Saturday, November 29, 2003

When the Jew in Hebron has no more need

of security than the Arab living in Tel Aviv, only then can the terms of a real peace be negotiated.

Today the pals are like the Germans in 1919, feeling betrayed and looking for a Hitler to give them another shot. Until at least a majority of pals accept "defeat" (i.e. the existence of Israel) real progress is impossible.

In palestinian culture, the sins of the brothers

are visited on the sister.

'ABU QASH — Rofayda Qaoud — raped by her brothers and impregnated — refused to commit suicide, her mother recalls, even after she bought the unwed teenager a razor with which to slit her wrists. So Amira Abu Hanhan Qaoud says she did what she believes any good Palestinian parent would: restored her family's 'honor' through murder.

Armed with a plastic bag, razor and wooden stick, Qaoud entered her sleeping daughter's room last Jan. 27. 'Tonight you die, Rofayda,' she told the girl, before wrapping the bag tightly around her head. Next, Qaoud sliced Rofayda's wrists, ignoring her muffled pleas of 'No, mother, no!' After her daughter went limp, Qaoud struck her in the head with the stick.

Killing her sixth-born child took 20 minutes, Qaoud tells a visitor through a stream of tears and cigarettes that she smokes in rapid succession. 'She killed me before I killed her,' says the 43-year-old mother of nine. 'I had to protect my children. This is the only way I could protect my family's honor.'

... so much for pal 'family values'

Monday, November 24, 2003

Terrorism defined II

"If you call the tail a leg, how many legs < RoughJustice > 10/26/03 10:31

does a dog have?

Answer: Four. (Calling the tail a leg doesn't make it one.)

We know what terrorism is: The attack on civilians by clandestine groups not acting as the lawful agents of a recognized state for the purpose of instilling terror among the populace to achieve political ends.

If terrorist-style attacks are made on our soldiers, that's not terrorism but it is facile to call it so. And if our soldiers commit atrocities on the civilian population, it is a war crime but still not terrorism. "

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Bodies in the Bushes' Conspiratorial Past

Leading off, my personal favorite for Conspiracy Poster Boy of 1989:

Jake Horton
He was the senior vice-president of Gulf Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, a cohort of Enron in the energy industry, and a major contributer to the Bush agenda. According to reporter Gregory Palast, Horton knew of the company's appalling accounting practices, and "... had no doubt about its illegal campaign contributions to Florida politicans - he'd made the payments himself. In April of 1989 Horton decided to come clean with state officials, and reserved the company jet to go confront company officials. Ten minutes after takeoff the jet exploded.

... no satisfactory explanation ever reported.

Then there's ...

J. Clifford Baxter
Found dead in his car, shot in the head. Mr. Baxter was vice chairman of Enron Corp. when he resigned in May 2001. Enron has been hot copy lately with the revelation that they were the largest campaign contributors for George W. Bush. Was J. Clifford Baxter a potential witness to Bush foreknowledge of their wrongdoings? His death was ruled a suicide.


Charles Dana Rice
He was the senior vice president and treasurer of El Paso Corp., an energy corporation swept up in the recent energy scandal. Two months after the "suicide" of Enron executive Clifford Baxter, in the midst of questions about the accounting practices of El Paso Corp., Charles Rice was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head. His death was ruled a suicide.

...nor should we forget Mr Watkins

James Daniel Watkins
His body was found on December 1, 2001 in the Pike National Forest in Colorado, a gunshot wound to the head. Mr. Watkins was a consultant for Arthur Andersen, the accounting firm for Enron. He disappeared on November 13 after he left work. He was described as a devoted family man who always called home if he were going to be late. Officials initially said that the death was suspicious, but have changed their tune and have ruled his death a suicide.

... and what about poor

Steve Kangas
His web site, Liberalism Resurgent, was meticulously researched and presented such a problem to the 'real boss' of George Bush, Richard Scaife, that he hired a private detective to look into Kangas' past. Steve Kangas was found in a 39th-floor bathroom outside of Scaife's offices at One Oxford Centre, in Pittsburgh, an apparent suicide. Mr. Kangas, a very prolific writer, left no note. He had brought a fully-packed suitcase of clothes with him to Pittsburgh. He bought a burglar alarm shortly before he left for Pittsburgh. Why did he need a burglar alarm if he was going to commit suicide? An avowed advocate of gun control, he nevertheless bought a gun. What was he afraid of? Why did he go to Pittsburgh? After his death, his computer was sold for $150 and its hard drive wiped clean. Everything in his apartment was thrown away.

... and finally someone who wandered too close to the fire, Danny Casolaro.

He was working on a book that tied together the scandals surrounding the presidency of George H. W. Bush. He told his friends he was going to 'bring back' the head of the Octopus. Instead, his body was found in a hotel in Martinsburg

...These guys play for keeps methinks.

The wadical white wing of the Weapublican Pahty & Healthcare "Reform"

Politics - World - s.f. bayarea forums - craigslist: "The wadical white wing of the Weapublican Pahty < RoughJustice > 11/22 20:11:23

has left the reservation again, trying to slam through their halfbaked version of health care reform...

'White House officials have spent the entire day on the phone trying to coax votes out of Democrats.
Remember what a cow many of these same people had over the secrecy and complexity of the Clinton health care plan in 1994? Well, the Medicare bill is 600-pages long. And buried in those 600 pages are all sorts of changes thrown in at the last minute, during meetings of a secret conference committee that included just two Democrats--one who votes like Republicans on Medicare (John Breaux) and one who lacks the backbone to defend his party's positions (Max Baucus).

