Monday, March 31, 2008

Sabah & Sarawak - Who dares promise wins?

The PKR pork barreling is now in full swing.

Malaysiakini tells us in
PKR: Put us in power, get 20% oil royalties that Anwar Ibrahim has promised, under his government, the oil and gas royalties for Sarawak and Sabah will be increased four folds from 5 to 20%.

Now it’s not that I don’t think Sarawak and Sabah deserve more – they do – but I question such a promise of 20%. It’s just like the PKR pre-election promise of lower fuel price – very easy to make when there’s little likelihood of bearing the responsibility of implementing the promise. Talk is cheap, so to say!

Two years ago PKR made
the same promise. Then I wrote:

Well, in the recent campaign in the Sarawak elections, PKR president Dr Wan Azizah put herself and her husband, Anwar Ibrahim, in a highly vulnerable position when she raised the issue of petroleum royalty given to Sarawak in its campaign to the run-up of the May 20 state elections.

Wan Azizah said the people of Sarawak should not be paying more for petroleum products because the state produced the commodity. She claimed that since Sarawak was a large petroleum-producing state, it should be paid more than the five percent royalty it is now receiving.

Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister George Chan Hong Nam seized on her very comments to ricochet that on to Anwar Ibrahim, who was former deputy premier and finance minister.

Chan said words to the effect that it was rich of Wan Azizah to grandstand on the issue when it was Anwar as finance minister who rejected a request for a bigger petroleum royalty for Sarawak.

Chan revealed:
"When he (Anwar) was the finance minister, I myself asked for an increment in the petroleum royalty but he didn't give. Why is his party talking about it now?”

"I asked for more development for Sarawak because we don't have enough (development) and he also did not want to give (allocations). Why is PKR talking about it now? Why didn't he give us more when he was in power? Now he is no more in power, he can talk."

Well … didn't I just say 'talk is cheap'?

But given the current climate, his sweet words will be music to Malaysians in the Eastern States because what Sarawak PKR state chief Dominique Ng said of AAB’s pathetic allocation of ministerial posts at the federal level to Sabah and Sarawak is very true.

The BN in two Eastern States won 54 parliamentary seats – 40% of the BN’s total numbers - yet their ministerial posts haven’t reflected that significant win which has allowed AAB to remain in power.

Yes, Dominique Ng has cleverly pointed out an embarrassing truth for AAB. The unjust share for the two Eastern States reflects on AAB’s and UMNO’s arrogance and greed.

The 20% royalties will now be added motivation for the Sarawakians and Sabahans to reconsider their allegiance to the BN.

AAB is certainly the worst BN chairperson who doesn’t seem to have a clue as to the new political landscape. He is still acting like the Don, a godfather to BN component parties, handing down crumbs to the very people who have just ensured his PM-ship.


He deserves to be kicked out.

Kill a hundred Turks and rest!

From Uri Avnery's Column:

********

I was reminded this week of the old tale about a Jewish mother taking leave of her son, who has been called up to serve in the Czar's army against the Turks.

"Don't exert yourself too much," she admonishes him, "Kill a Turk and rest. Kill another Turk and rest again …"

"But mother," he exclaims, "What if the Turk kills me?"

"Kill you?" she cries out, "Why? What have you done to him?"

This is not a joke (and this is not a week for jokes). It is a lesson in psychology. I was reminded of it when I read Ehud Olmert's statement that more than anything else he was furious about the outburst of joy in Gaza after the attack in Jerusalem, in which eight yeshiva students were killed.

Before that, last weekend, the Israeli army killed 120 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, half of them civilians, among them dozens of children. That was not "kill a Turk and rest". That was "kill a hundred Turks and rest". But Olmert does not understand.

The Five-Day War in Gaza (as a Hamas leader called it) was but another short chapter in the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. This bloody monster is never satisfied, its appetite just grows with the eating.

This chapter started with the "targeted liquidation" of five senior militants inside the Gaza Strip. The "response" was a salvo of rockets, and this time not only on Sderot, but also on Ashkelon and Netivot. The "response" to the "response" was the army's incursion and the wholesale killing.

The stated aim was, as always, to stop the launching of the rockets. The means: killing a maximum of Palestinians, in order to teach them a lesson. The decision was based on the traditional Israeli concept: hit the civilian population again and again, until it overthrows its leaders. This has been tried hundreds of times and has failed hundreds of times.

As if an example for the folly of the propagators of this concept had been lacking, it was provided on TV by ex-general Matan Vilnai, when he said that the Palestinians are "bringing a Shoah on themselves".

The Hebrew word Shoah is known all over the world, where it has one clear meaning: the Holocaust carried out by the Nazis against the Jews. Vilnai's utterance spread like a bushfire throughout the Arab world and set off a shock wave. I, too, received dozens of phone calls and e-mail messages from all over the world. How to convince people that in day-to-day Hebrew usage, Shoah means "only" a great disaster, and that General Vilnai, a former candidate for Chief of Staff, is not the most intelligent of people?

Some years ago, President Bush called for a "Crusade" against terrorism. He had no idea that for hundreds of millions of Arabs, the word "Crusade" brings to mind one of the biggest crimes in human history, the appalling massacre committed by the original crusaders against the Muslims (and Jews) in the alleys of Jerusalem. In an intelligence contest between Bush and Vilnai, the outcome, if any, would be in doubt.

Vilnai does not understand what the word "Shoah" means to others, and Olmert does not understand why there is rejoicing in Gaza after the attack on the yeshiva in Jerusalem. Wise men like these direct the state, the government and the army. Wise men like these control public opinion through the media. What is common to all of them: blunted sensibilities to the feelings of anybody who is not Jewish/Israeli. From this springs their inability to understand the psychology of the other side, and hence the consequences of their own words and actions.

This is also expressed in the inability to understand why the Hamas people claimed victory in the five-Day War. What victory? After all, only two Israeli soldiers and one Israeli civilian were killed, as against 120 Palestinian dead, both fighters and civilians.

But this battle was fought between one of the strongest armies in the world, equipped with the most modern arms on earth, and a few thousand irregulars with primitive arms. If the battle ended in a draw - and such a battle always ends in a draw - this is a great victory for the weak side. In Lebanon War II and in the Gaza war.

(Binyamin Netanyahu made one of the most stupid statement this week, when he demanded that "the Israeli army must move from attrition to decision". In a struggle like this, there never is a decision.)

The real effect of such an operation is not expressed in material and quantitative facts: so-and-so many dead, so-and-so many injured, so-and-so much destroyed. It is expressed in psychological results that cannot be measured, and therefore are inaccessible to the minds of generals: how much hatred has been added to the seething pool, how many new potential suicide bombers were produced, how many people vowed revenge and became ticking bombs - like the Jerusalem youngster, who woke up one bright morning this week, got himself a weapon, went to the Mercaz Harav yeshiva, the mother of all settlements, and killed as many as he could.

Now the political and military leadership of Israel sits down to discuss what to do, how to "respond". No new idea has come up or will come up, because not one of these politicians and generals is able to bring up a new idea. They can only go back to the hundred things they have already done, and that have failed a hundred times.

The first step on the way out of this madness is the readiness to question all our concepts and methods of the last 60 years and start thinking again, right from the beginning.

That is always hard. That is even harder for us, because our leadership has no freedom of thought - its thinking is very closely tied to the thinking of the American leadership.

This week, a shocking document was published: David Rose's article in Vanity Fair. It describes how US officials have in recent years dictated every single step of the Palestinian leadership, down to the most minute detail. Though the article does not touch the Israeli-American relationship (in itself a surprising omission) it goes without saying that the American course, including the smallest items, is coordinated with the Israeli government.

Why shocking? These things were already known, in general terms. In this respect, that article held no surprises: (a) The Americans ordered Mahmoud Abbas to hold parliamentary elections, in order to present Bush as bringing democracy to the Middle East. (b) Hamas won a surprise victory. (c) The Americans imposed a boycott on the Palestinians, in order to nullify the election results. (d) Abbas diverted for a moment from the policy dictated to him and, under Saudi auspices (and pressure), made an agreement with Hamas, (e) The Americans put an end to this and compelled Abbas to turn over all security services to Muhammad Dahlan, whom they had chosen for the role of strongman in Palestine, (f) The Americans provided plenty of money and arms to Dahlan, trained his men and ordered him to carry out a military coup against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, (g) The elected Hamas government forestalled the move and itself carried out an armed counter-coup.

