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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

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The reason I read Mirabilis

The Blonde at the Laundromat

You were the sexy blonde at the laundromat on Polk and Filbert last night. I was the guy who was folding other people’s laundry into various origami shapes. I call it laundrogami. This serves multiple purposes, most of which make no sense, so I’ll only mention the ones that do. First and foremost, it’s nice to come back to laundromat and find your freshly dried clothes folded neatly by a stranger. It’s even nicer to come back to find your favorite t-shirt folded in the shape of a swan (even if that one does require a few staples), or your underwear folded in the shape of the Spanish Armada. A red bra? Bam. Golden Gate Bridge. Don’t even need to fold those; I just create a tiny toll plaza on one side out of one of those tiny fifty-cent detergent boxes and add cars (regular M&M’s....peanut M&M’s for SUV’s). Apparently not realizing their significance, you ate several of my cars, like some modern day laundromat Godzilla. Anyway, you left for a while as your clothes were drying. I’d love to know what you thought of the sock panda. Coffee?
Craigs List

via Mirabilis

Looks like a newspaper...

Jeff Jarvis points to Watchblog whichis covering the Democrats, Republicans and 3rd parties for the 2004 US elections. Three columns, one for news of each party. I am going to email them the cunning bit of code which will let each column scroll. but the point is that this is an embryonic, group driven, newspaper.

Change (?) in Iran

"This is a student movement, not an American movement," some 500 students chanted outside the Tehran University dormitories, according to the Iranian Student News Agency. They were evidently answering accusations made by senior clerics that the demonstrators were stooges aiding an American plot to destabilize the Islamic Republic.
The ISNA report said that at least 50 vigilantes on motorbikes were circling the area yelling "Hezbollah! Hezbollah!" and darting through the heavy traffic to detain anyone who looked suspicious to them.
There has been no official announcement about the exact number of wounded or arrested in the clashes, but students and other witnesses said about 70 people were wounded in Tehran over the last four nights, some of them critically.
Students were wary about the presence of the vigilantes even after the nightly news on the main government-run television station announced that arrest warrants had been issued for 100 men believed responsible for fomenting bloodshed. They were described as followers of Said Asgar, also sought, who was freed after a brief jail sentence for the attempted murder of one of the country's leading reformers in 2000.
link new york times

While the students may well be the catalyst, the arrival of the Hezbollah gives the reformers in the government a chance to crack down in the name of order. Not on the students, rather on the pointy end of the mullah's control. Arresting Hezbollah is a direct affront to Ayattollah Khamenei and, if the government is able to bring this off it could be the beginning of the end of the clerics control of Iran. Too soon to say yet; but it could happen very quickly especially if the government has been preparing for the day.


End Run

Victor Davis Hanson is convinced that the Israelis cannot win their struggle with the radical Palestinians by main force - a position which is open to some question but not all that important. Instead he suggests that the changes in the Middle East and the willingness of America to use its power may allow peace to break out in the face of terror.

Extremists are beginning to look around. What they see cannot give them comfort: No more Islamist government in Afghanistan; no more terrorist subsidy from Saddam Hussein; no more Saudi telethons raising cash to pay for nails, ball bearings, and suicide belts. Syria and Iran are both worried that a not-quite-predictable United States might find proof of al Qaeda, WMD, or Baathists in their suburbs. Democracy of sorts is working in Turkey, and symptoms of such a strange Western disease now appear in the Gulf. Add to that a seductive American popular culture that has gone global, and the ensuing political and social calculus does not favor lunatics in smocks and bombs mouthing Koranic incantations. Even the most cynical American critic knows that we — so unlike past occupying Soviets in Kabul or Iraqis in Kuwait — are offering hope for Afghanistan and Iraq, extending the honorable and humane choice to cease the terror and enjoy liberal government in its place.
link national review online

He is absolutely right that the presence and engagement of a resolved and awoken United States has change the equation in the Middle East. But there is also the dynamic of the Palestinian's own weariness and anger at having to fight what seems to be an endless war.

The last time Arafat faced the Palestinians on a vote was 1992. It would be interesting to see what would happen if an election were to be held now. Particularly if the Americans and the Israelis and, faint hope, the Europeans made it clear from the go that Arafat was persona non gratia.