Where's the outrage now?

... sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, boys. Bad form.

Friday, November 21, 2003

You Can't Handle the Truth!

Politics - World - s.f. bayarea forums - craigslist: "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH! < Col_Jessop > 11/21 18:08:25

Son we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Communication? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Baathists, and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury! You have the luxury of not knowing what I know, that Iraqi death, while tragic, probably save lives! And my existence, while grotesque, and incomprehensible to you, saves lives! You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't want to talk about at parties, you want me on that wall! You need me on that wall! We use words like 'honor', 'code', 'loyalty'. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline! I have neither the time, not the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps uner the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to! "

Mossad And Moving Companies

Mossad And Moving Companies - Masterminds Of Global Terrorism?: "Cloudcroft, New Mexico Police Chief Stops Israelis With Suspicious Cargo

By Michael Shinabery
Staff Writer
Alamogordo Daily News

CLOUDCROFT, NM -- That they were speeding through the school zone first got his attention.

That they had Israeli driver's licenses and expired passports made him suspicious.

Cloudcroft Police Chief Gene Green stopped the 2-ton van on Thursday, for speeding. Initially, Green thought the truck was commercial because of exterior markings. But when he found it was out of Chicago, he asked for documentation such as logs books and manifests.

'They said this is a U-Haul truck and handed me a rental agreement (for) in-town delivery only in Illinois, (which) had expired two days before,' Green said. He called for backup, and Otero County Sheriff's Deputy Billy Anders, who patrols the Sacramento Mountains, arrived, along with Capt. Norbert Sanchez and Det. Eddie Medrano.

'We got them out and started digging a little deeper,' Green said, 'got permission to search the truck. They claimed they were hauling furniture from Austin to Chicago.' When officers advised the men they were not exactly en route from one town to another, Green said the two men claimed they were Deming bound. 'But they couldn't give us an address in Deming they were going to,' he said. 'Once we got into the truck, they had some junk furniture I wouldn't have given to Goodwill.'

Also inside the vehicle were, Green said, '50 boxes' they claimed was a 'private' delivery, but the men insisted they had no 'idea what was in them.'

At that point, the officers called for drug-sniffing and bomb-sniffing dogs. The men were turned over to the Immigration and Naturalization"

The other day I was scanning the news reports and came across a rather mundane item that really got me to thinking. It simply read:

Cloudcroft, New Mexico Police Chief Stops Israelis With Suspicious Cargo

By Michael Shinabery
Staff Writer
Alamogordo Daily News

CLOUDCROFT, NM -- That they were speeding through the school zone first got his attention.

That they had Israeli driver's licenses and expired passports made him suspicious.

Cloudcroft Police Chief Gene Green stopped the 2-ton van on Thursday, for speeding. Initially, Green thought the truck was commercial because of exterior markings. But when he found it was out of Chicago, he asked for documentation such as logs books and manifests.

"They said this is a U-Haul truck and handed me a rental agreement (for) in-town delivery only in Illinois, (which) had expired two days before," Green said. He called for backup, and Otero County Sheriff's Deputy Billy Anders, who patrols the Sacramento Mountains, arrived, along with Capt. Norbert Sanchez and Det. Eddie Medrano.

"We got them out and started digging a little deeper," Green said, "got permission to search the truck. They claimed they were hauling furniture from Austin to Chicago." When officers advised the men they were not exactly en route from one town to another, Green said the two men claimed they were Deming bound. "But they couldn't give us an address in Deming they were going to," he said. "Once we got into the truck, they had some junk furniture I wouldn't have given to Goodwill."

Also inside the vehicle were, Green said, "50 boxes" they claimed was a "private" delivery, but the men insisted they had no "idea what was in them."

At that point, the officers called for drug-sniffing and bomb-sniffing dogs. The men were turned over to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and U- Haul recovered the truck.

Contents of the boxes remain unknown, pending investigation.

On May 7, 2002, local police authorities pulled over a Budget rental truck in Oak Harbour, Washington near the Whitney Island Naval Air Station. The driver and his passenger were Israeli nationals, one of which had entered the country illegally. The other had an expired visa. Tests performed on the vehicle revealed that there were traces of TNT on the gearshift and RDX plastic explosives on the steering wheel. But no actual explosives were reported to have been found in the truck. [Fox News, 5/13/02]

A report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer the following day reported that the FBI performed follow-up tests on the truck which turned-up negative. One source speculated that perhaps the original tests had actually detected just cigarette residue, and not explosives. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 5/14/02, Jerusalem Post, 5/14/02].

Daily MarketWrap

Daily MarketWrap: " Robert Rodriguez, one of the best performing money managers during the last decade, has 20% of his stock fund in cash and bonds because he can't find U.S. shares that are cheap enough to buy. Rodriguez is a value investor who said he bought stocks for eight to ten times earnings earlier this year, and is unwilling to pay double those multiples today. However, he has been buying some energy service stocks, like Patterson UTI, Ensco, and National Oil Well. He is positive on the price of natural gas for the next several years."

Thursday, November 20, 2003

The Incompetent and the Unaware

Yahoo! Mail - "people who lack skill in a particular domain of human endeavor suffer under a dual burden. First, they lack the skill. More important, because they lack the skill, they lack the capacity to perceive that they lack the skill, which leads them to conclude that they don't. That and a recent British survey indicating that 1 in 3 Britons believe George Bush is stupid (and a threat to world peace, but that's out of scope here), caused a glimmer of synthesis and insight on my part. Anyway, here's the study: "

Israeli restraint

Politics - World - s.f. bayarea forums - craigslist: "Many society's have dealt with occupations < RoughJustice > 11/20 11:18:32

and far more brutal ones at that without resorting to blowing up the occupier's children.

