The Nudnik File

Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person

Thursday, March 31, 2005


              Palestinian Civil War
Yesterday members of the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade fired shots at the Muqata, the Palestinian seat of government, while Abbas was inside. The al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade is actually a part of Abbas's Fatah faction which made this attack somewhat strange. Now it seems that this is just a continuation of the power struggles not just within the Palestinian Authority as a whole, but also within Fatah. A few of the shooters were terrorists who had been holed up in the Muqata for the past 4 1/2 years because they were on Israel's wanted list and were being protected by Arafat and then Abbas. It seems that after this latest incident, they have lost their protection.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Thursday expelled a group of militants from his West Bank headquarters who had been given refuge by Yasser Arafat, a spokesman for the gunmen said.

Abbas ordered the 26 out after half a dozen of the gunmen -- from his ruling Fatah faction -- fired at his Muqata compound in Ramallah overnight while he was inside and then rampaged through the city, damaging shops. No casualties were reported.
One might think that this might spur the Palestinian Authority to actually confront these terrorists, but beyond their declarations they will once again do nothing.
Palestinian officials on Thursday backed away from a declaration that they would go after gunmen who shot up Mahmoud Abbas' office building and rampaged through Ramallah, underlining the difficulties authorities face in restoring order in the chaotic West Bank.

Abbas, who was in the building but was not hurt in the gunfire late Wednesday, ordered a crackdown, and security officials said the renegades had "crossed a red line" by attacking the seat of government. But in the light of day, the officials adopted a conciliatory line, and one admitted they feared coming under armed attack themselves.
|| Nudnik 2:48 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
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              The Politics of Churlishness
That is the title of Martin Peretz's excellent article in The New Republic.
If George W. Bush were to discover a cure for cancer, his critics would denounce him for having done it unilaterally, without adequate consultation, with a crude disregard for the sensibilities of others. He pursued his goal obstinately, they would say, without filtering his thoughts through the medical research establishment. And he didn't share his research with competing labs and thus caused resentment among other scientists who didn't have the resources or the bold - perhaps even somewhat reckless -instincts to pursue the task as he did. And he completely ignored the World Health Organization, showing his contempt for international institutions. Anyway, a cure for cancer is all fine and nice, but what about aids?
I have written before about the Left continually "moving the goalposts" on Iraq and the GWOT, primarily because they can not bring themselves to admit that Bush could have been right about anything. And by doing so they have marginalized themselves, and given the impression that they would rather have the US fail in its enterprise in the Middle East than for Bush to be proven right.

One does not have to admire a lot about George W. Bush to admire what he has so far wrought. One need only be a thoughtful American with an interest in proliferating liberalism around the world. And, if liberals are unwilling to proliferate liberalism, then conservatives will. Rarely has there been a sweeter irony.
|| Nudnik 2:03 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
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              Hanson Interview
Victor Hanson was recently interviewed by the editor of al-Watan, a Saudi Arabian daily newspaper. Both the questions of the Saudi editor as well as Hanson's answers are pretty interesting. i wonder how much of the interview actually made it into al-Watan.
|| Nudnik 11:29 AM || Permalink || (0) comments
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              Head in the Sand
A new poll by CNN released yesterday shows that Europe continues to engage in wishful thinking and delusion.
Almost six out of 10 adults in Britain, France and Germany say that Iran does not pose a nuclear threat to Europe, according to the findings of a new CNN/TIME poll.
This seems to be the triumph of hope over experience and it is followed today by a release from the NCRI - National Council of Resistance of Iran - that Iran has sought to acquire nuclear warheads. This dissident group has been repeatedly correct about Iran's nuclear program, and it is therefore very worrying if they are correct once again about this aspect of Iran's nuclear pursuits. They did not say whether Iran had actually managed to procure these warheads, so there is clearly the possibility that Iran already has as many as three nuclear warheads. Coupled with the revelation last week of Iran's acquisition of a dozen nuclear capable cruise missiles from Ukraine, and with Iran's continuing ballistic missile program, one has to ask "what are the Europeans thinking?".

It seems to me that in part, this is a reaction to the Bush Administration's push on Iran. The Europeans seem to be saying that whatever Bush thinks, they want to be on the opposite side. It also probably has to do with the fact that even if Iran is a real nuclear threat to Europe, there is very little they can do about it. Diplomatically they have achieved nothing over the past few years except give Iran more time. And militarily they are completely impotent. Being unable to do anything about Iran, they seem to have decided to close their eyes and ignore it. Of course, putting your head in the sand inevitably exposes your other end.
|| Nudnik 10:51 AM || Permalink || (0) comments
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Wednesday, March 30, 2005


              The funniest post I will ever make… ever!!!!
Ok… so if you do the following and you don’t laugh out loud, then I’m sorry… you need to hang out with grandma and check back in when you have your sense of humor recalibrated.

Go to the following site… "asksnoop"

Then type in the URL for your favorite web site (the Nudnik File is mine as a for instance). I am not responsible for this site, but am proud to pass on the yuks.
|| Elder of Zion #6 2:22 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
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Monday, March 28, 2005


              A funny repost....
This is a reprint of a post that I plagiarized from Craigslist.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

A Marine squad was marching north of Basra when they came upon an insurgent soldier badly injured and unconscious. Nearby, on the opposite side of the road, was an American Marine in a similar but less serious state. The Marine was conscious and alert. As first aid was given to both men, the Marine was asked what had happened. The Marine reported, "I was heavily armed and moving north along the highway and coming south was a heavily armed insurgent. Seeing each other we both took cover."

"What happened then?" He responded, "I yelled to him that Saddam Hussein was a miserable low-life scumbag, and he yelled back, 'Teddy Kennedy is a rich, good-for-nothing fat drunk.' We were standing there shaking hands when a truck hit us."
|| Elder of Zion #6 1:17 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
                            |
              Changing Momentum
The Washington Times carries a report this morning about the momentum shift taking place in Iraq. Since the elections in Iraq, the number and lethality of attacks by "insurgents" has dropped off significantly. More importantly, it seems that more and more Iraqis are taking responsibility for their own security, as opposed to relying on US forces.
The favorable trends do not mean that insurgents cannot pull off spectacularly deadly attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces.

On Thursday, 11 Iraqi policemen were killed by a single suicide bomber, most likely a terrorist in the employ of Jordanian-born Abu Musab Zarqawi.

But Iraqis continue to sign up. After an even bloodier attack in January against Iraqis in line to apply for police jobs, a still-longer line formed the next day at the same spot, said a U.S. Army officer in Iraq.

And last week, merchants and residents on one of Baghdad's main streets joined the fight by using their own guns to kill three terrorists, who were firing on passers-by.

Maj. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, who commands the Army's 1st Cavalry Division and just returned from a year-plus tour overseeing Baghdad, is telling audiences that Osama bin Laden made a crucial mistake when he publicly encouraged Zarqawi.

It meant that the Saudi bin Laden was telling the Jordanian Zarqawi to slaughter Iraqis.
The insurgents also have seemed to change their tactics. In the past week, there were a couple of direct head-on confrontations with US and Iraqi forces. In each of these, the "insurgents" suffered huge losses, while inflicting very few casualties. These would seem to be acts of desperation, since it should be clear to anyone that head-on engagements with US troops are sure to be losing ones.

Drudge is reporting now that the Iraqis are saying that Zarqawi is surrounded.
Iraqi Interior Minister Falah al-Nakib announced today that AbuMusab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Mesopotamia (Iraq), has been surrounded.

The Sofia News Agency reports the Interior Minister as saying, "He is surrounded in a certain area, and we hope for the best'
Of course the press, as Lawrence Kaplan points out, still does not notice the changing trend.
|| Nudnik 11:31 AM || Permalink || (0) comments
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Thursday, March 24, 2005


              Good-bye Terri, and Good-bye to the Nudnik's

This will be my last post for the Nudnik File. And since it is hard to think about anything in the news other than the plight of Terri Schiavo, I'd like to take this opportunity to make the case why this whole Terri Schiavo story is so wrong.

I recognize that Terri's mother and father have lost, her "husband" has won, and as a result Terri will die sometime in the next few days. Dozens of judges have ruled on this case (well, only one judge has reviewed the actual facts of the case, while dozens of other judges have merely ruled on the initial judge's findings, despite new evidence that has come to light since the initial ruling) ... But the case has been ruled upon by virtually every court in the land. The Governor of Florida, the Senate, the House of Representatives and the President of the United States have all weighed in. And despite all of these efforts, Terri will still die.

We don't know if this is what she wanted, other than to take the word of her husband (a man who may have abused her, according to many). She didn't leave a living will. He claims she mentioned something to him once. It is odd that he failed to mention this prior to 1997 (seven years after Terri's initial injury), when he first made this claim. His sworn testimony is contradictory on the matter. But the point is: she may want to die - she may not. We just don't know.

We also don't know what her true condition is. Her "husband" has refused access and denied treatment. Some claim that she is in a permanent vegetative state. Many disagree. Many who watch the video of Terri interacting with her parents find it hard to believe that she is.

So even though we don't know if this is what she wanted, and even if we don't know whether she is in a permanent vegetative state or not, Terri will still die, simply because this is the wish of her estranged husband (a man who is now living with another woman, who has borne two of his children - an act that would result in a "common law" marriage if it were to have occurred in one of 12 other States in the Union other than Florida, and therefore would legally prevent him from being allowed to serve as Terri's guardian).

