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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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8/07/2004

The Fat Bastard in his own words

The Tiger in Winter,great name and interesting blog, has Mikey's emails to his fans starting 9/12.
Keep crying, Mr. Bush. Keep running to Omaha or wherever it is you go while others die, just as you ran during Vietnam while claiming to be "on duty" in the Air National Guard. Nine boys from my high school died in that miserable war. And now you are asking for "unity" so you can start another one? Do not insult me or my country like this!
tiger
It is worth going and reading the whole thing. What is so striking is that Moore is utterly willing to believe the most absurd anti-American things (500,000 children in Iraq killed by US bombs and sanctions - yeah right.) Not just willing, eager.

Still laughing

Sean over at Polspy seems to lack the milk of human kindness when it comes to fat kids,
Patricia Canning, one of the study’s authors, says that “one of the problems is parents simply don’t recognize when their own children are overweight.” Indeed. Here’s a tip from one parent to others: If your child no longer has visible legs and leaves a slug-like trail of slime behind it on the rare occasion when it moves away from its X-box, then it’s time to put it on a diet.

Or harpoon it. Your choice.
polspy
And save a couple of those harpoons for mum and dad.

What to do about Sudan

Over at LongPosts I have put up a comment I posted at the BlogsCanada Politics E-Group on the issues in Sudan and whether, and on what terms,Canada should participate in any international intervention.

The bullet is this. Canada should not participate if the objective is merely to prevent the genocide. Noble as that goal is, it is too shortsighted. Any effective intervention in Sudan must have as its goal the elimination of the present regime in Khartoum - a perfectly justifiable goal given that regime's current support for the slaughter of its non-Muslim population, its tolerance of slavery, and its willingness to provide al Qaeda sanctuary in the past and possibly the future - and, likely, the partition of Sudan into two countries, north and south. Any plan which falls short of this is simply going to slap a patch on the problem until it fades from the headlines and the genocide can start right back up.

Ending Cultural Isolation

Over at my Long Posts blog I have put up an article on Ending Cultural Isolation. It is possible for left and right/rich and poor/black and white/Arab and Jew to speak to each other....yup, its the internet that makes it happen.

Long Posts

For a while now I have been thinking about where to put longer material. I often write pieces either intended for publication, posted as comments elsewhere or simply to work out ideas which make sense to put up on the net but not here. So is born the idea of Long Posts - another blog but one where I will be posting only longer pieces. Keeps this one uncluttered.

You can see the first effort, The Conservative Habit of Mind, here.

Update: The comment function with the new Blogger is really rather elegant. And, Bow and Burns, no irritating length restriction.

Ayman al-Zawahiri's Computer

A must read piece in this month's Atlantic,
The documents included budgets, training manuals for recruits, and scouting reports for international attacks, and they shed light on everything from personnel matters and petty bureaucratic sniping to theological discussions and debates about the merits of suicide operations. There were also video files, photographs, scanned documents, and Web pages, many of which, it became clear, were part of the group's increasingly sophisticated efforts to conduct a global Internet-based publicity and recruitment effort.
the atlantic
Alan Cullison, a Wall Street Journal reporter was in Kabul at the fall - he needed a computer and, while looking for one was able to buy two stolen Al Qaeda computers. Fascinating.

8/06/2004

Thanks a heap Howie

When the terror alert was issued last week Howard Dean and assorted other Democratic dimwits suggested the timing was political. Over the week the story was spun and the fact some of the information which the alert was based on pre-dated 9/11 was made much of. The Bush administration countered.
U.S. officials providing justification for anti-terrorism alerts revealed details about a Pakistani secret agent, and confirmed his name while he was working under cover in a sting operation, Pakistani sources said on Friday.

A Pakistani intelligence source told Reuters Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan, who was arrested in Lahore secretly last month, had been actively cooperating with intelligence agents to help catch al Qaeda operatives when his name appeared in U.S. newspapers.
reuters
There is some suggestion at Winds of Change (where I picked this up), that this might have been a deliberate leak designed to put al Qaeda off its stroke. Perhaps; but the rush with which the Brits conducted their roundup suggests it was not that deliberate.

Awfully sad when the security of the country has to be compromised in order to prove out a threat alert. Shame on Dean.

El Reuters

U.S. Marines said Friday they had killed 300 fighters loyal to a firebrand Iraqi Shi'ite cleric in fierce clashes that pose a stern test for an interim government struggling to stamp its authority over the country.
reuters
There were, sadly, two Marines killed. 300:2 is not what I would call a "stern test". Rout? That's closer. But, at any minute I am sure we will be hearing it was a massacre.
Update: Not a massacre yet...but the Vice President of Iraq,Ibrahim al-Jafari, is quoted Aljazeera,
"I think that killing Iraqi citizens is not a civilized way of building the new Iraq, which is based on protecting people and promoting dialogue, not bullets."
aljazeera
And, of course, it was 280 Iraqi civilians and 20 "fighters" who were killed according to a spokesman for al Sadr. Yeah, right.

