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news archives — politics 4

New translation, the Magna Carta

article archives at abelard's news and comment zonepolitics archive: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9


politics 4

added data for those that don’t ‘get’ the oil crisis

News item incorporated into energy economics - extraction efficiency and costs, depletion of fossil fuel.

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a great and important speech by president bush Four GoldenYak (tm) Award
giving insight to the publicly expressed international policies of the USA.
Recommended reading.

“The peace and security of free nations now rests on three pillars:

“First, international organizations must be equal to the challenges facing our world, from lifting up failing states to opposing proliferation.”

“The second pillar of peace and security in our world is the willingness of free nations, when the last resort arrives, to [error retain] restrain aggression and evil by force.”

“The third pillar of security is our commitment to the global expansion of democracy, and the hope and progress it brings, as the alternative to instability and to hatred and terror. We cannot rely exclusively on military power to assure our long-term security. Lasting peace is gained as justice and democracy advance. ”

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french veto power—time to right a historic wrong

First let it be known that I have a very high regard for French culture. Therefore, I speak as an admirer of some aspects of social France.

It is clear that more responsible nations, such as China or India, have a better claim than France to permanent places on the Security Council of the United Nations Organisation.

France did not earn its place, nor its veto power. The place was given to it as a matter of charity and now that position is being abused, a common result for charity.

After listening to the arguments, and some months of consideration, I do not accept the proposition made by some that the UNO should be shut down. In fact, I think it so important that it should be reformed and updated.

I also think that no non-democratic nation should be allowed to serve on the Security Council. In the meanwhile, the Coalition of the Willing should be setting about strengthening NATO and explaining in far more stark terms the growing problems facing the planet.

It is obvious that medieval theocratic Islamism is a problem for Russia, China and India, three natural large powers, as well as for the West. And Islamism is sitting on the blood supply of the world.

We can not allow a minor and fractious power, scared by its own high-percentage immigrant Islamic problem and posturing in its charming insularity, to slow down and interfere with the necessary actions to modernise, educate and democratise the arab areas.

Whence comes this unprecedented bout of multilateralist spirit? It derives exclusively from the need to get more foreign forces on the ground in Iraq so that American forces now holding static positions can get to the vital task of hunting proliferating numbers of Iraqi and non-Iraqi terrorists and saboteurs. Or, to put it another way: To make up for the fact that we don't have enough troops.”

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UK parliament discussion on the possible introduction of identity cards.
“I have changed my view. I had felt that if there was a compelling case I would be prepared to set aside some of my instinctive civil liberty and libertarian concerns, but there is no compelling case. A range of issues has been raised, which, in my judgment, mean that the Government should not introduce the cards. They should heed the consultation and listen to Labour Members and members of the Cabinet, and they should not proceed with this policy. It would be unpopular in the country and unworkable.”
Mr. Mark Oaten (M.P. for Winchester)
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challenging corporate corruption Four GoldenYak (tm) Award

Page one of the lawsuit said “we the corporations are people and this ordinance violates our personhood rights”.

"In late 2002 and early 2003, two of the county's townships did something that no municipal government had ever dared: They decreed that a corporation's rights do not apply within their jurisdictions.”

“ It was only after those suits had been filed that the two Clarion County townships, Licking and Porter, took the historic step of passing ordinances to decree that within their townships, "Corporations shall not be considered to be 'persons' protected by the Constitution of the United States," a measure that effectively declared their independence from corporate rule. For Mik Robertson, the issue is simple: "Those rights are meant for individuals." He and his two fellow supervisors later revised their ordinance to also deny corporations the right to invoke the Constitution's Interstate Commerce Clause; Porter Township is considering a similar amendment. Several other townships are preparing their own versions of the corporate rights ordinance, according to Linzey.”

“ By what authority can a conglomeration of capital and property, whose existence is granted by the public, deny the right of a sovereign people to govern itself democratically? Linzey predicts that such a suit could happen within a decade. That battle, he says, could ignite populist sentiment across the country -- even around the world.”

related material
corporate corruption, politics and the law

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related material

corporate corruption, politics and the law

using language to manipulate public opinion Four GoldenYak (tm) Award

An example:

You've written a lot about "tax relief" as a frame. How does it work?

