29 February 2004



Claudia Rossett has uncovered some Hollywood-style accounting in the UN’s oil-for-food program. Scratch that. When the Paramount accounting department insisted, with a perfectly straight face, that Forrest Gump didn’t make any money, at least their cooked figures added up. If UN bureaucrats were in charge of Forrest Gump, they wouldn’t know whether the production costs were $50 or $60 million, or whether it made $400 or $500 million worldwide; the director would still be collecting a salary and finishing post-production 6 months after the movie came out on video; and, if anyone asked about the discrepencies in the figures, they’d just dismiss it all as “rounding off”.

Of course, being the object of blind worship by so much of the intelligentsia and Big Media, this story will quietly fade away. Why shouldn’t the U.N. be brazen about it?

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28 February 2004

Where do they get these people, Plorfon Seven?

[source, source]

[T]he specific cost in human lives of the Iraq war is not the sole reason why this will remain the central question of current politics. There are wider reverberations. For this war was unique, the first truly pre-emptive attack lacking even the pretence of provocation.

How can anyone possibly be that ignorant of history? One doesn’t even need to look at other nations than Iraq and it’s adventures in Kuwait in 1990 or Iran in 1980.

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27 February 2004

But it was in the script!


[New York Times] Editor’s Note: Feb. 27, 2004, Friday

An article in The Arts yesterday about Hollywood’s reaction to Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion of the Christ” cited an executive close to David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg, principals of DreamWorks, saying that the two men had privately expressed anger over the film.

The Times should have checked directly with both men and given them an opportunity to comment on the executive’s statement.

Mr. Geffen said yesterday: “Neither Jeffrey or I have seen the movie or have formed an opinion about it.”

They’ve brought back Jayson Blair as a free lancer?

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How I learned to stop worrying and love budget cuts

Of the long discussion of conversion from left to right, the best quote was

P.J. O’Rourke is the gateway drug of conservatism.

Teenage Diplomat

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Advertising kills a bad product fast

[source, source]

All the proof [Massachusetts] state Board of Education member Roberta Schaefer needed to OK controversial new charter schools were the letters before her from public school students.

Schaefer ridiculed the letters against a proposed school in Marlboro for their missing punctuation and sloppy spelling - including a misspelling of the word “school” in one missive.

“If I didn’t think a charter school was necessary, these letters have convinced me the high school was not doing an adequate job in teaching English language arts,” Schaefer said.

The letters were not written spontaneously, but at the behest of the teachers of the students, which seems abusive on the face of it to me. It is probably also the case that it never occurred to the teachers that the students had bad language skills or that the teachers might be judged on that fact.

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26 February 2004

Precious moments in education

[source, source, source]

Facing a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge, South Haven High School’s assistant principal, Pat Conroy, resigned Friday, Schools Superintendent Dave Myers said.


In his police report, South Haven Deputy Police Chief Tom Martin said Conroy told him that last year he placed some of the marijuana from his office in the locker of a male high school student he strongly suspected was a drug dealer. He said he was hoping the drugs would be found during a police dog search of the school and would lead to the boy’s expulsion.

I suppose he confessed because he didn’t see why it was wrong.

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North America explained

I have finally come to the conclusion that it’s not your [Canada’s] and Mexico’s fault the way you turned out, after all, you’ve been ruled by France!

Sandy P.

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How long before society rejects this kind of thinking?

[source, source]

U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown verbally attacked a top Bush administration official during a briefing on the Haiti crisis Wednesday, calling the President’s policy on the beleaguered nation “racist” and his representatives “a bunch of white men.”

Her outburst was directed at Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega during a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill. Noriega, a Mexican-American, is the State Department’s top official for Latin America.


Noriega later told Brown: “As a Mexican-American, I deeply resent being called a racist and branded a white man,” according to three participants.

Brown then told him “you all look alike to me,” the participants said.

Any guesses as to whether this will simply disappear? I doubt we’ll see any castigation of Brown by the Democratic Party. What can they do? This is natural result of the grievance nuturing stance of that party. To repudiate Brown would be to repudiate a primary platform of the party.

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24 February 2004

Contextuality morality

[source, source]

It’s become quasi-liturgical in its ritual predictability. A Catholic college announces it will stage Eve Ensler’s V Monologues. Outraged alumni write Father President demanding action. Father President replies with the standard two paragraphs of clichés on the need to raise consciousness about violence against women. And of course the inevitable media coverage blitz always works to the benefit of the anti-family crowd.

Well, I have a suggestion for bringing the “V Monologues” to a halt.

You get jock fraternities to put on the play, casting their “little sisters” as the performers. No changes necessary; keep the script intact. Schedule it maybe for Ground Hog’s Day, just to give faculty and admin hacks time after the Christmas break to read the posters and conjure up the mental picture of a roomful of Alpha Delts, all five or six tallboys to the good, wolf-whistling the actresses and hooting in sarcastic glee at the trash-talk.

Overnight, from being a bold and disturbing exploration of emerging values, the “V Monologues” will become a threat to women’s safety and an insult to feminists everywhere. Deans will give interviews against it. Chaplains will denounce it from the pulpit. The women’s studies department will organize candlelight vigils in protest. And don’t worry about the lubricious enjoyment given the frat boys, because there won’t be any enjoyment. Father President will hold a press conference announcing the cancellation, and threatening to suspend the fraternity that disobeys.

On the other hand, the Left now maintains that it only matters who says a thing and what other people think of it, not what was said or what it was intended to mean. So they’d at least be able to avoid the charge of inconsistency.

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Another blast from the Kerry past

[source, source]

[…] he [Senator John Kerry] covered up voluminous evidence that a significant number of live American prisoners—perhaps hundreds—were never acknowledged or returned after the war-ending treaty was signed in January 1973.

