Saturday, May 11, 2002

Preliminary tests for anthrax at the Federal Reserve Building are positive

The Associated Press (via Yahoo) is reporting that preliminary tests for anthrax at the Federal Reserve Building are positive, but could be false anyway. In related news, the Boston Globe details a major scientific breakthrough that will help help authorities pinpoint the lab responsible for the first several attacks five months ago.

On Nazified Rhetoric

We've all seen the inflammatory cartoons from major European newspapers comparing Israeli soldiers and Gestapo monsters. We've all seen the Palestinian rallies where the term "Zionazi" is thrown around and signs equate the Star of David and the swastika. It's become commonplace to see Israel viewed as a Nazi state, even though the assertion is morally bankrupt and factually incorrect.

This week's issue of the Forward features an article regarding the hijacking of Nazi language by prominent literary figures.

Also, by way of War Now, from the London Jewish Chronicle, here's an article about the way the British media covered a large pro-Israel rally in Trafalgar Square. According to the piece, anti-Israel demonstrators nearby demanded that bin Laden nuke Tel Aviv and London. How pleasant. Isn't this treason?

September 11 was eight months ago today

it's interesting to see how the country has progressed. Cleanup at Ground Zero is almost done, "God Bless America" has more or less left our daily lives, and President Bush's war on terror is no longer the top story. Yet threats and homeland security remain part of the news, "September 11" is regularly invoked in conversation, and every event in New York is now defined as the "first ___" since that fateful day.

Today's America is pretty much the same as it was on September 10, both socially, economically, and politically. Socially, we're more patriotic and more concerned, but how much more? Sure, some people refuse to fly, but they're a minority. We are not a nation which perceives itself as under assault -- this isn't Israel, or Britain at the height of the IRA. And while there are certainly more American flags than ever before, this society is no longer consumed by patriotism. You could walk down the streets and have no idea we're at war -- maybe because we're really not. We're at war the same way we were at war in Iraq or Kosovo -- this news item at the back of our minds. There's no need for war bonds or Rosie the Riveter or a wartime propaganda culture. Economically, September 11 has hurt foreign countries more than it's hurt us. Our economy is still in its up and down, recession-breakout trend.

As for the political climate, even less has changed. Sure, everything is now in the name of national security -- oil drilling, farm bills, you name it. But the bipartisanship which lasted well into November has faded. The State of the Union address, which many thought would be met with the same reaction that greeted Bush's speech on 9/20, turned out to be a big bipartisan flop. In September, we needed the image of Bushes Sr. and Jr., Clinton and Gore sitting together in the National Cathedral; the sight of Bush and Daschle embracing as Bush prepared to address a hurting nation soothed our pain. Now, talk of the 2004 race has been revived, Bush and Daschle are regularly sparring over numerous issues, and the focus has returned to domestic issues. Yes, President Bush's ratings are still high, and the war on terror is one of his chief concerns. But not too much has changed in Washington --even President Bush's Middle East policy is still the same jumbled mess.

Our mourning has progressed as well. On September 11, we were shocked. In October and November, we were grief-stricken as we tuned into cable documentaries and special reports. Each month, on the eleventh, President Bush would hold a ceremony somewhere. We idolized our firefighters. That all slowly faded away. Firehouses in New York, which had been showered with flowers and candles for months, suddenly became empty of all but flags and pictures of fallen heroes. Signs proclaiming "We will never forget" slowly disappeared, and we returned to normal. Our flags are back at full-staff.

The media has also played a huge role in our readjustment. The ticker has remained at the bottom of the screen, and patriotic colors are regularly splashed across the screen as everything is sensationalized, about a "Region in Conflict" or "War on Terror." But that's important -- if they were treating this situation with solemnity, we'd all be crying zombies. They've done their part with documentaries, such as the fabulous 9/11 show on the six-month anniversary. However, when you hear about September 11 in the media, the story is likely about charity scandal or memorial controversy.

Our view of the heroes of 9/11 has remained the same -- we have deified them but forgotten them. The National Guardsmen in the airport and policemen on the streets are no longer met with unreserved admiration and gratitude. Late on New Year's Eve, I went to pick up a friend from Penn Station in New York -- and everyone thanked the policemen guarding the terminal. Four months later, everyone passed busily, once again concerned about self. This is not a criticism of New Yorkers or Americans. This is a sign of our return to normalcy. In December, every battleship return was met with live television coverage and a presidential appearance. No longer. And this may be for the better.

Finally, there's the issue of future anniversaries. How will we greet September 11, 2002? Nobody knows quite yet. But we should think about it. Perhaps the best thing would be to forgo formal commemoration and go back to where we were on September 11, 2001 -- and watch the news of that day replayed. For me, September 11 was a lost day -- because I remember so little of what actually happened and feel deprived of an experience; I didn't get to a television until 6:00pm that day. For America, it may be a day we can best remember by reliving.

On September 12, we woke up to a changed world. We also woke up as changed people. While none of us will ever be the same, it is both reassuring and disturbing that we are healthily returning to normalcy.

Why Americans support Israel

In this week's Weekly Standard, David Gelernter asks why Americans support Israel while the rest of the world seems to content to bash it regularly. The answer, he says, is in our common background:

Both are pick-up nations created out of ideas, with populations drawn from all over the globe; they are self-made nations in a world where most nations had nationhood handed to them on a silver platter. A Frenchman or Japanese is so far removed from nation-building that he no longer has any moral stake in it; the energy and struggle that created France or Japan are none of his business. He washes his hands of them. Americans and Israelis still remember that nations do not create themselves.

I think Chris Patten and Jacques Chirac should take a peek at this one.

Friday, May 10, 2002

Capital Crimes

Is there something more unfair about the disparity in legal quality when talking about capital crimes? Yes, there's definitely a flaw in a system where the rich can pay for a better chance at a favourable verdict. But that's not a problem with the death penalty itself, and fixing it would require a complete overhaul of the criminal justice system. Let's attack capital punishment in the ways it's really vulnerable - fundamentally, idealogically, and Constitutionally.

