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“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Archive for February 2011

The Indie and John Galliano.

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In my view, the British media have, in many ways, contributed to the acceptability of soft antisemitism in modern society.

Nevertheless, when the Independent chose to cover John Galliano’s racist outbursts I was hopeful of a meaningful discussion on the topic.

Yet the concluding paragraph of this piece shows where contemporary interest lies, in celebrity and who wore what dress, that for the Independent is the real issue:

Star’s dilemma

For what she must hope is her crowning moment at tonight’s Oscars for her role in Black Swan, Natalie Portman will have wished for anything but the last-minute fashion crisis she now faces.

She is among a gaggle of high-profile guests, who, having been painstakingly fitted with one of Galliano’s frocks, face a daunting decision over which dress to wear to the ball.

Galliano’s alleged rant could see both Portman and her peers obliged to answer the most untimely and unwanted questions on anti-Semitism.

Penélope Cruz wore Galliano at last year’s awards, as did Cameron Diaz, while Charlize Theron, Slumdog Millionaire’s Freida Pinto, and Heidi Klum are known to be a fans.

Meanwhile, the model Kate Moss recently revealed she asked Galliano to design the dress for her wedding later this year. “

Update 1: The Guardian has a similarly tepid article.

Update 2: This is the first instance of Galliano’s racism captured on camera:

Update 3: Phoebe Maltz explains it clearly:

“Next, there are racists, there are alcoholics, and there those who say dumb things after one too many. Not to rehash the Affaire Gibson, but the people who start holding forth about ‘those people’ once they’ve had a few might be alcoholics, or might not, but are definitely racists.

Drinking to the point of disinhibition, but remaining plenty coherent, is not grounds for rehab, for concern from strangers, for any kind of sympathy. It’s grounds for having the courage to hit on a friend one has been crushing on, perhaps to mingle with ease in a informal-networking-type setting. Going on the anecdotal evidence of someone who attended college in the United States and who is currently in a French department, the amount of alcohol it takes to speak more freely is not what is scientifically referred to as sloppy-drunk, but is in fact a normal and mostly positive aspect of life for many adults in many countries. It is a level of tipsiness that does not indicate that one has a problem with alcohol.

Now, if you know yourself and know that your otherwise hidden views about ‘those people’ have a tendency to seem appropriate to you once you’ve had a beer, it is a problem for you to have alcohol even in amounts that would not damage your liver; having the beer anyway indicates poor judgment, not (necessarily) addiction. In vino veritas is not typically anything along the lines of a “cry for help.” “

(H/T:Eamonn McDonagh)

Racism, Hamas And The Guardian.

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The Guardian’s coverage of Hamas’s racism is often problematic, but it’s not necessarily for the content rather than the downplaying of Hamas’s racism.

As *if* it is incidental to their beliefs.

Nothing could be further from the truth, as the Hamas Covenant shows, oozing from it you will find bigotry and racism towards Jews, conspiracy theories, etc, the lot.

Next, if you were going to report Hamas’s attitude towards the new UN curriculum then you might at least include their initial reaction in 2009:

“”The refugee camps committees categorically refuse to let our children be taught this lie created by the Jews and intensified by their media,” the committees’ letter said. “First of all, [the Holocaust] is not a fact, and secondly, those who added it to the curriculum intended to mess with our children’s emotions.”

Why not mention Khaled Meshaal’s Holocaust revisionism?

Meshaal is a major Hamas leader and his thinking is central to Hamas’s outlook on the world. On the 31st of March 2008, Khaled Meshaal tells a Sky interviewer:

“KM: We don’t want to harm any religion in the world. We don’t deny the holocaust.
But, we believe the Zionists have exaggerated the numbers to get sympathy from other nations. But, there is Palestinian suffering caused by Israel.”

So, the Guardian, if you are going to comment on Hamas’s racism, please at least make an effort.

Update 1: From last year, In The Age of The Internet: More Racism At The Guardian.

Written by modernityblog

28/02/2011 at 16:20

Unentertainment News, John Galliano: “I love Hitler”

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As with so many bigots and antisemites their history comes back to haunt them.

John Galliano, who was suspended by Dior for an antisemitic incident at a Paris cafe recently, did it before.

According to the JC, a video has surfaced on the Internet with Galliano making a comment “I love Hitler”.

