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trap slowly closing around un and those in the oil for bribes swindle

“The bottom line is that all the money raised by the sale of this oil was supposed to go to feed and clothe the needy, the starving, the thirsty, the hungry, and the illegal aliens in Iraq, and, what? Ten, 12% went to those groups of people. The rest of it went to Saddam and whatever everybody else he had bribed. There truly was a coalition of the bribed, but it was nothing to do with the United States. Everybody's name is on this list except Halliburton, Dick Cheney, and George W. Bush and Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice. But get this. This is the end of the story: "Today's report notes that Annan's chief of staff, Iqbal Riza authorized an aide to shred three years' worth of files related to the oil-for-food program. Iqbal Riza gave his authorization April 22nd." Authorization to shred three years' worth of files on April 22, the day after the security counsel passed a resolution welcoming Volcker's investigation! So the Security Council authorizes the investigation, Annan's chief of staff, Iqbal Riza then proceeds to start shredding three years worth of documents."

marker at abelard.org

Meanwhile, the wolves are closing in on Annan:

“UN secretary-general Kofi Annan was last night under renewed pressure to resign after investigators revealed that he had sought a job for his son with a firm which later won multi-million pound UN contracts.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#oil_for_bribes_310305


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new european union website - ‘bookshop’

You can search for and obtain downloads of critical documents on the European Union. Many are free (and other) printed documents are available.

For instance available are the new constitution, the EU budget, population stats, and much more.

The site looks potentially very useful, but appears fragile or glitched at the moment. At other times, it works but downloads (often in .pdf form) can be slow.

[For any who are interested, the French are so far moving negatively regarding the EU constitution (TV news poll tonight: yes 46%, no 54%); in every post office there is a pile of copies of the constitution printed in dense tabloid form.]

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#eu_bookshop_280305

luddites in big corporates are now attacking peer to peer

This amounts to an attempt to introduce a ‘law’ against association into the net world.

“The entertainment industry is taking its battle against illegal downloading to America's Supreme Court. But attacking the technology behind file-sharing could stifle innovation without tackling the industry's long-term problems”

“[...] America's Department of Justice has weighed in too, even suggesting that P2P services could be used to support terrorism. Others have muttered darkly that the technology is a conduit for illegal por[]nography.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#p2p_270305

another iraqi poll from chrenkoff - we don't want no mind control

“Are you in favor of implementing Islamic Sharia and an Islamic government?
Yes - 12.5%
No - 83.9%
Don't Know - 3.6%
“Do you support cutting relations with Jordan? [background]
Yes - 85.2%
No - 14.1%
Don't know - less than 1%
"Do you support what Al-Sadr followers did in Basrah? [background]
Yes - 6.6%
No - 90.4%
Don't know - 3%"

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#iraqi_poll_240305

iranian street reported as seeking usa help

But remember Daddy left Madsam to screw up Iraq......

“In fact, according to Iranians with whom I have spoken, there were monster demonstrations in eleven provinces and 37 cities, and many thousands - one source said more than 30,000 - people were arrested, some only briefly, others shipped off to the infamous prisons and torture chambers of the regime. The most dramatic events took place in Shiraz, where the demonstrators directed a chant toward Washington: "Bush, you told us to rise up, and so we have. Why don't you act?" ”

The fire spreads.....

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#iran_230305

the real cuba

What Western tourists do not see from inside their comfortable compounds. Follow all the links at the bottom of the linked Real Cuba page for a sightseeing tour of Castro’s legacy, with commentary.

Forbes magazine has just brought out a new Rich People of the World listing. Cuba’s Fidel Castro is included, with $550,000,000.

A sample of the real Cuba, in Havana:

A street in Havana
Image credit: therealcuba.com

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#cuba_190305

recent american military assessment

Recommended as useful scan.

“Security studies speech to Science Applications International Corp.
"Four Trends Affecting Defense Contractors"

"Those trends, briefly stated, are as follows:

* The Army is back, not just as an equal of the other services, but as primus inter pares (first among equals)

* Transformation as envisioned four years ago is faltering, and it will continue yielding to emerging political and technological realities in the years ahead. [ie the Rumsfield position is under alteration and review]

* The national-security space program is bankrupt, and new approaches to intelligence gathering will gradually eclipse it.