Back On The Israel Bandwagon

It's time to discuss Israel again.(The death penalty discussion is getting annoying.) The siege at the Church of the Nativity is over, but apparently Palestinian gunmen left some surprises in the Church for the Israeli troops: bombs. Want to guess who would've been blamed if the Church had been damaged? (If you think I'm reflexively pro-Israel or a hypersensitive "they're out to get us" Jew, then you simply haven't watched the news for two thousand years.) Apparently, Israeli soldiers had to delay their pullback because of some imported rich white neo-hipster kids peace activists who refused to leave the Church.

What I'm more interested in is the news coming out of Russia. A terrorist bombing during a V-E parade in Kaspiisk, Dagestan has, killed at least 41 people. This is a horrible action, and it is both the right and the responsibility of Vladimir Putin's government to defend itself against the Islamic Chechen militants believed to be behind the bombing. They're fighting for independence against a colonial power, but that still does not justify the murder of innocent children. Putin has promiesd that they will be punished like the Nazis were punished during World War Two.

Wait...that sounds familiar. Why is it, then, that the Russian Federation seems to enjoy criticizing Israel for self-defense? Does anyone doubt that the Russians will pulverize Chechnya to the point that Jenin will look like an amusement park? The Russian Federation likes to vote for "armed struggle to liberate Palestine" whenever it gets a chance. It seems as if this is bona fide duplicity. Yet nobody cares. I'll be astounded if there are European Parliament calls for sanctions on Russia, UN special conventions, Amnesty International special investigators, or Anglo-American press conferences urging a Russian withdrawal and compromise with the terrorists. (Not characterizing all Chechens or Palestinians as terrorist, obviously. The Chechen rebels have condemned the action in the strongest terms, and since this happens relatively infrequently, we can assume they're serious. But Moscow has no interest in negotiating with the Grozny rebel government. Hmmm.)

Capital Punishment In America Has Some Serious Flaws

Regardless of your general opinion on the matter, it should be quite clear to you that capital punishment in America has some serious flaws. If we're a democratic and free nation, as I believe we are, we need to take some concrete steps on the death penalty. I know good people who favor it and good people who oppose it -- personally, I oppose it. But I won't let this post be about our true feelings on the issue. Rather, I'll talk about what we actually agree on regarding this divisive practice.

More than a dozen innocent men who once graced the cells of death row have been exonerated in the last few years. More disconcerting is the good chance that innocent people have been executed. Can the United States, if it intends to be a nation which pride itself on justice, allow the possibility of executing the innocent? That's Reason #1.

Reason #2: The death penalty, as applied in America, is racist. Sure, white people get put to death, but a disproportionate number of death row inmates are black or Hispanic. Generally, they are on death row because they are a) mentally unstable, b) poor, c) represented by horrible court-appointed attorneys, d) ignored by a callous system. Granted, there are people of all races who are evil and deserve to be punished accordingly. But not in a racist manner. We're a country that for hundreds of years has experienced severe racial tension. We had slavery and Dred Scott, then separate but equal and segregation, the KKK, race riots, and a whole bunch of demagogues in the Senate. Why should we extend our tragic history of racism to the way we run our justice system?

I'm stopping short of calling for the full abolition of the death penalty because I believe that everyone needs to make their voice heard on a moratorium and a cleanup of the system. Then, we can return to the debate about capital punishment's legitimacy.

Harvard and MIT professors petition calling on the universities to divest their holdings in companies which deal with Israel

Over a hundred Harvard and MIT professors have signed a petition calling on the two universities to divest their holdings in companies which deal with Israel. The chances of this actually occuring are, of course, slim. Still, the Harvard Crimson has an excellent editorial on why divestment is wrong and comparisons with apartheid South Africa are unsubstantiated.

But any comparison between today’s Israel and Apartheid-era South Africa is so fundamentally flawed as to be offensive. The Israeli legal code does not discriminate against Arab Israelis the way that the Apartheid laws discriminated against black South Africans. In Israel, the law provides for the equal treatment of all of its citizens, both Jewish and Arab. In South Africa, however, blacks were the victims of laws that controlled their day-to-day lives, dictating where they could live, work and travel. And in South Africa, the government slaughtered blacks when they protested the government’s policies; Israel has done nothing even approaching that level of repression—to either Israeli Arabs or to Palestinians in the West Bank.

On Being A Leftist And A Zionist

In the May issue of the webzine Zeek, Jay Michaelson discusses what it's like to be a leftist and a Zionist. Here's one part of the article I thought especially fine:

And why the focus on Israel? How can a few crying Arab mothers on TV cause people to think that the situation in Palestine is more important than those in Tibet, Chechnya, Congo, and Kurdistan ?. Millions of Tibetans, Chechnyans, Rwandans, and Kurds have been massacred; millions of monasteries and mosques obliterated; entire villages slaughtered or gassed. France and Spain, which both ceaselessly criticize Israel, occupy the Basque territory, banning the Basque independence movements. America has yet to pay a dime of reparations either to the Africans it exiled and enslaved or to the Native Americans it slaughtered and betrayed. The Moroccans oppress the Berbers, and carry on a slave trade. The Sudanese Muslims massacre the Southern Sudanese Christians and Animists. The Hashemite minority in Jordan discriminates against the Palestinian majority. Brazilian elites and transnational corporations destroy the lands of indigenous peoples in the Amazon; global oil companies poison whole tribes in Nigeria, stealing their land and resources. Britain continues its occupation of Northern Ireland. China tortures monks and nuns. The list goes on, but the Left is fixated on a few villages on the West Bank of the Jordan, the population of which would all fit into the Bronx.

Thursday, May 09, 2002

Jewish Terrorism Sucks Too

So a bunch of crazy militant Jews went and killed eight innocent Palestinians. And do you know what? It's terrible. Inexcusable. Not an acceptable way of trying to change your world.

But wait. Don't these Jews agree with my Zionist pro-Israel politics? Shouldn't I be supporting them and their 'militant resistance' actions? Aren't I forgetting to mention that they live in a desperate situation oppressed by a bigger and seemingly overwhelming enemy? They really don't have any other recourse against the Big Bad Enemy, you know. Isn't that how it is?

