30 September 2003

Fear and loathing on the campaign trail

[source, source]
Independent candidate Arianna Huffington scheduled a TV appearance Tuesday night amid reports that she was considering dropping out of the recall race and throwing her support to Gov. Gray Davis in order to stop Arnold Schwarzenegger.
It's all over for Ah-nuld … how can he compete with that kind of endorsement?
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THIS JUST IN: Schwarzenegger might fire political appointees if he wins election

Many Heads Could Roll if Schwarzenegger Wins
Really? Ah-nuld wouldn't just keep the Davis team on board after their performance for the last 6 years? UPDATE: Co-worker BBB comments: "In these times, this _is_ quality journalism -- at least the story isn't blatantly false".
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Community concerns

Orrin Judd points out "this story":http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/30/international/middleeast/30ARAB.html of Colin Powell "speaking speaking at an economic conference of leaders from the Middle East and hundreds of American and Arab-American executives". Powell spoke about bringing down trade barriers, building democracy and the rule of law in Iraq, alleviating poverty, international cooperation and addressing terrorism by the Palestinians. Eventually he got a "ripple of applause" when he said "Israel, too, has obligations". Yeah, all that other stuff is nice but it's not what they _really_ care about.
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EU-lite and terror: accomplices or accessories?

[source, source]
Palestinian Authority officials' salaries are paid by the European Union, but Arafat or his cronies were skimming off up to 15 percent in income taxes and using it for their own causes, [Former PA(Palestinian Authority) PM(Prime Minister) Mahmoud] Abbas suggested. "Personally, I don't know where those funds go," he said. "When we wanted to cancel them, they said: 'You're harming the intifada.' "
So "Arnold Roth tried to ask Chris Patten(Wall Street Journal - Europe)":http://online.wsj.com/article_print/0,,SB106452805846465700,00.html about that:
Chris Patten, the EU's Commissioner for External Relations, plays a central role in the provision of EU financial aid to the Palestinian Authority. I intended to ask him in that visit whether he was aware of evidence that EU money, channeled through his office to the PA and so necessary to improving Palestinian lives, was being diverted to fund terrorism. Did he believe a just peace could be achieved when teachers paid from EU grants to UNRWA (U.N. Relief and Works Agency) teach Palestinian children that Israel has no right to exist and that their martyrdom is a glorious part of the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the Middle East? Unlike the other senior EU figures we approached, Mr. Patten declined to meet us.
That's not a surprise when it comes to Chris Patten and funding the Intifadah. On the other hand, some EU-lite "openly cheer":http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1064810554363&p=1008596981749 the terrorists [source]
Dozens of [Marwen] Barghouti's supporters attended the trial and cheered at the end of his speech. They included *members of the European Parliament from Italy and France* [emphasis added]
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Pre-natal care in the Saudi Entity

[source, source]
In the event that a woman is admitted to a hospital’s emergency room and is not accompanied by a man, she is to be held at the hospital in specially designated rooms to prevent her escape. The mother is to be placed under surveillance in the hospital until a man comes forward and takes responsibility for the well-being of mother and child. If no one comes to claim responsibility for the woman, she is to be transferred to one of the Kingdom’s social service providers after the local police have been notified.
Yes, it's good to be careful because heavily pregnant women about to give birth are frequently prone to sudden escapes.
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State media watch

[source, source, source] Gina Wilkinson was doing a story for the Australian Broadcasting Company, a state run television station, about abandoned ordnance in Iraq after the war. Part of the story was about some SA-2 missiles left behind that "are filled with volatile rocket fuel and two hundred kilograms of high explosives". In order to "punch up" the story, Wilkinson had _children climb on the missiles_. Some of the locals were concerned about the dangers but Wilkinson was insistent. She actually had the children do it several times because the first take wasn't sufficient. This was only revealed because someone leaked the internal tapes. One wonders just how many other journalists in Iraq are demonstrating a similar level of concern for Iraqis (we know how concerned they were about Iraqis "_before_ the war":922).
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29 September 2003

Chemical weapons dumped in Iraqi water supply

An excellent catch by "SDN":mailto:snelson134@charter.net -- "Traces of Chemical Weapons found in Euphrates rivers":http://www.dailytelegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/04/06/wpois06.xml&sSheet=/news/2003/04/06/ixnewstop.html:
Mustard gas and cyanide have been found in river water in the Iraqi city of Nasiriyah, coalition forces said yesterday. […] A spokesman for the United States marines, based just outside the city, described the quantities of chemical agents found as "significant" […] The poisons were discovered by the marines' scientists who were testing the quality of water taken from the Euphrates before purifying it and distributing it to the residents of Nasiriyah, a city of 250,000 people.
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BBC Bias Watch

[source, source]
* 76% of all posts that were sceptical of claims made about progress by either side raised doubts about Coalition progress. * 58% of reports on Coalition progress focused on setbacks, which were also reported in greater details than the 42% of posts that dealt with Coalition successes. * 60% of posts that analysed Iraqi strategy were positive and 40% negative, 69% of all posts that focused on Coalition strategy were critical and 31% positive. * BBC reporters seemed much more sceptical about Coalition claims than they were about what the Iraqis were telling them.
Well, you know, you just can't trust those Americans. After all, President Bush didnt' get 100% of the vote of the citizens like Saddam Hussein did!
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FBI rewards suspected terrorist

["source(Debbie Schlussel)":http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/6059.htm ]
Imad Hamad will be bestowed with the same honor -- the only other non-FBI civilian to be so honored in America, this year.[…] Hamad was a suspected member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) […] The INS was so opposed to Hamad’s presence in the United States that it fought to deport him for over two decades. But, under political pressure from Michigan politicians, like Senator Carl Levin and Rep. David Bonior, the immigration judge chose to disregard classified evidence, and he is now a U.S. citizen. (Hamad’s lawyer, Noel Saleh, proudly proclaimed that he financially supported Hezbollah.) Since then, as Midwest Regional Director of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Hamad has been busy promoting the terrorist cause—doing interviews throughout the Detroit media supporting Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic hate. […] When men were arrested (and later convicted) for smuggling arms to Hezbollah over Detroit’s Ambassador Bridge, Hamad wished for "better U.S. relations with Hezbollah," the terrorist group which murdered over 300 American Marines and civilians. "People here are morally supportive" of Hezbollah, he said.
This is of course of a piece with the political correctness that helped "stifle investigations":781 that might have prevented the 11 Sep attacks. UPDATE: Apparently the public pressure was too much, the FBI "has rescinded the award":http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/2540597/detail.html [source]
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The VRWC on WMD in Iraq

A good compendium of comments on WMD in Iraq from the usual suspects such as Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Bob Graham, Al Gore, Ted Kennedy, etc. UPDATE: Another good list. And "the word from Hillary Clinton":http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/157wjmhn.asp.
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We can't have just anybody get involved

In response to a ??Doonesbury?? strip against the California recall, Eugene Volokh wonders about campaign finance "reform" and media monopolization of political debate:
Of course, all such proposals have exemptions for "media" speakers, since any editorial in a major newspaper necessarily provides over $1000 in value to a candidate, and involves over $1000 in spending by the media under any sensible accounting system. So the "media" -- for instance, newspaper publishers and those (such as Garry Trudeau) to whom the publishers give access to the editorial and comics pages -- would get to speak; but people who don't own the newspapers, but want to rent space in them for a day, wouldn't. Doesn't seem quite right to me.
It's OK because media people are perfectly objective and well informed and so are suitable to be the only political active class! Right?
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27 September 2003

