Archive for November, 2008

Gettin’ All Cowboy

Oh God, spare me from media types frothing with indignation over terrorism. They sound the charge, then blare retreat and stab you in the back the moment things get messy.

The Taj is a fixture in the life of Mumbaikers (or Bombayites as we used to call ourselves). Last week, those memories came flooding back as I watched from New York, and saw the Taj hotel on fire.

The terror attack on Mumbai has been called India’s 9/11. For me there is another similarity; like 9/11, this attack hit close to home. My brother worked next door to the Twin Towers, at the World Financial Center, on 9/11 and he evacuated his office staff when the first plane crashed. I knew people who worked in the World Trade Center and some who died there. This time, the tragedy is also personal. My mother’s office is in the Taj hotel (she is the editor of the Taj Magazine). Luckily she was out of town on the day of the attack. My brother-in-law and niece, however, were in their apartment, which overlooks the Oberoi, the other hotel that was attacked. A dozen commandos took over their apartment, positioned snipers at the windows, and began giving and receiving fire. (My niece is keeping the bullets as souvenirs.) And as with 9/11, I know people who have died. The general manager of the Taj hotel, a young man, lost his family.

These kinds of events bring out the best in ordinary people. There are reports of hotel employees taking pains to get guests out of harm’s way, at risk to their own lives. Some of the freed hostages have told stories of the bravery of the Indian armed forces.

India’s 9/11, huh? So India will go after the perpetrators of this carnage, clean out the hornet’s nest whence they crawled, and generally try to change the conditions of the region that led to this barbarity.

And then India will be reviled, spat upon, deemed beneath contempt for its unilateral, thuggish response. It will be condemned in the UN, denounced in every diplomatic quarter, and humiliated with lies and slander in the world press—often by the same “journalists” who earlier encouraged their retribution.

That’s India’s 9/11.

Never mind that India has been living with 9/11s and 3/11s and 7/7s for decades now—and not just in Kashmir. It’s not India’s fault; it’s not even Pakistan’s, nationally speaking. The blame lies with the people who committed the crime, with the people who abetted them, with the people who stoked the hatred necessary to perform its atrocities, with the people who embraced them in their midst.

I’m guessing there are everyday people, religious leaders, and holy buildings involved—and I’m guessing which religion is implicated.

But I doubt the author would want to be associated with such an unpleasant accusation, so let’s leave it at that.

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Conduct Unbecoming of Terrorists

As stout defenders of the state of Israel, we are saddened to have to condemn this immoral act of religious and cultural oppression—by Hamass (had you going there, didn’t I?):

Hamas police set up checkpoints across Gaza on Saturday to prevent pilgrims from leaving for a holy Muslim ritual in Saudi Arabia, beating some who tried to dodge barriers, witnesses said.

The Islamic militants who rule Gaza were upset that the pilgrims coordinated their journey with Hamas’ rival, the Palestinian Authority. The authority, based in the West Bank, is run by Hamas’ bitter rival, the Fatah movement. The crackdown on the pilgrims highlights the depth of the bitterness between the two groups.

Egypt criticized Hamas’ actions as unbecoming of an Islamic movement.

They’re going to pick this incident as “unbecoming of an Islamic movement”? The incessant shelling of Israeli homes and schools, the kidnapping and cold-blooded murder of Israeli soldiers, the call for genocide against Jews in their charter—these are not unbecoming?

By definition, an Islamic movement is unbecoming of an an Islamic movement.

But it’s not all heavy. Sometimes, it’s even funny:

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 11:00 on Tuesday, 25 November 2008, acts of violence erupted in the campus of al-Aqsa University, Khan Yunis branch, between female students from the El-Shabeba Fatah Bloc and the Islamic block of Hamas who were organizing a ceremony in the University square to honor outstanding female students. The violence rapidly transformed into hand clashes and throwing stones and chairs. The police intervened and evacuated the female students. Female students who were beat by the police stated that the members of the police were deliberate to beat the students randomly with clubs and gun butts. 13 female students sustained injuries and bruises because of stone throwing and beating by the police.