* More generally, the future of intelligence-gathering isn't what it used to be, and that means both opportunities and problems for those seeking business there.

I'm going to address each of those trends in turn, but first I want to spend a moment discussing the meaning of the recent presidential elections, because I have yet to hear a single analyst put the outcome in proper historical context.[ie republican dominance is a long term trend] ”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#military_usa_190305

more of what you do not find in the fossil media

Be informed, read Chrenkoff

“He is, even by Iraqi standards, an unlikely leader - a dentist from Manchester [Great Britain] whose only previous cause was supporting Liverpool FC. Yet Abdallah Al Jibouri, 45, an exiled Iraqi who spent more than 20 years in Stockport, has turned his back on drilling and filling to become the reluctant saviour of one of the Sunni Triangle's most violence-prone troublespots.”

“ Much to his astonishment - and, he says, to the dismay of his British wife, Sharon - he also became governor of the province of Diyala, whose population is 1.8 million.

“Local insurgents have paid his leadership the ultimate backhanded compliment: they have tried to kill him 14 times, and have put a $10,000 bounty on his head. 'I came for a visit two weeks after the liberation because I have got my mum and other family here,' said Mr Al Jibouri. 'I just wanted to make sure that they were all right. But I found the whole place was really a mess, with weapons everywhere, even little kids with machine guns.”

marker at abelard.orgmarker at abelard.orgmarker at abelard.org

“First off, we've had the Hizbollah, pro-Syrian, pro-government rally, which according to various estimates attracted somewhere between 500,000 and 1 million people to the center of Beirut.

“Now, we have an opposition, anti-Syrian, anti-Government rally, with anywhere between 800,000 and 1.3 million people in the streets.

“Lebanon's total population is 3.7 million.”

“But speaking of knowing when they are not serious... Amir Taheri has another good opinion piece about the reluctance of the Western anti-war crowd to support democracy throughout the Middle East. "There are, as yet, no signs that the 'Western street' may, at some point, come out in support of the new 'Arab street'," he writes.

“Indeed, over the last three years, millions marched around the world to get the US troops out of Iraq. Over the last 15 or even 30 years - and much more importantly, over the last few weeks - how many in the West marched to get the Syrian troops out of Lebanon?

“Taheri wonders: "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?”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#chrenkoff_160305

syria under increasing pressure
article from time.com: page 1 page 2

“[...] And later, as he [Bashir Assad] was escorting me to the door, he said, "Please send this message: I am not Saddam Hussein. I want to cooperate." The plea was at least partly believable. Obviously, he is not Saddam Hussein. It was also plausible that he wants to cooperate. It just didn't seem very likely that he could.”

Meanwhile, ‘the Lebanese’ parade for a Syrian exodus.
So Syrian supporters organise a bigger rave up.
Now, the Lebanese put still more on the streets.

The fire of freedom gathers more fuel by the week.
Where next?

related material
people power can work

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#syria_150305

left-wing grip in us academia starts to come unstitched

“If you had told me five years ago that hundreds of New Yorkers would be willing to give up their Sunday morning bagels and their ritual reading of the New York Times to crowd into a conference about Academic Integrity in Columbia University, I would have said that you were crazy.

“If you told me five years ago that a conference on Academic Integrity at Columbia U. would be preceeded by more security checks than an airline flight, I'd have said that you were whacked.

“If you told me five years ago that liberal New Yorkers would stand up and criticize the bias of institutions like Columbia University and the New York Times, I'd have said that you were high.

“If you had told me five years ago that Columbia students would be shouting at feminist scholars and anti-slavery activists, calling them "right wing racists", I'd have said that you were nutters.”

Read on.....

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#columbia_130305

as not reported in the fossil (left-wing) media

First, on Iraq:

“Our correspondent and translator Haider Ajina reports on a new opinion poll conducted by the Iraqi newspaper "Al-Sabah Al-Jadeed" of 2878 Iraqis in and around Baghdad and published in their March 6th edition.