“The phrase "Tax relief" began coming out of the White House starting on the very day of Bush's inauguration. It got picked up by the newspapers as if it were a neutral term, which it is not. First, you have the frame for"relief." For there to be relief, there has to be an affliction, an afflicted party, somebody who administers the relief, and an act in which you are relieved of the affliction. The reliever is the hero, and anybody who tries to stop them is the bad guy intent on keeping the affliction going. So, add "tax" to "relief" and you get a metaphor that taxation is an affliction, and anybody against relieving this affliction is a villain.

“ "Tax relief" has even been picked up by the Democrats. I was asked by the Democratic Caucus in their tax meetings to talk to them, and I told them about the problems of using tax relief. The candidates were on the road. Soon after, Joe Lieberman still used the phrase tax relief in a press conference. You see the Democrats shooting themselves in the foot.

So what should they be calling it?

“It's not just about what you call it, if it's the same "it." There's actually a whole other way to think about it. Taxes are what you pay to be an American, to live in a civilized society that is democratic and offers opportunity, and where there's an infrastructure that has been paid for by previous taxpayers. This is a huge infrastructure. The highway system, the Internet, the TV system, the public education system, the power grid, the system for training scientists - vast amounts of infrastructure that we all use, which has to be maintained and paid for. Taxes are your dues - you pay your dues to be an American. In addition, the wealthiest Americans use that infrastructure more than anyone else, and they use parts of it that other people don't. The federal justice system, for example, is nine-tenths devoted to corporate law. The Securities and Exchange Commission and all the apparatus of the Commerce Department are mainly used by the wealthy. And we're all paying for it.”

An outline of more of Lakoff’s semantics. This is one impressive writer.

[Located via Limbic’s blog]

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how to avoid or delay difficult political decisions— transgenic crops

Item transfered to land conservation and food production, a briefings document.

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major international report on net censorship available
This first link provides a précis, while here is the full report (2Mb pdf file).

“The Internet has evolved to become an increasingly important platform not just for economic development, but also as a support for advocates who wish to express their opinion freely and to work toward the development of democracy. The medium has provided opportunities for citizens to participate in forums, and to discuss and debate issues that concern them. Unlike other media where the information flow is unidirectional - from the government to the masses - the Internet allowed a multi-way communication process giving the chance for anybody to air their opinions and views on issues affecting them. The development of the Internet has lead to more horizontal and less vertical communication. Control and censorship has a substantial effect on the Internet because it undermines confidence and trust in the medium and inhibits crucial flows of data.”

“There are some positive developments within this survey. Countries have established protections, countries have enshrined protections, companies have fought for the rights of privacy of individuals, technologies have sustained the ability of dissident groups to speak freely and access content privately, differences in laws in countries has sheltered the speech of the oppressed. Technological developments are being implemented to protect a free Internet, but the knowledge gap between radical innovators and restrictive institutions appears to be closing.”

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guarding the commons is legitimate government activity—
it also drives research

“If they want to stimulate technological innovation, governments must do more than pour money into research, according to a new study. They should legislate in favour of the goal, it suggests.”

“ The findings might have a bearing on the US government's much-vaunted drive towards a hydrogen economy, in which hydrogen would be used as a clean fuel. The Bush administration has pledged $1.7 billion to develop a non-polluting hydrogen vehicle. That objective might be reached sooner if the commitment is accompanied by legislation that penalizes the use of fossil fuels.”

