discarded lies: monday, april 23, 2018 2:53 am zst
Keep Calm and Carry On
daily archive: 09/02/2004
zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Impressions of a non-partisan
I've only voted once in my life, in the 2000 elections. It was my first vote ever. I was very enthusiastic about voting and very determined to vote right, to give something back to this country that gave me so much. I wanted to be a patriot for a change and not a bum. So I voted for Nader.

I admit, I'm a liberal. I don't know what to do about it. I'm a European who grew up with socialised health care and free university tuition and a month's paid vacation in the summer and a "thirteenth salary" for Christmas. I liked it! I really-really liked it!

But this is America and they don't have these things here and sadly, I had to adjust. I'm ok now, I'm not crying about my short vacations much any more. And because this will be my second time voting I feel very experienced and therefore I haven't felt the need to follow the campaign very closely. Besides, that's Leftwatch's job. Except when he made me watch the conventions. Well, that ended up being a good thing. I realised that this election for me boils down to one sentence: which candidate would I buy a beer for?

See, I like Bush. I'm a Bushie-liberal. If only the guy would drink, I'd like to buy him a beer and ask him how did he feel that morning when the weight of the world was on his shoulders and a wounded nation in his hands. He seems to be the type that likes shooting the breeze and I enjoy that too. Like I'd like to buy Arnold a beer (actually he and Bush should buy me beers, they have more money) and talk about oh, I don't know, immigrant experiences. Or Rudy Giuliani too, I'd buy him a beer. I cheered when he returned the bloody check, the guy has balls.

But I don't want to buy Kerry a beer. He seems fake and he bugs me. He doesn't seem like the sort of person that would do justice to a beer. And therefore, a beer wasted. And what would we talk about anyway? Cambodia? His rich wife? And I don't see that he's really any more liberal than Bush is. I don't see him socialising health care or giving me a thirteenth salary for Christmas or a month's vacation, hell, I don't even see him giving equal civil rights to my gay friends. So why should I buy him a beer? We have nothing in common.

So anyway, George, Arnold, Rudy, drop me an email. I'm free next Saturday and I'll be getting paid too, so I can definitely buy the first round.

Mr. Kerry, don't bother.

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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Bellydancing in Egypt
Ruby is a 22-year old singer from Egypt. Islamist politicians have raised complaints about her in Egypt's parliament and she was ostracised even by some of her close relatives because she made a music video in Prague, walking through the street in a bellydancing costume and doing some singing and dancing on camera. More outrage followed with her second video where she rode an exercise bike. Ruby is also in her final year of a law degree at Cairo University.

Islamist politician Hamdi Hassan of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood last year complained to parliament about singers including Ruby and a batch of Lebanese pop stars, whose performances were "against the morals" of Egypt's mainly Muslim society.

Sherif Sabri, who produced Ruby's music videos, said he had not expected such a fuss. "The very first criticism was about her belly dancing costume," he said. "I didn't think it would cause that much controversy because, after all, it's our costume," he said.

Ruby is unmoved by her critics, including members of her family and neighbors in the working-class Cairo district where she still lives. Her aunts refuse to talk to her and some in her street swear at her in public.

The Islamic revival in Egypt has taken its toll on bellydancing. Most Egyptians now consider its lewd movements to be 'haraam' - forbidden by Islam. Islamists, like the MP, Mohammed Mursi, say this is just as well, for a number of reasons.

"From the viewpoint of our religion, it's not allowed, it's forbidden," he says. "It's a bad thing for a woman to show off her body to the public. "And also, the situation we are living in now, when we see [Israeli Prime Minister] Sharon threatening our society, the Egyptian society... I think our priority lists shouldn't be starting by making such a festival".

Ah, I see. It's Sharon's fault. Pretty sly there, Mr. Mursi. Blaming the Jews is always a good diversionary tactic.

And one more thing: bellydancing is not lewd.

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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Art and the RNC
Talk about cheap shots: Laura and her Killer Bushie

"No one wanted you dead! Oh God no, I mean God no, what sort of animal would want that? No, it's a terrible sin and I'm sure we'll all have to pay for it, me and Bushie and — I call him Bushie, my husband."

