The Sand Monkey has an interesting bit on an outbreak of camel syphlis in Saudi Arabia.
Yesterday a friend of mine told me a really funny/disturbing story. Apparently she had this friend who works for a UN sponserd orgnaization in Saudi, and who was working on getting the Saudis to grant approval for government-sponserd dirstribution to sexual contraceptives in order to combat STD's in Saudi. The Saudis rejected on the grounds that Saudis don't need STD protection, because if anyone engages in STD causing sexual intercourse, it is the foreigners who live there.I think we are seeing here another unfortunate effect of Tribalism. Of course the Saudis look at it differently. Camels solve the promiscuous women problem.
So her friend, in order to prove otherwise, did a study on camels to see how many of them have syphlis (I am not joking). The study results showed that 20% of saudi camels do have syphlis, which can only be transmitted from man-on-camel sex.
Which reminds me of the Somali guy recently forced to marry a goat for doing the unspeakable with the goat.
Saturday, September 30, 2006
The Sand Monkey has an interesting bit on an outbreak of camel syphlis in Saudi Arabia.
We are still paying for the Roman hatred of the Zionists.
Suggested by this.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/30/2006 12:37:00 AM
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Commenter Paul pointed me to this video at Harry's Place. I haven't checked it all out but the start is very good.
It is a look at the leftist support for Middle Eastern Tribalism. Or as the guy in the video put it: "We are all Hizballah now". i.e. a repudiation of all the left stands for (except for the overthrow of the established order). The Soviet Union is gone and the left needs a new champion.
Harry's Place belongs to the Euston Manifesto left.
Even if you don't have broadband the comments are interesting. The commenters include a number of Trots and a sprinkling of Stalinists. A viewpoint rarely represented in America. We usually get leftists totaly ignorant of bygone leftist theology.
Update: 28 Sept '06 1936z
I have just finished watching the whole set of four. Powerful stuff. If you have a slow connection just watch Part IV.
Update: 03 Oct. '06 0000z
It appears the direct link to Harry's Place is not working. Try this link to the archives and scroll down to 27 Sept.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
In California the Democrats are hoping that hatred of Bush will defeat Arnold Schwarzenegger's run for re-election. However, Phil Angelides, Arnold's Democratic opponent, is in big trouble with the voters.
Of concern for Angelides supporters were results showing that just 61 percent of Democrats supported their candidate for the state's highest office. So there you have it. No plan for better government. No plan for improving the schools. No plan for reducing prison spending. No plan for lowering taxes. Hate Bush.
Democrats are the strongest party in California, making it difficult for a Republican to win state elections without support from independents and Democrats.
The Field Poll, which had a sampling error of plus or minus 4.3 percent, also showed a strong gender gap among those surveyed, with 51 of men favoring Schwarzenegger, the star of the "Terminator" films and a former bodybuilding champion, against 29 percent favoring Angelides.
Among women surveyed, however, 39 percent favored Angelides compared to 36 percent for Schwarzenegger ahead of the November election.
In an interview this week, Angelides said he was hoping a wave of sentiment against President George W. Bush would help him overtake Schwarzenegger and win the November election.
Evidently hating Bush does not appear to be a winning electoral strategy. What a surprise.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/27/2006 02:29:00 PM
By now every one recognizes thtat air marshalls can't be every where and that the best defence of air travel is the citizens actually travelling.
Some folks still can't make the connection. Pennsylvania is having a gun control debate.
HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Pennsylvania lawmakers held a special session on Tuesday to discuss 94 initiatives to tighten the state's relatively loose gun controls in an effort to reduce gun crime. Leaving the citizens of New York defenceless against better armed criminals. Criminals always get guns if they want them. Honest citizens in gun control regimes have a tougher time.
The two-day meeting was attended by the mayors of New York and Trenton, New Jersey, who believe their cities' crime rates are affected by the laxer rules in Pennsylvania. The state has one of the strongest pro-gun lobbies in the country.
"What happens in Pennsylvania or any other state doesn't stay in Pennsylvania or any other state," New York's Michael Bloomberg told a news conference. "We can't fight illegal guns from behind state lines." He said 85 percent of the guns used by criminals in New York originated outside the city.
Say didn't Flight 93 go down in Pennsylvania? Why can't those folks make the connection? Self defence is pretty much defacto illegal in Britain and crime is way up. They rounded up the guns in Australia and gun crime is on the rise. It appears that the best defence against armed criminals is armed citizens.
I always wondered why if you can't trust citizens to be armed you could trust them with the vote?
Posted by M. Simon at 9/27/2006 02:08:00 PM
We need a war on Tribalism and uncivilized behavior.
Savage behavior must once again become uncouth.
Pass it on.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/27/2006 02:41:00 AM
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Posted by M. Simon at 9/26/2006 11:22:00 PM
Corpses in the water;
Across the mountain,
Corpses heaped on the field;
I shall die only for the Emperor,
I shall never look back.
Japanese Popular Song: Umi Yukaba
The war against Islamofascism is not the first time we in America have faced enemies who loved death more than life. Honor more than victory. We have faced such enemies every time we have faced one of the oldest human cultures on earth. Tribalism.
What we call western civilization is really a series of attempts to get past tribalism and move towards universalism. The Jews with their universal laws (good for Jews and gentiles - the Jews of course were chosen to be burdened with more laws than the gentiles). The laws are (taken from this Wiki):
The seven laws (commonly rendered as Sheva Mitzvot Shel Bnei Noach) are:
1. Avodah zarah - Do not worship false gods.
The universe is a unity. Since it is a unity there can be only one Maker. Tribal gods are null and void. Unity for a nation then becomes possible. Egypt solved the unity problem by incorporating local gods into their religion. They would find in their pantheon a god or goddess that was similar and graft the tribal god to it. The Romans pretty much took the Greek gods wholesale. Eventually Christianity spread the Jewish idea of the unity of the universe and the pagan gods and goddesses were junked. Still the Catholic Church will, if the demand is great enough, incorporate tribal gods disguised as saints.
2. Shefichat damim - Do not murder.
What is special about this law is that it was applied not just within the tribe, but universally.
3. Gezel - Do not steal (or kidnap).
Again what is special about this law is that it was applied not just within the tribe, but universally. There is no such thing as fair game for theft, kidnap, and plunder.
4. Gilui arayot - Do not be sexually immoral (forbidden sexual acts are traditionally interpreted to include incest, bestiality, male homosexual sex acts, i.e. sodomy, and adultery.)
The acts are still forbidden, but the prosecutorial zeal is not what it once was. Except for incest and adult-child sexual relations. That Jesus guy may have had something to do with this. Plus the fact that the status of women has risen from that of property (goats as one of my commenters likes) to people.
5. Birkat Hashem - Do not "bless God" euphemistically referring to blasphemy.
Again the act is still forbidden, but the prosecutorial zeal is not what it once was. Even among the devout, at least in the current western practice.
6. Ever min ha-chai - Do not eat any flesh that was torn from the body of a living animal (given to Noah and traditionally interpreted as a prohibition of cruelty towards animals)
This gives the idea that unnecessary cruelty is not a positive virtue. You can still eat your meat, but the kill must be with as little suffering as possible.
7. Dinim - Set up a system of honest, effective courts, police and laws.
Here is a truly novel idea. Your brother in law or cousin doesn't get special treatment. Every one is equal under the law.
The Talmud also states: "Righteous people of all nations have a share in the world to come" (Sanhedrin 105a). Any non-Jew who lives according to these laws is regarded as one of "the righteous among the gentiles". Maimonides states that this refers to those who have acquired knowledge of God and act in accordance with the Noahide laws.
In the west even the most devout secularist adheres to these laws as currently practiced. Exceping for some on the left who wish to devolve back to a state of tribalism in the name of multi-culturalism where certain tribes are to be given special favor. Everyone is not equal under the law. Of course this destroys the unity of a nation and would reduce the nation state to groups of warring factions when the big advantage of the nation is that it eliminates open warfare within a nation thus making the nation more economically advantaged and stronger morally and militarily. United we stand... and all that.
Which is a long lead up to this very interesting look at tribalism in the Middle East.
To understand the nature of the enemy in the Middle East and to evaluate the prospects for democracy and peace, we need to extend our gaze not five years into the past, but five hundred and even five thousand.It looks like what we are confronting is a very old form of human organization. The problem with this type of organization is that the justice it provides is not universal. The in tribe gets a measure of justice. The out tribes get the leavings.
I've spent the last four years writing two books about Alexander the Great's campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, 331-327 B.C. What has struck me in the research is the dead-ringer parallels between that ancient East-West clash and the modern ones the U.S. is fighting today — despite the fact that Alexander was pre-Christian and his enemies were pre-Islamic.