In a second accident, at approximately 16:20 on 24 November 2008, a number of students from the Islamic Block, who were identified to be members of the security services in Gaza, fired into the air in the campus of the Community College of al-Azhar University of Gaza, in Tal al-Hawa area in western Gaza City, to disperse a gathering of dozens of students from different factions who protested against a decision by the University management to exempt a number of students from the Islamic Block from tuitions. Eyewitnesses stated to PCHR that a member of the Islamic Block, who had a gun, directly fired at Muntaser Olwan, a student who was thought to have organized the gathering, but he was not hurt. The University management demanded the students to evacuate the University campus, and the police arrived and arrested 10 students who were participating in the gathering. The arrested students were released in the same day, except Muntaser Olwan who was released on the following day. A number of the released students said to PCHR that they were beat by the police while transferring them in police vehicles and also in the main police headquarters in Gaza.

I’m not laughing at female and other students getting beaten by the police. I’m laughing with them. What did they expect, Animal House?

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Desperate Househusband

The series has been renewed for another four years. And why not? For sheer entertainment value, nothing beats it. More plot twists than Lost; more misanthropy than House; more spectacular pratfalls than Dancing With the Stars.

Now if only we could get Kate Beckinsdale to play Madame Secretary.

The Clintons refused to tell the public who was donating millions upon millions of dollars to Billy Boy’s charitable foundation and library fund during her presidential run. But in a deal with Team Obama, this long-sought-after disclosure is apparently the price they are willing to pay to secure her Secretary of State nomination.

It will be announced on Monday, according to wire reports:

Donors have pledged more than $500 million for construction of the library and for the Clinton Foundation, which administers the library as well as his global anti-AIDS and sustainable development campaigns.

The Saudi royal family gave $10 million, according to The Washington Post, and numerous foreign governments have given $1 million.

These gifts raise a number of questions, particularly in the case of Giustra, who in 2005 flew with Clinton to Kazakhstan, where his connections to the former president impressed officials enough to win him a lucrative uranium mining contract. They also raise the question of what favors might be sought by other donors who don’t want to be identified.

Clinton argues that the confidentiality he promised his donors should take precedence over calls for transparency…

Ten million dollars???

George Bush merely held hands with the Saudis. What did Bill Clinton do for that kind of money—put on Monica’s blue dress and… the rest of it?

Do you suppose there’s any connection between the money and Obama’s support for the Saudi peace plan?

Oh, and get this delicious detail from the NY Times account of the deal:

The disclosure of Mr. Clinton’s full agreement on a Saturday night might have the effect of drawing less attention to it while keeping the focus Monday on Mrs. Clinton.

Talk about transparency! When the media understands and acknowledges its manipulation by politicians—and then reports that manipulation—democracy is well served.

If you bothered to read to paragraph seven, that is.

All you Obamabots who flooded our comments with anti-Hillary polemics, what say you to this news? Not only is this witch (to put it kindly—you used harsher terms) to be spokesperson for US foreign policy, but her libertine husband is part of the deal.

As Lyndon Johnson said of J. Edgar Hoover, “It’s probably better to have him inside the tent [urinating] out, than outside the tent [urinating] in.” But Obama better have a big mop to clean up all that [urine].

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Suggested Reading

Moving remembrance by David Warren of his late father. Well written, as is everything he writes, and touching.

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Equal Time for Terrorists

With the impending return of the Fairness Doctrine, we might as well get used to hearing from the Islamic terrorists we usually disparage without hearing a peep:

All in all, it could just be that the Indian Muslims need that massive international media recognition so that their demands are met and at the same time, make the Indian population realize that the Hindu Massacres upon the Muslims is an ongoing threat and it needs to be solved now. Sure, the situation may appear extreme in isolation, but when put in context, one can acknowledge the history of this conflict and how the Muslims of India have always been the “underdogs.”

Underdogs?

How about just dogs?

It was pleasantly refreshing to hear they targeted Chabad Lubavitch. Allah will destroy His enemies wherever they are in the world. You will know when the Muslims have ignited in an insurrection when there is blood on the streets of London and New York like there is blood on the streets of Fallujah (and Mumbai). There is nowhere they can hide from the wrath of Allah and His soldiers.

Or even pigs?

It is good to Give Thanks that jews may very well die as brother Bilal pointed out as the jewish from Crown Heights Brooklyn had set up occupation in that city as well and is now under threat of death in this lovely lovely and happy episode of a Thanksgivings Day adventure. Williamsburg and Crown Heights in New York are so well guarded even by their own Chasid jew police besides New York’s police, and what with the islands and limited on and off access and the bridges you almost cannot imagine that a God Damned jew can be killed there. I’m glad they came to Bomb bay to hopefully, God Willing, be killed in it.

What the hell, just Muslim freaks being Muslim, right?

As Stop the ACLU points out, it’s more like Muslim freaks being Obama supporters.