The Massachusetts senator, now seeking the presidency, carried out this subterfuge a little over a decade ago— shredding documents, suppressing testimony, and sanitizing the committee’s final report—when he was chairman of the Senate Select Committee on P.O.W./ M.I.A. Affairs.


The stated purpose of the special Senate committee—which convened in mid 1991 and concluded in January 1993—was to investigate the evidence about prisoners who were never returned and find out what happened to the missing men. Committee chair Kerry’s larger and different goal, though never stated publicly, emerged over time: He wanted to clear a path to normalization of relations with Hanoi. In any other context, that would have been an honorable goal. But getting at the truth of the unaccounted for P.O.W.’s and M.I.A.’s (Missing In Action) was the main obstacle to normalization—and therefore in conflict with his real intent and plan of action.

Kerry denied back then that he disguised his real goal, contending that he supported normalization only as a way to learn more about the missing men. But almost nothing has emerged about these prisoners since diplomatic and economic relations were restored in 1995, and thus it would appear—as most realists expected—that Kerry’s explanation was hollow.

This still leaves the question - why were normalized relations with the North Vietnamese regime so important to Kerry? Was it just part of rationalizing his siding with the North Vietnamese against his own country?

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The needs of the story line come first at the NY Times


Who is George Meagher? He’s an independent! He’s a Republican! He’s the new Greg Packer, the indispensable, universal New York Times man-on-the-street source for this political season. (Why is he so useful? He’s newly anti- Bush!) … If only Meagher had lost his job to outsourcing, Elisabeth Rosenthal would never have to do another interview again! … See Instapundit, though the ‘wingers at Free Republic started it. … Update: A NYT correction treats the symptom, ignores the underlying disease.

From the NY Times point of view, it’s not a disease. The disease is getting caught at it, for which the cure is to get people to ignore the weblogs.

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23 February 2004

Ashcroft vs. Liberty update

I previously noted in passing the controversy about Attorney General John Ashcroft and the bare breasted statue of Liberty. I wanted to post an update because I ran in to a better link over at Asymmetrical Information. Noting that it’s the BBC reporting this (not normally a hot bed of Ashcroft-philia), we have the quotes

Photographers have gone to great lengths in the past to capture the scantily-clad female statue in the background as the Justice Department’s top brass addressed the world’s press.


The drapes are reported to have been hanging since Monday, drawing to a close the sport of photographers who infamously sprawled on the floor to snap the former Attorney General Edwin Meese holding aloft his report on pornography in front of the female statue.

We can see this kind of thing in the attached photo.

I’m not a fan of Ashcroft, but he’s hardly the brimstone breathing caricature that is so common in Big Media. What we see here is the adults reacting to the juvenile antics of the journalists, who are the ones that made the breast significant.

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Don't mess with this guy

Ok, I’m sure everyone has seen this already but I found it darn amusing and this is my clippings file. So here’s the link to Donald Rumsfeld’s Semantic Battle Techniques. I’m working on the Coffee Palm and Spider Hand techniques myself, although of course I have not the mastery of the Rumsfeld himself.

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THIS JUST IN: College age drinking harzardous to others


The most commonly reported effects were disrupted sleep or study, having to take care of a drunken person, being insulted or humiliated and unwanted sexual advances.

Others reported finding vomit in the halls or bathroom, serious argument or quarrel and sexual assault or date rape.

Obviously, they should ban college to prevent this kind of thing.

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22 February 2004

International Court of Injustice

[source, source]

The International Court of Justice in The Hague rejected Saturday the request of Israeli terror victims’ families to participate in the court’s hearing regarding the West Bank security fence, Israel Radio reported.

The court argued that the families do not represent a country and therefore should not take part in the hearing.

Fourteen governments and two organizations are to testify in the ICJ three-day hearing, beginning next week. Most of the legal testimonies will be against the fence.

And those organizations represent what country? We also have this

The mayor of The Hague, W.J. (Wim) Deetman, believes Israel’s embassy here is trying to undermine arrangements that have been instituted to maintain public order, in anticipation of Monday’s International Court of Justice discussion about the West Bank separation fence. The embassy, Deetman claims, has jeopardized these arrangements by relaying pictures of 927 terror victims to the “Christians for Israel” organization.


In Deetman’s view, the pictures will spark confrontations with pro-Palestinian demonstrators and thereby disrupt public order.

So of course, the solution isn’t to prevent the confrontations but to ban the pictures.

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Getting out while the getting's good


The government he inherited from that moron who outstayed his welcome would be history. [Canadian Prime Minister] Paul Martin would finally be PM in his own right, and everyone would see how superior he is in every way to that sleazebag. His moment of triumph was so close he could taste it.

And now it’s just a pile of merde, as far as the eye can see.

Things could not have gone more wrong if his oldest enemy had deliberately schemed to do him in.

In his dark nights of the soul, Paul must be wondering if that’s exactly what happened.

[…] He’s got to make us believe that even though he was the finance minister and Quebec is his home turf, he was shocked - shocked!- to find out about all the dirty things that were going on there.

Martin just needs to hang in there for a few months. Chretien got away with it because he was so blasé and the Candanian voters so uncaring. Only the fringers will remember this stuff in six months - note that the cost overruns at the gun registry have been a surprise at least twice in the last year.

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21 February 2004

They live too close to Washington, D.C.

[source, source]

[Democrat VA Governor Mark]Warner has successfully lobbied state GOP standard-bearers to endorse his goals, giving political cover to Republicans who might want to vote for tax increases. And on the stump, he frequently calls his proposals “moderate” in comparison to the Senate plan authored by Republican Sen. John H. Chichester.

