Monday, February 08, 2016

How to improve American football: a plan of revisions

Having watched the first Super Bowl (I first spelled it Super Ball) ever (I think it was my second but my wife, Michele--a fanatic fan of Kansas City team--does not agree because she said that I watched one with an IPad in hand, which does not count for her), I have a few suggestions to improve the game for players and for spectators:
1) Eliminate the weirdly shaped ball and get a normal football.
2) According to the new rules, players can compete for the ball but without any physical contact of any kind. That would be better for the health of the players in retirement.
3) Eliminate the association between the game and patriotism.
4) Eliminate the association between the game and religion: Yesterday, Manning suggested that his team's victory was purely due to God's intervention on his side. And what makes you think that God understands the rules of the game to follow it that closely?
5) End once and for all the interruptions in the game. It is so slow and they stop the clock every minute. That makes it very boring. Give them two hours to play, but without any interruption whatsoever. If people violate the rules, they can be punished later.
6) We don't need to see the wealthy and famous as they watch the game.
7) End the gender segregation in the game.
8) Please eliminate cheerleaders. It is so unnecessary and stupid and seems to belong to an era decades before the women's movement.
9) to end the worship of the sports figure and the crazy intense competition for teams and between them, pay players the minimum wage, and not one cent more.

Sisi republic

Please let me know if Western academics are planning to sign petition for the non-Italian victims of the Sisi republic. Thanks.

New Ministries in UAE

Sheikh Mo of Dubai announced new ministries in UAE: Ministry of polygamy, ministry of racial discrimination, ministry for the mistreatment of domestic workers, ministry for sexual exploitation of women, and ministry for the rationalization of monopolization of oil wealth by British-designated ruling dynasties. 

Here, Rafiq Hariri is seen working for the independence of Lebanon from Syrian hegemony

This won't be on the agenda of Beirut office of Human Rights Watch

Hariri family posted signs all over Sidon asking: How is Sidon?  People circulated photoshopped version of the poster but with answers to the situation in Sidon.  The Lebanese militia of Intelligence Branch (run by US and Saudi intelligence) went and stormed into the house of a Lebanese artist and accused him of "distorting pictures".  I am not making this up. Watch this. 

Gloria Steinem wants you to support the women to the left of the picture for pressing for women's rights worldwide

This US "expert" on Islamic groups believes that Al-Qa`idah videos should be aired and circulated without any qualification

Let me guess: this person would not be calling for the release and distribution of videos by Al-Qa`idah which feature "confessions" by American or Israeli soldiers in captivity.  But he is fully in favor of the release of propaganda videos by Al-Qa`idah if the prisoners are enemies of US and Israel. I get it. He is consistently inconsistent.
Phillip Smyth (@PhillipSmyth)
Incredible work! @carolmalouf's much awaited interview with captured Lebanese Hizballah members taken in Rif Halab.

The grotesque regime of Asad in Syria

Al-Mayadin has revealed that Hafidh Al-Asad had met in secret with Bashir Gemayel.  Let the supporters of the Syrian regime attempt to defend this one.

ISIS and the thought of Sayyid Qutb

The relationship between ISIS and the thought of Sayyid Qutb.

Gulf regimes want to urge a regime to improve human rights? This is like asking US to promote democracy in the Middle East

"For now the Gulf States should use their influence including economic aid to encourage Sisi to ease the tensions within Egypt. Releasing activists, unshackling the media, allowing NGOs to operate freely and loosening his insufferable stranglehold on political life in Egypt. For the Gulf States Sisi's redeeming characteristic was that he was no friend of the Muslim Brotherhood. The past two and a half years have demonstrated that he is little more than that."

Sisi following the orders of Israel

"Yuval Steinitz, the energy minister, revealed on Saturday that Egypt's decision to flood the underground supply tunnels run by Hamas from the Egyptian Sinai into Gaza had been to a "certain extent at Israel's request". Security co-operation with Egypt was "better than ever", he added."

