Friday, April 5, 2019

The Rev Al Once Expounded on Architecture, Philosophy, Astrology [sic] and Math-a-Matics

The LA Times has noticed the Democratic candidates lining up to seek Rev Al Sharpton's political blessing (For Democrats, all paths to the White House run through the House of Sharpton) and seems to be silently screaming "no, please, don't!"
A glimpse at the guest list for the Rev. Al Sharpton’s confab here this week would surely astonish any New Yorker arriving in a time machine from the 1980s. Every major Democrat who has launched a White House bid has cleared their schedule to get in front of the Reverend.
Astonished? Oh, they've got that right.
But today, Sharpton’s approval is sought by political candidates far and near. The crusades he launched decades ago against police abuse and racist enforcement of drug laws — back when his issues were widely denigrated as fringe and his look ran to velour tracksuits, giant gold medallions and a pompadour the size of Queens — are now central to the speeches of almost every Democratic 2020 hopeful.

The lifelong preacher and political bomb thrower, the man New York mayors once did not want in their city, much less near their offices, says it is not he who has changed, but the nation’s politics.
The story hits the highlights of the Rev's long trail of trouble-making in New York during the '80s and '90s: the Tawana Brawley hoax, the firebombing of Freddie's Fashion Mart in Harlem that killed eight persons, and his instigating a mini-pogrom in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights.

But there is so much more. Especially the extraordinarily politically incorrect speech in which the Rev Al indulged just the day before yesterday. That alone ought to rule him out as an endorser of Democratic Party Presidential candidates, or so you would think.

Consider that gem of Rev Al rhetoric embedded above, which is from his '90s Afrocentrism period. He delivered it in a 1995 speech at Kean College, New Jersey.

I'd heard of that quote, but it is so perfectly stupid that it strains plausibility to think that even Rev Al really said that. And the reference to Trump makes it just too perfect. That had to be exaggerated if not invented, right? But then I found the audio.

If there are any Democratic candidates who have not yet kissed the Rev's ring, they should run, not walk, away.

Most Head Shakingly Bad Thing of the Week

2 Arkansas men don bullet-resistant vest, shoot each other - Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Ferris said he and Hicks had been on the deck drinking. Ferris was wearing a bullet-resistant vest. He told Hicks to shoot him, according to the affidavit. Hicks shot Ferris in the chest one time with a .22- caliber semi-automatic rifle. The bullet hit the top left corner of Ferris' chest. He said it hurt, according to the affidavit. Hicks then put on the vest. Ferris said he was angry about getting shot, and he "unloaded the clip" with the remaining five rounds into Hicks' back, according to the affidavit. None of the rounds penetrated the vest, according to the affidavit.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Former Afghanistan Hostage on Trial for Abusing his Wife

Caitlan Coleman is speaking now 

Today was the second day of testimony by Caitlan Coleman in the trial of her estranged husband, Joshua Boyle. See the details here.

Joshua Boyle is the weird Muslim-obsessed self-described "pacifist Mennonite hippie-child" from rural Canada who took his very young and very pregnant American wife on a walking tour of Afghanistan several years ago. They and their children ending up staying in Afghanistan and Pakistan for the next five years as the involuntary guests of the Haqqani network until they were rescued by Pakistani forces in 2017. See this post about their return to Canada.

Caitlan Coleman was eerily silent when they returned, saying nothing in press interviews. That was a clue. A few months after they returned, Boyle was charged with 19 counts of abusing her. The charges include assault with a weapon, sexual assault, and forcible confinement. The abuse took place both in Afghanistan and in Canada.

Caitlan's testimony is devastating, and if Boyle has a defense I haven't seen it. I recall that he put off a distinctly creepy vibe when he spoke to the news media back in 2017, but I couldn't have guessed the half of it.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

ISIS Defeat Ceremony Has U.S. Representation

Ambassador William Roebuck, U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, attended the Syrian Democratic Forces' ceremony for the defeat of ISIS today in Baghouz, Syria.

I'm pleased to see he was wearing comfortable shoes and no necktie. A practical man with common sense.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Most Head Shakingly Bad Thing of the Week

Human rights lawyer, 50, branded Air India crew 'money grabbing c***s' in mid-air rant after being refused bottle of wine and twice being caught smoking, court hears as she admits being drunk on an aircraft - Daily Mail

Favorite part: The lawyer, who is Oirish.

"An international human rights lawyer who launched a shocking tirade on a plane where she spat at a flight attendant has pleaded guilty to being drunk on an aircraft and assault ... The business class passenger demanded to speak to the pilot after cabin crew denied her another bottle of wine due to her level of intoxication."