No, no it isn't. Indiscriminate guerilla violence against civilians is wrong. And unlike some very vocal others, I refuse to condone it no matter how convenient it might be for my argument.

Anti-Semitic University of California at Berkeley

Let's hear it from the University of California at Berkeley. First, anti-Semitic signs are posted around campus. Then, a Palestinian rights activist delivers a speech accusing Jews of trying to control the university. Now, this. This fall, a course is being offered in The Politics and Poetics of Palestinian Resistance. Innocent course about current events and art? Think again. To quote the course description,

Since the inception of the Intifada in September of 2000, Palestinians have been fighting for their right to exist. The brutal Israeli military occupation of Palestine, an occupation that has been ongoing since 1948, has systematically displaced, killed, and maimed millions of Palestinian people. And yet, from under the brutal weight of the occupation, Palestinians have produced their own culture and poetry of resistance. This class will examine the history of the Palestinian resistance and the way that it is narrated by Palestinians in order to produce an understanding of the Intifada and to develop a coherent political analysis of the situation. This class takes as its starting point the right of Palestinians to fight for their own self-determination. Conservative thinkers are encouraged to seek other sections.

We should exile all these folks to France.

An Ode To Arafat

The following poem, by modern poet Roger Woddis, was sent to me, and I simply couldn't resist putting it up:

If I had my way with violent men
I'd simmer them in oil,
I'd fill a pot with bitumen
And bring them to the boil.
I execrate the terrorist
And those who harbour him,
And if I weren't a moralist
I'd tear them limb from limb.

Fanatics are an evil breed
Whom decent men should shun;
I'd like to flog them till they bleed,
Yes, every mother's son,
I'd like to tie them to a board
And let them taste the cat,
While giving praise, oh thank the Lord,
That I am not like that.

Drug War Ranting Pt. 1 Of 4

In the first of this four piece series, we will analyse how it is, historically, that American drug - specifically marijuana - policy came to be inadequate, ineffective, and in need of a major revision. (In future installments we'll look at why ideologically it remains that way, what the societal and economic consequences of bad policy are, and how (and to what) we can change it for the better).

According to the Schaffer Library of Drug Policy, marijuana's first statewide prohibition came into effect in Utah in 1915 and was largely a racist anti-Mexican intiative. Trade of the plant was common on the US-Mexico border and "The combination of increasing Mexican immigration and the traditional aversion of the Mormons to euphoriants of any kind led inevitably to the inclusion of marijuana in the state's omnibus narcotics and pharmacy bill." Colarado's prohibition began in an equally questionable (but slightly more comic) way --

There was fun in the House Health Committee during the week when the Marihuana bill came up for consideration. Marihuana is Mexican opium, a plant used by Mexicans and cultivated for sale by Indians. "When some beet field peon takes a few rares of this stuff," explained Dr. Fred Fulsher of Mineral County, "He thinks he has just been elected president of Mexico so he starts out to execute all his political enemies. I understand that over in Butte where the Mexicans often go for the winter they stage imaginary bullfights in the 'Bower of Roses' or put on tournaments for the favor of 'Spanish Rose' after a couple of whiffs of Marijuana. The Silver Bow and Yellowstone delegations both deplore these international complications" Everybody laughed and the bill was recommended for passage.

I seeeee.

National prohibition began with its inclusion in the Uniform Narcotic Drug Act in 1932, and more importantly the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. The deliberations preceding the passage of the Acts were less than commendable, characterized by comparisons to marijuana's degenerative effects on the personalites of dogs, the quick passing of the bill and the total ignorance of the American Medical Association's support of the bill. It is reported, in fact, that the Act's proponents mislead Congress in claiming that the AMA advocated prohibition, when in fact the opposite was true. To conclude - this legislation, which is now responsible for hundreds of thousands of Americans' impisonment every year, did not receive honest and deliberate consideration in Congress, and was not a reflection of the decision of an informed populace. But of course it wouldn't be illegal if it wasn't terrbily bad and dangerous, right?

Anti-Semite Parade

Four things on the anti-anti-Semitism agenda today:

1. As we know, anti-Zionism is doing quite well in the Bay Area. The Associated Students of San Francisco State University, along with other organizations such as the Muslim Student Association and General Union of Palestinian Students, has posted this lovely flyer. The poster displays a Palestinian infant being killed, with the words "Palestinian Children Meat -- Slaughtered According to Jewish Rites with American License" written. In addition, a large drop of blood stands out in the center of the flyer. I'm at a loss for words. When I saw this, I was so disturbed that I had to take a break -- are there really college students willing to post this kind of racist, anti-Semitic, libelous propaganda? If anyone wants to fill in for me and blog this paragraph, I'd appreciate it. I can't speak about it.

2. Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (D-SC) compared Ariel Sharon to Sadaam Huseein. Hollings also compared Sharon with Bull Conner. Bull Conner was the chief of police in Birmingham, Alabama who ordered police dogs and fire hoses turned on civil rights marchers and schoolchildren. I see a faulty comparison.

Hollings is not a pleasant guy. He and West Virginia dinosaur Robert Byrd voted against the pro-Israel resolution which passed the Senate 94-2 last week. Hollings opposed the desegregation of schools, and it was Fritzie who placed that Confederate flag atop the South Carolina statehouse dome. Just keep his lunatic comments in perspective.

3. Victor Davis Hanson analyzes why the world dislikes Israel. This is quite informative, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

4. I'm really not in the mood to be outraged right now, but Jose Bove has a remarkable ability to change me. Bove, the fairly wealthy anti-globalization French farm activist who recently spent time with oppressed gunment in Ramallah, mentioned that the anti-Semitic attacks in France -- over 400 in 2002 -- are all perpetrated by the Mossad because "who else would benefit from it?"

Whenever psychos like this phony make this accusations, I'm unsure of what to do. Do I attack them on logical grounds, proving them dead wrong? Do I calmly ignore them and move on to the next topic? Or do I blow some steam and get them attention? I've decided that since this is the blogosphere, I can ignore societal conventions and go with Number 3. Watch out.

