Wednesday, May 28, 2008

RNC, Obama and Auschwitz

Okay, this campaign is really getting stupid. Barack Obama made an innocent mistake when he talked about his great-uncle's participation in the liberation of a Nazi concentration camp. Obama said it was Auschwitz, while it was actually Buchenwald. I'm no fan of Obama, but I just can't see anything sinister about his remarks.

An RNC spokesman said this raises "questions about [Obama's] judgment and his readiness to lead as commander in chief", according to's Political Ticker. Indeed, we have seen the dangers of a president who mixes up two different places and two different threats, like Iraq and Iran or Iraq and Al-Qaeda. One guy misspoke. The other mishandled the United States and the world. Quite a difference, don't you think?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Winehouse's Rehab Among the Rockets

It has been reported that British singer Amy Winehouse is no longer saying "no, no, no" to rehab. Of all places in the world she has decided to enter a rehab program in Israel, and of all Israeli rehab programs she has chosen the one in Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. That's the largest city within the range of rockets from Gaza. I wonder if she realizes this. Maybe this is a new thing - adventure rehab, a cross between rehab and adventure tourism. Perhaps Winehouse, who is Jewish, is showing her solidarity with the junkies of southwestern Israel this way.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Florida and Michigan's Leverage

The Democratic Party's state branches in Florida and Michigan should threaten the national party that if their delegates are not seated at the national convention in Denver this August, they will not put the Democratic Party's nominees on the ballot in these two states. Instead, one Michigan Democrat and one Florida Democrat will run together for president and vice president in those two states under the Democratic Party line. Such a move would pretty much ensure John McCain's victory in November, so the DNC would have to listen in order to avoid this scenario.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Survivor: Undisclosed Location

E-MAN NEWS SERVICE - Just a week after the announcement that the 17th season of the hit reality show "Survivor" will be filmed in the African nation of Gabon, new information has been leaked regarding the 18th season of the show.

"Survivor: Undisclosed Location" will pit eight Americans, most of them beautiful actors and models from California and New York, plus a token older and/or ugly person, against eight people with Arab-sounding names from around the globe. While the Americans must apply and go through a series of auditions, the foreigners will be picked up without having to do anything. The tribe names have been confirmed as Mukhabarat and Mujahideen, said to be local deities of the indigenous culture.

"It will be an interesting experiment," said a reliable source within Mark Burnett Productions, which produces the series. "We decided to do this now, with the season that will be filmed between October and December 2008, since this is probably our last chance for this particular concept. The Bush administration has been very helpful in recruiting contestants from outside the United States and finding a location for the game. Come January, we may not see as cooperative an administration as the current one."

When asked about the various challenges the contestants will have to play in order to win rewards, immunity idols, and eventually the grand prize of $1 million (or 1 million Iraqi Dinars, depending on the nationality of the Sole Survivor), the source agreed only to say that "if you liked underwater challenges in pervious seasons, the competitions we're planning this time will absolutely take your breath away."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Peres and Olmert Love Bush

President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President George W. Bush spoke at an event commemorating sixty years of Israeli-American relations. President Bush was happy to hear, and moved by, the praise his Israeli hosts lavished upon him. I, on the other hand, found it embarrassing. They should have stuck to praising the American policy of friendship and support for Israel over the decades and given Dubya himself no more than a few token words. But no, they had to call him a great leader, a man with a vision, a champion of freedom and democracy, a man who history will treat kindly, blah blah blah.

Sure, they can't say how horrible a leader he really is. They can't say "Thank you, President Bush, for making Israel less safe by attacking a country that, as it turns out, was never really a threat to us and instead made it a breeding ground for Al-Qaeda and Shi'ite terrorism. We really appreciate the fact that now that you have failed in Iraq, the United States can't afford to face what seems to be a greater threat than Saddam Hussein ever was". And the list of bad things goes on... They can't say all those things, but they shouldn't say what is at best a bunch of lies about how great he is (at best, since the worst case scenario is that they actually believe what they are saying, which means our leaders have horrible judgment).

The event tonight was part of a conference about the future of Israel, organized by President Peres. Channel 1, the public channel that is owned by the government but supposedly independent from it, showed the whole US-Israel event, including the video clips about the history of the two countries' ties with each other. I felt like I was watching North Korean or Cuban TV. The clips weren't mini-documentaries but rather straight out of the PR department. It was absolutely ridiculous.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Minority Running Mates

Instead of writing lists of likely vice presidential running mates I'll just make some "demographic predictions". Chances are far greater that I'll be right this way.