Not “might”, almost certainly will. If the objective is realistic, the $1.7 billion is chicken feed and will probably be swallowed in pet projects and pork barrel politics.
Such subsidies are not legitimate government activity [ab]

“Taylor's team shows that this is because the power industry was forced to comply with regulations. Analysing the number of patents granted each year for the scrubbing technology, they find that activity leapt after the prescription, in 1970-71, of SO2-related air-quality standards and maximum emission rates.”

related material
The logic of ethics

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related material

The logic of ethics

the beginning of the end of socialism—what really happened in vietnam
American military engagement in Vietnam from approximately 1960 – 1975

article recommended    Three GoldenYak (tm) award

“What of the significance of Vietnam as a local skirmish in the Cold War? Here we have the testimony of Asia's principal elder statesman, Lee Kuan Yew, First minister of Singapore. He has pointed out that the American intervention in the war halted the onward march of Communism southwards for 15 years - roughly from 1960 to 1975. In that crucial period, the new ex-colonial states of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, maybe India itself, took advantage of this incidental American protection to develop their economies from poor agricultural and trading post economies into modern industrial and information societies. By the time the war was over and North Vietnamese tanks were surging into Saigon, these countries were prosperous NICs (i.e. newly industrializing countries), more or less immune to the Communist virus and capable of resisting external attack.

“Nor does the story end with the safety of Singapore. In the late 1980s, when the Soviet politburo was debating perestroika, Mikhail Gorbachev cited its success - tiny Singapore, exported more in value than the vast Soviet Union - as demonstrating the need to dismantle the socialist command economy.”

The false left-wing myths of Vietnam are no encouragement to the modern would-be wreckers of al Quaeda and the Left.

On the take-over of North Vietnam by socialism in 1954, at least a million fled to the South.
On the American withdrawal, maybe 2 million ran or rowed from the commie paradise in 24 months. The USA gave refuge to 3/4 million and other Western countries at least a million.
The communists probably lost more than a million in the war. Another 400,000 are thought to have died in communist shelling and rocketing of cities.

58,000 Americans died in Vietnam (47,000 killed in aaction).

Naturally, the communists ruined the economy in their traditional manner.

“In the short term, the scenario of the domino theory, so ridiculed by critics of the cold war, turned out largely to be true. With the fall of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos came under communist domination; Thailand for a time was marginalised and forced to sever most ties with Americans. After 1975, the Soviet Union showed a greater tendency to intervene abroad, as fighting broke out in afghanistan, central America, and eastern Africa. The communist Vietnamese army grew, rather than shrank, after the war. It soon ranked as the third largest land force after China and Russia - its frontline soldiers and paramilitary troops numbered 3 million - and subsequently fought in both Cambodia and China. Few American activists of the past antiwar movement protested the hundreds of thousands of Asians who killed each other from 1975-1980. but, then, all those who died on both sides were communists.”

Details, figures and quote from Carnage and culture: Landmark battles in the rise of Western power by V. D. Hanson, reviewed here.

There is only one hope for al Quaeda and the Left: to sap the will of the West. The last time they managed that, 10s of millions and generations were trapped under communist regimes, and are only now gradually emerging into the light.

The West is the prime hope of those living under the medieval theocrats of the Middle East.

Here is a review of a book by Al-Ayyeri (brought to my attention by jackkincaid), expressing the hopes of militant islamists, the review is again recommended reading. Two GoldenYak (tm) award

“What Al-Ayyeri sees now is a "clean battlefield" in which Islam faces a new form of unbelief. This, he labels "secularist democracy." This threat is "far more dangerous to Islam" than all its predecessors combined. The reasons, he explains in a whole chapter, must be sought in democracy's "seductive capacities.”

“Al-Ayyeri says Iraq would become the graveyard of secular democracy, just as Afghanistan became the graveyard of communism. The idea is that the Americans, faced with mounting casualties in Iraq, will "just run away," as did the Soviets in Afghanistan. This is because the Americans love this world and are concerned about nothing but their own comfort, while Muslims dream of the pleasures that martyrdom offers in paradise.”

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bush speech: transcript

“America and a broad coalition acted first in Afghanistan, by destroying the training camps of terror, and removing the regime that harbored al Qaeda. In a series of raids and actions around the world, nearly two-thirds of al Qaeda's known leaders have been captured or killed, and we continue on al Qaeda's trail. We have exposed terrorist front groups, seized terrorist accounts, taken new measures to protect our homeland, and uncovered sleeper cells inside the United States. And we acted in Iraq, where the former regime sponsored terror, possessed and used weapons of mass destruction, and for 12 years defied the clear demands of the United Nations Security Council. Our coalition enforced these international demands in one of the swiftest and most humane military campaigns in history.

