Thursday, February 11, 2016

Meryl Streep ist eine afrikanische

But when an Egyptian reporter questioned her knowledge of Arab and North Africa films, Streep went off the deep end.
"I've played a lot of different people from a lot of different cultures," Streep stated.
"There is a core of humanity that travels right through every culture, and after all, we're all from Africa originally," she added. "Berliners, we're all Africans really."

Can there be worse than Arab governments? Yes, those governments set up by NATO

US media did not cover the story of the fist-fights in the US-sponsored Libyan parliament.  The country is by far the worse example of governance anymore.  Did you read about the Libyans cheering for Qadhdhafi at a Cairo event last week?  Only the US and its military intervention can make people be nostalgic for the rule of grotesque tyrants.  

Thomas Friedman is partly bad and partly...just dumb, to be fair to him

"Hamas devoted all its resources to digging tunnels to attack Israelis from Gaza rather than turning Gaza into Singapore".  Yes, Gaza under siege and occupation, and prevented from importing building materials and pasta, and with the Israeli army determining the caloric intake of its residents, could have been a Singapore.  

How the New York Times can tell a good Muslim cleric from a bad Muslim cleric

"sharing pictures of his family on his popular Instagram account, driving a BMW and playing indoor soccer with news photographers and cultural figures."

Zionist hierarchies of hate

From Basim: ""Don't want to hire an Arab for security reasons?"             

The leaflet appears to show different pricing levels based on the ethnic origin of cleaners, with an African cleaner rated at 49 shekels ($12.60; £8.70); while an East European cleaner is priced at 52 shekels without Israeli citizenship and 69 shekels ($17.75; £12.25) with full documentation."

US allies and ISIS

"Ahead of Pakistan’s 2014 operation in North Waziristan, scores, even hundreds, of foreign fighters left the tribal areas to fight against President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Tribesmen and Taliban members from the area say fighters traveled to Quetta, and then flew to Qatar. There they received new passports and passage to Turkey, from where they could cross into Syria." "It is just another reminder of Pakistan’s central involvement in creating and managing violent jihadist groups,"

British media most right-wing & biased in Europe

"The British press is regarded as the most "right-wing" and "biased" in Europe, according to new research by YouGov."

The quality of Zionist discourse

"A Likud lawmaker was met with derision in the Knesset plenum, after saying that that there was no such thing as a Palestinian people, since Arabic doesn't have the consonant "P." "While the lawmaker was correct in saying that Arabic doesn't have a "P" sound, the word for "Palestine" in Arabic begins with the consonant "F," the same as in Hebrew, and is pronounced: "Falastin." "

Netanyahu's wife abused her housekeeping staff

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife mistreated and abused a former member of her housekeeping staff, a court ruled Wednesday, awarding the man $42,000 in damages in a decision that dealt an embarrassing blow to the country's first family." "Naftali has also claimed that Sara Netanyahu derided his ethnicity when he ordered food for them in a hotel, implying that his Middle Eastern background was somehow uncouth." (thanks Amir)

The spread of atheism in the Arab world: Mocking religion

One of the refreshing phenomenon in the Arab world, especially on social media, is that there is now room for people to mock religion and mock clerics without fearing retribution.  The trend is spreading. This popular Arabic FB page specializes in mocking clerics.

This is the Saudi version of Islam

This Saudi Wahhabi professor of religion wrote the forward to this book, titled: "The Ideal Method to Deliver the news of Your Marriage to Your First Wife".  Kid you not.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I don't think he should do humor: he should stick to doing what he does best: writing about human rights without really offending either Israel or US

Orwell redux: UAE creates "Ministry of Happiness." You WILL be happy--keep your mouth shut.

Bernie Sanders again

I really disagree with the gist of the article: it is not that Sanders was good on Palestine and then became bad. He has been constantly bad (either silent or verbally bad).  

I swear: only a month ago the WP and other papers were writing that Russian military intervention had no impact whatsoever

"U.S. officials: Russian airstrikes have changed "calculus completely" in Syria".

Meet the new Minister of Happiness of the UAE

Canadian gender-segregated school in Saudi Arabia

"Algonquin College is studying the feasibility of opening a women-only campus in Saudi Arabia after coming under fire from faculty members and the premier of Ontario for operating a campus just for men."

Western human rights organizations: how cute

"Human rights groups are smuggling thumb drives with movies, TV shows and information into North Korea." Yes, very cute and funny.  Would you also smuggle some of those flash drives to Saudi Arabia and other client dictatorships of the US? Let me see you do that.

You can't say there is no freedom of expression in Saudi Arabia

The sign says: "I plead with the Crown Prince of the Crown Prince to let me kiss his nose".  I am not making this up. He also left a phone number.

Former Foreign Minister of Qatar brags about Qatari democracy

Watch here.

