Another glorious example of the “peaceful use of nuclear energy” by two nations awash in oil to discuss that “energy” they need soooo badly! Ja, Natürlich!
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez plans to visit North Korea, Iran, and Vietnam in late July, Germany’s DPA news agency reported on June 30, citing an announcement by Venezuela’s foreign ministry.
The Iranian ambassador to Venezuela, Ahmad Sobhani, said, “The two nations will discuss an exchange of peaceful use of nuclear energy technology.”
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Another glorious example of the “peaceful use of nuclear energy” by two nations awash in oil to discuss that “energy” they need soooo badly! Ja, Natürlich!
Where I ask – and why are they trying to be Belgian and making unpopular opinions illegal?
French rapper Monsieur R has avoided prosecution by the French government for controversial lyrics that compared France to a slut and the government to Germany's infamous Third Reich.They’d give Cindy Sheehan’s has been hanger on Joan Baez the Legion D’Honneur for having made a career out of slamming the US:
In the song, FranSSe, Monsieur R (born Richard Makela) makes reference to relieving himself on Napoleon and General Charles De Gaulle while repeatedly referring to France as a "b**ch" that needs to be taken until exhaustion.
Makela faced a three-year prison term or a 75,000 euro fine, but the case was thrown out of court by the presiding judge who indicated that the MP had not himself suffered any harm and that there were no real victims.
And if you know anything at all about Miss Baez it is that she has spent virtually her entire career pretending that cruel men in top hats are eating babies for breakfast in a secret location somewhere underneath the Washington Memorial.....but the seem to feel no remorse or have a pang for a good old "liberation battlecry" when a government goes after a critic who’s talking to anyone other that the navel gazing elite. It’s probably not because Monsieur R is from a minority group, but because he’s not from a political/racial profile of the toffs’ liking.
The man being asked questions about the music industry turned out to be an accountant waiting for a job interview at the BBC. It puts the in depth quality work of likes of the “news-elf” interviewing him in much clearer light.
UPDATE: To kick off the Tour de France, Americans take 2 of the 3 top spots (Hincapie and Zabriskie) and 3 of the top 10 (with Landis). French State TV is getting grumpy.
One way in which Europe is growing into failed states: a lack of respect for property rights.
In an online marketplace, where music file sharing had become commonplace and which was so anarchic that it threatened to derail the entire recorded music industry, Apple almost single-handedly developed the legal music downloads market and put everything back on track. Consumers may not like paying for music but unfortunately for them their favourite bands have to eat. Apple, to its credit, understood the issue and created the 99c single track download.Though this is one issue, it reflects a pattern of treatment of foreign intellectusl property which will eventually extend to its’ own people. It’s actually about individual rights, or the lack thereof.
For some reason, Apple's dominance, even though it was won fairly in a highly competitive market, makes European regulators nervous. First the Scandinavians and now the French want to force Apple to open up its iTunes store to portable music players other than iPod. In other words, they're telling Apple that it can no longer keep its own proprietary technology if it wants to do business in their countries. For some reason, the governments of these countries believe they have the right to commandeer technology that was paid for and developed in the laboratories of a publicly owned enterprise in the US. Is it any wonder, that Apple refers to these countries' efforts as state-sponsored piracy?
Friday, June 30, 2006
June 2, 2006
A few days ago [i.e., in late May], I left Baghdad and my employment with the State Department for good. It was the perfect time to leave. I have now put in my service and it is time to experience other places and professional environments. Perhaps, if or when the country settles down, I can revisit some of my old haunts like the former Green Zone Café (now a police station) and the Palace (eventually to be returned to the Iraqi government) and other sites where I spent time during my two years in Iraq. But by then, who knows what the country will be like?
Actually, it does not feel like two years in Iraq so much as two years in the Green Zone, a mostly peaceful bubble amidst a sea of violence. On occasion, violence did creep in and one could never escape the ever present reminders that the situation was anything but normal thanks in part to the constant sound of helicopters. I never got to see any other part of the country outside of Baghdad and even then, I glimpsed it only in short moments through the thick windows of armored SUVs and military humvees. But I did live and work in the nerve center of the entire coalition effort, the place where almost all decisions were taken for the good and ill with regard to the administration and occupation of Iraq.
