Monthly Archives: August 2007

WordPress Still Blocked in Turkey

Deborah Ann Dilley at Global Voices follows up on the same story I mentioned last week.

Last week Sami Ben Gharbia did an excellent posting about the blockage of the WordPress blogging platform in Turkey, this week we will examine what Turkish bloggers have to say about it. There is anger, resentment, and sense of utter amazement at the absurdness of the situation. And yet, there is a powerful spirit of strength in combating this ban.

Many Turkish bloggers and expat bloggers feel that the recent banning of WordPress in Turkey is not only a sign of things to come, but a cause for embarrassment.

Read it all.

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Thai Kids nicknamed Ball, Bank, Oil, Mafia, and Seven

The other day brought an interesting item about Afghans being named for days of the week. Today, Preeti Aroon of Foreign Policy explores the nicknames children are given in Thailand.

In Thailand, children are given playful nicknames that stick with them through adulthood. Traditional nicknames have included Yaay (Big), Moo (Pig), and Dam (Black).But in a rapidly changing, globalized world, more parents want “modern” nicknames for their kids—names that derive from TV, Hollywood, and other foreign influences. Some kids have been nicknamed Mafia and Seven (as in 7-Eleven). One teacher has students named Tomcruise, Army, God, Kiwi, and Gateaux (yes, that’s the French word for “cakes”). A survey of students in one city found that the most popular English nickname was Ball—possibly after famous Thai tennis player Paradorn Srichaphan—with Oil and Bank following behind.

I am enraptured by names like Preeti, or as I have heard it elsewhere, Priti, so this whole story fills me with a sense of wonder.

As for me, just like Johnny Cash you can call me Sue, after John Edwards and the other big-time class-action lawsuit abusers who are wrecking industry in America.

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Women are the first to fall under the Tyrant’s Thumb

No Pasaran! has been reading Emily Parker’s recent interview with Mario Vargas Llosa and notes that the Rafael Trujillo (of the Dominican Republic) and Saddam Hussein dictatorships had similar tastes in women.

Mr. Vargas Llosa describes traveling to the Dominican Republic and being stunned to hear stories of peasants offering their own daughters as “gifts” to the lustful tyrant. Trujillo and his sons, he tells me, could abuse any woman of any social class with absolute impunity. The situation in the Dominican Republic, which he refers to as a “laboratory of horrors,” may have tended toward the extreme, but it underscores a larger trend: “The woman is almost always the first victim of a dictatorship.”

Vargas Llosa continues

Mr. Vargas Llosa discovered that this phenomenon was hardly limited to Latin America. “I went to Iraq after the invasion,” he tells me. “When I heard stories about the sons of Saddam Hussein, it seemed like I was in the Dominican Republic, hearing stories about the sons of Trujillo! That women would be taken from the street, put in automobiles and simply presented like objects. . . . The phenomenon was very similar, even with such different cultures and religions.” He concludes: “Brutality takes the same form in dictatorial regimes.”

Did this mean that Mr. Vargas Llosa supported the invasion of Iraq? “I was against it at the beginning,” he says. But then he went to Iraq and heard accounts of life under Saddam Hussein. “Because there has been so much opposition to the war, already one forgets that this was one of the most monstrous dictatorships that humanity has ever seen, comparable to that of Hitler, or Stalin.” He changed his mind about the invasion: “Iraq is better without Saddam Hussein than with Saddam Hussein. Without a doubt.” [link]

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Iraqi WMD samples were hidden in UN File Drawer

The UN has been lying to us about Iraqi WMDs. In a sarcastically titled article, California Conservative sets out the timeline that proves it:

TIMELINE:

  • 1996: Chemical agents found in Baghdad, moved to U.N. office
  • 1996: U.N. began corrupt Oil for Food programme that lined Saddam’s pockets with billions in kickbacks.
  • 2003, Feb 14:  on the eve of war Saddam “issues directive banning private companies and individuals from importing WMD materials or producing WMD”, according to the Iraq Survey Group/David Kay.
  • 2003, March: U.S. invaded Iraq.
  • 2003, Sept. 16:  John Bolton as Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security address Congress concerning Syria’s WMD capabilities.
  • 2003, Oct: Kay and ISG told Congress WMD may have moved over Iraq’s border.
  • 2004, March: U.N. reports Iraq had no WMD after 1994.
  • 2007, Aug: U.N. finds WMD from 1996 in their NYC building.