“Do you support the severe measures the Iraqi Government is taking against terrorist acts in Iraq?

“Yes - 93.56%
  No - 6.44%”

And then there’s that awful free Afghan:

“I would like to say hello to all bloggers. My name is Waheed. I am a 20 year old male from Afghanistan and I have been working with the US Army in Kabul, Afghanistan as an interpreter for the last 2 years. Our base is located inside the ANA (Afghan National Army) Central Corps and the US officers train the ANA. I would like to thank my friend Paul Edwards who persuaded me to start my blog and send the real news from Afghanistan. The situation in Afghanistan is getting better day by day. There are still some fights in the southern provinces and also near the Pakistan border. The ANA and US Army fight against them, but the enemy is weak and they just carry out guerilla attacks and then escape.”

both links via chrenkoff

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#fossil_media_120305

on that italian reporter

For those who’ve noticed this non-story, here is a page with an extensive summary of the on-going saga. Pictures and many links.

 

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#sgrena_100305

guns kill- the logic of politicians

we had thought of putting this item in the fun section, but the consequences are not funny.

“Most people can't be trusted, so we should have laws against guns, which most people will abide by because they can be trusted.

“We must get rid of guns because a deranged lunatic may go on a shooting spree at any time and anyone who would own a gun out of fear of such a lunatic is paranoid.

“The more helpless you are the safer you are from criminals.

“An intruder will be incapacitated by tear gas or oven spray, but if shot with a .357 Magnum will get angry and kill you.

“A woman raped and strangled is morally superior to a woman with a smoking gun and a dead rapist at her feet.

“When confronted by violent criminals, you should "put up no defense - give them what they want, or run" (Handgun Control Inc. Chairman Pete Shields, Guns Don't Die - People Do, 1981, p 125).

“Ordinary people in the presence of guns turn into slaughtering butchers but revert to normal when the weapon is removed.

“Guns cause violence, which is why there are so many mass killings at gun shows.

“We should ban "Saturday Night Specials" and other inexpensive guns because it's not fair that poor people have access to guns too.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#guns_kill_080305

steyn: you’ve read him, now see and hear him

Full, one-hour interview with political columnist, Mark Steyn.

related material
this man has a way with words and sees through left-wing chancers

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#steyn_080305

this man has a way with words and sees through left-wing chancers

"A couple of years back, I went to hear Paul Wolfowitz. I knew him only by reputation - the most sinister of all the neocons, the big bad Wolfowitz, the man whose name started with a scary animal and ended Jewishly. In fact, he was a very soft-spoken chap, who compared the challenges of the Middle East with America's experiments in democracy-spreading after the second world war. He said he thought it would take less time than Japan, and maybe something closer to the 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe. I would have scoffed, but he knew so many Iraqis by name - not just Ahmed Chalabi, but a ton of others.

Around the same time, I bumped into Dominique de Villepin, the French foreign minister and man of letters. He was just back from Egypt, where he'd been profoundly moved when he'd been asked to convey the gratitude of the Arab people to President Chirac for working so tirelessly to prevent a tragic war between Christianity and Islam. You don't say, I said. And, just as a matter of interest, who asked you to convey that? He hemmed and hawed and eventually said it was President Mubarak. Being a polite sort, I rolled my eyes only metaphorically, but decided as a long-term proposition I'd bet Wolfowitz's address book of real people against Villepin's hotline to over-the-hill dictators. The lesson of these last weeks is that it turns out Washington's Zionists know the Arab people a lot better than Europe's Arabists.

“Islamism, with its plans to destroy America, take back Europe, colonise Australia and set you up with 72 virgins, may be bonkers but it's a big idea. And you can't beat it with a small, shrivelled idea like another decade or three of Mubarak or Assad or some such. The Bush administration decided that the only big idea they had to sell was liberty [....] ”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#steyn_050305

a strange article: as the left lies dying, the fossil media substitute is next

Kaplan argues, rather obviously, that the old Left is dying and is being replaced by the fossil media. However, he seems unaware that the fossil media is going the same route, by virtue of its shared shallowness and dishonesty, as blogworld closes in.