“For a generation leading up to September the 11th, 2001, terrorists and their radical allies attacked innocent people in the Middle East and beyond, without facing a sustained and serious response. The terrorists became convinced that free nations were decadent and weak. And they grew bolder, believing that history was on their side. Since America put out the fires of September the 11th, and mourned our dead, and went to war, history has taken a different turn. We have carried the fight to the enemy. We are rolling back the terrorist threat to civilization, not on the fringes of its influence, but at the heart of its power.”

“ ...So far, of the 55 most wanted former Iraqi leaders, 42 are dead or in custody.....”

Recommended reading.

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“a pretty straight sort of guy” meets the hutton enquiry

Current British politics deciphered—
report from the Sunday Groaniad [the Observer] with a gloss by abelard.

[Ed.: the Hutton Enquiry was set up to investigate why a top British scientific civil servant (government employee), Dr. Kelly, suddenly died. Dr. Kelly’s name had been made public by the Guardian, from easy hints given by the Ministry of Defence under instructions from the government, after he gave possibly awkward answers at another enquiry about Iraq. Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister, has been called as a witness to the Hutton Enquiry.]

“ 'Meeting to discuss actions in light of the re-interview,' the note says. 'Acceptance that in light of the second interview no option but to make public the fact that someone has come forward who might be the source. Discussion of redrafting of MoD press notice. Discussion giving name of source to BBC privately. Prime Minister again stressed that Tebbit and Omand should b[e] in lead.'

“That note indicates where the decision was taken. Hoon and Tebbit were given responsibility for the 'naming strategy'. But Downing Street provided the momentum. With one word, Blair could have stopped the policy in its tracks.

“But there was the allegation of cover-up. During Blair's trip on the RAF 146 on that summer afternoon of 4 July, he was interviewed by The Observer. Asked about his attitude to the BBC story, his jaw clenched with anger. 'It was about as serious an attack on my integrity as there could possibly be,' he said.

“Blair once said he was a 'pretty straight sort of guy'. The public had to know the truth. Kelly was part of that. So the public had to know about Kelly. The roller coaster had started running." ”

Note that the “pretty straight sort of guy” was directly involved in “no option but to make public the fact that someone has come forward who might be the source”.

Why would the “pretty straight sort of guy” be considering options? Surely a “pretty straight sort of guy”, who became Prime Minister by promising open government and a Freedom of Information Act —by the way, why are the British still waiting for these so many years later?, surely such a “pretty straight sort of guy” would have the first instinct to keep the public informed—just like he never does.

Now, here’s another snippet from the article:

“That weekend Powell was climbing in the Black Mountains in North Wales. On Saturday morning his mobile phone rang. It was Alastair Campbell, who had also spoken to Hoon. But their conversation had gone further. Hoon had discussed a 'plea bargain' with Kelly. The government scientist would come forward in return for being given some leeway on disciplinary action.”

For what was Kelly [the scientific civil servant] supposed to need a plea bargain?

Has he committed a crime? if so what crime exactly? Don’t I recall this chap was signed off to give unattributed briefings? (Unattributed, as part of the open government and freedom of information act that “pretty straight sort of guy” promised the British electorate in order to be elected.)

The article also helpfully reminds us of some of the previous form of this “pretty straight sort of guy”.

“The allegation of 'cover-up' had stalked the Government throughout Blair's period of office. Cover-up over Bernie Ecclestone and a £1 million donation. Cover-up over the relationship between Cherie Blair and a con man, Peter Foster. Cover-up over Lakshmi Mittal, an Indian steel magnate and Labour donor whom the Prime Minister had helped secure a multi-million-pound business deal in Romania.”

