Straight Talk from a Republican Mayor Voting for Biden.

“I remember thinking this Trump thing is insane, but when it was down to him and Hillary, I kind of said, ‘Well, you are a Republican, and yeah he’s nuts, but maybe he’ll get better and you know he’s going to lower taxes,” Taylor said. “I slowly talked myself into it. ‘He can’t seriously be this deranged once he gets in there,’ and he’s even more deranged now than I thought then. So, I take the blame. I voted for him.”

‘As Netanyahu increasingly catered in recent years to the demands of religious-right-wing coalition partners who squeezed him for funding and favorable policies in exchange for their support, his base has shrunk from a once loose, wide-tent alliance of conservative voters to a smaller clique of true believers.’

And now he’s losing. Maybe Israel can save its democracy. But only if it can keep its religious reactionaries from their work of destruction.

Haredi Women’s Anthem

Yes, I’m Ready

(sing it)


(Haredi? Yes, haredi. Haredi? Yes, haredi.)

 I don't even know how to fight for the rights
That the law allows me to
But I'm ready (ready), to learn (to learn), yes I'm ready (ready),
To learn (to learn) - to show some guts
To show some guts, to show some guts, for myself

I don't want my daughters to be ignorant too
The way the rabbis want me to
So I'm ready (ready), to learn (to learn)
Yes I'm ready (ready) to learn (to learn)
To hold their hands, make them understand, take a stand
right now

I don't even know how to stop taking shit
(Stop taking shit) from a husband like this
But I'm going to learn how to do
All the things I need to do
 Are you ready (yes I'm ready), are you ready
(yes I'm ready),
To show some guts, to show some guts, to show some guts,
right now
Are you ready (yes I'm ready), are you ready
(yes I'm ready),
To be free (yes I'm ready),
To be free (kiss you, love you, hug you, babes...)

Masochism Deficiency Among Ultraorthodox Females: An Emergent Problem

A renegade group of Israel’s haredi women is complaining about breast cancer!

We care deeply about women’s health. The Health Ministry showed that breast cancer mortality is highest among Haredi women, and we tried to understand why. We saw that there were no public service announcements about the need for constant checkups. Women get tested too late. In our society, they don’t even call it breast cancer, but ‘the female affliction.’ … They use a hazy term because they are considered unchaste words. Haredi women have a unique lifestyle: They marry early, they get pregnant young and have many children, which has health effects, good and bad, but no one talks about this issue or allocates funds to address it. In 2014, we convened the Knesset committee for women’s equality to discuss the issue of ultra-Orthodox women’s health, and the Haredi lawmakers were a no-show, even though it concerned their mothers and their grandmothers.

What next? Political representation?

Our problems are the result of living in a democratic state without getting our democratic rights. The state must intervene… The law should be changed so that every party will have to include a certain number of women on its Knesset list… We were at the Knesset the day that Shas and United Torah Judaism submitted their lists. The election committee got two lists of 120 men, and no one batted an eye. What if some party said that they’re anti-Ethiopian? It’s undemocratic. I won’t agree to have my right of representation taken away. Right now, there’s no one representing 51 percent of the Haredi population… At the first stage, they should say: ‘You want a male-only list? No problem, but you’ll get only 50 percent of your election budget.’

And there’s that old chestnut: We do all the work, our husbands are fucking layabouts, and we are silent, invisible, and disenfranchised.

The ultra-Orthodox economy is on our shoulders, but our voices aren’t heard – not in the media, not in politics, not in the religious council or the local council. In other societies, your economic status gives you a certain social status as well, but not in a society whose values revolve around Torah study.

UD is beginning to worry about the viability of ultraorthodox Judaism. If it cannot continue to make its women glory in poverty, overwork, and social contempt, its future is in doubt.

Once again, sexists try to convince us that women are too weak and stupid to be terrorists.

It’s the folks at NPR this time, tut-tutting over Indonesia’s refusal to take back female and as well male ISIS people. The women were not, we are told, “seasoned fighters.” Why? By definition, I guess. Women can’t be seasoned fighters. They just can’t. They’re too frail to be fighters, much less seasoned. Sing it, Leila!