‘Heck,’ Warner told an audience of about 100 at the Pittsylvania County Courthouse last week, ‘we’ve got the Republican Senate now. I’m the conservative alternative!’”

Thanks, Virginia Republicans. By pushing a $3.7 billion tax increase—higher than the $2 billion proposed by Mark Warner—you’ve made yourself the poster child for Democrats who are trying to paint the GOP as the party you can’t trust on fiscal issues. US Senate Democrats are pointing to Virginia and saying “See, they don’t believe in the Bush tax cuts, either!”

Someone remind me again what, exactly, is the party platform of the Republican Party? I know it’s called “The Stupid Party” but I was hoping that was just a nasty nickname.

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Grammatical crimes

[source, source]

“Two judges delayed taking any action Tuesday to shut down San Francisco’s same-sex wedding spree, citing court procedures as they temporarily rebuffed conservative groups enraged that the city’s liberal politicians had already married almost 2,400 gay and lesbian couples.

The second judge told the plaintiffs that they would likely succeed on the merits eventually, but that for now, he couldn’t accept their proposed court order because of a punctuation error.

It all came down to a semicolon, the judge said. […]

“The way you’ve written this it has a semicolon where it should have the word ‘or’,” the judge told them. “I don’t have the authority to issue it under these circumstances.”

Yes, it would clearly be a worse crime to allow that invalid semi-colon in a legal document than flagrantly issuing illegal marriage licenses.

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I was going to comment on the stupidity of this UN supported plan to solve the nuclear proliferation issue by … wait for it … outlawing nuclear weapons. That’s it. That’s the plan. No where is there any mention of enforcement. Apparently once you have the law, it’s over. Problem solved.

Via Winds of Change we have a well done ripping on the concept that the UN, having failed to enforce previous nuclear weapons bans and its bans on aggression and genocide, would suddenly (magically) be able to enforce a brand new ban. But hey, when you’re a logo-realist words are all that matter.

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20 February 2004

Keeping your priorities straight

[source, source]

An alleged blackface incident took place over the weekend, but those involved say it could all be a misunderstanding.

Just after midnight on Saturday morning, the Department of Public Safety received a report that a student was wandering around Watson Residence Hall with his face painted a dark color […]

The student told officers that the face paint was camouflage - not blackface - and that he was actually on his way to rob a house, Hall said.

It turns out that this was primarily a sorority prank rather than a real robbery, but note that the student and the school officials were more concerned about a “black-face incident” than a burglary.

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Get me Dowd on line 1, stat!

[source, source]

Kerry’s remarks lasted three minutes, yet it left TV reporters without a soundbite until one CBS News producer asked the Massachusetts senator to try again.

Why didn’t they just Dowdify him and make up something interesting?

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19 February 2004

Source of bias


If your temperament favors freedom without responsibility, then there are certain occupations that are a good fit. Academic life is one of them, as I pointed out in Real World 101. A professor has very little of what most of us would consider responsibility. Teaching, which is the most responsible activity that a professor must perform, is considered a minor part of the academic’s life. Almost all professors seek to lower these modest responsibilities even further by seeking reduced teaching loads.


When we see leftist ideology statistically predominant among college professors, news reporters, or open-source software advocates, what we are seeing is self selection. What Richard Florida dubbed The Creative Class is a self-selected group that seeks freedom without responsibility in their professional lives. Thus, we should not be surprised that their ideological bent is toward modern liberalism, which translates this personal preference into a political platform.

I find this more plausible than the conservatives are stupid theory.

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Board vs. Council

[source, source]

“Climax — More than just a feeling” is the slogan of Climax, Minn., a town of 270 souls near the North Dakota border. Adopted for the town’s centennial in 1996, the slogan is printed on T-shirts. There’s a school. You can guess the rest.

Shirley Moberg, superintendent of Climax-Shelly schools, said the slogan’s sexual innuendo made it inappropriate for students to wear.

School officials had “turned a blind eye” to students wearing the shirts until recently, when a teacher wore it to school and a person complained. The shirts are no longer allowed to be worn at school, she said.

“Sorry, you can’t wear a T-shirt with the town motto”? Perhaps the complainer should take it up with the town council.

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Praise the lord and pass the ammunition

[source, source]

Insurgents here staged simultaneous morning assaults on three police stations, a civil defense base and the mayor’s office Saturday […]

No American troops were involved in the fighting. Officers from the 82nd Airborne Division stationed a 10-minute drive away could hear the battle clearly. They offered help but the Hammad said it wasn’t needed. The Americans did provide additional ammunition and weapons, including light machine guns.

As has been noted, the fact that the help the Iraqis wanted was guns and ammo instead of troops is a very good sign. You’d never begrudge that kind of thing to a neighbor.

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Artistic opinion in Iraq

[source, source, source, source]

Here’s an example of what an Iraqi artist thinks of the Americans.

This picture of the statue was made by an Iraqi artist named Kalat, who for years was forced by Saddam Hussein to make the many hundreds of bronze busts of Saddam that dotted Baghdad. This artist was so grateful that the Americans liberated his country, he melted 3 of the fallen Saddam heads and made a memorial statue dedicated to the American soldiers and their fallen comrades. Kalat worked on this night and day for several months. To the left of the kneeling soldier is a small Iraqi girl giving the soldier comfort as he mourns the loss of his comrade in arms. It is currently on display outside the palace that is now home to the 4th Infantry division. It will eventually be shipped and shown at the memorial museum in Fort Hood, Texas.


The sculpture is based on a scene many in Iraq have witnessed in one form or another.