8/05/2004

Classy

You must be a real embarrassment to your right wing buddies. You talk this anti-poor, anti-welfare, anti-social services crap and meanwhile you have your hand out. Begging, for your family, of course, with an excuse as limp as any used by the panhandlers in downtown Vancouver.

You got degrees and you present yourself as one clever dude. Get off fantasy island, go back to Vancouver,(one ferry trip away) and take care of your family. As many suggested you do, over a month ago.

Your personal life and your public politics do not match well, do they Currie?
james in comments
I replied,
Gee, thanks James.

I have no trouble with my personal politics not matching my cash position. I might well have more trouble if my first alternative in a cash crunch was to look to government.

In fact, if you look at the totality of the posts I have made here, at the Blogs Canada E-Group and at Shotgun, I suspect you will have a hard time coming up with a "anti-poor, anti-welfare, anti-social services crap" quotation. But you're welcome to try.

One of the reasons why folks on the Left read my blog is that I tend to write from a precarious position. I know exactly what it is like to be poor and my objection to a great deal of the process of government lies in the fact it fails to make people less poor.
It has been the only negative comment on the Crunch. Kindness, support - financial and moral - and some great, personal, stories have been coming my way. Thank you all. The trees are thinning and I can see the outlines of a clearing up ahead...beats the hell out of sitting in the deep, dark forest.

Go Canada!

Our contender, not quite finished, for the X-Prize (10 million USD for the first private space craft which can launch three people into space, bring them back and do it again within 2 weeks, is counting down to an October 2 launch. Go you guys!

The Kerry Sag Explained

Voters don't want a lieutenant for president. They want a commander-in-chief. After all, why did Cleland lose despite his heroism? Why did draft dodger Clinton beat war hero Bob Kerrey in 1992 primaries? Why didn't Bob Dole win in 1996?
dick morris

tree frog

Frog blog

As Instapundit seems intent on promoting catblogs, dogblogs and bratblogs, I thought the time had come for a frog blog.

These are pictures of catch and release tree frogs who arrive in our greenhouse diningroom on Galiano Island BC. Susan is less than amused but Sam loves them.

The image is hosted over at Flickr which is a treat to use for all your photoblogging needs.

tree frog
Originally uploaded by jaycurrie.

Spanish Attacks planned two years ahead

Wretchard at Belmont Club points out that the New Yorker article I pointed to a couple of days ago indicated the Madrid al Qaeda attacks were planned long before the invasion of Iraq. The political purpose was tacked on later.

8/04/2004

Crunch

Freelance writing is an iffy living at best. At the moment it is no living at all. Having wasted most of June doing work for which I have not been – and will not be for some time – paid, I have been playing catch up. I have several articles pending but in the middle of summer payment for those will take a while.

Which leaves me, and worse, my family dead broke and we could really use some help.

At the moment this blog has around two hundred regular readers, 85% of you are Canadian. Another 10% are from America and the rest are from all over the world.

For Canadian readers want to help the best way is to use the Interact money transfer system. If you have a Canadian bank account you can send money to any one else who has an email address and a Canadian bank account. I have the bank account and my email address is jaycurrie@gmail.com

Unfortunately this system does not work in the States. So old fashioned snail mail to Jay Currie, General Delivery, Galiano Island, Canada V0N 1P0 will reach me.

I’ll be keeping this message up for a week and then stop bugging you. So, if you can, please help. I wouldn’t be asking if I could see any other way clear…Thanks.

denBeste on terrorism

In terms of classic doctrine, the critical difference between terrorist warfare and guerrilla warfare is that attacks made by guerrillas are primarily intended to directly harm the enemy, whereas attacks made by terrorists are primarily intended to provoke reprisals.
ussclueless
I agree with his definition of guerrilla war; but I don't think the objective of terrorism is to provoke reprisals. Terrorism can have a number of different goals. My sense is that modern terror, going back to the Munich Olympics and the hijackings of the 1970's, Bader Meinhoff, Black september and the Red Brigades - not to mention Canada's very own FLQ - was to disrupt and frighten entire societies both as an end in itself and for propaganda purposes.

The modern terrorist aims to create a level of random violence which reduces the security of the citizens in the target population. The Palestinian homicide bombers are an attempt to inflict enough pain in Israel that the Israelis will give up? Go home? Ok, the incoherence of the Palestinians is another story; but each bomb which goes off, in principle reduces the sense of security of the average Israeli. As such it creates a propaganda victory for the sponsoring group.