An interviewee assures NPR that ISIS women were merely “jihadi chattel married off to the next militant after their husband was killed,” so don’t worry about bringing them back to live among you! They’re just like Donald Trump and Elizabeth Taylor: serial marriers… Harmless, comic figures, really…

Begum’s Father Begins to Get It.

England really doesn’t want his daughter. She can exhaust every possible appeal, but it’s way unlikely that a British court will take her back. He’s living in Bangladesh where she can try claiming citizenship, and though Bangladesh doesn’t want this dangerous woman any more than England does, it just might let her in.


The national security argument heard in court was that Begum had aligned with the Islamist group not only by travelling to Syria but by remaining until nearly the last days of the self-styled caliphate, thus showing a high degree of commitment to it.

Security sources have gone further, suggesting Begum was a member of al-Hisba, Isis’s morality police, during which time she carried a Kalashnikov and had a reputation for strictness. Begum also allegedly “stitched suicide bombers into explosive vests”. These are all claims the intelligence community stands by, arguing that women are as capable as men of actively participating in a violent regime.

Does one really have to argue this? Isn’t the correct word “noting,” rather than arguing? Do we have to drag little Irma Ilse Ida Grese and company out yet again? “Legal proceedings, [one of Begum’s lawyers argues], ‘fail to provide swift and practical answers to such acute human predicaments as this’.” You said it babe, and that means that just as there’s no way to confirm intelligence claims that she shouldered a big ol’ gun etc. etc., there’s also no way to confirm claims she warnt so godawful bad as all that … It IS a fucking predicament; but nowhere is it written that an entire citizenry has to shoulder the uncertainty inherent in returning atrociously depraved people to its midst.


In a series of laws in the 00s, Labour allowed government to deprive anyone of citizenship, even if they had been born in Britain, if it was “conducive to the public good” to do so.

Poor Kenan Malik is deprived of his Right Wing Neo-fascists did it argument in yet another lame effort to urge that citizenship is a right that may under no circumstances be taken away. Labour signed off on the law allowing it to be taken away. “In 1870, MPs viewed citizenship as a right that should not be arbitrarily removed by the state.” Ah, the good old days. But of course no one is doing anything arbitrarily. It’s like saying, whenever a child is removed from grossly abusive parents, “parenthood is a right that should not be arbitrarily removed by the state.” I mean, there are justifiable circumstances in these matters, no?


In secular France, it would seem,

We all have the right to blaspheme.

If you’re worried that’s gone

Listen up to Macron:

It’s the heart of what makes France supreme.

Hey, who said we’re “21st century”?

“Shamima Begum should not be banished – banishing people belongs in the dark ages, not 21st-century Britain,” complains a person who thinks keeping Begum – a veteran ISIS member – out of England is a bad idea. But the British courts have now ruled unanimously that she can’t come back; she has a right to Bangladeshi citizenship, they point out, and should go and claim it. That ain’t banishment.

And anyway – England’s full of sharia law councils, and their decisions are way dark ages — at least for women! The more power England gives sharia courts, the darker the ages right in your own home town, hon. So no lecturing us about 21st-century Britain. To be sure, we ain’t in the ninth century – the century in which Begum opted to live – but, as the Council of Europe notes, we’re definitely backsliding.


UPDATE: And here’s how not to argue that Begum belongs back in England. Let’s take a close look at Aina Khan’s argument.

Headline: Shamima Begum is a product of Britain. She should face justice here.

What’s the logic of this? In an ecstasy of violence Begum repudiated England and joined the Islamic State. Just because the origins she rejected were British, she has to be tried in Britain? No. No reasonable trial can in any case be conducted, since no records exist of her activities in ISIS territory.

She’s a victim of child grooming by a death cult. And her banishment tells all ethnic minorities that they’re not seen as fully British.