A shame the writer forgot about various other parts of the Public Liar’s [Tony Blair’s] form, so I will remind you a little:

Hindujas, the Millenium Dome, Mandelson twice resigned, Byers resigned, Drayson—him of the Powderject Vaccinations: £50,000 donation, and two weeks later a £32,000,000 government contract. Then there was Robinson. And there was Irvine of the £660,000 furnishings and fittings—the one who was after £200 minimum Labour Party ‘donations’ from people he had the power to promote.

Then there was a £100,000 ‘donation’ from the publisher of ‘Asian Babes’, Richard Desmond, a few days after Byers said he could have the Daily Express. Or are there just too many examples for you to recall? Anyone remember that nice Mister Vas?

And then there are [Robin] Cook and [Claire] Short and [Mo] Mowlem, all ex-government ministers. As the columns used to ask, “Where are they now?”
Is it is worth searching the Millenium Dome?

I wonder what that “pretty straight sort of guy” will have to say to the Hutton Enquiry and to the British nation?

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name order bias in elections

“The ordering of candidates’ names on ballots in the upcoming California recall election will likely affect the outcome, if the state’s presidential election is a guide.”

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the end is closing in on the diamond cartel

“ "This is very rare stone," he says, almost to himself, in thickly accented English. "Yellow diamonds of this color are very hard to find. It is probably worth 10, maybe 15 thousand dollars."

“ "I have two more exactly like it in my pocket," I tell him.

“He puts the diamond down and looks at me seriously for the first time. I place the other two stones on the table. They are all the same color and size. To find three nearly identical yellow diamonds is like flipping a coin 10,000 times and never seeing tails.

“ "These are cubic zirconium?" Weingarten says without much hope.

“ "No, they're real," I tell him. "But they were made by a machine in Florida for less than a hundred dollars."

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murderers’ club loses another member

“There has been a real sea-change in the attitude of the international community," Amnesty International's Christopher Hall told Reuters in a recent interview.

“In the past, crimes were seen as political or diplomatic problems, now they are seen as ordinary crimes of rape, murder, that all states have a duty to investigate and to prosecute.”

Recommended reading.

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eu and usa lies about free trade

“Meantime, though, the U.S. government has doggedly pushed ahead with its Farm Bill -- undaunted by strong objections from all its major trading partners, including Canada. The legislation, made law last year, will pump an estimated $190-billion (Canadian) worth of government support to U.S. farmers over the current decade. Leading by example, it appears, is not in the Bush administration's lexicon.

“But the European countries are no better in this regard. If anything, they're worse.”

Some of the numbers in the item look decidedly ropey, but the idea is there. Further, there is no reference to food security, a foolish omission in this area.

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all charity is not good works—the costs and benefits

“Wartime records and memoirs show that the emperor and some of his aides wanted to end the war by summer 1945. But they were vacillating and couldn't prevail over a military that was determined to keep going even if that meant, as a navy official urged at one meeting, "sacrificing 20 million Japanese lives." ”

“ "The atomic bomb was a golden opportunity given by heaven for Japan to end the war," Hisatsune Sakomizu, the chief cabinet secretary in 1945, said [...] ”

And this quite apart from the stemming of Allied losses.

I see large numbers of comments on the supposed terrors of depleted uranium (DU) as a weapon. DU was an effective adjunct to the military halting of the Ba’ath Socialist Party murder machine.

At the same time, those making such (probably false) claims concerning nasty side effects from the technology, continually ignore acts of supposed charity and humanitarianism that often end in far greater problems and suffering.

  • ‘Aid’ agencies go into a backward area, introduce modern medicine and health measures, and watch the population expand beyond the holding capacity of the land.

    And then watch them die like flies.

    It helps if, next, Western-administered authority withdraws from the backward region because the West has gone soft on ‘imperialism’.

    If the expanded population starts starving, then ‘donate’ large quantities of food, so the population expands still more and, possibly, the problem during the next drought becomes even worse. Meanwhile, local groups increasingly war over the remaining available resources, thus aggravating the pain further.

  • Other agencies go into Indian villages and ‘help’ the villagers dig deep wells to avoid ‘contaminated’ water, and then watch them die from arsenic poisoning. Tens of millions are now at risk.

