The Angry Cyclist

A fleeting grasp of civil, well reasoned discourse.
This blog will comment on topics of interest like politics, business, taxation, the War with Islam / Islamofascists, road cycling, football, and others.


Google Search


Angry Cyclist
WWW


Opinion of The Angry Cyclist:

"Irrelevant...macho ravings"-
Marc Herold,
Grand Seigneur, University of New Hampshire

"Deranged"-
An idiot relative from Canada

Send e-mail to
Roger Bournival

(Thanks, you spambotting bastards, for forever clogging up my Inbox...)

DISCLAIMER:
Anything you send to me can and will be used against you in the court of the Angry Cyclist. Unless, of course, you request otherwise.



This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
Thursday, March 27, 2003
 
From Bad To Worse?

Words I never thought I'd hear - Senator Barney Frank. I think Barney is probably the smartest guy in the House, certainly an eloquent politician, but I hope I don't have to get used to saying Senator Frank.


 
Darwin Award Nominee

Looks like the Jackass genre is still wielding its sick influence.


Wednesday, March 26, 2003
 
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, R.I.P.

An American original passed away earlier today. The Senator was not your typical politician, being very well read, an extraordinary thinker and speaker, and wrote at least twenty books. My only regret is that there aren't more Democrats like him nowadays.


 
Boston Globe Truth Squad

It seems that Robert Kuttner hasn't joined the club yet.

Headline - War distracts from Bush's budget cuts

Better check your facts next time, Bob. The only cuts I see are in federal income taxes. I'm sure that sits well with you...


 
Bullwinkle's Corner

Okay, someone else wrote this poem. As Tim Blair notes, pay particular attention to the first letter of every line.


 
Angry Cyclist Gets Results!

I can't find the original link, but somebody had an interesting quote that was attributed to Marc Herold, consultant to Iraq Body Count:

"Marc Herold became famous by pointing out that for every Taliban killed, we killed 200 civilians."


As a believer in accuracy, I sent him a friendly reminder :

I don't know how I missed this one:

the link (you can see the old quote embedded in this page - Ed.)

...where you were quoted:

"Marc Herold became famous by pointing out that for every Taliban killed, we killed 200 civilians."

So, if 4,000 civilians were killed, we only killed (4000/200) = 20 Taliban?

Honestly, do you realize what level of world-class stupidity is needed to make such a statement?

Gold medal.


Thanks,

Roger


Always the good sport, he swiftly took corrective action:

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Dear Roger:

Thanks for pointing this out to me. I agree with you that this is REALLY stupid. I never said or wrote such such a thing, indeed in the many talks I give I mention that I estimate 8 - 10'000 Taliban & associates were killed. The folks at the press obviously screwed up and I sent them a message a few minutes ago to immediately correct this.

Marc W. Herold/UNH


Of course, Common Courage Press is still using the bogus 5,000 civilian deaths number. Can't have everything, I guess.


Tuesday, March 25, 2003
 
How Original

Senator Tom Daschle, last week:

"I'm saddened, saddened that this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to war."


Barbara Streisand, today:

"I find it tragic that the Bush administration's attempts at diplomacy failed so miserably and have led us to the point of starting a war that might have been avoided."

At least Barbara's in good spirits, not being saddened, saddened by it all...


 
Redundant

French corruption.


Sunday, March 23, 2003
 
Excessive?

Noted military historian Vickie Grey, writer for News Berkeley offers her assessment of the situation:

“As I write this, Baghdad, a city of five million, is burning, and I am close to tears and nausea. For this, I am told, is being done in my name, in the name of my beloved country. We have unleashed the worst bombing since Dresden and Hiroshima."


Next thing you know, she'll be quoting Marc Herold.


Friday, March 21, 2003
 
If It's Friday, It's Angry Black Columnist Rant Day

Derrick Z. Jackson's panties are in a bunch.

What 'coalition'?

By Derrick Z. Jackson, 3/21/2003

IN HIS ANNOUNCEMENT of war on Iraq, President Bush repeated a very strange word: coalition. He said the word in his first two sentences, three of his first five, and added a fourth reference when he said, ''I want Americans and all the world to know that coalition forces will make every effort to spare innocent civilians from harm.'' From this, you would think that the globe is shouting, ''Go USA!''


It might help if you know what the word coalition meant, Derrick, since there's no numeric input in defining a coalition, but that would get in the way of a cheap rhetorical trick, wouldn't it?

It sounds as if world leaders are joining Bush on a street corner to say, ''What up, bro? Oh yeah? You want to assassinate Saddam? Cool, I'm down with that. You got it. And remember bro, no matter what happens, I got yo' back. Peace.''


Speak the language you know best, Derrick. Word up. Yo' momma. Talk some mo' shit, bro...

Really now. The world's got our back as we try to ''decapitate,'' ''take out,'' excuse me, assassinate Saddam.


Really, Derrick. Did President Bush actually use those words? Of course not. Now will you shut the fuck up?

''The United States is prepared to lead a coalition of the willing,'' Secretary of State Colin Powell said. ''We now have a coalition of the willing that includes some 30 nations.'' By wartime, Bush said the list had grown to 35 nations who ''are giving crucial support, from the use of naval and air bases to help with intelligence and logistics, to the deployment of combat units.''


That sounds like a coalition to me. Did Derrick look it up yet?

Given how the Unilateral States of America just flushed the United Nations into the East River, it is interesting to see just who has ''got our back.'' When you look at the list, you realize that the actual thing that most of the ''coalition of the willing'' actually said to Bush was, ''You want to assassinate Saddam? Cool, I'm down with that. You got it. Now, I can't exactly be there with you right now, you know what I mean bro, right? You know how it is. My treasury is bankrupt, my people are starving, and I got some rebels to repress. But, hey, you go ahead and take out Saddam. And remember bro, no matter what happens, I got yo' back. Peace.''


Is this still Black History Month or something?

The reason the word ''coalition'' flows every five seconds from the lips of the Bush and Powell is because they do not want us to know that no such thing exists. The United States has 250,000 troops bearing down on Iraq. Britain is contributing 45,000. After that, the next greatest contributor is Australia, with a grand total of 2,000.


Most of the Aussies are SAS, the baddest of the bunch. Thanks very much, mates!

How about the French Foreign Legion, First Surrender Battalion?

After that, it is a gathering of street-corner brothers, the kind who are legendary for their lack of shooting accuracy loudly threatening to start a fight, but at the moment of truth runs back to his buddies and screams, ''Fellas, hold me back! You gotta hold me back before I kill this guy!''


"Don't fuck wit' me, or I'll cap yo' bitch ass wit' my nine!"

Poland, obviously to protect its $3.8 billion in US fighter-plane loans, will loan us a grand total of 200 soldiers. Spain was the third-loudest voice behind the United States and Britain in asking the UN to go to war. But faced with 81 percent opposition by Spaniards to the war, Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar committed only 200 troops to go only to Turkey. Fellas, hold me back!


Given that these countries were under the Warsaw Pact until 1991 (Poland) and still under NATO (Spain), there isn't a need for large European armies because of US troops and equipment. Derrick's argument is pathetic, since these guys are still sending more troops than our alleged allies France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada, and Russia. Combined.

Denmark threw in a submarine and a destroyer. Nations like Turkey, Italy, Bulgaria, and Romania will let US planes land or fly in their airspace. But concern that Saddam Hussein is a world threat does not extend to risking the lives of their own soldiers.


Uh, Derrick? How much research do you actually put into your articles? Last time I checked, Turkey was still yanking our chain. Italy has a valid reason - they don't have many troops to send. Bulgaria and Romania are sending non-combat troops that are specialists in decontamination. Do they not count because they're not 'bullet catchers'? How fucking lazy is Derrick in researching basic facts?

Nations like the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, and Hungary said they will assist in any cleanup activities after the war is over or help house refugees. Big deal. Even Germany, one of the most vocal opponents of the war, says it will help in a cleanup.


Ukraine's providing troops, but they're going to the Balkans instead. Of course, that frees up other troops, but we won't talk about that. Hungary is allowing the use of bases there, despite strong internal opposition. While it's hard to tell how much each country's giving as a total of what they could give, I'm inclined to accept any help graciously. I think Derrick's just an ax-grinding ingrate.

