March 13, 2013
NYC Letter: Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis I
HABEMUS PAPAM FRANCISCUM— Pontifex (@Pontifex) March 13, 2013
The new Pope in 10 tweets (and other stuff).
Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum;
Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum,
Dominum Georgium Marium
Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem Bergoglio
qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum
Pope Francis to lead Sunday Angelus; installation will be 9:30am on March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph - bit.ly/X7ONJZ— New Advent (@newadvent) March 13, 2013
Here is a quick backgrounder on the new Pope.
JORGE MARIO BERGOGLIO
[Picture source: Rome Reports/YouTube]
In our hyper-transient world of hashtags & Internet memes, it's comforting to see a 2,000-yr-old institution stand athwart history.— Jon Gabriel (@ExJon) March 13, 2013
The choice of papal name can signal the direction of the Pontificate. Ed Morrissey at Hot Air muses:
This name has a lot of meaning for Catholics -- Francis of Assisi was credited with reforming the Catholic Church in the 13th century through humility, simplicity, and works of charity.
As a Jesuit, the choice of the name Francis, the first in a papal history full of Piuses and Benedicts, could not be more significant. Francis Xavier was the co-founder, along with Ignatius of Loyola, of the Jesuit order in the 16th century. Xavier is the church's most renowned missionary, spreading the word of God to India and as far east as Japan.
The media is a bit discombobulated that a Catholic should attain the Petrine Sedes.
MSM shocked to learn the Pope doesn't hold the same Catholic beliefs of Nancy Pelosi.— Razor (@hale_razor) March 13, 2013
Make it stop.
CARACAS March 13, 2013 (Reuters) - Late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez's influence may have stretched into the afterlife and had a hand in Christ's decision to opt for a Latin American Pope, acting President Nicolas Maduro said on Wednesday at a Caracas book fair:We know that our commander ascended to the heights and is face-to-face with Christ. Something influenced the choice of a South American pope, someone new arrived at Christ's side and said to him: 'Well, it seems to us South America's time has come.'
Typically headlines do not pose conspicuously stupid hypotheticals. "Nudge Christ"? Reuters here attempts to waft away the sulphuric stink of Mr. Chávez's new afterlife friends.
For our non-Catholic skimmers and to delight hostile secularists and know-nothing pundits, we take this opportunity to illustrate that when not pronouncing ex cathedra on faith or morals as Pope, the Pope is not infallible. To wit.
Pope on 'Malvinas': “We come to pray for...sons of the country who went out..to reclaim that which is theirs and was usurped from them.”— Tunku Varadarajan (@tunkuv) March 13, 2013
Malvinas, that's the Falkland Islands for the geographically impaired.
Same people who said four years was too soon to judge Obama's record have pegged the new Pope in JUST THREE HOURS.— Razor (@hale_razor) March 13, 2013
BREAKING: Pope Francis Resigns onion.com/YauLCa— The Onion (@TheOnion) March 14, 2013
Hey! Just kidding. It's The Onion.
Miserando atque eligendo.
With mercy and choosing.
February 11, 2013
NYC Letter: Benedictus PP. XVI Resigns
There are few true surprises in today's gossipy news world.
"BENEDICT XVI LEAVES THE PAPACY"
Sede Vacante Begins 8:00P On February 28
[Picture source: L'Osservatore Romano via Whispers In The Loggia]
ROME February 11, 2013 (NYT) - Citing advanced years and infirmity, Pope Benedict XVI stunned the Roman Catholic world on Monday by saying that he would resign on Feb. 28 after less than eight years in office, the first pope to do so in six centuries. [Ed: The last pope to resign was Gregory XII in 1415.]
The Pope made his announcement at the end of Monday's Ordinary Public Consistory. It can be read in its entirety here. By design or circumstance the announcement was coincident with the Church's annual World Day Of The Sick and the anniversary of the Lateran Accords (February 11, 1929), which made the Holy See a sovereign city-state with the Roman pontiff its absolute monarch.
The announcement plunged the Roman Catholic world into intense speculation about who will succeed him and seemed likely to inspire many contrasting evaluations of a papacy that was seen as both conservative and contentious [Ed.: As seen by the NYT.].
... At a news conference, the Vatican spokesman said the pope did not express strong emotion as he made his announcement but spoke with "great dignity, great concentration and great understanding of the significance of the moment."
At eight years, Benedict's service beats the papal median of two years over the 266 legitimate papacies.
BLOG February 5, 2013 (wmbriggs.com/) - The first Pope, St Peter, a buff fisherman nicknamed "The Rock", had the longest go thus far, at about 36 years... Blessed Pius IX, with 33 years served from 1846 to 1878 came in second place behind St Peter. Blessed John Paul II was second runner up and sat in office from 1978 to 2005.
The shortest term of office, rounded to the nearest year, was 0 years by Stephen II in Anno Domini 752, who was made Chief "but on the third day after his election, whilst transacting some domestic affairs, he was struck with apoplexy, and expired on the next day." ... John Paul I served for only 33 days in 1978.
... Serving just 2 years was the most common, with about half of all Popes serving 6 or fewer years.
Worth the full read.
As with all things Catholic, the donkeys were quick with their jackassery.
Call me crazy, but I think the next Pope should be someone who didn't help cover up child rape.Tho,that may disqualify every single cardinal— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) February 11, 2013
Much worse here.
Why does the disposition of the Petrine Ministry matter?
The Catholic Church is arguably the most important single institution in the world. Even if you're not Catholic, this matters.— Joshua Treviño (@jstrevino) February 11, 2013
Yes, it is. Yes, it does.
February 05, 2013
NYC Letter: Missing From The Headlines -- Mitt Romney
Day 1,472 of CHOPE
D-minus 1,447 Days
Mr. Romney does good. [Pause.] To no political advantage.
January 31, 2013 (BZF) - The contribution came a month after Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast and three weeks after the election was over. The campaign didn't advertise its charity.
More from The Hill:
Romney then converted scheduled campaign rallies into "storm relief" efforts in key swing states, asking supporters to bring donations and supplies. Campaign workers helped pack and ship the disaster relief supplies to areas in need.
... The Romney campaign also said that Ann and Mitt Romney had made a personal donation to the Red Cross, although it did not disclose the amount.
Compare that to these other no-play headlines.
January 4, 2013 (Blaze) - During an interview on Fox News Friday, Hurricane Sandy victim Scott McGrath went off on President Barack Obama and politicians in Washington who have allowed the nation to rack up debt while neglecting its own citizens.
... McGrath lamented the fact that nearly two months later, many Sandy victims still need aid and Congress has only been able to put forth a pork-filled bill that will only partially help those affected by the storm.
"He's a phony. He's a liar," McGrath said of Obama. "He said to [me] face to face, that he is going to cut the red tape. We're two months now no red tape's been cut."
November 22, 2012 (NorthJersey.com) - Vanzant has been moved by the many kindnesses she received from friends, family and customers. She heard from countless people after the photograph of her hug with the president was published, including from strangers as far away as Vietnam who wished her well.
She said she was honored to meet Obama, but she is also frustrated that she has yet to receive help from either her insurance companies or the government. "The president told me I would get immediate help," she said.
"Looking back on it, it wasted a lot of people’s time," she said of the visit.
The future of the North Point Marina remains uncertain. "I am just moving minute by minute, because the insurance companies are telling me no, no, no!" she said.
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air comments on the story:
It's easy for politicians to fly into a disaster area and make promises, but it's a lot more difficult to deliver on them. last month, when Barack Obama visited New Jersey in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, he told the victims of the storm that he would blow away the red tape to help them out -- and made a promise to one person in particular that his administration would get her business back on its feet. Donna Vanzant provided Obama with a memorable photo op, but became quickly forgotten in the bureaucracy Obama promised to waive."It's frustrating for me that that picture is even out there right now."
After losing her entire marina business, of which she estimates a $500,000 loss, she told Fox and Friends' Brian Kilmeade that her hope has been dashed in the month that followed the photo.
'I was very excited and felt warmed by the embrace, thinking, 'This is really gonna happen, I'm going to get the help I need, because you promised that.' And it's been almost a month now and I've gotten no help," she said.
Believe it or not, because the destruction was caused by the storm waters rising in a flood instead of falling down, financial assistance from insurance has been null. Vanzant says her only option offered by FEMA was to 'get a loan' at six percent interest, but she says she wouldn't be able to make the monthly payments at such a rate.
... This story will move today on the premise of "Obama breaks his promise", but that will miss the point, at least in part. The more salient point is that Obama had no chance at all of keeping it, either to Vanzant or to the others whom he promised a streamlined process. Large bureaucracies don’t move that way, and FEMA stopped being a relatively nimble organization years ago. Only a bureaucracy would assume that a loan at 6% would assist in a situation like this, where the business environment as well as the business itself has been destroyed or badly damaged.
November 15, 2012 (WaEx) - President Obama, touring parts of New York City slammed by Hurricane Sandy, was chided by a girl for ignoring the disaster.
As the president waded through a supply center, a girl who was waiting for goods told a reporter, "We need help -- he should of been here a long time ago," according to the White House pool report.
Obama has received little criticism [from the media] for the federal government's handling of the disaster which is still crippling areas of New York where many families remain homeless or without power.
Of course, not everybody was without a big headline.
OP-ED October 29, 2012 (NYT) - Disaster coordination is one of the most vital functions of "big government", which is why Mitt Romney wants to eliminate it. At a Republican primary debate last year, Mr. Romney was asked whether emergency management was a function that should be returned to the states. He not only agreed, he went further.
"Absolutely," he said. "Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better." Mr. Romney not only believes that states acting independently can handle the response to a vast East Coast storm better than Washington, but that profit-making companies can do an even better job. He said it was "immoral" for the federal government to do all these things if it means increasing the debt.
It’s an absurd notion, but it's fully in line with decades of Republican resistance to federal emergency planning.
Government fails and the indubitable NYT solution is more government. The NYT depends on a readership that is this dumb.
Mr. Obama signs a big fat $50 billion relief bill loaded with Harry Reid specials. Mr. Romney donates personal funds and cash from his campaign* to direct relief. Proportionally, which does more immediate good?
* The Obama campaign is busted, perhaps explaining its lack of "wealth spread around". We looked but could find no reports of Mr. Obama's personal donations to Sandy relief. Perhaps this publicity-shy president has taken pains not to have his mite advertised.
August 06, 2012
NYC Letter: XXX Olympiad Notes
We haven't paid much attention to the London Summer Games. Here's some skim.
Let's begin with important stuff. The logo is plain God-awful. What it is supposed to mean or project or suggest or shape -- all these are mysteries. It has been likened to Lisa Simpson performing a sex act. We didn't see that till we read it and now that's all we see.
At this writing China and America are the top two medal winners, 64 and 63, respectively. China tops America in Gold (31/29) and Silver (19/15) with America leading in Bronze (14/19). Some may see America's dominance of third place as a metaphor for Mr. Obama's step-down of American power.
Surprisingly North Korea has made a strong show pulling down medals (4-0-1, currently in 11th place overall). It is fielding 58 athletes in 11 sports. Good North Korean medalists know they "didn't win that". Sure enough, somebody else made that happen and that somebody is Dear Leader Kim Jong Un.
August 3, 2012 (RFA) - North Korea has won two gold medals in men's weightlifting, one in women's weightlifting, and one in women's judo. It also won a bronze in women's weightlifting.
... The acceptance speeches by An Gum Ae, a judoka who won North Korea’s first gold medal, Om Yun Chol, a North Korean weightlifter who won gold setting a world record, and Kim Un Guk, another North Korean weightlifting world record setter, were almost identical.
"[I’m] really happy that I was able to give our leader, Kim Jong Un, joy with my gold medal," said An when collecting her gold.
"Thanks to our Dear Leader’s love and support, I was able to win the gold medal," said Om Yun Chol when receiving his hardware.
... Rim Jong Sim, who took gold in weightlifting on Aug. 1, simply expressed her happiness in pleasing Kim, but several foreign reporters at the ceremony burst into laughter before they even heard the translation, once they recognized the "Dear Leader’s" name in her speech.
Journalists have stopped interviewing the North Koreans, according to one British reporter from Reuters news agency who said that no matter what questions the athletes were asked, the answers were "always the same".
... Kim Un Guk provided, perhaps, a tad more insight on how he was able to enter the record books:Our supreme Dear Leader, Kim Jong Un, encouraged us, the athletes, and is waiting for the results of the games. That’s the secret of setting the world record.
NORTH KOREA'S KEY TO OLYMPIC MEDALS:
REFRIGERATORS FOR WINNERS,
LABOR CAMP THREAT FOR LOSERS
SEOUL, South Korea August 2, 2012 (ABC News)
Olympic records are made off the field as well as on.
August 2, 2012 (Eater) - A Reddit user (who has since deleted their account) posted a photo of this receipt and commented, "My friend's a waiter and this is a receipt for an official lunch for 15 Olympic Bosses in London. Now we see where all the money's going." While the authenticity of the receipt can't be verified, the total racks up to £44,660.26 (about $69,424.37), which works out to approximately £2,977.35 (about $4,628.29 per person). Most of the stuff on the bill — ice cream, vegetable fried rice, fruits — isn't particularly exorbitant, especially for a party of that size.
But things do tend to get a little crazy when one decides to accompany all of that with a bottle of Hennessy 1853, priced at £19,000. The post does not reveal the name of the restaurant.
It appears St. John's* co-owner Trevor Gulliver was right when he said, "Every single sports federation across all sports across the world, every event organizer, politician, agent, sponsor, sponsors' client, sports lobbyist, celebrity — if they are on expenses — they will be here."
We leave you with the confusion over at BuzzFeed.
OLYMPICS OR GAY PORN?
It's Hard To Tell Sometimes.
August 1, 2012 (BF)
* St. John is a posh English restaurant on St John Street in Smithfield, London, specializing in "nose to tail eating". Here's what's on the menu Crispy Pig's Cheek & Dandelion, Roast Bone Marrow & Parsley Salad, Dried Salted Pig's Liver with Radishes & Boiled Egg, Lamb Tongues with Borlotti Beans & Rocket, Roast Ox Liver & Borlotti Beans, also, as available on the whim of the kitchen, ducks' hearts, trotters, pigs' tails, and, when in season, squirrel. The menu reflects a devotional interest in offal or "variety meats", the viscera and trimmings of a butchered animal considered inedible by humans -- by most humans.
January 23, 2012
NYC Letter: Department Of Wish We Knew -- John Kerry's Busted Face
Day 1,097 of CHOPE
Mr. Kerry's aquiline hooter has been smashed, his eyes blackened.
[Picture source: Weasel Zippers]
January 23, 2011 (CBS News) - BOSTON (CBS) – Senator John Kerry surprised a few people at the Boston Bruins Stanley Cup ceremony at the White House Monday afternoon.
The 68-year-old senator had two black eyes and a swollen nose.
His spokeswoman Whitney Smith told WBZ-TV Kerry broke his nose playing ice hockey recently. Smith would not elaborate. There has been no comment from Kerry yet.
What? Was his face the puck? [Pause.] Obviously not a friendly game.
A bit more here.
June 30, 2011
NYC Letter: Good News/Not So Good News -- The Internet
The good news.
Spam -- the Internet's original sin -- dropped for the first time ever at the end of 2010. In September, Cisco System's IronPort group was tracking 300 billion spam messages per day. By April, the volume had shrunk to 34 billion per day, a remarkable decline. "The largest spam-sending botnets are being shut down and a lot of the big pharmaceutical spam has disappeared," said Nilesh Bhandari, a product manager with Cisco.
Hurrah! Less spam.
And the not so good news.
MASSIVE BOTNET 'INDESTRUCTIBLE,' SAY RESEARCHERS
4.5M-strong Botnet 'Most Sophisticated Threat Today'
To Windows PCs
June 29, 2011 (Computerworld) - "TDL-4," the name for both the bot Trojan that infects machines and the ensuing collection of compromised computers, is "the most sophisticated threat today," said Kaspersky Labs researcher Sergey Golovanov in a detailed analysis Monday.
"[TDL-4] is practically indestructible," Golovanov said.
"I wouldn't say it's perfectly indestructible, but it is pretty much indestructible," said Joe Stewart, director of malware research at Dell SecureWorks and an internationally-known botnet expert, in an interview today.
That's pretty much agreement.
For one thing, said Golovanov, TDL-4 infects the MBR, or master boot record, of the PC with a rootkit -- malware that hides by subverting the operating system. The master boot record is the first sector -- sector 0 -- of the hard drive, where code is stored to bootstrap the operating system after the computer's BIOS does its start-up checks.
Because TDL-4 installs its rootkit on the MBR, it is invisible to both the operating system and more, importantly, security software designed to sniff out malicious code.
But that's not TDL-4's secret weapon.
What makes the botnet indestructible is the combination of its advanced encryption and the use of a public peer-to-peer (P2P) network for the instructions issued to the malware by command-and-control (C&C) servers.
... TDL-4's makers use the botnet to plant additional malware on PCs, rent it out to others for that purpose and for distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, and to conduct spam and phishing campaigns. Kaspersky said TDL-4 has installed nearly 30 different malicious programs on the PCs it controls.
Bummer. More malware. Super indestructible malware. SUPER bummer.
February 28, 2011
NYC Letter: Ted Kennedy Is Dead Redux
Day 767 of CHOPE
De mortuis nil nisi verum dicendum est
Ted Kennedy is dead. [Funereal pause.]
Mr. Kennedy was a testament to the power of money. Not too bright. Not heroic. A moral opportunist. A lothario, a boozer. A cheat. Presumptuous. Crude (and this). He was unsuited for public service. [Heavy pause.] He served for 48 years -- the last sure thing in Massachusetts politics that money could buy.
As we note above, he is dead, so you ask, why not let him be? Because, incurious skimmer, his bizarre legacy lives on. We recently came across this, wholly ignored in the media eulogies:
August 28, 2009 (Forbes) - Picking his way through the Soviet archives that Boris Yeltsin had just thrown open, in 1991 Tim Sebastian, a reporter for the London Times, came across an arresting memorandum. Composed in 1983 by Victor Chebrikov, the top man at the KGB, the memorandum was addressed to Yuri Andropov, the top man in the entire USSR. The subject: Sen. Edward Kennedy.
"On 9-10 May of this year," the May 14 memorandum explained, "Sen. Edward Kennedy's close friend and trusted confidant [John] Tunney was in Moscow." (Tunney was Kennedy's law school roommate and a former Democratic senator from California.) "The senator charged Tunney to convey the following message, through confidential contacts, to the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Y. Andropov."
Kennedy's message was simple. He proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. ... "Tunney remarked that the senator wants to run for president in 1988," the memorandum continued.
... Kennedy proved eager to deal with Andropov -- the leader of the Soviet Union, a former director of the KGB and a principal mover in both the crushing of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and the suppression of the 1968 Prague Spring -- at least in part to advance his own political prospects.
Now, before Mr. Kennedy's hagiographers complain, how dare you question the senator's patriotism, we preemptively ask, what patriotism is that?
More recently, vintage Kennedy.
WASHINGTON February 25, 2011 (Judicial Watch) - Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained previously redacted material from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) file of the late Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy, who died in August 2009 from brain cancer.
... Among the statements previously withheld but now made available to Judicial Watch:
"While Kennedy was in Santiago he made arrangements to ‘rent’ a brothel for an entire night. Kennedy allegedly invited one of the Embassy chauffeurs to participate in the night’s activities."
Sharing his plenty with the working stiff.
Requiescat in pace.
September 05, 2007
Who wants to buy Guevara's hair?
I admit that if I had money to throw away, I'd be tempted by the pictures of his dead body ;)
¡Viva el capitalismo!
A former CIA operative and Cuban exile plans to auction what he says is a lock of Che Guevara's hair, snipped before the Argentinean revolutionary and friend of Fidel Castro was buried in 1967.
Gustavo Villoldo, 71, was involved in Guevara's capture in the jungles of Bolivia, according to unclassified American records and other documents. He plans to auction the hair and other items kept in a scrapbook since the joint CIA-Bolivian army mission 40 years ago.
"It's time for me to put the past behind and pass these on to someone else," said Mr. Villoldo, also a veteran of the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.
The scrapbook also holds a map used to track down Guevara in Bolivia, photos of Guevara's body, intercepted messages between Guevara and his rebels, and a set of Guevara's fingerprints taken before his burial.
January 08, 2007
Poland welcomes the execution of Saddam
Nothing new here - and on top of that I'm late - but I was glad to read this. Some people still have a sense of decency in the West.
The Polish government expressed support for the hanging of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, DPA reported Saturday.
Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Kowal told Polish radio that although he opposes the death penalty, he would make an exception in the case of Saddam.
Iraqis will soon forget Saddam, the Polish official said.
December 31, 2006
Saddam's hanging video
Now that's a start :)
For a translation of what's being said, go to Healing Iraq.
(Thanks to Jay)
December 30, 2006
"No use whatsoever"
Of course he was afraid, just like those who are defending him today.
Ali says he followed Saddam up the gallows steps, escorted by two guards. He stood over the hole and filmed from close quarters as Saddam dropped through—from "me to you," he said, crouching down to show how he shot the scene. The distance, he said, was "about one meter," he said. "He died absolutely, he died instantly." Ali said Saddam's body twitched, "shaking, very shaking," but "no blood," he said, and "no spit."
When the thudding of helicopters began, the body guards rushed towards the entrance to the landing zone. They swarmed around Ali, snapping digital pictures on camera phones and cheering. "Saddam finished, Saddam finished," a guard who gave his name as Mohammed told NEWSWEEK. Ali looked somewhat stunned as he exited, carrying the camera.
"All Iraqis will be happy," he says. "This is the most important day for me [as a cameraman,]" he said. "This page [in history] is over, this page is over. All Iraqis will be happy from the north to the south to the east to the west." One of the judges who presided over the execution then came out to the street; Ali jumped in a car with him. The convoy of SUVs drove off, one after the other, with the occasional honk of the horn.
2006 ending with celebrations
UPDATE: CNN has a video of the beginning of the execution.
Good luck to the new Iraq for the New Year. Your enemies, notably those that refused to give you the chance to govern yourself and to try freedom, are still here.
September 05, 2006
Smoker’s International Airways
I just love this.
This is the market - in French understand the law of the jungle - at its best.
Free individuals taking a risk - can you hear the leftists scream at the sound of the word risk (and free, and individuals)? - and refusing to let any government dictate the way they should live their lives.
With a growing number of countries choosing to ban smoking in public places, it is an idea that might seem inopportune. But Mr. Schoppmann, a German entrepreneur, is hoping to take advantage of smokers’ resentment at efforts to further curb where they can smoke by giving them their own airline, Smoker’s International Airways.
As the name suggests, the airline, known as Smintair, will probably not be for the faint of lung. The carrier, expected to begin luxury service with business and first-class seats early next year, plans daily flights between Mr. Schoppmann’s hometown of Düsseldorf and Tokyo — a 12-hour journey that, for some smokers, is simply not worth the nicotine-withdrawal headache.
The company expects to apply for an operating license with German aviation regulators by late this month and hopes to eventually hire about 275 people.
Well, we wish Mr. Schoppmann good luck. If there's a market, let him try and conquer it. Hopefully without too much government intervention.
By the way, I don't smoke myself. Never have, and probably never will.
June 03, 2006
Of course the Czechs know what communism really is
The prospect of the Communist Party returning to play a role in power haunts some Czechs so much they are offering voters rewards to shun the left in this weekend's election.
Sports equipment retailer Rock Point said on Thursday it would give a 20 percent discount to anyone who turned in unused ballots for the Communists and the leftist ruling party, the Social Democrats.
"Do not vote for the red coalition. Vote for a 20 percent discount," the firm said on its Web site. A similar pledge to Rockpoint's appeared at an antique store in Prague.
Graphics studio Mowshe is running a campaign urging voters to send in as many Communist ballots as possible, and said it had received about 2,500 so far, including 12 collected by one family. Czech voters get ballot papers for each party by post.
Mowshe's Michal Gregorini said the winners would receive prizes like anti-Communist T-shirts and a subscription to the weekly magazine Respekt.
(Thanks to Janinka)
May 11, 2006
Can someone tell Vladimir Vladimirovich that some have tried this before, with the result that we know?
Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, raised the spectre of the Cold War yesterday, likening the United States to a voracious wolf and declaring that the arms race was not yet over.
"It is premature to speak of the end of the arms race," he said in his televised address to the Russian people. "Moreover, it is going faster today. It is rising to a new technological level."
Seeking to portray the United States as Russia's main adversary, Mr Putin pointed out that Moscow's military budget was 25 times lower than Washington's. He said that would have to change if foreign attempts to interfere in Russian policy were to be warded off.
The Russian leader accused the Bush administration of sacrificing the democratic ideals it claimed to cherish when they conflicted with national self-interest.
"Where is all this pathos about protecting human rights and democracy when it comes to the need to pursue their own interests? Here, it seems, everything is allowed and there are no restrictions whatsoever.
"We are aware of what is going on in the world. Comrade Wolf knows whom to eat, he eats without listening and he's clearly not going to listen to anyone."
Calling the kettle black.
But he stressed that Russia's foreign policy was based on "pragmatism, predictability and observance of international law".
Yeah, right, international law.
May 10, 2006
Like every year, on May 9, Russia celebrated the victory over nazism and fascism marching with... red flags.
March 11, 2006
Milosevic found dead in prison cell
And now he will never be judged nor sentenced. We don't even know yet if he hasn't taken his own life himself. Now that's a real, fair tribunal that is the UN war crimes tribunal.
Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslav president who was on trial at The Hague for alleged war crimes, was found dead in his cell today, the U.N. war crimes tribunal said. Authorities have launched an investigation into his death. The 64-year-old former Serbian president had been on trial since 2002 on 66 charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes stemming from the bloody disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
(Hat tip: Janinka)
March 05, 2006
A glorious day
Today is March 5, 2006.
Please join us in the celebration of the 53rd anniversary of the death of a monster, Joseph Stalin.
Unfortunately, the fight against the barbarity that is communism goes on. Some people around the world are still nostalgic of those times when dozens of millions of people were sacrificed "for the common good".
And as a reminder, French communist daily L'Humanité -- that still exists today -- mourned Stalin 53 years ago with a front page that read: "MOURNING FOR ALL THE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD that express, in gravity, their tremendous love for the GREAT STALIN."
Let me express my tremendous hatred for this barbarian and this murderous ideology.
February 16, 2006
The Russian version of the Cato Institute's website
Nice banner ad :)
CATO.ru aims to bridge the gap by translating liberal classics and creating an online channel for publishing scholarly material in Russian. The website features translated classic pieces and Cato Institute public policy studies, as well as new and classic works in Russian. CATO.ru is targeted to the Russian-speaking audiences in the broadest geographical sense of the word, including the countries of the former Soviet Union and beyond.
The Russian language is spoken by hundreds of millions of people. CATO.ru is a part of the Cato Institute’s ambitious program to spread the ideas of liberty in some of the most significant language groups of the world: English, Spanish, Russian, and Arabic. By developing technologies and expanding markets, globalization in all its forms enables millions of people to experience the benefits of freedom. Now is the time to use innovative communication technologies to spur intellectual globalization by involving people everywhere in the dialogue of liberty.
January 13, 2006
Solution for lonely women: polygamy
Now here comes a great idea from... Russia.
The polygamy trend is catching on around the world. In an interview with a Russian radio station, Ramzan Kadyrov, a militia leader and Deputy Prime Minister of the Chechen Republic, said that the depopulation of Chechnya by war justifies legalizing polygamy.