A Soldier kneels before a memorial of boots, rifle and helmet — his forehead resting in the hollow of his hand. Behind and to his right stands a small Iraqi girl with her hand reaching out to touch his shoulder.

The statue evokes emotion. The girl was added to the statue to remind people of why the sacrifice was made, [Command Sgt. Maj. Chuck] Fuss said.

“It’s about freedom for this country, but it’s also about the children who will grow up in a free society,” he said.

Not quite the same attitude as Senator John Kerry, eh?

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Political distinction


[Senator John] Kerry has the dubious and perhaps unique distinction of being a presidential candidate whose speeches have actually been used as an instrument of torture against Americans. The Los Angeles Times reports on Kerry’s April 22, 1971, appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which we noted last week:

Dressed in his combat fatigues and ribbons, [Kerry] told Congress that U.S. soldiers had “raped, cut off ears, cut off heads . . . randomly shot at civilians . . . in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan.” He later acknowledged that he did not witness the crimes himself but had heard about them from others. . . .

Paul Galanti learned of Kerry’s speech while held captive inside North Vietnam’s infamous “Hanoi Hilton” prison. The Navy pilot had been shot down in June 1966 and spent nearly seven years as a prisoner of war.

During torture sessions, he said, his captors cited the antiwar speeches as “an example of why we should cross over to [their] side.”

Here’s at least one issue Kerry has been consistent on — opposing the US military.

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18 February 2004

Professional courtesy


AIRBRUSH AWARD: Drudge links to a story on the BBC, and quotes from it:

WASH POST REPORTER: ‘Nobody would be too shocked if Kerry lied about an affair. Even if someone came to us with photographs we still wouldn’t run it’…

But that quote—damning to the Post—is removed. However, as of the time of this post, it’s still in the link that Google uses to link to the story. And here’s a screen capture, for when it scrolls off.

The BBC has quite a checkered recent history of airbrushing its stories with no warning. Looks like it’s happened once again.

Maybe it’s just the BBC following the glass houses rule…

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Still no bias here...


THE ASSOCIATED PRESS’S SCOTT LINDLAW is at it again. After the NASCAR debacle, which the Columbia Journalism Review blog called a “cheap shot” and a “stretch,” you’d think he’d have more sense than to go out of his way to fill a purported news story with gratuitous Bush-bashing. Obviously, he doesn’t.

It is amazing how he manages to both bring up Bush’s guard service yet again and work in a Kerry quote on how he (Kerry) will support the military better than Bush. The online story had 5 paragraphs of guard service and 4 paragraphs of Kerry propaganda out of 23 total paragraphs. So 40% of the article about the President visiting a military base was “Bush bad/Kerry Good” and had nothing to do with the visit itself.

Here we see why the press overwhelming supported the recent campaign finance reform laws - if done properly, the press could continue to campaign like this while the rest of us would be silenced.

P.S. The source is has a number of other indicting details about this - it’s worth clicking through.

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17 February 2004

Don't tell me you think that government belongs to the people!

[source, source, source]

Mary Kay Cariseo, executive director of the Florida Association of Counties, said people need to understand that making a public records request can be threatening to public officials.

“You’re not looking at e-mails to do something good,” she said. “You’re trying to find something. You’re trying to dig something up when we’re trying to be good public servants and run our governments.”

As noted, the attitude of “our governments” says all that you need to know.

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Conason stays true to his principles


The always provocative Spy takes the plunge - some might say right into the sewer of sleaze and unnamed sources.

The cover story of its July/August issue discusses George Bush’s supposed infidelities and publishes the name of longtime aide Jennifer A. Fitzgerald, around whom rumors have long circulated. The piece by Joe Conason also details other supposed liaisons, including a 1980 relationship with ”Ms. X,” then a 30-ish news agency employee.

— “Slinging Sex on Bush’s Campaign,” U.S.A. Today, June 17, 1992

Is American politics suddenly returning to the bad old days, when Washington journalism became frenzied with sheet sniffing and keyhole peeping? …

Once again, Drudge has raised questions — but they may not be the ones he seeks to raise. The first is about journalistic standards. The second is the identity of his anonymous sources. Journalists must ask themselves why the rumor of a private peccadillo deserves their attention and resources in the 2004 campaign.

Joe Conason, Salon, Feb. 13, 2004

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16 February 2004

Oh Canada!

[source, source]

Nearly $2 billion has either been spent on or committed to the federal program since it was introduced in the mid-1990s, according to documents obtained by Zone Libre of CBC’s French news service.

The figure is roughly twice as much as an official government estimate that caused an uproar across the country.

The gun registry was originally supposed to cost less than $2 million. [emphasis added]


A large part of the $2 billion expense is a computer system that’s supposed to track registered guns, according to one document. Officials initially estimated it would cost about $1 million. Expenses now hover close to $750 million and the electronic system is still not fully operational.

OK, I’m quitting my job and starting a computer services consulting service for the Canadian government. You don’t need much of that kind of cost overrun to retire.

See also.

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14 February 2004

University is the opposite of diversity


Robert Munger, chairman of the political science department, said he was impressed by Duke’s intellectual diversity, which he called “relatively healthy” compared to other universities.

Still, Munger recalled a recent meeting in which he heard a fellow department chairman say it was Duke’s job to confront conservative students with their hypocrisies and that they didn’t need to say much to liberal students because they already understood the world.

“There was no big protest [at the meeting], and that was wrong,” Munger said.

Consider the possibility that Munger’s correct and that as bad as this is, Duke is actually “relatively healthy” with regard to real intellectual diversity.

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No bias here, folks - move along!

