Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person
Consider just the past couple of days' news: not the ever more desperate depravity of the floundering "insurgency", but the real popular Arab resistance the car-bombers and the head-hackers are flailing against: the Saudi foreign minister, who by remarkable coincidence goes by the name of Prince Saud, told Newsweek that women would be voting in the next Saudi election. "That is going to be good for the election," he said, "because I think women are more sensible voters than men."After the events of the past few weeks, it is hard to argue with those who believed that freedom and democracy could actually be imposed from outside. And it seems that more and more of those who argued against the benefits of the invasion are acknowledging the success, even if they still try to not give credit to President Bush, the man responsible for all this.
Four-time Egyptian election winner - and with 90 per cent of the vote! - President Mubarak announced that next polling day he wouldn't mind an opponent. Ordering his stenographer to change the constitution to permit the first multi-choice presidential elections in Egyptian history, His Excellency said the country would benefit from "more freedom and democracy". The state-run TV network hailed the president's speech as a "historical decision in the nation's 7,000-year-old march toward democracy". After 7,000 years on the march, they're barely out of the parking lot, so Mubarak's move is, as they say, a step in the right direction.
Meanwhile in Damascus, Boy Assad, having badly overplayed his hand in Lebanon and after months of denying that he was harbouring any refugee Saddamites, suddenly discovered that - wouldja believe it? - Saddam's brother and 29 other bigshot Baghdad Baathists were holed up in north-eastern Syria, and promptly handed them over to the Iraqi government.
And, for perhaps the most remarkable development, consider this report from Mohammed Ballas of Associated Press: "Palestinians expressed anger on Saturday at an overnight suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed four Israelis and threatened a fragile truce, a departure from former times when they welcomed attacks on their Israeli foes."
Samuel Johnson once remarked, in a moment of irritation, "I will have no cant in defense of savagery." Well, if he had lived today, he would have had to put up with something even worse than cant in defense of savagery, and that is cant in defense of terrorism. But what would have been guaranteed to push him beyond the limits of his patience would have been the Western school of cant that, for over a half century, has been employed to defend and apologize for one particularly brutal, pointless, and politically self-defeating forms of terrorism: Palestinian terrorism.His argument boils down to a simple fact - Palestinian terrorism does not have a political goal, i.e. it is not being used to create something but merely to destroy. And as such, it is entirely illegitimate. Yet, by the West's acceptance of Arab propaganda - the "cycle of violence", "the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people", and the Zionist occupation" - the West has made Palestinian terrorism an acceptable form of political expression and has in this way brought on itself more and greater Islamic terrorism.
What makes Palestinian terror uniquely privileged among all other forms of terror, even among those people who find other form of terrorism unacceptable? And why do so many well-meaning people in the West observe a double standard when it comes to the terrorism used by the Palestinians and the terrorism used by al Qaeda?
My reason for spending so much time dissecting the cant surrounding Palestinian terror is simple. I am convinced that the West shares much, if not most, of the blame for the most startling fact of our epoch, namely, the political triumph of Islamic terrorism.
The communiqué also promises more attacks to follow: “This heroic attack is a clear message to the leaders of the Zionist enemy, who speak of the ‘defeat’ of the Palestinian people, that our people has not been defeated and that its willpower has not, and with the help of Allah, will never be broken; it is capable of crossing all roadblocks of the Zionist security system and of carrying out harsh, qualitative attacks in the heart of the enemy.”The SITE Institute (SITE stands for the Search for International Terrorist Entities) is a non-profit organization founded by Rita Katz, author of TERRORIST HUNTER: The Extraordinary Story of a Woman who Went Undercover to Infiltrate the Radical Islamic Groups Operating in America.
Syrian President Bashar Assad says in a newspaper interview that he suspects the United States might eventually take military action against Syria.Maybe now the Syrian handover of Saddam's half brother to Iraq makes a little more sense. Little Assad is scared ... and he's freaking out!
Assad told the Rome-based daily "La Repubblica" that he has seen the possibility of an attack on his country since the end of the initial invasion in Iraq.
Assad said he does not believe an attack is imminent. But he said "the language used by the White House indicates a campaign similar to the one that preceded the attack on Iraq."
And even the most radical are starting to feel the winds of change in this "New Arab Revolution." Take Walid Jumblatt, for example. He is the leader of the Druze, a Lebanese minority group that has supported the Syrian occupation of Lebanon for the past 20 years. Jumblatt is also the head of the Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party, a self-described Marxist group founded by his father, Kumal Jumblatt. Historically, the Jumblatt clan has not been much of a friend to the US or Israel.Thursday February 24 2005: Syrians Announce Pull Back
[David] Ignatius interviewed Jumblatt the Younger this week, and made a startling discovery:[S]omething snapped for Jumblatt last year, when the Syrians overruled the Lebanese constitution and forced the reelection of their front man in Lebanon, President Emile Lahoud. The old slogans about Arab nationalism turned to ashes in Jumblatt's mouth, and he and Hariri openly began to defy Damascus.
"It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq," explains Jumblatt. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world." Jumblatt says this spark of democratic revolt is spreading. "The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."
Lebanese Defence Minister Abd al-Rahim Murad has told Aljazeera that Syria has started pulling back its troops in Lebanon into the eastern Bakaa Valley of the country. ...Friday February 25 2005: UN Demands Syrian Withdrawl ... and then Denies Making Such Demands
"They took the decision to start the redeployment in the next few hours. After this redeployment, all the Syrian forces will be in the Bakaa," he said.