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The Birds and the Bees—But Not the Spanish

Stunned. Just stunned:

In formerly Catholic Spain, meanwhile, the land of the upside-down family tree (four grandparents, two children, one grandchild), they’re still going forth but they’re not multiplying:

Abortion Now Number One Cause Of Death In Spain

Under Spain’s practically nonexistent restrictions, abortions have more than doubled since the mid 1990s, climbing from 51,006 in 1996 to over 120,000 in 2007. The abortion rate is now approaching one in five pregnancies (18.3%), according to the report…

The IPF report also notes that the proportion of women having their second or later abortion has risen substantially since 2000, from 23% that year to 31% in 2006…

Spain’s abortion rate is a major contributor to the country’s worsening demographic problems.

They’ve still got a ways to go to catch up with Russia, where two-thirds of pregnancies are terminated.

Some civilizations are conquered, others are buried in pyroclastic flows, others still die off in mysterious circumstances. But how many commit progenicide?

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Will We Love Him Tomorrow?

Will Obama’s supporters abandon him as it becomes clear that he’s used ‘em, abused ‘em, and refused ‘em—as he has all of his supporters and mentors over the years—or will they stay loyal, like Japanese soldiers in the Asian jungles after the war?

I say he’s got a long, long honeymoon, not least because to criticize him is to criticize a black man. And any black man not named Clarence Thomas is off limits to the political left. (Of course, any black man named Clarence Thomas is fair game for the most mean and hateful racial stereotypes of ignorance, shiftlessness, and uncontrollable sexual appetites.)

But some see love’s bloom fading sooner rather than later:

In the absence of William Shakespeare, I’ll have a whack at it myself:

Obamaland has no rage like love to hatred turned,

Nor hell a fury like a supporter scorned.

Oh, where to begin? Obamaland is proving to be such a target-rich environment.

Let’s start with Hillary, shall we? If there is a single, starry-eyed American who does not understand that the price of Bill and Hill on the stump for wet-behind-the-ears Barry O. was the cabinet post where Hill could most brightly shine and most aptly prepare for her own run in 2012 (or 2016), the Guinness Book folks would like to find him.

If Bill and Hillary Clinton are anything, they are perhaps the most astute political minds in the country today. The economic meltdown we are in had a foundation directly traceable to Bill Clinton’s modifications of the Community Reinvestment Act and both Clintons understand well that once an economy as large and diverse as ours spins out of control, there is no way a single president — even a two-term president — can bring it back to its pre-meltdown status.

If anything, I imagine that Hillary Clinton is quite thankful that she is off the hook on the economic disasters that wait like ticking bombs in the disillusioned minds of Obama’s maniacal voters.

Hell truly hath no fury like that awaiting Obama as he fails to eradicate the worries and responsibilities of his delusional followers. The woman made famous by her YouTube proclamation that, once Obama is elected, she will no longer need worry about putting gas in her car or paying her mortgage will perhaps be first to explode.

Then there is the “I’ll-fix-all-your-schools-with-gobs-more-money” Obamaland promise. Is there a single starry-eyed, literate parent out there who believes that catering to the teachers unions, who bear the brunt of responsibility for creating the problem, is actually going to fix it?

The first dent in Obama’s knightly education-fix-it armor is the fact that he and Michelle would rather walk over hot coals and don sackcloth and ashes than send their own daughters to one of the nation’s public schools. Of course, the excuse they’re offering now is the overarching “security concern” that goes with living in the White House.

However, what “security concern” was there in Chicago, when the Obamas were just another nothing-special couple having kids? Barack and Michelle have never trusted the public schools with their own children. The girls have always attended pricey private schools. They always have and they always will.

It’s worth remembering that there is no single pro-Obama stance: his electoral majority was composed of disparate cliques and claques, ranging from left-wing radicals to disaffected Republicans. Fracturing such a coalition wouldn’t be impossible.

But Obama’s smart. He’s running from his desert island supporters and appealing to the furthest reaches of his political realm. The lady who said she would never again have to worry about paying her mortgage will vote for him even from the homeless shelter—as will all the guilt-ridden white liberals I know.

And why not? If we gave George Bush two terms, Obama’s reelection should already be guaranteed, unless we’re racist, close-minded, shameful… etc., etc. ad nauseam.

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Degrees of Depravity

It may seem odd to grade certain acts of inhumanity above or below others. Like pregnancy, one is either depraved or one is not.