Further, Galliano goes on to say

“People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be fucking gassed.”

Update 1: Linda Grant’s thoughts are here.

Written by modernityblog

28/02/2011 at 15:36

Not At The Oscars, But On Twitter.

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Those who really know me would be surprised to hear that I am not at the Oscars in Hollywood.

But I am on Twitter, instead !

And whilst I am not a film critic or much given to commenting on cultural issues, I would say that the King’s Speech is historically rather problematic.

Some about Edward VIII.

Written by modernityblog

28/02/2011 at 03:53

Adhoc Revolts, Wisconsin And The Middle East.

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It seems that the people of America are learning from the Middle East in the ad hoc revolts against authority, Huff Post has more from Wisconsin:

“MADISON, Wis. — Harriet Rowan was among the first to join what has become an almost two-week-long rally at the Wisconsin Capitol, and she said with the arrival of thousands of others, confusion, misinformation and rumors quickly spread.

“I came back on Tuesday night and there was absolutely no organization,” Rowan said. “People needed people to go up upstairs and testify all night to keep the building open … people were going around just waking people up … it was chaotic.”

The University of Wisconsin senior made a spur-of-the-moment decision to coordinate protest efforts, making signs with media talking points and starting a Twitter feed detailing legislative meeting times, union rally locations and details on day-to-day life in the Capitol.

Other Madison residents have opened their doors to out-of-town strangers, offering a bed to anyone friendly to unions. At the Statehouse, a spread including pizza, chili and artisanal cheeses is offered to hungry protesters. Busloads of supporters from Los Angeles and elsewhere arrive to boost the numbers.

Nearly two weeks after the start of massive protests against Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal that would strip nearly all public employees of their collective bargaining rights erupted, a network of volunteers has emerged as the skeleton that keeps the daily demonstrations alive.”

More on the Koch brothers.

Update 1: Andrew Murphy has made a very powerful comment on this issue:

“Reuters left out alot.

Section 16.896 of the bill clearly states that the governor has unilateral authority to sell off or lease the operation of the state’s power, cooling and heating plants in no-bid contracts.

It does not mention Koch’s by name but they have opened and hired 7 lobbyists in Madison and Koch industries are already advertsing the hiring of plant managers for positions Koch industries doesn’t even existed yet in Wisconsin. Here is the job offer from Think Energy Group, part of the Koch Industry.

http://www.thinkenergygroup.com/think.nsf/J/84239?Opendocument

Even Forbes magazine who one could hardly accuse of being anticapitalist or even anti-Koch Industries smells something fishy, perhaps

“At best, it is highly irregular that a state legislature would grant the executive the power to sell off or lease public utilities without a bidding process. At worse – well, I would hate to think that such a bargain could be struck all for the benefit of one particular company.”

http://blogs.forbes.com/rickungar/2011/02/22/a-secret-deal-between-gov-walker-and-koch-brothers-buried-in-state-budget/

The proof that this is not really about the state budget is that the governor’s plan exempts the police, firefighters and the State Patrol from any pension reforms or collective bargaining reform. What an amazing coincidence that the very blue collar unions that typically vote Republican are being left alone. “

Written by modernityblog

28/02/2011 at 02:28

Blair Kissing Gaddafi.

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Just when you think that Tony Blair’s reputation can’t sink much lower, something new appears.

Take a look at the very first part of Charlie Brooker’s rant on Gaddafi, and you’ll see the warm greeting between Gaddafi and Blair.

Update 1: The NYT has an insider’s view of events:

“The younger Mr. Qaddafi promised journalists they would find the streets peaceful and his father beloved. Do not mistake the sound of celebratory fireworks for bursts of gunfire around the streets of Tripoli, he advised them.

The next morning, a driver took a group of foreign journalists to an area known as the Friday market, which appeared to have been the site of a riot the night before. The streets were strewn with debris, and piles of shattered glass had been collected in cardboard boxes.

A young man approached the journalists to deliver a passionate plea for unity and accolades to Colonel Qaddafi, then slipped away in a white van full of police officers. Meanwhile, two small boys surreptitiously offered bullet casings that they presented as evidence of force used on protesters the day before.

At another stop, in the working-class suburb of Tajoura, journalists stumbled almost accidentally into a block cordoned off by low makeshift barriers where dozens of residents were eager to talk about a week of what they said were peaceful protests crushed by Colonel Qaddafi’s security forces with overwhelming, deadly and often random force.