I personally admire Israeli restraint in the face of such utterly barbaric behavior. If it were our kids being slaughtered we'd do far more than send in the dozers."

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Bush is a born again Wilsonian democrat

"America's proper role in promoting democracy and freedom in the world was a big issue in the 2000 presidential election. One of the candidates was a Wilsonian idealist, arguing that the prestige and even the military strength of the United States should be used to remake other governments in our image. The other candidate was contemptuous of this woolly-minded notion, saying American blood and treasure should be spent only in humanitarian emergencies or to protect our own narrowly defined self-interest.

The idealist won the election, in the opinion of many. But the skeptic took office. And then, guess what! The skeptic became a woolly-minded idealist! Democracy's a funny thing.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Minority voters are a minority 11/09/03 - GOP’s Southern (=Sailer) Strategy Rises Again. Actually, It’s Never Been Down.: "Despite winning some black votes, in the East, the GOP did poorly in the 2002 House races—because it won only 48 percent of the white vote.
In the South, however, the GOP performed strongly—because it captured 69 percent of the whites. Turnout among whites was also strong.
My theory: despite putting up a smokescreen about how crucial the minority vote was to the Party, Karl Rove surreptitiously put tremendous resources into a get-out-the-vote drive aimed especially at the kind of less-educated whites who don't always show up to vote.
At VDARE.COM, we refer to this shocking idea of appealing to the white vote as 'The Sailer Strategy' because I've described it in several articles. It shocked Jim Robinson so much that he banned us (and readers posting us) from Free Republic!
Although it’s not attracted as much attention, the challenge facing the GOP in the South is very like the problem notoriously confronting the GOP in California: there are a lot of minority voters there. (26 percent in the South in the 2000 election, compared to 29 percent in California). Haley Barbour’s Mississippi, in particular, is almost three-eighths black.
In the Golden State, this demographic fact-of-life caused the Republican Party to panic from 1998 through 2002. But GOP Southern strategists apparently kept their cool by bearing in mind this simple truth: 'Minority voters are a minority.'"

For the Record, Iraqi death toll ~ 13K

Back In Iraq 2.0: "Study: Between 11,000 and 15,000 killed in Iraq
Between 11,000 and 15,000 Iraqis died in Operation Iraqi Freedom, with 30 percent, or between 3,200 and 4,300 people, being civilian noncombatants, according to a new study from the Project on Defense Alternatives, a Boston-based think tank. The percentage of noncombatant deaths is almost twice that of the 1991 Gulf War.
The study looks at the period from March 19 to May 1, when President George W. Bush declared пїЅmajor combat operationsпїЅ to be over, and finds that:
Approximately 201 coalition troops, of which 148 were American, died in Operation Iraqi Freedom; and

between 11,000 and 15,000 Iraqis died, with about 30 percent (3,200 to 4,300) being noncombatant civilians who did not take up arms against Coalition troops."

Sunday, November 16, 2003

CASE CLOSED (Osama-Saddam Link Proved in Intel Cmte Brief) ... or is it?

Weekly Standard ^ | Nov 14, 2003 | Stephen Hayes
From the November 24, 2003 issue: The U.S. government's secret memo detailing cooperation between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

CASE CLOSED (Osama-Saddam Link Proved in Intel Cmte Brief ) "OSAMA BIN LADEN and Saddam Hussein had an operational relationship from the early 1990s to 2003 that involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction, logistical support for terrorist attacks, al Qaeda training camps and safe haven in Iraq, and Iraqi financial support for al Qaeda--perhaps even for Mohamed Atta--according to a top secret U.S. government memorandum obtained by THE WEEKLY STANDARD. "

... BUT...

who put together this new memo, the one the Standard article is based on? "The U.S. Government," as the headline of the article says?

Not exactly. As Steve's article makes clear, the authorship is a bit more specific. "The memo," writes Steve ...

dated October 27, 2003, was sent from Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith to Senators Pat Roberts and Jay Rockefeller, the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. It was written in response to a request from the committee as part of its investigation into prewar intelligence claims made by the administration. Intelligence reporting included in the 16-page memo comes from a variety of domestic and foreign agencies, including the FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency. Much of the evidence is detailed, conclusive, and corroborated by multiple sources.
In other words, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee is doing their investigation into the pre-war intelligence. This memo is what Doug Feith sent them representing their side of the story. With the exception of some tidbits from interviews with Iraqis now in custody, this is, to all appearances, the same bill of particulars that Feith's shop put together in 2002 and which was panned by the analysts in the rest of the Intel community.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Party Polarity Pegged

WH2004: General: "'In general, would you like to see George W. Bush reelected to another term as president, or not?'
Yes No Don't Know
% % %
ALL 44 50 6
Men 45 51 4
Women 42 51 7
Republicans 86 10 4
Democrats 10 86 4
Independent 40 53 7

...Has party polarity ever been this strong?

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

A chicken that will come home to roost: China

Unique among our trading partners, China is an 800 lb gorilla with a very poor attitude.

'We know we're losing jobs to China. One way of protecting oneself is investing in Chinese companies and benefiting from the growth of these companies. The problem is in China the investor doesn't necessarily rank high on the order of cash-flow distribution.

In Western capitalism, the shareholder has a right to that cash flow. In China and elsewhere in developing countries, companies are government owned or owned by the military and a general's cousin may run the business. It's a complex investment process. It's a problem from a global investor's point of view.

