Thursday, July 30, 2009

Must not satirize Muslims

It was pretty game for a Jewish comedian to do it but he does after all satirize just about anybody. But one can't expect Arabs to understand the rich tradition of Jewish comedy, of course

Sacha Baron Cohen has stepped up his security after being threatened by a militant Palestinian group angered at its portrayal in the film Brüno. The al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a coalition of Palestinian militias in the West Bank, said in a statement released to a Jerusalem-based journalist that it was “very upset” that it featured in the film starring Baron Cohen’s homosexual fashionista alter ego. “We reserve the right to respond in the way we find suitable against this man,” it said. “The movie was part of a conspiracy against the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades.”

The London-born comic is taking the threat seriously and has improved security for himself and his family in preparation for violent reprisals.

The group is alleged to be responsible for dozens of suicide bombings and shootings. It has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the European Union and the United States. Baron Cohen’s Austrian character ridicules the Martyrs’ Brigades when he attempts to get himself kidnapped during a meeting with Ayman Abu Aita, who is identified in the film as the leader of the organisation.

His character is shown telling Mr Abu Aita: “I want to be famous. I want the best guys in the business to kidnap me. Al-Qaeda is so 2001.” Brüno then suggests that Mr Abu Aita remove his moustache, explaining: “Because your king Osama looks like a kind of dirty wizard or homeless Santa.”

The group condemned the use of the interview with Mr Abu Aita. “This was a dirty use of our brother, Ayman, and we don’t accept that the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades is part of the film,” the statement said. Mr Abu Aita claims that he was tricked into appearing in the film and that he is no longer involved with the Martyrs’ Brigades. He has threatened to sue Baron Cohen. “This man, I think he is not a man,” Mr Abu Aita said. “He is not saying the truth about me. He lied.”

Mr Abu Aita’s lawyer, Hatem Abu Ahmad, said that he is preparing a legal action against Baron Cohen and Universal Studios alleging that the Martyrs’ Brigade reference could get his client in trouble with the Israelis and the homosexual association could get him killed by the Palestinians.

Mr Abu Ahmad said: “This joke is very dangerous. We are not in the United States, we are not in Europe, we are in the Middle East and the world operates differently here.” Aaron Klein, the WorldNet reporter who received the statement from the Martyrs’ Brigades, said: “These are terrorists. They are against feminism, gay rights and abortion. Once I asked them what would they do if they found out one of their members was a homosexual. They said they would cut off his head.”

Baron Cohen also angered Orthodox Jews during the filming of Brüno in Jerusalem when he nearly provoked a riot as he strutted down the street in a sexed-up Hasidic outfit with skintight shorts.


“Look at the evil people in the world — Saddam Hussein, Hitler, Stalin — what do they all have in common? Moustaches”

“Is it a coincidence that all the good people have long hair, like Jesus, and like hippies and, you know, Rod Stewart”

“Vassup! Being gay is the new coolest thing, so that’s why I’ve come to the gayest part of America — Alabama”

“How cool is Jesus? Is He cooler than the Backstreet Boys?”

“The rise of club music, the fall of apartheid — coincidence or not?"


No smiling, no hugging

Things sure have changed since I was a kid. It used to be okay to smile. Encouraged even. And hugging someone was considered nice, friendly, compassionate.

Today, in my home state of Virginia, the Department of Motor Vehicles, or DMV, is discouraging smiles. No, not just discouraging smiles, wiping them out entirely. The DMV is telling people not to smile — or say “cheese” — when getting their photos taken for their drivers' licenses. If they do smile, the picture cannot go on their license and they have to take another.

And all over the country, public schools are banning hugging.

Why the official suppression of friendliness and good cheer? Well, in schools the administrators apparently cannot tell a friendly hug from a sexual grope, or a jovial high-five from a bullying slap. So they're outlawing all touching.

When I was in school, I don't remember any rules against hugging or holding hands or even kissing — unless folks got carried away. And we trusted teachers and principals to make the judgment as to what was going too far. Now, any touching invites what one administrator calls a “gray area.”

The DMV may have a better excuse to suppress smiles and grins and such: They are developing facial recognition software, and smiles get in the way. It's all to protect us from identity theft, they say. And yet isn't it odd that protecting us makes us less human? Can that really be protection?


A teachable moment indeed -- because of a cop who refused to grovel

Comments below by Pat Buchanan

Sunday, professor Louis Henry Gates retreated from his threat to sue Sgt. James Crowley. Friday, President Obama retreated from his charge that the Cambridge cops "acted stupidly."

As Crowley has not budged an inch -- his arrest of Gates was correct, and there will be no apology -- there is no doubt who won this face-off. Game, set, match, Crowley and the Cambridge cops. It is, indeed, as Obama said Friday, a "teachable moment." .... the two most powerful black elected officials in the U.S., with no hard knowledge of what happened, came down on the side of a black professor, their buddy, against a white cop and his department, implying racial motivation in the arrest of Gates.