The most striking example of how this can work at a political level was the capitulation of Spain after the Milan bombing. The Spanish were going into an election and they were not particularly happy with their government's decision to send troops to Iraq; a bomb, hundreds of terror deaths and a tipping point is created. Spain is out in a matter of a couple of months. As a terrorist operation this was nearly perfect. But there was no element of trying to provoke retaliation.

Successful terrorism creates conditions in which citizens and governments actually change their behaviour in the face of the threat. And where terror goes on long enough, there will be huge distortions in the civil culture of the terrorized society.

This past week we have seen an increased alert level in New York and Washington. While Howard Dean thinks its all just politics, there is no reason to believe Al Qaeda and its affiliates are going to stop at the WTC and the Pentagon. In fact, if anything has been surprising about the war on terror to date it is that there have not been more bomb belt/car bomb incidents in American cities.

With the American media's ability to focus on human tragedies rather than the larger picture, a bomb in a mall every few days would have a tremendous impact. The alteration of normal behaviour caused by the Washington sniper a couple of years ago shows what repeated, largely random, terror attacks can do.

Modern terrorism uses the power and focus of media to leverage up the fear in the target population. What is not obvious is whether terrorism, in itself, even with media leverage, can actually win. Israel has been subject to terrorist attacks for thirty years and has maintained a vibrant, democratic, culture. England and even Northern Ireland at the height of "the troubles" managed to carry on. Bombs, shootings, kidnappings and video beheadings are horrible but they lose their capacity to frighten the target population after a time. But frightening is not beating and, as what's left of the leadership of Hamas or Al Qaeda know, the target is not unarmed.

8/03/2004

Kerry

Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real.

-Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003
As Mark Steyn puts it,
At one level, what's happening is very unfair. Three-quarters of Democratic voters opposed the Iraq war; 86 per cent of convention delegates opposed it. But they've wound up with a presidential ticket comprised of two Senators who both voted in favour of it. And, after being for-and-against the war for the last year according to political necessity, Kerry seems to have settled on a position of doing pretty much what Bush is doing while simultaneously spending more time on the blower to Kofi, Jacques and Gerhard. If I were a principled anti-war Democrat, I'd be furious.
telegraph

The War Ahead

Lawrence Wright at The New Yorker outlines the coming war with al Qaeda...
The kind of short-term tactical thinking displayed in the “Jihadi Iraq” document and the March 11th bombings is decidedly out of step with Al Qaeda’s traditional world view, in which history is seen as an endless struggle between believers and infidels. It is the mind-set of fundamentalists of all religions. This war is eternal, and is never finally won until the longed-for Day of Judgment. In this contest, the first goal is to provoke conflict. Bold, violent deeds draw the lines and arouse ancient resentments, and are useful even if they have unsought consequences. Polarization is to be encouraged, radical simplicity being essential for religious warfare. An Al Qaeda statement posted on the Internet after the March 11th bombings declared, “Being targeted by an enemy is what will wake us from our slumber.” Seen in this light, terrorism plays a sacramental role, dramatizing a religious conflict by giving it an apocalyptic backdrop. And Madrid was just another step in the relentless march of radical Islam against the modern, secular world.
the new yorker

8/02/2004

More on the Fat Bastard

My commenters are taking me to task for a) calling Mikey a Fat Bastard, b) taking his claim to getting the facts right seriously, c) being annoyed at the sheer pretension of the man.

I am perfectly content to call him a Fat Bastard. He is, beyond all fear of contradiction, fat. No less a lefty authority than Ralph Nader wrote an open letter to Moore in which he says,
"I've been at him for years, saying 'you've got to lose weight,' " Nader said in the phone interview. "Now, he's doubled. Private exhortations aren't working. It's extremely serious. He's over 300 pounds. He's like a giant beach ball."
washington post
Moore ongoing addiction to distortion and to the use of tragedy for his partisan purposes make him, in my books, a bastard. That he would steal Ray Bradbury's title and then dishonour the victims of 9/11 in his marketing effort disgusts me.

Moore's creation of a "war room" and his threat to sue journalists who suggest he might have one or two things wrong in F9/11 suggests he is, indeed, practicing a distorted version of journalism. This is not a funny guy making a political point, this is a man who believes his scorn for America,
On his international book tour, the author of “Dude, Where’s My Country?” was asked what he thought of Americans. “They are possibly the dumbest people on the planet ... in thrall to conniving, thieving, smug pricks,” he replied. “We Americans suffer from an enforced ignorance. We don’t know about anything that’s happening outside our country. Our stupidity is embarrassing.”
msnbc
and hatred of George Bush has given him license to create a cheap cut and paste job which simply exacerbates the already poisonous political atmosphere in the United States. While Moore is largely preaching to the converted, he is taking gross advantage of their ignorance to re-enforce their prejudices.