This despicable half-character believes that Jews are perpetrating attacks on themselves? What about the Holocaust? Was that a Jewish ploy for sympathy? The Six-Day War -- Golda Meir actually closed the Straits of Tiran. Did the Jews expel themselves from Spain? or England? or France? Did the Jews go around spreading rumors that they were consuming blood on a regular basis? No, but they burn French synagogues somehow helps them. Makes a helluva lot of sense. The Jews are seemingly responsible for everything. The stock market crash, Communism, Nazism, the Holocaust, homosexuality, the Crusades, the World Trade Center attacks, the assassination of Presidents Garfield and Kennedy, Vietnam, the Holocaust falsehood.

Bove is an anti-Semite. It's no fun branding people with that term, but he is. Accusing the Jews is an age-old trick which Bove has now mastered. Scum.

Sorry if I got carried away, but he pisses me off.

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

CNN is asking if Israeli military action is justified

I don't usually like to advertise polls or the such. But CNN is asking if Israeli military action is justified. Vote correctly. It's now 69-31 in favor of retaliation. Let's hope they're classier than CAIR.

True Lies

That's what the Palestinians are giving us. Remember the funeral in Jenin where the corpse fell, got up, and walked around a little? Apparently, the Palestinians were filming a movie. (Hey, Yasser, if we lie a little here and fib and exaggerate massacres and just have a jolly good truthlessness-fest, maybe the Europeans won't notice.)

Attack in Karachi, Pakistan

In addition to yesterday's homicide bombing in Israel, there was a attack in Karachi, Pakistan, which killed at least seven French nationals. "In a statement, President Chirac said he 'unreservedly condemns this despicable act, which nothing can justify.'" What? I thought suicide bombers are desperate, and motivated by occupation, and are really fine people who we have no problem with as long as they're killing Jews? I wish I could say this is, in some small way, a surprise. Of course, this just adds to the list of French outrages and why we should all get back to hating the French.

Okay, so direct inflammatory anti-Semitism isn't something new in the Arab world

An astonishingly unnerving column appearing recently in the Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Akhbar complains that Jews "are accursed, fundamentally, because they are the plague of the generation and the bacterium of all time. Their history always was and always will be stained with treachery, falseness, and lying. Historical documents prove it." Okay, so direct inflammatory anti-Semitism isn't something new in the Arab world - what's interesting about this column is that its author is employed by the Egyptian government. So now they're tossing aside even the half-hearted attempt at feigned tolerance?

Just in case the point hasn't been driven home yet that these people suck a lot, I'll leave you with an extended excerpt from the good Mr. Fatma Abdallah Mahmoud himself.

"With regard to the fraud of the Holocaust... Many French studies have proven that this is no more than a fabrication, a lie, and a fraud!! That is, it is a 'scenario' the plot of which was carefully tailored, using several faked photos completely unconnected to the truth. Yes, it is a film, no more and no less. Hitler himself, whom they accuse of Nazism, is in my eyes no more than a modest 'pupil' in the world of murder and bloodshed. He is completely innocent of the charge of frying them in the hell of his false Holocaust!!"

"The entire matter, as many French and British scientists and researchers have proven, is nothing more than a huge Israeli plot aimed at extorting the German government in particular and the European countries in general. But I, personally and in light of this imaginary tale, complain to Hitler, even saying to him from the bottom of my heart, 'If only you had done it, brother, if only it had really happened, so that the world could sigh in relief [without] their evil and sin.'"

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

The European question

It is now time to address the "European question." I have many other things I'd like to blog about, but the need to solve the European problem is eating away at me. Let's check out the latest European crack moves:

European Idiocy #1 -- Chris Patten, the EU point-man on external affairs, is one of the leading idiocrats (my alternative to idiotarians) dominating the European bureaucracy. In a brilliantly shallow editorial in the Washington Post today, Dictator-Wannabe Patten responds to George Will's column in the Post last week which suggested -- and this is a real shocker -- anti-Semitism in Europe! Patten's arguments are not only moronic, but they have a distinct Old World flavor which mixes traditional anti-Semitism, modern anti-Zionism, and good old European arrogance. This man is an embarassment to Britain.

Afterward (after WWII), British servicemen continued to do what they believed to be their duty, fulfilling the United Nations mandate in Palestine, where many were killed by terrorists who were not Palestinian.

From 1939 until 1948, the British Mandate in Palestine was a chaotic anti-Jewish mess. The Brits refused to allow Holocaust refugees to escape to the shores of Palestine, interring them in displaced persons' camps in Cyprus. In 1947, the violence was getting so out of hand because of British colonial incompetence that the matter was handed over to the UN, which elected to partition Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. The Arabs refused, and the British refused to enforce partition, thereby doing the exact opposite of what Patten claims. In fact, the British trained the Jordanian army, armed the Palestinian and Egyptian Arabs, and gave tanks to the Iraqis. As for the cheap shot of "terrorists who were not Palestinian," may I remind Mr. Patten that the Irgun's bombing of the King David Hotel was not a terrorist act, as the KDH was a military headquarters. (Not to mention Israel warned in advance, something Hamas tends not to do.) Is this the same Patten who wanted everyone to kick Irish ass when he was a Tory in Britain during the Northern Ireland conflict?

Any attack on a synagogue is outrageous. But there have also been many attacks on the symbols and followers of Islam.

Hmm, Chris. Must've missed those. Parisian mosques torched? Nope. London Halal butchers shot at? I think not. Jews walk around the streets of Antwerp and start randomly destroying Muslim shops? Sorry. Desecration of holy sites in Bethlehem and Nablus? Didn't happen, Chris. In fact, none of this happened, largely because we don't pride ourselves on who can kill the most Muslims. This is an outright lie on the part of Patten, and he should apologise. (Not bloody likely to happen.)

Anyway, what should we conclude about Europe from this pustulation? When a couple of years back there was an outbreak of arson attacks against African American churches in the United States, should we have leaped to the conclusion that the Ku Klux Klan was heading for the White House?