Silly gimmicks from UAE

“It’s a historical decision,” said Saeed Al Nazari, an Emirati who started a UAE chapter of the Global Happiness Organisation, a non-profit body that aims to promote happiness worldwide. Mr Al Nazari – whose first name, aptly, means happy – said the move was a natural progression resulting from the Government’s focus on people’s satisfaction. Mr Al Nazari said the onus also fell on individuals to work towards happiness

“I always thought I was walking toward happiness, but now I know I am walking happily.” (thanks Basim)

Who will commit the gravest war crimes if elected

"The Republican candidates have seemingly been competing with one another over who would commit the gravest war crimes if elected. In recent months, one candidate or another has promised to waterboard, do a “helluva lot worse than waterboarding,” repopulate Guantánamo, engage in wars of aggression, kill families of suspected terrorists, and “carpet bomb” Middle Eastern countries until we find out if “sand can glow in the dark.” "

Before you celebrate her as a revolutionary icon

"Beyonce Concert in Tel Aviv, Israel. August 3, 2016"

Saudi regime as a regional hegemon

"Yet Riyadh seems to believe it has become some kind of new superpower overnight which is astonishing since it has done nothing at all during the past 60 years to resolve the injustice of the Palestine-Israel conflict and has always avoided any military intervention in that situation which one would have thought should be dear to its Arab and Moslem heart."

A history of the American University of Beirut

I highly recommend the book by Betty Anderson on the American University of Beirut: Arab Nationalism and Liberal Education, published by the University of Texas Press.  I only think that one chapter is missing about repression of students' rights over the decades by the administration, and the role of the university during the Cold War.  

The Israeli prime minister refers to Arabs and Africans as "wild beasts": imagine the uproar if an Arab were to say that

"Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to build a 15ft fence to surround the whole of Israel, saying that the country must “protect itself from wild beasts”. The Israeli Prime Minister appeared to use the extraordinary phrase – which has also been translated as “predators” – to describe both Palestinians and the people of neighbouring Arab states." (thanks Amir)

Bernie Sanders on Palestine from 1988: the headline is misleading, by the way

Notice that even back then, when he had far less political restraints, he stuck to the line of the Israeli lobby with very little deviations, unless you count his call for King Husayn to act as a courageous move.  And notice how soft his words are regarding Israeli killings, and notice that he talks about security for Israel constantly, while the Palestinian lives deserve little attention. And notice that he gets defensive about Israel quickly and equates rhetoric about Israel in Arab regimes media with the murder of Palestinian children by Israeli soldiers.  And notice that his formula for a solution is exactly the formula of the Israeli lobby.  Would Sanders be better than Hillary on foreign policy? Well, knowing how the Democratic Party machine works, if he were to become the nominee (a big if, as Americans say), he would be supplied with the same Israeli lobby-tied "experts" to ensure that he would stay the course.  And remember that his favorite Arab is the King of Jordan. Some would say that he would be better on domestic politics than Hillary, and that is certain.  There are prescribed limits for change in the American political system, and the two parties with their archaic system of electoral choice ensured that no one can come and surprise their historic dominance.

This is the menu of a Syrian restaurant (Joury) in Amman

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Tyrants attract

"A Qatari regime propagandist opines on the Saudi/Qatari role in Syrian"

"This is a problem for Saudi and Qatar as they have massively invested into Syria via the moderate opposition as their surrogate on the ground," said Krieg, who also serves as a consultant to the Qatari armed forces." (thanks Basim)

Look how biased the New York Times is in reporting about Bernie Sanders? The empire is nervous

"while Mr. Sanders embraces a more dovish approach as the world seems to be getting more dangerous and complex."

Will Western media ever admit this? The plight of ISIS after Russian military intervention?

There is no question that Russia's intervention helped to prop up the lousy Syrian regime, and to cause advances for its troops, but could it be denied that Russian bombing has certainly weakened the reach of ISIS and has has especially been effective in disrupting the fuel convoys and sales of oil by ISIS?  

This is how Western media report battlefield developments in Syria

If Syrian rebels are advancing and if their bombs are falling over "government-held areas", this is treated as good news and great news for peace and democracy in Syria. But when regime troops advance, it is presented as a humanitarian crisis which requires not only Western assistance but urgent Western missiles and rockets.  And the Western correspondents in Beirut will always find the convenient Syrian to offer them pleas for Western military support: "The few Syrians who had made it to Turkey — because of their critical injuries — expressed shock that the United States, which has called for the removal of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, was not responding more concertedly, either militarily or diplomatically."

What Anne Barnard left out from the UN report on Syria

"The wrangling was juxtaposed uneasily with the release of a report by the four-member United Nations Commission of Inquiry, which diplomats view as an authoritative record of human rights developments in Syria, saying that the government of Mr. Assad had mounted a “systematic and widespread attack” on civilians.  The panel cited the arrests of tens of thousands of people who had been sent to interrogation centers and prisons, where many were tortured to death or left to die of their injuries, as part of a broader campaign of “murder, rape or other forms of sexual violence, torture, imprisonment, enforced disappearance and other inhuman acts.”"  She left out, of course, that Syrian rebels were also accused of war crimes. How dishonest and unprofessional this is.