“(Polygamy) is necessary for Chechnya, because we have war. We have more women than men,” the pro-Moscow Kadyrov told Ekho Moskvy radio. The Muslim Chechen rebels are fighting to gain independence from Russia and are largely of the fundamentalist Wahabist sect.
In response to the suggestion, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Deputy speaker of the State Duma, said the idea of introducing legal polygamy in Chechnya is “absolutely right,” and proposed to spread it for the whole of Russia.
“We must welcome (this idea) and spread (polygamy) for the whole Russia because we have 10 million lonely women.”
Zhiriniovsky said it is necessary to “allow the registration of the second and the third marriages without dissolving the first one. We will surely introduce such an amendment to the family code and to the Russian Constitution during the parliament’s spring session.”
Many commenters are warning of the effects on women of the “Islamicization” of Europe. Already in some European Union countries, the traditional protections for women and families are being undermined by demands of the growing Muslim population for the adoption of aspects of Islamic “Sharia” law, including polygamy.
In November 2005, Norway’s Directorate of Immigration (UDI) reported that despite its illegality, polygamy is becoming increasingly prevalent in the country. Similar reports are coming from France and the Netherlands has legalized the practice in spite of the recent anti-Muslim backlash in that country.
Today, the Canadian Liberal government revealed that the Canadian federal Justice Department has recommended legalizing polygamy.
And what about the other way around?
A British airline has prohibited its employees from carrying Bibles, using crucifixes or St. Christopher Medals, on flights to Saudi Arabia in order “not to offend” Muslims in that country.
British Midland International has also established that female flight attendants should walk two steps behind their male colleagues and should cover themselves from head to toe with an abaya, a traditional Muslim overgarment, the Mirror newspaper of London reported.
BMI officials explained the decision saying the Islamic kingdom's strict laws – enforced by religious police – prohibit public practice of Christianity and figures of animals.
An airline employee who asked not to be named told the Mirror: "It's outrageous that we must respect their beliefs but they're not prepared to respect ours."
The employee said his grandmother gave him a crucifix shortly before she died that he wears at all times.
"It's got massive sentimental value and I don't see why I have to remove it," he said.
The employees' union has proposed staff members be able to opt out of the flights, but the airline says the only option is to transfer from overseas staff to domestic flights, which could mean a loss of about $30,000 a year in wages.
January 12, 2006
Back to the dark ages
If this isn't symbolic, then I don't know what it is...
Okay, it's old news, but on Jan. 1, I was doing something more interesting than reading the delirium of eco-freaks.
THE lights aren’t yet going out all over Europe, but Ireland could become a darker place if the government takes the advice of an environmental group that wants the country to follow Rome’s example and dim urban lighting.
Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) has launched a Dark Skies campaign after the Italian capital reduced its public lighting to save energy and make the night sky more visible.
“Until recent years, satellite images showed that Ireland was the darkest country in Europe,” said Albert White of the Irish Light Pollution Awareness Campaign. “Now it’s getting brighter and a lot of that can be attributed to street lighting.”
January 03, 2006
What about: it's not up to you to decide?
Saddam Hussein has told his lawyers that he wants to be shot by firing squad, not hanged, if sentenced to death during his murder trial, which resumes later this month in Baghdad.
Saddam maintains that he is still commander in chief of Iraq's armed forces -- and that a firing squad is "the right way" to execute a military leader.
"I'm not afraid of death," he told two of his lawyers in an astonishingly candid five-hour meeting, as he sat in a comfortable chair at the head of the table.
"Of course I'm not guilty, but I know they want me dead."
"Threatening me with death doesn't mean anything," Saddam told the two lawyers. "I don't care less. The life of any one Iraqi is no less valuable than mine."
The lawyers had delicately raised the possibility of Saddam's being executed. He responded, "I am the commander in chief. ... I prefer it to be by firing squad. I am the commander in chief."
The ousted president had added, "I don't value this life that much. Every human being has his time to go."
And his time has finally come.
And if you still doubted the man is insane:
"I'm fighting against U.S. tyranny on behalf of Iraqis, Arabs, all the people of the world. ... The U.S. will not be able to formulate a new world," he told his lawyers.
"They tried in Iraq and failed badly, so by standing against Bush we are protecting other countries and regions of the world. Now the U.S. will think a thousand times before daring to attack another country."
He also called on Arab states to come to his aid.
"I worked for the Arabs, and I did my duty. It is now time for the Arabs to stand by me," he told the lawyers.
December 05, 2005
NYC Letter: Some Stories You May Have Missed
America Diminished, Bush Blamed
Well, of course, you've read that headline several times this past week, hundreds this past year. But in this one America is materially diminished by force majeure, which we have recently come to understand from secular humanists, is God punishing the religious.
LOS ANGELES December 5, 2005 (Telegraph) - A vast chunk of Hawaiian coastline has broken off and fallen into the sea after a volcanic shelf collapsed at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Even now green internationalists are petitioning the UN to sanction Mr. Bush for poor planetary stewardship.
Lights! Camera! Propaganda!
Dear Leader and International Bad Boy, Kim "Where's the Brill Creme?" Jong-il intends to go head to head with Speilberg & co., transforming the DPRK into a celluloid powerhouse.
KIM CASTS NORTH AS MOVIE MAGIC
PYONGYANG, North Korea December 4, 2005 (WT) -- Mr. Kim, known to his countrymen as "the Dear Leader," recently paid a visit to North Korea's Pyongyang Film Studio to give auteurs the benefit of his "on-the-spot guidance." His message was combative.
"He said we are not competing with U.S. and European films. We have to beat U.S. films," Kim Man-sok, the head of the studio's foreign sales division, told foreign reporters. "Poor films cannot go to the international field," Kim Man-sok explained. "So this year, we are struggling to make good films."
Dear Leader has assigned former abductee Shin Sang-ok the job of improving the quality of Nork films.
Mr. Shin was a South Korean director. In one of the Cold War's oddest episodes, he went to North Korea to rescue his wife, actress Choe Eun-hui [aka, Eun-hie Choi], who was kidnapped in Hong Kong and taken to the North in 1978. The North says Mr. Shin defected willingly. ... The director's most famous [Nork] production was "Pulgasari," a kitschy 1985 flick about a Godzillalike monster that aids peasants and tramples landlords [Tagline: Banned for a decade!]. Mr. Shin and his wife escaped in 1986, and his mark on the North's film industry appears to have faded.
Well, we don't know about Mr. Shin, but if you'd like to see a world-class Korean film, we recommend Chan-wook Park's twisted and fascinating Oldboy (and here), if for no other reason than its at once real and unreal and wholly surreal fight set piece.
Red Crystal Baloneyism
There is the Red Cross. There is the Red Crescent. And now, there is the Red Crystal, an empty symbol applauded for its emptiness. And why, because better that than a Red Magen David (Magen David Adom).
December 5, 2005 (BBC) - The wrangling over the issue has gone on for decades, and it is proving costly for the International Red Cross. For the last five years, the American Red Cross has withheld its subscriptions to the international movement in protest at Israel's exclusion, creating a shortfall of over $30m.
The only solution seems to be a third emblem, and Red Cross officials have come up with a design they hope will please everyone.
But there is one issue which might get in the way - many Arab countries already see the third emblem as an unnecessary accommodation of Israel.
For the Swiss, who have spent months working towards the conference, and whose foreign minister has made several trips to the Middle East and Israel in the last few weeks, this last-minute hitch is causing great anxiety.
"It's frustrating," said one diplomat who asked to remain anonymous. "We're actually trying to get a solution for the Red Cross, but some seem to want us to try to solve the entire Middle East conflict."
Now there is a thicket of arguments about this, but they are largely irrelevant. Good or bad, strong or weak, no arguments will prevail against Islamic peevishness. We count it fortunate that the original symbol of a red cross still has standing in the world.
November 27, 2005
The full monty, Quebecois civil service style
I guess French civil servants have just been beaten by their Quebecois counterparts for the worldwide, ridicule demonstrations contest.
Hopefully, pretty please, the French won't do the same.
Without a contract and naked. Quebecois civil servants, members of Canada's civil service union, are part of a "naked" demonstration in front of the national assembly of Quebec City. They are demonstrating because they've been without a contract for two years.
(Hat tip: Janinka)
October 26, 2005
Useful idiots survived them
Any chance this is a hoax?
MOSCOW, India: When Khrushchev met Lenin for the first time in Moscow, they discussed the dark clouds looming on the horizon. It was not politics that concerned them, but the weather.
The two South Indians with Russian names feared a spell of rain might mar the weekend annual meeting of people with Russian names in Moscow, a sleepy village in the traditionally left-leaning southern state of Kerala.
Once known as Madappally, the heavily communist village enclave, about 160km northeast of the state capital Thiruvananthapuram, was christened Moscow in 1957 to mark the democratic election of the first left government in the state.
"Keralan communists named their children after Soviet Union leaders to show their involvement with the political philosophy," explained Ratheesh Nair, director of the Russian Cultural Centre in the state capital Thiruvananthapuram, which organised the meeting.
Nair said that around 500 people in Kerala have Russian surnames as their only name.
About 28 of them attended the meeting, which is taking place for a second time.
Among them were six Lenins, three Pushkins and two Pravdas.
Brezhnev, Dimitrov, Eleena, Anasthasia, Tania, Natasha and Tereshkova traveled from different parts of the state to meet each other.
The meeting revealed that Keralites have fascination not only for Russian personalities, but for Russia's great river, with two Volgas present.
One of the Lenins won a round-trip air ticket to Moscow -- in Russia -- from Qatar Airways.
A 49-year-old Pushkin from the state capital who writes poetry and paints said he was trying to emulate the great Russian writer.
But Berin, who is also from Thiruvannathapuram, was never enthused about his strange name.
"My father who was a science teacher named me after the Russian scientist. He was a Communist sympathizer too. But I have decided to change my name to Berin Basker so it would sound more Indian," said Berin, a salesman.
Khrushchev, also from Thiruvananthapuram, had a different experience.
A driver with the state-owned public transport corporation, the Keralan said his "strange name" has helped him many ways.
"I was let off by the police when I told them my name after they took me into police custody after an agitation. The policeman didn't know how to write my strange name in Malayalam in the records," said a jovial Khrushchev.
But the fancy for Russian names is no longer as common in Kerala as it used to be, with the state, like the nation, drifting right.
A member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, a right-wing Hindu political party, now represents the area of Moscow in the local council.
"It's strange thing happening here. Communism is changing its colours to communalism in the time of globalisation," said one Lenin, a daily laborer.
October 23, 2005
No reasons to celebrate
(Thanks to Hervé and Janinka for the links)
A month to "celebrate" some of the (worst) failures of the 20th century.
The United Nations did not come into existence at the signing of the Charter. In many countries the Charter had to be approved by their congresses or parliaments. It had therefore been provided that the Charter would come into force when the Governments of China, France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States and a majority of the other signatory states had ratified it and deposited notification to this effect with the State Department of the United States.
On October 24, 1945, this condition was fulfilled and the United Nations came into existence. Four years of planning and the hope of many years had materialized in an international organization designed to end war and promote peace, justice and better living for all mankind.
On the 60th anniversary of the North Korean Communist Party, Kim Jong Il wallows in a cult of personality. But not everybody is celebrating. . . .
October 18, 2005
Which one is closer to a democracy?
Which country is moving on, toward a better future? Which country is "under-developping", moving backwards?
Iraqi voters have probably approved a new U.S.-backed constitution, overcoming fierce Sunni Arab opposition in a vote Washington hopes will boost its beleaguered strategy in Iraq, results showed on Sunday. . .
"This is a very positive day for the Iraqi people and as well for world peace," U.S. President George W. Bush told reporters in Washington. "Democracies are peaceful countries."
Picture taken in free, daily 20 Minutes. Tee-shirt: "Enforcement of the law of commandeering"
Several thousands of people - 2,400 according to the police - have demonstrated on Saturday afternoon in Paris against "expensive rents and real estate speculation", answering the call of the organization for the right to housing [DAL: Droit Au Logement].
Around 3 PM, DAL's spokesman, Jean-Baptiste Eyraud, estimated that there were "around 10,000 and 15,000" demonstrators.
"It's a demonstration against expensive rents, real estate speculation and to support the end of this process of making a product of social housing," he explained to the AFP. . .
Among the demonstrators, the Human Rights League [LDH: Ligue des Droits de l'Homme], along with the Green [Party], and ATD Fourth World or Emmaüs, among others, were asking for housing to be a right guaranteed by the law: "we are demanding that the right to housing become a right others have to take into account," declared Jean-Marc Wasilewski, president of LDH Paris, to the AFP.
More scary, the DAL, whose slogan is "the right to housing for everyone, without discrimination", is also actively asking for a law to be enforced that would enable empty office buildings and appartments to be simply requisitioned to accomodate people, sometimes illegal aliens, living in "insalubrious" and "precarious" conditions, who don't have the financial means to rent a decent apartment in Paris or its suburbs and who have "no access" to housing projects.
The law in question: an ordinance from 1945 which would authorize the state, in case of a housing crisis, to requisition housing.
After the several fires in insalubrious buildings in which dozens of legal and illegal, immigrant families lived and sometimes died, this law is called on more loudly than ever.
On TV, a couple of weeks ago, they showed a man who had been offered what here we call a "social housing", an appartment in some kind of housing project. But he wasn't satisfied: with his 3 wives and 23 children, the apartment didn't suit his needs. So he was squatting an insalubrious building. What then? The requisition of an entire mansion for this man and his family only?
Of course, such a measure, even if temporary, would this time truly mean the beginning of the end for France, private property being seized to satisfy the need of some, the so-called right to housing swiping private property. But who really cares in France? Worse: who realizes the consequences? Not the members of the Green Party, much less of the different communist and trotskyist factions who, visibly and obviously, never volunteered to welcome the poor, homeless immigrants in the name of their "right to housing."
Make no mistake: those claims are not the matter of just a couple of people. Private property in France is seen more and more as a theft, especially when it's someone else's property. And the next presidential election is only 18 months away. Only time will tell, but the enforcement of such a measure could very well get the support it needs to at least be considered if not applied.
October 15, 2005
NYC Letter: Busy Allah
It's just so obvious to the self-righteous:
THE TERRORIST KATRINA IS ONE OF THE SOLDIERS OF ALLAH…
BUT NOT AN ADHERENT OF AL-QAEDA
This article, which appeared August 31, 2005 in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa, was scribed by one Muhammad Yousef Al-Mlaifi, a high-ranking Kuwaiti donkey, director of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Endowment's research center. Mr. Al-Mlaifi offers a simple theodicy, Allah has settled on hurricanes to scourge the infidel Americans.
It is almost certain that this is a wind of torment and evil that Allah has sent to this American empire. Out of my absolute belief in the truth of the words of the Prophet Muhammad, this wind is the fruit of the planning [of Allah], as is stated in the text of the Hadith of the Prophet. ...I opened the Koran and began to read in Surat Al-R'ad ['The Thunder' chapter], and stopped at these words [of Allah]: 'The disaster will keep striking the unbelievers for what they have done, or it will strike areas close to their territory, until the promise of Allah comes to pass, for, verily, Allah will not fail in His promise. ' [Koran 13:31]."
Thankfully infidel-scourging Allah draws the line at signing up with Mr. bin Laden. Whew! Thanks, Allah. Gives the infidels a sporting chance.
But Allah, his hands full with the infidel problem, also manages some house-cleaning among the faithful.
Preaching from the ruins of his once beautiful mosque, the Mullah of Battal offered a simple answer to the question posed time and again since the Pakistan earthquake: why?
''Allah has sent this great punishment on account of our misdeeds," he said, jabbing a finger at the open sky. "We must now end our rebellion against the orders of Allah and submit ourselves again to his ways."
Well, maybe yes and maybe no. We are here thinking of a fellow from the land of Uz.
We are not theologians and cannot competently comment on the instruments and operations of God, but it is safe to say that God would show a stronger hand than Katrina if Mr. Al-Mlaifi's surmise were correct. To the Mullah of Battal we would suggest that when God decides on chastening, He does not leave us guessing.
October 10, 2005
NYC Letter: Che Is Dead! Let's Make Some T-Shirts!
UPDATE 10.11.05: Comrade Red Square over at The People's Square has had his "Che Is Dead - Get Over It!" T-shirt banned at CafePress on grounds of copyright infringement. Well, not really copyright infringement, something more like sanctity impingement. Drop CafePress a line here. Tell them to play fair. Tell them Che is dead and you'd like to advertise the fact with one of Comrade RS's nifty tees.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Yesterday. October 9, in 1967 Dr. Ernesto Rafael Guevara de la Serna, el Che*, was shot dead in the jungles of Higueras, in the southeast of Bolivia. His hands were surgically amputated to aid identification. His body was buried in an unmarked grave near Vallegrande. His remains were exhumed in June 1997 and returned to Cuba. The small casket was interred in the Guevara Mausoleum in Santa Clara to edify the day-tripping revolutionaries.
Ah, but Sr. Guevara continues to live on as Che T-shirts, Che knits, Che club shirts, Che boxers (with secure placket), Che toddler leotards (with quick access snaps), Che baseball caps, Che berets, blacklight Che posters, Che body art (here the Che high-thigh tattoo), Che pesos, Che ashtrays (for revolutionaries with smoking dispensations), Che ceramic mugs, Che buttons, Che tchotchkes, and, well, a whole universe of Che junk.
All of these are a very specific Che, the Che of Alberto Diaz Gutierrez (aka, Korda). Taken March 5, 1960, skill, the artful moment, and luck all joined hands to produce the quintessential Che. It is this single hagiographic image that envelopes and hides Sr. Guevara the man, his life and his infamies.
Naturally both professional and recreational revolutionaries prefer Korda's single shot to the equally iconic -- though to different effect -- Che death shots by Freddy Alborta.
While remaining ideologically blameless Communist revolutions tend to be morally disordered. Therefore image is everything. Putting a good face on the revolution is a deathly serious cliché.
Budding teenie materialists sport Che wear at Starbucks, at malls, at rock concerts, at Internet cafés, and behind the bolted doors to their living-with-my-parents personal spaces. Children embrace an empty notion of revolution and dreamy notions of Che the revolutionary. They think about revolution and making a better world between surfing the Internet, channel surfing, and important dating decisions. Few if any are prepared to be monsters for a revolution, undergo hardships and deprivations for ideology cant, or risk breaking a nail on the barricades. Most if not all will wear Che until Che goes out of fashion or they apply for a mortgage.
Ah, were Sr. Guevara less photogenic would Che be less brandable, would revolution have less allure?
Alvaro Vargas Llosa comments on the fashionable embrace of Che:
It is customary for followers of a cult not to know the real life story of their hero, the historical truth. ... It is not surprising that Guevara’s contemporary followers, his new post-communist admirers, also delude themselves by clinging to a myth—except the young Argentines who have come up with an expression that rhymes perfectly in Spanish: “Tengo una remera del Che y no sé por qué,” or “I have a Che T-shirt and I don’t know why.”
Consider some of the people who have recently brandished or invoked Guevara’s likeness as a beacon of justice and rebellion against the abuse of power. In Lebanon, demonstrators protesting against Syria at the grave of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri carried Che’s image. Thierry Henry, a French soccer player who plays for Arsenal, in England, showed up at a major gala organized by FIFA, the world’s soccer body, wearing a red and black Che T-shirt. In a recent review in The New York Times of George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead, Manohla Dargis noted that “the greatest shock here may be the transformation of a black zombie into a righteous revolutionary leader,” and added, “I guess Che really does live, after all.” The soccer hero Maradona showed off the emblematic Che tattoo on his right arm during a trip where he met Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. In Stavropol, in southern Russia, protesters denouncing cash payments of welfare concessions took to the central square with Che flags. In San Francisco, City Lights Books, the legendary home of beat literature, treats visitors to a section devoted to Latin America in which half the shelves are taken up by Che books. José Luis Montoya, a Mexican police officer who battles drug crime in Mexicali, wears a Che sweatband because it makes him feel stronger. At the Dheisheh refugee camp on the West Bank, Che posters adorn a wall that pays tribute to the Intifada. A Sunday magazine devoted to social life in Sydney, Australia, lists the three dream guests at a dinner party: Alvar Aalto, Richard Branson, and Che Guevara. Leung Kwok-hung, the rebel elected to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, defies Beijing by wearing a Che T-shirt. In Brazil, Frei Betto, President Lula da Silva’s adviser in charge of the high-profile “Zero Hunger” program, says that “we should have paid less attention to Trotsky and much more to Che Guevara.” And most famously, at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony Carlos Santana and Antonio Banderas performed the theme song from The Motorcycle Diaries, and Santana showed up wearing a Che T-shirt and a crucifix. The manifestations of the new cult of Che are everywhere. Once again the myth is firing up people whose causes for the most part represent the exact opposite of what Guevara was.
And here Mr. Llosa offers a quick tutorial to the Che beguiled: TEN SHOTS AT CHE GUEVARA
There has been some spin on Che's last words. Just before Che dies, General Ovando, Chief of Bolivian Armed Forces, has him saying, "I am Che Guevara and I have failed." Addressed to Sergeant Jaime Terán, Che's maybe reluctant maybe trepidant maybe enthusiastic executioner, another version has a defiant Guevara, who refuses to sit for his execution, saying, "Know this now, you are killing a man." It also goes like this: "I know you've come to kill me. Shoot, you are only going to kill a man."
But they only killed a T-shirt.
* In English, the misspelling "Ché" (with an acute accent) and mispronunciation are common, probably due to French linguistic influence.
September 23, 2005
NYC Letter: The Clinton Legacy
The Clinton legacy, it's not about size, it's about responsibility.
BEIJING September 20, 2005 (Sapa-AP) - A rubber company in China has begun marketing condoms under the brand names Clinton and Lewinsky, apparently seeking to exploit the White House affair that led to the impeachment of the former American president.
Spokesperson Liu Wenhua of the Guangzhou Rubber Group said the company was handing out 100,000 free Clinton and Lewinsky condoms as part of a promotion to raise consumer awareness of its new products.
He said that after the promotion ends, the Clinton condoms will go on sale in southern China for $3.72 (about R24) for a box of 12, while the Lewinsky model will be priced at $2.35 (about R15) for the same quantity.
"We have received full approval from the local Industrial and Commercial Bureau to start production," he said.
"The Clinton condom will be the top of our line," he said.
"The names we chose are symbols of people who are responsible and dedicated to their jobs," he said.
Chinese men mob Guangzhou Rubber hostess for free Clinton condoms
and raffle chances for swinger's sleepover in Chappaqua.
July 14, 2005
Following the herd
This actually reminded me of France.
First one sheep jumped to its death. Then stunned Turkish shepherds, who had left the herd to graze while they had breakfast, watched as nearly 1,500 others followed, each leaping off the same cliff, Turkish media reported.
In the end, 450 dead animals lay on top of one another in a billowy white pile, the Aksam newspaper said. Those who jumped later were saved as the pile got higher and the fall more cushioned, Aksam reported.
July 06, 2005
Let's wait for Delanoë's "fair play" reaction. So far he's been nowhere to be found for French TV.
UPDATE: Delanoë just was on Weasel TV #2. Said the "collective (sic) sports spirit" won't be lost.
Weasel TV #2 mentioned the "aggressiveness of the London candidacy" as a possible explanation for their victory. The French don't understand why they lost.
Someone just said London winning was an insult to Paris (sic! sic! sic!) and went on ranting about the French language losing its importance in the world. Then he was cut. Fair play, you know.
And now we're waiting for Lance Armstrong to win the Tour de France again ;-)
UPDATE #2: The blame game begins.
"London's lobbying and the economic and moral crisis that our country is undergoing may have weighed,'' on Paris' bid, Jean- Paul Huchon, president of the Paris regional council, said on LCI television. "The IOC is a hard body to convince.''
The Olympics bid defeat further diminishes Chirac's hopes of running for a third presidential term in 2007. His approval rating fell to 28 percent in June, down 12 points from the previous month, according to a monthly poll of 1,884 people done by Ifop for Journal de Dimanche.
"Chirac was not an asset to the French bid,'' said Sylvain Garel, a Paris city council member from the Green Party in a television interview.
The Olympic defeat can't take Chirac's popularity much lower, said Jean-Francois Doridot, director of political studies at polling company Ipsos SA in Paris, in a June 30 interview.
"It's so low it can't go down much more and he won't take the full blame for not winning the Olympics,'' Doridot said.
July 05, 2005
May 20, 2005
And the word you are looking for is...
Saddam Hussein is reduced to shuffling around his prison compound in his underpants and washing his OWN dirty socks in a simple bowl.
Which reminded me of... Jack, bien sûr !
May 16, 2005
More about the "for-the-sake-of-Iraqi-civilians", so-called peace camp
I know I'm repeating myself but... Not surprisingly (subscription needed):
A former top aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin and a top Russian nationalist politician are among those who received lucrative oil deals from Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein under the United Nations' troubled oil-for-food program, according to a new report being released by a Senate investigation today.
Sen. Norm Coleman, the Minnesota Republican spearheading the Senate probe, said the payoffs to former Russian Presidential Council head Alexander Voloshin and Liberal Democratic Party head Vladimir Zhirinovsky fit the pattern that Saddam used to undermine the U.N. sanctions by bribing high officials in key Security Council countries.
Read the entire article below. Emphasis mine.
"This is the way Saddam Hussein used the oil-for-food program to line his own pockets and to curry favor abroad," Mr. Coleman said. "That's what the evidence clearly shows."
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee on investigations, which Mr. Coleman chairs, will air the charges of influence peddling at a hearing tomorrow.
The hearing is also expected to include a confrontation with British member of Parliament George Galloway, who fiercely has denied accusations by Senate investigators that he received lucrative secret benefits in return for his support of Saddam and his opposition to the U.S.-led Iraq war.
Subcommittee staffers, in a background briefing late last week, said their review of internal Iraqi documents and interviews with senior Saddam-era officials turned up no evidence that Mr. Putin had received secret oil allocations under the U.N. program.
But they said Russia, a prime opponent of the Iraq sanctions on the Security Council, had been a major target of Saddam's lobbying, which had targeted officials in the Foreign Ministry, the Communist Party and the Unity Party, the State Duma faction closest to Mr. Putin.
The deal for Mr. Zhirinovsky, a nationalist and outspoken U.S. critic, was typical: The Senate investigators found that the party leader secretly was given the rights to 75.8 million barrels of discounted Iraqi oil from 1997 to 2002, which he could then resell to legitimate oil firms. Mr. Zhirinovsky and his party made an estimated $8.6 million on the scheme.
One unidentified Iraqi oil official, speaking to the Senate subcommittee, said, "Of course, Zhirinovsky makes a profit. That's the whole point."
The Senate report also details allotments totaling 90 million barrels of Iraqi oil to Alexander Voloshin, former head of the Kremlin's Presidential Council, and his top aides including Sergey Issakov.
Mr. Voloshin was perhaps Mr. Putin's most powerful aide before he lost his post in 2003 and was referred to by many as the "power behind the throne in Moscow." The estimated profits to the Russian Presidential Council officials totaled nearly $3 million.
The report also tracks a change in Saddam's efforts to subvert the U.N. program in 2000, when he began demanding a "surcharge" from those receiving the oil allocations as a way to build up his own treasury. At one point, Mr. Zhirinovsky offered the Iraqi leader the deed on a building that his party owned in Moscow to help pay his surcharge.
Tariq Aziz, Saddam's former deputy prime minister, told the subcommittee how the influence-buying scheme worked in one instance.
