Posts Tagged ‘ Iran ’

Rough week. TGIG


Bit rough, eh? ;-)*

For sure, we all know about the AWU nonsense, so there’s no need to go on about that tonight. But I hope everyone’s aware of Gillard’s latest time warp to the Dark Ages proposal. (thanks, Bolta).

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon’s proposed changes massively expand the list of characteristics people can be offended by, expanding the jurisdiction into shops, workplaces and sporting clubs.

The regime will provide a new weapon in the war on free speech by even including “political opinion” as a ground on which people can be discriminated against.

This extraordinary change makes even innocuous political expressions subject to the law – a person need only be offended or insulted in order to make out a claim. Shop owners displaying signs in support of a political candidate may now be legally discriminating against employees who want the other guy to win…

Not only do the changes represent an extraordinary attack on freedom of speech, they also undermine fundamental legal principles derived from 800 years of common law. They would reverse the onus of proof, forcing employers to prove that they are innocent of discrimination.

Saw that yesterday. Make of that what you will.

Um, what else? Oh, the Israel/Palestine thing. Well, Israel says they’re happy, so let’s not worry about the 12 Hamas rockets fired into Israel since the ceasefire, nor their thanking of Iran… the guys who supplied those fancy rockets that could and did hit Tel Aviv.

Anyway, enough. Music.

Infected Mushroom. Arguably one of the best EDM acts on the planet, and perhaps the best out of Israel.

*what? TGIG? Thank God it’s good.

UPDATE

No, not the bloody pic, the bloody week. I had a good week. Sorry, I mixed metaphors with that Roxon/Gillard pic. Very messy. Sorry. Please try and enjoy the music and/or comment… I need another drink and a smoke.

Carry on.

Friday Night Party Music


Yes, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Not that I haven’t been keeping up, but have been pretty busy in the new line of work (freelance ESL) – loving it – and, well, have been trying to get the stress levels down a bit.

Tim Blair may be a funny blogger, Andrew Bolt may be a serious blogger, but lately, whenever I’ve really gotten stuck into it, I just start getting angry.

I’m not convinced that is a good thing.

Nevertheless, as I said, I’ve been keeping an eye on things, mainly via the excellent Michael Smith and Larry Pickering (whose Facebook site seems to be having a better time of things today).

That national debt hit 250 bil today – nice one Julia and Wayne. That’s a bit over 11 grand of government debt every man, woman, and child now has to pay off on top of whatever personal debt one may have.

Julia’s off strutting her stuff at the UN General Assembly. Bit rough when one wakes up, turns on Australia Network, and she’s talking. If you’ll allow one to dream unrealistically for a tic, if we lose our bid for a seat on the (joke of a) UN Security Council, does that mean we’d have a good excuse to stop paying our dues? Whatever grand idea the UN might once have been, it is an inept shadow of it’s former self, packed to the rafters with corruptocrats.

Why do we have to put up with the likes of Iran’s Ahmadinejad ranting away up there? I’m not convinced his idea of “peace” is the same as our idea of peace.

Nevertheless, Netanyahu did an exceptional job, so maybe there’s some value left there.

But I digress. As an Aussie, my focus should be on Gillard’s performance. Go to Michael Smith, have a look around, and you see that it is in fact some international MSM picking up the story of the AWU/Slater&Gordon scandal!

If it were to happen, what a venue for that to blow up in the PM’s face. That said, it might not “blow up” but it might be enough to tilt the balance in Finland or Luxembourg’s favour. That might not be such a bad thing, lol. However, it’s a little embarrassing that international media will cover something that, generally speaking, Australian MSM won’t.

There’s lot’s there at both Larry’s and Michael’s sites; Ashby’s 50K payout, the debt, boat people, Nauru, AWU, Paul Howes… you name it, but I reckon I’ve gone into all that stuff enough for a Friday evening, indeed a Friday evening that is the beginning of a little mini-break over here in Korea.

Chusok. And actually, personally, I’m taking about nine days off, so again, forgive me if I don’t immerse myself in grubby politics during that time.