"The lawyer, who is Irish, will be sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on April 4 after magistrates said the offence was too serious for them to deal with."

"She was given three bottles of wine with breakfast 'immediately after takeoff' but began to complain when she was refused more. Miss Smith said: 'She got up from her seat and began swearing and shouting. She was shouting that she was a 'f****** international lawyer' and telling them to 'f*** off'.' She also shouted: 'You f****** arses, you f****** Indian money-grabbing c****.' Burns then went into the toilet to try to light a cigarette before she was given a verbal warning three hours into the flight, the court heard ... She shouted: 'I have done so much for you f****** Indians and f****** Pakistanis, you should be grateful to me.' A cabin supervisor, Dastur Pervin, tried to intervene but she was also told to 'f*** off', shown the middle finger and assaulted, Miss Smith said ,,, After landing at Heathrow she was arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated public order, common assault and drunk and disorderly and taken to a west London police station."

Sunday, March 3, 2019

New Passport, Washington Grand Jury, Is Something Happening With Julian Assange?

Yes, that's the Julian Assange update theme song, in reference to the lightest-skinned person to ever come out of Australia.

Assange has been squatting in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 to evade extradition to Sweden in a rape case, charges which reportedly have now been dropped.

In September, Assange received a new Australian passport after several years without a valid one.

And now, we know Assange is the target of an active Federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia, AKA the Rocket Docket and the Fed's favorite jurisdiction for trying national security cases.

Does he really plan to spend the rest of his life in that Ecuadorian embassy? He's been an unhappy - and litigious - guest, so I don't suppose Ecuador would be sorry to see him leave.

The Swedes dropped their case against him after only six or seven years, but I doubt that he can wait out the U.S. government so easily. Meanwhile, he isn't getting any younger. He might as well come out and face the music.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

However it Ends for the ISIS Bride, She Did it Her Way

A photo shared by Hoda Muthana on her now-closed @ZumarulJanna Twitter account

The Program on Extremism at the George Washington University issued a report last year on the phenomenon of American foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq. Read it here: The Travelers, American Jihadists in Syria and Iraq. It mentions Hoda Muthana and has some general remarks about the American women, comprising eleven percent of the travelers, who went there to join ISIS.
In November 2014, 20-year-old Hoda Muthana (kunya: Umm Jihad) left her hometown of Hoover, Alabama, for Syria. Prior to her departure, she was active in the community of English-speaking IS supporters on Twitter and other social media sites, and continued her online presence after arriving in Syria.

-- snip --

Despite the small sample size, American jihadist women travelers help shed light on Western women’s participation in jihadist networks. The three women above, alongside others in the sample, defy conventional stereotypes about how and why women (especially Western women) participate in jihadist movements. Although many presume that female jihadists are duped into participation, and motivated by the personal pursuit of love or validation, their contributions and motivations for engagement vary as much as their male counterparts. Though often relegated to support roles, women’s more “traditional” efforts as the wives and mothers of jihadists are not necessarily passive either. American women were committed to the jihadist cause and decided to travel on their own accord. They also appear to have played significant roles in their respective jihadist organizations. Muthana highlights the role of Western women in networks of online jihadist supporters, Nasrin served in a critically important and understaffed non-combat position (in a hospital), and Mansfield may have been more directly involved in operations.

Where does Hoda Muthana go from here? Will she manage to fight the State Department and get her day in court on the matter of birthright citizenship? The complaint filed on her behalf makes some fascinating points, and I would not count her out. All we know for sure is that she has no caliphate to go back to after five years of living the ISIS life. She made her own decisions, and soon she'll have to own up to what she's done.

And now the end is near, and so she'll face the final curtain. My friend, she'll say it clear, she'll state her case, of which she's certain. She's lived a life that's full, and traveled each and every highway. And more, much more than this, she did it her way.

Regrets, she's had a few. But then again, too few to mention. She did what she had to do, and saw it through without exemption. She planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway. And more, much more than this, she did it her way.

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew, when she bit off more than she could chew. But through it all, when there was doubt she ate it up and spit it out. She faced it all and she stood tall, and did it her way.

She's loved, she's laughed and cried, she had her fill, her share of losing. And now, as tears subside she finds it all, all so amusing. To think she did all that, and may I say, not in a shy way, oh no, no not her, she did it her way.

For what is a woman, what has she got? If not herself, then she has naught. To say the things she truly feels, and not the words of one who kneels. The record shows she took the blows, and did it her-er-er-er way.