What history seems to be telling us is that the quality that most defines our Eastern adversaries, then and now, is neither religion nor extremism nor "Islamo-fascism," but something much older and more fundamental.
Extremist Islam is merely an overlay (and a recent one at that) atop the primal, unchanging mind-set of the East, which is tribalism, and its constituent individual, the tribesman.
Tribalism and the tribal mind-set are what the West is up against in Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, the Iraqi insurgency, the Sunni and Shiite militias, and the Taliban.
What exactly is the tribal mind-set? It derives from that most ancient of social organizations, whose virtues are obedience, fidelity, warrior pride, respect for ancestors, hostility to outsiders and willingness to lay down one's life for the cause/faith/group. The tribe's ideal leader is closer to Tony Soprano than to FDR and its social mores are more like those of Geronimo's Apaches than the city council of Scarsdale or Shepherd's Bush.The citizen is an altogether different animal from the member of a tribe. He lives by a diffeent set of rules. A set of rules the tribalist considers unmanly and without honor. The civilized man rates peace and prosperity higher than honor. Which is not the same as being without honor. A mistake tribalists have been making about the democratically civilized for a very long time. Because the civilized man will allow himself to be dishonored for the sake of peace the tribal man assumes that the civilized man is weak. In fact the civilized man can be more brutal than the tribalist when the civilized man goes into the honor mode. When in that mode it is not just tit for tat revenge he seeks, but the complete destruction of the disturbers of his peace.
Can the tribal mind embrace democracy? Consider the contrast between the tribesman and the citizen:
A citizen is an autonomous individual. A citizen is free. A citizen possesses the capacity to evaluate the facts and prospects of his world and to make decisions guided by his own conscience, uncoerced by authority. A congress of citizens acting in free elections determines the political course of a democratic community.
The value of the civilized man is the value of the merchant who will take small humiliations for the sake of profit. For the tribalist no amount of profit is worth any humiliation. Which is why merchants and bankers are so despised by the tribalist.
A citizen prizes his freedom; therefore he grants it to others. He is willing to respect the rights of minorities within the community, so that his own rights will be shielded when he finds himself in the minority.Civilization is a fragile thing because the lure of tribalism is always there. Socialism's appeal is that the government will take care of you in the way that being a member of a tribe did. The Nazis' appeal was to the greater German tribe. Sadly in America the Democrat Party is the Party where tribes gather; they just don't get civilization. Civilization works by encouraging the tribes to make the tribal identity secondary.
The tribesman doesn't see it that way. Within the fixed hierarchy of the tribe, disagreement is not dissent (and thus to be tolerated) but treachery, even heresy, which must be ruthlessly expunged. The tribe exists for itself alone. It is perpetually at war with all other tribes, even of its own race and religion.
The tribesman deals in absolutes. One is either "of blood" or not. The enemy spy can infiltrate the tribal network no more than a prison guard can worm his way into the Aryan Brotherhood. The tribe recognizes its own. It expels (or beheads) the alien. The tribe cannot be negotiated with. "Good faith" applies only within the pale, never beyond.
The tribesman does not operate by a body of civil law but by a code of honor. If he receives a wrong, he does not seek redress. He wants revenge. The taking of revenge is a virtue in tribal eyes, called badal in the Pathan code of nangwali. A man who does not take revenge is not a man. Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and the sectarian militias of Iraq are not in the war business, they are in the revenge business. The revenge-seeker cannot be negotiated with because his intent is bound up with honor. It is an absolute.
Perhaps the most telling difference between the citizen and the tribesman lies in their views of the Other. The citizen embraces multiplicity; to him, the melting pot produces richness and cultural diversity. To the tribesman, the alien is not even given the dignity of being a human being; he is a gentile, an infidel, a demon.
The tribesman grants justice within the tribe. In his internal councils, empathy, humor and compassion may prevail. Outside the tribe? Forget it.
I'm going to be looking into this topic further over time. The number one question is how the tribalist can be converted either over time or by generational change to more universal values.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
The civilized man pursues happiness. The tribalist pursues narrow justice.
The number one problem for the civilized and the tribalized alike is mirror imaging.
Update: 26 Sept '06 1651z
Commenter Paul noted in the comments this very interesting piece by a libertarian anthropologist: Observations on Arabs
Update: 27 Sept '06 1803z
Clayton Cramer comments.
Update: 30 Sept '06 0059z
Elder of Zion and Liberty ans Justice and Infidel Bloggers Alliance comment.
Update: 02 Oct. '06 0807z
Captain's Quarters discusses Afghan tribalism. The comments are especially good. See the one by Dale in Atlanta.
Update: 16 Oct. '06 1405z
Israel Matzav has a good bit on tribalism in Gaza.
Cross Posted at Classical Values 01 April '08.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Reader Paul sent me this link to a letter to the American people by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.
Dear Americans:There is more. Read it all for it is good.
As I am visiting the United States for the second time representing free and democratic Iraq, I felt it my duty to give you an update on what has been achieved in Iraq over the past year and on the challenges that lie ahead.
The first thing I would like to convey is the gratitude of all Iraqis, who are fighting for a democratic government and a civil society, to the Americans.
Without your commitment, our struggle against despotism could not have made the progress that we have achieved. No expression of thanks could be enough for those who lost loved ones in Iraq. We feel your pain, we honor your sacrifice and we will never forget you.
To those of you who have family and friends in Iraq today, we say: Your sons and daughters are helping us through a historic transition. We will always remember the enormous sacrifice that America is making for Iraq.
Thanks to the United States, we are transforming Iraq from a country that was ruled by fear, repression and dictatorship into a country that is ruled by democracy and has the values of equality, tolerance, human rights and the rule of law at its heart.
April 9, 2003, the day of liberation, heralded a new era in the history of Iraq and the region. That day triggered a sequence of events that laid the foundation of a modern Iraq that is at peace with itself and the world.
All segments of Iraqi society have benefited from liberation. Under Saddam Hussein, the majority of the Sunni Arabs of Iraq were marginalized, Saddam and his gang were ruling in the name of this community. But in reality, the Sunni Arabs never had the chance to choose their representatives democratically and have a say about their future. Today, they have 58 deputies in Parliament, a vice president, a deputy prime minister and a speaker of Parliament; all were elected by the people of Iraq.
...The battle in Iraq today is not between the various communities. Their elected representatives have agreed on a government of national unity and on national reconciliation. Nor is it a battle between civilizations, as some have seen it.
It is a war "about civilization" as Prime Minister Tony Blair has phrased it so well - the conflict is between those who believe in having a civilization and those who don't believe in having one at all. As you no doubt already understand, we are fighting a terribly difficult war in Iraq. We are doing everything within our power to protect our people from this clear form of fascism that seduces them into civil war.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
The kind of culture we have is, in many ways, determined by biology. Take sexual mores. What they actually are is determined by the male to female ratio (M/F) in other words Demographics.
Many causes have been suggested for the rise of illegitimacy, including welfare dependency, an entrenched culture of poverty, the loss of industrial jobs, and economic frustration. But there is yet another explanation, one that is both surprising and surprisingly powerful: Illegitimacy and female-headed households are common wherever, as in the black inner city, a chronically low gender ratio exists.Which explains the "girls gone wild phenmenon". In colleges these days the sex ratio approaches 2/3 (M/F). So what we see is a game of musical beds.
The notion that sexual and marital behavior are connected to the balance of men and women dates back to the work of the sociologist Willard Waller, who studied U.S. courtship during the 1930s. Waller thought sexual relationships were governed by the principle of "least interest." The person who had less to lose-who was less in love, less dependent-exercised power over the other person, who was more willing to sacrifice to keep the relationship alive. The gender ratio figured in the least-interest equation because, if one person were in the minority, he or she had more alternative partners available. The minority party had less to lose if the relationship broke up and hence could make more demands.
Historical studies have turned up interesting examples of dyadic power. Italian women in nineteenth-century Rochester, New York, married sooner than their counterparts in Southern Italy and were more successful in resisting premarital sexual advances. A firm "no" did not hurt their chances of marrying well because they were greatly outnumbered by Italian immigrant males who were denied the alternative of WASP brides by nativist prejudice. The reverse was true in impoverished Southern Italy, where men were scarcer than women because of the overseas exodus. Hence they exercised greater dyadic power. So it is not bad morals that is hurting the black community. It is simply a lack of men. Demographics explains the 1920s and the "sexual revolution" of the 60s. So it is not a black problem. It is a human problem.
