Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mideast press & George Bush's visit

This source is similar to the last posting but gives a few more examples of what media in various mid-east countries are saying about Stoopid's visit to the region.

Mideast Media Cool on Bush Tour

BBC Monitoring Newsfile - Jan

This is a compilation of broadcast and press material on US President George Bush's trip to the Middle East, available to BBC Monitoring by 1500 gmt on 11 January 2008.


As US President George Bush moved his tour of the Middle East on to the Gulf States on 11 January, regional media coverage of his visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, as well as his trip in general, on the whole remained negative in its tone.

Palestinian commentators appeared to be satisfied on the whole with Bush's statements outlining his ideas for an Israeli- Palestinian settlement, although expressed concern over whether he would be able to guarantee an equitable deal in the face of Israeli opposition.

Opinion in the wider Arabic-speaking Middle East was much more critical. In particular Bush's suggestion that Palestinians renounce their claim to right to return to Israel was greeted with hostility and accusations of continued US bias towards Israel.

The Israeli press was divided in its assessment; some commentators were well-disposed towards Bush's ideas for peace, although one expressed dismay at the US president's demand for a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders.

Commenting on Bush's trip to the Gulf States, newspapers in the region voiced hostility about US arms deals.


Palestinian press commentators remained hopeful overall following President Bush's visit to the West Bank on 11 January. Most continued to praise Bush for his advocacy of a two-state solution, although some warned him that the US would have to remain vigilant to prevent Israeli resistance from eroding its substance. However, one writer accused Bush of selling the Palestinians "illusions and tranquillizers", while a pro-Hamas paper simply dismissed him as a "clown".


Hmm, Israeli and Palestinian press lukewarm on Bush's visit

Why am I not surprised? Here the BBC draws on a number of different press sources within Palestine and Israel to show that they are not necessarily feeling confident about the peace vision our Clown in Chief has been shopping around the region these past few days.

As President George Bush moves to Kuwait on the next stop of his Middle East tour, Palestinian and Israeli newspapers scrutinize the vision he presented on Thursday for a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Palestinian commentators argue that the US must play an active monitoring role if the plan is to have any chance of success; a pro-Hamas paper dismisses the president as a "clown".

In Israel, one daily welcomes the Bush statement but warns against confusing rhetoric with reality, while others stress that the hard work is only just beginning.


Israel's understanding of the vision will destroy it, through its requests and stalling. If President Bush wants his vision to succeed, he will have to go ahead with it without allowing the Israelis to affect it in such a way that this state would become an Israeli protectorate.


We do not know if Mr Bush has left us with a different point of view after visiting... However, once he departs, his vision will reach the phase where the US must serve as an arbitrator, which means that it will monitor both sides to see if they are implementing the roadmap.


It is no problem for George Bush to give us a prescription from his pharmacy of illusions and tranquilizers by saying that a Palestinian state will be established before the end of his term at the end of the year. But how can anyone establish a building on pillars of salt and in the middle of a rainstorm?


George Bush appeared nothing less than a clown during the press conference with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmud Abbas. He was extremely belittling in an attempt to cover up the great failure of their meeting, caused by his inability to present anything to the Palestinians. His jests might have made some people laugh, but they also made others cry at the extent of his criminality and lying.


Bush is to be commended for his sincere belief in the power of a vision of peace... During his time in the White House, though, he has sometimes confused rhetoric with reality... It's nice, and right, to dream, especially of peace. But as the US president saw this week in Jerusalem, sometimes the skies here are not blue.


George Bush arrived here to make certain that in accordance with his "vision" we will cut ourselves to the end... The truth is that today we, as close friends of Bush and his sect, are called upon to pay the price of the grave mistakes Bush committed during his years of rule.


Bush's visit extricated the negotiations from the mud in which they had sunk... It will be a test for Bush: Will he make do with pretty pronouncements about a brighter future or will he play a determined, serious role in making it happen?


From Bush's point of view the evacuation of the illegal settlement outposts is a matter of credibility. Two prime ministers committed themselves to dismantling the outposts. It seems Olmert is aware that he must go for evacuating one illegal settlement and do so by force.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

I find this problematic

Saudis Behead Indonesian Maid

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) -- Saudi authorities on Saturday beheaded an Indonesian maid convicted of killing her employer, the Interior Ministry announced.

In a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, the ministry said the maid used a pillow to suffocate her employer Aisha Al Makhaled and then stole her jewelry in the southern province of Asir.

Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam under which those convicted of murder, drug trafficking, rape and armed robbery are executed in public with a sword.

The maid is the second person to be executed this year in the desert kingdom, according to an Associated Press count.

Saudi Arabia beheaded 137 people last year, up sharply from the 38 in 2006.

Hmm, where to start? My main issue is really the beheading part. And, while I don't recommend murdering one's employer, I'm against the death penalty if you've happened to do so.   But a death penalty by beheading? That is just a bit too much for me to take. Also, I smell a slight rat when a maid is on trial for murder.  

