Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Atrios and the UAE Leadership

I'm always a big fan of Atrios but I just read what may be the stupidest thing I've ever seen on his site.

It's not racist to object to us cozying up with truly shitty governments. I imagine the people of the UAE might be fine people. But the people who run the country are just a bunch of shitty human rights abusing suffrage opposing terrorist hanging out with assholes.

By comparison to other countries around the world, let alone that region, on human rights the UAE is a shining example of human freedom and dignity and hardly worse than the United States where we hold people without trial and execute children and the mentally retarded.

The issue of child labor and trafficing has/is being addressed. I don't like everything that happens in the UAE but they are willing to address, and fix, human rights complaints and labor issues, if even out of embarrasment.

By the definitions being bandied about, Clinton would be a shitty leader because we executed juveniles during his term. The Emirarti have been called out on their child labor practices and have changed them, unlike us who still execute children.

The UAE is the model of what an Arab aristocracy should be in that it takes its wealth and reinvests it in the people of its nation. That they have diversified from oil, liberalized their laws and welcomed foreigners is a testament to their foresight and effort to ensure a high standard of living.

That you preface your statement by claiming the people of the UAE might be fine people just highlights your fear of looking prejudicical when a complete understanding of the facts, such as the high standard of living enjoyed by most residents, would actually serve you better.

In no sense is the UAE above criticism or scrutiny but castigating the "the people that run the country" as "shitty human beings" shows an obvious lack of knowledge about the country and the Emirs and I suspect your misconception is based in a prejudicial image of 20th century Arab dictatorship.

If you don't even know the names of the people running the country, you need to find that out first before declaring them shitty.

Michelle, Michelle "A young girl's stupid, pointless journey from Damascus to Dubai"

Michelle Malkin is hard at work trying to find anything negative to say about the UAE to justify her righteous anger about Muslims the DPW Ports deal.

Her latest one is about a school censorship issue reported in the Khaleej Times:

Over 100 copies of the social studies text book, 'World Cultures' taught to the sixth grade children were confiscated by the Ministry of Education yesterday, for allegedly presenting Islam and the Muslim countries including Gulf states in a negative light while glorifying Israel on the other hand, Khaleej Times has learnt.

Minsitry of Education? That has an ominous ring to it. And confiscating books sounds pretty totalitarian too.

Of course, I wonder how Michelle would react if American textbooks taught American children that American soldiers were butchers and occupiers. I wonder if she would like it if the Vietcong and Muqtada Al Sadr were portrayed as freedom fighters?

Nevertheless, whatever the issue may be with the UAE's Ministry of Education, I wondered what that would have to do with the Ports deal?

I guess you could say she figures censoring the classroom is an indictment on the character of the country. Interesting. . .

  • John T. Scopes was convicted in 1925 of teaching the evolutionary theory of Darwin's Origin of Species in his high school class.
  • Ulysses was barred from the United States as obscene for 15 years, and was seized by U.S Postal Authorities in 1918 and 1930. The lifting of the ban in 1933 came only after advocates fought for the right to publish the book.
  • 1978 the Anaheim (California) Union High School District banned George Eliot's Silas Marner and Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind, for its depiction of the behavior of Scarlett O'Hara and the freed slaves in the novel..
  • Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice was banned from classrooms in Midland, Michigan in 1980
  • 1996, Merrimack, NH schools had pulled Shakespeare's Twelfth Night from the curriculum after the school board passed a "prohibition of alternative lifestyle instruction" act.
Source http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/

In this same post she also mentions the fact that DPW "participates in the Arab boycott against Israel."

DPW is running the port according to the rules set forth by the government of the UAE - rightly or wrongly. There is no reason to think that such a boycott would be in effect in our ports.

On at least three separate occasions last year, the Post has learned, companies were fined by the US government's Office of Anti-boycott Compliance, an arm of the Commerce Department, on charges connected to boycott-related requests they had received from the Government of Dubai.

US law bars firms from complying with such requests or cooperating with attempts by Arab governments to boycott Israel.

If Michelle wanted to have a rational discussion on why Arab countries boycott Israel and what can be done to end such behavoir, I'm all for it. The problem is that underneath all their outrage, the Michelle, Debbie and Charles' love it because Arab childishness allows them to sustain their bigotry and self-importance.

Michelle ends her post by saying Go ahead. Yell "Islamophobia!"

Ok, Islamophobia! You're using cultural complications as an exucse to question the security of a business deal?

We may not like much about Arab aristocracies and the way in which they run their countries but that has nothing to do with DPWs ability to safely and legally operate ports.

Until Michelle becomes an outspoken advocate for human rights around the world (and there are places that need way more attention than the UAE) she should shut the fuck up or be prepared to field accusations of racism and bigotry, mainly because she is a racist and a bigot.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Stupid Wingnut

In the never ending race to the bottom, another wingnut tries to outstupid the rest:

Via TBogg, we learn of VodkaPundit:

Let's get the bad out of the way first.

An Iraqi Civil War would be a disaster. Every bit of reconstruction, every small gesture of friendship between peoples and sects, every last chance of keeping Iraq viable and whole… well, that's probably all gone. Lacking professional armies and Western ideas of shame, modern Arab wars can drag on as guerilla actions for decades. Let's not forget that in the process, a lot of good people, ours and theirs, would die in Iraq.

Western idea of shame?

Lots of people would die?

No Shit?

Now for the good news.

If we're looking at an Islamic civil war, then vast numbers of good people will die, from Libya to Oman. Luckily, they won't have to be our people. In the very worst-case scenario, the Middle East could blow up – and we could bug out, pronto. "This is the good news?" you ask. Yes, and I'll explain why.

Christianity was a violent religion until the Thirty Years War. That war lasted so long, and killed so many people (the population of Germany was reduced by a third), that Christendom lost its bloodlust.

And nobody was ever killed in the name of Christianity again.

EU steps up for Palestinians

As we have discussed previously, the Palestinians risk further hunger and degredation due to the illegal withholding of tax revenues and our governments refusal to provide aid to democratically elected governments we don't like.

Fortunately, Sweden stepped up with offers of aid to help fill the gap:

"The humanitarian situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has worsened," the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) said in a statement, adding that it would provide 50 million kronor (6.4 million dollars) to the United Nations' aid programs there.

Now the EU will be sending additional aid too:

Europe has approved a 120m-euro ($140m; £83m) aid package to the Palestinians, in an effort to save the current caretaker government from collapse.

The aid is designed to meet the "basic needs" of Palestinians and will be distributed by the United Nations.

Russia is meeting with HAMAS this week:

Russia wanted "to maintain the peace process on the basis of the roadmap and to continue seeking solutions that are acceptable to Palestine, Israel and the international community."

Not everyone is happy about this:

A Hamas delegation is due to visit Moscow on Friday for talks with Russian government officials.

The invitation angered Israel and was seen as an attempt to reinvigorate Russia's role in Middle East peacemaking.

Well god forbid another country attempt to find peace among you fucking assholes. Excuse the rest of the world for giving a shit as your pissing contest spills blood across the globe.

Anyhow, what are we, the freedom spreaders, doing?

Well we sent Condi to the Middle East to convince the Arab states to leave the Palestinians high and dry.

Love Is A Force Of Nature

Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, and ends with a teardrop (sniff).

From LGFWatch comes the touching story of a lizard and his President, and a love that was betrayed:

I'm no longer a President Bush supporter
Heres a copy of an email I just sent to the White House.

Mr President

I have fought for you tooth and nail untill now. But following your support for the government of UAE to own and operate our ports, I can no longer support you.