Want to go concludin'? Do you remember after those attacks, when President Clinton went to each one and sat in on services? Do you remember when every organization in the United States condemned the attacks in the strongest terms without making pathetic excuses of an "angered white street" or spoke of the "white churches being bombed?" Most Americans feel downright shamed about our treatment of African-Americans, and we've tried to reconcile it. Two thousand years of mistreatment doesn't seem to warrant equality in Europe. What a crappy, crappy analogy. We're sorry, and we're trying to show it. Remember our fund-raising and solidarity? In Europe, anti-Semitism has been met by lovely turnouts for rightist candidates (as opposed to last election, where Pat Buchanan failed to show) and cries of "Death to Israel!" Wow.

European Idiocy #2 -- Europe likes to cry for the Palestinians. In fact, it's now a favorite European pastime, after bitching incessantly about American hegemkony and being ungrateful for about everything. Between the calls for "Right of Return" and "Israel, free the poor Palestinians in the Church of the Nativity," there's a lot of air. Italy, along with the rest of Europe and the Arab world, refuses to take these guys in. This reeks of hypcorisy. This odorific display of European word-weakness should be framed for generations to come. Can anyone say "spineless anti-Jew a-holes?"

European Idiocy #3 -- Rod Dreher of the National Review Online says that Dutch gay rightist Pim Fortuyn was killed because he represented an unpopular opinion. I have to agree. From what I know of the late Fortuyn, he was a libertarian who was anti-immigration and anti-socialist; probably a European George W. Bush. He was a social liberal, and his main concern was the future of the Dutch Republic. The fact is that in Europe non-socialism is unpopular:

The fact that that anodyne opinion — that freedom of speech is an acceptable part of democratic society — is enough to get a man killed in today's Europe should shock the conscience of the continent.

Too early to say if that led to Fortuyn's assassination. But it must be kept in mind. Fortuyn was no Le Pen or Ze'evi.

European Idiocy #4 -- Andrew Sullivan's "A Tale of Two Allies" in the Sunday Times of London. Sullivan compares America's relationship with both France and Israel and how they're different. He quotes the now-legendary Saturday Night Live commercial about why we should get back to hating the French.

Well, that's all on Idiocy Watch tonight. Tomorrow I return to the domestic front for some nice constitutional banter.

A suicide bomber attacks a pool hall in Rishon L'Tzion

A suicide bomber attacks a pool hall in Rishon L'Tzion, south of Tel Aviv. As of now, sixteen deaths have been reported. Unsuprisingly, the Bush Administration wants Arafat to "do more" to stop the terror. When does "or else" fit into the equation?

Arafat's Exclusion

Ariel Sharon is pushing the US not to invite Arafat to any American-led negotiations, and (apart from the fact that Sharon is of course a neo-Nazi fascist right-wing communist Stalinist pawn) who can blame him? My personal stance is that, operating within the guidelines of established US policy, this isn't a particularly tough question. We don't negotiate with terrorists - and the proof implicating Arafat as one is pretty overwhelming.

Microsoft Doing Ethically Questionable Things

Since my colleauge has so aptly tackled the important stuff, I'll feel free to talk about interesting developements on the recently-ignored Microsoft Doing Ethically Questionable Things front. First, here's the quick run-down: The Peruvian government is considering a bill requiring that all government computers and networks run Open Source software. Feeling threatened, Microsoft Peru started circulating a text denouncing OS as a concept and disseminating copious amounts of general disinformation. The attack was retorted by Peruvian Congressman David Villanueva Nuñez, who wrote a letter (English translation here) to Microsoft Peru justifying the use Open Source and logically demolishing the arguments presented by MS's campaign. A quick highlight from his letter -

It is also necessary to make it clear that the aim of the Bill we are discussing is not directly related to the amount of direct savings that can by made by using free software in state institutions. That is in any case a marginal aggregate value, but in no way is it the chief focus of the Bill. The basic principles which inspire the Bill are linked to the basic guarantees of a state of law, such as:

Free access to public information by the citizen.

Permanence of public data.

Security of the State and citizens.

To guarantee the free access of citizens to public information, it is indespensable that the encoding of data is not tied to a single provider. The use of standard and open formats gives a guarantee of this free access, if necessary through the creation of compatible free software.

There doesn't seem to be much room for interpretation here, it's the same old story - a profit-driven company spreading manipulative coercion in an effort to increase, well, profits. A little responsibility, guys?

Today's News

There is absolutely so much in today's news that I don't know where to start. Today's subjects are Pim Fortuyn's assassination, the undemocratic nature of Bush Mideast policy, my comments on the Salute to Israel Parade, a call for hangings in Congress, Grasshoppa's dislike for our name, Idiot Watch from Damian Penny as well as some comments about why the BBC is shaming a great Britain (sorry). Whew, what a list. Okay, here we go.

1. Pim Fortuyn is dead. For those of you unfamiliar with the man, Fortuyn was a Dutch anti-immigration rightist who happened to be gay, and was unfortunately ostracized by the media. In defense of Pim, I must say that he was no Jean-Marie Le Pen -- in fact, he may have typified a true conservative-libertarian. From Andrew Sullivan:

Horrifying news from the Netherlands. Pim Fortuyn, a brash, brave, outspoken libertarian-conservative gay man, has been killed by an assassin. I don't agree with everything he stood for, but his ability to speak about issues others shy away from - like the sexist, homophobic bigotry of many Islamofascists and their supporters - was admirable. As an openly gay man proud to represent conservatism, he was a commendable figure, part of a new wave of gay voices threatening to both right and left. I have no idea who killed him. It could be a crank, or a radical leftist, or an Islamist terrorist, or a homophobic rightist, who knows. All that we do know now is that democracy has been attacked in Holland. And that a brave man, who dared to repesent a fresh combination of ideas and identities, is dead. May he rest in peace.