20 Questions

[source, source]
# Where is all the money from the UN’s Oil for Food Program? # How many people have now lived at least six months longer than they would have under Saddam? # How many civilians were really killed in the major combat portion of the war? # How many civilians have been killed since the end of major combat? # How unreliable is the Iraqi electric distribution system in comparison to, say, the Washington, D.C., area system? # How many people (estimates allowed) are crossing into Iraq from its neighbors each month? # How many people entering Iraq are Iraqis returning after escaping Saddam in the past? # How many Iraqis are suffering for lack of health care, lack of food, lack of potable water, etc.? (Not individual hard luck cases - good figures.) # How many Iraqis are directly involved in the “guerilla war” campaign against coalition forces? # How many non-Iraqis are directly involved in the “guerilla war” campaign against coalition forces? # What precisely has Bremer’s administration been spending billions of dollars on? (Show us the buildings, bridges, factories, power plants, oil fields, etc., assuming they exist.) # What was the average Iraqi’s income prior to the war, and what is it now? # What did Saddam do with his weapons of mass destruction and the component programs? (Don’t ask what “people” think; go find out!) # How many American and British service men and women in Iraq believe the cause of Iraqi democracy is hopeless? # Was the “looting” of the National Museum and Library an inside job? # How would international troops change the minds of the “guerilla” fighters? # How would additional American troops be useful in the 15 or so attacks and firefights now experienced by the 150,000 troops (10,000 per attack) in Iraq? # Is Saddam Hussein actually dead, and the tapes and such are all a hoax? # What is an average day in Iraq like for an America soldier? (Remember, the ratio of attacks to soldiers is 1:10,000, so a bloody firefight is clearly NOT average.) # What would Iraq be like if the coalition pulled out early and left things to the U.N. and Iraqi players? (Explore this with examples and a wide range of experts, please.) NOTE: Some answers might validate my opinions on Iraq; some might blow them to pieces. Either way, I need to know, and so do Americans in general. Why won’t the media ask these questions?
Well, asking those questions would require * Understanding the big picture * Accepting that the USA is not the ultimate source of all evil * Work That last is the real killer.
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Lack of scale

There's been lots of fun with the ongoing "scandal at EuroStat":http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/09/25/weu25.xml&sSheet=/news/2003/09/25/ixworld.html. It's typically EU:
In a damning conclusion, the chief auditor wrote: "It is apparent that the commission is ill-equipped to protect itself further against the risk of collusion on third parties, where little controls, if any, are in place".
After all, it was that kind of accountability that the EU-lite have striven so hard to surmount. However, despite all the furour, the latest estimate for the amount of money lost is £2.1 million. Where is the sense of scale? Random accountants and con-men steal that kind of money all the time in the US - as a _government_ scandal it would hardly rate third page coverage over here. Pettiness, the defining characteristic of the EU-lite.
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26 September 2003


[source, source]
The UN on Thursday said it was scaling down its presence in Iraq to a bare minimum, as news of the death of Akila al-Hashemi, a member of Iraq's Governing Council, reinforced fears the security situation there was becoming untenable. In the wake of two direct attacks on its headquarters in Baghdad, the UN officially announced a "temporary redeployment" of its international staff. Only 42 were left on Thursday in the capital, and 44 in the north, and those numbers could "be expected to shrink over the next few days", the UN said. The final number could be as low as 20, subject to further review.
One just wonders what this would mean if the US had already turned over control to the UN…
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Modern McCarthyism

[source, source]
Criticizing those who are vocal in their personal criticism, their approach, their concerns, is McCarthyesque
-- US Senator Tom Daschle
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25 September 2003

Americalaterism threatens UN

Dana Milbank […] pays great attention to angry Kofi Annan and frustrated Jacques Chirac suggesting that the UN is in great danger for the first time since 1945 because of American unilateralism. But you have to wonder: Soviet unilateralism in Afghanistan and many other countries was apparently never a "fork in the road" for UN bureaucrats, was it?
-- Tim Graham
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The deeply held convictions of Wesley Clark

[source, source]
"Mary, help!" he [Wesley Clark] called to his press secretary, Mary Jacoby, at the front of the plane, as he faced questions about Iraq. "Come back and listen to this." […] Ms. Jacoby said. "You said you would have voted for the resolution as leverage for a U.N.-based solution." "Right," General Clark responded. "Exactly."
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Great moments in journalism

A colleague of mine picked up a copy of the Cancun edition of the Miami Herald while he was there. It included a translation of an article from La Voz de Mexico, which referred to research by a Dr. Cyrill Sanders that concluded that the increasing number of post-menopausal women was contributing to global warming. In other words, hot flashes cause hot flashes. Yes, that's what we thought. A quick drive by Google revealed that the only source for this report could have been "this article":http://www.weeklyworldnews.com/features/scitech_story.cfm?instanceid=59013 in the ??Weekly World News??.
As one comment points out, it was "in Yahoo News":http://tv.yahoo.com/news/wwn/20030819/106130520003.html which was a likely step in the laundering chain.
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Ba'ath / Al Qaeda links roundup

[source] An "excellent compilation":http://www.techcentralstation.com/092503F.html of the evidence of links between the Iraqi Ba'ath and Al Qaeda dating back to 1994. One can also look at this "??NY Times?? story from 1998":http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/985906/posts about an indictment of bin Laden which specifically mentions his connections to the Ba'ath.
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24 September 2003

But who else is there?

[source, source] The Pentagon uses three primary organizations to vet Islamic clerics for duty in the armed forces.
Graduate School of Islamic Social Sciences in Leesburg, Va.
This organization trains clerics in additon to vetting them. It was responsible for training the cleric recently arrested for espionage. It was raided by the Justice Department last year on suspicion of ties to Osama bin Lade.
American Muslim Foundation (AMF)
  • Raided by the Justice Department on suspicion of terrorist ties
  • The AMF was co-founded by Abdurahman Alamoudi, an acknowledged supporter of the Palestinian terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
The Islamic Society of North America
One of its board members, Siraj Wahhaj, was named in 1995 by U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White as one of more than 100 "unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators" in the attempt to blow up New York monuments. Mr. Wahhaj also served as a character witness for Sheik Omar Abel Rahman, who was convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Is it possible for the Pentagon to use Islamic organizations not suspected of being part of the Caliphascist network? Apparently not:
For months, the Universal Muslim Association of America, which is aligned with Shi'ite Islam, has tried to become an endorser of Muslim clerics in the military and federal prisons. But the group says it has been ignored, despite its warnings that the Wahhabi form of Islam is being propagated to troops and prisoners.
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The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy is everywhere!

Instapundit actually writes something beyond "Indeed" or "Heh!". It's worth quoting in full how he lays down the smackie on Josh Marshall of "Talking Points Memo":http://talkingpointsmemo.com
JOSH MARSHALL FINDS THAT THE TRUTH HURTS. He's not happy about Democratic Congressman Jim Marshall (whom Josh originally misidentified as a Republican) saying that negative media coverage is getting our troops killed. But Marshall the Congressman, and a Vietnam vet, was there, and thinks negative publicity is encouraging the Baathist holdouts to believe that they can pull a Mogadishu and get the United States to pull out. Marshall the pundit might want to ponder the possibility that reflexive media negativity, counted on by our foes to advance their plans, might actually, you know, advance their plans. It's not the reporting of criticisms or bad things that's the issue -- the first-person accounts I link below all have criticisms and negative information. It's the lazy Vietnam-templating, the "of course America must be losing" spin, the implicit and sometimes explicit sneer, and the relentless bringing to the fore of every convenient negative fact while suppressing the positive ones that's the issue. It's what the terrorists are counting on, and it's what too many in the media are happy to deliver, because they think it'll hurt Bush. And it doesn't get any lower than _that_. UPDATE: Reader Richard Aubrey emails: "Do you think the journalist Marshall might want to explain what, factually, is wrong with Rep. Marshall's statement?" I hope he will.
I went and read TPM(Talking Points Memo - Josh Marshall)'s comments and what comes through is the complete inability of TPM(Talking Points Memo - Josh Marshall) to even _ponder_ whether maybe he and Big Media are simply wrong on this issue. It's telling that TPM(Talking Points Memo - Josh Marshall)initially assumed that Representative Marshall was a Republican, because no Democratic Representative would say something like that. That's indicative not only of TPM(Talking Points Memo - Josh Marshall)'s bias but the strong group think that takes the place of though in the Democratic Party these days, a frozen matrix of thought that's infected TPM(Talking Points Memo - Josh Marshall), who used to be much more of a voice and not an echo. UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan weighs in as well.
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23 September 2003

State of the Department

Newt Gingrich "lays down the smackie":http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/story.php?storyID=13742&PHPSESSID=39b4cd785a7c1b396c6aa63fba7411c1 on the State Department, which now serves its overseas clients, not the USA. Beyond being basically hostile to President Bush's foreign policy, Gingrich also notes that the old state to state diplomacy is inadequate in a globally wired wordl:
One of the areas most urgently in need of reform is the State Department’s global communication strategy. To lead the world, the United States needs to communicate effectively. This crucial capability must receive adequate resources, and the State Department must learn to fulfill this role. As the world’s only superpower, largest economy, and most aggressive culture, the United States inevitably infringes on the attention and interests of other peoples and nations. A country this large and powerful must work every day to communicate what it is doing. The world does not have to love us, but it must be able to predict us.
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Arafat: KGB agent

