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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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5/24/2003

Blog Meme: Second Superpower



Looking at Glenn Reynolds I saw his posting on googlewashing and then second superpower. Now the idea of the second superpower - that is the notion of the anti-war folks contituting an opposition to the official superpower position - came from this article by James Moore published back at the end of March. It was linked all over and ended up as the top search at Google if you looked up second superpower.

Which is not a surprise. But for fun I searched www.secondsuperpower.com. It has been taken by www.bulkregister.com....just in time to prevent Naomi Klein or Michael Moore from getting it.

Stuff travels very fast indeed on the net. And, frankly, it was a rather goofy idea in the first place.

Shortcut



With Israel willing to perform its role in the roadmap charade the next step would obviously be to send the biggest French idiot you can find to have a chat with the terrorist in chief.

Meanwhile, France is sending Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin to the Middle East to help in the diplomatic efforts. He is to meet with top Palestinian officials, including the head of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat, who has been sidelined in U.S. peacemaking efforts.
link voice of america


I cannot imagine what the little man of France will say to the terror saint of Ramallah. Presumably it will involve stabbing your friends in the back, finding a new job for Hans Blix and promising to veto anything that any one of Arafat's multiple personalities finds less than ideal. I expect the ringing words of French diplomacy vis a vis Israel - "that shitty little country" - will be employed to good effect.

de Villepin's presence should cut weeks, if not months, off the roadmap's doomed run.

Iraqi Hopes



The atmosphere was electric. People were embracing, crying and talking with abandon. After three decades of repression, the conference was a big therapy session for the Iraqi family. Except that one group was largely missing from the family. In a country where women are the majority (especially after two decades of devastating wars), I was one of only five invited to the conference.
My speech was only a few minutes long. I decided to remind the conference that women need to play a central role in Iraq's future, that we should bring all Iraqis together to help heal the deep social divisions inflicted by Saddam Hussein's regime.
Speaking before a sea of men, including sheiks and clerics, I was worried about the reaction, especially since I was participating in the meeting not as a representative of a domestic political group but as an independent delegate. (I belong to no Iraqi faction, and although I wear a head scarf, or hijab, I believe in the separation of religion and state.)
To my surprise, there was applause after I finished and dozens of men came to congratulate me as I walked back to my seat. These delegates seemed painfully aware of how Iraqi society had stagnated under Saddam Hussein and eagerly wanted to catch up to the rest of the world.
link new york times


For all of the chaos and the violence following the war, the Iraqi people are experiencing the first fruits of freedom after thirty years of starvation. Zainab Al-Suwaij's article is yet another reason that the invasion was a grand idea. Clear away the police state and the kleptocracy and there is no reason to belive that her vision will not have as good a chance as the medievalist mullahs'. And if her vision can prevail the rest of the Allah-forsaken Arab world will be forced to take notice.

DJ Blog



Missed this piece the first time. I'm mooching around for an article on how blogs are the first true internet content application and ran across Peter Rojas clever piece in the Guardian:

A weblogger surveys the vast world of the web and carefully arranges what's out there, presenting it in a new form. But what webloggers are doing is nothing new. It's what DJs have been doing on the radio and in dance clubs for years now - picking and selecting the best records from what's out there.
The role that DJs and webloggers play in selecting, arranging and, increasingly, reworking and remixing, has become extremely valuable in a world awash with seemingly infinite numbers of new songs, films and television shows, books and video games. A weblog functions like a filter for the web, a handpicked selection of what's worth checking out. What makes blogs work so well is that it's a person, not a computer, doing the link picking, a person with specific taste that we appreciate.
link guardian unlimited

This just about catches the phenomena. It also gives a bit of the sense of how ideas and presentation are sorted on the new net. Nothing top down. But some sources are more reliable than others and some are more sympatico.