Right on, Andrew. It's an attack on democracy -- just like the assassination of racist Israeli demagogue Rehavaam "Gandhi" Ze'evi last October was. We don't get rid of people we don't like through violence (unless you're an oppressed Palestinian nut, in which case all is okay). I'm quite depressed by the Fortuyn assassination because this man personified what the European right should look like -- tolerant and nationalistc instead of bombastic and supremacist (Le Pen). But then again, the French are different.

2. Asparagirl comments on the Bush administration's willingness to ignore a plethora of Congressional resolutions expressing unconditional support for Israel's war on terror. These things pass 94-2, 99-0, and so on. Isn't the idea of a democratic society characterized by representative government just that -- government where the legislators, who directly represent the people, determine policy? Damn Bush -- Federalist aristocratic elite...

3. Briefly, the Salute to Israel Parade is one of the finest events in New York, and this year was no different. I stood on the sides and cheered as a hundred thousand marchers of all stripes expressed support for the State of Israel. Yes, there were the people with the "Zionnazis" signs, but this was a remarkable parade because it was designed to be as apolitical as possible. It was a show of support for an embattled people.

4. Hang Congress! The Libertarian candidate for Senate in Colorado accused Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) and the rest of Congress of treason and suggested execution. Libertarianism is the movement of Thomas Jefferson and Henry David Thoreau. Is the Libertarian Party really supporting this guy? Wow. Speechless at stupidity.

5. Could Grasshoppa be more confusing? Read their one-line description of our site: American Kaiser .... stay away from meeeeeheeeee. Well that's pretty harsh, but that's the first thing I thought of when I read the name of that blog.

6. Closing with some critiques of the British media and especially toothless British idiocrats. Damian Penny, who is rapidly becoming my favorite blogger. Supposedly, 50,000 people marched in Trafalgar Square, London, today in support of Israel. Penny then mentions what the BBC told us:

Here's a choice quote from 78 year-old Peggy Preston, a 'counter-demonstrator' at the London pro-Israel rally: "All the Israelis can focus on are the suicide bombers." Yeah, the Jews sure are touchy that way, aren't they?

Damn hypersensitive Jews. Take it easy, dammit. It's not like people have tried to kill you before.

Penny then updates us on other BBC idiocies.

Good night our few readers, please link to us on your blogs and sites, tell your friends, and see you tomorrow when my mood is less stilted.

Monday, May 06, 2002

International Developments Today

Lots of international developments today -- election in France goes to Chirac as expected, Nativity standoff seems close to end, US announces we're pulling out of International Criminal Court. I'll try to address all three issues: France, Mideast, and international criminal justice, but no guarantees.

1. French elections -- God bless the French. For about ten minutes today, when the news anchor announced a "dramatic landslide," I respected the French. Then I realized what this means. First, the numbers. 18% of Frenchmen liked this man enough that despite the fact that a strong showing by him would ostracise France and create chaos, they voted for him. Does this scare anyone? Then, I became even more nervous when I realized that now there's Chirac. Chirac would have to torch a few Torahs to get any worse; as it is, he won't unconditionally condemn anti-Semitism and he seems rather nonchalant about the fact that France's most successful and oldest minority is being treated terribly. He's a great friend of the Arab countries, a crook, and anti-Israel. In short, he's French. Sorry for the stereotype, but France is not on my list of "favorite countries" right now.

2. Middle East -- Have you ever thought that the situation in the Mideast is so hopeless and random that it needs some biting political satire to prove a point? All hail the Norwegian blogger Vegard Valberg. Valberg has emerged from the shadows to present his own Modest Proposal, a la the Irish satirist Jonathan Swift. (No cannibalism here.) I'm linking a lot today. For an analysis of the United Hate-ions' policies in regard to Israel (read: bad.), check out this piece from Arnold Beichman in the Washington Times. Beichman puts it simply: the UN just doesn't like Israel.

3. Finally, the Court. -- I had to get on to the International Criminal Court, though I didn't really want to. I think an international criminal court is a great idea, because the international system of justice absolutely sucks, as is evidenced by the fact that murderer-despot Idi Amin is hiding in "US-friendly" Saudi Arabia while Sharon is regularly lambasted as a genocidal maniac. But the ICC is not the way, mainly because it is under the auspices of the same international agencies which are terrible at everything else. Remember the massacre at Srebrenica, when 8,000 Bosnian Muslims were killed by Serbs, after the UN gave the Muslims over? Or the massacres in Kosovo where the UN was inept, and the Rwanda genocide which prompted the UN to withdraw forces? The case for reform has been made. Besides, who appointed Belgium, which created all these problems in Central Africa which have led to millions of deaths in the last thirty years, to be the international arbiter of war crimes? We definitely need reform so we can punish Sadaam Hussein and Idi Amin and the Sudanese and Rwandan criminals. Not under UN auspices, though. The way I see it, the only countries that can be trusted by everyone (including Israel, which would obviously be the odd man out if the UN were involved) are the English-speaking Western countries and Germany. So let's do it that way. International criminal court in Glasgow, Scotland, under British, American, Canadian, and German supervision. Want to see war criminals punished? Do it my way.

Sunday, May 05, 2002

Palestinian lunacy-hilarity

I don't usually like to post about the same topic on consecutive nights. So I will make a quick foray into Palestinian lunacy-hilarity, and then venture elsewhere.

Damian Penny has visited the Palestine Net Intifada Homepage! While there, he noticed some interesting things -- chief among them being an ugly adaptation of Bob Dylan's "Chimes of Freedom" to the Palestinian cause. Namely, it is now "Stones of Freedom." Remember Bob Dylan? Born Robert Zimmerman, explored Chassidic thought, wrote the song "Neighborhood Bully" which quite efficiently explained the Jews' position? I'm sure he'd just love this.

