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Sunday, June 28, 2009

London Takes It As A Compliment

Stolen shamelessly from Michael Totten because it made me laugh out loud. Besides, Totten is doing a bang-up job of blogging Iran's struggle against the fascist mullahcracy.

Boris Johnson, the untidy haired Mayor of London, has a good laugh at Ayatollah Khamenei's expense. Johnson is flattered that Khamenei considers Britain still to be a superpower:

Doesn't it make you almost burst with pride? For decades, we have got used to the idea that we are a dowdy middle-ranking sort of country that long ago abandoned any pretensions to influence east of Suez. We thought we were wholly dependent on America for our nukes and our cryptography--and here's this top mullah who seems to think that the Tehran protests are being staffed by swarms of burka-wearing Bonds, and that the whole thing is being orchestrated by Dame Judi Dench from her lair on the South Bank.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Newspeak in Farsi

Iran's ambassador to Mexico, Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri, appeared on CNN-Mexico on Wednesday, and as the representative of the Islamic Republic, leader of the struggle for world wide Islamic dominance (led by Iran, of course) had this to say:

"The minority can't impose their opinion on the majority," Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri told CNN en Español. "They can't impose a dictatorship saying that the majority is not going to govern."

Hello? The "minority" looked pretty much like a mass movement. Usually less than 5% of people get out of their homes and demonstrate, so if that "minority" of thousands was demonstrating, that says something powerful about the number of people in silent agreement who for whatever reason, including being beaten like animals or shot dead in the street, have chosen not to protest in public.

There are acceptable ways of addressing electoral fraud, if any occurred, he said.

In a nation where the ruling party itself perpetrated the election fruad? Oh, right, they're just going to admit it and join the call for a recount. If you will recall, Mr. Ambassador, the reason the protests poured into the streets was precisely because when Mousavi cried "Foul!" your ruling junta told him to shut up and live with the results.

"But they go out on the street, they attack buses, they attack banks; that affects the security of the country."He added, "The law doesn't permit terrorism. It doesn't permit attacks on innocent people."

WHAT?! You hypocritical piece of garbage---you and your benighted government FUND attacks on innocent people and terrorism is part of your national policy.

And unleashing your trained thugs to shoot and ax demonstrators is arguably "terrorism" as well, only the state-policy kind.

The minority has lost the election, they have to accept the role of the majority," he said. "If there was fraud, they have to show it. They have no proof."

Saying it doesn't make it so--that's why people are in the streets and on the rooftops, screaming in outrage. Evidence? You've no doubt burned it by now--hence the need for a new election. With international monitors this time.

Asked why the government has made it impossible for nearly all international journalists to report from Iran, he accused the media of not accurately reporting events.

Translation from the Farsi: the media reported what they saw on the streets, which strengthened the protesters and gave them hope, so the fascist illegitimate mullacracy had to censor it by shutting down the press.

There is no First Amendment in Iran apparently.

"In Tehran, there were much bigger demonstrations in favor of the government that you didn't report about," he said.

Yes, they did. We all saw it on the news, while your fascist theocracy was still allowing reporters to report. Of course, they're not reporting now because they've either been arrested, confined to house arrest, or expelled from the country. How do you say "censorship" in Farsi?

Asked about the shooting of the 26-year-old woman whose death captured on video has come to symbolize the anti-government forces, he said, "It is not clear who killed who," he said, adding that "terrorists" were among the demonstrators. "Some armed people have attacked police," he said. "Naturally, we have to respond."

Right. She was just standing there. Clearly unarmed. Methinks the terrorists were the ones with the guns--you know, YOUR guys, those Basiji thugs. Your nasty little stormtroopers. The ones whose pictures are all over this blog. (Thank you, Mohamed.) The older posts show a lot of Basiji--they're the guys with the side-handle batons, guns, rifles and baseball bats.

And Al Jazeera has it on video. Go here , and go down to the Al Jazeera entry at 12:33 on Huffington Post's Liveblogging. You'll see armed Basiji firing into a crowd of demonstrators from the rooftop of a mosque.