The actress Holly Hunter, wearing jeans, an anti-Bush t-shirt, and speaking with a broad southern accent, was playing First Lady Laura Bush in “Only We Who Guard the Mystery Shall Be Unhappy,? a "work in progress" by the playwright Tony Kushner. The reading of the unfinished play, at the New York Theatre Workshop, a 250-seat room in the East Village, was billed as part of the creative community's response to the Republican National Convention. So on Wednesday night, as Vice President Dick Cheney was preparing to address the convention, the theater was packed — organizers had to turn people away — as Hunter, playing Mrs. Bush, addressed a group of Iraqi children.

At the beginning of the play, as she is preparing to read to the children, Mrs. Bush notices they are all wearing pajamas. Why is that?, she wants to know.

"I was about to explain," says an angel, played by the Sex in the City actress Cynthia Nixon. "In Paradise, all dead children wear pajamas."

It turns out the First Lady is in fact speaking to the ghosts of Iraqi children killed by American bombs and missiles. "You are the first Iraqi children I've met and you look real sweet in your PJs," she says. "And I'm sorry you're dead, but all children love books...How did you die, darling?"

In 1999, the angel explains, an American bomb hit a power station that supplied electricity for a village water-purification system. With no clean water, the child contracted a vicious intestinal parasite. "He died of dehydration, s***ting water, then blood, then water again, so much!" the angel says.

"That's really awful," says Mrs. Bush.

"Yes," says the angel.

"Saddam Hussein is a terrible man."

At that point, the East Village audience laughed at Mrs. Bush's southern-accented wrong-headedness. And then the First Lady explains to the children why they had to die.

"What can I say to you?" she says. "Oh how can I say this? It isn't right that you should have had to die because your country is run by an evil man who is accumulating weapons of mass destruction. But he is, you see, he really is, everyone knows this and he will kill many, many other children all over the world if he isn't stopped. So, so it was um, necessary for you to die, sweetie, oh how awful to say that, but it was, precious."

That's entertainment.

(From National Review)

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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Staying home
In an article titled UK no longer top asylum nation, BBC reports that the UK has dropped as a refugee destination to third place behind the United States.

"The number of asylum seekers in industrialised countries has dropped to the lowest level in 17 years. The UN said the decrease was largely down to the massive decline in refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan."

Heh. Our British friends should raise a statue to George Bush and Tony Blair. Hugging each other or giving a high five or something. Somewhere in central London would be good. And the queen should name a couple of her corgies after them too.

(I stole this from one of the most informative and consistent blogs out there, Audere Est Facere. Thanks, Dave Ray. Feel free to steal back.)

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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The protesters
Line Noise, from OpinionJournal:

The line to get into last night's Michael Reagan party at Manhattan's Gotham Hall ended on Sixth Avenue and snaked around West 36th Street to the erstwhile bank building's entrance on Broadway. Even though we hate waiting in lines, we decided to endure this one, for it seemed to be moving fairly quickly. We waited along with John Barnes, Karen Furey and Wally Olson, and some protesters treated us to a show.

A guy on a bicycle stood just off the Sixth Avenue curb, wearing a T-shirt that said "F--- Bush" (except there was an actual obscenity in place of the hyphens) and shouting slogans like "Billions for war, nothing for the poor." Now there's a policy we could get behind! But he probably meant this as a complaint, albeit (at least when it comes to the poor) an inaccurate one. Next to him stood a young lady with a sign that said "Privatizing water is not true security."

People in line heckled back the potty-shirted heckler, and he responded by repeatedly shouting, "You're scum! You're the slime of the earth!" A guy behind us observed, "I love hearing that from someone wearing a shirt like that." Suddenly a group of perhaps a dozen materialized, chanting and carrying a banner that read "Free John Hinckley." Their slogan: "F--- Reagan! Go home!" They moved down the avenue at a very fast pace and were gone as quickly as they arrived. Between their chant and the bicyclist's shirt, we really started to wonder how anyone can call President Bush inarticulate.

After awhile, a cop ordered Bicycle Boy and Water Privatization Girl to move along, but she came back as soon as the cop had left and said: "I apologize for those people who don't know how to talk like a human being." That was awfully gracious of her.

(Hat tip: Jim Russell)

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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
There is no logic or sanity
russian hostages.jpg
A soldier carries a baby and a woman holds a child after being released by militants in Beslan, North Ossetia, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2004. Heavily-armed militants released at least 31 women and children on Thursday from the provincial Russian school where they are holding more than 350 hostages for the second straight day, officials said. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)

Camouflaged security agents carried babies to safety after militants holding hundreds of hostages at a school released at least 31 women and children Thursday, and officials expressed hope that negotiations would bring more progress in the standoff in southern Russia. Check out Logic & Sanity for updates on the situation in Ossetia.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Look at the pictures
From the WSJ, Innocents Abroad

You might think that having watched workers leap to their deaths from the Twin Towers, nothing about Islamic terror could shock us.