“Countering terrorism has become, beyond any doubt, the top national security priority for the United States.” Thus speaks the 9/11 Commission Report, released last week. “There is no terrorist threat in this country. This is a lie. This is the biggest lie we've been told.” Thus speaks Michael Moore in an October 2002 speech. President Bush has a plan to stop terrorism. Michael Moore does not. Michael Moore doesn’t see the need for a plan, because, well, there’s no threat. And if you believed there’s no threat, then these Patriot Acts and enhanced airport screenings probably would seem like a big scam to dupe our “nation of idiots,” as Moore often refers to his fellow citizens. And a proposed Unocal pipeline through Afghanistan – even if the plan was ditched in 1998, even if the Clinton White House supported it, and even if then-Governor Bush had nothing to do with it – would seem a perfectly plausible explanation of our otherwise mysterious presence in Afghanistan. As a matter of fact, Moore locates the origins of terrorism elsewhere. This is the title of Chapter Five in his book, Dude, Where’s My Country: “How to Stop Terrorism? Stop Being Terrorists!” Pause for a moment to consider if you agree with that statement: we are the terrorists. Joey Tartakovsky
Moore ardently believes that the United States is the terrorist, I do not. That does not mean I agree with every action the Bush Administration has taken; rather it means that I prefer action to inaction, pre-emption to further attacks.

Moore's pretensions, his sense of mission and his willingness to use any means to reach his ends, suggest to me a man who is actively dangerous to a civil culture. At a trivial but revealing level, Moore is a guy who is willing to fake a headline to make a point even though he knows he is going to be caught. He simply does not care.

Pace Ian Welsh, none of this means I hate Moore. But I dispise the sort of rabble rousing, pandering propaganda he uses in place of reason or argument. Moore and his ilk are the ultimate expression of Neil Postman's worry that politics has become nothing but a form of entertainment. Another reality show in which most of the scenes are faked and the idea of truth subordinated to a cunning narrative and clever editing. I think politics is more important than that.

In Legal News

State Prosecutor Adnan Addoum requested that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and 17 other Libyan officers be summoned in front of the Lebanese judiciary Monday.

A lawsuit was filed against Gadhafi and 17 of his officers last month for kidnapping higher Shiite cleric Musa Sadr in 1978. The complaint against the Libyan leader was lodged by Sadr's son, Sadruddine and the wives of the cleric's two companions, Abbas Badruddine and Mohammed Yaacoub.
daily star
Now, correct me if I'm wrong but I recall Musa Sadr is current fat boy Iraqi cleric al Sadr's Dad. Nice to see people using the courts.

The Palestinians are not quite so enamoured with due process,
Palestinian militants shot dead two people accused of collaborating with Israel in their hospital beds Monday hours after they were wounded by grenades tossed into their jail cell, adding to internal Palestinian turmoil.

...Hamas said its gunmen carried out the shooting.

"The Qassam Brigades announces that the time of punishing collaborators has come," the Hamas military wing said in a statement to Reuters.
reuters on wired news
Lovely. These are certainly people ready for their own state.

8/01/2004

Still Coming

The secretary said the government took the unprecedented step of naming particular buildings because of the level of specificity of the intelligence. "This is not the usual chatter. This is multiple sources that involve extraordinary detail," Ridge said. He said the government decided to notify the public because of the specificity of detail it had obtained.

Ridge acknowledged that protecting these buildings, located in heavily populated areas, would require additional security measures, especially because thousands of cars and trucks travel through these cities daily.

"Car and truck bombs are one of the most difficult tasks we have in the war on terror," Ridge said.
reuters

Nice to see the EU and UN terrify Iran

Kharrazi gave assurances that Tehran had not resumed enriching uranium.

"Based on our agreements in October, we have accepted suspending uranium enrichment and we are continuing that suspension based on our definition," he said.

Iran says enrichment activities only refer to the actual process of enriching uranium and argues it is free to continue work on centrifuges and production of uranium hexafluoride gas.

It says the gas is then stored and not pumped into the centrifuges which spin at supersonic speed.
reuters
Fortunately we can all sleep better with this assurance from Irian Foreign Minister Kharrazi,
"We just want to produce fuel for our plants and we are not after nuclear weapons," he said.
The UN and the big three of the EU have all told Iran to stop. Iran has effectively said, "Stuff it". Now what?? And isn't it about time for the anti-war crowd to mount pre-emptive demonstrations?