Saudi regime (ally of US and Israel) sentences Palestinian poet to torture instead of death

"A Saudi court ruled this week that instead of beheading Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh, he will now face flogging and eight years in prison as punishment for what state religious authorities consider to be crimes against Islam." "Regarding his book Instructions Within, Fayadh told The Guardian last year that it was “just about me being [a] Palestinian refugee … about cultural and philosophical issues. But the religious extremists explained it as destructive ideas against God.” "

Hollywood and Apartheid regime

"For the last several years there has been a concerted effort in the entertainment industry to push back against the growing strength of the BDS movement. Most notable is the organization the Creative Community for Peace, which has ties to StandWithUs, a right-wing pro-settler organization that works closely with the Israeli Foreign Ministry, and works to fight the cultural boycott of Israel."

Israel courts 4th rate celebrities--just anyone from Hollywood

"Top Academy Award nominees will have a politically charged gift in their swag bag this year - a luxury trip to Israel paid for in part by a government that hopes such celebrity junkets will offset news coverage of the country's troubles." (thanks Basim)

Obama's contribution to Israel and its war crimes

"Despite a “particularly challenging budget environment” in the US, the administration is willing to sign a memorandum of understanding for “the largest single pledge of military assistance to any country in US history,” a senior US official told the Haaretz newspaper Sunday night." "Obama had approved $20.5 billion dollars for military support for Israel since becoming president, plus $3 billion for anti-missile systems, he said." (thanks Amir)

New trends in US social science

Edward Said talked in Orientalism about the distinction in US social science between political knowledge and pure knowledge.  But things are worse now than they were in the late 1970s.  I can't imagine someone back in the late 1970s writing a PhD dissertation in the finances of Abu Nidal or in the structure of a drug cartel.  But I now see an avalanche of new PhDs writings about the finances of ISIS and such. Who are those professors/advisers approving such topics at US and European universities? And why are the lines between the "terrorism studies" and political science being blurred? In my days, there was a contempt for terrorism studies in US political science department, and this explains how Georgetown University severed its ties with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in DC.  The answer is partly due to funding opportunities and partly due to people who want to become media visible.  A yet another disturbing trend in US social science.  I say that as I see the large number of books and articles on ISIS: how many articles or books being written on, say, social classes in the Middle East, or women in Middle East society, and the life of Palestinians under occupation, or about Zionism and Israeli intervention in the region?

Sunday, February 07, 2016

The trouble with US foreign policy

You know the severe problems of US foreign policies when presidential candidates, from Bernie Sanders to Marco Rubio, cite the wisdom of the King of Jordan.  Hopeless.

Vietnam: a celebration of liberation

Rare images.

What about holding terrorist babies? Would that be illegal too?

"Netanyahu Seeks to Oust Lawmakers Who Meet With Terrorists' Families".  If it was not for US unconditional support, Israel would have been the most mocked (and condemned) entity on earth.

Another achievement by an Israeli dishes

I can't keep up with the contributions and innovations of Israeli chefs.  Those are the ones who take Middle East (non-Israeli) cuisine to another level.  An Israeli chef just announced that he was the first person to ever pour olive oil on a Hummus plate. This will go into the new edition of Israeli cookbooks (subtitled: what we steal from the food of the occupied).  

Muhammad Alloush, of the Army of Islam, explains that he made clear to Riyadh his opposition to secularism

The Organization which put civilians in cages as human shields, obtained White House approval as legitimate opposition member in Geneva

Cities and towns in Syria

So I don't understand. So do Syrian cities and towns "fall" if they come under the control of foreign fighters, say, from Chechnya or Saudi Arabia?  As one Western journalist who is sympathetic to the Syrian "revolution", wrote to me today: "Yes there is a constant stream of articles about Aleppo's "fall." A bit strange to call a government regaining control of its own territory "falling." Aleppo city was not a pro opposition city and part of it was conquered by foreign backed insurgents who invaded from the countryside. Its not like the residents of that city wanted the insurgents to come in."  Personally, I want the whole of Syria to fall out of the control of both: the Syrian regime and the Syrian rebels.