All this was known before. What is new is that the mixture of news, rumors and intelligent guesses has now condensed into an authoritative, well substantiated report, based on official US documents. It testifies to the abysmal American ignorance, which trumps even Israeli ignorance, of the internal Palestinian processes.

George Bush, Condoleezza Rice, the Zionist neocon Elliott Abrams and the assortment of American generals innocent of any knowledge are competing with Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni, Ehud Barak and our own assorted generals, whose understanding reaches as far as the end of the gun barrels of their tanks.

The Americans have in the meantime destroyed Dahlan by exposing him publicly as their agent, on the lines of "he's a son-of-a-bitch, but he is our son-of-a-bitch". This week Condoleezza dealt a mortal blow to Abbas, too. He had announced in the morning that he was suspending the (meaningless) peace negotiations with Israel, the very minimum he could do in response to the Gaza atrocities. Rice, who received the news while she was having breakfast in the exciting company of Livni, immediately called Abbas and ordered him to cancel his announcement. Abbas gave in, thus exposing himself to his people in all his nakedness.

Logic was not given to the People of Israel on Mount Sinai, but handed down from Mount Olympus to the ancient Greeks. In spite of this drawback, let us try to apply it.

What is our government trying to achieve in Gaza? It wants to topple Hamas rule (and incidentally also put an end to the launching of rockets against Israel).

It tried to achieve this by imposing a total blockade on the population, hoping that they would rise up and overthrow Hamas. This failed. The alternative course is to re-occupy the entire Strip. That would carry a high price in lives of soldiers, perhaps more than the Israeli public is ready to pay. Also, it will not help, because Hamas will return the moment the Israeli troops withdraw. (In accordance with Mao Zedong's first rule for guerrillas: "When the enemy advances, withdraw. When the enemy withdraws, advance.")

The only result of the Five-Day War is the strengthening of Hamas and the rallying of the Palestinian people behind it - not just in the Gaza Strip, but in the West Bank and Jerusalem, too. Their victory celebration was justified. The launching of rockets did not stop. The range of the rockets is increasing.

But let us assume that this policy had succeeded and that Hamas had been broken. What then? Abbas and Dahlan could return only on top of Israeli tanks, as subcontractors of the occupation. No insurance company would cover their lives. And if they did not come back, there would be chaos, out of which extreme forces would emerge the like of which we cannot even imagine.

Conclusion: Hamas is there. It cannot be ignored. We have to reach a cease-fire with it. Not a sham offer of "if they stop shooting first, then we will stop shooting". A cease-fire, like a tango, needs two participants. It must come out of a detailed agreement that will include the cessation of all hostilities, armed and otherwise, in all the territories.

The cease-fire will not hold if it is not accompanied by speeded-up negotiations for a long-term armistice (hudna) and peace. Such negotiations cannot be held with Fatah and not Hamas, nor with Hamas and not Fatah. Therefore, what is needed is a Palestinian government that includes both movements. It must bring in personalities who enjoy the confidence of the entire Palestinian people, such as Marwan Barghouti.

That is the very opposite of the present Israeli-American policy, which forbids Abbas even to talk with Hamas. In all the Israeli leadership, as in all the American leadership, there is no one who dares to spell this out openly. Therefore, what has been is what will be.

We will kill a hundred Turks and rest. And from time to time, a Turk will come and kill some of us.

Why, for God's sake? What have we done to them?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bahasa Mělayu - a letter to Yang Běrhormat

Dodgee Con-Sultan e-Solutions
12, Jalan Bodek
Taman Kamunting
Pulau Pinang

Kepada:
Yang Berhormat
Datuk Encik Loh Gwo Burne


My dear dear Yang Sangat Berhormat Mr Loh,

Congratulations on your most worthy victory in the recent general election. My cousin (from my mother’s side) who voted for you in Kelana Jaya has been ecstatic with sheer joy and honour at the privilege of having you as his parliamentary representative.

However, he and I have been extremely incensed by the outrageous and undoubtedly jealous rumour that your most honourable father paid for your seat. This is plain ridiculous when you are a PKR member, no doubt only for one week just prior to the election as you had mentioned in an interview with Malaysiakini, but nonetheless incontrovertible proof of your rightful and deserving eligibility to be nominated by the party.

I attribute this malicious rumour-mongering as typical insidious BN lies, no doubt spread by now-unemployed female liars who constitute 80% of the notorious cybertroopers.

Indeed, how dare Malaysiakini even raised that question when they should know better than to question anything about your pristinely perfect party, with your famed fantastic and fabulous reformasi leader, who had personally invited you to contest in Kelana Jaya, on recognizing your talents, potentials and assets (as a politician of course).


But if Malaysiakini is good for anything, it has at least published your comments as follows:

But when I met Anwar he asked why don’t I join the (party and contest in the) election? That became something more substantial as opposed to going back home and hide under my shell. I told Anwar that if you think we can contribute, then I am at your service. He said, "I think you can" so the next was to look at our areas and he asked, "Why don’t you go to Kelana Jaya?" Then I thought yeah, we can do this.

A good worthy quote – though spoilt somewhat by Malaysiakini’s grammatical error in not using the continuous tense of ‘hide’ to ensure consistency of grammatical employment. Anyway, as we can analyze from that quote, there was a whole lot of ‘thinking’ by both Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and you in your selection and gracious acceptance.

I have been so impressed by your frank confession that you have problems with Bahasa Malaysia, and that you intend to quickly bring your Bahasa up to speed in order to be able to contribute meaningfully to parliamentary debate.

Yang Berhormat, do not fret over such an easily manageable issue; if you may permit, I like to add a word of encouragement. Please remember Yang Berhormat, despite your (temporary only, of course) lack of Bahasa proficiency to deliver speeches in parliament or to debate issues in that hallowed house, you were personally chosen by none other than Datuk Seri to be the party’s representative for Kelana Jaya.

His confidence in you is the sole important factor. And indeed, such must be his confidence that he personally persuaded you to enroll as a member in his party just a week prior to the elections, when you were then nominated to stand for that federal seat. Many have been envious of that, which in a way could explain those nonsensical rumours of your father paying for your selection as the party’s parliamentary candidate for Kelana Jaya.

I salute your proactive intention to bring your Bahasa A.S.A.P up to speed. Let me assure you that some parliamentarians have been known not to be even able to say what you already can, like, as Malaysiakini reported, “… go the stall and buy stuff, order food in a mamak …”.

By the way, may I just say you made such an endearing confession that I would advise you not to hesitate reusing those words, to disarm and win people over.

Now, to the purpose of my letter - It just so happens that I can offer you some support in the matter of the Bahasa. I propose to do this as a two pronged strategy. This brief is only exploratory. Please do consider whether my plan can be of some help to you. If so, we can subsequently discuss our collaboration in greater details.

Firstly, we must enable you to get several of those ‘Master this or that language in 24 hours’ programs. Virtually everyone knows that with modern technology all sorts of languages can be mastered in a mere 24 hours. If one does not manage that, namely, master a language within 24 hours, the fault usually lies with the technology rather than the difficulties of a language. The obvious remedy is to take another 24 hours, etcetera. A catalogue of language software programs from my Dodgee Bookstores outlet (with its generous discount offer to Parliamentarians) is already in the mail to you.

If I may digress slightly to provide more encouragement to you, I am planning to make, through my Dodgee Documentary DVD Department, a series of motivational documentaries on fast track achievements. In today’s world where e
veryone is fascinated with, and wants to fast track everything (even in corruption), there is a market for quickie glories such as “Lose 10 kilograms in 3 days” or “Be a Kungfu Master in 7 days” or “Be a millionaire in 3 months or "Speed Reading", etc. Thus fast learning a language is not un-do-able.


Perhaps later, once you have settled down in your lawmaking duties, we could make an inspiring documentary on you, with the catchy title of “14 minutes from photographer to parliamentarian.” If you do not like that tentative title, we can discuss.

Continuing with my proposal, in the second prong of my visualized strategy for you, my team at Dodgee Con-Sultan e-Solutions will develop a special package. This will be for you to raise as an opposition motion in the Dewan Rakyat.

Not meaning to trumpet, the brilliance of this strategy is so staggering that you will be the envy of your colleagues including Datuk Seri. They will wonder why they have not thought of it.


We will have you passing a motion to re-introduce the e-tanda back into our Bahasa Malaysia, or better, we will also have you at the same time escalating a demand that our national language be reverted to its proper title of Bahasa Melayu.