Sociologists Scott South and Katherine Trent's systematic study of late-twentieth-century data from 117 countries found much the same thing. Controlling for differences in socioeconomic development, women in low-gender-ratio nations consistently had lower rates of marriage and fertility and higher rates of divorce and illegitimacy. Given favorable sexual odds, it seems that men everywhere act like, and produce, bastards.
Black America, which has had the lowest gender ratio of any of the major U.S. ethnic groups for the past century and a half, is no exception. The difference begins at birth. The gender ratio for black newborns is typically about 102 or 103 males for every 100 females, as compared with 105 or 106 for whites. The higher mortality of black male children and young men causes the gap to widen with age. At ages 20 to 24, the black gender ratio is 97, the white 105. By ages 40 to 44, the black ratio is 86, the white 100.
In the case of the black community demographic problems are made worse by our laws and the way they are administered.
The gender ratio alone understates the extent of the problem. Young black urban men are far more likely than whites of comparable age to be unemployed, imprisoned, institutionalized, crippled, addicted, or otherwise bad bets as potential husbands. The post-civil rights era increase in interracial marriages has further contributed to the unavailability of black men, who take white wives twice as often as black women take white husbands.But there is more:
Dyadic power equals sexual leverage. Black women unwilling to engage in premarital sex are at a huge disadvantage in an already tight market. Black men know this and can easily exploit the situation. But such sexual opportunism increases the prospect of illegitimacy, and illegitimacy feeds the problems of poverty, unemployment, and violence that make the inner cities so dangerous.
But marriage and family formation are not simply a function of the raw gender ratio. To be eligible for marriage, a young man has to be in circulation, not locked away somewhere. Yet by 1995, one of every three black American men in their twenties, the prime age for marriage, was in prison, on probation, or on parole. By comparison, only about one black woman in 20 was in similar straits.So in effect our mass incaceration promotes dysfunctional families which promotes mass incarceration. Swell.
Let's look more closely at the numbers. On any given day in 1994, more than 787,000 black men in their twenties were under some form of criminal justice control. Of these, 306,000 were behind bars; 351,000 on probation; and 130,000 on parole. An unknown but not inconsiderable number were hiding from arrest warrants. The cost to taxpayers for the criminal justice control of these black men is more than $6 billion per year. Of course, those among them who are behind bars are not committing street crimes, which is the point Bob Dole was making. Indeed, some observers think that the mass incarceration of young black men is what is behind the decline in violent crime rates in the past five years. Other theorists have stressed the progressive aging of the baby boomers; a temporary (and soon-to-be-reversed) decline in the relative number of teenagers; a healthier economy; the stabilization of urban drug markets; more aggressive police tactics; the proliferation of trauma centers (which, by saving more gunshot victims, lowers the homicide rate); and the notion that the number of violent crimes has, in some neighborhoods, fallen below an epidemic "tipping point." None of these theories is exclusive of the others.
Yet even if mass incarceration turns out to be causally related to the recent decline in violent crime rates, we need to consider its long-term social costs. The doubling of the inmate population since 1985 has diverted dollars from education, particularly state-supported higher education. Inflation-adjusted funding per credit hour has eroded as penal outlays have increased, thereby diminishing young people's future employment (and hence marital) prospects.
Children whose parents are in jail have suffered. More than 60 percent of male inmates have children, legitimate or otherwise, and most of those children are under18. The absence of their fathers and whatever financial and emotional support they might have provided does not improve their life prospects. Neither do their parents' criminal records. Marc Mauer and Tracy Huling, who assembled the black prison numbers, have argued that young men who have done time are at an economic and marital disadvantage when released. In a sense, they take their bars with them. A prior criminal record reduces their chance of finding gainful employment, making them less attractive as marriage partners and less able to provide for their children.
The most subtle effect of the prison boom, however, has been the unintended lowering of the ratio of marriageable men to women, particularly, as we have seen, in the black community, where young men are less numerous to begin with. The smaller the ratio, the greater men's sexual bargaining power and hence the likelihood of illegitimacy and single-parent families, which are the root causes of violence and disorder in the inner city. The solution makes the problem circular.
What to do? Well for starters we could try to solve our drug problem by some method other than trying to police it. Which, if you look at alcohol prohibition, didn't work with that drug either.
On top of that we have turned some neighborhoods into war zones. Neighborhoods with high levels of violence increase drug use. Increased drug use brings the police. Police take away fathers and disrupt established territories for drug sellers. Such disruptions increase violence. Which increases the demand for drugs. Sounds like pouring gasoline on a fire to me.
Maybe with the the jihadists on our tail the drug war is a luxury we can no longer afford.
We have turned our inner cities into PTSD factories and then complain when the inhabitants there of self medicate for the problem. This is quite ironic because it turns out you don't catch drug addiction from drugs. Is Addiction Real?
You might as well say that insulin addiction is caused by insulin.
I note that even the NIDA now says that to become addicted you must have the right genetics and an environmental trigger. They say the environmental trigger is the drugs. However, it is pretty obvious that the real trigger is trauma. Dr. Lonnie Shavelson looked into that and his results are convincing and corroborated by other studies. Especially Dr. Raphael Mechoulam's look into PTSD and the Endocannabinoid System.
We are past time for a change. The trouble is that for the people as a whole our ignorance and misinformation out weighs our knowledge. Once that changes policies that work will inevitably follow.
From Beirut to the Beltway has a report on Nasserallah's latest pronouncements in Lebanon.
He said that in the past, whenever an Israeli bulldozer would enter, they attacked it and sent it back. Now, he says, the Israelis enter the country whenever they please. He warned against turning the Lebanese army into a unit to merely count the number of Israeli transgressions. The country's sovereignty is being violated now, and the government's political decision is not there. A pretext for what exactly? What is it Nasserallah fears? A resumption of a war that he won?
Nasrallah threatened that there is a limit to his patience, and so far he did not want to violate UNSC 1701 for fear Israel would use it as a pretext.
The commenters at "From Beirut..." tend to believe Nasserallah has lost touch with reality. I'm inclined to agree.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/24/2006 02:19:00 PM
Saturday, September 23, 2006
You have heard the rumors. Here is another one provided third hand by the French.
A French regional newspaper quoted a French secret service report on Saturday as saying that Saudi Arabia is convinced that al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden died of typhoid in Pakistan last month. I wonder if this is the October surprise the Dems are worried about and Karl Rove has been promising? Interesting name for the French Newspaper.
L'Est Republicain printed what it said was a copy of the report dated September 21 and said it was shown to President Jacques Chirac, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and France's interior and defense ministers on the same day.
The original article in French. If some one will post how to do a translation in the comments, I'll post it here to help those whose French is as bad as mine. I can barely order escargot. Which does me no good because I have no interest in eating escargot. Le beuf is probably good with lots of vin, but that is about it as far as my French goes.
Gateway Pundit has a roundup. (H/T Instapundit)
Here is a knowledgeable skeptic.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/23/2006 03:25:00 PM
Kesher talk had a piece a while back on Kinky Jews: Innovations in Jewish Continuity. In a later piece on the subject Kesher Talk's Van discusses the revival of Jewish burlesque. He quotes from a program on the Oyhoo festival:
The Big Apple's juiciest Jewesses strut their ample tuchuses in a bawdy burlesque revue for folks who like to keep their fantasies kosher. Featuring Little Brooklyn, Dottie Lux, Old Ma Femme, Rose Wood, Minnie Tonka, Allison Tilsen and Raven Snook. These most definitely aren't the girls you'd bring home to mother…although you'd definitely bring them home. I guess it is not just Kinky Friedman any more.
Of course there was, once upon a time, Vaudville where many Jewish commedians and strippers got their start. Gypsy Rose Lee among them. A Wiki bio of Gypsy's life is interesting. She was an intellectual's stripper. A bit that started out because she was so nerveous during her first stage experience and talked a lot to cover it up.
Needless to say Kinky Jews have their own www site and it seems that there are at least a few Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad doing burlesque these days. Their promo says they are big in the Catskills.
BTW thte video clip at Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad is very good. Especially the commediane who rants about her families' travails. It is not quite work safe. There are only a few dimly lit long shots of a woman twirling a number of hula hoops bare breasted.
All the links here are work safe. Some of those you find when doing further research on the subject may not be.
Program note: The Oyhoo Festival is sponsored by the UJA Federation of New York, The Jewish Life Network, The Jewish Community Relations Council, and the Jewish Week. Kink, it appears, is going mainstream. Who knew?
Posted by M. Simon at 9/23/2006 02:45:00 PM
According to the head of the Iranian Army the Zionist regime is collapsing.