But the collision problem also affects investors from a non-Asian perspective. Let's say you want to invest in Cisco (CSCO:Nasdaq - commentary - research). And you have 3Com (COMS:Nasdaq - commentary - research) striking up a relationship with Huawei, the Cisco of China.

Huawei is a private company with a stated intention to displace Cisco as king of the router market. That's the collision course. You've got a great company like Cisco that's got a very high valuation, and it's going to have shrinking margins. Huawei can make irrational decisions about pricing because they don't have to care about shareholders. This is a very big concern for investors, whether you're committed to investing only in the U.S. or global. Navigating this collision will be very difficult.

Cisco sued 3Com over this partnership, and they dropped the suit. Huawei made specific products that Cisco accused them of blatantly copying. So there's the intellectual-property issue as well -- we know China just doesn't care. "

...You can't beat 'em and you can't join 'em either. so what's the answer? Embargo the bastards?

Monday, November 10, 2003

How many men does it take to screw in a democracy?

Politics - World - s.f. bayarea forums - craigslist: "How many men would it take to subdue Iraq? < RoughJustice > 11/10 17:08:54

According to the US Army War College, between 4 and 20 per thousand population or 100,000 to half a million in this case. More important, it gets worse as the size of the major cities increases and Baghdad is huge, concentrating about 20% of the entire population. Just dealing with a moderate sized capital city would be daunting. 'Sustaining a stabilizing force at such a force ratio for a city as large as one million (or for a country as small as one million) could require a deployment of about a quarter of all regular infantry battalions in the US Army. With current force sizes this means that within two years, every infantry soldier in the US Army would have been cycled through an operational deployment and many would have started on second deployments to the operational area.

The human consequences are potentially more grave. It is sobering to realize that, at a minimum, any extended commitment to a particular operation could mean many individuals would expect a deployment to that operation every year. It is difficult to predict the full range of effects on family life caused by frequent absences of military family members and their frequent exposure to combat-like conditions. '

Veterans Day

Tomorrow is Veterans Day. How soon we forget.

In his History of the First World War, J. P. Taylor gives the following figures (loss of life):

USA 114,095
British Empire 251,900
Turkey 375,000
Italy 460,000
Great Britain 761,213
Austria-Hungary 1,100,000
France 1,358,000
Russia 1,700,000
Germany 2,000,000
Total Military Loss of Life 8,120,208
Total Civilian Loss of Life 8,742,296

In terms of losses (military) this amounted to 5,509 per day. That's the equivalent of 3 Vietnam Wars every single month for 4 solid years.

It quickly became known as the War to End All Wars, making war simply unthinkable among civilized men.

Then 20 years later they did it again. Mother of God, what a ghastly nightmare."

' Democracy Will Succeed’

Words to confront the future by:
"as we meet the terror and violence of the world, we can be certain the author of freedom is not indifferent to the fate of freedom. "

I wonder who actually wrote this speech...and I wonder who will quote it in years to come. It nothing if not quotable.

'Iraqi Democracy Will Succeed'