[source, source]

Gavin Newsom, the new mayor of San Francisco, is defying the California Constitution, which voters amended in 2000 to codify the definition of marriage. At Newsom’s order, the Associated Press reports, “city authorities officiated at the marriage of a lesbian couple Thursday and said they will issue more gay marriage licenses.”

Well, this sort of thing has happened before, most recently when Roy Moore, then chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court, refused to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the courthouse grounds despite judicial rulings that the monument’s presence was unconstitutional. Moore was removed from office for defying the law. What will happen to Newsom?

He will be lauded for his “brave” stand against the forces of darkness.

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What not to do in Canada

[source, source & source]

Canada’s government has condemned a show by U.S. late-night television host Conan O’Brien that insulted people in French-speaking Quebec and seemed to suggest everyone in the province was homosexual. […]

At one point in the show, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog — a hand puppet that is a regular on the show — said to a Quebecer: “You’re French, you’re obnoxious and you no speekay English.” It told another: “I can smell your crotch from here”.

O’Brien’s team were also shown replacing street signs in the province with those that read “Quebecqueer Street” and “Rue des Pussies”.

Alexa McDonough, a legislator for the left-leaning New Democrats, described the program as “racist filth” and “utterly vile” and demanded the government seek the return of the C$1 million subsidy.

Jeebus, you’d think the show had questioned nationalized health care!

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13 February 2004

Big media bias watch

[source, source]

The New Republic’s Peter Beinart and I mixed it up today, when after dancing around the fact that he and the staff at TNR had been discussing the Kerry allegations he chastised me for bringing up the DrudgeReport’s allegations on air without any evidence for their veracity. Trap sprung. I asked Peter for the evidence supporting the allegations that Bush was a “deserter” or “AWOL”, allegations that he and the TNR staff have been rolling about in for days. The only “evidence” he could cite was General Turnipseed’s alleged charge.

Understand that Turnipseed has never alleged that Bush was AWOL or a deserter. Never. Four years ago he said he doesn’t recall seeing him. On Tuesday he stated that Bush could well have been on the base, but that he just didn’t see him.

In other words, there is no evidence whatsoever to support Terry McAuliffe’s slanderous charge that was repeated in Congress yesterday by a Democratic congressman and by countless pundits including the increasingly repugnant Begala, and widely read websites of the left like Joshua Marshall’s.

But while Beinart and his colleagues of the left have no problem covering the Bush story and shifting coverage from the lack of evidence for the charges leveled at Bush to their dissatisfaction with the completeness of the Bush denials, they are feigning shock that a report from Matt Drudge on alleged Kerry infidelity should be mentioned outside their newsrooms.

The timing of the new allegations is wonderful especially because it throws such a defining light on the bias of the Washington media —ever ready to carry the water of the Democrats and dismayed that they might be obliged to cover some nasty business about the front-runner from the left.

Yes, because there was so much evidence for the adultery claims against the former President Bush, which is why the networks ran with that.

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We gotta try something

[source, source]

“No one’s talking about how to keep the other side home on Election Day,” [Kerry support musician] Moby tells us. “It’s a lot easier than you think and it doesn’t cost that much. This election can be won by 200,000 votes.”

Moby suggests that it’s possible to seed doubt among Bush’s far-right supporters on the Web.

“You target his natural constituencies,” says the Grammy-nominated techno-wizard. “For example, you can go on all the pro-life chat rooms and say you’re an outraged right-wing voter and that you know that George Bush drove an ex-girlfriend to an abortion clinic and paid for her to get an abortion.

“Then you go to an anti-immigration Web site chat room and ask, ‘What’s all this about George Bush proposing amnesty for illegal aliens?’”

Well, if you don’t have facts or policy going for you, this is all that’s left short of armed insurrection.

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12 February 2004

Partying with the IDF

Little Green Footballs has pictures of Palestinian war crimes. In these pictures you can see armed men using civilians and children for cover. It shows either a complete indifference to personal survival or indicates that the Israeli response is so weak that hanging around gunmen actively firing on the IDF can be treated like a big party. Or both, I suppose.

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Another "that was then, this is now" moment for the NY Times


Mr. Bush said repeatedly that he went to the United Nations seeking a diplomatic alternative to war. In fact, the United States rejected all diplomatic alternatives at the time, severely damaging relations with some of its most important and loyal allies.

— New York Times editorial. February 9 2004.

Yesterday’s unanimous vote at the United Nations Security Council sends the strongest possible message to Baghdad…This is a well-deserved triumph for President Bush, a tribute to eight weeks of patient but determined and coercive American diplomacy…Only if the council fails to approve the serious consequences it now invokes — generally understood to be military measures — should Washington consider acting alone.

— New York Times editorial, November 9, 2002.

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Apologist watch


a writer for the New York Times uses that last fact to argue that things in the DPRDC (Democratic People’s Republic of Death Camps) really aren’t that bad.

I am not making this up. The Times got Stephen Kotkin, a history professor, to review Bruce Cumings’s North Korea: Another Country, a new book which argues that the DPRDC really isn’t that bad. (Never mind Nazi Germany, try writing a book about Franco’s Spain or Pinochet’s Chile which makes such an argument.) Here’s how Kotkin (who undoubtedly believes Guantanamo Bay is as bad as Auschwitz) deals with the inconvenient fact of entire families being shoved into the gulag:

Penal colonies hold 100,000 to 150,000 people, over half of them political prisoners, Cumings reports. But he deems the gulag both smaller than usually asserted and survivable, partly because detainees’ families are incarcerated with them. [emphasis added]

Jaw, meet floor. I have no idea if this is Kotkin’s opinion or Cumings’s, but if the latter, Kotkin obviously doesn’t have a problem with it.

But the gulags are family friendly and have universal health care! How can any Lefty object to that?

