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Archive for August 25th, 2009

This letter is now illegal in Pakistan

From Tanveer Ansari | London Review of Books, Vol. 31, No. 15, August 6, 2009

Tariq Ali’s Diary notwithstanding, Asif Ali Zardari’s misdemeanours can no longer be satirised (LRB, 23 July). Helpless citizens who have been exchanging anti-Zardari jokes in which he is referred to as a dacoit, Mr Ten Per Cent, Mr Thirty Per Cent, as a US drone, a thief, a liar, a womaniser, a murderer, are to be deprived of this liberty. Rehman Malik, Zardari’s business associate, whose day job is to act as the country’s interior minister, has pushed through a new law that makes the circulation and transmission of ‘ill-motivated and concocted stories against the civilian leadership’ illegal; the authors of such stories will be ‘punished’.

It is a truly atrocious law and a serious blow to what few civil liberties and modes of expression we have left. It is unbelievable that it should have been passed so quietly, without any opposition in the National Assembly. Spoofing, spamming, and having an email address registered to a name other than the one on your passport are also punishable with jail sentences. The real joke is that these measures will increase the circulation of satirical jokes a hundredfold: they will travel by word of mouth, as they did in the days before mobile phones and the internet. Those who have been texting Zardari directly will, sadly, now have to search for other means to communicate with their leader. This letter is now illegal. Whether articles such as Ali’s are also proscribed has yet to be determined.

Meanwhile Muhammad Aslam, Benazir Bhutto’s former protocol officer and himself a lawyer, who was on guard duty on her jeep’s running board the day she was murdered, has publicly accused Rehman Malik, among others, of being a prime suspect in the case. Aslam has demanded that the police register a case against the interior minister. The worms are crawling out of the can, which might help explain the rush to introduce the new law.

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Is Glenn Beck Finished?

By Tana Ganeva, AlterNet. Posted August 24, 2009.

A Color of Change campaign has cost Beck’s show 36 advertisers so far. Will Fox decide he isn’t worth it?

In his eight months at Fox, Glenn Beck has repeatedly prophesied the advent of both Socialism and Fascism. He’s wished for Osama bin Laden to attack America. He’s hosted 911 truther Alex Jones on his show, and helped fan the bizarre conspiracy theory that FEMA plans to imprison dissidents in internment camps. He paces, rants and cries on the air like a crazy person. Once, he pretended to set someone on fire.

Beck’s weird theatrics and paranoid right-wing rants have earned him the 3rd highest ratings on Fox (Bill O’Reilly still regularly beats Beck, Sean Hannity beats him sometimes), even as liberals, many corporate media pundits and most non-crazy people shrink away with equal parts bewilderment, horror and disdain. The week before last Beck averaged 2.4 million viewers a day, edging out Hannity for the number 2 spot.

But a Color of Change campaign urging advertisers to drop Beck has already been so successful that Fox may have to reconsider whether Beck is worth it, despite his popularity with the right-wing fringe. At last count, 36 advertisers have pulled their advertising from Beck’s show. These include: GEICO, Radio Shack, SC Johnson, Progressive Insurance and Sprint. Last Monday Wal Mart – hardly a poster-child for progressive politics – also dropped Beck’s program.

Color of Change, an African-American grassroots organization devoted to ensuring that the interests Black Americans are represented in political life, launched their petition against Beck in response to the talk show host’s predictably over-the-top, bizarre contribution to the debate surrounding the arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates. On a July 28th guest appearance on Fox and Friends, Beck pulled a popular right-wing trick – whining about reverse racism when confronted with real racism – and absurdly claimed, “The President has exposed himself as a guy … over and over and over again … who has a deep-seated hatred for white people … or the white culture…. I don’t know what it is”.

Even Brian “we’ve diluted our gene pool” Kilmeade gaped in shock, and asked Beck how the President could hate white people when almost his entire cabinet was made up of them. Beck clarified his point: “I’m not saying he doesn’t like white people. I’m saying he has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist.”

Beck’s comments set off a firestorm of controversy. “Has he gone to far?” headlines abounded. Talking heads slammed Beck for absurdly arguing that a man raised by a white mother and grandparents hated white people. Even fellow conservatives like Joe Scarborough expressed outrage. Like the standard fare peddled by many luminaries of right-wing hate talk, Beck’s accusation insinuated the President’s “otherness”, hinting at some nefarious plot to bring about general doom by way of Islam/socialism/fascism/racism/ACORN.

For Color of Change, Beck had crossed a line into flagrant racebating.

MORE HERE

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Published: August 24, 2009
Then-New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, dressed in drag for a satire of “Victor/Victoria” entitled “Rudy Rudia.” It’s almost hard to believe he wasn’t able to win the Republican nomination for president. AP Photo / Joe DeMaria

Then-New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, dressed in drag for a satire of “Victor/Victoria” entitled “Rudy Rudia.” It’s almost hard to believe he wasn’t able to win the Republican nomination for president. AP Photo / Joe DeMaria

Nineteen months after ending his disastrous run for the presidency, Rudolph W. Giuliani is clearing a path for a possible race for governor in 2010, believing public anger at an ineffectual Albany and unease over the economy could create ideal conditions for a Republican to reclaim the governor’s mansion.

Mr. Giuliani has told associates that he will decide on a candidacy within 30 to 60 days, as he weighs whether he can be elected statewide and what impact another campaign would have on his business interests.

He is already laying the groundwork. On Friday he traveled to Long Island to encourage the state Republican Party chairman, Joseph N. Mondello, to step aside, a maneuver that party insiders viewed as the former mayor’s most concrete step yet toward a run.

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By Saed Bannoura
Global Research, August 23, 2009

17s04bilalaBY_jpg_998448bFormer Palestinian detainee, researcher Abdul-Nasser Farwana, stated that all facts on the ground, since decades, prove that the Israeli occupation executed Palestinian detainees after they surrendered and refused to hand their bodies to their families. Hundreds of bodies were transferred to the families days, months or even years after the fact, and when the bodies were sent back, they were missing vital internal organs.

Link for the Aftonbladet report by Swedish journalist Donald Boström:
http://www.aftonbladet.se/kultur/article5652583.ab

Farwana added that the Swedish report, written by Donald Boström and published by Aftonbladet, Stockholm daily paper, regarding illegal trafficking of body parts of Palestinians is directly connected to the execution of Palestinians after they surrendered to the army, and is connected with the arrest of 40 well-known figures, including Rabbis in New Jersey for money laundering and corruption, in a scheme that involved sales of Israeli kidneys in the US and other corruption rackets.

Farwana added that one of the illegal acts carried out by Israel is having secret detention facilities in which dozens of detainees were imprisoned and never heard of anymore. This is in addition to the “Numbers Graveyard” in which “unknown” Palestinian and Arab fighters are buried.

MORE HERE

Israel wants Swedish apology over “organ trade”

A diplomatic row has erupted between Sweden and Israel over an allegedly anti-semitic newspaper article. Israel wants an apology after the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet repeated claims that Israeli troops stole and then sold the organs of Palestinians who died in custody in the early 1990s.

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