5/22/2003

Religion of Peace update



The vessel, the Abu Hassan, was stormed by naval commandos off the coast at Haifa and found to contain bomb-timing devices and 122mm rockets with other equipment for manufacturing explosives.
The Israelis said that the boat was on her way from Lebanon to Egypt, from where the Hezbollah man, named yesterday as Hamad Muslam Moussa Abu Amra, was planning to cross into the Gaza Strip.
The incident echoed the capture in January last year of the Karine A, which had 50 tonnes of banned weapons on board, bound for the Palestinian Authority when she was stopped in the Red Sea. That discovery signalled the breakdown in relations between Israel and Yassir Arafat.
Officials said the equipment on the vessel off Haifa included 36 CD-Roms giving instructions on bomb-making and suicide missions, 25 rocket detonators and a radio-activation system for remote-control bombs. The seizure was announced as Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Prime Minister, was holding talks with the militant group Hamas in Gaza to persuade it to call a ceasefire.
link the times

Now where was that roadmap again....




5/21/2003

Sophisticated Euros



Watch the video

via Daimnation.com

Oil for Food, Money for Me



Saddam Hussein expanded his multi-billion dollar fortune by skimming bribes and kickbacks from the United Nations' Oil-for-Food Program as U.N. officials looked the other way, according to an ABC News investigation.

The deposed Iraqi dictator took as much as $3 billion from a program intended to provide food and medication to his people after the U.N. sanctioned oil sales in response to Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

"Everybody knew it, and those who were in a position to do something about it were not doing anything," Benon Sevan, the executive director of the Office of Iraq Program, told ABC News.
world net daily


Boy am I surprised...I mean there were all those kids dying because of the sanctions and everything...What a big rat that Saddam guy turned out to be.

In case you wondered



I have been asking myself, from Al-Qaeda's persepective, is it worse to be a Christian sort of an infidel or a Jewish sort. Not having the honour of Jewish birth, I had to content myself with being what seemed to be a very second class sort of an infidel.

Fortunately I can now hold my head high -- bin Laden's #2 guy Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian eye doctor and terrorist Godfather has a new tape out:

"The crusaders and the Jews only understand the language of murder and bloodshed, and are only convinced by coffins, destroyed interests, burning towers and a shattered economy," it said. "Consider your 19 brothers who attacked America with their airplanes and who spited them in an unprecedented manner."
link the scotsman


Right, Crusader it is. Beats the Hell out of mere Christian Infidel.


Naomi watch



Klein's eulogy for Rachel Corrie missed this key bit of information:

The first incident was the most serious, and the most reported in the press - the March 16th death of twenty-three year old Rachel Corrie, crushed beneath a bulldozer in Rafah when its operator failed to see her. Corrie was attempting to prevent the destruction of a Palestinian home, as the press widely reported. But most of the press (but not FrontPagemag.com) failed to report the presence of extensive tunnels underneath the homes of Rafah, used to deliver arms across the Egyptian border to the terrorist Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Houses involved in such smuggling are demolished as a matter of course. And when Corrie was killed, according to a Israeli Consulate media officer in San Francisco, the bulldozer was not even attempting to raze a home - just remove shrubbery used to hide a tunnel. Rachel Corrie died for nothing. An inquiry into her death found that she and other members of the International Solidarity Movement had engaged in "illegal, irresponsible, and dangerous" behavior. Indeed - by blocking the destruction of these houses, the International Solidarity Movement may have contributed to the arming of terrorists and the murder of innocent people.



Ding-a-Ling Ms. Klein, Corrie was not protecting innocent Palestinians; she was aiding and abetting arms smuggling and the terror it creates. Her naive rage at her own country lead to her burning its flag in front of rather bemused Palestinian children and led directly to her death.




Naomi's heros



Big surprise: when it comes to Naomi Klein Rachel Corrie - bulldozer blocking peacenik - ranks higher than Jessica Lynch.