I left Iraq with mixed feelings. Personally, I did well out of the adventure. I have gained a great deal of useful professional experience thereby leaving my future path open to many opportunities. Financially, I made out and am secure enough to take some time off in France to master another language that will in turn, open up other places in the world. After this experience, I am more knowledgeable about many things — the Middle East, the US government, and the US military — but more importantly, I believe I am wiser albeit less innocent and hopeful. I am not cynical however, just more tempered. All in all, I am a better and more seasoned person. I took part in some very positive efforts. In my last job, I was involved with the extremely successful micro-loan program that we managed. This program handed out over $55 million in loans in increments of about $1,000 to small Iraqi businesses thereby sparking economic growth and wealth creation — I know for a fact this program drastically improved the lives of many Iraqis. Additionally, the automation of the Iraq Stock Exchange is now underway and should be completed later this year. This will turn the currently manual exchange into a system similar to our NASDAQ, a development that will dramatically increase the competitiveness of the market by increasing transparency and transaction efficiency.
Missing the Opportunity
However, on the whole, the future of the country is still very much in jeopardy. The insurgency still flares. The militias are in some ways more powerful than before having infiltrated the Iraqi security forces and police. Important and badly needed economic reforms are being reversed. The US administration seems not to be giving the venture a 100% effort. The US mission is plagued more and more by organizational chaos and diminished morale in the State Department. The US military is sending too many officers and bureaucrats that further confuse mission clarity instead of more soldiers capable of waging war and establishing security. By the time I left, we had not yet failed but we have certainly not succeeded. Failure is a growing specter and one I would argue is largely due to our own choices and lack of effort. I am of the growing opinion that I in fact participated in what may very well be the limits of American power in the world. Despite the false or mistaken premise for the invasion, we still have a unique opportunity to change the world for the better. Already, there have been some knock on effects in Libya and Lebanon. Unfortunately, we are squandering the opportunity by our own lack of effort due mostly to a failure of leadership on the part of the White House. We may never get this chance again. Perhaps only once it is gone, will we will look back with regret.
Despite my limited view from within the Green Zone, it was still a good vantage point to ascertain some of the reasons for why Iraq continues to be a deeply troubled place. Some of these reasons have been mentioned before in the mainstream media but I will include all the major points to paint a decent picture:
Failure to Provide Security
and the Rule of Law
The Coalition invaded Iraq without the necessary numbers of troops to establish security and the rule of law in the subsequent power vacuum after the toppling of Saddam Hussein. Iraqis' first taste of liberation, especially in Baghdad, was of anarchy and violence. This first impression coupled with the Coalition's subsequent unwillingness to increase troop levels, effectively prevented the establishment of the first responsibility of all governments the world over — security. Security is a prerequisite to democracy and economic growth. Without it, there is nothing. The failure to provide security is clearly the coalition's greatest and most important failure. Iraq will only be won if Baghdad is completely secured. To accomplish such an exercise, US military force will be necessary. In the very short term, there would be a jump in violence. Baghdad is by far the largest and most important city as well as a focal point for friction between the Sunnis and Shias. Additionally, the US military should take responsibility for guarding the oil pipelines, the sole major source of revenue for the Iraqi government. The Iraqis are incapable of protecting it due to widespread corruption. The sad fact is that only US forces can be trusted with this task right. Granted, the image of US soldiers guarding oil infrastructure would seem to reinvigorate the mistaken notion that we are there for the oil. However any misconceptions on that account would be worthwhile!