Before I [Ion Mihai Pacepa] defected to America from Romania, leaving my post as chief of Romanian intelligence, I was responsible for giving Arafat about $200,000 in laundered cash every month throughout the 1970s. I also sent two cargo planes to Beirut a week, stuffed with uniforms and supplies. Other Soviet bloc states did much the same. Terrorism has been extremely profitable for Arafat. According to Forbes magazine, he is today the sixth wealthiest among the world's "kings, queens & despots," with more than $300 million stashed in Swiss bank accounts.[…] In 1972, the Kremlin put Arafat and his terror networks high on all Soviet bloc intelligence services' priority list, including mine. Bucharest's role was to ingratiate him with the White House. We were the bloc experts at this. We'd already had great success in making Washington -- as well as most of the fashionable left-leaning American academics of the day -- believe that Nicolae Ceausescu was, like Josip Broz Tito, an "independent" Communist with a "moderate" streak. KGB chairman Yuri Andropov in February 1972 laughed to me about the Yankee gullibility for celebrities. We'd outgrown Stalinist cults of personality, but those crazy Americans were still naïve enough to revere national leaders. We would make Arafat into just such a figurehead and gradually move the PLO closer to power and statehood. […] Right after that meeting, I was given the KGB's "personal file" on Arafat. He was an Egyptian bourgeois turned into a devoted Marxist by KGB foreign intelligence. The KGB had trained him at its Balashikha special-ops school east of Moscow and in the mid-1960s decided to groom him as the future PLO leader. First, the KGB destroyed the official records of Arafat's birth in Cairo, replacing them with fictitious documents saying that he had been born in Jerusalem and was therefore a Palestinian by birth.
Ah, the heart warming life story of the independent nationalist leader.
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UN thwarts the French judiciary

[source, source]
A key suspect in a French corruption case was confirmed yesterday as Luanda's ambassador to Unesco, securing him an Angolan diplomatic passport and immunity from prosecution. The appointment allows the suspect, Pierre Falcone, who is at the centre of an arms trafficking scandal, to travel freely despite a judicial ban on leaving France.
Imagine that, the UN intefering with the prosecution of someone accused of illegal arms trafficing. It certainly shows how well the International Criminal Court would work.
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22 September 2003


From "Winds of Change":http://windsofchange.net comes yet another story of UN and French hostility to nations that are recovering from war and civil strife on their own and showing up the putative help from the self-proclaimed righteous.
With a few exceptions, the donor community in Kigali and western NGOs criticise the government in notably similar terms... Kagame is cool about the criticisms: "It is because we want to do things our own way - they want to give lessons ... We just have to go on with our own business of changing lives here." The most notable of the enemies are the French, who have never forgiven Kagame for winning the war against the French-backed regime responsible for the genocide […]
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Flogging a dead meme

Bill Hobbs rips in to the "President Bush lied about a Ba'ath connection with the 11 Sep attacks":
The only tie between Saddam and the September 11 attack that Bush ever "implied" was a policy tie - that September 11 had made it no longer wise to continue a policy that left Saddam in power.
The key concept is that if Bush _had_ made the claim, there wouldn't have been the huge discussion about pre-emption (this also applies to the "imminent threat from Iraq" claim). But it's still reported that way in major media outlets.
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Please stop trying to help

[source, source]
She said in the interview that she had admonished the French not to try to drive a wedge between the United States and the new Iraqi government by offering tempting plans for quick sovereignty. "Don't think the Iraqis will ever forget what the Americans did in liberating them," she said she told French officials, adding, "we will not allow the Americans to fail."
From an interview with Akila al-Hashemi, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council, from her hospital bed where she is recovering from an assassination attempt. UPDATE: "al-Hashemi didn't make it":http://wireservice.wired.com/wired/story.asp?section=Breaking&storyId=784998 which makes it a successful assassination.
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Andrew Sullivan asks the tough question about American military adventurism --
Geez, do we have an exit strategy yet? Four years later - four years later, president Clinton is telling the world we'll stay there as long as it take to finish the job. The U.N. agrees. As "a reader":http://www.andrewsullivan.com/letters.php points out today, it's just as well Clinton got U.N. Security Council backing for the war … oh, wait. Never mind.
Wait, it's a quagmire but not Iraq? And it's run by the UN? Ow! Ow! Brain overload!
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Another round of journalistic spin

[source, source]
p(qq). When pressed by Mr. Goldberg and audience members, some of these justifications seemed less certain. "Iraq did have contacts with Al Qaeda," Mr. Wolfowitz insisted, momentarily silencing the audience with an accusation even President Bush now says is unsubstantiated. He added, "We don't know how clear they were." Notice the condescension. Now notice the inaccuracy. President Bush has _never_ said that Saddam had no ties to al Qaeda. This is the new anti-war shibboleth, loyally parroted by Schmitt as if it were true. (It's the same as the notion that the president once claimed that the threat from Iraq was imminent. He didn't. But in the anti-war mind, he must have.) All the president conceded was that there was no hard evidence of Saddam's connection to 9/11. (There is, of course, much hard evidence that Saddam was involved in the first WTC attack.) Even the "BBC":http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3118262.stm has conceded as much. Nothing Wolfowitz is reported to have said conflicted with this.
But the story doesn't come out right if we include facts!
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UK singing a new tune

[source, source]
p(qq). The senior detective investigating the murder of Toni-Ann Byfield, the seven-year-old girl shot in the back, yesterday told Britain's black music artists to warn their fans to stay away from guns. p(qq). At a summit with senior music industry figures, including Mercury Music Prize winner Dizzee Rascal and members of So Solid Crew, Detective Chief Superintendent John Coles, head of Operation Trident which investigates black-on-black gun crime, said it would help stop the shootings if rap musicians, DJs and producers spoke out against Britain's escalating gun culture. What's all this nonsense about 'escalating gun culture'? How can that be? Isn't that something Americans are forced to endure but we Brits are mercifully free of?

-- David Carr

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21 September 2003

Your government at work

[source, source] An American sailor married an Australian woman. On her recent return from Australia, she was detained for several days with her 8 month old daugher, an American citizen. After a couple of days of dentention, the sailor was able to rescue his daughter who was taken to a hospital and treated for dehydration. I was also unaware that we had immigration problems from Australia but it's standard to go for the soft targets.
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Another beautiful theory slain by an ugly fact

[source, source] The lynchpin of the recent "federal court injunction on the California recall":934 was that voters would be dienfranchised by using obsolete voting equipment. A central basis for this was the view of the California Secretary of State. However, it turns out that the Secretary of State has a slightly different view of what he said than the Court:
These erroneous statements occur in the published opinion of the panel concerning my reasons, as then-Secretary of State, for decertifying pre-scored punchcard voting systems in 2001. The panel opinion begins with two incorrect factual statements contained in its lead topic sentence at page 1 of the panel opinion: that "the [punchcard] voting system is so flawed that the Secretary of State has officially deemed it 'unacceptable' and banned its use in all future elections." This statement is incorrect in two ways: (1) as Secretary of State, I have never concluded, nor was it -- or is it -- my view, that pre-scored punchcard voting systems are flawed; and (2) I did not "ban the use of punchcard voting machines in all future elections" The incorrect implication of the first statement is that punchcard voting systems were and are defective, a view I never held and do not hold now. During my tenure as Secretary of State, dozens of elections involving national and local contests were successfully conducted using pre-scored punchcard voting systems. There was never a challenge in California to the result of any election because the election had been conducted using pre-scored punchcard voting systems. The incorrect implication of the latter statement above is that punchcard voting systems would not be used in any elections between my decertification order and the date of its implementation.
Those pesky facts, always getting in the way of a good theory.
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The faintest pulse of life in Europe