  • Go into the Middle East; develop oil wells and pay the locals vast quantities of unearned income. Again, sit back and watch the population expand explosively. Meanwhile, the West becomes addicted to oil, and too lazy and soft to protect the property it has developed on the empty sands.

All charity is not good works.

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big brother finding problems with reality

“But Allan said that even if sophisticated biometrics gear was in place in US airports, the technology alone probably would not have stopped the attacks. "They were legitimate travellers," he said, referring to September 11th terrorists, "they weren't known as terrorists then, so they wouldn't have appeared on recognition systems.”

“ Indeed, Allan said that without adequate back security measures and databases, biometrics equipment is more or less useless. What's more, biometrics has proven to be fallible, with evidence available that has shown that wearing glasses can fool an eye scanner, prosthetic make-up can affect face scanners, a sore throat can change a voiceprint and that breathing heavily on a fingerprint scanner can also make prints unrecognisable. ”

Link thanx to alan g.

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politics and the net

“The other initiative comes from the MIT Media Lab. It's called 'Government Information Awareness' and is based on a simple proposition: if governments now feel entitled to keep us under cyber-surveillance, why not use software tools to keep them under surveillance too? The MIT folks are building a system which will collate all publicly available information about all public officials in the US.”

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the military and political dynamics of using nukes tactically
(substantial article)

“ "We didn’t have to look far for military reasons against the use of nuclear weapons," says Gomer. "The Viet Cong [VC] were widely dispersed, our troops concentrated in encampments designed to minimize the perimeters which had to be defended so that we, rather than the VC were extremely vulnerable to attack by small nuclear weapons." ”

“ "An enduring lesson can be distilled from the JASONs’ study of the applicability of nuclear weapons to the Vietnam War - that it is a very bad idea to attack insurgents and their state sponsors with nuclear weapons. Doing so - and, we would argue today, threatening to do so - only legitimizes, and makes more likely, the use of the only weapons that can really threaten the United States on the battlefield." ”

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Japanese devastation—modern corrupt corporate states

has moved to

corporate corruption, politics and the ‘law’

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po’r ickle germans—another scoop from our very special correspondent

“Last year, Thomas Matussek, the German ambassador to Britain, said the way history was taught in UK schools, with concentration on Hitler, perpetuated anti-German feelings.”

[From an item on criticisms of the British teaching of history.]

If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

Meanwhile, the British ambassador has ask the Germans not to teach about that naughty Henry and his multiple wife abuse.

The Frog ambassador has ask the EU not to teach the Terror in any EU brain-washing institutions (sorry, schools) over which the French (sorry, EU) hope to gain control.

And the neo-Nazis want the Pope to canonise Adolf.
The socialists said that isn’t fair unless Uncle Joe and Mao are likewise ‘honoured’.

The Ayatollah said that, after all, if Bernard of Clairvaux can be a saint, why cannot Osama?

The Vatican said they are not yet ecumenical enough to consider non-Catholics, so while Adolf or Joe might be eligible if they came up with a few miracles, Osama and Mao must be regarded as out of the frame for the moment.

But, of course, if the Ayatollah came to Rome and converted, it may change the situation.
The International Confederation of Comrades have also expressed interest.

“Who controls the past,” ran the Party slogan, “controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”
1984, George Orwell, 1949

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how can we trust the peaseniks to protect us from wars?
[lead from the auroran sunset]

“we can't help suspecting that war opponents knew better and deliberately misled the public in an effort to establish a pretext for keeping a mass-murdering dictator in power.”

“They said the U.S. would suffer thousands of casualties. They said ordinary Iraqis would resent American "invaders" rather than welcome them as liberators. They said the "Arab street" would rise up in outrage. They said Iraq's liberation would set off a new wave of terrorism. They said the war would be a "quagmire" ”

Meanwhile, Jean-François Revel, of the Académie Française, in Le Point magazine n°. 1596 [payment required] ‘expresses his pride’ at being French, given the ability of French experts and specialists on the Middle East to predict ‘so well’ the progress of the war in Iraq.