In summer 2002, Mr. Aziz said, the threat of a Russian veto in the Security Council blocked a U.S. proposal to tighten border controls to strengthen the oil-for-food sanctions. Saddam told his oil ministry to "show gratitude" by increasing oil allocations to Russian interests and giving Russian companies contracts to sell food and humanitarian goods under the U.N. program.
In all, about 30 percent of Saddam's oil deals during the oil-for-food period went to Russian applicants, even though Russia is the world's second largest exporter of oil after Saudi Arabia.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said over the weekend that it would be "unethical" to comment on the scandal until a separate investigative panel appointed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan reports on the allocation scandal later this year.
Mikhail Troyansky, deputy chief of the Foreign Ministry's information department, said Russia has been cooperating with that investigation, led by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.
Throw a 'Flush a Newsweek' party tonight
Newsweek magazine said on Sunday it erred in a May 9 report that U.S. interrogators desecrated the Koran at Guantanamo Bay, and apologized to the victims of deadly Muslim protests sparked by the article.
Editor Mark Whitaker said the magazine inaccurately reported that U.S. military investigators had confirmed that personnel at the detention facility in Cuba had flushed the Muslim holy book down the toilet.
May 12, 2005
No blood for oil, not in our name...
Or so they claimed.
A longtime ally of French President Jacques Chirac and a leading British critic of the Iraq war received huge contracts to resell Iraqi oil from Saddam Hussein under the U.N. oil-for-food program, Senate investigators have found.
In findings being released today, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs permanent subcommittee on investigations charges that former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua and British Member of Parliament George Galloway each received the right to market more than 10 million barrels of cut-rate oil from dictator Saddam's Oil Ministry between 1999 and 2003.
May 11, 2005
"Celebrating Freedom and Democracy"
The theme for Bush’s visit to Georgia was "Celebrating Freedom and Democracy." In public addresses given at Tbilisi’s Freedom Square, both presidents stressed that shared values -- rather than, according to Saakashvili, "an oil pipeline . . . or any kind of military cooperation" -- are driving the US-Georgian partnership.
The tens of thousands of Georgians who gathered at Freedom Square heard Bush hail the November 2003 Rose Revolution as a harbinger of change throughout the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Middle East. "Your most important contribution is your example," Bush said. "[B]efore there was a Purple Revolution in Iraq or Orange Revolution in Ukraine or a Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, there was a Rose Revolution in Georgia."
. . .
Georgian praise for Bush ran equally strong. "We welcome you as a freedom fighter," said Saakashvili. The Georgian leader also named Bush as the first recipient of the Order of St. George, an award created "for promotion of freedom in the world."
Attempting a few words in Georgian, and a few shimmying dance steps at the conclusion of a May 9 performance of traditional Georgian dances, Bush appeared to make a favorable impression on Georgians. The message on one poster succinctly summarized the hopes of many Georgians: "Mr. Georg[e] W. Bush can save Georgia."
Georgia, is filled with tens of thousands of people to hear U.S. President George W. Bush speak Tuesday, May 10, 2005 . Freedom Square is where hundreds of thousands gathered after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989 and again last year when the protests ousted Eduard Shevardnadze from office.
May 09, 2005
One offense among many others
I've always loved the Soviet/Russian vision of the world.
News that Mr Bush is including Latvia and Georgia in his European perambulation also prompted Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov to send a letter of protest to his US counterpart, secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, according to the New York Times.
Sandwiching Moscow between trips to Latvia and Georgia is like Mr Putin dropping into Washington between visits to Havana and North Korea, a Russian commentator said.
As on many sensitive political issues, the Kremlin itself sends mixed signals. Last week Sergei Lavrov, the Foreign Minister, denounced attempts to turn May 9 into a “jubilee of Stalinism”. Yet last year a memorial plaque to Volgograd on the Kremlin’s walls was replaced with one to Stalingrad. A history textbook critical of Stalin was also banned last year. This week Stalin’s famous wartime quote — “Our cause is just. Victory will be ours” — is splashed on posters in Moscow.
In the words of Vladimir Vladimirovich:
I cannot agree with equating Stalin with Hitler. Yes, Stalin was certainly a tyrant and many call him a criminal, but he was not a Nazi.
"Many call him" - right.
On May 7, 2005, a four-page article, written by Putin, titled "The lessons of the victory over nazism" (subtitle: "May 8-9, 1945 - From the past's intelligence to the common edification of a future of humanist security"), was published in Le Figaro.
Nowhere but in a French newspaper could such a piece of propaganda be published.
I highly encourage French speakers to read the whole stuff. The four-page "article" is presented partly as a thank-you letter to French soldiers who fought nazism.
I regret I do not have the time to translate it. But among the four pages of soviet-style propaganda (in which the name of Stalin never appears), Putin insists "the soviet army crossed USSR borders to rid eleven other european countries of the nazi scourge. And that is for this [ideal] that one million of [their] soldiers fell"; "Great was the contribution of the French people to this victory" [of the spread of the communist scourge?]; the Red Army paved the way to the Normandy Landing; Putin also saluted de Gaulle's role and seized the occasion to announce the raising of a statue of de Gaulle in Moscow.
April 15, 2005
Paris hotel fire kills 15
A fire roared through a central Paris hotel early Friday, killing at least 15 people and injuring dozens more, fire officials said. A witness said he saw several hotel guests leap from windows to escape the flames.
The fire occurred in the one-star Paris Opera hotel in the capital's 9th district, an area frequented by tourists. At least 55 people were injured, 13 seriously, said fire services spokesman Christophe Varennes. Many of the guests were African, he said.
Firefighters rescued some people from the hotel, but others jumped out of windows to escape flames and choking smoke, said fire services spokesman Laurent Vibert.
April 06, 2005
Rebel with a cause
The announcement drew applause, and many lawmakers crowded around Talabani to congratulate him.
Ousted members of the country's former regime, including toppled leader Saddam Hussein, were being allowed to watch the event on televisions in their prison cells.
April 02, 2005
Same mindset, different country
OK. You know all the whiners who've never recovered from W's second win? Well, I've found them all a new place to go to do what they do best. Remember, many of them have been whining since W's first win, so I think we can consider them professionals, right?
Let's get them on some economy-class flights out to Zimbabwe, where, guess what? Election fraud is the norm! This will be heaven to these pro whiners, surely. We could get Jimmuh to go with, you know, as a sort of election fraud mascot.
And we all know that the whiners are creative E-nough! to come up with some great anti-fraud slogans. Instead of W's name, they can just insert the name 'Bob-by Mu-ga-be', ez pz. Hey, that African Heinz chick could go along, too. She can spot an iffy election like no one else can, I say.
What? You think maybe it might be dangerous for them there in MugabeLand? Naw, Bobby's not some miserable dictator who'd shoot at anyone expressing themselves freely. Come on. And with Jimmuh and the African Queen along, what could go wrong?
April 01, 2005
One of the longest papacies in history is soon at an end...
This post has no title
And an old EJ/Taupin song comes to mind...
Tune me in to the wild side of life
I'm an innocent young child sharp as a knife
Take me to the garretts where the artists have died
Show me the courtrooms where the judges have lied
Let me drink deeply from the water and the wine
Light coloured candles in dark dreary mines
Look in the mirror and stare at myself
And wonder if that's really me on the shelf
And each day I learn just a little bit more
I don't know why but I do know what for
If we're all going somewhere let's get there soon
Oh this song's got no title just words and a tune
Take me down alleys where the murders are done
In a vast high powered rocket to the core of the sun
Want to read books in the studies of men
Born on the breeze and die on the wind
If I was an artist who paints with his eyes
I'd study my subject and silently cry
Cry for the darkness to come down on me
For confusion to carry on turning the wheel
Images: MBAquarium, AP
Another 'W' in charge
The World Bank's board on Thursday unanimously approved the nomination of U.S. Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, an architect of the Iraq war, to be the next president of the 184-country development bank.
Some talking heads on French TV yesterday (or the day before...?) stated that Mr Wolfowitz's presidency was a 'gift' to the USA from the Europeans on the World Bank board. You see, the French want to get the Frenchman Pascal Lamy the head job at the WTO.
What? Is the White House being generous towards the weasels again? Or is this just another example of French spin...?
March 22, 2005
The European suicidal spirit
I guess most of you now know what happened in Red Lake High School in Minnesota.
Earlier today, one so-called Jean-Jacques posted a comment to my previous post - the one making fun of a photo shoot - making fun of what happened in Red Lake and blaming Charlton Heston, George W. Bush and the NRA altogether.
Now it appears, though not surprisingly, that the young man who killed himself after murdering 10 people and terrorizing his high school, was an admirer of European national socialist Adolf Hitler.
The shooter was Red Lake High School sophomore Jeff Weise, according to witnesses and school officials.
Weise identified himself in Internet site postings as "Todesengel," German for "angel of death" and "NativeNazi," the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.
He also claimed to have been questioned by police in 2004 about an alleged plot to shoot up the school on the anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birthday, but said he had nothing to do with that, the report said.
"I guess I've always carried a natural admiration for Hitler and his ideals, and his courage to take on larger nations," the newspaper quoted Weise as saying in one forum used by neo-Nazis.
May I remind our trolls that Europe, not America - nor Charlton Heston, nor the NRA, nor GWB, nor the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for that matter -, was at the origin of two world wars and two totalitarianisms that killed millions of people?
March 20, 2005
They felt the earth move
400 hurt in earthquake
March 18, 2005
Pollution & "little bitty summit[s]"
The brand new, 2005 Axis of Weasels™ has finally arrived. It will be meeting in Paris on Friday for one of its now-common, "little bitty summit[s]" in which its members basically decide what is better for other European countries, that better being, of course,
"more subtle diplomatic style than Bush" appeasement, perfidy and hypocrisy.
FRENCH President Jacques Chirac tomorrow will host the leaders of Germany, Spain and Russia for informal talks and a working dinner aimed at repairing strained ties between Europe and Russia.
Chirac will first meet separately with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin before German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero join them for a rare four-party summit.
Aides to the French president say the goal of the meeting is to extend a friendly hand to Putin in the hopes of encouraging him to pursue domestic political and economic reforms.
The Elysee insists that other European leaders should not feel slighted by the format of the talks, saying it is in the interest of all 25 European Union states to keep the channels of communication - formal and informal - open.
. . .
Paris, Berlin and Madrid "want at all costs to pursue a dialogue with Russia and thus set themselves apart from other European partners who are more critical like Poland and the Baltic states," added Thomas Gomart, a researcher at the French Institute for International Relations (IFRI).
After a summit with Putin in the Slovakian capital Bratislava last month, US President George W. Bush voiced "concerns" about Russia's commitment to democracy, evidence of increasingly chilly ties between Washington and Moscow.
Putin certainly will not suffer such a public rebuke in Paris, with the Elysee emphasising that Chirac has a more subtle diplomatic style than Bush.
As a result, we learn that:
February 28, 2005
For the times they are a-changin'
There's a battle outside And it is ragin'. It'll soon shake your windows And rattle your walls For the times they are a-changin'.
February 23, 2005
The truth is...
Despite the folly of it, Iraq was the right war. Hey, that's news to some.
But nothing moves in a straight line in Baghdad, not the traffic, nor emotion, nor conviction. Everything teeters because everything here is being born. The dawn may be dull but the day that follows may carry moments of illumination.
One such moment comes in a midmorning conversation with Iraq's human rights minister, Bakhtiar Amin, a Kurd in whom all the injury inflicted by Saddam on the Kurdish people seems concentrated. "Iraq," he says, "is a museum of crimes."
. . .
"We owe our freedom to Americans," the minister says.
"The real occupation is not theirs, but the one we suffered for 35 years by the group of thugs who brutalized my nation."
It is hard to argue with Amin. He wields the weapon of truth with directness.
. . .
How many such stories are there? Too many for the Germans and the French to be so comfortable in their conviction that the war was wrong. This war was falsely portrayed, poorly planned, and hurt by hubris. But it was the right war.
Read the whole thing.
(Thanks to Hervé for the link)
February 15, 2005
NYC Letter: Lessons In Democracy, Redux
Lesson No.3: If You Disdain Governance, You Will Be Ruled.
Many Sunnis protested that the election was flawed and unfair, but in the wake of Sunday's results, which confirmed the marginalisation of what was Iraq's ruling class, their political parties want to lobby for a share of power.
"Our view is that this election was a step towards democracy and ending the occupation," said Ayad al-Samaray, the assistant general secretary of the Iraqi Islamic party. He said unnamed Sunni leaders blundered in depicting the election as a deepening of the occupation.
Lesson No.4: The Franchise Is At The Polls, Not The Back Stalls Of Yesterday’s Political Bazaars.
A Shi'ite alliance endorsed by the nation's top cleric will command a narrow majority in Iraq's new national assembly, according to final results released yesterday from the historic Jan. 30 elections.
A coalition of Kurdish parties placed second with about one-quarter of the seats and will be a crucial power broker in the 275-seat assembly, which will name a government and write a permanent constitution. Both actions require agreement by a two-thirds majority.
A secular party led by Prime Minister Iyad Allawi came a disappointing third with about 15 percent of the seats, and President Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer's secular Sunni party got five seats.
Sunni Muslims, who dominated government and civil life for decades under Saddam Hussein, were virtually shut out, apart from Mr. al-Yawer's five seats and one other.
[All emphases added.]
February 13, 2005
And the winner is...Iraq!
The Shiite-dominated ticket received more than four million votes, or about 48% of the total cast, Iraqi election officials said. A Kurdish alliance was second with 2.175 million votes, or 26%, and Allawi’s list was third with about 1.168 million, or 13.8%.
Of Iraq’s 14 million eligible voters, 8,550,571 cast ballots for 111 candidate lists, the commission said. About 94,305 were declared invalid. The Iraqi Electoral Commission said the turnout was 58%.
It's worth it just to see the Beeb's morose journalists doing all they can to spin this into news of impending doom. Going on and on about the Sunnis. Geez, if they DO end up being under-represented this time around, tough. Next time, they won't throw away the chance to vote, will they.
Best wishes to the new government in Iraq! 58%...wow!
February 11, 2005
This wonderful thing
...that is the U.N.
THE United Nations has banned its peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo from having sex with local people but will keep handing out free condoms to its forces.
Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General, imposed the new “non-fraternisation” rules, including a night-time curfew at military bases, in response to reports of widespread sexual exploitation by UN troops of under-age girls.
"Sexual exploitation of under-age girls" by U.N. so-called peacekeepers is "fraternisation" to Kofi??
In a letter to the Security Council, Mr Annan also sought 100 extra police and French-speaking investigators to root out the abuse. “I reiterate my stance that we cannot tolerate even one instance of a United Nations peacekeeper victimising the most vulnerable among us,” he said.
The 13,000-strong mission, the largest in the world, has been plagued by sexual misconduct among peacekeepers and civilian officials working to restore peace to the war-torn African nation and help it to hold elections this year. The UN is investigating 150 cases of alleged abuse, ranging from rape and paedophilia to using prostitutes and bribing desperate under-age girls with eggs, milk and food for sex.
A Frenchman serving in Goma was sent home and jailed on paedophilia charges in October last year after he allegedly made pornographic tapes with a 12-year-old girl.
Three other civilian staff have been suspended, and a man who worked for the UN’s investigative arm in Kinshasa resigned after being accused of consorting with a prostitute. Peacekeepers from several contingents have been repatriated to their home countries. The Congolese Government welcomed the new rules, but said that the UN should arrange to compensate victims.
Despite the new sex ban the UN will continue to dole out free condoms to peacekeepers to help stem the spread of Aids. “Giving out condoms does not necessarily imply that it’s a nod and a wink to any unwanted practices, but we can’t prevent people from having consensual, non-commercial sex,” Ari Gaitanis, a spokesman, said. “We are very aware of the HIV problem in the region and we take that into account as well.”
He noted that peacekeepers and UN officials could still have sex with each other and “condoms could come in useful there”.
Smile, laugh, cry, all this is done with (y)our money.
February 08, 2005
MacArthur: 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds
What a life she's living!
UPDATE: What a dame!
February 03, 2005
It could never happen in the EU
THE Japanese government has unveiled a plan to help cope with its ageing population - encouraging people to work until they are 75.
With fewer children being born and Japanese people living longer than ever before, thanks largely to medical advances, one in five Japanese will be aged 75 or over by 2030, while the country’s population is expected to shrink by ten million.
Saying yes to...
McDonald's plans to nearly double its national presence in the next three years, the fast-food giant said Monday as it marked the 15th anniversary of its first restaurant in Russia...
"Our business here is thriving," said Michael Roberts, McDonald's president and CEO. "We will continue to grow."
Roberts was speaking at the Pushkin Square McDonald's that made history 15 years ago when it opened its doors to long lines of Soviet citizens yearning for a taste of the West.
The location served 30,000 people on its opening day and still retains the distinction as the world's busiest McDonald's...
Now, after 15 years and more than 1 billion Russians served, the health craze -- not communism -- is the fast-food industry's fiercest foe.
February 02, 2005
NYC Letter: Lessons In Democracy
Iraq's leading Sunni Muslim clerics said Wednesday the country's landmark elections lacked legitimacy because large numbers of Sunnis did not participate in the balloting, which the religious leaders had asked them to boycott.
In its first statement since the balloting, the Association of Muslim Scholars said the vote lacked legitimacy because of low Sunni participation. The association months ago urged Sunnis to shun the polls because of the presence of U.S. and other foreign troops, and insurgents threatened to kill anyone who voted.
Meanwhile, Carlos Valenzuela, the chief U.N. election expert in Iraq, told the AP that turnout in Sunni Arab areas was higher than expected, with lines forming outside polling centers in insurgency strongholds like Fallujah and Mosul.
Lesson No.2: If You Don't Vote, Take Your Lumps
January 31, 2005
Kojo: Before and after
In December, Kojo Annan...issued a written statement to CNN...
"I have never participated directly or indirectly in any business related to the United Nations," his statement read.
Did anyone, I mean, ANYONE, really believe that? Of course not. It was a lie.
Despite previous statements to the contrary, the son of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is now said to admit he did indeed play a role in the scandalized oil-for-food program with Iraq, and that's prompting a call for his testimony before the U.S. Congress.
All in all, Kojo's just another brick in the wall of un (they don't deserve capital letters anymore) corruption.
January 30, 2005
President Bush's commented on this historic day:
The commitment to a free Iraq now goes forward. This historic election begins the process of drafting and ratifying a new constitution, which will be the basis of a fully democratic Iraqi government.
Terrorists and insurgents will continue to wage their war against democracy, and we will support the Iraqi people in their fight against them.
We will continue training Iraqi security forces so this rising democracy can eventually take responsibility for its own security.
There's more distance to travel on the road to democracy, yet Iraqis are proving they are equal to the challenge.
On behalf of the American people, I congratulate the people of Iraq on this great and historic achievement.
What a day.
Image: Sky News
Getting emotional... and hopeful
Some people here, in France, the country that headed the
anti-American, pro-Saddam peace camp, have been wondering whether democracy could be established in a country such as Iraq - by the way, did anyone ever wonder if democracy could be established in such a country 60 years ago? I even heard some people question the fact that Iraqis could or even deserved to be free. "Some people need an iron fist to control them", added a couple of others.
Well today, I am seriously wondering whether these people in France are worthy of a free, democratic country. Hopefully, this piece of news will make us all think again:
An Iraqi votes and dies in front of the ballot box
An Iraqi died of a heart attack after he cast his vote on Sunday, we learnt from an NGO in charge of monitoring the ballot.
"A middle-aged man, very excited at the thought of being able to vote, cast his vote in a Baghdad polling station before he collapsed in front of the ballot box," declared to the press an official of the Ein organization that heads some 10,000 independent observers.
"He died of a heart attack", added Ali al-Dabbagh without identifying the deceased voter.
On Sunday, Iraqis have participated in the first elections [offering the choice between] several parties, in half a century.
This press wire was classified in the "unusual/uncommon" section of the AOL France News webpage. Indeed, some people here might have forgotten what it means to vote in free, democratic elections.
Iraq is on its way to democracy. It may not be perfect and the road may still be long, but whether the so-called peace camp likes it or not, Iraq is moving in the right direction, a direction and a choice the "peace camp" opposed and tried to deny the Iraqi people. But it failed.
This man has lived long enough to be able to voice what he wanted for his country. Something he had not been able to do, probably most of his life. God bless his soul.
January 29, 2005
60 years on
...27 world leaders — a king and queen, presidents and prime ministers — will gather in Poland to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, where 1 million people, mostly Jews, were murdered.
But as the world focuses on the past, an increasing number of European Jews are concerned, to quote Sammy Ghozlan, a retired Calais police chief who now investigates anti-Semitic crimes, that "After decades of peace, the old taboos against anti-Semitism are broken. There is no future here for a Jew."
January 28, 2005
Getting out the vote in Iraq
January 26, 2005
Taxman to the rescue
DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - French President Jacques Chirac outlined bold proposals on Wednesday for an international tax to help fight AIDS, saying such a measure could raise $10 billion each year. "I propose today moving forward through the creation, in an experimental way, of a levy to finance the fight against AIDS," Chirac told the World Economic Forum in Davos in a speech delivered by video link-up.
Chirac said the levy could be imposed on international financial transactions without hampering markets, but it could also be raised by taxing fuel for air and sea transport, or levying $1 on every airline ticket sold in the world.
"It would allow us to mobilize $10 billion a year," he said.
The French leader's radical proposals upstaged British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was due to address the forum's opening session later on his plan for reducing global poverty, although Chirac was careful to endorse the British plan.
His ideas are likely to meet strong opposition from the United States and most other rich nations, as well as financial markets and airlines, but will be popular with anti-globalization campaigners and AIDS awareness groups.
Chirac insisted the proposed tax on financial transactions was not a new version of the tax first proposed by Canadian economist James Tobin to combat speculative capital movements.
"The international solidarity levy would be designed so as not to be an obstacle to normal market operation. It would be based on three main requirements:
-- a very low rate, of a maximum of one ten-thousandth
-- applied to a fraction of international financial transactions, which represent some $3 trillion per day
-- the levy would be based on cooperation between the major world financial markets, so as to avoid the effects of evasion."
As an alternative, he said states that maintain bank secrecy could be asked to partially compensate for the consequences of world tax evasion through a levy on flows of foreign capital in and out of their country.
Chirac's options for taxing kerosene or airline tickets seem bound to face hostility from the aviation industry, already facing tough business conditions due to high oil prices and tightened security measures since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
January 25, 2005
NYC Letter: Every Good Vote Counts
Democrats publicly weep over the outcome of the recent general election and demand every vote be counted, sometimes several times, just to be sure, and keep counting till the election result is harmonized with the will of the nation as clearly represented by, oh say, the NYT.
Why do they carry on so? Because the Democrats care passionately that your vote be counted. [WARNING! Liberal metaphor alert.] The Democrats will take a bullet so that your paper ballot can contribute its mite to the electoral tsunami that washes over the American political landscape every four years rehydrating the prodigious sponge of democracy. They do it because, gentle skimmer, it is the right thing to do.
IF (Pause.) you are voting Democratic.
Sowande Omokunde, son of Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., and Michael Pratt, the son of former Milwaukee acting mayor Marvin Pratt, were charged with criminal damage to property, a felony that carries a maximum punishment of 3 1/2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The activists — all employees of the John Kerry campaign — are accused of flattening the tires on 25 vehicles rented by the state Republican Party to get out the vote and deliver poll watchers Nov. 2.
The GOP rented more than 100 vehicles that were parked in a lot adjacent to a Bush campaign office. The party planned to drive poll watchers to polling places by 7 a.m. and deliver any voters who didn't have a ride.
A criminal complaint said the defendants originally planned to put up Democratic yard signs, placards and bumper stickers at the Republican office in a scheme they called "Operation Elephant Takeover." But the plan was dropped when they learned a security guard was posted at the GOP office, the complaint said.
One witness told investigators the five defendants, dressed in "Mission Impossible" type gear, black outfits and knit caps, left the Democratic Party headquarters at about 3 a.m. on Nov. 2, and returned about 20 minutes later, extremely excited and talking about how they had slashed the tires.
Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Seth Boffeli said the five were paid employees of Kerry's campaign, but were not acting on behalf of the campaign or party.
"This is not something we engage in, or encourage. We had to make it clear that this is something these individuals were doing on their own," Boffeli said.
Democrats, per se, do not do this sort of thing (or these sorts of things). And when they are caught doing this sort of thing they are acting not as Democrats, per se, but as political free agents. Being Democrat, much like being French, means never having to say you're sorry. And why would you? Democrats, per se, never err except in the service of the good. And what you ask is the good? If you have to ask then you obviously are not a Democrat. Per se.
January 18, 2005
Look who's NOT voting
Yesterday, on French TV, I saw a report about expatriate Iraqis voting in the upcoming elections in Iraq. Iraqis residing in France must go to Paris to register but the rules about who gets to vote seem pretty lax - not only do expatriates get to vote but their voting-age offspring (even born in France) will also be allowed to vote.
So you'd think the same rules would apply to all expatriate Iraqis, right? NOPE.
While Iraq is making provision for Iraqi exiles in more than 14 countries to vote in the Jan. 30 election, some 90,000 Jews who fled Iraq for Israel will be excluded from participating.(Emphasis mine)
That's the word from Iraqi officials who say the exclusion is due to the fact that the newly liberated nation still does not recognize the Jewish state.
The government said yesterday allowing Israelis of Iraqi origin to participate in the country's elections under the Out of Country Voting program was "out of (sic) question."
Just a few days ago, in the Jerusalem Post, the situation was presented in a more positive, if not encouraging, light. (Emphasis mine)
"Every Iraqi who wants to vote can vote. We don't care if the Iraqi voters are Muslim, Christian or Jewish," Farid Ayar, the head spokesman for the ICI, told The Jerusalem Post.
According to voting regulations, anyone who is Israeli-born but has a father who is Iraqi-born can vote, regardless of other citizenships. Iraqi law grants citizenship only to children with Iraqi fathers, not mothers.
Israeli turnout is likely to be low – the closest polling station to Israel is in Amman, Jordan.
Some 130,000 Iraqi Jews immigrated to Israel after the establishment of the state. Today, there at least 75,000 Iraqi-born Israeli citizens but the number of eligible voters – including their children – is much higher. Iraq's Out-of-Country Voting (OCV) committee decided not to open a polling station in Israel, whose population of eligible voters is much greater than other countries with polling stations, for example, the Netherlands.
Asked why Israel doesn't have a polling station, Ayar, whose organization is the independent body of Iraqi citizens that determined the stipulations for voter eligibility and the location of the polls, said it "is because Iraq has no relations with this state, and we don't recognize this state."
Allowed to vote despite the fact that Iraq doesn't recognize Israel...and then not allowed to vote for the same reason. Confusing, to say the least. This article presents these very same potential voters as, well, not all that interested, actually.
Most Israeli-Iraqis say they won't vote. Some say it would be difficult to travel to the voting places abroad, while others have bitter memories of Iraq's expulsion of the Jews after the establishment of Israel in 1948.
Yitzhak Ben-Moshe, 72, fondly remembers growing up in Baghdad. He also recalls jumping from roof to roof to avoid persecutors during riots in 1941, and the expulsion order his father received in 1949.
"Who would I vote for? Do I know them? Are they from my generation?" Ben-Moshe asked as he played backgammon and sipped mint tea at Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market. "Here we barely know who to vote for."
The Iraqi Electoral Commission said no Iraqi who can prove citizenship will be discriminated against, but it appeared to bristle at the thought of Iraqi Jews living in Israel participating in the election.