Besides: China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan; things are heating up just a tad too much over various disputed islands. One lot is between Japan, China, and Taiwan which you may have heard about. The other lot is between Japan and Korea. Apparently these islands/islets are of intense historical importance, so I guess the massive reserves of natural gas having noting to do with it (It’s Friday – no links). Man, China seems really stoked on getting that aircraft carrier (thanks, Russia!) – with another homemade one on the way. Hu Jintao had the Mao suit on and everything! And, well, I guess Korea’s pretty happy upon receiving 3 bil worth of Apache helicopters.

Fun times.

And yes, well noted is that the Persian Gulf is a fun place to be also these days (there is a way perhaps that we could be less dependent and without having to throw billions more taxpayer dollars at bankrupt solar experiments).

Oh, and there’s some kind of US election or something going on? All I say about that is that 4Corners was a bit deceptive when they promoted a doco about Mitt Romney but it turned out to be little more that 45 minutes of why Mormons are so bad with the occasional reminder that Mitt is a Mormon. It was actually a rerun of a BBC doco, but whatevs, and was aired months earlier in Australia but it was on Australia Network this week. The reporter, John Sweeney, has done two anti-Mitt/anti-Mormon docos that I know of (no – not linking).
Meh. Enough.

In much more pleasing news at this moment in time, Deadmau5 released >album title goes here< on Wednesday.

:-)

PS Most western op.eds telling you what “Gangnam Style” is all about are rubbish. But here and here are two good ones.

Mohammed in the nud reprint: game on?


Who ever said we couldn’t depend on the French?

Game on.

Western powers and several of their Middle East allies have deployed an enormous naval fleet to the Persian Gulf just days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again suggested that his country may soon launch a preemptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The fleet includes ships from 25 nations, include three full US carrier groups, each one with a complement of more aircraft than the entire Iranian air force. Military officials cited by London’s Daily Telegraph said the buildup is part of a new annual exercise, but their was no secrecy about the fact that the “enemy” in the exercise is Iran.

Always remember the pizza!

Sensitive thugs


Sensitive lot, aren’t they, over in northern Africa and the Middle East?

Turn on, say, CNN, and we’re witnessed to violent, inflamed protests in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, the Kashmir region, Yemen, Morocco, and Israel and the Palestinian territories.

And why? Well the catalyst for the protests which – no coincidence, surely – began on September 11, are over a crappy, low budget film depicting Mohammed as a thug and pedophile. Most of us would have happily lived out our lives having not the slightest inkling this film ever existed, except that an Egyptian sheik got wind of it, translated the YouTube trailer in to Arabic and, let’s face it, used it to light a fire under the ever-simmering hatred of the West, and the US in particular as the bastion of the West.

The film was ordinary to say the least, but that’s the price you pay for freedom, and in particular, freedom of speech – a cornerstone of free democratic nations (which incidentally, the Left in Australia has managed to dig up). I’d much rather have freedom and be offended once in a while than to live in a country where even freedom of thought is blasphemy, indeed punishable by death.

What we also know – or think we know – is that the bloke who made the film is one Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, FKA Sam Becile; technically a Coptic Christian (they make up around 10% of Egypt’s population), but as information comes to light, it turns out he’s a pretty shady guy with multiple names and social security numbers, has been convicted for narcotics offenses as well as bank fraud.

So basically, he’s a troll – not someone to be liked.

However, what I also don’t like is all the finger-pointing that has gone on “back home”. TBH, I’m not really that proud of my “Bye, Libya” post below (although a number of US lawmakers, both Democrat and Republicans, have called for a washing of hands also). But what really disgusts me is that whilst corpses have been paraded around the streets, and the senseless violence is ongoing, the Left have used this as an opportunity to attack US presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.

Now, for sure, the Right have also used this to attack sitting Democrat President Barrack Obama.

Yet, there is one key difference, it must be pointed out, that does not make what’s good for the goose good for the gander.

Romney has no actual political power, and in no way has been involved in any type of US government decision making when it comes to things such as an effective, appropriate response, coordination with the State Department, and security conditions on the ground which may have at least saved a few important lives.

The opposite is true for Obama. Geneva convention or not (the host country provides most security at embassies and consulates), the situation being what it was leading up to those abhorrent attacks, the Obama administration should have had proper security forces in place.

It did not.

And talk about gaffes in rhetoric – and the Left has been quick to jump on a perceived yet actually non-existent gaffe in Romney’s rhetoric – Obama comes out and says Egypt is neither enemy nor ally; a gaffe which the State Department had to correct and reiterate that Egypt, er, technically is an ally, in the legal definition of the word.