One of the ''coalition of the willing,'' President Francisco Flores of El Salvador, said, ''If the world had disarmed Hitler in 1937, then maybe what happened wouldn't have happened.'' President Enrique Bolanos of Nicaragua said his nation will ''back this action in the fight against terrorism wherever it exists.'' Neither nation has committed troops. They got our back.


Two word response - Banana Republics.

Bush's 35 nations is less about fear of Saddam Hussein than fear of not wanting to end up like Turkey. When Turkey waffled on allowing the United States to deploy troops on its border with Iraq, the United States pulled a $15 billion aid package. That is why Ethiopia and Eritrea, which need aid to fight starvation, are ''coalition'' partners. That is why Colombia, which needs our aid in the drug war and to fight rebels, is a partner. That is why the Czech Republic, which is just getting into the Western economic game with wonderful products like cigarettes, put their name on the list.


But I thought you said Turkey was playing ball with us now, right? Shit, bro, I'm so confused!

Bush needs none of them to waste a rust-bucket like Iraq. He needs them to add a veneer of morality to his aggression. He could not convince the UN to become the coalition of the willing. He was so eager to go to war, he settled for a coalition of welfare states.


It's just another plot by the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy to free the world of UN hegemony. And, of course, since most of the countries earning Derrick's scorn and ridicule are former Eastern Bloc nations, it has everything to do with knowing what life was like under the boot of the Soviet Union in choosing allegiance with us. I guess Derrick is either misinformed or hopelessly naive. And lazy.

If Bush does not spare innocent civilians from harm in Iraq, we will find out very quickly who has his back.


Another distorted hand crafted piece of smug self-righteousness by the Globe's 'finest'...

Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail address is jackson@globe.com.

This story ran on page A21 of the Boston Globe on 3/21/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.


Thursday, March 20, 2003
 
Disinformation

This is how we supposedly honed in on Sammy yesterday with the cruise missiles and the F-117A's:

"Rich, This is from Bloomberg, sorry no link: 'The U.S. targeted the leaders after engineering reports yesterday that Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz had defected, Sky News reported, citing unidentified officials. The reports prompted Azia to go on live television yesterday to prove his loyalty, allowing the U.S. to track the source of the transmission and follow Aziz's movements, Sky reported.' In other words, we flushed out Aziz, followed him, and made him drop a dime on Saddam without him knowing it."


I tried finding a hard link to this story, having seen it elsewhere today, but I couldn't find it.

This looks like Sammy's first big mistake - falling for disinformation. Uncle Joe would not be happy with you.

A reader of The Volokh Conspiracy knows where Sammy might be. No argument here.


 
Quote Of The Day

"The NCAA Basketball tournament will be switched to ESPN so that CBS may televise the first round match between #1 United States vs. #16 Iraq."


Wednesday, March 19, 2003
 
Stating The Obvious

Martha Burk is bothered by the upcoming war.

Burk says war would change scope of protest

Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Martha Burk thinks war with Iraq would ''alter the tone and possibly the size'' of her planned protest during the Masters.


Translation: no one except the New York Times will be paying attention.

But Burk, chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations, said Wednesday she still intends to protest April 12 at Augusta National -- unless the all-male club allows female members or postpones the tournament.


Still down to the one day of protest?

''If the country is at war it will alter the tone and possibly the size of any action that we bring,'' Burk told The Associated Press. ''I want to stress that whether or not we are there is 100 percent the club's call.''


Her permit to protest is still being reviewed, apparently.

Burk said the club should consider postponing The Masters if the nation is at war.

''The tournament is more than a golf match -- it is a large corporate party, liquor and entertainment flows freely throughout the week,'' she said. ''These are things I don't think the country is going to want to see happening during a time of national conflict.''


"it is a large corporate party, liquor and entertainment flows freely throughout the week" - precisely why it won't be cancelled.

The Masters was canceled for three years (1943-45) because of World War II -- the only time since 1934 the tournament was canceled.

Augusta National plans to go forward with the year's first major tournament and will monitor political developments, spokesman Glenn Greenspan said.

''But for Ms. Burk to use the possibility of war as an opportunity to inject herself into the news again is the lowest sort of self-promotion,'' Greenspan said.


Well, there's still Jesse Jackson and the one-man KKK splinter group in the running for that top prize.

Last week, Burk's request to protest at Augusta National's front gate was denied, prompting her to sue the city to get permission.


At a location 500 feet from the front gate, but the cameras will still be there.

One of Burk's allies, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, said Tuesday it will reduce its numbers and demands during The Masters because of the imminent possibility of war.


That's interesting...

The coalition, led by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, probably will avoid acts of civil disobedience and accept the two protest locations approved by local officials, Janice Mathis, the group's vice president, said Tuesday.


I wonder if Jesse knows any members. It's not like him to declare a truce.

''We have had a change of mind-set,'' Mathis said. ''There is some feeling that we would have a more muted position if the country is at war. Not that we wouldn't be there, but we'd be there, perhaps, in a less confrontational way.''

The Richmond County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday approved one permit for Rainbow/PUSH for as many as 100 people to protest on a 5-acre parcel on club-owned Washington Road. That spot was offered as an alternative to two other requested locations closer to the club's main gates. Sheriff's officials said those locations posed safety problems.


The ACLU lawsuit's still pending, so we'll see how many traffic reports the sheriff's office will cough up.

A different site requested by the group was also approved, giving Rainbow/PUSH permission to place an additional 100 protesters at Wheeler and Highland roads.

''It's totally an area of right of way,'' sheriff's Col. Gary Powell said, referring to the sidewalks surrounding the center.


I wonder if Jesse's group will be there all four days. My guess is no.

The group will have to notify local officials whether it will accept or reject those locations.


"Then we'll sue!"

An anti-Jackson group, the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, applied for a permit Tuesday to protest against Rainbow/PUSH during the tournament.


Now we're up to four groups, interesting.

The sheriff's office has seven days to respond. The tournament starts April 10.


The circus, however, is now in full swing.



 
What Deficit?

This lawsuit ought to close the gap.


Tuesday, March 18, 2003
 
Everyone's A Critic

Now Janet Reno's getting into the act:

Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno speaks at Brown
By Associated Press, 3/17/2003 22:41

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) In the war against terrorism, the Bush administration has failed to balance the scales of liberty and security, former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno told a packed audience Monday night at Brown University.


How big was the room, 200 people?

After watching President Bush's address, Reno said, ''We will not solve the world's problems by might.''


We will solve our own problems by 'might'.

''I had hoped people would come up with an opportunity for him to save face,'' she said.


Save your own face, withered sea hag...

Bush on Monday night said the United States would lead a war against Iraq unless Saddam Hussein in the next 48 hours went into exile.

Reno also criticized the White House's policy toward enemy combatants.


''Two citizens today are being held incommunicado in military brigs in this country, without being charged, without access to counsel, by the simple fact that the president has declared them what is called 'enemy combatants,''' Reno said, referring to ''dirty bomb'' suspect Jose Padilla and the Louisiana-born Yasser Esam Hamdi.


Janet Reno, champion of the little people...

''What has happened to the Bill of Rights? What has happened to due process? What has happened to the Geneva Convention? If they're not prisoners of war, what are they? And what rights do they have?'' she asked.


As much rights as Elian had, your sorceress.

Reno, whose father immigrated to the United States from Denmark, also denounced profiling at the borders.


Nope, don't want to ruffle any feathers, do we?

''We are a nation of immigrants, made great by immigrants,'' she said.


Unless you're escaping Castro's island paradise.

Reno was the worst first female attorney general. She made an unsuccessful bid last year for governor of Florida, losing to the president's brother, Republican Gov. Jeb Bush.


And she still won't shut up.


 
No Doubt Here, Folks

A decidedly balanced article from the original bow-tied bum-kisser.

An absence of doubt


By Thomas Oliphant, 3/18/2003

WASHINGTON

IN A REMARKABLE display of confidence, bravado, recklessness -- call it what you will -- the Bush administration is assuming, predicting, betting that the imminent invasion of Iraq is going to resemble Thomas Hobbes's grim view of life -- nasty, brutish, and short.


It's what I expect when I read Tom's columns: nasty temper, brutish Bush bashing and short on logic.

Unlike the doubts that accompanied the start of the first war a dozen years ago, the second Bush administration to go to war with Saddam Hussein's regime has made an open display of its expectations

We should all count, officials say, on American forces being greeted in Iraq as liberators, not conquerors. We should also expect, they add, that US troops will be in Baghdad's environs within a week of the start of hostilities. The working assumption is that the Iraqi army will not fight, that the once elite Republican Guard will be rent by defections and desertions. In addition, officials say that both a lack of Iraqi will and the work of covert operations forces will prevent any disastrous destruction of Iraq's infrastructure -- above all its oil fields and pipelines.