In one fell swoop, you will (1) put the UMNO (and other) nationalistic conservatives on the defensive with such patriotic issues (where we will ensure your speech is nicely spiced up with lots of bangsa and negara), (2) camouflage your current (just temporary, of course) lack of Bahasa proficiency with the nationalistic fervour you will undoubtedly raise even though you will only be reading (emotionally) from a prepared statement (we will write this for you), and (3) exploit the e-tanda as if it is a modern Internet compatible terminology like the vogue e-commerce, e-business and of course e-solution - this will catch the imagination of the younger voters.

Then our plan continues to unfold as such: Once you have flung that e-bone into the parliamentary arena, you retreat gracefully to high patriotic grounds, sit back quietly and let the language hounds tear themselves silly to shreds over ridiculous linguistic pedantry. And that should see you nicely through until the next parliamentary session, where by then Dodgee Con-Sultan e-Solutions will have develop another special package for you to raise again in the Dewan Rakyat.

Our Dodgee Con-Sultan e-Solutions e-strategy is to keep our client e-xquisitely, e-fficently and e-lusively one step ahead of the ordinary pack.

Now, you may ask what is the e-tanda? Well, it was an additional grapheme in Romanized Bahasa Malaysia Melayu. Malaysia's noted linguistic expert Dr Asmah Hj Omar informed us through one of her academic papers that the e-tanda was introduced by Za'aba, the renown Malay grammarian, in the 1930’s.


The e-tanda was written as ě, that is right, basically an e with a diacritic mark. Dr Asmah said that with this ě plus a couple of other linguistic innovations, the Za'aba system provided greater facilitation in reading texts compared to the Wilkinson system.


Personally, though not a linguist, I can see the importance of the e-tanda because without it, as an example, the word ‘Bersih’ if read by a Penangite with a horrible accent like that terrible blogger kaytee, could sound like ‘Beh-sih’ (pronounced ‘Bay say’) which means ‘cannot be cleaned’, totally deforming the very meaning of the word.


There is no mistakening how 'Běrsih' should be pronounced. Such is the importance of the e-tanda.

Alas, it was disgracefully done away with by BN bureacrats in the 1972 Bahasa spelling reforms.

With Dodgee Con-Sultan e-Solutions’ strategy for you to reintroduce the e-tanda as your debut parliamentary motion, you will become an instant national hero.

As nationalistic rational, we will arrange appropriate material for you to argue that the French still have their l’accents aigu (é), grave (è) and circonflexe (ê), la cédille (ç) and le tréma (ë), and likewise the Germans, Vietnamese, Arabs and numerous other nationalities continue to have their linguistic diacritical marks in their written languages.


You will put BN people like Rais Yatim and Hishamuddin Hussein to shame when you (pretend to, of course) rail against BN cultural cringe for accepting the removal of the glorious e-tanda grapheme from our beautiful Bahasa Melayu. In fact I dare say you should be the Shadow Education Minister, one who waves the e-tanda instead of the kěris.

We will prepare stirring phrases for you to fling around in the Dewan Rakyat, like “Sěmangat Za’aba masih hidup”, “Kěunggulan Bahasa Mělayu harus těrjamin”, “e-tanda enak dulu, sěkarang dan esok”, so on so forth – phrases to warm the cockles of the heartland.

And as a contingency plan, when you sense any lukewarm or faltering reception to your stirring phrases mentioned above, you throw in the secret weapon we will prepare, which will be ‘Něgara, Bangsa dan Grammar.

That will surely shake those complacent BN neocons who have thus far foolishly imagined they have a monopoly on issues of nationalism.

Yes sir, your Kelana Jaya predecessor and ch’in lang Loh Kok Seng might have been a hero only on one side of the ‘divide’ for demanding historic correction, but you will be a hero on both sides for displaying histrionic correctness.

I anxiously and eagerly await Yang Berhormat’s indulgence in considering Dodgee Con-Sultan e-Solutions’ proposed enrichment program for your parliamentary career.

Tuliskanlah Bahasa Mělayu yang děngan bětul.

Yang běnar,
Dodgee Dimsum

p/s apart from my Dodgee Con-Sultan e-Solutions, my other company Dodgee Electronics carries an impressive range of items that can be useful to your needs, such as GPS, iPODS, Camrecorder, etc – all available with the usual concession to Parliamentarians.


********

The Yum-Cha Chronicles:(1) Apology - A letter to the minister
(2) Bloggers - A letter to the ministry
(3) Drama queens & kings wanted
(4) May 13 Book - a letter to the minister

(5) Appreciation - a letter to the minister
(6) Goblok to Golek - a letter to the minister
(7) MGR-ish makeover - a letter to a minister

What about the genocide in Iraq?

Ramzy Baroud is a Palestinian-American author and editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His work has been published in numerous newspapers and journals worldwide, including the Washington Post, Japan Times, Al Ahram Weekly and Lemonde Diplomatique. His latest book is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle (Pluto Press, London). Read more about him on his website: RamzyBaroud.net

********

Five years after the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, mainstream media is once more making the topic an object of intense scrutiny. The costs and implications of the war are endlessly covered from all possible angles, with one notable exception - the cost to the Iraqi people themselves.

Through all the special coverage and exclusive reports, very little is said about Iraqi casualties, who are either completely overlooked or hastily mentioned and whose numbers can only be guesstimated. Also conveniently ignored are the millions injured, internally and externally displaced, the victims of rape and kidnappings who will carry physical and psychological scars for the rest of their lives.

We find ourselves stuck in a hopeless paradigm, where it feels necessary to empathise with the sensibilities of the aggressor so as not to sound "unpatriotic"*, while remaining blind to the untold anguish of the victims. Some actually feel the need to go so far as to blame the Iraqis for their own misfortune. Both Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have expressed their wish for Iraqis to take responsibility for the situation in their country, with the former saying, "we cannot win their civil war. There is no military solution."

* Ramzy Baroud wrote as an American

It would have been helpful if Clinton had reached her astute conclusion before she voted for the Senate's 2002 resolution authorising President Bush to attack Iraq. For the sake of argument, let's overlook both Clinton's and Obama's repeated assertions that all options, including military ones, are on the table regarding how to "deal" with Iran's alleged ambition to acquire nuclear weapons. But to go so far as blaming the ongoing war on the Iraqis' lack of accountability is a new low for these "antiwar" candidates.

Is it still a secret, five years on, that the war on Iraq was fought for strategic reasons, to maintain a floundering superpower's control over much of the world's energy supplies and to sustain the regional supremacy of Israel, the US's most costly ally anywhere?

Of course, there are those who prefer to imagine a world in which a well-intentioned superpower would fight with all of its might to enable another smaller, distant nation to enjoy the fruits of liberty, democracy and freedom. But it is nothing short of ridiculous to pretend that Iraqis are capable of controlling the parameters of the ranging conflict, that a puppet government whose election and operation is entirely under the command of the US military is capable of taking charge and assuming responsibilities.

Equally absurd is the insinuation that the civil war in Iraq is an exclusively Iraqi doing, and that the US military has not deliberately planted the seeds of divisions, hoping to reinterpret its role in Iraq from that of the occupier to that of the arbitrator, making sure the "good" guys prevail over the "bad".

The idea of the US making an immediate exit from Iraq or taking full financial and legal responsibility for the devastation and genocide - yes, genocide - that occurred in the last five years is simply unthinkable from the viewpoint of the corporate US media, which still relates to the war only in terms of American (and never Iraqi) losses.

There are very few commentators who are actually arguing that the reasons for war were entirely self-serving, without an iota of morality behind them. Would Bush employ the same logic he used to justify Saddam Hussein's execution - suggesting this was warranted by the Iraqi president's violence against his own people - when dealing with those responsible for the deaths of over a million Iraqis as a result of this war?

And indeed Iraqis are dying in numbers that never subside regardless of the media and official hype about the "surge". Just Foreign Policy says the number of dead Iraqis has surpassed one million, while a survey by the British polling agency ORB estimates the number at over 1.2 million. But the plight of Iraqis hardly ends at a death count, since those left behind endure untold suffering: soaring poverty, unemployment rates between 40-70 per cent (governmental estimates), total lack of security in major cities and, according to Oxfam International, four million in need of emergency aid.

"Baghdad has become the most dangerous city in the world, largely as a result of a US policy of pitting various Iraqi ethnic and sectarian groups against one another. Today, Baghdad is a city of walled-off Sunni and Shia ghettoes, divided by concrete walls erected by the US military," reports Dahr Jamail, one of the few courageous voices that honestly relayed the horrendous outcomes of the war.

