Archive for October 26th, 2008
ABANDONING THE IRON WALL:
ISRAEL AND “THE MIDDLE EASTERN MUCK”
Ian S. Lustick, MIDDLE EAST POLICY,
VOL. XV, NO. 3, FALL 2008, (PDF, 27 pp.)
LIEBERMAN HASN’T BEEN PAYING ATTENTION TO HIMSELF….
Steve Benen, Washington Monthly
Joe Lieberman adopted the role of Republican attack dog early on, but as the election draws near, he’s hoping the political world has a very short memory.
Lieberman, a self-proclaimed “independent Democrat” who was chosen by McCain to make the case against Obama at the Republican National Convention in early September, said his comments have been within bounds : “When I go out, I say, ‘I have a lot of respect for Sen. Obama. He’s bright. He’s eloquent.'”
My hunch is, Lieberman sees the direction of the political winds, and hopes to convince Democrats that while he’s been a McCain sycophant, he’s always been “respectful” towards Obama. Lieberman, in other words, has to hope Democrats haven’t been paying any attention at all. The party is supposed to forget, for example, when Lieberman argued that Obama doesn’t put “country first.” And the time Lieberman said it was a “good question” to ask whether Obama is a “Marxist.” And the time Lieberman ironically accused the Obama campaign of “sleazy tactics.” And the time Lieberman, at the Republican National Convention, falsely accused Obama of trying to undermine the troops. “Respectful”? Nice try, Joe.
Right-Wing Florida News Anchor Asks If Obama Is A Marxist
Defends Questions As ‘Probing’
Ryan Powers, ThinkProgress, Oct 25 2008
Yesterday, Joe Biden sat for an interview with Barbara West of WFTV Orlando. West loaded her interview questions with right-wing smears, likening progressive tax policies to Marxism. Biden responded to West’s ridiculous line of questioning with disbelief:
WEST: You may recognize this famous quote, “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” That’s from Karl Marx. How is Sen. Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?
BIDEN: Are you joking? Is this a joke? … Or is that a real question? (LAUGHTER).
“I don’t know who’s writing your questions,” Biden told West later in the interview. When West asked if Barack Obama wanted to “turn America into a Socialist country like Sweden,” Biden said, “I don’t know anybody who thinks that except the far right-wing of the Republican Party.”
Members of the media criticized West’s unprofessional interview. Mike Thomas of the Orlando Sentinel said it was “the most embarrassing interview I’ve ever seen on local television.” Politico’s Ben Smith called it “hostile.” The Chicago Tribune’s Frank James labeled the interview “a joke,” “embarrassing,” and “painful.” West, however, defended her interview questions to the Orlando Sentinel saying, “These are questions that are rolling about right now and questions that need to be asked.” “I think I was probing and maybe tough,” she said.
Kurt Nimmo subtitles this video as follows:
Barbara West of WFTV employs the false right-left paradigm against Joe Biden. In response, the Obama campaign killed all interviews with the Florida TV station, thus demonstrating Ms. West cut too close to the bone.
I think that is gibberish. Too close to what ‘bone’, if the ‘paradigm’ is ‘false’? – RB
WASHINGTON: US President George W Bush signed NATO agreements on Friday that put Albania and Croatia a step closer to joining the western security alliance, calling it a historic step for the Balkans. NATO members agreed at an April summit in Bucharest to invite Albania and Croatia to join the alliance. The Balkan neighbors will be eligible when all 26 NATO members ratify the accession protocols. Bush said at a White House ceremony to sign the agreements:
Albania and Croatia’s entry into NATO is an historic step for the Balkans. In the space of a single decade this region has transformed itself from a land consumed by war to a contributor to international peace and stability. Other nations seek a path to NATO membership, and they have the full support of the United States government. Today I reiterate America’s commitment to the NATO aspirations of Ukraine, Georgia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, and Montenegro.