In this war on terror, you have just set us back further than any gains we have made up till now.

While I supported you I was a proud boisterous supporter. Now I feel betrayed and sickened. You hand the keys to our country to the as sick brother of our enemy. Hundreds of thousands if not hundreds of millions will suffer for this error you have made.

You gave the keys to the equally deranged brother of our enemy, and for this I can no longer support you as my President.

You cant undo this Sir. Its symbolic of something about you that I can no longer trust. And my heart is absolutley broken.

You were my first President. The first person for whom I ever voted. I have a feeling you dont care about those like me who have fought tooth and nail to support you. I think now you will try to shame us into accepting and supporting this horrible decision. It wont work Sir, we are running away from you at a speed much greater than the power you have to explain this one away.

I would ask you to reverse your decision to sell our ports to our enemy, but I doubt you would listen.

Danny [redacted]
Lexington Kentucky

The simple manlove between a lizard and his Bush being torn apart by Arabs . Perhaps in the future, our society will be more accepting of the bigotry that all LGFers hold in their hearts, but for now, Bush must walk alone on that fine line between fear mongering and suckling the oily brown teet that feeds him.

Darfur? Yeah I think I heard something about it.

When not actively engaging in it, this administration sets new standards in showing indifference to the suffering of others:

Professional asshole, and incompetent sheepdog John Bolton was recently asked 10 questions by Time magazine.


Boltons answer: Sounds right to me.

Thanks for the deep concern, asshole.

This is so typical, not just of this administration, but of a continuing policy by this government and other western nations to just not care if their interests aren't served by our involvement.

The worst of this is their little language games - the ones in which they engage in amazing feats of verbal gymnastics to avoid having to say "Genocide" because then, they would actually be responsible for doing something about it.

Bolton, being the biggest disgrace in an administration of dishonor, can't even be bothered to pretend he cares. You'ld think they asked him if he wanted soup with his dinner.


Bolton: It's easy to be casual about putting military people into play when their lives can be lost. You could end up with a lot of dead military people and not save a single civilian. I don't think that's a sign of success.

No Shit?

You would think we could look back to long ago eras like the Clinton administration and remember the price of looking away.

Of course, in Rwanda, men like Romeo Dallaire, Philipe Gaillard, Gromo Alex, Mbaye Diagne and Carl Wilkens saved the lives of thousands of people without a single weapon.

But really, how much can one wittle Bolton do?

Maybe we're better off without him caring:

There was even a point … when African countries offered [more] soldiers, and all they needed was a few trucks and some airlift to get them in. The Americans even refused to do that. … The British government and the American government -- who send their politicians to Kigali and cry over the gravesites -- these are the same countries that refused to send soldiers to stop it happening, when they knew it was happening, not just because I was telling them that it was happening. … They deliberately tried to stop countries [from] sending troops to the U.N.

Friday, February 24, 2006

I, for one, Welcome our AIPAC Overlords

Richard Silverstein has an excellent, though frustrating report about AIPAC's continuing, and effective work in determining our foriegn policy.

Not content with the current Bush Administration policy labeling Hamas a terror group and refusing to meet or do business with it, AIPAC has given marching orders to its congressional minions, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Tom Lantos, who will file the most punitive and draconian anti-PA legislation ever seen in this country

As they say, go read the whole thing.

Plunging the Palestinians into further poverty and oppression will certainly curb suicide bombers, right? I can hear the mullahs now - these are the rewards of democracy.

Various Muslim coutries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia are stepping in to fill the gap left by illegal tax withholdings.

This couldn't be more perfect for us and AIPAC. Iran has also offered funding to the HAMAS led government. So when innocent lives are blown up by desperate Arabs, we'll be able to tie the money directly to Iran. Voila! Instant neo-con paradise and "The Long War" gets an indefinite extension (as if one was needed).

Just for some good news, Sweden offers some hope of rationality:

I’m delighted to report that the Swedish government equivalent of the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) is guaranteeing the PA $4.6-million:

“According to the fourth Geneva convention, the occupying power has a particular responsibility to support and ensure the human dignity of the occupied,” [Peter Lundberg of the group’s humanitarian unit] said.

“Since Israel is not living up to its responsibility under international law, large parts of the Palestinian population are now completely dependent on international humanitarian aid,” Lundberg added.

This seems to be how liberal democracy would want to represent itself. Unfortunately we seem to prefer representatives like this:

“It’s like a meeting with a dietitian. We need to make the Palestinians lose weight, but not to starve to death.”

Glad to see we're making such progress.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Innocent Man Tortured for One Year - Abu Gonzalez elated

Judge dismisses Canadian deportation suit

NEW YORK -- A federal judge has tossed out a civil rights lawsuit filed by a Syrian-born Canadian man who claimed U.S. counterterrorism officials deported him so he could be tortured in Syria.

Maher Arar had sued the officials in 2004 in what was believed to be the first case challenging extraordinary rendition - the policy of transferring foreign terror suspects to third countries without court approval.

U.S. District Judge David G. Trager rejected arguments that Arar was protected by the Torture Victim Prevention Act, which allows U.S. courts to assess damages for human rights abuses committed abroad.

Trager said that as a non-citizen, Arar couldn't demonstrate that he has a viable cause of action under that statute.

Citing "the national security and foreign policy considerations at stake," the judge said Arar had no grounds in a U.S. court to claim his constitutional right to due process was violated.

Arar, 35, holds dual Syrian-Canadian citizenship and was traveling on a Canadian passport when he was stopped in New York during a layover while returning to Canada from Tunisia. He was held for 12 days before being sent to Syria on suspicion of being a member of al-Qaida, an allegation he denies.

Arar maintains that once imprisoned in Damascus, he was tortured into making false confessions of terrorist activity. Arar said he was held for more than a year in a dark, damp cell, then was released without ever being charged.

The U.S. Justice Department has insisted that it had information linking Arar to al-Qaida, that Syria promised he would be treated humanely and that shipping him there was "in the best interest of the security of the United States." Syria has denied he was tortured.

Justice Department officials were pleased with the judge's ruling, spokesman Charles Miller said.

Attorneys for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which filed the lawsuit on Arar's behalf, said the ruling set a disturbing precedent.

"To allow the Bush administration to evade accountability and continue to hide behind a smoke screen of 'national security' is to do grave and irreparable damage to the Constitution and the guarantee of human rights that people in this country could once be proud of," attorney Maria LaHood said.


I thought I would head over to Al-Muhajabah Global this morning to see what was going on with Dennis Kucinich and Wes Clark and also found this story of Georgetown student, Kerry McIntosh and her experience spending the day dressed in a full Islamic veil in Cairo.

Wearing a veil is nothing out of the ordinary in Cairo, as many Muslim women wear the “hijab,” a scarf that covers the hair. The niqab, meanwhile, is worn by fewer women and covers the wearer’s head and face completely, except for an oblong slit at the eyes (think Zorro mask meets bridal veil.) Many women who wear the niqab also wear gloves, leaving virtually none of their skin exposed.

The niqab has caused controversy in Egypt in recent years, with its growing popularity among Egyptian women of all social classes increasingly seen by many in the secular government as a sign of a grassroots resurgence of more conservative strains of Islam. Egyptian courts have ruled that the wearing of the niqab is not specified as a duty in Islam, and therefore public institutions have a right to ban it. Many private institutions have banned the niqab as well, including the American University in Cairo.

Theological reasons for wearing the niqab in Islam are complex and numerous. The increasing popularity of the niqab and other more conservative forms of women’s dress may also reflect a backlash against the Western conceptualization of feminism and the objectification of women’s bodies in both Arabic and Western pop cultures.