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Defiant Heroes and Scapegoats

I don’t get it. Why do Republican politicians go after sinning Republican politicians with such gusto?

Teddy Kennedy (D) was supported by Democrats after drunk driving Mary Jo Kopechne to her death by drowning. His nephew Patrick Kennedy (D) was pulled over by DC cops for driving drunk and stoned on pain medications, and somehow escaped getting charged with any crimes. Gerry Studds (D) had sex with a 17-year-old male page, and was cheered for his defiance of the Ethics Committee by his fellow Democrats. Jack Murtha (D) escaped indictment in the Abscam investigations. “Dollar” Bill Jefferson (D) was caught with $90,000 of bribes in his freezer, was re-elected in New Orleans, and still serves in the Congress. Speaking of Bill Jefferson, William Jefferson Clinton (D) was impeached for having sex with an intern who worked for him and lying about it, and is now a respected elder statesman of his party whose wife is running for President, which would bring him back to the White House, with more time on his hands than he had before.

Democrats circle the wagons and go on defense, or into counterattack mode, when one of their Democrat comrades finds himself in a scandal, whether earned or unearned.

Of the recent Republican scandals, Duke Cunningham actually did something wrong and deserves his jail sentence. But Larry Craig, Mark Foley, Alberto “Pinata” Gonzalez, and Scooter Libby were all smeared and railroaded. All but Craig have already fled the public eye because they have been so relentlessly demonized by Democrats and Big Media, and were kicked to the corner by Republicans. It was similar with Tom Delay and Newt Gingrich. Their main “crime” seems to have been that they were too effective in their roles.

What explains the different treatment of Democrat and Republican sinners? Why do Republicans scapegoat sinners, while Democrats treat their sinners as heroes for standing against conventional morality? Is it merely that Republicans stand for morality and Democrats stand against it? Or is there a problem with a party that is so quick to jettison its own sinners, without having a plan to replace them with other effective Republicans? Is there a problem with a Republican party that cannot find it within its heart to forgive its own sinning sons, a party that would agree with the Prodigal Son’s brother, and not his father?

The Parable of the Prodigal Son
11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to [1] one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ [2] 22 But the father said to his servants, [3] ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

Why do Republicans rush to attack and jettison other Republicans as fast as Democrats can smear them? Hey Republicans. We are all sinners. How about a little forgiveness for a sinning brother now and then when there is still a war that must be won–a war that could be lost if the current set of degenerate Democrats grab the remaining levers of power? And how about sticking up for the team like Marc Antony did in the “Friends, Romans, Countrymen speech?

Others who all disagree with me via memeorandum.

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Righting the Capsized Narrative of the Vietnam and Iraq

Robert Tracinski outlines the case:

In a speech last week, President Bush surprised everyone by citing Vietnam as an analogy to Iraq. Just as we paid a “price in American credibility” for our abandonment of Vietnam, he argued, so we will suffer an even worse blow to the credibility of American threats and American friendship if we retreat from Iraq.

The New York Times, borrowing “military parlance,” described this as Bush’s attempt at “preparing the battlefield–in this case for the series of reports and hearings scheduled on Capitol Hill next month.” The military terminology is appropriate, since this war will not be won or lost only on the battlefield in Iraq; it will be won or lost in the political battles that will be fought in Washington, DC. And Bush’s invocation of Vietnam may turn out to be a brilliant rhetorical flanking maneuver. In one stroke, he has unexpectedly turned the political battle over withdrawal from Iraq into the last battle of the Vietnam War. The effect on the right has been electrifying. One conservative newspaper, the New York Sun, has even taken the step–inconceivable a year ago–of dedicating a page of its website to parallels between Iraq and Vietnam.