Published: November 6, 2003

Thanks for the warm welcome. Thanks for inviting me to join you in this 20th anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy.
Staff and directors of this organization have seen a lot of history over the last two decades. You've been a part of that history. By speaking for and standing for freedom you've lifted the hopes of people around the world and you've brought great credit to America.
I appreciate Vin for the short introduction.
I'm a man who likes short introductions.
And he didn't let me down. But more importantly, I appreciate the invitation.
Appreciate the members of Congress who are here, senators from both political parties, members of the House of Representatives from both political parties.
I appreciate the ambassadors who are here.
I appreciate the guests who have come. I appreciate the bipartisan spirit--the nonpartisan spirit of the National Endowment for Democracy. I'm glad that Republicans and Democrats and independents are working together to advance human liberty.
The roots of our democracy can be traced to England and to its Parliament and so can the roots of this organization. In June of 1982, President Ronald Reagan spoke at Westminster Palace and declared the turning point had arrived in history. He argued that Soviet communism had failed precisely because it did not respect its own people, their creativity, their genius and their rights.
President Reagan said that the day of Soviet tyranny was passing, that freedom had a momentum that would not be halted.
He gave this organization its mandate: to add to the momentum of freedom across the world. Your mandate was important 20 years ago. It is equally important today.
A number of critics were dismissive of that speech by the president, according to one editorial at the time. It seems hard to be a sophisticated European and also an admirer of Ronald Reagan.
Some observers on both sides of the Atlantic pronounced the speech simplistic and naive and even dangerous.
In fact, Ronald Reagan's words were courageous and optimistic and entirely correct.
The great democratic movement President Reagan described was already well under way.
In the early 1970s there were about 40 democracies in the world. By the middle of that decade, Portugal and Spain and Greece held free elections. Soon, there were new democracies in Latin America and free institutions were spreading in Korea and Taiwan and in East Asia.
This very week, in 1989, there were protests in East Berlin in Leipzig. By the end of that year, every communist dictatorship in Central America had collapsed.
Within another year, the South African government released Nelson Mandela. Four years later, he was elected president of his country, ascending like Walesa and Havel from prisoner of state to head of state.
As the 20th century ended, there were around 120 democracies in the world, and I can assure you more are on the way.
Ronald Reagan would be pleased, and he would not be surprised.
We've witnessed in little over a generation the swiftest advance of freedom in the 2,500-year story of democracy. Historians in the future will offer their own explanations for why this happened, yet we already know some of the reasons they will cite.
It is no accident that the rise of so many democracies took place in a time when the world's most influential nation was itself a democracy. The United States made military and moral commitments in Europe and Asia which protected free nations from aggression and created the conditions in which new democracies could flourish.
As we provided security for whole nations, we also provided inspiration for oppressed peoples. In prison camps, in banned union meetings, in clandestine churches men and women knew that the whole world was not sharing their own nightmare. They knew of at least one place, a bright and hopeful land where freedom was valued and secure. And they prayed that America would not forget them or forget the mission to promote liberty around the world.
(Page 3 of 5)
Seventy-four years ago, the Sunday London Times declared nine-tenths of the population of India to be, quote, "illiterates, not caring a fig for politics." Yet, when Indian democracy was imperiled in the 1970s, the Indian people showed their commitment to liberty in a national referendum that saved their form of government.
Time after time, observers have questioned whether this country or that people or this group are ready for democracy, as if freedom were a prize you win from meeting our own Western standards of progress. In fact, the daily work of democracy itself is the path of progress. It teaches cooperation, the free exchange of ideas, peaceful resolution of differences.
As men and women are showing from Bangladesh to Botswana to Mongolia, it is the practice of democracy that makes a nation ready for democracy and every nation can start on this path.
It should be clear to all that Islam, the faith of one-fifth of humanity, is consistent with democratic rule. Democratic progress is found in many predominantly Muslim countries: in Turkey, Indonesia and Senegal and Albania and Niger and Sierra Leone.
Muslim men and women are good citizens of India and South Africa, the nations of Western Europe and of the United States of America. More than half of all Muslims live in freedom under democratically constituted governments.
They succeed in democratic societies, not in spite of their faith, but because of it. A religion that demands individual moral accountability and encourages the encounter of the individual with God is fully compatible with the rights and responsibilities of self-government.
Yet there's a great challenge today in the Middle East. In the words of a recent report by Arab scholars, the global wave of democracy has, and I quote, "barely reached the Arab states. They continue this freedom deficit, undermines human development and is one of the most painful manifestations of lagging political development."
The freedom deficit they describe has terrible consequences for the people of the Middle East and for the world.
In many Middle Eastern countries poverty is deep and it is spreading, women lack rights and are denied schooling, whole societies remain stagnant while the world moves ahead.
These are not the failures of a culture or a religion. These are the failures of political and economic doctrines.
As the colonial era passed away, the Middle East saw the establishment of many military dictatorships. Some rulers adopted the dogmas of socialism, seized total control of political parties and the media and universities. They allied themselves with the Soviet bloc and with international terrorism.
Dictators in Iraq and Syria promised the restoration of national honor, a return to ancient glories. They've left instead a legacy of torture, oppression, misery and ruin.
Other men and groups of men have gained influence in the Middle East and beyond through an ideology of theocratic terror. Behind their language of religion is the ambition for absolute political power.
Ruling cabals like the Taliban show their version of religious piety in public whippings of women, ruthless suppression of any difference or dissent, and support for terrorists who arm and train to murder the innocent.
The Taliban promised religious purity and national pride. Instead, by systematically destroying a proud and working society, they left behind suffering and starvation.
Many Middle Eastern governments now understand that military dictatorship and theocratic rule are a straight, smooth highway to nowhere, but some governments still cling to the old habits of central control.
There are governments that still fear and repress independent thought and creativity and private enterprise; human qualities that make for strong and successful societies. Even when these nations have vast natural resources, they do not respect or develop their greatest resources: the talent and energy of men and women working and living in freedom.
Instead of dwelling on past wrongs and blaming others, governments in the Middle East need to confront real problems and serve the true interests of their nations.
The good and capable people of the Middle East all deserve responsible leadership. For too long many people in that region have been victims and subjects; they deserve to be active citizens.
Governments across the Middle East and North Africa are beginning to see the need for change. Morocco has a diverse new parliament. King Mohammad has urged it to extend the rights to women.
(Page 4 of 5)
Here's how His Majesty explained his reforms to parliament: "How can society achieve progress while women, who represent half the nation, see their rights violated and suffer as a result of injustice, violence and marginalization, not withstanding the dignity and justice granted to them by our glorious religion?"
The king of Morocco is correct: The future of Muslim nations would be better for all with the full participation of women.
In Bahrain last year citizens elected their own parliament for the first time in nearly three decades. Oman has extended the vote to all adult citizens.
(excerpt missing)
Champions of democracy in the region understand that democracy is not perfect. It is not the path to utopia. But it's the only path to national success and dignity.
As we watch and encourage reforms in the region, we are mindful that modernization is not the same as Westernization. Representative governments in the Middle East will reflect their own cultures. They will not, and should not, look like us. Democratic nations may be constitutional monarchies, federal republics or parliamentary systems.
And working democracies always need time to develop, as did our own. We've taken a 200-year journey toward inclusion and justice, and this makes us patient and understanding as other nations are at different stages of this journey.
There are, however, essential principles common to every successful society in every culture.
Successful societies limit the power of the state and the power of the military so that governments respond to the will of the people and not the will of the elite.
Successful societies protect freedom, with a consistent impartial rule of law, instead of selectively applying the law to punish political opponents.
Successful societies allow room for healthy civic institutions, for political parties and labor unions and independent newspapers and broadcast media.
Successful societies guarantee religious liberty; the right to serve and honor God without fear of persecution.
Successful societies privatize their economies and secure the rights of property. They prohibit and punish official corruption and invest in the health and education of their people. They recognize the rights of women.
And instead of directing hatred and resentment against others, successful societies appeal to the hopes of their own people.
These vital principles are being applied in the nations of Afghanistan and Iraq.
With the steady leadership of President Karzai, the people of Afghanistan are building a modern and peaceful government. Next month, 500 delegates will convene a national assembly in Kabul to approve a new Afghan constitution. The proposed draft would establish a bicameral parliament, set national elections next year and recognize Afghanistan's Muslim identity while protecting the rights of all citizens.
Afghanistan faces continuing economic and security challenges. It will face those challenges as a free and stable democracy.
In Iraq, the Coalition Provisional Authority and the Iraqi Governing Council are also working together to build a democracy. And after three decades of tyranny, this work is not easy. The former dictator ruled by terror and treachery and left deeply ingrained habits of fear and distrust. Remnants of his regime, joined by foreign terrorists, continue to battle against order and against civilization.
Our coalition is responding to recent attacks with precision raids, guided by intelligence provided by the Iraqis themselves.
We're working closely with Iraqi citizens as they prepare a constitution, as they move toward free elections and take increasing responsibility for their own affairs.
As in the defense of Greece in 1947, and later in the Berlin Airlift, the strength and will of free peoples are now being tested before a watching world. And we will meet this test.
Securing democracy in Iraq is the work of many hands. American and coalition forces are sacrificing for the peace of Iraq and for the security of free nations. Aid workers from many countries are facing danger to help the Iraqi people.
The National Endowment for Democracy is promoting women's rights and training Iraqi journalists and teaching the skills of political participation.
Iraqis themselves, police and border guards and local officials, are joining in the work and they are sharing in the sacrifice.
(Page 5 of 5)
This is a massive and difficult undertaking. It is worth our effort. It is worth our sacrifice, because we know the stakes: The failure of Iraqi democracy would embolden terrorists around the world and increase dangers to the American people and extinguish the hopes of millions in the region.
Iraqi democracy will succeed, and that success will send forth the news from Damascus to Tehran that freedom can be the future of every nation.
The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution.
Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe, because in the long run stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty.
As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment and violence ready for export.
And with the spread of weapons that can bring catastrophic harm to our country and to our friends, it would be reckless to accept the status quo.
Therefore the United States has adopted a new policy: a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East. This strategy requires the same persistence and energy and idealism we have shown before and it will yield the same results.
As in Europe, as in Asia, as in every region of the world, the advance of freedom leads to peace.
The advance of freedom is the calling of our time. It is the calling of our country. From the 14 Points to the Four Freedoms to the speech at Westminster, America has put our power at the service of principle.
We believe that liberty is the design of nature. We believe that liberty is the direction of history. We believe that human fulfillment and excellence come in the responsible exercise of liberty. And we believe that freedom, the freedom we prize, is not for us alone. It is the right and the capacity of all mankind.
Working for the spread of freedom can be hard, yet America has accomplished hard tasks before.
Our nation is strong. We're strong of heart.
And we're not alone. Freedom is finding allies in every country. Freedom finds allies in every culture.
And as we meet the terror and violence of the world, we can be certain the author of freedom is not indifferent to the fate of freedom.
With all the tests and all the challenges of our age, this is, above all, the age of liberty. Each of you at this endowment is fully engaged in the great cause of liberty, and I thank you.
May God bless your work, and may God continue to bless America.