But you have to give credit where it is due: this act plumbs the depths of human cruelty—and then dredges deeper:

The female bomber who killed five people just outside the heavily fortified Green Zone on Monday was mentally disabled and her explosives vest was triggered by remote control, an official said.

Baghdad Operations Command spokesman Brig. Gen. Qassim Atta said the strike is the latest example of insurgents’ using mentally disabled female bombers to launch attacks.

The most prominent example of the tactic was the deployment of mentally disabled female bombers last February at Baghdad pet markets, attacks that killed 99 people.

I take that back. While the obscenity of the act is beyond dispute, it is hardly novel—and at least no dogs or cats were injured in its execution.

On the depravity scale, this rates maybe a seven.

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Feminisn’t

Iran is an old-fashioned, traditional society that believes that a woman’s place is in the prison:

U.N. human rights investigators called on Iran Thursday to end what they called a “crackdown” on women’s rights activists who have been harassed and detained for seeking equal status in the Islamic Republic.

Women and men involved in a grassroots movement to collect 1 million signatures to demand full equality between women and men in Iran have been “particularly targeted,” they said.

“Over the past two years, women’s rights defenders have faced an increasingly difficult situation and harassment in the course of their non-violent activities,” the two independent experts said in a statement.

Some have been prevented from travelling in the ongoing “serious repression,” according to Margaret Sekaggya, U.N. special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and Yakin Erturk, special rapporteur on violence against women.

“Peaceful demonstrators have been arrested, detained and persecuted with prison sentences having been imposed on many of them,” they said.

Dozens of activists were detained since the launch of a campaign in 2006 to demand changes to laws denying women equal rights in matters such as divorce and child custody. Most were freed after a few days or weeks.

Iran says it follows sharia, Islamic law, and denies accusations that it discriminates against women.

Wait, I thought they said they didn’t discriminate against women. But sharia…? Never mind.

“Women’s participation in public life to promote an equal treatment of women and men in the Islamic Republic of Iran should be encouraged as a means to build a stronger and healthier society,” the investigators said.

Oh, as if!

What a waste of time. Why doesn’t the UN do something useful with its time and condemn Israel or something?

You rang?:

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS SIX RESOLUTIONS ON MIDDLE EAST, PALESTINIAN RIGHTS, FOLLOWING TWO-DAY DEBATE ON ISSUES

Not to worry. They were just engaging in some harmless ambassadorial masturbation:

Also Adopts Texts Addressing ‘Protection of Global Climate’;
Global Health; Cooperation with Caribbean, South-East Asian States

See? Diplo-wanking. Perfectly innocuous among consenting adults.

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Junta Joke

Didja hear the one about the Burmese yukmeister? If you didn’t, you’ll have to wait 59 years to hear it.

A court inside Myanmar’s notorious Insein prison sentenced a comedian who has criticized the government’s cyclone response to 14 more years Thursday, bringing his total prison term to 59 years, his lawyer said.

Comedian and activist Zarganar was given a 45-year prison sentence last week after he was convicted on charges related to interviews he gave to foreign media outlets.

In the interviews, he said the government was too slow in responding to a May cyclone that killed more than 84,000 people.

Stop, you’re killing me! Or, well, him:

Zarganar’s lawyer, Khin Htay Kywe, said he was convicted Thursday for causing public alarm, a reference to his interviews with foreign media, and for communicating with exiled dissidents, among other charges.

Zarganar, whose birth name is Maung Thura, was among at least 100 people to receive sentences of two to 65 years since early November. Many of the trials were held in closed sessions, sometimes without defense lawyers or family present.

He has been imprisoned several times before, including a three-week stint for providing aid to those who demonstrated last year.

Show of hands of anyone who’s spared a moment of thought for Myanmar in the last week…. Month…? Six months…?

Do I have to remind you? Little, jungley country wedged in between Thailand and some other place I can’t think of right now? Lots of skinny, bald Buddhist monks in saffron robes? Repressive military regime which keeps frail ladies under house arrest?

Hello? Ring a bell?

I really should start charging for political advice. I told the monks not to start what the junta would most assuredly finish. I told the junta not to worry about a few weeks of bad press—the attention of the world and its news media would soon fly away and alight in some other diseased corner of the world. (Check the archives.)

And I’m not even very smart.

But I read a fair bit and remember a little bit of what I read.

Darfur has Mia Farrow; the African continent has Brad and Angelina—but who weeps for Burma? Save your tears.