Liberal Feminist Sexism

I was never a fan of her brand of feminism: "Gloria Steinem Says Young Women Only Support Bernie Because Boys Do".

Madeleine Albright

What we need is the foreign policy assessment of credentials from Ms. Albright. She who once commented that China is going forward because she saw clothes on hanging ropes from balcony in more varied colors. Kid you not.

Why? A comparison of Syria and Iraq

Yasser on Facebook posted this:
Why is it that Syrian [regime] attempt to regain Aleppo is always described as "invasion" or "conquest" whereas Iraqi [regime] (future) attempt to regain Mosul always described as "liberation"?


Chris Christy going after Rubio in the Republican debate last night was the best TV show since the release of Dexter.

Victims in the Sisi republic

I want to remind you and remind some Egyptian intellectuals that there are victims in Egypt of the Sisi killing machine and torture chambers who fall every day, but they may not be Italian and they may not be graduate students at Cambridge. Do they count? Or because some of them are Ikhwan or Ikhwan sympathizers (or others) they don't deserve support or sympathy?

The propaganda reporting of Liz Sly--one of the least credible foreign reporter working in the Middle East today

"Most of the pro-government forces now fighting in northern Aleppo province are Shiite militias from either Iraq or Afghanistan that have been recruited by Iran to help out its ally in Damascus, according to rebels and military analysts."  I know that you have been saying all along since the Syrian war started that 1) the regime is about to fall any second; 2) that the regime does not have one Sunni supporter; 3) and that Syrian rebels are a bunch of feminists, secularists, democrats, and progressives but let me ask you: how would your rebel friends know that the forces are Shi`ites?  Did they interview them one by one, or do your sectarian Islamist rebel friends can tell a Shi`ite from their appearance?  As for your military analysts in Western capitals: how would they also manage to tell from afar whether the forces are Shi`ites?  Is that by a hunch?  I really am willing to write a letter of recommendation for Liz Sly if she were to apply for the job of foreign correspondent for the National Inquirer.

Syrian opposition delegation in Geneva

"Meanwhile, the opposition's massive media support team, with professionals from a Washington-based public relations firm, the British Foreign Office and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, helped coordinate a steady flow of interviews with various opposition spokesmen well into the night."

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Zionists strongly urge the full airing of Al-Qa`idah propaganda

Zionists and some supporters of March 14 among the Syrian rebels are up in arms: you see, Nusrah Front (the official branch of Al-Qa`idah in Syria) summoned a Lebanese reporter with a reputation of support and sympathy for Nusrah (who praised their "hospitality" and said that the imposition of Jizyah on Christians is within Islam (she is not Muslim herself), and gave her videos of Lebanese prisoners held by Nusrah Front.  The woman sold the video to MTV Lebanon (although there was a bidding from Aljazeera), but MTV management felt that it would not be proper to not consult with Hizbullah about the video of their prisoners.  Hizbullah MPs asked the MTV to not air the video as it is a mere propaganda for Al-Qa`idah, while MTV decided to air a segment only of the video.  Zionists in the US and Lebanon are up in arms: they believe that all propaganda videos by Bin Laden successors should be aired in full.  But correct me if I am wrong: the US government has asked US TV stations to not air propaganda videos by Bin Laden after Sep. 11. So where is the story here? I don't get it.

Kuwait chair at Georgetown University

I just read that the Kuwait chair at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service has been filled.  I read that Kuwaiti academic, Hassan Ibrahim (Ebraheem), gave the keynote address on the occasion of the renewal of the chair.   This same Ibrahim is the one who called Batatu back in 1990 pressuring him to issue a statement condemning Saddam's invasion of Kuwait and expressing support for Kuwait. He threatened the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies of withholding funds if Batatu did not follow through.  Of course, Batatu refused. And then they tell you: no strings potato.