Indeed, there seem to be no promising statistics coming out of Iraq. Even under the previous regime and the debilitating sanctions imposed by the US and the UN, Iraqis were much better off prior to the war. Now, Iraqis are relevant only as pawns of endless US government propaganda. From the viewpoint of Bush, McCain and Cheney, they are the victims of Al-Qaeda, which must be fought at all costs. From the viewpoint of Clinton and Obama, they need to fight their own wars and take responsibility for them, as if Iraqi "irresponsibility" is the main problem.

In yet another "surprise visit" to Iraq by a US official, Vice-President Dick Cheney declared that Iraq was a "successful endeavour". Considering the exorbitant contracts granted to selected corporations, the war has indeed succeeded in making a few already rich companies and individuals a lot richer.

Meanwhile, Shlomo Brom, a senior fellow at Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies and former head of the Israeli army's Strategic Planning Division, sees things from a slightly different angle. "Any Iraq will be better than Iraq under Saddam, because the Iraq of Saddam had the ability to threaten Israel," he was quoted as saying in the Christian Science Monitor.

In considering such skewed logic, one can only hope that Cheney's successful experiment will end soon, and that Israel's desire for security is now sated. The people of Iraq cannot tolerate any more "success".

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The dark genes of UMNO

Based on a Malaysiakini report on the former Selangor MB challenging the current MB, Khalid Ibrahim, to instruct his exco to declare their assets.
Comments a la pre-emptive strike in my post Khir Toyo taunted Khalid Ibrahim on my voiced plan to blog on Khalid Ibrahim’s zero-squatter policy:

Now, do I follow your blog that thrives in innuendos and self delusion or the blog of the man who is in charge of squatters, local govt and etc in Selangor? Do I need to take your slanted explanation of prejudice or take the position of the REAL man in charge?

This is what Ronnie Liu tells me in his blog

"The zero squatter policy of the Selangor Barisan Rakyat govt would never be the same as the one implemented by the BN govt. The interest of urban pioneers will always be taken care of by the new state govt. That’s a promise.
- Anon

I think the "anon"`person who has posted the Local Govt Selangor Exco simply wanted to show that he follows the story from the man who is responsible for all that stuff rather than you who has no inkling of how he intends to do his work. I think that's right. I too should know more about Exco Ronnie and his steps, after all, he is the one. Giving Ronnie advise on how intends to solve that issue is different from preceding his actions and what he intends to do as if you know anything. Like someone said, your anti (...) shouldn't make you overreach yourself.
- Cindy


;-) and I have yet to post my proposed piece.

Typically but growing ever more vigorously is the intolerance from a certain political party, and it’s not UMNO, ... yet born of UMNO, for where else could it have inherited this intolerance.

Their behaviour? None must question nor criticize not comment on its leaders, policies, conduct or actions. Not especially any member of the public!

Its acolytes haven’t even the patience, decency and etiquette to see what I would actually be writing. But they have already launched their pre-emptive strikes, assuming my comments to be bad and anti Khalid.

How sad! Is this what we have exchanged the arrogant non accountable non transparent BN for?

Intolerance is a sign of aggressive under-confidence and an inability to deal intelligently with criticisms.

Could it be that they themselves feel or know they have done something wrong?

Just like UMNO! Very soon they will be taking to the streets ... wait, they have already in 1998.

But then, what can you expect from a party which has as its very genesis the very party it condemns but now imitates, UMNO!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Go congratulate Marina Mahathir

Sweetie Marina Mahathir of RantingsbyMM recorded her millionth hit yesterday. Awesome!



She started blogging just slightly more than 1 year ago. Actually she would have reached that fantastic milestone earlier as she set up her sitemeter 4 months after she started blogging.

Congratulations to an admirable lady, Datuk Paduka Marina Mahathir - mind you, naughty kaytee thinks of her as a 'sweetie' ;-) kekeke, but one I hold in my heart with respect, and most of all, with dear affection of sincere friendship.

Syabas, Datuk Paduka Marina, and many more hits to come in yet years of happy blogging.

Khir Toyo taunted Khalid Ibrahim

Poor Khalid Ibrahim is not having a good introductory run as the MB of Selangor.

Remember that Selangor is virtually the premier state in Malaysia by virtue of its located, political and administrative centrality, its history, host to the FT, industries, major airports, port, etc. It was where, and indeed because of it, May 13 occurred.

It’s a damn rich state and for obvious reasons every political party wants this luscious lucrative lolly, which means every UMNO bloke, chief of all Khir Toyo will be gunning for Khalid.

Khalid has, since becoming MB, not come across well on a number of issues the PKR had boasted about. My blogging mate Susan Loone has already blasted him for proposing to levy a RM9 fee per foreign worker on companies employing them – read her damn good post on this issue Selangor wants to exploit migrant workers?


Susan believes that the pathetic pissed poor policy will result in the poor worker suffering the loss of that RM9, and not those fat cats.

I do wonder whether Khalid as a former high riding CEO of a huge conglomerate actually understands the issues confronting poor workers or plantation workers? I recall in the Ijok by-election, the PSM was reluctant to endorse his candidature because the socialist party had perceived him as a CEO who had been less than friendly to workers.

Two other examples of Khalid's shaky start would be (1) the now-embarrassing topic of some State exco members not wanting to declare their assets and (2) the zero squatter policy.

Malaysiakini reported in Khir to MB, exco: Declare assets that former Selangor MB Khir Toyo has a field day in taunting Khalid.

Naturally Khir challenged Khalid and his state exco to declare their assets when he learnt that Khalid had voiced his having second thoughts on doing so.

I am not sure why, that after all the pre election boasts about transparency and accountability, Khalid revealed some exco members are having reservations on the matter. I am disappointed by Khalid's poor explanation and poor PR handling. He should have ordered those recalcitrant exco members to declare or resign.

Khir sniggered (well, if he didn’t he was certainly entitled to): "Before the elections, they (opposition parties) promised that they would declare their assets. I want them to declare now... if they cannot, that would be very unfortunate for the people of Selangor."

But when pushed against the wall, Khalid made a very wishy washy ‘would most likely compel ... exco members to declare their assets publicly’.


'Most likely ...' only? WTF!

… which of course led Khir Toyo into unbearable boasting, that he and his exco members had to declare their assets to the Chief Secretary to the Government once every two years.

He demanded: "All these opposition leaders should declare their assets and their debts. If they have settled their debts, tell us where the money came from."

Debts? Settled? Should it be something we ought to know?


Khir in fact targeted two particular blokes, Khalid Ibrahim and exco member Dr Hassan Ali.

I must ask Khalid to be more firm and instruct his exco members to declare their assets without fail, or get rid of them. He must do that to stop Khir Toyo from seizing the high moral grounds, which of course Khir Toyo has no right to be on, and wouldn’t have if Khalid has been more consistent and firm on his promise of transparency and accountability.

To be continued (squatter issue) …

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Malaysian mainstream media - missing professionalism

Dean Johns, my favourite Malaysiakini columnist wrote an interesting article in Boycott the media, or buy them where he too lambasted the mainstream media (MSM). The MSM had earned the dubious reputation notoriety of being nothing more than mouthpieces of the Barisan Nasional (BN).

But this is not in itself unique to Malaysia, because in the Western democracies too, the media do have favourites, and have at times spinned furiously for their sides.

But what distinguishes the Malaysian MSM has been its (collective) ‘creativity’ in, just as a rotten example, reporting the Bersih rally was only 4000 strong - there was some serious basic counting problem there. I needn’t go into what it had reported on the other more significant rally by Hindraf. Where's the professionalism?

What do we do with the MSM then?

Johns said: “The first, easiest and most obvious, of course, is a massive boycott as advocated by Haris Ibrahim, Helen Ang and others, thus weakening and even ultimately destroying them commercially.”

But he added, obviously favouring his second suggestion: “A second alternative (Dean, ;-) would this be a tautology?), however fanciful it might seem at first glance, is to buy them. Star Publications and Media Prima, are, as they proudly boast, both listed on the KLSE.”

Johns suggested that opposition supporters (around five million of them) should consider throwing in around RM400 each, an amount they spent on newspapers annually anyway, to invest in MSM shares. Then the public could control these companies or own them outright. He termed such a move ‘shareholder activism’.

Would that guarantee an independent sector of the press? Who knows, but we may be sure of one thing, it’ll most likely be a lot better than what it is today, very unprofessional.