Next on the agenda: why the UN sucks. The following is from the excellent Mark Steyn in the Telegraph:

Anyway, as Kofi's commission isn't going ahead, I'm pleased to announce my own fact-finding investigation into - drumroll, please - the UN. Ex-ambassadors, European Foreign Ministers and former presidents of humanitarian organisations are welcome to apply to join my commission, but, if they're too busy, we'll make do with jes' regular folks. Among the issues we'll be examining: UN participation in the sex-slave trade in Bosnia; the UN refugee extortion racket in Kenya; UN involvement in massive embezzlement in Kosovo; the UN's cover-up of the sex-for-food scandal in West Africa involving aid workers demanding sexual favours from children as young as four; the UN-fuelled explosion of drugs, Aids and prostitution in Cambodia; the UN's complicity in massacres in pre-liberated Afghanistan; and, if we've any time left, the UN's collusion in terrorism in the Jenin refugee camp. As the organisation's own internal investigations usually put it, UN seen nothin' yet!

On to the "election" in Pakistan. As you probably know by now, Pervez Musharraf won 97% of the vote in a referendum. The US supports him because he's a rather benevolent dictator, and we have bigger fish to fry. (Not the Assad dynasty which killed 20,000 in Hamat, or Robert Mugabe, who is raping Zimbabwe as I speak) He's an ally against terrorism! Actually, he is -- unlike his country, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc. This referendum actually makes me wonder if democracy is always good. Democracy would rip apart Pakistan and leave it worse off (if that's possible) whereas a dictator gives it some stability. Of course, Pakistan, like Indonesia, is the rule rather than the exception. Must be something about annoyingly well-populated Muslim countries that makes democracy impossible.

That was incoherent, right? Something on the Palestinian propaganda machine and the American collusion with the Palestinian propaganda machine in the New York Post. I know, I promised. But I couldn't help myself.

While we're in the Mideast, I think I'll mention that Idi Amin, the Ugandan dictator who killed 300,000 of his people in the 1970s, is currently a guest of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Food for thought.

And finally, the election in France. As I post this, the polls open in Paris and Marseilles and Strasbourg and Bordeaux. And I'm ambivalent, I must say. On one hand, a landslide Chirac victory would prove that the French are truly tolerant people who love everyone and can stand up against fascism. But then I realize -- that can happen, but it will be a lie. Let's stop lying to ourselves, folks. The French hate Israel, America, and the Jews. This is a country so steeped in anti-Semitism, from Dreyfus to Vichy to de Gaulle's anti-Semitic comments in 1967, that no election result will prove otherwise. It is a matter of shame that one cannot walk down the streets of Paris or Berlin today as a Jew, but must hide his or her identity. Europe hasn't learned. So as not to close on an overly depressing note, however, I leave you with this remarkable video from Saturday Night Live. Only fifty seconds long, this commercial which aired a few weeks ago calls for us to "start hating the French again." It is classically hysterical, and should be disseminated to the world of large.

Friday, May 03, 2002

The Palestinian Problem

For some reason, I'm not in a mood to rant today. Instead, I'll use my post to make fun of the Palestinians.

1. "Sometimes we call it a massacre when you kill one innocent person."--Fakhri Turkman, Palestinian Legislative Council. Remember when the Palestinians wildly accused Israel of massacring hundreds of Palestinians left and right in a pogrom? Apparently, everything is a massacre. Except when Jews are killed in Israel. That's "national liberation." Does anyone notice, by the way, that he says "sometimes?" Could that suggest -- gasp -- duplicity in the Palestinian position? God, I can't imagine. Here are some real massacres:

April 27: Adora, Palestinian gunmen enter residential quarters shooting everyone, including a 5-year-old girl shot through the head in her bed.

April 12: Jerusalem, suicide bombing at a bus stop, 6 murdered.

April 10: Yagor, suicide bombing on a bus, 8 murdered.

March 31: Haifa, suicide bombing in a restaurant, 15 murdered.

March 28: Eilon Moreh, shooting attack, 4 murdered.

March 27: Netanya, suicide bombing at a Passover seder, 28 murdered.

2. According to this article in Ha'aretz, a Palestinian funeral went awry when the stretcher carrying the 'corpse' tipped - and the body got up and ran away. Apparently, the man was only 'partially deceased'. Now, we must ask: "When does a group lose its credibility? The fake massacre, the suicide bombings, or the non-funerals?" The actual video is here -- he actually gets back on.

3. This is more sickening than humorous. French Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, a representative of the Roman Catholic Church which probably has more Jewish blood on its hands than well, anyone, has taken the liberty of raising his hand in victory with Yasser Arafat. The Church of blood libel extends its hand once again to slap the Jews.

4. Now, some outrage for measure. The Angry Clam has some flyers the Students for Justice in Palestine are posting around the University of California campus in Berkeley -- with such things written on them as "Kill Jews" and pictures of hooded Jewish Klansmen lynching a Palestinian. But they're not anti-Semitic -- they're only anti-Zionist.

5. Finally, some comedic relief after those two bad examples. From the Onion, God has apparently decided to destroy the entire Middle East with a huge flood. Divine retribution rocks!

Israel Day Parade

Crisis Averted: The New York Times is reporting that several Jewish Girl Scouts wanted to march in the sunday's Israel Day Parade, and were disallowed to do so in uniform by the Scouts' national office. This was said under the rationale that the Scouts are not an 'advocacy organization' and should not take action implying support of one group over another. However - as the article points out - 'the Girl Scouts' Web site speaks glowingly of scouts' taking part in events like the St. Patrick's Day parade in March or the Cinco de Mayo Parade, also scheduled for this weekend', and it is rather difficult to make a clear distinction between political activism and just being proud of one's heritage. Although they eventually did concede and reverse their decision and this isn't a clear case of anti-semitism, or even anti-Zionism, a familiar double standard seems to be at work here. Interesting.

