If the President of Russia asks you to take your hat off, my advice would be to do it.
Dear compatriots! These days we have, together, gone through a terrible test. All our thoughts were with the hostages, in the hands of armed vermin. We hoped for the best outcome, but each of us understood, that it is necessary to be ready for the worst. Today the rescue operation of this morning is done. It was possible to do almost the impossible - to rescue the lives of hundreds, hundreds of people. We have proved that Russia cannot be put on her knees. But now I first of all want to address the families and relatives of those who were lost. We could not rescue them all. Forgive us. Let the memory of the victims unite us. I thank all the citizens of Russia for their endurance and unity. Special gratitude to everyone who participated in the rescue operation. Special thanks to the employees of the special divisions who, without hesitation, risking their own lives, struggled for the rescue of the hostages. We are grateful also to our friends all over the world, for their moral and practical support in our struggle against the same enemy. This enemy is strong and dangerous, brutal and severe. It is international terrorism. While it is not defeated, anywhere in the world, people can not feel safe. But it should be defeated. And it will be defeated. Today in the hospital I talked to one of victims. He said to me, 'It was not that terrible - there was a confidence among us, that the future of the terrorists is not enduring.' And this is the truth. They do not have a future. We do."
The 1930s has always held a quiet fascination for me. How could all those clever, cultured, well-read people, steeped in European civilisation, not see what was coming in time to do something about it? How could they prevaricate, make excuses for tyrants, ignore what was being done to Jews, and lie to themselves that they could simply negotiate peace with heavily armed monsters? And today I have my answer. I find myself living in a time that's as near as dammit to the 1930s in it's political makeup as you would ever NOT hope to find. I'm not about to don a tweed suit and thick-rimmed glasses and write articles for the New Statesman with titles like "The Centre Cannot Hold!" or publish small books called "Why the Working Class Should Not Join the Democratic Front"; but the general atmosphere of fear and fantasy on the Left makes this a fruitful time for anyone with a facility for words and an ability to ignore the plain and simple reality of the world we live in. Noam Chomsky would have fitted right in at the editorial offices of Faber & Faber circa 1940. Orwell was a man of the left, but he had far too much personal honour to be a creature of the left. No one would dictate the "correct line" to him, and still less would he ever follow it unless he thought it really was correct. Which he hardly ever did. And the next time someone tries to tell you that Orwell would be against any war under any circumstances, try this passage from his war diaries out on them.
What he abhors, perhaps even more than violence or tyranny, is dishonesty. Marching up and down the frontier between literature and politics, like a sentry for morality, he can spot a double standard at 500 yards in bad light. Does a Tory MP demand freedom for Poland while remaining silent about India? Sentry Orwell fires off a quick round. Orwell the moralist is fascinated by the pursuit not merely of truth, but of the most complicated and difficult truths. It starts already with the early essay Shooting an Elephant, where he confidently asserts that the British empire is dying but immediately adds that it is "a great deal better than the younger empires that are going to supplant it". At times, he seems to take an almost masochistic delight in confronting uncomfortable truths. Not that his own political judgment was always good. His vivacious and perceptive wife Eileen wrote that he retained "an extraordinary political simplicity". There are striking misjudgments in his work. It's startling to find him, early on, repeating the communist line that "fascism and capitalism are at bottom the same thing".
Next to this on the bookshelf I spotted Christopher Hitchens appreciation of the man, Orwell's Victory, so I grabbed that as well. Hitch is clearly a man of his convictions as well, and not averse to calling people on his own side a load of useless cock-suckers who couldn't pour piss out of their boots if the instructions were written on the heel. So although it's a small work, I may at least pick up some decent polemical language. Besides, Hitch is always fun to read, even when I disagree with him, which is most of the time. And the Guardian reviewed it very dimissively, which is praise enough for me! I also got Alan Shimpman's The Globalisation Myth, which has some arguments against the prevailing view that big business must be bad for opressed people, trees and, like, you know, whales and stuff? It doesn't look like it's terribly well-argued so far, so if anyone has any reccomendations for a similar work, I'm all ears. Oh, and I already have The Lexus and the Olive Tree from Tom Friedman, thanks. And finally, despite what I just said about books with very 1930s-sounding titles, I bought Why I Am Not A Muslim, by Ibn Warraq. I have only glanced at it, but this book appears to be pure undiluted balls of fire! Check out the reviews it's got at the encouragingly-named Institute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society. Whoa! Looks like we got your moderate Islamic voices right here! Islamofascists are portraying secularism as inherently inimical to religion. This is true if you define Islam as their particular medieval version of it. But secularisation does not mean the end of faith. The West went through a Reformation and an Enlightenment, and religion is still very much a part of society. It has no coercive state power, which we're all grateful for. Imagine Jerry Falwell as Witchfinder Pursuivant for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Enough said. Islam has not gone through that phase of making religion a private rather than a State matter, and the more reluctant it is to do so, the greater it will chafe at having to co-exist with 21st century secular states which, in complete defiance of God, will be more successful than Muslim lands. Either Islam must adapt to modernity (which in the Islamofascist worldview would be tantamount to betraying God), or the modern world must die. Ibn Warraq (a pesudonym of course) rejects the whole edifice, seeing it as completely rotten, stupid and useless. I doubt he'll convince everyone. Religion, for all its horrific side-effects, is a two-edged sword, and can be used for great good as well as great evil. It is tied up with questions of identity and culture, and I doubt it will vanish overnight, if at all. But I definitely see where he's coming from, and why he feels so strongly.
It is impossible even yet to decide what to do in the case of German conquest of England. The one thing I will not do is to clear out, at any rate not further than Ireland, supposing that to be feasible. If the fleet is intact and it appears that the war is to be continued from America and the Dominions, then one must remain alive if possible, if neccessary in the concentration camp. If the USA is going to submit to conquest as well, there is nothing for it but to die fighting, but one must above all die fighting and have the satisfaction of killing somebody else first...