I have said a number of times that the only way of securing the peace is for a civil war, overt or covert, to remove Arafat and his thugs from power while, at the same time, rolling up Hamas and Islamic Jihad. But a real a democratic election might bring about the same outcome with less bloodshed. Certainly worth a try.

The Right Response

Ari Fleischer gets the current situation in the Middle East exactly right,

Fleischer said the administration was not calling on Israel to stop its attacks. "Once the terrorism goes down, there won't be a need for Israel to respond to terror," he said.
link washington post

Still Life with Darren

Back from brunch with author Darren Greer whose new novel Still Life With June manages to combine recovery, prison wisdom, one of the most toe curling scenes of pure embarrassment I've ever read with a rather strange take on the innocence of a Downs child.

Greer's novel reflects, but does not recapitulate, his own life as a gay man, ex-addict, rehab counsellor and writer. Which of course leads to the question, "So how much of this is true?", which is the dumbest question an interviewer can ask.

Fiction, good fiction, nearly always begins with what an author has lived; what makes a book worth reading is what the author can do with that raw material. Greer creates a set of characters who are each betraying their own selves while trying to be honest. Identity shifts and characters who think they are fooling the world turn out to only be kidding themselves.

Greer, who looks nothing like his author picture, told me that as he sat down to write Still Life with June all he really knew was that he wanted the book to be very different from his first novel, Tylers Cape and that, somehow, he wanted to incorporate the immediacy of the internet and email. And away he went.

There are enough twists in the plot that writing too much might give it away; suffice to say that Greer is delighted with the idea of the utterly unreliable narrator.

Reform or Revolt

Iran's ability to reform itself fast enough to satisfy its youth is a critical question. While there are plenty of clerical reactionaries ready to loose the thugs of the Revolutionary Guard, there is also a reformist Prime Minister and a Parliament which appears committed to dismantling the now creaky and corrupt Ayatollahs.

This AP story give a bit of the flavour.

Tehran ? Hundreds of protesters chanted for the execution of Iran's supreme leader - an audacious move - in a pre-dawn protest Friday, the third night in a row of demonstrations despite official threats of a crackdown.
The nightly protests have brought forth the biggest show of opposition to Iran's hardline clerical regime in months, involving hundreds of young Iranians, many in their teens.
"Khamenei, the traitor, must be hanged," they chanted, referring to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Criticism of Mr. Khamenei is punished by imprisonment and public calls for his death have, until this week, been unheard of.
link globe and mail

The clerics, while vicious enough, are not anywhere as well organized as the Iraqi secret police. Moreover, a legitimate, above ground reformist movement has been elected to govern and, while its deccisions are often frustrated by the clerics ability to block legislation by way of the clerical courts, there can be a focus for dissent. Iran could well free itself without a great deal of outside intervention.

Come the day.


Avoiding the News

Not a Reporter

"After the first marketplace bombing we heard there had been a hit and we were able to go there in our own vehicle. We got lost and a couple of blocks from where the two missiles had hit there was a Scud missile launcher with a Scud on top.
"We then realised the Iraqis were hiding Scuds in residential areas. If I'd said that I think we would have been thrown out the next day," she told a Media Society event last night.
link guardian

via tim blair

Lindsey Hilsum, an Australian "reporter" explains why she did not report the news.

There are worse things than being thrown out of a country for telling the truth.


Let's get this straight

The Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, better known as Abu Mazen, fears that may indeed be the case, and has frantically urged the Americans to whip Mr Sharon back into line.
link the guardian

Here is the deal. Abbas ignores the requirement that the Palestinian Authority get to work to stop terror. He announces that he will use no armed interventions to stop terror. Two Jews are stabbed and hacked to death, a number of Israeli soldiers are shot at check points, Hamas announces it is breaking off talks aimed at ceasefire and that it will continue to launch attacks until there is not a Jew left in Palestine...Sharon pulls the trigger on two missile attacks against Hamas leaders and Hamas blows up a bus -- what do you think Mahmoud is going to say to the Americans? "Gee guys, I can't do half the job Sharon can so pleassssse make him stop."

It is time for the Palestinians to clean their own house beginning in Ramallah.