The chief of staff of the Iranian army, General Atallah Salhi, said on Friday that Tehran has detected signs that the "Zionist regime" is falling apart. My guess is that it is the Iranian regime that is in difficulty and this little tirade is a cover up.
"Over the last few months we saw an offensive by the enemy against the Lebanese people and Hizbullah and we then saw signs that the Zionist regime is collapsing, and now we saw signs that the American leadership is collapsing," he said, warning that Iran can defeat Israel.
Salahi spoke during a parade in Tehran to mark "The Holy Defense Week" which marks the start of the Iran-Iraq war.
He addressed Israel and the United States saying: "We are not telling you to be scared of us, but to be careful and learn from your latest
Posted by M. Simon at 9/23/2006 01:21:00 PM
According to Al Jazeera Hamas has offered Israel a ten year truce instead of recognition.
In an attempt to solve the crisis that took all spheres of life and activity in the Palestine Autonomy, the radical Hamas group offered to Israel 10 years truce instead of recognition for the Israeli state, the web edition of Al Jazeera comments. On the other hand a spokesman of the Israeli cabinet underlined that there were several conditions for the restoration of the peace process in the region – recognition of Israel, stop of the violence and adherence to the previous agreements between the two states in the conflict. Palestinian government workers are revolting due to lack of pay. If the armed thugs don't get paid soon they will start freelancing. Plus graft and corruption is not nearly what it used to be due to the Cash Flow Jihad.
Muslims who buy into jihad are not allowed to offer truces unless they are at a significant military disadvantage. Which tells you all you need to know about this offer.
Israel is not buying it.
"Israel is not interested in that initiative", said government spokesman Avi Pazner, who reiterated that the demands presented by the Quarter (UN, Russia, European Union, and US) for the Middle East should be first met before starting talks with Hamas. I think they mean Quartet for Quarter.
The Quarter is pressuring the Arab Executive to recognize Tel Aviv and lay down its arms, which the Islamic movement has been refusing, since it considers Israel harmful for the Palestinian people.
The siege will need to continue a while longer.
Update: 23 Sept '06 1753z
It appears that the armed thugs are already out of control.
On the streets of Gaza, the tension has sharpened during the months of the boycott. Armed gunmen from different factions patrol street corners on alternating blocks in Gaza City with the roads linking southern Gaza to the north frequently closed down by armed gangs. And as businesses have shut down, the streets have grown eerily quiet.I have noted that Iran is predicting a Zionist collapse. I will repeat what I said in that post. It is projection.
With dwindling cash to live on, families have started feuding among themselves. The situation has set spouses at odds with one another and parents at odds with children, said Maha Reza, a university student in Gaza City.
“Everything has changed,” she said. “It’s the mentality and behavior. People are more fearful and more violent.”
Recognizing the growing crisis, Hamas wants to show flexibility in negotiations to set up the unity government as well as on some of the three international conditions for restoring aid to the Palestinian government.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/23/2006 01:56:00 AM
Friday, September 22, 2006
Commenter Shahar found this article that he says commenter Carol Herman might find interesting.
A Sudanese man is forced to 'marry' a goat
A Sudanese man has been forced to take a goat as his "wife", after he was caught having sex with the animal. Isn't romance great? Love and marriage. Still a revered tradition in some parts of the world.
The goat's owner, Mr Alifi, said he surprised the man with his goat and took him to a council of elders.
They ordered the man, Mr Tombe, to pay a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars ($50) to Mr Alifi.
"We have given him the goat, and as far as we know they are still together," Mr Alifi said.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/22/2006 11:07:00 PM
I haven't done the Pirelli Calendar for a couple of years so I think it is time to revisit that delightful confection of European sensibilities and artistic photography (naked women).
Here is a link to the latest calendar.
Captains Quarters says that according to an MSNBC banner flashing across his screen, the Palestinians will recognize Israel.
Surprisingly we have the Palestinians very own Mahmoud Abbas who says the Palestinians will recognize Israel.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the U.N. General Assembly Thursday that the planned national unity government will recognize Israel. On the other hand Hamas' very own Ismail Haniyeh the Palestinian Prime Minister says something else.
The Hamas-led Palestinian government that won elections in January has refused to recognize Israel, end violence, and honor past agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, which Abbas heads.
Abbas told the assembly’s annual ministerial meeting that he has recently sought to establish a government of national unity “that is consistent with international and Arab legitimacy and that responds to the demands of the key parties promoting Mideast peace -- recognition, ending violence and honoring past agreements.
“I would like to reaffirm that any future Palestinian government will commit to all the agreements that the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian National Authority have committed to,” he said.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh reiterated his opposition to recognizing Israel's right to exist and halting terrorism on Wednesday, but the comments were not enough to deter Prime Minister Ehud Olmert from his intention to meet in the near future with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. It doesn't look to me like there will be any Palestinian national unity government any time soon. They are lacking the main ingrediant. National unity.
As Abbas was meeting with US President George W. Bush in New York on Wednesday, Haniyeh addressed supporters in Gaza City, saying the Hamas-led government would not accept the conditions set by America and the rest of the Quartet for resuming financial aid to the Palestinians.
This is all about resumption of aid. No aid. No graft.
Abbas must be getting pretty desperate because he has been peddling the national unity line for months to no effect.
Let me add that the lack of cash is causing serious political problems for Hamas.
There appears to be a change in the Palestinian political balance of power: A survey conducted by the an-Najah National University in Nablus, published Sunday evening [17 Sept ed.], shows that if Palestinian elections were to take place today, the Fatah movement would solidly defeat Hamas.
Of 1,360 Palestinians polled, 38 percent would support a Fatah candidate in a theoretical presidential election, compared to 17.4 percent who would vote for a Hamas candidate.
Fatah would also sweep the board in general elections, with 35 percent of those polled indicating that they would vote for Fatah compared to only 20 percent would vote for Hamas.
This is a significant flip from the situation a year and a half ago, when Hamas beat Fatah by almost a 2:1 ratio in the January 2006 elections.
Nonetheless, 59 percent of Palestinians polled stated that advancing the elections would be tantamount to a political revolution against the Hamas government, as opposed to 33.3 percent who disagreed.
48 percent of those asked stated that the solution to the lack of salaries for government workers is the disbandment of the current government, while 25 percent believe that the workers need to accept the situation and return to work.Governments that ruin economies get to be very unpopular over time. Which pretty much says that there is no future in National Unity Palestinian Style.
Update: 22 Sept '06 0305z
I'm not the only one who thinks Abbas has something to sell.
During the meeting with Bush, Abbas was expected to “market” the new Palestinian unity government as a leadership that would recognize prior international decisions and would conform to Arab peace initiatives that recognize Israel. I'd say the goods were getting a little shopworn.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/22/2006 01:34:00 AM
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Rising gas prices increase demand and reduce supply. Falling gas prices reduce demand and increase supply. At least over the short term. It is caused by market psychology and results in market mania if the supply/demand curve is steep enough.
Here is how it works. If consumers expect prices to rise (s)he will purchace as much as possible as soon as possible in order to lock in as low a price as possible. Correspondingly producers have an incentive to hold as much supply off the market as possible becaues it will be worth more later.
With falling prices consumers will put off purchaces as long as possible because prices will be lower in the future. Correspondingly sellers will want to sell all they can before prices go lower.
The supply/demand curve for oil is steep. Thus there is no true equilibrium price. Small fluctuations appear as noise, but large fluctuations are greatly amplified. Prices will (temporarily) stablize when demand again equals supply. Then prices will slowly increase as new demand brings forth little supply because new supplies are no longer worth the effort. The producers already producing will produce as much as possible to try to match income with fixed expenses. With enough demand prices will start spiking and the cycle will repeat.
All these oscillations could be damped if drilling wells didn't take so long. Or if refineries could be built in six months. Any system that has high amplification factors and long lags will oscillate. Its the law.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/21/2006 03:14:00 AM
Israpundit was discussing the hard lessons learned from the Lebanese and subsequent Gaza withdrawals by Israel. I had this to say:
One positive result of the withdrawals and the subsequent wars is that for most Israelis the illusions are gone. It is hard to argue with reality.
BTW it is socialism (and its corresponding world view) that is at the core of the rot.
Socialism makes no allowance for irreconcilable differences, except when it comes to capitalists. It assumes that all disputes are fundamentally economic in nature and can be solved by an economic deal. Thus land for peace.
Given the deep roots of socialism in Israel, I think nothing else but the hard smacks of war ever had any chance of changing people's outlook.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/21/2006 02:40:00 AM
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Joe Katzman at Winds of Change notes that high oil prices are causing the Air Force to look at ways of capping the cost of jet fuel (basically high grade kerosene or diesel fuel).