When asked about voting by Israeli-Iraqis, Farid Ayar, spokesman of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, said Tosh had no authority to speak on the issue. He did not deny that Israeli-Iraqis were eligible, however.
Mordechai Ben-Porat, who led the Jewish underground in Iraq and was jailed and tortured, said he understands the commission's wariness. The idea of ties to the Jewish state is anathema for many Iraqis.
"They don't want to be exposed as though they are already creating ties with Israel. They are being careful in the meantime, but in the future this is a positive thing," said Ben-Porat, who helped Israeli intelligence organize the 1950s exodus from Iraq.
Of the 290,000 Iraqi Jews abroad worldwide, about 244,000 live in Israel, said Ben-Porat, head of the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center near Tel Aviv. Twenty-nine percent were born in Iraq, and once had great economic and social influence there.
"If there was a polling place in Israel I would encourage people to vote," Ben-Porat said. "Just like Americans in Israel vote in the U.S. election ... Iraqis can also."
Israeli Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, a former defense minister, was born in Iraq in 1936. He is willing to lead peace negotiations between the countries in his native Arabic, but the idea of voting in the Iraqi election makes him laugh.
"It is the opening of an interesting policy in the Iraqi leadership which could eventually lead to the fulfillment of a Baghdad-Jerusalem (peace) track," Ben-Eliezer told Israel Radio.
Ran Cohen, 66, a dovish lawmaker in Israel's parliament, was also born in Baghdad. Forced to flee at age 11 after his eldest brother was arrested for Jewish underground activity, Cohen is glad the Iraqi traditions of family unity and warmth have remained in Israel, but has no desire to vote.
"I smile to myself that suddenly I have the right to vote in another country," he said.
Eli Amir, an Israeli author who was born in Baghdad, said using his right to vote would be unfair — the Iraqis have to decide their own fate.
"I miss the country, the view, the Euphrates, the dates, the palm trees, the amazing flowers of the winter, my city," Amir told Israel Radio.
"I want to go back there to see something from what was, but it is completely clear to me that today this is not my Baghdad. My Baghdad is ... in my heart, in my imagination, in my yearnings, in the beautiful childhood I had there."
I can see his point and the point made above about Iraq not wanting to appear pro-Israel too quickly. But if Israel had been quietly included on the list of 14 countries that were being asked to set up polling stations, chances are no or little fuss would ever have been made about it. The case could have easily been made for including Israel due to the large community of Jews of Iraqi descent living there.
I can't help but feel that an opportunity was missed here. An opportunity for the new Iraq to set an example by just treating Israel like any other country...even if diplomatic ties are not yet established. And to establish itself as an independent thinker, capable of creating precedent when for a just cause.
January 16, 2005
Goofy as ever
I do think it's time someone showed him the tape of his concession speech. He seems to have forgotten about it. Of course, you can count on him to look as goofy as ever. (What could he possible be talking about with PM Blair that would lead him to make that gesture!?)
Does he think that because he LOST the election, that makes him Shadow President?
'I ran for president before I lost.'
I'm sure someone told him that he'd win in 2008 if he could re-print a lot of photos of himself with foreign leaders.
'John, they didn't see you shaking hands with the leaders.'
'But I had them all calling me telling me they wanted me to win.'
'Yes, John, but there were no pictures, you see?'
'But everytime I saw a foreign leader, anywhere, at Wendy's, they were all for me, all of them. It's seared in my memory, like the day that doggie got blown off my boat.'
'John, we've already talked about this. No more war stories, period. Just get the darn pictures, alright!'
'OK, I'll report for duty but make sure no one forgets my brush. I can't travel without my brush.'
Excuse me while I go puke.
January 15, 2005
Out of this world
January 13, 2005
Sir Mark's cuckcoup cockup
...following a plea bargain, Sir Mark will plead guilty of being negligent of investing in an aircraft "without taking proper investigations into what it would be used for."
Sir Mark was charged with having a funding role involving a helicopter which it is alleged was to be used in a coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea, said the BBC correspondent.
However, Lady Thatcher's son claimed he believed he was investing in an air ambulance.
Complete M Thatcher Inventory: money, connections, famous name.
Yup, forgot the b-r-a-i-n again.
January 11, 2005
NYC Letter: Pope Quote Makeover
Here is the AP headline:
This is pretty strong meat from the secular press and we want to thank Mr. Frances D'Emilio, the AP writer, for this intrepid bit of reporting. Let's take a look at those reported moral positions. Oh, but first this tangental, but obligatory, beat-up on Mr. Bush:
While the pope was delivering his annual speech to the ambassadors, the Italian cardinal he sent to the White House in March 2003 in a last-hour bid to dissuade President Bush from invading Iraq war told TV viewers in Italy the president had promised the prelate the American intervention would be wrapped up quickly.
Cardinal Pio Laghi said Bush "told me, `Don't worry, your eminence. We'll be quick and do well in Iraq.'"
Laghi, who was speaking on Telepace, a Catholic TV station, was the Vatican's first envoy to the United States in the 1980s and established a friendship with Bush's father, former President George H.W. Bush.
"Unfortunately, the facts have demonstrated afterward that things took a different course — not rapid and not favorable" in Iraq, the cardinal said.
"Bush was wrong" about Iraq, the prelate, now retired, said of the current U.S. leader.
John Paul, who had vigorously opposed what the United States called "preventive war," said in his speech that "arrogance of power must be countered with reason, force with dialogue, pointed weapons with outstretched hands, evil with good."
Ok, now, on to those moral positions. (A red light suddenly flashes. A klaxon sounds. Huge powerful gears turn.) Wait a minute!
Mr. D'Emilio's truncated quote is not the Pope commenting on the invasion of Iraq. Here is the whole context of the Pope's remarks (item No.7):
There is also the challenge of peace. As a supreme good and the condition for attaining many other essential goods, peace is the dream of every generation. Yet how many wars and armed conflicts continue to take place - between States, ethnic groups, peoples and groups living in the same territory. From one end of the world to the other, they are claiming countless innocent victims and spawning so many other evils! Our thoughts naturally turn to different countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where recourse to arms and violence has not only led to incalculable material damage, but also fomented hatred and increased the causes of tension, thereby adding to the difficulty of finding and implementing solutions capable of reconciling the legitimate interests of all the parties involved. In addition to these tragic evils there is the brutal, inhuman phenomenon of terrorism, a scourge which has taken on a global dimension unknown to previous generations.
How can the great challenge of building peace overcome such evils? As diplomats, you are men and women of peace by profession but also by personal vocation. You know the nature and extent of the means which the international community has at its disposal for keeping or restoring peace. Like my venerable predecessors, I have spoken out countless times, in public statements - especially in my annual Message for the World Day of Peace - and through the Holy See's diplomatic activity, and I shall continue to do so, pointing out the paths to peace and urging that they be followed with courage and patience. The arrogance of power must be countered with reason, force with dialogue, pointed weapons with outstretched hands, evil with good. [Mr. D'Emilio's money quote.]
[The Pope here lists a number of successful or promising peace initiatives in 2004.]
Bringing about an authentic and lasting peace in this violence-filled world calls for a power of good that does not shrink before difficulties. It is a power that human beings on their own cannot obtain or preserve: it is a gift from God. Christ came to bring this gift to mankind, as the angels sang above the manger in Bethlehem: "peace among men with whom he is pleased" (Lk 2:14). God loves mankind, and he wants peace for all men and women. We are asked to be active instruments of that peace, and to overcome evil with good. Vince in bono malum.
The American liberation of Iraq is also strangely missing from the Pope's specific enumeration of evil armed conflicts, though terrorism in Iraq -- and the Pope calls it "barbarous terrorism" -- gets prominent mention.
Mr. D'Emilio has not reported the Pope's sentiments but his own hobbyhorse. But whereas the Pope is a recognized moral authority, Mr. D'Emilio, well, he is an AP reporter, which puts him somewhere at the opposite end of the spectrum. Conflating the good cardinal's interview, who was speaking in no official capacity and, of course, is not a competent military observer, with the Pope's speech was necessary to tell the only story Mr. D'Emilio knows how to write on morality -- No Blood For Oil. This is apparent from his at times breezy, at times sloppy, at times both, reporting of the other moral positions promised in his headline.
John Paul also reasserted the church's opposition to abortion, assisted procreation and scientific research on human embryonic stem cells.
What the Pope actually said:
The Church's position, supported by reason and science, is clear: the human embryo is a subject identical to the human being which will be born at the term of its development. Consequently whatever violates the integrity and the dignity of the embryo is ethically inadmissible. Similarly, any form of scientific research which treats the embryo merely as a laboratory specimen is unworthy of man. Scientific research in the field of genetics needs to be encouraged and promoted, but, like every other human activity, it can never be exempt from moral imperatives; research using adult stem cells, moreover, offers the promise of considerable success.
Where the Pope delivers a rich message, Mr. D'Emilio reports a yawn.
In an obvious reference to laws permitting marriage between homosexuals or equating the social rights of unwed couples to married ones, John Paul said that in some countries, the family's "natural structure" has been challenged.
The challenge to life has also emerged with regard to the very sanctuary of life: the family. Today the family is often threatened by social and cultural pressures which tend to undermine its stability; but in some countries the family is also threatened by legislation which at times directly challenge its natural structure, which is and must necessarily be that of a union between a man and a woman founded on marriage. The family, as a fruitful source of life and a fundamental and irreplaceable condition for the happiness of the individual spouses, for the raising of children and for the well-being of society, and indeed for the material prosperity of the nation, must never be undermined by laws based on a narrow and unnatural vision of man. There needs to prevail a just, pure and elevated understanding of human love, which finds in the family its primordial and exemplary expression. Vince in bono malum.
[Emphasis in the original.]
In an article running 537 words, 181 (34%) are devoted to Mr. D'Emilio's disapproval of America's Iraq project. Reporting all the other moral positions combined merit a mere 139 words (26%). The Pope's speech ran to 2,774 words of which 605 (22%) directly or elliptically address world peace, a larger subject than Mr. D'Emilio's Iraq hobbyhorse.
We do not expect moral subtlety from newspaper reporters, but we do expect the gist of the reporting to capture the gist of the Pope's speech.
As for Iraq, the Pope, like most modern Popes, objects to war in principle. But we dare say that Karol Józef Wojtyła can make a distinction between, say, the necessity of fighting WWII and the folly and injustice of fighting to hold onto Algeria, for example. We also believe His Holiness understands the world's partnership with Saddam was an intrinsic evil and Mr. Bush's coalition's removal of this evil is an intrinsic good.
January 06, 2005
What a wonderful world
Erik's got some photos of a really nice guy.
Some people get upset for the silliest things, don't they?
A French journalist to save?
American authorities in Iraq, look out.
«Libération» hasn't received any news for over 24 hours from its envoy in Iraq, Florence Aubenas. She has been working in Bagdad since December 16th, 2004. . .
As a reporter, Florence Aubenas has covered for «Liberation» the events in Rwanda, in Kosovo, in Algeria, in Afghanistan and in Iraq, as well as several major trials in France.
French, Iraqi and American authorities have been alerted.
January 05, 2005
America 12 - France...44?
How miserable is Weaselstan's ranking, eh?
It's all W's fault!
January 04, 2005
Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, whom the US occupation authorities declared to be the "target number one" in Iraq, has been arrested in the city of Baakuba, the Emirate newspaper al-Bayane reported on Tuesday referring to Kurdish sources.
Nothing on who did the arresting or what they plan to do with the $10m reward they'll get in return.
If he is in custody, though, it's a nice catch. Very nice.
January 03, 2005
Bush to CBS: 'Bite me.'
Actually, I made that up but it doesn't make it any less accurate.
Here's the real deal.
In advance of the release of CBS's Rathergate report, the network is desperately trying to repair relations with the Bush White House - borrowing a page from the Fox News Channel with a promise to become "fair and balanced."
Just make the 'report' public and crawl back into your hole, CBS. Fair and balanced...right-ee-o.
NYC Letter: Global Air Biscuits
On 18 November 2004, Russia deposited its instrument of ratification with the United Nations. This marked the start of the ninety day count down to the entry in force of the Kyoto Protocol, an international and legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gases emissions world wide.
However, there had been notorious disagreement in his government.
[Andrey Illarionov, Economic Adviser to President Putin,] stressed that government agencies had to make responsible decisions based on scientific knowledge, not on faith. “We have received no single argument in favor of this document except political pressure. No link has been established between carbon dioxide emissions and climate change. No other objective facts have been presented in recent time. The IPCC’s reports in 1990 and 1995 show it clearly.”
Economic reasoning provided by the supporters of the Kyoto Protocol is also untenable because, according to Mr. Illarionov, Russia will exceed limits established by the document, not later than in 2010. “If we develop at the same rate as over the past five years, we will exceed this level in 2009. If we develop at a rate necessary to double the GDP within ten years – a goal set by President Vladimir Putin, - we will reach this level in 2008,” the Economic Adviser said.
“We are close to a consensus that the Kyoto Protocol does huge economic, political, social and ecological damage to the Russian Federation. In addition, it certainly violates the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens, and well as the rights and freedoms of citizens in those countries which … signed and ratified it,” he stressed. (See Update, below.)
But things change. Mr. Putin gambles little -- KP Article 27§1.2 bailout provisions commit no party to more than a 4-yr. trial -- and gains much because of KP Article 6, which allows for selling 10% of any reserve below a party's emission quota.
Russia may net $1 billion to $3 billion by selling quotas of releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere allowed to it by the Kyoto protocol, Vsevolod Gavrilov, deputy director of the Economic Development Ministry's Material and Land Relations and Nature Use Economics Department, told Interfax on Monday.
Actually the whole of the KP is an amazing hodge-podge of jury-rigged workarounds all conveniently available for purchase. It was while reading about one such clean development mechanism ("CDM") scheme that we were alerted to some of the most prodigious, iniquitous, and unapologetically persistent world polluters, who, needless to say, have no intention of signing on to the KP. Not now, not ever.
We are talking about cows:
Each cow emits 200 to 400 quarts of methane gas per day, or 50 million metric tons per year
(See second article here) “One desperate study, done in Manitoba and posted on ManureNet, suggests that cattle should take drugs to stop farting. According to this study, dairy cows that had an additive called monensin mixed into their diets farted up to 28 percent less, according to scientists, who claim to have actually measured. Trouble is, "the impact has not been (as) long lasting," as scientists had hoped. Other ideas suggested by scientists include pumping cattle full of anti-farting hormones, such as Bovine somatotropin, which cut down on methane emissions by nine percent. But even the most ardent anti-farting scientists on the Kyoto payroll are skeptical about jacking up cattle on hormones, just to make them more polite."
(From CFP article, above) "Ottawa's high-stakes race to solve the problem of musical cattle--reminiscent of the grandeur of John Kennedy's Apollo project, or the search for the polio vaccine--has electrified the country. It has also polarized the electorate, with both pro-and anti-farting factions making themselves heard.
"On the anti-farting side proudly stands Environmental Defence Canada, an eco-activist group dedicated to fart-free living. In October 2002, they released a scathing 37-page report called It's Hitting the Fan--pointing out that cattle and pigs nearly outnumber people in Canada, and all of those animals are farting--creating "foul odours", "toxic vapours" and even cause "headaches". Who could argue with that?"
Termites release an estimated 176 billion pounds of "greenhouse gas" [scil., methane] per year.
Of course we make fun. But we make fun because the KP is an easy object of fun with its hysterical science and its empty enforcement and its "gas be gone" wand wave. The complaint of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ("UNFCCC") is with a 0.6° C (33.08° F) increase since the late 1800s, yet it only aspires to restore the world to 1990 emission levels, minus a 5% reduction. If the UNFCCC's forecast is accurate -- another 1.4° to 5.8° C (34.52°-42.44° F) increase by the year 2100 -- then the KP is underambitious by a factor of what? Ten? And for all its straining science, the UNFCCC assures us global warming is not a scientific problem:
Global warming is a "modern" problem -- complicated, involving the entire world, tangled up with difficult issues such as poverty, economic development, and population growth.
This is a heads up to expect world-scale wand waves for poverty, economic development, and population growth from this huddle of internationalists. We recall the internationalists were the same folk who in the 80s warned us about imminent global cooling.
The KP is supposed to be the "teeth" fitted to the original "toothless" UNFCCC, but the KP itself has been kitted out with a series of dentures: the Buenos Aires Plan of Action; the Bonn Agreements on the Implementation of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action; and the Marrakesh Accords. This is quite a dental work-up.
And what is the result of all this dentation? This:
In the case of compliance with emission targets, Annex I Parties are granted 100 days after the expert review of their final annual emissions inventory has finished to make up any shortfall in compliance (e.g. by acquiring AAUs, CERs, ERUs or RMUs through emissions trading). [The UNFCCC is rife with acronyms.] If, at the end of this period, a Party’s emissions are still greater than its assigned amount, it must make up the difference in the second commitment period, plus a penalty of 30%. It will also be barred from "selling" under emissions trading and, within three months, it must develop a compliance action plan detailing the action it will take to make sure that its target is met in the next commitment period.
Oh, ouch. Yes, if some poor Annex I Party is having trouble achieving its emissions target, well, obviously piling on the difficulty will get the job done.
Is the stewardship of Earth an obligation on nations? Yes. But this ginned up crank treaty is not good stewardship. It is a lot of self-fascinating motion.
Andrei Illarionov, who last week said the Kremlin efforts to censure the public would eventually spark mass protests, was stripped of his responsibilities as Russia's envoy to the Group of 8 industrial nations, the Kremlin said.
Illarionov called last month's Kremlin-orchestrated auction of Yukos' main production unit the "fraud of the year" and said the government's actions "have inflicted a colossal damage to the country."
He also is a longtime critic of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, which Russia ratified this fall.
December 30, 2004
A gem from former French 'hostage' Chesnot:
“In addition, there are also youths who told us they had been trained in Afghanistan on making explosives and who referred to (Al Qaeda leader) Osama bin Laden as Sheikh Osama.”
December 28, 2004
The day the Earth did not stand still
The earth wobbled on its axis.
We lost a little time.
Sumatra shifted 100 feet.
And, horror, the numbers may keep going...up.
The scale of Sunday's disaster was still unclear amid the chaos, and officials said the final death toll could rise above 55,000.
Thousands of kilometres of coastline from Indonesia to Somalia were battered by deadly waves. Rows of bodies covered in plastic sheets, mats or blankets were laid out on the ground throughout the region.
"This was the worst day in our history," said Sri Lankan businessman YP Wickramsinghe as he picked through the rubble of his dive shop in the devastated southwestern town of Galle.
"I wish I had died. There is no point in living."
December 21, 2004
French journalists freed
TF1 warns its best to be cautious about how true the story is.
See No Pasaran's take on the event here.
UPDATE: 6:30PM Wed 22 Dec - French TV transmitted live the freed journalists' arrival at a military airport at Villacoublay, the same airport that saw Arafat's body leave French soil. Chirac, Raffarin and co. are there with the families to welcome them. Before they are taken away (with their families) for complete debriefing by French intelligence, they gave a statement to the press. Malbrunot, largely hogging the mike, explained that if they were able to stay alive it was because they told the kidnappers that they were French and hence anti-American, against the occupation of Iraq and sympathetic towards the resistance. Malbrunot definitely enjoying the spotlight. Chesnot, less. No criticism of the kidnappers who gave them shampoo and let them shower. Painting a picture of Iraq as a 'very dangerous place now'. The kidnappers worried about keeping them safe and changed their location accordingly. Before wrapping up the conference by answering a few questions in English, Malbrunot said 'Inchallah'.
December 14, 2004
Tariq Ramadan, an intellectual influential among Muslims throughout Europe, said he had sent a letter of resignation this week to University of Notre Dame in Indiana, where he had been due to take up a tenured post as professor of religion.
I imagine he would not have resigned or had to resign had Flip-Flop won on 2 November last.
December 13, 2004
Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” was one of 49 films deemed eligible for a foreign-language Golden Globe. But it was not among the nominees voted on today by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Oh, yeah, I'm like so sure that the two French films are like light-years better than Mel's. Like totalement.
Wrap it up
On Dec. 13, the Electoral College will presumably elect George W. Bush president of the United States.
December 11, 2004
What a girl wants
..is not a SalaryMan.
A growing number of Japanese women are giving up on their male counterparts, and taking a gamble that looking abroad for love will bring them the qualities in a partner that seem rare at home. Mr. Right, as the hope goes, is often an American or European, a man appreciative of a wife's career and more of a partner in daily tasks.
"They treat you like equals, and they don't hesitate to express mutual feelings of respect - I think Western men are more adept [at such things] than Japanese men," says the 36-year-old Ms. Mizuguchi, who works at a top trading firm. "They don't act like women are maids - I think they view women as individuals."
December 08, 2004
Same old methods
With love... from Russia?
“This is no longer a question for discussion,” Dr Korpan said. “We are now sure that we can confirm which substance caused this illness. He received this substance from other people who had a specific aim.”
Asked if the aim had been to kill him, Dr Korpan said: “Yes, of course.”
Proof that Mr Yushchenko was deliberately poisoned would be a devastating blow for his rival, the Prime Minister, Viktor Yanukovych, as the two candidates prepare for a repeat of a presidential run-off on December 26.
It would raise questions about whether the poisoning was ordered by Mr Yanukovych, his allies, or even the Kremlin, which fears that Mr Yushchenko will take Ukraine out of its sphere of influence by joining Nato and the EU.
United they stand
Chirac and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, both Iraq war opponents, earlier called Annan to express their support.
"At a time when some voices – whose underlying motives are open to question – are trying to call into question the merits. . . of Mr Kofi Annan, all of us in Europe, and indeed in Africa and Asia, consider it legitimate to express our gratitude and our friendship to the UN Secretary General," Chirac said.
He was answering a question on whether he feared Washington might disapprove of the phone call.
The French and Spanish position contrasts with that of US President George W Bush's government, which has been cautious in its comments on Annan since congressional committees started investigations and a senator called for Annan's resignation. . .
British Prime Minister Tony Blair backed Annan on Monday. Russia, China and Germany have also offered support.
December 06, 2004
Points for originality
...must be given to the Thais for the 120 MILLION (can that possibly be true?!) origami birds deployed this weekend.
The gesture...was intended to show solidarity with the region's inhabitants, but has been derided by critics as pointless and liable to cause a litter problem.
Well, yes, there is that. But here's the solution.
The governor of Yala province promised residents who collected 50,000 birds a bicycle, a table fan to those who picked up 10,000, and 2.2lb of sugar for 250.
50 thousand? For a bike? The reward hardly seems worth the effort.
Of course, not everyone believes the bird dropping's sincere.
The operation was meant to sow peace, harmony and goodwill in Thailand's southern provinces, where an insurgency began in January.
But, many Islamic leaders in the South have dismissed the effort as a publicity stunt ahead of national elections due in two months time.
December 05, 2004
Home for the holidays
The 4-year-old's French mother, Sophie Maumousseau, kidnapped the girl in 2003 and spirited her to a French village, where locals backed their compatriot and battled fiercely to keep hold of the stolen child.
The joyful dad was exhausted after the flight, but happy that a French court finally coerced Charlotte's mother into handing over the girl.
"I feel good," he told The Post. "It feels good to be on American soil. It's unreal."
December 04, 2004
Think the Dems are taking notes?
Ukraine high court tosses results, orders new vote
Opposition cheers as Ukraine court orders new poll
People's protests win new election
When is as mob not really a mob? Why, when it's our mob, of course
December 03, 2004
Calling the kettle black
"Even if dictatorship is packaged in beautiful pseudo-democratic phraseology, it will not be able to solve systemic problems . . . It may even make them worse."
[Policies] "based on the barrack-room principles of a unipolar world appear to be extremely dangerous."
Who said that? No, it's neither Jack, nor Dom.
And it's definitely not what you could call an ally.
December 01, 2004
NYC Letter: The Groningen Protocol
No need for alarm. Everything under control here. Just a few babies being tended. Move along.
December 1, 2004 (China Daily) - In August, the main Dutch doctors' association KNMG [De Koninklijke Nederlandsche Maatschappij tot bevordering der Geneeskunst] urged the Health Ministry to create an independent board to review euthanasia cases for terminally ill people "with no free will," including children, the severely mentally retarded and people left in an irreversible coma after an accident.
The Health Ministry is preparing its response, which could come as soon as December, a spokesman said.
[The Groningen Academic Hospital, AZG] in the Netherlands — the first nation to permit euthanasia — recently proposed guidelines for mercy killings of terminally ill newborns, and then made a startling revelation: It has already begun carrying out such procedures, which include administering a lethal dose of sedatives.
Best to have guidelines for disposing of junk people. But we must admit the novel hysteron proteron approach of the Dutch certainly speeds things along. Oh, just a detail, the Groningen Protocol, with an eye to future enlargement, covers children up to twelve years.
The Groningen Protocol, as the hospital's guidelines have come to be known, would create a legal framework for permitting doctors to actively end the life of newborns deemed to be in similar pain from incurable disease or extreme deformities.
The conditional indicates outcomes that are dependent on some qualifying requirement being met. The above sentence is tautological mush: If the Protocol were given the force of law it would provide a framework for such law. Yet people read right over this sort of mud and think they've learned something.
The suggestion is that the Protocol is part of some legislative process. It is not. It is a coterie of doctors having their way in the maternity ward of the Groningen Academic Hospital.
The hospital has revealed it carried out four such mercy killings in 2003, and reported all cases to government prosecutors. There have been no legal proceedings against the hospital or the doctors.
"As things are, people are doing this secretly and that's wrong," said Eduard Verhagen, head of Groningen's children's clinic. "In the Netherlands we want to expose everything, to let everything be subjected to vetting."
Hhmmm. Silly us, we would have thought that acting without the sanction of law might be what was wrong. Mr. Verhagen introduces an interesting legal if not moral construct. Although Groningen's doctors had no authority in law to euthanize infants, telling the papers about it, "to expose everything", happily exculpates the obvious criminality. This is a classic "bait and switch":
Well, I may be killing babies, but at least I'm not a craven hypocrite about it. (Warm applause. A beautiful bouquet of roses is presented.) Can anything be more detestable than those cowardly secretive euthanizers? (Uniform woeful head-shaking. No one can think one thought more detestable. Fists are shaken. A pencil is broken!)
The Daily Standard reports:
For anyone paying attention to the continuing collapse of medical ethics in the Netherlands, this isn't at all shocking. Dutch doctors have been surreptitiously engaging in eugenic euthanasia of disabled babies for years, although it technically is illegal, since infants can't consent to be killed. Indeed, a disturbing 1997 study published in the British medical journal, the Lancet, revealed how deeply pediatric euthanasia has already metastasized into Dutch neo natal medical practice: According to the report, doctors were killing approximately 8 percent of all infants who died each year in the Netherlands. That amounts to approximately 80-90 per year. Of these, one-third would have lived more than a month. At least 10-15 of these killings involved infants who did not require life-sustaining treatment to stay alive. The study found that a shocking 45 percent of neo-natologists and 31 percent of pediatricians who responded to questionnaires had killed infants.
It took the Dutch almost 30 years for their medical practices to fall to the point that Dutch doctors are able to engage in the kind of euthanasia activities that got some German doctors hanged after Nuremberg. For those who object to this assertion by claiming that German doctors killed disabled babies during World War II without consent of parents, so too do many Dutch doctors: Approximately 21 percent of the infant euthanasia deaths occurred without request or consent of parents. Moreover, since when did parents attain the moral right to have their children killed?
We are not pretending there aren't difficult issues here. The good doctors of AZG feel they've figured it all out. What? You don't agree? Yeah, well, drop dead -- unless you need an assist.