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Injun Jew

Only this morning I wrote in reference to Palestinians raising their children to hate:

“I can’t be the only one to wonder if the Bombay terrorists were also brought up ‘experiencing the culture of unity and solidarity’. Different country, different culture, same murderous ideology.”

I wasn’t:

A rabbi and his wife were also confirmed Friday to be among five hostages killed at the Chabad House, said Rabbi Zalman Shmotkin, a spokesman for Chabad-Lubavitch International in the United States.

No information about the other hostages was released.

Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg, the city’s envoy for the community, and his wife Rivka Holtzberg, had been held hostage at the Chabad House, known in Mumbai as the Nariman House. The building houses the Mumbai headquarters of the Chabad community, a Hasidic Jewish movement.

Spokesman Haim Hoshen told an Israel news station the bodies had been found, but he did not identify them by name or nationality.

Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, was born in Israel and moved to Brooklyn, New York, with his parents when he was 9, the organization said.

Rivka Holtzberg, 28, was a native of Afula, Israel, it said.

Gavriel Holtzberg made a phone call to the Israeli Consulate to report that gunmen were in his house, the organization said. “In the middle of the conversation, the line went dead,” the organization said. It did not say when the phone call took place.

A cook at the center, who had barricaded herself in a room, grabbed the couple’s 2-year-old son and escaped with another person, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

The rescued boy’s 2nd birthday is Saturday, said Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, chairman of the Educational and Social Services arms of the Chabad-Lubavitch Movement.

“Today, he became an orphan,” Krinsky said at a news conference in Brooklyn, New York.

Has India become so overcrowded with Jews that they need to start killing them off? Can we please now stop all this hateful nonsense about anti-Zionism not being purely and solely anti-Semitism?

These two people were killed by MUSLIM terrorists for the crime of being JEWISH. They hadn’t dispossessed a single Palestinian or looked cross-eyed at a single olive grove.

This was the sin they committed:

The Jewish center was open to anyone who wanted a place to pray, eat kosher food or celebrate Jewish holidays.

“It was a thriving hub of goodness and kindness,” Krinsky said.

I’m not religious and I’m not Jewish, but if you are one or the other, I hope you’ll say a prayer for them and for their children—and for all Jews threatened everywhere across the world.

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We’ve Been Had

I’m not sure who’s been had—or by whom—but when Karl Rove likes the Democratic economic team, somebody’s been had:

Mr. Obama’s announcement of his economic team on Monday provided surprisingly positive clarity. He picked as Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, the respected, soft-spoken New York Fed president. Mr. Geithner has been a key player with Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke in confronting the financial crisis. Every major decision in the rescue effort came only after the three agreed.

The National Economic Council director-designee, Larry Summers, is another solid pick. Mr. Summers has been an advocate for trade liberalization, he was the Clinton administration’s negotiator for the financial deregulation known as Gramm-Leach-Bliley, and he even attempted to rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the 1990s.

Mr. Obama also named a respected monetary expert — Christina Romer — to head up his Council of Economic Advisors. On Tuesday he selected a first-rate thinker, Peter Orszag, to be director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.

Take a minute, why don’t you, to wipe up the coffee you just spewed all over the screen.

Now get ready for this:

The names floated for Barack Obama’s national security team “are drawn exclusively from conservative, centrist and pro-military circles without even a single — yes, not one! — chosen to represent the antiwar wing of the Democratic party.” In his plaintive post this week on the Nation magazine’s Web site, Robert Dreyfuss indulges in the political left’s wonderful talent for overstatement. But who are we to interfere with his despair?

If reports are correct, on Monday the President-elect will ask Robert Gates to stay on as Secretary of Defense and name retired Marine General James Jones as National Security Adviser. These are the Administration posts most critical to the successful conduct of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to possible entanglements with Iran, North Korea and who knows who else. With these personnel picks, Mr. Obama reveals a bias for competence, experience and continuity. Hence the caterwauls from his left flank.

The Gates selection is an implicit endorsement of President Bush’s “surge” in Iraq and its military architect, General David Petraeus.

The candidate of Hope and Change has demonstrated himself to be the candidate of Has and Been.

Don’t get me wrong: I supported John McCain, and this is exactly how I expected him to govern. But I don’t see the MoveOn.org crowd warming to “General Betray Us” and his ilk. I picture left wing loony types like Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan (17% in her bid to unseat Speaker Pelosi) gaping mutely like a hooked trout at the sight of Obama’s cabinet. What they feared most—four more years of Bush—may be exactly what they voted themselves.

Hey, Democratic donkeys—tell me how this ass tastes.

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