[source] France and Denmark are cracking down on Caliphascists in their midsts. In France
France's interior minister threatened Thursday to close any mosque in France that is considered extremist and to expel any Muslim prayer leader who preached a radical message. In an interview in the daily Le Figaro, the minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, also pledged to deny visas to Muslim participants in conferences who did not respect the values of the French state.
What, exactly _are_ the values of the French state, beyond anti-Americanism and dirgismé? Judenhass? I'm just not quite sure what would count as "radical" except laisez-faire and I *know* that kind of thing isn't coming out of any Caliphascist mosque. But it's a start! At least there's the claim that there is something about France worth defending from the Caliphascists.   Meanwhile, over in Denmark,
Under the new rules, religious leaders will be obliged to be self-supporting, speak Danish and respect "Western values" or risk being declared persona non grata.
Ouch! "Self-supporting". That's actually going to hurt. I suppose Denmark has finally caught on that anywhere Caliphascists are gaining ground, Saudi Entity money is flowing in. This will help dry that flow of taint right up.
[Dutch Integration Minister] Haarder told the paper he believed a number of Muslim clerics would be forced to leave Denmark because they would not be able to fulfil the demands of the new rules and would therefore not be able to obtain residence permits or renew them. "I think the most fundamentalist of the imams, who are poorly educated and speak Danish badly, will end up having to go back home," he said.
"Integration Minister". I think I've found the problem.
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20 September 2003

Making history

As the "legal battle over the California Governor recall":http://www.brothersjudd.com/blog/archives/008062.html goes on, it's key to keep in mind that the only other elections in US history that were pre-emptively cancelled were in New York City immediately after 11 Sep 2001. Kind of puts things in perspective…
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19 September 2003

Committee for a New Europe

[source, source]
Today, it is the responsibility of the democratic world to support representatives of the Cuban opposition, irrespective of how long the Cuban Stalinists manage to cling to power. The Cuban opposition must enjoy the same international support as political dissidents did in divided Europe. […] Europe ought to make it unambiguously clear that Castro is a dictator, and that for democratic countries a dictatorship cannot become a partner until it commences a process of political liberalisation. At the same time, European countries should establish a "Cuban Democracy Fund" to support the emergence of a civil society in Cuba. Such a fund would be ready for instant use in the case of political changes on the island. Europe's peaceful transitions from dictatorship to democracy, first in Spain and later in the East, have been an inspiration for the Cuban opposition, so Europe should not hesitate now. Its own history obliges it to act.
-- Vaclav Havel, Arpad Göncz & Lech Walesa
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Of course I wasn't serious!

[source, source] Abu Mazen, the former "prime minister" of the Palestinian Authority, openly admits that he had no intention of and made no effort to follow the "Road Map":
Abbas told the PLC [Palestinian Legislative Council] on Saturday that, contrary to reports in the American and Israeli press, he had never sought to wrest control of the Palestinian security forces from Yasser Arafat, nor had he agreed with Washington on establishing a unified security apparatus. […] Abbas admitted that, his signature on the document notwithstanding, he had rejected America's expressed desire that he unify the PA security forces and place them under his command.[…] Appearing to list off his accomplishments as prime minister, Abbas told the PLC: "The road map calls for the unification of the security services. We surmounted this obstacle. It called for striking and uprooting the [terrorist] organizations. We surmounted this obstacle, too." […] In this way, Abbas continued, "we got over or tried to get over the tragedy in which we would have put ourselves if we had listened to them [the Americans and Israelis].
A bit like "Kruschev's speech":http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1956khrushchev-secret1.html …
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Zinger of the day

[source, source]
Republican consultant Bill McInturff said, "NOW is a marginal political organization with no impact or clout, that no one takes seriously, and now they endorse a candidate that no one takes seriously, so they're perfect together."
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Big Media bias watch

An "Instapundit":http://instapundit.com inspired rounded up of anti-American reporting from Iraq. Chief Wiggles weighs in. Wiggles is actually in Iraq so he's a bit more knowledgeable than the average weblogger.
I am forced to ponder the value of a news-media that only reports a distorted view of events based on what they determine will sell papers and magazines or news that supports their own biased political attitudes. What is the value of news that doesn't tell the true story, but only a one-sided biased interpretation predetermined before the news events even occur. Why should the political bias or personal agenda of the news agency be so intertwined with the facts of the event, so as to purposely influence the attitudes of the reader?
From a "local newspaper":http://www.townonline.com/belmont/news/local_regional/bch_feabhiraq09172003.htm
Cheung [a just returned soldier] agreed that the media reports he read while in Iraq seemed so much different from what he was seeing for himself. One of the things he read that goaded him the most was that the Iraqis did not want the troops over there. "I talked to so many Iraqis - adults and children - and they thanked me, invited me to their house, asked if they can cook a meal for me and offered me everything they have," he said. "Because we were there, they have the freedom we enjoy in this country every day. They waved to us and a lot of times they worked with us."
From "Andrew Sullivan":http://andrewsullivan.com/index.php?dish_inc=archives/2003_09_14_dish_archive.html#106394444461984778
Johann Hari, a writer for the Independent in London, was close to many Iraqi exiles - refugees from the Baath dictatorship - and was worried when they went back home at the end of the war this spring. But many have just returned for a brief visit to London and have been reporting what they found. His worst fears dissipated when he first saw them in his apartment, "beaming and speaking at a hundred words a minute."
In contrast to wanting the Americans to leave as soon as possible, the more common concern is leaving too soon:
There is a terrible fear among many Iraqis that they will not be able to match the Kurds' achievement if they are abandoned by the Americans once again. "The memories of 1991 are so vivid," says Sama. "People still fear that somehow the Americans will abandon us and Saddam will claw his way back from the grave. They say, `It happened in 1991, it could happen again.'
That's a far more understandable concern than worries about "American Imperialism". Of course, we must keep in mind that not everything is going well, but Big Media tracks the bad parts with a focus that borders on fanaticism. UPDATE: "A whole column":http://www.msnbc.com/news/856672.asp on the subject with possible motives outlined.
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18 September 2003

At least it's a weak country this time

[source, source]
It's time we Americans came to terms with something: France is not just our annoying ally. It is not just our jealous rival. France is becoming our enemy. If you add up how France behaved in the run-up to the Iraq war (making it impossible for the Security Council to put a real ultimatum to Saddam Hussein that might have avoided a war), and if you look at how France behaved during the war (when its foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, refused to answer the question of whether he wanted Saddam or America to win in Iraq), and if you watch how France is behaving today (demanding some kind of loopy symbolic transfer of Iraqi sovereignty to some kind of hastily thrown together Iraqi provisional government, with the rest of Iraq's transition to democracy to be overseen more by a divided U.N. than by America), then there is only one conclusion one can draw: France wants America to fail in Iraq.
Since the failure of the Anglosphere in Iraq would harm Europe and especially France more than the Anglosphere, this is not even real politic but basically spite. Stunning that this was published in the ??New York Times??.
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Don't let the door hit you on the way out

[source, source]
Ex-President Bill Clinton said Tuesday that New Yorkers would forgive his wife if she broke her promise to serve out a full six year term in the U.S. Senate and instead decided to run for president next year.
One of the other "commentors":http://theflagoftheworld.blogspot.com/ expressed exactly my first though upon reading this -- if I were an upstate New York Republican, I'd certainly forgive Hillary Clinton running for President instead of being my Senator. Heck, I'd send her a thank you note!
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EUlite rescues Europeans from consquences of ‘false consciousness’

"EU officials are already talking about allowing countries to put the proposed constitution to voters two or three times until they come up with the right answer. "
-- "Asia Financial Times":http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1059479854833
"The European Commission called yesterday for the abolition of the national veto in all constitutional matters"
-- "Daily Telegraph":http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;$sessionid$IGKEEQZURLA4DQFIQMFCFGGAVCBQYIV0?xml=/news/2003/09/18/wec18.xml&sSheet=/news/2003/09/18/ixnewstop.html [source]
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17 September 2003

Canadian government scores a hat trick

The government dope [medical marijauna] also came under fire Monday from Canadians for Safe Access, a patients' rights group that is pressing for supplies of safe, effective marijuana. Laboratory tests indicate the Health Canada product has only about three per cent THC - not the 10.2 per cent advertised - and contains contaminants such as lead and arsenic, said spokesman Philippe Lucas of Victoria. "This particular product wouldn't hold a candle to street level cannabis," he said in an interview.
It's a hat trick of government incompetence! Not only has the government failed to do what any subscriber to "??High Times??":http://www.hightimes.com/htsite/home/index.php could do is his spare time, but it manages to commit consumer fraud (3% THC vs. claimed 10.2%) _and_ to provide a _contaminated_ product. Oh, Canada!
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ABA: Millions to defend Al-Qaeda, not one penny for US troops