Sovereignty Granted Too Early
The coalition granted sovereignty to Iraq on June 28, 2004. From what I can tell both from my own impressions and conversations at the time and now, this date was largely determined under pressure both from the international community and from some outspoken Iraqi politicians, most of them being returned exiles. The US succumbed to these pressures partly because there was not a great deal of thought regarding sovereignty and elections (it was largely improvisational) and June 28 seemed like an easy way out that would help us win the hearts and minds of Iraqis. In doing so, the Coalition missed a very real opportunity to make some fundamental changes for the better of Iraq including basic economic, governmental, and legal reforms, changes that would drastically improve the prospects of the country. Instead these reforms (privatization of the economy, reform of government ministries, and the adoption of an effective legal regime conducive to economic growth) were put off to be dealt with by the succeeding Iraqi governments who were naturally reluctant to institute change for fear of alienating voters. We would have received a great deal of grief and perhaps a hotter insurgency and Shia insurrection under the CPA for making radical reforms but we would most likely be in a far better position today.
I believe another reason for the early sovereignty besides a perceived easy way out, is the almost instinctive American aversion to anything that smacks of imperialism. In short, we are uncomfortable in the role of ruling other people (for it seems both morally repugnant in addition to costing money and American lives). To reassure both the world but more importantly, ourselves, that we had come to Iraq not to conquer but to liberate, we excused ourselves from the vital responsibility of governing the country to the detriment of both the Iraqis and Americans. I would argue that this imperialist guilt is ironically enough, effectively hindering our ability to set Iraq on a peaceful and democratic path.
Failure to disband the militias
The Coalition Provisional Authority never disbanded the militias nor have the subsequent Iraqi governments. Instead they have been allowed to strengthen. Indeed, some of them have been allowed to permeate the security forces. This is certainly the case with the Ministry of Interior, formerly headed by one of the leaders of the Badr Brigade (the most powerful Shiite militia). Under his watch, Iraqi police have become more and more untrustworthy and corrupt and the common perception is that the Shiite death squads targeting Sunnis have been tacitly accepted. The Iraqi police have in some cases become a legitimized extension of the Badr Brigade or what may be even worse, a means with which to further arm and strengthen them. The Iraqi police may very likely become one of the primary factions in an Iraqi civil war and they may yet play a role in any US confrontation with Iran.
Reversals in Economic Reform
Partly as a result of the hurried granting of sovereignty and a diminished prioritization by the CPA during the occupation, the 200 Iraqi State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) were never privatized. It was left to the succeeding Iraqi governments to perform this deed with our encouragement and assistance. Naturally, those in charge of these enterprises have entrenched interests as do all the ghost workers who never show up to work but still collect a paycheck. Ironically, the US government, for so long the proponent of private enterprise throughout the world is now stumbling into revitalizing these SOEs with US money. It is somewhat understandable why this is happening. There are many US military officers scattered throughout Iraq who are charged with disbursing monies in an effort to revitalize the local economies. They believe that by employing potential insurgents, the violence may come to an end and they will no longer lose fellow soldiers. They see an SOE and think that if only they can get it running again, people would be employed. With their good intentions, they do not realize that these companies were never profitable, were heavily subsidized, and the markets for their goods were strictly determined by the government. Despite my office's objections, they have unfortunately started on the path of funding these SOEs, helping them get contracts, and even determining their business plans! Effectively, the US government is subsidizing dying industries and acting as the chief architect in a quasi-command economy. This may not seem like much of an issue now but I believe that reviving the Baathist style economy with all of its avenues for corruption and susceptibility to political entrenchment could seriously jeopardize Iraq 's nascent democracy.
Although, the entire premise for the Iraq invasion has been proven at best to be mistaken, I do not consider our involvement in Iraq to have been a mistake. Mistakes have been made since that time that will unfortunately and mistakenly color the entire venture as doomed from the beginning. This is certainly not the case. Iraq could have and may yet still be won. However, as a betting man, I'd put the odds in favor of a slow grinding mediocre result. Additionally, the whole effort might be overtaken by events in Iran. Iraq may actually become a sideshow to a much more frightening conflict.