Join the USA, I think not

Steve Den Beste, as always, writes a thoughtful piece on Canada's prospects. He writes in response to Mike who suggests,

The Confederation of Canada is dying. Most of our Prime Ministers have hailed from eastern Canada (provinces of Ontario and Quebec) and the vast majority have been lawyers (something's wrong with that picture).
link et seq uss clueless

Mike goes on to predict,

It is this that I foresee happening. The bureaucrats of each future Quebec provincial governments will continue to lobby the federal government for more and more money and favoritism. If this doesn't happen, some future Quebec premier will threaten to hold another public referendum on separating the province from Canada, again (so far this has happened once every decade, starting with the FLQ Crisis in 1970). One or more future western provincial premiers (with the support of the public) will become so fed up with the constant demands and bickering of the Quebec government, that a formal request by that future western provincial premier will in all, most likely be forwarded to the USA for annexation. Why? In Canada, it is not against the law. Once that happens, the other provinces will follow. The big winner in all this, The United States of America. The loser, Canada-a nation no more. Quebec will finally get what it wanted all along. A single, distinct society in a sea of red, white and blue stretching from the Arctic Ocean all the way to the Caribbean Sea.

Den Beste responds by pointing out that a province knocking on America's door would, at best, be granted "territorial" status for at least several decades before statehood and full political representation are an option. He suspects, rightly, in my view, that our own pride would not allow that.

So I think that formation of an independent confederation among the western provinces would be more likely. I think that if Canada ultimately succumbs to its internal paradox and lack of cohesiveness, what we'd see would be more like the breakup of Czechoslovakia.

Being from beyond the mountains, from British Columbia, characterized by Evan Kirchoff rather nicely:

I'm not sure any of us felt much in common with B.C.; like Middle Americans discussing California, we generally dismissed it as that place on the coast with the crazy politics (crazy-left or crazy-right, take your pick).
link 101-280

I have a different take entirely.

British Columbia

First, joining the US is not on the table. I happen to love Americans (enough that when the dolts in Ottawa were whinging about Iraq I set up but I have no interest in becoming one. Nor would I want to have British Columbia join up with Alberta, Saskachewan and Manitoba. Nope, if Canada splits up British Columbia would finally get a chance to see if we could make it as an independent nation.

For the last century there has been a cult surrounding vast geographical and political structures. The USSR was one delightful example, another is the European's dotty idea of a United States of Europe. (After all, what could be better than a European wide edict setting height limits for swings.) In fact, as Jane Jacobs pointed out in her vital book, The Question of Separation, nations need not be large to be successful. And, as Singapore, Hong Kong and Switzerland all illustrate: small, coherent nation states may well be the wave of the future.

There is no particular reason to believe that British Columbia, blessed with resources and lots of bright people, could not do very well on her own. Leaving Confederation she would receive an immediate dividend simply because she would no longer be paying more to the Central Government than she received in benefits. (Not as big as Alberta's, but attractive.) As the overall Canadian national Debt is declining she would likely have a relatively small portion of the Canadian National Debt to bear - especially if she were clever in the separation negotiations and fought for net rather than gross numbers.)

Most importantly, British Columbia, for all of her weird politics, has a degree of regional identity which is not dependent on negative definition. Our position as a great port city, our vast and variegated interior, our weirdly efficient multi cultural environment and our attraction to international tourists have all made us more than a little cocky. If we get the Winter Olympic Games in 2010 I suspect we will be unbearable.

At the moment we are barely part of Canada - occasionally a central Canadian politician pops in for a speech. We send politicians to Ottawa where they immediately find that to get along they have to pretend to represent a riding in Toronto. (Which allows us to forget them as fast as they forget us.) For those of us living in Vancouver Spring begins two full months earlier than it does in the rest of the country. And we barely notice winter. Our regional identity is not about cold, or anti-Americanism; rather it is about living well, working intensely rather than hard (and there is a difference) and generally living and let live.

As a nation we would probably do pretty well at things like scientific research, computer game development, movies and tourism along with our more traditional businesses.