[source, source] Notes from the latest meeting of the American Bar Association. Of course, things like this never get mentioned when lawyers wonder "why we hate them":http://www.lawrencesavell.com/pdf/aba-why.pdf.
The resolution suggested that, whatever the charms of universal jurisdiction, the doctrine also has real potential for mischief and at the least shouldn't apply when the country more directly concerned is competent to address the crime and the crime itself is open to debate in international circles. Remarkably, the international section of the ABA didn't see any reason to rush to condemn the idea of European courts trying American servicemen and women based on legal theories that would make every errant tank round a war crime. They asked that the resolution be delayed for more consideration. You might have thought the individual rights and criminal defense sections would have worried about political justice in hostile jurisdictions (if you thought the Washington snipers faced bad pretrial publicity, well, you should have seen what European papers said about our armed forces). You'd have thought they'd be concerned about the idea that our soldiers would be tried as criminals for act that aren't even crimes under US law -- use of depleted uranium shells, say, or dropping cluster bombs on troops. You might have thought they'd be concerned about things like a lack of crossexamination or the "inquisitorial" system of justice our GIs would face. And, predictably, you'd be wrong. Those sections fell into line, urging that the resolution be delayed. They had some important resolutions of their own, mainly designed to make sure that al-Qaeda members get a full measure of due process. Due process for American soldiers just wasn't on the agenda. Maybe later, they said, but first things first. Their argument for deferral was that the cases -- and the most extreme version of Belgium's law -- are going to go away without the ABA, so there was no need for the ABA to take a stand any time soon. But that argument doesn't prevent the ABA from attacking even abandoned Bush Administration proposals. And it fails to consider that the press is playing Belgium's abandonment of the case as knuckling under to illegitimate US bullying. If the ABA said that in fact the US is right and it's Belgium that was the unilateralist, the resolution would have undercut the "US overrides international law" story line. And of course, that was the problem for a lot of these lawyers. They just couldn't bring themselves to say that the US was right and Belgium wrong, to make a choice between Gen. Tommy Franks and a lefty America-hating Belgian lawyer.
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It's not zero gee yet!

[source] While attempting to move a satellite from vertical to horizontal in order to work on it, it fell over and went boom. Turns out that some team using similar equipment removed the retaining bolts from the work platform and didn't mention it to anyone on the team that work platform. The work group then didn't double check for the bolts because they'd been there the last time they'd used it. There's a good chance that the satellite is totaled from shock damage. The only good thing is that no one was underneath when it fell over. My question is, why does it take nearly a decade to build the satellite? They've been working on it for a couple of years and it wasn't scheduled to fly until 2008. [Also discussed at Transterrestial Musings] UPDATE: Leave it to Mr. Simberg to foil my invective. He points out that this was all being done by Lockheed Martin, not NASA, therefore NASA in this instance is not responsible. I wonder who's going to pay to fix it - hopefully not NASA.
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Tax grabbing spend monkeys lose in the heart of Pacifica

[source, source]
SEATTLE -- Voters in this caffeine capital have rejected a proposed 10-cent tax on espresso drinks after the initiative jolted an otherwise sleepy, off-year primary with a double shot of controversy. With 58% of precincts and all the mail-in ballots counted late Tuesday, the tax was opposed by 68% of voters.
Ooooh, that's gotta hurt!
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16 September 2003

Big Media bias watch

[source, source]
p(qq). The following are the words of New York Times correspondent John F. Burns, on his experiences reporting from Baghdad during the war. Excerpted from the book "??Embedded: The Media at War in Iraq??":http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1592282652/juddsbookreviews, an Oral History by Bill Katovsky and Timothy Carlson, published this week by The Lyons Press, used with permission. From the point of view of my being in Baghdad, I had more authority than anybody else. Without contest, I was the most closely watched and unfavored of all the correspondents there because of what I wrote about terror whilst Saddam Hussein was still in power. Terror, totalitarian states, and their ways are nothing new to me, but I felt from the start that this was in a category by itself, with the possible exception in the present world of North Korea. I felt that that was the central truth that has to be told about this place. It was also the essential truth that was untold by the vast majority of correspondents here. Why? Because they judged that the only way they could keep themselves in play here was to pretend that it was okay. There were correspondents who thought it appropriate to seek the approbation of the people who governed their lives. This was the ministry of information, and particularly the director of the ministry. By taking him out for long candlelit dinners, plying him with sweet cakes, plying him with mobile phones at $600 each for members of his family, and giving bribes of thousands of dollars. Senior members of the information ministry took hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes from these television correspondents who then behaved as if they were in Belgium. They never mentioned the function of minders. Never mentioned terror. In one case, a correspondent actually went to the Internet Center at the Al-Rashid Hotel and printed out copies of his and other people's stories -- mine included -- specifically in order to be able to show the difference between himself and the others. He wanted to show what a good boy he was compared to this enemy of the state. He was with a major American newspaper. Yeah, it was an absolutely disgraceful performance. CNN's Eason Jordan's op-ed piece in The New York Times missed that point completely. The point is not whether we protect the people who work for us by not disclosing the terrible things they tell us. Of course we do. But the people who work for us are only one thousandth of one percent of the people of Iraq. So why not tell the story of the other people of Iraq? It doesn't preclude you from telling about terror. Of murder on a mass scale just because you won't talk about how your driver's brother was murdered.
A long quote but worth it. The most common question about this is, what was the point? Why go to Baghdad and suck up to a murdering dictator when you could be Jason Blair and publish lies without going anywhere?
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At least the French know what they do

An article in this week's L'Express pretty much lays bare France's diplomatic aim on the US-Iraq-UN front, namely, to revamp the UN as a useful weapon against the US. This poisonous article has to be read to be believed, but basically the theme is that Bush's offer to get the UN involved again in Iraq is a "poisoned present" that only a "dupe" would accept, but that nonetheless the demarche offers a not-to-be-missed opportunity to restore both "credibility" and "diplomatic survival" to the UN and its Security Council, which alone can hope to control the "all powerful" US. Anyway, here's the last paragraph p(qq). In the name of their credibility, and of their diplomatic survival, the UN and its Security Council can't afford to miss the opportunity to bring back the all-powerful America into the fold and to retake some semblance of initiative on the critically important Iraq dossier. But it remains to measure their hypothetical power, once more, by the measuring stick of concessions from Washington. I reread the article, you know, looking for something about doing good work amongst people who could sorely use some, and found nothing. And there's nothing about bringing democracy to the Middle East either. It's all about bringing the US to heel.
The question isn't why France would do this, but why the New Class considers France a moral exemplar when she does. UPDATE: "USS Clueless":http://denbeste.nu/cd_log_entries/2003/09/PoisonedFrenchpresents.shtml provides a full translation.
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Motes and beams

I have a message for my liberal friends, relatives, and colleagues: If you think Republicans play dirty and Democrats don't, open your other eye.
Will Saletan goes on to demolish the myths that * The Republican stole the 2000 Presidential elections * The Republicans are stealing the congressional districts in Texas * The Republicans are stealing the governorship in California * That Dole wanted to "cut" medicare (from the 1996 election) In each case, the Democratic Party is arguing that the the will of the people shouldn't be expressed when it benefits Republicans. Not a lot of good policy meat on that bone.
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Feeling wrong

[source, source]
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, suffered a blow yesterday when Islamic scholars boycotted top-level talks between the faiths. The Muslim academics abruptly withdrew from a two-day meeting with Anglican delegates in New York in protest at the appointment of the worldwide Church's first actively homosexual bishop. […] the Muslim group from Al-Azhar university in Cairo, one of the most authoritative centres of the Islamic world, cancelled earlier this week, leaving some of Dr Williams's delegates stranded in America.
Among the many ironies and delusional worlds views on display here, consider this one: despite the alledged interest by the "liberal" Anglicans in understanding and accomodating those of other faiths, that doesn't seemed to have involved any actual _knowledge_ of how those faiths are practiced. The Archbishop probably just _felt_ that it would work out - what more than that would be needed?
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Franciful flights

[source, source]
The French government has told an airline that it is not to ferry British troops to Basra, a ban that will be seen as reflecting "Paris's opposition to the occupation of Iraq":http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;$sessionid$KCAB0XJOAY5VBQFIQMFCFF4AVCBQYIV0?xml=/news/2003/09/14/wirq14.xml. Corsair, which has been chartered numerous times to transport UK forces around the world, pulled out of a contract to fly reinforcements to Basra at the weekend.
France, always working for its allies, even after they've lost the war and been killed.
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Big Media bias watch