Not that Obama is being punished in the media for that massive faux pas

Double standards? Remember when Obama recently and most irresponsibly inflamed home grown violence by declaring that if he had a son, his name would be Trayvon Martin?

Still, that’s hardly the first example of collective, selective, faux leftist outrage.

But I digress, and fall into the same trap I’m blaming leftists for also doing.

The real bad guy here isn’t Obama. Nor is it Romney. Nor is it that film maker, not in a country that upholds freedom of speech, however offensive.

No, the real bad guys are those thugs who murdered the US Libyan ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens and three others including two former Navy Seals.

The real bad guys are those thugs staging their violent protests all over the middle east and northern Africa.

The real bad guys are people like that sheik who found that obscure video and used it to incite an entire nation, indeed regions, to hatred and violence.

The real bad guys are the ruling Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt who have called for a banning of Freedom of Speech in the West, and who have also called for *cough* peaceful protests this Friday, Islamic prayer day.

While emotions are still running high, can we in the West, on the Left and the Right, please remember who the real bad guys are (hint: it’s not each other).

Iran to EU: No oil for you!


Iran goes all pre-emptive. Sanctions against their oil exports to the EU were set to take effect in July, but Iran has becided to cut it off now, namely to Britain and France.

Meanwhile, little bombs here, little bombs there?

Afghanistan: an end in sight?


I don’t buy into the claim that the war in Afghanistan was illegal, immoral or that it wasn’t worth going in there and kicking some Taliban butt.

That said, we’re not really getting anywhere, are we? Thus, the following is probably the best course of action.

THE US and Afghan governments have begun secret* three-way talks with the Taliban, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told The Wall Street Journal, disclosing an important breakthrough in efforts to end the 10-year war.

Mr Karzai, whose government had protested being left out of recent talks between Washington and the insurgents, added he believes most Taliban are “definitively” interested in a peace settlement.

Now an assertation by Karzai doesn’t exactly carry much weight IMO, but let’s hope he’s right on this occaision. It looks like this report out of the Pentagon backs what Karzai is saying.

The Pentagon on Wednesday offered new details of its plan for shifting from a combat mission in Afghanistan to one focused on training and advising Afghan forces as they gradually shoulder more of the combat burden.

The Army identified five U.S.-based brigades, as well as an Army Reserve organization, that will be reconfigured and sent to Afghanistan between April and August to “generate, employ and sustain” Afghan forces.

The Army called this a “new mission” after more than 10 years of fighting in Afghanistan.

And there’s this interesting and hopefully positive development, as well.

Karzai’s comments came as he prepared to meet the leaders of neighbouring Pakistan and Iran in Islamabad on Thursday for a summit set to focus on security issues, including the Taliban insurgency and support for it from within Pakistan. He did not give any further details about the contacts.

Now I’m no military strategist hotshot, but I really don’t think the West has to worry too much about Taliban strikes on our home soil or Iran cutting off its oil supplies if the US/NATO has a less active role in the region. Iran needs the money and/or gold more than ever thanks to sanctions; gold which they’re reportedly using to by grain (from Australia no less) and which others are reportedly using to buy Iranian oil.

*BTW, the talks aren’t really “secret” are they when word of them is splashed across the WSJ and the Australian.

Why the desire to pull the troops out of Iraq in the first place?


In the Australian today:

NO sooner did President Barack Obama welcome home American troops from Iraq and laud that country’s stability and democracy than an unprecedented wave of violence across Baghdad and elsewhere revealed the severity of Iraq’s political crisis.

Unfortunate, yet hardly surprising, even to the most casual of observers.

And whilst I can understand (yet not agree with) the Left’s position not to send troops into Iraq in the first place – an argument, largely moot, for another day – what I don’t understand is their fervish desire to pull the troops out.

It always smacked of idealism, ideology, rather than hard-nosed practicality.

After all, what was so bad with having a US troop presence there to help maintain Iraq’s fragile democratic stability?

One could argue that I am biased because a) I am centre-right politically and b) because I live in South Korea, a nation that has had a US troop presence – some 37,000 28,000 or so currently – since the armistice between North and South Korea and have seen what a permanent US troop presence looks like.