Sounds like Tom still has his doubts, so now he'll straddle the fence and continue his pissfest against Bush once the smoke clears. Unfortunately for Tom, the above paragraph is based on intelligence reports, news reports, anti-Saddam rallies in Europe as well as eyewitness testimony. Would you like 60,000 guaranteed deaths per year on your conscience?

The administration's expectation now is that Turkey's new leadership will overcome the parliamentary opposition to the use of Turkish air space and bases during the war. How much the United States will end up using Turkey is yet to be determined, but officials predict more than enough of a US presence and good will between the two countries to keep the Turkish military from clashing with Kurds in northern Iraq.


I think we could better use that $15 billion on the Kurdish side of the border.

In briefings for reporters and congressional leaders, the administration is also predicting that as Iraq is rapidly conquered and secured, there will be ''significant quantities'' of chemical and biological weapons uncovered, more than enough to justify the long US claim that Iraq's assertion that it retained none was a lie. Officials also expect to find equally significant documentary evidence of a nuclear weapons program that could have been reactivated any time the rest of the world chose to avert its eyes again.


And when that happens (not if), Tom Daschle will soon look like the biggest opportunistic jerkoff the DemocRATS have, if you can figure out who's in front now.

The expectation is that all major resistance to the invasion force will be eliminated within three months without a large loss of American lives, by which time what is called ''an interim authority'' will be functioning. There has been a famous reluctance until now to discuss the cost, but officials are now talking of asking Congress next week for $70 billion to $100 billion to finance military and reconstruction activity well into next year.


Spending on foreign aid efforts via the military is always bad, while UN interventions or unilateral interventions taken up by Democratic presidents are always good and noble. Wonder why that is?

I wouldn't begin to evaluate the reliability of these assumptions and expectations, but the extent of them is truly remarkable. Part of the administration's confidence is clearly based on its assessment of encyclopedic intelligence information; part of it is also based on the need to attract and keep support for the war. Regardless, the extent to which President Bush has stuck his neck out is more than unusual. And there's more.


There's always more when it comes to Bush's alleged transgressions...

As the final fig leafs of diplomatic activity were yanked away over the weekend, the administration has also begun to speak of a renewed effort to reestablish tolerable relations with the same United Nations that has so infuriated it in recent weeks. There remains genuine anger that the coalition of the unwilling, led by France and Russia, refused to countenance force as a legitimate option in the face of a dozen years of noncompliance with and defiance of UN resolutions.


That's because France and Russia are about to lost a combined $20 billion or so in contracts in Iraq, never mind the spare jet and helicopter parts, chemical plants, nuclear research facilities, etc... Wouldn't you be tossing sand in the gears, too?

However, the most vocal trashers of the UN in the Bush administration and among its political allies would be advised to get their best shots in soon, because the president intends to go in a surprisingly magnanimous direction in short order.


What makes you say that?

Almost unnoticed after Sunday's pep rally in the Azores was a pledge by Bush to seek new Security Council resolutions to broaden participation in (and not just financing of) Iraq's postwar reconstruction and governance. Yesterday, officials said that each phase is almost unthinkable without UN assistance.


I'm inclined to think that it's a 'request for financial assistance', nothing more. Why do you think this item is making the rounds? (find the financing article) It looks like we're passing that big cowboy hat on behalf of Afghanistan. Share the love, my multilateralist friends!

They gave several reasons for this belief that the narrow coalition fighting the war must broaden after it: the requirements of the international fights against terrorism; the realities of humanitarian and reconstruction work that will in time need a much lower US profile; and the probable need to use the UN for an eventual response to grave nuclear proliferation issues raised by the conduct of Iran and North Korea.


Translation: in case Syria or Iran are next.

This is the moment when ambivalence and reluctance usually became support. In this case, they should. There is nothing illegitimate about what is about to happen to Saddam Hussein, and there isn't a shred of legitimacy to anything his regime has done since he invaded Kuwait in 1990.


Are we turning over a new leaf, Tom? Maybe Bush has been right all along?

This is the moment when the work so many have done on alternatives to avoid war or to start a war with the broadest possible coalition comes to an end.


I, for one, appreciate all their efforts. Now it's much easier to see who our real allies are.

We should all respect the view that any use of force is wrong, but for those whose ambivalence led them to support every realistic hope of a different outcome, the only proper course now is support for President Bush and prayers that it will be as quick a victory as he is expecting.


Tom obviously doesn't read Clausewitz at all.

Thomas Oliphant's e-mail address is oliphant@globe.com.

This story ran on page A23 of the Boston Globe on 3/18/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.


Sunday, March 16, 2003
 
Darwin Award Nominee

A human shield was run over by a bulldozer.


 
Marc Herold Update

Did I call this one or what? He sent an e-mail yesterday to remind me of his latest endeavor. They've already started the body count in Iraq, so they've inflated / distorted the number right out of the gate. And Marc Herold is a consultant to this effort (mentioned in the mail, not explicitly at the site).

Professor Herold commented: “I strongly support this initiative. The counting of civilian dead looms ever more importantly for at least two reasons: military sources and their corporate mainstream media backers seek to portray the advent of precision guided weaponry as inflicting at most, minor, incidental civilian casualties when, in truth, such is is not the case; and the major source of opposition to these modern ‘wars’ remains an informed, articulate general public which retains a commitment to the international humanitarian covenants of war at a time when most organized bodies and so-called ‘experts’ have walked away from them”.


When this 'research' consists in quantifying one and only one thing, it's simply a tabulation. You're not comparing civilian casualties to military casualties or the approximate number and weight of materiel dropped into the war zones, so what's the point of the whole excercise? The higher the number, the more self righeous you become.

He also mentions that his 'research' is garnering worldwide attention:

You'll be happy to hear that Sweden's foremost daily newspaper devoted a front page article to my analysis of the U.S. carnage perpetrated upon the people and land of Afghanistan.


I suppose they're slow to translate things over there.

Marc Herold is certainly the man for the job. He'll advise the folks at Iraqi Death Watch about how to uncritically use Iraqi-friendly sources and reports, even when they're being routed through the BBC and Reuters intermediaries, thus gaining the veneer of authenticity. Pointing this out to people like Herold, however, results in discovering my latest behavioral pathology, that of my deeply rooted 'ethnocentric bias'. When that doesn't work, just fall back to the old 'round a few of the reports to the next highest multiple of ten' trick. Works every time, doesn't it, Marc?


 
High Hopes

Presidential candidates who launch their bids from the Senate arent very successful.


 
Happy Protesting

You have been warned.


 
Captain Hairdo Update

His campaign manager is missing his laptop computer:

Campaign spokesman Chris Lehane said the laptop was stolen from his car while he was eating lunch. Lehane said a waiter told him he saw a middle-aged man pull up next to Lehane's car, smash a window, snatch the computer and speed off.


Middle aged man - sounds like a Republican operative. My side bet is one of Kerry's rivals. Why wasn't this laptop locked in the trunk?

"The information in the computer far exceeded the value of the computer," Lehane said.


Well, that's obvious. I wonder when and where that information will turn up? I also wonder if they're smart enough to run C2-rated operating systems like NT and Windows 2000 / XP so the Republican operative thief will have to be a master hacker to get in there.

He filed a police report, and a witness wrote down the license plate of the suspect's vehicle, but police determined the plate had been stolen. Lehane said he didn't believe the computer heist was anything more than a routine street theft.


The thief used a stolen plate to cover his tracks? This is not a 'routine street theft', it reads more like a targeted hit.

"I'm the just the latest victim of crime," he quipped. "Crime has gone up under George W. Bush's watch."


...who stole the election, etc.


Friday, March 14, 2003
 
Quiz Time!

The venerable (and pretentiously named) Boston Globe columnist H.D.S. Greenway has a few questions for you:

Easing the threat of North Korea

By H.D.S. Greenway, 3/14/2003

HERE'S A SHORT quiz. Which country is the longest-running enemy of the United States?


France.

Which is the world's most militarized state?


China.
Which has the cruelest tyranny?


Cuba.

Which has significant weapons of mass destruction - chemical, biological, nuclear - and a record of attacking its neighbors?