The niqab can also be worn for more practical reasons. In Egypt, men vastly outnumber women in nearly every public setting, and even the most modestly dressed woman on the street is not immune to the incessant hissing, catcalls and sexual comments from men.

Kerry sums up her experience:

The niqab just wasn’t me. In my first semester I had gotten so used to my role as a Western student in Cairo, in filling that piece in the intricate puzzle that is Egyptian society and in all that came with it — from the hissing and comments to the assumptions that I spoke only English — that I just couldn’t pull off such a drastic role change. I only lasted three hours in the niqab before I opted to take it off and continue exploring the market as my normal, Western self.

To wear such a covering, to present oneself in such a way, takes an incredible amount of inner conviction, which I lack.

I don't think so.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Ebert & Roeper ( & Schlussel)

Debbie Schlussel has taken a transcript of Ebert & Roeper's review of two movies about suicide bombers and talks to it. . . let's listen in....

> TAPE DATE: 11-16-05
> Both films show men who believe they have a divine
> mission that justifies the murder of others. Both
> films show that there is no real response to
> religious zealots who believe their guidance comes directly
> from heaven.

Wow, this went right to the scary part.

>And both films end in essentially the same place.

I think she's being sarcastic, but just last week Debbie was complaining because the homicide bombers in every movie turn out to be innocent passengers.

> And both films get thumbs up from me, but
> they may not be playing in your area right now . . . .


> RICHARD: Yes, two thumbs up for me for the films. . . .
> And I liked the fact that these films explore
> these very touchy subjects in a very respectful manner.
> They humanize the terrorists. . . . [T]hey're really
> to show the other side of things -
> it's just giving you, I think, two very accurate
> portrayals of what terrorists go through . . . .

Intersting, seeing as when Debbie was born, Israel wasn't a country and the entire population of the area was mostly Arab. But I guess after millions of Europeans migrated en masse to the area, kicked the Arabs out and established their own country, their hanging around would be sort of pestilent. Really we ought to just "DESTROY THEM. KILL THEM. DEFEAT THEM."

> ROGER: After my print review of "Paradise Now"
> appeared in the Sun-Times I got an e-mail from
> somebody who said that I was trying to humanize
> these animals. And I wrote back and I said, "By calling
> them animals you're thinking exactly the way that they
> think about you."

Roger wasn't paying attention when she said earlier "DESTROY THEM. KILL THEM. DEFEAT THEM."

> RICHARD: And that makes it way too convenient. It's
> like the film we talked about - about the last days
> of Hitler where he's in the bunker and you see him -
> you see - just to call these people monsters is too
> easy. Too convenient. And these films are much
> smarter than that. . . .

And the Palestinians are just like Nazis in that they're the most powerful industrial country on Earth who want to conquer lands near and far. As opposed to say, just living in dignity and independance so we must "DESTROY THEM. KILL THEM. DEFEAT THEM."
> RICHARD: Two very good films.
> Two thumbs up for "THE WAR WITHIN."
> Two thumbs up for "PARADISE NOW"

BONUS: Debbie went on Al Jazeera to discuss Paradise Now. She actually spoke to Arabs like she didn't consider them sub-human - it was a mighty impressive display of just how full of shit she really is.

That anyone would consult with Debbie about, well anything, is rather amazing, but about movies? The woman has the intellectual capacity of a wild boar. Al-Jazeera's inclusion of her on their panel shows some seriously good humor on their part, kudos to them for their tolerance and open-mindedness.

Bang head, repeat pt. MCMXVLI

People constantly wonder why people around the world hate us (and if you don't, they do, and you should start asking why).

It's probably because we talk about spreading democracy and freedom, and then when the people elect someone we don't like, we hurt, hinder and harm not only the elected government, but the people as well.

As predicted, when HAMAS took over majority governance of the Palestinian parliamen, most western governments cut off aid and funding. While this, like the sanctions on Saddam's Iraq, does nothing but starve and hurt the Palestinian people, I suppose it is their right.

Israel has refused to pay back the taxes and customs it collects on behalf of the Palestinians (taxes, customs fees, and other charges paid by Palestinians). That's unacceptable, its not their money and should be paid immediately or they should reliquish the collection duties (not to oversimplify the matter, but you can read about it elsewhere). Not paying back the taxes is their decision - they have to live with their decisions every day and suffer the results or benefits thereof. They can, and will continue to blame Palestinians for the same predictable violence while ignoring the very instigations, insults, forced poverty and hunger and violence that brings it about in the first place. Pretty typical stuff really.

HAMAS, of course, should STFU and recognize Israel and get the peace process back on track, though this editorial makes a good point in that Fateh recognized Israel and it didn't get them very far (though some progress was made).

Everyone who has said the Palestinians need a Ghandi couldn't be more right, its too bad though that they need either a Ghandi or a Godzilla. They should be entitled to live independantly and in peace.

But I'm getting off track. As they should, the Arab states have been paying most of the 1.9 billion dollars in aid the PA received previously and will be stepping up payments to bridge the gap left by westerners (which should have a great effect on our relationships over there).

So what do we do? We send Condoleeza Rice over there to convince the Arabs not to send them any more money.

"I would hope that any state that is considering funding a Hamas-led government would think about the implications of that for the Middle East and for the Middle East peace process,"

I would hope they would too. As in, how long do you starve a person before suicide bombing is a comforting option?

I wonder what her cousin, Constance Rice, who is smarter, hotter and not a robot would think of this, given she has devoted her life to helping the poor and weak.

Of course, the Arab states are not going to cut off funding, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, etc. all will continue and step up payments to the P.A. which means that they essentially own that government - sweet!

But what does all this say about our real feeling towards democracy? It's pretty clear - vote how we want or "go fuck yourself." That's not really democracy and its certainly not the best way to sell it. Why do we continue to shoot ourselves in the foot?

While I can see the troubling issues for the Bush administration and other western governments, its time to suck it up and deal with HAMAS as the legitimate governing body. There is no reason to expect them to act like a respectable government if they are not treated as one.

Note: No More Mister Nice Blog discusses Condi's trip to Egypt. Sounds like she was just as successful as war-mongering soccer mom, Karen Hughes.

Update: Richard Silverstein has an excellent post related to the Israeli tax withholding issue.

Port Whine

So the President is really taking a big hit over the Dubai Port World deal, described by more hysterical types as "selling our ports to foreigners."

I happen to think the President made fantastic points about the deal and good for him for his level headed thinking on this issue.

Lou Dobbs is pissed because neither the Emiratis nor DPW will give him an interview. Lou, you're a hack, non-journalist whose career revolves around agitating panic-stricken white people into a frenzy about how brown people are going to rob, ruin and replace their very existence. Being the clever opportunist, Lou takes the rebuff as badge of honor. DPW or Emirates shouldn't go on Lou's show for the same reason people who don't suck shouldn't go on Bill O' Reilly's.

Lou's CNN partner Jack Cafferty pretty much guaranteed a terrorist attack.

The usual suspects like Michelle and Charles' heads should be exploding any day now as they are conflicted between their hatred of Muslims and their love of Bush (hate wins with them every time).

Politicians are being their usual obtuse selves trying to score fear points with their constiuents:

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.. . . believes that aside from looking if there was anything flagrant in the company's file, there is "no reason to say this is safe,"

Of course, there's no reason to think that it isn't. I guess when it comes to Arabs, guilty until proven innocent is the rule.

"Since 9/11, we have to change the way we do things," Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said Sunday. "And I just don't think any foreign company, period, ought to be running our ports."

Said the Senator from the state with Chinese owned ports.