November 29, 2004
Life is good for some
Apparently. Although it's "not like a five-star hotel." (Emphasis mine)
New footage has emerged of two French reporters taken hostage in Iraq showing both men apparently well and in good spirits, the Sunday Times reported. . .
Chesnot, 37, reportedly says he and Malbrunot are "here because there are security issues and investigations regarding our identities as we are journalists and the Islamic Army is doing the investigations."
Speaking in Lebanese Arabic, he says they are being treated well by their captors, "although their hospitality is not like a five-star hotel".
"The behaviour of the Islamic Army has been very good. There is no violence involved. We eat three times a day and we get lots of tea and everything is available," he adds.
November 28, 2004
France, the U.N. and justice
Ivory Coast would take France to the world court for violating bilateral defence accords after French forces destroyed Ivorian military aircraft, a lawyer for the Ivorians said today. . .
Patricia Hamza, a lawyer working with an Ivory Coast presidential mission in Brussels, said a suit against France would be lodged with the International Court of Justice, the UN's highest legal body, in The Hague.
"A complaint lodged by the state of Ivory Coast against the French state ... is the next logical step in this crisis," she said. . .
Ms Hamza said Ivory Coast denounced "the violation of the defence accords" and of UN security council resolution 1528, which was adopted in February and, in part, reaffirms the former French colony's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
It would also complain about "the facts on the ground: the destruction of the aircraft, the order given by President (Jacques) Chirac is utterly illegal," she said. . .
Ivorian authorities said 57 civilians were killed and more than 2200 injured in five days of unrest between November 6 and 10, including an unconfirmed number by French troops.
Ms Hamza said two other complaints had been lodged in the name of "civilian victims"; one at a court in the capital, Abidjan, and another with a tribunal in Paris, which must determine whether it has jurisdiction.
So, are the French troops responsible for killing Ivorian civilians? Well, it's unclear.
French Defence Minister Alliot Michele-Marie [sic] acknowledged French troops might have been responsible for some Ivorian casualties during demonstrations earlier this month, having earlier said the deaths and injuries had been caused by clashes between demonstrators and local police. . .
Ms Alliot-Marie brushed off the prospect of a lawsuit.
"Ivory Coast is putting out a lot of information and, in a number of cases, disinformation," she said on RTL radio.
They **might** have learnt from the best...
"As a lawyer by training, I cannot see this leading anywhere". . .
In her radio interview, Ms Alliot-Marie admitted that French fire may have been responsible for a number of Ivorian casualties, but insisted that the troops had been forced to take action.
"They were forced to shoot. They carried out warning shots and, in a few cases, were forced to make full use of their firearms. There was no way of avoiding it," she said.
"The French army will have to be held accountable for this slaughter, because these are Gestapo methods that need to be completely condemned and denounced," estimated Alain Toussaint, an adviser to Mr. Gbagbo.
"French authorities will have to explain those losses of control and these grave mistakes that are contrary to fundamental laws, even in times of war," he added.
November 26, 2004
Kojo Annan, papa's boy
Labeled as compensation for Kojo Annan's agreeing not to compete with Cotecna's business in West Africa, the post-employment payments were in the amount of $2,500 per month, according to another source with access to the documents. If the payments were continuous over the slightly more than five-year period involved, that would have totaled more than $150,000.
What? You mean we're getting all upset over $150,000? Pffft.
W, yet another surprise
Saw W just now on Britain's ITV. Looked good, rested. Cut the reporters' questions short saying he was off to 'eat a burger'. :)
The Brits are stunned that W is getting involved in Northern Ireland's problems.
Saying that this must be W's way of repaying Blair for his loyalty since 9/11.
November 25, 2004
'Weapons' found in Fallujah
Marine commanders said troops moving from house to house had discovered large numbers of weapons stores, including stocks of up to 700 mortar shells.
Kalashnikov rifles, ammunition, rocket-propelled grenades and heavy cannon have also been found throughout the city, officers said.
Weapons caches, many in the south of Falluja, the last area taken by the Marines, were often marked by a brick suspended on a piece of string outside a house, they added.
All that at their disposal and the 'freedom fighters' still felt it necessary to resort to hostage-taking?
Despite the uncertainties ahead, Marine officers seem certain that they had dealt the Iraqi insurgency a serious blow.
“They no longer have a safe haven. They no longer have a place they can take hostages, torture and kill them,” said intelligence officer Maj. Jim West.
Something to be thankful for, I'd say. Fallujah, welcome to your new life.
November 23, 2004
3 hostages free
The Afghan Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali denied other reports which claimed that a deal had been done to secure the trio's freedom.
He said: "No prisoners were released, no money was paid, no demand was accepted."
But Akbar Agha, the leader of the Taliban splinter group claiming to have abducted the trio, said various deals had been done.
This detail from the Times Online article (above) caught my eye...
...the kidnappers repeatedly let deadlines pass and even allowed the three to phone home.
November 22, 2004
TENS of thousands of Ukrainian protesters have taken over Kiev's central square and turned it into a defiant sea of orange flags to denounce the results of a presidential election.
Pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich has declared victory over pro-Western opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko in the disputed poll.
As counting continued, car horns honked in protest across the Ukrainian capital and people crowded into Kiev's landmark Independence Square, where the opposition had set up a stage.
Mr Yushchenko appeared to roars of adulation, and organisers said they would stay put until parliament annulled the election's results.
Compared to Afghanistan's recent election, this one looks like it might turn out messy.
Image: BBC One
November 20, 2004
NYC Letter: Do Not Mess With This President
Mr. Bush and first lady Laura Bush arrived at 8 p.m. local time yesterday at the Estacion Mapocho Cultural Center for the official dinner of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
After the first couple posed for photos with Chilean President Ricardo Lagos and his wife, the four entered the doorway with a line of Chilean security guards and uniformed police closing quickly behind him.
The president's lead agent approached the line of men as quickly as it closed and demanded to be allowed through. Within a few seconds, the confrontation began to escalate with voices being raised and shoving in all directions. ...Mr. Bush and the rest of the party turned to enter the dining room. But the president quickly turned his head to the growing din just outside.
Mr. Bush calmly turned right as the other three continued on and inserted himself into the fight. The president reached over two rows of Chilean security guards, grabbed his lead agent [Nick Trotta] by the shoulder of his suit jacket and began to pull. ... A few Chilean guards turned their heads and noticed that the arm draped over their shoulders was that of the president, and the line softened. Mr. Bush pulled his agent through...
Mr. Bush then adjusted his shirt cuff and said something to the first dignitary he passed as a grin crossed his face.
Damn. Do not mess with Texas. Nothing more to add.
November 16, 2004
(Bugmenot access codes for WaPo: Knot@all.com, kismyas)
November 15, 2004
UPDATE 16 Nov 04: Could Hassan already be dead?
This from the NYPost.
Marines searching for holdout guerrillas in Fallujah yesterday discovered the mutilated body of a blond woman lying in the street under a blood-soaked cloth — and officials believe it could be one of two Western women kidnapped last month. The body could not be immediately identified, but Margaret Hassan, 59, a Briton who runs Iraq's division of CARE International, and Polish-born Teresa Borcz Khalifa, 54, are the only kidnapped women who remain unaccounted for.
News about the two French hostages is not good, although their Syrian driver has been found alive.
A reader, Marie, recently wrote to E-nough! asking about 'doing something' to help Hassan. Unfortunately, Marie, there is nothing to do but hope and pray that she and any other remaining hostages will be lucky. No amount of publicity, no amount of names on a petition, nothing can make animals behave like human beings.
November 12, 2004
NYC Letter: De Mortuis Nihil Nisi Vere
We won't pretend to the Christian enjoinment of charity toward the little chairman. He's dead. He took his sweet time. And the world is a better place on his departure. If death does not cheat justice, then even now Mr. Arafat is enjoying the desserts he avoided time and again in life.
Muhammad Abdul Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini, was an Egyptian by birth and a Palestinian by invention. (Mr. Arafat claimed Jersualem as his birthplace.) The Guardian has written a gagging valentine of an obituary that reduces the little chairman to something on the order of an inept middle-manager who had greatness thrust upon him but never acquired the knack for greatness.
There's worse than this over at the NYT where Jimmy Carter apotheosizes the little chairman. You'll have to get the link from LGF, because we are loath to register with the NYT. It just feels dirty.
But you can't beat the French for the feckless grovel:
"I have come to bow before president Yasser Arafat and pay him a final homage,” he said after the 25-minute visit.(Twenty-five minutes? Arafat was dead. How long does it take secular Jack to contemplate Mr. Arafat in the nothingness of a French hereafter?)
When Mr. Reagan died, Jack sent an errand boy, M. Barnier.
The French get no thanks for the bother of giving the little chairman a bed in which to expire:
Ashraf al-Kurdi, who was a friend and doctor to the Palestinian leader for 25 years, also said he was disappointed in the care French doctors gave Mr Arafat.
"They did not care even to phone me and ask for his medical history," Dr Kurdi said in a telephone interview from his home in Jordan.
"They did not even phone. I am very disappointed in their care for him, and I cannot understand this lack of an explanation for his death.
"As is the case with any man who dies of unexplained causes, I feel an autopsy is needed."
Christian Estripeau, the medical director at the Paris military hospital where Mr Arafat died Thursday, said French law barred him from responding to the charge that care was lacking.
It is distressing to see the world turn out in solemnity to prop up a fraud that except for the most hapless Palestinians, was universally, if secretly, detested. Of this list of dignitaries only Bahrain, Brazil, Kuwait, Latvia, and the United States -- and perhaps Russia -- have properly relegated its representation. It should be noted that the French representation rates Mr. Arafat pari passu with Mr. Reagan -- Mr. Arafat and his crew having done so much for France.
As is fitting, Mr. Arafat's funeral took on the atmosphere of an Arab bazaar where solemn European dignitaries with hankies at the ready were elbowed aside by Islamic big shots. The German delegation had the security fence closed in its face and not one European managed to participate in the central funeral service. Such a shame and everybody all dressed up. (Hat tip: LGF) Oh, and no little people need apply:
Unusually for the funeral of an Arab leader, ordinary people will not be able to take part in the procession, apparently for fear that too many would come out to show their respect.
To speak plainly Mr. Arafat was a terrorist, a pathological liar, a failed politician, and a defalcator of the pitiable Palestinian public purse. This is not name-calling, these are the career highlights of his CV. Here is some of the little chairman's handiwork.
We do not intend to assay here what others have already done better. We are delighted Mr. Arafat is gone and we look forward to the remnants of his violent legacy slitting each other up a treat.
November 09, 2004
November 07, 2004
Arafat must go...somewhere else
Via Debkafile. True or false?
French president Jacques Chirac’s patience with the Palestinians’ desperate maneuvers to cover up Yasser Arafat’s demise has run out. DEBKAfile’s Paris and Washington sources reveal exclusively that Friday, November 5, exactly a week after Arafat was admitted to the Percy military hospital near Paris, the French president put in a call to the White House and informed President George W. Bush that it was all over.
November 04, 2004
President Bush when told of his death just now during his press conference said 'God bless his soul'.
A more generous man than I, my president.
A few less Arafats in the world.
UPDATE: Some doubts as to Arafat's condition seem to exist. I suspect that this is all about letting Arafat's people set things up in Ramallah so that when his cadaver is repatriated, there will be plenty of weepy journalists to record the incredible outpouring of sadness and humiliation that the Palestinian people are going to
put on display feel when they hear of their dictator's leader's demise. After all, if they held to the Islamic rule that he should be interred within 24 hours of his death, some of the world press might miss out on the event... Wouldn't want that, now would we.
UPDATE: The circus goes on, but I sincerely believe that Arafat is dead and time is being bought for whatever reason. Maybe faking his signature on papers to make sure the money doesn't go to his widow, who knows. Murky is as murky does.
The Bush effect
Wanna bet? (Emphasis mine)
Yasser Arafat, battling an unexplained illness, underwent a new round of tests Thursday after his condition took a sudden turn for the worse, Palestinian officials said.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Palestinian leader remained in intensive care at a French military hospital where he has been undergoing treatment for a week.
He was rushed into intensive care Wednesday after his condition seriously deteriorated, the sources said, adding that he was undergoing more tests. . .
On Wednesday, Leila Shahid, the Palestinian envoy to France, said Arafat felt well enough to ask about the U.S. presidential election. An aide later issued a statement in Arafat's name congratulating Bush on his re-election.
October 28, 2004
"The Russians brought in, just before the war got started, a whole series of military units," Mr. Shaw said. "Their main job was to shred all evidence of any of the contractual arrangements they had with the Iraqis. ... The Russian involvement in helping disperse Saddam's weapons, including some 380 tons of RDX and HMX, is still being investigated, Mr. Shaw said.
The RDX and HMX, which are used to manufacture high-explosive and nuclear weapons, are probably of Russian origin, he said.
October 25, 2004
World's first colored circulation coin
Via Babbling Brooks.
Everytime He Who Never Obeys Me sees a few poppies growing by the side of the road (more often now than a few years ago) he says 'The soil must be unpolluted here, poppies won't grow in polluted soil'.
Was blind but now I see
Via Loose Coins.
So Karzai, the American puppet; the stooge; the agent appointed by the CIA etc. etc., Karzai gets the overwhelming vote of the Afghan people! What say you, oh pundits and wizards who have talked so much and pontificated so much, you who claimed to know all there is to know about these people, and told us so often of how wrong it was to interfere, how wrong it was to rid them of the Taliban and Al Qaeda etc. etc. Do you have some little decency left in you to eat your words? I guess not.
You guess right.
The Scoop: Pants on fire
U.N. ambassadors from several nations are disputing assertions by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry that he met for hours with all members of the U.N. Security Council just a week before voting in October 2002 to authorize the use of force in Iraq. An investigation by The Washington Times reveals that while the candidate did talk for an unspecified period to at least a few members of the panel, no such meeting, as described by Mr. Kerry on a number of occasions over the past year, ever occurred.
Maybe I'm a bit blasée, but I really think everyone knows Mr. Weathervane makes things up as he goes.
I was hoping for something about his discharge from the military. Oh, well.
October 16, 2004
Voices of Iraq
"Voices of Iraq" is not easy to watch, especially when the voices are so optimistic: "I want to be a lawyer," "I want Iraq to be the greatest country in the world," "I want to get married." What if they're wrong? (Their comments are intercut with Internet videos made by insurgents planting bombs.) Then again, who knows better what is possible than the people of Iraq themselves? It's good that Messrs. Manes and Kunert (who cut their teeth on MTV reality TV) and Mr. Drury thought to ask them.
Read it here.
October 13, 2004
Saddam ought to suffer the same fate
Being buried in a mass grave, that is.
(Warning: Stomachs may churn and hearts may ache reading this one.)
October 11, 2004
Hodgepodge-o-rama: The Prequel
I digress... I've got a bunch of links to post before my favorites file explodes. So, button up your pajamas, we're in for a bumpy ride.
* * * * * * * * *
Am glad to know that this particular thief might have to answer for his crime. Might.
Awww, Formerly Known As isn't expecting the US to say sorry. Awwww. I was never a fan, so no CDs to break into a million pieces.
And speaking of the music world, well, let me quote Jeff from Kalamazoo...'All I want from entertainers, whether it be movie stars or musicians, is your entertainment.' Word.
Oh, and here's one about some famous twins. As far as I know, they have NOT been spanked in front of Teddy and probably never will be. (Sorry, Ted.)
Here's a guy I care never to meet, thank you.
I heard Fabius say on French TV today that 'We aren't going to hand Europe to the Americans like a gift'. What makes you think, Fabius, that the US would WANT Europe even if it were handed to us on a silver platter?! Well, maybe if some of you MOVED AWAY first.
Reality checks are not in fashion here, to say the least. The book is about all the disinformation printed in LeMonde in recent years...but doesn't have a chapter on the paper's anti-Americanism! Egads.
When I came across this site, I was stunned. 'This cannot be French, it's too well done', I thought to myself. (French internet can leave a lot to be desired...) But, non, c'est bien weasel. If only more French sites were so well done.
And this myth that is being created about Americans no longer feeling comfortable to freely criticize their homeland is surely absurd. I recently saw REM's Stipe on a BBC late-night news show (think Koppel) and he had no qualms about it at all. Carine tells me that, in Paris, Americans Abroad (or some such group, I've deleted Carine's e-mail...zut!) counts showing their solidarity with the poor downtrodden Americans back home by protesting at the Eiffel Tower. Now, maybe a few Americans are less vocal in that guy's eatery, I don't know. Maybe they're just all out of hate. Makes sense to me, after all, even doomsayers must tire.
Some do manage to hold out for the Nobel, of course. I lost 2 close friends to AIDS, lady, and they were both redheads with freckles. Plant your trees, but get a grip.
Of course, black women here in WeaselLand don't do nearly as well as she has.
Did you know that the Mossad has time to help Israelis cook?
This is something I pray you will not find in you stocking Christmas morning. Wipe the coffee off your keyboard and watch the v-i-d-e-o-s.
October 09, 2004
Look who got to vote today
Just watched a sour-faced John Simpson do his best to convince the BBC audience that the elections in Afghanistan today were less than valid. He did mention that the Taliban had not hampered voting as threatened. (Well, that's nice of them, isn't it?) Then, talked about vote boycotting by some of the candidates. (A rather self-defeating strategy...Stop voting! / Oops! Now I really can't win.) And he went on and on and on about ink on fingers...oh, whatever.
Finally, he asked the women in the photo here if the fact that the wrong ink might have been used in some parts of Afghanistan had taken the glow off their first ever vote - they immediately answered 'No! No!'. (That was a no-brainer, John, really.)
Come to the States for 2 November, Johnny. You'll have to modify your spiel, of course, instead of 'ink', insert something about 'chads', but you can keep the gloomy, oh-so-disappointed look on your face when you talk about W's win.
****** ****** ******
Aussies no weasels
...Australia is not Spain. It is a continent unto itself and thus is not so easily influenced by European appeasement. While fiercely independent, Australia has always chosen well and has long been a stalwart ally of America for the past century. If, heaven forbid, some catastrophe befall Australia or Australians abroad between now and October 9th I hope and pray that Australians will cast their vote for freedom not fear of terror and tyranny.
October 02, 2004
US troops free Turkish hostage
October 01, 2004
Where Bush and Blair stand
The Presidential campaign has so far reconfirmed to me that President Bush will win by a landslide. By landslide, I of course mean 51-55% of the popular vote in most states.
That's from a piece in the Guardian in a series about the election...written by an American. Some other viewpoints in the series can be found here, most of them anti-Bush. If you or your friends would like to spout off, the Guardian is looking for a viewpoint from each state.
The Guardian's reputation precedes it but if you don't know it, it's the type of paper that reported 'Blair avoids Iraq vote defeat' when 80% of Labour delegates at the recent Labour conference voted to keep British troops in Iraq. Seems like a heck of a score to me. I would have written that he'd WON the vote and big, but, hey, I'm not getting paid to write for the Guardian, am I.
There was talk before this Conference that I wanted to put aside discussion of Iraq. That was never my intention.
I want to deal with it head on.
The evidence about Saddam having actual biological and chemical weapons, as opposed to the capability to develop them, has turned out to be wrong.
I acknowledge that and accept it.
I simply point out, such evidence was agreed by the whole international community, not least because Saddam had used such weapons against his own people and neighbouring countries.
And the problem is I can apologise for the information that turned out to be wrong, but I can't, sincerely at least, apologise for removing Saddam. The world is a better place with Saddam in prison not in power.
But at the heart of this, is a belief that the basic judgment I have made since September 11th, including on Iraq, is wrong, that by our actions we have made matters worse not better.
I know this issue has divided the country. I entirely understand why many disagree.
I know, too, that as people see me struggling with it, they think he's stopped caring about us; or worse he's just pandering to George Bush and what's more in a cause that's irrelevant to us.
It's been hard for you. Like the delegate who told me: "I've defended you so well to everyone I've almost convinced myself."
Do I know I'm right?
Judgements aren't the same as facts. Instinct is not science. I'm like any other human being as fallible and as capable of being wrong.
I only know what I believe.
There are two views of what is happening in the world today.
One view is that there are isolated individuals, extremists, engaged in essentially isolated acts of terrorism. That what is happening is not qualitatively different from the terrorism we have always lived with.
If you believe this, we carry on the same path as before 11 September. We try not to provoke them and hope in time they will wither.
The other view is that this is a wholly new phenomenon, worldwide global terrorism based on a perversion of the true, peaceful and honourable faith of Islam; that's its roots are not superficial but deep, in the madrassehs of Pakistan, in the extreme forms of Wahabi doctrine in Saudi Arabia, in the former training camps of Al Qaida in Afghanistan; in the cauldron of Chechnya; in parts of the politics of most countries of the Middle East and many in Asia; in the extremist minority that now in every European city preach hatred of the West and our way of life.
If you take this view, you believe September 11th changed the world; that Bali, Beslan, Madrid and scores of other atrocities that never make the news are part of the same threat and the only path to take is to confront this terrorism, remove it root and branch and at all costs stop them acquiring the weapons to kill on a massive scale because these terrorists would not hesitate to use them.
Likewise take the first view, then when you see the terror brought to Iraq you say:
there, we told you; look what you have stirred up; now stop provoking them.
But if you take the second view, you don't believe the terrorists are in Iraq to liberate it.
They're not protesting about the rights of women - what, the same people who stopped Afghan girls going to school, made women wear the Burka and beat them in the streets of Kabul, who now assassinate women just for daring to register to vote in Afghanistan's first ever democratic ballot, though 4m have done so?
They are not provoked by our actions; but by our existence.
They are in Iraq for the very reason we should be.
They have chosen this battleground because they know success for us in Iraq is not success for America or Britain or even Iraq itself but for the values and way of life that democracy represents.
They know that.
That's why they are there.
That is why we should be there and whatever disagreements we have had, should unite in our determination to stand by the Iraqi people until the job is done.
And, of course, at first the consequence is more fighting.
No more foie gras for California?
Just heard on French TV that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will ban force feeding of birds for foie gras in California. The French are starting to whine, of course (typical, American, "anti-French move"; some guy even implied the reason was that French products were too competitive).
Of course, some little details they didn't mind mentioning (emphasis mine):
Foie gras made by force feeding birds is to be banned in California after Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger bowed to a plea from Sir Paul McCartney.
From 2012, the force feeding of ducks, geese and other birds to produce the delicacy will be outlawed under legislation signed by Mr Schwarzenegger.
The ban will also apply to sales of the product if it was made by force feeding birds.
Mr Schwarzenegger said the legislation gave producers more than seven years to "evolve and perfect a humane way for a duck to consume grain to increase the size of its liver".
September 28, 2004
A lotta GOOD news
Found a great article about Iraq. You can imagine that even if only half of it were true...the MSM would not want to report it - way too upbeat for mass consumption.
There's too much in it to choose from so read it all on your coffee break.
Put a copy in all your neighbors' mailboxes. I would but not many of mine read English.
September 25, 2004
What say you?
Couldn't agree more with this.
September 24, 2004
President Bush & Prime Minister Allawi press conference
It's really great to be able to get transcripts off the net. I've only got access to weasel TV and 4 British channels (which I am watching less and less due to the incessant Bush-bashing in every program imaginable) and they obviously did not show the more interesting parts of this Rose Garden press conference on the news.
If you're pressed for time, read everything Allawi says. Verrrrry interesting indeed.
September 23, 2004
Myth vs reality
You all know the photo. I won't link to it, I never enjoyed looking at it. Here's an interesting article about it and the myth behind it's 'power'.
...Adams recalled, South Vietnamese marines pulled a barefoot young man into view, then, "Some guy walked over ... pulled a pistol out. As soon as he went for his pistol I raised the camera thinking he was going to threaten him [the prisoner]." Adams pressed the shutter of his camera at the moment a bullet entered the victim's brain.
The gunman was Nguyen Ngoc Loan, chief of the South Vietnamese National Police. After firing the shot he put his gun away, a small Smith & Wesson detective special. Then he faced the journalists and, in one reported version, stated, "Many Americans have been killed these last few days and many of my best Vietnamese friends. Now do you understand? Buddha will understand."
UPDATE: Another interesting article about the photograph.
September 22, 2004
A little good news
"When I come here and watch TV, I think this is the end of Iraq. It's over," al-Suwaij said. In Iraq, however, she sees a country "taking baby steps" toward democracy. She says the economy is booming. Schools are improving. Women fill 25 percent of elected positions, a milestone not seen even in the United States.
"Yes, security is a problem and sometimes there is no electricity and no water," al-Suwaij said, "but at the end of the day when we put our head on the pillow, Saddam is gone and that alone brings us great satisfaction. That allows us hope."
"A lot of (Iraqi) mothers come to me and say to tell the mothers in America thank you for sending us your sons and daughters, the soldiers, to help us," she said. "We pray for them, the soldiers."
So do we. So do we.
Read it here. Notice the 'albeit slow' and 'conservative' in paragraph 6. I really don't see how anyone could call the transformation in Iraq from dictatorship to present-day as 'slow'. As for the 'conservative', well, the writer's true colors are really showing but, hey, at least the article got published...
September 20, 2004
Saddam is depressed. Or defiant. Depends on the source.
Deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is depressed and has begged the Iraqi government for mercy, Iraq’s Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said in an interview published on Monday. . .
“Saddam and his colleagues are not the giants that the media sometimes talks about,” Allawi said in an interview with the pan Arab al-Hayat newspaper. “Saddam sent us an oral message in which he begged for mercy. He said that they were working in the public interest and did not mean any harm.”
The portrait painted by Allawi differed sharply from that in a New York Times account published over the weekend . . . The newspaper said that according to its sources, Saddam has refused to acknowledge wrongdoing or show remorse for the people who were killed during his 24-year rule, whom he labels as traitors.
September 19, 2004
The Russian selling and swapping airline tickets market
Now this is scary. Be sure to read the whole thing.
People who privately sell and swap airline tickets -- like the person who helped two suspected suicide bombers board the planes that crashed almost simultaneously last month -- are still out in full force in airports, and a bribe of as little as 500 rubles ($17) can get anybody on board a domestic flight, according to aviation officials and media reports.
. . .
A passenger can pay an airport staffer as little as 500 rubles to be whisked past security checks or sent through staff-only corridors, he said.
"A 'client' just needs to ask an airport employee, who will then take him by the hand and lead him to the airplane," he said.
"There are many loopholes, especially at night. The easiest way is to go through staff-only. The fee is 200 rubles," he said.
For 100 rubles, a bus driver can be hired to take a passenger directly to the plane.
"Off-duty buses usually wait in a designated place. Then you give another 200 rubles to the airport boarding agent, who signs off on the passenger manifest," he said.
Like a seagull on a judo mat
Villepin, now Interior Minister, is still commenting on the French hostage crisis in Iraq, and not Michel Barnier, now Foreign Minister. But all in all, as always, they continue to claim they don't know much about anything.
Technically, it's very difficult to have an absolute conviction and as long as we don't have it, comments are completely superfluous," [Villepin] said, speaking about a "moving and changing reality."
He considered that journalists themselves will be able to clear up the situation on time. "They are great professionals. When they're back, we will be able to listen to their testimony and know the truth," he declared.
Is it me or is he starting to sound a bit like... the Islamic Army?
Let's not start a controversy, let's not start a debate. Our own weapon . . . our force is unity,' he added.
The text allegedly from the Islamic Army in Iraq explains that "the two French journalists will prove to Bush and to Americans, thanks to images and sound, that they are fighting men who love death as much as he loves life."