"Hmm, how can I have a better life? I know, I'll journey from Indonesia to the human rights loving land of Saudi Arabia and get a job doing the most menial work I can find to ensure that if any trouble befalls me, I won't have any legals rights to protect myself with. Once I've managed to get into that position in the least xenophobic of nations, I'll murder my wealthy Saudi employer who may have powerful friends just motivated enough to behead me." 

And, yikes, they beheaded 137 people last year? And she's the second one to be beheaded in 2008? Where have I been? I once again appreciate that in this chaotic universe my female life exists in a land where women are afforded legal protections, the right to own property and an education.  

Oh human rights ... may you one day be available to all.

Friday, January 11, 2008

George Bush in the Middle East

For awhile now I've envied people who seem to have volumes and volumes of current events and other political data stored in their heads. I marvel at their capacity to take one small fact and link it back to a profound understanding of greater political strategy.

But me, the only thing I'm consistently good at in this genre is conspiracy theorism, only inasmuch as it puts a sinister spin on the goings-on of my least favorite people, of course. And wouldn't cha know, I just happened to find some fodder for my sensationlist ways. The subject is one of my favorite buffoons, Monsieur Le President des Etats-Unis (accent marks omitted) Georgie Porgie.

Here is a map referenced in an article by Le Monde that shows where His Most Esteemed is chillin' these days. Today he is in Israel, yesterday in Palestine and so on and so forth in his multi-day itinerary in the Middle East.

I wonder what he's up to?


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Pleasantly surprised: A Mighty Heart

Whoa did I cry. 

This movie was sort of like a docu-drama but not in the vapid, over-acted type of way. I've admired Angelina Jolie's humanitarian pursuits for awhile now but not really her acting. Naturally, I wasn't expecting much from the acting in this movie. At the risk of propping up your expectations, I would say that she was quite good and brought depth Marianne Pearl's character. Most of the time, I don't think she transcends her celebrity enough for the audience to forget she is Angelina and actually get lost in the film. Though when your talking about crap like Tomb Raider and Beowulf, I'm not sure the audience really cares. (NB: I really liked her acting/hated her character in Girl Interrupted) Anyway, I think she is pretty  successful in this film about doing just that, transcending - I only thought, "Hey look, it's a wig and pregnant belly wearing Angelina" a handful of times.

The rest of the film on the other hand was really great. I expected a drama and while there was quite a bit, naturally, given the subject matter, I think the storytelling was well done. I really appreciate when filmmakers are able to make you feel like you're experiencing a story in the way it really happened.  Some find such films boring or possessing an erratic pace, but that's exactly what I love. Life is often just like that, erratic and messy, not neat, tidy and in ordnung like we want or imagine it to be in our visions of "one day."

The film is really the story of how things unravelled from the first moments when Marianne began to suspect Daniel had gone missing through to the tragic outcome.  A lot of detail on the investigation is provided throughout and the whole kidnapper plot was actually quite complex, something I hadn't before appreciated. I actually felt like I got a feel for Pakistan I hadn't ever been exposed to as nearly the entire movie takes place there. I was also quite impressed by how resourceful Marianne was as well as how sophisticated her psychological state was during and after the frenzy to find her husband. 

Oddly, though it was deeply sad, the film left me with an inspired sense of calm that I hadn't anticipated.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I came, I saw, I failed. Happy New Year.

In light of an article I just read regarding failure, I'd like you all to know something.

The article says that you should just accept your failures. Flat out. Accept them because there is nothing you can really do about them anyway. Accept them and learn from them for the next challenging event. The author, a life coach, asserts that the primary difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people fail more. Huh. Hadn't thought of it that way. (Also brings to mind evaluating the meaning of 'sucess' but of course being too detail-oriented will prevent me from making any point at all so we'll move on.) On a side note though, I have always thought you should try for things that you want. The way I see it, you might fail, but you for damn sure aren't going to get something you don't try for.

One of my favorite "failers" is Abe Lincoln. What a major failer. Click here for a list of his failures. But of course, we don't remember him for this. It's something like a war or freedom or something that he is known for ;)

Okay, so we've established failure is okay, worth accepting and maybe even good. So, what's mine? Well, I failed out of law school. I FAILED OUT OF LAW SCHOOL.

Failed, failed, failed .... bad grades, dismissed, crying, why me!, ... that kind of failed.


Yup. Never made it past the first year. I accept.

It's been some time since this happened ... 2004 if you're wondering. I think I've accepted bits of it since that time. And I may even have accepted all of it since it seems I'm comfortable putting it out there. Now that I'm over it, mostly, the one thing I beat myself up over still is that I didn't get over it sooner! Ha. Maybe I should accept that failure too.

Now, here's another failure. I've been fired. TWICE!!

So that's why she's a stay at home blogger! Actually at the moment, I'm not - so Ha! My bank account is actually quite fat right now because of the work that I've been doing and I like it that way!!

So, there, I've failed. And I'm still standing. And, though I'm not sure I agree with "that which does not kill you makes you stronger" or "things happen for a reason" (because they don't), if you want to overcome failure you can. But you have to choose to do so.

So, suck it up, deal and move on, that's what I say. Happy New Year :)