So as you can see, I have a bit of reading to do between now and when I arrive in New York on November 15th. Maybe I'll see some of you when I'm there. I'll be the one with his nose stuck in a book.
It is rare in one's life that one has an opportunity to show on what side of an important life and death issue one stands - the Rushdie affair and the rise of Islam are two such issues and this book is my stand. For those who regret not being alive in the 1930s to be able to show their commitment to a cause, there is, first, the Rushdie affair, and, second, the war that is taking place in Algeria, the Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, a war whose principal victims are Muslims, Muslim women, Muslim intellectuals, writers, ordinary, decent people. This book is my war effort. Each time I have doubted the wisdom of writing such a book, new murders in the name of God and Islam committed in Algeria or Iran or Turkey or the Sudan have urged me on to complete it. The most infuriating and nauseating aspect of the Rushdie affair was the spate of articles and books written by Western apologists for Islam - journalists, scholars, fellow travellers, converts (some from communism) - who claimed to be speaking for Muslims. This is surely condecension of the worst kind, and it is untrue: these authors do not speak for all Muslims. Many courageous individuals from the Muslim world supported and continue to support Rushdie...The present work attempts to sow a drop of doubt in an ocean of dogmatic certainty by taking an uncompromising and critical look at almost all the fundamental tenets of Islam.
Death Penalty opponents got a bit more than they bargained for in Illinois. After convincing the Governor to institute a moratorium on the procedure until all the cases could be reviewed for fairness (and there are some pretty disturbing stories about the Illinois system), they got the review they'd been asking for. As the cliché goes, be careful what you ask for...
In the space of a week, the public heard once again about: -- A couple who shot and killed a woman, cut her nearly full-term baby from her womb, and killed two of her other children. -- Two brothers who beat a sleeping couple to death with baseball bats. -- A father who tortured his mute, severely retarded stepdaughter for five years until she died. -- A man who killed a couple after telling them to have their last kiss. -- A man who took eight women to remote locations and stripped, bound and murdered them.The gruesome details have apparently taken over the entire proceeding. It should serve as a reminder as to the types of criminals and the heinous acts that do so fully deserve this ultimate of punishments. While this is a useful reminder to those that are 'on the fence' about the death penalty itself, it has sidetracked completely a close examination of the Illinois system. Since it is a process concocted and performed by humans, and the results are so irreversible (which is part of the point), it should be thoroughly examined to ensure that it is not being abused or misused. As we have the determination to carry these punishments out, we should have an equal and parallel determination to do everything humanly possible to ensure that we are correct in our selection of those warranting it. With that said, let me close with - Free Mumia, my ass.
Microsoft apparently has learned one thing from IBM - don't try stupid advertising stunts in Chicago. Too bad the lesson learned wasn't 'don't try stupid advertising tricks, period'. On second thought, the things do make nice targets for professional dog walkers...
Yeah, unbiased my butt. The AP story filed on the anti-War demonstration in DC, and in other cities worldwide, cites the 'hundreds' of demonstrators near the Vietnam Vets memorial and the Washington Monument. The pictures linked to the article have the appearance of a sea of people, from one angle, but a different angle shows them as a clustered bunch on a side of the slight rise that holds the monument. The captions for the pictures cite 'thousands' of participants. Again, the standard line for the protests coverage - 'less of a turnout than expected'. Also, the turnouts for the protests in other locations appears equally as anemic - nowhere, even in large metropolitan areas of the usual liberal bastions, do the numbers exceed 5000, only coming close with 4500 in Germany. Looks like they were struggling to put together a piece with the best face on it they could spin. These turnout numbers, despite the press attention they receive, seems to put the lie to the strident claims of anti-war sentiment at large. If the sentiment is so widespread, where are the protest participants? One would think that a sentiment held strongly by a substantial portion or even sizeable percentage of the population would be able to generate a protest rally in at least the five or maybe even six figure range. Is it possible the organizers are passionate, but just organizationally inept? Apparently not. The 'web resources' links provided for additional information, www.internationalanswer.org (dead link), and moveon.org, give the appearance of established, well organized activism. A perusal of the moveon.org site finds a re-invigorated bunch, left twiddling their thumbs and looking for pickup games after running a campaign against the impeachment of President Bill. That in itself gets them scratched from my Easter Card list. The other items they have listed that raise an eyebrow is the claim of government not listening to 'the majority' and calling for 'regime change beginning at home'. With the numbers they can muster, even with free bus transportation provided, I seriously, seriously doubt they speak for or represent a 'majority'. Barking Moon bats-R-us is more like it. UPDATE:CBS News ups the ante on the total count for the DC peace protest.(emphasis mine)
Protest organizers claimed up to 200,000 people had answered the call to challenge President Bush's determination to force out Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Because the U.S. Park Police no longer issues crowd estimates, the size of the crowd could not be verified (Nice dodge, CBS!). As the march began, participants stretched for at least five city blocks.Although they stopped short of publishing the entire Moveon.org manifesto, CBS did lend their platform to some titillating tidbits of idiocy, from the 'usual suspects'
Al Sharpton "It would have been good for you to be here, George, so you could see what America really looks like," Sharpton said. "We are the real America. (as noted by Glenn Reynolds - "Al Sharpton, claiming he's the real America as he talks to a man who isn't there. Seems about right.") Susan Sarandon "In the name of fear and fighting terror, we are giving the reins of power to oil men looking for distraction from their disastrous economic performance; oil men more interested in the financial bottom line than a moral bottom line." (is it just me, or is that fairly self contradictory? But, there's nothing like being lectured about morals from a moral equivalist.)And many trees were hugged, and many rounds of Kumbaya were hummed, and the loons of the left were awash in self righteous afterglow....