Defence Industry Daily says that while combat simulators have their place, there is nothing like the real thing.
Another potential solution under investigation is the coal-to-jet-fuel initiative, similar to the efforts undertaken in World War II but requiring higher test fuels. A B-52 Stratofortress from the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, ND, is scheduled for a test flight during September 2006 in which 2 of its 8 engines will run on a mixture of this synthetic fuel.So not even counting our oil shale, we have just found a few hundred billion barrels of oil. Technology at your service.
The United States has a coal reserve of about 500 billion tons according to the National Mining Association, and the coal-produced synthetics actually burn cleaner and emit less pollution than conventional jet fuel. Nevertheless, test results remain to be seen, the process as a whole will receive significant environmental scrutiny, and it's likely to take over a decade and tens of billions of dollars to create an infrastructure of synfuel plants.
Choices, choices... and depending on the future course of the global war and the global economy, these choices could get tighter still.
Of course the basic technology is over 60 years old. It is called the Fischer-Tropsch process and was used extensively in Germany in WW2. The Republican and Herald of Pottsville, PA says:
Gasification has been in commercial use for more than 50 years as a process technology for the refining, chemical and power industries, but the industry has grown significantly since 1990, according to the Gasification Technologies Council, Arlington, Va.Money in hand, a pressing need, and we are still waiting for the paper work to be completed.
Rich’s proposed plant will use Fischer-Tropsch Liquefaction Technology provided by Sasol Synfuels International Ltd., South Africa.
Shell Global Solutions U.S., Houston, will provide the gasifier, which will convert culm — coal waste that accents the topography of northern Schuylkill County — into syngas, a clear, zero-sulfer liquid that can be marketed for the production of jet fuel.
The project got a boost three years ago when Rich received a $100 million pledge from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Since then, Rich has been working to secure financing and environmental clearances from federal and state agencies.
In any case what this says is that we are not about to run out of liquid fuels any time soon, although the cost will be higher. We will have the time and resources to develop an income based energy system (wind, solar, biofuels etc.).
Think of what this means for China. A country with a lot of coal and not much oil and a ravenous demand for liquid fuels.
The process that will be used in America removes most of the sulfur from the fuel making it cleaner burning.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/20/2006 05:40:00 PM
Captain's Quarters is discussing what can be done in Anbar province to root out the insurgents. He talks about some successes we have had there lately. Like winning over something like 25 of 31 tribal chiefs. The Captain quotes this from the New York Times:
Currently, the American military is continuing its “clear, hold and build” policy: pushing insurgents from key towns, sending in Iraqi and coalition forces to maintain security and trying to rebuild local governments and businesses. Despite the return of some insurgents, the military points to successes in cities like Falluja. But troops can’t begin to secure other important towns like Ramadi, Haditha and Hit. The first two items on the list are correct. The third is correct too in a general sort of way.
What I think though is that the Americans are not building all the right things.
In the book Night Draws Nearby Anthony Shadid about the war and the first two years of occupation the most critical deficiency is explained on page 159 of the paperback edition:
The Americans had failed to account for the state of Iraq's infrastructure, aged, decrepit, and worn down by more than a decade of sanctions. For weeks, the capital's two antiquated power plants were barely running, and the long blackouts in searing heat that began towards the war's end remained the norm. Every thing followed from electricity, the conerstone of modern life. With electricity went water, sanitation, air-conditioning, and the security brought by light at night. With electricity went faith in what the Americans, so powerful in war, were prepared to do after. With electricity goes Iraqi morale. Unless you do business in an open air market, electricity is critical to improving the business climate.
So what would I do? Make improving the electrical grid a key point in improving security. We don't need more troops as the NYTs article points out. What we need is engineers, technicians, linemen, and plant operators. We need construction crews that can erect electrical towers and string wires. In the Army that would be engineering battalions and the US Army Corps of Engineers. In the Navy/Marines it is the Sea Bees. In the Air Force it is the Air Force Civil Engineers.
Why a mostly military contingent? Because there is still a war on.
We need to be like General Electric - progress (in infrastructure) must be our most important product. Every thing else that we desire flows from that. It is not all we must do but it is a critical item on the list.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
I really wish the Democrats had a plan for Iraq other than impeaching Bush.
Currently I'd say we are stuck with no plan to get unstuck. The only fortunate bit out of this situatioin is that our enemies are stuck too. Thanks to Israel holding our flank.
I voted Bush/Obama in the last election (couldn't stand theocrat Keyes). So I'm not a strict party line guy. I'd like to see some constructive suggestions from the Dems. So far all I hear is that they want to start a circus in the middle of a war.
Of course considering that the Rs. did the same to Clinton, I'd have to say payback is a bitch.
Still, I don't see that we should repeat our mistakes every 8 years.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/19/2006 07:31:00 PM
Here is a story I do not understand. The Syria is co-operating with the US on prisoner interrogation.
TORONTO - The United States "very likely" sent a Canadian software engineer to Syria, where he was tortured, based on the false accusation by Canadian authorities that he was suspected of links to al-Qaida, according to a new government report. This policy makes no sense on so many levels. If this guy was a terrorist, how does it help us to have a terrorist sponsoring nation, Syria, in on what we know? How do we prevent Syria from giving us false information about interrogations? How do we prevent Syria from passing messages on to real terrorists in case one of their own is captured?
Syrian-born Maher Arar was exonerated of all suspicion of terrorist activity by the 2 1/2-year commission of inquiry into his case, which urged the Canadian government to offer him financial compensation. Arar is perhaps the world's best-known case of extraordinary rendition — the U.S. transfer of foreign terror suspects to third countries without court approval.
"I am able to say categorically that there is no evidence to indicate that Mr. Arar has committed any offense or that his activities constitute a threat to the security of Canada," Justice Dennis O'Connor said Monday in a three-volume report on the findings of the inquiry, part of which was made public.
I do understand that even in war enemies have ways of communicating with each other. I have to ask, though, is this the best way?
Posted by M. Simon at 9/19/2006 11:29:00 AM
Monday, September 18, 2006
Due to the kindness of my readers I'm back on line.
I have to do some housekeeping on the new machine (like download and install Netscape) and get oriented to the latest news. Once that is accomplished I'll be posting.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/18/2006 10:37:00 PM
Thursday, September 14, 2006
British PM Tony Blair trys to wise up foolish Euros.
LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair launched a withering attack on Thursday on what he called "mad anti-Americanism" among European politicians. Blair, U.S President George W. Bush's closest ally in the so-called war on terror, said the world urgently needs the United States to help tackle the globe's most pressing problems.Note: "so-called war on terror". I think that is the heart of the problem. Despite our enemies having openly declared war on us, so many do not believe we are in a war.
So much for the "reality based" community.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/14/2006 12:59:00 AM
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
My son, whose computer I have been using, is taking it back at the end of the day today.
My machine (a 1997 Pentium) died in January.
When I get a replacement (can't say how soon) I will be back.
Update: 14 Sept. '06 0027z
Looks like it will be sooner than I thought thanks to my kind readers.
1. I got an old (1995 Pentium) from a friend but I can't put it on the internet due to the fact that the ISP login application is missing and we don't have the Windows '98 CD required to install it. In any case its hard drive is dying and would be good for a few months at best.
2. Due to the kindness of my readers I will be able to get a new computer in the next week or so. In the mean time I will be blogging from the library and other public places on a time available basis.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/12/2006 11:44:00 AM
Monday, September 11, 2006
Palestinians have torched the Qalqilya YMCA.
Palestinian gunmen Saturday attacked and set fire to the Young Men's Christian Association headquarters in Qalqiliya, a large West Bank city controlled by Hamas. So much for Muslim religious tolerance.
Local government sources identified the attackers as members of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups, saying the identities of the gunmen are "well known" to Qalqiliya's security forces, which are controlled by the Hamas government.
Saturday's arson follows a series of warnings by the Muslim leadership of Qalqilya accusing the city's YMCA of missionary activity and demanding the Christian organization close its offices and leave town or face likely Muslim violence.
And to think that Palestinians call Israel an apartheid state. Looks like projection to me.
The "cause" of this attack? The YMCA was accused of missionary activity.
"There was a coordination among the mosques to speak about the YMCA. One major imam, for example, warned if the YMCA doesn't close down it will lead to 'acts that no one would like to see,'" said one political source in April. Evidently just by just existing the Y performs subtle missionary activity. After all Hamas could provide such services. The fact that they did not is a subtle rebuke to them. Such a rebuke can not be tolerated.