"Most Americans are scratching their head wondering why this company, from this region, now," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., added.

Lindsey, that's because people have been acting like paranoid bed-wetters for the last few years. Thanks for pretty much stating that, yeah, its them sorts thats the problem.

Liberals like Stephaie Miller and Rachael Maddow, continue to milk this issue. Miller, barely able to stop herself from blurting out "A-rabs" when trying to explain why they shouldn't be able to complete the deal - quickly changing it to the "country involved with 9/11," (despite any actual evidence of this "fact.") Stephanie is sort of a dope but I respect Rachael a lot, but she's wrong here. Many other liberals are making a lot of hay out of this without providing much more evidence for concern beyond "it's the United Arab Emirates!"

The funny thing, especially from liberals like Miller, is that they knew absolutely nothing about the UAE or DPW a week ago, yet suddenly they're experts on the history of the UAE and how they relate to international commerce and national security? I don't think so. That's what makes this out and out xenophobic hysteria.

At least Atrios had the good sense to not act like a freeper and question if this was prejudgmental before settling into the somewhat better, "no foriegn ownership of docks" which many liberals are using in the same vein as the "free speech" argument was used in the cartoon controversy.

As an avowed leftist, socialist, Chomsky-ite, I have to say the opinions coming from the left are embarrasing, repugnant and uneducated. They range from obvious, and admitted, political haymaking to sheer ignorance and fear.

Those on the right that think we on the left would not call out our own are incorrect. The root of this problem, for me, is Schumer, Clinton, Randi Rhodes, Stephanie Miller et al.. I don't care a bit that Santorum, Frist, Malikins, Coulter or Johnson jump on this train because I have no expectations of them to represent what I consider the moral high ground that I have come to expect from this country.

The problem is that except for a very few, most of the American political left is falling for this bullshit. Those of us who can maintain rational thinking in light of an opportunity to bash Bush are far and few between. Its too bad the majority of the critics of this deal can't pull their heads out of the asses long enough to see that Dubai is becoming the economic crossroads for Europe and Asia, and it is vital to our national security and ecomomic interest to be involved with Europe, Asia, and the Middle East co-operatively if we plan on mainting our lofty standards in the world.

Dennis the Peasant has another measured and rational post, exposing both the willfull ignorance involved with this story.

Not that it mattered much. Everyone from Senator Clinton to Senator Santorum understood what was going on... This is an election year. The issue was never "foreigners". The issue was Arabs, and by extension, Muslims. It was time to play The Muslim Card. It was time to ignore the reality that port security is in the hands of the federal, state and local governments and pretend that somehow having Dubai Ports World owning six port operating leases rendered every security agency in the country – from the Coast Guard to the Port Authority of New York – helpless. Senator Schumer, as well as Senators Clinton, Santorum and Frist (to name only a few) have decided to ignore the complex reality of U.S. national security and, instead, try to score some political points by indulging in the most blatant sort of racial (and religious) profiling on the most massive of scales.

This WaPo column hits the nail pretty hard too.

But those words, like that of almost all of the others, sound, well, tone-deaf to us. For one, the deal cannot "outsource major port security," because management companies that run ports do not control security. The U.S. Coast Guard controls the physical security of our ports. The U.S. Customs Service controls container security. That doesn't change, no matter who runs the business operations.

Justin Raimondo takes on the issue point by erroneous point:

Phony reason number two is that the 9/11 conspirators funneled money through Dubai-based banks. But Dubai is the major financial nexus of the Arab world, and, indeed, is right up there with any city in the West in that regard: funds traveling from sources in the Middle East are more than likely to have come through the U.A.E. in some shape, form, or manner. Targeting DP World on account of this is like embargoing Wal-Mart because the 9/11 hijackers bought their box-cutters there.

Because I said I would report on the liberal idiocy on this issue:

Randi Rhodes just said a black tar heroin epidemic is going to overtake New York when the DPW takes ownership of the ports.

6:10 pm est - Randi is now going on about 2 yr old camel jockeys who are being starved and abused apparantly unaware that's why they developed these robot jockeys and banned all jockeys under 16. It's not like I'm defending any camel racing, or care about it one bit as long as children aren't being abused. The point is that I like Randi, but she sounds like a fucking idiot going on about a practice that has been effectively ended as if its going on today. The other point is that while the UAE isn't perfect, they are more than willing to respond to Human Rights criticisms.

Tim Dickinson from Rolling Stone makes the precient point I've heard yet:

And just what is the insinuation being made here made by the alarmists? That Dubai Ports World is somehow going to collaborate with Al Qaeda to ease the entry of a radiological device through an American seaport? That's a pretty wild accusation. By that standard, shouldn't we have already banned Emirate airlines from flying into JFK? You know, because the pilots might gladly turn the company's Airbuses into jihadi missiles?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Feeling a little masochistic today, I decided to see what sort of insane, disjointed expositions Debbie Schlussel has manufactured recently.

First, Debbie wonders why the UAE banned Michelle Malkin's site - was it was over her posting on the DPW sale or the Cartoon Controversy?

Personally I would think its because she's a boring hack who wants to intern everyone who looks like them, but I think her commentary on DPW could also be the reason. The Cartoon Controversy? Puhlease, the UAE isn't Pakistan, that was so last week.

Debbie goes on to say:

Regardless of the reason, it's yet another reason we can't let them control our ports. If they'll censor out her site from over there, what will they do when they are controlling vital points of entry and shipping here in America?

See by owning our ports the Islamofacists will also be given the keys to our internet machine and ban Debbie too.

Ok, my stomach isn't as stong as I thought so I'm going to skip ahead to the part where Debbie compares her 2 favorite shows: 24 and Sleeper Cell.

Debbie loves these shows for 2 reasons:

they actually show terrorists who are 1) Islamic, and 2) not sympathetic."

That's why I watch TV - for the racial stereotyping and castigation.

Debbie also says:

On this site, I've repeatedly lamented the lack of movies about terrorism in which the terrorists are 1) Islamic (as in most of real life), and 2) not sympathetic (also, as in real life).

I agree, liberal hollyweird never makes movies about Islamic radicals. Well except this one, this one, this one, this one, this one, and this one.

See, most movie terrorists aren't unsympathetic and Islamic, therefore they aren't real terrorist.

Debbie is also disappointed in her shows because they seem to be repeating each other:

But after watching last week's episode of "24" and all ten episodes of "Sleeper Cell," I noted something else: Hollywood not only won't produce many of these shows, it also is not very creative in its choice of plots and actors.

NO WAY?!? You mean to tell me the same people that make 84 different shows about a fat guy, his good looking wife and kooky kids are unoriginal?

Same plots, same actors playing Slavic Muslim terrorists. That's what you get when most of Hollywood says "hands off" regarding the truth in the War on Terror, ie., not a lot of variety and a small pool of actors and ideas.

The lack of actors who can or want to play terrorists is small and hollywood isn't very original anymore so therefore they support Islamofacism.

Well I always feel kicked repeatedly in the head smarter after I read Debbie - don't you?

Bonus: Elle MacPherson is a HAMAS loving suicide bombing America hater because she reads Noam Chomsky! And also she was topless on the cover (along with 10 other models) proving that she is both a whore and traitor.

Well that was fun, but I've exceeded my hysteria quotient for one day.

Why the Death Penalty is Wrong pt. MMDLXXXVII

Today's story about two Doctors who refused to participate in the execution of a convicted rapist and murderer is good - any story that challanges the humanity of state sposored execution is good.

the anesthesiologists issued a statement through the prison saying they were concerned about a requirement that they intervene in the event that Morales woke up or appeared to be in pain.