And the really disturbing part to me is that most of the country (as well as bloggers and readers of this site) agree with this outcome (according to these FoxNews Polls and ABCNews Polls) as well as comments to my recent post titled "A Sad Day in Florida".

I am personally appalled by all of this, and embarrassed for my country (and to a lesser degree, for my blog).

But enough of that - and enough of all of this. On to business.

So why is this Terri Schiavo story all so wrong? We all know her story is sad. Very few enjoy seeing another die. But what makes this so wrong?

Well, there are two main issues that factor into it:

Reason #1: Michael Schiavo should not be Terri's guardian.

Michael Schiavo is not representing Terri's interests. This Affidavit of Carla Iyer, R.N. (Original PDF file of affidavit by Carla Iyer, Registered Nurse) speaks for itself:

9. Throughout my time at Palm Gardens, Michael Schiavo was focused on Terri's death. Michael would say "When is she going to die?," "Has she died yet?" and "When is that bitch gonna die?" These statements were common knowledge at Palm Gardens, as he would make them casually in passing, without regard even for who he was talking to, as long as it was a staff member. Other statements which I recall him making include "Can't you do anything to accelerate her death - won't she ever die?"
Michael Schiavo may have abused Terri. Note this excerpt from a detailed account posted in Wikipedia:

A bone scan done one year after her injury showed (according to the radiologist who evaluated it) that she had also suffered previous traumatic injuries to multiple ribs (on both sides), to both sacroiliac joints, to both knees, to both ankles, to several thoracic vertebrae, and to her right thigh, plus a minor compression fracture of the L1 vertebra. Mrs. Schiavo's family did not know of the existence of this scan until November 2002.
Michael Schiavo has violated Terri's rights. Just read a few of these excerpts from "Myths about Terri" at terrisfight.org:

MYTH: Terri does not need rehabilitation
FACT: Florida Statute 744.3215 Rights of persons determined incapacitated:

(1) A person who has been determined to be incapacitated retains the right
(i) To receive necessary services and rehabilitation.

This is a retained right that a guardian cannot take away. Additionally, it does not make exception for PVS patients. Terri has illegally been denied rehabilitation - as many nurses have sworn in affidavits.

MYTH: Removal of food was both legal and court-ordered.
FACT: The courts had only allowed removal of Terri's feeding tube, not regular food and water. Terri's husband illegally ordered this. The law only allows the removal of "life-prolonging procedures," not regular food and water:

Florida Statute 765.309 Mercy killing or euthanasia not authorized; suicide distinguished. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to condone, authorize, or approve mercy killing or euthanasia, or to permit any affirmative or deliberate act or omission to end life other than to permit the natural process of dying.

For a complete list of Violations of Florida Statutes against Terri Schiavo, click here.
Reason #2: Terri Schiavo is not in a Persistent Vegetative State (PVS).

A good explanation is contained in these excerpts from "Myths about Terri" at terrisfight.org:

MYTH: Terri is PVS (Persistent vegetative state)
FACT: The definition of PVS in Florida Statue 765.101:
Persistent vegetative state means a permanent and irreversible condition of unconsciousness in which there is:

(a) The absence of voluntary action or cognitive behavior of ANY kind.
(b) An inability to communicate or interact purposefully with the environment.

Terri's behavior does not meet the medical or statutory definition of persistent vegetative state. Terri responds to stimuli, tries to communicate verbally, follows limited commands, laughs or cries in interaction with loved ones, physically distances herself from irritating or painful stimulation and watches loved ones as they move around her. None of these behaviors are simple reflexes and are, instead, voluntary and cognitive. Though Terri has limitations, she does interact purposefully with her environment.

MYTH: Many doctors have said that there is no hope for her.
FACT: Dr. Victor Gambone testified that he visits Terri 3 times a year. His visits last for approximately 10 minutes. He also testified, after viewing the court videotapes at Terri’s recent trial, that he was surprised to see Terri’s level of awareness. This doctor is part of a team hand-picked by her husband, Michael Schiavo, shortly before he filed to have Terri’s feeding removed. Contrary to Schiavo’s team, 14 independent medical professionals (6 of them neurologists) have given either statements or testimony that Terri is NOT in a Persistent Vegetative State. Additionally, there has never been any medical dispute of Terri’s ability to swallow. Even with this compelling evidence, Terri’s husband, Michael Schiavo, has denied any form of therapy for her for over 10 years.

Dr. Melvin Greer, appointed by Schiavo, testified that a doctor need not examine a patient to know the appropriate medical treatment. He spent approximately 45 minutes with Terri. Dr. Peter Bambakidis, appointed by Judge Greer, spent approximately 30 minutes with Terri. Dr. Ronald Cranford, also appointed by Schiavo and who has publicly labeled himself “Dr. Death”, spent less than 45 minutes examining and interacting with Terri.
More evidence about this can be found in the following excerpts from affidavit by Heidi Law, a nurse who cared for Terri in 1997: (Original PDF file of affidavit by Heidi Law, Certified Nursing Assistant)

11. On one occasion Michael Schiavo arrived with his girlfriend, and they entered Terri's room together. I heard Michael tell his girlfriend that Terri was in a persistent vegetative state and was dying. After they left Olga [another nurse at the hospital] told me that Terri was extremely agitated and upset, and wouldn't react to anyone.

[...]

15. During the time I cared for Terri, she formed words. I have heard her say "mommy" from time to time and "momma," and she also said "help me" a number of times. She would frequently make noises when she was trying to talk. Other staff members talked about her verbalizations.
And if you still think that Terri is in a permanent vegetative state, just watch this video and you'll see the only person in the world who has ever been in a permanent vegetative state who could actually laugh at her father's jokes.

So, if all of this information doesn't convince you that 1) this is a travesty, 2) Michael Schiavo has not acted in Terri's interests as he should (and per Florida law), and 3) the starvation and dehydration of Terri is wrong and she should be allowed to receive treatment per the wishes of her parents (and per Florida law), then I'm not sure what will.

And if it did convince you, then you should be appalled too. It's not good enough to say "yeah, I agree, it's wrong, but it's not the government's place to get involved." What if the government said that in the 1960's about desegration or other civil rights abuses? What if the case was about Jewish rights being violated and a judge not recognizing it as such? Should the federal government just ignore this and not get involved?

This kind of stuff should not happen in a country like ours. The United States is better than this. If our system allows Terri's rights to be violated in this manner, then it allows yours and mine to be violated as well. I usually don't take interest in these kinds of stories - ya know: the amber alerts, the child sexual abusers, the courthouse / schoolroom shootings ... it's just not news to me. They are all sad stories, but I must admit that I am quite jaded and recognize that we live in a world divided between good and evil - and that there is real evil in our world. And when that evil strikes one individual, to be perfectly honest, it usually doesn't phase me. Another kid got abducted / raped / killed. Whatever. It happens every day. No big deal. And please don't judge me - it's just a recognition of the sad state of affairs in our world.

But this is different. This is about our government - and what it will allow and not allow to occur in our society. And it's just wrong. It's not only a sad day in Florida (as I have been posting this past week), but it's a sad day for the rule of law in our country. For the first time in my life, I am somewhat embarrassed to be an American knowing that my country's government has allowed the events of this past week to transpire.

I could go on and on about how our judicial branch of government is out of control. But you would be better served reading Mark Levin's new book Men In Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America.

Instead, I'll share a funny with ya at a time when things aren't so funny.

An extremely non-religious friend of mine told me today that this all reminded him of the movie, The Seventh Sign - remember the last sign? The death of innocence? I think the Bible actually refers to it as "Martyrdom." But the movie manifested this as the execution of a retarded kid that wound up being the straw that broke the camel's back and lead to the coming of the apocalypse.

I don't think that the world is coming to an end, I just thought it was an interesting thought for a non-religious guy like him to have at a time like this.

And why will this be my last post? Well, life has become quite busy for me. And to be honest, Nudnikette has quite often asked me to stop posting certain opinions and images on this blog. So has it been requested, so shall it be done.

I would feel remiss if I were to create discord in the house of Nudnik, so good-bye all. And good-bye Terri. May God have mercy on you (and all of us as well for allowing this to happen). And this is coming from a not-very-religious person.

Enjoy your blog! Happy Purim! And don't eat too much hamantaschen! (you may get sick if you eat too many because of all the Arab blood we use to make 'em!)