We would also have the opportunity to experiment with social and economic models which might offer a huge competitive advantage in the global economy. British Columbia's politics look loonier than they are. The fact is that we have a fair number of really innovative politicians who are more than a little out of sync with the prevailing left liberal, "gently, gently"Central Canadian pre-occupations. I suspect that an independent British Columbia would not have a Ministry of Indian Affairs and I suspect that our Immigration policy would be a little tougher - yes, we'd deport the illegal Hondurans who run the downtown crack trade (one arrest and out you go.)

What would be more interesting would be creating free ports in Vancouver and Prince Rupert, offering really serious tax incentives for innovative industry and creating a mixed publicly and privately funded medical care system. Given that the pots laws are barely enforced now in British Columbia it seems reasonable to assume that they would be struck off entirely if we separated. Stoner tourism could be as significant as grow ops are today.

It might also be interesting to see how effectively BC as a nation could reduce and eventually eliminate its debt. At the same time it would make great sense to seek to remain inside NAFTA and to see what other trade agreements we could negotiate.

A small nation has to live by her wits. But she has the advantage of social cohesion and a very quick response time.

British Columbia has no great desire to leave Canada; but if Canada were to fracture BC would likely set out on her own. A great friend of America, a cousin of Alberta and the plains provinces; but her own country.

Blog v. Big Media

I've suggested before that the advent of blogging is the first real "new media" application which actually uses the internet as something other than a cheap printing press or a television station with lousy reception. Which has implications. Which Glen Reynolds - aka instapundit- suggests here:

It’s certainly possible to imagine a distributed-journalism model in which people all over the world contribute stories, and someone evaluates the authors and publishes those deemed good enough. (Sites like Slashdot aren’t all that far from this now.) Blogs also do this now via loose connections ? my own InstaPundit site features reports from my ?Paris correspondent,? (she’s in Paris, and she corresponds with me, thus she’s a correspondent in the classic mode) novelist Claire Berlinski. And I’ve used that sort of reportage from other events in the past. The Korean site OhMyNews takes this many steps farther, using over 26,000 reader-reporters with digital cameras and cell phones to report. Of course, they might lie, or have an agenda ? but so might any reporter, as a simple scroll-down should make clear.
On the other hand, Big Media aren’t exactly trembling in their boots, and if you took the distributed-journalism model far enough, you’d have basically reinvented the newspaper: reporters, bureaus, editors, the whole nine yards. But even so, there’s a difference: The monopoly is over. For a long time, huge entry costs other economic and technological factors meant that you pretty much had to be Big Media to be any kind of media at all. Now anyone can enter and compete, and even if they don’t take a lot of market share away from Big Media folks, the threat of this sort of competition is likely to have a potent impact.
Economists speak of ?contestable markets? ? by which they mean markets where entry is easy enough that even a monopolist can’t charge monopoly prices, because doing so would simply attract competitors. I think that this logic may apply in a noneconomic way, too. It was easier to maintain slanted coverage when people had fewer choices: Now the threat of losing readers and viewers ? or even the intangible but very real currency of respect ? may induce more responsible behavior on the part of Big Media.
link msnbc

As Canwest sucks the life out of the Post and the Sun and the rest of their empire chasing the really dumb, it is worthwhile to remember that there is no reason a national, online newspaper cannot be started with nothing more than a bit of clever blog tech.

Now for a few Muslim clerics

A former chief of the Assembly of First Nations has been charged with promoting hatred, Saskatchewan's Justice Department announced Wednesday.
David Ahenakew, who is also an Order of Canada member, became the centre of controversy last December when he told a Saskatoon StarPhoenix reporter that Adolf Hitler came to power in response to the "disease" of Jewish domination.
He also said Hitler was attempting to "clean up the world" when he "fried" six million Jews in the Holocaust.
link globe and mail

This is a good example of an appropriate use of anti-hate speech laws. Ahenakew was over the top. While I would hope that the judge in the case will accept his public mortification as ample punishment. The point of the anti-hate speech laws should be to call people to order not to put them in jail.

This Just in From the PMO

An old friend of mine now works in the Prime Minister's Office and sent this bit of flackery on the proposed reform of Canada's drug laws.

