ModernityBlog

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

Posts Tagged ‘Obama administration

Why I Don’t Read The New Statesman.

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I have already admitted that the New Statesman disappoints me, but as it reflects much of the Metropolitan Elite I can’t say it surprises me.

Dave Rich at the CST takes the trouble to read it carefully, and he doesn’t like what he finds:

“Hasan clearly understands the pitfalls of writing on this subject, and he has genuinely tried to avoid producing an antisemitic article. The problem is that his article is basically just another conspiracy theory. It offers a simplistic argument that completely ignores the hopes, fears, needs and goals of Israelis and Palestinians themselves, or of any other actors in the region, and imagines that the whole problem could be solved by a wave of America’s magic wand (or a shake of its big stick).”

Whilst we are at it we shouldn’t forget this one from 2010, The New Statesman Praises Iran’s President For Not Denying the Holocaust.

The Lobbies, Rounding Up Before The Weekend.

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I shall be away for a good few days and thought that rounding up news worthy bits and my random thoughts might be easier.

I admit I can’t stand the NewStatesman, but if you have to read it then Kevin Maguire’s column is good and sharp on domestic British politics.

A pessimistic Yaacov Lozowick says Peace Impossible; Progress Needed:

“Compared to long periods of Jewish history, deligitimization is a reasonable problem to have. For that matter, deligitimization compounded with a low level of violence isn’t an existential threat, either. Yet Jews haven’t become one of history’s oldest living nations by passively suffering circumstances. They have always tried to improve their lot, often with surprising success; Zionism is merely one of the more spectacular improvements. The Zionist tradition of activism requires we confront the present threat, rather than wait. The way forward is to disable the weapons of our enemies. Since the single most potent weapon in their arsenal is our occupation of the Palestinians, we must do as much as we reasonably can to end it.

Ending the occupation as a maneuver in an ongoing conflict is not the same as making peace. Making peace requires that all side to the conflict accept mutually agreed terms. There’s a reason this hasn’t yet happened, namely that the two sides cannot agree; even if they could, however, no Palestinian government could reconcile all Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims to Jewish sovereignty, nor convince the western supporters of ongoing violence to desist from aiding and abetting it. The aim of ending the occupation is to severely weaken the enemies of Jewish sovereignty by reducing the wind which currently blows in their sails.”

I don’t agree with him on much but he too is worth a read.

Meanwhile in Bahrain:

“Bahraini opposition groups and rights organizations say hundreds of public employees were dismissed on the grounds that they took part in protests. Bahrain says it had taken steps only against those who committed crimes during the protests.”

The yearly Orwell Prize is upon us, and bloggers haven’t been forgotten. I do find the self-promotional nature of this event somewhat disappointing, you have to submit your own work, rather than someone proposing you. It seems that the Orwell Prize has become another major happening, where the middle classes slap each other on the back and say what jolly good chaps/chappettes they are. Is this what Eric Blair really wanted? The Metropolitan elites congratulating each other? Probably not.

Interested in the Middle East? Use Google’s Chrome and check out the BBC’s Arabic page, which Chrome will automatically translate into any appropriate language. It’s a good read and has a slightly different perspective than the English language one.

Donald Trump and the Birther idiocy has compelled President Obama to release his birth certificate, view as a PDF. Gary Younge was good on the issue about 2 years ago, not much has changed since then. This is the White House blog on it, and I didn’t know it existed!

Gulf leaders are worried about Egypt.

Searchlight on the BNP’s Young, angry and on the rise.

Howard Jacobson on Ofcom and The Promise, sharp as ever:

“In a morally intelligent world – that’s to say one in which, for starters, Jews are not judged more harshly than their fellows for having been despatched to concentration camps – The Promise would be seen for the ludicrous piece of brainwashed prejudice it is. Ofcom’s rejection of complaints about the drama’s partiality and inaccuracy was to be expected. You can’t expect a body as intellectually unsophisticated as Ofcom to adjudicate between claims of dramatic truth and truth of any other sort. And for that reason it should never have been appealed to. That said, its finding that The Promise was “serious television drama, not presented as a historical and faithful re-creation”, is a poor shot at making sense of anything. You can’t brush aside historical re-creation in a work of historical re-creation, nor can you assert a thing is “serious television” when its seriousness is what’s in question. A work isn’t serious by virtue of its thinking it is. Wherein lies the seriousness, one is entitled to ask, when the drama creaks with the bad faith of a made-up mind.

I’m an art man, myself. Aesthetics trump the lot. And “seriousness” is an aesthetic quality or it’s nothing. But you will usually find that bad intentions makes bad art, and bad art, while it might be solemn and self-righteous, forfeits the right to be called serious. From start to finish, The Promise was art with its trousers round its ankles. Yes, it looked expensive, took its time, was beautifully shot and well acted. But these are merely the superficies of art, and the more dangerously seductive for that. “Gosh, I never knew such and such had happened,” I heard people say after one or other simplifying episode, as though high production values guarantee veracity.”

The Obama administration and Syria, conflicting policies?

When people start shouting about Mosques, remember what company you’re in, BNP man arrested at mosque protest.