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11 February 2004

A loss for political entertainment

Wesley Clark is dropping out of the race for the Democratic Party Presidential candidate

I, for one, am sorry to see this. Clark was like the spring loaded skeleton that jumps out at you in the haunted house - scary, but entertaining.

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10 February 2004

EU confirms its money used to fund terrorists

[source, source]

The German newspaper Berlin Morgenpost reported Sunday on the initial results of the European Commission’s Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) investigation into suspicions that $1.1 billion in EU aid to the Palestinians was used in an illegal manner.

The initial report indicates that Arafat transferred much of the European aid money to various Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade terror groups and to Palestinian officials.

I’m actually stunned that there was physical evidence of that left around.

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Alert! President Clinton was part of the VRWC oil gang too!


Okay, well, outtakes: went back to the microfilm today to February 1998, when the Clinton adminstration was making the case for attacking Iraq. How things change. Clinton was arguing that Saddam not only had WMD, but that one day he might want to make more WMD, and this wasn’t acceptable. Interesting to read between the lines - the Clinton administration seemed to be arguing that the potential for future production was itself a valid reason to strike. Military force is never “the first answer,’ Clinton said, “but sometimes it’s the only answer.” “If Saddam isn’t stopped now,” the AP story said, quoting Clinton,“’He will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And someday, someway, I guarantee you, he’ll use that arsenal.’” Thus spake Clinton in 1998. He went on to note that the strikes planned could not possibly destroy Saddam’s arsenal, because A) they didn’t know where everything was, and B) they didn’t want to kill Iraqis by unleashing clouds of toxins. And it gets better: a sidebar noted that this war plan – Desert Thunder – had been prepared weeks before, in case Saddam stiffed in the inspectors.

Bill Clinton had a plan to go to war before the crisis flared! What does that tell you? Obviously, he was looking for any excuse! Halliburton! We all know about the ties between Clinton and Halliburton – he gave them a sweet no-bid contract after his Balkans war, you know.

The song remains the same. But this will be great bon mot to drop in the next conversation about the Cheney administration.

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It's OK for guys to do that now

[source, source]

A political tale from down under:

t’s the way Mark Latham keeps misremembering his boyhood that shows us what makes him dangerous. Take his recent speech to [Australian Labor Party’s] national conference.

“When I was young, my mum used to tell me there were two types of people in our street — the slackers and the hard workers,” he thundered.

In fact, his mum thought we were all either no-hopers or hard workers, as Latham explained in the draft of speech.

But then his shadow treasurer, Simon Crean, checked the draft, took out his red pencil and turned all those no-hopers into slackers — presumably because he knew Labor delegates hate such judgmental language.

And that’s what Latham ended reading out — Crean’s version of what Latham’s mother said, and not the truth.

It’s not fake, it’s just an implant - improving over what nature gave him.

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09 February 2004

CNN removes the governor on its spin machine

Instantman has a screen capture of a CNN headline where the recent Al Qaeda memo is being spun. If the memo is genuine, it demonstrates that Al Qaeda is losing the battle in Iraq against the Anglosphere. One of the key indicators in the memo is that Al Qaeda is having difficulty recruiting and find people willing to provide safe houses and support. CNN’s spin? “Iraqis want Al Qaeda to drive U.S. out”. Completely contradicted by the article (unless one believes that the memo is itself a fake, but then it’s not proof about what Iraqis want in any way).

CNN has now changed the headline to be at least somewhat related to the actual story.

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08 February 2004

Big Media gets the real story in Iraq

[source, source]

  • The 1st thing that struck me was that all the pictures of Saddam were gone, now of course I’ve noticed that before but I didn’t think about it seriously, I mean NOBODY asked me whether I liked it or not, besides who did this? Was it the Iraqi people? Impossible, Iraqis loved Saddam (the whole media can’t lie) was it the Americans? I think if they had spent their time removing his pictures they would’ve been in Nassireah right now. So I came to the conclusion that there must be a conspiracy behind this, and don’t ask me what conspiracy and who conspired and why, it’s a conspiracy and that’s it.
  • The second thing that annoyed me was that NO policeman or security guard or American soldier bothered to ask me where I was heading, where did I came from and didn’t even ask for an I.D. I checked my wallet and I found that I wasn’t carrying any, and in fact I haven’t carried an I.D. since the 9th of April, while prior to that I used to carry 2 or 3 I.D. cards (including the military service certificate) and still I would check my wallet every now and then to make sure that I haven’t forgot or lost any on the road. I mean seriously what is a man without an I.D.?
  • Another distressing incident came as I went to buy a newspaper, I found dozens of strange Iraqi newspapers and magazines and more foreign ones ( the total number of Iraqi newspapers till now is 132) instead of the 10 that were all owned by the government before the war, and I said ”what a mess! Who am I supposed to believe now?

An Iraqi discovers the sad truth and his gift for sarcasm.

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AP: Altered Presentation

[source, source]

A little removal of context, the change of “were” to “was,” and here’s what we get, in this instance from the Associated Press:

Bush said former chief weapons inspector David Kay, who has said that U.S. intelligence was “almost all wrong” about Saddam’s arms, said Saddam found the “capacity to produce weapons.”

The take away message: everything we thought we knew was wrong (and Bush is lying). But of course, that’s not at all what Kay meant. Here’s what he said (and here’s the video):

Let me begin by saying, we were almost all wrong, and I certainly include myself here.

Kay is clearly saying that everybody was wrong about the extent of Iraq’s existing WMD stockpiles, not that anybody in particular was wrong about everything.

This is precisely the reason that I find myself instinctively searching for original transcripts. Now, that would be a worthwhile service: a wire that provided the actual words that people use, in context.

