Archive for February, 2011

Vatican Blames Israel For Problems In Muslim World

Accuses Israel of Ethnic Cleansing

The January edition of La Civiltà Cattolica – the most authoritative magazine of the Jesuits, printed under the supervision of the Vatican – opens with an editorial about Palestinian refugees. Adopting the Arab propagandist word Nakba, it declares they are a consequence of “ethnic cleansing” by Israel. The journal also supports anti-Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, and falsely proclaims that “the Zionists were cleverly able to exploit the Western sense of guilt for the Shoah to lay the foundations of their own state.”

The Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, just joined an “interreligious meeting” in Doha, Qatar. Sponsored by the Arab League, the event occurred on Jerusalem, with the participation of “Christian and Muslim leaders.”

But no Jewish presence.

The slandering of Israel is growing among the most important Catholic journalists. Vittorio Messori, who conducted the first book-length interview with Pope John Paul II, recently wrote an editorial for the Italian daily Il Corriere della sera where he stated “All governments of all Muslim nations are under the tsunami of the violent intrusion of Zionism that has come to put its capital in Jerusalem.”

The Vatican’s teachings have a direct influence on 1.166 billion people. To understand its new mood about Israel, one has only to read what happened in the special synod on the Middle East, hosted in Rome. Nothing was said about Islamist persecution of Christians; indeed, every effort was made to show the Catholic Church sympathetic to Muslim grievances, especially against “Zionism” – a word evoked as a symbol of evil.

Archbishop Edmond Farhat – the official representative of Vatican politics – proclaimed that the ultimate cause of all the evils in the Middle East is that “foreign body” which is Israel: “The Middle Eastern situation today is like a living organ that has been subject to a graft it cannot assimilate and which has no specialists capable of healing it”.

US Archbishop Salim Bustros wrote the final message of the synod, claiming that the Jewish Promised Land had been “nullified by Christ,” thus reviving the infamous replacement theology that played a great role in the Holocaust. Bustros also claimed that the Bible can’t be used to justify the “occupation” of the West Bank, attempting to sever any link between the Jewish people and its homeland.

The former patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, named by Pope Benedict XVI to address the concluding session of the synod, presented a document against Israel called “Kairos” bearing the signatures of many Christian leaders in Jerusalem.

It says: “The Israeli occupation is a sin against God,” and takes sides against the very presence of Israel.

It likens the security barrier that has blocked suicide attacks to “apartheid,” it cancels the concept of a Jewish state and proclaims that “resistance to the evil of occupation is a Christian’s right and duty.”

Can’t go on.. too nauseated.

- Aggie

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Israel Won The Academy Award For Short Documentary

This is a piece about the children of various groups of refugees.

Strangers No More Movie Trailer – Bialik Rogozin School from Simon & Goodman Picture Co. on Vimeo.

- Aggie

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No Ticky, No Ferry

We’ve already added our dismay to the story that while Britain was sending special forces and transport planes to rescue its people from the chaos in Libya, we told our people to hop a ferry to Malta.

It gets even better: we’re charging them for the ride.

In a notice sent to U.S. citizens in Libya, the department said Americans wishing to leave Libya should report to the As-shahab port in the capital of Tripoli with their passports starting at 9 a.m. local time on Wednesday. The ferry will depart for the Mediterranean island of Malta no later than 3 p.m. local time.

It said boarding the vessel would be on a first-come, first-served basis, with priority given to those with medical emergencies or severe medical conditions. Travelers will be allowed one suitcase and one small carry-on item, the notice said, adding that pets would be allowed on the ferry but that they must meet European Union requirements.

Those who want be evacuated should be prepared to wait several hours and bring food, water and other necessities to the pier, which is on the sea road across from the Radisson Blu Mahari Hotel in Tripoli.

Those who take the ferry will be expected to reimburse the government for the cost, estimated to be equivalent to the one-way commercial ferry crossing of the distance from Tripoli to the Maltese capital of Valletta, it said. Any onward travel from Malta must be paid for by the passengers, the notice said.

[T]he best part of this extravaganza of incompetence is highlighted above: evacuees were told to wait on a pier, in the open, water on three sides, like sitting ducks with no protection in case Qaddafi’s goons showed up for a bit of hostage-taking… or other revenge. My God, we are lucky there wasn’t a massacre.

Qaddafi’s gun ships owned the air. It would have been the work of a moment for one of his gorillas to recreate Lockerbie—he knows how much the boss likes that—only this time on the ground.