Original files for independent research on Terri Shiavo's story can be found at:
http://www.terrisfight.org/
http://www.zimp.org/stuff
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terri_Schiavo

|| Mad as Hell 11:45 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
                            |
              Academic Freedom and Diversity
The recent controversies surrounding the writings of Ward Churchill and the musings of Larry Summers, the issue of bias in the academy has been brought to the forefront. As an example of what goes on in a University, and what the mindset of academics is - at least in the humanities - below is an email I received from a friend currently working on his graduate degree.
A week or so ago I attended an academic dinner where the atmosphere was friendly and collegial, and the academics present felt chatty. The conversation turned to politics first through a comment made by one person present (let's call him G), who said that he was asked to write a letter of recommendation for a bright and dedicated student, only to realize to his horror that the letter was in support of her application to a conservative think tank. Once he alerted the student's attention to that atrocity, and made sure that it was not a mistake born out of ignorance on the student's part, the professor wrote the letter, but not before he addressed the student. "I will give you the letter," he said "because I promised to, and you deserve it." The implication is clear: the student should be grateful for the magnanimity of such a selfless act. Never mind that letters of recommendation are the ABCs of what professorial work is all about, never mind that the student deserved the letter fair and square. Thus the conversation focused on all matters politic, and the consensus around the table was that no one - but no one! - has the misfortune (thank god!) to know a conservative, that to be conservative is "morally repugnant" (direct quote), and that old friendships are best dissolved if the friends in question turn out to be (oh no!) conservative. And the one conservative at the table kept cowardly quiet, fearing for his career. This is the way academic freedom and diversity manifest themselves today. Substitute the word 'conservative' for 'black' or 'Jew' and you will get a racist narrative. But this irony was lost on the enlightened minds of the ivory tower.
Powerline links to a forthcoming article in Commentary by Ruth Wisse, commenting on the whole Summers controversy. At some point there will inevitably be a backlash against the Leftist domination of academia. It will be interesting to see what causes this. Until then, many more will suffer under the imposed orthodoxy of that "herd of independent minds".

Victor Hanson takes a look at who Ward Churchill really is, and doesn't find much there.
So who really is this strange creature who calls himself Keezjunnahbeh? The Paris Hilton of the campus, a Peter Sellers-like fraud in his own Being There, or a Tony Randall turning into all sorts of strange beasts in Dr. Lao’s circus? He is nobody in fact, but also everybody in theory.

Perhaps it is best to think of Churchill as our aging portrait of an academic Dorian Gray, in whom all the once-hallowed university’s vices and sins of the last half-century are now so deeply etched and lined.
|| Nudnik 10:28 AM || Permalink || (0) comments
                            |
              Blogiversary
Today is the 1 year blogiversary of The Nudnik File. What started as a way for me to vent - especially after Nudnikette got tired of listening to me - has since then grown. With the addition of the Elder, and MAH (and soon another blogger), changes are on the way. Look for more changes soon.
|| Nudnik 10:19 AM || Permalink || (0) comments
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Wednesday, March 23, 2005


              A Sad Day in Florida

This is a little off-topic ... but deserves attention, because it's one of the sickest things that the United States of America has ever permitted to occur on its soil.

For those of you not aware of today's news: a judge in Florida has ordered the hospital in which Terri Schindler Schiavo is being treated to execute her by means of starvation, despite objections from the patient's mother and father.

Imagine if this was your daughter, who you saw breathing, blinking, looking back at you with obvious emotion, and even occasionally smiling. Now imagine that your daughter who was very sick married a guy who didn't care about her life. He was more interested in "moving on" than the welfare of your daughter. Now imagine that this man is with a new woman - and fights vigorously for the state to sanction the killing of your daughter.

How would you feel watching her die of starvation and dehydration?

One can only wonder how a single judge can order the execution of a woman who committed no crime. One can only wonder how our country can allow this to happen.

Peggy Noonan summed it up best (as she usually does) in the Wall Street Journal today:

But in the end, it comes down to this: Why kill her? What is gained? What is good about it? Ronald Reagan used to say, in the early days of the abortion debate, when people would argue that the fetus may not really be a person, he'd say, "Well, if you come across a paper bag in the gutter and it seems something's in it and you don't know if it's alive, you don't kick it, do you?" No, you don't.
Today, a judge in Florida kicked the bag. And the sad thing is that no one has succeeded in stopping him.

Which is where you come in.

If you are disgusted by this story - and you think that the starvation death sentence issued to Terri is cruel and unusual punishment for a woman who committed no crime, then please visit this site to send a message to the Florida State Legislature encouraging them to stop this madness.

Also, you may want to visit these sites to learn more about Terri's plight:
terrisfight.org
saveterri.com
conservativealerts.com



Our thoughts and prayers are with the Schindler Family.

UPDATE 3/19/2005 7:00PM EST: Congress Moves Again to Keep Fla. Woman Alive

In an effort to intervene to keep alive a severely brain-damaged Florida woman, federal lawmakers agreed on Saturday on a compromise bill aimed at restoring her feeding tube and pushing the right-to-die case back into court.

The deal was reached just 24 hours after doctors acting on a Florida court order removed the feeding tube that has kept Terri Schiavo alive for the past 15 years.

"We are confident that this compromise addresses everyone's concerns," House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican, told a news conference. "We are confident it will ... restore nutrition and hydration" to Schiavo.

The House will meet on Sunday afternoon in a special session to consider limited legislation passed by the Senate that would allow a federal judge to rule on whether withholding food and water from Schiavo violates her constitutional rights.
UPDATE: 3/20/2005 10:00AM EST: Bush Returning to Washington Over Schiavo

President Bush is changing his schedule to return to the White House on Sunday to be in place to sign emergency legislation that would shift the case of a brain-damaged Florida woman to federal courts, the White House said Saturday.
UPDATE 3/20/2005 9:00PM EST: Senate Passes Legislation on Schiavo Case

The Senate passed a bill that could prolong Terri Schiavo's life while House Republicans, stalled by Democrats, scrambled to bring enough lawmakers back to the Capitol for an emergency vote early Monday.

[...]

"We ought to err on the side of life in a case like this," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.
UPDATE: 3/21/2005 12:01AM EST: House Passes Schiavo Bill

[T]he US House of Representatives passed SB686 (203 - 58) on a vote that suspended the rules of House and passed the "save Terri Schiavo" bill. Slightly more than half of the members returned for the vote, which took place just after midnight on 21 March. Voting for the bill were 155 Republicans and 47 Democrats; voting against were 5 Republicans and 53 Democrats. Had the Democrats voted the party line, the bill would not have passed because the rule suspension required a two-thirds majority. Missing from the vote were 71 Republicans, 102 Democrats and 1 Independent.
UPDATE: 3/21/2005 1:30AM EST: Bush Signs Emergency Schiavo Legislation

"Today, I signed into law a bill that will allow federal courts to hear a claim by or on behalf of Terri Schiavo for violation of her rights relating to the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain her life," Bush said in a written statement.

"In cases like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws, and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life. This presumption is especially critical for those like Terri Schiavo who live at the mercy of others," he said.
UPDATE: 3/22/2005 4:00PM U.S. Judge Rejects Resumed Feeding in Schiavo Case

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a request from the parents of brain-damaged Florida woman Terri Schiavo to order her feeding tube reinserted, dealing a blow to attempts by the U.S. Congress and the White House to prolong her life.
UPDATE: 3/22/2005 7:00PM Schiavo's Parents Appeal to Restore Feeding Tube

Terri Schiavo's parents filed an appeal with a federal court Tuesday afternoon to order their severely brain-damaged daughter's feeding tube reconnected.

"Where, as here, death is imminent, it is hard to imagine more critical and exigent circumstances," David Gibbs III, attorney for Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, told the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta in the electronically filed appeal. "Terri is fading quickly and her parents reasonably fear that her death is imminent."
UPDATE: 3/23/2005 11:00AM Was Terri Abused?

The state Department of Children and Families seeks access to sealed Probate Court records pertaining to financial records in the Schiavo case. The department contends that the records are needed as part of its investigation into allegations of abuse.
UPDATE: 3/23/2005 6:00PM Appeals Court Rebuffs Schiavo Parents

A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday twice rebuffed a bid by the parents of brain-damaged Florida woman Terri Schiavo to have her feeding tube restored, putting the highly charged case on a path to the highest court in the land.
UPDATE: 3/23/2005 6:30 State officials may place Schiavo under protective custody

Now, state officials said, they might attempt to place the brain-damaged woman under protective custody so her feeding tube can be reinserted. As a possible precursor of that event, they filed a new motion in state court in Tampa.

[...]

Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings and the director of the state social services agency confirmed they were considering an intervention in the controversial and increasingly tangled case -- based on calls alleging that Schiavo is being abused in her hospice.
|| Mad as Hell 7:00 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
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              Podhoretz in Israel
Norman Podhoretz, the purported intellectual leader of the "neo-con cabal", recently traveled to Israel to receive briefings on the state of the country. In this article he describes his conversations with a number of the leaders of the Right in Israel Much of the conversations focus, as would be expected, on the disengagement plan and what it will mean for Israel. Podhoretz is cautiously optimistic that the disengagement plan, and the continuing transformation of the Middle East according to the Bush Doctrine, will demonstrate if the Palestinians are truly ready to live in peace or if the idea of a Palestinian state will be put off into the distant future.
|| Nudnik 12:17 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
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              A "Democratic Palestine"
This picture perfectly illustrates who the "international community" wants to give a state to. Maybe they should reconsider.
|| Nudnik 10:32 AM || Permalink || (0) comments
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Tuesday, March 22, 2005


              Chutzpah
This would seem to be the perfect example of chutzpah.
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations (news - web sites) agreed to use money from Iraqi oil sales to pay the legal bills of the head of the scandal-tainted U.N. oil-for-food program, chief U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard acknowledged on Tuesday.
|| Nudnik 10:23 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
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Friday, March 18, 2005


              New Peace Plan
King Abdullah of Jordan has proposed a new peace plan for the Middle East. What makes this plan interesting is that it calls for normalization of relations between Arab countries and Israel before Israel gives up any of the land captured in 1967. This is more than another in the line of peace plans like the Geneva Initiative or the Saudi plan of a few years ago. In effect, this plan changes the paradigm from "land for peace" - a formula enshrined by UN Sec. Council Resolution 242 - to one of "peace for peace" with the discussion of territorial concessions later. This is something that Israel has always wanted; exchanging tangibles for promises has proven itself to be highly problematic. This plan also has no chance of passing since the Arab League would never allow something not negative for Israel to be adopted. But, the fact that it was even brought up by an Arab leader may be promising.
|| Nudnik 3:50 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
                            |
              Missiles to Iran
Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, the main danger emanating from Russia and the former Soviet Republics has been their willingness to sell weapons and weapons material to the highest bidder. As far as we know this has not yet happened with any nuclear weapons. However, today we learn that Ukraine - one of te former republics which has the most Soviet weaponry, has allowed 12 Kh-55 strategic cruise missiles to be shipped to Iran. Ukraine assures us that they were shipped without the nuclear warheads that they are capable of carrying, but even without them, they change the dynamics of the Middle East.