Let's just hope that the French journalists won't be ordered to report on the slaughtering of other, say, American and British, hostages, to save their own lives.
Besides everything that can be said about the rift between France and the US, it is in the terrorists' interests that a true, official split occurs inside the West. And that might just be the last straw. My question for Dom would be: Unity with whom?
Up, up and away
From the Washington Times...
The ticket price for a roundtrip on the company's sole flight is $400.
September 18, 2004
It's collaboration time again
Islam Memo Web site quoted the message from the Islamic Army In Iraq as saying that kidnapped French journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot had "willingly agreed" to work for it to inform the West about the realities of the U.S.-led war and the "truth" about the Iraqi resistance.
"The Islamic Army in Iraq...has ended the imprisonment of two French journalists," the site quoted the statement as saying.
"They are now conducting their work in agreement with the Islamic Army and it was agreed (that) they work for the army to cover battles and attacks...for a limited period which has not been announced," the message was quoted as saying.
In Paris, a government spokesman said France was studying the message. "It is premature to say whether or not this statement is authentic. We are analysing it," the spokesman said.
France's objection to "Allawi's agent army" was one of the reasons for the group to agree to free the hostages, the message said.
This has just been very quickly announced on TF1 TV.
I recently had the displeasure to hear Villepin say on TV that, I quote, they "had pulled all the strings they could pull" to free the two journalists.
Now, if it turns out to be true and that the journalists do "work" for the terrorists, is the government going to force the media to publish and/or broadcast the reports from them? Or, instead, are the French media going to "willingly agree" to spread "the realities of the U.S.-led war and the 'truth' about the Iraqi resistance"?
Michael Moore has some serious competition in France apparently.
UPDATE: I don't know whether this has been posted somewhere already, but I just found out that the AFP French website is displaying a little video of a demonstration in support of the two French journalists in front of the Paris city hall. The first words that can be heard are "we consider that there are good or bad hostages." The voice is unidentified. I couldn't find anything on the web about who could have said that, what was the context and whether it could possibly be the mayor (I don't have the impression it is his voice though). Anyway, the AFP has apparently choosen to include the distinction between "good" and "bad" hostages while other, non-French hostages are being threatened...
Below is the complete transcript of the video.
Unidentified voice: We consider that there are good or bad hostages.
Pierre Malbrunot (member of Georges Malbrunot's family): We are scared. We want to be optimistic but you know it's an optimism mixed with anxiety that is getting stronger with time and we have the impression it is something that is on a knife edge, that negociators have to walk in a mined area, well it's, it's very difficult, even unbearable.
Unidentified man: I think we have to show that we are against this taking of hostages, and against all takings of hostages and I think we have to show that the whole public is against it and come in mass.
September 15, 2004
Memo recommending Bush promotion
Got it from LGF.
Wish I could see Rather's face now...and the haughty French-looking guy's...
LOL... The champagne's on me!
September 14, 2004
September 13, 2004
Earth to Kerry. Anybody home?
My brain has overloaded. I keep hearing everything I'm writing in some comic's voice. Re-read the title of my post. Now imagine Bill Murray saying it? See what I mean? Anyway, back to business...
Why would JoKe think that spouting the following is s-m-a-r-t? Can you tell me? From Newsmax...
Presidential candidate John Kerry promised over the weekend that he would "take on the terrorists" who attacked the U.S. on 9/11 by forcing them to obey America's gun control laws.
Kerry said laws like the Assault Weapons Ban, which expires today, were valuable "not just to fight ordinary crime but to take on terrorists."
And he complained that President Bush was "making the job of the terrorists easier" by not pushing for a renewal of the sweeping gun control law.
"The 9/11 commission and other reports have shown that al Qaida wanted to come into America, and in the al Qaida manual of terror, they were telling people to go out and buy assault weapons," Kerry told a crowd in Missouri.
No, really, this one is too nuanced for me. Telling 'people'...right. Guess those 'people' decided that assault weapons could wait and went on to the chapter about flying planes into buildings.
Can someone send me into a time warp so that I can come out the other side of November 2...I've had E-nough! Kerry for about 20 lifetimes.
September 09, 2004
Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, in a videotape released just two days before the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, claims the United States is on the brink of defeat in both Iraq and Afghanistan. ... "The defeat of America in Iraq and Afghanistan has become a matter of time, with God's help," al-Zawahri said on the tape.
"The Americans in both countries are between two fires, if they continue they bleed to death and if they withdrew they lose everything."
UPDATE: British ITV just led with this story on tonite's news. What. On. Earth. Why is this gibberish even reported in the first place? If al-Zawahri wants to fantasize out loud, that's up to him but it ain't NEWS.
September 05, 2004
Good morning, America, how are you?
September 02, 2004
Russian children held hostage
Cross our fingers for tomorrow...
UPDATE: Today's headline, The Guardian.
August 31, 2004
Why the barrier must be finished
And everyone condemns it, of course.
Animals for Allah
Twelve Nepalese hostages have been executed by their captors in Iraq.
The hostages were kidnapped by the Islamist Army of Ansar al Sunna, which has shown a video of the slaughter.
The footage, which appears on the army's website, shows a masked militant apparently slitting the throat of a blindfolded man lying on the ground.
Other pictures show an armed man firing single shots from an assault rifle at the back of the heads of 11 others.
A statement on the website said: "We have carried out the sentence of God against 12 Nepalese who came from their country to fight the Muslims and to serve the Jews and the Christians ... believing in Buddha as their God."
And Nepal isn't even in the coalition.
August 25, 2004
Someone's onto him
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has revoked a visa granted to Tariq Ramadan, a renowned Islamic scholar who is accused by some Jewish groups of being a Muslim extremist, effectively barring him from a teaching post he was to begin this week at the University of Notre Dame.(Empasis mine)
Ramadan, a rising academic star in Europe who is regarded by Islamic scholars and experts as a Muslim moderate, was appointed to teach Islamic philosophy and ethics in South Bend through the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies...
...Ramadan was given a visa in February... That decision was reversed July 28.
Read the rest here, but I warn you, there's a lot of bleeding hearts quoted throughout. Naturally.
P.S. Andy, you didn't have anything to do with this, did you? Or the person who stole the information on Ramadan from your, uh, files?
August 23, 2004
Ah, yes, I remember it well
The court observed that it could never release Shaikh until he married his victim...(Emphases mine)
As bride, Khatoon turned up in the jail with her relatives. In the presence of Shaikh’s relatives, the jailhouse wedding took place according to the Muslim rites, followed by a registration.
The jail officials and about 60 remand prisoners took part in the marriage celebrations, which included a feast.
"I took advantage of her weakness and assaulted her while she was alone. What I did was wrong," the apparently repentant Shaikh said at the end of the ceremony.
"Now I am happy to get a chance to make amends for the crime I have committed."
Khatoon, who looked very happy after the marriage, said: "For that act [of rape] I hated him. Sometimes I felt like I wanted to tear him to pieces.
"But I have a different feeling for him now. I have forgiven him because he has chosen me as his wife. I have to love him now."
August 21, 2004
August 19, 2004
Frenchmen visiting Poland
Police have arrested a Frenchman near a gas pumping station in western Poland suspecting he is preparing a terrorist attack, an official from the Polish security services said on Wednesday.
"Michel N., 23, is being investigated for preparing actions which can endanger human life and destroy property," Ewa Socha, the official following the matter at the public prosecutor's office in the western city of Poznan told AFP.
"We had sufficient information at our disposal to be able to arrest him for three months," she told AFP by telephone.
"All matters that can be linked to terrorist activities are a priority for internal security," Magda Stanczyk, spokeswoman for Poland's internal security agency said.
"The agency is verifying currently all the information and circumstances of this arrest. What were the motives for his stay in Poland," she added.
The suspect is of Algerian origin, according to Poland's Fakt newspaper.
He "was arrested Friday while he was cycling around the pumping station at Swarzedz and taking photos of the site," the newspaper said.
According to another newspaper, the Rzeczpospolita, he is suspected of "having prepared the ground to blow up the pumping station".
Now check how Reuters is covering the news:
Polish police have detained a Frenchman suspected of planning a large-scale "incident" possibly aiming to kill many people, prosecutors from the western city of Poznan said on Wednesday.
August 11, 2004
It was high time too.
I visited this hotel once. Along with the cockroaches (the biggest I have ever seen in the world were in another Moscow hotel though - I bet they were part of Men in Black) were a bunch of dead drunk, Russian mafiosi, merely trying to tango with prostitutes while answering their constantly-ringing cell phones all along. The dinner was awful. And very expensive on top of that.
All in all, a true symbol of the many accomplishments of the Soviet era.
I can't remember whether the restaurant of this hotel had a leave-your-weapons-before-entering policy.
The waiter did privately sell us some outrageously cheap yet excellent caviar. We could still do that at the time. I'm not sure it was worth the night there though.
Ahhh, Bolshaya Rossiya!
August 08, 2004
I'm no professional photographer, I'll admit. Far from it. But I wouldn't consider the following press pic to be anything close to a good shot. Not one to use anyway.
Before checking the legend below, I suggest you try to guess what this picture is about.
KANSAS CITY (AFP), August 7, 2004
Agents from the secret services are keeping a close eye on the place where John Kerry is to meet militants.
July 29, 2004
Japan security conscious
UPDATE: Looks like this is becoming a real problem in Asiatic countries.
July 27, 2004
Can't find the story...
...that I just heard the newsreader mention on BBC2. Seems North Korea has WMDs and has used them on North Koreans. I've Googled it - nowhere to be found. Even at the BBC, can't find it. Where is it? Was I dreaming? Must've been. To heck with it. Need some sleep.
July 25, 2004
Crowned for a sixth time - History is made
Gave up an afternoon of unusually good weather to watch him win and don't regret it one single minute. Golden spokes, golden helmet...smile in place.
July 23, 2004
Who's the Boss?
Well, it's Lance, of course. A pleasure to watch, he is. Really.
A little controversy slipped into today's TdF coverage. This article condemns Armstrong for today's stage, accusing him of 'playing king' and being an 'avid cannibal' because he broke ranks with the peloton to have a chat with a certain Simeoni. While Sports.fr found this appalling - even refusing to show Armstrong's face in their article about his win today, choosing a picture of the BACK of Armstrong's head instead - it doesn't seem to have fazed the other riders all that much.
Simeoni and Armstrong caught the breakaway and relegated the peloton, or main pack, to more than two minutes behind. With the race leader among them, the break group knew the peloton wouldn't allow them to stay away.Here's another take on the event.
''We asked Simeoni to drop back because if he stayed with us we were toast,'' Sebastien Joly, one of the six in the break, told Francetelevision. ''We knew Armstrong didn't want Simeoni to have a chance to win. It was all quite funny, really.''
Armstrong grinned when Simeoni decided to drop off the front group. When the main pack caught Armstrong and Simeoni, the U.S. Postal Service team leader spent time talking to other riders.
''I was protecting the interests of the peloton,'' Armstrong said. ''The other riders were very thankful.''
Armstrong, in a highly unusually move...surged off with Simeoni in pursuit of Mercado's escape group. They caught that group, stayed with them for a few minutes, and then suddenly eased up and waited for the trailing pack to catch up.
It was not immediately clear what prompted Armstrong to act as he did. But an official from Armstrong's team suggested the champion's motives were personal.
Simeoni, an Italian..., has testified against controversial sports doctor Michele Ferrari, with whom Armstrong has ties. Ferrari faces accusations of providing performance-enhancing substances to riders.
It must be particularly galling for Armstrong, all the doping rumors and accusations. Why? Because...
Armstrong is the most tested athlete on the planet, yet he has never come up positive, and while his critics still doubt his sincerity -- citing that the sport is rampant with illegal drugs -- that merely highlights his achievements. To put that another way, Armstrong is not only apparently winning fairly, but he is beating a load of cheats in the process.
I watched a bit of the post-stage show on France 2 and the presenter of the show, Gerard Holz, mentioned that similar incidents have happened and cited an example involving the great TdF champion Bernard Hinault, whom the French adore. I thought it was a gentle way of pointing out that Armstrong had not suddenly invented a new way of playing the game.
July 22, 2004
July 21, 2004
Yes, it's amazing what Lance has to put up with.
Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc has admitted he had seen fans spit at five-times champion Lance Armstrong during the 15.5-km time trial to L'Alpe d'Huez. ''There were lots of aggressive fans surrounding the riders and I even saw two idiots spit at Lance Armstrong."
This from the Boss about the dangerous conditions (no barriers between cyclists and 'fans' on the side of the road) during the trial...
Armstrong urged organisers to think seriously about holding another time trial at the ski resort. "I don't know if that's such a good thing for the Tour de France. I don't think it's safe. I think organisers should watch out," said the American.
Sports 'fans' really need to get a grip on themselves.
Armstrong was spit on Friday and booed Saturday by some orange-clad Basque fans who seemed angry that their homebred hero, Iban Mayo, tried to quit the race halfway up the mountain in Stage 13 Saturday.
As if Lance was somehow responsible for Mayo's acts. Right.
Mysterious alert led to evacuation of the Eiffel Tower:
The Eiffel Tower was evacuated on Wednesday afternoon "following an anonymous message" received at the Tower, announced the Société Nouvelle d'Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (SNTE), whithout mentioning its nature.
The building and its parvis, located next to the Seine, have been evacuated of their tourists and visitors.
The evacuation began around 3:30 pm and about 35 to 40 minutes are necessary to complete it, the SNTE specified.
The monument was almost full with about 4,000 persons, according to the SNTE. The evacuation was decided "as part of precaution and security measures" following "an anonymous message received by the SNTE," indicated the company in a press release.
The police was proceeding to verifications this afternoon.
Come on! Move along, there's nothing to see here!
July 20, 2004
Be still, my heart
Lance made a glorious sprint to win today's stage!!
And with it, the maillot jaune!!
My neighbors probably wonder why they heard me screaming just now!
Lance Armstrong and US Postal rule!!!
UPDATE: Just heard on France 2 - a tree that had been removed from the road just minutes before the finish of today's stage was SABOTAGE and no accident of nature. Egads.
(Image France 2)
July 17, 2004
13 Lucky Number for the Boss
I know, I'm blogging way too much about Lance. I'm just SO thrilled when I check on the day's results and see he's still up, still cycling and still winning. My old heart can't stand the strain of watching the stage in progress everyday, but I try to be here in time to see the last few minutes. And today, Stage 13 was a brilliant one for US Postal.
During the post-stage show on France 2 today, the presenters and journalists were referring to Lance as 'le patron', the Boss.
Bizarrely, there are rumors of a journalist, perhaps an American, getting caught illegally searching a hotel room of the Liberty Seguros team. Could be a fake story set up to prove that the press, all the press, is out to get ANY player and not just Lance. Time will tell.
Imitation is the sincerest form of...
"I will never allow any other country to veto what we need to do, and I will never allow any other institution to veto what we need to do to protect our nation."
No, it isn't GWB this time.
Might not sit well with his French friends. ;)
Lance is obviously the strongest
Very true in today's stage.
Then in the final kilometre Armstrong and Basso began talking, agreeing that the Italian - a good friend of the American's and whose mother, like Armstrong in the past, suffers from cancer - should take the stage. ...the Italian crossed the line with a shout of joy, but Armstrong, just a bike-length behind him, knew that he had inflicted a knock-out blow on the remainder of the field and the bedraggled contenders had the look of defeated men about them as they finally reached the line.
And from here...
"It was a pleasure for me to let him win," Armstrong said. "He was super strong."
Unlike the French press. And, believe me, I wouldn't put it past the French 'journaleux' (reporter-types) to try something dirty to sully Lance and US Postal.
You're right to let them know that you are on to them, Lance. Better safe than sorry.
July 12, 2004
July 08, 2004
You go, Lance!
For reasons of their own, the directors put in a sliding scale this year: a maximum loss of 20 seconds for the second team to a maximum loss of three minutes for the 21st team.
Although Armstrong's team beat the Phonak team, led by the American Tyler Hamilton, by a full 1 minute 7 seconds, Armstrong gained only 20 seconds on Hamilton. He finished 79 seconds ahead of Jan Ullrich, another major rival, yet gained only 40 on Ullrich after the Tour's version of new math. Seconds count: Last year Armstrong's team beat Ullrich's by 43 seconds in this stage, and got full credit for 43 seconds, thereby accounting for two-thirds of the final 61-second margin. "I still don't understand it," Armstrong said the other day, quickly adding, "It's their race and they are very good at organizing it."
On Wednesday he said, "You have the consolation of knowing that the best team won."
Last year, Lance looked a tad strained. Who could blame him? The French soleil had gone crazy and his personal life had been less than sparkling... I am glad to see he's got his groove back and that he's not letting the rain, the cobblestones OR the lousy unsportsmanlike tour organizers get him down.
Asked if he and his team would now try to hold on to the yellow jersey until the end of the race, Armstrong replied, "Our objective is not to defend the jersey. You have to preserve the strength of the team for the second half. So, I expect we'll be willing to give the yellow jersey to someone else - for a little while."(Emphasis mine)
For a little while. Can't you just SEE the smile on him when he said THAT?!
July 06, 2004
Kashmiri Street angered
And rightly so.
A general strike Tuesday to protest the burning of a historic school in a mysterious blaze brought life to a standstill in this Jammu and Kashmir summer capital.
Treasures were also lost.
No surprise there.
July 04, 2004
"Bon 4 Juillet", they say
The Parisian tourism office would like to remind you today that France is still a "friend and ally" of America. But to quote one of the French main reproach regarding Americans, "l'argent, c'est pas tout !!" (money isn't everything)
The Paris tourist board is rolling out the red, white and blue carpet for Americans visiting the City of Lights on July 4, offering free champagne, room upgrades and discounts to those celebrating US Independence Day in France.
"Since we recognize that the United States led the brave fight to restore our independence, the 4th of July - your independence day - has an extra special meaning for all French men and women this year," tourist board president Jean-Marc Janaillac said in a statement.
First launched last year to convince US tourists that the transatlantic row over the Iraq war had been consigned to the past, this year's July 4 campaign comes after ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
"Paris never forgets a close friend's birthday," the tourist office said.
Some 250 July 4 bargains are on offer, including a free glass of champagne at restaurants ranging from the quintessentially American Hard Rock Cafe to the famed Le Train Bleu in the Gare de Lyon.
Hotels - from one-star bargains to four-star luxury palaces - are offering 15 to 50 percent savings and room upgrades, while the capital's top department stores will grant discounts and welcome gifts to shoppers with US passports.
Many of the meal and accommodation deals are available to US tourists throughout the summer in honour of the D-Day anniversary, but visitors in the capital on July 4 will receive bonus gifts, the tourist board said.
Indeed, last year, the Parisian tourism office located on the Champs-Elysées (that closed on January 2004, btw) had ostentatiously put American flags everywhere, as you'll be able to notice on the pics below.
July 03, 2004
World upside down
The BBC just mentioned that, according to these idiots, there are Iraqis in the streets manifesting their support of Saddam with gunshots in the air and chanting of pro-Saddam slogans. I coudn't find any mention of that but found this instead from 'Egyptian international law counsel' Hasan Umar.
Comparing the current Iraqi interim government to France’s 1940 Vichy government, he said there are many lessons to be learned from history.
“Who liberated France from the Nazis? It was De Gaul’s government in exile, not the Vichy government which was installed by the Nazi occupiers,” Umar said.
July 02, 2004
Can't blame 'em
Some people go to the streets for good reasons. Power to you.
July 01, 2004
This one from ITV, in the UK just now in a special flash.
UPDATE: Is CNN despicable or what? Of all the things that Saddam Assassin said during his court appearance, CNN uses this as their Breaking News headline. How low can you get?! And who cares what he has to say about GWB anyway?! CNN, get your heads out of your a*ses! (I know, I know...they won't be the only ones stooping low...but CNN is American...)
UPDATE 2: Just found this on the Iraqi dog's body language in court.
Let Freedom Reign
(Thanks to AlphaPatriot)
June 30, 2004
The beginning of the end
June 28, 2004
Time to have a little fun for America's favorite "friend and ally".
First there was this.
The US President George W. Bush, who is in Turkish capital Ankara to hold talks with Turkish leaders, reiterated his support for Turkey's EU membership. The US President said that the EU should start accession talks with Turkey.
To which Chirac quickly and kindly answered (emphasis mine):
Chirac told a news conference on the sidelines on the NATO summit here: "Not only did [President Bush] go too far, he ventured into territory which is not his concern."
The French president, who is among the EU leaders most firmly opposed to Turkish membership of the EU, added: "It would be like me telling the United States how to run its affairs with Mexico."
Of course, earlier there was also this:
"This is a historical day ... a day that all Iraqis have been looking forward to," said Iraqi President Ghazi Al-Yawer. "This is a day we are going to take our country back into the international forum."
"Merdeuhhh !!" thinks Jack, "it's too late, they did it!"
It was Chirac's spokeswoman who informed the press that the president has "taken note" of the transfer.
ATTENTION EDITORS - PICTURES RTW02D, RTW05D AND IST82D WHICH WERE SENT EARLIER TODAY HAD THE INCORRECT TITLE FOR FRENCH PRESIDENT JAQUES CHIRAC. CORRECTED VERSIONS OF THESE PICTURES WILL FOLLOW SHORTLY. REUTERS APOLOGISES FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE CAUSED.
Some days are better than others.
What? A TUNNEL, you say? I never!
From the Telegraph:
Israel's most wanted man and six other Palestinian militants have been killed in a raid by paratroopers who found the men huddled in a secret tunnel beneath a house in the old city of Nablus.
Among the dead was Nayef Abu Sharkh, 40, the commander of the militant group the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank. Local leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad and four other gunmen were also killed.
The troops stumbled on the men during an operation in which paratroop units were carrying out house-to-house searches, codenamed "Full Court Press" after American basketball defensive terminology...
After the men in the tunnel ignored orders to surrender, the paratroopers lobbed hand grenades and fired automatic weapons through openings at both ends and detonated charges.
No survivors were found when troops later went into the tunnel.
Be prepared for the onslaught of media-outrage about how the IDF is bulldozing buildings in Gaza WITHOUT REASON (para 10). And the over-reported calls by the Palis for REVENGE with accompanying photos of wailing, blood-thirsty Palis, posed or otherwise.
At least six Israeli soldiers were injured when Palestinian militants set off explosions from a tunnel under an army outpost at Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip last night. Rescue was hampered by Palestinian militants, who fired guns and mortars at emergency workers. The attack was claimed by Al-Aqsa Brigades and Hamas.
Don't expect anything from anywhere about the virtuous freedom-fighters' despicable firing on emergency workers who were trying to save ISRAELI lives.
At the end of the day, we know who the bad guys are.
June 27, 2004
False accusations still true for some
...le musée de Bagdad reste fermé au public après avoir été copieusement pillé dans le sillage de la chute du régime de Saddam Hussein il y a 14 mois.
Let me translate (Emphasis mine): The museum in Baghdad is still closed after having been ABUNDANTLY PILLAGED in the wake of the fall of Saddam Hussein 14 months ago.
In the wake? Don't you mean before the coalition arrived?
The Baghdad Museum, which is still trying to recover from its April 2003 looting...
Why is it so hard to imagine Saddam and Co. ripping off Iraq? As D Aaronovitch points out in his Guardian article (Emphasis, again, is mine):
Furious, I conclude...these days...you cannot say anything too bad about the Yanks and not be believed.
He is right and I am weary of it and more and more afraid of it. When not even the menace of terrorism such as what happened 9/11, of beheadings by savages, for heaven's sake, of the murder of innocents day in and day out at the hands of media-darling 'militants' is not E-nough to tear journalists, writers, film-makers, singers, actors, politicians, and presidential-wanna-bes away from their all-devouring desire to be proudly 'against', to be smugly in the 'right'...I don't know what can.
Jewish boy stabbed in Belgium
The "peace camp" continues to distinguish itself. Peacefully.
A 16-year-old yeshiva student was stabbed and seriously wounded in an Antwerp suburb on Friday night - the most serious anti-Semitic attack in the city since the 1980s when a Jewish child was killed by a bomb planted by a Palestinian group.
According to the Belgian Jewry's Executive Bureau for Community Surveillance, the youth and three friends left the yeshiva around 10:30 P.M. for a short walk around the affluent suburb. They came across a group of ten young people, apparently of Middle East origin and the yeshiva pupils tried to leave the scene. The assailants caught up with the trio and the student was stabbed in the back. He lost a large quantity of blood, suffered a damaged lung, and lost consciousness. He was taken to a local hospital, where his condition was stabilized.
The assailants have not yet been apprehended. Police and local authorities in Antwerp promised that security for Jewish institutions will be beefed up as a result of the stabbing.
According to this Belgian article, there were actually "10 to 15 young people from North Africa, armed with knives and other blunt objects."
June 26, 2004
Bush equals Sharon equals... Chirac
Speechless in Paris...
A leading British Muslim rights group named world leaders George W. Bush, Jacques Chirac and Ariel Sharon as the worst "Islamophobes" of 2004 on Saturday.
The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) selected the three in their annual "Islamophobia Awards" to highlight what they described as growing anti-Muslim prejudice. . .
"Sadly, the competition was extremely tough and we see no signs of this abating in the year to come."
While the awards are satirical, commission chairman Massoud Shadjareh said demonization of Muslims was now comparable to that endured by the Jewish community before World War Two.
U.S. President Bush got the top "Islamophobe of the year" award for his anti-terror war, which the IHRC said was in fact a crusade against Islam. Sharon and French President Chirac were named joint winners of the "Most Islamophobic International Politician". . .
The head of Britain's government-funded Commission for Racial Equality, Trevor Phillips, welcomed the awards as an important step to "fight bigotry and prejudice against Muslims."
Britain's leading Muslim umbrella organization, the Muslim Council for Britain, said Islamophobia was becoming institutionalized. "Ordinary Muslims have felt it through anti-terror laws which have targeted disproportionately the Muslim community," said spokesman Inayat Bunglawala. . .
Right-leaning Daily Telegraph took the media award. . .
London's police were given a special award for, amongst other things, "disproportionately targeting Muslims."
And I presume Al-Zarqawi has received this year's special award for his courageous and tireless commitment to "disproportionately target"
westerners infidels in promoting the religion of peace in the Middle East, without a doubt another "important step to 'fight bigotry and prejudice against Muslims'".
Suzy got your... genetic fingerprint
Well, Suzy is still looking... apparently.
Magistrates have in their possession a genetic fingerprint related to the investigation on the mysterious AZF group that threatened to blow up trains at the beginning of the year to obtain a ransom from the French government, we learnt on Friday from someone close to the case, hence confirming an information from Le Figaro.
This fingerprint wasn't in the automated national genetic fingerprint file (FNAEG), but it would be useful to compare it to a possible suspect's [fingerprint].
It was collected on an explosive device found on February 21st, following information given by the blackmailers, under a TGV track near Limoge (Haute-Vienne).
As of now, investigators and judges have mentioned no lead. Three persons had been arrested at the end of March and then freed, no charges were filed against them.
On March 25, the group had announced a halt to its blackmail, adding that it did not renounce to obtain from the state the ransom of several millions of euros once it had solved "technological and logistic" problems.
The investigation is conducted by anti-terrorist judges Jean-Louis Bruguière and Philippe Coirre.
June 24, 2004
The Christian neo-con danger
An audio recording purportedly made by al-Qaida-linked militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi threatened to assassinate Iraq's interim prime minister and said the fight against "infidels" would continue "until Islamic rule is back on earth."