Iraq.

Which hostile country exports the most death-dealing technology?


Germany / France.

Which is the most isolated, the most unpredictable?


North Korea.

Which has remained the most undeterred by US imposed sanctions?


Can I use the same answer twice? Cuba.

In terms of US interests and world peace, which is the most dangerous country in the world today?


Iraq.

It's North Korea, of course


Of course. Now why didn't I think of that? I'm glad this guy's not teaching at a university. Then again, so's Noam Chomsky...

and the irony is that while Iraq denies it has weapons of mass destruction, North Korea shouts that it is getting them. While Iraq has UN inspectors poking around wherever they wish


Not even close to true, nor has it ever been...

North Korea sends them packing. Whereas Saddam Hussein is forced to destroy his best missiles, North Korean fires them threateningly into the Sea of Japan. And all the while Washington says it's not really a crisis and North Korea keeps yelling: Oh, yes, it is!


That must explain the deployment of the USS Carl Vinson and this Japanese Aegis-equipped battleship. Did you write this crap a few weeks ago, H.D.S.?

To Americans, North Koreans seem irrational.


No, really?

But consider what it looks like from their side. North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il, has been slowly trying to break his isolation - opening up his borders a crack, flirting with Chinese-style economic zones. But of all the nuclear powers in the world, only the United States is seen as a menace to him.


That's because we won't give him oil. How's the tree bark & grass diet treating you, asshole?

After a crisis in 1994 with the Clinton administration, the United States moronically and North Korea cleverly signed an ''Agreed Framework,'' in which North Korea promised to suspend its plutonium-producing reactor in exchange for fuel oil, light-water reactors for electricity production, and, most important, guarantees that the United States would not attack. The United States obligated itself in writing to provide ''formal assurances'' not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against North Korea. The United States also promised to lift sanctions and strive towards normal diplomatic relations.


And North Korea broke the deal. Does that somehow obligate us to keep the oil tankers rolling in?

But the sanctions were slow in lifting, progress toward diplomatic relations was glacial, and the promise of substitute reactors seemed to fade into the future. The North Koreans hedged by embarking on a secret nuclear program involving uranium - a program that obviously broke the sprit of the Agreed Framework, but not necessarily the letter, as Jonathan Pollack of the US Naval College has pointed out.


So we're supposed to keep 'negotiating' with people who break treaties?


To the literal-minded North Koreans, uranium enrichment, as opposed to plutonium, was a technical loophole in the Agreed Framework. Also, since they hadn't yet built a uranium enricher, they weren't quite in violation of the nonproliferation treaty, which they have since abrogated.


Uranium, plutonium, whatever...

Nonetheless, at the end of the Clinton administration two unprecedented events occurred. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright not only went to North Korea but actually appeared in the National Stadium with Kim, a symbolic gesture the power of which Albright may not have realized.


I'll translate: she's one stupid bitch, and her advisers are equally stupid. NO ONE in the Clinton administration thought this was a bad thing?

And the second-most-important North Korean military man, Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok, visited the White House. A communique was signed reaffirming noninterference in each other's affairs - a document that could be considered tantamount to the nonaggression pact.


"Hey, Mr. President? Where's the big girl, Monica? I hear she sucky-sucky, long time!"

Then in came the Bush administration, vocally and aggressively opposed to anything Clinton did. One day Secretary of State Colin Powell said he would continue the Clinton approach to North Korea. On the next day President Bush said he wouldn't.


Good cop - bad cop routine.

Although the Agreed Framework was never officially scrapped, the Bush administration issued a nuclear posture review and a new national security strategy, both of which left open the door not only to nuking North Korea but to a preemptive war.


It's not too hard to figure out why, unless you're a Boston Globe Columnist. Just get it from the horse's mouth.

And just in case those tea leaves were hard to read, there was Bush's ''Axis of Evil'' speech that fingered North Korea directly as an enemy. Bush himself went public with his personal detestation of Kim Jong Il. Smarter men than Kim might have smelled regime change in the new wind breaking from Washington.


"the new wind breaking" - Jeezus, where are the editors here?

One can argue that Kim should have been more familiar with what can happen to foreign policy when regimes change in the United States, but the new belligerence of the Bush administration caught even our oldest allies by surprise. The hostility toward other agreed-upon frameworks, such as environmental treaties and world courts, shook even our best friends. The payback is coming now when so few in the world support us.


The world according to Greenway - the United States has to bend over backwards for psychopathic dictators who starve their own people. Oh, and by the way, H.D.S., it was during the Clinton Administration that the Senate said no way to Kyoto. By a 97-0 vote.

It's too late to threaten North Korea with war. They have the bomb. It is not too late to negotiate. The North Koreans are demanding direct, ''knee-to-knee'' negotiations, as the North Koreans say, with the United States. We, crying nuclear blackmail, say we will talk only in an international framework including China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea.


Yep, they have The Bomb. The problem is, we have 9,000 of them. The Soviet Union knows about mutual assured destruction, so it's more than likely Kim Jong Il, as crazy as he may seem, knows his country will be a huge glass sheet if he strikes first. Negotiations have worked wonders in the past with people like, oh, Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein and this screwball. Can you name me one treaty ever upheld by these guys? I didn't think so.

The way out is clear. An international conference to which all the parties are invited, with knee-to-knee negotiations going on quietly in a side room beneath the international blankets.


Which the North Koreans simply do not want. Do you read your own material, H.D.S.?

Yes, the United States and north Asia are being held hostage by North Korean rascals and desperados, but the first thing you do in a hostage-taking situation is to keep talking calmly and quietly to the hostage-takers, trying to give them a way out.


It's more like patting the doggie on the head before you bust out the can of whup-ass...

H.D.S. Greenway's column appears regularly in the Globe.


 
Dances With Morons

The Angry Black Columnist is discovering his roots.

The dance for African votes in UN


By Derrick Z. Jackson, 3/14/2003


PRESIDENT GEORGE W. Bush needs nine of 15 votes in the United Nations Security Council to get its blessing for a war on Iraq. Only Britain, Spain, and Bulgaria are clear yes votes. France, Germany, China, Russia, and Syria all oppose the war. Among the six undecided nations are Cameroon, Angola, and Guinea.


Among the six undecided nations are former French colonies. Nope, I don't see a pattern here...

Lately, Bush has treated those African countries as if they were major powers. All three nations previously said they were opposed to the war. But Walter Kansteiner, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, visited all three nations last month in the belief that they could be convinced to change their mind.


While French Foreign Minister Dominique DeVillepin flew to these countries in order to throw another monkey wrench into our efforts.

Guinea, a nation of 7.7 million people, is so poor that citizens in the capital, Conkary, enjoy electricity for only 12 hours every four days. The average Guinean lives only into his or her mid-40s. The nation has taken over the chairmanship of the Security Council just as President Lansana Conte is dying of kidney disease.


And your point is...?

France has been a significant aid donor, but Guinea's biggest commercial partner is the United States. The people are dirt poor, but Guinea's dirt has enriched the world's aluminum interests, including Alcoa. Guinea is the world's second biggest producer of bauxite. In recent years, discoveries of oil have caught the attention of American petroleum interests.


So It's All About AluminumTM.

About the only things most Americans know Cameroon for is soccer every four years and former tennis star Yannick Noah


We are just sooooo uncultured...

But it sits on some oil to go along with its coffee and cocoa exports. The United States once helped tear apart Angola by supporting apartheid South Africa's aggressions against it. Today Angola is considered a sleeping economic giant. It is sub-Saharan Africa's second-largest producer of oil after Nigeria and has untold oil offshore. Angola is a key reason that African oil could comprise 25 percent of the oil imported by the United States by 2015. But the nation remains too crippled from its civil war to extract it.


I'd say things have improved since then, despite Derrick's insinuations to the contrary.

The political needs of Bush and the economic needs of these countries have resulted in a dance that is maddening to some bombs-away commentators


Such, er, bombast...

A Washington Post columnist wrote that ''the absurdity of the exercise mirrors the absurdity of the United Nations itself.'' A Wall Street Journal editorial fretted about ''the cost to President Bush's own political standing and credibility as he lets the world's pygmies tie him down like Gulliver.'' A columnist at The Financial Times asked why the United States ''should be hogtied by a bunch of Lilliputians.''


If you read any of these editorials, you'd understand that the context was referring to the UN as a whole, not to these African nations. Derrick used the 'world's pygmies' quote from the WSJ to imply racism, his favorite tactic.