As another example of its non-professionalism, I found a Penang-originated paper not doing its public duty when it failed miserably to update the election results on that fateful Saturday, as the people's verdict became known. Thank goodness I was able to rely on Malaysiakini to find out what the heck was happening.


But like all surfers, I would have enjoyed a variety of feedback, and as a Penangite, I naturally turned towards an old (though no longer a) favourite.

Alas, that was not to be. God knows how many of its editors then went AWOL from their election night duties, probably clutching strips of panadol capsules as they bunkered down in shock, whilst their public audience wondered whether they had suffered a nuclear storm, knocking all electronic transmissions and receptions off. As they realized they couldn't spin anymore they must have abdicated that duty to the office spiders which then spun webs across their idle screens.

In a recent conversation with one of my uncles (yes, sweetie, I have many) he contrasted the newspaper’s performance with that of RTM in 1969. Uncle told me the following true story.

On the night of the 1969 general election, there was huge billboard at the Selangor Club padang (sports field), where election results throughout Malaysia were posted as they flowed in by phone calls. But notwithstanding the festive mood there that night, where the audience still sitting on their ubiquitious Honda Cups surrounded the padang, with each opposition party’s victory being greeted by loud roars of approval, and the teh tarik and sop kambing people doing a rip-roaring trade behind the General Post Office, the star of that night was RTM.

For the first time, RTM broadcasted beyond midnight and in fact (according to Unc’s recollection) into breakfast time.

The counting in those days were slower but by midnight, the Perikatan (Tunku’s Alliance) was already reeling as Gerakan, DAP, PPP and PAS made mincemeat out of the ruling party.

Unc remembered the RTM panel of announcers-analysers-guest speakers from all parties-etc, including an UMNO man on the panel who was very knowledgeable on political personalities, nature and composition of each constituencies (both Parliament and States) and political trivia etc.

He kept the broadcast really interesting but when he saw the Perikatan being chopped off at the knees, especially in Penang, Perak and Selangor, he became demoralised. He was more than ready to sign off by the scheduled time of midnight, when a man approached him from behind (seen on the screen), whispered in his ears, whence he turned to announced, words to the effect, “I have been instructed to continue broadcasting until further notice”.

That was the professionalism of the media in those days of Tunku. The audience was waiting, and the show must go on!

By contrast, that Saturday night of 08 March 2008, that particular newspaper virtually stopped updating its promised election results by around 9 pm (perhaps even earlier).

OK, so the BN lost badly, but where was the journalistic professionalism to keep the public informed?

Newspapers have a duty like the postman, where it must deliver come rain or shine. But one particular Malaysian MSM online news failed badly on the night of 08 March 2008.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The lion kissed the moon!

Hey, diddle, diddle!
The cat and the fiddle,
The lion kissed the moon;
The little dog laughed
To see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.


- with apologies to a Mother Goose nursery rhyme



It’s a truly new Malaysian world when the Lion of Gelugor defended a PAS man.

Malaysiakini reported in Karpal: Consider it a form of amnesty that “Karpal Singh has defended the decision of the new Perak and Penang governments to waive summonses for hawking and parking offences.”

It was stated that Karpal shot down detractors, including some lawyers, for criticising Lim and Nizar unfairly.

Don’t worry how he defended them, but yahoo, Karpal Singh has unbelievably defended a PAS man.

Either Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin, MB of Perak, is a very special person or Karpal has mellowed - ke ke ke!

Now who says the Sun doesn’t rise in the West, when the lion could kiss the moon?

Bloggers' representative - an oxymoron!

Once upon a time two bloggers got into deep sh*t – the reasons don’t matter now, but then, most bloggers marshalled around them to lend support in their hours of need.

So from this brotherhood … oops … and sisterhood too ;-), there grew an informal mob of bloggers. Yes man, stir a bowl of water and centripetal forces will move the solid material ‘together’ towards the centre.

Instead of just maintaining that fraternity as an informal congenial social group, some thought it may be a good idea to have a formal group of bloggers, an organization so to speak, to look after bloggers’ interests at a time when the authorities were beginning to frown on them, and even to promote the activity/hobby of blogging.

As bloggers were from all walks of life and political affiliation, the approach and character of the proposed organization by commonsense and necessity had to be apolitical.

So the 'son' (or 'daughter') of that informal (very loose) mob of bloggers came into this world, though without a Kad Pengenalan for it was still an infant.

But alas, apolitical it wasn’t. For reasons unexplained till today, a small coterie of bloggers, purportedly the pro-tem committee of the proposed organization, took it upon themselves to showcase their introductory venture into public eye by visiting Malaysia’s most controversial (opposition) politician.

I don’t blame the politician for he was the one called upon, nor do I his ardent supporters who were in that committee, for it was only natural they wanted to promote their idol.

But the others, the leaders …?

Many were gobsmacked as I was. We wondered, if a politician had to be visited at all by a bloggers’ association for bloggers' interests, why wasn’t that person the Minister of Information or Communication, as surely the interests of the bloggers deserved lobbying with formal authorities.

From apolitical to very very controversially political. Why? What was the secret agenda? Don’t blame us for considering that the motive behind that visit stank to high heavens. I blogged on that in Embracing bloggers - Disgracing bloggers.

Additionally why should I register myself as the proposed organization had mooted for members? For the government to trace us?

Meanwhile, the original informal mob decided to have a social get-together. It was called BUM night. It was well organised and brought many bloggers together for the first time. I wish I could have been there but alas, …..… I missed the opportunity to meet many good mates who were also in that committee for the social function.

Unfortunately personalities in the BUM committee clashed just prior to BUM night because of post Ijok blues. Who was right or wrong also doesn’t matter. Due to high emotions, some accusations and insinuations were flung about. The dust eventually settled.

Time passed by and the GE happened with tsunamic shaking magnitude. The government decided that they had underestimated the bloggers’ impact. I must confess I too didn’t expect the bloggers to have such a significant influence. I believe the most influential blogger who made a difference surely has to be Raja Petra Kamarudin of Malaysia-Today.

Anyway, Malaysiakini told us that the BN government now wants to talk to bloggers, yes, including those 80% of them, who have been described by a former Minister (I like the word 'former' as applied to him ha ha ha!) as 'lying unemployed females'. Phew, guess that fortunately places me in the other 20% fully employed, truthful, sincere, innocent, wonderful male bloggers.

Anyway, someone saw an opportunity to resurrect the proposed bloggers’ organization, which I believe had been rendered moribund and in a state of severe comatose due to lack of support, and certainly not helped by suspicions of its motive.

He suggested the new Minister see a certain blogger, as if this blogger represents the interests or views of Malaysian bloggers. Maybe he did it out of loyalty to a compatriot. Well whatever, let me say this in no uncertain term, and it’s not personal, I don’t want to have that person or so-called organization represent me or my interests.

Minister, if you are reading this, believe me, many of us bloggers don’t support nor have faith in the so-called blogging association. And don’t believe anyone who claims he or she represents me in matters on blogging – please see my blogging mate Susan loone’s post Come on, kiss my blogger a.s.s where she wrote:

“…some blogger(s) is (are) already jerking off, hearing all this [the Minister’s voiced intention to meet up with bloggers]. One has even recommended the minister go and meet his buddy - thinking that he is the taiko of all bloggers. Puhleez lah.”

One suggestion to the Minister for a start – drop the PPPA. Yes, can you imagine trusting anyone, especially a blogger, who supports the PPPA? Sheeesh!

Also, leave us free spirited independent bloggers alone – we can and will act responsibly.

Unfortunately, associated with the attempted resurrection of the so-called blogger association, an old nasty bone was dug up, and poor Jed Yoong was attacked again, all because she had dared to question the legitimacy of that organization to represent bloggers.

Shamefully, in that particular mob’s well known modus operandi she was attacked ad hominen, like she had been post Ijok. This time there were even fabricated insinuations that she absconded with the BUM night’s collection.


So, was a police report made? Why not? because for the simple fact that the insinuation had been a false fabricated fib. Of course we know that in Malaysia, facts shouldn't be allowed to stand in the way of a good 'story'.

The sad poverty of a certain sector in the blogging community is its pathetic inability to handle intelligent debates, so their members are wont to resorting to argumentum ad hominen. I know, I have been called an UMNO lapdog, a MCA cybertrooper, etc ;-). As an example, the litmus test of the anwaristas' desperation showed a different colour when the normally civil kittykat 46 even alluded to kaytee being that - ha ha ha!