The Saddam Trial
I was fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of the Iraqi trial of Saddam Hussein before I left. I was also fortunate to catch it on a good day â€“ Tariq Aziz testified as a defense witness in his pajamas! Perched in the witness box, he looked like a muppet and was not the least bit threatening. Saddam Hussein was wearing a black suit and is quite thin with a salt and pepper beard. He smiled some of the time and even laughed once or twice. There was no mesmerizing aura about them. They were just bored old men with nothing to do but have fun with the court. The judge let them get away with the most irrelevant commentary. Aziz's testimony was completely irrelevant and he was simply up there to take time away from the more serious business. Some of the other defendants would chime in during witness testimonies and the judge would let them stand up to address the court largely at their leisure! Saddam periodically stood up to state that he was still the president! In short, it seemed more a circus than a trial which the defendants did not take seriously. As sovereignty was turned over too early, might not the setting up of this trial have been too premature and/or ill conceived? Indeed, many Iraqis (especially Shias and Kurds) were probably surprised that we did not shoot Saddam upon finding him. Now he has soap box with which to rant against the Iraqi government.
The Last Flight Out
My last couple days in Iraq were an emotional time. I went from pure elation in leaving such a daunting environment to sadness for those that I know who lost their lives for what is still a very troubled effort. My going away party was a fitting send off. I think I had one of the larger parties for anyone in my organization, the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office (IRMO). More importantly I had a good mix of people from within the Embassy to military folks to contractors to security contractors. The deputy of IRMO gave what I thought to be a mostly uninspired speech but my boss gave a very touching one. They presented me with a certificate of appreciation (name spelled wrong) with a gold painted wooden frame which I had to return the next day.
My last night spent in Iraq was a short and sleepless one. My thoughts kept turning to memories of my now seemingly long ago Baghdad days. Maybe they are not so much long ago but far away. The Green Zone is a unique and temporary place and only those of us who have been there know what it means. At first, when one arrives, it takes some adjustment to get used to living in a trailer and navigating the landscape. It is even more of a challenge to settle into a life where coworkers are nearly ever present and family and long time friends are far away. Social outlets are few and revolve mostly around drinking. Many who would not normally drink, start. Those who drink already, drink more. One settles into a pattern of working almost non-stop with occasional breaks beside Saddamâ€™s pool. Although there is a constant submerged theme of danger via the occasional mortar or rocket, one can settle in and life becomes normal and easy. It is my theory that some people have settled in for the long haul. They will stay in Iraq, especially in the Green Zone, because life has become so easy and predictable and the money is good. Personally, I don't think it is healthy and I am glad to be moving on. If I was to stay any longer, I believe I would be almost too institutionalized. Besides, I decided that when my presence in Baghdad was simply about the money, it was time for some fresh blood to take my place.
After my final and sleepless night in Baghdad, I boarded the C-130 headed toward Amman, Jordan. It was delayed as usual but eventually I reached Jordan without incident. However, it was not until the next day when I departed for France when I truly felt that my Iraq experience had ended. After all, Jordan was still in theater — having seen its share of carnage and been witness to many of my more pleasant memories in the region.
It is Over
Although everyone who came to Iraq will no doubt think of it as one of the most memorable chapters of their life, I was young enough, as were most in the military, for this to be the formative personal and professional experience. For the rest of my career, I've a feeling I will harken back to this time. My perceptions of others, the world, and myself have changed forever. I have now passed from this formative chapter and I cannot help but feel just a bit sad that it is over. Now, I must find the next adventure…
It’s an image that the mainstream media working hand in hand with political movements is contorting itself not to say for fear of conferring any sort of compassion on the kidnapped soldier.
Examples of scare-quotes and attempts at revision from Electronic Inthifada:
When I first heard about the Israeli soldier who was "kidnapped" by Palestinians
Calling him a "man" and not a "soldier", however, confused me a bit.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
When Timothy Garton Ash is done speaking, I wonder if there is a single dry seat left in the house.