By the way, visit ID The Basiji not just for the pictures, but for the latest report that their street recruits aren't Iranians--the shock troops on the streets are Arabic speakers. Earlier rumors said Hamas and Hezbollah members in Iran for "training" are getting their field tryouts on the Iranian protestors.

In an interview with CNN International, he was more blunt about accusations of brutality by government forces: "We do not beat up our people and we do not kill them," he said.

No?! Who am I going to believe? A government stooge 10,000 miles away or the stream of videos coming out of Iran?

In the wake of the vote, Obama has used increasingly harsh language to discuss Iran, saying he was "appalled" by the crackdown. Ahmadinejad, who is to be sworn in for a second four-year term by August, warned that there would be "nothing left to talk about" if Obama kept up such a tone.

Obama has failed the Iranian people and the free world by keeping diplomatically silent in the face of this slaughter and repression. Of course, that's par for the world--big talk but no action when the crisis comes. Ask any Rwandan....

As for Dictator Ahmadinejad and his storm troopers -- there was never anything to talk about anyway, sweetheart, so that kind of bluster won't work. You know what the west wants and you've already determined not to give up nuclear weapons in order to bully the rest of the region like you bully your populace. All you've done is prove the Right right, and Obama's plan to treat you like an equal in the family of nations now looks ridiculous.

In the meantime, Ahmadinejad is complaining about "foreign interference" and other government stooges are jumping on this bandwagon with allusions to Zionists, the CIA, and BBC (now THERE is a strange combination) among other "foreign influences."

First, this is rich, coming from a dictatorship that is bankrupting its own treasury to foment terror, insurgency and proxy armies all over the region. YOU'RE complaining to US about "foreign interference?" Don't make me laugh.

Second, if a news broadcast is "foreign interference" whether via radio, television, or internet, then you are a truly frightened and ethically bankrupt dictatorship which is in terror of its own people if it can't let them listen to a news broadcast not dictated by your propaganda departments.

Ahmadinejad's patron, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has said the election result would not be reversed.

Translation from the Farsi: we stole this election and we're NOT giving it back!

Ahmadinejad's standing at home appears to have suffered since the election. Several Tehran newspapers reported that 185 out of 290 members of parliament, including Speaker Ali Larijani, stayed away from a victory celebration for Ahmadinejad on Tuesday.

Can you say, "Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin" ?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Knesset Priorities: My Car or Your Kid

West Bank Mama has a "feminist agenda!" Just kidding, WBM....it's really a parental agenda. It's a societal agenda. It's a legal-from-the-Supreme-Court-of-the-Country agenda....

It is an agenda that says our children and their welfare are important. They are more important than your car, than your salary, than your commute or just about anything else you can think of.

Go read her post here .

Read her link to the Jerusalem Post.

Google it.

Then you will find out just how misogynistic our lawmakers really are. First, they make obscene salaries-- over 30,000 NIS per month (top salaries in hi-tech aren't this fat). So they have a "What, me worry?" attitude about child care. First, their wives probably don't have to work for a living, and second, they can afford the toniest child care in town, including nannies, on that salary.

But by golly, they have their car lease deductions!

Every working male in Israel who leases a car as part of his salary package gets to deduct the cost of that car from his taxes as a 'work-related expense.'

Every working woman and mother in Israel does also. But let's face it--the vast majority of the management geeks driving the lease cars as part of their bonus package are men.

But no mother is permitted to deduct the cost of day care. Go figure.

Yes, I know someone will say, "but fathers can't deduct it either." No s***t, Sherlock--but on this planet, when the crunch over who-is-going-to-take-care-of-the-kids hits, its always the women who cut back, work part time, or give up a career (or just job seniority) to be there for their kids.

Well, it makes sense, someone will venture, after all, the father makes more money/has more invested in a career/needs to support his family....yadayadayada...all the usual trite excuses....I won't, but some have done books on how these excuses are self-perpetuating justifications for paying women less, educating women less, and generally making them subservient financially and emotionally to men by insisting that the societal norm is that "men need to make more money." But that's off-topic just a bit....