Media outrage? Excoriation by the opposition? Reaction of any kind?

Crickets

Whose a** do you kick for this SANFU?

If Fireman Barack should happen to respond to the call that my house is on fire, I think I’d shut and lock the window rather than depend on him for my rescue. I’d feel safer with a damp washcloth and my toothbrush.

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The Wisdom Of Thomas Jefferson, Libya, Obama, And Other Matters

Do revolutions usually benefit people?

The historian, Niall Ferguson, gives us this beautiful example from Thomas Jefferson writing about the French Revolution:

Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson hailed the French Revolution. “The French have served an apprenticeship to Liberty in this country,” wrote the former, “and now … they have set up for themselves.” Jefferson even defended the Jacobins, architects of the bloody Reign of Terror. “The liberty of the whole earth was depending on the issue of the contest,” he wrote in 1793, “and was ever such a prize won with so little innocent blood? … Rather than [the revolution] should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated.”

He was a chop-off-their-heads kind of guy, apparently.

Russian Revolution? You bet.

In Ten Days That Shook the World, the journalist John Reed was equally enthusiastic about the Russian Revolution of 1917, a book for which Lenin himself (“great Lenin” to Reed) wrote an enthusiastic preface. Reed’s counterpart in China’s communist revolution was Edgar Snow, whose characterization of Mao—“He had the simplicity and naturalness of the Chinese peasant, with a lively sense of humor and a love of rustic laughter”—today freezes the blood.

I once read a statistic that claimed that roughly 80 million people died in the 20th century under communist regimes; 50 million separately as a result of WWII. This means that communism, worker’s paradise, managed to off more people than Adolf Hitler, although the communists took much longer. As usual, I digress.

Time and again, Americans have hailed revolutions, only to fall strangely silent as those same revolutions proceeded to devour not only their own children but many other people’s too. In each case the body count was in the millions.

So as you watch revolution sweeping through the Arab world (and potentially beyond), remember these three things about non-American revolutions:

* They take years to unfold. It may have seemed like glad confident morning in 1789, 1917, and 1949. Four years later it was darkness at noon.

* They begin by challenging an existing political order, but the more violence is needed to achieve that end, the more the initiative passes to men of violence—Robespierre, Stalin, and the supremely callous Mao himself.

* Because neighboring countries feel challenged by the revolution, internal violence is soon followed by external violence, either because the revolution is genuinely threatened by foreigners (as in the French and Russian cases) or because it suits the revolutionaries to blame an external threat for domestic problems (as when China intervened in the Korean War).

Would McCain have done a better job than Obama? Ferguson thinks Obama is a hopeless, feckless dope and that McCain would have had a much better strategy. Check the link for the full argument, but this is the result of Obama’s weakness:

No such effort has been made in the Arab world. On the contrary, efforts in that direction have been scaled down. The result is that we have absolutely no idea who is going to fill today’s vacuums of power. Only the hopelessly naive imagine that 30-something Google executives will emerge as the new leaders of the Arab world, aided by their social network of Facebook friends. The far more likely outcome—as in past revolutions—is that power will pass to the best organized, most radical, and most ruthless elements in the revolution, which in this case means Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood.

The second part of our strategy should have been to exploit the divisions within the Islamist movement. These are very deep, most obviously because Shiite Iran has an altogether different vision of an Islamicized Middle East than, say, Wahhabi Al Qaeda. As I write, the Iranians have made their most brazen move yet by sending two warships through the Suez Canal into the eastern Mediterranean. This should not worry only Israel. It should also worry Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who dreams of a revived Ottoman Empire as the dominant power in the region.

In the absence of an American strategy, the probability of a worst-case scenario creeps up every day—a scenario of the sort that ultimately arose in revolutionary France, Russia, and China. First the revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East could turn much more violent, with a death toll running into tens or hundreds of thousands. Then they could spark a full-blown war, claiming millions of lives. Worst of all, out of that war could emerge an enemy as formidable as Napoleon’s France, Stalin’s Soviet Union, or Mao’s China.

- Aggie

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Judge, Jury, and Executioner

The liberals are often correct about the charge, but always wrong about the guilty party. Just look at what they say about Israel, and see how closely it actually applies to Arabs.

Another example:

Another federal judge ruled last week that ObamaCare is constitutional, and Democrats are saying this makes the score 3-2 for their side. We disagree with the decision, but it’s worth noting the judge’s reasoning because it so neatly illustrates the constitutional stakes.