These missiles are much more capable than the Shihab-3 and Shihab-4 that the Iranians were building. The Shihabs are ballistic missiles which had barely been tested, which were not that accurate, and that would be perfect targets for the Arrow II and Patriot anti-missile systems that Israel deploys. The Kh-55s, on the other hand, are subsonic, highly accurate missiles. They can fly at extremely low altitudes and are difficult to detect and destroy. Clearly they present a greater danger to Israel and US interests in the area.
|| Nudnik 2:52 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
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Thursday, March 17, 2005


              Nominations
The Washington Post describes the displeasure in Europe to Bush's nomination of Wolfowitz to be head of the World Bank.
Some Say Selection of War Proponent Could Undercut Improved U.S. Relations
What improved relations are they talking about? After Bush and Condi made their "fence-mending" trips to Europe, and then joining Europe in its negotiations with Iran, Europe has still not contributed anything to Iraq, refuses to label Hezbullah a terrorist organization - despite the fact that aside from al Qaeda they have killed more Americans than anyone else over the last 25 years, and are now planning to sells arms to China that would be used against US troops in any confrontation with Taiwan. It seems for Europe, "improved relations" are when the US does what Europe wants.

Mark Steyn, meanwhile does an excellent job of describing Europe's and the Left's opposition to Bolton as Ambassador to the UN.
The New York Times wondered what Mr Bush's next appointment would be:

'Donald Rumsfeld to negotiate a new set of Geneva conventions? Martha Stewart to run the Securities and Exchange Commission?'

Okay, I get the hang of this game. Sending John Bolton to be UN ambassador is like ...putting Sudan and Zimbabwe on the Human Rights Commission. Or letting Saddam's Iraq chair the UN conference on disarmament. Or sending a bunch of child-sex fiends to man UN operations in the Congo. And the Central African Republic. And Sierra Leone, and Burundi, Liberia, Haiti, Kosovo, and pretty much everywhere else. All of which happened without the UN fetishists running around shrieking hysterically. Why should America be the only country not to enjoy an uproarious joke at the UN's expense?
|| Nudnik 3:36 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
                            |
              The Jordan Option
Gary Sussman of Tel Aviv University discusses what Sharon's true strategic goal may be in terms of relations with the Palestinians.
His vision is no longer the creation of limited Palestinian state on some 50 percent of the West Bank, as many have long assumed. Instead, Sharon envisions a Palestinian state on a significant portion of the West Bank, possibly as much as 80 percent. Sharon is all too aware that such an entity is not “viable.” He assumes, in fact, that a two-state arrangement cannot be sustained and will not bring an end to Palestinian-Israeli strife.

In the long term, the Israeli premier hopes that the Palestinian state will meld with Jordan. His assumption is that unilateral disengagement from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, his plan for a carefully managed transition away from direct Israeli rule over the majority of the Palestinians, will set this process in motion. Over time, Sharon calculates, contiguity between “Palestine” and its neighbor to the east, as well as increased trade, cultural ties and the “democratization” championed by the Bush administration, will induce Palestinians on both the West and East Banks of the Jordan to agitate for Palestinian-Jordanian federation themselves. If one assumes that Sharon has quietly held on to his once openly expressed belief that “Jordan is Palestine,” his break with his old supporters among the settler movements and the right becomes easier to understand.
It seems to me that this is not such a horrible outcome. If the Palestinians truly want a state, as opposed to the destruction of Israel, this would give them a much larger entity than they could get now. The Jordan option is not new, but it has been one that no one wants to discuss for fear that it could destroy the Hashemite dynasty. But if there is true democratization in Jordan, the Palestinians (who make up the majority) would most likely gain control of the government anyway.
|| Nudnik 1:12 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
                            |
              Syrian Coup Rumors
The World Tribune is reporting this morning that a military coup has taken place in Syria and that Assad has fled Damascus.
Syria's military increased deployment around Damascus due to tension within the regime. The opposition Lebanese Foundation for Peace said the Syrian military has undergone a split, with a rebel faction having taken control over parts of the capital, Middle East Newsline reported.

The rebel faction was said to be led by Syrian Interior Minister Ghazi Kanaan and Firas Tlas, the son of former Defense Minister Mustapha Tlas. The sources said this group, which included Syrian intelligence chief in Lebanon, Maj. Gen. Rustom Ghazaleh and Maj. Gen. Ali Madi, has rebelled against Assad's decision to withdraw from Lebanon.

"Around 3 a.m. [Wednesday], Damascus time, the Syrian Air Force bombarded two military airfields around Damascus, the air force base of Dumair, and the air force base of Katana," the opposition Lebanese Foundation for Peace said. "Also, late night around 3 a.m., the Syrian Air Force bombarded military positions of the Syrian Army west of the city of Homs."
While this would undoubtedly be possible, given all the talk about Assad being weakened by Syria's forced withdrawal from Lebanon and the fact that he was not a strong leader to start with, I am not very confident of the credibility this opposition group. If this has happened, this would not necessarily be a positive development. If hard-line military leaders have taken over, a direct confrontation with the US becomes that much more likely.

UPDATE: It seems that the rumors of a coup were not correct PubliusPundit says.
|| Nudnik 9:22 AM || Permalink || (0) comments
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Wednesday, March 16, 2005


              Iran Protests
While no one (or at least the MSM) is looking, protests have been breaking out around Iran. Regime Change Iran reports on the goings on there.
A report from Tehran: Young celebrants today set scarecrows in the likeness of various Mullahs, such as Khamenei, Rafsanjani, Khatami, Sharoudi, Jannati, etc. on fire in the streets. They cried out slogans such as: "Referendum, referendum, this is the people's dictum."
Even more interesting is how they express their views regarding the US and Europe.
In another area of the city people took to setting the French flag on fire while chanting: "Europe is finished and so are their Mullahs." OR "Bush, Bush, where is Bush?" (In Persian this rhymes: Bush, Bush, kush, kush!).
While this is encouraging, such small scale demonstrations have been going on for quite a while. The main problem there seems to be the lack of organization of the anti-mullah forces. In part this is because of the arrests of many student leaders. Nevertheless, there is hope that with the elections - that will undoubtedly be rigged - coming up, the pro-democracy forces will create enough noise to actually attract external notice and support.
|| Nudnik 3:12 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
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              Stunning
This piece of news is at once stunning, yet completely predictable.
As part of his trip to Israel to attend the opening ceremonies for the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial's new museum in Jerusalem, Annan on Monday went to the grave of Yasser Arafat in Ramallah, and laid a wreath of flowers on the tomb.

So let's get this straight: Annan travels to the Jewish state to attend a ceremony for a museum that commemorates Jewish victims of mass murder, and a day earlier — maybe to be evenhanded? — he pays his respects at . . . the grave of a mass murderer of Jews?
|| Nudnik 12:07 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
                            |
              Taking "No" For an Answer
In today's press conference, President Bush once again stated that diplomacy with Iran is just starting and that we are cooperating with "our European friends" inn getting Iran to abandon their nuclear program. Almost at the same time, Mohammed Khatami was unequivocally stating that Iran will continue the program and that "No US Incentive Will Lead Iran To Give Up Enrichment". Of course this could be part of Iran's negotiating tactics, but at some point the US and the EU3 need to take Iran's "no" as an answer and develop a plan from there. It seems that the plan of the EU3 is to delay as long as possible - until Iran has a nuclear weapon - and then throw up their hands and say that they deeply regret it, but that nothing more can be done. Going to the UN Security Council is all part of this delaying tactic. It seems that the US, at this point is willing to wait to June to see if the elections in Iran - sure to be hijacked by the mullahs - will produce some kind of popular uprising. If that doesn't happen, there will be no good options regarding what to do.
|| Nudnik 11:56 AM || Permalink || (0) comments
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Tuesday, March 15, 2005


              Looting of WMD?
This past Sunday, the New York times carried a story about looting of weapons plants in Iraq. These weapons plants had equipment that could be used for the production of WMD. This is of course the first article about weapons looting that the Times has written since the al Qaqaa stories came out right before the election. Christopher Hitchens notices a few problems and inconsistencies in the NY Times article.
My first question is this: How can it be that, on every page of every other edition for months now, the New York Times has been stating categorically that Iraq harbored no weapons of mass destruction? And there can hardly be a comedy-club third-rater or MoveOn.org activist in the entire country who hasn't stated with sarcastic certainty that the whole WMD fuss was a way of lying the American people into war. So now what? Maybe we should have taken Saddam's propaganda seriously, when his newspaper proudly described Iraq's physicists as "our nuclear mujahideen."