"Any such intervention would clearly be medically unethical," said the doctors, who have not been identified. "As a result, we have withdrawn from participation in this current process."

The Doctors weren't questioning the morality of the execution, at least not according to their statement, but maybe everyone else should be:

Prison spokesman Vernell Crittendon said the prison has until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to execute Morales. After that, the "death warrant" expires and officials would have to go back to the trial judge who imposed the death sentence in 1983 for another warrant.

Seeking another warrant could prove difficult for the state, however, since the original sentencing judge, Charles McGrath, joined Morales this month in asking Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for clemency in the case.

McGrath said he no longer believed the credibility of a jailhouse informant whose testimony helped land Morales on death row.
(Emphasis added)

Yes, the issues are complex, and yes I am thinking about the victim and her survivors, but the state, using a completely fallible system, is in no position to involuntarily take someone's life.

Ignoring the fact that innocent people have been executed because you think the 'victim deserves justice' is not justice and makes you no better than a murderer.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Knee Jerks

Its no surprise that people like Michelle Malkin, Debbie Schlussel and others would completely spaz out over what they, per their usual histrionics, think is surrenduring our ports to a bunch of Arabs.

But as the recent cartoon controversy has shown, even 'the left' can be just as xenophobic, especially if it gives them a chance to bash Bush. I agree that no opportunity to bash Bush should be passed up, but at least respect yourself enough to get the facts right before you start yapping your gums about something you know little about and falling victim to the very fear the neo-cons use to control their own minions.

This morning, the sometimes funny, though frequently misinformed on international issues, Stephanie Miller waxed hysterical about selling our security to that terrorist stronghold, Dubai! Her and her generally astute co-host repeatedly used innuendo and aspersion about Arabs to lambaste the Bush administration. A caller, who could barely pronounce Emirates is now talking about the Saudis, apparantly unaware that S.A. and the U.A.E. are not actually the same country.

First of all, the ports were already owned by a foreign company so its not like we just up and sold our ports - we had already done that a couple of years ago and nobody made a peep about it.

Next, we're talking about the sale of a multi-billion dollar corporation to another multi-billion dollar corporation. It's a business transaction, not an operational change so the U.S. will still maintain control of port operation and security. Of course in the fear factored USA, people like Chuck Schumer can make political hay by making people believe that a bunch of guys wearing Kafiyas with AK's are going to be actually running the ports.

Then there is the question of what Dubai is about. There are probably more white, Christian Europeans living there than Arabs and the Emirate is spending unbelievable amounts of money to lure more westerners there by building all the amenities and more that wealthy Europeans expect in their vacation and retirement paradises.

Unlike most Arab countries, liqour is legal, women have absolutely no dress restrictions - miniskirts are common and gambling is said to be on the horizon.

Knowing all this you would have to assume that the very last thing the Emirates would want is a terrorist attack even remotely related to a port that is even casually connected to them, let alone owned by them.

I wonder if critics on the left and right are aware of just how westernized Dubai actually is? Or do they just hear Arab and piss themselves, either out of fear in the Capt. Ed/Michelle Malkin vein or in an effort to show what a bad job Bush is doing in the Steph Miller/ Daily Kos analysis. For all the horrible things Bush does, to blame him for this legal business transaction doesn't seem to be very reasonable. Furthermore, for all the innuendo and conjecture that the UAE was involved in 9-11, someone should be able to easily trace that money or support. I'm not holding my breath.

'Aqoul has an excellent review on the details of the sale and here is an amazing post from Dennis the Peasant who flushes out the racism and bigotry shown by both the left and right.

Richard Silverstien writes thoughtfully on the issue, complete with historical analogies.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Torture, Inc.

Many people have been talking about how the newest torture pictures will make American Service men and women and civilians more unsafe. This is of course, true as this administration continues to be the best recuiters Al Queda ever had.

It doesn't matter to this administration that their torture and murder of innocent people might cause more terrorism - for them its all the better.

Most people in this country won't remember, care or even slightly be able to link an act of terrorism to these deplorable acts and even if they could they would rationalize it by saying they were terrorists or that the attrocities were not equivalent ignoring that the equivalence is not in question, just the result of an action.

I'm also sure a large segment of our population just loves these pictures. They don't consider Muslims human so its not like they have to feel guilt about them. Many are so stuck in a 9-11 revenge fantasy that I'm sure the vast majority of the Bush base just feels like this is what they deserve. Un-Christian you say? Since when did Bush Christians ever behave like real Christians?

Seeing Palestinians dancing in the street, if real, was digusting. Smirking Republicans getting off on seeing sexual humiliation is not much better. Please spare us any outrage over moral equivalency.

And our priorities

RPT-US lags behind al Qaeda in propaganda war - Rumsfeld

NEW YORK, Feb 17 (Reuters) - The United States lags dangerously behind al Qaeda and other enemies in getting out information in the digital media age and must update its old-fashioned methods, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Friday.

Well as the President always likes to say "you got to repeat your message over and over again in order to propell the propaganda"

He (Rumsfeld) lamented that vast media attention about U.S. abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq outweighed that given to the discovery of "Saddam Hussein's mass graves."

Hmm, could that be because when Saddam was killing all those people you were shaking hands with him? Could it be because your administration squawked about rape rooms and torture chambers for months in the lead up to the war just to replace them with your own? Could it be that many of the mass graves were dug by US Soldiers to bury some of the 300,000 killed in the first Gulf war? You should be thanking your PNAC handbook that people have forgotten about his mass graves.

Your propaganda doesn't sell because it all smells so bad only people stupid enough to trust the RNC minions and Fox News are buying it. Sorry Rummy, but people here and around the world are too smart to fall for your bullshit forever. While Al Jazeera is showing actual pictures and videos of people being raped, beaten and killed, you telling them "from your heart" that we're bringing them freedom rings a little hollow.

How about this for a plan - if you want to keep people to trust you, stop lying to them.


I am the last person to criticize Muslims for being pissed about the Mohammad cartoons, but this is getting ridiculous:

A Pakistani Muslim cleric and his followers have offered a $1m bounty to anyone who kills the Danish cartoonists who drew caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed .

Ok let's ignore the fact that murder for hire is wrong, we can all hopefully agree on that.

Pakistan is a poor country - instead of spending a million dollars to kill people who are guilty of, at worst, being assholes, try spending that money to feed, educate and heal the people, that as a cleric, I hope he feels some responsibility for.

"If the West can place a bounty on Osama bin Laden and Zawahri we can also announce reward for killing the man who has caused this sacrilege of the holy Prophet," he said.

Yeah, killing thousands of people and drawing cartoons - about the same.

The people that drew and published the offensive cartoons were dumb, racist idiots. They have to live with their petty hatred and fears. But besides the fact that people like this cleric turn them into victimized heroes, they also continue to stigmatize themselves and justify the very reason the cartoons were offensive to non-Muslims. That is, I don't think non-Muslims could care less about whether or not Mohammad was depicted (I certainly don't), I was just offended by the negative generalization of a race or a religion, in this case in the form of the bomb/turban.

Besides the defamation to your own character and people, not only are stunts like this taking valuable resources away from actually doing something useful, it just helps increase the poverty because what western or asian business would want to do business in a place like this?

Given the Musharraf government's crackdown on radicalism, this would be a splendid opportunity to show the clerics that making international death threats is not acceptable behavior.

Do you want your country to be perceived like this or like this. Decide yourselves - don't let Danish cartoonists decide for you.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Rush Limbaugh is not a racist

Well at least he seems to be color-blind.

How much oxy-contin do you have to do before you think this man is black?