The crux of these cases is whether the government’s power to regulate “Commerce . . . among the several States” is so broad that it can mandate that everyone buy health insurance. Judge Gladys Kessler of the D.C. district court says in her 64-page opinion that this power includes regulating even “mental activity, i.e., decision-making.”

The distinction between activity and inactivity is “of little significance,” Judge Kessler writes. “It is pure semantics to argue that an individual who makes a choice to forgo health insurance is not ‘acting’ . . . Making a choice is an affirmative action, whether one decides to do something or not do something. They are two sides of the same coin.”

Whoa. In other words, there is no constitutional principle that limits federal coercion. Any decision that doesn’t conform to what the government thinks you should do is an economic decision and therefore everything is subject to regulation. Though she may not have intended it, Judge Kessler has shown that the real debate is between a government of limited and enumerated powers as understood by the Founders, and a government whose reach includes “mental activity.”

I try to refrain from mental activity, but when it happens, I can’t understand how it is the government’s concern. And I can’t understand how anyone who is a district court judge could interpret the Constitution—and the lengthy history of papers and treatises arguing for limiting government’s power—as saying anything like Judge Kessler says it does.

Imagine a conservative judge upholding, say, the Patriot Act on the grounds that the government had the power to regulate “mental activity.” Krakatoa would resemble a zit in comparison.

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Afghan Dogs

As an unapologetic war-monger, I only ask that the killing and pillaging have a purpose. I don’t think that’s too much.

But maybe it is too much in the Muslim world, where the probability exists that the Arab lands will rid themselves of their current oppressive, cruel dictators, and install new and improved (certified by Allah!) in their place. Even Iraq, where the killing and pillaging reached its apogee, is only a qualified success.

And then we have Afghanistan:

When she arrived in New York from Afghanistan last year to join her husband, an Afghan-American she had married in Kabul, Nadia K. was thrilled at the prospect of her new American life.

But soon after she moved in with him and his family in Flushing, Queens, she said, they started treating her like a servant. Her husband revealed that he loved another woman. When Nadia complained, her sister-in-law beat her with the consent of the husband, who often looked on, smiling.

“I can’t even remember how many times I got black eyes,” recalled Nadia, 22, who is so fearful that she asked that her last name not be published. “I didn’t know I could call the police.”

She had thought this kind of abuse was a part of Afghan life she had left behind.

In Afghanistan, a decade after the overthrow of the Taliban and the rise of an influential women’s rights movement, the violent subjugation of women remains broadly accepted. In recent weeks, the Afghan government has sharply criticized the country’s shelters for battered women and moved to take control of them.

But much more quietly, a culture of domestic violence — not only by husbands but also by husbands’ families — has followed Afghan immigrants to destinations like New York, where women’s advocates say they are only now discovering just how widespread the problem is.

Outstanding. We didn’t bring Western values to Afghanistan—much less an “influential women’s right movement”, come on!—they brought their values here.

I can still support and defend the decisions to rid ourselves and the world of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban (uh… oops, our bad), but we seriously need to reconsider our future relationship with many of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims. If what you want is Islamic law and the restoration of the Caliphate, you’ll have to do it without us, you want to do it without us. If you want something more democratic, like an American state (but without the union thuggees), we can talk.

Maybe I’m just overreacting to a typical immigration story. From the Chinese to the Italians to the West Indians, they brought their old ways with them, and it took a generation or two before they had assimilated (adding their unique spice to the American stew). And it’s Afghanistan, BTL, the Chinatown of the world. Good luck figuring that place out.

Right now, I don’t think the neo-cons or the bleeding-hearts or the egg-heads have any idea what will happen or what to do about it. We’ll have to leave it to God, Allah, Janus to sort it out.

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Castro: a Bad Guy

Are you like me in that you know Fidel Castro is a miserable son of a bitch, but you just don’t know exactly how or why?

Why do you think that is?

When a smitten Jesse Jackson yelled “Viva Che!– Viva Fidel!” alongside the latter at the University of Havana in 1984 with Jeremiah Wright ( among Jackson’s entourage) clapping wildly from the sidelines, the world’s longest suffering black political prisoner languished in a torture-chamber within walking distance of the celebration.

