Archive for June 4, 2009

The UK Daily Mail reminds us of the reality of what is going on:

This year, it’s been a game of cat and mouse to evade the secret police and the surveillance cameras so we can meet the survivors of the Tiananmen massacre and hear what happened to them.

It shouldn’t be. Last year, the Chinese announced during the Olympics that foreign journalists would be free to work anywhere in the country – they needed only to apply for a ‘ journalist visa’.

We applied – as a BBC documentary team – but heard nothing for months. Our only option was to travel on a tourist visa.

Just beyond the border crossing at Shenzhen, policemen shouted, yelped into their radios and waved white-gloved hands in the camera lens: clearly, old habits die hard.

Arriving at our hotel in Chengdu in western China, I spotted a man beetling through the front door towards us, talking into his radio. A friendly porter? No, he interrogated our driver about our plans.

The next day I realised that the authorities were going to be really persistent when two plainclothes policemen popped up in the middle of a field of brilliant yellow rapeseed, focusing their binoculars on us from just a hundred yards away.

China can pretend that this never happened and can repress any who wish to talk about it, however the fact that China is a bloody repressive state is a fact and until the day comes when China acknowledges that this will be so.

In addition to the heart attack that Rosie O’Donnell and other 9/11 truthers might be having today over the president’s excellent Cairo speech, I noticed several oddities in the President’s speech that are worth addressing.

Oddity #1 the War coalition.

The president mentioned that 46 states are fighting with us. For years we have been hearing from the media about unilataral action of the Bush administration, suddenly we have 46 states. It’s amazing that so many countries have started to fight in the last 5 months. I don’t remember the White House announcing this.

Oddity #2 The call to prayer:

“I am a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims. As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan [the Muslim call to prayer] at the break of dawn and the fall of dusk.”


Much has been made of the fact that an African-American with the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected president.

This was considered so hot that it was downplayed and almost denied during the campaign. In the reviews of this speech it is touted as is his name. How is it the media never noted it during 2008?

Oddity #3 They have killed Muslims? That’s news to us!

Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists. They have killed in many countries. They have killed people of different faiths – more than any other, they have killed Muslims. Their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam.

In terms of the speech saying aloud to a Muslim audience that more than any others Al Qaeda has killed Muslims is vital and important. It is a high point, but it will come as a surprise to many in our mainstream media. From what he have heard reported you would think that the “Iraqi Resistance” are just fighting occupation and it is the US that is slaughtering Muslim’s indiscriminately. Of course that mimiced the words of the president himself in the days before he held office. What a revelation this will be to the US media.

Oddity #4 Palestinian homeland

After going over the history of Jewish suffering; a vital thing to state; and meeting stone silence he says something interesting…

On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than 60 years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighbouring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation.

The president seems to have forgotten that Israel doesn’t occupy Gaza and pulled out on their own years ago. He also forgets that 60 years ago Egypt controlled Gaza and Jordan controlled the West Bank and nobody was calling for a Palestinian state at that time.

Oddity #5 Not from the heart of Texas

In endorsing Democracy the president said this:

Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.

Maybe it’s just me but this sounded a whole lot a certain fellow from Texas who the media made fun of for speaking these kinds of principles. For reasons I can’t understand when these come from an inexperienced Chicago Poll they become words of power an inspiration but if we judge by our media they are just mindless platitudes when they come from a President from deep in the Heart of Texas.

It is worth noting that other than a bit of Palestinian fiction most of these oddities stem from media idolatry than anything else. Oh and you should read Israellycool for an excellent round up from various parties in the middle east.

(Actually you should read Israellycool anyways, it’s very good.)

UPDATE: And don’t forget some interesting tweets here from the Atlantic.

Update 2 Another blogger used this example in a different context but this video fits the media reaction to this speech to a t:

Much of what the president said today President Bush has said in the past. Like the guys around the table the media didn’t react positively until the right person said it.

This speech is clearly the most important act so far of the Obama presidency. (My accidental live blog of it is here)

The Jim Geraghty rule not withstanding. He publicly said many things that needed to be publicly said to an Islamic audience in the Arab world. The idea that he is defending the education of woman and girls is incredible. The public statement that Al Qaeda killed thousands of innocent Americans. Many Islamists (and truthers) still think this is not the case.

This is comparable to the Reagan speeches on the Soviet Union. Saying things that need to be said. This is very important because his name IS Barack Hussian Obama these words give legitimacy to his words in the Arab world. That shouldn’t be the case but culturally it is. Obama is the only American president that could make this speech in the Islamic world and be heard.

This has the potential to be an earthquake in the Islamic world. If he does nothing else during his presidency this is going to be the moment he should be remembered for.


None of this changes the type of pol he is. I still think he is an empty suit and a Corrupt Chicago pol but those limitations don’t hurt the effect or the importance of this speech. Remember Lincoln’s famous line concerning John Pope and his family. May he in this case have more success than Pope did.

Update: Captain Ed seems to be with me on this one. Michelle and YID with LID is not. One of Yid’s points echos one I made in my speech oddities post.