Text of President Bush's remarks on the 20th Anniversary of The National Endowment For Democracy

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Blueprint for a Mess

Why some pubs aren't exactly happy campers...

1. Getting In Too Deep With Chalabi
2. Shutting Out State
3. Too Little Planning, Too Late
4. The Troops: Too Few, Too Constricted
5. Neglecting ORHA
6. Ignoring the Shiites

Whether the United States is eventually successful in Iraq (and saying the mission 'has to succeed,' as so many people do in Washington, is not a policy but an expression of faith), even supporters of the current approach of the Coalition Provisional Authority concede that the United States is playing catch-up in Iraq. This is largely, though obviously not entirely, because of the lack of postwar planning during the run-up to the war and the mistakes of the first 60 days after the fall of Saddam Hussein. And the more time passes, the clearer it becomes that what happened in the immediate aftermath of what the administration calls Operation Iraqi Freedom was a self-inflicted wound, a morass of our own making.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Israel News : Jerusalem Post Internet Edition

Israel News : Jerusalem Post Internet Edition: "The Palestinian death cult negates all the assumptions of western sentimental pacifism: If only the vengeful old generals got out of the way, there'd be no war. But such common humanity as one can find on the West Bank resides, if only in their cynicism, in the leadership: old Arafat may shower glory and honor on his youthful martyrs but he's human enough to keep his own kid in Paris, well away from the suicide-bomber belts. It's hard to picture Saeb Erekat or Hanan Ashrawi or any of the other aging terror apologists who hog the airwaves at CNN and the BBC celebrating the death of their own loved ones the way Miss Jaradat's brother did. 'We are receiving congratulations from people,' said Thaher Jaradat. 'Why should we cry? It is like her wedding day, the happiest day for her.' "