Joseph Medi, the YMCA manager in Qalqiliya, said his operation has never been involved with missionary activity.
“It's not what we're about. There is no missionary activity here whatsoever. The YMCA is in the city to serve the population with financial help, sporting activities and general educational programs," said Medi.
One Christian leader, an aide to Jerusalem's Latin Patriarch Michel Sabah who asked his name be withheld out of fear of Muslim retaliation, called the threats against Qalqiliya's YMCA part of a general trend of Christian persecution in Palestinian areas. Funny thing is that you never hear this stuff on the nightly news. I wonder why.
"It's been happening all over the West Bank and Gaza," said the aide.
There have been rampant reports of abuses and persecution in several West Bank towns taken over by the PA. Anti-Christian riots have been reported in Ramallah, Nazareth and surrounding villages as well as in towns in Gaza.
In Bethlehem, local Christians have long complained of anti-Christian violence. The city's Christian population, once counting for 90 percent, declined drastically since the PA took control in December 1995. Christians now make up less than 25 percent of Bethlehem, according to Israeli surveys.
Some analysts called the demands for the YMCA to close one of many indications Hamas may be seeking to impose Islamic rule on the Palestinian population.
Israeli officials say Hamas in the Gaza Strip has established hard-line Islamic courts and created the Hamas Anti-Corruption Group, which is described as a kind of "morality police" operating within Hamas' organization. Hamas has denied the existence of the anti-corruption group, but it recently carried out a high-profile "honor killing" widely covered by the Palestinian media.
I guess it wouldn't fit in with the "intolerant Israel, enlightened Palestinians" theme. Or that "Islam is a religion of peace" thingy we keep hearing so much about.
I wonder how all the Christian groups giving support to Palestinians will feel about being shut out of Bethleham and Nazareth? I'm sure it will come as a total surprise.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/11/2006 10:46:00 AM
Our own esteemed Carol Herman has been relentless (what others refer to as "off her meds") on the new model of warfare that has been adopted to counter 4th Generation Warfare. I have been most interested latelty on the economic angle while Carol with her new copy of Lidell Hart's "Strategy" has been doing a lot of commenting on the military angle.
The old model of warfare - conquering and occupying territory - is not viable in the face of protracted guerilla warfare. The guerillas, if sufficiently dedicated, can wear out the occupying power. We have the examples of Israel in Lebanon, Israel in Gaza, and America in Iraq. That way of doing business costs too much money, too many lives, and loses too much public support.
The new model is to let the insurgents do what they do not do well. Control territory in the face of a counter insurgency. The major powers will act like guerillas by doing hit and run raids and other types of efforts that weaken the insurgents economically. Typically that is how guerillas are supposed to operate: hit and run operations against economic targets and small military units. The essence of guerilla warfare is mobility. Once the guerillas lose that, one of their major advantages is gone. With fixed installations they must hold territory. A good idea if you want to run a country. A bad idea if the main desire of the guerillas is warfare.
Lessons learned? Occupations are untenable - Lebanon/Gaza/Iraq. The new model is guerilla warfare. Hit and run. Economic blockade. Popular revolts.
Such warfare is not as exciting as the kind with lightening armored advances and big explosions. Given modern conditions it is probably more effective. Hidden warfare and the damage it causes are invisible (what country on the recieving end wants to declare weakness when their internal power depends on an appearance of strength?) to the press.
Thus I expect any official UN sanctions imposed on Iran will be mild if implimented at all. The real (banking) sanctions will be severe. In fact they are already biting if we look at the demonstrations in Iran over unpaid wages. In fact the Palestinians have gone on strike over the last few days over unpaid wages.
Military excursions if used at all will be to cause economic damage not defeat armies. Hit and run.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/11/2006 02:56:00 AM
I remember that day (9/11) well. My mate called me over to the TV to look at the first plane hit. I said that that was rather unusual. Strange accident.
After watching a while I saw the second plane head in. Before it hit I told my mate "This means war".
It is strange that so many don't get it.
H/T reader Paul for reminding me.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Winter is coming on in Lebanon and there are a lot of Lebanese Shia living in tents.
Nasrallah announced the distribution of money to families, whose homes were hit, as well as a quick restoration of the houses damaged, however, residents of southern Lebanon have many complaints.Is it any wonder that Hizballah is in what the Deputy to Nasrallah called a Transitional Phase?
Some of the residents that returned to their villages after the war found that the majority of houses were destroyed. Some understand that their true struggle – coping with the frosty winter - is still ahead. "I don't want more medicine. What I want is to have my home restored quickly," says Saada al-Dirani, who lives with her 8 children in a tent that is supported by the only wall left of their house.
Meanwhile, the tremendous amount of military duds that fell on battling areas is also causing problems for Lebanese farmers. "Farming is our source of income, but we can't work because of the danger," said Abu Kasem from the village of Zawter in the southwest of Lebanon.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/10/2006 11:40:00 PM
The deputy head of Hizballah in Lebanon has a few words for the world
The amount of rockets fired by Hizbullah during the war with Israel was only 10% of the organization's arsenal, Deputy to Hassan Nasrallah, Na'im Kassam said on Sunday Morning.I wonder how he figures that. Israel said it destroyed 2,000 rockets. Since such reports tend to be unreliable, let us assume zero destroyed. We do know that 4,000 rockets were fired in the war. That would have made his pre-war arsenal 40,000. The largest pre-war estimate I saw was 15,000. I'd say as usual Hizballah was blowing smoke.
Now for the really thick smoke.
In an interview with the London-based paper "E-Shrak El-Awat," Kassam said that the organization will continue to resist the challenges placed by Israel, but said nevertheless that the resistance was currently in a transitional phase.In other words Hizballah is broken. As I have suspected all along.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/10/2006 08:19:00 AM
Isaac Schrodinger needs your help. He is an apostate Muslim trying to get asylum in Canada. It appears that the Canadian authorities are not too sympathetic.
I was presented with a few documents such as the photocopy of my personal file and the supporting papers that I had provided them a few months earlier. A curious two-page document called the Screening Form was also given to me. Basically, in there, my claim was boiled down in a few words. I wasn't satisfied with the summary. In turn, the person(s) who made the Screening Form weren't satisfied with my claim.If you can offer any support (even just kind words) visit his blog.
For example, a part of the "Claim Description" in the Screening Form:
"PAKISTAN, Punjab, Lahore
Fear is unspecified/unclear
appears to fear persecution because of his anti-Islamic views."
Apparently, I have done an atrocious job of presenting my case. Fortunately, I still have three months to rectify the situation (since I can mail in documents at least 20 days before the hearing).
I asked a few questions about the summary. I was told that it comes down to credibility or rather the lack of it. The Refugee Protection Officer tried to console me by saying that that is the problem with everyone in my situation.
The officer made a phone call to schedule the time for my hearing. She inquired if X day in January is alright. I thought to myself for a second and then asked if it was possible to make it the day after that. The officer went back to the call and in a few seconds answered in the affirmative.
I left the building at 11:30 a.m. Leading up to the meeting, I tried to stay calm but somehow anxiety crept up ever so slowly. When I exited the building, I was mentally tired. I walked to the bus station in zombie-mode.
On the trip back, only one thought echoed in my mind: On my next birthday, I will fight for my life.
Update: 10 Sept '06 0743z
Captain's Quarters is covering the story. Thanks Carol Herman for the heads up.
BTW the way these immigration depts. work is that a generalized muslim threat will not help. What is needed is incidents in Pakistan.
I covered some of this story in Iran Cash Flow Squeezed. There is now more news on the subject. The story points out that the banking restrictions are part of the sanctions against the Iranian regime.
WASHINGTON - According to a Saturday report by the Washington Post, the Bush administration has intensified efforts to 'choke off' the ability of Iranian banks to transfer funds to Hizbullah and Palestinian terror organizations, and subsequently, to hamper these organizations' ability to acquire weapons technology. So American sanctions are in whether the UN acts or not. The banking sanctions, as I note in Squeezing Hamas' Cash Flow, are already having a severe effect on Hamas.
The US, in the past, has succeeded in barring al-Qaeda access to funds by cutting off suspect banks and firms from the international banking system. It recently began to take the same steps with regards to Iran and the initiative has gathered steam in recent weeks, even as US-led efforts to facilitate UN sanctions against Iran for its nuclear activities have slowed.
Evidently the American initiative is becoming popular with other nations.
The US initiative is blazing a trail that is apparently being followed by international banks, as was strikingly illustrated in the behavior of banks in Switzerland. Earlier this year the Swiss bank UBS ended its dealings with Iran, while two other banks, HSBC and Credit Suisse, sharply curtailed their business. Sieges (sanctions, blockades) are slow moving affairs. The bigger the economic unit they are applied to the longer the effort is required to take effect. However, the effect, once felt, becomes more and more severe as resources go unreplaced.