French election

We begin our abbreviated coverage of the French election with today's un-abbreviated comment from moi. While I don't like to be reflexively pro- or anti- anything, I am anti-Le Pen, and I'm beginning to fall in with the anti-Europe crowd. Here's why:

Europe -- you guys suck. In fact, you've always sucked. Two thousand years ago, most of Europe (save Rome and Greece) was a backwater filled with savages, barbarians, and other unsavoury characters who couldn't create anything close to decent civilization. After the Western Empire fell, you Europeans decided that some good Christendom was in order -- but failed at creating it, instead electing to sink into seven centuries of stasis and Jew-hatred. After a brief period of classicism, rebirth, renaissance, and Jew-hatred, it became clear that the Lord wanted you to "colonize the brown people" -- steal their land, poach their natural resources, infect them with disease, and shackle them for transport across oceans to be enslaved. Amidst more Jew-hatred, now manifesting itself as enlightened "anti-Semitism," you folks decided that killing everyone, which Europe had taken a liking to, was stupid. In the late 1940s, after allowing everyone to go to war with everyone and gas innocent civilians, you Enlightened Europeans elected to create a Union which would dissolve all enmities. When the Berlin Wall fell, the US became more of a hegemon which needed to be balanced than a close friend who had your back. So you decided to piss on us. Thanks. We appreciate it.

As Mark Steyn puts it in the Spectator, Europeans (not Britons) seem to have a penchant for hypocrisy. Jorg Haider, leader of the Austrian Freedom Party and Gestapo admirer, won 29% of the vote two years ago in a national election. The FNP's Jean-Marie Le Pen won 17%, as we all know, in leftist France last week. Throughout Europe -- in Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal -- rightists are triumphant. The closest thing we have to a rightist candidate in the US is Pat Buchanan, who won .42% of the vote in 2000. In a highly ironic twist, half of those votes came from Holocaust survivors.

According to Steyn, "for Goran Persson, the Prime Minister of Sweden, the point of the EU is that it can be a counterbalance, a ‘moderating’ influence on those wacky Americans. But, for a moderating influence, it’s remarkably immoderate. If you look at that first round of French presidential voting, between Le Pen, the guy who broke away from Le Pen, the Trot, the other Trot and the rest of the cranks, the zany fringe candidates drew about 45 per cent of the vote. No wonder that big Chirac landslide is looking wobblier by the hour. Europe is not the lovely utopia it is made out to be. It's time the Europeans realized that despite our tragically immoral practices (death penalty, lack of gay rights, marijuana criminalization, etc.) they're not the ones who should be lecturing us. It's funny, but there weren't 100 anti-Semitic attacks in the United States last week.

I am ranting, and I do, of course, apologize for the unorganized nature of this post. But the situation in Europe worries me. Le Pen may break a threshold on Sunday, and regardless, he has made a statement. In Germany and the Netherlands, upcoming elections are expected to lead to impressive right-wing showings. Will Europe continue a spiral down to anti-immigrant, anti-Jewish, anti-social sentiment? Or will it remember that it is the bastard child, and behave correctly towards its allies, friends, and people.

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

Saudi royal family purchase large blocks of television airtime to clean up their image

Today's top story appears to be the news that the Saudi royal family has purchased large blocks of television airtime with the purpose of cleaning up their image. I think Crown Prince Abdullah has to realize that his image will need a lot of work to be shiny -- since all most Americans can see in Saudi Arabia is oil, sand, and terrorist masterminds. (Nothing's dirtier than oil, except for terrorist masterminds -- Osama in a cave or Yasser in a locked-up office without a shower.) Crown Prince Abdullah has been trying to improve on how Saudi Arabia is perceived in America -- for those not familiar, Saudi Arabia is perceived as the annoying rich snobby kid who behaves haughtily and occasionally throws oil in your face. This ad campaign reminds me of those feel-good ads the tobacco companies run every so often: "Sure, we're killing all your children with our addictive drug, but let's forget that because our employees tutor inner-city kids." The text of the different ads can be found here, though apparently the quotes from Bush and Powell are lies -- they actually said the exact opposite. From Electronic Media:

One of the spots, for example, starts with the appearance on the screen of a "misquote" from Secretary of State Colin Powell to the effect that "Saudi Arabia has been prominent among terrorist organizations"; the visual then dissolves to the "correct" quote: "Saudi Arabia has been prominent among the countries acting against the accounts of terrorist organizations." The voice-over narration intones, "Prejudice, fear and conflicting views can distort what you see and hear. Please keep you eyes, ears ... and especially your mind ... open." On screen, the tagline is seen.

The second spot begins with an on-screen "misquote" from President Bush that reads, "The Saudi Arabians have been less than cooperative." That dissolves into the real quote: "As far as the Saudi Arabians go ... they have been nothing less than cooperative." The voice-over for this spot is, "Read the editorials, tune in to the Sunday morning news shows or listen to talk radio if you want opinions. Listen to America's leaders if you want the facts."

Now that we've established that the Saudis are attempting to mislead the American public, it may be time for the Saudis to take more, um, truthful steps to fix their tarnished image. Happy Fun Pundit has suggested some slogans they could use. Among them are "The Rulers of Saudi Arabia: Not the world's biggest assholes" and "Saudi Arabia: Now with 40% less treachery!"

In my mind, the question is: Why? Not "Why are we totally dependent on a schizophrenic shiekdom for all our energy needs instead of trying to cut pollution and save money by using alternative energy?" Not "Why do we support a country which likes to go around beheading people?" Not "Why do we regularly laud the most anti-female, anti-Jew, anti-Christian, anti-half of Islam, conservative country on Allah's green earth?" Not "Why hasn't anyone noticed the marked similarities between Crown Princes Abdullah and George?" No, the question is "Why do we maintain that they're our staunch ally when they are virulently anti-promiscuity?" We're the country of free sexuality (as long as you're a white, male, married Christian with kids and a rifle) and yet we can condone the Saudi lack of sexual freedoms? It's time for the Saudi expat community, if there is one, to launch some good Saudi smut sites to influence a public which is deprived of popular sexuality.

NoMoreHajibs.Net!! (Ignore the pathetic ending to this post. I'm not in full possession.)

ACLU Credibility

The ACLU is ranting about detainees again . It would seem that on this particular issue, the ACLU is alienating a lot of its supporters; and what a surprise it is - people feel that when evaluating non-citzens who happened to be hanging out with known terrorists, the INS should really lean towards the side of caution. Extending potentially dangerous pleasantries to detainees is just silly, says Charles Krauthammer. SatireWire agrees in this unforgiving, funny and especially edgy peice.