Where is the scope for creativity in that?

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Oooh, that's gotta hurt

My long take is that I’d support Kucinich over Clark if I had to. Clark is simply too crazy to be president of the U.S.

Andrew Sullivan

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07 February 2004

Dissembling academia

[source, source]

SENATOR JOHN ANDREWS: Of course you recognize that a history text or any book of history that takes a dissembling view about the history of the Cold War or the effect of Reagan’s economic policies has just as much right in the curriculum as any other book. You recognize that, don’t you ma’am?


I wonder if Andrews agrees that any political advertisement or column that dissembles about his career has as much right in a political debate as any other?

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06 February 2004

Ploddingly persuing pragmatism


Once upon a time, Michael Kinsley wrote well constructed, insightful opinion articles. But for quite some time he was lost in a self referential cocoon of loony liberal platitudes with some Bush Obsession Syndrome for spice. But some one must have arranged an intervention, because Kinsley’s columns have become much better in the last few months. This example had me laughing at loud, even when he bashes Republicans. It’s a good read, which I hate to ruin by excerpting but hey - that’s what I do.

Democrats are cute when they’re being pragmatic. They furrow their brows and try to think like Republicans. Or as they imagine Republicans must think. They turn off their hearts and listen for signals from their brains. […]

Nevertheless, Democrats persevere. […] “If I was a Republican,” they ask themselves, “which of these Democratic candidates would I be most likely to vote for?” And by the time this is all over, most of the serious contenders will have been crowned the practical choice for at least a moment. First it was Lieberman the Centrist. “I’m actually for Dennis Kucinich,” a Democrat might say, “because I like his position on nationalizing all the churches. But I’m supporting Joe Lieberman. His views on nearly everything are repellent to me, and I think that’s a good sign.” […]

Some Democrats cheated and looked into their hearts, where they found Howard Dean. But he was so appealing that he scared them. This is no moment to vote for a guy just because he inspires you, they thought. If he inspires me, there must be something wrong with him. So, Democrats looked around and rediscovered John Kerry. He’d been there all along, inspiring almost no one.

[…] just to be completely businesslike, Democrats are taking the opportunity to check out John Edwards. He certainly is good-looking, though maybe not in a presidential way. He lacks the uniform, but he has a Southern accent, which is almost as good if you’re trying to seduce those non-liberals. Aspiring pragmatists also have noted recent press reports that Edwards has a stunning ability to sway an audience. I’m not looking to be swayed myself, our Democrat thinks. No need to sway me this year; my views don’t matter, even to me. But swaying the heathenry would be good. […]

If political pragmatism is defined as thinking like a Republican, it’s no surprise that Republicans do it better. Four years ago, in a roughly analogous situation, it was decided that the Republican candidate for president should be the less impressive of the two political sons of the man who had most recently lost them the White House. A far from obvious choice. Decided by whom? If you’re going to be pragmatic, that’s just the kind of question you don’t ask. It was decided, OK? On the issues that divided their party, his views were hard to fathom and stayed that way. He was rich in valuable inexperience. And so, with one voice, millions of Republicans shouted a mighty, “Well, I’m glad that’s settled.”

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THIS JUST IN: Weird "sort of but not really a" law proposed in California

[source, source]

A resolution has been proposed in the California Assembly that would require building codes to conform to ancient Chinese tradition. According to state Assemblyman Leland Yee, building design and location must be sensitive to feng shui to assure harmonious energy flow.

Yee’s resolution isn’t meant to become law or force cities to change how buildings are constructed. Instead, Yee said, it would encourage building officials to accommodate the concept and be more sensitive to a cultural practice that can improve work and living spaces.

It’s not really clear as to what Assemblyman Yee wants. He proposes a law but says he doesn’t want it to be a law, he just wants it to make officials more “sensitive.” Whatever that means.

I’m sure that this makes sense in California, which to a large extent explains why the rest of the country has a certain jaundiced view of California.

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05 February 2004

You owe us that money!

[source, source!]

Yasser Arafat’s security adviser on Wednesday accused the United States of blackmailing the Palestinian Authority over the hunt for the killers of three Americans in the Gaza Strip last October.

U.S. officials have been stopped from going to Gaza since the Oct. 15 roadside bomb attack on a diplomatic vehicle, making it more difficult to assist aid programs for the Palestinians.

“The Americans stopped their involvement waiting for the results (of our investigation). This is blackmail,” security adviser Brigadier Jibril Rajoub told a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Clearly, it’s about what’s more important - the lives of USA citizens or cash for those who murdered them?

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04 February 2004

Isn't the whole point to take from the rich and give to the masses?


The Left is remarkably nonchalant about these new terrors. When nuclear weapons were an elite club of five relatively sane world powers, the Left was convinced the planet was about to go ka-boom any minute, and the handful of us who survived would be walking in a nuclear winter wonderland. Now anyone with a few thousand bucks and an unlisted number in Islamabad in his Rolodex can get a nuke, and the Left couldn’t care less.

Mark Steyn

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[source, source]

After September 11th, the UN Security Council formed a panel to investigate the funding of terrorist organizations, and ways in which the international community could cooperate to halt those organizations’ streams of finance. The panel was founded, under the leadership of a British diplomat named Michael Chandler. It released a report saying that the international community was not doing enough to combat Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.

So what did the UN do? Well, of course, it dissolved his commission and fired Mr Chandler.

Wow! I didn’t realize that anyone could get fired from the UN.