[source, source]
A Sept. 15 article on Vice President Cheney's appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" mischaracterized the vice president's response to a question about releasing information on Saudi Arabia's ties to al Qaeda and the Sept. 11 hijackers. The article quoted Cheney as saying, "I don't want to speculate" about the ties, and said that the vice president went on to say that Sept. 11 is "over with now, it's done, it's history and we can put it behind us." The article implied that Cheney agreed with this point of view. In fact, in his full remarks, the vice president took the opposite view and argued that it is important, in discussing alleged Saudi connections to the hijackers, not to release information that would jeopardize the United States' ability to fight terrorism.
As "JYB":http://junkyardblog.transfinitum.net notes, when do you ever see stories where the speakers views were completely reversed toward the conservative side?
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The fine edge of conversation

[source, source]
CNN news chief Jim Walton had a "private converation" with reporter Christiane Amanpour after she accused her own network of being "intimidated" in its coverage of the Iraqi war. […] A Fox News spokeswoman said: "It's better to be viewed as a foot soldier for Bush than spokeswoman for al-Qaeda."
Ooooh, now _that_ is a cutting remark.
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15 September 2003

Forward to the past in Europe

One small sign of what is in prospect [for Estonia] comes from the fact that, at the EU’s insistence, Estonia is having to _reintroduce_ agricultural subsidies. Tallinn’s free market pioneers scrapped them years ago.
That crazy EUlite! Always with the reactionary economic policies! When do they think it is, 1929?
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Potential copyright infringement?

[source, source] Concerned about recent Israeli statements about "removing" Arafat, the crack Palestinian conspiracy team leapt in to action, leaking the news that
one speculated method of assassination could be the direction of poisonous rays towards Arafat's brain. These rays can cause palpitations in the heart leading to a failure of brain resulting in gradual stop in breathing and ultimate death.
Listen, boys, _I_ do the psychotronic / brain affecting ray beams around _this_ planet. Those Israelis are just pale imitations of me, the real thing.
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14 September 2003

Swedes resist call of the dark side

[source, source]
Swedes rejected adopting the euro by a wide margin, dashing government hopes the nation would take up the common currency in a Sunday referendum overshadowed by the killing of Foreign Minister Anna Lindh. With 97 percent of the Scandinavian country's 5,967 precincts counted, 56.3 percent of the more than 5.4 million ballots cast were against replacing the krona with the euro, while 41.7 percent voted in favor of it. Two percent cast undecided ballots.
Despite the united front of the government, unions and big business in favor and the "sympathy vote for the murdered cabinet member":http://www.sundayherald.com/36736 the Euro was defeated. And so one candle is lit against the encroaching darkness - how long can it or must it stay lit?
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Phantom of the Op-eds

[source, source] Secretary of State Colin Powell, member of an administration that has as its policy goal the political elimination of Yassir Arafat and who does not
dispute that peacemaking might be easier if Arafat were no longer in the picture
still thinks actually _removing_ Arafat is a bad idea. Why? The phantom of the opeds, the Muslim Street:
Israel would incite rage not only among Arabs but also Muslims everywhere by exiling or executing Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
If that's true, why hasn't the current US policy done that? Beyond that, what have we come to if the irrational reaction of others stops us from doing with is right and in the best interests of our allies, ourselves and our principles? The State Department?
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That is so last committee meeting

The plenary session of the Euro-Parliament passed a proposal-report prepared by French Euro-deputy Fode Sylla concerning the EU Fundamental Rights situation for 2002 which includes, among others, a reference to the special status enjoyed by the monastic community of Mount Athos in northern Greece. In essence, the Euro-deputies call on the Greek government to proceed with the lifting of the entry ban to Mount Athos directed on women. […] Among others, they [the Greek government] mentioned that Mount Athos enjoys a special status, which was secured with a joint statement included in Greece’s EEC Accession Treaty It is also mentioned that in the Amsterdam Treaty Final Act annex there is a statement by Greece, which is a reminder of the Joint Statement on Mount Athos attached to the Final Act of Greece’s Accession Treaty.
Just because it's in a few old, dusty treaties which were signed _years_ ago is no excuse. We're the EUlite and because we know better we are not bound by plebian conventions like treaty adherence.
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13 September 2003

Depends on what your goals are

[source, (source & source) ]
ST. LOUIS - The school district was broke - and failing. Half of all high school freshmen quit before graduation. Fewer than 7% of juniors scored "proficient" on a state reading and writing test. In desperation, the school board took a radical route: They handed control of public education here to a corporate turnaround firm from New York. […] The result has been dramatic change and fierce public anger. […] Districts across the nation have let teachers go and class sizes swell, but here, Roberti [the corporate guy] has cut $60 million from the budget without laying off a single classroom teacher. He has made sure that kindergarten, first- and second-grade teachers have no more than 23 students - down from 25 last year. He's also hired 94 "literacy coaches" to work full time on reading. […] But many in St. Louis have made it clear they don't want their schools run like a corporation. They want their schools to be community anchors. […] "It's no good for kids and it's *not fair to taxpayers* [emphasis added]," said Eric Thomas, 41, a machine operator. He will keep his son, Shawn, home in protest on Monday - and if need be, for weeks to come, until the district is in new hands. "As long as it takes," he said.
Yeah, dude, that's an elightened, concerned about the child attitude - "change the school management or I'll turn my son into a uneducated failure". I note that no one seems to be complaining about the educational aspects of the changes. Speaking as a taxpayer, I think it's mroe than fair that money for education is spent on _education_ and not have
the district spend nearly $450,000, the equivalent of a dozen teacher salaries, to cater banquets for meetings often attended by just a handful of staff
But unlike _you_, the new head guy has a keen grasp of the situation:
Roberti said, "People in St. Louis have to decide: Do we want to have a great system to educate our kids, or do we want a bloated system that gives a lot of people jobs?"
I guess it depends on whether the populace wants to sacrifice to benefit themselves or their children.
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12 September 2003

Not a good sign

[source] Briana LaHara was sued by the RIAA(Recording Industry of America Association) for having over 1,000 illegally downloaded songs on her computer. After being sued for $100 million dolllars, the family settled for $2,000. But Brianna was immediately reimbursed by file sharing trade organization (a pirate ring?) for the money and other donations came in as well. It's not a good sign for the RIAA if suing somebody for stealing from them causes the citizenry to send the thief money. Perhaps the RIAA has not persued the optimal strategy for winning the hearts and minds of their customers. Just a thought.
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It's all about me chronicles

It occurs to me that leftists scouring the world for humanitarian causes to support could do worse than volunteer to stand guard at Afghan girls' schools. Maybe the "International Solidarity Movement":http://www.palsolidarity.org/ could spare a few of their people for the task. Maybe some of the former "human shields" in Iraq are looking for a new cause.
It wouldn't do to support things, like schools, that _help_ the poor little dears, because then they might not need the Mighty Western Sympathizers. Best to help them blow themselves up or protect the dictators that keep them in a state of need.
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Switching captains on a sinking ship

[source] While the big news in California is the recall election, there are other reports of legislation rushed "through at the last minute":892, there has been plenty of self-destructive legislation leading up to this: * Senate Bill 2 would force California's hard-hit small and medium-sized businesses, with 20 or more employees, to pay 80 percent of employees' health coverage. Companies with more than 200 employees would be forced to pay that for the whole family. Even part-timers get this big perk. * Senate Bill 18 giving the obscure Native American Heritage Commission the power to stop development on anyone's land in California if tribes feel construction interferes with a sacred site anywhere in the region. Best of all, the Commission wouldn't have to specify _where_ the site was, only that it existed "in the region". And of course the public would be barred from attending Commission proceedings. The bill originally had a five mile limit but after intense opposition it was changed to not have any limit at all! That's legislating in the California style. Of course, Governor Davis already got his $2 million for his (forthcoming) signature. * A workers compensation bill that attempted to emulate reforms from other states (because California's is the most expensive while delivering the least benefits - just like the Davis government!). But it was gutted over the summer of any actual reform. Will it matter if Davis is recalled?
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Takes one to know one

[source, source] The BBC will now be monitoring internet web sites for "hate speech" for various NGO(non-governmental organization)s and elements of the British government. This probably means anyone who says anything nasty about government funding for tyranophilic news organizations. Well, dudes, write me up!
Posted by orbital at 9:42 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Democratic Party thwarted in effort to circumvent democracy

A three-judge federal appeals panel on Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed by Democrats in the state Senate who had hoped to derail a new round of Republican-led congressional redistricting in Texas.
It's a win - win scenario for the Texas citizenry. Either they get more appropriate representation in Congress or the legislature is effectively not in session.
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A tragic setback in Iraq

US troops have been accused of killing eight Iraqi policemen and a Jordanian security guard in a friendly fire incident during a car chase. […] The American patrol at the location opened fire, said Asem Mohammed, 23, a police sergeant who was among the injured. "We were chasing a white BMW with bandits. We turned around in front of Jordanian Hospital and some American forces started shooting at us," he said.
Definitely a tragedy. It's doubly bad because building up the capabilities of Iraqis to police Iraq is critical to our long term success in the region.
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11 September 2003

CNN confirms Arafat / Iraqi Ba’ath connection!