Fugitive Vows to Assassinate Iraqi Leader - Jun 23, 7:16 AM ET
The documentary, produced by Flach Film Corporation in collaboration with "France 2" channel, highlights a modern perspective of the United States and how a small group of neo-conservatives has controlled the US foreign policy whose goal have become the "implementation of a religious Christian project."By beheading non-Christian "infidels"? Read the entire article to learn that "none of those hoisting Israeli flags [and chanting songs that glorify "Greater Israel"] was a Jew. They are all Americans who think that the establishment of the Israeli state is a fulfillment of the predictions of the Old Testament and the beginning of human salvation. Hence, supporting Israel is a sacred duty."
Anti-Bush French Documentary Hits Silver Screen - Paris, June 24
And the French taxpayers are financing that.
Their American hero
Finally, the French admit the real reason why they preferred President Bill Clinton to President George W. Bush.
Marianne: I prefer presidents who screw a lot without killing anyone.
[In French, the word 'tirer' can mean both 'to fire (at s.o.)' and 'to screw (s.o.)']
UPDATE: And indeed,
So far, French reviews of the massive book have been about as lukewarm as those in the United States. . . .
For its part, France's TF1 TV suggested would-be French readers would snap up the book for one main reason: "A very precise chapter, beginning with the letter 'L' like Lewinsky". . . .
[I]n the small Abbey Bookshop in the Latin Quarter, owner Brian Spence said he was still waiting for a modest three-copy shipment of My Life, due to arrive next week. "The French gave it a pretty bad review," Spence acknowledged. "But it's a perfect summer read. You can take it to the beach, and it can put you to sleep."
Would he read it?
"I actually like Bill Clinton," said Spence, who is Canadian. "I'm going to read it for the good bits. I'm going to look up 'L' in the index."
June 21, 2004
Murder, NOT execution
June 20, 2004
NYC Letter: UN-palatable Soufflé
The soufflé is an eggy concoction in which hot gases raise a crusted canopy high above the serving dish. It makes a glorious presentation that ingloriously collapses with the first service.
The UN is a quaggy political concoction in which hot gases raise crusted rhetoric high above the founding charter. It makes a flatulent presentation that faints away with the first demand imposed on it.
Well, this may not be how the UN sees itself, but then there is very little in the UN’s self-admiring description that is coincident with its conduct or outcomes. The UN Charter, to which all member states are obliged, in its preamble declares a de minimus ethos that a good many of its members do not meet, nor make any effort to meet, nor make any secret of their non-efforts. Perhaps it is a little in-joke having Cuba, Libya, Syria, and the Sudan on the UN rolls, even funnier when they land the occasional seat on its Human Rights Commission.
The UN has been a failed political entity since its inception. Its impressive history of failures – Eastern Europe 1945-89, Vietnam 1946-1973, Korea 1950-53-the present, Hungary 1956, Suez 1956 (something of a banner UN year), Tibet 1950, 1956-59-the present, Czechoslovakia 1968, Cambodia 1970, Iran 1979-the present, Srebrenica 1993, Rwanda 1994, and of course the Arab-Israeli conflict 1948-till forever and contemporary Islamism, to name but a few – has paradoxically heightened for many the UN’s promise of a world at peace. Amazingly, given its nonaccomplishments, in 2001 the Norwegian Nobel Committee made the queerest award since 1994* of the Nobel Peace Prize “in two equal portions, to the United Nations (U.N.) and to its Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world.” [All emphases added.]
The UN bosses clearly believe they do a tidy job of organizing, though this depends on how one views the organizational merit of graft and utter corruption. There are differing opinions about UN excellencies among the scrubs. Most agree the UN is good at organizing jibbering anti-Semitic tea parties, providing tables and chairs, also spit-wipes and drool buckets.
As for “a more peaceful world”, it’s hard to square that with running a terrorist taxi service. Or if you think widespread slavery, pedophilia, rape, genital mutilation, and religious persecution all in one neat package somewhat more serious than the recent episodic abuses at Abu Ghraib. Or that the state terrorism, terrorism for export, and the pensioning of terrorists by Saddam’s Iraq wasn't in need of more time to smooth these down to acceptable UN tolerances. UN luminaries to this day argue that 17 UNSCRs over 12 years hardly gave Saddam a sporting chance to sort his problems out. And using the UN Sudanese slave-trade yardstick of 22-years-and-counting, well, who can argue with them?
Now one might think the craven abandoning of one’s charges (Rwanda), illegal self-dealing (Oil-For-Food), open collusion (Srebrenica – a bonus, both sides betrayed), thinly disguised institutionalized anti-Semiticism (Durban et al.), open sympathy for terrorists (Saddam Hussein, Yasir Arafat, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin), well, these and so much else, might lead one to think even the most pneumatic of pneuma supporting the most rubbery of UN soufflés would wheeze and fall. (Short pause.) And one would be wrong.
Recently Mr. Annan -- whose painful sensitivity to the difficulties the rule of law poses for despots is the stuff of legend -- had a simple message for America, scil., follow the rules:
“A rule-based system is in the interest of all countries, especially today, because globalization makes deadly weapons relatively easy to attain and terrorists relatively difficult to restrain.”
What is Mr. Annan trying to tell us? Hhmmm, let’s see, the terrorists have a rule-based system, that would be the universal caliphate. Sign up here. A rule-based system is in the interest of all countries that agree on the rules? That makes sense, but is this what Mr. Annan is angling at? Perhaps it is this, a rule-based system is in the interest of a UN that can change the rules as it likes.
Without explicitly referencing the current U.S. administration, Annan challenged various elements of American foreign policy, including the use of preemptive strikes in the war in Iraq.
“What kind of world would it be, and who would want to live in it, if every country was allowed to use force, without collective agreement, simply because it thought there might be a threat?”
Of course, by “collective agreement” he does not mean a preponderance of nations, such as the coalition that liberated Iraq or the earlier unanimity of UNSCR 1441. He means agreement satisfactory to the mercurial UN. By “threat”, he means something along the lines of a Roland Emmerich fantasy where the whole world is attacked by really scary monsters. (Unfortunately the monsters go to it after normal business hours, so the UN cannot pass a UNSCR condemning the attack till the following afternoon [14-0, France abstains] by which time most of America is ash. At this point France comes round and the UNSCR becomes another triumph of unanimity just as the last of humanity is torched.)
Annan said that the U.S.-led war in Iraq had also detracted from the global effort to raise living standards among the world’s poor.
Mr. Annan seems to argue here that achieving higher living standards for the world’s poor trumps keeping the poor alive in the first place. Okay, this is sound market policy where supply is passively increased all around by energetically subtracting demand all around. No doubt this is the reasoning behind the phlegmatic UN Sudan initiative and the non-censure of Zimbabwe. That Kofi, crazy like a fox.
Annan concluded his speech by imploring future U.S. leaders to “live up to America’s tradition of global commitment.”
Just forget the current bunch of criminal American yahoos.
Mr. Annan elsewhere:
“[C]ited the U.S. prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq in opposing a U.S. resolution calling for the blanket exemption [shielding American peacekeepers from international prosecution for war crimes] for a third straight year. … ‘For the past two years, I have spoken quite strongly against the exemption, and I think it would be unfortunate for one to press for such an exemption, given the prisoner abuse in Iraq,’ he told reporters Thursday.”
You see, the UN does not just want the stick with which to beat America, it wants an abashed America to hand it that very stick and take its UN licks and like them.
Now, Mr. Annan is free to wander about posturing as the superior representative of a superior moral order. He is probably only trying to stay even with M. Barnier or M. de la Sablière or M. Levitte, or whomever Jack is throwing over the wall as the French Brainiac-at-large these days. But, gents, please, who’s kidding whom? A handful of Polaroids showing a handful of misdeeds by a handful of Americans is not this (CAREFUL: two clicks, gruesome…and bizarre), the everyday, year-in year-out, real torture openly applauded at Abu Ghraib that Mr. Annan and M. de Villepin fought to preserve through diplomacy, duplicity, and political pouts.
Meanwhile, let’s not upset any more nutcase nations. What we easily mistake for torture, illegal weapons programs, and the pitiless existence of a people are for them hallowed cultural traditions of torture, illegal weapons programs, and pitiless existence. Cultural traditions are fine by Mr. Annan & co.
And that is the UN soufflé. Ah, well, it may stink to high heaven and it may be flat as Mr. Kerry's sincerity, but it’s easy eating for the toothless.
June 18, 2004
White powder found in Versailles
That is nothing, tout va très bien.
The anti-terrorist prosecutor's office of Paris has started a preliminary investigation after the discovery of white powder, harmful to the skin, on May 23rd, in a gallery of the Château de Versailles, we learnt today.
Analysis of this powder, whose nature has not been specified, have revealed that it was harmful to the skin and eyes.
It would be a non-deadly, industrial product, according to [French] channel LCI.
It is not [anthrax] though, according to first analysis. "Apparently, the substance found cannot be used for terrorist goals", we learnt from judicial sources.
On May 23rd, around 4 pm, this white powder, spread on a 2 m² area, was found on the floor of the Battle Gallery by the staff of the castle.
A security perimeter was created and the substance collected to be analyzed.
No envelope or bag that could have contained the substance was found there at the time. There was no victim to this day.
OK. I told Carine about three and a half hours ago that I was going to bed. I can't do it. This 9/11 Commission thing ruined my evening. On the BBC tonite, they were bashing GWB...and hard.
I need to shed a tiny little night light on the subject so I can get some shuteye.
As I mentioned above, the BBC is in full anti-Bush battle gear here. Love that 'unprepared' 'had to improvise'. Most people are unprepared for daily life. A country is supposed to be prepared for a 9/11? Right.
I managed to find this.
Downing Street maintained yesterday that Saddam Hussein had allowed al-Qaida to operate out of Iraq. The claim appeared to contradict the view of British intelligence officials and the US commission investigating the September 11 attacks.
In a pinch, you know who your friends are. Respect, Tony. The guy is unsinkable. After the EU elections last weekend, the British political elite and media were chomping at the bit expecting PM Blair to get a dressing down for a less than wonderful result. He got nothing but RESPECT. No scathing speeches. Nothing. Whatever 'It' is, Tony the Man has got it. I digress...
Came across a less likely, but nonetheless welcome, friend here.
Sen. Joe Lieberman on Wednesday insisted there are important ties between Iraq and al-Qaida, even as the commission investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks found there was "no credible evidence" linking the two.
The Connecticut Democrat offered a different view, telling a Washington audience that the war in Iraq was a fight "against the emergence of a new evil empire, a radical Islamic caliphate which would suppress the freedom of its people and threaten the security of every other nation's citizens."
Wow. I bet you got disinvited to a few dinner parties for that one, Joe.
Yesterday, the commission announced there was "no credible evidence" linking Iraq and al Qaeda. In reality, there's a wealth of evidence.
And by disputing the Iraq-al Qaeda connection, the commissioners are answering a question no one asked them. They were supposed to investigate 9/11, not al Qaeda as a whole. In an election year, this makes them look partisan.
The timing of the final report smells fishy, too: 500,000 copies are due in book stores on July 26 — the very day the Democratic convention begins in Boston. Again, not a credibility-enhancing move.
To say the least.
But, wait, guess which headline-grabbing Democrat name is ALSO ''supportive'' of President Bush on Iraq? Did you guess correctly? Be honest now.
Somehow, I don't think that part of Rather-be-biased's interview will be used for writing any headlines...
June 12, 2004
"When I opened my eyes, I saw American soldiers... They said, 'Don't worry, we are Americans.' They held our hands and we ran to the helicopter — I will remember that for the rest of my life. It was fast and unexpected. They did it perfectly...
Read it all here.
June 11, 2004
June 10, 2004
The white star of freedom
My faith in the basic morality and decency of America's GIs, who are crucial to these endeavors, is as firm now as it was then. So is my conviction that the five-pointed white star, which has repeatedly succored victims of religious persecution, racist pogroms and ideological tyranny, will remain a powerful symbol of hope.
You need to read the following article by Samuel Pisar. Strangely, I found three versions on the Internet, the most complete being the one translated into French and published in Le Monde, here.
Two English original versions can be found, one here and another there. Read both since they complete each other (each English version lacks one or two paragrahs available in the other version, the French version gathering both).
AlphaPatriot has an interesting post about it here.
And a link to this about Tom Brokaw.
June 08, 2004
Walk like an Egyptian
Well, maybe not. Let's hope the Italians don't let this guy walk period.
Iraqi gratitude? Shush!!
Some of our so-called intellectuals and politicians, obviously stuck in the quagmire of their fallacious certitudes, seized the occasion of the commemorations of the Normandy Landing to debate about whether yesterday's America, the America liberating us 60 years ago, is the same as today's America. The answer is of course, generally, NO. Today's America, Bush's America, is not seeking freedom, the evidence being Iraq. Today's America is unworhty of Eisenhower's America, a multiplication of cartoons and remarks in the French media asserted that "one can only have the Eisenhower that one deserves", Bush being, obviously, no Eisenhower.
[The same idea is developing about Bush being no Reagan. While I can testify that we are taught over and over again, virtually from elementary school to university, how evil Reagan has been for America and the world, the same people are now slowly revealing themselves as turncoats only to emphasize their hatred against the current POTUS]
Meanwhile, as the Opinion Journal of the WSJ points out, some news are simply not making the news. Such as Iraqi gratitude, for example.
I am not sure the following items have been much covered, so I'd rather come late and repeat them than not mentioning them at all.
Here is an extract of the inaugural address of the new Iraqi Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi. The emphasis is mine.
We Iraqis are just like the rest of the peoples in the world, we don't want our country to remain under occupation.
We are seeking to be able to deal in the best possible way with the terrorism and security threats by ourselves but because of the situation prevailing it appears to be impossible and we will need the help and support of the multinational forces to defeat the enemies of Iraq, who don't want stability, freedom and prosperity for us.
And Iraq, God willing, will be a major partner in this force which will start its mission after June 30 and we will kick off negotiations with our allies to arrange security agreements for the interest of Iraq based on the premise of full Iraqi sovereignty.
And when it has accomplishes this mission successfully, the multinational force will leave Iraq with our deep gratitude.
We would like to express our extreme gratitude and appreciation for the coalition led by the United States and all those who have made painful sacrifices for the liberation of Iraq.
Below are excerpts from the statement made by the newly appointed Iraqi Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, during a meeting of the UNSC on June 3, 2004. Again, emphasis is mine.
[Hoshyar Zebari] sought a new and unambiguous resolution that underlined the transfer of full sovereignty to the people of Iraq and their representatives. . .
"By removing the label of occupation, we will deprive the terrorists and anti-democratic forces of a rallying point to foment violence in our country". . .
He noted that, from now until the end of 2005, the Transitional Administrative Law was the only legal framework and the interim arrangement that reflected the wishes of the majority of the Iraqi people for a free, unified and democratic Iraq. He urged the Council to endorse and acknowledge that important document. The continued support of the United Nations for the political process was critical to help meet the challenges ahead. . .
Iraqis were grateful, he stated, to the Coalition who helped liberate them from the persecutions of Saddam Hussein’s regime. The overthrow of the former regime led to the total collapse of the State and its institutions, and since April last year, the country had been working hard to re-establish Iraq’s security, military and police forces. The people of Iraq needed and requested the assistance of multinational forces to work closely with Iraqi forces to stabilize the situation. He stressed that any premature departure of international troops would lead to chaos and the real possibility of a civil war in Iraq. That would cause a humanitarian crisis and provide a foothold for terrorists to launch their evil campaign in Iraq and beyond its borders. . .
Iraq required the continued assistance and partnership of those troops, but it also needed that presence to be regulated under arrangements that neither compromised the sovereignty of the interim government nor the right of the multinational force to defend itself. Iraqi forces must be under Iraqi command but operate in liaison and partnership with the multinational force to achieve that objective. . .
Of the 32 ministers in the interim government, he noted that six were women, and the government was the most representative of the Iraqi people in the history of the country. It was significant that the handover of power to the new government was peaceful and bore none of the bloodshed that had historically characterized transfer of power in his region. Political development in Iraq was progressive and increasingly inclusive, and Iraq remained committed to the clear steps it must take towards elections in 2005.
June 07, 2004
Someone pinch me!
June 05, 2004
Misunderstanding the message...
...inverting the values and blaming the victim? From the NYT.
To grasp how Europe and America diverge today, it is enough to visit the nearby German war cemetery at La Cambe, where more than 20,000 soldiers, many killed in their teens in World War II, are buried. The place is tranquil - squat stone German crosses nestle in a meadow of trees and flowers - but its message blares loud and clear.
That message is this: war is stupid, war is a failure, war is waste, war is useless. For obvious reasons, this is an acutely felt German sentiment, but it is also one that much of the continent has now embraced. Albert Schweitzer, the French philosopher and physician, is quoted, "The soldiers' graves are the greatest preachers of peace."
By contrast, the American cemetery proclaims the terrible sacrifice of war, but also its nobility. Sometimes, it declares, a beachhead against tyranny must be secured.
Engraved on a colonnade are the words, "This embattled shore, portal of freedom, is forever hallowed by the ideals, the valor and the sacrifices of our fellow countrymen."
Is war necessity or failure? That question hovers over bitter trans-Atlantic relations today. Unsure whether they still face a common enemy - even after Madrid many in Europe want to see Americans and Zionism as the real targets of Islamic jihadist terrorism - Europeans and Americans tend to talk past each other because the prisms of peace-as-near-absolute-value and war-as-necessary-evil are so divergent.
"The America of Bush that designates a clear enemy is not accepted in France and Germany," said Nicole Bacharan, a political scientist. "The feeling among many Europeans is that America was hit in part because it is so aggressive. Europe does not want to have enemies because it does not want to face them.'
June 04, 2004
NYC Letter: Inventing The News
Reuters is second only to the NYT at writing the news it likes. Exhibit One:
The ailing pontiff complained about recent "deplorable events," an apparent reference to the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. troops.
Apparent to whom? Here's what the Pope said:
"Mr. President, your visit to Rome takes place at a moment of great concern for the continuing situation of grave unrest in the Middle East, both in Iraq and in the Holy Land."
Then later in the story:
Although the remarks appeared directed at abuses of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. troops at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison, they could also be taken to include other atrocities such as the kidnapping of foreign civilians in Iraq by Islamic militants and acts such as the beheading of an American contractor.
The pope did not elaborate. Neither would papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls, although he did not dispute characterizations that the comments referred primarily to abuse at Abu Ghraib prison.
Of course Dr. Navarro-Valls is not disputing any other characterizations either. But that is not the story Reuters, which doesn't believe in terrorism, wants you to read.
[All emphases added.]
Elsewhere, Reuters doesn't waste ink equivocating, they just report their predilection as the news. Exhibit Two:
The pope told Bush that Iraq had to regain sovereignty swiftly and deplored the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. troops.
And here's the AP's headline on the substance of the audience. Exhibit Three:
Pope Denounces Events in Iraq to Bush
Now look here for how the Vatican Press Office reports the very same audience.
Also Reuters likes to use the Pope as a club against poor old Mr. Bush. But where is Mr. Bush in this story? Exhibit Four:
"Rights are at times reduced to self-centered demands: the growth of prostitution and pornography in the name of adult choice, the acceptance of abortion in the name of women's rights, the approval of same sex unions in the name of homosexual rights," [the Pope] said.
These are all issues on which there is concinnity between the Pope and GWB. Again the Vatican Press Office report:
[The Pope] told the president he appreciated his "commitment to the promotion of moral values in American society, particularly with regard to respect for life and the family." And he urged "a fuller and deeper understanding between the United States of America and Europe will surely play a decisive role in resolving the great problems which I have mentioned."
Then Mr. Bush:
President Bush presented the Pope with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civil honor that is bestowed in America, saying that Pope John Paul "has championed the cause of the poor, the weak, the hungry and the outcast. He has defended the unique dignity of every life and the goodness of all life. Through his faith and moral conviction, he has given courage to others to 'be not afraid' in overcoming injustice and oppression. His principled stand for peace and freedom has inspired millions and helped to topple communism and tyranny. The United States honors this son of Poland who became the Bishop of Rome and a hero of our time."
When the Pope is scolding the Left's life-style and self-permissioning he goes from being a "moral authority" to being a "moral witchdoctor".
Sixty years later...
A Jewish teenager has been stabbed in the chest on Friday afternoon while he was going out of a Jewish denominational establishment in Epinay-sur-Seine (Seine St-Denis). Seriously wounded, he was carried to the Clichy hospital and placed in reanimation.
According to testimonies, the person who attacked him around 4 pm yelled "Allah is great!" while stabbing him.
Can anyone remind me the last time someone stabbed anyone while yelling "Bush is great!"? I will avoid Paris tomorrow, just in case those demonstrators defy the bans. I wouldn't want to create a precedent.
June 03, 2004
The One with the last post on Islam
...Muhammad...the Prophet is supposed to have said that a man should set out for a journey only for three mosques, the ones in Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. Now how could the prophet have said this when ALL Muslims agree that when the Qur’an states "this day I have completed for you your religion" (Q5:3), that Jerusalem was not within Muslim geography? The completion means just that...with the Arabic Qur'an for the Arab peoples, and the aspect of conquest of foreign territory NOT an injunction of Qur’anic Islam.
When the Muslims conquered Jerusalem, it should have been left open for the rightful owners to return...there are also reports showing that Umar in fact opened the city to the Jews. If this be the case, then...building a mosque on the site of the Temple was something that was not sanctioned by The Qur’an. How honest is contemporary Islam with this? Given the situation in the Middle East, politiking etc stands in the way of honesty.
Read it all here.
And with that, I hereby stop posting about Islam, a religion that should be the target of all those who clamor against the menace of imperialism but who instead waste their time obsessing over the United States. Europeans, and especially the French, are the worst offenders and all the while they are themselves being colonized by Islam. If they could see past their anti-American noses, they might act and stand up for themselves NOW, before it's too late.
May 29, 2004
Why I never get any sleep...
No, really, it's 2 AM here and I really was going off to bed and then I came across this. I had to read it twice and verify that I wasn't at ScrappleFace.
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry on Friday vowed to "destroy the terrorists"...
Isn't that exactly what the opposition has been criticizing the Bush admin about all this time? So, if YOU, Kerry, do it when YOU are president, it's OK but NOT when the sitting president does it? Uh...
"If I'm president of the United States, we will not hesitate to move rapidly to get this internationalized in a way that ends combat operations and begins to get our troops out rapidly," Kerry said in the interview.
If? Well, nice to know that you are not yet sure to win in November. Move rapidly... Excuse me, but isn't that another criticism I've been hearing about GWB's admin? '...get this internationalized...' What? Uh, isn't there a date coming up...June 30th. Something's happening that day. And if you were president, you'd only move in to the WH, uh, in January 2005. Or maybe you'd postpone it a bit for some reason, I don't know. As for the 'international' part, isn't there, I mean, aren't there, you know, like other countries already there in Iraq with the US? I'm pretty certain I heard about the Brits and some people called 'coalition'. Sounds awfully international to me.
Asked whether troops would be in Iraq in four years, Kerry said he was hopeful combat would be completed, and added, "there may be some presence of an international force. I think the United States needs to end the sense of American occupation and I will do that."
Four years? So, in four years is 'rapid' if YOU are president, but ONE year and a bit for the Bush admin is...ummm...too long? I'm confused. My palms are starting to sweat... What's a 'sense of American occupation'? Do you mean a perception? Man, for a lawyer and senator guy, you don't be speaking very good Inglish. I agree that this perception that Americans are occupying Iraq should indeed be replaced with the reality of the situation which is that there is a coalition in Iraq, but I think I mentioned that earlier. Maybe you could start mentioning the c-o-a-l-i-t-i-o-n sometimes when you talk like this, you know. Who knows, some journalist might actually print it and people would no longer have this skewed 'perception'. Get your friends to use it to. It'll get around quicker that way!
Kerry said losing in Iraq would be dangerous for the United States and the world, but he promised to get Americans home "as fast as possible with honor."
Right on, dude! I'm glad that you see that liberating Iraq was a good thing. But, wait, I must have missed something... Why are you 'promising' something so, well, logical? Are you the first one promising to get our soldiers home ASAP? And what's that little 'with honor' thing at the end there?
A decorated Vietnam veteran, Kerry evoked the image of veterans of an earlier fight - World War II - as he stood before the command train used by Army Gen. Dwight Eisenhower. He said it was time to return the nation to the spirit of the greatest generation.
Naw! You were in 'Nam! I didn't know! Maybe you met my dad there. He did two tours. My dad had a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and a few others. I used to love opening up the boxes and looking at them. He never really told me how he got the Purple Heart. You've probably noticed that soldiers tend not to talk about the wars they've been in, the fighting they've seen, the wounds they recovered from. My dad was always proud to wear his ribbons. (He tried to go see The Deerhunter once and walked out after 20 minutes.) I was so proud of my dad. I digress... Umm, ...'return the nation'... There you go again being negative. 'Greatest generation'. You know what? It gets tiring. Haven't you got something nice to say?
The Democrat criticized President Bush's "blustery, arrogant policies" and told about 300 people... "I will destroy the terrorists, but I am going to build a bridge to every last country we can so war is the last resort."
You no speak Inglish good. You really should carry a little dictionary with you. What is a blustery, arrogant POLICY? I have no idea what you're jabbering about here. Blustery means, well, windy. Arrogant means, well, you know, like the French telling the USA what to do. THAT's arrogant! So, how is a policy... I think I'll leave it there. You're a senator... I guess your state is a little hard up. Or maybe they don't realize that JFK is dead and you have your name printed 'JFK' on the ballot. Weird. Have you ever been checked out for Alzheimer's? You seem to live outside reality. The destroying part is already in progress, although the goal is more about getting rid of terrorISM. You following me? What's this crap about bridges...war...last resort. Which countries are you talking about? You mean countries that the USA doesn't already have diplomatic ties with? 'Cause actual bridges would be physically impossible in most cases. I mean, there are already bridges up between the US and Mexico and Canada... Maybe you mean you want to play everybody-love-me-please with countries like France who only want one-way bridges, all take and no give? That's just plain dumb. You suffer from lack of self-esteem, perhaps? Um, and you know these Islam-riddled terrorists aren't, you know, worried too much about what countries are doing. They seem to be more interested in killing Jews or bringing down Western civilization, you know, things like that.
You know, for a guy who wants to be my president, you don't seem to know a lot about what's going on out there. Piece of advice - don't give up the day job.
May 27, 2004
OK. So in between missives to As*holes Int'l, I promised myself that today would be dedicated to finding some GOOD things to blog about.
May 26, 2004
Been spending most their lives, living in the
gangsta's socialist paradise
Looks like I wasn't born in the right part of old Europe.
German Retiree Forced Home from Florida Beach Pad
A German pensioner living in a Florida beach pad paid for out of his $2,200 monthly social security payments has been forced to return to Germany after the government cut his benefit, authorities said Tuesday.
The former banker, who left Germany in 1979 saying living in the country made him depressed, has a doctor's certificate of disability and was granted the money because he lacked independent financial means, Frankfurt social welfare said.
"Florida Rolf," 65, caused a media storm last year and sparked a heated debate about flaws in the German welfare system when his care-free lifestyle hit newspaper headlines.
May 25, 2004
Is that all there is?
...the minister also listed achievements such as opening 2,400 schools, 240 hospitals, 1,200 clinics and one million telephone lines - 20 percent more than under the ousted Baathist regime.
Gee, who woulda guessed?
Read it here.
Problems still exist, but it's nice to think that so much has been done.
May 22, 2004
A day that will live in infamy
Which day, you ask? That day.
Why, oh, WHY wasn't this made clear from the VERY BEGINNING???!!!!!