In Bahrain Tweeters get a warning from the State:

““Think twice before posting, forwarding, or reTweeting messages. Are they mere propaganda or could they be libelous? Think Twice before posting, forwarding or reTweeting images. Are they appropriate in their content? Are they likely to cause offense? Could they cause harm?” “

British Foreign secretaries are normally not that naive, but William Hague seems to think Bashar al-Assad is a reformer, even after 400+ Syrians were killed by the state security apparatus, police and army. Chronically stupid doesn’t even sum up Hague in this matter.

Remember 9/11? Imagine that you were one of the first people on the scene, that you risked your life to help people. How would you be treated by Congress? Pretty damn poorly, Medialite has more:

“Jon Stewart tonight tackled the absurdity of a provision in the recently passed 9/11 first responders bill that requires any potential beneficiaries to first have their name run through the FBI’s terrorism watch list before they could collect any money. Some commentators described it as “adding insult to injury,” but Stewart more bluntly called it Congress’ “final kick to the nuts” of the first responders.

This issue is somewhat personal to Stewart given that many credited him with helping to get public support for the bill’s passage. Yet Stewart went to town, lampooning anyone who could possibly think a terrorist’s grand scheme after all of these years was to trick the U.S. government into handing over money to now pay for their cancer treatment.”

HRW seems to think that Hamas will investigate itself concerning the death of Adel Razeq. Great idea, but it ain’t going to happen:

“(Jerusalem) – Hamas authorities in Gaza should order a criminal investigation into the death of a man whose body was returned to his family five days after Hamas security officials arrested him, Human Rights Watch said today.

Relatives of ‘Adel Razeq, a 52-year-old father of nine, told Human Rights Watch that when security officials arrested him on April 14, 2011, they did not present a warrant and took him away under false pretenses. Security officials would not tell his family where he was being held. When his brother examined the body, it was badly bruised and appeared to have broken bones, he told Human Rights Watch. That, if true, would cast doubt on a Hamas Interior Ministry statement that Razeq died of an unspecified illness. “

Finally to a Lobby, but not one that you’d expect, the Syrian Lobby, extracted from the WSJ:

“How does a small, energy-poor and serially misbehaving Middle Eastern regime always seem to get a Beltway pass? Conspiracy nuts and other tenured faculty would have us believe that country is Israel, though the Jewish state shares America’s enemies and our democratic values. But the question really applies to Syria, where the Assad regime is now showing its true nature.

Washington’s Syria Lobby is a bipartisan mindset. “The road to Damascus is a road to peace,” said Nancy Pelosi on a 2007 visit to Syria as House Speaker. Former Secretary of State James Baker is a longtime advocate of engagement with the House of Assad. So is Republican Chuck Hagel, who in 2008 co-wrote an op-ed with fellow Senator John Kerry in these pages titled “It’s Time to Talk to Syria.” The Massachusetts Democrat has visited Damascus five times in the past two years alone.

The argument made by the Syria Lobby runs briefly as follows: The Assad family is occasionally ruthless, especially when its survival is at stake, but it’s also secular and pragmatic. Though the regime is Iran’s closest ally in the Middle East, hosts terrorists in Damascus, champions Hezbollah in Lebanon and has funneled al Qaeda terrorists into Iraq, it will forgo those connections for the right price. Above all, it yearns for better treatment from Washington and the return of the Golan Heights, the strategic plateau held by Israel since 1967.

The Syria Lobby also claims that whoever succeeds Assad would probably be worse. The country is divided by sect and ethnicity, and the fall of the House of Assad could lead to bloodletting previously seen in Lebanon or Iraq. Some members of the Lobby go so far as to say that the regime remains broadly popular. “I think that President Assad is going to count on . . . majoritarian support within the country to support him in doing what he needs to do to restore order,” Flynt Leverett of the New America Foundation said recently on PBS’s NewsHour.

Now we are seeing what Mr. Leverett puts down merely to the business of “doing what he needs to do”: Video clips on YouTube of tanks rolling into Syrian cities and unarmed demonstrators being gunned down in the streets; reports of hundreds killed and widespread “disappearances.” Even the Obama Administration has belatedly criticized Assad, though so far President Obama has done no more than condemn his “outrageous human rights abuses.” ”

It is something to see, how tanks, snipers and the slaughter of civilians doesn’t to rile policy makers in DC, or political activists in Britain as witnessed by the non-existence demonstrations outside the Syrian embassy by the usual suspects! And that something that has struck me over the pass few weeks coverage of events in the Middle East, how little real indignation they invoked in the West.

Continuing Coverage: Wikileaks And Assange.

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Some new material has been released into the public domain concerning the allegations against Julian Assange.

I can’t make my mind up on it. I think it tends to detract from the issues which have come out during these Wikileaks, Techworld reports:

“Text messages sent by the two women who accuse WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of rape and assault mention “revenge” and “economic gain,” according to testimony during the second day of his extradition hearing.

Defense witness Björn Hurtig said he was allowed under police supervision to examine hundreds of messages, which “suggest things that go against what the claimants have said regarding the rape.”