The insane Chechens. The Russians. The Al Queda connection. Sleeping Gas. At least
So goes Paul Wellstone. The circumstances are tragic, and condolences are in order for his family, and the families of those killed in the crash with him. My feelings were not quite as mixed as Den Beste reports his to be, but I definately won't shed a tear at Mr. Wellstone's passage, mainly for the reasons outlined by Misha. Not that I'm ready to do a dance on his coffin, or get into full blown gallows humor (although one of the contributions over at Laurence's bears a striking similarity to something I thought up). The tragic circumstance will now be the issue in the race in Minnesota, much like it was in Missouri after the fate of Mel Carnahan. Any criticisms of Wellstone for his liberal views, his vote against authorizing the use of force against Saddam, or breaking his own vow to not seek a third term in the Senate are now completely out the window. While they cry crocodile tears, the Democratic leadership is scrambling to take advantage of the opportunity, which is such a windfall they're considering dusting off political fossil and seventies liberal artifact Walter Mondale, and propping him up in front of an emotionally riven Minnesota electorate. Hopefully, Fritz won't attract the sympathy vote with the efficiency of Jean Carnahan. Apparently Fritz has been fairly low profile, serving on a varaiety of corporate and non-profit boards, several in relation to his serving as US Ambassador to Japan for Bill in the 90's, making himself available for occaisional boilerplate elder statesman type lectures, and having his Law School name a building after their famous alumn. He might well accept the position to run. He changed his mind about being in a campaign before
I said I didn't want to spend most of my life in Holidays Inns, but I've checked and they've all been redecorated. They're marvelous places to stay and I've thought it over and that's where I'd like to be. On accepting nomination as candidate for vice president, 16 Jul 1976And as it turns out, he may have planted the seed that inspired that gawdawful flash movie on the Dems national site
In our system, at about 11:30 on election night, they just push you off the edge of the cliff and that's it. You might scream on the way down, but you're going to hit the bottom, and you're not going to be in elective office.Fate deals some twisted hands to the players, now doesn't it. Fritz Mondale in the running to come back to Washington would just be the latest.
On loss to Ronald Reagan in 1984 presidential election; in NY Times, 1987
"Former Otago batsman Mark Parker has been named as New Zealand's first confirmed victim of the Bali bombing atrocity, that killed nearly 200 people over the weekend. The news of the death of the 27-year-old son of New Zealand test player Murray Parker and nephew of the great John Parker, another Black Cap, has been taken particularly hard at his club, Onslow CC and in Hampshire, where he led his adopted team to promotion from the SPCL Division Three last season with 757 runs at an average of 84.11 - the best in any of the three divisions." "Meanwhile South Canterbury people have donated more than $10,000 to a trust being set up in memory of the young man. "The response from the public - Timaru people, New Zealanders and even Mark's friends in England - has been so overwhelming we decided to co-ordinate all the proposed fund efforts into a trust," he said. It will provide financial support for the self-improvement of young New Zealanders who have demonstrated leadership potential, and who can enhance the future of New Zealand society. Donations to the fund can be left at any branch of the WestpacTrust bank or at the Timaru office of law firm Gresson, Dorman and Co."From Murray
The 7th World Firefighter Games were opened today in Christchurch New Zealand with the unveiling of a memorial dedicated to firefighters from around the world who have lost their lives in the course of duty. The memorial was constructed by artist Graham Bennett from five tones of girders recovered from World Trade Centre site and gifted for the purpose by New York City.
"The Games, which originated in Auckland in 1990, are held every two years in different countries. After Auckland, the Games were held in Las Vegas, Perth, Edmonton, Durban and Mantes. The last event was held in France and attracted 4000 competitors from 25 countries. Approximately 2000 competitors are expected to attend the Christchurch Games. Competition in Christchurch will involve more than 70 sports along with the purely fire-fighting disciplines."From Murray
The bronzed blinders award for the week goes to James Ridgeway for his piece in the Village Voice - Mondo Washington: Uncle Sam's Crude Solution. Disregard anything and everything you ever heard about various problems all around the world, and forsake any hope of it being anything but about oil, according to Mr. Ridgeway. Some of his bigger whoppers -
With the war in Afghanistan—a nation key to the dream of Central Asian pipelines—winding down, U.S. troops are now stationed in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Georgia, at a price of something like $80,000 per soldier, per year. That expense comes on top of the $12.6 billion we spent getting rid of the Taliban and opening the way for oil to move through.While I do frequently dream of Central Asian pipelines (not), maybe somebody should point out to Mr. Ridgeway that those same soldiers will cost 80K per, whether they're sitting in Bumfucque, Middle of nowhere, or at home cleaning their weapons for the third time since rifle range practice. While there isn't any point arguing about the 'Afghan pipeline' since negotiations were underway at one point, or pointing out that some of the biggest benefactors to the pipeline's product (gas) will most likely be Pakistan and India, it is interesting to note that Ridgeway completely ignores the more obvious reasons for kicking the Taliban's asses - things like 9/11, harboring Osama, etc. Guess we were just itching to do the United Fruit favor for Unocal, and needed an 'excuse'. Please.
One figure, from the Sydney Morning Herald, tallies U.S. expenditures on troops and advisers in Central Asia at $200 billion. The real aim is to secure the region for more pipelines.Although he doesn't cite the article, I'm a bit amazed that the SMH staff has been able to do a final tally on the price tag for 'Operation Enduring Freedom' (the operational name for the war on terrorism). If they have, they've got a better handle on it than the budget wonks at the five sided wind tunnel.