“N*gger!” taunted his Castroite jailers between tortures. “We pulled you down from the trees and cut off your tail!” Shortly before his death in 2006, this prisoner, the heroic Eusebio Penalver, granted this writer an interview. “For months I was naked in a 6 x 4 foot cell,” Eusebio recalled. “That’s 4 feet high, so you couldn’t stand. But I felt a great freedom inside myself. I refused to commit spiritual suicide.” Eusebio Penalver suffered longer in Castro’s prisons than Nelson Mandela in apartheid South Africa’s.

Shortly after a smitten Congressional Black Caucus visited with Raul Castro in Dec. 2009 and returned hailing him as “one of the most amazing human beings we’ve ever met! Castro is a very engaging, down-to-earth and kind man, someone who I would favor as a neighbor!” the Black human-rights activist Orlando Zapata-Tamayo, was beaten comatose by his Castroite jailers and left with a life-threatening fractured skull and Subdural Hematoma. A year later Zapata-Tamayo was dead after a lengthy hunger-strike. Samizdats smuggled out of Cuba by eye-witnesses’ report that while gleefully kicking and bludgeoning Tamayo, his Castroite jailers yelled: “Worthless N*gger!–Worthless Peasant!”

Shortly before a smitten Charlie Rangel engulfed Fidel Castro in a mighty bear hug in Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist church as the smitten audience shook the rafters with bellows of “VIVA-FIDEL!—VIVA FIDEL!” Black human-rights activist, Dr. Oscar Biscet was grabbed by Castro’s KGB-trained police, thrown in a dungeon kicked, spat upon, and burned with cigarettes. Cuban doctor, Oscar Elias Biscet suffers a sentence of 25 years in Castro’s torture chambers as I write. Essentially his “crime” involves reciting the works of Martin Luther King and the UN Declaration of Human Rights in a Cuban public square. This “crime” was greatly compounded by Dr. Biscet’s specifically denouncing the Castro regime’s policy of forced abortions.

“Here in this dark box where they make me live, I will be resisting until freedom for my people is gained,” declared Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, in the vain hope any of the “news” agencies bestowed “press” bureaus by his torturer would report the plight of Cuba’s political prisoners.

Crickets.

Yet in November 2007 President Bush awarded Dr Biscet the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The award was presented to Dr. Biscet’s son and daughter, who reside in freedom in the U.S. The ceremony was virtually blacked out by the MSM.

“I would like to thank President Bush for his great generosity in granting this medal and in helping us call attention to the plight of my husband and all other Cuban political prisoners and in trying to help their release.” (Elsa Morejon, Dr. Biscet’s wife, Nov. 2007 during Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony for her husband Dr. Oscar Biscet.)

Penalver, Tamayo, Biscet and thousands upon thousands of other Cubans were convicted in secret, by regime-hack judges in a judicial system copied from Stalin. They suffered their sentences 90 miles from the U.S., with press bureaus including CNN, NPR , ABC, CBS, NBC, AP and Reuters within walking distance or a short cab ride of their cells. As mentioned, Dr Biscet still suffers in such a cell.

But I’ll make a wild guess here: you’re familiar with the injustices against Nelson Mandela but have probably never heard the names of the Cuban political prisoners, much less details of their suffering. Am I right? Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (been-there, done that, with Stalinist myself!) recently nominated Dr. Oscar Biscet for the Nobel Peace Prize. “Dr. Biscet is a man of courage and dignity,” he wrote, “waging a relentless and self-sacrificing struggle for universal human rights and freedom.”

The crimes committed by left-wing dictators are equaled by the crimes committed by their supporters and media flacks. Who needs censorship when you have Jesse Jackson and NPR?

“Sure, Castro may be a murderous hack, but his people can read and have forced abortions. So he must be protected.”

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Muammar Remixed

An Israeli makes Qaddafi an MTV star:

A satirical YouTube clip mocking Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s megalomania is fast becoming a popular token of the Libya uprising across Middle East. And in an added affront to Colonel Qaddafi, it was created by an Israeli living in Tel Aviv.

Noy Alooshe, 31, an Israeli journalist, musician and Internet buff, said he saw Colonel Qaddafi’s televised speech last Tuesday in which the Libyan leader vowed to hunt down protesters “inch by inch, house by house, home by home, alleyway by alleyway,” and immediately identified it as a “classic hit.”

“He was dressed strangely, and he raised his arms” like at a trance party, Mr. Alooshe said in a telephone interview on Sunday. Then there were Colonel Qaddafi’s words with their natural beat.

