Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Lest you think that Trump only represents himself

"The Jan. 30-31 poll found that 49 percent of American adults said they either "strongly" or "somewhat" agreed with Trump's order (the Muslim ban), while 41 percent "strongly" or "somewhat" disagreed and another 10 percent said they don't know."

This Saudi writer in Arabiyya (the mouthpiece of Humiliated and Despised of House of Saudi) that Trump's decision is not anti-Muslim

He says: "It is not true to say that US president, Donald Trump's decision to ban citizens of Iran and six other Arab countries was a decision directed against Muslims.  If the US president wanted to target Muslims in his decision he would have banned first and foremost Saudi citizens from entering the US."  He was not kidding.

Where is the money for Gaza?


It is not easy being confused, really.

Trump's first term

I predicted to Michele last week: Trump won't complete his first term.

Extra vetting for Muslims

I mean, people think that Muslims (even those who are US citizens) were not getting extra vetting? They were not interrogated after they arrive and before they leave the US?  I have a friend (an academic) who was returning form Lebanon, and airport security removed her laptop and told her that they need to copy its contents before releasing her. Those stories don't make it to the press.  Everyone is acting like we lived in bliss and equality until Trump arrived.

David Frum

The guy who came up with the "axix-of-evil" speech is worried about autocracy in the US.

The fact checker of the Washington Post badly needs a fact checker

He is doing a political job.  Of course, Obama imposed a moratorium on Iraqi refugees and the fact checker strains to say that it was not: "The “Kentucky case” refers to two Iraqis in Kentucky who in May 2011 were arrested and faced federal terrorism charges after officials discovered from an informant that Waad Ramadan Alwan, before he had been granted asylum in the United States, had constructed improvised roadside bombs in Iraq. The FBI, after examining fragments from thousands of bomb parts, found Alwan’s fingerprints on a cordless phone that had been wired to detonate an improvised bomb in 2005. The arrests caused an uproar in Congress, and the Obama administration pledged to reexamine the records of 58,000 Iraqis who had been settled in the United States. The administration also imposed new, more extensive background checks on Iraqi refugees. Media reports at the time focused on how the new screening procedures had delayed visa approvals, even as the United States was preparing to end its involvement in the Iraq War. “The enhanced screening procedures have caused a logjam in regular visa admissions from Iraq, even for those who risked their lives to aid American troops and who now fear reprisals as the Obama administration winds down the U.S. military presence,” the Baltimore Sun reported."

Dennis Kucinich in Damascus

I don't understand the purpose of Kucinich's trip to Damascus alongside a well-known Islamophobe member of US Congress.  Worse, in talking against the Syrian rebels on Fox News, Kucinich made the point that they pose a threat to Christians and to Israel.  What are you doing Dennis?

Arab potentates line up

"Despite travel ban, Arab leaders line up to talk to Trump"  Jordanian royal court have been scrambling to find explanation and excuses as to why the King would not get a White House meeting with Trump.  

Look at this guy: he is only obsessed with foes of US: he does not talk about SA or Jordan in this manner

Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth)
For Venezuela's autocratic, democracy-killing Pres Maduro, the economy's demise is the fault of anyone but himself. bit.ly/2kESU6Lpic.twitter.com/r3i1WPOlXI

Do you notice that human rights violation by Kurdistan regional government go unnoticed?

"Children detained by Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government on suspicion that they have connections to the Islamic State group are alleging they were tortured, according to a report from an international human rights group published Sunday."

So are Western media now indirectly admitting that it was Syrian rebels (of the "moderate" variety) who cut off water to Damascus residents?

I think that it has become clear that early Western reporting (all of them) lied when they said that water suddenly was cut off from Damascus due to "fighting".  Rebels deliberately polluted and then bombed water resources.

Canadian terrorist liked Trump, Israeli army, French far-right

"The Facebook account of the man charged in the shooting attack that killed six persons and injured several more at a Quebec City mosque on Sunday evening indicates he was a fan of US President Donald Trump, French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, the Israeli army and other far-right groups."

Trump is copying Israeli policies

"For what many do not realise, is that the policies – and their undergirding ideology – that Trump is unleashing on the US have been pursued by the state of Israel for decades."

Saudi Arabia remains silent on Trump's extremist anti-Muslim policy

"Saudi Arabia, which speaks of itself as the "home of Islam," has remained silent on Trump's extremist anti-Muslim policy, while massive protests have errupted throughout the U.S. and the world."

US-UK assault on Yemeni civilians

"The U.S. assault on Yemeni civilians not only continued but radically escalated over the next five years through the end of the Obama presidency, as the U.S. and the UK armed, supported and provide crucial assistance to their close ally Saudi Arabia as it devastated Yemen through a criminally reckless bombing campaign. Yemen now faces mass starvation, seemingly exacerbated, deliberately, by the US/UK-supported air attacks. Because of the west’s direct responsibility for these atrocities, they have received vanishingly little attention in the responsible countries." (thanks Amir)

Saudi royalty

travel in style--even their pets travel in style.

It is not a Muslim ban but Jews who are born in the seven banned countries are excluded

"The U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv issued a statement on Tuesday to clarify the status of visas held by Israelis born in Arab countries, in light of an entry ban issued by the Trump administration to nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries.  The embassy said that: “If you have a currently valid U.S. visa in your Israeli passport and were born in Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen, and do not have a valid passport from one of these countries, your visa was not cancelled and remains valid."

Palestinian salad against terrorism

"Several current and former WebOps employees cited multiple examples of civilian Arabic specialists who have little experience in counter-propaganda, cannot speak Arabic fluently and have so little understanding of Islam they are no match for the Islamic State online recruiters. It's hard to establish rapport with a potential terror recruit when — as one former worker told the AP — translators repeatedly mix up the Arabic words for "salad" and "authority." That's led to open ridicule on social media about references to the "Palestinian salad."" (thanks Kamal)

The total and absolute Muslim ban is quite popular, according to poll of the US public

"A new poll shows that 50 percent of all American voters support a temporary ban on Muslims traveling to the U.S. — an idea originally proposed by GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump.  While 71 percent of Republican voters supported the ban, 34 percent of likely Democratic voters and 49 percent of independents also did, according to the new poll by Morning Consult. "

The government of the Humiliated and Deposed of House of Saudi cozies up to Trump, yet again

"Trump’s government says that it is willing to do so and is in a hurry to engage in a plan to put an end to chaos and deter terrorism. Trump who has only been president for 10 days now has declared his intention to establish safe zones for Syrian refugees...Stances of others toward Trump, his administration and his foreign and domestic policies must not affect us. We must not make prejudgments. What’s more important is that we form our vision based on the issues and solutions which Trump administration proposes for our region and based on the new administration’s willingness for positive cooperation."  Notice: 1) he mentions that the talk covered Muslim Brotherhood but White House readout did not mention that; 2) he did not mention "safe Zone" in Yemen.

Breitbart news argues: the ban only applies to a mere 200 million Muslims

"Claimed ‘Muslim Ban’ Exempts Eighty-Seven Percent of Muslims"

Six other times the US has banned immigrants

"3. Anarchists banned
President Theodore Roosevelt. Signed on March 3, 1903. In 1903, the Anarchist Exclusion Act banned anarchists and others deemed to be political extremists from entering the US. In 1901, President William McKinley had been fatally shot by Leon Czolgosz, an American anarchist who was the son of Polish immigrants. The act - which was also known as the Immigration Act of 1903 - codified previous immigration law and, in addition to anarchists, added three other new classes of people who would be banned from entry: those with epilepsy, beggars and importers of prostitutes. The act marked the first time that individuals were banned for their political beliefs."

Don't feel sorry for this little 8-year old American girl: Pentagon says she was killed because she was a terrorist combatant

"NYTimes: Women Killed in Yemen Raid Were Qaeda Fighters, Pentagon Says".  Oh, and Obama killed her 16-year old brother a few years ago.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Remember Cicero of the Syrian GCC-supported exile opposition?

Do you remember him?  A friend sent me this picture with this message about him: "Radwan Ziadeh has been downgraded from a Syrian opposition official to a passenger affected by travel ban".  The other day he was identified in the Post as "an academic" (he is a dentist).

Muslims as victims versus Muslims as terrorists

Do you notice that Muslims-as-victims are far less famous than Muslims-as-terrorists?  Notice that the burning of the Mosque in Texas and the shooting in Canada received far less attention than they would have had the perpetrators been Muslims? 

Does Thomas Friedman think he is being original here? Do you know how many people said this before him?

"Mr. Trump. Steve Job’s biological father’s name was Abdulfattah Jandali. He came to the US as a student. He was from Homs, Syria."
Even on Twitter: Friedman can't come up with one original idea.

U.S. raid in Yemen killed 16 civilians

"Eight women and eight children were among those killed in the dawn raid in Yakla district, in the central province of Baida, said the provincial official, who did not want to be named, and tribal sources." (thanks Amir)

On Muslim reactions to Trump's Muslim Ban: Declan Walsh

This article by Declan Walsh in the New York Times typically focuses on rulers Egypt and Saudi Arabia and ignores the strong and sweeping reactions by people of Saudi Arabia and Egypt on social media.  Even some Saudi regime media reacted strongly to the ban.  But Walsh does not know Arabic (and he didn't know Urdu when he covered Pakistan for the Guardian).

The Arrogance of Western correspondents in Beirut

"Anne Barnard (@ABarnardNYT)
Was in Damascus when Trump won. Govt supporters ambivalent: He might be more pro-Assad, but what about their kids' visas/green cards? #Syria"

Ms. Barnard visits Syria for a few days once a year and yet she is qualified to speak on behalf of the Syrian people.  Imagine if I visit China for a few days once a year and I write about the demands and aspirations of the Chinese people--without knowing a word of Chinese.

White House readout about Trump's conversation with Saudi King

1) the Saudi media spoke about an American invitation to Saudi King but the White House statement never mentioned that. 2) the White House statement spoke about Saudi request for Trump to lead "an effort" not only to "defeat terrorism" but also to make the region better socially and economically, i.e. Saudi King asked Trump to lead the Arab and Islamic worlds. 3) There was no mention of Palestine. Saudi kings used to give a token mention of Palestine. 4) There was no mention whatsoever of the Muslim ban.  Not a word. 

The disappearance of As-Safir

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "The Disappearance of As-Safir: Demise of a Phase in Arab media (and politics)"

Kenneth Roth of HRW explicitly says that Muslims who are "Western-oriented" are worthy of support

Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth)
The Iranians who come to US are refugees or Western-oriented. Trump's #MuslimBan is a gift to Iran's hard-liners. bit.ly/2kh7fGc

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Trump on Saudi Arabia in 2008: he admires their divorce laws

“Men in Saudi Arabia have the authority to divorce their wives without going to the courts,” Trump said. “I guess that would also mean they don’t need prenuptial agreements. The fact is, no courts, no judges—Saudi Arabia sounds like a very good place to get a divorce.”

This just in:

Arab League expresses "concern" over US Muslim ban.

Trump visa denials target same countries Bush vowed to overthrow

"What is remarkable to me is how much this list resembles the one drawn up by the Bush administration, only in that case Bush intended to overthrow their governments and risk plunging them into instability." "So it seems that the actual situation is the opposite from the one advertised by Trump. These are not countries that pose a danger to the U.S. They are countries to which the U.S poses the risk, of instability and millions of displaced, when the U.S. comes knocking."

African refugee drowns as tourists laugh & make racist remarks

"An investigation has been opened after an African refugee drowned in Venice's Grand Canal as onlookers watched from nearby boats and filmed him with their phones." "In the video, some bystanders can be heard yelling at the man. "He is stupid. He wants to die," one person says. "Go on, go back home," another shouted, The Times reports. One man is allegedly heard to say: "Let him die at this point." "

Trump on Saudi Arabia in 2011

"Then look at Saudi Arabia. It is the world's biggest funder of terrorism. 12 Saudi Arabia funnels our petro dollars—our very own money—to fund the terrorists that seek to destroy our people, while the Saudis rely on us to protect them!" (thanks Amir)

Trump, D.J. 2011. Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again. Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing. Page 20.

Trump talking to Saudi King: it is obvious he has the utmost respect for him

The War on Islam and Muslims in the US

There is a broad coalition against Islam and Muslims in the US. It includes a diverse group: 1) sectarian atheists (like Bill Maher, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris) whose objections to Islam seem to be quite above and beyond their objections to other religions; 2) Evangelical Christians and souther Baptists; 3) Zionist groups (both liberal and conservatives); 4) some members of Eastern Christian churches; 4) and Law enforcement agencies and unions. 

How do you know that the Independent newspaper and the Guardian of the UK are not what they used to be?

They now cite the wisdom of King Abdullah of Jordan.

Western governments always wonder: why can't all Arabs and Muslims be like this guy?

"Jordan’s King Abdullah II to Visit Washington on Monday: Monarch could become first Arab leader to meet with President Donald Trump, days after order blocking people from many Muslim countries from entering U.S." WSJ

The New York Times talking about Maronite Christians on May 25, 1890

Bush Doctrine. Obama Doctrine. Trump Doctrine. The victims can't tell the difference.

8 year old daughter of political Islamic ideologue, Anwar-al-Awlaki, one of the 30 people killed in a US military raid in today.

The New York Times says it explicitly: Israel's racist apartheid wall is humane--unlike Trump's wall

I new this one was coming:  "That barrier — a system of fences and some sections of concrete wall — was constructed under very different circumstances, and with different goals, than Mr. Trump’s wall, raising questions about whether the president’s analogy between the United States and Israel is sound."

Syrians vetted in NYC in the 19th century: From New York Times, Sep. 1, 1989: Long before ISIS

From the history of the New York Times

"In 1875, The Times sternly warned that too many Irish and German immigrants (like the Trumps) could “deprive Americans by birth and descent of the small share they yet retain” in New York City.  In 1941, The Times cautioned in a front-page article that European Jews desperately seeking American visas might be Nazi spies. In 1942, as Japanese-Americans were being interned, The Times cheerfully suggestedthat the detainees were happily undertaking an “adventure.”"

The West strongly believes that this guy will single-handedly defeat ISIS

Vetting Green Card holders

White House Chief of Staff said that Green Card holders will be exempted and that they will only be subjected to extra questioning.  You mean US citizens who travel to Libya and Pakistan don't already get extra questioning upon arrival and departure? 

Trump has increased the security threat against US airports

By his ban, he has made US airport a symbolic target for terrorists worldwide, as it they have become symbols of banning Muslims.

Who exports the largest numbers of fighters to ISIS

I did not choose this title and the purpose is to show that the Ban is unrelated to ISIS.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

This is very cute: New York Times leaves out that Tump today received praise from Netanyahu

The New York Times just does not want readers to know that Netanyahu today gave Trump his blessings.

Does Trump want to convert Muslims to Christianity?

What if those Muslims affected by the new rules were to convert to Christianity? Was that the influence of the hate preacher, Rev. Franklin Graham? 

ACLU needs your support

On a day like this, ACLU needs your support.  This organization has been most courageous since (and before) Sep. 11.

Anti-Semitism in Qatari regime mouthpiece

Look at this headline in Al-Quds Al-Arabi (a Qatari regime mouthpiece):  "Arab Fears in the wake of Trump's appointment of 11 Jews in his administration".  But the lie is contained in the headline: there were no Arab fears expressed anywhere, and the story does not even refer to those ostensible Arab fears".  The story merely translates the story about those Jewish Americans from the Jerusalem Post.  Christian Americans have been far more indulgent of Israeli war crimes than anyone.  American presidents (all non-Jewish) have been the biggest champions of Israeli war crimes.  Tell that to the anti-Semitic Gulf potentates.

Britain's century-long war against Yemen

"So the current British-Saudi war against Yemen is in fact the third in a century. But why is Britain so seemingly determined to see the country dismembered and its development sabotaged?" "A peaceful, united Yemen would threaten Saudi-British-US hegemony of the entire region. That is why Britain has, for more than 80 years, sought to keep it divided and warring."

These are the Palestinian children killed by Israel in 2016

"For Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, 2016 was the deadliest year in the past decade."

The 1996 War Crimes Act punishes any “grave breach” of the Geneva conventions, including “torture."

"Trump told ABC News Wednesday that he asked “people at the highest levels of intelligence” whether torture works. “I asked them the question, “Does it work? Does torture work,” said Trump. “And the answer was, “Yes, absolutely.” "The 1996 War Crimes Act punishes any “grave breach” of the Geneva conventions, including “torture.” The 1994 U.S. anti-torture statute says that someone who “commits or attempts to commit torture” can be punished by a 20-year prison sentence. And the UN Convention Against Torture, which the U.S. ratified in 1994, says “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever … may be invoked as a justification of torture.” The charter for the International Criminal Court calls it a “crime against humanity” when conducted on civilians, and a “war crime” in the context of war."

Qatari regime

"Qatar has always been mostly supportive of the US army’s wartime policies, and actively participated in the NATO-led intervention in Libya." (thanks Amir)

Notice that Western correspondents have sympathy for Arabs only if they serve the military which bombs their countries

Liz Sly (@LizSly)
An Iraqi translator for the 101st Airborne & one whose wife worked for a US contractor are detained on arrival in US nytimes.com/2017/01/28/us/…

This man (head of Nour Ad-Din Zingi group in Syria) was vetted and received US military and financial aid

Trump and no checks on his powers

Trump will soon appoint 2 and possibly 3 Supreme Court justices. And when that happens, he will have full control of the three branches of government.  And when that happens, he will guarantee that legal passage of all his whims and impulses.  

Israelis weigh in

Oh, I hate when Israelis weigh in: either when liberals in Israel feign outrage when they support discrimination and massacres against Arabs; or conservatives in Israel who want to ingratiate the new administration.  But I hate when American liberals dare to criticize Trump but don't dare to criticize Netanyahu.  That is particularly true of members of US Congress.

Your guide to Syrian rebel groups

It reads:  Fath Ash-Sham belongs to Qatar.  Ahrar Ash-Sham belongs to Saudi Arabia.  Faylaq Ash-Sham belongs to Turkey.  Suqur Ash-Sham belongs to Jordan.  Ajnad Ash-Sham belongs to Qatar. Ansar Ash-Sham belongs to Turkey. Thuwar Ash-Sham belongs to Saudi Arabia.  


The path to Trump was paved by Obama.

Trump and his exemptions

So if Christians are exempted from Trump's ban, will Muslim minorities (like Alawites) be also exempted?  And Gulf regimes were exempted because 1) they host Trump's businesses; 2) they buy weapons and goods from US; 3) they host US military and intelligence bases.  

This is a moment when

This is a moment when anyone and any organization which claims to fight against racism and discrimination will be tested.  

Daniel Pipes suggests that Muslims be subjected to those questions. Can you imagine if a Muslim were to suggest that Orthodox Jews be subjected to such questions?

He wants to "smoke out" the 15% of radical Muslims (which amounts to some 200 million Muslims who are bad Muslims).  Imagine if a Muslim professor in the US were to suggest that such inquisition be imposed on Jewish to exclude the radicals among them.  Can you imagine the uproar?

If Israel is the model, then why stop at a ban?

If Israel is now the model on how to handle minorities and immigrants, will Trump then order a mass explosion by force of Muslims in the US? Will he codify discrimination (a la Zionism) against all Muslims? Will Muslim Americans be banned from reentering the US? If Netanyahu and Israel are the model here.   Will Trump also mimic the blatantly anti-Black practices of the Israeli government? Will Trump also complain about "hordes of blacks" when they vote in US elections? 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Assyrians in California

I have known Assyrian Americans for years, and got to know more of them well here in the Central Valley of California. Many have been my students and my friends. It pains me to see rising sectarian tendencies in the community, with people cheering the exclusivist sectarian (blatantly bigoted) visa and refugee standards targeting Muslims. I see the bigoted anti-Muslim propagandists, like Robert Spencer and others, have become popular in the community. I am not generalizing about all Assyrians, of course, as I know many who reject bigotry and exclusion. But you should remember that after Sep. 11, hateful (official and social) bigotry targeted all Middle Easterners (and even Sikhs) here in the US, without regard to sect or religion. And for those who count the Syrian refugees admitted into the US last year (a mere 10,000) by sect, and who complain that there was a small number of Christians among them, remember that Lebanon admitted more than a million Syrian refugees without regard to sect, as did Jordan). Furthermore, remember that since WWII, US visa and refugee policies have consistently favored Christians and Jews from the Middle East (Muslims in the US are more affluent and better educated than other immigrant groups not because of their brilliance but because the US is very strict about Muslims who enter the country, and they have to have specialized professional degrees and occupations). Syrians are suffering regardless of sect, and I wished that the narrow sectarian Christian perspectives of the right-wing Phalanges in Lebanon (and their affiliated groups) did not permeate the Assyrian community of this area.

PS And many Assyrians are peddling the story that only some 50 odd Christian refugees were admitted into the US last year. That is false: this is a lie peddled by the likes of Elliott Abrams. According to Pew Research Center, 37,521 Christian refugees were admitted in the 2016 fiscal year, while 38,901 Muslim refugees were admitted (you do the math factoring the percentages of Muslims and Christians in the region).

Trump, Obama, and Bush etc

Trump put into writing today what the US government has practiced for decades.  You don't think that the US government practiced exclusively bigoted visa and refugee policies towars Muslims before this day?  You don't think that the US government for many decades has blatantly favored the entrance of non-Muslims into the US from the Middle East?  Trump is America unplugged. 

Trump's statement about the Holocaust

It should not be surprising that Trump would disregard the suffering of Jewish people in his statement about the Nazi Holocaust.  There were several anti-Semitic signs in his campaign, and all were ignored by US Republican and Democratic Zionists simply because he expressed support for Israel.  

The split of Ahrar Ash-Sham

Do you notice that Western media are not reporting about the split of Ahrar Ash-Sham between an Al-Qa`idah affiliated branch and an Ikhwan branch?  I am sure that Liz Sly and other Western correspondents would come up with this: the Ikhwan branch is really moderate and secular and feminist.

Hilarious: in praise of Saudi regime

And they have beautiful public gardens in North Korea.  

A moderate Syrian opposition "writer" widely cited in Western media

His name is Omar Madaniah.  Look at this posts in Arabic: full of vulgar and crude sectarianism, misogyny (referring to women as "whores", anti-Semitism and of course anti-Shi`ism (he calls of the extermination of Shi`ites), and he celebrates here the death of an American soldier. Yet he is widely cited in Western media: BBC and even Brietbart.

PS I am told that he erased his post about the need to "extract" Shi`ites from the Arab world. But here is (above) an image capture.

those who believe that gender equality is "very important": Israel versus Lebanon

Lebanon: 75%
Israel: 69%
India: 71%

Louisa Loveluck: We don't need public opinion surveys in the Middle East: and we don't need elections

If you want to know what people in the Middle East think just ask the Western correspondents in Beirut. Liz Sly attributes her views on Syria to "what Syrian people told her".
Louisa Loveluck (@leloveluck)
In a Lebanese camp last week, Syrian parents told me they wanted US resettlement to give kids a fresh start in childhoods robbed by war.pic.twitter.com/HLS9XtP9ZG

All the media which peddle their propaganda on Syria by relying on the ostensible "open letter" of a 7-year old Syrian girl are

Child abusers. Those are child abusers who are actively participating in the exploitation of a little child.  But the New York Times gives this verdict: if you think that she is being exploited you must be a supporter of the government of Bashshar Al-Asad: "And supporters of the government of President Bashar al-Assad assailed her as a fraud and a propaganda tool."  Don't you like the subtlety of New York Times propaganda? 

New York Times mourns a man who provided really deep analysis of European politics

"He also expressed concern that some of the outpouring of support in Europe for Palestinians had a more sinister motivation.
“For too many Europeans, Arabs are of no moral interest in and of themselves,” he said in 2003. “They only become of interest if they are fighting Jews or being manhandled by Jews. Then their liberation becomes paramount, because calling for it is a way to stick it to the Jews.”"  I debated him once on TV and I can certify that the man was not--how do I say it--very bright.

Whole Foods and American politics

"Some years ago David Wasserman, an analyst with the Cook Political Report, spotted a way to predict the political leanings of any given county: check whether it is home to a Whole Foods supermarket, purveyor of heirloom tomatoes and gluten-free dog biscuits to the Subaru-owning classes; or to a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, a restaurant chain that offers chicken and dumplings and other comfort foods to mostly rural, often southern customers. Mr Trump won 76% of Cracker Barrel counties and 22% of Whole Foods counties, the Cook Political Report calculates. That 54 percentage-point gap is the widest ever: when George W. Bush was elected in 2000 it was 31 points. Eight years later when Barack Obama took office, it was 43."

The era of George Habash

My article on the anniversary of George Habash in Al-Adab.

If ISIS is the only Syrian rebels group left, Western media will still refer to it as "the relatively moderate ISIS group"

"JFS has launched its own offensive, pitting its 6,000 hardened fighters against the 15,000 of more moderate groups."

Myths about Shari`ah

This is a decent summary of myths about Shari`ah.  I only disagree with the apologetic tone about Islam and with the notion that Islam is a feminist religion.  Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are pathetically sexist although the Old Testament is the most misogynistic among the three.

TV News

I have not watched TV news in many years, in more than a decade. I have to admit that I resumed watching some TV news to see what Trump is going to say.  We have not seen anything like it.  I predicated to my wife that he may not complete his first term.  So unpredictable and unbound by any reason, norms, or precedent.  

Western media and propaganda about Syria

Four days ago, the Independent newspaper (which used to be a good newspaper about world affairs) relied on Amir Taheri (the tabloidish pro-Shah, pro-Saudi writer on foreign affairs) to publish a story that Bashshar Al-Asad suffers from "psychological pressure".  Two days later, Le Point in France published a story that Bashshar suffered a stroke.  Three days later LBC TV in Lebanon carried a story that according to a combination of sources: 1) international news sources; 2) French sources; 3) a probability; 4) a senior opposition source; 5) Hariri rag, Al-Mustaqbal; 6) reliable sources in Damascus, Bashshar suffered a stroke.  You see how I don't trust any Western media source about Syria?

Higher education and class in the US

"To identify which colleges are the best “engines of upward mobility”, Mr Chetty and his collaborators rank universities on their ability to move large numbers of students from the poorest 20% of the income distribution to the top 20%. The best at this are mid-tier public universities like the City University of New York and California State systems."

The meaning of "elite" in Elite Universities

"Harvard’s most recent fund-raising campaign passed the $7bn mark, partially by focusing on expanding financial aid. Parents with incomes under $65,000 are not expected to pay a cent. But the data show that, from 1999 to 2013, poor students’ access to the university has stayed stubbornly low (more than half of Harvard students came from the richest 10% of households).  Just 2% of Princetonians came from households at the bottom 20% of the income distribution, compared with 3.2% from the top 0.1% (corresponding to an annual income of more than $2.3m). Put another way, students from this zenith of the income scale are 315 times likelier to attend Princeton than those from the bottom 20%. Only Colby College, a small liberal-arts college in Maine, has a worse ratio.  But legacy admissions, which give preferential treatment to family members of alumni, exacerbate the imbalance. Of Harvard’s most recently admitted class, 27% of students had a relative who also attended."

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The border wall and tequila

Regarding the border Trump wall: your chances of paying for the wall are directly proportional to your consumption of tequila.  

Trump and his laptop

Who is there an open laptop? We know that Trump never uses computers--not even for emails. 

Madeleine Albright


For the love of potatoes, please stop throwing the word "dystopian" in every sentence. It is a fad now.

Nawas Sharif and Qatari regime: Panama papers

From Nabeel: "As you may know, Pakistan Supreme Court is hearing a case for PM Nawaz Sharif's disqualification in light of Panama Leaks. 
So far Sharif family has failed to explain billions of worth assets in London that they acquired since Nawaz Sharif became a politician in 1980s. Until yesterday the only defence they had submitted was a letter by Qatar's prince, Al Thani, that claimed the expensive Mayfair properties in Central London were paid for by him as part of deal between Al Thani's and Nawaz Sharif's late father, who died in 2004. 
Realizing that the first letter had become a national joke, Sharifs have now produced another letter:
 The letter claims that Al Thani family and Sharif family made a business deal worth 12 million Dirhams in 1980s, paid in cash !!!
It is worth remembering that Qatari royals have been in Pakistan, as Sharifs' private guests, hunting for endangered Houbara Bustards. Also, since coming to power, Nawaz Sharif, as PM, has signed multibillion LNG & other mega deals with Al Thani family. Now the prince is returning the favour. Last, his own name is in Panama Papers. "

Abdul-Khaliq Abdullah released by UAE regime

I just got word that UAE tyrannical regime released UAE academic, Abdul-Khaliq Abdullah.

Zionists and Muslims

Zionists are bigots as far as Muslims are concerned. They don't even care whether the Muslims are moderate or even appeasers of Israel and Zionists. They hate them for being Muslims, and Muslims who ingratiate themselves with Zionists should know that. This is like Anwar Sadat and other Arab normalizers: they are anti-Semitic against all Jewish people.  Those bigots of all sides should be discarded and isolated--whether Muslim anti-Semites like Sadat or House of Saud or anti-Muslim bigots in the US.

It is all over for North Korean ruler: his days are "numbered"

"The highest-ranking defector from North Korea in years said on Wednesday that the days of the country’s leadership were “numbered,”"  This reminds me of 2011 when all Western media were supplied by the Saudi-Hariri propaganda apparatus with corrupt defector from the Syrian regime, `Abdul-Halim Khaddam, who asserted in numbers interviews that "Bashshar's days are numbered".

Hillary said that. Obama said that.

On Muhammad Alloush

Regarding the propaganda of Syrian regime supporter (see yesterday's post about their classism), Muhammad Alloush is also not the bother of Zahran Alloush (he is a cousin) and he is not the commander of Jaysh Al-Islam.

On Martin Chulov of the Guardian (he is competing with Liz Sly for being the worst correspondent in Beirut)

from a Western journalist working in Syria:
"Chulov's article is very problematic. Its allegations are false and its methodology is flawed.
You cannot write an article making such allegations from Lebanon without collecting evidence empirically, without field visits etc, and you cannot write such an article relying purely on pro-insurgent sources, or even sources who are insurgent officials.
there are no population swaps in syria. iran has no project to alter the social landscape in syria. thats not why its in syria. iran seeks to support the assad government for a variety of reasons but not out of a sectarian project. it would say that assad is the only reliable partner and that he is part of the resistance axis and if he fell then the whole system would collapse, and if they tried to replace him then his replacement would sell them out to the saudis or the americans, and they would say that there is a salafi/wahabi/takfiri threat coming from syria and threatening the region and they want to stop it in syria.
shias are one percent of syria’s population. iran works with sunni militias in aleppo. these are things you dont know if you report on syria remotely.
Chulov says that:  “Russia, in an alliance with Turkey, is using a nominal ceasefire to push for a political consensus between the Assad regime and the exiled  opposition.” no, in fact the exiled opposition seems not to be invited to the talks, only insurgent groups, and its not so much to reach a political consensus but it is to impose a new order Chulov makes a string of baseless assertions and then quotes “one senior Lebanese leader” hizballah actually works with sunni militias in the same area between damascus and homs. there are senior security officials in damascus who are sunnis from the region between damascus and homs. zabadani and madaya are not key for iran for the reasons chulov alleges. first those two towns are key to hizballah, more than to iran. and this is because hizballah saw itself as pursuing a lebanese homeland security strategy which required protecting lebanon from the car bombs that were entering it from western syria and securing the towns on the border. but once madaya and zabadani were surrounded and neutralized as threats (and there was a nusra and ahrar al sham presence there as well as a small isis presence) they realized they had a bargaining chip. two shia towns in idlib (fua and kfarya) were surrounded and tightly besieged since 2015 with supplies occasionally dropped by air while they were shelled and sniped at by insurgents in adjacent towns. many of syria’s 230,000 shias have joined the local branch of hizballah and they were furious that their brethren were being besieged. this was an issue of iran and iranian officials mentioned the potential “genocide” in fua and kfarya every chance they got. they were obsessed with it. as such they negotiated a deal in turkey with ahrar al sham that did NOT involve population exchanges but it was still an ugly precedent. on one side largely shia forces held two sunni towns hostage and on the other side sunni forces held two shia towns hostage. in idlib local factions were also profiting from selling supplies to fua and kfarya and very high rates. anyway the deal was not an exchange of people but if a loaf of bread goes into zadabani then a loaf of bread has to go into fua, and if ten bandages go into madaya then ten bandages have to go into the two shia towns in idlib. and if a sick or wounded person is evacuated from one of the two sunni towns then the same thing must take place in the two shia towns. the syrian government was unhappy about the sectarian nature of this arrangement and it has not been repeated. but the government would not accept sectarian population exchanges and no shias want to go to live in madaya or zabadani anyway. when shias are displaced in syria they move into other shia towns or neighborhoods, or with friends or relatives. the deals that have involved the evacuation of insurgents and their families have been mischaracterized in the media. they are not forced to go to insurgent held areas in the north such as idlib. they are given an option by the government forces, either stay and renounce the insurgency or leave to insurgent held areas in the north. and in most towns where such deals have taken place we actually see an increase in the population because conditions improve and displaced people return. 
the UN in syria has not recorded any population exchanges have taken place and no outsiders have been imported to live in other people’s homes. chulov accepts without any skepticism the statements of an ahrar al sham official based in turkey who represents a salafi jihadist overtly sectarian group. he does not ask for evidence he just repeats the claims. chulov refers to wadi barada and the ongoing fighting there. hizballah barely has a presence there and acts like special forces supporting the syrian army’s republican guard which is fighting to regain control of the water supply to damascus which was held by insurgents. quite a few senior government officials are from wadi barada in fact, including the head of the baath party and security committee for the reef dimashq province. which reminds me that the governor of aleppo, a former senior security officer himself, is from zabadani. chulov also repeats the lie that iraqi shia famiies have moved into daraya. they have not. they would not be allowed to anyway, and nobody is moving in because the government is rehabilitating it and has asked international NGOs for help in doing so in order to return the displaced from daraya. chulov did not visit daraya. he did not speak with people in damascus. he did not ask UN or other NGO officials, he merely repeated opposition claims. syrian state media did not announce that the iraqis had arrived at all. there was a destroyed shia shrine there and some shias visited it, and from that the opposition media sources crafted a story. i’d love to know why an iraqi shia would even want to move in to a bombed out abandoned neighborhood with no services, even if the syrian government would allow such a thing- which they would not.  reporting on syria requires no standards at all it seems. 
likewise the umayad mosque is not a security zone controlled by Iranian proxies.
chulov who has not been there is relying on an insurgent who has also not been there to repeat an absurd claim. i was there a week ago. the umayad mosque is in the same situation it was before the conflict and in the hands of the same forces responsible for securing it before the conflict, the normal syrian security forces and anybody can visit it just as before and there is no shia plan for it. in fact if damascenes even thought there was such a plan they would go crazy and demand that assad halt such a plan. the syrian regime has always been very sensitive to the concerns of the damascene conservative class, and thats why this class has remained loyal. there has not been a “systematic torching of Land Registry offices in areas of Syria recaptured on behalf of the regime.” this is without evidence and in a system as obsessed with paperwork and bureaucracy like the syrian one it would be unthinkable. and most senior officials are sunni as are most state employees and they often come from insurgent held areas, the idea does not even make any sense. likewise it is not true that most residents of zabadani have gone to idlib. only a fraction went there because they did not accept the deal. the rest are displaced in the area around it, in damascus or outside of syria.
it often seems like all standards have been abandoned when it comes to writing on syria."

This man is so obsessed with Russia: he is celebrating that RT tweets are not as retweeted than other media

Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth)
.@RT_com, supposed media juggernaut, barely gets more retweets per Tweet (110) than I do (83) despite 2.5M followers bit.ly/2kpk51apic.twitter.com/YfoEefMw5U

Linda Sarsour and the "right" of Israeli occupation to exist

Read here.

American liberals and American hate

Rachel Maddow was yesterday cheering and giggling as she referred to a public opinion poll (from a company called PPP--which I never heard of before) which revealed that some 60% of Americans hate Russia. She could not have been more ecstatic about the results.  

Linda Sarsour: on how to reassure Zionists and make them feel comfortable

"Sarsour told Brous that the march would not be anti-Israel, and invited her to speak “because she wanted a Jewish voice and leader who was in deep relationship with Israel,” said the rabbi. “I was very touched by that.”  She made the same commitment to NCJW, which opposes BDS, Kaufman said. “We worked closely with Linda specifically on the messaging for this march. The concern we had had to do with Israel. She could not have been more open and reassuring that there would be no Israel bashing, and she kept her word.  “I didn’t see one anti-Israel sign, not one BDS sign,” Kaufman told Haaretz. “I’ve been at many marches and nine times out of 10 there are anti-Israel people showing up, often from the Jewish community. With this march everything stayed on message.”"

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Obama's Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and other BS says that Christian refugees are good people

"40% of Iraqi refugees are Christian. Obama admitted them. Trump's order will suspend that."

Zionism is always racism

"52% of Israeli Jews agree: African migrants are ‘a cancer’"

The lies and fabrications of some journalists are as bad as Trump's

Look at this guy.  Israel for much of its history (before it constructed various layers and walls and electric fences and shoot-to-kill patrols) used to kill like pigeons any Palestinian refugee who dared to return to check on his house or farm.  Even the right-wing racist, Benny Morris (in Righteous Victims) estimated that thousands of unarmed civilian Palestinian refugees were killed by Israel just for attempting to check on their homes left behind after their violent explosion.  And this guy is celebrating a PR move by the occupation state.

Western media and Syrian rebel in-fighting

As much as Western media cover Syria when it suits their propaganda interests in sync with Gulf regimes and the Western sponsors, Western correspondents in Beirut (who cover Syria from Hamra and Jummayzah cafes) are always silent about infighting between Syrian rebels (like lately in rif Idlib).

Trump and his worldview

As Trump does not read, it is clear that his worldview, and his view of US problems, is largely derived from watching Bill O'Reilly.  

That Canadian prime minister

"Trudeau welcomes Trump's Keystone XL decision"

Video shows extrajudicial killing of unarmed Palestinian boy

"Israeli soldiers shot and killed an unarmed Palestinian boy when he was running away from them last month, newly released video shows." "The Palestinian rights group Badil said the youth’s slaying “amounts to an extrajudicial killing.” "

The classism of supporters of the Syrian regime

You can criticize Muhammad `Allush on many counts (sectarian, reactionary, Jihadi and pro-Gulf regimes, etc) but to attack him for selling vegetables? What is wrong with selling vegetables? The pro-Syrian regime supporters now speak for the upper classes only?  Pathetic.

Israel's shadowy role in Guatemala's Dirty War

"Mayans were repeatedly targeted during the period of repression that lasted from 1954 – when the US engineered a military coup – to 1996. More than 200,000 people were killed in Guatemala during that period, 83 percent of whom were Mayans. The crimes committed by the Guatemalan state were carried out with foreign – particularly US – assistance. One key party to these crimes has so far eluded any mention inside the courts: Israel." "One Israeli adviser in Guatemala at the time, Lieutenant Colonel Amatzia Shuali, said: “I don’t care what the Gentiles do with the arms. The main thing is that the Jews profit,” as recounted in Dangerous Liaison by Andrew and Leslie Cockburn." (thanks Amir)

This innocent little Syrian child should be removed from the custody of her parents

She is being exploited and abused for politic purposes by her parents and whoever else are controlling them. The childhood of this little girl is being robbed from her by her parental and media manipulator. They all should be ashamed of themselves for their disgusting behavior.  It is time that we stand for the little girl and urge that she be left along to live her normal life.

Trump ban Muslims from "terrorist" countries

"Trump's blocking people from countries we're bombing, but not from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and UAE, the countries of the 9/11 hijackers".

You should never judge people by appearance but doesn't the King of Jordan always looks smart?

The Guardian newspaper engages in child abuse: look at this pathetic headline

Will the Guardian stop using this little Syrian child as a prop for its crude propaganda on Syria? They can vomit their daily dosage of propaganda and fabrications about Syria without having to rely on this little innocent child: "Bana al-Abed, 7, begs Donald Trump to help children of Syria"

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

I can't believe how low the Independent newspaper of UK has stooped

This is how desperate the Independent is to serve its propaganda interests? They rely on Amir Taheri who has the credibility of Lyndon LaRouche and the politics of Breibart?  And they are not ashamed to cite Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat, the mouthpiece of the Saudi King and his sons?  "Amir Taheri, a columnist with the Saudi-owned London based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, claimed in a piece published in Saturday’s edition that Bashar al-Assad's mental health is suffering after almost six years of conflict."  What has happened to the press in the UK in the last few years? UK newspapers like the Guardian and the Independent used to be a good alternative to US mainstream newspapers and now they have become worse in fact.

Democrats as an opposition force

Only an idiot will count on Democratic resolve against Republicans.

Liz Sly: the advocate of Gulf dictatorships

Look how she refers to the Gulf potentates: "The United States’ traditional Arab allies".
And look how she refers to the mouthpiece of Prince Khalid Bin Sultan: "the pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat".  That is what I call a professional...propagandist. 

So according to this: if you condemn Israeli occupation and war crimes, you must be anti-Semitic

"In a sly twist to centuries of Jewish displacement, Jews are now being blamed for having a homeland and for vigorously defending it."  You should read the rest of the review: it is quite astonishing.

Meet the leader of the Democratic opposition in the US Senate

Not only is Chuck Schumer (to the left of the picture) brimming with charisma, but he also engaged in tough talks with Trump: "“I enjoyed listening to the president and Sen. Schumer talk about the people they knew in New York. It was pretty lighthearted and a good way to start off.”"

Anne Barnard revisits the history of the Cold War and US role in promoting human rights

"the meetings took place at the Palace of Nations, one of the stolid lakeside edifices built when the United Nations was formed after World War II. Those buildings symbolized a postwar order that tried to institutionalize human rights and the laws of war, an order associated with American leadership — or domination — amid the tensions of the Cold War." Come again? The US promoted human rights during the Cold War? Where were we? Asleep? Because we never noticed.

Kenneth Roth thinks he developed a new theory about politics

Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth)
The election of Trump highlights the urgency of educating public about importance of rights and danger of populists. bit.ly/2iWd8Zdpic.twitter.com/TKs6oykpDr
He is running around the country promoting this silly idea that the danger we face today is "populism".  As if conservatism and even liberalism are not a danger. As if we were living in a great world before populists came to power.  So Bush was fine because he was not a populist? And I assume that Jordan and Saudi monarchies (which you clearly are soft and friendly toward) are fine because they are not ruled by populists?

Saudi media continue to prostrate to Trump: Abdul-Rahman Al-Rashid

Abdul-Rahman Al-Rahid says here (and he was the first to receive the signal from House of Saudi to praise Trump) that Trump won despite the fact that he only spent "a very small amount" in the campaign.  The small amount was $340 million.

Secularism and the Syrian dialogue in Astana

So the head of the Syrian regime delegation said today that the final joint statement did not mention the need for a "secular" Syria due to the disapproval of Syrian rebel and opposition delegations and Turkey.  So now all of them agree that secularism is bad for Syria.  

This is the difference between Obama and Trump

Obama: his State Department issues a mild statement criticizing the construction of Israeli settlements but does nothing about the matter.
Trump: his State Department does not issue a statement against Israeli settlements and does nothing about the matter.

Obama and Trump: something in common

There is something in common between Obama and Trump: they are the most bizarrely unemotional people I have seen. One aide to Obama described him as "the least sentimental person I have seen". Obama and Trump never show emotions because they lack emotions. I never saw either of them cry, ever: Obama sometimes strains to release tears and it never appears sincere. Trump also never laughs: he smiles but never laughs. Where do they find those people to rule over you?

Abdul-Khaliq Abdullah arrested by UAE regime?

I woke up to the disturbing news that UAE regime arrested a few days ago UAE professor, Abdul-Khaliq Abdullah.  Is there any confirmation out there?  I hear that UAE is deliberately suppressing any news on the matter.  Abdul-Khaliq was a dear brother/friend/colleague at Georgetown.  He changed over the years and it has been paining me to see his tweets in praise of Gulf potentates. But this proves that with those tyrannical regime, loyalty at the rate of 99% is not enough: only 100% is acceptable.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Trump era and the US intelligence community

I feel that the divisions of the country will more than ever be reflected in deep divisions in the intelligence community, which will lead to leaks and counter leaks between the different camps, and that in turn would lead to hunting of dissenters within agencies.  We see evidence of that already in the US media.

Please, stop hailing the Obama administration for releasing $221 million to PA collaboration team

They PA clowns will embezzle half of that money, and will use the other half to crush opposition and resistance to Israel.

Kennedy and the CIA war on Laos

"The CIA’s involvement in Laos, which expanded in 1961 with a small training program for anti-communist fighters, ramped up quickly. It would grow over the course of the 1960s and into the early 1970s, with few Americans, and not even many members of Congress, knowing anything about it. The CIA recruited tens of thousands of U.S. contractors, paramilitary fighters and local Laotian warriors in an ultimately futile attempt to transform Laotian guerillas into a conventional army capable of stopping Hanoi and its local allies. U.S. bombers, working in concert with CIA paramilitaries, destroyed much of Laos while attacking Laotian and North Vietnamese communists. They dropped more bombs on Laos than on Germany and Japan combined in World War II. The country was left with so much unexploded ordnance that, in the four decades since Laos’s civil war ended in 1975, the leftover bombs have killed 20,000 Laotians."

Jeff Bezos and Trump

A friend commented that the Washington Post's coverage of Trump has the hallmark of a personal vendetta from one billionaire against another.