Stuart Levey, the Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, intends to go to Europe next week to enlist support from governments and financial institutions for severing Iran from the international financial system. Other Treasury and State Department officials are traveling across Asia and the Middle East on similar missions.
Levey called the move "a sign of the costs that Iran's leaders will impose on the Iranian people if the leadership chooses to remain on its current path of defiance…The regime will end up isolating Iran from the world community, with reputable financial institutions becoming increasingly unwilling to handle Iran's business," he continued.
The Iranian people, already pinched by their government's bad economic policy (socialism), are complaining about how their government is spending its money.
Economic riots are always harder to put down than those that are merely political. Hungry people have less to lose.
It also looks like Hizballah has just lost a chunk of change.
On Thursday, the treasury department separately targeted two Lebanon-based financial institutions that officials said acted as Hizbullah's unofficial treasury, helping secure loans and finance business deals for the organization, among other things. I covered some of Hizballah's cash flow problems in Hizballah Joins the Cash Flow Jihad. It looks like those problems are getting worse.
One of these, the Beit al-Mal bank, headed by Hussein al-Shami, had its assets frozen. US sources said that al-Shami acts under the supervision of Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah.
Any one who says America doesn't have a strategy on Iran is nuts. Their problem is that they look for something big and showy like explosions. What is going on is big and quiet and thus escapes much notice.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/10/2006 12:01:00 AM
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Palestinian blogger Osaid Rasheed has a few words to say about the current state of affairs in Gaza/Palestine.
For how long can Hamas Government stay ? The whole international community is united against them, except for Iran and Syria and very few countries. They have been elected to 'cause change' and get rid of the very corrupt Fatah-led government, but until now they have done almost nothing.So there are rational Palestinian voices out there. Not enough yet.
Hamas's 'ideas' appear to be lacking every logic. Hamas's structure might not be that bad, yet their goals and ideas as a Palestinian party are very far from reality. The call to "destroy Israel" cannot be rational. Calling for war against Israel is also not a rational step. I believe they have very serious mistakes for which they will have to reconsider many things.
For how long they can stand all these tremendous pressures on them? The problem is that the pressure is on the PEOPLE, not on Hamas itself alone. Will they consider this and check for how long can these poor Palestinians stand ?
It is time for newer voices in the Palestinian political life. We do not need more corruption and more dreams, we need to live just like other people. Live under the law , united, and free.
Another report of the severe strain on Hamas also comes from Osaid Rasheed blogging as Palestinian Blogs:
Almost 100% of all Palestinian employees have been on strike since few days. Even hospitals and clinics ( in addition to schools ) are not receiving patients ( except the Urgent ones I suppose ). The declared aim is to get paid for work. Since the strikers work for the government a political element is inevitable.
The reasons for this strike appear to me to be more political thatn related to the declared aims. This is another form of adding more pressure on Hamas Government, and it is a very successful one !
We are again floating in chaos . I cant see in this strike anything except more disregard to human life.
Like all siege warfare in the beginning the besieged are in a position of strength. Then as the siege continues and resources are used up and not replaced the besieged get weaker faster than those maintaining the siege.
It is hard to see the military calculations that went into the Hamas position. Evidently they were counting on the Israelis not changing their war fighting policies rather than looking at Israeli capabilities.
The same mistake Americans made with reference to the Japanese before 7 Dec 1941. The method of intentions is discredited in American intel analysis these days. It is usually too much to ask that enemies remain stupid. However, with a few exceptions (who are usually ignored in favor of fantasy) the Palestinians have an unbroken record.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/09/2006 09:45:00 PM
Iran's promised largess to Hizballah is causing unrest in Iran.
The early risers in my neighborhood arrived at the local bakery one recent morning to find the doors locked and the stone oven cold. They milled about for a while and then began speculating about why the bakery should mysteriously be shut. Before long, they settled on an explanation: the Iranian government had sent all the country's flour to Lebanon. Since the war in Lebanon ended last month, Iranians have become convinced that their government is spending outrageous sums on Lebanon's Shi'ites to shore up support for Iran's longtime client Hizballah. The rumors grow more outlandish every day: the Lebanese are receiving free SUVs or plasma televisions. As shop owner Behjat Karimi, 47, put it, "What else of ours are they going to give away next?"There is a Bidding War going on in Lebanon to buy the loyalty of the Lebanese Shia. So far the Iranians seem to be outbid. However, that has not stopped the speculation of the Iranian people on the subject.
a general sense of suspicion still hangs in the air, and Tehran probably can't ignore it. To the outside world, the Iranian government projects an image of national resolve as it defies U.N. Security Council demands to stop enriching uranium. But the regime's ability to withstand international pressure may depend on how forgiving Iranians are about the sluggish economy. The rate of inflation is at least 19%, and unemployment has edged up to 15%. At a press conference last week, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fended off criticism of his economic program by swinging attention to foreign policy and calling for a debate with President George W. Bush. Some former Iranian officials and other analysts speculate that Ahmadinejad is stoking the nuclear crisis with the West in part to divert attention from the economy. "This is the first government in years to make big economic promises to people," says a close associate of Ahmadinejad's with knowledge of his government's thinking. "If it fails to deliver, it will be a catastrophe not just for this administration but for the entire regime."What kind of promises has the Iranian government made? Essentially that the Iranian people can be better off without working due to socialism financed by oil revenues. It is not working. I discussed how a similar program is not working in Venezeula about a week ago.
Nightly news broadcasts that Iranians watch on their illegal satellite dishes show Hizballah doling out thick stacks of cash to displaced Shi'ites, courtesy of Iran. Because President Ahmadinejad enjoys pandering to public sentiment in the Arab world, the flow of Iranian resources to Lebanon is no secret. But this spending on a faraway Arab community infuriates Iranians and revives an ugly Persian chauvinism that considers Arabs uncultured and backward.No wonder Iran is trying to destroy satellite dishes while it destroys Iran's economy which is discussed at that link also.
There was another famomous Germansocialist who some think started a major war around 66 years ago to cover up economic failure. Could the Iranian regime who hero worship that German be tempted to try the same thing? Possibly.
For now, the Establishment doesn't seem threatened by people's grievances. But moderates are worried that a serious confrontation with the U.S., possibly involving military strikes, would provoke a legitimacy crisis for the regime. All of which suggests that Iran may defy the West over its nuclear program for as long as it can manage, and adapt at the last minute to avoid a military clash. Until then, even the threat of sanctions could prove useful by offering Iran's President an external source of blame for the nation's economic problems.As to sanctions, the Italians say: "why wait?"
Iranians seem resigned to the likelihood that with tensions rising, the situation at home is likely to get worse.
I do not think the problems are going to get easier for the Iranian government. In the end all military power is based on economic power. Oil prices are falling.
Links to some of my previous Cash Flow Jihad articles can be found here.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/09/2006 07:29:00 AM
In an attempt to assist Hizballah in rearming, Syria plans to deply troops along the Syria/Lebanon border.
On Friday, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan announced Friday that Syrian President Bashar Assad had assented to deploy a battalion to the Lebanese border in order to prevent arms smuggling.Obviously the Italians are not easily fooled.
Annan added that Assad had already asked Germany for help in training and equipping its forces for the mission, Israel Radio reported.
Last week, Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema said in an interview that the international community would not tolerate Syrian arms shipments to Hizbullah or other violations of the UN resolution that ended a month of fighting between Israel and the Shi'ite organization.
'The Syrians must know that if weapons come from Syria or acts in violation of UN Resolution 1701 are committed, the international community will not stand by and watch,' D'Alema told RAI state radio.
In a counter move the US is asking Germany to deploy along the the border between Syria and Lebanon.
The US is attempting to arrange for Germany to patrol the border between Syria and Lebanon to prevent arms smuggling.I think the Lebanese Cedar Revolution Government will probably respond favorably to this idea. A rearmed Hizballah is not in their interest. Did I mention that the Cedar Revolutionaries hate the Syrians for interference in Lebanese internal affairs? Thing like assasinations and arming Hizballah for instance.
No agreement on German patrols has yet been finalized between Washington and Berlin, as Germany is still waiting for Lebanon's reaction to the proposal, Israel Radio reported.
Update: 10 Sept '06 0509z
doesn't like Lebanese prospects.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/09/2006 06:58:00 AM
The economic warfare against Hamas is intensifying.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh declared on Friday that his embattled Hamas-led government had no intention of stepping down, despite a sweeping civil service strike and an economic crisis that a top UN official said has brought the Gaza Strip to a "point of near meltdown."However, Hamas has no intention of resigning.