We thought so too. But even in the midst of a bloody battle for civilization itself, the images that converged on America yesterday scream out: The photograph of the dead girl hanging out the window of a suicide-bombed Israeli bus on newspaper front pages; the Web footage of a Nepalese worker in Iraq having his throat slit, one of 12 hostages killed; and the Russian children who at this writing are being used as human shields by terrorists (presumed to be Chechens) who stormed their school, killed some people and are threatening to kill 50 children for any member of their group harmed.

An Israeli girl. A group of Nepalese guestworkers. Russian schoolchildren, their parents and teachers. What unites them is not simply that they were all murdered in the name of some Islamic cause but that they all define innocence. Maybe it is possible to believe, as many of those protesting outside the Republican convention apparently do, that even in the face of such crimes the threats to world peace are President Bush, Dick Cheney and Halliburton.

We say: Look at the pictures. Look at the children who die not because they are collateral damage but because they are targets. And ask yourself the uncomfortable but defining question of this campaign: Is this the kind of enemy that requires a "more sensitive" war?

(Hat tip: Jim Russell)

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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Americans just don't understand
Shahawar Matin Siraj, 21, a Pakistani living in Queens, and James El Shafay, 19, a US citizen living on Staten Island were arrested in an alleged plot to bomb a subway station in midtown Manhattan and possibly other locations around the city. After walking through the station, the pair drew diagrams of the station “in order to facilitate the later planting of the explosive devices?, then gave the drawings to a paid police informant. In secretly recorded conversations with the informant, Siraj said he was “ready for jihad? and Elshafay “discussed his hatred for the 'Zionists? and “expressed ... his solidarity with the Palestinian people?, according to the complaint. The men were being charged with conspiracy to blow up the station.

Two held over plot to bomb subway station in Manhattan

And here's the EI-EI-O version:

"New York Plays the Arab Card"

"The “terrorist? charges against Shahawar Matin Siraj and James El Shafay of New York are nothing short of illegal entrapment. Regardless of what happens from this point on, their futures are ruined. Ironic that Siraj, a 21-year-old Pakistani immigrant who works longer hours than President Bush, in addition to attending night school, came to America for freedom and opportunity. His crime, as spelled out clearly in the complaint filed against him last weekend, was his “hatred of America.?

So limited is the U.S.’s understanding of Arab culture that it continues to view real-time politics with antiquated perceptions. For instance, the language its mainstream uses to describe Israel’s 56-year ethnic cleansing project is couched in throwback liberalism, circa 1946. It is nice to know that anti-Jewish persecution is condemned by American liberal society, but anti-Arab anti-Semitism has scoured a path from Palestine, throughout the Arab world, and back to U.S. shores. This globalization of anti-Arabism is most evident in Iraq, where even Bush’s political opposition believes that more U.S. troops are needed. The questions that are not being asked are, for what? and, who made America so noble to decide?

None of these things matter now for the two New York youths who bought radical notions from a police informant. We may never know how those notions were sold, because, thanks to Siraj’s and El Shafay’s Arab-ness, it is the informant’s word over reason, imagination and Constitution.

Already the Times, widely regarded as the U.S. standard-bearer in journalism, has failed to tell a balanced story. While playing up the elaborate diagrams that Siraj and El Shafay composed in their plot, Times reporters Alan Feuer and William K. Rashbaum failed to mention that the informant not only initiated the plan, but pretended to be dying of cancer to win Siraj’s sympathies. In fact, the notion of entrapment does not even cross their report. (Meanwhile, the Kansas City Star, quoted Siraj’s uncle today: “This is 100 percent entrapment.? The Times carefully omitted the e-word.)"

Poor terrorists, their future is ruined. This is heartbreaking. And it's all because of their Arab-ness, not because they were planning to bomb anything, any reasonable person would see that they wouldn't really have gone ahead with it. And it was the informant's fault too. He should know better than to inform. And he lied about his health too. What a meanie! And if the uncle says it's entrapment, it's entrapment! Get some Arab-ness, American people, get with it and try to understand.

P.S. The NY Times is "widely regarded as the U.S. standard-bearer in journalism?" Does the Washington Post know this?

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