Regarding the vicious insinuations against Jed Yoong, my blogging mate Lucia Lai of Mental Jog, who was in the BUM committee, should be able to provide insider information on the shameless bankruptcy of those comments.

But alas, even far more shameful than those insinuations, had been the fact that they were allowed to be posted in a blog. I needed a bath after seeing those.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

DAP shot down party hoppers.

Thank goodness the DAP has principles.

On the subject of the reprehensible party hopping, which Malaysiakini has published in PKR Youth: 16 BN MPs ready to jump ship (all from Sabah and Sarawak – also heard on grapevine the price has gone up from RM3 Mil to 10 mil – wow!), apparently the High Court had ruled in 1992 that an anti-hop law would be unconstitutional as it contravened the freedom of association provision enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

The Court was of course looking at the letter of the law rather than the morality of voters being deceived by slimy frogs which presented themselves as Party A candidates, but after being voted on those credentials, would leap across to join Party B.

However, a constitutional amendment, which of course requires the support of at least two-thirds of the Dewan Rakyat, could pass such a law.

When the BN was exploiting such grubby unconscionable conduct (of party hopping), they were criticized, cursed and condemned. I am just amazed that the very people who lambasted the BN for those unscrupulous cheating of political powers are the very ones now claiming it’s OK because “the bigger picture is to dethrone the BN”.

What brains baffling bullsh*t because the “bigger picture” is to have a transparent, accountable, clean and truly democratic process for Malaysia.


But regrettably those blind-by-faith acolytes saw it now fit to rationalize, justify, and even promote the treacherous betrayal of voters by unscrupulous party hoppers.

In Malaysia many voters go for a political party rather than a candidate, and this is never more obvious than the recent election. It may be worthwhile considering what a (Chinese) sweetie in Alor Setar told me, that her grandmother and other relatives were advised by her uncle to vote for ANYONE or ANYTHING except the ‘ch’in’. I know, because my mum had that same advice.

‘Ch’in’ is a word in Hokkien (a Chinese dialect prevalent in Northern Malaysia - Penang, Kedah, Perlis right down to Taiping) meaning ‘dacing’ or the weighing scales, the symbol of the BN. That’s how a large number of Chinese have voted for PAS (yes, sweetie's granny voted for PAS) or PKR because their aim had been to vote out the BN.

Imagine how would they feel if the PAS and PKR MPs walk across to the BN? Wouldn’t that be a betrayal of their democratic choice?

Likewise, a BN voter would feel ultimately betrayed if their elected rep like a katak would lompat across to join PKR.

Yes, shamelessly, the common cry among those ‘lost’ souls (and I mean they have lost their souls) is “why was it no one complained when the BN did it” implying they now have the right to respond in tit for tat fashion, but forgetting they have been exclaiming, proclaiming and acclaiming their recent victory as a win for a ‘change for the better’.

May I ask how can a ‘BN Version II’ be a change for the better? Yes, if the BN ate sh*t, would they eat sh*t as well? If the BN was corrupt, would it be OK to be corrupt too? With such an attitude of 'whatever it takes to gain power post election', the so-called Barisan Rakyat could well be degenerating into a BN Version II - and I won't be in the least surprised.

I am glad that Karpal Singh has spoken out against such a sleazy avenue of gaining political power.

Karpal Singh, the Lion of Gelugor, stated in no uncertain terms that the DAP will support the BN anti-hop law proposal if it is tabled in Parliament.

Karpal effectively put a spanner in a de facto machination machine by saying: “Barisan just needs the support of eight more MPs to pass the proposal. We have 28 MPs.”

In that simple stark statement “We have 28 MPs”, Karpal has implied, to hell with those disgraceful disgusting de facto dealings. He has effectively distanced the DAP from the neo-UMNO Machiavellian manoeuvring mischief. He has also neutralised any necessity for BN to conduct covert horse trading to get the law passed.

Indeed, Karpal is basically stating in no uncertain terms, (my words of course) ‘let’s conduct our politics with some decent democratic de jure principles’.

Karpal Singh sneered (his actual words): “We also don’t welcome renegades defecting to DAP”, indirectly and morally shooting down another party.

He said (what should supposedly be upheld in the current ‘change for the better’ political situation): “The trust of the voters is sacred. There must be honour among the representatives who won under the Barisan ticket.”

Indeed, and he said in my hometown of Ayer Itam that those party-hopping should be outlawed as a criminal act as it was tantamount to cheating and deception.

Karpal was responding in bipartisan spirit to new minister Zaid Ibrahim’s proposal to introduce an anti-hopping law, after the PKR adviser claimed some BN MPs might cross over to the Opposition. Surely we don't want such grubs.

Meanwhile in Alor Setar, Anwar Ibrahim defiantly said the proposal showed that the BN government was scared its elected representatives would cross over to the Opposition. But what has he to comment on Karpal’s disdainful reaction to a political unacceptability which is so sleazy, slimy and stinking that any decent bloke or lassie wouldn’t touch it with a 3-metre long pole?

Anwar even has the audacity to advise: “A person who wants to cross over will not wait for the law to be passed. Is there anyone who wants to cross over?”

Reformasi? Do those who mouth this word regularly like a sacred mantra really know what ‘political reforms’ mean? Or has this word been aired meaninglessly and uselessly?

Reformasi, ha ha ha, surely the most perverted word currently in Malaysia!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Khalid Ibrahim failed to show resolute leadership?

Power sharing in a coalition government has always, throughout the world, been based on the contribution of each party in terms of the number of elected representatives.

In the recent Selangor State, the seats won by PKR, DAP and PAS have been respectively 15, 13 and 8. This means that the power sharing should be respectively 41.6%, 36.1% and 22.2%.

If we were to divvy up the ten exco seats (not including the MB), using mathematical rules of rounding out (where 0.5 and above is rounded up, whilst less than 0.5 is rounded down) , that should ideally worked out as a respective share of 4, 4 and 2 seats.

Considering that PKR grabs the MB position, on fairness, PKR could surrender one of its seats to PAS to make the spread MB + 3, 4 and 3 respectively.

Instead what we learnt today about the swearing in of the Selangor state exco members is that:

PKR gets MB plus 4 (equivalent to more than 5)
DAP gets 3
PAS gets 3

I see it as DAP losing out to a very greedy and race-conscious PKR.

Malaysiakini informs us that, in a move that’s akin to adding insult to injury to the DAP, MB Khalid Ibrahim, has obviously refused to appoint Teresa Kok as the deputy MB.


Instead, we keep hearing of the number of non Malays not exceeding the Malay members in the exco.

So is this race-conscious PKR practising its so-called new ‘change for the better’ brand of politics?

Khalid Ibrahim needs to answer some questions:

(i) Why is the power sharing not in accordance to power contribution?


(ii) Why is PAS with only 8 seats having 3 exco members, the same as a DAP with 50% more seats at 13?

(iii) Why is PKR grabbing a disproportionate lion’s share of MB plus 4?


(iv) Why hasn't Teresa Kok been appointed deputy MB when in Perak and Penang, we have exemplary examples of cooperative power sharing?

(v) Why has the ratio of Malays exco members to non Malay members been so important in Khalid's formation of his exco, in direct contradiction to PKR’s self-acclaimed multiethnic race-less approach?

Anyway, Selangor, your exco members are:


PKR
Khalid Ibrahim (MB)
Yaakob Sapari
Rodziah Ismail
Dr Xavier Jayakumar
Elizabeth Wong

DAP
Teresa Kok
Ronnie Liu
Ean Yong Hian Wah

PAS
Dr Hassan Ali
Dr Halimah Ali
Iskandar Abdul Samad

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Biased USA a Middle East umpire?

Extracts from an al Jazeera report titled Cheney: US will not pressure Israel:

Dick Cheney, the US vice president, has said that Washington will not pressure Israel to take steps that will threaten its security and expressed hope for a new beginning for the Palestinian people in their own state.

Cheney, who is on a 10-day trip to the Middle East, arrived in Jerusalem on Saturday after spending two days in Saudi Arabia.

"America's commitment to Israel's security is enduring and unshakable, as is our commitment to Israel's right to defend itself always against terrorism, rocket attacks and other forces dedicated to Israel's destruction,'' Cheney told reporters shortly after arriving in Jerusalem.

I believe him.

Then:

In Jerusalem on Saturday, Cheney reaffirmed Washington's commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

He assured Palestinian leaders that "they, too, can be certain of America's goodwill'' as it tries to help Israelis and Palestinians reach an accord.