"Take action" could mean, explained the Israeli government spokesman, expulsion. It could mean limiting further his [Arafat's] freedom in that *Mukhabarat* headquarters where he is, where he has been beleaguered for over a year. […] Well, he's [Arafat's] clearly not isolated from his people or from his supporters, given these views in the *Mukhabarat* headquarters […]
[emphasis added] As we know, "Mukhabarat":http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mukhabarat is the Iraqi intelligence apparat and now CNN admits that Arafat lives in Mukhabarat headquarters. Seems quite cut and dried to me.
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THIS JUST IN: Arafat supporters upset about possible exile

News Thursday of an Israeli government decision to "expel" Yasser Arafat was not greeted warmly by his supporters.
Posted by orbital at 7:54 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Making lemonade

[source, source]
The world will not help us; we must help ourselves. We must kill as many of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders as possible, as quickly possible, while minimizing collateral damage, but not letting that damage stop us. And we must kill Yasser Arafat, because the world leaves us no alternative.[…] Such was the case in the Six Day War, when Israel was forced to launch a preemptive attack or accept destruction. And when Menachem Begin decided to bomb the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981. And when Israel launched Operation Defensive Shield in Palestinian cities after the Passover Massacre of 2002. In each case, Israel tried every fashion of restraint, every plea to the international community to take action that would avoid the need for "extreme" measures, all to no avail. When the breaking point arrives, there is no point in taking half-measures. If we are going to be condemned in any case, we might as well do it right.
It's about time that the Palestinians were shown what happens when you call the other side "Nazis", "killers" and "barbarians" regardless of their actions and then commit every despicable act possible against them. Eventually they give up trying to prove that they're not like that and do what is needful.
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THIS JUST IN: Kyoto Treaty bad for first world economies

[source, source]
This morning on the Belgian radio news: Fientje Moerman, minister of economic affairs, lamenting about the woes the Kyoto protocol is causing. Either it means very heavy investments in even further (minimal) polution reduction (which causes companies to run away and jobs to be lost) or it means sending large amounts of cash abroad for no good reason ('buying clean air elsewhere'). And some people in the government even want to put a cap on the amount of 'clean air' that can be bought elsewhere, thus forcing the loss of jobs. Oh, and since there is policy to 'get out of nuclear energy' in Belgium, the pollution reduction forced on the industry has to be more severe than it already was when the protocol was signed: Nuclear plants don't emit greenhouse gasses, but their future replacements surely will. Freya Van Den Bossche, the minister for the environment, refused to comment. Some in the current cabinet blame the cabinet of two governments ago for having made a bad deal: the Germans and the French, you see, are much better off... They just have to close some old plants they were already going to close anyway, and their commitment is fulfilled. Not fair!
Will you look at that. France and Germany got the rest of Europe in to a treaty that's good for France and Germany and bad for the rest of Europe. Who could have predicted that?
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10 September 2003

Paycheck protection

[source, source]
With 100 percent of the precincts reporting Tuesday, 866,623 people, or 68 percent, opposed [Alabama] Gov. Bob Riley's $1.2 billion tax plan, while 416,310, or 32 percent, voted for it.
Not even close, you money grabbing spend monkeys!
Posted by orbital at 10:54 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Right Left-winger smears Howard Dean

Juan Williams, a journalist for NPR and Fox News Channel who was among the panel of questioners at last night's Democratic presidential debate, characterized Dean's position [&hellip] p(qq). Gov. Dean has suggested that states like Vermont, Montana and Wyoming, with overwhelmingly white populations, really don't need gun control, in part because of their rural character, but urban areas, such as Baltimore, Md. [where the debate was held], with large minority populations, do need gun control.
Not only is this a significant mischaracterization of Dean's position on gun control (which is that it's good in cities but not in rural areas) but Williams didn't even bother to _ask_ Dean about it, he stated it as a fact and ask loony fringer Carol Mosley Braun if she agreed with it. That's the kind of objective, fact seeking reporting I've come to expect from NPR.
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09 September 2003

Anti-WMD efforts get serious

[source, source]
The United States and 10 of its allies will press on with plans to intercept vessels suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction despite a warning from China that the move could be illegal. […] The 11 countries have agreed to board ships, force planes to land and inspect cargoes if they suspect that chemical, nuclear or biological weapons are being transported.
Yow! That's hardcore. It's certainly about time that the anti-proliferation forces put up or shut up.
Posted by orbital at 11:42 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

How can they be bad if the US doesn't like them?

[source] A good post on the tragedy of South Korea's affection for the DPRK. It also discusses a bit the delusional state of those who left wealth and freedom in Japan to help build Kim Il Sung's regime.
Posted by orbital at 9:58 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

08 September 2003

Language difficulties

[source, source, source]
An aide to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stormed out of a presentation by Victor Davis Hanson, author of the book Mexifornia about illegal immigration in California. The Pelosi aide, Federico de Jesus, said Hanson's views were racist and backed that up by accusing Hanson of being an admitted "classist." Hanson is in fact a scholar of ancient Greece and Rome and had been introduced to the group as a, "classicist," a distinction apparently lost on de Jesus, who proceeded to storm out of the room, trying as he left to grab one of the pizzas that had been brought in for the participants.
When jumping to conclusions, one should look before one leaps.
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Crossing Jordan

[source, source]
Parliament in Jordan has overwhelmingly rejected a proposed law imposing harsher punishments for men who kill female relatives in what are known as "honour killings". It was the second time since June's elections that the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, quashed the bill on such killings […] In 2001, King Abdullah passed a temporary bill imposing harsher penalties for honour killings. But parliament recently voted to dissolve the bill.
The UN estimates 5,000 deaths a year from honor killings worldwide, about 20 per year in Jordan. Special sections of Jordanian law mandate lighter penalties for such "honor" based murders. The UN also estimates that
In 1999, more than two-thirds of all murders in Gaza strip and West bank were most likely honor killings.
Posted by orbital at 5:36 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Time for a change of policy

Ahmed Qurei, the man who might become Palestinian prime minister, said today that for him to succeed in that post, the Bush administration would have to press Israel to restrain its military and to "change their way of dealing with President Arafat."
I agree - Israel should stop coddling Arafat and put a bullet in his head. The US should pressure Israel in to doing that. After all, our official policy is that Arafat shouldn't be involved in the Palestinian Authority. A bit of lead injection should fix that right up.
Posted by orbital at 5:25 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

07 September 2003

California allows illegal immigrants to vote

[source, source]
Gov. Gray Davis (D) tonight signed into a law a bill granting more than 1 million undocumented residents the right to obtain a driver's license […]
And thanks to Motor-Voter, people with driver's licenses can vote.
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06 September 2003

What price car insurance?