A middle-age business owner, who spoke on condition that he be identified only as Turki, said that the demonstrations there had begun last Sunday, when thousands of protesters inspired by the uprising in the east had marched toward Green Square.

Suddenly, he said, they found themselves caught between two groups of double-cabin pick-up trucks without license plates, about forty in all. Men in the trucks opened fire, and killed a man named Issa Hatey. He said neighbors had renamed the area’s central traffic circle “Issa Hatey Square” in his memory.

He and other residents said that over the past week neighbors had been besieged by pickup trucks full of armed men shooting randomly at the crowds, sometimes wounding people who were sitting peacefully in their homes or cars. At other times, they said, the security forces had employed rooftop snipers, antiaircraft guns mounted on trucks and buckshot, and the residents produced shells and casings that appeared to confirm their reports. Turki said that on one day he had seen 50 to 60 heavily armed men who appeared to be mercenaries from nearby African countries.

The neighbors built the low barricades on the streets to impede the trucks with guns. “They come and they kill whoever they can see,” he said. “We are just walking and we don’t have guns.”

After Friday Prayer, Turki and his friends said, a crowd of several thousand had gathered at Issa Hatey Square to march to Green Square. They raised what he called “the old-new flag,” the former tricolor of the Libyan monarchy that rebels have claimed as the flag of a free, post-Qaddafi Libya.

Two carloads of Libyan Army soldiers had joined them, he said, though they never used their weapons to avoid provoking a bloody retaliation.

But when the march arrived at the Arada neighborhood, they were ambushed by snipers on the rooftops. Some protesters said they had been attacked by the personal militia of Colonel Qaddafi’s son Khamis Qaddafi, which is considered the most formidable battalion in the Qaddafi forces.

At least 15 people had died there, he and others said.

A precise death toll has been impossible to verify. A Libyan envoy said Friday that hundreds had been killed in Tripoli. “

Gaddafi In A Bunker.

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This programme on PBS, Getting to Know Gadhafi: Examining the Quirks, Intellect of Libya’s Strongmanm, is informative with an insightful assessment of Gaddafi:

JIM HOAGLAND: I think you can take that at face value. I think you have to wonder if he has a grip on reality, much less control of his country at this point.

Nobody is going in and telling him how bad things really are. If they did, he wouldn’t believe it, and he would probably punish them for doing that. So I think he’s in the bunker, and he’s there to fight on until the last. “

Very plausible, but the question is, what about the sons?

Over at Forbes a puff piece calls Al-Saadi Gaddafi “The African Renaissance Young Man Who Wears Many Hats”.

The piece is enough to make you vomit:

“Al-Saadi al-Gaddafi, son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, offers a unique perspective on Libyan development. His personality offers an amalgam of Bill Clinton-esque charm and Jack Welch’s keen intelligence. He could easily be mistaken for a corporate executive rather than the leader of a nation if you met him anonymously in a crowd, and, like a good business leader, Al-Saadi continuously looks for ways to open Libya to the world.

In a recent interview, he spoke authoritatively of the bright future he anticipates for Libya. “Change is coming,” he stated. “Libya and Africa will not be the same in 10 years.” As the conversation expanded to the recent multiple-sector expansion in Tripoli, he spoke of his father’s wise sense in modernizing Libya and leading it into the global economy.

A student of world history who idolizes Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Al-Saadi reflected upon the next steps for Africa in an even broader sense: “Africa has what the developed world needs to continue thriving in the 21st century. All the resources, minerals and manufacturing know-how are available in this gigantic untapped market.”

When it comes to the perception of Libya and Africa around the world, Al-Saadi was quick to acknowledge faults—but equally quick to point to the signs of positive change. He considers himself a true African, who loves observing nature and hunting in the African bush all over the continent.

“Western media has not always been balanced when speaking about Libya. But we will do whatever it takes to open hearts and minds as we strive as a country to open ourselves to the rest of the world. We want them to come enjoy our culture, our food, our history, our lives.” “

Yuck.

Ronnie Reagan At 100.

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I am told that Reagan would have been 100 years old a few week agos Sunday, had he lived that long.

I suspect that he was probably eulogised. People who benefited from his misrule would have applauded him. His ideological bedfellows would have praised him endlessly.