Further meetings would take place to "define the number of the troops which will remain in the Bakaa and to define the spots where they will be stationed in that area", he added.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has called on Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon by April.UN denies Annan demanded Syria pullout of Lebanon or face sanctions
In an Arab satellite television interview, Mr Annan warned that the Security Council might take action if Syria fails to pull out by then.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's spokesman has denied an Al-Arabiya television report that Annan had demanded a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon by April or sanctions would be imposed if they do not comply.Sunday, February 27, 2005: Syria Renegs, Threatens Leading Arab TV Station, Protestors Defy Ban
Syria said on Sunday implementing the Taif agreement that called for redeploying and later withdrawing Syrian forces from Lebanon would indirectly meet demands set out in UN Security Council resolution 1559.Al-Arabiya TV reports 'threats' against Beirut staff amid row with Syria
The United States and France have been piling pressure on Syria for a complete withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon, in line with resolution 1559. They have said that talk of redeployment is not enough.
The 1989 Taif Accord ending Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war called for redeploying Syrian troops to eastern Lebanon, followed by agreement on a timetable for a full withdrawal. Syria still has 14,000 troops in Lebanon. ”Resolution 1559 does not have a Lebanese consensus. The overwhelming majority reject resolution 1559, despite respecting this international law. But there is complete consensus about the Taif agreement in Lebanon,” Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq Al-Shara said in Cairo.
Al-Arabiya television said some of its staff in Beirut had received "threats" amid a Syrian media campaign against an interview it carried out with UN chief Kofi Annan urging Syria to pull out of Lebanon.Lebanon headed for showdown as thousands defy protest ban
"Al-Arabiya is deeply worried by the (implicit charges of) treason made against it by the (Syrian government) newspaper Tishrin, which was coupled with threats directed against some of our colleagues in Beirut by like-minded sides," the Dubai-based satellite news channel said in a statement received by AFP.
The statement did not elaborate, but a source at the news channel told AFP that "threats have been received from sides believed to be linked to Syrian intelligence".
Lebanon was headed for a showdown between the opposition and the security forces as thousands of demonstrators massed late Sunday in Beirut in defiance of a ban on protests by the pro-Syrian government.Monday, February 28, 2005: Lebanese Cabinet Resigns, People Celebrate in the Streets
Shouting "Syria Out!" and waving the Lebanese flag the protesters converged on the central Martyr's Square as hundreds of heavily armed troops aided by police deployed jeeps and trucks to the main crossroads leading to the square.
An opposition member of parliament told the demonstrators that three members of the pro-Syrian Lebanese government had resigned.
The energy minister, economy and commerce minister and the junior minister for administrative development had all quit, Nayla Moawwad told the crowd to loud applause.
Pro-government parties, including the Shiite Islamist movement Hezbollah, have called their supporters from Monday on to the streets for counter-demonstrations, raising fears of violence that the government used to justify its ban.
"All security forces are asked to take all necessary measures to protect security and order, and to ban demonstrations and gatherings on Monday," Interior Minister Suleiman Frangieh said.
Lebanese Prime Minister Omar Karami announced the resignation of his pro-Syrian government Monday, two weeks after the assassination of his predecessor, Rafik Hariri, triggered protests in the streets and calls for Syria to withdraw its thousands of troops.
"I am keen that the government will not be a hurdle in front of those who want the good for this country. I declare the resignation of the government that I had the honor to head. May God preserve Lebanon," Karami said.
This small nation is a magnet for immigrants, but statistics suggest there is a quickening flight of the white middle class. Dutch people pulling up roots said they felt a general pessimism about their small and crowded country and about the social tensions that had grown along with the waves of newcomers, most of them Muslims."The Dutch are living in a kind of pressure cooker atmosphere," Mr. Hiltemann said.It is still a question which European country will be the first to adopt Sharia. It seems that Holland is now in the lead for that dubious distinction.
There is more than the concern about the rising complications of absorbing newcomers, now one-tenth of the population, many of them from largely Muslim countries. Many Dutch also seem bewildered that their country, run for decades on a cozy, political consensus, now seems so tense and prickly and bent on confrontation. Those leaving have been mostly lured by large English-speaking nations like Australia, New Zealand and Canada, where they say they hope to feel less constricted.
Friday night's suicide bombing in Tel Aviv struck an IDF combat unit especially hard. The unit was all invited to celebrate a party for one of its soldiers, and stood at the entrance to the 'Stage' club when the bomber detonated his bomb-belt.The irony here is that this bombing was made possible by Israel's agreement to halt "targeted assassinations" of terrorists in Judea, Samaria (the Biblical names of the areas commonly referred to as the West Bank) and Gaza.
The platoon commander, Eran Cohen, told Army Radio, "There were 13 of us there. All the fatalities are from our unit. Many more were wounded."
A Palestinian suicide bomber killed at least three people and wounded some 50 outside a busy Tel Aviv night club on Friday, shattering a de facto truce by militants that had boosted hopes for Middle East peace.The majority of that flesh must have been from kids in their teens and early twenties (Israeli clubs typically only attract kids from 18-25). And without a doubt, a bunch of them were off duty IDF soldiers. Some may have even been Americans, as the club that got bombed is only a few hundred yards from the US Embassy in Tel Aviv. (And that emabassy should be in Jerusalem, but don't get me started on that!)
"A single terrorist exploded in a line of people waiting to get into the club," Tel Aviv police chief David Tzur told Army Radio.
The militant Islamic Jihad group claimed responsibility for the attack outside the Stage Club on a Tel Aviv beach promenade packed with weekend crowds.
... Pieces of flesh were sprayed on parked cars.
Washington will not push the International Atomic Energy Agency to refer Iran's case to the Security Council when it meets next week and no condemnation of the Islamic republic are expected, diplomats on the 35-nation board told Reuters.plus one: June 17 set for elections in Iran
But the next quarterly meeting in mid-June will differ.
The draft position paper, seen in full by Reuters, shows Washington is ready to give EU-Iran negotiations until that meeting to achieve their aim. If they fail, it will renew its campaign to have the IAEA refer Iran to the Security Council.