The Saudis, for instance, use some of the wealth they gain from selling oil to us to buy American arms. Between 1998 and 2001, the U.S. transferred arms to the Saudis worth $12.8 billion.And surprisingly enough, the Saudis transferred to the US money worth approximately $12.8 billion dollars. Odd he forgot to mention that part of the transaction. But the master of all destinies, oil, is not just pulling the strings in Central Asia or the Middle East!
Other costs are less clear. Through the CIA, the U.S. was quietly engaged for many years in the inconclusive civil war in Angola, and the hungry government of São Tomé looks forward to an American military base. São Tomé might take a lesson from what happened in Angola, our eighth-largest oil supplier. A settlement, signed on April 4, supposedly ended the 26-year conflict, but not before the country was left economically devastated and mourning the million people killed in fighting.Those CIA rat bastard petro-lackeys! And here all this time we bought that malarkey about them backing really sleazy alternatives to the Marxists being backed by Cuban combat and air support, with (until they turned it over to their Cuban Communist brethren) Soviet advisors. And all this time it was really about the oil. How did we all miss that? Maybe just an irrational over reaction to bearded men in green outfits with a penchant for cigars. Possible. But lets not dwell here, onward to -
INDONESIA Already antsy oil and gas companies in Indonesia grew nervous after last week's terrorist attacks. Indonesia is the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, with big customers in Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. The economies of all three nations rely entirely on imported energy. Any cut in the supply lines could quickly turn catastrophic, with effects on the manufacture of goods sold to U.S. consumers.I guess this is the 'see its not just our SUVs, its the things we go out in them and buy' tie in. To borrow a democratic phrase - 'Its the economy, stupid'. Amazing revelation for him. Moving closer to our own back yard
Evidence, though inconclusive, points to U.S. officials' having fomented the abortive coup against Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez last April because they feared his populist politics. More to the point, as a recent head of OPEC, Chavez could direct the oil cartel from Bush's backyard, although in recent months he's been doing just the opposite—busting OPEC's price levels to rake in dollars and help pay off Venezuela's debt. Nonetheless, Washington has always dreaded the prospect of Venezuela linking up with Mexico inside OPEC.Yeah, and evidence, a bit more conclusive, points to a lot of internal political undercurrents in the Venezuelan scene, which would be ludicrous to assign steering duties to anyone in the DC area. And what better evidence of Chavez forming a coalition to screw the US economically than his obvious attempt to lull everyone into thinking he's a free agent out for as much cash as he can get his hands on for Venezuela, screwing his OPEC buds in the process? But enough of extolling Hugo's virtues, lets head next door to
COLOMBIA The U.S. has maneuvered itself smack into the middle of Colombia's civil war, ostensibly with the goal of eradicating dope (an endless and futile effort), but also to protect an Occidental Oil pipeline that has been carrying increasing amounts of oil destined for the U.S. Local rebels have attacked this line 170 times, and last week struck again, disrupting operations.Yep, the drug war and the fight against the terrorists funded by the narcos hell bent on overthrowing the Colombian Government is all just a ruse to cover up our oversight and protection of a pipeline that has been struck by the FARC repeatedly. Sounds like it hasn't been carrying much of anything at the rates of disruption he cites. But forget the bombings, massacres, kidnappings, assassinations, and generally obnoxious nature of the FARC, the ELN, and several other bag nasties running around generally wreaking havoc (and smuggling a lot of coke), its all about that pathetic, busted ass pipeline. Ridgeway finishes up by exposing the exploitive horror of these corporate vampires sucking the black lifeblood out of our poor Canadian and Mexican
Israeli Guy, Gil Shterzer, has sent out a specific request for comments, possibly the last on his blog, as he is considering removing the comments feature. His blog, his call. He puts it this way -
"Before I take the comments down I want to hear all those who are against a Palestinian state and those in favor. I invite you to write down the solution you propose. You can offer transfer or what ever you want. Try though to keep your arguments in a clean language and do not insult or offend anyone.In addition, he also sent out an email inviting participation from a rather distinguished list of blogsphere notables. Gil, again, I'm honored and I thank you that you chose to include me on your mailing. At any rate, I left the following comment, chunked into YACCS sized pieces, over at Gil's place. I just noticed that in my haste, I neglected to answer the basic question, so I've added it in here.