I think that you have to walk before you run. Just getting some of the ideas out there in public in the Arab world by a source that isn’t repressed will make a crack in the dike that can break the Dam. I think this speech and the defense of Israel’s right to exist and historic suffering is incredible for that reason.

Went to blog morning Joe and got the speech live.

6:18 a.m. A lot of this speech makes him sound much more Islamic than he is but this is rhetoric.

6:20 a.m. He mentions the Adams treaty but doesn’t mention the tribute stuff

6:24 a.m. Extremism anywhere hurts everywhere

6:24 a.m. He quotes the Koran a bit.

6:26 a.m. Like all people we reject the killing of innocent women and children

6:28 a.m. Let us be clear some would deny or cheer 9/11 but let me make things clear Al Quada killed 3,000 innocent Americans on 9/11. This is not a something to be debated but a fact.

The audience didn’t clap to that, there will be a lot of truthers who will be angry about that.

6:30 a.m. We have a coalition of 46 countries that are fighting with us. MSNBC must have hated broadcasting that.

6:31 a.m. “Iraq is a war of choice”

6:32 a.m. He declares all troops will be out by 2012 or Iraq in 2012.

6:34 a.m. Gitmo will be closed by next year. They don’t know about Geraghty’s rule.

6:36 a.m. He states bluntly the Holocaust took place and that it can’t be denied or minimized and talks about the historical persecution of Jews. No applause lines here.

6:38 a.m. It is not a sign of strength to shoot rockets at children or blow up old women on buses.

6:40 a.m. If he quotes the Koran or hits Israel he gets applause. Any statement concerning Israel’s rights meets with stony silence.

6:42 a.m. Arab governments must not use the Arab Israeli conflict to distract from other problems.

6:43 a.m. The holy land needs to be a place where all the children of Abraham can live in peace.

6:44 a.m. He uses the “peace be upon them” formula for a reference to Jesus, Moses and Mohamed. That gets a lot of applause but will cause him grief here.

6:45 a.m. He is now talking about Iranian nukes. He talks about the coup of the 50’s and of Iranian acts against the US and other nations

6:46 a.m. No single nation should be able to decide who controls nukes. Iran has the right to peaceful nuclear power but also responsibilities.

6:48 a.m. Talks about democracy, he is sounding a lot like a certain Texan that we once knew.

6:50 a.m. We can’t impose a type of government but there are basic rights that all people want.

6:51 a.m. There are some who advocate for democracy only when out of power.

6:53 a.m. He decries religious violence and defends the Coptic in Egypt and the Maronites in Lebanon.

6:54 a.m. He attacks laws against the burka. You can’t deny the rights of a religion under the guise of liberalism.

6:55 a.m. Speaks up for woman’s education. I’m convinced our daughters can contribute just as much as our sons. This is an incredible thing to say in a speech here. I respect those woman who choose to live a traditional life but it must be their choice. For this alone this speech is critical.

6:56 a.m. Decries the modern cultural spread of violence and sex but says modern economic development can’t be denied over those cultural fears.

6:58 a.m. Talks about how his father came to America and economic development.

7:01 a.m. If we choose to be chained to the past we will never move forward.

7:02 a.m. It’s easier to blame others than look inward. That’s a radical statement to publicly make in an Arab country.

7:04 a.m. Quotes the Koran, Talmud and the New Testament over peace.

7:05 a.m. Closes with “Peace be upon you” started to say God bless but backed up.

You know a lot of what he is saying is fluff but a lot of this needed to be publicly and heard in the Islamic world.

In my opinion this is the single most important act of president Obama’s presidency and might be the best justification for his election. This speech IS worth the praise that Chris Matthews gave much lesser BS campaign speeches he gave over Rev Wright. Mainly because he has spoken out loud to an Islamic audience things that needed to be said for people faces in this area for decades. This is the “only Nixon can go to China moment.” This one has the chance to be a game changer in the Islamic world.

7:31 a.m. Back to Morning Joe Liz Cheney now being interview.

7:33 a.m. She says it missed some fundamental points. Talks moral relativism, this is correct but that wouldn’t play there. She thinks it would have. Carter like is a big hit.

7:35 a.m. Haas point out that this was not the place for a policy speech.

7:39 a.m. I haven’t seen Dylan “moneyparty” for a while.

7:46 a.m. Jarrett shoveling makes it lesser than it actually is.

8:03 a.m. It only has impact if it follows with policy, I’m not so sure myself.

8:10 a.m. All about Twitter

8:14 a.m. Would you invite a foreign government to come into Michigan to build? Mich gov touts tax breaks.

8:18 a.m. I’m with Mika on the Twitter thing

8:22 a.m. 20th anniversary protests in Hong Kong over Tiananmen Square they only give it a moment.

8:30 a.m. Nancy Reagan stuff It’s amazing how many liberals pretend they liked Reagan now.

8:42 a.m. Joe vs Goodwin, they ignore the words of the liberals that say various things.

8:45 a.m. He does the 4% 25% BS