“Two days after the beginning of the operations and there being no lightning war, the experts predicted the defeat of the Anglo-American army. According to the experts, the army would be unable to traverse the 500 arid kilometers separating Baghdad from Kuweit’s border.

“One week later, when the army had reached Baghdad, it was there that the Western coalition, unsuited to the urban guerrilla warfare on which Saddam Hussein had based all his strategy, would be bloodily wiped out.”

Others predicted another Stalingrad.

“ Further, the Iraqi population, in spite of some small objections towards Saddam, would stand stolidly behind him through patriotism and hatred of the invader. Thus, America would be bogged down in a quagmire comparable to that of the Vietnam war.”
[Many more events predicted and ‘explained’ in this article.]

Returning to the Wall Street Journal,

“Some war foes even said [...] that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and would use them on American troops”.

“The American people deserve nothing less than a full congressional investigation into the false claims of antiwar politicians, scholars, journalists and activists.”

The cited page of the Wall Street Journal has several other amusing and interesting pieces.

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unusual comment in the old (originally paper) media

“On 18 May, for example, one Geoffrey Nunberg fulminated in the New York Times about the fact that whenever one does a Google search on any topical issue, the top page rankings often go to blogs rather than established media sources (such as the New York Times ).”

There are very few old media sources that understand the new media. Step by step, those who do not get it are due to be swamped.

Increasing numbers are turning first to the web for unbiased and informed sources, or even to track the lunatic fringes.

Several of the old media are struggling to squeeze money (and registration) on the internet for lightweight articles:
The Times, the ‘Independent’[sic], the NYT, FT.
They are all moving in that direction. As soon as they so do, I remove them as useful sources; as do many others with whom I am in contact.

Meanwhile, other sources, including the Groaniad and the (government-subsidised) BBC, who started at a very low ebb, are becoming increasingly sophisticated, while providing useful archives. In addition, many other specialised shoe-string operations are moving into mass-access usage.

If they are to maintain any political influence, the old mass-media are going to have to decide between a slow boat to irrelevance, in the forlorn hope of revenue, or expanding their agenda.

In other words, the days of political control of agendas in exchange for news-media control is obsolescent.

Either the old mass-media pursues an open agenda, or they will atrophy as a commercial enterprise. In which case, the old mass-media will operate under subsidy, as with the BBC, and cease to be taken as reliable or authoritative.

Meanwhile, as the article points out, hacks will not be able to hack it in competition with specialists across the world.

related material
net, increasingly, becoming major information source

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related material
net, increasingly, becoming major information source

trust me, I’m a salesman

“Researchers analysed 30 previous reports examining pharmaceutical industry-backed research and found the conclusions of such research were four times more likely to be positive than research backed by other sponsors.”

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pork barrel and destruction by construction

” The Bush administration is maniacally intolerant of dissent. It doesn't give a damn what Congress thinks about anything. The good news is: That combination of enforced loyalty and executive arrogance is reining in the environmentally disastrous, economically ludicrous pork-barrel projects of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This fledgling corps reform campaign hasn't gotten much attention—because "corps reform" sounds like something Michael Dukakis might read about on the beach, and environmentalists are too busy portraying President Bush as the second coming of the Exxon Valdez to give credit where it's due—but corps reform could end up doing more to benefit the American environment than a dozen Arctic refuges.”
(link from the auroran sunset)

the tragedy of giant ambitions

The combination of increasing idleness and the ambition of corrupt administrators, who seek to put people to ‘work’ and to take a cut, results in concreting over great areas to no useful purpose.

This I intend to call the Tragedy of Giant Ambitions, to contrast with the Tragedy of the Commons.

You see this Tragedy in the ambitions of a Napoleon or a Hitler, and in the irrational ‘idealism’ of socialism and other religions. One more mighty leap to achieve the great and 'perfect' society.

With the huge advance of productive capacity, where ever more can be done with less physical human toil, the panic to find or make work for the increasingly idle or leisured is a puritanical neuroticism inherited from a harsher world.

This is part of the ongoing friction between the Protestant ‘anglo- saxon’ North and the Catholic lotus-eaters of the South. How are goods to be distributed, if no one ‘works’ for them or works for ‘a living’?