At the present, I do not support the creation of a Palestinian State, given the current conditions. Creation of a State under these circumstances would be an unjust reward for the dispicable behavior of radical Palestinian elements, the lack of meaningful steps to stop such acts by the Palestinian powers that be, and the apparent endorsement via tacit complicity and expressions of support for these actions by the Palestinian populace in general. On the question of creation of a Palestinian State in general, however, I would have to say that I'm nuetral. I don't live there, so it isn't really for me to say. If an arrangement can be met that is agreeable and livable, I'd say why not, and good luck. Such an agreement or livability won't be possible without some fundamental changes to the landscape, I think. I offer these suggestions and further observations - Step one - break the cycle of violence. At some point, it does become tit for tat, and has been that way for some time now. The primary cause, in my opinion, is the incitment of the Palestinians by outside agent provocatuers - the neighboring Arab states with an interest in the continued distraction the conflict causes. Turn off the direct 'humanitarian' contributions - place it instead under third party, audited and scrutinized NGO administration. The PA has more than proven it can't keep its hands out of the cookie jar, nor resist passing around the cookies to those that commit terrorist acts. Step two. No 'cover' for those guilty of inciting, planning, facilitating or carrying out terror operations. Yes, that even includes busting Arafat. Put them on trial, then put them in jail (or acquit them if the evidence so indicates). After their release, they are banished, without passport. Period. From both Israel, and from a potential future Palestinian State. Let them go live by their paymasters' leave. Step three. Dismantle the indoctrination of hatred. Paramilitary and hate based training of children must end, immediately. Schools that advocate genocide should be closed down and lesson plans or materials that teach it should be thrown out. Step four. Integrated/joint IDF/Palestinian policing of the West Bank and Gaza. The entire areas initially, and only limited Palestinian participation initially. Phased mixing over time, with the final end-state being fully integrated patrols/security activities in the 'border' regions only. This endsate only arrived at contingent upon cessation of active terrorism activities, and as the establishment of a Palestinian State (if it happens) approaches actualization. Israel should only accept or encourage the creation of a Palestinian State that is focused more on moving ahead from today, not re-fighting the battles of the past. More interested in building and growing, instead of killing and dying. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict will not be solved simply by the agreements reached amongst themselves, although the honoring of those agreements must be the foundation on which the solution will be built. Destructive provocation and incitments from external sources (primarily Arab/Muslim) must end, period. As long as these external financiers and cheerleaders of continued idiocy stir the pot, there will be no resolution. As the problem comes from outside, so too will the help to stop it. The Israeli Palestinian conflict is the proxy war of the 21st century, in the fight of the radical fringes and hatemongers of extremist Islam against the Western, non-Islamic world. In this way all these things are linked, yet the causes are often mistaken as the symptoms, and vice versa. There well may not be an actual solution, until this larger battle is settled. Until that time, probably only the first three steps I've recommended can be achieved. And the wailing over them will probably be very great, particularly from those intent on describing the symptoms as the cause, and from those that confuse the cause with the symptoms. In conclusion, the other issues of contention, these are negotiable, and things which accomodation and/or agreement can be reached, hopefully in as equitable a manner as possible for those involved. The discussions and solutions to these issues will hopefully become much easier and simpler in a more stable atmosphere, where dialog and disagreement do not end in random terrorist violence. Consider - would the status of settlements in the West Bank be as much an issue if the people living there knew that the local government consisted of the rule of law, was fair and just within those laws, respected and protected their property rights and lives, and they were free to move about, conduct commerce, and live fairly as they pleased, regardless of the passport they held?Well, he asked. Hope I managed to at least color inside the lines.
First read through of Michael Kinsley's latest in Slate, Oil and Israel, seemed to be just another tired rehash of the same old arguments of the left - its all about oil, the J-E-W-S are making them go after Saddam, why are we going after Iraq and we aren't going after North Korea? Not quite. Kinsley's takes us on a fine tour of leftist rationalizations to get to his point, setting them up, and then knocking them about. He seems to be the 'we just aren't talking about this stuff enough, darn it' tantrum, with the whole thing coming off as a 'left handed compliment'. Using that as cover, he tosses lots of stink bombs, such as -
I guess that’s a difference, but it sounds as if we’re punishing Saddam for his honesty Bush’s public case for going to war against Iraq is full of logical inconsistencies, exaggerations, and outright lies. It reeks of ex-post-facto Tariq Aziz has a theory. Saddam Hussein’s deputy told The New York Times this week, “The reason for this warmongering policy toward Iraq is oil and Israel.” “President Bush” is, of course, a metaphor. Much Washington political commentary and analysis is basically a discussion of what or whom the term “President Bush” is a metaphor for. “The Cheneys and the Rumsfelds” evokes a retro world of confident white CEOs in suits, oil barons, and the military industrial complex. “The Wolfowitzes and the Richard Perles” evokes — well, you know what it evokes. (What, please tell us, I missed that) Protecting oil supplies from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait was an explicit — though disingenuously underemphasized — reason for Bush War I. The lack of public discussion about the role of Israel in the thinking of “President Bush” is easier to understand, but weird nevertheless. (what is with those scare quotes?) Jews are undoubtedly overrepresented in what little organized antiwar movement there may be (thus feeding another variant of the anti-Semitic stereotype).(undoubtedly? and can someone explain to me how being anti war or pro war for that matter somehow feeds an Anti-Semitic stereotype?)So, after wrapping himself in the Star of David, we finally get to it - his new angle, his new cause for pause - we haven't fully discussed what this could mean to Israel!
Why and whether an American war against Iraq would be good for Israel is far from clear and is the subject of vigorous debate in Israel itself — but not in America.He winds up, classically leaving it hanging with the scaremonger line
In any event, the downside risk for Israel — of carnage, military and civilian — is like America’s, only far greater.To quote a phrase 'no shit, Sherlock'. The thing is, Israel is experiencing the carnage already - financed openly by Mr. Hussein. Israel has already experienced the horror of the air raid sirens and the incoming Scuds, with the agony of wondering, immediately after impact, if the warhead was conventional or chem/bio. America has not experienced these things. But the Israelis have, and do, on almost a daily basis, and will quite probably experience the fear of the sirens when we move against Saddam this time. The fact of the matter is there is danger either way. Do nothing, and the status quo is maintained, with Iraqi financed Palestinian extremists bleeding the country out, one busload at a time. Until, that is, an un-confronted Saddam has a true WMD, and decides to put on a light show for the Gaza strip by nuking Tel Aviv. Kinsley realizes this himself
Clearing out a neighborhood troublemaker before he gets the bomb is reason enough.So, basically, he's wasting our time and play acting that he has doubts, while avoiding a direct confrontation of the issues he indirectly raises. Looks like more of the fruit from the tree that Will Femia fell out of.
Let me see if I have this right. Haddad is involved in supporting a terrorist organisation bent on destroying the United States, and now he wants the US to help him stay alive? Okay, just checking.
The detained co-founder of an Islamic charity is asking for political asylum, saying he and his family would be persecuted if they returned to his home country of Lebanon. An immigration judge was scheduled to hear Rabih Haddad's asylum request Wednesday. Haddad, who has been jailed on a visa violation since December 14, helped create the Global Relief Foundation, which the government says has received money from a suspected al Qaeda financier.