Yet another thing Canadians and Europeans have in common is an obsession with the United States, and with distinguishing themselves from it, often by crude stereotyping. A Canadian writer observes that his compatriots "love to yell about how modest we are". Just like today's Europeans. Canadians and Europeans enjoy wallowing in a sense of moral superiority towards the imperial hyperpower, while doing rather little to improve the world outside their borders.His latest opinion column in the Guardian otherwise defies this compelling criticism exactly: he plausts mush about the construction of a democratic future worldwide based on the social principals of Canada – because it has does so much in the past to try to reject the U.S. actions.
He also believes that there is a grand social model of integration that Europeans can learn from in order to deal with one another, based on the fact that Canadians of European origin get along well with one another.
With its carefully balanced federal model, securing the rights of a multicultural society in a bilingual framework, it has unique constitutional experience to offer the many multi-ethnic countries around the world that are struggling to avoid a fledgling democracy becoming a tyranny of the majority - and hence a catalyst for renewed ethnic conflict. Why not share this experience, in a distinctive Canadian version of democracy promotion? Or do we think the promotion of democracy should be left entirely to the Bush administration, while we sit on the sidelines and jeer? Imagine that – isolating it to just white people in Canada who are much less of a sample of the world’s immigrant origins as the United States, and as such less philosophical, religious, and lifestyle diversity.
So, in this respect at least, I return from Toronto wishing Canadians would be just a little less European. But then, in this respect, I also wish Europeans would be a little less Canadian.
Yet this impotence is self-imposed. The potential power - military, economic and soft - of the established liberal democracies outside the US is enormous. The three largest sets are the democracies of Europe, most but not all gathered in the EU; the Anglosphere/Commonwealth democracies, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada (intersecting with the Francosphere), South Africa and India (the world's largest democracy); and the Hispanosphere and Lusosphere democracies of Latin America. Between us, we have a combined GDP much larger than that of the US, as well as natural resources and specific strengths that the hyperpower cannot match. Instead of sitting round like a bunch of poor cousins, complaining all the time about the behaviour of the rich American uncle, we should be thinking what we ourselves can do to make a difference beyond our shores.Hoping that this model can actually do for the EU what the EU wont do for itself seems almost as desperate still. Canada rests far more closely on the side of the U.S. in the narrow cultural difference scale between the Atlantic Coasts. At 1/14th the population of the EU, only a portion of Canada that Ash assumes is enamored with the culture of welfare state dependency would care to become an exemplar and emotional prop to a EUvian model. The idea, after all is that he’s looking for affirmation of the efficacy of Europe failed and unsustainable socialist leaning model.
But it would be hard to argue with a straight face that Canada is in Europe. Moreover, with some 85% of its exports going to the United States, and so many of its business, energy and human links running north-south across the border, Canada is increasingly integrated into the US economy. The price the EU demands for opening its internal borders to new members is that they should tighten up their external border with non-EU neighbours. That would be a tall order for Canada, along the longest frontier on earth, with the most powerful neighbour on earth.Canada has one of it’s feet in the American relationship, and one on the ground of the Brittish Commonwealth. Ash should rather consider that the Canadian reluctance to lean less on the American leg might have something to do with the values he thinks are inherent and bubbling over in the ties they have with the British Commonwealth. They do, after all have a favored trading and migrating scheme that rivals that of the FTAA Agreement, but have much less of a reason to act on them. There is the lack of dynamism, the presence of dictators, and the manipulators of government for business that they’re trying to kill off at home.
Imagining that there can be a fabulous “non-American Anglosphere + Europe” to form a network to export pluralism (first to the EU and then) to the larger world is quite rich. One wonders where the impulse for this hope comes from when the very same chatteratti thought the notion naïve and oppressive only a few years ago. Nation-building was, after all, one of the many “sins of the Bush” that the bruised inner children of the European left had on their list.
It also defies logic that Indians who have firmly rejected the European social model for the market growth model as a method of poverty elimination would really want to play along. The south Asian immigrants to the US and Canada are largely happy and tend to appreciate their autonomy from the statist economic model in the new world.