Yet in light of the dictators falling across the Middle East we shouldn’t forget that Ronnie Reagan’s real legacy was death.

He liked dictators. Ronnie Reagan funded dictators.

And when he wasn’t funding them he was trying to whitewash them and help organised their death squads as Spartacus relates:

“After his election as president, Ronald Reagan, appointed Michael Deaver as Deputy White House Chief of Staff under James Baker III. He took up his post in January 1981. Soon afterwards, Deaver’s clients, Guatemala, Taiwan and Argentina, began to receive their payback. On 19th March, 1981, Reagan asked Congress to lift the embargo on arms sales to Argentina. General Roberto Viola, one of the junta members responsible for the death squads, was invited to Washington. In return, the Argentine government agreed to expand its support and training for the Contras. According to John Ranelagh (The Agency: The Rise and Decline of the CIA): “Aid and training were provided to the Contras through the Argentinean defence forces in exchange for other forms of aid from the U.S. to Argentina.”

Reagan had more difficulty persuading Congress to provide arms to Guatemala. During a 4th May, 1981, session of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, it was announced that the Guatemalan death squads had murdered 76 leaders of the moderate Christian Democratic Party including its leader, Alberto Fuentes Mohr. As Peter Dale Scott pointed out in the Iran-Contra Connection: “When Congress balked at certifying that Guatemala was not violating human rights, the administration acted unilaterally, by simply taking the items Guatemala wanted off the restricted list.”

Reagan and Deaver also helped Guatemala in other ways. Alejandro Dabat and Luis Lorenzano (Argentina: The Malvinas and the End of Military Rule) pointed out that the Ronald Reagan administration arranged for “the training of more than 200 Guatemalan officers in interrogation techniques (torture) and repressive methods”. “

NPR had more:

“Sunday would have been Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday, and Time’s recent cover story, “The Role Model: What Obama Sees in Reagan” — with its photoshoped picture of Ronnie’s arm around Obama — has largely been met by derision on the right, including Rush Limbaugh: “Here comes Time magazine and the rest of the Drive-By Media trying to tell us, and Obama himself trying to tell us that he’s Reagan. . . . Well, we know what he really thinks about Reagan.”

It is true that Obama, in his memoir, did say opposition to the “dirty deeds” carried out by “Reagan and his minions” pushed him into politics, citing in particular Reagan’s intervention in Central America and support for Apartheid in South Africa. In Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, Reagan’s actions directly led to the death of over 200,000 people, genocide against Mayans, and the exile of over a million refugees. It’s a safe bet to assume that this blood-soaked legacy won’t be mentioned in many of today’s birthday celebrations, though Time did obliquely admit that Reagan “backed what Obama called ‘death squads’ in El Salvador” — an interesting use of secondary attribution and scare quotes that would be akin to Der Spiegel writing in the 1970s that that Hitler “backed what Willy Brandt called ‘death camps’ in Poland.””

Not forgetting the Iran-Contra scandal or how Reagan sent Rumsfeld to support Saddam Hussein.

A little reminder:

Reagan had blood on his hands, up to his elbows, many times over. That’s something we shouldn’t forget, his real legacy, death and death squads.

Update 1: The Guardian had a good piece:

“US support for Baghdad during the Iran-Iraq war as a bulwark against Shi’ite militancy has been well known for some time, but using declassified government documents, the Washington Post provided new details yesterday about Mr Rumsfeld’s role, and about the extent of the Reagan administration’s knowledge of the use of chemical weapons.

The details will embarrass Mr Rumsfeld, who as defence secretary in the Bush administration is one of the leading hawks on Iraq, frequently denouncing it for its past use of such weapons.

The US provided less conventional military equipment than British or German companies but it did allow the export of biological agents, including anthrax; vital ingredients for chemical weapons; and cluster bombs sold by a CIA front organisation in Chile, the report says.

Intelligence on Iranian troop movements was provided, despite detailed knowledge of Iraq’s use of nerve gas.

Rick Francona, an ex-army intelligence lieutenant-colonel who served in the US embassy in Baghdad in 1987 and 1988, told the Guardian: “We believed the Iraqis were using mustard gas all through the war, but that was not as sinister as nerve gas.

“They started using tabun [a nerve gas] as early as ’83 or ’84, but in a very limited way. They were probably figuring out how to use it. And in ’88, they developed sarin.”

