Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Will the fall of Assad throw the Middle East into turmoil?

Patrick Cockburn: "The fall of the government in Syria will not be confined to one country, as happened in Libya. It will throw the whole Middle East into turmoil. Turkish leaders say privately they have been given a free hand by the US and Britain to do what they want. But the Saudis have no wish to see Turkey become the champions of the Muslim world. The battle for Syria is already producing fresh rivalries and the seeds of future conflicts."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Does Israel control America?

Is the man in the video below anti-semitic? I don't think so. He is merely telling the truth, it seems to me. It is an objective assessment, as he says. Israel is our friend and should be our friend in that troubled region, he says. But he says some things that might offend strong supporters of Israel. Is it wrong or anti-Jewish to suggest that Israel controls America?

Is it true that Israel receives $15 billion per year from the American taxpayer? I thought it was $3 billion per year in military aid, and the economic aid ended some time ago. I will have to look more into this.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Police pepper spray nonviolent students at UC Davis

In America! I say that as if America is exceptional, somehow superior to most countries in terms of human rights. Maybe I should not expect such high standards from America. Or should I?

It's one thing for a a police officer to defend himself against a violent criminal by pepper spraying the criminal in the face. It's a very different thing when you see a police officer pepper spraying passive students at a university that is supposed to be all about tolerance and justice. The only explanation that I can think of is that this police officer's superior officer told him to do this, in which case that superior officer must be fired.

This happened on Friday afternoon. Today the media is giving this incident a lot of coverage, thankfully.

If UC Davis wants to maintain its image as a great liberal university, the university must fire the police officers who pepper sprayed the students. Their superior officers should be fired as well. It is not enough that the chief and the pepper sprayers are put on "administrative leave", especially if they are paid while on leave. The schmucks should not be rewarded with a vacation. They should be fired immediately.

Friday, November 18, 2011

"All American Muslim"

'For those constantly fretting about the inability of Muslims to integrate or assimilate into western culture, fret no more!

American Muslims finally have their own reality TV show – the Learning Channel's "All-American Muslim" – focusing on the lives of five American Muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan, who are predominantly Lebanese and Shiite. The show's premiere gave TLC huge ratings and made the show No 2 in its time period. Mainstream critics have embraced the show citing it as "intimate and informative" and a "deeply intriguing, uncharacteristically thoughtful reality series".'

I remember a few people on Angry Arab in 2006 and 2007 who said that I could not be Iraqi and American. I wonder if they know there are hundreds of thousands of Muslims of all backgrounds living in America.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Occupy" is everywhere

The "occupy" movement in America got crushed yesterday and today. American police are looking more like Middle Eastern police. Well maybe not that bad. But things got violent in many cities. NYC police were "very aggressive". Seattle police used large canisters of pepper spray, and they used it abundantly on the crowd. An 80+ year old woman was hit, and an Iraq war veteran helped her stand up.

The movement is growing, even if protesters are expelled from parks and arrested by the hundreds. Just like you can't kill protests in the middle east, you can't kill protests in America. Americans are becoming more educated about the income disparity between 1% of Americans and the rest of Americans. I am part of the 99%. I am right in the middle of it. Truly middle class. I don't want to pay higher taxes. I want the people with top incomes to pay higher taxes.

Many people (truly smart people) with top incomes demand they be taxed higher. These are patriotic millionaires:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The occupy movement is everywhere. Even millionaires agree with the 99%.

"Freedom of assembly, sometimes used interchangeably with the freedom of association, is the individual right to come together and collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests. The right to freedom of association is recognized as a human right, a political freedom and a civil liberty."

Colin Powell said recently that protests are as American as apple pie. He's right, of course.

What Obama actually said

Republican candidates Rick Perry and Mitt Romney do what they are good at: quoting Obama out of context. Apparently they are getting away with it. They know how to spread a lie.

Thankfully we have Lawrence O'Donnell to explain it:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Iraq executes Tunisian for bombing of Askari shrine

'Iraq executed a Tunisian man convicted of the 2006 bombing of a revered Shiite shrine that set off the worst of the country’s sectarian violence, a senior Iraqi official said Thursday.

Deputy Justice Minister Busho Ibrahim said that Yusri Fakhir, who was convicted early this year of the bombing on the al-Askari shrine in Sunni city of Samarra, was executed Wednesday in Baghdad. Ten other people — one Egyptian and nine Iraqis — also were executed on unrelated terrorism convictions, Ibrahim said.

The Tunisian Foreign Ministry expressed its “regret and displeasure” following the execution, which happened “despite the efforts undertaken by the Tunisian state” to try to win a reprieve for Fakhir.

Last week, Tunisia’s interim president sent a letter to his Iraqi counterpart, Jalal Talabani, asking for Fakhir’s release.

Fakhir’s father told the Tunisian state news agency TAP that his son was innocent of any crime.

“I consider my son a martyr and his final resting place is paradise,” Fakhir Trigui said. “There is no reason to be ashamed because he did nothing wrong.” '

He was innocent of any crime? He did nothing wrong? Did the schmuck go to Iraq as a tourist?

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Why is Iran jailing its students?

A few days ago I received emails from Amnesty International regarding the detention of students in Iran:

'Did you know you could be arrested in Iran for "insulting the president?"

That is what happened to Behareh Hedayat, a student leader, in 2009 -- and she is still in prison.

Since Iran's 2009 election, thousands of students and other peaceful protesters have been arrested by a repressive government with little tolerance for dissent. Individuals demanding political reform and human rights protections have been jailed and sometimes even tortured for their beliefs.'


In Iran, students continue to face egregious forms of repression and human rights abuses, as the Iranian authorities attempt to exert control over students opposed to their policies. Those who dare speak out do so at great risk and with devastating consequences.

Majid Tavakkoli and Behareh Hedayat are two student leaders who were arrested after they participated in demonstrations calling for social and political reforms.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

It's ok to be a Muslim in America

‎"Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is no. That's not America. Is there something wrong with a seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing he or she could be president? Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion that he is a Muslim and might have an association with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I feel particularly strong about this because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay, was of a mother at Arlington Cemetery and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone, and it gave his awards - Purple Heart, Bronze Star - showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death, he was 20 years old. And then at the very top of the head stone, it didn't have a Christian cross. It didn't have a Star of David. It has a crescent and star of the Islamic faith.

And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan. And he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was fourteen years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he could serve his country and he gave his life."

- Colin Powell in 2008

I found the quote and photo on a facebook page called "I actually do SUPPORT MY PRESIDENT". Many excellent photos, cartoons, and quotes there.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Can't convert to Christianity in Iran

"Government officials in Iran are trying to convince a jailed pastor to return to Islam as he waits for the nation’s supreme leader to decide whether he should be executed for converting to Christianity, sources close to the case told FoxNews.com."

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Most Americans support withdrawing from Iraq

"According to a recent Gallup poll,75 percent of Americans support President Obama's recent decision to withdraw nearly all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011. Democrats and independents were strongly in favor of the troop withdrawal, while a slight majority Republicans disapproved of the decision."