Well that's exactly what Rush said today.

Apparantly Rush spent part of his daily drug induced bloviation talking about the bullshit situation where our pathetic Dem leadership asked Iraq war vet Paul Hackett not to run against Ohio Congressman Sherrod Brown (shown above, and suspiciously not black) in the Democratic primary.

Now let me say first that I am pissed that the Democratic party thinks its ok to annoint our candidates rather than let us elect them, and you would think Rush would be more than happy to pounce on just that fact.

But not this fat, drug addled, bad golf playing fucknut - here's part of Rush's comment on the situation (as re-played on the Randi Rhodes show) he starts by talking about how the Democratic party running veterans is a political manuever but then lands this little elucidation:

...and don't forget that Sherrod Brown is black, there's a racial component to this as well..

First of all, how's about that for some major projection, but also, how lazy do you have to be when you can't even Google a congressman's name before blurting out this ridiculous assertation on your radio program carried on 600 stations so fat white men can feel oppressed.

Me thinks Rush has been sharing the good stuff with his staff. Rush's staff - check out this site when you come out of your stupors - http://images.google.com/.

BTW, Sherrod is a great candidate and probably more liberal than Hackett. A bag of hair would be better than Mike DeWine, and if Brown can take his seat it would be great.

What pisses me off is that the Dem leadership says they wanted Hackett to step down because Brown has raised more money. Funny how that happens when the DNC channels all the money to Brown's campaign and pulls it from Hackett's. I think the real reason is that they're scared of Hackett, who is very vocal about criticizing the President. Instead of asking him to sit down, the Dem leadership should take a lesson from him, maybe we could actually stop fucking over this country for 5 seconds if we had an opposition party that actually opposed anything with any degree of success.

Anyhow, being a huge hypocrite, Rush freaks out over Bryant Gumbel's statements on the Olympics:

So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world's greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the winter games look like a GOP convention.

I admit that's rude, not to the GOP, because that is an accurate observation (though I didn't notice any athletes mocking veterans with little purple band aids), but by suggesting that black people are not in the Winter Olympics. It is also slightly, but not really, offensive to other minorities and white people. Irregardless, for pigboy to call out Gumbel as being a racist is laughable. And typical.

You just know they posted this picture of Gumbel with his hot white wife just to get the all the poor, oppressed white folk uppity and indignant.

Decency v. Degenerate Racist

Tedd Rall:

Republican columnist Ann Coulter spoke earlier today to the Conservative Political Action Committee, where the audience included 1000 right-wingers including Vice President Dick Cheney. There, among other things, she is reported to have said the following:

"Iran is soliciting cartoons on the Holocaust. So far, only Ted Rall, Garry Trudeau, and the NY Times have made submissions."

She lied. I have not submitted anything to any Iranian publication. I have no intention of doing so. And I have said that in public, repeatedly.

This is the same speech in which Coulter repeatedly used the term Raghead to the enthusiastic cheers of the wannabe Nazis in attendance.

Anyhow, Rall, as most of you know is a cartoonist with enough guts to speak truth to power no matter how unpopular. While other liberals parse their words and are too scared to really speak up for the little guys Rall puts his ass on the line with every comic he publishes. He isn't afraid to call out sacred cows like our military and tackles issues of moral relatavism and questions the hypocrisy of telling Iran not to have nukes when we're the only country to have ever used them. If you haven't read him, go to his archives now.

Well about this lawsuit - at this point, Rall's attorney believes there is a viable case against Coulter but it will be expensive. Astuteness doesn't equate to money in America so Rall is seeking support of this action which could take many years and lots of money.

At this point, Rall is seeking pledges to see if a lawsuit would be financially feasible. If you can, and you support the viewpoints of Rall, and feel he should be able to speak openly without being accused of being a Holocaust Denier by loathsome racists then go over to his blog and pledge to send him some money.

Update:From Ted's blog:

Editor & Publisher magazine has an update on right-wing author, syndicated columnist and frequent Fox News guest Ann Coulter's campaign to equate my opposition to George W. Bush with anti-Semitism:

Ann Coulter, in Her New Column, Repeats Holocaust Jab At 'NYT' and Rall
By Dave Astor
Published: February 16, 2006 4:30 PM ET

NEW YORK—In her latest print column, Ann Coulter repeats the verbal statement that caused much discussion in the blogosphere during the past week and drew a threat by editorial cartoonist Ted Rall to take her to court.

Coulter, a Universal Press Syndicate columnist, had said last Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C.: "Iran is soliciting cartoons on the Holocaust. So far, only Ted Rall, Garry Trudeau, and The New York Times have made submissions."

In her latest column, posted today on AnnCoulter.com, Coulter writes that one "Iranian newspaper is soliciting cartoons about the Holocaust. (So far the only submissions have come from Ted Rall, Garry Trudeau, and The New York Times.)"

When asked for his response, Rall told E&P today: "Now it's slander AND libel." He added that Coulter's decision to repeat her remark could make his case stronger.

As E&P reported earlier today, Rall said his attorney has told him he'd have a case if he sued Ann Coulter. But the cartoonist also said he'd need to raise more funds if he's going to take legal action.

Rall -- who, like Coulter, is syndicated by Universal -- said his supporters have pledged about $7,000 so far. Asked how much he would need to file a lawsuit and pursue it to the end, Rall said he's not sure yet. The cartoonist did emphasize that if he asks pledgers to actually send money for a lawsuit, the money would go straight into an account for his attorney. Rall said he would personally not touch that account.

If he won a lawsuit against Coulter, Rall said he would give any monetary damages to a political action committee or divide the money among those who donated to fund the legal action.

Some of the e-mails Rall received during the past week accused him of "dishing it out but not being able to take it." In response, Rall told E&P: "I'm as much a free-speech purist as it comes. But in my opinion, this is not a free-speech issue. This is about hijacking my politics and trying to equate my opposition to the Bush administration with anti-Semitism and Holocaust revisionism. Ann Coulter is planting the seed among millions of readers that I'm a Holocaust revisionist, which I'm not. I'm not going to tolerate that."

Many readers take the content of Coulter's column seriously, said Rall, even if she has claimed at times to be "joking."

Coulter's current column -- in addition to repeating the line about Rall, "Doonesbury" creator Garry Trudeau, and The New York Times -- also seems to stereotype all Muslims as violent.

Not only did Coulter slander me in front of a thousand conservatives at a speech attended by Dick Cheney in Washington (the night before his hunting accident in Texas), she put it into print in her syndicated column. Make no mistake, there is a case. But this is going to cost major bucks to pursue correctly.

Insults, vitriol and snotty comments are all part of free speech. Deliberately misrepresenting a person's opinions in order to shut them up is not. What we're witnessing here is no less than a return to the tactics of Senator Joe McCarthy during the 1950s "Red Scare"—which shouldn't be surprising considering that Ann Coulter wrote an entire book whose thesis was that McCarthy was a great guy who ought to be loved and respected.

If you're as tired as I am of Republicans smearing liberals and Democrats as traitors, un-American and sympathetic to terrorism, here's an opportunity to draw a line, to say "here's where it stops." I have already raised about $7,000 through my pledge drive, but unless I receive a higher level of commitment from progressives to fight this battle I will only be able to start it. As you probably know, I'm a fighter—but I fight to win. That means all the way, no matter what it takes.

