Wednesday, January 05, 2005

January 4, 2004

Hey Muslims: Who’s Your Daddy?

If you are looking for Muslims outside the Middle East you will find most of them in areas of Indonesia devastated by last week’s tsunami. So one would think that all those “Allah ackbar-ing” Iranians, Syrians, and richer-than-Allah Saudis would be shelling out big time to help out their Muslim brothers and sisters in Indonesia.

F o r g e t a b o u t i t

The Saudis have donated a paltry $10 million -- this from a sand pile of a nation that banked a cool $10 BILLION budget surplus in 2004.

Even worse are the holier than thou-infidels Iranian mullahs who have been conspicuous by their silence and a level of stinginess that would have made Shylock blush.

In fact the most generous and active country in the Middle East is not Islamic at all, but Jewish. Israel was Johnny-on-the-spot. They immediately dispatched medical and other logistic relief long before the UN or US got their acts together. But even here religious nonsense managed to survive catastrophe and banish common sense. Indonesia’s Muslim leaders, while happily taking all the free stuff little Israel sent, refused to allow Israeli medical teams on their “holy” soil. What fools -- superstitious fools – the worst kind.

Anyway, the next time you hear the Saudis, Iranians and Syrians shooting off their mouths about how Muslims have to band together against Western infidels, consider it time for a history lesson. Remind them that during the last half century it’s been Western (and Westernized) nations that have repeatedly had to come the aid of Muslims whenever the shit hits the fan. From Bosnia, to the Philippians, to Southeast Asia, we are there with helping hands and billions upon billions of dollars.

When Arab nations do show up in a trouble spot it's usually only to make more trouble.

Example: While the Saudis were only able to cough up $10 million to help Muslim tsunami victims, they raised over $150 million for the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. Nice. Maybe it’s just as well they stay out of Southeast Asia.

BTW- Kudos to Japan -- another non-Muslim nation -- which has pledged half a billion dollars to tsunami relief operations

Goose Stepping - Back

Well lookie here, Republicans DO still have the capacity to feel shame – or maybe it was the heat.

"House Republican leaders last night abandoned a proposal to loosen rules governing members' ethical conduct, as they yielded to pressure from rank-and-file lawmakers concerned that the party was sending the wrong message. The proposal would have made it more difficult for lawmakers to discipline a colleague for unethical behavior and would have allowed Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) to keep his post if he is indicted by a Texas grand jury that is looking into his campaign finance practices. The sudden reversal came amid growing indications of dissension within the GOP. Just before House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's office announced that the measures were being dropped, the chairman of the House ethics committee issued an unusual statement denouncing the leadership's plan.”

I know several staunch Bush-voting ordinary Republicans and they were squirming over the proposed change -- especially to protect one of the meanest, conniving and corrupt members of the GOP, Tom DeLay.

So I suspect what happened here is that House Republicans got a snoot full of email and calls from the people who just put them in office for two years begging them not to pull such an obvious, self-serving and politically cynical stunt.

Now let’s hope prosecutors in Texas have finally got the goods on this guy and indict him soon. The sooner the better. (For details on DeLay’s crimes against humanity, common decency and common sense, click HERE ) The man belongs in jail, not Congress

But they are not entirely done trying to protect their less than ethical members. GOP representatives decided to go ahead with a controversial ethics proposal to ask the full House to approve a change that could curtail ethics committee investigations. Under the change, a Republican vote would be required before an inquiry can begin. It would be like changing the law so that prosecutors could only investigate someone for a crime – say Michael Jackson -- if the suspect’s attorney’s agreed to allow him to be investigated. Nice.

The Middle Beast

I have said it here often and been proven right just as often; there is something in the water that turns everyone who lives in the “Holy Land” mad as hatters. More proof arrived in my morning press:

“Mahmoud Abbas, the leading candidate in next week's presidential election, on Monday promised Palestinian refugees they'll be able to return home one day — his most explicit comment yet on an explosive issue that has derailed peace talks in the past.”

Now it’s not as though Abbas – a veteran of all former failed peace deals – does not know that the “right to return” issue is not just a deal-killer, but every time ordinary Israelis hear a Palestinian leader proclaim it they move further to the right. It would be as though 100 million descendants of American Indians were living in Mexico and wanted the right to be given back the land stolen from their great grandparents. Past injustices aside, social and business interests, demographics and finite landmass preclude it. Israel has already said it will consider financial claims from displaced Palestinian families. That makes sense. The right of return makes no sense, no way, no how.

So why did Abbas make such a destructive and un-keepable promise? Because Abbas’ opponents are not in Israel but among his own electorate. And those guys vote with bullets, not ballots.

It’s crunch time for Abbas. Does he want to be Palestine’s Thomas Jefferson or Arafat-lite? He better make up his mind pretty soon. Maybe we should send him bottled water?

Quote of the Day

"Chairman Michael Powell of the FCC and his little band of commissioners -- the Blind Leading the Stupid. The Reckless Leading the Feckless. And so on. Yes, sex, violence, bad taste and bad language are problems in television, but unlike Powell, they aren't involved in making mincemeat of the First Amendment."

- TOM SHALES, in his year-end column in The Washington Post

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