Before the June meeting, the United States wants IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei to report again on Iran's nuclear program:
"We believe it is essential that the director-general provide to the board in advance of the June board meeting another comprehensive written report describing in full the IAEA's inspection activities in Iran," the document said.
"The board in June must then be prepared to take further action as needed," it added, a phrase diplomats said meant referral to the Security Council in New York.
Guardian Council (GC) spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham said here Saturday that the GC has agreed with the coming presidential elections to be held on June 17, 2005.plus one: IAF: Israel must be prepared for an air strike on Iran
Israel Air Force Commander-in-Chief Major General Eliezer Shakedi said Monday that Israel must be prepared for an air strike on Iran in light of its nuclear activity.equals???
Ritter said that President George W. Bush has received and signed off on orders for an aerial attack on Iran planned for June 2005. Its purported goal is the destruction of Iran’s alleged program to develop nuclear weapons, but Ritter said neoconservatives in the administration also expected that the attack would set in motion a chain of events leading to regime change in the oil-rich nation of 70 million -- a possibility Ritter regards with the greatest skepticism.And I'm a firm believer of anything opposite of that spoken by Scott Ritter. But even a broken clock tells the correct time twice each day.So one can only remain optimistic that June 2005 is one of those times when Scott Ritter's clock actually tells the correct time.
And the moral to the story is: if they are willing to do this to their own children, just think about what they would be willing to do to you - CHILDREN OF THE GREAT SATAN.
A teenage girl and two young men in Iran have been sentenced to lashes for having sex.
The court dismissed the girl's claim that we was raped. It said she had sex of her own free will, the official Iran Daily newspaper reported.
The girl was sentenced to 100 lashes because her accusations of rape and kidnap could have landed her partners a death penalty, the Tehran judge said.
Sex outside marriage is illegal in Iran and capital punishment can be imposed.
The young men in the case were sentenced to 30 and 40 lashes each.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Thursday called on Syria to withdraw from Lebanon by April, when he is due to present a report on the issue to the Security Council, Al Arabiya television reported.Given that this is coming from the UN, one has to assume that if Syria does not comply then there will be a "warning", followed by a "deep regret", followed by a deeper "concern", without actually anything happening. But it seems things are moving in the right direction, nevertheless.
The satellite channel said Annan told it in an interview he was referring to a full withdrawal, not a redeployment of troops within Lebanon.
But ever since his election, Zapatero has spent much of his time shadowing Bush and attempting to shake his hand. On Wednesday, he was waiting in the shadows, and made his move when Bush was talking to Tony Blair. Bush, who I suspect didn't really know who Zapatero was said hola amigo and continued talking to Blair. Meanwhile, Zapatero walked off smiling away like a child with a new pair of shoes. The exchange was so brief Spanish newspapers had a nightmare trying to find a photograph of the great meeting. To make matters worse a Spanish government spokesperson said that Bush and Zapatero had a cordial exchange. (They forget to mention it lasted about two seconds.)
From the man who thinks nothing of pulling down his trousers and dropping a little French turd on our Country and its heroes, while praising those that would do us harm, comes a new low. That’s right… Pepe le’Rall has found a new target for his venomous drivel… me.
It all sounds great--until you read them. Once you spend some time surfing this ocean of likeminded righties, however, you realize the awful truth: the "populist" blogosphere is cowing the mainstream media even further into submission to the powers that be.
Borg-like, the various right-wing blogs simultaneously discuss the same stories, applying identical rhetoric. They create blacklists and urge their readers and fellow bloggers to threaten and harass their targets. Surfing this cheesy world of flag-draped neo-McCarthyite HTML makes it impossible to deny Columbia Journalism Review writer Steve Lovelady's conclusion that most are "salivating morons" who form an ideological "lynch mob." Worse, many of the right-wing bloggers are flat-out liars.
Bloggers are ordinary people, many of them uneducated and with nothing interesting to say. They're sitting in their rec rooms, regurgitating and spinning what real journalists have dug up through hard work. They don't have sources, they don't report, and no one holds them accountable when they make mistakes or flat out lie. Yeah, there's a new sheriff in town. Unfortunately he's drunk, he's mean, and he works for the bad guys.
This year's list includes 36 organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, in the 60th anniversary year of the atomic bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II.I am guessing that President Bush, the person responsible for getting rid of one of the most violent tyrants of the century, is not on that list. For most of these "thinkers" anyone who wages war can not possibly bring peace. Yet, invading Iraq, Bush has done more for the possibility of peace and freedom in the Middle East than anyone else.
Also on this year's list are Indian spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu and Irish rock star Bono.
1. Fairport Convention’s “The Deserter”…
"Don’t despise the deserter who ran from the war."
Ummmm… no. Court martial for you, followed by a long acquaintance with the bread and water circuit.
2. Jackson Browne’s “Soldier of Plenty”…
"Ahh boy… this world is not your toy. How much longer you gonna keep this world hungry for?"
He refers to a US soldier as “Boy”, blames him for keeping the world hungry and likens his mission to that of child play. Oh yeah… nice grammar Jackson… like finger nails on a chalk board.
3. “There goes old Georgetown”…
I don’t care what Princeton review says. It’s a dirty place. May the fleas of a thousand camels infest the turbans of any parent who allows their kids to attend that shameful institution.
4. “Happiness Runs” by Donovan…
"Happiness runs in a circular motion. Thought is like a little boat upon the sea. Everybody is a part of everything anyway." (Over and over in three part staggered harmony… pounding your brain with happy thoughts).
This song climbs into your noggin’ and pitches tent. Get out of my head Donovan!!! If I was to commit mass murder, I’d probbaly be wearing headphones and this song would, no doubt, be the song of choice to guide me through. I can’t believe that AT&T is using it in their new TV advert campaign. Ugggh.