On the other hand one finds a different set of maneuvers in the UK. Interfaith and intercultural intervention and other bits of cultural pandering aren’t so much more widespread because of the open-ness of the society, but because life is so much more limiting that cultural palliative care is so badly needed.
I do believe that there is such a thing as a coherent model emerging from the Anglosphere of the US, Canada, Australia, and India because they are the more dynamic and less socialistic parts of the English speaking world. They are outgoing, robust, and energetically concerned with the future of freedom. The dead wood in this scenario are the English speakers who take an isolated, communitarian, socialistic approach such as New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, and to a lesser degree from it’s position of great-grandfather, the UK.
We support international organisations. We love multilateralism and abhor unilateralism. We tend to think that men and women should be able to live more or less as they please with whomever they please, irrespective of gender and sexual orientation. We pride ourselves on our diversity. Check, check, check. Welcome to Canada.in other words, he supports a bunch of social pieties that have failed to produce humanistic outcomes, the moral fiber to not hate those who don’t look like you, and the pandering to narrow political interests. Surely only a cloud or two under Plato’s playground.
The race for the contribution of the Anglosphere to global life isn’t about to start with the qualifiers, it’s already afoot, and the mixed-up cosmopolitans of the chattering class failed to hear the starting pistol generations ago.
Euro-nomics strikes again in the form of the money-losing Smart Car. For 5 years there’s been a push to export them to the United States, but the punters aren’t buying it:
"It's really ugly," said Liz Viccora, 20, of Long Island, New York. "I like environmentally friendly cars, but this looks like a go-cart or one of those things security guards drive at the mall."[ . . . ]
And while some drivers say a Smart would be easier to maneuver in cities where traffic is heavy and street parking scarce, parking would not necessarily cost any less.
"There's no incentive for those cars. Everyone pays the same rate," said Craig Chin, a spokesman for New York City's Department of Transportation.I’m reminded of the time I saw two East German Trabants hit one another in a head on collision. It looked more or less like paper flying. It made me realize that people were getting trapped in a flaming twisted wreckage of combustibles for want of a small amount or relative mass and fuel efficiency. Especially when virtually all cars consume the same amount of the same commodity when they’re idling, and that unlike public transportation, isn’t running when you aren’t using it.
EU bureaucracy will gladly spend taxpayers money to fund lengthly explanations directed at its subjects as to why the death penalty is inhuman
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
One of the pleasures of reading the Guardian newspaper’s “Comment is Free” corporate blogs is the reader commentary. Most frequently what one finds in great quantity is a kind of parading of envious emotions – a display of emotional adolescents where it specifically relates to the designated enemies and ‘structurally evil types of people’ many of the lefty ponces like to dwell on. It’s even the case when they have to invent the scenario whereby they get to show their infallible ways to their bogey-persons, and it always presents itself as a sort of schoolyard exchange where said lefty ponce always gets to get the zinger in without rebuttal and brag to his friends besides:
I await, with excitement, the aftermath of God Bless America's exit from the World Cup. No doubt the players will return home, call an immediate press conference, and reveal that "Soccer, is not what we thought at all. It's actually Stupid. Lame. A bit too Euro" And as a result, withdraw from all future tournaments. (Whilst withdrawing all financial aid from Ghana at the same time.)In general “Offensive and Unsuitable” is the way of the Guardian and the world view it supplies desperately needed affirmation for.
Or maybe we are mis-underestimating them (couldn't resist). After all, they are our greatest allies. They are there whenever we need them. We have a "Special Relationship". So in actual fact, the whole of the US will probably now throw the weight of their support behind us. The plucky English. The land of their forefathers.
Having said that, the "Special Relationship" has thus far yielded the following:
1) They turned up two years late for the First World War.
2) They turned up two years late for the Second World War, and used our plight to financially cripple us.
3) They backed Egypt in the Suez Canal Crisis.
4) They verbally backed Argentina in the Falklands Skirmish.
