Islamophobia is ok, but anti-semitism? Hell no!


It started with the ban on minarets in Switzerland which was supported by a majority of the Swiss in a referendum held last week.  It quickly progressed to cemeteries when a leading Swiss politician said in a television interview that separate cemeteries for Muslims (no problem singling them out) and Jews (big problem singling them out) were not acceptable and should be banned as well.  That didn’t go down to well with members of the Jewish community in Switzerland which numbers about 20,000, one tenth the population of Muslims living in Switzerland.  The Jewish reaction to the politician’s statement was swift and immediate enough to get him to back down on his original comments regarding a ban.

What Swiss Jews did was acknowledge the inevitable with respect to minorities living in Europe, a breeding ground for internecine fighting and wars; once you begin down the slippery slope of racism, it gathers a momentum of its own and envelopes everyone and everything that is different than itself.

“We don’t have a situation of the extreme right in Europe attacking Jews because they are content to attack Muslims,” Philip Carmel, the international relations director for the Conference of European Rabbis, told Reuters.

“But the Swiss example is classic: it’s not just Muslims who are going to be targeted by the extreme right.”

What’s sad is without the comment about Jewish cemeteries, most likely members of the Jewish community would have remained silent in the face of Switzerland’s steamrolling racist juggernaut, but when it reached the Jewish community objections from that quarter were raised.  Perhaps their thinking was if they remained silent and out of sight they would not be affected; but that’s clearly not the lesson history teaches  about such societal tendencies.  Let that also be a lesson to the Muslim community of anywhere in the world that if they too accept oppression directed towards any ethnic community anywhere in the world, it is sure to progress and include them in its racist tentacles.

Three Cheers for Pittsburgh City Council’s respect for the 1st Amendment


This story is an example of government truly protecting the Constitution in the face of abuse of power on the part of law enforcement.  A citizen  was simply told he couldn’t “flip” someone off and was ticketed when he did.  Fortunately he didn’t let it stop there and instead chose to exert his rights and in the process was supported by the city council where he lived.  Here’s his story.

A man who flipped the bird to a Pittsburgh police officer three years ago is speaking out after the City Council tentatively approved paying $50,000 to settle his lawsuit.In April 2006, David Hackbart was trying to park on a busy street in Squirrel Hill when, he said, the driver behind him wouldn’t budge.”After inching back toward him to give him the message I was trying to park, he wouldn’t (move). I got very frustrated and I flipped him off,” Hackbart said.

Hackbart, 35, of Butler, wasn’t done using his middle finger.”I heard a voice outside the car telling me not to do that and that frustrated me too. So, I flipped that person off and that turned out to be a police officer,” Hackbart said. “I tried to explain to him it was constitutionally protected, what I did. He did not want to hear it and gave me a citation.”The incident launched a federal civil rights case, which was postponed indefinitely at the request of lawyers on both sides. The case has tentatively ended with the City Council’s approval Tuesday of a proposed $50,000 settlement. Another vote is scheduled next week for final approval.Hackbart said his lawsuit was about change — not money.”Put some sort of policy in place that the officers are trained better and there is some sort of supervision in officers writing tickets so people don’t have to go through what I went through,” Hackbart said.Hackbart said there’s lesson for all to learn from his obscene gesture.”I don’t advocate people using the middle finger for (any) reason, any situation, 24 hours a day, but if someone ran across a certain situation in mind, at least he knows his rights,” Hackbart said.Of the proposed $50,000 settlement, Hackbart said he would receive only $10,000. His lawyers and the American Civil Liberties Union would split the remaining $40,000.

To all responsible for protecting Hackbart’s first amendment rights, and a way of life we claim to want to preserve and which drove us to invade two countries a heartfelt thanks for your diligence.  You too are soldiers in our war on terror.