My second question is: What's all this about "looting"? The word is used throughout the long report, but here's what it's used to describe. "In four weeks from mid-April to mid-May of 2003...teams with flatbed trucks and other heavy equipment moved systematically from site to site... 'The first wave came for the machines,' Dr Araji said. 'The second wave, cables and cranes.' " Perhaps hedging the bet, the Times authors at this point refer to "organized looting."

But obviously, what we are reading about is a carefully planned military operation. The participants were not panicked or greedy civilians helping themselves-which is the customary definition of a "looter," especially in wartime. They were mechanized and mobile and under orders, and acting in a concerted fashion. Thus, if the story is factually correct-which we have no reason at all to doubt-then Saddam's Iraq was a fairly highly-evolved WMD state, with a contingency plan for further concealment and distribution of the weaponry in case of attack or discovery.
|| Nudnik 2:41 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
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Monday, March 14, 2005


              Zarqawi Threats on US
According to this article in Time, Zarqawi wants to attack the US.
Intelligence officials tell TIME that interrogation of a member of al-Zarqawi's organization, who was taken into U.S. custody last year and has been described as a top aide, indicates that al-Zarqawi has given ample consideration to assaults on the American homeland. According to a restricted bulletin that circulated among U.S. security agencies last week, the interrogated aide said al-Zarqawi has talked about hitting "soft targets" in the U.S., which could include "movie theaters, restaurants and schools."
My first response to this is "what took them so long?". The best way for terrorists to hurt the US is a number of suicide bombings all around the country in shopping malls, movie theatres, public transportation, etc. This would slow the US economy to a crawl. Instead, we have been told that bin Laden and his ilk are planning another "spectacular" attack on the US.

It seems to me that the fact that Zarqawi now is considering resorting to the tactics described shows how weak the terrorist network has become. No longer are they able to pull off a coordinated large-scale strike as they have wanted to do for a few years, instead they have had to change their methods to attacks on soft targets in the US.
|| Nudnik 2:18 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
                            |
              Beirut Protests
After last week's pro-Syrian Hizbullah demonstration, there was a feeling that maybe the there wasn't much power behind the opposition, and "people power" in general, in Lebanon. After all, the opposition was only able to muster 100,000 people, while Hizbullah's demonstration was more than 500,000 strong. And perhaps the opposition was itself slightly stunned after such a show of force, even if many of the demonstrators were bussed in by Syria.

Today, the opposition responded. According to this article, hundreds of thousands are demonstrating in Beirut demanding "Freedom, sovereignty, independence", on this one month anniversary of the assassination of Hariri. PubliusPundit links to a number of articles showing that it is significantly more than "hundreds of thousands".
Independent estimates placed the number of the opposition demonstration at well over 1.6 million. Highways into Beirut from northern, eastern and southern Lebanon were clogged by human waves stretching more than 5 kilometers from the capital trying to push their way to join the graveside protest.
It is interesting to note that the size of these demonstrations is being downplayed by much of the MSM (NPR referred to the size as "thousands of people"). Leftist blogs, which had been so quick to write about the Hizbullah demonstrations and their size, are so far silent on these latest pro-democracy demonstrations.
|| Nudnik 11:44 AM || Permalink || (0) comments
                            |
              Shall we dance?
Pardon the interruption of the big picture subject matter but…

Off topic I know, but given the connection to several Nudnik File contributors, a quick, well deserved congratulations to the George Washington Colonials is in order. For the first time in the School’s history, they have won the Atlantic 10 conference basketball tournament, on the way killing the Ram, Owl and Hawk…. and off to the dance they go. Death to the mighty Yellow Jacket!!!

[and we sing]
Hail to the Buff. Hail to the Blue. Hail ‘ole G double U.
[and now we stop singing]

And now back to your regularly scheduled political discussion.
|| Elder of Zion #6 9:03 AM || Permalink || (0) comments
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Sunday, March 13, 2005


              All of the News That's NOT Fit to Print

Below are stories from the past week that you won't hear about on the evening news, and you won't read in the New York Slimes (thank you Mark Levin for coining that term).

Iran

Iran and U.S. moving eyeball to eyeball along Iraq border (Registration Required)

U.S. military commanders are warning Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that tensions between Iran and the United States are heading toward a breaking point and that there could be a major clash between the two militaries.

The commanders said U.S. and Iranian troops are becoming closer along the Iranian-Iraqi border and that U.S. aircraft have been moving in and out of Iran while Teheran seeks to bolster its air defense forces.

Some commanders are urging the Pentagon to prepare for the prospect of a brief but intense war with Iran. They said Iran has been arming for a major counter-strike for any U.S. attack on Iran — even under accidental circumstances.

"The situation with Iran is tense, and the possibility for miscalculation high," Central Command chief Gen. John Abizaid told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week.
Iran Protesters Stage Sit-In on Brussels Plane

"We want the European Union to remove the Islamic leaders from Iran. We want to remove the mullahs from power," Armin Atshgar, a protester, told Reuters by mobile phone from the aircraft.


Saudi Arabia

The Face of Iraqi Terrorism

by Stephen Schwartz
03/04/2005
The Global Research in International Affairs Center in Israel, a highly reputable and reliable think-tank, has published a paper titled "Arab volunteers killed in Iraq: an Analysis," available at e-prism.org. Authored by Dr. Reuven Paz, the paper analyzes the origins of 154 Arab jihadists killed in Iraq in the last six months, whose names have been posted on Islamist websites.

The sample does not account for all jihadists in Iraq, but provides a useful and eye-opening profile of them. Saudi Arabia accounted for 94 jihadists, or 61 percent of the sample, followed by Syria with 16 (10 percent), Iraq itself with only 13 (8 percent), and Kuwait with 11 (7 percent.) The rest included small numbers from Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Algeria, Morocco (of which one was a resident in Spain), Yemen, Tunisia, the Palestinian territories (only 1), Dubai, and Sudan. The Sudanese was living in Saudi Arabia before he went to die in Iraq.


Syria / Lebanon

Terrorist Claims Syrian Training

February 24, 2005
Iraqi state television aired a video yesterday showing what the U.S.-funded channel said was the confession of a captured Syrian officer, who said he trained Iraqi terrorists to behead people and build car bombs to attack American and Iraqi troops.

He also said the terrorists practiced beheading animals to train for decapitating hostages.

Later, Al Iraqiya aired another round of interviews with men it said were Sudanese and Egyptians who also trained in Syria to carry out attacks in Iraq.
Israeli general sees war with Syria on the horizon

Thursday, March 10, 2005
TEL AVIV — Israel's military is bracing for the increasing prospect of a war with Syria in a confrontation expected to include Iran and Hizbullah.

The General Staff has discussed an assessment by the military's Northern Command of an emerging threat from Syria and Hizbullah over the next year.

The Northern Command said a weakened Syria, under pressure from the United States to withdraw from Lebanon, was likely to approve an Iranian-Hizbullah campaign against Israel, Middle East Newsline reported.
Reform rally disrupted in Syria

A protest against the Syrian government in the capital, Damascus, has been disrupted by supporters of President Bashar al-Assad.

About 100 activists calling for reforms were chased away from a square by marchers wielding placards and sticks.

The protest, intended to mark 42 years since the imposition of emergency laws, came a day after a large pro-government rally in the centre of Damascus.
Can you believe that? It was all the way back in 1963 when Syria issued a "state-of-emergency" and imposed martial law. The only thing is, it's been operating under that same "state-of-emergency" for 42 years!!! Long emergency, I guess? :)

Syria moves intel headquarters to Hizbullah sector in Beirut

Friday, March 11, 2005
"The Syrians aren't going anywhere," an opposition source with connections in Lebanese intelligence said. "They are fusing with Hizbullah while pretending to pull out some troops from Lebanon."
And an interesting footnote:

In Brussels, the European Parliament voted in a non-binding resolution to deem Hizbullah a terrorist group, Middle East Newsline reported. But the parliament rejected a motion to include Hizbullah on the EU's list of terrorist organizations.
Russia says Hizbullah should play role in Lebanese politics

Saturday, March 12, 2005
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that Hizbullah should be allowed a role in the country's politics. ... Lavrov said: "It is in the interests of Lebanon, and the whole Middle East, for Hizbullah's political role to be taken into account."


China

China's parliament passes Taiwan anti-secession law

The text of the draft, according to Xinhua news agency, calls for the use of "non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," if all else fails.

This will be necessary "in the event that the 'Taiwan independence' secessionist forces should act under any name or by any means to cause the fact of Taiwan's secession from China," the draft law said.