Staples of Israeli propaganda in the US

One of the staples of Israeli propaganda in the US is to stress the point: that there are indeed token Arabs in the Israeli Knesset.  Left unmentioned are the restraints under which the token Arab MPs operate, and what befall those who were seen as going too far in taking seriously the false promises of Israeli non-democracy.  Here is an Arab MP: make sure to include that picture on posters prepared by Israeli embassy in DC to distribute to chapters of the Israeli lobby on US college campuses.

If this is what Spring looks like, better prepare your umbrellas

Abdulkhaleq Abdulla (@Abdulkhaleq_UAE)
UAE massive government restructuring and Saudi Arabia national reform program, amount to top down Gulf Spring of a sort but a Khaleeji way

severe exhaustion can lead to this type of false confession

"Although hard to fathom, false confessions happen surprisingly often; they are thought to play a role in up to a quarter of wrongful convictions in the US, according to the campaign group the Innocence Project." "Now a study has shed more light on how easily severe exhaustion can lead to this type of false confession." "It might seem obvious that people who are dead tired can make stupid decisions – but there is a long history of police and army interrogators using sleep deprivation as an interview technique." (thanks Amir)

Carnegie's apologia for the Sisi coup

"in addition to the Muslim Brotherhood’s own jarringly clumsy political touch, left the military seeing no choice but to assume the task it had wished to avoid all along: ruling and governing at the same time. Indeed, in July 2013, when Sisi declared that Morsi was no longer president, Egypt’s prospects looked dim: the economy was flirting with disaster (foreign currency reserves were less than three months’ worth of imports), society was deeply polarized (with the president’s proponents and opponents frequently engaged in street battles), the Sinai Peninsula was rocked by terrorist attacks, and neighboring countries were imploding. To the military, the only option seemed to be to rescuing the country from catastrophic collapse by imposing order, whatever the cost."

Monday, February 08, 2016

How to improve American football: a plan of revisions

Having watched the first Super Bowl (I first spelled it Super Ball) ever (I think it was my second but my wife, Michele--a fanatic fan of Kansas City team--does not agree because she said that I watched one with an IPad in hand, which does not count for her), I have a few suggestions to improve the game for players and for spectators:
1) Eliminate the weirdly shaped ball and get a normal football.
2) According to the new rules, players can compete for the ball but without any physical contact of any kind. That would be better for the health of the players in retirement.
3) Eliminate the association between the game and patriotism.
4) Eliminate the association between the game and religion: Yesterday, Manning suggested that his team's victory was purely due to God's intervention on his side. And what makes you think that God understands the rules of the game to follow it that closely?
5) End once and for all the interruptions in the game. It is so slow and they stop the clock every minute. That makes it very boring. Give them two hours to play, but without any interruption whatsoever. If people violate the rules, they can be punished later.
6) We don't need to see the wealthy and famous as they watch the game.
7) End the gender segregation in the game.
8) Please eliminate cheerleaders. It is so unnecessary and stupid and seems to belong to an era decades before the women's movement.
9) to end the worship of the sports figure and the crazy intense competition for teams and between them, pay players the minimum wage, and not one cent more.

Sisi republic

Please let me know if Western academics are planning to sign petition for the non-Italian victims of the Sisi republic. Thanks.

New Ministries in UAE

Sheikh Mo of Dubai announced new ministries in UAE: Ministry of polygamy, ministry of racial discrimination, ministry for the mistreatment of domestic workers, ministry for sexual exploitation of women, and ministry for the rationalization of monopolization of oil wealth by British-designated ruling dynasties. 

Here, Rafiq Hariri is seen working for the independence of Lebanon from Syrian hegemony

This won't be on the agenda of Beirut office of Human Rights Watch

Hariri family posted signs all over Sidon asking: How is Sidon?  People circulated photoshopped version of the poster but with answers to the situation in Sidon.  The Lebanese militia of Intelligence Branch (run by US and Saudi intelligence) went and stormed into the house of a Lebanese artist and accused him of "distorting pictures".  I am not making this up. Watch this. 

Gloria Steinem wants you to support the women to the left of the picture for pressing for women's rights worldwide

This US "expert" on Islamic groups believes that Al-Qa`idah videos should be aired and circulated without any qualification

Let me guess: this person would not be calling for the release and distribution of videos by Al-Qa`idah which feature "confessions" by American or Israeli soldiers in captivity.  But he is fully in favor of the release of propaganda videos by Al-Qa`idah if the prisoners are enemies of US and Israel. I get it. He is consistently inconsistent.
Phillip Smyth (@PhillipSmyth)
Incredible work! @carolmalouf's much awaited interview with captured Lebanese Hizballah members taken in Rif Halab.

The grotesque regime of Asad in Syria

Al-Mayadin has revealed that Hafidh Al-Asad had met in secret with Bashir Gemayel.  Let the supporters of the Syrian regime attempt to defend this one.