Fellatio as policy in the Middle East


That’s what Thomas Friedman gave as the reason for our invasion of countries in the Middle East in his much ballyhooed interview with Charlie Rose several years ago.  (The clip above.)  It seems however that Friedman either forgot his bravado laced interview or considers it insignificant when writing his latest Mid East pronouncements, which appear here.   In this latest tripe Friedman passes for an editorial (can you believe he gets P-A-I-D for writing this stuff?!) Friedman talks about the “narrative” and describes it thusly

The Narrative is the cocktail of half-truths, propaganda and outright lies about America that have taken hold in the Arab-Muslim world since 9/11. Propagated by jihadist Web sites, mosque preachers, Arab intellectuals, satellite news stations and books — and tacitly endorsed by some Arab regimes — this narrative posits that America has declared war on Islam, as part of a grand “American-Crusader-Zionist conspiracy” to keep Muslims down.

Friedman forgot to mention himself as one who promotes the “narrative”; even by his own accounts we invaded Muslim countries and killed scores of innocence not for any grand or noble political designs for us, Americans, or for them, the citizens of those countries, but rather we reaped all of that havoc ‘because we could’ and to get them to Suck. On. This. That mentality is what drove the pornographic rage that we’ve only seen snippets of that took place in Abu Ghraib.  (I’m sure all the citizens of Iraq, and some other Muslim countries too, have heard all of the stories our democracy has said we here in America aren’t eligible to hear or know about.)  Friedman mentions Abu Ghraib, but only in passing, in the midst of  extolling all the good things American soldiers did or are doing in Iraq as occupiers mind you of a country that initially was no threat to the vital interests of the US or her allies.  While chiding “jihadists” for ignoring the latter, Friedman did himself and his article a disservice but doing the same with the former.

As usual, Glen Greenwald does a pretty good job of dismantling the Friedman fantasy/hypocrisy.  Among his zingers to Friedman’s piece are lines like these

And note the morality on display here:  Hasan attacks soldiers on a military base of a country that has spent the last decade screaming to the world that “we’re at war!!,” and that’s a deranged and evil act, while Friedman cheers for an unprovoked war that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and displaced millions more — all justified by sick power fantasies, lame Mafia dialogue and cravings more appropriate for a porno film than a civilized foreign policy — and he’s the arbiter of Western reason and sanity.

That’s only one of several well placed punches to Friedman’s devilishly childish arguments in his latest op-ed.  Steven Walt of the infamous Walt-Mearsheimer duo which brought the world the book, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, and brought upon themselves an undeserved ignominy, weighed in on Friedman’s article as well with less than sterling results, in my opinion, because of his emphasis on “numbers” of casualties amassed to make the case for why “they” hate us. The comments section of his article is why his article lacks the strength of moral certainty to oppose Friedman’s op-ed.  Simply put people don’t care about the whys and wherefores these days and using that argument about why Muslims hate us without mentioning that we launched a war of aggression against them based on lies that our government made and upheld in order to invade and total decimate their culture, and that we continue to justify our occupation based on these debunked lies is disingenuous, in this writer’s estimation.   Walt is an academic so perhaps that’s why he relied so heavily on numbers in his “refutation” of Friedman’s article, but in so doing he let Friedman off the hook for his, Friedman’s, obscene insistence for war and his cheerleading for it when he knew ostensibly that he was lying.  If Walt had simply said that, any claim to legitimacy on the part of Friedman, would have been irrevocably lost.

Friedman is an apologist for wars of aggression and he wants the victims of such wars to engage him in semantic pedantry which is why he issues this weak call out  at the end of his article.   It’s a waste of time for him to issue it and even more a waste of time for others to answer it.  What Mr. Friedman needs to be reminded of is the importance of ‘the rule of law’, something he nor any of his supporters really had a handle on for the last 10 years. Friedman is the newspaper world’s hate radio pundits; not much substance and  a lot of hot air.  His bias and hatred for the people he generally writes about borders on the sophomoric, not at all worthy of the New York Times, or if you insist that it is, then both are not news that’s fit to be printed.  May I suggest citizenship journalism instead?