“Celebrating military heroism is not glorifying killing. War is a sad fact of existence, but a fact nevertheless. To be heroic can be an indication of character rather than of bloodthirstiness. Moreover, the American military - active in dozens of countries each week, fighting terrorism away from the headlines - is providing the security armature for an emerging global civilization whose own institutions are still in their infancy. And while the U.S. military may employ a variety of methods, including humanitarian aid, in the fight against terrorism, the use of force is central to its enterprise. Al-Jazeera, a quasi-independent television organ, is itself a product of the creeping liberalization of Middle Eastern society for which the American military deserves partial credit.”

(Note: as the Saudi funders find Al-Jaz an increasing embarrassment, it is likely that the TV station will be sold out and left to compete in the market place.)

Kaplan has much to say on the ‘victim’ culture, on power and the tyranny of the herd.

His finishing comment on the fossil media is:

“Our preoccupation with promoting democracy is slightly misplaced. Freer, more historically liberal societies are emerging anyway. Even in the Middle East, the new generation of leaders will not have the luxury to rule as autocratically as the passing one. Tumultuous social and economic change needs to be managed, not ignited. But another type of tyranny rears its head. It is a mob I worry about: unelected, uncontrollable, moving from one lynching-of-sorts to the next, fighting amongst itself, dispersing, falling apart, and regrouping again and again. It can never be wrong because its cause is that of the weak and oppressed: Therein lies its power of oppression.”

Worry not Kaplan, that would-be tyranny is also losing breath with every stumbling step as it too gradually falls to its knees.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#kaplan_030305

managing the wild frontier

Rumour and counter-rumour.

“ [...] Although al-Zarqawi has claimed responsibility for scores of kidnappings, suicide bombings and beheadings of foreigners, many Iraqis believe that al-Zarqawi does not even exist. They say he was invented by the United States to justify its raids and bombing campaigns.”

“ Kurdish officials acknowledged that the most vexing challenge in combatting the insurgency is that guerrillas have infiltrated nearly all branches of the Iraqi government. "The terrorists' point of strength is information," said Sadi Ahmed Pire, who is in charge of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan's security operations in Mosul. "They have exact information. They have people in every government office and department: police, national guard, the health and education ministries, the municipalities. Some cooperate willingly, while others are forced." ”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#insurgency_020305

bush becomes better and better - no wonder the lefties hate and fear him

Not the slightest appology, America is riding high again. The apologetics and navel-gazing over Vietnam are behind them and dictators everywhere are being put on notice, with the neatest velvet glove you ever did see.

You can watch Bush’s latest speech here to the troops in Germany.

Rousing the troops cornpone followed, with Bush having a ball and the troops knowing the real world.

Then from the transcript:

“At this hour, brave Americans in uniform are protecting our country and others by hunting down the terrorists around the world, one by one. Since September the 11th, more than three-quarters of al Qaeda's known key members and associates have been brought to justice. The rest of them are on the run, and the world's greatest fighting force is on their trail.“ (Applause.)

“The day our nation was attacked, I also made it clear that regimes that support terror would be considered equally guilty of terrorist murder. A few weeks later, the Taliban found out what we meant. With good allies at our side, America's military liberated the people of Afghanistan from one of the most brutal regimes on Earth. We destroyed the training camps where the attacks of September the 11th were conceived. We showed the terrorists that no cave is deep enough to hide from American justice.

“Today Afghanistan is a free country, and an ally in the war on terror. (Applause.) After long years of oppression, women are participating in that society. (Applause.) Boys and girls are going to school. The Afghan Army and police are securing their country. And last October, more than 8 million Afghan citizens cast their votes in the first free presidential election in Afghanistan's 5,000-year history. (Applause.)

“As our men and women in uniform helped to transform Afghanistan, we also confronted a growing danger in Iraq. One of the key lessons of September the 11th is that we must confront threats before they fully materialize. In Iraq, we found a threat to the entire world. Saddam Hussein supported terrorists, he pursued deadly weapons, he defied the just demands of the international community, year after year, resolution after resolution. The world gave him a final chance to disarm. And when he refused to comply, he met the might and the resolve of the United States military. (Applause.)