So here's the deal. I am NOT asking those who have already made pledges to promise more. What I AM asking is for those who haven't done so to step forward. Small contributions are of course welcome. What will get us there faster will be one or two people who have the financial means to do what conservatives do for their pundits all the time: commit to the long-term legal battle that will undoubtedly ensue. If rich liberals won't help those of us who are down in the ideological trenches, they have no one to blame but themselves for yet another defeat.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

And you thought the cartoons were bad


An Australian TV channel has broadcast previously unpublished images showing apparent US abuse of prisoners in Iraq's Abu Ghraib jail in 2003.

The new images show "homicide, torture and sexual humiliation", SBS said.

The Hypocrite in Cheif (HIC):

For the vast majority of Iraqi citizens who wish to live as free men and women, this event brings further assurance that the torture chambers and the secret police are gone forever.

The BBC (a real news organization, antonym of CNN) continues:

One of the videos broadcast on the SBS programme Dateline on Wednesday appears to show prisoners being forced to masturbate for the camera.

Other video footage appears to show a prisoner hitting his head against a wall.

The channel said he was a mentally disturbed patient who became a plaything of guards who practised ways of restraining him.

That's sweet, pets for our troops.

Some photos are said to show corpses. There are also images of prisoners with body and head wounds.

SBS also said it had received reports that some prisoners were killed when US soldiers ran out of rubber bullets during a prison riot and started using live rounds instead.

The HIC:

I have a message for the Iraqi people: You will not have to fear the rule of Saddam Hussein ever again. All Iraqis who take the side of freedom have taken the winning side. The goals of our coalition are the same as your goals -- sovereignty for your country, dignity for your great culture, and for every Iraqi citizen, the opportunity for a better life.

Unless we round you up and stick you in a prison with no charges where 80% of the population is innocent. Then you can prey to your false god that we only force you to masturbate at gunpoint.

US defence department spokesman Bryan Whitman said the images "could only further inflame and possibly incite unnecessary violence in the world".

Gee asshole, this isn't a cartoon - it's not the images causing the violence this time.

He said: "[The images] would endanger our military men and women."

Again, not the images - its the torture, stupid.

Analysts say the reaction in the Muslim world may depend on how widely the images are shown.

Because I'm sure Al Jazeera won't want to show them. Oh wait...

Some of the pictures have now been re-broadcast on US networks and on Arab satellite channels al-Arabiya and al-Jazeera.....The BBC's Jon Brain in Baghdad says al-Arabiya is broadcasting half a dozen of the new Abu Ghraib images, though it has refrained from showing the most shocking.

Cue Michelle Malkin, et al complaining about how Al Jazeera and the liberal U.S. Media are Bin Ladens mouthpieces, and they're doing this just to be mean to President Bush. You know, for reporting the news and all.

Don't worry Michelle, nobody's paying attention, as Gilliard pointed out, we're all too concerned about Tom and Katie. If not that then Cheney can just shoot someone else in the face.

Again, our government's real concern isn't that we torture people, that we violate international law, that we undermine our credibility and our own self-respect:

The US has said the images could only "incite unnecessary violence" and endanger US military personnel.

Too late for unnecessary violence - that point came and went with Shock & Awe. How many times did Bush wag his fingers at Saddam's torture chambers as an excuse for war - will anyone in our pathetic media bring up the sheer hypocrisy and incessant lying of this administration ever?

International credibility was shot a long time ago too, I really don't see what we can do to not have 90% of the world 1 billion Muslims hate us.

As Gilliard poster Lyrebird_in_NYState pointed out:

All these things were done in order to humiliate the victims, and I wouldn't want to see concerned media outlets adding to the humiliation.

I totally agree and its also against the Geneva conventions - something that the wingnuts scream about when Al Jazeera airs images of captured US troops but when its Iraqi prisoners the only thing they cry about is that it makes us look bad. If you walk around with shit on your face, you're going to look bad.

The story still needs to be told and this whole cabal should tried on war crimes, just like Saddam should be in front of an international court, not some kangaroo court that will ensure none of our involvment with Saddam's crimes ever sees the light of day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Roadmap: Shoot self in foot, repeat

President Bush:

Freedom is not America's gift to the world; freedom is the Almighty God's gift to each man and woman in this world.

Over the next four years, we'll work to ensure that the gift of freedom reaches more men and women in the broader Middle East.

Meanwhile, back in reality:

U.S. and Israelis Are Said to Talk of Hamas Ouster

JERUSALEM, Feb. 14 — The United States and Israel are discussing ways to destabilize the Palestinian government so that newly elected Hamas officials will fail and elections will be called again, according to Israeli officials and Western diplomats.

Freedom. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

The intention is to starve the Palestinian Authority of money and international connections to the point where, some months from now, its president, Mahmoud Abbas, is compelled to call a new election. The hope is that Palestinians will be so unhappy with life under Hamas that they will return to office a reformed and chastened Fatah movement.

Ah yes, I'm sure it will go exactly like that. Who comes up with these plans? Former Three's Company writers?

Israel has also threatened to cut off monthly transfers to the Palestinians of about $50 million from taxes and customs it collects for them, once Hamas takes power.

the Hamas government could be forced to enact widespread layoffs that would scotch the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian families.

Well being even poorer and more desperate probably won't cause a problem.

The strategy of bringing Palestinians to their knees by cutting off cash could easily backfire, however, with Palestinians blaming the U.S. and Israel - not Hamas - for their growing misery.


The Times said the idea of forcing regime change by further impoverishing the Palestinians was being discussed at the highest levels of the U.S. State Department and the Israeli government.

Freedom is on the march.

Let's hear from the Palestinians

Mushir al Masri, a Hamas spokesman and incoming legislator, said attempts to bring down a future Hamas government were hypocritical.

Sort of.

"This is ... a rejection of the democratic process, which the Americans are calling for day and night," al Masri said. "It's an interference and a collective punishment of our people because they practiced the democratic process in a transparent and honest way."


"We need a firm Islamic and Arabic position to confront this challenge," al Masri added.

Wait, that doesn't sound good

On Monday, a Hamas leader said the group would annul landmark interim peace accords with Israel from the mid-1990s.


Well yet another shining example of democracy and freedom in action, as spread by our dear leader.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Is this a Good Idea?

Via LGFWatch, we learn that Israel plans to build 'museum of tolerance' on Muslim graves.

Skeletons are being removed from the site of an ancient Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem to make way for a $150m (£86m) "museum of tolerance" being built for the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre.

I wonder if this will affect the roadmap?

After a week of articles and debates about cartoons, this, which is seriously wrong, gets no attention at all (and probably never will). What's sad is that the Palestinians are fighting this the right way - in the courts which is another reason that you'll never hear a lot about this. As much as it sucks, they are correct that the only time anyone pays attention to them is when they riot, burn flags and blow shit up.

Osnat Goaz, a spokeswoman for the Israel Antiquities Authority, which is carrying out the excavations, said it was common in Jerusalem to build on cemeteries. Adding that in such cases the bones were reburied, she said: "Israel is more crowded with ancient artefacts than any other country in the world. If we didn't build on former cemeteries, we would never build."


Thursday, February 09, 2006

Doughy Pantload v. Islamofacists

From Crocheted Hats Jonah puts his ass on the line for America

Jonah Goldberg knows the Islamoterrorfascists want to destroy Western Civilization and bring back the iron rule of the global caliphate, and he's not going to put up with it! Jonah is shoving fear and cowardice aside and STANDING UP to the evildoers in a way that perfectly illustrates the kind of sacrifices the neoconservative right is willing to make for our freedom:

Last night the missus and I deliberately bought some imported havarti rather than the planned cheddar.

Huzzah! It takes manly strength and fortitude to purchase European cheese! And make no mistake, this wasn't some mere accident -- Jonah deliberately bought Havarti! Jonah says for us to put Havarti on our nachos for when we watch football!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Memo to right wing jack offs

If people talk about civil and human rights, and you are offended by it, then its because you are a huge fucking asshole.