On November 1 1983, the secretary of state, George Shultz, was passed intelligence reports of “almost daily use of CW [chemical weapons]” by Iraq.

However, 25 days later, Ronald Reagan signed a secret order instructing the administration to do “whatever was necessary and legal” to prevent Iraq losing the war.

In December Mr Rumsfeld, hired by President Reagan to serve as a Middle East troubleshooter, met Saddam Hussein in Baghdad and passed on the US willingness to help his regime and restore full diplomatic relations.”

UN: A Parody On Libya?

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Despite the fact that Colonel Gadaffi’s dictatorship has been in power for 41 years it was allowed to chair an important UN committee on human rights.

But now, as he’s been murdering Libyans in the street for weeks, the UN has finally decided enough was enough, according to AP:

“GENEVA — The UN Human Rights Council unanimously called Friday for Libya to be suspended from the body and for a probe into violations by the regime, in a dramatic session which witnessed the defection of Tripoli’s envoy.
In a resolution adopted by consensus, the 47 member UN body decided to “urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry… to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law in Libya.”

It also “recommends to the United Nations General Assembly, in view of the gross and systematic violations of human rights by the Libyan authorities,” to consider suspending the country from the Human Rights Council.

Libya was elected in May 2010 to the council after obtaining 155 votes in a secret ballot from the 192-state General Assembly.”

However, that doesn’t answer the questions:

1. How did Libya, with a positively appalling human rights record, ever get to chair the UN committee on human rights, in the first place ?

2. Who within the UN colluded with Gadaffi in enabling him to do so ?

3. Why did the UN find out about Libya’s atrocious human-rights record only **recently**, and not decades ago?

Update 1: I should add that Libya was voted into the chair of the previous UN body on human right’s too, the Beeb has more:

“Libya has been elected chairman of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, despite opposition from the United States.
In a secret ballot, Libyan Ambassador Najat Al-Hajjaji was backed by 33 members, with three countries voting against and 17 members abstaining.

Human rights groups have been protesting at Libya assuming the chairmanship.

The job of the Commission, the UN’s main human rights watchdog, is to receive complaints about abuses, but it has been widely condemned as toothless.

Seif Gaddafi said “We have a better human rights record than our neighbours. Sure, we are not Switzerland or Denmark; we are part of the Third World and part of the Middle East. But we are better than our neighbours”. “

The Green Party Conference And Racism.

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Weggis asks some difficult questions of his own party:

“The situation is quite simple: anyone who raises the issue of anti-Semitism within the party is immediately labeled a “Zio” or an “apologist for Israel” and accused of trying to stifle criticism of Israel. The fact that these people are also critics of Israel and empathise with the Palestinian cause does not register on their barometer. They are blind to any evidence that contradicts their obsession. Debate, or rational discourse, has become a pointless and futile exercise.

If the Green Party cannot see, understand or deal with it’s own problems what chance have they of resolving anybody else’s?

This post might help explain the background to the issues, Institutionalised Antisemitism In The Green Party, A Longstanding Member Resigns.

Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen And John Galliano

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You might think that antisemitism was a relic of the 20th century, something of the past, something that humans had learnt from, to avoid.

Yet you would be wrong, outbursts of antisemitism in the 21st century are becoming more common, with the passage of time, Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen are just two notable examples.

Now John Galliano, the famous designer, has been indulging in his own brand of antisemitism, according to AP:

“PARIS (AP) — Officials say Dior designer John Galliano was briefly detained after a spat in a Paris restaurant.

An official with the Paris prosecutor’s office says a couple in the restaurant accused Galliano of making anti-Semitic insults. A police official said Friday that Galliano also exchanged slaps with the couple.

The flamboyant British designer was questioned and released after the Thursday night incident. Both officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing say Galliano’s blood alcohol levels were high.

The Dior fashion house would not comment on the incident. “

Update 1: As if on cue, Mel phones:

“He said he had received calls of support from fellow celebrities, including Mel Gibson. “Occasionally, you know, a giant marquee name comes through on your caller ID. And it’s like, winning,” Sheen said. “

Written by modernityblog

25/02/2011 at 16:05

Entertainment News: Charlie Sheen’s Racism And 9/11.

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Is Charlie Sheen turning into another Mel Gibson?