It does not specify what is meant by "non-peaceful means" but analysts believe it would cover anything from blockade to surgical missile strikes and all-out invasion.
(Yup - the Chinese are our friends)

|| Mad as Hell 9:37 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
                            |
              Why Ya Gotta Love Donald Rumsfeld ...
Last week, after grilling Donald Rumsfeld about everything under the sun, the House Armed Services Committee afforded its junior House members an opportunity to also question the Secretary of Defense. One of them questioned him about something related to heavy use of the reserves, and asked if it made America appear to be stretched too thin to countries that might "want to make mischef."

After responding to the important questions from the power-brokers for hours, Rumsfeld could have blown this one off. Instead, his classic answer serves as a small reminder of why we are all extremely lucky to have a guy like Donald Rumsfeld serving our country:

If you think about it, 5 years ago - 10 years ago, I would go around Europe and talk to friends back from when I was abassador to NATO, and they were worried about us. They were worried about the United States of Amercia ... they were worried about Somalia - and the probelms there - where the US made decisions that left question marks in the minds of other countries in the world. We've even seen intelligence where Saddam Hussien made comments about "the United States won't do this," "they cant sustain anything," "they'll cut and run."

And the world has seen in the last three and a half years the capability of the United States of America to go into Afghanistan, a land-locked country all the way across the globe, and with 20,000, maybe 15,000 troops, working with the Afghans, do what 200,000 Soviets couldn't do in a decade. They've seen the United States and the coalition forces go into Iraq, and the world has seen a vivid demonstration of the power and capability and agility of the armed forces of the United States.

That has to have a deterant effect on people.

It's true, we're doing a lot in the world right now. But if you put yourself in the shoes of a country that might decide that they'd like to make mischef, they have a very recent vivid example of the fact that the United States has the ability to deal with mischef.
He just has a way of painting a picture for you that leaves no doubt about what he's trying to say ("do what 200,000 Soviets couldn't do in a decade" - ha!).
|| Mad as Hell 9:04 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
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Saturday, March 12, 2005


              Something Going On?
Stratfor (subscription required) is reporting that three US carrier battle groups are on the way to the Middle East. The USS Harry Truman is already in the Persian Gulf; the USS Carl Vinson, which was supposed to return to the Western Pacific has turned around and is heading West; and the USS Theodore Roosevelt is on its way to the eastern Mediterranean. As Stratfor points out
Indeed, the air wings on each of these carriers are more powerful than most militaries in the region. Given the atrophied state of Syria's military, one of these air wings would be sufficient to eliminate Damascus' ability to project power in Lebanon. Similarly, one carrier air wing would be capable of causing significant damage to Iran's nuclear facilities.
And while military action is unlikely in the near-term, this certainly gives Assad and the Iranian mullahs something to think about.
|| Nudnik 1:09 AM || Permalink || (0) comments
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Friday, March 11, 2005


              Don't Like History? Just Change it.
Wretchard links to an article in the Telegraph, pointing out the absurdity of the anti-smoking campaign.
France's National Library has airbrushed Jean-Paul Sartre's trademark cigarette out of a poster of the chain-smoking philosopher to avoid prosecution under an anti-tobacco law.

"Smoking," the Left-wing existentialist wrote, is "the symbolic equivalent of destructively appropriating the entire world."

And yet in its poster for an exhibition to mark the hundredth anniversary of Sartre's birth the Bibliothèque Nationale de France decided, destructively or not, to edit out the philosopher's Gauloise.
I seem to recall that the US Post Office did a very similar thing with a stamp of FDR, airbrushing his trademark cigarette-holder and cigarette. Nevertheless, changing the past to suit our views about the present is truly Orwellian, and begs the question of what photos will be altered next? What history will be viewed as inappropriate and therefore subject to revision?
|| Nudnik 11:42 AM || Permalink || (0) comments
                            |
              Signs of a Backbone?
The EU3 today came out with a statement that seemed to threaten Iran.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Britain, France and Germany told their European Union (news - web sites) partners on Friday they would support referring Iran (news - web sites) to the U.N. Security Council if it resumes uranium enrichment or breaches nuclear commitments.
Could this be a sign of some backbone in Europe? Sadly, the answer is not really. The EU3 decided on this compromise after the US compromised by dropping opposition to preliminary talks on Iran's entry into the WTO. The reason that this statement of the EU3 is meaningless is that it lacks any threat of sanctions. So the threat that the EU3 are really issuing is that if Iran breaks its promises (again), it will be referred to the UN Security Council where any action will undoubtedly be blocked by Russia or China. In effect, it is not a meaningful threat to an institution well summarized by this Cox & Forkum cartoon.

It is true that the US compromise also does not cost the US anything. Talks on entry into the WTO last for years, and the preliminary talks that the US agreed to not oppose are merely talks about talking about entering the WTO. The net effect of all this news on Iran is zero, and Europe - especially France - is free to continue its support of Iran while pretending that they are doing something to stop Iran's nuclear program.
|| Nudnik 10:29 AM || Permalink || (0) comments
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Thursday, March 10, 2005


              The Non-Arab Street
It seems that the "anti-war" groups are planning marches on the anniversary of the Iraq War. In this excellent article, Amir Taheri asks an excellent question about these "progressive" "peace advocates".
Why are so many Westerners, living in mature democracies, ready to march against the toppling of a despot in Iraq but unwilling to take to the streets in support of the democratic movement in the Middle East?

Is it because many of those who will be marching in support of Saddam Hussein this month are the remnants of totalitarian groups in the West plus a variety of misinformed idealists and others blinded by anti-Americanism?

Or is it because they secretly believe that the Arabs do not deserve anything better than Saddam Hussein?
|| Nudnik 3:03 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
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Wednesday, March 09, 2005


              The Most Absurd Story of the Year

And the winner is: Lebanon May Reinstate Pro-Syria PM :

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Lebanon's pro-Syrian prime minister, who was forced to resign last week by opposition protests, was virtually assured of being asked to form the next government after a majority of lawmakers backed him Wednesday.
So let's just recap what this means:

Last week: Karami resigned under pressure. In his resignation, he said:

"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 honour to head. May God preserve Lebanon," Karami said.
This week: the Syrian-run Lebanese Parliament re-nominated him to take over for the position from which he just resigned!!!

Where's the outrage?

|| Mad as Hell 2:25 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
                            |
              Exit Strategy
Responding to John Kerry's and Ted Kennedy's calls for an exit strategy for Iraq, Bush announces that he plans to take the troops out. The Onion has the story.
WASHINGTON, DC—Almost a year after the cessation of major combat and a month after the nation's first free democratic elections, President Bush unveiled the coalition forces' strategy for exiting Iraq.

"I'm pleased to announce that the Department of Defense and I have formulated a plan for a speedy withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq," Bush announced Monday morning. "We'll just go through Iran."
[...]
"The plan also includes a minor stopover for refueling and provisional replenishment in Syria," Casey said. "But I don't expect we'll need more than 50,000 additional troops for that stretch of the Iraq pullout."
|| Nudnik 10:57 AM || Permalink || (0) comments
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Tuesday, March 08, 2005


              "Our Friend" China

China is our friend. At least that's what we're told over and over again. Right?

They are one of our biggest trading partners in the world. President Bush has even referred to them as an ally in the War in Terror.

And if one were to refer to them as communists (which they freely admit they are) in a liberal town like New York City, he (or she - and I'd like to meet her, that perfect woman who would refer to the Chinese as Communists in public in New York City - anyway, one can only dream) would receive looks of scorn and would be laughed at for being so ignorant - so McCarthy-esque - as to call them communists.

Well, for those who had any doubt about China's expansionist and war-mongering policies, you owe thanks to the communists for clarifying any questions about where they stand. Today, China announced a new law that authorizes (in advance) an attack on Taiwan.

CHINA has unveiled a controversial new law allowing it to use force against Taiwan if it protests at plans for reunification.

The Chinese government has said it will use the draft law to attack Taiwan if it tries to gain independence.
The article went on to quote Wang Zhaoguo, deputy chairman of China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee saying:

"If possibilities for a peaceful reunification should be completely exhausted, the state shall employ non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity."
And we thought that doing business with them would make them less communist / belligerent and more capitalist / peaceful.

Nope. It's only made them rich belligerent communists that can now afford lots of new weapons. Great! That's exactly what we need right now: rich belligerent Communists!

|| Mad as Hell 8:24 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
                            |
              More Rethinking
The World Opinion Roundup column of the Washington Post shows some of the new opinions from newspapers around the world.
In countries where President George Bush and his policies are deeply unpopular, online commentators are starting to think the unthinkable.

"Could George W. Bush Be Right?" asked Claus Christian Malzahn in the German newsweekly Der Spiegel. Essayist Guy Sorman asked last month in the Paris daily Le Figaro (by subscription), "And If Bush Was Right?" In Canada, anti-war columnist Richard Gwyn of the Toronto Star answered: "It is time to set down in type the most difficult sentence in the English language. That sentence is short and simple. It is this: Bush was right."
The concensus seems to be that Bush's and the "neo-cons'" idea of invading Iraq to change the dynamics of the Arab world has borne fruit. At the same time there is a large segment of the Left that simply refuses to acknowledge that anything that Bush does can be positive. This type of childish negativism is perfectly exemplified by this post.
Sometimes you just have to give credit where credit is due. Like Chauncey Gardner in Being There, right now everything in the Middle East seems to be coming up roses for George W. Bush - and the United States.