Remember, Rachel was trying to prevent the bulldozer from clearing brush which was hiding arms smuggling tunnels. It's tough to be a terrorist without help and Rachel gave her all helping terrorists. She was recognized by a memorial service that the British suicide bombers off to take out the key strategic asset of Mike's Place, dropped in to on the way to the bang.

Naomi even manages to repeat the BBC mythology of the staged rescue of Private Lynch.

What is astonishing is that Klein has a huge following. Google her and you will discover that she is the top Canadian author on Google. (Good news, top Canadian is Pam Anderson...which says something about the relative values of the world.) Klein's left orthodoxy is, sadly, reflective of a large number of mis-informed Canadians who somehow cannot see the connection between blind support for the Palestinians and support for the bombers.

Has the N.R.A. heard about this?



Iraqi citizens will be required to turn over automatic weapons and heavy weapons under a proclamation that allied authorities plan to issue this week, allied officials said today.

The aim of the proclamation is to help stabilize Iraq by confiscating the huge supply of AK-47's, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons that are used by criminal gangs, paramilitary groups and remnants of the Saddam Hussein government.
link nyt


The military has a keen sense of the obvious: if you want to calm a society and increase the safety levels you take away the guns....No really, I'm not making this up.

bin Laden's Army



"The only lesson from Iraq is that no state in the world can confront the Americans with a chance of success," said Abuza. "The only way to make the Americans taste the humiliation that Arabs feel on a daily basis is through terrorism. "And the only person who can do that is Osama bin Laden and his loose network," he said.
link swiss info


As bombs go off in the Middle East and the terror alert level is raised in the United States, Zachary Abuza's analysis seems both chilling and correct. But correct as far as it goes. The next question is whether the "humiliation that Arabs feel on a daily basis" can be changed.

The hope of the Iraqi invasion is that there can be a transformation of an Arab country from a terror state into a modern democracy with stout Islamic credentials but without the Arab propensity for terror. To attain that hope is proving to be, a month in, difficult. Which does not make the objective any the less worthwhile.

To defeat the Al-Qaeda terror requires the combination of stick and carrot. The police and intelligence actions against the pointy end of the Arab's humiliation is vital and will have to last for years. Finding and killing bin Laden is more critical now than it has ever been. The Saudi outrage may help that necessary end along.

As well, it is vital that the radical factions of the Palestinians be eliminated militarily and diplomatically. To do this will require the removal of Arafat who is either unable or unwilling to attack the roots of the Palestinian terror. To leave Arafat in power, even with the veil of a new, and apparently powerless Prime Minister, simply ensures that the terror will continue and that the Arab world will have a steady stream of martyres to underscore its humiliation. Dumping Arafat into a distant and ideally isolated exile is critical to beginning a real search for peace in Israel and the Middle East. Similarly, using full on force to knock back Hamas and Hezbollah - whether Israeli, American or international is key to the efforts to eliminate terrorism as a legitimate choice.

The message to the Arab and Islamofascist world has to be very blunt. Terror does not work and terrorists are hunted and killed without respect for international borders, religious sensitivity or regional politics. Abuza is exactly right on the lesson from Iraq: no state can confront the United States. It is important to make clear that no individual or group is beyond the power of America and her allies.

So much for the stick; the carrot is the creation of first a society which works in Iraq but which remains Arab and Islamic. The second is the creation of a Palestinian state which works and remains Arab and Islamic. The third is the creation of a reasonable means of allocating oil revenues in Iraq so that the Iraqi people can see a visible and personal improvement in their condition and the condition of their nation. The fourth is to use the methods pioneered by George Soros in Central Europe to use large chunks of private money to undermine the corrupt and repressive regimes which still control much of the Arab world.

While the military and intelligence communities should certainly continue to work hard to destroy terrorists and the regimes - Syria and Iran come to mind - which sponsor them it is also critical for liberal and moderate Arabs to be well funded and encouraged in their struggle against the medieval mullahs.