In other words, the bombs-away crowd has no interest in democracy in the United Nations


Given the list of these member countries, it doesn't appear that democracy is a concept held in high regard in, or is a requirement for, the United Nations. Let's walk the alphabet:

Afghanistan
Belarus
China
Cuba
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Egypt
Ethiopia
Georgia
Haiti
Iran
Iraq
Jamaica
Kazakhstan
Lebanon
Myanmar
Namibia
Pakistan
Qatar
Rwanda
Saudi Arabia
Turkmenistan
Uganda
Uzbekistan
Vietnam
Yemen

... and last but not least,

Zimbabwe


Bush and the British thought this would be over after a couple of quick phone calls and a little cash. The British have already dumped a reported $6 million in aid for refugees in the lap of Guinea. Yet Guinea, after earlier reports that it had hopped aboard the Bomb Express, jumped off. Cameroon and Angola have not budged.


There goes your $6 million, Guinea.

What is fascinating is that surely the African countries know that the United States is capable of punishment if they do not vote for the war. The first President Bush stripped Yemen of American aid after Yemen voted against the Gulf War. But other forces could be at work here. It could be as crass as that the African nations are simply holding out for the best economic deal before folding.


Horse trading, by any other name. Maybe this is a new concept for Derrick or something.

It could also be because even as Bush has promised $15 billion in aid to fight AIDS in Africa, the fine print is coming out that such aid may be withheld from health clinics where abortion is discussed. It could also be that African nations have been so burned from European colonialism, American economic exploitation, and the Cold War that they want to be very careful about signing onto someone else's war, one that, if it is draining enough to the American economy, will ironically provide an excuse for the United States to limit or renege on aid and technology to Africa.


I didn't think that Derrick had the ability to think in terms other than rabid, foam at the mouth liberalism. OK, I did, it's that he rarely trots it out, which is a disservice to fans like myself...

The leaders in these nations are hardly democratic darlings


The understatement of the column...

They are beset with plenty of human rights problems cough Mugabe cough. But they are also tired of being puppets of either the United States or Europe. These leaders, still belittled as pygmies by a major newspaper in 2003, want to know why the United States wants to use them to wage war in Iraq, because that will represent yet one more time that Americans have flown right over their disease, poverty, and genocide.


I guess it's time to grow up, then.

Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail address is jackson@globe.com.


 
Tasty

Meryl Yourish doesn't appreciate PETA's latest propaganda efforts at trying to shame convert carnivores into tofu munchers, so she's designating tomorrow for International Eat an Animal for PETA Day

I won't miss that celebration. Kill it and grill it, baby...


 
No Kidding!

I love the headline:

U.S. dismisses French call for U.N. unity on Iraq


Which is another way of saying 'think like the French'...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The White House Thursday dismissed conciliatory French remarks over the U.N. debate on Iraq and said the American public had a right to protest France's opposition to war through boycott calls and actions such as renaming "French fries."


They ought to be called 'surrender fries'. The quote of the day is right here:

Asked by a reporter why Washington was continuing a "diplomatic charade," at the United Nations, Fleischer said, "When you use the word charade, which if I'm not mistaken has French roots, you may want to address the question to those who say they would veto any resolution."


Pins the tail right on the donkey.


Thursday, March 13, 2003
 
Which Political Stereotype Are You?

As long as your role model's on some currency, you're probably all right:

Jefferson
Libertarian - You believe that the main use for
government is for some people to lord it over
others at their expense. You maintain that the
government should be as small as possible, and
that civil liberties, "victimless
crimes", and gun ownership should be basic
rights. You probably are OK with capitalism.
Your historical role model is Thomas Jefferson.


Which political sterotype are you?
brought to you by Quizilla


I sense a slight attitude problem with the above paragraph, but the results could have been worse...


 
This Is Cool / About Freakin' Time

The second phase of the Big Dig will be ready for public use in two weeks.

BOSTON -- Drivers, start your engines


Yeehah! We're gonna burn rubber!

After a decade of traffic headaches and mind-boggling engineering challenges, the new underground northbound lanes of Interstate-93 are set to open.


The southbound lanes open next year. As long as they straighten out that nasty curve just before the Dewey Square Tunnel (near South Station) that reduces speed to about 40 MPH, it should be a nice ride. I can't wait!

My thanks goes out to all those men and women who actually built this roadway. Great job, folks!


 
Captain Hairdo Update

The esteemed Senator, fresh off of raking in $2 million dollars at a recent fundraiser, slams Bush for his diplomatic shortcomings.

U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry last night harshly scolded President Bush for his diplomatic failures in the Iraq conflict as he appeared at a Boston fund-raiser that netted a record $2 million for his presidential campaign.


Can you scold someone in a polite manner?

In one of his toughest speeches against the president's policies, the Massachusetts Democrat charged that U.S. foreign policy has ``become an object of scorn and protest on every continent'' over the past few months.


Old Europe and its remnants...

``A nation with the strongest military on Earth should not have, and cannot afford to have, the weakest diplomacy in our history,'' Kerry said at the packed Sheraton Boston event.


Wasn't it Ted Roosevelt who said, 'Speak softly and carry a big stick'?

Kerry voted to give Bush authorization to use force against Iraq but lately has lambasted the president for rushing to war.


So, admit you were wrong, big boy.

``Even the United States of America needs to make some friends on this planet and we better get about the business of doing so now,'' Kerry said, referring to the eroding support among U.S. allies.


I think this guy disagrees with that statement.

Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, began the fund-raiser by giving a surprise lecture on the dangers of prostate cancer. The senator, 59, is still recovering from prostate cancer surgery last month.

``I hope they don't mind in the back what I've done,'' she said, referring to her husband waiting behind stage before speaking. ``I think this is more important.''

Minutes later, a smiling Kerry said, ``I didn't expect to have a full seminar on my personal health situation.''

Kerry last night made no mention of his plan, reported in yesterday's Herald, to take a pass on this weekend's St. Patrick's Day roast in South Boston.


That's because he's a wuss.

The senator is expected to be a major target of ridicule at the event because of the minor controversy regarding whether he failed to correct misconceptions that he has Irish ancestry.


You got that right.

Kerry has denied that he's ever claimed to be part Irish, despite several inaccurate reports that he has some Irish blood.


Other 'inaccuracies' can be viewed here.

The Herald has reported several times over the years that Kerry is not Irish.

Kerry is traveling to California today for a series of fund-raisers, but he won't attend the St. Patrick's Day roast because of his hectic fund-raising schedule and recent prostate cancer surgery, aides said.


He's still recovering from prostate surgery, but he can travel all across the country raising money. The bullshit meter's redlining...

``It's been a very long week,'' Kerry campaign spokeswoman Kelley Benander said. ``There were just too many days in a row and he needed a rest or he would have hampered his recovery.''


It's been a long week, and it's only Thursday!

Benander said the flap over his ancestry did not prompt him to cancel the South Boston appearance.


He doesn't want to take the heat in person. That's my brave war hero Senator!

The host of the St. Patrick's Day event, state Sen. John A. Hart Jr. (D-South Boston), said due to Kerry's absence he is attempting to get another presidential contender to take his place.


I wonder who the mystery guest will be?

``We're working very hard with them,'' said Hart's chief of staff, Rosemary Powers. ``We're not ready to say no yet.''


"Bimbo Jokes! Get your Bimbo Jokes here!"

But aides to several of the leading Democratic contenders said yesterday they would decline the invitation.


They don't want to step on Kerry's home turf, lest it ruin their chances of being his VP candidate offend Senator Kerry.

U.S. Sen. John Edwards will be traveling on the West Coast, an aide said, while U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) is planning to be in Washington, D.C.

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean is scheduled to be in Colorado on Sunday, a spokeswoman said.


That's convenient...

Gov. Mitt Romney and Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey are slated to attend the South Boston roast.


Who wants to bet whether Romney will or won't crack a few Bulger jokes?


 
Jury Shopping

'Suspected' sniper John Lee Malvo, who now goes by the name Lee Boyd Malvo, has lawyers who seek a sympathetic jury:

FAIRFAX, Virginia (AP) -- Lawyers for sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo say they will challenge a recent change in jury selection that experts say will make it tougher for Malvo to find poor, less-educated, minority jurors who may be more sympathetic.