Friday, November 07, 2003 | America's deficits | America's deficits: "For all the talk of Social Security reform, the only White House action on entitlements has been to expand them. The contrast with Ronald Reagan is revealing. The Gipper cut discretionary non-defence spending by 13.5% in real terms and made an effort to overhaul entitlements. In 1983 a commission on Social Security reform raised the retirement age as well as payroll taxes.
Look closely, and Mr Bush is also much less of a tax reformer than Mr Reagan was. In 1986, the Gipper presided over the biggest tax reform in modern American history. The tax base was broadened and rates were lowered, but the overall tax burden remained unchanged. Although Team Bush wants a reformed tax code, aimed at consumption rather than income, their strategy of tax reform via tax cuts will not produce a clean reform. Many of the subsidies and loopholes of the current system will remain. The result will be a narrower tax base, full of distortions, which shifts the burden of taxation towards poorer Americans.
The other big difference with the Gipper is that Mr Reagan was not averse to putting up taxes when too much red ink appeared. Taxes were raised several times during his presidency. Congressional rules on deficit reduction were introduced during Mr Reagan's second term. So far, at least, Team Bush has shown no such flexibility. There is no admission that America faces a fiscal mess, and no shifting from the mantra that all tax increases, at all times, are bad. "

...Yes we got trouble right here in River City! Trouble begins with T and stands for Trillion! (44 of em, but who's counting
What the Economist doesn't bother to say is that Democrats were in control of at least one house of Congress and had major roles in shaping tax reforms. Where is Daniel Moynihan now that we need him?

people who can craft an argument

"people who can craft an argument? < Interloper > 11/07 12:25:22

well, just visible on the screen right now...

on MY side (grin,, thats a joke; this place does get too labeled sometimes) dhogaza is very knowledgeable, and can definitely string his knowledge into a strogn argument.

On the 'other' side, partridge sometimes manages a strong challenge, and has shown he is capable of re-examining his thoughts. sometimes (grin).

Rough Justice is prone to fits of biting but contentless commentary, but can also often cut thoughtfully right to the heart of an argument. "

mechanic's humor


Tool Definitions

HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate expensive parts not far from the object we are trying to hit.

MECHANIC'S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on boxes containing seats and convertible tops.

ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning steel Pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age, but it also works great for drilling mounting holes in fenders just above the brake line that goes to the rear wheel.

PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads.

HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

VICE- GRIPS: Used to round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your garage on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside a brake drum you're trying to get the bearing grease out of.

WHITWORTH SOCKETS: Once used for working on older British cars and motorcycles, they are now used mainly for impersonating that 9/16 or 1/2 socket you've been searching for, the last 15 minutes.

DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, splattering it against that freshly painted part you were drying.

WIRE WHEEL: Cleans rust off old bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprint whorls and hard-earned guitar calluses in about the time it takes you to say, "Ouc...."

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering a car to the ground after you have installed your new front disk brake set-up, trapping the jack handle firmly under the front fender.

EIGHT-FOOT LONG DOUGLAS FIR 2X4: Used for levering a car upward off a hydraulic jack.

TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters.

PHONE: Tool for calling your neighbour to see if he has another hydraulic floor jack.

SNAP-ON GASKET SCRAPER: Theoretically useful as a sandwich tool for spreading mayonnaise; used mainly for getting dog-doo off your boot.

E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool that snaps off in bolt holes and is ten times harder than any known drill bit.

TIMING LIGHT: A stroboscopic instrument for illuminating grease build up.

TWO-TON HYDRAULIC ENGINE HOIST: A handy tool for testing the tensile strength of ground straps and brake lines you may have forgotten to disconnect.

CRAFTSMAN CR1/2 x 16-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A large motor mount prying tool that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end without the handle.

BATTERY ELECTROLYTE TESTER: A handy tool for transferring sulphuric acid from a car battery to the inside of your tool box after determining that your battery is dead as a door nail, just as you thought.

METAL SNIPS: See hacksaw.

TROUBLE LIGHT: The mechanic's own tanning booth. Sometimes called a drop light, it is a good source of vitamin D, "the sunshine vitamin," which is not otherwise found under cars at night. Health benefits aside, its main purpose is to consume 40-watt light bulbs at about the same rate that 105-mm howitzer shells might be used during, say, the first few hours of the Battle of the Bulge. More often dark than light, its name is somewhat misleading.

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the lids of old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splash oil on your shirt; can also be used, as the name implies, to round off Phillips screw heads and can double as oil filter removal wrench by stabbing through stubborn oil filters.

AIR COMPRESSOR: A machine that takes energy produced in a coal-burning power plant 200 miles away and transforms it into compressed air that travels by hose to a Chicago Pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty bolts last tightened 30 years ago by someone in Abingdon, and rounds them off.

PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.

HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to cut hoses 1/2 inch too short.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Comparative healthcare plans

Kucinich's plan (all $6T worth) puts the rest in the shade, but on a dollars per insured basis


Overall approach: Tax credits to buy individual policies for low-income uninsured
Special focus: Choice of type of insurance, individual market
Number of uninsured covered: 4 million
Net federal cost: $89 billion over 10 years
Remaining uninsured: 37 million (out of 41 million currently uninsured)

Overall approach: Mixed public-private with tax credits for
individuals, new group option, public
program expansion, automatic enrollment through tax code
Special focus: Achievability
Number of uninsured covered: 31 million
Net federal cost: $932 billion over 10 years
Remaining uninsured: 10 million

Overall approach: Mixed public-private with tax credits for selected
populations, new group option,
public program expansion, automatic enrollment for children through tax
Special focus: Children
Number of uninsured covered: 22 million
Net federal cost: $590 billion over 10 years
Remaining uninsured: 19 million

Overall approach: Employer requirement to offer coverage, tax credits
for employers and individuals,
public program expansion
Special focus: Economic stimulus
Number of uninsured covered: 31 million
Net federal cost: $2.5 trillion over 10 years
Remaining uninsured: 10 million

Overall approach: Mixed public-private with employer and individu"

Count the undead

How many people are alive today that Saddam would have killed by now at his average annual harvest of roughly 50,000 souls?"