Hurtig, who is Assange’s attorney in Sweden, said he saw text messages “speaking of revenge” and taking “economic advantage” of Assange, who is wanted for questioning related to alleged incidents with two women in mid-August 2010.

He faces possible charges of unlawful coercion, sexual molestation and rape, but his legal team presents those accusations as a veiled attack related to WikiLeaks’ release of secret U.S. diplomatic cables.”

His solicitors, Finers Stephens Innocent, have other material on their site here.

I haven’t looked through it if anyone finds anything good then please let me know.

And some of my other posts on the matter:

Sorry To My Female Readers.

Julian Assange: Fool? Historically illiterate ? Or Worse?

Julian Assange And The English Middle Class.

Shamir, Stupidity And Julian Assange.

Wikileaks Bits.

Wikileaks, Cyber-attacks And Wandsworth Prison.

Conspiracies, The CIA And The Racist, Israel Shamir.

Sorry To My Female Readers.

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I have had time to reflect and I wish to say sorry to my female readers, who I may have inadvertently offended in the discussions around Julian Assange’s Arrest And The Broken Condom.

I feel I was often too caustic, and not sufficiently attuned to the issues, as seen from a different perspective.

Regrettably, I tend to focus on political matters, sometimes to the exclusion of more intricate points.

So my apologies, particularly to any of my female readers who were rightly offended by my unnecessary and direct comments.

Sorry.

Julian Assange: Fool? Historically illiterate ? Or Worse?

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Access to the Internet doesn’t confer intelligence, but you would like to think that those with high-speed connections to the web could at least educate themselves on the basics.

The web is a positive encyclopaedia and with a few clicks you can find out most things.

So it is all the more annoying to see a constant, almost obsessive, Internet user demonstrate major historical illiteracy, that person is Julian Assange.

Readers will remember how I am somewhat enamoured of Wikileaks, as I think that it is good for information to come out into the public domain and stimulate debate. How I find the timing of the charges against Assange too coincidental.

Nevertheless, as the story unfolds in the media you get the impression that Julian Assange is a bit of a fool, or at the very least rather naive and unworldly.

His failure to do an elementary Google search on Israel Shamir/Jöran Jermas/Adam Ermash was rather worrying.

Assange’s profile on the free dating site, OkCupid.com, is indicative of someone not fully in touch with reality.

His latest comments, comparing his treatment to that of the Jews, is unbelievable, the JC has more:

“The founder of WikiLeaks has compared his treatment by the Swedish authorities seeking his extradition over sexual assault allegations to the persecution of the Jewish people in the last century.

Julian Assange, the 39-year-old Australian behind the extraordinary leaks of US diplomatic cables and documents, told The Times that he believed the allegations and the publicity surrounding them were unfounded and motivated by “a mixture of revenge, money, and police pressure.”

He said: “All sorts of abusive statements were made against the Jewish people in the 1950s and before.

“I’m not the Jewish people, but the people who believe in freedom of speech and accountability [are in the same position].”

Julian, it was considerably more than just “abusive statements”. Try searching Google with pogrom, Soviet antisemitism and mass murder.

I am lost for words.

Shamir, Stupidity And Julian Assange.

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The debate on Wikileaks has shifted somewhat, and I think that is not useful, as from my cursory reading there is plenty of excellent material.

Michael C. Moynihan has a story on Israel Shamir, the well-known Far Rightist and hardcore antisemite, and his association with Wikileaks in Russia.

I can well imagine that the photo with Julian Assange is staged, but that does not excuse his association with this well-known racist.

I would assume that Shamir wanted to engineer himself into a position of power, disseminating Wikileaks material as he chose and probably pulled the wool over a slightly naive Assange. However, that is no excuse.

Wikileaks should release a statement disassociating themselves from Israel Shamir and his associates.

Update 1: Snoopy has done a far superior post on this topic:

“Whatever you can say about Assange, he certainly captured the attention of the world lately, dividing the audience into haters and admirers. No one remained indifferent, for a wide variety of reasons. It could be said – and I tend to accept the view expressed by Francis Sedgemore – that Assange and his team started something that is far beyond the related scandals and dirt and is of extreme importance to the journalism and politics of this century.

Assange methods and Assange personal habits, though, may undermine the possible good that could come out of the whole endeavor. Enough is said and written about the way Assange published hundreds of documents that endangered people. A lot is written about his persona, so there is no need to repeat all this stuff. WikiLeaks could certainly do with a more sensible leader.”

Update 2: The JC has more on Israel Shamir/Jöran Jermas/Adam Ermash.

Wikileaks Bits.

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I am away from a PC for a few days so here are some useful links and discussions on Wikileaks.

How Has WikiLeaks Managed to Keep Its Web Site Up and Running?

Huff Post’s rolling commentary, which isn’t too bad.

Yaacov Lozowick has his own thoughts on things.

Pfizer in Nigeria.

The Guardian’s WikiLeaks US embassy cables site is well worth a read.

WikiLeaks Central too.

Wikileaks on Facebook.

If readers come across any other useful sites or links please leave a comment below.