Who says? Pure speculation, the bit about grooming. I mean, so she was a teenager. That doesn’t mean she was, in Khan’s word, “naive.” Richard Loeb was 18 when he murdered Bobby Franks. He wasn’t treated like a naive victim of grooming. The bit about her fate sealing the dire fate of all ethnic minorities in famously tolerant Britain is just bullshit. Fear mongering.

Khan says the public was “dismayed” when in an interview Begum boasted of feeling nothing when she saw severed heads. Let’s look at some sentences from the Cambridge Dictionary which use the word dismay.

She discovered, to her dismay, that she had locked her keys inside her car.

They enjoyed the meal but were dismayed by how much it cost.

She discovered, to her dismay, that her exam was a whole month earlier than she’d expected.

We discovered, to our dismay, that the ISIS member was fine with severed heads.

Last one doesn’t quite work, does it? Not quite strong enough.

[W]e need to know why a straight-A teenager from east London would willingly leave Britain to embrace a death cult.

Richard Loeb was a brilliant, straight-A teenager at the University of Chicago. Like straight-A Shamima, he felt great curiosity about/attraction to sadistically killing people. Smart doesn’t necessarily make you a good person, does it? Is it possible Aina Khan doesn’t know this? Is it also possible she’s unaware of the contradiction involved in arguing that Begum was super-smart and au même moment so sub-basement stupid as to find an ISIS come-on irresistibly seductive? Weawy?

The rest of her opinion piece is more insistence that the Begum precedent means that if Khan, as a minority, jaywalks, she could be sent back to the country where her grandparents were born. Gevalt.


It gets worse. At least Khan bothers arguing her case. This dude doesn’t even try. Way to come across like a scolding, arrogant, elitist.

Most other universities in Egypt will join in the niqab ban that originated in Cairo University.

The decision [at one university] includes the entire female academic staff, in addition to the medical staff and nurses who… teach classes and… lecture.

The decision was taken “based on a recent court ruling by Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court and following reports presented by managers of the university’s teaching hospitals and deans of faculties who claimed they frequently received complaints from students against having to deal with fully veiled female members of staff or workers at the university,” Ain Shams University President Mahmoud al-Metiny said in a statement.

He stressed that the decision was also made to ensure the rights of patients, and for the best interest of university work.

Let’s unswaddle that highlighted bit, okay? Frequent complaints from students about “having to deal with fully veiled…”

Naughty Islamophobes. Boo.

Okay, let’s move on and try to understand what possible objection people trying to learn things might have to invisible professors inside fanatics’ clothing. Or to doctors and nurses they can’t see. Hm… hm…


Dershowitz’s l’etat, c’est moi argument in front of the nation has sent the country’s defense apparatus into a spin. The Pentagon’s first act: Banning him from the well of the Senate and letting the tabloids take over as his sudden flight to Miami (“the Harvard professor surfaced in Florida”) becomes a diverting sideshow. Operation Send Out the Clown smuggles the 81-year-old to the retirement capital of the world and keeps him there under supervision, allowing him out for media appearances so demented as to make the president look normal. Long-range goal: With Thomas Markle as their model, intelligence strategists will allow Alan Dershowitz’s gibbering self-regard to reduce him to an innocuous joke.

Kim Ghattas on the “Black Wave” in the Middle East.

The darkness that engulfed the region … was described by the Egyptian film director Youssef Chahine as a black wave that had come from the Gulf and swept the region, shrouding women in black as the use of the Saudi-style abaya and niqab, previously unknown in countries like Egypt, began to spread. Dozens of Egypt’s beloved and famed actresses gave up low-cut dresses and big hairdos to don the niqab, with encouragement and alleged payment from rich Saudis. In 1985, a small minority of books published in Egypt were of a religious nature. By 1995, 85 percent of books on show at the Cairo book fair were religious.