Zionist lies

This is a lie. The whole story is fabricated.  There was no pressure involved, merely meetings. Even when Nusrah released through their Lebanese propagandists in March 14 media footage of "interviews" with Lebanese soldiers prisoners, there was a request for the media to exercise restraint in airing the raw footage.  But of course Zionist never miss an opportunity to lie and fabricate.

Muhammad bin Salman interview with the Economist

Here is the deal.  I, among others, was surprised with the answers Muhammad bin Salman gave in the interview with the Economist.  He sounded less dumb and less uneducated than he actually is. But I have been inquiring about the matter and I learned: that he never spoke directly to the Economist. He had an adviser seated next to him, and he would speak in Arabic, and the adviser spoke in English to the Economist. My hunch is that the answers were largely provided by the adviser.

Support for Al-Qa`idah is now fashionable in Lebanese March 14 circles

The Lebanese correspondent for the Daily Telegraph (who had the scoop that Ali Mamluk was sacked, which turned out to be false) open supports Nusrah Front and even suggested that fining Christians is part of Islam.

Zionism is always racism

"Tel Aviv housecleaning service advertises higher rates for European help than Africans".

ِA Saudi artist represents Guantanamo

Arrest of a professor in West Bank by goons of the PA

This didn't register in any Western media.  A Palestinian professor, `Abdul-Sattar Qasim, was arrested by goons of the collaborationist PA because they accused the professor of posing a threat to Mahmoud Abbas by a commend he made about the political situation.  

A first? Red carpets for cars in the Sisi republic of Egypt

The logic of Syrian exile opposition

So Syrian exile opposition (I am talking about those loyal to either Qatari regime or the Saudi regime) wants--in the name of peace--to put an end to Russian military intervention in Syria, while it also--in the name of peace--calls for more intense Western military intervention in Syria.  

The formula of Saudi and Qatari regime media: which is copied in Western media

All those media (especially in their propaganda pictures and dispatches) operate according to this simple formula: all the residents of Syrian "liberated" areas are exclusively children, while all the residents of areas under the control of the Syrian regime are exclusively soldiers and shabbihah.  

The Damur Battle in the Lebanese civil war

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "The Battle of Damour: Lies of MTV"

The fools of Israeli propaganda media

Do those fools really think that some Israeli invented this method to cooking cauliflower? I mean, their lies would have easily passed to Western audiences had it not been for the millions of Arabs who grew up eating those dishes that Israeli invariably claim to have invented.  

Friday, February 05, 2016

The progressive-who-gets-things-done sitting with Henry Kissinger

Giulio Regeni’s case

"Mr Regeni, a PhD student at the Department of Politics and International Studies (Polis) at the University of Cambridge, was a visiting scholar at the American University in Cairo (AUC). According to news and other sources, he left his apartment at 8 pm on 25 January with the intention of taking the metro from Duqqi to Bab al-Louq to meet a friend, but never arrived. 
We understand that, although initial statements from your government attributed Mr. Regeni’s death to a robbery gone awry or a traffic accident, State Prosecutor Ahmed Nagi has now admitted that there were signs of torture on the body, including cigarette burns and knife wounds. 
Even were this case an isolated incident, it would demand a thorough investigation to identify those responsible and bring them to justice. However, what makes this case even more disturbing is that it is but the most recent, if the most deadly, example of the growing danger posed by the current political climate in Egypt to all those engaged in academic work. We have written to you repeatedly over the past months to express our deep concern regarding a range and number of violations of academic freedom and freedom of expression that would require countless pages to list in full*: 
  • denial of entry to the country and harassment of numerous scholars and researchers; 
  • gross state interference in university student and faculty governance; 
  • the dismissals and expulsions of hundreds of students and faculty; 
  • the sentencing of academics to death. 
Now, an academic has been brutally murdered." (thanks Laurie)