“At a decisive moment in the history of freedom, America once again turned to the First Armored Division -- and once again, the Iron Soldiers answered the call. You moved into Iraq in April of 2003, and you stayed for 15 months. (Applause.) You waged an innovative, disciplined campaign, and because of your skill and sacrifice, Iraq is sovereign and Iraq is free. (Applause.)

“Before the Iron Soldiers left for Iraq, secret police held the population in fear. By the time you came home, you had trained thousands of Iraqi security forces who are now on the job defending their free country. Before Iron Soldiers left for Iraq, a terrible regime had decimated the country's education and health care systems. By the time you came home, you had repaired hundreds of schools and hospitals. When the Iron Soldiers left for Iraq, Saddam Hussein was sitting in a palace. And by the time you came home, he was sitting in a prison cell. (Applause.)”

marker at abelard.org

the auroran sunset points to the references to the Berlin Wall by both Yushchenko of Ukraine and Jumblatt in Lebanon, as the Bush Doctrine brings the dictators to the bar.

Meanwhile, Old Europe moves from being an annoyance to earning contempt:

As Steyn puts it:

“[...] And, if there's no substance that can be changed, what's to quarrel about? International relations are like ex-girlfriends: if you're still deluding yourself you can get her back, every encounter will perforce be fraught and turbulent; once you realise that's never gonna happen, you can meet for a quick decaf latte every six - make that 10 - months and do the whole hey-isn't-it-terrific-the-way-we're-able-to-be-such-great-friends routine because you couldn't care less. You can even make a few pleasant noises about her new romance (the so-called European Constitution) secure in the knowledge he's a total loser.”

And Old Europe is still drooling to sell weapons to dictators:

“[...] On the other hand, if Nato is useless to America, it looks like being a goldmine for the Chinese, to whom the Europeans are bent on selling their military technology. Jacques Chirac is pitching this outreach to the politburo in lofty terms, [...]”

Some people just don’t learn easy.

Next stop, Slovakia Let’s see whether Putin shows some sense.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#troops_in_germany_240205

another great speech from an increasingly great man

Bush’s speech to the European Union. Audio-visual and text available from this link.
He touches all the necessary bases. From speech to speech, his message becomes ever more to the point, with little redundancy and with added political subtlety. This guy is one quick study, and will obviously leave the world improved for his eight years in the catbird seat; though I do wish that his ecology and energy advisors could raise their game.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#by_bush_230205

more hard-headed sense from victor hanson

“As a rule of thumb in matters of the Middle East, be very skeptical of anything that Europe (fearful of terrorists, eager for profits, tired of Jews, scared of their own growing Islamic minorities) and the Arab League (a synonym for the autocratic rule of Sunni Muslim grandees and secular despots) cook up together. If a EU president, a Saudi royal, and a Middle East specialist in the State Department or a professor in an endowed Middle Eastern Studies chair agree that the United States is "woefully naïve," "unnecessarily provocative" or "acting unilaterally," then assume that we are pretty much on the right side of history and promoting democratic reform. "Sobriety" and "working with Arab moderates" is diplo-speak for supporting or abetting an illiberal hierarchy.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#hanson_220205

increasing signs that putin is foolhardy Five GoldenYak (tm) award

Excellent article. [page 1] [page 2]

“(5) The policies of Russia and the conduct of President Putin are growing increasingly eccentric and seem to be motivated more by an angry romanticism, than by a rational calculation of national interest [...].”