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Pour some sugar on me


Another thing that is particularly galling about sugar protectionism is that if there is a U.S. industry undeserving of trade protection, this is it. If it were not bad enough that American sugar prices are typically 2-3 times global prices, the federal government is also spending millions to clean up Big Sugar’s mess. Specifically, the sugar industry has done more to destroy the Florida Everglades than any other entity (with the possible exception of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but they were often doing things to help sugar production). Now, the federal government is financing a massive Everglades restoration project to undo the damage. So we pay twice — as consumers in higher sugar prices, and as taxpayers in funding the restoration.

We couldn’t even get rid of the mohair subisidy, although that at least isn’t as expensive or ecologically damaging.

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When you can't win on the facts...

[source, source]

Welcome to Kushnerworld - Pulitzer Prize-winning “Angels in America” Kushnerworld - where heterosexuals are repressed homosexuals trapped in loveless relationships, gays are generally noble and capable of spiritual enlightenment, religion is soul-suffocating bunkum, and Republicans occupy a moral plane similar to that of the Nazis. “You’re nice. I can’t believe you voted for Reagan,” Louis tells Joe, the repressed Mormon gay man in “Angels.”

The men and women who glean their news from NPR and the Guardian newspaper are always startled to learn that 48 million Americans voted for Reagan. Many of them must be the same yahoos and rubes who - gosh - voted for George Bush in 2000.

The author sums up my view on this exactly:

I wish only that the sponsors wouldn’t tout their production as “controversial.” There is nothing controversial about pandering to an audience’s bigotry and narrow-mindedness.

Oh yes, the deadly danger of producing a play mocking Laura Bush in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The only controversy will be whether it it’s OK to portray Laura Bush as having any redeeming qualities.

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The BBC learns an important lesson

[source, source]

The BBC has apologised over a Jeremy Paxman interview which ended with the walk-out of the police chief he was questioning. […]

Mr Westwood complained to the BBC that the interview had been “edited misleadingly” and gave the impression he was trying to avoid answering difficult questions. […]

In its programme complaints report, the BBC said: “On the question of editing, the Director-General concluded that it had been wrong to show the Chief Constable removing his earpiece and terminating the interview in response to the final question without showing more fully his earlier answers to the same question. He has apologised to the Chief Constable for this error.

“The Director of News was informed of the Director-General’s findings, and the Editor of Newsnight has briefed his team to ensure that the lessons arising from the complaint are learned.

The BBC had to learn from this that it shouldn’t make misleadingly false edits in a pre-recorded interview? That explains a lot.

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03 February 2004

Dissent in American Universities


I am associate professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. I receive teaching evaluations that run from average to outstanding. I have more scholarly publications than half the full professors in my department. But as I sit here writing, three of my four classes have been cancelled. I am scheduled to be moved out of the office I have occupied for the last twelve years into a dank hole in the basement that was never intended to be used as office space. Recent events are the culmination of four years of retaliation, intimidation, and harassment. You see, I don’t have the right politics. What’s worse is that I’m not submissive and I refuse to be bullied and intimidated.

The professor apparently made public politically incorrect statements, which as one would expect were added to his official academic record. It just wouldn’t do to allow professors to express wrong opinions. I suppose that if he doesn’t stop writing articles like this one, it’s the re-education camps for him. Unless the gliterati in Hollywood (who have, as we know, been similarly oppressed) come to his aid.

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Some things are just too much

[source, source]

Geneva Overholser, former ombudsman of The Washington Post, has resigned from the board of the National Press Foundation because it plans to honor Fox News anchor Brit Hume at its annual dinner in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 19.

Here is the funny thing, the award has gone to David Brinkley, Dan Rather, John Chancellor, Jane Pauley, Barbara Walters and Nina Totenberg in the past! Now you can see why she is so upset. Clearly Dan Rather and Barbara Walters are the pinnacle of objective journalism!

It’s archetypical that Overholser can’t just disagree with the decision, but is offended. Hopefully she’ll be even more offended by what is said about her in the blogosphere.

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02 February 2004

Air striking back


Go, Ryanair, you scumbags. I am no friend of Ryanair. Yet I’m with the airline on this case, blogged by Perry de Havilland, where a man suffering from cerebral palsy and arthritis sued them for charging him for use of a wheelchair.


Ryanair lost. However it has taken a sweet little revenge: they are to impose a 50p levy for wheelchair provision on every ticket and, crucially, they are going to make it explicit.

Predictably, this will anger the disability issue parasites, because openess always irritates those who make a career of being busybodies.

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Another study of Bush's impact on the environment


This new study from the National Research Council, a division of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that while air pollution is declining, the reduction could be accelerated by a “multi-state, multi-pollutant” approach that sets broad overall reduction targets, then allows industrial facilities to trade reduction permits with each other. […] Here’s what was missing from the coverage. The “multi-state, multi-pollutant” approach just endorsed by the National Academy of Sciences is exactly what the Bush administration has proposed to adopt under its Clear Skies initiative.

Of course, the Democratic Party is against this because it’s more important to attack Bush than to clean up the environment.

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John Kerry unilaterally insults our allies


But just to make it simple: The G-7 comprises the world’s major industrial democracies. Aside from America, there are six other countries. Three — the United Kingdom, Italy and Japan — have troops in Iraq. Three — France, Germany and Canada — do not. So a majority of G-7 nations are members of this “fraudulent coalition.” Eleven of the 19 NATO members have contributed troops to the “fraudulent coalition.” Thirteen of the 25 members of the newly enlarged European Union have forces serving in the “fraudulent coalition.”

So, when John Kerry pledges to rebuild America’s international relationships, what he means is that he disagrees with the majority of G-7 governments, NATO governments, European governments and key regional players in Asia and the Pacific, as well as the people of Iraq.

On the other hand, Kerry’s position has the support of a majority of the Arab League.

Mark Steyn

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