[source, source]
Public auto insurance leads to more deaths, injuries, and property damage because it pays bad drivers to be on the road, concludes a new study, Public Auto Insurance: A Mortality Warning for Motorists, released today by The Fraser Institute. The study shows that provinces with public insurance systems (British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba) have higher vehicle collision rates than the other provinces: * 18 percent more deaths per person. * 35 percent more deaths per kilometer traveled. * 46 percent more hospital admissions. * 59 percent more young male hospital admissions. The study examines 26 possible factors that could explain these differences and concludes that social risk pricing -- where good drivers subsidize the premiums of bad drivers -- is the key reason for more collisions.
Imagine that! Indulging bad behaviour creates a moral hazard. Who'd have thunk it?
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The true enemy

[source, source] Al Qaeda admits that its primary opponent is secular democracy:
"It is not the American war machine that should be of the utmost concern to Muslims. What threatens the future of Islam, in fact its very survival, is American democracy". This is the message of a new book, published by Al Qaeda in several Arab countries yesterday. The book’s title is "The Future of Iraq and The Arabian Peninsula After The Fall of Baghdad". Its author is Yussuf al-Ayyeri, one of Osama Ben Laden’s closest associates since the early 1990s. A Saudi citizen, Al-Ayyeri, also known under the nom de guerre of Abu Muhammad, was killed in a gun-battle with security forces in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, last June.
I would say that this proves that Al Qaeda is at war with the West because of our virtues, not vices, but those who make that claim seem to view our secular democracy in the same way as Al Qaeda.
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Idiotarian of the Year race heats up

[source, source] Reacting to an early lead by Arthur Miller, last year's winner Jimmy Carter is working hard for a comeback:
Former U.S. president and Nobel Peace laureate Jimmy Carter said on Friday that guaranteeing North Korea's security was critical to solving the crisis over Pyongyang's nuclear program. […] "How do the other nations -- primarily the United States -- give North Korea absolute assurance that (it) will not be attacked, oppressed further economically, or efforts made to overthrow the regime," he said.
Worried about _further_ oppresion of North Korea? Carter's got a lot more darkness than just lust in his heart if he can visualize how to oppress the North Koreans more than they are now.
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EU concedes one to reality

[source, source]
RIVA DEL GARDA, Italy (Reuters) - European Union foreign ministers on Saturday denounced the political wing of Hamas as a terrorist organization following the group's claim of responsibility for a truce-shattering bomb attack in Jerusalem.
Apparent the reality blocking field still has a few bugs in it.
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05 September 2003

France gets to the right of the Democratic Party

[source, source]
France confirmed its status as the rogue nation of the eurozone's public finances on Thursday after prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin decreed a 3 per cent cut in income taxes that will put further pressure on the country's budget deficit. […] "Solving problems by raising taxes is an archaic attitude," Mr Raffarin said in an interview with Le Figaro. "What we need to do in this country is to encourage work. To share in the fruits of growth, we must first create wealth. That means preferring work rather than taxes."
Funny how impending doom can make certain realities a little clearer.
Posted by orbital at 11:46 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Or maybe it's the headgear

[source, source]
Saudi officials acknowledged that Royal Saudi Air Force has moved most of its fleet of advanced F-15Es to the Tabuk air base, less than 200 kilometers from the Israeli border.
Responding to another concerned commentor, Geepers says:
I know someone has mentioned this before, but I hope we have some secret self destruct mechanism on those planes.
Saudi Pilots?
Posted by orbital at 6:16 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Trading death

[source, source]
The Centre for the New Europe has released a devastating paper that shows the claims of the Euro-statist elite to care for the world's 'have-nots' for what they are: complete lies * 6,600 people die every day in the world because of the trading rules of the EU. That is 275 people every hour.
In other words, one person dies every 13 seconds somewhere in the world - mainly in Africa - because the European Union does not act on trade as it talks.
* If Africa could increase its share of world trade by just one per cent, it would earn an additional £49 billion a year. This would be enough to lift 128 million people out of extreme poverty. The EU's trade barriers are directly responsible for Africa's inability to increase its trade and thus for keeping Africa in poverty.
Meanwhile even ??The Guardian?? is shocked at the hostility of the EU-lite to the poor nations of the world [source]:
The European commission yesterday launched a ferocious attack on poor countries and development campaigners when it dismissed calls for big cuts in Europe's farm protection regime as extreme demands couched in "cheap propaganda".
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Name falling

[source, source, source]
But the name ["Hillary"] sharply reversed course in 1993, smashing several longstanding records for name contamination in its plunge from the the Top 1000 girl names last year. The title for the most rapid case of name contamination had been held by Ebenezer and then Adolph, names that were shunned by parents after they became associated with Dickens's miserly banker and the Nazi dictator Hitler. But while Ebenezer and Adolph each took over 30 years to fall from the Top 1000 after they were negatively associated with their prominent name sakes, Hillary dropped off the charts in just 10 years, upsetting the prior records in less than 30% of the time. Besides this achievement, Hillary also set records for largest drop in a single year (295 places in 1994), two years (420 places in 1993-1994) and ten years (>864 from 1993 to 2002). These titles taken together constitute the grand slam of name poisoning.
What could have happened circa 1992 that so discredited that name?
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03 September 2003

Grinding the wheel slowly

[source] In 1993 in Somalia, two Canadian soldiers tortured to death a civilian. The senior soldier later attempted suicide but didn't succeed, leaving himself effectively brain-dead. Of course, it's never beyond the power of a government to turn tradgedy into farce:
the death in 1992 was followed by the creation of an independent investigatory commission in 1993. That commission, incompetently run and led for the most part, dragged on through three *years* of televised hearings, had its mandate extended three times, and was demanding to be allowed to continue through to late 1998 at the earliest when the Liberal government shut it down. In all that time, amazingly, the commission had yet to hear any evidence yet about the actual death itself, or depose any of the civilian leadership involved. The government at the time stated they believed it would be 2000 at the earliest before the group would actually produce a report if left alone
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GOP says "we are Big Government"

[source, source]
the [Republican] party's new chairman [Ed Gillespie], energetic and full of vigor, said in no uncertain terms that the days of Reaganesque Republican railings against the expansion of federal government are over. […] We asked him three times to explain why President Bush and the Republican Congress have increased discretionary non-defense spending at such an alarming rate, and why the party has embraced the expansion of the federal government’s roles in education, agriculture and Great Society-era entitlement programs. "Those questions have been decided," was his response. The public wants an expanded federal role in those areas, and the Republican Party at the highest levels has decided to give the public what it wants.
As Dilbert once said, "I think I preferred uncertainty".
Posted by orbital at 3:55 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

02 September 2003

Corruption to the left of me …

[source, source]
Pressure was growing on leaders of the Italian left yesterday over allegations that they took massive kickbacks when Telecom Italia bought a chunk of Telekom Serbia during Slobodan Milosevic's rule. A key financial adviser has accused European commissioner Romano Prodi; a former foreign minister, Lamberto Dini; the leader of the Democrats of the Left party, Piero Fassino; and Rome's mayor, Walter Veltroni, of taking millions of pounds in backhanders when the deal was done in 1997.
Prodi was involved - that figures. He's running another criminal enterprise these days, the European Union.
Posted by orbital at 8:34 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Poor and elderly in France rescued by international corporpation

[source, source]
The sad part is that while the neoleftists are worshipping symbols, McDonalds is taking care of Paris' poor. Many French retirees and low income workers go to McDonalds to buy a coffee or just a bottle of water because it is so much less expensive and they can drink it sitting down. Paris cafés charge higher prices for drinking anything sitting down. But the limousine leftists, who of course would never be caught dead anywhere near a McDonalds, do not know this. They are too busy chowing down where-the-elite-meet-to-eat in the 8^th^ _arrondissement_ right next to their PR firms.
Instapundit asks "Would more M^c^Donald's mean fewer heat deaths? If it saves just one person it would be worth it."
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01 September 2003

Scamming Commies

[source and source]
Five young Ukrainian conspirators -- seemingly with a background in the "official communist" Komsomol and well able to pick up the vital factional nuances of left politics in the Anglo-Saxon world -- managed to pass themselves off as "sections" of anything up to 12 different organisations. […]
It looks like they were scamming the Western Communists out of "rent and support money":http://www.bolshevik.org/ukrscandal/Fraud%20against%20the%20workers%20movement.htm. Their secret was to have
recreated in fictional microcosm the factional struggles and rivalries that plague the left in Britain and the US. Negotiations, polemics, splits and all.
They were tripped up when one Western faction saw a picture from a _different_ Western faction and noticed that the leaders from their faction were the same as those for the other faction. From a strong competitor for world domination to the victim of former amatuer actors. Now _that's_ good schadenfruede.
Posted by orbital at 10:39 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Soft targeting

By the way, where are all the Western protests about foreign forces invading Iraq in order to kill innocent Iraqi civilians?
-- Tim Blair
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