Has the mountains of cocaine ingested by Charlie Sheen finally taken hold?

Are Sheen’s latest rantings really news?

Not really, but they do show how weird views on 9/11 and racism are frequently tied together.

Sheen had held irrational views on 9/11 for years and these were shown in his interview with the arch-conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones.

The video clip below from 2006 describes it better:

What Sheen said recently is further confirmation of how wacked-out 9/11 conspiracy theories and anti-Jewish racism often go hand in hand, Time has more:

“The 45-year old Sheen, who seems to be doing his best impression of how to spectacularly end a career in showbiz, gave a bizarre and incoherent radio interview with Alex Jones in which he tore into his executive producer Chuck Lorre and other targets such as Alcoholics Anonymous, calling it a “bootleg cult” with a 5% success rate, compared to his own “100%” success rate.

Going down the same path that some would say was already taken by Mel Gibson, Sheen’s spleen seemed to carry elements of anti-semitism. “There’s something this side of deplorable that a certain Chaim Levine — yeah, that’s Chuck’s real name — mistook this rock star for his own selfish exit strategy, bro. Check it, Alex: I embarrassed him in front of his children and the world by healing at a pace that his unevolved mind cannot process.”

But Sheen wasn’t done. “Last I checked, Chaim, I spent close to the last decade effortlessly and magically converting your tin cans into pure gold. And the gratitude I get is this charlatan chose not to do his job, which is to write,” he said.

While Lorre had no comment on either Sheen’s remarks or the production shutting down, the increasingly erratic Sheen would not go quietly. In what the website TMZ dubbed an “open letter,” Sheen called Lorre a “contaminated little maggot” and wished the producer “nothing but pain.” He also wants his fans to start a protest movement for him, which may be difficult considering that he could be down to single figures on that front. “I urge all my beautiful and loyal fans who embraced this show for almost a decade to walk with me side-by-side as we march up the steps of justice to right this unconscionable wrong,” he wrote. “

Jeffrey Goldberg gets to the nub of the issue:

“This expression, ‘for no apparent reason,” is very endearing and sweet. For no apparent reason? Anti-Semitism isn’t an apparent reason?

In any case, maybe Charlie Sheen is simply being misunderstood. Maybe what he’s doing, by deploying the word “Haim” here, is trying to help Chuck Lorre return to his roots. Maybe he’s saying, “Chuck Lorre, embrace your identity, embrace who you are, be a proud Jew! And anyway, not much harm will come to you in this particular community if you do!” Maybe that’s what he’s saying. I always try to look on the bright side of life in these matters. “

I suppose it is just a matter of time before Sheen starts talking about Dancing Israelis and blames 9/11 on Mossad or “The Zionists”? Mel Gibson all over again!

Update 1: The Torygraph has a clip of Sheen’s latest rant.

Update 2: Thanks to Max Dunbar, Slate has more on Sheen:

“This isn’t the first time that Men production has been affected by Sheen’s misdeeds. Last year, Sheen took a month-long hiatus from the show after his wife Brooke Mueller lodged domestic violence charges against him. Reports say she told cops that Sheen held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her. He was back at work just a few weeks after this first hiatus began, and at the time one of Two and a Half Men’s producers said that Charlie was “looking forward to clearing his name, putting all of this behind him and spending time with his kids.”

So why are they halting production for the rest of the season after this radio interview, when the domestic violence charges only merited a brief hiatus? I would speculate that it’s two things. One, the public could not see the evidence of Sheen’s alleged domestic abuse, while we all heard him call Chuck Lorre “Haim Levine” in a seemingly anti-Semitic slur. At the time of the alleged assault, People Magazine noted that, “Mueller did not suffer serious physical injury.” Sheen eventually accepted a plea bargain in which the most serious charges were dismissed, so it was an issue that could be more easily swept under the rug by the Two and a Half Men brass. Two, Sheen’s behavior is just so unremittingly bad at this point—this radio interview is the third or fourth public relations disaster in just the past few months—that producers could no longer ignore the Sheen problem, even though it will really cost them. When a screaming hooker in a closet isn’t even the worst of your marquee star’s issues, it’s tough to keep going with production. “

Update 1: I would like to remind those bigots, conspiracy freaks and racists cluttering up my moderation queue, that is where you will stay.

Please read my comment policy, think about it, then go away.