I am happy to accept those labels and can gladly tell you that such a presence ain’t that bad.

By and large,  US bases in Korea – and Japan for that matter – haven’t been a problem.

Sure, issues pop up from time to time, but if one looks at the big picture, then a strong US presence here can only be seen as a good thing, a safe option, a pretty darn good insurance policy against North Korea trying anything major on.

Almost 60 years we’ve had US troops over here without any major problems. In fact, many major problems (a full-scale Nork attack comes to mind) have arguably been averted thanks to this presence.

So, why the rush to leave Iraq essentially free of any US military  before even a decade is up and before, as is clear now, the job is done?

OK, so perhaps it’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges. US troops in Korea, aside from those stationed at the DMZ, aren’t on active duty as they were in Iraq.

However, it’s not a completely dissimilar situation. Perhaps a good analogy would be to compare mandarins and oranges.

US troops not only provided safety and stability in the fledgling democracy that is Iraq – a country still steeped with sectarian and tribal rivalries – but surely they also provided a deterrence to anybody or any groups who want to destabilise the nation.

What takes years to build can take mere seconds to destroy, and I fear a lot of hard work is being undone on the whim of a flawed, feel-good, ideology.

So why?

The only practical reason that I can see for Obama pulling his troops out of Iraq is that with an Iranian confrontation looming which includes action needed in Syria, Iraq frankly isn’t important enough any more or at best, an impractical option for a potentially over-stretched military.

Of course, Obama – a man of the progressive Left – can’t actually come out and say that but it is reasonably well-known to those who don’t just get their news from the MSM that Obama is actually more of a war-time president than Bush was, having committed more troops to both Iraq and Afghanistan, and for a longer period of time.

So whilst the MSM might play along with the “bringing the troops home” narrative, the evidence indicates this simply isn’t the case.

Some 20,000 marines, seamen and air crews from half a dozen countries, a US nuclear aircraft carrier strike group and three US Marine gunship carriers are practicing an attack on a fictitious mechanized enemy division which has invaded its neighbor. It is the largest amphibian exercise seen in the West for a decade, staged to simulate a potential Iranian invasion of an allied Persian Gulf country and a marine landing on the Iranian coast. Based largely on US personnel and hardware, French, British, Italian, Dutch, Australian* and New Zealand military elements are integrated in the drill.
Bold Alligator went into its operational phase Monday, Feb. 6, the same day as a large-scale exercise began in southern Iran opposite the Strait of Hormuz. This simultaneity attests to the preparations for a US-Iranian showdown involving Israel behind the words on Feb. 5 of US President Barack Obama (“I don’t think Israel has decided whether to attack Iran”) and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Feb. 3 (“The war itself will be ten times as detrimental to the US.”).

(*BTW, I don’t recall Aussie PM Gillard highlighting that one.)

And this:

As the US and Israel carried on bickering over the right time to strike Iran’s nuclear sites, their war preparations continued apace. debkafile’s military sources report that flight after flight of US warplanes and transports were to be seen this week cutting eastward through the skies of Sinai on their way to Gulf destinations, presumably Saudi Arabia, at a frequency not seen in the Middle East for many years.

Add into this mix reports that China will reportedly help Saudi Arabia build a nuclear bomb, and that both China and India have started paying Iran for its oil in gold thus helping thwart current US/UN sanctions (more of which were recently thwarted by Russia and China), then we see a stage set for a showdown and we see the reality that rhetoric aside, Obama won’t be bringing many troops home at all.

To someone who doesn’t know any better, it’s as if Russia, India, and China – all wannabe first chickens to the trough – are ganging up on America.**

PS Who wouldn’t love to be a fly on the wall listening in to what the US is really saying about China? Their ever-expanding use of soft power is in many ways, stuffing it all up for America. China must surely be becoming an ever-increasing pain in the neck.

This leaves Australia in an interesting position. Our main export partner is China. Our main ally is the US. We send China our goodies to help them get rich and rival America. We practice shooting our guns with America to help keep America on top.

And yet China and America are also so deep in each other’s pockets. America buys China’s goods. China buys America’s debt.

Fun times.

** I highly recommend reading The Lucifer Principle by Howard Bloom. Part of the book talks about the pecking order of nations.

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