Part of the Drug Strategy involves changes to the law. This is why the Government of Canada recently introduced legislation to change the way Canada enforces the law, providing for alternative penalties against possession of small amounts of cannabis. The proposals also include new, tougher penalties to target large marijuana grow operations, clandestine chemical laboratories, and drugs concealed in marine containers.
It should be underscored here that under these reforms, the possession of cannabis will remain illegal. The measures proposed by our government do not legalize the possession of marijuana; rather, they aim to update and improve our laws with respect to sentencing for marijuana offences. In this regard, young people who possess small amounts of marijuana will not have unnecessary criminal records for the rest of their lives. These proposed reforms are a new approach. Our government believes they will:
  discourage the use of cannabis through higher rates of enforcement of cannabis possession offences;
  ensure that various penalties for marijuana possession and cultivation reflect the seriousness of the crime; and,
  address judicial inconsistencies across the country when it comes to those who commit cannabis possession offences.
The proposed law aims to deal with increasing concerns in Canada and the U.S. about the movement of marijuana and other illegal drugs across our shared border. These shared concerns extend to the areas of drug consumption, production, trafficking, and smuggling.

This is rather having your joint and smoking it.

The government seems committed to reducing criminal penalties, rigorously enforcing the law and avoiding judicial discretion. The sheer incoherence of the government's position is illustrated by the following quote:

Contrary to what some are suggesting, the federal government is not legalizing the use of marijuana. We're working to reduce substance abuse and the harm associated with the use of narcotics and illegal drugs - particularly for young Canadians

Essentially this is the classic Canadian compromise: legalization if necessary but not necessarily legalization. The Grits lack the guts to actually say a) marijuana is not a harmful drug, b) there is no reason to keep it illegal at any level, c) there is no way of obtaining this harmless drug in the absence of cultivation and therefore cultivation is legal as well, d) markets require people to bring legal substances to market and therefor, if marijuana is legal selling it should be too.

Fudging the issue is pointless. The kids are behaving as if legalization has occured and it is difficult to imagine the British Columbia judiciary suddenly overturning ten years of increasing judicial tolerance of marijuana.

The worst part of the document is its pandering to anti-drug crusaders in Canada and the US with a lot of bogus claims about reducing societal harm from substance abuse. here the move is to conflate pot and narcotics and pretend one has something significant to do with the other.

I rather hope the courts and Crown have the sense to honour the law with glacial deference.

Bleak Book News

While Hilliary Clinton's book flies off the shelves and the bookstores lick their chops in anticipation of the new Harry Potter, reviewing and interviewing in my little corner of the Canadian book world is getting ever smaller.

This past weekend's Vancouver Sun had no independent book reviews at all. Now, this may reflect the cost of doing the Summer reading issue the week before but it was pretty grim.

What is sad about this is that the number of interesting books being published - fiction and non-fiction - simply seems to be growing; but there is next to no coverage in a media devoted to endless chat about American Idol.


Demolition job on the roadmap

Expect the usual suspects to suggest the most recent bombing in Israel was legitimate retaliation for the attempt on the Hamas leader's life a day ago.

Which will merely indicate the poverty of the anti-Israeli argument. I forget where I read this analysis but it is not my own, I just agree with it: Abbas has said he will not use force to restrain the Islamic militants from attacking Israel. Hamas and other groups have vowed to continue their attacks. The Palestinian Authority was required by the roadmap to have begun to clean up the terrorist apparatus by Jume 1. That has not happened and so the deal is off and Israel is free to defend itself.

There are indications, the Israeli warning to diplomats and foreigners to leave Gaza, that Israel is about to do just that.

The sooner the better - until the terroists have been contained there is no hope at all for Abbas to be able to bring the views of the vast majority of Palestinians to the table.


The Times bids Yasser Adieu

The events underline the need to repudiate Mr. Arafat, something Arab and some European governments fail to do by continuing to meet with him. It is also time to recalculate the divide within Palestinian society. Rather than categorize groups as Islamist or nationalist, one should distinguish between those that favor a negotiated two-state solution and those that pursue violence and terror. It is the difference between those who focus on their grievances and those working for peace. Although they theoretically accept a two-state solution, Mr. Arafat and Fatah radicals have become dangerous obstacles and must be seen as every bit as hostile as Hamas, which rejects Israel's existence.
link nyt

Which will not be the easiest thing in the world to do.