Earlier, the White House said Bush still hopes that NATO will launch the process of admitting Georgia and Ukraine as members when the alliance meets in December, even though France and Germany oppose the move. And Moscow has warned it views NATO membership for Georgia as a security threat. Bush said the US also looked forward to seeing all nations in the Balkans join NATO – including Macedonia, whose admission into the alliance has stalled because of its name dispute with Greece. – Pakistan Daily Times
from Thers, Firedoglake
Consider the jackass who calls himself “The Wolf” on the “Blackfive” blog. Now, experts agree that if you call yourself “The Wolf” that is prima facie evidence that you are an egregious douchebag; but then, Mr.T. Wolf manages to go above and beyond the call of blog-standard fuckwit douchebaggery in this podcast conducted with his blog-mate, Uncle Jimbo, who is generally conceded to be a spectacularly egregious fuckwit douchebag his own right. And why is this podcast a particularly fuckwittish, douchbagesque piece of fuckwit douchebagging? Oh, let us explore. This is all great stuff.
1. It is, as noted, a conversation between “Uncle Jimbo” and “The Wolf.” We really need not proceed further for comedy purposes, but shall soldier on nevertheless.
2. Uncle Jimbo says “I altered [The Wolf's] voice in post-production.” Some real Ian Frickin’ Fleming shit there, boys. Well played. In the unlikely event that anyone ever begins to care about the ridiculous issue of the true identity of “The Wolf,” that will prove an Important Safeguard.
3. The “scoop” that Mr. Wolf is revealing is that BARACK OBAMA SHIPPED HIS MISTRESS OFF TO MARTINIQUE OMG!!!!11! And Mr. Wolf KNOWS THE MISTRESSEZ NAMEZ!!11!! And THEN HE REVEALZ IT!!@!!1. Never mind that the name has been all over the goddamn internet for weeks, that the story itself is bullshit, and that revealing the name is assholish and juvenile. It’s a scoop! (Meaning, he has bookmarked “Google dot com.”)
4. Mr. Wolf says that he got his scoop from Insiders who knew that he is “involved in new media.” Which means he talks crap on the Internet like a tool. And that he has bookmarked Google dot com.
5. Mr. Wolf and Jimbo concur that the “MSM” has this story cold but is holding onto it because, oh, who the hell knows, something to do with The Illuminati or Madame Blavatsky or the Rosicrucians or Barney the Purple Dinosaur or some goddamn thing or other.
Remember the 1990s, with Vince Foster getting shot by a lesbian Arkansas state trooper? Well, if you don’t remember, or weren’t there, or have deliberately suppressed these memories: brace yourself. Because we’re about to relive that decade, right down to the last idiotic detail.
Palin: Obama’s Tax Plans Could
Mean Nightmare Communist State
Sam Stein, HuffPost
Sarah Palin had a few memorable moments during her campaign stop in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday. But the most eye-opening of them all came, it would appear, when the Alaska Governor somehow drew a connection between Barack Obama’s tax policy and an encroaching, nightmarish, communist government. The Illinois Democrat, she hysterically suggested, would, through his proposals, create a country “where the people are not free.”
See, under a big government, more tax agenda, what you thought was yours would really start belonging to somebody else, to everybody else. If you thought your income, your property, your inventory, your investments were, were yours, they would really collectively belong to everybody. Obama, Barack Obama has an ideological commitment to higher taxes, and I say this based on his record [...] Higher taxes, more government, misusing the power to tax leads to government moving into the role of some believing that government then has to take care of us. And government kind of moving into the role as the other half of our family, making decisions for us. Now, they do this in other countries where the people are not free. Let us fight for what is right. John McCain and I, we will put our trust in you.