This is an obvious effort to duplicate OJ's trial outcome. So much for a colorblind legal system.


 
Just Wondering

What would Martha Burk think about this effort to exclude people based solely on their gender? Let me guess... nothing.


Wednesday, March 12, 2003
 
Battleax Update

At least Martha Burk is persistent.

Augusta rejects Burk's proposed protest site

Associated Press


Martha Burk's request to protest at Augusta National's front gate was denied Wednesday, prompting her to sue the city to get permission.


"I'll show those fuckin' rednecks..."

Burk rejected a compromise from Sheriff Ronald Strength that would have allowed her to use another nearby location to protest during the third round of the Masters on April 12 in Augusta, Ga.


'Nearby' probably means a few miles away.

Instead, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit on Burk's behalf. The suit says Augusta's law regulating public protests violates free-speech rights by investing ''virtually unbridled discretion in the sheriff to grant or deny a permit.''


Well, at least she's saving on lawyer's fees. I wonder how committed she'd be if this was coming out of her own pocket.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition applied through the sheriff for permission to place nearly 100 protesters near the club entrance -- the same spot Burk had requested.


"Get outta here, bitch! I was here first!"

Burk, chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations, plans to stage a one-day protest against the private golf club's all-male membership.


Why not all four days? That's how long The Masters lasts, you know.

She asked the sheriff last week for permission to post 24 protesters at the club's front gate and an additional 200 across the street. Strength offered a new location closer to the gate than sites previously proposed by the sheriff, but still not close enough for Burk.


Shot down like a Zero over Midway.

''The men of Augusta National Golf Club come through the front gate,'' Burk said in Atlanta. ''To influence those folks, that's where we need to be.''


But you won't...

Strength said the stretch of Washington Road directly facing Augusta National is too clogged by traffic to ensure safe protests.


If her fat ass squatted down on the road, it would be even more congested.

''Every year with the masses of people around Augusta National Golf Club, we have many auto accidents -- some involving pedestrians -- during tournament week,'' Strength said. ''We have the right and obligation to balance public safety issues with freedom of speech issues.''


I'm sure the ACLU will compel you to produce all those accident reports during the discovery phase.

Instead, he wants all groups protesting during the Masters to use a 5-acre tract in front of an apartment complex that's about 2,000 feet from the Augusta National front gate along Washington Road.


OK, so I was a little off...

People traveling to the club from downtown Augusta would see the protesters on their way in, but those traveling from hotels east of town and from Interstate 20 would enter the club without passing the protest site.


Hook shot with the empty beer bottle as you're going by, you'll probably pick one of them off. Don't forget the Rebel Yell while you're winding up. YEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAA!!!

Augusta National leases the property and agreed to let the sheriff reserve it for public demonstrations during the tournament.


That's mighty white of them, isn't it?

The ACLU filed suit in U.S. District Court federal court Wednesday, said Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the Georgia ACLU chapter.


I wonder who finances these people?

The suit seeks a temporary judge's order blocking the city from enforcing the protest ordinance, amended last month to require groups to apply 20 days in advance for permits to protest on city property. The law gives the sheriff power to approve or deny requests and to dictate the location of demonstrations.


Until now...

Strength also gave two groups permission to protest at the location rejected by Burk. One is a splinter group of the Ku Klux Klan based in Cordele, Ga., that supports Augusta National's all-male membership. The other is an anti-Burk group from Tampa, Fla.


The KKK guy is that 'One-Man Gang' I talked about last week. I'd put Burk between The Reverend Jackson and this guy. That would be more entertaining than the Masters itself.



 
Sometimes I Wonder

...how Howie Carr's still alive after he prints articles like this one:

This is a very simple story. You have a new governor who is trying to rid the commonwealth of the last vestiges of the organized-crime faction that has held this state in a vise-like grip for more than two decades. The gangland bosses have been largely vanquished, except in one place.

The University of Massachusetts.

You know what the Bulgers have been about these past 42 years. You know the death toll, the careers destroyed, the police cowered, the political foes humiliated, the opportunities for economic growth stunted in the wake of this cancer that has metastasized in the body politic.

This is not how the Corrupt Midget planned on exiting the scene, taking the Fifth, demanding immunity from the G-men, dodging and weaving like the cheap, pint-sized hood he so palpably is.

He surrounds himself with a phalanx of high-paid lackeys. Has any other local pol ever had two flacks quoted in a single story, one making $105,000, the other $90,000? In addition to the ``president's office'' payroll, UMass also has a ``Central Administration'' with the same kind of mind-blowing salaries you've come to expect from this empire of paper-shufflers and pencil-sharpeners.


Maybe Howie's packing heat? I know I would.


 
Sad News From The Peloton

Andrei Kivilev, fourth in last year's Tour de France and an emerging superstar, died in an accident today during the Paris - Nice race. My condolences to his family.


Tuesday, March 11, 2003
 
Debate Night

I went to Wheaton College in Norton, MA to check out the debate between Jonah Goldberg, Editor of National Review Online and Lori Wallach, President of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. The topic: Does Global Free Trade Help Poor Nations?

The debate format was a fifteen minute leading statement (started by Jonah) from each debater, followed by a ten minute response, and summarized by a five minute conclusion. It was a pleasant format, not having to be subject to a Crossfire-style shouting match. Jonah's credentials are as a pundit and writer, where Lori came across as a pure policy wonk, educated at the finest leftist institutions Wellesley College, Hillary's alma mater, and a self-described 'recovering lawyer' (the count - no balls, two strikes!). I pegged attendance at about 120, comprised of Wheaton students, faculty and the organizers (the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, the student Democrat and Republican organizations and the Wheaton College Debating Society), and us stragglers. My thanks to all of you for setting up this event, and I hope to see some more of them.

Jonah led off with straightforward logic that, yes, free trade is a benefit to all. Curiously (at least to me), he ceded some ground to Lori, stating his expertise in the global free trade area was not as strong as hers (Gunny Highway says - Don't give the pricks the satisfaction! - Ed.). Not that it seemed to matter. He pointed out that Communist China, with all its' faults, still managed to pull 160 million people out of abject poverty and that other Eastern nations, like South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong (I take issue with that last example, since it was a British colony until 1990) and others of that ilk, performed in a similar manner. He contrasted these success stories with North Korea, which is as stark a contrast as you could make with respect to other countries. Pointing out that North Korea has to lower its army's physical requirements (minimum height has been reduced from 5'5" to 5'2") because of widespread malnutrition in that Stalinist paradise. He also criticized the US government (rightly so) for protectionism in the steel and agricultural industries while pointing out that we're not as bad in that regard as the French European countries are in these areas (Jonah - did you forget about Airbus? - Ed.)

Lori sat there the whole time with a bemused smirk on her face, something I find incredibly irritating. Being versed in the ways of policy wonkery, she rattled off all the international organizations (WTO, GATT, NAFTA, The World Bank, The International Monetary Fund, and sundry others. She mentioned that these organizations are the ones that establish the framework for free trade agreements (I'm not entirely clear how The World Bank and The International Monetary Fund do this, since their primary role is to lend countries money and suggest fiscal policy, but never mind), and that it was this framework that's causing global free trade to screw these poor countries. She took issue with one of Jonah's statements where he said that governmental organizations tend to screw things up (a common conservative theme which I cannot argue with, since I prepare tax returns and know firsthand). She cited a World Bank study that stated, in part, that global free trade contributes to poverty. This is an interesting statement, since Lori also mentions that the World Bank is one of the governmental organizations that 'establish the framework for free trade agreements', essentially confirming Jonah's point. Another point she made with respect to South Korea was its involvement in the Asian financial crisis back in 1998, and that this was a partial refutation of the pro-free trade argument. I pointed out in a blog from long, long ago that the Asian financial crisis was first caused by a default by a Korean steel company, which begat other loan defaults, then devolved into currency speculation and currency devaluation, and it's not entirely clear what any of this has to do with being against free trade. Her concluding statement had the obligatory reference to there being more billionaires in the world today (read: the rich get richer) while there were more people in poverty (read: the poor get poorer), which I view as standard leftist cant.

Jonah's response was that, yes, there may be more people in poverty in absolute terms, but not in percentage terms. He explained that industrialized countries like the US, Russia and European countries have birth rates that are lagging behind the developing countries (he nailed it when he mentioned Italy, which I read about a few months ago), so people in poor countries that have a lot of children will skew this 'statistic'. The rest of his rebuttal can be paraphrased thusly: "Globalization is a historical inevitability' (sorry, Karl).