However, Arafat has put himself beyond the pale for even the liberal American press. Now, will the Europeans - including the vital French - manage to realize that dealing with Yasser is simply ensuring that the terror will continue? Naw.


Jaw, Jaw is better than War, War

Churchill if I recall correctly.

The Palestinian PM, Mr. Abbas is between several rocks and some very hard places. He is not making his life any easier with his widely reported remarks indicating he is co-ordinating his every move with the troll of Rhamallah and coming up with this tough stance:

Abbas said he would keep trying to negotiate with the militants and would not consider using force against them. He deflected questions on how he would rein them in if they rebuffed truce talks.
link yahoo news

It is rather unlikely that the hard men of Hamas and Yasser's little darlings are going jump at the chance of ceasefire if their alternative is.....jaw, jaw. Nor will the Israelis be too impressed with the Abbas performance if all he can do is waggle a finger.

None of this is surprising. The fact is that Abbas does not have the independent political base to deliver what he is obligated to deliver under the roadmap proposal. He knows it, Sharon knows it, Bush knows it and, Lord knows, Yasser Arafat knows it. So what is going on?

I suspect the game is a good deal more subtle than the parties are letting on. For one thing Bush does not need the headache of a tried and failed Middle Eastern adventure. For another, Sharon would not be doing his best imitation of a wounded duck and suddenly getting the old time religion of peace just to have Israeli soldiers shot.

My current bet is that there is a deal, likely brokered in Washington, which said to Abbas...."Give it your best shot. If the terror continues put it to Hamas, Jihad and Yasser that it must end by "x" date or you will resign. Then, when it doesn't, resign. Go into hiding but stay in touch with the moderate Palestinians who look to you as a potential leader. Keep building the political will and issolating the terrorists. Then, when the terrorists produce one more outrage, we - meaning the Israelis and a lot of rather burly blond guys in bumpy sports jackets are going to do a surprise sweep of Gaza and the West Bank. In full force with a full list of every terrorist six months of intensive intelligence has turned up."

The terrorists who are not killed outright are off to join Yasser in exile on a very small island a long way from the Middle East. And you, Mr. Abbas will be in a position to denounce our actions as the worst atrocity ever committed against the Palestinian people.

We will then sit down and get the real job done.

Evidence? Actually there is a little....Sharon's freeing of prisoners was the very best way of infiltrating double agents into the various terror organizations. How many is uncertain; but there will certainly be more than a few. And, lets not forget the American backed sell your gun, join our security service program which could be a good way of reducing the fighting strength of the radical Palestinians and an excellent way of securing the sort of low level intelligence which is required for a full sweep operation to succeed.

I don't for a minute think any of the players, including Arafat, think that there is a chance in hell that the road map will be implemented without a full on Palestinian cifvil war - Abba's job is to make that war a coup rather than a street fight.

The French Mission

The document says: "The operation in Bunia is politicaly [sic] and military [sic] high risk; very sensitive and complex. France has no specific interest in the area except solidarity with the international community." The end of the intervention, it says, has been "firmly established at Sept 1st 2003", by which time a contingent of Bangladeshi peacekeepers is expected in Bunia.
The Bangladeshis are to relieve 700 Uruguayan peacekeepers, who have been humiliated by their failure to prevent a string of massacres.
During a 10-day battle for control of the town last month they remained in their barracks, without the numbers or a mandate to stop the slaughter of hundreds of civilians.
Two unarmed UN military observers were murdered, and seven peacekeepers taken to hospital after having nervous breakdowns.
A European military planner who was issued a copy of the French document said: "This is the most cynical military briefing I've read in my entire life. Everybody is just laughing at it."
François Grignon of the International Crisis Group writes in a forthcoming report on Congo: "This intervention is, on the face of it, totally insufficient to meet the needs of Ituri's pacification."
link the guardian

There is a brilliant analysis of the entire Congo dilemma at Winds of Change. Joe Katzman dissects what he calls "the vast disconnect between what's required for success, and the belief systems of the intervenors".