5. “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”…
Come on Arlo, can we please keep it under 5 minutes? I’ve got a Turkey to carve. Oh… and pick up your garbage ya dirty hippie.
"We have nothing to lose anymore. We want freedom or death," says Indra Hage, a young Lebanese Christian. "We're going to stay here, even if soldiers attack us," says Hadi Abi Almouna, a Druze Muslim. "Freedom needs sacrifices, and we are ready to give them."And even the most radical are starting to feel the winds of change in this "New Arab Revolution." Take Walid Jumblatt, for example. He is the leader of the Druze, a Lebanese minority group that has supported the Syrian occupation of Lebanon for the past 20 years. Jumblatt is also the head of the Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party, a self-described Marxist group founded by his father, Kumal Jumblatt. Historically, the Jumblatt clan has not been much of a friend to the US or Israel.
Brave words, in a country where dissent has often meant death. "It is the beginning of a new Arab revolution," argues Samir Franjieh, one of the organizers of the opposition. "It's the first time a whole Arab society is seeking change -- Christians and Muslims, men and women, rich and poor."
[S]omething snapped for Jumblatt last year, when the Syrians overruled the Lebanese constitution and forced the reelection of their front man in Lebanon, President Emile Lahoud. The old slogans about Arab nationalism turned to ashes in Jumblatt's mouth, and he and Hariri openly began to defy Damascus.This self-described socialist, this Syrian occupation apologist, this enemy of the US and Israel ... this man speaks of "the start of a new Arab world?" Maybe the winds of change that are blowing from Washington to Kabul, Baghdad, and Ramalah have finally reached Beirut? Other headlines today may help to convince the skeptics:
"It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq," explains Jumblatt. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world." Jumblatt says this spark of democratic revolt is spreading. "The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."
A growing exodus of Syrian workers, fearful they will be scapegoated for last week's killing of ex-premier Rafiq Hariri, threatens to cost Lebanon's construction and agriculture sectors millions of dollars.Lebanon's Syrian-backed PM says he's ready to resign
Businessmen say many building sites are scarcely functioning amid reports of a spate of beatings, robberies and arson attacks targeting the 300,000-plus Syrian migrant workers.
Beleaguered Lebanese Prime Minister Omar Karameh said he was ready to quit in the face of intense pressure to end Syrian domination of his country and find the killers of ex-premier Rafiq Hariri.Remember the name Walid Jumblatt. History may recognize him as Lebanon's Founding Father. And why does any of this matter? Who cares about whether or not Syria remains in Lebanon? President Bush (increasingly on message these days) answered these questions during an address to the troops at the Wiesbaden Army Airfield Base in Germany today:
"I am ready for the resignation once we agree on a new government in order to avoid a vacuum," Karameh told AFP.
After a meeting in the home of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt later, opposition MPs announced they were demanding the "departure of the entire (pro-Syrian) regime."
The sacrifices you have made will change the world for decades to come. By fighting terrorists in places like Baghdad and Karbala and Tikrit, you are making sure we do not face those enemies at home. By helping captive peoples gain their freedom, you have made a critical contribution to the history of liberty. And that means the world will be more peaceful, and our children and grandchildren will be more secure. Your success is sending a clear message throughout the Middle East, that the only force powerful enough to stop the rise of tyranny and terror, and replace hatred with hope, is the force of human freedom.The freedom of the good people of Lebanon is directly related to the safety and security of every American and Israeli. And those who record history will one day laugh at the irony surrounding this tidal wave of freedom sweeping through the Middle East. They will giggle that it all started with a sick old man hiding in a small cave in the mountains of Afghanistan who ordered his followers to fly airplanes into buildings in an effort to destroy the United States and Israel.
If Syria did not kill Hariri, who could have? There is no shortage of potential candidates, including far-right Christians, anxious to rouse opinion against Syria and expel it from Lebanon; Islamist extremists who have not forgiven Syria its repression of the Muslim Brotherhood in the 80s; and, of course, Israel.The actual logic of the situation doesn't seem to intrude on Seale's analysis, specifically that it was clearly not in Israel's interest to kill Hariri. Hariri was anti-Syrian and after the election in the spring, an election that he was favored to win, was sure to push Syria to withdraw its troops. Killing Hariri was sure to destabilize Lebanon. Additionally, once he was elected, he very likely would have tried to make peace with Israel. This would have been very negative for Syria and Hizbullah. Placing the blame in Israel, simply because it
has great experience at "targeted assassinations" - not only in the Palestinian territories but across the Middle East. Over the years, it has sent hit teams to kill opponents in Beirut, Tunis, Malta, Amman and Damascus.is ridiculous. Israel has killed terrorists in all those places, not pro-Israeli politicians. The fact that the Guardian can not recognize the difference, and the need to blame Israel are simply further example of the Guardian's anti-Israel propaganda.
As a rule of thumb in matters of the Middle East, be very skeptical of anything that Europe (fearful of terrorists, eager for profits, tired of Jews, scared of their own growing Islamic minorities) and the Arab League (a synonym for the autocratic rule of Sunni Muslim grandees and secular despots) cook up together. If a EU president, a Saudi royal, and a Middle East specialist in the State Department or a professor in an endowed Middle Eastern Studies chair agree that the United States is "woefully naïve," "unnecessarily provocative" or "acting unilaterally," then assume that we are pretty much on the right side of history and promoting democratic reform. "Sobriety" and "working with Arab moderates" is diplo-speak for supporting or abetting an illiberal hierarchy.