But like Chauncey, Bush the born-again democratic idealist has a series of happy accidents to thank for his success. The combination of the death of Arafat, Viktor Yushchenko's dioxin-tainted soup, bungling Syrian intelligence agents, and an all-powerful Shi'ite cleric may have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat for Bush. In large part, it appears to be fate, not foresight, that has been the engine of democratic reform in that part of the world.
In the same way that Reagan had absolutely nothing to do with the collapse of the Soviet Union ("it was going to happen anyway" was their argument), Bush has nothing to do with the sweeping changes taking place in the Middle East. I am not clear how one can honestly argue that had we not invaded Iraq, Libya would have given up their WMD program, elections would have been held in Iraq and the Palestinian Authority, Egypt and Saudi Arabia would be talking about democratization, Lebanese would be protesting against Syria. Yet this is the new meme of the deluded Left. Of course evertything negative that has transpired is undoubtedly Bush's fault. Intellectual dishonesty and vapidity.
|| Nudnik 2:21 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
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              Talk about Irony
From a huge sign at the pro Syrian march in Lebanon...
Large cranes hoisted two giant red-and-white flags bearing Lebanon's cedar
tree. On one, the words, "Thank you Syria," were written in English; on the
other, "No to foreign interference."

Oh wait... Syrian IS a foreign entity.... ooops.

|| Elder of Zion #6 12:54 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
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Monday, March 07, 2005


              The First Test of the Freedom Doctrine

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 will mark the beginning of the first test of the President Bush's Freedom Doctrine, as he so eloquently declared upon his second inauguration on January 20, 2005:

Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world: All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.
And again in his State of the Union Address just a few weeks later on February 2, 2005:

And to the Iranian people, I say tonight: As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you.
Ironically, it wasn't the Iranians, but instead the good people of Lebanon who heard the President's message loud and clear, and today they are standing for their own liberty. They have begun to oust a puppet regime, and continue to gather in "Democracy Square" in support of freedom and democracy.

However, reports are now circulating expecting violence to break out on Tuesday March 8, 2005, when the Hizbollah militia takes to the streets of Beirut to protest Syria's withdrawal:

Tuesday's protest, called by the Shi'ite Muslim Hizbollah group and its allies to show support for Damascus and oppose what they call Western meddling, was widely expected to attract a large turnout. ... Hizbollah (Party of God) warned of mayhem if Syrian troops were to leave Lebanon.
At the Nudnik File, some of us suspect that Assad is reaching for his father's old playbook: specifically, he will claim that he is complying with the UN Resolutions by partially withdrawing while manipulating events on the ground to demonstrate that Syria is needed to maintain stability in Lebanon. So if Hizbollah confronts the democracy movement and violence erupts (thereby making the "mayhem" prediction come true), Assad will be able to pull an I-told-you-so, and claim that his warnings of civil war were right on the money, and therefore a continued Syrian military presence is required in Lebanon to keep the peace. The English translation is: Syria continues to both fleece Lebanon as well as use its lands to conduct terrorist activities.

So the question remains, what will the United States do to "stand with" the good people of Lebanon if Hizbollah terrorists move against the peaceful democracy protestors on Tuesday? Will the U.S. "stand with" the Lebanese freedom movement, or simply stand by and watch them get slaughtered by Hizbollah terrorists?

And it's already beginning, as reported in this article from LebanonWire.com:

In a shooting incident between rival camps late Sunday, an 18-year-old opposition supporter was wounded when followers of loyalists movements fired on his car near Martyrs' Square. The Lebanese army later arrested three people.
This is a watershed moment in history.

That "tipping" phenomenon to which Rumsfeld often refers is actually occurring. We saw it on January 30 in Iraq, we are seeing the beginnings of it in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. And it is advancing faster than anyone imagined in Lebanon.

Back in late January and early February when President Bush gave those speeches, many in the administration most likely questioned where and when this policy would find its first test.

Well, that question no longer remains. The world unexpectedly finds itself looking to the streets of Beirut for the first test of the Freedom Doctrine.

And two pretty simple principles hold true here:

1) The United States has a moral obligation to prevent any injury from coming to the Lebanese freedom movement. Right now, we should have a dozen Apaches and a few hundred Special Ops groups waiting off the coast of Lebanon ready to drop in on a moment's notice to protect the freedom movement if the Hizbollah terrorists engage in any violence against them.

2) And what if the United States fails to live up to its bold ideals and support it strong rhetoric with immediate protection against any attack on the democracy advocates in Lebanon? Freedom will no longer be "on the march" in the Middle East, all US credibility in the region will be lost, the "tipping" will reverse, and all hopes for democratic reform in the Middle East will be set back for decades.

So will we load up the Apaches and insert Special Ops teams to protect the democracy protestors in Lebanon from armed Hizbollah terrorist militias? Or will we do the exact opposite of what President Bush promised by "ignoring their oppression" and "excusing their oppressors" as soon as the first shots of the revolution are fired?

All I've got to say is that if this freedom movement in Lebanon dies, there with it dies President Bush's Freedom Doctrine, and all of the possible benefits that such an historic moment offered.

History will not treat such a grave error kindly, and I hope for the sake of freedom and democracy throughout the world that we have a plan to avoid such a calamity at any cost.

|| Mad as Hell 10:47 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
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              Whose Confidence?
The "What's News" section of the Wall Street Journal has this little blurb on the Middle East "peace process"
Israel hands over Tulkarem to Palestinian control this week, resuming confidence-building measures that a Feb. 25 Tel Aviv bombing interrupted
Why exactly does Israel need to resume confidence-building after the Palestinians attack? Shouldn't the Palestinians be responsible for at least some confidence-building?

Today the "cease-fire" continued in the usual way Palestinian cease-fires have gone.
HEBRON, West Bank - Palestinian militants shot and wounded two Israeli border policemen Monday in an attack on a military post near a West Bank shrine, the latest attempt to disrupt a delicate cease-fire.
The Palestinians have figured out that as long as they don't kill too many Israelis at any one time, no one will really notice.

For whatever reasons, no one wants to admit what the PLO and their leaders really are. This article is an excellent reminder of the goals of the PLO and their leadership, which hasn't changed despite all the handshakes with Presidents Clinton and Bush.
|| Nudnik 1:36 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
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              The Democratic Genie
Clearly the January 30th elections in Iraq have produced ripples throughout the entire Middle East. What the end results will be in the various countries is still unclear. Reuel Marc Gerecht looks at the possibilities.
HAVE THE IRAQI ELECTIONS PRODUCED a democratic earthquake that has changed forever the fundamental political dynamics in the Muslim Middle East? Only the culturally deaf, dumb, and blind--for example, Michigan's Democratic senator Carl Levin--can't see what George W. Bush's war against Saddam Hussein has wrought. The issue is not whether the basic understanding of contemporary Muslim political legitimacy has been overturned--it has--but how forcefully the regimes in place will resist the growing Muslim democratic ethic.
|| Nudnik 1:21 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
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              Bolton to UN
President Bush has just nominated Undersecretary of State John Bolton to be the next Ambassador to the UN. Bolton was perhaps the only "neocon" in the State Department, and was very vocal and clear on the necessity of confronting North Korea and other weapons proliferators. This should put to rest the media's latest idea that Bush is moving towards Europe's ideas on arms control and the reliance on international institutions.
|| Nudnik 11:27 AM || Permalink || (0) comments
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Sunday, March 06, 2005


              The Hizbollah Factor in Lebanon

Afer weeks of silence, Hizbollah is calling for a mass protest in Beirut on Tuesday, in an apparent effort to intimidate the democracy protestors:

The group's chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah warned that Syria's pullout under intense global pressure could spell chaos for Lebanon and push it toward peace with Israel.

"The aim of America and Israel is to spread chaos in Lebanon and bring back Lebanon to a state of chaos to find excuses for foreign intervention and to push some Lebanese to call for international intervention," Nasrallah told a news conference.

In the name of loyalist parties, he called for a mass rally Tuesday at a square in central Beirut close to another square where opposition protesters have been demanding Syria quit Lebanon for the past three weeks.
English translation: "Nope. Ya can't have any democracy over there. Because ya may actually make friends with those dirty, stinking Jews. And maybe you've forgotten, but those Jews are the ones who have caused all our problems for the past few thousand years!"

The logic is mind boggling.

|| Mad as Hell 2:22 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
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              Footnotes to the Revolution

Two interesting footnotes to the "Cedar Revolution" in Lebanon can be found in a report from Reuters this morning: Syria Vows Swift Lebanon Pullout in 'Historic' Move.

The first footnote is buried deep in the article:

U.N. special envoy Terje Roed-Larsen is expected to go to Beirut and Damascus this week to discuss the "full, complete and immediate implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559."
What is not mentioned is that U.N. Resolution 1559 was adopted in September 2004 and required the Secretary General to report back to the Security Council within 30 days.

So why did it take six months for the U.N. to start talking about "full, complete and immediate implementation?" Or the better question might be: Would the U.N. even be talking about "full, complete and immediate implementation" if it were not for the pressure created by President George W. Bush?