Hamas' takeover of the Palestinian Authority in March has provoked crushing international sanctions that have rendered the government unable to pay its 165,000 employees for the past six months.
In the widest sign of growing displeasure with Hamas, tens of thousands of teachers, health workers and other government employees launched an open-ended strike last Saturday. The work stoppage, organized in large part by the rival Fatah movement, has threatened to bring down the government.
In New York, Karen AbuZayd, the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, said conditions in Gaza have reached a breaking point. Yet instead of forcing Hamas to moderate, the tough policies have made the Palestinians more intransigent, she said.Wars end when one side or the other lose all hope. It looks like the Palestinians may be close to that point. So what is the UN response? Predictable:
"Strangulation of commerce and trade has ruined the economy, brought institutions of government to a point of near meltdown and badly shaken the society," she said. "These pressure tactics have not resulted in a desire for compromise but rather have created mass despair, anger and a sense of hopelessness and abandonment."
She called on the international community to provide Gaza with a peacekeeping force or observer mission, saying Gaza's 1.4 million people deserve protection.Well it won't be the UN. The Gazans destroyed the UN offices in one of their frequent rampages.
"It would be great to have an international presence, civilian, military, whatever," she said.
To turn on the cash flow Hamas needs to do three things:
1. End terrorism
2. Accept previous agreements with Israel
3. Recognize Israel
Unfortunately, if Hamas did those three things it would be destroyed by the Palestinians. Such a lovely people. Let us hope they enjoy their state. Such as it is.
Another article on the Cash Flow Jihad with links to some of my previous articles in the series can be found at Iran Cash Flow Squeezed
Posted by M. Simon at 9/09/2006 06:08:00 AM
Friday, September 08, 2006
The Jerusalem Post reports that the US has cut off Iran from the US banking system.
The Bush administration, stepping up pressure on Tehran, moved Friday to sever a big Iranian state-owned bank from the US financial system.The squeeze is on.
Stuart Levey, the Treasury Department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the government's action was against Bank Saderat, which the United States contends is used by Iran to transfer money to terrorist groups, including Hizbullah.
While Iranian financial institutions are barred from directly accessing the US financial system, they are permitted to do so indirectly through banks in other countries. The United States is closing down that avenue for Bank Saderat. The action, which involved a change in regulations, doesn't apply to other Iranian banks, another Treasury official said.
It marked the first time Treasury had resorted to a regulatory change of this kind to sever a bank, the official said.
It doesn't matter how much money you have in the bank if you can't get the money moved where it is "needed".
Here are some links to my previous Cash Flow Jihad articles:
Iran to Enter Cash Flow Jihad Zone
Lebanon's Cash Flow Problems
Hizballah Joins the Cash Flow Jihad
Cash Flow Jihad Strikes Hamas
Cash Flow Jihad Meets Aftermath
Iran to Enter Cash Flow Jihad Zone
Follow the Money
Follow the Gold
Posted by M. Simon at 9/08/2006 11:36:00 PM
Blogger appears to be down.
This is a test.
Update: 08 Sept '06 2322z
Everything appears to be working again. It also looks like it is taking a while for the fix to propagate across the net. Probably a screwed routing table.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/08/2006 10:40:00 PM
In a stunning attempt to call attention to Democrat weakness on national security Democrats are calling attention to an ABC docudrama of the 9/11 Comission Report. This must be the issue they fear above all others. The really interesting thing about this whole uproar is that the Democrats by emphasising this issue are in effect working for the Republicans. They had two choices, lay low and take a hit, or make a big noise and take a bigger hit.
OK the net rooters would make an issue out of it no matter what. Evidently that is not enough attention for the Democrats. So they have put their Congress critters on the job.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Amid an election-year debate over who can best defend America, U.S. congressional Democrats urged ABC on Thursday to cancel a TV miniseries about the September 11 attacks that is critical of former Democratic President Bill Clinton and his top aides. Wait. Let me think. Wasn't Monicagate a Republican job? Wouldn't a wise Democrat Party blame the Republicans for wagging the dick while undermining national security by claiming Clinton was just wagging the dog? That is what I always thought anyway. It would be a good argument too. But now that Bush is in office it is the Dems who have run around screaming Bush is wagging the dog.
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada denounced the five-hour television movie, set to air in two parts on Sunday and Monday nights, as "a work of fiction."
Reid and other leading Senate Democrats wrote to Robert Iger, president and CEO of ABC's corporate parent, the Walt Disney Co., urging him to "cancel this factually inaccurate and deeply misguided program."
Chronicling events leading to the September 11 attacks, the movie suggests the Clinton administration was too distracted by the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal to deal properly with the gathering threat posed by Islamic militants.
Instead of counter attacking they have let their fears about calling attention to their weakness on national defence rule their response. They have gone on the defensive, in effect admitting that they are weak on national security. Funny thing is that I don't watch television much so I was going to let this whole issue pass until the Dems made a Federal case out of it. The Democrats need to be denied office if for no other reason than gross stupidity.
ABC said its movie was not a documentary but a dramatization drawn from the official 9/11 commission report, personal interviews and other materials.And yet it is the Democrats who are first to scream.
"As such, for dramatic and narrative purposes, the film contains fictionalized scenes, composite and representative characters and dialogue and time compression," ABC said.
Former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, a Republican who chaired the 9/11 commission and served as a consultant for the ABC miniseries, defended the production as politically balanced.
"People in both parties didn't particularly like the commission report, and I think people in both parties aren't going to love this one," he said.
In fact this hurts so much they have threatened ABC's broadcast license.
Nothing new here. We already have McCain - Feingold. Funny thing is that the networks are exempt, at least as far as the news goes. All entertainment is political, I guess. What ever happened to the land of the free?
H/T LGF for the NRO link.
H/T Instapundit for the McCain - Feingold roundup.
Update: 10 Sept '06 1631z
Captain's Quarters discusses the movie and its political implications.
Update: 10 Sept '06 2351z
Tigerhawk takes on the issue. H/T Instapundit
Posted by M. Simon at 9/08/2006 07:37:00 AM
The Lebanese Bloggers are discussing all the money interested parties are throwing at Lebanon in an attempt to buy influence.
It all began with a competition over who would offer more mulla to the thousands of Lebanese whose homes were destroyed during the one-month-long Israeli offensive. Hizballah offered $12,000, the international community responded by pooling their resources together and offering $40,000.He goes on about how it is not only bridges but villages that are being reconstructed. No mention of whether the villages will be renamed.
Then, Lebanon's billionaire politicians started to compete over who would re-build the destroyed bridges that the Israelis so generously targeted "to prevent Hizballah from re-arming itself." They publicly selected their favorite bridges and promised to fork over the funds necessary to rebuild them - on condition that the bridges be named after them, once constructed.
Then he comes to the latest bit of munificience offered by the Saudis.
BEIRUT, 7 September 2006 — Saudi Arabia will pay the fees for all the students of all levels studying in Lebanese government schools.It probably is also an attempt to keep kids out of Hizballah schools and buy at least temporary loyalty from their parents.
Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Abdul Aziz Khoja made this announcement during a meeting with Lebanese Premier Fuad Siniora in Beirut yesterday, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
"Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah issued the order to enable the Lebanese education institutions to meet the cost of education and guarantee that no student remains outside of school because he does not have a desk or books," Khoja said in a statement run by the SPA.
The gesture aims at enabling educational institutions in Lebanon to overcome educational burdens.
So far Iran has been out bid at every step. I covered some of the points discussed here including the bidding war for lost housing mentioned above in Lebanon's Cash Flow Problems.
Update: 10 Sept '06 0509z
doesn't like Lebanese prospects.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/08/2006 12:55:00 AM
Hizballah/Iran was asking for a cease fire after 4 days.
Israel was pressured into a cease fire after 34 days.
In fact Hizballah can never lose. Why? Because Islamics are not allowed to lose. They are the world's all time winners. The Israelis never defeat them. The Americans never defeat them. The British never defeated them. The French never defeated them. There is a very long list there.
Pay no attention to Nasserallah's statement that had he contemplated even 1% of the damage he suffered he would not have started the war. He won. One hundred times more destruction than he contemplated.
Hizballah drove the Israelis out of Lebanon. Proving their strength.
In fact all Hizballah needed to do to drive the Israelis out of Lebanon was to quit fighting. Perhaps there is a lesson there. On the proper Hizballah strategy for victory.
Posted by M. Simon at 9/08/2006 12:33:00 AM