Syrian forces have begun distributing first 10,000 side-arms to 1.4 million Syrian workers in Lebanon and local pro-Damascus factions.If this is true (much of Debkafile needs to be taken with a grain of salt), we could be seeing the direct results of President Bush's inaugural address. How the US responds to such an uprising against Syria, will tell a lot about Bush's commitment to democracy. The US needs to commit itself to helping the Lebanese. If we don't, and instead do what we did with the Iraq uprising after Gulf War I, we will lose all credibility with Arab dissidents. This would make achieving democracy in Iran through a similar uprising virtually impossible. Conversely, standing up with a Lebanese rebellion could embolden the Iranian people to overthrow the mullahocracy.
They acted after Lebanese opposition declared uprising for independence, demanding pro-Damascus government resign
One could note, for instance, what Iraqi Shiite leaders have actually been saying since their election victory, which is that they have no interest in or intention of copying the Iranian model or in making Iraq an ally of Iran. Adel Abdul Mahdi, a top Shiite leader, told CNN exactly that. He also insisted, "We don't want either a Shiite government or an Islamic government." Abdul Aziz Hakim, the leader of the Shiite alliance that won 48 percent of the vote, has pledged a "government of national unity," and already it is clear that bargaining among Iraq's constituencies is likely to produce a government with strong Kurdish as well as Sunni participation.Additionally, the Shiite bloc is made up of very different Shiite factions, some religious and some secular. From all indications, the Shiites of Iraq consider themselves Iraqis first.
So when the president goes to Europe to give his speech to all the EU-niks in Brussels on Tuesday, it’s important that he speak clearly - or at least clearfully. Because there are a few things he needs to say, and they can all be summed up in seven handy, easy-to-utter phrases:...
In 2003, Stephen McIntyre, a Toronto minerals consultant and amateur mathematician, and Ross McKitrick, an economist at Canada's University of Guelph, jointly published a critique of the hockey stick analysis. Their conclusion: Mr. Mann's work was riddled with "collation errors, unjustifiable truncations of extrapolation of source data, obsolete data, geographical location errors, incorrect calculations of principal components, and other quality control defects." Once these were corrected, the Medieval warm period showed up again in the data.Of course, all those who question Mann and his hockey stick are instantly accused of heresy and derided as shills of oil companies, if not worse. Clearly there needs to be some scientific debate about the issue, yet because of the politicization of global warming none is possible. Michael Chrichton gave a great speech two years ago at Caltech entitled Aliens Cause Global Warming that perfectly describes the problems of politicizing science.
And so, in this elastic anything-goes world where science-or non-science-is the hand maiden of questionable public policy, we arrive at last at global warming. It is not my purpose here to rehash the details of this most magnificent of the demons haunting the world. I would just remind you of the now-familiar pattern by which these things are established. Evidentiary uncertainties are glossed over in the unseemly rush for an overarching policy, and for grants to support the policy by delivering findings that are desired by the patron. Next, the isolation of those scientists who won't get with the program, and the characterization of those scientists as outsiders and "skeptics" in quotation marks-suspect individuals with suspect motives, industry flunkies, reactionaries, or simply anti-environmental nutcases. In short order, debate ends, even though prominent scientists are uncomfortable about how things are being done.And just imagine, if Al Gore were elected President in 2000, the US would now also be on its way to damaging its economy in the service of a phenomenon which may not even exist.
WHEN 35 Greenpeace protesters stormed the International Petroleum Exchange (IPE) yesterday they had planned the operation in great detail.
What they were not prepared for was the post-prandial aggression of oil traders who kicked and punched them back on to the pavement.
"We bit off more than we could chew. They were just Cockney barrow boy spivs. Total thugs," one protester said, rubbing his bruised skull. "I've never seen anyone less amenable to listening to our point of view."
"We are ready to help Syria on all grounds to confront threats," Iranian Vice-President Mohammad Reza Aref said after meeting Syrian PM Naji al-Otari.Syria Is Blamed in the Slaying in Lebanon
The White House called the assassination of the former prime minister in downtown Beirut "an attempt to stifle these efforts to build an independent, sovereign Lebanon free of foreign domination." France called for an international investigation. Lebanese dissidents and Washington legislators pointed directly at Syria, as did many in Jerusalem.Iran Threatens to Shoot Down U.S. Drones
"Most of the shining objects that our people see in Iran's airspace are American spying equipment used to spy on Iran's nuclear and military facilities," the minister told reporters. "If any of the bright objects come close, they will definitely meet our fire and will be shot down. We possess the necessary equipment to confront them," Yunesi said.Lebanon, Syria's slave state, plans to have general elections in May and Iran will be having their version of phony "elections" in June. Both will be ideal opportunities to test President Bush's newly established freedom doctrine, if the good people of Lebanon and Iran choose to rise up against the evil dictators currently ruling their respective countries.
It's a good basic axiom that if you take a quart of ice-cream and a quart of dog faeces and mix 'em together the result will taste more like the latter than the former. That's the problem with the UN. If you make the free nations and the thug states members of the same club, the danger isn't that they'll meet each other half-way but that the free world winds up going three-quarters, seven-eighths of the way. Thus the Oil-for-Fraud scandal: in the end, Saddam Hussein had a much shrewder understanding of the way the UN works than Bush and Blair did.
Why does Abbas, who (according to the so-called international community) was legitimately and overwhelmingly elected in a free and open and democratic election, need legitimacy? Isn't the 66 percent of the vote he garnered in a more or less uncontested race legitimacy enough?What are these concessions for then?
[i]f Abbas is supposed to be convincing the Palestinians that they have to reject terrorism, it seems odd for him to be insisting that Israel conduct a mass release of convicted terrorists, let alone murderers. Abbas justifies this demand by claiming that these men and women are Palestinian heroes and that his people won't accept their remaining in prison.It seems that once again we are going down the Oslo road - Israel makes real concessions for Palestinian promises that are never fulfilled. As we have already seen, such a strategy does not lead to peace.