Within hours of issuing a federal arrest warrant, the cops have nabbed the suspects, asleep in a rest stop. It may be related to the big case that I'm not talking about any more. It may be a red herring. Guess we'll have to wait and find out.
If you haven't heard about the furor that's broken out over LGF being listed on MSNBC's best of the blogs weekly picks, welcome back out from under that rock. As a response to some of LGF's spittle flecked critics (Anil Dash)(no, I'm not going to link to the turd™), they tossed out an innuendo drenched question as to whether LGF was 'news or hate', after asking if it was 'too hateful for best of blogs'. Call the smoke jumpers, cause a forest fire was a burnin outta control. Quickly deluged with hundreds of emails (running very heavily in support of Charles, although they don't give a breakdown), which elicited quite the two-step-sidestep-it wasn't me entry from Will Femia, site editor. An example of his deflections
The most common misconception was that I, as producer of Weblog Central and editor of the Best of Blogs list was on a personal “smear campaign” against this site. They don’t seem to understand that MSNBC.com is not my personal site for my personal agenda. As a communities producer, it is my job to explore, look at, talk about, and yes, even ask questions about the emerging community of Weblogs.Sounds an awful lot like 'hey, get off the brother, I'm just doin my job...'. Shitty, amateurish job, at that. I have to cast my vote that MSNBC, and Femia, did an ill informed smear job on Charles, host of one of the sharpest (in several senses of the word) blogs on the net today. James Taranto reaches a conclusion I heartily concur with in his examination of the event in his Opinion Journal piece. Bottom Line? MSNBC and Will Femia owe Charles Johnson a direct, unequivocal, public apology. This half assed two step shit just doesn't cut it, not by a long shot.
Everyone who frequents blogs has seen them, in those blogs with active comments sections. Some bloggers seem to have one or two as their very own pets, appearing at fairly regular intervals to jump out and make some sort of attention-seeking outrageous statement, only to scurry away when confronted, awaiting their next opportunity. Some trolls rise to the confrontation, and increase their levels of belligerence according to the amount of attention received, until they get bored or are banned. As a result, most have found that the most effective means of handling the troll's bids for attention is to simply ignore them, whence comes the expression 'don't feed the trolls', as it deprives them of what they desperately want more than anything - the attention, and the feeling that they are in control of influencing events. In many respects, the nutcase stalking and shooting in and around the DC area is not much different that these trolls so many of us have seen on the net. Of course, that critical difference is that the bids for attention by this maniac are performed with a .223 rifle instead of a keyboard and a comments section. Since the start of his activities, he has both played to, and played off of the media attention to the case. With little reaction to his first act, he followed up with a multiple shooting round that certainly got the media's attention. Since, he has seemingly carried out his attacks in response to various aspects of the coverage that has been non-stop since the story gained prominence. Wall to wall coverage, all of it feeding the troll. As NRO writer Jack Dunphy, the nom du cyber of an LAPD officer, points out, the media is currently tripping over themselves to fill airtime minutes with 'experts' to conduct speculative analysis based on their professed areas of expertise. As Dunphy also notes, in most instances these people are just as eager to clamber in front of a television camera and pull random guesses out of their collective asses as the media is to get hold of somebody, anybody, they can bounce deep, insightful, and ultimately inane questions off of. Not a single true clue amongst any of them. And every one of them, feeding the troll, sometimes probably with ideas on what to do next. His point is crystal clear, that opinions about the identity of the sniper are as plentiful as navel lint, and the ones coming from outside the team actively investigating the case are just about as valuable in actually catching the bastard. While the public fear and rage over this guy's psychotics is probably overblown for sensationalism value in the media, what does exist hasn't so far been illogically and wrongly directed at the law enforcement officers charged with apprehending this whacko. Given a basic knowledge of the DC area, and some semblance of pre-planning, that he's been able to elude capture is not at all surprising, and should not reflect badly on those with the unenviable task of tracking him down. However, as this drags out, such criticism will probably start to surface, and be paraded around by the media, held high to boost ratings. Ratings that have begun to fall off because people are just plain fed up with being told how terrified they actually are, and they begin to recognize that the prepackaged media version doesn't even come close to what they're actually experiencing. The odds are heavily stacked against the police that they will ever catch this guy, in the act, by themselves. A simple guess for this guys speedy capture is that fate will place some alert person in a car, with a cell phone, in the right place, at the right time, and with the guts to follow him, calling out his pursuit over the cell phone to a 911 dispatcher. A completely unplanned, unforseen, and random event. Otherwise, the guy will eventually get bored, or just stop for some totally unrelated reason, and this will be another unsolved crime mystery for possibly several years, a la the Unabomber or the zodiac killer in California. It will be complete with amateur analysis and detective work creating a cottage industry of speculation. May spawn a best seller, and a couple of cable channel documentaries focusing on the case. Then who knows, some diligent detective may take a look at the pile of evidence some years from now, and make an unlikely connection, or receive a tip from some suspicious relative or neighbor, and hit the jackpot. Random. Lightening is random, and while it is sometimes interesting to watch for a while, eventually attention shifts somewhere else. Likewise with this, people will get tired of watching lightning, or people talking about lightening, or experts theorizing about the timing, location or severity of lightening. They will even tire of the troll's best efforts to make himself look so much brighter than the police, when they realize that the police shows on television where the cops are always in charge and make the arrest just isn't the way it happens in real life. When they remember that to make the cops look totally and humanly stupid or incompetent, it doesn't take much more than a missing intern and a few square yards of unsearched terrain, or a conveniently placed video camera's edited take. That the diabolical 'mastermind' plan carefully crafted to highlight their failings and taunt them is not really all that masterful, nor really all that tough a trick period. So with all that said, basically all my brand of navel lint™ on the matter, this will be the last that I intend to contribute to feeding this particularly repugnant variety of pathetic, sick, demented, and twisted troll.