If you don't have a car, you can still get to work. People do it all over the world. I'm from California, where public transporation is a joke, and a car is a necessity. Guess what--your lease car is NOT tax deductible for commuting-to-work. It may not be as convenient as your very own car, surely, but public transportation does exist in this country. If you absolutely need to get to work, you will buy or lease a car in any event, regardless of the tax breaks or burdens.

But children can't be garaged during the day. Children need adult supervision. Children need attention and affection and intellectual stimulation and play time. Children, in short, need day care, which is the single biggest expense for most working couples. Lets get real, here -- day care often costs more than renting a car.

And the frosting on the cake? The High Court has already ruled on this issue--and ordered that the cost of child care be a tax deductible work-related expense.

So why would our Beloved Members of the Knesset give working men a tax break for their cars but not working mothers a tax break for their children's daycare?

Several ideas suggest themselves:

(1) They're incredibly stupid and simply don't get it;

(2) They're smart enough to get it but just don't care;

(3) To the average male mind, cars are more important than other people's children (ok, I admit it, I'm being a snarky sexist here myself);

(4) Greed. It's just TOO big a tax bite to give working moms this kind of break;

(5) Politics. Big Business has a big voice in the Knesset--working mothers don't. Big Business wants to hang on to benefits for upper management like tax breaks for the leased car; working moms who desperately need some relief have no one to stand up for them;

(6) All of the above.

Here is yet another screaming reason for political reform and direct representation. I would call, telegram, email and demonstrate in front of my representative's office--except that I don't have one. A representative, that is.

I think Bibi's plate is full at the moment and tax deductible child care probably isn't at the top of his list of priorities right now.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Surprise of the Day

There is hope for the future, and it doesn't come from either a Palestinian or Israeli politician or political party: it comes from the surprising good will of everyday people.

After lynchings, stone throwings, random shootings and other acts of violence, I have to admit being surprised. Pleasantly.

Maybe we can make peace after all?

Monday, June 08, 2009

Sex, Lies and the New York Times (Again)

Having made plagiarism and invention a journalistic art in the past few years (Maureen Dowd, Jayson Blair), it should come as no surprise that the staff at the Grey Lady is either incapable of telling the truth or incapable of professional journalism, or both.

I always believed that integrity meant speaking Truth to Power....even if the Power in question was your peer group and political fellow travelers.

The Times fails that test spectacularly.

I am lifting this wholesale from Elder of Ziyon so he gets full faith and credit for calling it in.

The Grey Lady quotes (apparently without checking, or more likely, without caring) an Egyptian journalist who claims "The US President emphasized the historical relationship binding the US & Israel, and condemned the “violence” of Palestinians “who fire rockets at sleeping children” and the “bombing of buses full of innocent civilians and elderly passengers.” It must be remembered that the last Palestinian suicide bombing took place in November 2004, and that their primitive home-made rockets usually don’t kill Israelis. "

2004? Guess again.

As Elder so succinctly put it: "Well, he's only off by four years and 12 suicide bombings."

Since November 2004 we have:

Jan 18, 2005 - An ISA officer was killed, an IDF officer seriously wounded, and 4 IDF soldiers and 3 members of the ISA were lightly wounded in a suicide bombing attack at the Gush Katif junction in the central Gaza Strip. While search procedures were being carried out, the suicide bomber with explosives strapped to his body detonated himself. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. (ed--But Hamas also keeps insisting we open these borders so that their "martyrs" can detonate inside Israel in large, crowded forums of civilians instead of only at border crossings.)

Feb 25, 2005 - Five people were killed and 50 wounded Friday night, when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the Stage Club on the Tel Aviv promenade at around 11:20 P.M., on the corner of Herbert Samuel and Yonah Hanavi streets. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

July 12, 2005 - Five people were killed and about 90 wounded when a suicide bomber detonated himself outside Hasharon Mall in Netanya. The bomber was identified as Ahmed Abu Khalil, 18, from the West Bank village of Atil. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

Aug 28, 2005 - A suicide bomber detonated himself outside the Beersheba Central Bus Station. Two security guards who stopped the bomber were severely wounded and about 50 people were lightly wounded or treated for shock. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. (ed--Oh, yeah, a bus terminal!! Now there's a "military target," huh?)