Yet there is still not a shred of evidence for their rush to judgment. Crowley's partner in the arrest was a black officer who said he stands "100 percent" behind Crowley and that Gates acted "strange." And watching TV coverage for a week, this writer has yet to hear one cop anywhere condemn Crowley's handling of the incident.

Outside the fevered imagination of Louis Henry Gates, then, where is the evidence Crowley engaged in racial profiling? The victim here is Sgt. Crowley, not professor Gates. Crowley is the one defamed as a "racist" and "rogue cop." He is the officer whom Gov. Patrick implied perpetrated "every black man's nightmare." He is the cop on the Cambridge force who, Obama told the nation, "acted stupidly."

If anyone has grounds for legal action, it is Crowley. Indeed, upon what grounds would Gates sue? That he was wrongly arrested, when Crowley, his black partner, the Cambridge P.D., the police union and 1,000 cops would gladly come to Cambridge to testify that Crowley went by the book? Moreover, no one says Crowley abused Gates in any way. And there were witnesses in the street to the arrest. And Crowley apparently had his mike open, and a recording of the incident exists.

But if Obama's racial reflexes served him badly Wednesday night, his political instincts served him well him on Friday. For he must have sensed that this confrontation was shaping up as three powerful black men coming down hard on a white cop with a stellar record who had only done his conscientious duty. Obama picked up the phone, called Crowley, regretted his choice of words about him and the Cambridge P.D., walked into the press room and told the nation Crowley was a "good guy," he himself had misspoken, that he and the sergeant had talked about getting together for a beer. It was a goodly slice of humble pie the president ate there, but it was a class act. To ask more would be churlish. As for Patrick and Gates, they, too, should eat a little crow.

The president's decision to go before the White House press corps also suggests Obama is acutely aware of the political peril here. For while his black support is rock solid, his white support is soft. And Americans will usually side with an Irish cop over a Harvard don, especially when the professor is pulling rank and the cop is right.

"This isn't about me," says Gates. Sorry, professor, it is about you. You have shown the country why William F. Buckley won laughter all over America when he wittily observed that, rather than be governed by the Harvard faculty, he would prefer to be governed by the first 300 names in the Cambridge telephone directory.


Elderly Brits kept impoverished by a socialist government that spends most of its money on a myriad of bureaucrats

Retired elderly better treated in Romania and Poland!!?? That's "caring" British socialism for you

Britain has a higher proportion of pensioners living below the poverty line than Romania, figures show. The elderly in this country are among the poorest in Europe, according to a breakdown by charities. Only in Estonia, Latvia and Cyprus are the aged more likely to be among the poorest in society. The comparisons, based on EU figures, follow a decade in which pensioners have been slipping down the league table of wealth in Britain.

This is largely because state benefits for the worst-off pensioners have slipped behind those available to the other poorest group in society, single mothers. Ministers have also acknowledged that elderly people with their own incomes and homes suffer because of the impact of soaring council tax bills.

The figures from Eurostat, the EU’s statistical arm, were compiled by the charities Age Concern and Help the Aged. They reveal the proportion of pensioners in each EU country who live on incomes below 60 per cent of average.

The measure does not identify how many older people have plentiful material goods such as houses and cars despite low incomes, and is often regarded as a measure of equality rather than real poverty. But the charities said they were useful to show the number of older people who are at risk of living in poverty.

In Britain nearly one in three over-65s, or 30 per cent, are on incomes below the poverty threshold. That is lower only than the 51 per cent in Cyprus, 33 per cent in Latvia, and 33 per cent in Estonia.

Britain’s 30 per cent is equal to the 30 per cent poverty risk rate in the other Baltic republic, Lithuania. In comparison, only 19 percent fall below the threshold in Romania and in Poland that figure is just eight per cent. The elderly also fare considerably better in Germany where the proportion below the poverty line is 17 per cent, in France 13 per cent and Holland 10 per cent.

Least likely pensioners to be poor are in the Czech republic, where only one in 20, five per cent, falls below the 60 per cent poverty line.

The figures also show that pensioners are more likely to be poor in Britain than other groups. While pensioners here come fourth from bottom of the table, for child poverty Britain ranks fifth from bottom and for poverty risk among adults under 65 ninth.

The study comes ahead of a major Government review of pensioner poverty due to be published this week. The charities said other research has shown that older people are skipping meals to save money and two out of five cannot afford to buy essential items.

Age Concern director Michelle Mitchell said: ‘Even before the recession set in, many older people were not keeping up with the pace at which the general wealth of the nation has increased.’



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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