing what Ahmadinejad is saying and has been saying for some time:
Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has made a remarkable announcement. He's admitted that Iran might agree to the existence of the state of Israel.

Ahmadinejad was asked: "If the Palestinian leaders agree to a two-state solution, could Iran live with an Israeli state?"

This was his astonishing reply:

If they [the Palestinians] want to keep the Zionists, they can stay ... Whatever the people decide, we will respect it. I mean, it's very much in correspondence with our proposal to allow Palestinian people to decide through free referendums.

Since most Palestinians are willing to accept a two-state solution, the Iranian president is, in effect, agreeing to Israel's right to exist and opening the door to a peace deal that Iran will endorse.

Ahmadinejad made this apparently extraordinary shift in policy during an interview last week when he was in New York to address the UN general assembly.
There is no "shift in policy" here. Ahmadinejad has always said that he would abide by the results of his proposed "referendum."

The problem is that there is no way to spin the idea that the Palestinians should vote on the fate of the Jews in Israel into a moderate opinion. If Palestinians mostly support a two-state solution, and it is not clear at all that they do, it is because they think that is the best they can do under the circumstances. This tells us nothing about the outcome of a Palestinian-dominated, never-never-land "referendum" in which the Palestinians can choose any fate for the Jews they like. The way Ahmadinejad put it in his 2006 Time interview was this:
In any country in which the people are ready to vote for the Jews to come to power, it is up to them.
This is obviously not anything that Ahmadinejad suspects the Palestinians of desiring. He is just playing stupid rhetorical tricks for the likes of Peter Tatchell.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Fables of Fishel: Gilad Atzmon asks "Credit Crunch or Rather Zio Punch?"

I don't follow Gilad Atzmon's writing closely enough to tell if he has ever been this far down in the anti-Semitic gutter before, but in his latest composition he definitely seems to be getting deeply in touch with his inner Goebbels. One old standard that he riffs on here is the old Nazi claim that Lenin was Jewish. Actually, only Lenin's maternal grandfather was Jewish. That gives him less Jewish ancestry than celebrated non-Jews like John Kerry and Barry Goldwater. Atzmon, despite the fact that he is making a convoluted point, just refers to Lenin as a Jew (like any Nazi slob):
Lenin and Trotzky were Jews, they were ideologists, yet they didn’t operate primarily as Jews.
Another anti-Semitic article of faith is that the Bolsheviks were financed by Jewish bankers. There is actually some evidence of Wall Street financing of the Bolsheviks although most of the figures involved were not Jewish. The lone and Jewish figure of Jacob Schiff is often nominated to appear in the defendant's box for this accusation. What real evidence exists seems to exonerate him, but one of the oldest and moldiest second-hand source citations in the neo-Nazi/conspiracist business often appears in support of statements blaming Schiff. The citation appears in Atzmon's article in its classic form as "New York Journal American 1949. February 3." In a world alien to Atzmon and his ilk, a world where someone citing a source is supposed to have actually seen the source, the citation points to a gossip column. I once did some research on anti-Semitism and I have known this fact for about 15 years. It is doubtful that Atzmon knows it, and he almost certainly lifted the citation from some other hack. At any rate he joins a long tradition of omitting the gossip-column part and thereby passing off the citation as a reference to a normal newspaper article.

The reader may wonder where, according to Atzmon, "Zionists" come into the picture in the current "credit crunch." Some seemingly approving references from Greenspan to the subprime lending seem to be all Atzmon needs to declare that it was all Greenspan's idea. Later Atzmon returns to this idea with added improvisations about what the ultimate aim was:
Alan Greenspan planned to provide his president with an economy boom assuming that prosperous conditions would divert the attention from the war in Iraq. Greenspan is not exactly an amateur economist, he knew what he was doing. He knew very well that as long as Americans were doing well, buying and selling homes, his President would be able pursue implementing the ‘Wolfowitz doctrine’ destroying the ‘bad Arabs’ in the name of ‘democracy’.
Do you think Atzmon knows what he is doing? Or is he just riffing on some old standards?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

That's one way to get your zoo membership revoked

The expression "Please don't feed the animals" took on a horrifying new dimension recently as a young Aussie satisfied his curiosity about what would happen if some small animals got pitched over the fence into the crocodile's enclosure. From the AP via Huffpo:
A 7-year-old boy broke into a popular Outback zoo, fed a string of animals to the resident crocodile and bashed several lizards to death with a rock, the zoo's director said Friday.
It seems that the boy is going to escape suffering any consequences, unless his parents decide to take away his dessert or something like that:
Alice Springs police said they are unable to press charges against the boy because of his age. Children under age 10 can't be charged with criminal offenses in the Northern Territory. His name was not released because of his age.
The Zoo Director concludes:
"I just want people to learn that they can't let their children go and run amok . . .
That's a good thing to bear in mind as you spend hours in Shul on Yom Kippur with your kids.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Mehr News: "Ahmadinejad’s Reasonable Stance on the Holocaust"

We have met denier Paul Grubach before on this blog. Here is yet another example of the fact that Ahmadinejad's lunacy where the Holocaust is concerned is generally shared by Iran's news agencies:
An American researcher and a Holocaust Revisionist believe that Ahmadinejad’s points of view on Holocaust are right and reasonable.

A considerable article by Paul Grubach, to Mehr,

In a recent interview with CNN’s Larry King Live, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rightly noted that the Zionist lobby blocks neutral and objectively fair research on the alleged Holocaust. When Larry King asked him if, from his point of view, the Holocaust did not happen, the Iranian leader responded: "No, what I am saying is let more research to be done."

In late September of 2007, President Ahmadinejad had another confrontation over the Holocaust when he spoke at Columbia University’s school of international and public affairs. At the New York institution of higher learning he was given a hostile reception by Columbia’s president Lee Bollinger. The intrepid Iranian leader was criticized for his questioning of the orthodox view of the Holocaust.

Directing his barbs at Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust skepticism, Bollinger emphatically stated: "The truth is that the Holocaust is the most documented event in human history."2 At the dawn of a more enlightened age, this statement will be looked upon as absurd. As we shall soon see, President Ahmadinejad’s view on the Holocaust is actually very reasonable, as the Holocaust is a questionable and even dangerous doctrine that needs more critical scrutiny. [...]
The rest of the article is the usual rot.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad