Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pakistan: Child Abuse on the Rise

'Pakistan: Child Abuse On The Rise'
by Halima Khan, Global Voices

There is a disturbing rise in child abuse cases in Pakistan. According to UNICEF Local Officer Shamshad Qureshi the reason is lack of proper law enforcement, negligence of parents and lack of awareness among the children and the society. He also said that the major factor for pedophilia in Pakistan was the easy access of people to children due to the negligence of parents.

Faheem Haider at Bangladesh Foreign Policy Blog discusses about the abuse of children and child workers in Pakistan and Bangladesh. He doesn’t mince as he shows us another very common side of child abuse:

“Unable to feed a growing family, desperate parents farm out their children to affluent homes to serve as servants, maids or nannies (child-keepers is the more proper sense in which these children are employed in those house-holds). These children then become, effectively, the wards of their employers and are often treated like personal property. The birth parents remain out of sight, perhaps hundreds of miles away, unaware that their babies are just so much flesh and burdened bone for the caprice and rubbed temper of their unbecomingly unkind lords.

Justice has been put aside for these children. They are the flotsam of unsettled poverty and the repackaged gifts of unhinged circumstances. Opportunity does not avail them; outcomes remain unmarked and the appropriate ends to which they might be working are unknown to them. Justice is for these children an inattentive teacher.”

Fatima Bhutto is not only a influential political heir but also a humanitarian. In a blog post in The Daily Beast she doesn’t leave much to be said by painting a grim picture of child abuse:

“The brutal murder of a 12-year-old maid, believed to have been killed by her powerful employer, has stunned the country. But from the corrupt government to the honor killing of a wealthy woman, the country's rich always get away with it.

Shazia Masih, a tiny 12-year-old who looked years younger than her age, was laid to rest last week after a Christian funeral at Lahore's Cathedral Church. She had been employed by the wealthy and influential former president of Lahore's Bar Association, and for a generous $8 a month she cleaned her employer's toilets, the cars that filled their suburban garage, and the filth that collected on the floors of their home.”

This YouTube video shows that a teacher of a government school abused a student as punishment but nobody did anything.

The term ‘child abuse’ covers a wide array of very diverse kinds of crimes subjected towards the minors. It signifies physical as well as mental pain. When an adult tries to use a child as a sex toy it is child abuse. When an adult tries to appease his labour needs at a lower cost it is also child abuse. When a child is exploited as a commodity and traded for monetary or non monetary produce it is child abuse. When an adult forces the child to push himself beyond his strength overlooking all health guidelines for children it is child abuse.

Pakistan is a country that does little in protecting its young worlds from the many horrors of child abuse that they are exposed to in and around the green pastures.

Wall Street Journal Readers Out of Touch

The latest poll shows 52% approval rating for health care reform. This includes the 13% of Americans who wish the reform was more liberal [single payer, public option etc]. As your WSJ readers show only 21% in favor of HCR, it indicates your readership doesn't reflect the public mood.
Perhaps, your readers are enjoying company-paid health benefits. They haven't lost their jobs, their insurance and their homes.

Far Right Has Nervous Breakdown

onestly, unless you've been monitoring the ticking time bomb that is the far-right media in recent days, you probably don't appreciate how frighteningly possible that cultish scenario has become, as the GOP Noise Machine, led by Fox News, publicly suffers a nervous breakdown. It's a mental and emotional collapse that's been advertised in recent days as cablers, radio talkers, and right-wing bloggers have reached for increasingly hysterical, often blood-curdling rhetoric to describe the irreversible atrocity -- an incurable, metastasizing malignancy!! -- that's about to seize and destroy the United States in the form of a bill to expand health care coverage.

Listening to the calamitous warnings (i.e. "the end of America as we know it"), it's not that unreasonable to think that at some point one of the media mob leaders is going to suggest that life itself just is no longer worth living.

After all, late last week the nation stood on the precipice, just three "days away from the United States of America being over as we've all known it," according to Rush Limbaugh, who warned that reform would drive every private insurance company out of business. Glenn Beck also went full tilt, warning that the bill represented a "turning point," like the Civil War and Peal Harbor, while colleague Sean Hannity pinpointed the health care vote as the "very hour" that America turned "completely towards socialism."

The Washington Times likened reform to the "Black Plague," and the online reaction was somehow even more unhinged. It was "RIP USA," because with the vote, America would become "occupied by a hostile foreign power." Indeed, a "socialist putsch" had been sprung and "America's Day of Wreckoning [sic]" was at hand. Why? Because the Democrats' health care legislation "will make every American a POW, strip them of their Freedoms and Liberty and shove them in a meat cellar for cold storage."

Not scared yet? Well, just keep in mind that "Fascist healthcare will destroy America," "civil unrest is coming," and President Obama is to blame. More? "Fascist House Democrats are preparing to euthanize America." And don't forget that Sunday's health care vote in Congress represented a "dark day for America, the worst since 9/11."

And, progressive politicians, heed this warning: "Democrats who crammed this unwarranted bill down the throats of the American people who clearly and overwhelmingly opposed it deserve to be drawn and quartered."

That's right, tortured.

As Jon Stewart noted last week while playing the straight man in a Daily Show bit about the increasingly unhinged, right-wing response, "The rhetoric seems completely divorced from reality." And that observation came before the weekend theatrics inside the Beltway, when self-described patriots, egged on by the right-wing media, rallied to "Kill the bill!" and in the process reportedly tossed racial and anti-gay epithets at Democratic members of the Congress. (The far-right reaction? So what if they did?)

Trust me. This televised, incoherent meltdown has gone way beyond sore loserdom. Or even sore loserdom on steroids. This hasn't just been more of the usual Democrats-are-crooks type of whining that Fox News has turned into an art form since Obama's inauguration. And it's gone far beyond the usual scare tactics that the cable channel has trademarked. (Recent on-screen graphics: "Will the health bill ruin the economy?" and "Does Obamacare mean millions more jobs destroyed?")

Instead, this bout of spastic lashing out has been unique even by the previous standard adopted by Beck, who, on the eve of the health care vote, likened Democrats to Al Qaeda terrorists who were trying to bring America to its knees from the inside.

Because apparently when conservatives lose consecutive nationwide election cycles, thereby allowing Democrats to set the legislative agenda, conservatives' objections render passing bills a criminal act, and "tyranny" threatens to topple our democracy.

Let's face facts. It's never pleasant when activists are confronted with their own political impotence. (Not to mention their abysmal vote-counting skills.) But that's exactly what happened over the weekend as Democratic members of Congress passed health care reform -- reform that the radical right had already pronounced dead. In fact, the GOP Noise Machine had spent weeks dancing on reform's grave and mocking Democrats' inability to act. So how did it all go so terribly wrong for health care haters?

My hunch is that over the past few months, the right-wing media, along with self-adoring Tea Party members, made the mistake of believing their own hype. They convinced themselves that not only did 2 million people take to the streets of the nation's capital last September to protest Obama (a number that was off by 1.9 million), but that "millions" more had marched coast-to-coast over the past 12 months (a number that was completely fabricated). They fastidiously constructed their own parallel universe and convinced themselves that last summer's mini-mobs at local town hall forums had defeated health care reform. They thought their rowdy show of force, complete with Nazi and Hitler posters, and even some protesters parading around with loaded guns, had changed the debate.

Listening to Limbaugh, they thought they were dictating the agenda. Watching Fox News, they though they reflected the mainstream. And reading right-wing blogs, they thought they had killed health care reform.

Wrong, wrong, and wrong. It was the sudden and rude realization that, instead, they'd spent the past few months trapped inside an echo chamber, I think, that created the volcanic and unhinged response we've seen play out in recent days. It's the kind of childish and hysterical reaction I didn't think we'd ever witness from a major political movement.

Indeed, imagine if this is how progressives and Democrats had behaved during the run-up to the Iraq war, the last time the country found itself in this kind of national public policy "debate." Imagine if the liberal pundits and opinion makers had reacted to the prospect of war not with thoughtful anti-war analysis (analysis that, it turned out, was dead on), but instead opted for tantrums and shameful vitriol, the way right-wing pundits have in recent days and weeks.

For instance, imagine if the anti-war movement, and its highest-profile media supporters, had attacked military families whose sons and daughters were fighting in Iraq as the invasion unfolded. That kind of abhorrent behavior would have been universally condemned as just being beyond the pale. Yet last week, as its opposition to reform grew increasingly futile, the GOP Noise Machine dedicated lots of time and energy to mocking and attacking cancer-stricken patients, as well as a motherless 11-year-old boy who had the audacity to speak out in favor of health care reform.

Limbaugh's immortal words to the boy: "Your mom would have still died, because Obamacare doesn't kick in until 2014."

To me, the attacks indicated a withering of the right-wing media's shrinking moral compass, not to mention common sense. (Mocking the seriously ill is a winning political strategy?) It was another tell-tale sign of the unfolding, and unstoppable, nervous breakdown.

Because how else do you describe this kind of erratic, disturbed behavior? And it's worth repeating: This wasn't coming from minor, fringe players. It's been coming from the supposed leading lights of the conservative media; leading lights who, blinded by paranoia, have suffered a collective collapse and can no longer make sense of their surroundings.
By Eric Boehlert, MMFA

German City Bans Israeli Flag

Apparently they don't want to offend Muslims --- Jews offend Muslims. Germany, of all places.This is not the first time Germany pulled this --

German City Ban Israel Flag, could ‘Interfere with Passers-by’ by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

(IsraelNN.com) Kassel, Germany has banned the Coalition against Anti-Semitism from displaying the blue-and-white Zionist flag because it might upset passers-by and threaten them, the nordhessische.de news service reported. However, city officials previously have approved showing the Iranian flag.

A woman identified by the news service as “Dorothee H.” said that officials told her she could not display the Israeli flag at an information booth she wanted to set up. Pro-Israelis previously have been threatened and attacked by anti-Zionist protestors in Germany.

“I told him that I could not understand this, and that we were not at all dangerous,” Dorothee H. said, but the city official said the booth could be set up only on condition that no Israeli flags were shown. The unnamed official told her that she had to be “considerate” of others.

Dorothee charged that “the employees of the public order told me that all the political information booths will be automatically reported to the national security. This is absurd. You expect the authorities to guarantee freedom of expression, rather than restricting them.”

“A supporter of the group's claim added, "If somebody attacked the activists, the state must just intervene protectively."

Payback Time for the Tea Party

It's payback time.

Tea Party leaders, livid over the passage of health care reform on Sunday night, say their next step will be to turn from fighting the bill to running the people who voted for it out of Congress.

The bill's narrow passage was inarguably a victory for President Obama and a blow to those who opposed it. Though Tea Partiers joined with Republican officials to rally in Washington and across the country against the package up until judgment day, Democrats were able to assuage skeptical lawmakers and muster the votes needed to send the sweeping overhaul of the nation's health care system to the president's desk.

Now those lawmakers have to go, Tea Partiers say, and they're planning to sustain their fight into November by registering voters, pumping money into ad campaigns against Democratic incumbents and supporting their challengers.

Some want to elect lawmakers with the ultimate goal of repealing the bill; but with repeal a heavy lift, at the minimum the groups are out for vengeance.

And while the Sunday vote was a defeat for the cause, it was potentially a boon for membership.

"I am deluged with phone calls this morning (from) people wanting to join the Tea Party," said Gina Loudon, a founder of the St. Louis Tea Party, which campaigned against the bill during Obama's stop there two weeks ago. "I literally cannot even return the phone calls quickly enough. ... This has absolutely awoken a giant."

Loudon said she and other activists -- who met up at a pub in downtown St. Louis Sunday night to mourn the passage of the bill -- are already drafting a game plan for the months ahead. She said getting involved in congressional campaigns will be a big part of that.

Expect Tea Party political action committees (PACs), to gain a lot more prominence in the months ahead. Loudon said the Ensuring Liberty PAC, the political group announced last month at the Tea Party Convention in Nashville, is going to be raising money and influencing targeted races -- her husband is a board member of that group.

Debbie Dooley, co-founder of the Atlanta Tea Party and a national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, agreed that the focus will be on voting out health care reform bill supporters.

"Yesterday, they chose not to listen to what the people want," she said. "We, the people, will have our say in November."

She said lawmakers like Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich. -- who had been a holdout against health care reform over abortion funding concerns but who switched to a yes vote after striking an agreement with the White House -- are top targets. She said Tea Party groups plan to continue holding rallies and showing up at lawmakers' town hall meetings and congressional offices to protest the bill.

"This health care vote was not the end. It is just the beginning of the fight," she said.

The House on Sunday passed the Senate-approved health care bill along with a package of changes that House Democrats want the Senate to approve next. The bill is being considered under reconciliation rules, which would allow Democrats to pass it with just 51 votes, as opposed to the 60 that would otherwise be needed to avoid a filibuster.

Dooley said Tea Party groups will do what they can to fight the reconciliation bill as well -- not out of any particular objection to its contents but out of concern about the reconciliation process and a desire to hold House members accountable for the vote on the Senate bill.

They argue that preventing the reconciliation bill from passing could make some House Democrats even more vulnerable in November.

"We want to make this election a referendum on the bill," said Brendan Steinhauser, director of federal and state campaigns for FreedomWorks, the conservative organization that's closely aligned with Tea Party groups across the country.

Tea Party Express, a separate group of conservative activists, is also planning to kick off a nationwide tour Saturday in Searchlight, Nev.

Levi Russell, spokesman for the group, said the tour will focus on health care and on highlighting the "worst offenders" in bringing the bill over the finish line. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will be the top target at the Tea Party Express kickoff, which former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is expected to attend.

Though health care reform may continue to be the overriding issue for Tea Party groups in the months to come, the activists say they're ready to divide their attention among whatever issues Obama chooses to pursue -- immigration reform or cap-and-trade or something else.

"We are as passionate about those as we are about health care," Loudon said.
FOX News

Monday, March 22, 2010

Time Magazine Declares Right Wing Won HCR

Huh? Time says Beck and Limbaugh are the big winners in the health care vote

March 22, 2010 1:29 pm ET by Eric Boehlert, Media Matters

Talk about a can't-lose situation.

The GOP Noise Machine dedicated its entire being to defeating health care reform, and had recently been gloating about how it had killed the initiative. But Democrats seemed to defy the political odds and got the votes for passage, and now Time crowns the right-wing media as the big winners?!

From Time:

Whether the bill is hated, hailed or forgotten by the general electorate come November, whether it's repealed or becomes an institution, its passage means a big win for the media wing (as opposed to the holding-office-and-running-things wing) of the conservative movement and the Republican party. The audience will be angrier, the following will be more passionate, the images and analogies will be darker (I'm guessing this will be a memorable Glenn Beck show tonight) and the ratings will go up, up, up.

Saudi Woman's Poetry in TV 'American Idol'

A Saudi woman received a death threat last week after she appeared on “Poet of Millions,” Abu Dhabi’s version of the game show “American Idol” — which features aspiring poets instead of singers — and recited a poem attacking clerics for “terrorizing people and preying on everyone seeking peace.”

This week she returned to perform a similar poem and was rewarded by the judges who made her the first female contestant to reach the show’s final round.

As the newspaper The National reports from Abu Dhabi, the woman, Hissa Hilal, “sparked controversy in Saudi Arabia, especially on Internet forums.”

“According to reports, many viewers praised her for her courage, but others attacked her for criticizing clerics and reciting her poems in public,” the newspaper wrote. “One website called for her death.”

According to the newspaper, a rough translation of the poem Ms. Hilal performed last week includes the verses:

I have seen evil from the eyes of the subversive fatwas in a time when what is lawful is confused with what is not lawful;

When I unveil the truth, a monster appears from his hiding place; barbaric in thinking and action, angry and blind; wearing death as a dress and covering it with a belt [referring to suicide bombing];

He speaks from an official, powerful platform, terrorizing people and preying on everyone seeking peace; the voice of courage ran away and the truth is cornered and silent, when self-interest prevented one from speaking the truth.

By Robert Mackey, NYTimes

Forcing Jewish Kids to Wear Yellow Stars of David

Marking Jews with Yellow Badges Again
All the terrible signs are there, the foreboding, the evil and how do we respond, America, the force of good throughout the world? ............... We elect an Obama. What is happening? In a rational world, he could never have been elected. His presidency is merely a gross reflection of the rot of the word. When did the world lose its goodness?
Jews Marked With Yellow Stars Again PI news hat tip Ann
In the Copenhagen township of Nørrebro that has been solidly in Muslim hands for a long time, Jews must hide their faith in order to avoid persecution. Yellow stars get stuck to the backs of Norwegian schoolchildren, and the teachers don’t intervene. In the “enriched” Swedish town of Malmö, many Jewish families have already fled (PI reported).
In all of Scandinavia, the persecution of Jews by “persons from the Near East” has
increased enormously. The Frankfurter Rundschau reports:
The attacks escalated in the previous year, when 200 Jewish demonstrators held rallies for peace and compassion for the civilian victims of both sides but were hounded out of the place by an even larger group of Palestinian counter-demonstrators with rocks, bottles and Molotov cocktails
Teachers and parents reported on Norwegian TV that the class instruction about the Holocaust was boycotted and statements like “The Jews were behind 9/11″ went unanswered. When one pupil complained that he was mortally threatened because he was a “Jewish pig,” the teacher dismissed him with the statement that these things could happen to anyone.
Okaaaay. So, we are daily insulted with “Jewish pigs,” mortally threatened, and “halal-”murdered… The non-intervening teachers are simply fostering their own festering anti-Jewish sentiments and building themselves up in their own conceits with “acceptance of cultural distinctions” and their “tolerance.”
It’s better as a secret Jew hater to wash one’s hands in the innocence of Political Correctness, and let the Jews accuse “persons from the Near East” as fair game.

Pamela Geller, Atlas Shrugs

Voting on Sunday is an Affront to God

"They intend to vote on the Sabbath, during Lent, to take away the liberty that we have right from God," Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told Glenn Beck on Thursday. "This is an affront to God," Beck replied, echoing the Iowa congressman's criticism of the day the Democrats plan to vote on the health care bill.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Zoroastrian New Year Festival 20 March 2010


How to Peacefully Promote the Culture


PARIS—Over a feast of foie gras, crispy pig ears and white Burgundy, a group of epicurean French politicians recently added a new twist to a debate over national identity: You are what you eat. By that definition, being properly French means dining on croissants, brie and duck confit.

The call is a sign of rising culinary nationalism amid fears that the pre-eminence of French cuisine has evaporated. It has also reframed the continuing question of what it means to be French: Couscous and other foreign foods cooked by the country's millions of ethnic and religious minorities aren't on the menu.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

America is not Ready for Self Government

US health care costs are 17% of GNP, while European programs run at less than 10%. Uninsured medical costs lead to many deaths, bankruptcies and foreclosures. These factors have contributed to a massive national debt and a deep recession.
With the military, the USA is essentially borrowing money to kill people. Americans hate the poor and the foreigners. Such bigotry and racism is expensive and unsustainable.
The elongated battle on health care indicates the Americans are not ready for self-government.

The Steep Climb Upwards

Night and day we hear about the glories of the US for-profit medical system. Somehow, it sustains the virtues of democracy, thrift and competition. It is a bulwark to protect us from the contamination by European Socialism, Fascism and Communism. Furthermore, it shields us from the tentacles of the ever-expanding government bureaucratic monster.
This line of defense has delayed progress for over 100 years. It took a Great Depression to inspire the passage of Social Security. The assassination of JFK tweaked enough emotion to get Civil Rights and Medicare.
A proper single payer system is years away. Financial reform will take more time and the military/industrial Complex will probably outlast the country. Decline and decay are more comfortable than reform.

POTUS Uncensored Speech at George Mason


Friday, March 19, 2010

Glenn Beck Attacks Social Justice

When Glenn Beck vilifies “social justice” as a “perversion of the Gospel” and slanders churches and pastors as “Nazis” for pursuing it, he too is trespassing a bright line. The Fox News personality—who rants and weeps like the late Joseph McCarthy, a fellow alcoholic—urges his listeners to run away from any congregation where social justice is preached. He instructs them to denounce any pastor who even mentions the term. He even held up pictures of a swastika and a hammer and sickle to somehow demonstrate that “social justice” is a code phrase whose hidden meaning is identical to Nazism and communism.
Poor Beck evidently does not realize that his own Mormon church is deeply committed to the social justice teachings of the Gospels—or that the Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and adherents of other faiths in this country all share similar values on that question. By attacking them, in his megalomania and ignorance, he has ripped into an ethical tradition that unites our country.
The best historical parallel to these extremist trespasses can be found back in the 1950s, when McCarthy, the John Birch Society and other elements of the far right were riding high. What brought them down were their excesses: in McCarthy’s case, when he and his staff sought to implicate the United States Army in the communist conspiracy; and in the case of the Birchers, when they proclaimed that President Dwight Eisenhower and the Supreme Court, among other august persons and institutions, were wittingly aiding the communists.
Our current crop of crazies is approaching that point of no return—and if we are fortunate, they will keep going.
Joe Conason writes for The New York Observer

Child Abuse Scandal Comes Closer to the Pope

The latest allegation is of abuse in the 1970s at a school near Mainz. At an elite Benedictine school in Ettal, in Bavaria, in the 1960s “absolute terror reigned”, says one victim. At a children’s home in Berlin, the perpetrator was a nun, claims a 60-year-old woman. Other scandals have surfaced in Austria and the Netherlands.

The Regensburg allegations come near Pope Benedict XVI. His brother, Georg Ratzinger, led the “cathedral sparrows” for 30 years from 1964. He has confessed to slapping children but said he knew nothing of sexual abuse. Mr Wittenbrink finds this claim “inexplicable”.
Source: The Economist

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Undercover police in Jerusalem protests

Undercover police in Jerusalem protests
LIA TARACHANSKY, PRODUCER, TRNN: Over the past few weeks, protests in Jerusalem intensified, escalating this week. On Tuesday, riots took place in nine neighborhoods of East Jerusalem as a result of Israeli security forces closing the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Solidarity protests also took place in various West Bank cities and in Jaffa. The demonstrations were called for Tuesday because of rumors that Jewish right-wing settlers would attempt to enter the mosque to lay a cornerstone. They try to do so every few years and are always met with Palestinian protests. In 2000, settlers rushed the mosque in an incident that helped propel the beginning of the second intifada. Therefore, this time, Israel security forces closed the mosque and large parts of the old city to Muslim men under 50. The military administration in charge of the occupied Palestinian territories also shut down the checkpoints to the entire West Bank for five days in an effort to suppress protests. Because the Al-Aqsa Mosque was barricaded, many men prayed on the streets, where they were promptly dispersed. The Real News spoke to Toufic Haddad, a Jerusalem-based journalist and author of Between the Lines: Israel, the Palestinians, and the US War on Terror.
TOUFIC HADDAD, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: What we've seen over the past couple of days in the occupied Palestinian territories is the sort of eruption of a lot of demonstrations, largely centered around Jerusalem. The reason for that is basically because Israel's been continuing its annexation and land confiscation policies, and its colonization of Jerusalem in particular. Already Israel has around 12 major settlements in and around Jerusalem, which encircle it and cut it off from the rest of the West Bank. You have, you know, the announcement recently of building 1,600 apartments. You have the eviction of families in—refugee families, by the way—in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. You have the impending demolition of perhaps 80 houses in the Bustan neighborhood [inaudible] which might effect somewhere around 1,500 Palestinians. You have, supposedly, excavation taking place beneath the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the compound, which is one of the most holy sites for Muslims. So you have basically—and this in addition to Israel's occupation policies in Jerusalem, where Palestinians there have absolutely no political rights there. Israel [inaudible] But what we really see now is the fact that there has been an entire collapse of the peace process, so that there's no kind of cover that there's any political horizon, as far as Palestinians are concerned. And what we also see is the fact that international communities, largely the Americans and the European Union, have not really done anything to stop Israel's policies. They make sort of a political statement saying that they call for the parties to come back to negotiations and to not affect the status [inaudible] [Jerusalem] and things like that. But practical measures on the ground which would stop these policies we don't see; and Netanyahu sort of knows that. And right now you have a strong right-wing government. It was elected on a platform that very clearly calls for the continuous colonization of Palestinian land. And he's going about doing that, and in a way calling the Western world's bluff on this. They're not serious about stopping Israeli colonial policies. Basically, Israel has had a long-standing policy where the Palestinian population in Jerusalem cannot exceed more than 27-28 percent. That's according to, like, people from Ministry of Interior in Jerusalem who have written books about stuff like that.
TARACHANSKY: The Western media reported 15 security personnel were injured. According to the Red Crescent, at least 118 Palestinians were also hurt on Tuesday.
HADDAD: The most important part of, like, colonialism is denying the humanity of the people that you're oppressing because if people are really aware that you're also oppressing and destroying the lives of humans, they feel like there's something inherently seemingly unjust about that situation.
TARACHANSKY: The injured man in this incident in the Al-Issawiya neighborhood was hospitalized in critical condition.
EDO MEDICKS, PHOTOJOURNALIST, THE DAILY NUISANCE: A grenade that—it breaks into several other grenades. You could see one attacking.
TARACHANSKY: In response to the shot grenades, tear gas canisters, and rubber bullets, the Palestinian youth fired fireworks and threw stones. Many speculated whether these protests may be the beginning of a third intifada, or uprising, like those of the late '80s and early 2000s.
HADDAD: I don't think it's helpful to speculate about the onset of a new intifada or not. What's more important to notice is the fact that the Palestinians don't have clear ways in which they can achieve their rights. Like, they've tried armed resistance, and that has failed. They have tried the international negotiations track. That has failed. And right now there's not a clear way that Palestinians feel that they can achieve their rights.
UNIDENTIFIED (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): What we just saw, because we were with the ambulance, is that soldiers entered [the street], caught a few guys. One of them is injured. He's in a really bad condition. His head, I'm sure, was hit with a stick. He has open wounds on his head and his face, and his eye is swelling—the situation is really bad. And I asked from the chief of police of the soldiers to give him first aid, and he said, "You can't, because we're giving him a police treatment."
INTERVIEWER: When the police ran into the street, what did they do?
UNIDENTIFIED: They entered and began threatening the youth. Surely none of the youth are older than 16, 17 years old.
TARACHANSKY: In this incident in the neighborhood of Ras al-Amud, soldiers caught a pedestrian, and while three held him back, a fourth punched him in the face. At least 60 Palestinians were arrested on Tuesday alone. Many were detained by undercover police pretending to be Palestinians.
HADDAD: Israel has a wide arsenal of military means to suppress Palestinian opposition, dissent, protest, demonstrations, etc. And the use of undercovers, or what are known as [inaudible] is one of the most horrifying ones from the Palestinian perspective. What it entails is that Israeli military personnel dress up like Arabs. They're armed. Sometimes they are masked, pretending to be Palestinian youth or whatnot. And in the middle of wherever—it could be in the middle of a demonstration, could be in the middle of a Palestinian town—all of a sudden whips out their guns and either kills or arrests Palestinians.
TARACHANSKY: The Jerusalem municipal police also approved for Sunday a contentious march into the Palestinian East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. It has been the site of frequent settler takeovers of Palestinian homes, as well as home demolitions. The march will be led by right-wing settler leader Baruch Marzel, calling for more demolitions of Palestinian homes. Municipal police promised tight security for the settler marchers. It is expected they will be met with mass resistance from the local Palestinians. Related Story

Inside Israeli land grabs
TRNN speaks to settlers, Palestinians, and experts to understand the process of land confiscation in OPT

Context: As yet there are no context links for this item. → Suggest Context Links Here

Turkish PM Promises a Second Armenian Genocide if the First is Mentioned

The Prime Minister of Turkey is promising mass deportations of Armenian Christians. Isn't that how the last Armenian genocide began?

As if the jihad slaughter against millions of Armenian Christians wasn't bad enough, if you speak of it the Islamic Turkey regime promises another one.

The more things change, the more the jihad stays the same. Almost a hundred years have passed since the wholesale slaughter of Christians by jihad, but do not say it. It defames Islam!

Has Obama condemned this? He is too busy demanding that Jerusalem be ethnically cleansed of the Jewish people.

Read my previous coverage of this issue: Armenian Genocide.

Turkey threatens to expel 100,000 Armenians BBC hat tip Rut

Turkey's prime minister has threatened to deport 100,000 Armenian migrants, amid renewed tensions over Turkish mass killings of Armenians in World War I.

Recent resolutions in the US and Sweden have called the killings "genocide".

Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the BBC that of 170,000 Armenians living in Turkey "70,000 are Turkish citizens".

"We are turning a blind eye to the remaining 100,000... Tomorrow, I may tell these 100,000 to go back to their country, if it becomes necessary."

Thousands of Armenians, many of them women, work illegally in Turkey. Most do low-skilled jobs such as cleaning.

Faltering diplomacy

Mr Erdogan was speaking in an interview with the BBC's Turkish Service, in which he was asked about the recent votes by lawmakers in the US and Sweden.

The resolutions, recognising the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as "genocide", were passed narrowly, and in both cases Turkey reacted angrily.

Mr Erdogan said the resolutions "harm the Armenian people as well... and things become deadlocked".

Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian was quoted as telling parliament on Wednesday that Mr Erdogan's comments only reminded Armenians of the mass killings.

"These kinds of political statements do not help to improve relations between our two states," he said.

"When the Turkish prime minister allows himself to make such statements it immediately for us brings up memories of the events of 1915."


Barenboim-Said Foundation

Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in Ramallah, August 2005. (Mushir Abdelrahman/MaanImages)

On 28 January 2010 the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) issued a statement to the Qatari government calling for a boycott of Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra (WEDO) and condemning the Qatari Ministry of Culture for hosting the orchestra in Doha. The statement goes so far as to accuse Daniel Barenboim of being an ardent Zionist. I would like to point out that the PACBI policy is "to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel." It does not call for a boycott against all Israelis, but those affiliated with institutions that support the Israeli state and its policies and who do not express support for the Palestinian struggle against occupation. Daniel Barenboim and WEDO do not meet any of those criteria.

WEDO is but one of the many educational programs of the Barenboim-Said Foundation (BSF) which was founded by Daniel Barenboim together with my late husband, Edward Said. It is registered in Spain and the regional government of Andalusia is the main partner in this project.

WEDO is not a project for normalization. The yearly workshops in Spain are advanced musical summer courses. When students from Arab countries and Israel attend the same courses at any university around the world where the professor's competence is the reason for which they enroll, it is considered furthering their education, not normalization.

The only requirement to attend the workshop and become a member of the orchestra is musical competence and talent. The musicians have to pass rigorous auditions and the ultimate goal is musical education on the highest level. The BSF has been offering music education programs in the occupied West Bank in partnership with the al-Kamandjati Music Center. We are actively supporting the AM Qattan Foundation’s Music Center in Gaza, as well as pioneering projects in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. We also offer music education programs for Palestinians in the Galilee (we have a conservatory in Nazareth) and in Jaffa. The aim is to bring together all the Palestinians in Palestine through the language of music.

Most importantly, nowhere in PACBI statement is it mentioned that the WEDO was established by Edward Said as well as Daniel Barenboim.

By attacking the orchestra, PACBI is attacking the integrity of my late husband and his legacy. It is not the first time PACBI has used this skewed approach. The deliberate omission in the statement of any reference to Edward and his support for this project is a manipulation of the media and a conscious effort to mislead the Palestinian people. Edward passed away more than six years ago. I do not know what he would have said about all this today, but I know how he felt about this project and what he wrote about it. A couple of weeks before his death, when a Palestinian activist friend who had reservations about the project asked him about WEDO, Edward unhesitatingly replied in an email: "It is the most important thing I did in my life."

Denial of the existence of the Palestinians has been the essence of the Zionist project. When this method is used by Palestinians to deny one of their own, their most vocal advocate, a champion of justice and universal human rights who never tired of demanding their right to self-determination, it is an outrage.

Edward was a visionary and constructive critic who spoke truth to power. He was a courageous and original thinker who was not afraid of taking risks and going against the grain, who always thought in alternative ways that led to opening roads and building bridges. The only thing he most abhorred was criticism that was destructive.

Daniel Barenboim has also been courageous and issued many statements condemning the occupation and the Israeli policy on Gaza. He was also a close friend of Edward. They wrote a book together entitled Parallels and Paradoxes in which they articulate many of the ideas that WEDO is based on. Daniel's thinking has evolved over the years even though he and Edward did not agree on some issues. One does not have to agree on everything. The recent statement of PACBI indicates that the authors did not do their homework. Had they done so, they would have found more statements articulating Daniel's support for the Palestinian cause.

Last year in an interview with Yussuf Shayeb in the Ramallah-based al-Ayyam newspaper, Daniel stated that the work of the BSF has nothing to do with normalization. It embodies solidarity and consolidates against injustice and occupation. In the summer of 2006 the orchestra issued a statement against the wars on Lebanon and Gaza. In January 2009 during the assault on Gaza, the orchestra again stated that it "deplores all actions that lead to civilian deaths" and that it "represents an alternative model based on equality, cooperation and justice for all." These statements were published in all the concert programs. When last summer a concert planned as part of the celebrations for "Jerusalem -- Cultural Capital of the Arab World" was forbidden, the orchestra dedicated its concert in Geneva to "Jerusalem -- Cultural Capital of the Arab World."

The terrible irony is that by attacking the WEDO and the vision of Edward and Daniel, PACBI is doing exactly what Edward saw the western media doing to the Islamic world, as he wrote in his book Covering Islam. When former US President George W. Bush attacked Iraq in 2003, Edward Said responded with a lecture on humanism in Beirut and Cairo. Bush told the world: "you are either with us or against us." At a PACBI panel discussion held during Israeli Apartheid Week in New York City in March 2009, a Palestinian speaker said: "To those who profess to be our friends and talk only about humanism, we say ‘f... humanism’. You are either on board or not." I wonder what is the difference between him and Bush?

Edward's thinking about the conflict evolved over the years. In the end, no matter what the solution is, both peoples will have to live together. To do so we need to talk to the enemy and to break the wall that separates us. To him the WEDO was an experiment that broke down barriers of hatred and allowed the participants to get to know the other. It was also an educational project where music was taught on a sophisticated level to musicians who had talent. Today, it remains a humanistic endeavor whose results will bear fruit in the future.

Since Edward's passing, I have been actively involved in this endeavor. I too was in Qatar this past January and when introducing the orchestra I made a strong statement demanding freedom for Palestine.

Edward always reminded the Palestinians that they must fight on many fronts simultaneously. The WEDO is fighting on the cultural front; PACBI is fighting the same fight on another track. Many of us actively support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign and respect what it is doing. But equally, I have the right to ask that it acknowledge my involvement and the legacy of Edward Said in this project and respect the goals of the WEDO and the BSF.

Mariam Said is a retired banker and vice president of the Barenboim Said Foundation USA.
Posted by Electronic Intifada

Here Are 5 Discussion Points on Military Issues

Our military is supposed to be a means to an end: national security. Due to its immense size and colossal budget, has our military not become an end as well as means?
2. In World War II, Americans could explain “Why We Fight” in part because the government provided a clear and compelling rationale for war. Why are the goals of today’s wars so opaque to most Americans?
3. If our military provides us with our way of “nation building” abroad, won’t countries and peoples be more likely to copy our military ways and weaponry than our democratic teachings?
4. America is facing painful budgetary belt tightening. Why is the military immune?
5. Why does “support our troops” seemingly end when they leave the service, leading us to tolerate such inequities as an unemployment rate of 21% for young veterans?

from Tomdispatch

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Glenn Beck, Think Before You Preach
by Pamela Geller

Something very disturbing happened last Monday on FOX. Glenn Beck, who has, for the most part, steered clear of jihad, sharia and Islamic supremacism, put his toe in the water, and for the first time since I started fighting the long war, I got nervous.

Beck called the Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who produced the film Fitna about Islamic Koran-based violence, a fascist, and far-right.

What is Beck doing?

Why would he stigmatize Wilders this way? Wilders is the embodiment of what our founding fathers extolled. Individual rights. Freedom of speech. Not sharia law.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Palestinians Do Not Want Statehood

Unfortunately, the Americans are laboring under two flawed assumptions.
1. Palestinians want statehood.
2. Palestinians won't allow Iranian nuclear missiles on their land.

Fatah Urges Provocative Barricades in Jerusalem

he 'moderate' Fatah terror organization (our 'peace partner') has joined a call by Sheikh Raed Salleh's Northern Front Islamic organization ('Israeli Arabs') for Arabs to storm the Temple Mount and barricade themselves inside al-Aqsa mosque on the Mount.

Meanwhile, the police have denied a Jewish group's request to hold a cornerstone laying ceremony for a Third Jewish Temple (the first two having been destroyed 2,600 years ago and 2,000 years ago).

Who is spoiling for a fight?

The 'Palestinian' call is linked to Monday's re-dedication of the Churva synagogue in Jerusalem's Old City.

Top Fatah official and holder of the Jerusalem portfolio Khatem Abd el-Kader called Palestinians on Sunday to “converge on al Aksa to save it” from what he called “Israeli attempts to destroy the mosque and replace it with the [Jewish] temple.” Khader was speaking ahead of a dedication of a renovated synagogue in the Jewish Quarter in the Old City, planned to take place Tuesday.He called Israel’s renovation of the Hurva Synagogue a “provocation” and warned Israel that it was “playing with fire.”

Is there anything Jews do in Israel that is not a 'provocation' to 'Palestinians'? Probably not. After all, when we die (God save us), we are buried somewhere in the country. Anything we do while alive, the 'Palestinians' consider 'provocative.'

posted by Carl in Jerusalem @ 9:03 AM

Anti Genocide

Che, Mao, Ahmadinejad, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hitler,Castro and Stalin were on the same team.
Source: Anti-Mullah

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Net Generation

THEY are variously known as the Net Generation, Millennials, Generation Y or Digital Natives. But whatever you call this group of young people—roughly, those born between 1980 and 2000—there is a widespread consensus among educators, marketers and policymakers that digital technologies have given rise to a new generation of students, consumers, and citizens who see the world in a different way. Growing up with the internet, it is argued, has transformed their approach to education, work and politics.

“Unlike those of us a shade older, this new generation didn’t have to relearn anything to live lives of digital immersion. They learned in digital the first time around,” declare John Palfrey and Urs Gasser of the Berkman Centre at Harvard Law School in their 2008 book, “Born Digital”, one of many recent tomes about digital natives. The authors argue that young people like to use new, digital ways to express themselves: shooting a YouTube video where their parents would have written an essay, for instance.
The Economist

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fuck You I'm Short Your House

The Big Short
Reviewed by Felix Salmon, Barnes & Noble
On January 30, 2007, Jamie Mai wrote an email to his partners Charlie Ledley and Ben Hockett. "If a broad range of CDO spreads starts to widen," he said, "it means that a material global financial clusterfuck is likely occurring."

On January 31, 2007, a broad range of CDO spreads started to widen, dramatically. The long-feared meltdown was upon us all -- not that most of us knew it, at the time -- and a very small number of investors was about to get paid out on the trade of their lifetimes. Mai, Ledley, and Hockett were part of that select group, whose tale is grippingly told by Michael Lewis in The Big Short.

The Big Short is not the story of the crisis, as the crisis is commonly understood. The failure of Lehman brothers and of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; the stock-market crash; the bail-out of Detroit; the fevered all-nighters pulled at Treasury and the New York Fed; the fears that the entire global financial system was on the brink of collapse -- little if any of that is in this book.

Instead, Lewis has found a different story -- one which he started mining for a spectacular cover story in the December 2007 issue of Portfolio magazine, and which has culminated in this book, over two years later. It's the story of what used to be called the "subprime crisis" before it metastasized into something much larger and more dangerous than that. And it's also, like all Michael Lewis tales, a human story, which takes us deep inside unique characters like Steve Eisman and Mike Burry.

On the face of it, there's almost nothing sympathetic about these men. Their social skills are all but nonexistent; they live in a world of arcane financial analysis which might as well be a different planet for all that it has any bearing on the way that most of us live our lives; and they made their outsize profits by wagering hundreds of millions of dollars on the proposition that Americans across the country would end up being thrown out of their homes after they found themselves unable to make their mortgage payments.

What these men did was not "socially useless," to quote the chairman of the UK's Financial Services Authority, Lord Turner. It was worse than that: it was actively harmful, since they provided the fuel which kept the subprime mortgage furnace burning even when the country was running out of new junk mortgages to write. In most financial markets, bearish bets act as a dampener; in this one, they were a necessary part of the subprime-mortgage machine, and a Deutsche Bank mortgage trader named Greg Lippmann ended up making billions of dollars for his employer -- not to mention a $50 million bonus for himself -- by aggressively going out and finding fund managers to put on the short bets needed to keep the market ticking. (This is the same Lippmann who, when accused of being a "Chicken Little" responded by saying "Fuck you, I'm short your house.")

Sibel Edmonds: The Traitors Within


by Brad Friedman
for HUSTLER MAGAZINE – March 2010

SIBEL EDMONDS, a former FBI translator, claims that the following government officials have committed what amount to acts of treason. They are lawmakers Dennis Hastert, Bob Livingston, Dan Burton, Roy Blunt, Stephen Solarz and Tom Lantos, as well as at least three members of George W. Bush’s inner circle: Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz and Marc Grossman. But is Sibel Edmonds credible?

“Absolutely, she’s credible,” Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told CBS’s 60 Minutes when he was asked about her in 2002. “The reason I feel she’s very credible is because people within the FBI have corroborated a lot of her story.” Edmonds’s remarkable allegations of bribery, blackmail, infiltration of the U.S. government and the theft of nuclear secrets by foreign allies and enemies alike rocked the Bush Administration. In fact, Bush and company actually prevented Edmonds from telling the American people what she knew—up until now.

John M. Cole, an 18-year veteran of the FBI’s Counterintelligence and Counterespionage departments, revealed the panic of upper-echelon officials when Edmonds originally started talking back in 2002. “Well, the Bureau is gonna have to try to work something out with Sibel,” Cole said an FBI executive assistant told him at the time, “because they don’t want this to go out and become public.”

But they couldn’t “work something out with Sibel” because, it seems, she wasn’t looking to make a deal. Edmonds says she was looking to expose what she believed to be the ugly truth about the infiltration of the U.S. government by foreign spies. They were enabled, Edmonds claimed, by high-ranking U.S. officials and insider moles planted at nuclear weapons facilities around the nation.

“Everybody at headquarters level at the Bureau knew what she was saying was extremely accurate,” Cole said recently. “They were trying to figure out ways of keeping this whole thing quiet because they didn’t want Sibel to come out.”

Her under-oath testimony for the Ohio Election Commission, given in a recent videotaped deposition, is both shocking and horrifying. (Edmonds was the star witness for Congressional candidate David Krikorian in connection with a formal complaint initiated by Representative Jean Schmidt [R-Ohio]. Challenging her in 2008, a Krikorian flyer had accused Schmidt of accepting “blood money” from Turkish interests to help block a House bill recognizing Turkey’s genocide of Armenians in 1915.) The deposition was allowed to proceed by the Obama Administration, which chose not to invoke the draconian and little-known “State Secrets Privilege” to gag her, as the previous administration had done, twice.

Edmonds testified that Congressman Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois), a former Speaker of the House, was involved in “several categories” of corruption on behalf of Turkish agents, according to information she claims to have heard while translating and analyzing FBI counterintelligence wiretaps recorded from 1996 through 2002. She mentioned his “acceptance of large sums of bribery in forms of cash or laundered cash” coupled with the ability “to do certain favors…make certain things happen for… [the] Turkish government’s interest.”

Edmonds also alleged, on the public record, Hastert’s use of a “townhouse that was not his residence for certain not very morally accepted activities” and said that “foreign entities knew about this. In fact, they sometimes participated in some of those…activities in that particular townhouse.”

The allegations against Hastert include accepting some half-million dollars in bribes. While several FBI sources have corroborated Edmonds’s account, the best Hastert’s attorneys could do was offer a nondenial denial to the charges. But the proof, as they say, may be in the post-Congressional pudding. As Edmonds had predicted years earlier, Hastert—who left Congress in 2007—now makes $35,000 a month lobbying his old colleagues as a registered foreign agent for the Turkish government.

Former Congressman Bob Livingston (RLouisiana), who was set to become Speaker prior to Hastert until evidence of a sexual affair was revealed by Larry Flynt, was described in Edmonds’s deposition as having participated in “not very legal activities on behalf of foreign interests” before leaving office in 1999. Afterward, she said, Livingston acted “as a conduit to…further foreign interests, both overtly and covertly,” and also became both a lobbyist and “an operative” representing Turkish interests.

According to Edmonds, Representative Roy Blunt (R-Missouri)—likely to run for a U.S. Senate seat in 2010—was “the recipient of both legally and illegally raised…campaign donations from…Turkish entities.” Edmonds also claimed that hard-right Representative Dan Burton (R-Indiana), who was instrumental in the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, carried out “extremely illegal activities” and covert operations that were “against the United States citizens” and “against the United States’ interests.”

Edmonds named allegedly traitorous Democrats too. She said that former New York Congressman Stephen Solarz, now also a lobbyist, “acted as conduit to deliver or launder contributions and other bribe[s, including blackmail] to certain members of Congress.” And, according to Edmonds, the late Congressman Tom Lantos (D-California) was said to have been involved in “not only…bribe[ry], but also…disclosing [the] highest level protected U.S. intelligence and weapons technology information both to Israel and to Turkey [and] other very serious criminal conduct.”

The most overtly salacious of the allegations involved Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois), who is “married with…grown children, but she is bisexual,” according to Edmonds. The FBI whistleblower described how Schakowsky was “hooked” by Turkish agents into having a lesbian “sexual relationship with one of their spies,” and “the entire episodes of their sexual conduct was being filmed because the entire house…was bugged…to be used for certain things that they wanted to request.”

Edmonds noted, however, that she didn’t “know if she [Schakowsky] did anything illegal afterwards” since Edmonds was fired by the FBI before learning what came of that particular setup. The Turks, she said, intended to get at Schakowsky’s husband, lobbyist Robert Creamer, who in April 2006 began serving five months in prison (and 11 months of house arrest) for check-kiting and failing to collect withholding tax.

Schakowsky’s office has vehemently denied the allegations. As head of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, Schakowsky might be expected to hold hearings on any of the former FBI employee’s revelations but she has not. She has also refused Edmonds’s challenge to take a polygraph test and has not yet sued her for libel, as the whistleblower has challenged her to do.

Edmonds’s most disturbing allegations, however, may be against high-ranking appointed officials in the Bush Administration. Elaborating on testimony she laid out in her sworn deposition, Edmonds told American Conservative magazine’s Phil Giraldi—a 17-year CIA counterterrorism officer—very specific details of alleged traitorous schemes perpetrated by top State and Defense Department officials. As already noted, these included Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz and, perhaps most notably, former Deputy Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman, the third-highest-ranking official in the Bush State Department.

Edmonds said that Feith and Wolfowitz were involved in plans to break Iraq into U.S. and British protectorates months prior to 9/11. She also claimed that the duo shared information with Grossman on how to blackmail various officials and that Grossman had accepted cash to help procure and sell nuclear weapons technology to Israel and Turkey—and, from there, on to the foreign black market. There the technology would be purchased by the highest bidder, such as Pakistan, Iran, Libya, North Korea or possibly even al-Qaeda.

Additionally, Edmonds claimed that Grossman, the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey before taking his State Department post, had tipped off Turkish diplomats to the true identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson’s front company, Brewster Jennings & Associates, a full three years prior to their being publicly outed by columnist Robert Novak. That in itself, according to George H.W. Bush, would be an act of treason carried out by “the most insidious of traitors.”

Former CIA counterterrorism officer Giraldi summed up Edmonds’s disclosures to me in blunt terms: “This was a massive coordinated espionage effort directed against United States nuclear secrets engineered by foreign agents who successfully corrupted senior government officials and legislators in our Congress. It’s that simple.”

According to a declassified version of a 2005 Department of Justice Inspector General’s report, Sibel Edmonds’s allegations are “credible,” “serious” and “warrant a thorough and careful review by the FBI.”
Perhaps more damningly, the FBI’s John Cole recently confirmed a key element of Edmonds’s claims when he revealed the existence of “the FBI’s decade-long investigation” of the State Department’s Grossman. Edmonds claimed that Grossman was perhaps the top U.S. ringleader for the entire foreign espionage scheme. The probe, Cole added, “ultimately was buried and covered up.”

Cole, who now works as an intelligence contractor for the Air Force, not only finds Edmonds “very credible,” but also confirms the “ongoing and detailed effort by Turkey to develop influence in the United States” through a number of illegal means.

“Turkish individuals would ask for favors—ya know, ‘You help me out, and I’ll help you out’—and basically what would happen is the elected official would either receive money or some kind of gift,” Cole explained. “Or, if it was a government employee, I’ve seen it where after they retired, they get these very lucrative positions with a Turkish company, or whatever the country may be.”

As noted, Hastert now works for Turkey, and Grossman now works for a Turkish company and as a lobbyist—no doubt raking in a pretty penny from both. Hastert and Grossman repeatedly ignored requests to comment on these charges.

The mainstream U.S. media, however, apparently remain uninterested in investigating any of it. Not even after Cole himself called for a “Special Counsel” to investigate and prosecute. So what the hell is going on here?
Giraldi believes that, as with companies such as AIG and GM becoming “too big to fail,” the size and success of this massive national security espionage scandal has simply become too big to bust.

He told me, “You have to look at Marc Grossman being part of a much bigger operation in terms of the Israelis and the Turks obtaining influence over our legislators and over a number of senior government officials at the Pentagon and State Department. Because this thing was so big, and it affected both Democrats and Republicans, I think the U.S. government is terrified of opening up this Pandora’s box.”

Giraldi added, “The people in Congress and in the Justice Department who should be investigating this…and also in the media—because the media is tied hand and foot to government—this is all part of one big, you know, conspiracy, if you want to look at it this way. And, essentially, this is a story that they don’t want to get out.”

So why, exactly, isn’t the media covering Sibel Edmonds, whom the ACLU once described as “the most gagged person in the history of the U.S.,” now that she is finally able to tell her story? It’s a story, after all, that the legendary 1970s whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg has deemed “far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers.”

“If we had an effective mainstream media that was going after this story, that would make it come out,” Giraldi noted. “But we don’t have an effective media.” He then pointed out one more reason for the media’s reluctance to dig into this story: “According to Sibel, Grossman actually bragged that he would get from the Turks the information that they wanted to appear in an article. He would write it up, and he would fax it over to the New York Times, and they would print it just as he had written it under somebody else’s byline.”

Guess we won’t expect any coverage of this scandal from the New York Times, “the paper of record,” any time soon. And if a story isn’t covered by the Times, and thereafter picked up by everybody else, did it really happen? Given the complicity of the media with regard to Sibel Edmonds, it would appear the government never even needed to invoke the “State Secrets Privilege” in the first place.

As of this writing, HUSTLER stands to be the largest, most “corporate” U.S. outlet in which these startling, now-public, on-the-record disclosures have been reported. The moral: Pull off a large enough crime, and it becomes too big to do anything about.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Is It Time to Bomb Iran?

Enough. It's overdue. They are nuclear weaponizing. They are promising the second holocaust. Why do we have to wait until they do it? They have said it repeatedly for years.

Everyone knows this is our only option now. By dithering and circle jerking for the past four years we have assisted in jihadi nukes. By doing nothing and watching them run those thousands of centrifuges. Bush failed us. He capitulated to the left, and here we are with no options. Obama is useless on this, as he tacitly agrees with them and has said so in not so many words - just ask those Iranians who took to the streets marching for freedom only to be met with bullets, rape and torture with America's blessing. Waiting for the catastrophe is not an option. I told you so is not an option.

It is not Israel's problems. It's the free world's problem. It is the problem of dar al harb. It is the problem of the non-Muslim world.

It was the Mufti of Jerusalem's promise when he allied with Hitler during the second World War. It's the same war after a brief period of peace. The enemy must be defeated. Or we will surely be toast.

Ahmadinejad: "Israel reached the end of its road"

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday warned Israel that initiating a new war in the Middle East would not save it from downfall. Speaking in the southern Iranian Province of Hormozagan, Ahmadinejad said that Israel was a Western prodigy that had now "reached the end of its road."

"See what has become of Israel. They [the West] gathered the most criminal people in the world and stationed them in our region with lies and fabricated scenarios. They waged wars, committed massive aggression… and made millions of people homeless," he told a crowd of supporters in the provincial capital, Bandar-Abbas.

Source: Pamela@atlasshrugs.com

What is the USA Doing in Afghanistan?

Afghanistan: Women crowd secret shelters with scars from "fists, knives, burns, electrical cords"

Here is another report that describes the prevalence and severity of domestic violence in a Muslim country without considering Islam's role. The broadcast version of the story, aired tonight, mentioned attempts to convince men that such behavior was un-Islamic and not what Muhammad would want; even that is absent from the online version excerpted below.

But the Qur'an (4:34) says you can beat your wife -- never mind the parenthetical additions of "lightly" by some Western translators. That doesn't help the women in Afghanistan. Nor do fanciful re-translations of the Arabic term. There can be no meaningful discussion of domestic violence in the Muslim world without acknowledging that Islam's scriptures, believed to be the direct word of Allah, approve of the idea of resorting to violence to "control" supposedly disobedient women.

As for Muhammad, he was a wife-beater himself, as Aisha recounts in this hadith that "He struck me on the chest which caused me pain." When, per Qur'an 33:21, a man who marries a child and beats her is your "beautiful pattern of conduct," you've got a serious problem.

That problem continues to manifest itself across the Muslim world. "Exclusive: The Secret Shelters That Protect Afghan Women," by Margaret Ako and Mark Mooney for ABC News, March 11:

Not every Afghan is hoping the Americans soon leave their country. Some are actually dreading it.

"You can't leave Afghanistan," Manizha, who helps run a shelter for battered women, recently warned "World News" anchor Diane Sawyer. Behind Manizha, women who were beaten, bruised and badly scarred shake their heads in urgent agreement.

The secret women's shelter is run by Manizha -- who, like most Afghans, goes by only one name -- and by New Yorker Esther Hyneman. It is one of a string of shelters and counseling centers that opened in 2007 and have since helped about 1,500 Afghan women escape beatings and abuse that can shock even battle-hardened combat surgeons.

Among the most heartbreaking is the story of Bebe. She is 17, and she says her face was mutilated by her husband, a Talib. Bebe's nose and ears were cut off as punishment for running away to escape the constant pummeling by her husband and his family.

She was married to the radical Muslim when she was 12, Manizha told Sawyer. Her marriage was the result of an outlawed tribal custom called "baad" in which the daughter was given away as compensation for a crime or offense committed by a male member of Bebe's family.

Girls given away in baad transactions are often little more than slaves. Bebe was forced to sleep in a stable with the animals, and beatings and pain became part of life for her.

Bebe tried to escape but was captured. Her husband was ordered by the Taliban to punish her by disfiguring her face. While her brother-in-law held her down, her husband sliced off her nose and ears.

Left for dead, she crawled to her uncle's house, but he refused to help. Bebe staggered on to her grandfather's house. He called her father. The local Afghan hospital was unable to treat her wounds, and suggested her father take her to the nearby U.S. military base, Forward Operating Base Ripley in Oruzgan province.

"She was very scared. She covered up," said Air Force Sgt. Lindsey Clark, a medic who was on duty when Bebe arrived three days after the attack.

Maj. Jeff Lewis, an Air Force surgeon, told ABC News he was used to seeing war wounds, but Bebe's injuries appalled him.

"It was barbaric and shocking to see this, that somebody had done this to this young girl... It was unlike anything I've ever seen," Lewis said. "I'm surprised that ... it still exists, this type of problem in the world." Despite their scars -- from fists, knives, burns, electrical cords -- there is an argument that the women at Manizha's shelter are the lucky ones.These women have found a way out of their brutal marriages. Millions of Afghan women are routinely handed over for marriages while they are still children and endure lives of constant battering.

"Ninety percent of Afghan women have experienced some form of human rights violation, 15 million Afghan women probably need our help," Manizha told Sawyer....

Posted by Marisol, Jihad Watch

Thursday, March 11, 2010

POTUS Adds to Repression in Syria

I'm amazed they took time to notice, but Human Rights Watch reports that repression has increased in Syria in the last three months, as the United States and other Western countries have expanded their outreach to the Assad dictatorship.

On March 2, 2010, Military Intelligence in Aleppo stormed the apartment of Abdel Hafez Abdel Rahman, a board member of the unlicensed Kurdish human rights group MAF (“Right” in Kurdish), and detained him with another MAF board member, Nadera Abdo. Other members of the group said that the detention is tied to Abdel Rahman’s activities for the group MAF. While the security services released Abdo on March 6, Abdel Rahman remains in detention.

Security services have also detained bloggers, journalists, and writers. On December 27, 2009, State Security called in Tal al-Mallohi, 19, a secondary school student, for interrogation, reportedly for articles she wrote and distributed on her blog. A few days later, the security services confiscated her computer and detained her. A Syrian human rights activist told Human Rights Watch that she remains in detention. Human Rights Watch was unable to determine what article the security forces deemed objectionable.

On November 22, State Security detained without explanation Ma`en `Akel, a journalist at the newspaper Thawra. Syrian activists following the case said `Akel apparently was detained for investigating government corruption. Security forces finally released him on February 23 without charging him with a crime. On January 7, security forces detained another journalist, Ali Taha, and a photographer, Ali Ahmad, in the Sayyida Zaynab neighborhood of Damascus. They were released on February 7, without having been charged. Both work for the satellite TV station Rotana, which mainly focuses on social life topics.

On February 10, border police detained Ragheda Sa`id Hasan, who had been a political prisoner in the 1990s for her Communist Action Party membership, as she tried to cross into Lebanon. Three days later, unidentified individuals entered her apartment and confiscated a copy of “The New Prophets,” a manuscript in which she describes her experience as a political detainee, as well as publications issued by various Syrian opposition parties. She remains in detention.

Human Rights Watch urges the United States and the Europeans to raise human rights issues with the Syrians at every opportunity. Good luck with that. The Obama administration has already proven time and time again that it doesn't give a damn about human rights.
Source: Israel Mazav

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Undue Persecution of ACORN

ACORN was prematurely and inappropriately tried and convicted in the press and in Congress, without so much as a single hearing, vis a vis a grotesque and shameful word-of-mouth propaganda lynch job unseen since the days of Joseph McCarthy, the disgraced, right-wing demagogue who misused his powerful perch in the U.S. Senate to smear "loyal Americans as disloyal" and who falsely "charged that the government was being undermined from within"...

Tried and convicted by partisan hoax

ACORN was tried and convicted in the press and in Congress based on propaganda videos which a former MA Attorney General exposed months ago as a heavily edited hoax. Yet without waiting on a single investigation, or holding a single hearing, U.S. House and Senate Resolutions were passed in an attempt to strip a presumed guilty ACORN of federal funding. Fortunately, those measures were found by a federal judge to be, in all likelihood, unconstitutional bills of attainder. But the finding comes too late for the group which depends on private funders for the vast majority of its work, many of whom have withheld their support following the Republican operatives' extremely successful smear job.

Had Congress looked before leaping, they would have found that an independent analysis [PDF], furnished by former MA Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, disabuses much of the misinformation that has been propagated about the entire ACORN "pimp" hoax. While the analysis was commissioned by ACORN as an external review, and returned some rather harsh condemnations for some of the groups organizational procedures, Harshbarger found no pattern of illegalities by the organization itself, or any of those low-level employees ensnared by the O'Keefe/Breitbart set up.
Source: Brad Blog

Is the US Ship of State Sinking?

Any reform short of single payer and the nationalization of health insurance companies delays our recovery. If we allow SCOTUS to expand campaign contributions, the special interests will end any chance of reform or of economic recovery.
Americans failed to notice the fall of the Republic [1950] or the demise of the Bill of Rights [2001]. How much liberty must we lose before we become aware of the loss? Pundits discussing these matters remind of the rats arguing the best ways to desert the sinking ship.

Pakistani Christian Gets Life under Blasphemy Laws

Pakistani Christian Gets Life in Prison under ‘Blasphemy’ Law

By Jawad Mazhar

FAISALABAD, Pakistan (CDN) — A young Christian shopkeeper was sentenced to life term in prison and fined more than $1,000 last week following a dubious conviction of desecrating the Quran, according to Pakistan’s National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP).

Peter Jacob, general secretary of the NCJP, said 22-year-old Imran Masih of the Faisalabad suburb of Hajvairy was convicted of desecrating the Quran (Section 295-B of Pakistan’s legal code) and thereby outraging religious feelings (Section 295-A) by Additional District & Sessions Judge Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan on Jan. 11.

The conviction was based on the accusation of a rival shopkeeper who, as part of an Islamic extremist proselytizing group, allegedly used a mosque loudspeaker system to incite a mob that beat Masih and ransacked his shop.

Neighboring shopkeeper Hajji Liaquat Abdul Ghafoor accused Masih of tearing out pages of the Quran and burning them on July 1, 2009. Denying that he burned any pages of the Quran, Masih told investigators that the papers he burned were a heap of old merchandise records he had gathered while cleaning his store.

The shopkeepers added that Ghafoor was a hard-line Muslim and part of an Islamic proselytizing group.

Section 295-B of Pakistan’s legal code, desecrating the Quran, is punishable by imprisonment for life. In accordance with Section 295-A (instigating religious hatred and outraging religious feelings), Masih was also sentenced to 10 years in prison and a fine of 100,000 rupees (US$1,170); if he is unable to pay the fine, he will be assessed an additional six months in jail.

A conviction for blaspheming Muhammad (Section 295-C) is punishable by death under Pakistani’s notorious blasphemy laws. Widely condemned by the international community as easily invoked to settle personal enmities, Pakistan’s blasphemy laws have come under review in recent months, but to no avail.

The laws are routinely invoked to harass members of minority communities.

Additionally, while police cannot make arrests without a court-issued warrant for Section 295-A, they can arrest suspected blasphemers under sections 295-B and 295-C on the complaint of a single individual.

Source: Anti-Mullah

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Palestinians Do Not Want a State

Ehud Yaari, a less optimistic commentator, sat for five weeks in the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and wrote a paper entitled “Armistice Now: An Interim Agreement for Israel and Palestine.” ....

Yaari’s basic assumption is that the Palestinians do not really want a state, not if it entails resigning themselves to dividing the land. The Palestinian strategy is to collapse into the arms of Israel. From Israel’s perspective, that is disastrous. It must force them to establish a state. Since they are incapable of signing a comprehensive agreement, they must be compelled to establish a state as part of an interim agreement.

It appears that Yaari’s basic assumption is correct. Abu Mazen and his colleagues in Fatah are missing two vital ingredients for the establishment of a state—willingness to impose painful concessions, and the desire and ability to take responsibility for everything that the day-to-day running of a state requires. The only one in the Palestinian leadership who is working seriously in this direction is Salam Fayyad. It is no accident that he is not a member of Fatah. It is no accident that he sees David Ben-Gurion, rather than Yasser Arafat, as a model to emulate. ....

Source: Laura Rosen, Politico

Official Iranian Brothels - Temporary Wives

Using "temporary marriage" religious laws


(official website)
(audio played indicates evening ceremonies)

Information received from sources inside Iran

"To render service to male pilgrims to the holy site of Imam Reza - Astan Quds Razavi - (saint of miracles, in Mashhad, N.E. Iran and hometown of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei), who are away from their wives, the holy Endowment will provide them with "temporary wives".

With this in view, we need to recruit such temporary wives (seegheh) aged 12 - 35 years old, who must be virgins and must provide the following:

- Two full length photographs
- Certification by the local Dept.of Health authorities:
confirming they are virgins and in good health (physical and emotional)
- Education diplomas
- Written permission, if they are under 16-years old, from a male head of family (father, grandfather or paternal uncle to participate in this project

Each female participant will sign a two year contract and be available for 25-days a month for their duties with a 5-hour minimum assignment and 10-day average.

Remuneration to act as temporarty wives will be as follows:

(quoted in equivalent Iranian Rials)

5-hours: $50
1-day: $75
2-days: $100
3-days: $150
4-days to 10-days: $300 (total)

An addition a one time $100 will be paid for loss of virginity


At the end of two years, if still under the age of 35-years and in good health, the contract may be renewed according to a waiting list priority

(The advertisement/announcement ends as follows):

Baargaheh Imam Reza
Shaheed (martyr) Navab Safavi
Sahneh Kossar (Kossar hall)
Daftareh Omour Sigheh (Office of the Temporary Wives)

For more information contact:

Haj Mahmoud Momtaz
Tel: 00 985-11222- 5790

Or visit http://www.aqrazavi.org/

Source: Anti-Mullah

The Karl Rove Incubator

A group that includes leading conservative lawyers and policy experts, former Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and several senior officials of the last Bush administration is denouncing as “shameful” Republican attacks on lawyers who came to the Obama Justice Department after representing suspected terrorists.

Senate Republicans have demanded details of the lawyers' past work and Liz Cheney’s group “Keep America Safe” has questioned their “values." A drumbeat of Republican criticism forced the Justice Department reluctantly to identify seven of them last week. But the harshness of the criticism – Keep America Safe labeled a group of them the “Al Qaeda Seven” — has provoked a backlash from across the legal establishment.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0310/34050.html#ixzz0hfK0GB4n

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Age of Obama is a Racial Nightmare

Recent data shows, though, that much of black progress is a myth. In many respects, African Americans are doing no better than they were when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated and uprisings swept inner cities across America. Nearly a quarter of African Americans live below the poverty line today, approximately the same percentage as in 1968. The black child poverty rate is actually higher now than it was then. Unemployment rates in black communities rival those in Third World countries. And that’s with affirmative action!

When we pull back the curtain and take a look at what our “colorblind” society creates without affirmative action, we see a familiar social, political, and economic structure -- the structure of racial caste. The entrance into this new caste system can be found at the prison gate.

This is not the Martin Luther King dream. This is not the Promised Land. The cyclical rebirth of caste in America is a recurring racial nightmare.

Michelle Alexander, Tomdispatch

GOP Bringing Down America

"Health care is a loser for the Left only if the Right has the steel to undo it. The Left is banking on an absence of steel. Why is that a bad bet?
Andrew McCarthy
Indeed. Look at it from the Dems' point of view. You pass Obamacare. You lose the 2010 election, which gives the GOP co-ownership of an awkward couple of years. And you come back in 2012 to find your health care apparatus is still in place, a fetid behemoth of toxic pustules oozing all over the basement, and, simply through the natural processes of government, already bigger and more expensive and more bureaucratic than it was when you passed it two years earlier. That's a huge prize, and well worth a midterm timeout.
Mark Steyn

McCarthy and Steyn assume that HCR in its present form will become law through reconciliation. They claim HCR is so unpopular the 2010 mid-terms will be a disaster for the Democrats. With Obama in the WH till 2012, he can veto bills posed by Republicans to amend the HCR.
The major problem with this scenario is that much-needed reform in areas such as education, alternative energy, collective bargaining [EFCA], deficit financing, banking and the stock market will stall. The factors that combined to start the first major recession remain in place to bring about a second one.
Both McCarthy and Steyn think GOP obstructionism will put the economy into neutral for two years while the Republicans regain the Presidency in 2012. Many economists believe other dynamics such as joblessness, homelessness, financial chaos, war and trade deficits will continue to extract a toll.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

We Don't Deserve the FLOTUS or the POTUS

The New FLOTUS Bob

Did your health insurance premiums just rise by 39%? Lucky you! Some older folks had their insurance premiums upped by 75%. Many premiums now exceed the monthly mortgage payment. If your mortgage debt exceeds the value of your home, you are under water. If you lose your job, your new address will be the nearest Wal*Mart parking lot.
You could have avoided all this.
Every civilized nation has an insurance program called single payer. The system covers all citizens regardless of age, wealth or physical condition cradle to grave. The cost averages about half of the US burden. Its universality mandates the widest pool of insureds to build the lowest possible risk exposure.
The US present and proposed health plans leave too many citizens without coverage at prohibitive costs doomed to fail.

No Respect for CNN

Joe Weisenthal
The latest ratings are again horrible for CNN, so bad, in fact that the network has fallen behind CNBC (which is also struggling) in terms of news network ratings.

In an interview with TV Guide, CNN President Jon Klein argued that the network was in a fine position because unlike rivals, CNN was sticking to straight, hard news, and that that was proving to be move valuable than the slanted entertainment of the network's rivals.

Said a Fox News spokesperson in response:

We don’t respond to presidents of fifth-place news networks. The last time we looked, Jon was losing to the Weather Channel, so call us back when he and CNN regain relevancy.”


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Islamic Hegemony in the West

Geert Wilders
"I believe that Islam is not compatible with our Western way of life. Islam is a threat to Western values. The equality of men and women, the equality of homosexuals and heterosexuals, the separation of church and state, freedom of speech, they are all under pressure because of islamization. Ladies and gentlemen: Islam and freedom, Islam and democracy are not compatible. It are opposite values.

No wonder that Winston Churchill called Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ “the new Quran of faith and war, turgid, verbose, shapeless, bur pregnant with its message”. As you know, Churchill made this comparison, between the Koran and Mein Kampf, in his book ‘The Second World War’, a master piece, for which, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. Churchill’s comparison of the Quran and ‘Mein Kampf’ is absolutely spot on. The core of the Quran is the call to jihad. Jihad means a lot of things and is Arabic for battle. Kampf is German for battle. Jihad and kampf mean exactly the same.

Islam means submission, there cannot be any mistake about its goal. That’s a given. The question is whether we in Europe and you in Britain, with your glorious past, will submit or stand firm for your heritage.

We see Islam taking off in the West at an incredible pace. Europe is Islamizing rapidly. A lot of European cities have enormous Islamic concentrations. Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and Berlin are just a few examples. In some parts of these cities, Islamic regulations are already being enforced. Women’s rights are being destroyed. Burqa’s, headscarves, polygamy, female genital mutilation, honour-killings. Women have to go to separate swimming-classes, don’t get a handshake. In many European cities there is already apartheid. Jews, in an increasing number, are leaving Europe."

Islam Incompatible with Christianity

Friday, March 5, 2010

Alan Grayson [D-Fl] Leads both Party Tickets

Republicans like a politician who stands up for what he believes -- even if he believes the Republican Party is populated by a bunch of "knuckle-dragging Neanderthals."

The candidate leading the Florida GOP primary to determine who will take on Rep. Alan Grayson, the Democrat who represents the Orlando-based district, is none other than Grayson himself, according to a poll paid for by his campaign. Grayson is a freshman congressman who has drawn scorn from the GOP and has quickly built a nationwide following of progressives.

The poll has Grayson leading the 13 Republicans -- among Republicans -- with 27.8 percent of the vote.
-Huffington Post

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

911 Missing Links Blaming the Jews

| 911 Missing Links

The propaganda film "911 Missing Links" is a first rate production. It begins using the "truther" approach to the 911 tragedy. They carry it through until many viewers w ould agree the three skyscrapers imploded. It was an inside job.
Then, they build on the Israeli plot to destroy various American and British targets inside Egypt. The attempt to blame the Arabs for the terrorism failed when one of the bombs went off prematurely. It left an Israeli wounded but able to give-up his fellow conspirators to the authorities. This resulted in a number of hangings and a great deal of embarrassment to the Israeli establishment.[1954] History refers to this as the Lavon affair.
The film's second great proof of Israel's treachery occurred four days into the June War of 1967. The USS Liberty was a US spy ship filled with electronic detection aerials and equipment. There was no mistaking her for a mere freighter close to Egyptian waters. The Israeli Mystere fighter-jet pilots flew so closely to the ship the crewmen waved at them. When the pilots returned, they opened a vicious attack that killed several dozen sailors over a six-hour period. US Phantom jets were already in the air to rescue the Liberty when POTUS Lyndon Johnson ordered them to stand down.
There is no doubt the Israeli abused the Americans in 1954 and in 1967. Blaming the Jews for 911 based on these past incidents is too much of a stretch. The film makers failed to mention a pertinent factor. If the Arabs could have proven the Jews guilty of 911, millions of Afghan and Iraqi lives would have been spared.