Yet his acceptance of the notion that these war criminals are heroes of the Palestinian people makes it hard to imagine that he has anything but admiration for the crimes they committed namely acts of terrorism against Israelis. Far from opposing terrorism and being poised to purge the scourge from Palestinian society, in his first act as the legitimate, democratically elected, anti-terror, reform leader, Abbas is sticking out his neck to support terrorism.
Thank goodness the Israelis don't have to make peace with Columbia University's department of Middle East and Asian languages and cultures. All the Israelis have to do is make peace with the Palestinian Authority. Several influential members of Columbia's Middle East faculty are so extreme that they regarded even the warmongering terrorist Yasser Arafat as too soft on Israel.
Iran captured 3 British Ships ... Israel shot down 2 Syrian Migs ... Iran and Russia tout "military cooperation" ... Evidence ties Iran and Syria to Iraq terror acts ... Palestinians fear Iranian assassination plot against Abbas ... Iranian head-of-state calls for students to become "martyrs"It's disgusting that the news media has chosen to ignore these real-life news events that our children will (hopefully) read about in their history books. Instead, we get up-to-the-minute Michael Jackson child molestation updates :(
In December 2004, Iran captured three British Navy vessels in Shatt al Arab, long the source of dispute between Baghdad and Teheran. Iran has released the crews but has refused to return the vessels. ... Coalition sources said Iran's military appears to be on wartime alert along its border with Iraq. They said Iran has sparked provocations along the Iraqi border and had sent thousands of agents into Iraq to influence the nationwide elections on Jan. 30. ... Coalition military sources said Iran has stepped up patrols along the border with Iraq, particularly the Shatt al Arab waterway. The sources said Iran engages in constant surveillance and infiltration of Iraq's eastern borders. "I envision clashes between Iran and Iraq in 2005," a coalition commander said.Israel downed 2 Syrian MiGs last September over sea
Diplomatic sources said Israel Air Force F-16 multi-role fighters intercepted and downed two Syrian MiG-29 fighter-jets last year. The sources said the dogfight took place in September 2004 over the eastern Mediterranean Sea. ... The sources said the air battle took place when Israel Air Force fighter-jets buzzed the Syrian city of Latakia, a port used by Iran for the shipment of weapons to Hizbullah. ... Diplomatic sources said the Syrian losses led President Bashar Assad to accelerate efforts to procure advanced anti-aircraft systems from Russia. ..."Russia has cooperated with Syria for decades, and my country is convinced that Syria has a strong right to get defensive weapons," Russian ambassador in Tunisia Aleksei Tserub said.Iran acknowledges military ties with Russia for first time
Iran's ambassador to Russia described defense and military cooperation between the two countries. It was the first time a senior Iranian official asserted that the two countries were engaged in defense and military projects. "Russian-Iranian cooperation is also developing in the military and technical sphere," Iranian Ambassador Gholamreza Shafei said. ... On Jan. 29, Iran and Russia signed an agreement for the sale of a Russian telecommunications satellite to Iran. Shafei said the $132 million Zohreh project was an example of space cooperation between Moscow and Teheran.Iraq identifies Iranian, Syrian terrorists arrested during elections
"As far as I know, one of those who blew himself up was from Chechnya; another one was from Sudan; and a third person, who was killed, was a Syrian," [Iraqi Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib] said. Another Syrian was arrested. ... During one raid last week, Iraqi National Guard troops seized 16 trucks filled with weapons, explosives and cash. ... According to Iraqi authorities, the people involved in the arms smuggling admitted to having ties to Iranian intelligence ... The captured smugglers provided details of the activities of the Al Fajer, a branch of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security, which is working to recruit Iraqis for terrorist operations.PA fears Hizbullah to target Abbas
Palestinian Authority security officials on Wednesday expressed fear that Hizbullah and Iran were planning to kill PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in order to thwart attempts to revive the peace process. ... "Hizbullah and Iran are not happy with Abbas's efforts to achieve a cease-fire with Israel and resume negotiations with Israel," a top PA security official told The Jerusalem Post. "That's why we don't rule out the possibility that they might try to kill him if he continues with his policy."Iran's Political and Military Leadership Call for Martyrdom
In a recent statement to the 8th Congress on Martyred Students, Iran's Leader Ali Khamenei praised the culture of shahada (committing martyrdom operations), and called upon students to follow the path of martyrs. Speaking at a memorial service at the University of Qom, a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards general, Shabani, called for the training and education of students as martyrs.
TEL AVIV — Hamas has launched an effort to accelerate missile production in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli military sources said Hamas has used Israel's ceasefire pledge to rebuild its military capabilities. The sources said this includes production of the Kassam-class short-range missiles, anti-tank rockets and mines.
Was not Barak the good guy? And Sharon the tough guy? Surprise. Arabs respect toughness. Sharon launched a massive invasion of the Palestinian territories after the Passover massacre of 2002. Western experts and the media were practically unanimous that this would achieve nothing.And in abandoning the intifada and returning to negotiations, the Palestinians came back with different demands.
Completely wrong. In fact, it is precisely Israel's aggressive counterattack against Palestinian terrorists, coupled with the defensive fence (which has prevented practically all suicide attacks wherever it has been built), that has brought us to this point of hope.
The second intifada was fought under the old land-for-peace slogan: The terrorism would stop only when Israel agreed to full territorial withdrawal to the 1949 lines, a Palestinian state, Jerusalem as the capital and God knows what else. The Palestinians got none of this. They got death and destruction instead. What do the Palestinians now demand from Israel in return for a cease-fire? That Sharon stop hunting down and killing terrorist leaders. Not land for peace. Peace for peace.Of course, this does not mean that peace will suddenly break out. Until the Palestinians come to a complete acceptance of Israel, and abandon their oft-repeated goals of its destruction, there will not be peace - not matter how much land is given to them, or how many terrorists are released from jail.
