Thursday, March 20, 2008

McCain in the Holyland on an unholy misson.

AP reports:

"SDEROT, Israel - Touring a war-battered town, Sen. John McCain said yesterday that he understood Israel's tough response to Palestinian rocket fire, adding that there was no point in negotiating with the Gaza Strip's Islamic Hamas regime. . . 'That is not a way for people to live,' McCain said. 'No nation in the world can be attacked incessantly and have its population killed and intimidated without responding. That's one of the first obligations of government, to provide security for its citizens.'"

Yeah right, how many Israelis have been killed from rockets shot from Gaza in the past three years -- 12 -- 13? Meanwhile, in the past month or so more than 130 Gazans have been killed by Israel's heavyhanded response to those rockets, half of whom, according to B'Tselem, were civilians. There's no telling how many Gazans have died from lack of medical care, food, clean water, electricity, all of which are in short supply due to Israel's blockade.

A UN report complied by a number of aid agencies says the situation in Gaza today is the worst since 1967.

MSN reports:

"Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip has created the worst humanitarian crisis since its occupation began in 1967, a human-rights coalition said Thursday. Food shortages, crumbling health services and a water and sewage system close to collapse are all part of the daily misery facing 1.5 million Palestinians in Hamas-controlled Gaza, a scathing report by British relief groups said. . . The report painted a picture of an enclave held hostage by the embargo, which it said had worsened poverty, crippled education services and made 1.1 million people -- 80 percent of the population -- dependent on food aid. That compares to 63 percent in 2006. The groups said that hospitals are suffering from power cuts of up to 12 hours a day while almost 18 percent of patients seeking emergency treatment outside Gaza last year were refused permits to leave. "

Now, that's no way for people to live!

But McCain isn't there to make peace, he's there to make sure he's got the American Likud vote.


"Although McCain did not visit Palestinian areas, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the Arizona senator had always been accessible to the Palestinians and was 'committed to peace.' But he suggested that McCain's visit was aimed more at attracting Jewish voters than promoting peace negotiations. 'Maybe one day Palestinians will have money for your campaigns in the United States,' he said."

I know a lot of Palestinians who have money, but why would they give it to any Republican. Not that Hillary or Obama is much better, but under either of them Palestinians can probably rest assured they don't have to worry to much about being sent to Gitmo in the middle of the night.

McCain says: "I think the Palestinian people desire peace. I believe they deserve peace."

Sure, John, you mean you hope they rest in peace.

Steven Howards calls Cheney out. Darth to testify?

I don't know how I missed this one.

IHT reported on March 12:

"Denver: A federal magistrate indicated Tuesday he will order Vice President Dick Cheney to give sworn testimony in a lawsuit by a man who claims he was wrongly arrested after approaching Cheney. Magistrate Judge Craig B. Shaffer did not issue an order but said Cheney is a key witness whose deposition appears to be crucial to the case. Shaffer said he will issue a written decision later."

Howards, you will remember, was the guy who just happened to run into Cheney at a mall in a Denver suburb in 2006. Back then I posted on a NYT article about the incident:

"Mr. Howards was taking his son to a piano lesson when he saw Cheney standing in an open area of a mall. He walked up to him and said, 'I think your policies in Iraq are reprehensible,' or 'words to that effect,' according to his law suit against secret service agent Virgil D. Reicle, the man who arrested him several minutes later. [Could it really have been 'go fuck yourself?']

NYT: "A June 16 article in The Vail Daily quoted a spokesman for the Secret Service, Eric Zahren, as saying that Mr. Howards 'wasn’t acting like other folks in the area,' and that he became 'argumentative and combative' when agents tried to question him. Mr. Howards said Tuesday that he was never threatening and did not become upset until his arrest. 'This was not about anything I did — this is about what I said.'"

The Rocky Mountain News reported on Oct 3 2006 that Howards "was . . . placed in handcuffs and taken to the Eagle County Jail. The lawsuit states that the Secret Service agent instructed that Howards should be issued a summons for harassment, but that on July 6 the Eagle County District Attorney's Office dismissed all charges against Howards."

Now, it turns out the two secret service agents are calling each other liars and Cheney is claiming he's too bust starting a war with Iran to show up to testify.


"James Gilligan, an attorney for the office of the vice president, argued that ordering Cheney to give a deposition would distract him from his duties. But Shaffer said the case was 'singularly unique,' and said Cheney's deposition would be important because he was a witness, not because of his position as vice president."

Ouch. But isn't Cheney a part of the fourth branch of government, the one that doesn't answer to anyone, ever? Sounds to me like Magistrate Judge Craig B. Shaffer should get someone else to start his car until this all blows over.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Our friends the Saudis, new fatwa for writers.

Reuters reports:

"Saudi Arabia's most revered cleric said in a rare fatwa this week that two writers should be tried for apostasy for their 'heretical articles' and put to death if they do not repent. Sheikh Abdul-Rahman al-Barrak was responding to recent articles in al-Riyadh newspaper that questioned the Sunni Muslim view in Saudi Arabia that adherents of other faiths should be considered unbelievers. 'Anyone who claims this has refuted Islam and should be tried in order to take it back. If not, he should be killed as an apostate from the religion of Islam,' said the fatwa, or religious opinion, dated March 14 and published on Barrak's Web site."
Well, so what else is new, right? They already behead women in public for being witches and lock up bloggers for expressing their opinions, so issuing fatwas for killing writers is pretty much par for the course, right?
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