“ [...] As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice advised presciently some years ago, a critical challenge for US policy will be "to manage the decline of Soviet power." So far, we are not meeting this challenge.”

marker at abelard.org

“Regrettably, Putin and the former KGB officers who surround him, the so-called "Siloviki," conducted an analysis of the preconditions of democratic change, similar to the one I have just outlined, but reached a radically different conclusion. Rather than support and encourage these positive developments in post-conflict and post-Soviet states, President Putin evidently resolved to destroy the foundations of democracy in Russia and actively to discourage their development in countries neighboring Russia and beyond. And this is precisely what he has done.” [Quoted from page 1]

marker at abelard.org

“(6) Among the most alarming of recent developments, however, is the return of the KGB to power in the Presidential Administration. According to Olga Kryshtanovskaya, a leading Russian sociologist, former KGB officers are regaining power at every level of government and now account for 70% of regional government leaders. Other analysts state that the number of former secret police in Putin's government is 300% greater than the number in the Gorbachev government. In this situation, there is a high probability that military and security services would be used to suppress civil dissent and, indeed, are already being used to this effect. [Quoted from page 2]

“If the conditions which supported democratic change and reform in Georgia and Ukraine are any guide, President Putin has orchestrated a sustained and methodical campaign to eliminate not only democratic forces in civil and political life, but also the possibility of such forces arising again in the future. I do not think that it is accurate to say that democracy is in retreat in Russia. Democracy has been assassinated in Russia.”

Putin also seems to have an inclination to meddle in the Middle East, suggesting missiles to Syria and nuclear technology to Iran. He also allowed Russia to become implicated in oil-for-fraud scam at the UNO. Like Old Europe, he seems foolishly to imagine rivalry with the USA is more attractive than solidarity between advanced nations.

Old Europe made one of the worst possible diplomatic miscalculations in opposing the removal of Madsam [Saddam Hussein] in Iraq, a policy that clearly emboldened Putin’s Russia, as the article says:

“(4) President Putin's goal of a 21st century empire will cause him to seize, extort or otherwise secure the oil and gas reserves of the Caspian and Central Asia as a source of funds for state power. Indeed, the seizure of Yukos and the network of pipelines were the first two steps in a larger plan to control the resources of Central Asia. Setting aside the negative impact these developments will have on world energy prices, our allies in Europe will become increasingly dependent on an oil monopoly controlled by the Russian security services for its growing energy needs. Without doubt, this oil and gas will come with a political price.”

Putin would be far better seeking accommodation with NATO than old time empire hubris. He has quite enough problems on his southern borders without seeking profitless enmity with the american Elephant.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#putin_210205

lightweight but useful background item on the middle east

“Indeed, it could be put more broadly: the Arab world has a vested interest in containing the Iranians, and the Saudis have many of the levers needed to bring about cooperation in the Arab world -- in particular, money. At the same time, Saudi leaders would rather not see Iraqi oil come back online. They've enjoyed higher oil prices mightily, and the guerrillas helped give them that. However, all good things must end, and if they don't want U.S. troops guarding their oil fields, they need to act.

“Obviously, the Saudis might calculate that the United States will remain in Iraq and take responsibility for putting down the Iraqi insurgency. But the United States has delivered an interesting message to the Saudis. First, the United States is neither capable nor willing to put down the insurgency. Second, if Riyadh wants to make sure U.S. forces remain in Iraq -- in a position to block Iranian ambitions -- the Saudis need to persuade their Sunni brethren to end the insurrection and join the political process there.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#me_background_200205

first useful analysis of iraq vote starts to emerge

Map of results with commentary of varying quality.

marker at abelard.org

“Based on their demographic strength, the Arab Sunnis should have 42 seats in the 275-seat transitional National Assembly. The final results show that the new assembly will have 49 Arab Sunnis sitting in it. Of these 40 were elected on the Shia-led and the Kurdish lists, plus the list headed by Iyad Allawi, the interim Prime Minister. Five were elected on a list led by Sheikh Ghazi al-Yawer, the Arab Sunni interim President, while four more won within smaller alliances. If we add the Kurds, who are also Sunni Muslims, at least 110 members of the assembly are Sunnis.” [Quoted from pejmanesque.com]

There seems to be a common myth that Arab Shi’ites given the chance of democracy are somehow yearning to roll over for Persian Shi’ite dictators. Only socialists could believe that.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#iraq_vote_analysis_170205

blogs force another resignation in the fossil media

“During a Jan. 26 panel discussion of threats to reporters, Abovitz was shocked to hear CNN's Jordan say American troops in Iraq had ''targeted'' journalists and killed a dozen of them.