(;( As of 2:15 PM my time here in France, I'm not finding the story on weasel news sites... Hey, after all, it's the weekend, and even journalists need their rest.)
May 21, 2004
The Left-Leaning Tower of Media
Interesting analysis by HonestReporting of two seperate but similar incidents involving the US and Israel. Can you guess who gets treated more fairly?
On a positive note, go see the the trailer for the upcoming film by Mike Wilson at michaelmoorehatesamerica.com. Please go see it and tell me about it. It won't play in France, that's for sure! (Thanks to Carine for sending me the link.)
May 14, 2004
'More likely there will come a day when in exasperation they will call up someone like Don Rumsfeld for advice...'
Very liberal people in Washington are calling for heads to roll in lieu of court proceedings and cross-examinations. Much of the angst that sent senators to the capitol steps microphones derives from their own surprise and the sensationalism of the pictures — images that put these media-savvy legislators first to shame, then to the recognition that this is an election year in which bottled piety is at a premium. They know that there is little to be gained from reminding Americans that there are now thousands of brave soldiers fighting horrific enemies in a professional and highly successful manner. The last one to damn the fewest receives the least air time. In this context, the behavior of Senator Kennedy the last few months is the real metaphor of our times.
The attack ON the killer Islamists
This almost made me change my mind about my rant yesterday...NOT.
May 13, 2004
The goalposts move too f*c*ing often
...and I have had E-nough! of all the Muslims out there who keep talking about their peaceful religion. When they manage a tiny insincere condamnation of the barbarians that butcher innocent people, they always find a way of laying the blame anywhere but at the murderers' feet or at Islam's mosque door but always always always at the altar of US- or Jew-bashing.
Peace-loving Muslims (are there really more than a handful out there?), rise up, and tell these 'non-Muslims' (your qualification, not mine) that you will not accept their bloodlust any longer! Rise up and prove to the world that you are human beings with feelings and values and not just a bunch of US- and Jew-haters, that there is something out there more important than your so-called 'humiliation' at the hands of all of us 'infidels'! If you do it together, the Islam-addled barbarians won't be able to assassinate and behead you ALL. Can you stand up for something besides your Mohammed, your Koran? Can you forget the Jews for a few days? Can you? Can you? As long as your voice remains muted and barely audible, I will consider that you are WITH these butchers and certainly not against.
Contrary to you, dissent is something we encourage and cherish, even to the point of having to listen to some incredibly stupid people going on an on. There are days when I wish the professional dissenters would shut up but at least I know that I, too, have the right to speak out when and where I like. (These days, our professional dissenters believe that they have to try to take down their country with the person or policy they are criticizing, but they'll come to regret that one day. They've lost their way, as black sheep often do.)
I'm tired of you all and your refusal to see yourselves in the blood-colored mirror of Islam, sick of your Jew-hating and victim-playing, revolted by your misogyny. How can we expect you to condemn the beheading of an innocent person when so many of you have no feeling or respect for girls and women? When so many of you dream of eliminating the Jewish people (do you even know why?)? When you continue playing the victim rather than admitting that you are not always right and not always just, that your 'holy' 'men' (and I use both terms loosely here) are about as far from holy as you can possibly get?
I'm fed up and angry and soulsick and perhaps I will regret these words. One day. But not today, that's for sure. I'll let you know if it ever happens.
May 12, 2004
May 11, 2004
Grace under fire / Petition for Rumsfeld
Rumsfeld, I mean. The words below are his. I just had to post them here. Thanks to Watcher for taking the time to transcribe it.
"Some people did some perfectly terrible things. What happened after that? We announced it. It became public. We're having an open process. We've been prosecuting the people who have done something wrong. The world is seeing what a democracy does. The world is seeing how people who care about human rights behave. This isn't a pattern or practice or policy of the government as it was under Saddam Hussein... this is something totally different. And how do we always get from one step to the next step? We live our lives as best we can, knowing we're imperfect, mistakes get made, people do bad things to people. We see it in every state of the union, every year... murders, rapes. How do we restore our credibility? What we do is, we get up the next day and try to live our lives better... and we try to do a better job in government and public service. And over time, the truth wins out. We have a free, open system. We've got some wonderful people in this country. We're not an evil society. There's not something bad about America... America is not what's wrong with the world! The overwhelming majority of the people in the world know that. I mean, why do people line up to get into this country year after year after year? I read all this stuff -- people hate us, people don't like us -- the fact of the matter is, people line up to come into this country every year. Because it's better here than other places... and because they respect the fact that we respect human beings. And, we'll get by this... I don't like it any more than you do."
May 08, 2004
April 27, 2004
Notice the angle from which this image is taken. It is taken from ABOVE the madding crowd. The Hideous One is there, you can't miss him with his Palestine-shaped scarf. See all those people around him? The man wasn't taking any chances. He put all his little friends up front where they could take the bullet if by chance it came while he was making his speech. (Go to page 4 for more of the group pix.)
My, how courageous you are. How many of your Doctors for Terrorism (scroll down to 10th item) were there acting as human shields, I wonder.
Now here's something to do the next time Israel makes the news, which seems like every 2 minutes, doesn't it. Go here and look at how much space is taken up by the news from Israel as compared to, say, the tragedy in N Korea. As I'm looking at it 2AM my time, the score is 1175 articles about PM Sharon's statement that schmarafat is fair game versus 1531 about N Korea's train crash aftermath.
April 26, 2004
NYC Letter: Ceci N'est Pas Une Pipe
It was with some surprise and a pang that I read today of the passing in November of 2000 of Malcolm Bradbury.
Sir Malcolm was primarily an academian, who wrote some enjoyable novels (Rates of Exchange), some passable novels (The History Man), funny bits (Unsent Letters), slabs and slabs of belles-lettres pitched to the dullest generation of liberal arts majors in living memory, and a fair amount of hack work (muddled screen adaptaion of Kingsley Amis's muddled The Green Man).
However, like Sir John Bashford who wrote a single comic masterpiece Augustus Carp Esq. By Himself, which I urge all to read (click link), Sir Malcolm wrote only one incomparable comic novel, the ultimate send-up of modern French intellectual gobbledegook, Mensonge.
Mensonge (subtitled elsewhere "Structuralism's Hidden Hero") is the uncertain biography of the uncertain M. Mensonge, the big noise or whimper of deconstruction, a fellow of great importance or no importance at all, who is as deconstructed as his theories, which is to say an indefinite conceptual construct associated with a vague material construct atop which a hat cannot be placed with confidence.
Mr. Bradbury's language has something of the aureate flair of Vogue gossip journalism studded with advertisers' placements:
As Francois Mitterand was heard to say the other day, teasing at a shrimp vol-au-vent at some Quay d'Orsay reception to do with the Channel Tunnel, "Aujourd'hui, mes amis, et les anglais, nous sommes tous de necessite structuralistes."
And we may take it Mitterand's statement was true, or as true as true is in a time when, thanks to deconstruction , truth is very much an open question. For it is quite certain that these two separate yet related tendencies (structuralism and deconstruction ) are our philosophy, our condition, our crisis and our promise, and we cannot say nay to them. Whether we realise it or not, they dominate the flavour of life and thinking in the last quarter of the 20th century just as existentialism did in the third quarter. They are, in the realm of cognition, what Texas is to California in the realm of growth potential and property values, but with the added advantage of not being directly oil related. Where existentialism was intense and heavy, strong on plight and anguish, structuralism-deconstruction, in keeping with the times, is clean absurdism or cool philosophy; it is laid back, requires no weighty black gear, and goes very well with Perrier water and skiing.
In the course of tracking down M. Mensonge, Mr. Bradbury offers one of the most concise and intelligible running histories of modern French literary theory from Saussure ("Le lien unissant le signifiant au signifié est arbitraire", The bond linking the signifier with the signified is arbitrary.) to the mud of structuralism ("Both the self and the unconscious are cultural constructs.") to the thorns of post-structuralism ("[T]he post-structural view holds that persons are culturally and discursively structured, created in interaction as situated, symbolic beings.") to the wilds of deconstruction ("I would say that deconstruction loses nothing from admitting that it is impossible." Psyche: Invention of the Other, Jacques Derrida).
What Mr. Bradbury gets at is the French delight in thinking themselves very clever to have thought themselves out of the bother of being particular anyones.
And slipping personal particularity, French big-think slips personal responsibility in the bargain.
Deals with Saddam, ho, that construct is the old Jack, meet the new Jack construct: Shut up! And take off that hijab before I smack you silly!
Will terror groups hold the reins of the EU?
Here we are. A terror group is now requiring from Italy that its people demonstrate against the US-led coalition and to support them, or else...
An Iraqi group [the Green Brigade] threatened to kill three Italian hostages they are holding if demonstrations against the occupation of Iraq do not take place in Italy within five days. . .
According to [Al-Arabiyah], the group, called "the Green Brigade", claims in that message that it will liberate the three hostages "if the Italian people organizes demonstrations against the policy of its government in Iraq".
The message gives Italians "five days to organize these demonstrations, or else the hostages will be killed".
Bravo! BRAVO!! Congratulations to the useful idiots of the world who demonstrated to support Saddam Hussein and other vermins of the same kind. Here is the result now.
Soon enough, they will be able to lick the terrorists' boots with their own tongues. What? No boots this time? Well, they'll always find something to lick. They gotta support them, one way or the other:
"We are ready, as a sign of goodwill to free them (...) if you publicly say no to the policy of your Prime Minister by organizing a big demonstration and show us your support", they asked.
"We are giving you five days, otherwise, we will kill them without an hesitation and without another warning", they threatened.
Apparently, so far, Italian political parties, including parties opposed to the war, have refused to collaborate, insisting they would not negociate with terrorists and kidnappers.
The parents of one of the three Italians kidnapped have asked Italians to help them free the hostages.
As for the "pro-peace" camp, they vow to continue their full-time job as useful idiots. After all, before being asked anything, some were already applying to the job of Toady-In-Chief. They won't even have to change their colors:
"Nobody is accepting the kidnappers' diktats. Demonstrations for peace and against the war in Iraq will go on as planned, and on May 1, rainbow flags (banner of the pacifist movement) will fly on Italian squares", announced Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, head of the Italian Greens.
April 24, 2004
Read it and smile
Can someone please make an announcement about this on the world's PA system, puuuuuhhhhlllllllleeeeeeeeeeze?!
Just a pleasure to read, isn't he.
April 20, 2004
Spanish Socialist Zapatero signing a pact with the devil?
Has Zapatero negociated with al-Sadr a capitulation of the Spanish troops?
According to an article over at Libertad Digital, that quotes a report by Spanish newspaper La Razón, Al Sadr would have been informed of the withdrawal of Spanish troops of Iraq even before the Spanish Congress:
According to daily La Razón, CNI secret agents "close" to the PSOE secretly traveled to Najaf last week, while the Government wasn't formed yet and Zapatero was claiming the Spanish troops would pull out of Iraq on June 30. They then made a pact with representatives of Muqtada al-Sadr, who is responsible for the wave of deaths in Iraq, for the immunity for Spanish soldiers and they let them know of the withdrawal of the troops. Two names appear in the article: Pérez Rubalcaba and Colonel Jambrina.
(Libertad Digital) - Apparently, these agents traveled without the approval nor the acknowlegment of the CNI (National Center of Intelligence) officials (even up to now) and made José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero's decision of pulling troops out of Iraq known. The decision was kept secret in Spain until last Sunday.
The trip and negociations happened last week in Najaf with people in charge at the PSOE being aware, according to La Razón. According to this information, it is claimed that Muqtada al-Sadr asked that Zapatero make the announcement immediately after he took up his duties so that the US would be left alone in the attack of the city launched to capture him.
If those news were to be confirmed, this agreement between the PSOE and people responsible for the kidnappings and murders of several civilians and soldiers in Iraq would be considered as a treason by its allies. The facts seem to confirm the information. Only hours after the President of the Spanish government announced the withdrawal of the troops, al Sadr ordered not to attack the leaving Spanish troops.
The article of Enrique Montánchez of La Razón explains that since March 11 and the events that led to the electoral victory of the PSOE three days later, the Spanish secret services split in two factions. On one hand, the so-called old guard, that remains loyal to the PSOE since it has been working with Felipe González. They still have positions of responsability [and were] appointed by former CESID Director, General Emilio Alonso Manglano. On the other hand are new members incorporated by the first civilian Director of the National Center of Intelligence, diplomat Jorge Dezcallar.
Those responsible for negociations would have been agents close to the circle of the PSOE and the Socialist spokesperson in the Congress, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba - who maintains an excellent friendship relation with Colonel Emilio Jambrina. Jambrina was set aside of [the Center] and sent to a South American country. In the days before March 11, he was in Madrid.
The article from La Razón can be found here.
One wonders how many other terrorists will be entitled to make decisions for Zapatero in the future.
April 19, 2004
April 18, 2004
Lost in translation
Next in line, please...
April 01, 2004
Still about Iraq?
Police in northern Spain today defused three letter bombs addressed to journalists in Madrid, the Interior Ministry said.
The devices were found by a metal detector at a mail sorting office in Zaragoza, 200 miles north-east of the capital, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. Each envelope contained a crude explosive device with 60g (2.12oz) of gunpowder, the ministry said.
The letters were addressed to Luis Maria Anson, the director and founder of Madrid conservative daily La Razon, Federico Jimenez Losantos, a commentator at radio station La Cope and the news director of the private television station Antena 3, who was not identified.
The ministry did not give any details on who had sent the letters, but said the return addresses listed on the envelopes did not exist.
Immediately after his election, Zapatero had, of course, jumped at the chance to side with fellow European appeasers:
Zapatero has also made clear that Spain will no longer be the loyal U.S. ally that it was under Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, and that it is ready to side with France and Germany on key issues inside and outside the European Union.
Not everyone is ready to trust France with just about anything though:
Jiménez Losantos, one of the three recipients of the letter bombs defused by the police, emphasized the role of the security forces in the detection of the devices and said that if it should happen "in France or Italy, it is most likely that it would have killed all three [recipients]".
For those of us that can read Spanish, Federico Jiménez Losantos has a very good paper on why exactly, as an opinion journalist condemning leftist and islamist terrorism, he was targeted and why "[he] take[s] it as an honor" to have been targeted. Here's his conclusion:
For the supporters of liberalism, and especially for those at Libertad Digital, this was one more evidence of the value of freedom. If it wasn't costing us so much to defend it, its value would be of the tiniest. An economist would say that, in terms of costs and profits, only an immense profit justifies such an investment. But no investment is, in the end, more profitable than freedom, nor is there comparable human and social institution. Freedom is worth much more than life because life without freedom is not life. Neither life, nor anything.
March 23, 2004
'Spiritual' leader , my ass
The talking heads are already warning that Hamas will now step up attacks on Israel. You mean after all these homocide bombings Hamas has carried out, now we learn that they've been taking it "light" on us? The hundreds of rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli cities in Gaza and the south of the country; they could have been meaner? Tell that to the almost 1,500 dead Israelis.
And I thought we were making progress on the 'T'-word.
Or maybe we aren't.
In any case, it's been going on for what seems like forever.
Am I repeating myself?
"This is an embarrassment to Egypt," Dia'a Rashwan, an expert on radical Islam, told the Israeli daily Haaretz. "Egypt was directly involved in bringing Hamas and (Palestinian Islamic) Jihad closer to the Palestinian Authority and bringing about a cease-fire. Targeting Yassin is a direct blow to these efforts."
And how's this for complete denial of Yassin's role as a Hamas leader. Emphasis is mine.
For Israel, the Sheikh may have seemed to a major part of the problem. But he was also potentially a significant part of the solution. By killing Hamas’ spiritual head, the Israelis have struck down someone they might one day have been able to talk to. Their missiles have killed a leader who enjoyed massive respect, who could have called a halt to militant violence, and would have been listened to had he done so.
What Polish President Kwasniewski really said
I have to say that I am still amazed by how the words President Kwasniewski pronounced in front of French journalists on March 18 have been - not interpreted but - wrongly translated by the AFP (one wonders if it is voluntarily or just incompetence, and which one exactly would be worse).
Though it has been written here and there, hidden in other articles, that the Polish President wasn't actually targeting American intelligence or Washington, I am still looking for a complete explanation by the AFP, Reuters or the AP of what happened exactly.
Here is the demonstration of how reliable they can be (Thanks to my Polish fairy - you know who you are - for the links and translation).
told French reporters he felt "uncomfortable" with being "misled" by intelligence concerning Iraq's suspected weapons of mass destruction arsenal
He then told a separate news conference, "this is the problem of the United States, of Britain and also of many other nations."Congratulations to French journalists for their mistaken translation of Kwasniewski's statement and for almost creating a diplomatic mess between Poland and the US.
During a 20-minute phone call between the American and Polish Presidents, Kwasniewski insisted:
According to [head of the National Security Bureau] Siwiec, Kwasniewski said that "we will be in Iraq as long as necessary to reach our goals, and still another day" . . .
Then Kwasniewski talked about translation misunderstandings - as Siwiec underlines - regarding Thursday's meeting of President Kwasniewski with foreign journalists . . . As Siwiec noted, it is possible to sum up the situation quite simply: we do not want to reach such misunderstandings with the US [because of] translation [problems], while our brotherhood is engraved in stone, in politics as well as in Iraq.
According to Siwiec, "if we want to give meaning" to what Aleksander Kwasniewski said, we can say that the US, the UK and the other members of the coalition, before the Iraq war, did not possess proper information regarding WMD.
"That's why every one of his words, that refer to the translation of the word "zwodzony" [enticed], don't really give the sense of what he meant".
"Who hasn't properly informed us?" asked the journalists.
"Not the US, it wasn't a complaint of Poland towards the US, it wasn't a complaint of the Polish President towards anyone else, it was an observation of a fact, that services, public institutions working for our different governments, but together, haven't presented the information that would have found a confirmation after they were in Iraq, we haven't found the concrete evidence, we haven't found WMD", Siwiec said.
He noted that the President of the United States has "not at all insisted" on the matter. . .
In the English department of the AFP, the words "we have been 'zwodzeni'" were translated by "we were taken for a ride".
Following that journalistic mess, President Aleksander Kwasniewski issued a statement insisting on what he really said, underlining Saddam's role in the deceit.
Here's the statement from the President's office. Emphasis is mine.
Statement of the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland - (2004-03-19)
In response to the comments and over-interpretation of the words of the President of the Republic of Poland during his meeting with the press on March 18th , the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland has been authorised to issue the following statement:
1. The essence of the words of the President of Poland and his main message during the meeting with the press on March 18th was to present once again the reasons and grounds for Poland’s involvement in the process of stabilisation and democratisation of Iraq. “Iraq today – without Saddam Hussein is a truly better Iraq than with Saddam Hussein” – said the President. He also warned against political decisions that would lead to destabilisation of the situation in Iraq. Poland will withdraw from Iraq only after the successful completion of the stabilisation mission and she counts on effective cooperation with the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, other NATO and UN nations.
2. The President reminded that Saddam Hussein had tried to make an impression that he had weapons of mass destruction and could use it, and that was an important reason for taking up the mission in Iraq in the frameworks of joint strategy of the multinational coalition in the fight against international terrorism.
3. The President stated that in the fight against terrorism the basic issue is to stay united and in solidarity amongst the democratic nations. Showing weakness in front of terrorist attacks undermines the foundations of democracy, security of the peoples, and peace in the world. Reuters hid incomplete corrections in a wire titled Bush Urges Poland Not to Waver in Iraq.
Reuters, AP, AFP: You can always rely on them to distort, interpret or simply bring you false news.
Poland will continue to stand by the USA. Whether they like it or not, they'll just have to live with it.
March 17, 2004
Passion in Fashion II
A nationwide survey conducted for the Institute for Jewish and Community Research finds that 83 percent of Americans familiar with the film say it's made them neither more nor less likely to blame today's Jews for Jesus' crucifixion.
March 14, 2004
Victims count / Victim counts
Where to start...
How about with this. Dr Yehuda Hiss:
The team that will go to Spain is very senior and comprised of people who have been working for many years in identifying the victims of the terrorist attacks we have had in Israel.
Having been in the thick of this mayhem longer than others, Israel is routinely asked by states victimized by terrorism to help in a variety of aspects, from intelligence gathering and targeted killings to bomb detection and corpse identification. The victims are, of course, doing well to seek such assistance in Israel, and Israel is right in offering it.
Now go here.
Over the last few years the Palestinian government has been refusing to fight terror, Palestinian terrorists have been targeting Israeli children, and other civilians; they have been using their own people as human shields leading to the death of their own children (which is against the Geneva Convention). Yet, throughout all this, Kofi has been strangely silent. And the longer he is silent, the more I am concerned for his well-being.
About two years ago when Israel captured all those documents directly linking Arafat and the Palestinian Authority to terrorist acts, I just knew that Kofi would indignantly challenge Arafat to clean up his act. Yet this man, who is a fighter for world morality, was strangely silent.
Mr Dunetz goes on.
About two years ago when Israel captured all those documents directly linking Arafat and the Palestinian Authority to terrorist acts, I just knew that Kofi would indignantly challenge Arafat to clean up his act. Yet this man, who is a fighter for world morality, was strangely silent. That's when I began to suspect that something was up. I scanned the newspapers every day looking for his comments - nothing. First I thought he must be ill so I called all the hospitals near the United Nations building in New York, but thank goodness he wasn't there.
My worrying about Kofi's safety increased this past September when a Palestinian terrorist blew apart Dr. David Appelbaum, and his daughter Nava. They were at Cafe Hillel having a father-daughter talk, the night before her wedding. Being such a man of peace, I am sure that the Secretary General would be affected by this tragedy and speak out. I raced to the newspapers to read our great Nobel Peace Prize winner vent his outrage, but I couldn't find his comments anywhere. At first I thought that he may be buying school supplies for his kids, after all it was September, and Mr. Annan is a regular guy.
About Madrid. Kofi had this to say about that.
Regardless of how one defines terrorism, I think it is clear to all that the killing of innocent lives is terrorism, and there is no argument about it. It is morally unacceptable.
Awkward that 'killing of innocent lives', but we get the message. Yes, killing innocent people the way they were killed in Madrid is terrorism.
It was the first attack of its kind in more than three years of Israeli-Palestinian fighting, and underscored Israel's vulnerability, despite stringent security measures. In 111 bombings since 2000, attackers had generally targeted buses, cafes and shopping malls.(Emphasis mine)
111 bombings. Since 2000. Victims in smaller numbers at one time, yes. But the overall total is staggering.
945 people have been killed by Palestinian violence and terrorism since September 2000.(Again, emphasis mine)
Between September 29, 2000 and February 1, 2004, Magen David Adom treated a total of 6,145 casualties as follows:
823 killed, 534 severely injured, 759 moderately and 4,029 lightly injured...
ALL victims of terrorism count.
March 12, 2004
Millones de personas abarrotaban el viernes las calles de todas las ciudades de España para manifestar su rechazo a la cadena de atentados perpetrados la víspera en Madrid que se cobraron la vida de casi 200 personas. En la imagen, manifestantes se protegen de la lluvia con paraguas durante la marcha, el 12 de marzo de 2004.
March 01, 2004
I never met a Jew-hater until I came to live in France. In the small American town where I spent my formative years, many different faiths were represented. We had Mormons, Adventists, Church of Christers, Baptists, Methodists, Catholics... There was even a Masonic lodge. I used to go to the Baptist revivals because they gave out free candy to the kids to pull us in. Did we convert? No. But we loved to watch all those adults getting dunked in the swimming pool up front. I sang in almost every church in town, except the one where music was forbidden. The young GI who was my catechism teacher one year took us to his little rented house that was near the post, sat us down on his living room floor and played us 'Jesus Christ Superstar'. No one that I ever learned from in all those years of catechism, no one that I ever went to school with, no friend of the family or visiting relative ever tried to convince me that Jews were to blame for JC's crucifixion. As a musician, I sang sacred works all over the state, a big one, Texas, and I never ever heard anyone involved with any of these concerts ever say anything anti-semitic. Frankly, we were not obsessed with Jews at all. Only after coming to live here did I realize that all those years ago, during a Fourth of July picnic at a teacher's house, that the local businessman who was talking about his recent trip to Jerusalem was a Jew. It just never dawned on me, on us, to think about people's faith or lack of it. The Jehovahs would come to the door preaching doom, we'd say 'No, thanks'. I did know one girl who sadly got mixed up in one of those cultish youth singing groups that toured the world to spread the gospel only to find themselves forced to write to everyone they had ever known back home to ask for money, which they were supposedly out of. That was weird, true, but she seemed fine when she finally quit the group. Disillusioned, but fine. She was a PK, a preacher's kid.
I wouldn't want to leave you with the impression that I had never been aware that the Jews had indeed been blamed in certain quarters for the crucifixion. It came up now and then - where, I don't seem to remember...but certainly in no institutional situation - but someone would always point out that Jesus himself was Jewish, which quickly rendered the notion of 'blame' rather moot. But this 'blame' was never used by anyone I knew as justification for hating Jews.
Can you even imagine the shock it was for me to find myself in the midst of people (my entourage, not the whole of France) who would watch a singer on a variety show and then say 'Well, another Jew with a hit song, that's predictable!' To hear them talk about the little shop downtown owned by a Jew who, they said, would see you coming down the street headed for his shop (Oh, really, how did he know you were coming to HIS shop?, I would innocently ask...) and run around his shop changing the prices so as to cheat you, non-Jew, as much as possible. Or to open up a family member's closet one day looking for a towel and instead finding his collection of SS memorabilia.
It was a shock and still is. Tolerance is something you don't appreciate until it's gone, people. Or until you've left it behind you, unknowingly, to go live somewhere else. I was always told that you shouldn't bring up religion or politics - it wasn't polite to do so.
Update: True or false?
February 22, 2004
Make it so
February 10, 2004
What about handcuffing the baby too?
The French media and Frank Moulet's fan club were both shocked and moved to tears last month by the "unacceptable" conditions in which the French student spent his so-called "20 days in hell" in the NY Rikers Island jail.
Frank Moulet himself insisted on giving his full support to Guantanamo prisoners. French Guantanamo prisoners. "We don’t even know if they are alive", he added.
Meanwhile, on December 31, 2003, a woman, prisoner in French jail Fleury-Mérogis, was giving birth handcuffed.
Justice Minister Dominique Perben was "moved" Tuesday "by the unacceptable conditions in which a young woman prisoner" in Fleury-Mérogis had to give birth handcuffed on December 31. Mr. Perben ordered that the surveillance be ensured outside childbirth rooms from now on . . . . Hence he asked the "head of the penitentiary administration to give written instructions to prisons directors so that women give birth with dignity".
The famous dignity Moulet's lawyer was talking about, I assume.
"No legal provision justifies such conditions of supervision", underligned the Minister of Justice concerning the December 31 childbirth during which guards accepted to leave the childbirth room only after having handcuffed the pregnant prisoner.
Where are you now, Frank? Back to France, right? What about this woman's dignity? What about "methods of another time"?
You know what, Frank?
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
January 28, 2004
London Bridge is burning down...
Well, not the bridge, really, but the chairman of the BBC, in any case. G Davies's BBC thought they could burn down Tony Blair's government and ended up setting themselves alight. I say good riddens. I've been following this story on UK tv since the start last summer and at the very beginning, the coverage on the BBC practically insinuated that Tony Blair had had Kelly, a civil-service scientist, killed! Read Mr Blair's statement to HIS parliament today here.
UPDATE: Greg Dyke, Chairman of the BBC, has just resigned. Will they ever put that fire out?