This certainly has caught the left by surprise, since the history of the Vietnam War is territory they thought they owned and controlled, which is why they have attempted to fit every conflict since 1975 into the Vietnam template. An editorial cartoon published early during the invasion of Iraq aptly depicted the Washington press corps as unruly children in the backseat of the family car, pestering the driver with the question, “Is it Vietnam yet? Is it Vietnam yet?” They assumed that if Iraq was Vietnam–if it fit into their Vietnam story line about dishonest leaders starting a war of imperialist aggression that was doomed by incompetent leadership and tainted by American “war crimes”–then it was guaranteed to be a humiliating defeat for their political adversaries.

Yet while the left complacently trotted out its same old Vietnam story line, a few historians have been busy revising and correcting the conventional history of the war. The leading work of this school is Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965, by Mark Moyar. What makes Moyar’s argument interesting is that he had access to facts that the conventional history of Vietnam, written in the 1970s and 1980s, could not have taken into account: the archives in Hanoi and Moscow, which reveal what our enemies regarded as our victories, our weaknesses, and our worst mistakes.

And at Protein Wisdom, Karl lists the butcher’s bill for the Media’s Bias, including their incorrect appraisal of Vietnam. With lots of links. The article is called The Big Picture(s).

Though public opinion polls consistently show that Americans consider Iraq to be the most important issue facing the country, establishment media has slashed the resources and time devoted to Iraq. The number of embedded reporters plunged from somewhere between 570 and 750 when the invasion began in March 2003 to as few as nine by October 2006. The result was the rise of what journalists themselves call “hotel journalism” and “journalism by remote control.”

[…]

Noah D. Oppenheim, who visited Baghdad for MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” noted that “The consequence of this system is that, on television, the story in Iraq is no more than the sum of basic facts, like casualties, crashes, and official pronouncements.” The data back Oppenheim. The television airtime devoted to coverage of Iraq has plunged dramatically. Television networks devoted 4,162 minutes to Iraq in 2003, 3,053 minutes in 2004, 1,534 minutes in 2005 and 1,122 minutes in 2006. The amount of time and space devoted to Iraq coverage has continued to decline through the first half of 2007.

Both these articles are well worth reading in their full. And worth bookmarking.

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Bari Atwan prays for Israel to be nuked

For the record. From the Jerusalem Post:

Talking about Iran’s nuclear capability on ANB Lebanese television on June 27, Abd Al-Bari Atwan, editor-in-chief of Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, said, “If the Iranian missiles strike Israel, by Allah, I will go to Trafalgar Square and dance with delight.” […]

“If a war breaks out, where will the Iranians retaliate? If Iran is able to retaliate, it will burn the oil wells, block the Strait of Hormuz, attack the American bases in the Gulf and, Allah willing, it will attack Israel, as well,” Bari Atwan continued.

That is what I mean by a prayer. “Allah willing, it will attack Israel.”

Who is Abd Al-Bari Atwan, anyway?

Bari Atwan founded the pan-Arab daily in London in 1989, and today the paper has a circulation of around 50,000. He is also a regular commentator on Sky News and BBC News 24.

So, should we expect Bari Atwan to be introduced primarily as someone who prays for Israelis to be murdered by nuclear bombs whenever he appears on Sky News and the BBC? After all, if he were a member of the KKK nobody would care what paper he edited. If he denied the Holocaust… wait. Never mind. He gets a free pass for Holocaust denial because he is Muslim.

H/T: memeorandum

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Moscow Women getting hitched to Muslim Men

From Paul Goble at Window on Eurasia:

Vienna, August 21 – A significant fraction of ethnic Russian women in Moscow are choosing to marry Muslim men — at least in part because the latter typically do not smoke or drink, want several children, and are prepared to work to suppor t their families, according to researchers at the Russian Academy of Science.
During the first half of 2007, there were more than 60,000 marriages in the Russian capital, a quarter of which were between native Muscovite – typically an ethnic Russian woman — and a citizen of a neighboring country – more often than not a man from Azerbaijan or Central Asia.And partially as a result of this trend – and not just the Kremlin’s current pro-natalist policies — Russian demographers say, the number of births is increasing: During the first six months of this year, there were 48,225 newborns in Moscow, some 2438 more than in the same period a year earlier

The article goes on to hit pretty hard at ethnic Russian men.