The creation of liberal and moderate institutions is critical for the establishment of a civil society. In a culture where religion has invaded and often destroyed universities, professional associations and even elementary schools, offering alternatives is vital. Initially this is likely to be a very artificial process with many of the formal structures existing mainly as safe havens for people willing to contemplate an Arab world without the taint of fundamentalist religion or corrupt government. But the formal structures will give way to the informal hallway conversations which are the real work of a civil society.

the alternative to creating civility is the monologue of the suicide bomber. For Arabs and Muslims the day to day humiliation arises because their civilization has not been through the harrowing of a full scale Enlightenment. The perceived insults of the West are no worse than the realization that the absence of a civil society dooms the Arab world to an endless cycle of mediaeval repression and intolerance.

To be called a heretic in the West really does no harm. In Egypt, Pakistan, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia or Iran it can lead to death at the hands of state sanctioned courts. Until heresy is a personal rather than political act the Islamic world will not have had it's Enlightenment and the terrorist will still be going with God when they blast the Infidels.

5/20/2003

Up in Smoke



Colby Cosh gets to the heart of the coverage of the discovery that spouses of smokers do not have elevated levels of smoking related disease.

Both men, as I understand it, do believe there is a microscopic risk of harm from ETS; it's just way, way too small to be measured--or, for public policy purposes, to be considered at all. The result from their analysis of CPS I is simply not as controversial as the CBC and others would have you believe. If you were absolutely determined to look for measurable ETS risk, you would do it in exactly the way they have done it. Assuming you couldn't initiate a massive prospective cohort study, you would--as they did--go back and see what a previously existing study of that sort can tell us. Or do critics of the Enstrom and Kabat study have a better idea?
link colby cosh


The anti-smoking lobby is so heavily invested in the belief that there are health effects of second hand smoke that they have to undermine any hint that this may not be the case. Colby, and a bunch of other commentators, note that the science and the statistics are not being attacked because Entrom and Kabat are simply too professional to make mistakes on either score.

Instead, pious sentiment and attack ad fundem (yes, I know that is not Latin but what the hell) are the order of the day. Smokers are the new lepers and there is no way that they could possibly engage in their vile habit without harming others.

The study is threatening to the entire health establishment as it knocks the legs out from the health argument for banning smoking in public places. There are other arguments; but the total ban approach needs some element of actual risk before it makes much sense.

It is awfully tempting to wander off to my favorite pub and light up and see if I can be arrested by the smoke police and then argue in Court that the arrest violates my Charter Rights. Could be fun as the prohibition on smoking deprivesme of a liberty without, it appears, having a serious health justification.

Detour


A Palestinian security official inspecting the damage at the citrus farm said: "It is a ping-pong between the Israeli army and the Hamas extremists. We have clear orders to stop the Hamas militants, but we cannot fire at them. We have no orders to commit a massacre."

Three weeks ago, the officer said, the Palestinian Authority's forces spotted more than 10 Hamas militants in two trucks east of Beit Hanoun. "We told them, 'You cannot fire. It is against the law.' They drove away, but they fired from another area. Last night [on Sunday], they fired from east of Jabalya. Israel will destroy the citrus there sooner or later."
link the independent


It is more than a little improbable that the first condition of the "roadmap" namely the imposition of a Palestinian solution to the terrorists who are harrassing Israel and murdering her citizens will be met by this Palestinian double talk.

Hamas has no intention of ceasing its attacks on Israel and, obviously, the Palestinains have no intention of stopping Hamas. Why the Israelis would sit down to talk with these clowns is beyond me.

BSE in Alberta



A single case of a horrible disease has the potential to wipe out any number of ranchers. Fortunately, the Canadian Government and the Cattleman's Association have learned a thing or two from the British experience. Most importantly, be up front. Hide nothing and figure out how this lone beast came to be infected.

If the Cattlemen and the government are honest with Canadians and with out trading partners the effects of the discovery of BSE can be reduced to reasonable proportions. But one suggestion that there is any coverup and It will get very ugly very quickly.