“ ''He was going on and on about it,'' recalled Abovitz. 'My first thought was, gee, have I been missing something? And I stood up and asked, `Is this documented? And if so, why hasn't it been on the cover of Time magazine? Because if it's true, it's much bigger than [U.S. military abuses at] the Abu Ghraib prison.' ''

“Jordan seemed surprised at the question, said Abovitz. ``He kind of froze, and then he started backpedaling. But the crowd included a lot of people from the Middle East, who were cheering him on, so then he wiggled back and forth.'' ”

Meanwhile,

moyes of the star tribune wrote the following alleged lie:

printed in jan. 30 star tribune
“ Remember James Watt, President Ronald Reagan's first secretary of the interior? My favorite online environmental journal, the ever-engaging Grist, reminded us recently of how James Watt told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In public testimony he said, 'after the last tree is felled, Christ will come back.'”

from the same piece:

“As Grist makes clear, we're not talking about a handful of fringe lawmakers who hold or are beholden to these beliefs. Nearly half the U.S. Congress before the recent election -- 231 legislators in total and more since the election -- are backed by the religious right.”

Perhaps I should re-write it:

“....we’re not talking about a handful of fringe reporters who peddle fiction disguised as reality....”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#cnn_blogged_130205

nation and class: disraeli and marx

A historical essay that draws on politics and religion, marginally polemic but interesting.

“Yet Marx-to-Disraeli is not finally a left-to-right spectrum. Marx gave birth not only to the modern left but to totalitarianism. Marx's end of the spectrum is the "shame end," Disraeli's the "pride end." Shame was a powerful force in Marx's life; witness his self-hating anti-Semitism. Twentieth-century totalitarianism was created (not only but in large part) by shame. Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany were born out of humiliating defeat in the First World War: Germany beat Russia (Russian communism followed); the allies beat Germany (Nazism followed). Defeat and shame were not the only forces at work, but we can't understand the 20th century without them. Nor can we understand today's radical Islamic terrorism and totalitarianism (totalitarians being terrorists who have already got what they want) without understanding the central role of defeat and shame.

“Modern liberals are nothing like Bolsheviks or Nazis. They are closer to Disraeli's end of the spectrum than Marx's. Yet American liberals are more likely than conservatives to focus on the shameful in American history, conservatives on the things that make them proud.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#nation_and_class_050105

what the jihadis and left-wing do not show

and what the wreckers do not want to face:

“We dismounted from our vehicles and were instantly mobbed by about 200 kids. The kids were all over the place playing in the streets while their parents voted. The kids walked with us for about 2 miles while we were talking to the adults. I have never seen anything like it. People everywhere wanted to talk to us and thank us. This is what it must have been like when the Allies liberated Paris. Iraqis of all ages wanted to shake our hands and thank us for allowing them to vote. The kids were proud to tell us that their parents voted. Adult after adult wanted to thanks us for making this day happen. When the Iraqis voted they dipped their fingers in indelible purple ink so that polling officials could tell who had already voted. When we walked the streets the Iraqis would hold their purple finger up in the air as a mark of pride. They were very proud of their purple finger. The Iraqis statements to us were all the same; "Thank you for your sacrifices for the Iraqi people", "Thank you for making this day possible" The United States is the true democracy in the world and is the country that makes freedom possible", God blessed the Iraqi people and the United States this day", " We have never known a day like this under Saddam", "This day is like a great feast, a wonderful holiday". I shook more hands today then I have ever in my life. If you missed a hand they would follow for a mile to get a chance to shake and say thanks. It was nothing like we expected or have ever seen. The Iraqi people were strong and brave today. The Iraqis stoic to danger, faced fear, and went out and voted. Then after they voted the Iraqis stayed on the streets to celebrate by singing dancing and trying to shake the hand of any American that they could find.