Oct 26, 2005 - Six people were killed and 55 wounded, six seriously, in a suicide bombing at the Hadera open-air market. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack. (ed--This should prove interesting since a number of the dead were Hadera-area Arabs who swore blood feud after their family members were butchered.)

Dec 5, 2005 - Five people were killed and over 50 wounded in a suicide bombing at the entrance to the Sharon shopping mall in Netanya. The terrorist detonated the bomb when he was stopped by security guards, one of whom was killed. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

Dec 29, 2005 - Lt. Ori Binamo, 21, of Nesher was killed when a terrorist en route to carry out an attack in Israel detonated himself at roadblock set up near Tulkarm following an intelligence tip. A second intended suicide terrorist was also killed in the blast as well as the taxi driver and a third passenger. Three soldiers and seven Palestinians were wounded.

Jan 19, 2006 - Thirty-one people were wounded in a suicide bombing in a shawarma restaurant near the old central bus station in Tel Aviv. The Jerusalem Battalions of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

Mar 30, 2006 - Four people were killed when a suicide bomber hitchhiker disguised as an ultra-Orthodox yeshiva student detonated his explosive device in a private vehicle near the entrance to Kedumim. (Ed--left unsaid is that the four unfortunate people picked him up because they thought he was a young guy hitchhiking home.)

Apr 17, 2006 - Eleven people were killed and over 60 wounded in a suicide bombing during the Passover holiday near the old central bus station in Tel Aviv, at the Rosh Ha'ir shawarma restaurant, site of the Jan 19 bombing. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

Jan 29, 2007 - Three employees of a bakery in the southern city of Eilat were killed in a suicide bombing. The Islamic Jihad and the Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack.

Feb 4, 2008 - Lyubov Razdolskaya, 73, of Dimona was killed and 38 wounded - Razdolskaya's husband critically - in a terror attack carried out by a suicide bomber at a shopping center in Dimona. A police officer shot and killed a second terrorist before he detonated his explosive belt. A Hamas statement from Gaza praised the attack, calling it an "heroic act".

Then there's the "primitive home-made rockets" lie that the Palestine Pimps keep circulating.

The technical difference between a "rocket" and a "missile" is that the former doesn't have a guidance system and the latter does. And don't think for a minute that Hamas and their sub-contractors aren't working on a way to put guidance systems into their Kassams.

So a lot of the missiles now are Grads and Katyushas. Both are fairly advanced, modern weaponry by anyone's standards. The fact that we in Israel don't have more fatalities says more about our dedication to bomb shelters, classrooms in bomb shelters, 'safe rooms' in individual homes and 'safe shelters' for children to play in.

Second, the Kassam has advanced beyond the "primitive home-made rocket" stage and now is a sophisticated, albeit sans GPS (for the moment,bli neder) rocket that is a killer. Ask the families of the dead.

And the NYT's blithely accepts the Egyptian journalist's claims without ever investigating them or even noting that 4,548 rockets, even if they're near misses instead of fatalities, is a form of lethal terrorism which makes normal life impossible. This is no different from the London Blitz, except that it's rockets instead of bombs. The Brits learned to sleep in the Tube at night; we've learned in the South to live underground as much as possible. We each deal with murderous fascism as best we can, and go on fighting for our survival.

And the Palestinians complain about checkpoints?!!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

What Was Good In Cairo

I suspect I'm going to run against the current here when I say that overall, Obama's speech was a good speech. As an Israeli, I have my reservations about where this is going, and like the State Department and Shas, I too have my red lines.

But let's not go there first. "Don't borrow trouble" as the maxim goes. Let's look at what he said instead of what we're afraid he's going to do. Too many of today's writers, both professional and amateur, have waxed hysterical over Obama's supposed betrayal of Israel.

It hasn't happened yet. Calm down.

What are we afraid he's going to do? Simple. We're afraid he's going to throw us under the bus. He still might, but I'm betting that if he does it will be due to his own naivete. That won't be much comfort when we're all radioactive ashes, but let's make sure it doesn't come to that.