Mr. Alooshe spent a few hours at the computer, using Auto-Tune pitch corrector technology to set the speech to the music of “Hey Baby,” a 2010 electro hip-hop song by American rapper Pitbull, featuring another artist, T-Pain. He titled it “Zenga-Zenga,” echoing Col. Qaddafi’s repetition of the word zanqa, Arabic for alleyway.

By the early hours of Wednesday morning Mr. Alooshe had uploaded the remix to YouTube, and began promoting it on Twitter and Facebook, sending the link to the pages of young Arab revolutionaries. By Sunday, the original clip had more than 400,000 hits and had gone viral.

Frankly, the idea of the clip is funnier than the execution—watch the first 15 seconds and you’ve seen it all—but it’s a wonderful idea. And the idea that it is taking the Middle East by storm gives me the biggest smile in weeks.

[T]he reactions have largely been positive, including a personal message Mr. Alooshe said he received from someone he assumed to be a Libyan saying that if and when the Qaddafi regime falls, the liberated Libyans would dance to Zenga-Zenga.

The original clip features mirror images of a scantily clad woman dancing along to Colonel Qaddafi’s rant. Mr. Alooshe said he got many requests from surfers who asked him to provide a version without the dancer so that they could show it to their parents, which he did. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GcUutnU2gk).

Just tell the folks that she’s one of Qaddafi’s bodyguards or nurses.

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Muscat Rumble

As Bahrain goes, so goes Oman:

Two people have been killed in clashes between security forces and protesters in the Gulf state of Oman, witnesses and officials said.

Hundreds had gathered for a second day in the industrial city of Sohar to call for political reforms.

At least five people were said to have been wounded when police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters.

Until now, Oman had mostly been spared the unrest which has affected other Arab states in recent months.

I’m worried about Qatar. (Maybe a little Robitussin would help?)

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Will McCain And Lieberman Chastise China?

Police are out in force before the protest.

For the second weekend in a row, anonymous calls by organizers for a pro-democracy demonstration in Beijing were overshadowed by heavy security presence.

Hundreds of Chinese police officers along with more than 120 vehicles flooded Beijing’s central pedestrian shopping area, Wangfujing, around the site of a second attempted “jasmine” rally inspired by pro-democracy protests in Tunisia.

There was no sign of protest as the police deployed unusual tactics to prevent demonstrations.

I don’t think we’ll say much, do you?

- Aggie

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Lieberman And McCain Call For US Military Support In Libya

I think this is because of oil. The people in Africa – blacks, Animists, Christians and Jews – have been slaughtered for decades by Arab militias and nobody called for military aid. On the other hand, the history of European, Russian and US involvement in the Middle East is the history of oil. If we go in there, it will be to protect oil interests.

The United States and its allies should recognize and arm a provisional government in Libya, and also impose a no-fly zone that would prevent Libyan aircraft from attacking anti-government protesters there, two leading U.S. senators said Sunday.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut who caucuses with the Democrats, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that the Obama administration needs to do more to help protesters oust Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

“I think the world has to do more,” Lieberman said. “I’d begin with the imposition of a no-fly zone so that Gadhafi can’t be attacking his own people from the air.”

In addition, Lieberman said, “We’ve got to recognize the opposition provisional government as the legitimate government of Libya and that we ought to give that government certainly humanitarian assistance and military arms, not to go in on the ground ourselves, but give them the wherewithal to fight on behalf of the people of Libya against a really cruel dictator.”

Both Lieberman and McCain stopped short of calling for U.S. forces to get involved.

We will send arms, food, control the airspace, but our forces won’t be involved.

Ok.

- Aggie

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Lebanon Falls Next?

They say they want a civil society and lower food prices.

Hundreds of Lebanese protested in the capital Beirut on Sunday against the country’s sectarian political system.

Emulating protests that have spread across the Arab world in recent weeks, some Lebanese protesters chanted the now-familiar refrain of “The people want to bring down the regime”.

Lebanon is governed by a delicate power-sharing system to maintain the balance between the country’s many sects. It is unlike many other Arab countries where protests have been against rulers who have governed for decades.

“We are here to bring down the sectarian system in Lebanon because it is more of a dictatorial system than dictatorship systems themselves,” said protester Rahshan Saglam.

Lebanon suffered a 15-year civil war which ended in 1990 and killed 150,000 people. Major sectarian violence, threatening to tip the country into a new civil war, also broke out in 2008.

The organizers handed out a leaflet saying they demanded a “secular, civil, democratic, socially just and equal state” and called for an increase in the minimum wage and lower prices for basic goods.

- Aggie

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