‘Lebanon’ itself is nothing but an artificial, confessional state carved out from Syria by French colonialists (see here), in the same way that ‘Kuwait’ is nothing but a bite taken out of Iraq by British ones (see here). Nevertheless, unlike Kuwait, Lebanon is or at least was very nice, ‘the Switzerland of the mid-East,’ etc. I doubt that I would have lasted long in Lebanon without becoming a continual hashish smoker – RB
Syrian Troops Enclose Lebanon
DEBKAfile, Oct 25 2008
DEBKA-Net-Weekly 369 of Oct 24 exposed the complete deployment, from the Syrian 4th Division along Lebanon’s northern border and the 10th, 12th and 14th Divisions on Lebanon’s eastern frontier opposite the Hermil mountains and the Beqaa Valley, down to the Hermon Mountains facing South Lebanon and northern Israel. The first concentration of 6k to 8k Syrian troops was disclosed in DEBKA-Net-Weekly 367 on Oct 3, when two Syrian commando brigades of the 4th Mechanized Division took up positions along 2km of the El Kebir River, which marks that sector of the border, opposite northern Lebanon and its largest town of Tripoli. Then, last week, Damascus consigned the 12th Mechanized Division to the border of the Lebanese Beqaa Valley and its central mountains, so completing the encirclement. Syrian military positions now range from points opposite the northern Lebanese town of Al Qaa on Mt. Hermil to points further south, up to the Massena border crossing, 50km north of Beirut. The Syrian 4th and 12th Divisions abut on the 10th Division, ranged opposite South Lebanon and the disputed Shebaa Farms enclave. The military chain continues with the 14th commando division, positioned on the Syrian slopes of Mt Hermon opposite Israeli military positions. Not only are Lebanon’s borders enclosed, but Syria, in conjunction with Iran, has also established a military presence inside Lebanon. In the summer, they emplaced radar stations on the tall Lebanese peaks of Mt. Sannine and Barukh of the central mountain range, giving them a detailed view of every move on Lebanese territory, in northern Israel and on the eastern Mediterranean.
UN: Israel violated Geneva Conventions
Allison Hoffman, JPost, Oct 25 2008 (extracts)
The UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in the territories has accused Israel of failing to halt settlement expansion in keeping with the Annapolis protocols and of violating the Geneva Conventions in Gaza. Richard Falk, an American Jewish law professor who has been an outspoken critic of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, recommended Thursday that the UN resume economic assistance to Gaza irrespective of whether Hamas satisfies political conditions set by Israel. He also suggested that the General Assembly ask the International Court of Justice to conduct an assessment of Israeli actions in Gaza, and said the UN should ask Switzerland to convene a review of Israel’s compliance with the Geneva Conventions. He added that the world body should “explore its own responsibility with respect to the well-being of the Palestinians living under the unlawful conditions of occupation.” Falk, who described Israel’s approach to Gaza as a “siege,” pointed to the difficulty of obtaining exit visas from Gaza for medical care as evidence of Israel’s “collective punishment” of Gazans. He cited increased checkpoint security in the West Bank as evidence that the Israeli government was reneging on promises made at Annapolis, which were “specifically understood to commit Israel both to ease restrictions on movement of Palestinians subject to occupation and to freeze settlement activity.”
The presentation to the General Assembly’s social and humanitarian committee, chaired by the Dutch, was Falk’s first since taking over as rapporteur in May from John Dugard, a South African expert on apartheid. It accompanied Falk’s report, submitted to the committee by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon in September, in which he insisted that Gaza remains under occupation despite the 2005 disengagement, and therefore is subject to protection under international law. Israeli envoy Ady Schonmann, from the Foreign Ministry, appeared before the committee to criticize the report, saying that it reflected the “partisan political position which has taken root at the Human Rights Council.” Schonmann protested the “unbalanced nature” of Falk’s report. Schonmann also criticized Falk for relying on anonymous sources and cherry-picking academics to support his claims. Falk, for his part, returned the jab by criticizing Israel for refusing to grant him a visa. Falk’s appointment by the UN’s Human Rights Council was roundly rejected by Israel, which cited Falk’s comparison in 2007 of Israeli treatment of Palestinians to Nazi treatment of Jews in Germany. Falk told the BBC in an April interview that he made the comparison to shock Americans, adding that he felt the Gaza situation was akin to the crisis in Darfur or the repression of Tibet.