Let's look at what Obama said that was positive:

Islam, like its sister faiths, respects human rights and those attributes have been lost in the rhetoric and carnage of Islamic extremism. Terrorists are still fair game, to be hunted down and destroyed because "[W]e reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women and children..."

He went directly to Palestinian jihad: "Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed...It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered."

Thank you. Israelis have been trying to make that point to CNN and Al Beeb for years.

He made the point that the Arab League's Take-It-Or-Go-To-Hell peace initiative is an excellent starting point for negotiations, not a diktat to be shoved down Israel's throat.

He made the point that the Arab world needs to recognize Israel's legitimacy as a Jewish state. He didn't use that exact phrase, but clearly the call for Arab countries to recognize Israel as a member of the family of nations, coupled with the historically incorrect but still evocative Jewish-homeland-from-historic-tragedy narrative made it clear he subscribes to a JEWISH state.

We did not get a Jewish nation as a consolation prize for the Holocaust, which is how the antiSemites, the Arab Street and historically challenged spin it these days. We got a Jewish state because we LIVED here, died redeeming this land from desert and malarial swamp, helped fight the Turks, and were promised our independence. The Holocaust refugees came later. Needless to say, they could have come with their families and lives intact but for the double-dealing of the British, who suddenly discovered that the intersection of Arab oil and British political interests was worth of price of a few million dead Jews.

Obama, in a direct slap at Tehran's president, said flat-out that Holocaust denial is baseless, hateful and ignorant. He put on the record that persecution of Jews, in large part because we were a diaspora minority with no power, was indulged in by the world's nations for centuries.

He spoke to Hamas, Hezbollah and other playing-at-democracy gamesters: elections alone don't make a democracy. I personally am tired of the "But Hamas was democratically elected...." line I hear from the willfully ignorant and apologists-for-terror. No one who stages a coup d'etat after the election, seizes all the guns, assasinates the opposition, and clamps down on all freedoms has any claim to legitimacy.

Obama addressed the presence of U.S. forces in the Middle East. And he laid the cause out plainly: "We did not go by choice. We went because of necessity. I'm aware that there's still some who would question or even justify the offense of 9/11. But let us be clear. Al Qaida killed nearly 3,000 people on that day."

Thank you, and all you conspiracy nuts who keep insisting, regardless of the forensic evidence to the contrary, that the Jews blew up the Twin Towers in some Evil Mossad Plot--please make an appointment with a therapist, because you are seriously delusional.

He also noted, "Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible." Uh, yes--diplomacy is great but if we have to we'll bomb the shit out of you. Are you listening, Iran?

He reiterated America's unbreakable bond with Israel: "America's strong bonds with Israel are well-known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied. "

We'll see how unbreakable this bond is in the near future, methinks.

He told the Arab states to quit using the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a pretext to keep their own people impoverished and disenfranchised.

But what I liked the best was two things.

First, his courtesy. Americans abroad don't have a good reputation for courtesy. They don't know the language, they don't know the customs, and their insecurities make them loud and obnoxious at times. "The Ugly American" was a book about just that, although the title character broke that mold.

Obama had the courtesy to address his audience in Arabic, to quote from the Quran, and to stop first in Saudi Arabia, the fountainhead of Islam, to "consult" with one of the leading figures of Islam today.

He didn't apologize. He didn't bow. But he did go armed with knowledge, respect and courtesy that I think served him well.

I also liked his appeal to our common humanity:

All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart or whether we commit ourselves to an effort, a sustained effort to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children and to respect the dignity of all human beings.

There is one rule that lies at the heart of every religion, that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

This truth transcends nations and peoples, a belief that isn't new, that isn't black or white or brown, that isn't Christian or Muslim or Jew. It's a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization and that still beats in the hearts of billions around the world. It's a faith in other people. And it's what brought me here today.

We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written. The Holy Quran tells us, Mankind, we have created you male and a female. And we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another.

The Talmud tells us, The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.

The Holy Bible tells us, Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God's vision. Now that must be our work here on Earth.

Thank you. And may God's peace be upon you.


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