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Saddam's WMD programs

Krauthammer points out Rolf Ekeus, living proof that not all Swedish arms inspectors are fools, may have been right.

Ekeus headed the U.N. inspection team that from 1991 to 1997 uncovered not just tons of chemical and biological weapons in Iraq but a massive secret nuclear weapons program as well. This after the other Swede, Hans Blix, then director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, had given Saddam Hussein a perfectly clean bill of health on being non-nuclear. Indeed, Iraq had a seat on the IAEA board of governors.

Ekeus theorizes that Hussein decided years ago that it was unwise to store mustard gas and other unstable and corrosive poisons in barrels, and also difficult to conceal them. Therefore, rather than store large stocks of weapons of mass destruction, he would adapt the program to retain an infrastructure (laboratories, equipment, trained scientists, detailed plans) that could "break out" and ramp up production when needed. The model is Japanese "just in time" manufacturing, where you save on inventory by making and delivering stuff in immediate response to orders. Except that Hussein's business was toxins, not Toyotas.

The interim report of chief U.S. weapons inspector David Kay seems to support the Ekeus hypothesis. He found infrastructure, but as yet no finished product.

As yet, mind you. "We are not yet at the point where we can say definitively either that such weapons stocks do not exist or that they existed before the war and our only task is to find where they have gone," Kay testified last week.

This is fact, not fudging. How do we know? Because Hussein's practice was to store his chemical weapons unmarked amid his conventional munitions, and we have just begun to understand the staggering scale of Hussein's stocks of conventional munitions. Hussein left behind 130 known ammunition caches, many of which are more than twice the size of Manhattan. Imagine looking through "600,000 tons of artillery shells, rockets, aviation bombs and other ordnance" -- rows and rows stretched over an area the size of even one Manhattan -- looking for barrels of unmarked chemical weapons.

But the question of whether he was still in the WMD business is no longer open. "We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities," Kay testified, "and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002" -- concealed, that is, from the hapless Hans Blix.

Kay's list is chilling. It includes a secret network of labs and safe houses within the Mukhabarat, the Iraqi foreign intelligence service; bioorganisms kept in scientists' homes, including a vial of live botulinum toxin; and my favorite, "new research on BW [biological weapons]-applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever, and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin" -- all "not declared to the U.N."

I have never heard of Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever. I don't know one doctor in 100 who has. It is a rare disease, and you can be sure that Hussein was not seeking a cure.

He was not after the Nobel in physiology (Yasser Arafat having already won the peace prize). He was looking for a way to turn these agents into killers. The fact that he was not stockpiling is relevant only to the question of why some prewar intelligence was wrong about Iraq's WMD program. But it is not relevant to the question of whether a war to preempt his development of WMD was justified.

The fact that Hussein may have decided to go from building up stocks to maintaining clandestine production facilities (may have: remember, Kay still has 120 depots to go through) does not mean that he got out of the WMD business. Otherwise, by that logic, one would have to say that until the very moment at which the plutonium from its 8,000 processed fuel rods is wedded to waiting nuclear devices, North Korea does not have a nuclear program.

Hussein was simply making his WMD program more efficient and concealable. His intent and capacity were unchanged.¬Found=true

The more you promote less qualified minorities

the more people are predisposed to discriminate. I have seen minorities that are hired and promoted based on reverse discrimination and they end up relegated to make work jobs because they're just not competent. This only makes it harder for qualified minority candidates to overcome the aforementioned predisposition to discriminate.

Life isn't fair. Get over it.

lgf: losJihad Watch

lgf: lost and found: "in Pakistan the jihad factories are churning out infidel-hating killbots: Pakistan is Jihad Inc's global HQ. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
Last year, Jessica Stern, a counterterrorism expert at the Howard University, brought out a very widely read study on the working of the madrassas in Pakistan, where she describes them as jihad factories. In India the problem is the same one Rumsfeld referred to. The problem which we are facing today in Kashmir is not because of Kashmiri militancy but because of large-scale infiltration of people into Kashmir from Pakistan.

Till 1993, the number of foreigners killed by the security forces in Kashmir used to come to 32. It went up to 172 per annum between 1993 and 1998. Since 1999, our security forces have been killing 951 foreign mercenaries per annum in Kashmir. The majority of them are Pakistani nationals."

Monday, November 03, 2003

Will the Iraqi govt outlive all the carbombers?

In 1982 a car bomb blew up Phalange Party headquarters, killing Bashir Gemayel, the newly elected pro-Western, pro-American, pro-Israeli president.

Syria was deeply unhappy with him. The car bomb soon took care of business, wiping out an entire office building housing not just Gemayel but many top aides and government officials. It was the perfect political decapitation. With Gemayel gone, and a year later the Americans too, Lebanon inexorably fell into Syria's lap. It remains a Syrian colony.

Our enemies in Iraq have learned these lessons well. The car bomb of Oct. 12 was aimed at the Baghdad Hotel, housing not just large numbers of Americans but much of the provisional Iraqi government. It would have been the equivalent of the two Beirut bombings in one: a psychologically crushing massacre of Americans -- which would have sparked immediate debate at home about withdrawal -- and the instantaneous destruction of much of the pro-American government, a political decapitation that would have left very few Iraqis courageous enough to fill the vacuum.

--- so will the Fedayeen run out of carbombers before this govt experiences the same fate? I doubt it, but then that Afghan fella has outlived his expected life span by a long ways.