In Katzman's view heavy, prepared to shoot troops are the only thing which will end a slaughter in which up to four and a half million people are feared dead. But, and it is a huge but, that sort of intervention smacks of neo-colonialism. Which, at the United Nations, is the big no-no.

Should it be?

It is a matter of debate whether any state which somehow allows 4.5 million of its citizens to be slaughtered, for whatever reason, is a state at all. Adult supervision may be called for. This is not a racist position; rather it is a position which draws a line for any government which purports to be sovereign.

The very point of government is to protect its citizens. Where it fails to do so or, as in the case of Iraq or Cambodia, is actively slaughtering them, there should be a presumption that that is a state which has failed. Where it has failed it should be open to the international community, through the United Nations or a coalition of the willing, to place that state under trusteeship for the protection of its population.

Or, put another way, it becomes the obligation of the community of nations to ensure that the slaughter is brought to a rapid end. It really does not matter if the slaughter is in Africa or Croatia or Iraq: where a state fails to protect its people the rest of the world has a positive obligation to intervene.

The current French mission to the Congo, albeit United Nations sanctioned, does not meet this obligation. In fact, it is barely even a start.

Africa burning

Is it just me or is Africa undergoing a particularily rough time at the moment. The Guardian reports helicopters taking foreigners out of Liberia. the French are trying to stabilize the Congo, Zimbabwe is in the middle of a rather nasty civil war with Jacques Chirac's best friend, Robert Mugabe, jailing anyone who says a word against his regime for treason.


I'll bet

"My personal feelings and political beliefs were on a collision course. As his wife, I wanted to wring Bill's neck.
link cnn

Hillary goes on to beat up the odious Ken Starr and the entire attempt to impeach Clinton. She certainly thinks Clinton was a grand President if a major league heel. It will be interesting to see what the general reaction to what seems to be a very political book will turn out to be.


A Muslim Analysis of the Roadmap

Should the Sharonistas who dominate the Bush Administration continue to prevail, as they have in nearly every Washington showdown since September 2001, not only will this effort fail, as they and Sharon desire, but the Palestinians will be blamed for it. There will undoubtedly continue to be enough Palestinian violence to justify this, though it will pale alongside the routine, mechanized violence of the occupation. Beyond the daily brutality of a foreign army policing and denying the rights of a civilian population while their land is being stolen for the benefit of settlers, force has been used indiscriminately in heavily populated areas to crush Palestinian resistance, as per the words of Lieut. Gen. Moshe Ya’alon, the Israeli army chief of staff: ?The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.?
link daily times (pakistan)

Rashid Khalidi is not optimistic. I think he is probably right as to the outcome of the roadmap; but wrong in his analysis as to why it will not work.

At this point, if the Palestinian terrorists simply stopped shooting and bombing the roadmap would go forward. Settlers would be moved, a serperate and increasingly soverign Palestinian state would emerge and the Israelis would have no choice at all but to accept this.

However, as long as terrorism occurs the Israelis will not give an inch. The Palestinian terror is self defeating if the goal is a Palestinian state. If, on the other hand, the goal is a right of return and the demolition of Israel, then the war has really just begun.

Shredding the Map

The three militant groups -- the Islamic Resistance Movement, known as Hamas; Islamic Jihad; and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which is affiliated with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement -- issued an unusual joint statement claiming responsibility for the Gaza attack and declaring that one member of each organization had participated.
"This joint operation was committed to confirm our people's united choice of holy war and resistance until the end of occupation over our land and holy places," the statement said.
link washington post

The question of peace can easily be subverted by the men in masks. And the only alternative to those men is a cleansing of the Palestinian Authority by the Palestinian Authority. Which, in effect, means war. Which is the last thing Abbas wants but which is probably the only thing which will ensure that Arafat's violent obstructionism is removed. It will likely get a good deal worse before it gets any better. And most of the misery will be inflicted by Palestinians on Palestinians.

Now for Bugs and promotion

Needless to say there are lots of bugs to be fixed. And, as my hits range around 20 a day, there is a bit of promotion work to do.

I have never really tried to promote this blog simply because I was waiting until I had the material and the design for a more extensive site. Now I do...Enjoy!


With a little luck this will be the last post to the blogspot address.

New posts should be directed to

We'll see....