Gil and Imshin have more on this heinous atrocity. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the people that support them in these murderous acts, are worthy of nothing but our condemnation and animosity. Every step they take in this direction of evil is two steps back from them ever, ever receiving anything they want. They must be stopped. Bastards.
As NZ Pundit so precisely puts it, "Sixty years ago the Italians were falling over themselves to find a Kiwi to surrender to in the North African desert."
In an uncomfortable scene today, New Zealand war veterans were shouted out of a stand by their former Italian foes as they gathered to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Battle of El Alamein in northern Egypt. The incident occurred at the Italian war cemetery at El Alamein before a commemoration that New Zealanders, including Prime Minister Helen Clark, had been invited to attend. Four New Zealand veterans of the battle -- Patira Edwards, John Ferguson, Eric Batchelor and Bill O'Brien, all in their 80s -- were being led to seats in a shady stand out of the 30-plus degree heat when an elderly Italian man in uniform in the stand stood and began shouting and gesticulating at them. The scene drew the attention of fellow veterans and defence personnel of all nationalities who had gathered for the event and drove three of the New Zealanders back out of the stand. Mr Batchelor, who was highly decorated in the war with a double DCM, stood his ground and found a seat amid a sea of the maroon berets belonging to the Italian veterans. He was unfazed by the incident. "I don't think anything's changed, they are still just as excitable ... but they are all friendly, that's the main thing. "That's nothing, we are used to that. It takes me back 58 years to when we were fighting in Italy."
Insert obvious fart joke here, I can't be bothered. I'm just phoning it in these days...
"I am Jewish who converted to Islam because Islam is the rational choice. I wanted to believe the Torah is true and like most Jews I tried to block out reality, thinking if I ignore the Koranic revelation it would go away and the facts which the Koran mentions like the universe was formed with a big bang and the planets by the contraction of early gases."
Well, well, Robert Manne using the term "Islamo-fascism" without sneering. Can't be long before the beast with seven horns puts in an appearence. I'm staying away from bayside suburbs if a third of the ocean turns to blood though, it's going to stink something awful if it happens during summer. The Great Whore of Babylon should fit in nicely on Kings Cross though.
As with his precursors, the ambition of bin Laden's Islamist ideology was limitless. Nazism sought the Thousand Year Reich. Stalinism was committed ultimately to the global victory of communism. Bin Laden's fantasies concerned not merely the destruction of Israel or the humiliation of the United States but the defeat of the infidel and the victory of fundamental Islam on a worldwide scale. It was clear that the thought of bin Laden was closer to Nazism than to communism. Like Nazism, his form of Islamism was founded on a rejection of the democratic, secular and materialist spirit of modernity, although in his case, as with Nazism, his movement was capable of deploying modernity's most advanced technologies in the quest for the restoration of a medieval-theocratic state. As with Nazism, moreover, bin Laden's worldview was racist. The enemy he wished to destroy was not the US or Israel but "Americans" and "Jews". No one who has attended to his words and deeds could doubt that if bin Laden and his followers had it within their power to take the lives of millions of human beings they would do so without moral qualm. Because of its anti-modernist and racist dimensions, for bin Laden's militarised version of Islamic fundamentalism, the useful term Islamo-fascism has been coined.
In the Australian, first there's this - Students Blame Government for Shooting, then 2 hours later, there is this - Howard 'not' to blame, with this statement
NUS Victoria branch president Lambros Tapinos denied he had authorised the statement.Sounds like someone with an agenda - probably an agenda pretty close to this one - Greens Senator Bob Brown has called for a ban on handguns, although it did contain its own unique socialist undercurrent griping about the 'rough life' and costs of being a student at university. Make no mistake - the shootings at Monash are tragic, but were the work of a deranged individual. Each isolated occurrence of this type is tragic, and each usually is used by proponents of 'tough gun control' for either more stringent laws or an outright ban altogether. Both of these instances highlight a disgusting habit - for people with an agenda to use such tragedies as soapboxes to get up and squawk about them, and in instances such as this one, the squawking more often than not consist of calls to curtail some form of the public's rights 'for their own good'.
With that - The Mess. Murray is in charge, so no mucking about. No Tree hugging there, either.
M3 continues to delight and amaze. In a particularly sharp response to a leftist detractor, he fires off the following (emphasis mine)
I've concluded, after being forced to read the man extensively by certain teachers, that Chomsky's popularity owes to his remarkable skill as a deceptor.Deceptor? Neat word. Very recognizable and descriptive. I like it. Problem - it doesn't return a result from Websters (online at any rate), nor from medical, legal, or Latin sources. Google returns a number of hits for a line of duck decoys and Sports Hats, but can the use as a branding for merchandise be considered? Not quite as clear as Charles Johnson's credit for Idiotarian - but if I had a 'Deceptor' cap, I'd tip it to M3
Alan Anderson reviews Phillip Adam's latest idiocy. A favorite part (albeit gratuitous)
(Link via TANSTAAFL)Or will the PM get away with it once more by manipulating fears and bigotries? Will he get away with it because he's managed, in a few short years, to create an Australia in his own image?Now that's not fair, Phil. You were short and bald long before John took over.