  • First of all, no more than one of the running mates will be a white male Christian. It is quite possible neither one of them will be a WASP, but definitely not both of them.
  • Since I doubt that all four people on the two major tickets will be senators, no more than one current senator will be a VP nominee.
  • Both will come from either red (conservative) or purple (swing) states. Neither one will come from a blue (liberal) state, unless Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton run together.
  • If Barack Obama wins the Democratic presidential nomination, his running mate will not be black. John McCain's running mate will probably not be black, either.
  • Both running mates will be between the ages of 50 and 65.
  • One or both of the running mates will be a member of at least one of the following groups: women, Latinos and Jews.
  • Neither RM will be openly gay or bisexual, nor will be even suspected as such.
  • At least one, but probably both, will have previous executive experience as a governor, major city mayor, United States Cabinet member, diplomat, high ranking military officer or a prosecutor.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hezbollah and Lebanon

I can't say I really know what's going on in Lebanon right now. I hope things calm down, since it doesn't seem that the government is powerful enough to assert itself. The worst thing for Lebanon and the Middle East would be if Hezbollah took over the country. They're already in control of most of it, so some would say it might be better if they were openly in control rather than secretly the puppet master of Lebanon. That isn't the case, though. As long as they are only in partial control Lebanese secularists and moderates can gradually get stronger and eventually assert themselves.

It seemed odd to me that Sheikh Nassrallah said the Lebanese government declared war on Hezbollah. Isn't that like an acknowledgement that they are a state within a state? How can war be declared on a political party?

Hillary Must Defeat Obama

Senator Hillary Clinton, as the only qualified of the three candidates left in the race, must not quit. If she will not be the Democratic nominee then the United States will have to choose between two very different paths, but both of them just as dangerous. Clinton is the sane middle between the militarism of John McCain and the naivete of Barack Obama.

Right now, it looks like the race is finished and Clinton doesn't have a chance, but she should try anyway. Obama is a horrible candidate as it is, and would make a horrible president, so it doesn't really matter if she bloodies him ahead of November.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A Day Without Palestinians

This Thursday Israel will celebrate its 60th Independence Day. For a vast majority of Israelis, as well as many non-Israeli Jews and gentiles, the creation of the state in 1948 and its many achievements are truly a cause for celebration. We mustn't doubt the rightfulness of our very existence as a free and independent nation.

Independence Day is also the one day we should be allowed to forget about the negative aspects of our country. Let's not think about the security situation, the decline of the welfare and healthcare systems or the corruption of our prime minister.

Also, it's a day on which we should not think about the Palestinians, what we have done and continue to do to them, or what we and the Palestinians do to each other. 364 days out of they year we should remember them and strive for peace in order to make their lives, as well as ours, better. But on the day we celebrate our independence, there is absolutely no reason to commemorate the Nakba or to think of Palestinian suffering. The Palestinians are free to commemorate their tragedy, but they shouldn't expect Israelis to do so.

One day each year, we can pretend Palestinians do not exist.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Hamas: Holocaust Planned By Jews

Hamas: Jews planned the Holocaust
By HAVIV RETTIG, The Jerusalem Post

Jewish leaders concocted the mass murder of handicapped Jews in order to keep from having to support them, and this murder is what the Jews term "the Holocaust," according to a documentary special that aired on April 18 on Hamas's Al Aqsa television station.

Palestinian Media Watch located and translated the contents of the footage, which it uploaded to YouTube under the headline "Hamas: Jews planned Holocaust."

According to the documentary's narrator, Israel's first prime minister David Ben Gurion decided that Jewish "disabled and handicapped are a burden to the state," after which "the Satanic Jews" - the film cuts to a picture of a hassidic Jew - "thought up an evil plot to be rid of the burden of disabled and handicapped" - the film then cuts to piles of emaciated corpses - "in twisted criminal ways."

"This is official Hamas TV," explained PMW director Itamar Marcus. "It's owned and totally controlled by the Hamas leadership in Gaza, and it goes out by satellite to the whole Arab-speaking world."

The program dealt primarily with the Holocaust, but included comparisons to the Palestinian situation, calling the massacres in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps a "holocaust" and blaming Israel for a "Palestinian holocaust."

"They [the Jews] were the first to invent the methods of evil and oppression," explains the documentary's narrator, cutting to scenes of Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan and Ben Gurion. The film claimed Jewish leaders blamed the Nazis for their own massacre of Jews "so the Jews would seem persecuted and try to benefit from international sympathy."

The film offers an "expert" - Amin Dabur, head of the "Center for Strategic Research" - who explains that "the Israeli Holocaust, the whole thing was a joke and part of the perfect show that Ben Gurion put on."

There is some tension in the film between blaming the Jews for the massacre of Jews, and denying the massacre took place. According to Dabur, Ben Gurion was interested in sending "strong and energetic youth [for Israel], while all the rest - the disabled, the handicapped, and people with special needs, they were sent [to die] - if it can be proven historically" - a reference to a claim heard often on Hamas television, from Iranian leaders and elsewhere in the Muslim world that the Holocaust has yet to be proven historically.

Continues Dabur: "They were sent [by the Jews to die] so there would be a Holocaust, so Israel could 'play' it for world sympathy."