"We want to see a resolution to the conflict, an end to the terrorism that has caused so much grief to Israelis, and a new beginning for the Palestinian people," Cheney said.

I don’t believe him.

BTW, just in case you aren't aware, Dick Cheney was on the Board of Advisors for
JINSA which stands for the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.

Two days after 9/11, without any proof whatsoever of Saddam Hussein’s involvement in the attacks on Twin Towers,
JINSA Propose(d) Iraq War on 9/13. The rest is history (inclusive of the American brief sojourn in Afghanistan).

Read my post
Lies & power behind US invasion of Iraq where I wrote (extracts):

The Nation, the oldest continuously published weekly political magazine in the US, alleged that JINSA are underwritten by far-right American Zionists who believed strongly that 'regime change' by any means necessary in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority is an urgent imperative.

* all underlining are mine

Anyone who dissents -- be it Colin Powell's State Department, the CIA or career military officers -- is committing heresy against articles of faith that effectively hold there is no difference between US and Israeli national security interests, and that the only way to assure continued safety and prosperity for both countries is through hegemony in the Middle East.

According to Karen DeYoung's 2006 biography of Colin Powell, Powell stated that "JINSA had influenced Vice President Richard Cheney and others in the Bush administration to rid Israel of Palestine's supporters and protect Israel's security by neutralizing Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Libya by invading and changing those regimes to democracies."

… into democracies like Egypt and Saudi Arabia?

Read my following posts as well:
(1)
The 'O' in SWOT regarding the 3 'I'-s in the ME
(2)
Bush's lies about Iran - déjà vu denied?

Additionally, political-military analysts said the recent and rather abrupt resignation of Admiral William Fallon, the top US commander in the Middle East, has been an indication that President Bush is insistent on
launching an attack against Iran.

The Esquire magazine revealed that the Admiral quitted after he failed to persuade President Bush to avoid war with Tehran.

Bush madness has been and will be all for Israel, of course. What a goy-ish idiot!

Related:
(1)
George Bush's farewell gift to Israel?
(2)
Will Bush parcel out Iran toward the four winds of heaven?
(3)
Anything for dear old Israel
(4)
Why President Bush is so against Iran

Putrajaya 2, Terengganu 1

Could it be possible that AAB has finally shown some backbone?

Post election he has been perceived by some royalty as weak, indecisive and even apathetic. So, maybe they thought they might just claw back some of their royal prerogatives lost during the Mahathir days. Can you imagine them doing this when Mahathir was around?

Now the Perlis situation was masked by the fact of an unpopular Shahidan Kassim who was already slated for the ‘outer’ even prior to the election. Because of UMNO HQ's lack of enthusiastic support for Shahidan, with the Perlis royal prerogative ruling the day, it might have lent an incorrect impression that royalty would win in any tussle with an UMNO President still bleeding from and licking his election wounds.

We need to remember that AAB's promise to Shahidan of the MB position was a last minute pre-election compromise worked out hastily to avoid intra party factional fighting from distracting from the election. Now that the election has been completed, I suppose AAB was hardly likely to put in much effort to rescue him from local UMNO manoeuvres. Hmmm, maybe there were even the wink, wink, nudge, nudge from UMNO HQ. I won't put this beyond the Machiavellian politics of UMNO.

But it’s a different story with the Terengganu MB saga. When the Terengganu palace went for broke with the MB issue, opting for Kijal assemblyperson Ahmad Said against an UMNO selected Jusoh, the 23 BN state representatives (ADUNs) voiced their intentions to boycott the ceremony.

The palace decided to take the deadlock to the edge by officially issuing an appointment letter to Ahmad Said. But none of the 23 UMNO state reps was present at the ceremony, sticking to their earlier declarations.

Then, to thumb their ordinary noses at the royal person, Malaysiakini tells us that the state’s party leadership (sure AAB not involved?) sacked Ahmad from UMNO in a meeting last night – I take it poor Ahmad Said didn’t attend the meeting.

Their reason was that he ignored the party leadership’s directive not to take up the MB post.

However Malaysiakini reported in Crisis deepens in Terengganu that Ahmad Said has the support of the seven out of eight Terengganu UMNO divisions grassroots UMNO leaders and members.

Can that be so, when all 23 ADUNs do not support him, and indeed have sacked him a la Anwar Ibrahim? One question from kaytee, aren’t most of the UMNO State ADUNs divisional or branch leaders themselves?


I want to see what happens next because we are now in uncharted territory ;-)

But quick, I spied a golden opportunity for the de facto leader. Please let him know that there is now a chance for him to recruit Ahmad Said, possibly together with seven out of the eight Terengganu UMNO divisions. It will be an achievement that will make Gurun green with envy ;-).


And best of all, with Ahmad Said, it won't be a grubby defection because that bloke is now an independent ADUN. Yes, I know he's not of much use to Anwar in a federal situation but hey, great fortunes have been, are and will be built on the philosophy of "Little drops of water, little grains of sand, make the mighty ocean, and the pleasant land (of the PKR)" - with apologies to J Carney.


Related:
Royalty threatens constitutional crisis?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Can defections & deceit be sincere?

Related: Malaysiakini article Dr Tiki: I am a BN loyalist:

********

Anwar Ibrahim boasted in Star Online article Barisan MPs want to defect that he had been making good progress in talks with BN MPs from Peninsular Malaysia as well as those from Sabah and Sarawak, but he was in no hurry to form the Government.

‘No hurry to form government’?

Being Easter, may I ask, “Is the Pope Catholic?” Ha ha ha, it’s so vintage Anwar.

As I blogged in PAS's unease as Anwar Ibrahim looks for 30 crossover MPs? many supporters of PKR-PAS-DAP have been less than impressed by the news of Anwar and BN MPs discussing the latters' possible defections.

The loose coalition of PKR-PAS-DAP, or as some dream of titling it, Barisan Rakyat, has just been informally allied on the supposed democratic foundations of idealism, transparency and integrity, and just on those grounds, would hardly have any room for grubby deceitful and treacherous political defections.

The BR is supposed to be everything the BN isn’t, but will it stay the correct course? But it looks like it's already about to make an UMNO-ish meandering manoeuvre.

Unless an election candidate stands as an independent candidate, he is elected on a party’s ticket to represent the voters in his constituency. A defection is a deceitful betrayal of the constituency's trust and belief, where on defection, the MP no longer represents the aspirations and views of his constituency but rather his/her own personal interests/profits.

This has been why many supporters of the so-called Barisan Rakyat have been worried about the scuttling of moral values by a few of their elected representatives and in particular, one non-elected representative. Only hardcore devotees blinded by faith in an icon have the unmitigated nerve to claim that accepting BN defectors would be justified.

Justified for whom?

Sadly, PAS Abdul Hadi Awang, in defending its partner PKR or rather Anwar Ibrahim who has been touting about the possible defections from the BN, said he would welcome BN MPs if they want to cross over to join the alternative front. But they should do so out of sincerity and not because they are enticed with money.

How can a defector who presented him/herself to the voters during the election as a BN candidate be ever remotely sincere when he/she defects to the other side? Maybe Hadi Awang cares to explain his bizarre qualification in Islamic terms.

Hadi also revealed that some UMNO members and (Malay) NGOs had been trying to entice PAS to hold discussions with UMNO on ways to strengthen the position of Malays and Islam.

Now that’s more like it, and in fact to be expected. I would be most surprised if such entreaties were not made. And we may bet that UMNO has not just approached PAS but PKR also, even Anwar Ibrahim.

No doubt the covert conciliatory communication will be talking principally about the ‘common’ values of the position of Malays and Islam.

However Kelantan MB Nik Aziz Nik Mat, who was also present, said the UMNO leaders are using the divide and rule policy practised by the British.

But that doesn’t mean former UMNO people aren’t receptive to an invitation for a joyous home-coming for a Prodigal Son.

No doubt many anwaristas will rage and rant about my post. Such is their attitude of intolerance that they fail to realise by doing so (yelling at kaytee and other like-minded bloggers to shut up), they have adopted the attitude of U.M.N.O where U Must Not Object.

Yes, they fail to, or ignore the fact that they have become like the intolerant UMNO in dismissing or shouting down people like me. Worse, they would bury their heads in the sand. Or worst, they rationalise why Anwar Ibrahim is doing the right thing ;-)

As I said, the so-called Barisan Rakyat is supposed to be everything the BN isn’t, but will it stay on the true course?