On Wednesday night, CNN's Aaron Brown discussed the Ward Churchill controversy with guest Dahlia Lithwick of Slate.com. He asked a question of her that produced a perfect description of modern universities. Brown: "Just on the face of it academic freedom ought to embrace even dumb things, I suppose. Is that right?" Lithwick: "That's sort of the cornerstone of the notion of what university is about, Aaron."At this point it has been shown that besides comparing the victims of 9/11 to "little Eichmanns", Churchill has fabricated a historical event, lied in court documents, and faked his heritage (he is not actually an Indian). The interesting question is how a man with such views, and without a PhD get not only tenure, but a department chairmanship at the University of Colorado.
This cornerstone isn't exactly of an ancient coloring. It wasn't laid at Oxford, Bologna or Cambridge -- the scholars who started these schools would be surprised to learn that the promotion of irrationality is the university's founding purpose. No, this cornerstone was laid more recently at, say, Berkeley, and on its wobbly footing professors have been giving impressionable minds the chance to experience stupidity ever since.
That embracing dumb ideas is the cornerstone on which universities are now built explains why those who exercise reason and demand the observance of rational standards are treated as the only real threats to academic freedom. It explains why tenured professorships are meted out not on the basis of intelligence but its absence -- on a kind of promise not to use one's mind should it conflict with reigning academic dogmas. Playing dumb is now an academic job requirement. Literally dumb: you must not say or see certain things.
Those whom the fall of the Berlin Wall had left orphans of a cause, spent the next decade plotting the containment of the US. It was a complex operation that involved the (in many cases state-sponsored) mushrooming of NGOs, Kyoto, the creation of the ICC, the salami tactics applied against America’s main strategic ally in the Middle-East, Israel, through the Trojan Horse of the Oslo agreements, the subversion of the sanctions against Iraq etc. I’m not as conspiratorially-minded as to think that all these efforts were in any way centralized or that they had some kind of master-plan behind them. It was above all the case of the spirit of the times converging, through many independent manifestations, towards a single goal. Nonetheless we can be sure that, after those manifestations reached a critical mass, there has been no lack of efforts to coordinate them.
And so, spontaneously up to a point, anti-Americanism became the alternative ideology that came to fill in the vacuum left by the failure of traditional, USSR-based communism and its Maoist or Trotskyite satellites. Before 1989, the global left had something to fight for: either the strengthening of the communist states or the correction of what they called their bureaucratic distortions. To fight for something is simultaneously to fight against whatever threatens it, and thus, the leftists were anti-Western and anti-Americans too, anti-capitalistic in short.
Now, whatever they wanted to defend or protect doesn’t exist anymore. They have only things to destroy, and all those things are personified in the US, in its very existence. They may, outwardly, fight for some positive cause: save the whales, rescue the world from global heating and so on. But let’s not be deceived by this: they choose as their so-called positive causes only the ones that have both the potential of conferring some kind of innocent legitimacy on themselves and, much more important, that of doing most harm to their enemy, whether physically or to its image.
How a beleaguered, tiny Israel has been turned into a pariah state is a fascinating historical question. The answer lies in the many cultural pathologies of the Western democraciesanti-Semitism, sentimental Third-Worldism, Marxist anti-colonialism, and anti-Americanism are just a few of the irrational prejudices, bankrupt ideologies, and moral idiocies that have rendered the Middle East's only full-fledged democracy and free society into an international villain, the gnat the U.N. and the international left obsessively strain even as they swallow an endless number of murderous totalitarian camels.It seems to me that the acceptance of such media bias stems in large part from the ignorance of most people regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict. Clearly the media has not helped out in erasing that ignorance.
Of the many transmitters of these pathologies, the Western electronic and print media have been the most destructive, shaping as they do the perceptions of the everyday voters who ultimately determine their countries' policies. The ideological bias, sloppiness, and often the sheer ignorance of the reporters, editors, and news anchors who fashion the news for Americans have created a distorted view of Israel and her predicament, one that frequently compromises American foreign policy in the Middle East.
Perhaps the worst habit that compromises the media's coverage of this crisis is the moral equivalency it grants to both sides of the conflict. Such equivalency is attractive to journalists who then can pretend that they are merely being objective and treating both sides the same. Yet both sides aren't morally the same: there is a right and a wrong, an aggressor and a defender in this conflict, a distinction supported by the facts of history. Thus to treat an inadvertent death caused by self-defense the same as a premeditated murder is not objectivity but a despicable moral idiocy akin to considering a surgeon and a knife-wielding mugger morally the same because both cut with edged weapons.
At least twenty-five mortar shells and Kassam rockets have landed on Gaza Strip settlements since 2:00 a.m. Thursday, hitting settlements in Gush Katif, southern Gaza, and northern Gaza, according to the IDF.The pretext for this, as if one wouldn't have been invented, is the death of a Hamas terrorist from a work accident, and the shooting of a Palestinian who was approaching a "settlement" in Gaza. The Palestinian police did nothing to stop the firing, or pursue those who were firing. So how many violations of the ceasefire do the Palestinians get before Israel is allowed to respond?
I hope we can all get some beers afterwards and continue our political debates
after the match. I'd like to cover the following areas:
1. Taxes are a good thing, they pay for shit. When I received 600 dollars from Bush, I sent it back with an angry note in protest. "I do not want a tax cut until you take care of the billion dollar deficit."