Israeli Guy points out his displeasure at the radical settlers defying orders to dismantle the illegal settlements, generally creating a nuisance, and childishly acting out some of the distasteful idiotic traits usually witnessed from some other groups in the area. While these folks may be passionate, they don't strike me as too frikkin bright. Maybe if enough coverage of exactly how idiotic they're behaving gets around, sentiment and support for this type of unhelpful crap will dry up, and there won't be any pressure not to put them where they belong - in jail till they cool off. The IDF has its hands full enough guarding against Palestinian terrorist assaults. Like they need to have to divert resources to watch after boneheads living in trailers they were told not to park where they did in the first place. Nor do they need the headache of chasing after these whackos when they decide to start taking paranoid potshots at any Arabs that happen to wander too close to their little bastions of lunacy. Going out and living in virtual survivalist conditions, in direct violation of the law, and common sense, just to make a point that virtually no one agrees with (i.e. they'll keep it if we illegally squat here long enough) is, to put it nicely, stupid. And not helping, either. Book 'em, Dan-O. Update: What kind of stupid shit? This, and this, and this. Dumbasses. Links via Imshin. I agree with her. Shame on them.
The Sydney Morning Herald online carries this report on the suspected driver of the van used in the Bali Bloodbath. A woman was seen getting out of the bomb vehicle, a Mitsubishi L-300 loaded with C4, just moments before the blast, and climbing into either the car used to block the street, or a taxicab, and making a getaway. Bitch.
Wired Magazine online has an interesting article on Stopping Loose Nukes, both the 'dirty' bomb and crude fission devices variants. Interesting concepts, but hey, like anything else, it'll cost ya. The numbers, however are not totally outlandish, and are quite within the realm of budgetary reality, if spread over several years. Promising.
Gareth Parker points out this Sydney Morning Herald article by Richard Glover. Mr. Glover spends some time examining the differences in reaction, contrasting America after 9/11, and Australia today after Bali. It is an interesting chronicle of the difference, however the most valuable point conveyed is simple, and useful, for people in both countries. He sums it up
Show your emotion. Think first of the practicalities. Keep the esoteric theory to a minimum. Spare a thought for others. And don't ratchet up the rage.I read this and paraphrase it to myself as - keep your head about you. The two most important points here, thinking of the practicalities, and not ratcheting up the rage, are important. The rage will be there; unbidden, it will remain, and well up every time one sits and considers the senselessly evil acts that give it fertile soil in which to thrive. But always, always, think of the practicalities. Which includes not letting the rage take upon a life of its own, and fuel the battles over the splits in our internal opinions, as a people, to take the actions necessary to redress the sources of the rage in the first place. Think of the practicalities; to focus that rage in ways that give the steel to our collective spines. To do that which must be done to ensure that those who would conduct abominations such as Bali, or 9/11, or those that would give them aid, comfort, or support, are dissuaded entirely, or are absolutely certain that they will not escape, will not go unfound, and will not avoid the consequences for their acts. That acts such as these will never, ever advance them towards their stated goals, whatever they may be.
M3 has the scoop on previously unpublished US plans for a post war Iraq. Very detailed stuff.
A jaundiced eye is recommended for the reading of increases in Press freedom in Saudi Arabia, filed with Reuters by one John R. Bradley. Aside from skepticism at anything that Mr. Bradley, a Brit ex-pat residing in the Kingdom, puts forth, based on his previous unabashed apologism and rationalizations of ridiculous Saudi practices, blatant anti-Semitism, and general nonsense as seen in the Arab News; one has to take into account the continuing active PR campaign by his paying handlers to cast the home of 15 of the 19 Sept 11 hijackers in a positive light. The article itself gives indications that the press in Saudi Arabia prints only what the government is willing to let it print, as admitted by this statement concerning coverage of the girls school fire, and the inept handling of the situation on scene, which resulted in the death of 15 students -
"But then the official resigned and the government told everyone to shut up, so we can't discuss it anymore."Other clues that the press in Saudi is still merely a tool of the government, albeit a more media savvy government
"Other papers rarely take risks. We don't cross the line, but we are always hovering next to it," said al-Watan chairman Fahd Al-Harithi, a senior member of the advisory Shura (consultative) Council.And this
After al-Madinah in March carried a poem accusing some judges of corruption, Interior Minister Prince Nayef, who heads the Supreme Information Council, ordered the dismissal of the paper's editor, Mohammed al-Mukhtar al-Fal.Information warfare is a tool. If anything, this article indicates that the Saudi leadership is at least cognizant to that fact, and using it accordingly. With tactics such as sending out material penned by a western ex-pat resident of the Kingdom about how great things are really becoming, for example. Update - Kudos to the wonderful functionality of the internal search engine and vast array of links to source materials in the archives at LGF. Thanks Charles. Original article found via Laurence's File13.
Iraq has announced "full and complete and final amnesty" applied to "anyone imprisoned or arrested for political or any other reasons." The mass release doesn't automatically include thieves and murderers, at least not without permission from their victims. Saddam, the victim's rights sensitive dictator, who knew? Maybe Saddam's just holding them back to use in a scheme taken from Castro's playbook, where they get loaded onto rickety boats and launched into the Persian Gulf, headed for Iran or Saudi Arabia, in a Mariel boatlift redux. Possibly they'll be mixed in with the unaccounted for POWs from GWI to further confuse the matter. Some people say the problem with some government programs is they sometimes don't go far enough. In this case, the complete and final amnesty should be extended to everyone in Iraq. They're all imprisoned by Saddam.
The Rottweiler once again calls upon his fellow emperors, and Basil Fawlty, too, for a discussion of the latest from MoDo. In a test of Josh Cafetz's theorem of The Immutable Laws of MoDo, the theorem holds up, again. Juicy juice box? Lame. At this rate, with her formula, MoDo's career arc could reasonably be expected to take her next to a mid-sized College newspaper, to churn out commentary on the latest in Sorority hot topics. Possibly not, as such a hiring move could call the commitment of the paper's editorial staff to journalistic relevance into serious doubt with the Greeks on campus.