If being a decent human being is disagreeable to you, then admit you are a petty, hateful P.O.S., and don't whine about other people and the greatness to which they aspire.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Sound of Silence

Over the last week five churches have been burned in Alabama. 58 in the last five years.

I'm just saying because the usual suspects that are so quick to shreik hysterically at the extremely rare incidents of violence directed at Christian churches in the middle east are ridiculously silent about this.

These same people who have made a lot of hay out of the Muslim Cartoon riots are also conveniently ignoring this little fact:

Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that first published the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that have caused a storm of protest throughout the Islamic world, refused to run drawings lampooning Jesus Christ, it has emerged today.

The Danish daily turned down the cartoons of Christ three years ago, on the grounds that they could be offensive to readers and were not funny.

Yeah, they're huge hypocrites but they're not as bad as some of the comments I've read that try to make excuses for this.

BTW, the Iranian cartoon BS about publishing Holocaust cartoons should put the argument in context. Its not what you can do, its what you should do. That some people can't admit it is the same as what the Danes did is just sad and proves the double standard and also pretty much makes the legitimate free speech argument null and void.

Also the Iranians should just stop being assholes for 2 seconds and if you can't do that drop the whole Jew thing - its getting really, really old.

That the Iranian paper is running the cartoons for the same bullshit reason Jyllands-Posten claimed to doesn't make it right, responsible or ok. Of course I said the same thing about the Danish paper - those who didn't but are now castigating the Iranians should jump in a lake because not only are you hypocrites, you destroy the very legitimate arguments, like free speech and protecting progressive society from theological rule, that you previously hid behind.

Friday, February 03, 2006

I go, Hugo

The United States has ordered the expulsion of a senior Venezuelan diplomat in a tit-for-tat move.


An oil rich country with a socialist presidente who actually cares about his people? No way we're letting that bullshit go on.

I'm counting the days until Chavez has a mysterious plane crash.

The US has expressed concerns about Venezuelan democracy under Mr Chavez and about the effect of his government's military purchases on regional stability.

However, the governments of Sudan, China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia - all cool.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Over at The News Blog, Steve Gilliard perfectly nails the cartoon intifada currently going on in Denmark and the Middle East here and here.

Sadly some of his commenters are ignoring the reality of the situation and the right of Muslims to boycott, demonstrate and show their displeasure with the cartoons in any non-violent way. Many have already attached violent crimes to this debacle even though no known violence has yet occured. Still others have taken to the usual routine of castigating the Muslims as ungrateful and repressive animals who should shut up or "return to their shitholes."

Mostly though the issue has been about free speech and censorship. Many who are hiding behind this excuse have also tied this censorship exclusively to Muslims, pretending such things do not happen when Christians or Westerners are offended.

Um, no, Christian groups and our own government voicing their displeasure or calling for boycotts are plentiful and common. Just today we get these gems:

Via AmericaBLOG:

The Joint Chiefs of Staff just sent a menacing letter to the Washington Post over a cartoon.

Via Atrios:

Christian ministers were enthusiastic at the early private screenings of "End of the Spear," made by Every Tribe Entertainment, an evangelical film company. But days before the film's premiere, a controversy erupted over the casting of a gay actor that has all but eclipsed the movie and revealed fault lines among evangelicals.

. . . .

Kevin T. Bauder, president of Central Baptist Seminary in Minneapolis, stated in a Jan. 13 entry: "Granted, we must not overreact. And it would probably be an overreaction to firebomb these men's houses. But what they have done is no mistake. It is a calculated strategy."

(my emphasis)

People get pissed off by almost anything in this country. Let's stop pretending that Muslims getting pissed by what truly are quite offensive cartoons is something exclusive to their religion.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Lune Toons

It looks like other European newspapers are reprinting the Danish cartoon that have upset some Muslim leadership and led to calls for boycotts and demonstrations.

I totally agree that no religion should be allowed to infringe on free expression, whether that be Muslims trying to stop papers from portraying images of Jesus to Christians or Jews protesting movies like "Last Temptation of Christ" or "Passion of the Christ."

But on the other hand, if you intentionally go out of your way to 1. portray their prophet knowing it is against their custom and then 2. make sweeping generalizations about the Muslim religion being extremist bombers then you're sort of an asshole and should expect people to be pissed.

The Jyllands-Posten apologized on Monday, saying it regretted offending Muslims. It said it had not broken Danish law by printing the cartoons, however its editor said Wednesday that he would not have printed them had he foreseen the consequences.

How much forsight does it take to forsee that Muslims would be offended by drawing an image of Mohamad and dipicting his turban as a lit bomb?

Personally as long as no violence is called for against Danes then I don't see a problem with calls for boycotts, but buring Danish flags in demonstrations probably doesn't help the image problem that led to the cartoon in the first place.

We Are Fucked

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Peace activist Cindy Sheehan was arrested Tuesday in the House gallery after refusing to cover up a T-shirt bearing an anti-war slogan before President Bush's State of the Union address.

So now you can get arrested for wearing a T-Shirt?

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!

From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Update: Matt Drudge being the huge fucking asshole that he is, had to quickly point out that a man was removed from Clinton's impeachment hearing for wearing a T-Shirt.

click to enlarge

Matt, like other pathetitic right-wing assholes, always have to equate the jack booted thuggish actions of the current admin to Clinton. Like usual, they are wrong:
  1. The man at the Clinton trial was not arrested
  2. The man at the Clinton trial was wearing a shirt during a trial that said "Clinton doesn't inhale, he sucks."
The only way this would be comparable is if Sheehan wore the shirt to Bush's war crime tribunal.

Update: Read what happened in Cindy's own words at the Daily Kos. It's even more unbelievable than you first thought.

I had just sat down and I was warm from climbing 3 flights of stairs back up from the bathroom so I unzipped my jacket. I turned to the right to take my left arm out, when the same officer saw my shirt and yelled; "Protester." He then ran over to me, hauled me out of my seat and roughly (with my hands behind my back) shoved me up the stairs. I said something like "I'm going, do you have to be so rough?" By the way, his name is Mike Weight.

This shithead, who this wanton bigot linked to, thinks he has parsed her speech. Here's a sample (I parse him in green):

She says, "I am speechless with fury at what happened . . ." and then proceeds to speak for another 18 paragraphs, 57 sentences.

Figures of speech confuse wingnuts

She says, "I did not wear it (a protest T-shirt under her jacket) to be disruptive, or I would have unzipped my jacket during George's speech." She could not have unzipped it during the president's speech because she was arrested 45 minutes before the speech started.

Timelines also confuse wingnuts. Obvious to everyone else in the world is that she would have waited until Bunnypants started his speech before unzipping her jacket.

She says that as she was being fingerprinted, "That's when the enormity of my loss hit me. I have lost my son. I have lost my First Amendment rights." Her son Casey was killed April 4, 2004 in Iraq. Her activities, from the protests outside the Crawford ranch all last summer to last week's appearence with Hugo Chavez and his stooge Harry Belafonte where she called George Bush "the greatest terrorist in the world" and "10 times worse than bin Laden" have been well documented. But, she just then (last night) realized her loss?

Once again, no dumbass, she probably meant for the first time that evening or the first time in a while or the first time in conjuction with the realization that her son died for naught seeing as the fucking freedom that the troops are allegedly fighting is gone.

Well that's enough of him. They really are that dumb, but this is a shining example of how incapable these people are of comprehending anything that doesn't come in the form of a RNC talking point.