2. The War in Iraq. I thought Osama Bin Laden was responsible for 9/11?
3. Bill Clinton was a good President. Who cares if he got a blow job?
4. Women should have their own private rooms in gyms.
5. The ACLU is a force for good in this country, both historically and today as they fight against the Patriot Act.
6. White men still have it better than anyone else.
7. Why the Pope is the son of Satan.
But no one who has spent much time around universities thinks they've ever "encourage[d] uncircumscribed intellectual explorations." The degree of self-censorship in universities, as in all institutions, is considerable. Today in the United States, most of the leading research universities are dominated by persons well to the left of Larry Summers, and they don't take kindly to having their ideology challenged, as Summers has now learned to his grief. There is nothing to be done about this, and thoughtful conservatives should actually be pleased. As John Stuart Mill pointed out in On Liberty, when one's ideas are not challenged, one's ability to defend them weakens. Not being pressed to come up with arguments or evidence to support them, one forgets the arguments and fails to obtain the evidence. One's position becomes increasingly flaccid, producing the paradox of thought that is at once rigid and flabby. And thus the academic left today.
"If America can train the best military in the world in 13 weeks, why can't we train the Iraqis in eight or 12 or 15 months to fight and die for their country?"And by this question he demonstrates either his mendacity and political opportunism, or his complete ignorance of military affairs. W. Thomas Smith describes how difficult it actually is to train an army.
Granted, it takes approximately 13 weeks to transform young civilians into "basically trained" U.S. Marines. Nine weeks for U.S. soldiers.Undoubtedly, training an Iraqi army is an important goal. However, to expect that it could be done in 18 months is simply absurd. If one looks back at modern Arab military effectiveness, it would be surprising if it would be possible at all to train an effective Iraqi army in the short to medium term.
But that is only the beginning. Newly minted American warriors must then attend advanced training where they learn the finer points of combat. Combined with boot camp, that can take anywhere from six months to a year, and even then, the new warrior is only a private first class in the Army or a Marine lance corporal (a sub-corporal, equivalent in rank to an Army PFC). Training for incredibly complex special operations missions takes longer, as does the amount of time required to develop noncommissioned officers (NCOs) and commissioned officers who can effectively lead small units into battle.
This doesn't even begin to address the years of training and experience it takes to develop seasoned captains, majors, and lieutenant colonels, even more so, full-bird colonels and generals. Fact is, it would take years perhaps decades to build a ground combat force like the U.S. Army or Marines.
THE DEMOCRATS' WORST WEEK AND a half since Black Tuesday (November 2, 2004, when the U.S. election returns came in) began on January 18, when Barbara Boxer took on Condi Rice in the Senate, and ended on Black Sunday (January 30, 2005, when Iraq held its first free election). In one comparatively short window of time, the Democrats managed to exhibit all of the class, grace, wisdom, presence, good sense, and strategic and tactical brilliance that had allowed them to move from absolute parity after the 2000 election to the loss of the House, Senate, and White House in the 2004 election, and left them apparently poised to lose even more. You too can turn yourself into a loser if you study and follow their recent behavior, and the cases to look at are these...
Melanie Redman, 30, assistant director of the Epilepsy Foundation in Seattle, said she had put her Volvo up for sale and hopes to be living in Toronto by the summer. She and her Canadian boyfriend, a Web site designer for Canadian nonprofit companies, had been planning to move to New York, but after Nov.2, they decided on Canada instead.I guess these "progressives" are unhappy about bringing freedom and democracy to the Arab world.
"I'm doing it," she said. "I don't want to participate in what this administration is doing here and around the world. Under Bush, the U.S. seems to be leading the pack as the world spirals down."
Aides for Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., said the senator is drafting legislation that would resemble a bill he introduced in the last congressional session, the "Iran Freedom and Support Act." Though the language in the new bill is being worked out, it is expected to echo the prior bill in that it would include financial assistance for opposition groups. The original bill did not make it to the Senate floor."the futility of working with the Iranian government" ... gotta love it. I hope that language makes it into the final draft of the bill! And for God's sake, take an up or down vote on this one!!!
"By supporting the people of Iran, and through greater outreach to pro-democracy groups, we will hopefully foster a peaceful transition to democracy in Iran," Santorum said in a statement regarding his new proposal. "The bill also notes the futility of working with the Iranian government."
Do we even remember "all that" now? The lunacy that appeared after 9/11 that asked us to look for the "root causes" to explain why America may have "provoked" spoiled mama's boys like bin Laden and Mohammed Atta to murder Americans at work? Do we recall the successive litany of "you cannot win in Afghanistan/you cannot reconstruct such a mess/you cannot jumpstart democracy there"? And do we have memory still of "Sharon the war criminal," and "the apartheid wall," and, of course, "Jeningrad," the supposed Israeli-engineered Stalingrad - or was it really Leningrad? Or try to remember Arafat in his Ramallah bunker talking to international groupies who flew in to hear the old killer's jumbled mishmash about George Bush, the meanie who had ostracized him.
Then we were told that if we dared invade the ancient caliphate, Saddam would kill thousands and exile millions more. And when he was captured in a cesspool, the invective continued during the hard reconstruction that oil, Halliburton, the Jews, the neocons, Richard Perle, and other likely suspects had suckered us into a "quagmire" or was it now "Vietnam redux"? And recall that in response we were supposed to flee, or was it to trisect Iraq? The elections, remember, would not work - or were held too soon or too late. And give the old minotaur Senator Kennedy his due, as he lumbered out on the eve of the Iraqi voting to hector about its failure and call for withdrawal - one last hurrah that might yet rescue the cherished myth that the United States had created another Vietnam and needed his sort of deliverance.
Sharon's transformation from warrior to peacemaker, making the Gaza withdrawal his personal crusade, has shocked the Israeli left, but many right-wing Israelis long anticipated that change. Raised in a secular Labor environment, Sharon was never nurtured on religious or conservative ideology, and, for all his opposition to a return to Israel's pre-1967 borders, he repeatedly conceded territories captured in the Six Day War. And, when his policies no longer enjoy public support, Sharon, unlike true rightists, pays no mind to the will of the people--a tendency historically displayed by members of Israel's socialist left. Sharon, rightists insist, is actually a Mapainik.