So, if we are to stay true to this Special Relationship, we should immediately withdraw from the World Cup ourselves. Disband the Premier League. And start playing some proper sports for once.
Anyone for Baseball?
[Offensive? Unsuitable? Report this comment.]
It’s quite obvious that with the designated object of his little passion play that they are wrong on every subject that he can imagine matters in his little world – sports, a few bumper-sticker political issues, and a handful of personal matter just to let him demonstrate to his ego that his shit don’t stink, and that the rest of civilization should care about his personal pleasures.
Would ‘Americur’ care enough about this man banging his spoon on his highchair to say anything about the Premier League? I certainly doubt it. Like many of his ilk he needs a culturally imperialistic straw-man in his life to give it some direction. He already has one – it’s called the leftist world view in his immediate vicinity. It’s the one that stages ‘programme seasons’ for specific social issues dear to a few activist types to engage in social engineering, and the endless supply of social epedemics that change weekly. It’s the one that nannies itself to death on the operating assumption that people are too stupid and immoral to think for themselves, or at least to think the way he’s like you to.
It’s all evidence of what therapists call the “power under” position in an abusive family relationship, and it’s created by learned helplessness. In this case that helplessness is with a oppressive culture so concerned about guiding if not controlling every little thing in your life that it tells you how to sort your trash, how to talk to your neighbors, and convince one the person one should feel the greatest guilt over everything from methane emissions to feelings of pre-sexualized 4 year olds who may or may not be gay.
It’s quite clear who’s oppressed, and made stupid in the course of it. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and a guy like that is just another cobblestone in the middle of it.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
First people are terrified enough by a bear on the loose that a continent of hunters is mobilized into action, when they could have gotten rid of the fleabag in one weekend by flying in 3 hungover Quebecers.
The moment a bear is shot, they act like the it was their little buddy who couldn’t catch a break. Here’s a little something they can build a ‘cycle of violence’ argument on: bears mauling people, and the occasional do-gooding dumbshit.
Isn’t she just the most cuddly thing you ever saw?
That moose calf in the video probably weighs twice as much as the hiker who complained about the Euro-über-bärchen that was shot, and isn’t as likely to be a herbivore as Herr Twit.
Perpetually puckered Greenies – you have to hang a pork-chop around their neck just to get a bear to play with them...
France Inter reports that the Israeli soldier captured on Sunday by Palestinian elements is a French national. Both on air and in print, the BBC still omits that fact about Corporal Gilad Shalit. If they think it irrelevant they should also consider the newsworthy fact that France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has taken an interest in the matter, which might possibly lead to their engagement in negotiating for Cpl. Shalit’s release.
We confirm that Mr. Guilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured Sunday morning near the Gaza Strip who was born in Israel also has French nationality, his father being French.
Our embassy in Tel-Aviv and our consulate are mobilized to address the matter. We are in contact with all the parties concerned to help obtain the release of Mr. Guilad Shalit.
I suspect that unlike RFI who has managed to stick to reporting a straight fact, the news mules on the BBC editing floor can’t find an angle that consistently fits their “stance” on the news. The BBC’s pattern of behavior has shown us that having to find a ‘side’ to take has frequently gotten in the way of reporting events factually and in a manner that leaves the viewer or listener to form their own view of its’ meaning.
When you're reporting honestly, the other side of arrogance is called dilligence.
Thanks to S.
Monday, June 26, 2006
Democrats and their fellow travelers who have been theatrical in their demands that the removal of Saddam follow a script of their chosing claim that the recently announced troop reduction is merely political and act indignant.
Don't worry. In a week lefty will call it cowardice and abandonment, and the most insular, grimmest, and weakest minds will construct new conspiracy theories. They will all be pointing one way, of course.
...A man from the CIA is here to install cameras in our bathroom!
...Don’t worry, it’s all part of the struggle against terrorism.
The baseball hat signifies that he’s American – Archie Bunker, to be particular. Har-dee-har har! Get it!?!
Watch out for those cunningly evil ricains who are nonetheless too naïve to come in from the rain!