In Lebanon, the black wave came from Tehran, as Iran began to export its revolution. The chador, the all-enveloping black cloth, spread in Shia villages and in the southern suburbs of Beirut. It had been previously worn only by deeply conservative women, mostly wives of clerics. Liquor shops were closed, music disappeared, the black flags of mourning for Imam Hussein, one of the most revered religious figures in Shia Islam, fluttered from lampposts, and the slogan “We are all Khomeini” was scribbled on the walls of posh Beirut shopping streets. The flags, the chador, the niqab, the sectarian hatred, and the threats of apostasy all shaped a new collective consciousness that is only now being challenged by the younger generation.


Burqa/niqab bans in Western countries are a crucial form of support for this challenge.

Eventually the forces of fanaticism will recede. The swaddled masses yearning to breathe free will breathe.

Update on the ISIS-generated collapse of the Norwegian government.

I guess ISIS – what’s left of it – can claim this as a major victory. The seasoned terrorist Norway now harbors – a person who refused to give medical authorities her dying child until she brokered a deal to get her own ass out of al-Hol camp – is so dangerous and degenerate and expensive and awful that Norway’s crucial governing partners pulled out of that country’s coalition in protest against the decision to let her in, and the government has collapsed.

Don’t hold your breath for the in-solidarity-with-this-poor-mother march through the streets of Oslo.

So, let’s review.

Point One: All women in al-Hol camp are, like this woman, innocent.

She continues to claim she’s innocent of the terrorism charges against her, while setting off the threat of a government crisis that was more real than ever Monday morning…

The 29-year-old woman at the center of the conflict, meanwhile, continues to claim that she had nothing to do with actual terrorist activities over the past several years. Newspaper Aftenposten has reported that she’s charged with traveling to the Middle East in 2013 and being involved first with the Al-Qaida-linked terror group Jabhat al-Nusra and later the Islamic State (IS).

She has told Aftenposten, however, that she merely was looking for a way to avoid being forced by her family in Oslo to marry a Pakistani cousin. She was born in Pakistan…

Born in Pakistan. Is she a citizen of Pakistan? Can she apply for Pakistani citizenship? And how plausible that in order to avoid a forced marriage she decided her best move was to join a terrorist organization that matched her with serial sperm depositors! For seven years. The women in al-Hol are the last holdouts of ISIS – she fought to the bitter end.

Point Two: ‘[H]er defense attorney has argued that it will be difficult to prove any actual terrorist activity.’ Uh, yeah. Why do you think countries don’t want terrorists back? I mean, aside from the obvious, which is that they’re terrorists. Because it will be difficult to prove any actual terrorist activity. I mean, haha, define your terms! One man’s ISIS fanatic is another man’s Aunt Bee! Plus listen – turns out things get pretty chaotic in seventh-century cults/war zones… Turns out people don’t keep records! I mean, maybe this woman kept a diary, like Earnest’s Gwendolyn, to have something sensational to read in the train! Today I whipped my Yazidi slave until she bled. The weather still continues charming. Let’s check it out during her custody hearing!

Point Three: ‘Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide reported that claims would be lodged against the woman to pay for her own travel expenses back to Norway.’ Travel expenses, security expenses, medical expenses, housing expenses, child care, court costs – we’re right on it! Her work as the camp IT specialist earned her massive bucks, some of which will go toward a villa in Palo Alto, but a portion of which will come right to us, the government of Norway. Don’t worry that your tax dollars are paying for your country to fly back, surveil, and house a Pakistani-born, veteran ISIS fanatic.

Something for UD to like, and something for Mr UD to like, in the New York Times Presidential Endorsements.

They’ve endorsed two candidates this time around: Elizabeth Warren (my pick) and Amy Klobuchar (about whom Mr UD is enthusiastic).

The ‘Fuck the Veil’ Movement Proceeds Apace.

Not that Iran cares about so many of its women – including a high-profile Olympics champ, who has defected to the Netherlands – very militantly casting off compulsory veiling. Put them in jail if they’re here; ignore them if they’re there… But swaddled masses yearning to breathe free can prove quite pesky if they’re truly able to… mass. We shall see. Indications are excellent. Even in places you’d never expect it.

Ho! Minibus.

Should provide interesting ultrapissed ultraorthodox viewing.

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