You see this same Tragedy of Giant Ambitions in the business, or country, that gains aspirations to do everything at once, and then eventually exausts its resources, leaving a plethora of unfinished projects, instead of planning and carrying through to effective usage just a few of the more useful ideas.

Countries like Japan, South-east England and Northern Italy are in a constant state of cranes and concrete, with little thought for the future. There, great bureaucracies build up incorporating vested interests, determined to keep the milch cows on the ever-expanding roads.

No quiet, no peace, nowhere to walk and no room for other life-forms.

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who gains?

reading the news—
new realities as ground starts shifting under the un and eu

News re-cast with my own commentary

“The United States plans to set up an international military force in three regions of Iraq, with Poland and Britain controlling two zones and U.S. forces the third, U.S. officials said. They said Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Ukraine and Bulgaria would provide troops.”

It appears that the Coalition of the Willing are now starting to take decisions out of context with the UNO and NATO.

The Coalition of the Willing seem to be sidelining France and Germany :

“They asked the EU head office to draft a strategy on how Europeans can better deal with such issues as international terrorism and weapons of mass destruction in the hands of unstable countries.”

and ...

“The ministers agreed to mend the trans-Atlantic relationship that was damaged in the months before the war.”

Meanwhile, ‘France’ continues to sulk :

“The Americans ''can do what they want. This does not bother us at all,'' said a French diplomat.”

and Fischer pretends nothing is happening :

“German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said the plan ''is not a new situation and is not in contradiction with our discussion about giving the United Nations a role in postwar Iraq.'' ”

Straw pretends to pour oil on troubled waters :

“'We see a vital role for the United Nations in humanitarian relief,'' British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told reporters after the meeting.

“He briefed Fischer and French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin on the sidelines of the EU meeting.”

But the reality is that he is ‘briefing’ France and Germany on decisions already taken,
while the Polish representative bluntly spells out the realities to the Coalition of the Unwilling :

“Poland ''would prefer'' a U.N. Security Council resolution endorsing the stabilization force, but that it should go ahead without one, if necessary, Cimoszewiczs said.”

Therefore, we see a new leadership arising in the EU :

“The United States plans to set up an international military force in three regions of Iraq, with Poland and Britain controlling two zones and U.S. forces the third, U.S. officials said. They said Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Ukraine and Bulgaria would provide troops.”

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‘discrimination law’

A charter for discrimination, lawyers fees and an expensive hazard of blackmail for all employers.

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socialism—the mechanism of failureTwo GoldenYak award

“It is not hard to imagine what happened to people who went to live wherever the state put them, who were not permitted even to change the color of their front doors or to keep pets without explicit permission, and who were surrounded by a neighborhood of similar passive recipients of government beneficence. They did not develop, as their socialist patrons had expected, a stirring pride in their new collective identity. Having none of the rights of ownership over their own property—and no likelihood of escaping from that condition, since being housed by the council was regarded as pretty much a permanent condition of working-class life—they became less responsible and more dependent than ever. The desire and the ability to help yourself was not only unrewarded; it was seen as positively pernicious: a threat to the moral order of public ownership, which guaranteed that no one would go without the basic necessities—at the price of condemning anyone who dared to desire more than the minimum.”

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The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek

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The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek

the logistics of suppressing madsam in baghdad

“HOW THE WAR ENDS is likely to depend on how they are received by the 5 million residents of Baghdad, whose mood will go a long way toward determining whether fighters loyal to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein can mount a successful resistance. As U.S. forces closed in on the west and east of the capital yesterday, defense officials discussed following an “opportunistic” strategy of probing and testing the capital’s defenses to gauge the mood of the population and the likely intensity of resistance.”

Here is a quickie visual of Baghdad city attack and defence.

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american attitude to empire

Some say that that the United States of America wishes to have an ‘empire’. However, here are the words of Secretary of State Colin Powell when he addressed his French counterpart:

“America has fought and bled for the freedom of many people in many countries, and the only ground we ever asked for was only enough to bury our dead.”

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