Student yanked off flight for cellphone conversation about chicken dinner – in Arabic

The crime of Flying while Muslim

A college student who came to the United States as an Iraqi refugee was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight in California earlier this month after another passenger became alarmed when she heard him speaking Arabic.

The student, Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, a senior at the University of California, Berkeley, was taken off a flight from Los Angeles International Airport to Oakland on April 6 after he called an uncle in Baghdad to tell him about an event he attended that included a speech by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

“I was very excited about the event so I called my uncle to tell him about it,” he said.

He told his uncle about the chicken dinner they were served and the moment when he got to stand up and ask the secretary general a question about the Islamic State, he said. But the conversation seemed troubling to a nearby passenger, who told the crew she overheard him making “potentially threatening comments,” the airline said in a statement.

Mr. Makhzoomi, 26, knew something was wrong as soon as he finished his phone call and saw that a woman sitting in front of him had turned around in her seat to stare at him, he said. She headed for the airplane door soon after he told his uncle that he would call again when he landed, and qualified it with a common phrase in Arabic, “inshallah,” meaning “god willing.”

“That is when I thought, ‘Oh, I hope she is not reporting me,’ because it was so weird,” Mr. Makhzoomi said.

That is exactly what happened

An Arabic-speaking Southwest Airlines employee of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent came to his seat and escorted him off the plane a few minutes after his call ended, he said. The man introduced himself in Arabic and then switched to English to ask, “Why were you speaking Arabic in the plane?”

The employee spoke to him “like I was an animal.”…“I said to him, ‘This is what Islamophobia got this country into,’ and that made him so angry. That is when he told me I could not go back on the plane.”

Law enforcement officials arrived shortly after Mr. Makhzoomi accused the airline employee of anti-Muslim bias, he said. He was brought into the terminal and searched in front of a crowd of onlookers while half a dozen police officers, including one with a dog, stood watch.

Three agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrived and brought him into a private room where they questioned him, he said…A spokeswoman for the F.B.I. in Los Angeles, Ari Dekofsky, confirmed that agents responded to the airport that day but had found there to be no threat. “We determined that no further action was necessary,”…

Mr. Makhzoomi was able to book a new flight on Delta Air Lines and arrived in Oakland eight hours after he originally planned. He said he has no plans to pursue legal action against Southwest Airlines but he does want the company to apologize for the way its employees treated him.

Politically correct speech and behavior is a practice that originated with our Right-wingers and is institutionalized throughout our culture. Republican candidates lie about PC and try to lay it off as a Liberal phenomenon – mostly because they don’t wish to deal with the racism and bigotry of American linguistics.

Chickenshit politicians blather with false pride about everything from menstruation to racism, rejecting criticism as political correctness. At the same time, they consider discriminatory behavior like this event justified as better safe than sorry. A funny way to describe ignorance and cowardice.

BTW, I date American PC from the time I witnessed “In God We Trust” put on our currency and “Under God” stuffed into the Pledge of Allegiance. By the craven politicians who knelt before the very politically-correct Joseph McCarthy.

The face of fracking in North Dakota

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In 2006, Eli Reichman began photographing a ranching community in the fracking fields of western North Dakota. For the last decade, he has documented the cultural and social breakdown of an agricultural community being pressured to compromise in order to stay on land originally homesteaded by their ancestors in the early 1900s.

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Click through to the slide show/article. It ain’t just fracking of course. This is what oil and gas development looks like everywhere, fracking or not. Arable land dies and so does the lifestyle. Roughnecks and drillers move on.

A manifesto for new politics in Canada

Click on the image to reach the LEAP home page

From the headlines screaming outrage on the front pages of Canada’s newspapers, you’d think the New Democratic Party had shuttered their convention doors, armed themselves and made for Edmonton’s solitary hills…

Was it passionate concern speaking for the future of Canada’s social democratic party? Hardly. If the NDP’s membership had supported Thomas Mulcair instead of unseating him, if convention debates had proceeded spiritlessly instead of firing up over a bold roadmap, the media and political establishment would have quietly celebrated. Their hysteria is calculated to snuff out what they saw on display: sparks of rebirth in Canada’s political left.

The whiners, of course, offered up the same blather when the NDP was founded. I was fortunate enough to meet in Detroit with a number of folks from Canadian locals in the UAW when the prep work was first in motion. Dedicated, brave – and certainly aware of the resistance waiting for them from the conservative and so-called liberal political forces in Canada.

Here’s what they would prefer: a NDP shackled to a political consensus that has gripped countries like Canada for decades. This consensus tells us that we should leave our fate to the market. That millions of us should get up every morning and be satisfied to earn our poverty, to subsidize giant corporations with our tax dollars, and to watch powerlessly while inequalities widen, our debts deepen, and the planet’s climate cooks.

It turns out NDP members may have other ideas: to seize the chance to transform their party into a more grassroots and principled electoral option that full-frontally rejects this status quo. They understand that they missed their chance at power by allowing Trudeau to present himself as a bolder alternative; and they have watched the rise of unapologetic socialists like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn in the US and Britain with growing hope and excitement…

The Leap Manifesto is not a party platform. It is not a comprehensive blueprint. It is a new story about the kind of country we could have, if we treat the crises we face with the urgency they deserve — and with the politics they demand…

The breadth of this vision is reflected in the diversity of hands that wrote it: labour unionists, migrant rights activists, food policy experts and feminists, Indigenous leaders and environmentalists and anti-poverty organizers. Would it be unaffordable? Not if we put our hands on the obscene wealth sloshing around in corporate bank accounts and being siphoned offshore. None of this is politically extreme: but it is a break from the well-guarded parameters of “respectable” politics in Canada.

It’s a hoot to see Canadians looking south to the example of Bernie Sanders. I not only wish them all the success in the world in their endeavor. There is a ton of discussion and settling down to accomplish. I also wish the same to Sanders supporters here in the GOUSA.

If the Democrats are incapable of adjusting to a changed generation and a changing society, to a new fight demanding new understanding and courage – then, an American version of the NDP is called for. A LEAP manifesto for the United States.