News just In, Assange’s Extradition Ordered.

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According to information coming out of the hearing, Julian Assange’s extradition has been ordered.

Seemingly, he will have 7 days to appeal. Not looking good.

I imagine he’ll lose, then end up in Sweden for a while, and finally the US.

Update 1: The full judgement against Assange is here. Thanks to David Allen Green.

Update 2: This part of the judgement is interesting:

“There was at one stage a suggestion that Mr Assange could be extradited to the USA (possibly to Guantanamo Bay or to execution as a traitor). The only live evidence on the point came from the defence witness Mr Alhem who said it couldn’t happen. In the absence of any evidence that Mr Assange risks torture or execution Mr Robertson was right not to pursue this point in closing. It may be worth adding that I do not know if Sweden has an extradition treaty with the United States of America. There has been no evidence regarding this. I would expect that there is such a treaty. If Mr Assange is surrendered to Sweden and a request is made to Sweden for his extradition to the United States of America, then article 28 of the framework decision applies. In such an event the consent of the Secretary of State in this country will be required, in accordance with section 58 of the Extradition Act 2003, before Sweden can order Mr Assange’s extradition to a third State. The Secretary of State is required to give notice to Mr Assange unless it is impracticable to do so. Mr Assange would have the protection of the courts in Sweden and, as the Secretary of State’s decision can be reviewed, he would have the protection of the English courts also. But none of this was argued.

I have specifically considered whether the physical or mental condition of the defendant is such that it would be unjust or oppressive to extradite him.

In fact as I am satisfied that extradition is compatible with the defendant’s Convention rights, I must order that Mr Assange be extradited to Sweden.

Howard Riddle
Senior District Judge (Chief Magistrate)
Appropriate Judge

24th February 2011 “

Update 3: There a site for Wikileaks videos, wikileaks.videohq.tv

Written by modernityblog

24/02/2011 at 12:34

Jumping Ship And Provisional Governments.

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Apart from the chaos that’s going on in Libya, I noticed two bits which are telling.

Apparently, Gaddafi’s own private pilot has deserted:

“The pilot of Moammar Ghaddafi’s private jet, a Norwegian citizen, has been able to flee Libya with his family. They are now safe in Vienna after fearing for their lives in Libya.

57-year-old Odd Birger Johansen for the last year has been the pilot of the private jet of Colonel Ghaddafi. Until yesterday, he was in Tripoli, together with his wife and daughter that had chosen this unhappy moment to visit him for a holiday in Libya.

Yesterday, he spoke to the private Norwegian broadcaster ‘TV2′, saying he wanted to evacuate Libya as soon as possible. “Right now, the way I feel it, is that things are burning around me … and I don’t want to … I am not a hero, I will go home,” Mr Johansen told the broadcaster. “

Else where, they are setting up a provisional government:

“In eastern Libya, in the city of Bayda, a provisional government was being formed. The new leadership also is holding some Gadhafi loyalists hostage.

As the first Western journalists many of the residents of Bayda had ever seen were led into the meeting, the crowd gave a standing ovation — quickly followed by cries of “Freedom, Freedom!” and “Libya, Libya!”

This building had been a symbol of Gadhafi’s regime — where his revolutionary council would meet to discuss local affairs.

A new revolution was finding its voice in Bayda, and its fighters were vowing to end Gadhafi’s reign. Some people were crying, others pumping their fists in the air.

“Ordinary people, doctors, lawyers are talking about how we can coordinate with all other cities in Libya who are now under the protesters’ control,” says Ahmed Jibril, a former diplomat at the Libyan mission at the United Nations.

He says this is the beginning of a new government.

“We have a former minister of justice who just resigned three or four days ago,” Jibril says. “He’s among us and people agreed … he would be one of the people in control.” “

Update 1: Frank Gardner piece at the Beeb, Libya: Who is propping up Gaddafi is good.

What Now Libya?

with 2 comments

I am not sure what is *really* going to happen in Libya.

Will the popular uprising be enough to overthrow Gaddafi?

Or will he use his mercenaries to retake Tripoli, and then other cities?

How can unarmed civilians stand up against the paid murderers under Gaddafi’s control?

Will the Army units be enough to support the people’s revolt? I hope so, but the picture is unclear and Gaddafi is one murderous dictator who will do anything to stay in power.

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