I started to run low on notepaper at this point. I brought a single 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper (the back of the Wheaton Campus map) which was now two-thirds full. This was fine, because the debate was about two-thirds over. I then keyed in on this one phrase of Lori's - 'The rules (established above) set up who the winners and losers will be', which means she thinks on one level that the whole free trade process is a sham. This is an interesting point, because both Jonah and Lori repeated throughout the debate that they both support free trade (so why are we having this debate? - Ed.). The difference seemed to boil down to its implementation.

In his closing argument, Jonah mentioned a UN report (that HAD to kill you - Ed.) stating that developing countries had higher growth rates than the developed countries have. Lori's closing argument consisted of mentioning the word 'movement' five or six times and asserting free trade efforts as 'a flop', saying 'The System has to be changed', while not mentioning what, exactly, needed changing. I view this as another leftist tactic of 'trust us with the details, you knuckle-dragging mouth breathers will never understand the nuances of global free trade', which as a knuckle-dragging mouth breather I find highly insulting.

The Q & A session consisted of five or six questions, all but one of which were directed at Lori in an effort for her to clarify some of her positions. I welcomed this part, because for the most part I wasn't able to see the connection between almost all of her statements and how these things were bad for free trade. After the first couple of questions, it seemed it was with the implementation of the rules for free trade, which, as mentioned above, 'The rules set up who the winners and losers will be'. After the last question, I still wasn't clear on what, exactly, she was trying to say. Jonah skewered the typical anti-globalization crowd as 'nose-pierced, green-haired, jobless freakazoids (or something like that - it's late, my notes are sketchy, and I'm on my fifth Harpoon IPA, all right?), and the crowd roared. Lori wasn't able to recover fully from that verbal grenade.

In conclusion, I'll give this debate to Jonah on two points - He was a lot funnier than she was (further clarifying his point why liberal talk radio will never work) and was much better at connecting his arguments and examples to supporting global fee trade as a net positive for poorer countries. Lori, not having the advantage of leading off, was boxed into a corner she was never able to get out of, was neither funny (not necessary, but it helps) nor able to connect her criticisms of the current global free trade system / agreements to a solution, a common thread I find with a lot of Boston Globe editorialists left-leaning commentators.

I know I've missed a lot of points brought up by both sides, but this is the best I'm willing to do right now.

My one regret: That I didn't stick around to meet Jonah. I thought that would have been pretty cool, but I had a couple of smokes while waiting for him to escape the inevitable mob of admirers, I know he probably has a small red-eye flight back to DC (hope it's from Providence, not Boston), I wanted to make sure that my cats were fed at a reasonable time, and that they weren't waiting for me outside on top of or inside the Cat CondoTM jonesing for their food. That, and I thought getting this blog off was more important than meeting The Man. Yes, it was a tough call. I hope this blog is the best sacrifice in that regard.

That's the sacrifice I'm willing to make.

Cats Uber Alles? Jonah has Jessica to care for Cosmo, which is a luxury I don't have, thanks to a certain (further commentary withheld). I have some priorities, you know. Maybe there will be a next time, I hope so...



Monday, March 10, 2003
 
Just Blog, Baby

Here's an article on blogging. It's a good overview. I was surprised to see there's 200,000 active blogs from Blogger alone. I have huge doubts about blogging as the next big thing "for advertisers hoping to target their pitches." I think we've been through that already.

Organizing blogs doesn't require much thought or labor because the software automatically sorts things in a chronological sequence, starting with the most recent entry and working backward.

Organizing blogs doesn't require much thought or labor? Man, I'm insulted...


 
Captain Hairdo Update

The esteemed Senator does not have a high regard for our allies in the war against terror:

"The greatest position of strength is by exercising the best judgement in the pursuit of diplomacy," he said, "not in some trumped-up, so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted, but in a genuine coalition."


In Turkey's case, I'll grant him that, but he's way off base with, well, pretty much every other country. He forgets the Bali bombing, and how resolute John Howard has been for Australia as of that time. Tony Blair has a daunting task as a 'pro-war' Labour leader. The old Warsaw Pact knows what it's like to live under a totalitarian boot, whose alliance with us seems natural. Yet Kerry dismisses this as bribery and coercion. It makes you wonder why he voted for the war a few months ago, doesn't it?



Sunday, March 09, 2003
 
Whoops!

Stanley Kurtz of National Review gives his take on Vermont governor Howard Dean:

I just saw Vermont Governor Howard Dean on Face the Nation, and he was superb. Was his position on the war incoherent? Sure. Dean won’t attack Saddam until Iraq’s at the point where North Korea is now. That’s absurd. And Dean thinks deterrence will work on Saddam in the way that it worked with the Soviet Union. That’s ignorant. (Read Kenneth Pollack.) And Dean wants to build up the U.N., even as its refusal to implement its own resolutions turns the institution into a joke. Nonetheless, Dean gave a masterful performance. He parried Russert’s jabs expertly. He came through as a real person, not an artificial persona. And he looked an acted presidential. Dean is breaking out, and that means the Democrats are in big trouble. The face of their party may soon be the dovish man who signed a civil unions bill in a state more liberal than Massachusetts.


One problem with this article - Tim Russert is the host of Meet The Press.


 
My New Theme Song

"Life ain't nothin' but bitches and money."


 
Home Of The Brave

Nothing explains the brave, valorous nature of the modern day terrorist better than this article:

HEAVILY armed al Qaeda thugs practiced storming a school, shooting children and taking hostages in a videotaped training exercise, The Post has learned.

The terror rehearsal took place under the mandate of al Qaeda's operations chief, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.



Try fighting someone with an M-16, pussies.


Saturday, March 08, 2003
 
The Fly-By

There have been some details released behind the harassment of one of our surveillance planes near North Korea earlier this week:

The North Korean fighter jets that intercepted an unarmed American spy plane over the Sea of Japan last weekend were trying to force the aircraft to land in North Korea and seize its crew, a senior defense official said today. One of the four North Korean MIG's came within 50 feet of the American plane, an Air Force RC-135S Cobra Ball aircraft, and the pilot made internationally recognized hand signals to the American flight crew to follow him, presumably back to his home base, the official said. The American crew members ignored the gesture commands, aborted the surveillance mission in international airspace about 150 miles off the North Korean coast, and returned safely to their home base at Kadena Air Base in Japan.


Here's my suggestion for the internationally recognized hand signal that I hope our pilot returned.


Thursday, March 06, 2003
 
Lance Armstrong Update

He's started his season at the Tour of Murcia, finishing safely in the pack. Here's another report on Lance's upcoming season:

Armstrong says he's already in better shape at this point of the season compared to last year, which will be ominous news for his rivals as he now has the Tour record within his sights. He wanted to start racing last year at Murcia as well, but fell victim to flu and instead debuted at Milan-San Remo.


A time to worry, if I was some other big Tour de France contenders.


 
'Cuz I'm The Tax man

Joan Vennochi takes more shots at big bidness.

A first step on business taxes

By Joan Vennochi, 3/6/2003

IS CLOSING a corporate tax loophole the same thing as raising a corporate tax?


Well, it has the same effect...

Not in the lexicon of Governor Mitt Romney, who makes similar distinctions between raising taxes - bad - and raising fees - good.


Can't say I'm thrilled about that. Would Joan complain if a DemocRAT raised fees?

When it comes to business, the Romney administration is ''closing tax loopholes, not changing tax policy,'' insists Robert Pozen, the governor's chief economic adviser.

Call it whatever you like; Massachusetts business is not pleased about it. Hundred of businesses wrote letters protesting the corporate tax increases - no, make that corporate loophole closings - which Romney yesterday signed into law.


Joan, are you schizoid? Wasn't it just last week that you said tax increases are good things (here when the Globe link dies)? Or did I misinterpret something?

The ire over the corporate tax changes follows ire expressed publicly by business leaders that Romney is pursuing too much of a pro-environment, antibusiness agenda.

For the first affront, business blames Douglas Foy. Once one of the state's most aggressive enviromental (sp) activists, Foy now serves as Romney's chief of Commonwealth Development.


It must have been quite the pay raise.

At least Foy's agenda inside the State House is consistent with his past career outside the State House. Squeezing money out of the Commonwealth's corporate citizenry is an entirely new role for Pozen, a former vice chairman of Fidelity Investments. As a top executive for the giant mutual funds industry, he has argued for what the average person calls tax breaks - and what he calls ''bona fide tax policy'' - for business.