A few weeks ago, Beirut Daily Star commentator Rami Khouri had a panel on the BBC World Service nodding their hypothetical heads when he said that the Arab World (whoever that specifically is) would “hug America” if it closed down the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. It’s obvious that this will never happen. The “Arab world” if there is such a conglomeration is characterized by too much hubris to admit any flaw if there is the opportunity to over-emotionally project responsibility for internal matters on others, especially contrived ones.
Today he’s making another specious appeal to U.S. Secretary of State Rice about being aware of “symbols” evident in Abu Ghreib (a story the press is desperate to paint as a matter of geopolitical magnitude and policy) – without addressing one simple matter – the equanimity of doing the same, either as symbol or substance.
When the citizens of states that are the recipients of U.S. criticism on human rights, voting rights, and basic rights to free speech can’t create a single example of the success that doesn’t find itself hijacked by either zealous imposition of state power over people, or the imposition of a religion on the public, I have to wonder what a lecture about “symbols” can be based on.
You should be careful about using the imagery of the civil rights movement to promote Arab freedom, because your government and its policies look to many of us like Bull Connor, complete with the dogs. You simply are not credible when you evoke the civil rights struggle to inspire us, and then send police dogs to torment us. We love your inspirational exhortations, but we despise and reject your dogs. There are indeed a great many brave souls challenging your friendly local Mukhabarat, Deuxième Bureaux, or what have you, but primarily for their own sake, not for America’s or Europe’s, sometimes not even for anyone other than themselves.
The dogs are symbols, of course, of a wider policy and a larger reality. But the images of the dogs - in Birmingham and Baghdad - remain the most sharply etched in my own mind. Many other images and symbols come to mind, too.
But his attempt at comparisons with the American Civil rights movement is charming, don’t you think? The Bull Connors and attack dogs in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, etc. are still out there provide for an oppressive reality more potent than any symbolism that anyone could ever gin up, and Khouri fails to judge the two for comparative relevance and scale. In fact all he’s doing is continuing a grand tradition of providing “The Arab Street” with reasons to resent the foreigner for the horrible things an Arab society does to itself. On the other hand, the U.S. Civil Rights movement led to actual, tangible change.
Keep that up and the word “civil” as it applies to Arabic speaking societies will be even more of a joke than it is today.
The individual and collective quest for freedom and dignity may be the strongest force on earth. It pushes ordinary people to do extraordinary things, as happened in Birmingham when young children marched into the fire hoses and stood their ground before Bull Connor's police dogs. The spirit of Birmingham is about transcending fear, and affirming humanity. It takes special courage and moral certitude to stand one's ground in front of the violent, intemperate hatred and ignorance that Bull Connor represented. No pandering or redistribution of responsibility there, eh? Foreign occupiers trying to short circuit violent, intolerant governments are no better than them, you see.
I see that same spirit around me in the Arab world today. I have many courageous Arab friends and colleagues who similarly stand up today to their own violent, intolerant governments, or foreign military occupiers, knowing they may be killed, injured or imprisoned. They stand up and resist fearlessly, defying danger and intimidation, because they are fired by the same passions that fueled the civil-rights movement in your country.
I used to respect the guy. Now I wonder just what his game is.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
The BBC’s Have Your Say program today had as its’ guest author Jung Chang to discuss China’s recent past and her latest book. While discussing the cultural revolution, the harm it did, and the like, western lefties called in to pshaw! that it wasn’t all THAT bad. She was not amused.
Jung Chang finally tries to put into context for these idiots who were trying to grant an exemption to any Communist’s with a absence moral judgment. She asked rhetorically why Mao’s corpse is still available for worship, why his portrait is still in Tiananmin Square, while Hitler’s portrait appears nowhere in Berlin. It would be an apt comparison if there were any lefties out there who haven’t exhausted every Hitler comparison already, such as Bush, Sharon, the postman, the neighbor’s noisy dog, parking tickets, and so on...
The fuse is lit!