Olga Kurbatova, a senior scholar at the Vavilov Institute of General Genetics, noted that “girls in the capital see in migrants precisely the model of a real man: in practice, they don’t drink, especially Muslims like the Chechens, Ingush and Azerbaijanis,” they work hard, they are able to support a family and they want children.”“Many of our [ethnic] Russian men,” she noted, are “exactly the opposite” with regard to each of these highly valued characteristics.

In other words, Moscow’s women won’t marry Russian men because they (Russian men) are lazy drunks who can’t support a family and don’t want kids. Any Russian men out there, now you know what the problem is and it’s up to you to find a solution.

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Can Muslims Awaken from their Civilizational Nightmare before they bring about the end of the world?

Very interesting from Bahrani blogger Emoodz, as translated by Amira Al Hussaini of Global Voices.

My family, like a lot of other families in Bahrain, suffers from a breakdown due to work, which never ends. We rarely meet as a family for lunch on weekdays. This gives lunch gatherings during holidays a special flavour, even if they lack in all the rice and curry dishes as many of us are avoiding getting obese – which has become the boogie man many families have been avoiding in the last half of the previous decade, mostly at the expense of delicious food.

While speaking to my dad as he was devouring a piece of Mullet (type of fish) in a unique ferocity associated with Bahranis (Shia population of Bahrain), we started speaking about sectarianism and the division in society based on sects, particularly in Bahrain, and around the Arab world in general. He spoke in depth about how religion was the basis and reason for sectarianism, adding that it is now one of the woes we as Muslims have to accept without objection. Continue reading

The Afghan Names of Char Khoone

In Iran they have Char Khoone, an Iranian television series that depicts Afghan characters as villains.

Since the beginning of the summer Iranian TV has aired a series named Char Khonneh every night. Sehat Sroush , the series’ director does not have any film making experience. At the beginning, this series did not have a large audience, but then the director created a new characters in order to make people laugh. Some of these characters are Afghans and their names are Shanbeh (means Saturday) and Charshanbeh (means Wednesday).

Though the Iranian declaration of this year as the year of Solidarity between Muslims, the Afghan blogger Dialog 3 says this is not a brotherly way to behave.

Dialogue 3 says examples like Afghans who call their children by the name of days of week, creates hatred between Moslem countries rather than solidarity

Surely the year of Solidarity between Muslims is the reason for all the diplomacy that Iran has been busy with this year. Trips to Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan, Venezuela, Cuba, Peru, if I don’t miss my guess Zimbabwe, North Korea and China too. If there is a Moslem or non-Moslem tyranny anywhere in the world that Ahmedinajad hasn’t visited in his global perambulations this year I can’t name it, unless you count the Fiery Pit of Hell as one.

And I think that dwells within him, anyway.

But more endearing to me is that Afghans are likely enough to name their children for days of the week and other quirky choices. In the English Speaking World we have movie stars like Tuesday Weld (right) and nursery rhymes like this one:

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child must work for a living,
But the child that’s born on the Sabbath day,
Is fair and wise and good and gay.

And naming children funny, non-traditional names is a pop-culture phenomenon. Camera Ashe, Seven Sirius and Puma Badu, Zowie Bowie, Sailor Lee Cook, Kal-el Cage, Suri Cruise, Peaches Honeyblossom Geldof, Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence, Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette, Bogart Che Peyote and Rocco Kokopelli Rainey. These are the names of celebrity children. They are the names of the children of wealth. Only the wealthy dare name their children such fantastical names. Such names are an indication of parental wealth and the joy of parents in their children. Wealth comes in many forms. It can be money or power or confidence or happiness or culture. And the fact that names like that are found in Afghanistan says good things about Afghanistan, even if some Afghans are embarrassed by it.

Who knows, maybe Iranians are secretly jealous of names that don’t remind them of a single day, always Friday.

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