I'm trying to figure out when Joan suddenly cared about business. It wasn't that long ago that she was licking the boot of Shannon 'Bitch' O'Brien, who referred to big companies like Fidelity as dinosaurs when she ran for governor against Romney.

''This administration has said it is not going to be proposing new taxes. That is a very different thing from enforcing taxes and tax provisions on the book,'' argues Pozen. It's a first step in standing up to business. Liberals would like to see more.


Yep. I did precisely that when Dukakis won in 1988, field audits on the leading edge of that 'Revenue Initiative'. You guys need a consultant?

Of course, to liberals in the commonwealth - there must be some left - this is not a tough argument to make. In fact, liberals would argue it is time to do more than close three corporate tax loopholes. It is time to roll back the tax breaks doled out to business in the 1990s, which were specific enough to benefit specific companies - Raytheon, Fidelity Investments, and John Hancock Financial Services. And more than that, some might argue that this is the right time to look at the fundamental fairness of the Massachusetts tax code, and ask the question: Is business paying its fair share?


'Fair share' is the liberal way of saying 'more'.

The answer to that question: No.


That was a tough call...

Pozen definitely does not think this is the time to ask the question, is business paying its fair share? It would be ''counter-productive'' to reverse those tax breaks - oops, ''bona fide tax'' policies.


Would you like to see companies move out of Massachusetts instead?

''We need to be looking at a different question: How do we encourage more businesses to put more jobs in Massachusetts?'' he says.


It has something to do with the unemployment rate.

Pozen says the Romney administration does not support specific tax breaks to lure specific companies to Massachusetts. But Romney officials, he says, do support the changes to corporate tax policies made during the revenue-rich 1990s.


I wouldn't take that one off the table, if I were Mitt.

Their view is shared by Michael Widmer, the head of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. ''They are legitimate tax reforms that improve the competitiveness of the Massachusetts economy over time. It encourages business to locate and expand here.''


Oooohh. Too much logic here, Joan. What do you say about that?

The three loophole closings signed into law by Romney could produce up to $300 million in additional revenue to Massachusetts, Pozen estimated yesterday. Two are entirely prospective, closing tax loopholes going forward. But one, relating to taxes paid by a so-called REIT or ''real estate investment trust'' would allow the state Department of Revenue to go back to 1999 assessments.


She knows about the three year statute of limitations. I'm impressed.

The REIT loophole closing is a little difficult for Pozen to justify. ''In the first two cases, they are entirely appropriate,'' he says. He stops, then starts again. ''All are appropriate. All are appropriate loophole closings. I would prefer not to have anything retroactive. In general, for a stable environment you try to change things going forward. ''


The point is not to screw people and force them to move elsewhere.

The governor will absolutely, positively never raise taxes. He will raise fees, close loopholes, and, in the instance of the REIT asessments (sp), bend political ideology to fit political need. Then he will let Pozen try to explain it.


I guess the editor's having a bad day, too. We're racking up those frequent flier miles for the next Ombudsman column!

It's actually quite simple to explain. ''There's a lot of money at stake,'' as Pozen says. Massachusetts needs money and a lot of it.

Well, they can always beg for it. What, that didn't work?


 
Captain Hairdo Update

It seems the esteemed Senator is having another identity crisis. Then there's the usual backpedaling, yadda yadda yadda.

If it's not painfully obvious by now, he's a fake.


Wednesday, March 05, 2003
 
Code Rage

I think he's pissed!

Enraged Computer Owner Shoots Up Machine


Was it a heroin overdose?

The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 5, 2003; 3:53 PM

George Doughty hung his latest hunting trophy on the wall of his Sportsman's Bar and Restaurant. Then he went to jail.

The problem was the trophy was Doughty's laptop computer.

He shot it four times, as customers watched, after it crashed once too often.


Let me guess... Gateway laptop running Windows '95? Yeah, I'd have shot it, too!

He was jailed on suspicion of felony menacing, reckless endangerment and the prohibited use of weapons.


As opposed to a legitimate use of weapons?

"It's sort of funny, because everybody always threatens their computers," said police Lt. Rick Bashor, seconds before his own police computer froze at police headquarters.


Well, here's a lesson for you, Rick: Don't shoot the messenger laptop!

Doughty was released Monday evening after spending a night in jail and is due in court Wednesday.


"Your Honor, it was in self defense!"

In police reports, Doughty said that he realized afterward that he shouldn't have shot his computer but at the time it seemed like the right thing to do.


At least until the paddy wagon showed up.


 
It's All Bush's Fault

President Bush proposes a modest reform to Medicare, a runaway entitlement program. Robert Kuttner proposes to bitch and moan about it instead.

Well, that's not all:

Medicare does need reforming, and older people do need prescription drugs. The Democrats' plan is better: It allocates more federal money, does it via traditional Medicare, and uses government's buying power to reduce drug costs.


"It allocates more federal money". Yup, the prolem is solved, just throw more money at it.

I just don't have the patience to fisk this prick right now. Maybe I'll feel differently about it next week, we'll see.


 
Standing Headline

"Tempers flare at Islamic summit"

Sort of reminds you of those old grade school fights, doesn't it?

Ibrahim also blamed Kuwait for his country's suffering, calling the neighboring Gulf state "traitors" for cooperating with the United States and Israel.

That comment prompted the Kuwaiti representative to stand up and protest, to which Ibrahim countered, "Shut up, sit down you small agent [of the U.S.], you monkey!"


 
The Error Of Her Ways

Joan Vennochi apologizes, more or less, for the piss-poor choice of words that set me off last week:

Note: I did not write the headline over my column of Feb. 27, but I obviously did write the lead paragraph. It described Governor Mitt Romney's budget proposal regarding the University of Massachusetts in terms of blowing up the status quo, ''for the sake of blowing it up . . . not unlike setting off pyrotechnics in a low-ceilinged nightclub.'' In the spirit of taking personal responsibility for words that many readers found to be insensitive, another analogy for reckless politics could and should have been used this close to the Rhode Island fire.


That's putting it lightly...


Tuesday, March 04, 2003
 
Pretending To Be Musicians

Chrissie Hynde shows us her idiotarian side. I always thought this band sucked, and now I'm sure of it.

Between songs, the pugnacious Hynde, in a classic black T-shirt and jeans, bantered and battled with the crowd. She dedicated "You Know Who Your Friends Are" to "all you junkies and f--," gave a shout-out to the late Joe Strummer, opined that she hopes the United States loses if it goes to war with Iraq ("Bring it on! Give us what we deserve!"), and introduced the song "Fools Must Die" with the self-deprecating quip, "I'll show you how it's done."


I wish you would, Chrissie...


 
France x 3

No Job? No Credit? Jihad University may be just the place for you, since you're just sitting around on your sorry ass all day. We're looking for some good cannon fodder, er, Islamic students (via Rantburg).


Monday, March 03, 2003
 
Another Tough Call

Saddam's Boys are destroying all those al-Samoud 2 missiles. Well, at least ten of them. The cynical person might call these missiles 'hangar queens' since they are likely not serviceable enough to use in actual warfare conditions.

But wait a minute. Who, besides Iraqi military personnel, actually witnessed their destruction?

Al-Saadi indicated was not an easy thing for Iraq to do. He said Iraq won't let anyone see photographs or video images of the missile destruction - despite the potential impact on world opinion - because it would be too bitter for the Iraqi people to watch.

"It is too harsh. It is unacceptable," he said somberly. "That's why we have released no pictures."


No UN inspectors watched any of this? None? This reeks of bullshit, or those missiles were hangar queens.


 
Thanks For Nothing

Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd unsurprisingly bails out of the Democratic sweepstakes. There goes a few good jokes.


 
Separated At Birth?

One's a porn star, and the other, well, he's just fucked.



 
Words Of Wisdom

Steven Den Beste says it best:

Men and women of good will must be resolved to carry through on what they think is needed, no matter how many naysayers there are. When the "human shields" learned that they might actually have to risk their lives, many of them booked. Our soldiers in Kuwait know full well that once the order comes that they will all be risking their lives. And they'll do so, for unlike the human shields, most of our soldiers actually believe in what they're doing and understand that the issues are worth the risks. They'll fight for what they believe; they won't just make empty gestures.


12:39 AM