The second footnote concerns Iran's response to Syria's withdrawl plan:

An Iranian spokesman said Tehran respected any joint Syrian-Lebanese decision: "But the pressure on the Syrian government, with the withdrawal from Lebanon as an excuse, seems to be a pre-designed plan by the Zionist lobbies to safeguard Israel's survival and its expansionist policies."
Think about that for a second. It's not the will of the Lebanese people - it's not the international outrage of Hariri's assassination - that's all an "excuse!" It's really all a just a cover for this "pre-designed plan by the Zionist lobbies to safeguard Israel's survival and its expansionist policies."

Can you say "the Protocols of the Elders of Zion?"

And what a coincidence! I just happened to stumble across this: Syria Releases a New Edition of The Protocols

A new Syrian edition of the anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion hit the stands in the Arab world in January. The publisher says that the book obtained the approval of the Syrian Information Ministry in May 2004.
For anyone who doesn't know about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia describes them as:

The Protocols of the (Learned) Elders of Zion is a fraudulent document purporting to describe a plan to achieve Jewish global domination. Written by a German forger in the mid-19th-century, by the early 20th-century it was published by the Imperial Russia secret police, the Okhranka, in order to blame the Jews for Russia's problems during the period of revolutionary activity.
Get ready to hear a lot about how the Lebanese need the Syrians and Hizbollah to protect them from the evil Zionists.

|| Mad as Hell 9:53 AM || Permalink || (0) comments
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Saturday, March 05, 2005


              The Assad Two Step

All in the same day, it seems that the dictator of Syria has announced a partial withdrawl of Syrian troops, while sending his goons in to crush the "Cedar Revolution" in Beirut.

The first part of the two step is the double-speak, as Assad did today in his address to the Syrian "parliament."

Syria Plans Two-Stage Lebanese Pullback

President Bashar Assad on Saturday announced a two-stage pullback of Syrian forces to the Lebanese border, but failed to address broad international demands that he completely withdraw Syria's 15,000 troops after nearly 30 years in the country.
Then Assad went further to say:

"By carrying out this measure, Syria will have fulfilled requirements of the Taif agreement and implemented U.N. Resolution 1559," the Syrian leader said in a rare address to parliament.
Which, for anyone who knows anything about either the Taif Agreement or U.N. Resolution 1559, is the furthest thing from the truth. On the one hand, the Taif Agreement (from the 1980's which Syria has ignored for the past few declades) only required Syria to pull it s troops back to the Bekka Valley in Lebanon, but not a complete withdrawl. On the other hand, U.N. Resolution 1559 (adopted in 2004) requires complete withdrawl, disarming of Hizbollah, and removal of all Syrian military and intelligence personnel.

Assad has no intention of complying with U.N. Resolution 1559. Because he thinks that if he lets the Lebanese run Lebanon, that they may actually sign a peace accord with Israel (which they did against Syrian wishes in 1983). And he indicated this in his speech today:

Syria Warns Lebanese of Dangers After Withdrawal

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned the Lebanese on Saturday against forging their own peace with Israel, saying the period after Syria's withdrawal would be fraught with dangers.
Dangers? What dangers?

Well, that's where the second part of the two-step comes in: it's the follow through on the "fear card." FOX News is just reporting that gunfire has erupted in "Democracy Square" after "Pro-Syrian" protestors arrived and began confronting the democracy protestors.

So now Assad will be able to pull an I-told-you-so and claim that all this talk about Syrian withdrawl has created violence - and only Syrian troops can prevent this violence by staying in Lebanon longer to "keep the peace."

I hope no one buys it.

|| Mad as Hell 5:01 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
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Friday, March 04, 2005


              The "Kifaya" Factor

There was another protest in Iraq this week.

However, this time they were not protesting the US occupation. Instead, they were protesting terrorism, the insurgency and the foreign fighters who are trying to prevent democracy from succeeding in Iraq.

A Scottish newspaper reported on this week's protest in Hilla, Iraq:

More than 2,000 people held an impromptu demonstration on front of the town’s clinic where the suicide bomber struck

They chanted “no to terrorism” and “no to Baathism and Wahhabism.”
These Iraqi protestors are expressing a sentiment widely-held in the Middle East today: "We've had enough!"

كفي (pronounced "Kifaya") is the Arabic word for "Enough."

Claude Salhani explains what she calls "The Kifaya Factor" and how the word "Kifaya" is reverberating thoughout the Middle East:

"Something is beginning to happen in Egypt," reports an Egyptian blogger who goes by the name of "Big Pharaoh," after President Hosni Mubarak asked the parliament last Saturday to amend the constitution to allow more than one candidate to run in the country's presidential elections next fall.

What is happening in Egypt is also starting in Lebanon, and will likely spread to other parts of the Middle East. It's a new phenomenon that can be summed up in a single word -- "kifaya," Arabic for "enough." Monday, Lebanon's prime minister and entire Cabinet resigned, satisfying a demand of tens of thousands of protesters.

It may sound strange to hold a presidential election with one candidate, but this has been done in the Middle East for decades. Or to amend the constitution at the behest of another country to extend a president's term, as in Lebanon.

More recently, millions of Egyptians and Lebanese have started saying "enough" to those practices. Whether in English or Arabic, the message is the same; People have had enough of the region's political and economic stagnation. There is growing frustration in the lack of participation in government. In greater numbers Middle Easterners are saying "kifaya."
Ambassador Denis Ross attributed this sentiment of "Kifaya" to a "loss of fear" this week on Fox News. As reported earlier this week by The Nudnik File, Ross said:

The most profound thing that we're seeing is the loss of fear. ... What [the people of Lebanon] saw in Iraq was people who were in a position when they were told "you vote - you die," they went and voted anyway. Fear was not going to rule out an Iraqi voice. And that was the lesson for the Lebanese: "If it could work there, it can work for us as well." ... [But] more than elections, it's the empowerment of people by being willing to go on the street and make it clear that they will no longer be intimidated - they will no longer be coerced and live by fear.
Add "Kifaya" with a "loss of fear," and what do ya get?

Assad the Younger offers to make a "partial withdrawl" from Lebanon. The Egyptian "Pharoh" agrees to allow more than one candidate to run in this year's presidential elections. The Saudi Royals actually hold their first elections ever. And this all seems to make a little more sense with a little "loss of fear" and "Kifaya."

There is only one explanation: they are scared.

Which reminds me of the last few lines of a great speech by former CIA Director James R. Wollsey:

I think we need to say to both the terrorists and the dictators and also to the autocrats who from time to time are friendly with us, that we know, we understand we are going to make you nervous.

We want you to be nervous. We want you to realize now for the fourth time in 100 years, this country is on the march and we are on the side of those whom you most fear, your own people.
Despite those who refuse to see it, the winds of change really are blowing.

The tyrrants are nervous, the oppressed have lost their fear, and the people of the Middle East are filling the streets from Baghdad to Beirut to Cairo screaming "Kifaya!"

|| Mad as Hell 8:10 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
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              Airstrikes
I came across this today and am not quite sure how much of it to believe. However, it seems that at least the threat of US airstrikes against Syria is already being talked about openly. Very possibly this is just psy-ops.
Pentagon Favors Air Strikes on Syria to Overthrow Assad, Free Lebanon
The Pentagon is now convinced that air strikes on Syria have become necessary to overthrow the Assad regime, liberate Lebanon and stop support of insurgents waging a guerrilla war against American forces in Iraq as well as Palestinian militants against Israel, the U.S.-sponsored Al Hurra TV network says.
"Political action to deal with the problem of Syria's presence in Lebanon and its support of terrorism against Israel and Iraq is no longer deemed effective," Al Hurra quoted American intelligence sources as saying, according to slain ex-Premier Hariri's Al Mustaqbal newspaper on Friday.

"Diplomacy as a means to deal with countries supporting terrorism is over and out. The situation is now open to all eventualities as far as Syria is concerned," the sources were quoted as saying by the Arabic-language Al Hurra.

"Resolving problems with Syria now requires changing the Syrian regime or mounting air attacks similar to those staged against Afghanistan and Sudan in August 1998 to wipe out terrorist centers once and for all," the U.S. intelligence sources were quoted as saying.

"The U.S. central command for Iraq and Afghanistan is closely following the situation in Lebanon and Syria and senior Pentagon officials are now convinced that hitting terrorist targets in Syria is necessary," Al Hurra said.

"The elimination of Syrian-supported terrorism groups is now deemed 'strategically vital' for stability in the Middle east, particularly Iraq, which is unattainable at present under the current Syrian regime," the station said.
At the same time, Debka is reporting that
Military sources reveal Syrian military and air force movements in Syria and Lebanon denote preparedness for air strikes against strategic Syrian targets rather than giving in.
|| Nudnik 1:56 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
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              Not Quite Ready
While democracy is making a tentative start in the Middle East, it seems to be retracing in Russia. This poll seems to suggest that Russians are not quite ready for a full democracy.
Half of all Russians view Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in a positive light, pollsters said Friday based on the results of a recently released study.

Fifty percent of respondents in a nationwide opinion poll conducted by the VTsIOM agency said their view of the role Stalin played in Russian history is undoubtedly positive or probably positive.
[...]
A total of 42 percent of respondents said they want or wouldn't object to having a leader like Stalin at the helm of the nation today.
|| Nudnik 11:48 AM || Permalink || (0) comments
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