“Even though today was a great day for Iraq, the Iraqis took their lumps. There were 6 car bombs in Iraq today, 2 of them in Baghdad. One I believe did more for Iraqi moral then any other event I that I have ever witnessed here. A suicide car bomber drove up to a polling site, which was not to far from us, and blew up. The bomb did not kill anybody but the bomber himself. After the bomb went off the Iraqi voters calmly walked out of the polling site and spit on the remains of the suicide bomber. The polling site stayed open and the voting continued. That incident ran all day long on Iraqi TV. It was a beautiful act of defiance for the Iraqi people. The Iraqi people stood up for themselves today and stuck a purple finger in the enemy's eye.”

Meanwhile, down among the jihadis and socialist ba'athist wreckers:

The whole article is worth a read for those who still sit passive while being fed rhubarb by the obsolescent leftist fossil press.

“The 'fifteen thousand' figure was reached in October by back of the envelope calculation and was my best guess from various sources at the time. It was off, but thankfully not by much. Reuters reported on Jan 26, 2005 that:

"If you look back over the last year we estimate we have killed or captured about 15,000 people as part of this counter-insurgency," Casey, the only four-star American general in Iraq, told reporters. "Just in this month we have picked up around 60 key members of the Zarqawi network and key members of the former regime," he said, referring to the group led by al Qaeda's leader in Iraq, Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

“But I think the main problem with the Newsweek analysis is that first, it doesn't fully recognize the significance of the economy of force operation against the Sunnis in April, 2004 as the US dealt with Sadr first in mid-year before returning to crush the Sunni insurgent stronghold of Fallujah by year-end. It was a classic example of using a small force to defeat a numerically superior foe by attacking them in detail. I hope future historians give it its due. Secondly, Newsweek almost ignores American political warfare. The establishment of the Interim Governing Council and the Elections had huge military implications from the start, something which is only being belatedly recognized. The strategic center of gravity of the American thrust into the Middle East was not Iraq the geographical entity, as so many have I believe, mistakenly put it, but the Iraqis. The war aim was access to an alliance with an unlimited pool of Arabic speakers, not a puddle of oil in the ground. The return of Iraqi security and intelligence forces will be a nightmare for regional dictators in the short term; but the advent of even a quasi-democratic Iraqi state will, without exaggeration, be their death-knell.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#not_for_socialists_040205

bush now turning up pressure on energy policy

George Bush’s State of the Union Address can be seen/heard via the BBC site.
Transcript.

Highlights noted as Bush spoke –

Nuclear, conservation, and alternative energy....

Social security reform.... Talking honestly and directly to the people over the heads of Congress.
What is interesting is that Bush seems to be moving towards a form of citizen’s wage or dividend, where the great majority of the population have full ownership of a little bit of America.]

Then we get a bit of bible bashing, ‘marriage’, abortion by hinting, embryo research, ‘activist’ judges....

Next social matters: gang culture, HIV prevention, DNA extension, competent lawyers for capital cases.

There are still goverments sponsoring terrorism, and others seeking nuclear weapons.
“We will stay on the offensive.”
“We will support the military.”
[Proposals are being forwarded for much increased recompense for fallen soldiers, .not mentioned in the speech.]

Removing causes of despair, and thereby removing tyranny and terror.

Meanwhile, “we have no intention or right of imposing our own ideas of government upon free countries”.
Referral to elections in Palestine, Ukraine, Afghan, Iraq,
“and in the coming years we will add to that story”.

“We will work to expand freedom in the Middle East”. Saudi and Egypt mentioned. Bush refers to weapons of mass murder.
Syria to come under pressure [slightly coded],
Iran criticised. The US working with Europe to apply pressure to the Iranian people:
“As you stand for your own liberty, so America stands with you.”

“Iraqis have earned the respect of us all.” [Indeed they have.]
And an Iraqi present at the Address to give the idiots and wreckers the blue finger.

“Freedom in Iraq will make America safer for generations to come.” [There is a strong message that Iraq will be prepared in order to ‘defend’ itself.]

From a fallen marine to his parents:
“You have done your job, now it is my job to protect you.”
His parents in the audience.

Bush is steadily moving into the position of a great president. No wonder socialists and jihadi wreckers hate and fear him.

Meanwhile, in old Europe, Germany’s unemployment tops 5 million.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0502.php#state_of_the_union_030205


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