ModernityBlog

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

Archive for April 11th, 2011

Avigdor Lieberman: Fraud, Money Laundering And More.

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Mostly, when blogging I try not to concentrate on personalities, but in the case of Avigdor Lieberman I will make an exception.

Lieberman is obnoxious, xenophobic and an authoritarian politician.

The fact that he will be indicted shortly should surprise no one.

Lieberman seems fairly representative of much of the Israeli political class, useless, self absorbed and only interested in short-term personal and political goals.

Certainly it is perfectly possible to blame most of this on the absurd implementation of proportional representation within Israel, where small or extremist parties, such as Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, have a disproportionate influence, but there is more to it than that.

Nowadays, coalitions in Israel often function by the lowest political common denominator, only what can be pushed through without upsetting minority or extremist parties goes ahead, creating a wider political lethargy and an incredibly conservative approach to running a country.

We can see part of this problem in the continued allegations of corruption against leading Israeli politicians which have come about in the last few decades.

We should not forget that Netanyahu’s first premiership was brought to a close when there was a corruption investigation into him and his wife’s dealings. Subsequently, charges were dropped for the lack of evidence.

A previous PM, Ehud Olmert was under investigation for corruption for years, which led to him stepping down. Readers probably know of many more examples.

Haaretz has more:

“Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein is expected to announce Monday or Tuesday that he intends on filing an indictment against Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on charges of fraud, money laundering, and breach of trust.

A draft indictment will be handed to Lieberman’s attorneys and he will be granted the right to a hearing to try to prevent the indictment.

Over the past several weeks, Weinstein has been refining the wording of the draft indictment, which was the subject of much debate among those composing the document.

The discussion between the State Prosecution and the Attorney General regarding Lieberman’s case continued for more than a year and a half, since the head of the police investigations and intelligence division, Yoav Segalovich, recommended putting Lieberman on trial.

Segalovich recommended indicting Lieberman on charges of bribery, fraud, money laundering, breach of trust, witness harassment, and obstruction of justice.

Police believe that he received more than NIS 10 million in bribes from businessmen including Martin Schlaff and Michael Chernoy. The money was allegedly laundered via a series of shell companies and fictitious bank accounts overseas.

The police also recommended indicting Lieberman for breach of trust in the case of Israel’s former ambassador to Belarus, Ze’ev Ben Aryeh, who showed Lieberman secret documents from the investigation against Lieberman. “

I do wish that Israelis would follow the example of others in the Middle East and throw out their useless and rotten political leaders.

France, Nativism And A Piece Of Cloth.

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I am not a fan of the Niqab or Burka, but then again I am against enforcing specific dress codes, to wear something or not to wear something.

I argued some time ago on this very topic at Zword, but reconsidering some of those arguments I think there is a better way of looking at it, a simpler way. In the grand scheme of things, how important is it, really? In my view, not much.

When you think of France, with all its numerous social problems, economic ills and political difficulties, would you think that a piece of cloth is the biggest problem that they face?

And does it become a bigger issue when worn by women, in strategic places ?

I suspect most intelligent readers will say, no.

Clearly, there is plenty of historical material on secularism in France, and anyone familiar with the French Revolution would know why, but the contemporary debate in France owes more to the political manoeuvrings of politicians and the influence of the Far Right.

Xenophobia has long been a problem in Europe with its major manifestations in the 1930s and 40s.

More recently we can see increased racial attacks and violence again Roma across European countries, including France and then the spectre of nativism raises its ugly head, where those wearing unapproved fashions are now attacked.

The Far Right’s influence can be seen all over these measures, along with Nicolas Sarkozy’s fingerprints as he panders to French nativism in the hope of electoral success.

Enforced dress codes must be rejected, whether in Saudi Arabia, the Taliban’s old Afghanistan or France.

France has many serious problems and they do not come down to bits of cloth worn by women.

The real problems and social ills in France should be dealt with, and it does not help women in anyway to fine them for not wearing the approved range of clothes.

So in Europe let us be serious, deal with the real problems, infrastructure, social inequalities, decent wages, good pension, a solid welfare state and the stark divisions between rich and poor, and not these panicky measure which only increase racial tension and help the Far Right.

Update 1: Previous posts on the topic, Stigmatising Dress Codes.

Pandering To Prejudice In France.

Written by modernityblog

11/04/2011 at 17:23

Glenn Beck’s Nonsense.

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Someone took the time and trouble to look through all of the nonsense that Glenn Beck spouted, ex of Fox News, read more at Media Matters:

Beck: George Soros “Is The Head Of The Snake.” From the October 15, 2010, edition of Glenn Beck:

BECK: And that’s what they found out in the first progressive movement. If we
don’t have God, if we don’t have him, if we don’t — if we can’t control these churches. Wilson, his father was a preacher. Most everybody in the early progressive movement, their father or somebody involved was a preacher. And they hated it. Right? It was a twisted version. And they hated it.

DAVID BARTON : I mean, the ACLU was headed by a preacher in the progressive movement. Americans for Democratic Action, headed by a preacher in the progressive movement. It is amazing how many of those progressive organizations were headed by preachers.

BECK: Well, Jim Wallis. And Jim Wallis today. He’s an amazing individual.

CALVIN BEISNER: Who also takes money from George Soros.

BECK: No! It’s almost like George Soros is the head of the snake. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 10/15/10]

Readers will remember Glenn Beck, His Racism And Fox’s Reply.

Julian Assange at Kensingston Town Hall.

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The New Statesman failed to organise Live Streaming of their recent event with Julian Assange and couldn’t even get themselves organise to put it on YouTube.

Still, someone has done the job for them.

The clip below is just Assange, more might turn up later, but it is funny that the British media go on and on about ‘new media’ ‘Internet 2.0’, Twitter, and other buzz words they clearly don’t understand, yet they don’t have the wherewithal to upload a simple video to YouTube, how useless.

Update 1: Read more of the New Statesman’s self congratulatory guff at:

This house believes whistleblowers make the world a safer place: Part I

This house believes whistleblowers make the world a safer place: Part II