This morning I posted Product of the System’s POTS talking about PKR hegemony. Its blogger is like me, querying WTF is going on with such grubby manoeuvres like discussing defections.

It’s people like us whose queries will keep the Barisan Rakyat ship on course. If you anwaristas continue to close your ears and minds, stick your heads into the sand and deny us the rights to question the inconsistent, incongruous and iffy actions of people like Anwar Ibrahim and other PKR leaders, then you can bet the BR ship will stray off course and become another pirate ship just like UMNO, eventually mired in its own cesspool.

POTS talking about PKR hegemony

I came across this blog called ‘Product of the System’ (POTS) which posted From UMNO to PKR hegemony?

Bloke (or lassie?) wrote: “I’m made it clear from the start that I have more distrust for Keadilan than I do for PAS.”

Wow!

Continuing: “Recent events vindicate me to a certain extent. When Lim Kit Siang first made a statement announcing a boycott for the swearing-in of the Perak Menteri Besar, bloggers and commentators sounded the battle cry and bashed him with no mercy. The comments on Raja Petra Kamaruddin’s Malaysia-today are proof of it all. Lim Kit Siang apologized publicly soon after, in the most humble and sincere manner from a Malaysian politician to date.”

Well, I see RPK bashing DAP as part of a greater strategy – ‘strategy’ meaning a long term plan with an eventual (not easily detectable) higher objective – will blog on this soon.

Blogger POTS went on: “Not too subtly, similar announcements were coming from the PKR’s camp. Syed Husin Ali threatened abandonment of the coalition government if PKR’s demands for representation in the Perak exco were not met. Over in Selangor, the finalization of the state government’s exco list has apparently hit an impasse as a result of PKR’s refusal to grant DAP their fair share of excos, citing racial imbalance and insufficient Malay representation. Surprisingly, there have been little murmurs, if at all over PKR’s growing arrogance and refusal to compromise the way DAP did in the Perak state government.”

I have already blogged on this (see posts yesterday and before), but truly with a sincere hope my worries may be unfounded. I want to be proven incorrect.

There’s more in his post (URL above) but I won’t extract everything, but just the bits that interests me, such as:

“Well, Anwar Ibrahim will indeed make a great opposition leader. Just one problem though, ..... he too is not interested to be opposition leader. He wants to be Prime Minister, which is why he is currently obsessed luring disgruntled BN MPs to cross over to Keadilan, at no cost apparently.”

My late father taught one thing if I have learnt anything ;-) ‘Nothing is free in this world’.

POTS continued: “This brings me to my next provoking thought. Isn’t vote-buying and party-hopping more of an UMNO/BN culture?”

Yes … er … it’s an UMNO culture alright … er

POTS: “When one is unable to form a government by legitimate means, one has to resort to back door techniques. That, my friend, is exactly what Anwar Ibrahim is trying to accomplish now. Vehemently, he declares that Keadilan would have formed the next government if not for election frauds and rampant vote-buying, but here he is, trying something similar by luring discontented BN warlords and position-obsessed MPs to join his camp.”

Quod Erat Demonstrandum!

POTS then criticized PKR’s selfish tussle with DAP over the Sabah seats … so on so forth ...

He concluded frighteningly: “More and more every day, PKR is resembling UMNO in more aspects than one.”

Habit dies hard lah! But to be fair, as some have already said, there are two PKRs - you work it out which is which!

POTS: “I still believe in the possibility of a stable and progressive DAP/PKR/PAS coalition government. If Keadilan continues its unjustified arrogance and unreasonable reasoning however, Malaysia will finally witness real change – a shift from UMNO political hegemony to PKR hegemony.”

“Some might ask, what can be worse than UMNO? My answer: two UMNOs.”

I think there’ll be only one UMNO … yes ... if you catch my drift ;-)

Friday, March 21, 2008

croak croak croak No 2?

From Malaysiakini - Another BN MP ready to jump ship?

It seems BN-SPDP's Mas Gading MP Dr Tiki Lafe, dropped from his deputy minister’s post (kesian only), has neither denied nor confirmed speculations that he is quitting his party to join the opposition when contacted today.

... neither denied nor confirmed speculations ... means there's still time to entice him back ;-)

ribbit ribbit ribbit

Boycotts

Now we all know sweetie Helen Ang of Malaysiakini had posted an article on hartal, a call to boycott the mainstream media (MSM) for not only being the BN mouthpieces but also for their extraordinary creativity with facts.

For example, with a stroke of a pen, a crowd of 40,000 could be reported with a missing digit, reducing the staggering movement to only one-tenth of its actual size, implying the rally had been less significant and probably by a ‘lunatic fringe’ group.


Then, decent Hindraf activists could be portrayed as marauding Tamil Tigers from Trincomalee.

Did I heed the sweetie’s call to boycott the MSM? No, I didn’t ;-) not that I don't love her but because knowing what the MSM are, I can confidently factorise their bovine poo into some useable form of garden manure for my mother’s gerbera, gladioli and guava, while enjoying the international news and entertainment pieces.


Besides, it’ll be cruel to punish a host of economic dependents including paper boys (once a million years ago I was one selling the Star) who survive on the sales of the MSM.

While the word hartal is of Hindi origin, the English equivalent boycott originated from Ireland in 1880 – read here for more on boycott.

My uncle told me of the Chinese boycott of Malay goods shortly after the May 13 incident – stuff such as Malay food like fruits, durians, satay, herbs and even the wearing of sarong kebaya. Unfortunately they were hurting innocent traders, with the inevitable resentment growing against what was perceived as Chinese meanness. It was a lose-lose situation.

Another uncle - told a sweetie I have many ;-) – related the story of the mandarin orange boycott.


Many years ago a particular greedy person thought he would exploit the Chinese New Year spending binge on mandarin oranges, so he obtained (through his powerful connections) an import licence giving him sole rights to import the much desired citrus fruits from China and Taiwan.

Story went that he added insult to injury by imposing on retail traders a very high price, obviously to ramp up his expected profits – ‘twas a case of his arrogant ‘take it or leave it’, believing the Chinese just couldn't do without such a culturally vital item at the start of a new Lunar Year.

The Chinese did the unexpected and ‘left it’, forgoing its traditional ‘must have’ mandarin oranges for Chinese New Year. I am of course simplifying the story where prior to the boycott, acrimonious exchanges occurred, which were reported by a once freer press. The Chinese community by then were fairly primed up to take up the very difficult boycott of a once-a-year indispensible item. But they did it!

As the New Year approached, the bloke panicked and started to come down to earth with his price for the fruits. Still, a lesson had to be taught. The retailers continued to boycott him.


And no one bought anything even when he attempted to bypass the normal retailers by setting up his own retail stalls, presumably at some considerable costs.

He was left with thousands and thousands of crates of rapidly over-ripening kam on his by then shaking hands.

There was no relent even when he gave some away as a means of stimulating a return to the purchase of the fruits so that he could recoup his principal when he sold the remaining stock.


In the end he was left with zillions of rotting kam and a huge hole in his pocket. Mind you, those decomposing kams would have made excellent compose for my mum's gerbera, gladioli and guava.

Quite frankly I had agreed with my uncle the greedy bloke deserved being shafted for his attempt to exploit the retail traders. Unlike the unfortunate traders who lost business post May 13, this bloke earned the wrath of the consumers for subverting an open system through misuse of official connections for his avarice.

… which brings us to the current situation in Penang where the Star reported Hindraf coordinator R.S. Thanenthiran appealing to Penangites: Don’t boycott nasi kandar.

It seems that the hartal of nasi kandar came about because of the circulation of an SMS (purportedly from Hindraf) alleging that nasi kandar operators were involved in last Friday’s street protest at Komtar. The SMS even signed off with a cheeky ‘Makkal Sakti’.

Thanenthiran said the SMS was bullsh*t as Hindraf did not issue any such statement.

Unfortunately the boycott has began to bite in because business dropped by 10% to 15%.

I remember not too long ago there was another so-called boycott directed against Muslim restaurants by a Muslim body, calling for Muslims not to imbibe an American fizzy dark coloured drink ;-), because of American yadda yadda yadda. However, the boycott strangely targeted only one American drink but not another – ha ha ha!

Most people guessed it was more commercial sabotage rather than sincere boycott. Now, who‘s the naughty person responsible for the call to boycott nasi kandar? I'll be bloody annoyed if my favourite nasi kandar man in front of Mesjid Kapitan Kling has been affected.