Monday, August 30, 2004

Best/worst movie of the summer

Via E-Nough: MSNBC has a poll up for the best and worst movies of the summer. I note that Farenheight 9/11 has received 21% "best" and 17% "worst". Vote early, vote often - vote like Democrat snowbirds, if you must. Remember - only the ethically challenged would take advantage of the fact that you can vote once with each browser you have installed.

My mind was read!

Posted at The Iraq War Was Wrong Blog - EXACTLY what I was thinking!

But one thing I wanted to say is, I find it VERY suspicious that the Repuggie convention should just happen to pop up NOW. Think about it - at a time when (oh so coincidence) Kerry poll numbers dip slightly, the swiftvet boat-liars have done they're thing, Michael Moore movie Farenheit 9.11 mostly completed big theater run (dont worry btw I have plans to see it in neighboring town soon), 9.11 Commission broken up, etc. How very convenent this convention's timing is.

I'm not necessarily saying it was all planed like this, it's is just an observation. But sometimes when there are so many dots in a row you sort of have two put two and two together.

When I can remember my DU password, I'm going to have to tell ALL my friends to listen to this blog! Not that there aren't a lot of really smart people there who have probably already figured this out, but this person sounds like they really have their stuff together. Keep your eye on this one, I sense a rising star in the blogsphere - they understand Bush's attack on the world perfectly.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Zionists plot Arab oppression

And world domination, of course. How, you ask? With municipal WiFi internet access. Oh, those devious, scheming Jews.

The Arab League says that the project aims to impose a project that will serve the Israeli interests under the pretext of encouraging foreign investments. The statement added that the WiFi project, "along with all of Israel's policies, contradicts not only international law and resolutions, but also reflect no desire in realizing the just and comprehensive peace in the region."

That's the Jews, alright - always contradicting international law to prevent just and comprehensive peace. Since wires are integral to pan-Arab identity, wireless internet is nothing less than an attack on the Arab community, and contravenes the {various NGO charters, treaties, and agreements here}.

Maybe it's just me

Is it a bit rich for people who cut off people's heads for the perceived crimes of still other people to be kidnapping in protest of 'aggressions against personal freedoms'? Doesn't that fall near to the dear old adage of copulation for virginity?

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Islamic militants released a brief tape showing two French journalists kidnapped recently in Iraq and said they were holding the men to protest a French law banning headscarves in schools, according to footage aired Saturday by an Arab TV station.

The station, Al-Jazeera, said the group gave the French government 48 hours to overturn the law but mentioned no ultimatum.

Do they really have to mention an ultimatum? Maybe you're thinking that they're going to go all "multilateral" and, after 48 hours, issue a slightly more insistant request? For my part, I'm guessing that they're choosing the strategy that's a proven winner.

Asked if France was willing to reconsider the headscarf law, the spokesman said: "I don't think we are at that point for the moment."

Oh, you lily-livered appeasemonkey - you did not just say that.

"We must see what the claim is and how credible it is," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We are waiting to learn more."

My bad, I guess you did.

Philippe Necand, deputy chief editor at RTL radio, noted that the name of the group cited by Al-Jazeera is similar to the group that supposedly killed the Italian reporter.

"We are worried when we see what happened to the Italian," Necand told AP. "We can always hope."

Hope what, exactly? That they're kidding? That they consider the French media too loyal an ally to actually attack?

In April, 40-year-old French TV journalist Alex Jordanov was freed after four days in captivity in Iraq during which he was repeatedly interrogated by captors accusing him of being an Israeli spy.

Oh. Hope springs eternal. I actually do hope these two journalists can be recovered intact, and even breathing. However, if France caves in to make it happen, France shifts from "despised" to "irredeemably despised" in my estimation.

Speaking of proven winners

Germans become poorer, living standards drop

Poverty levels in Germany are increasing, and greater discrepancy in wealth distribution is expected in coming years, according to Data Report 2004, a survey released by the Federal Statistics Office. At the end of 2002, 11.1 percent of Germans lived in relative poverty, earning less than half of average income, against 9.4 percent a year earlier. In eastern Germany, relative poverty has doubled in the last 10 years. When it comes to living standards, Germany has also slipped into Europe's mid-field. Not surprisingly then the report also concluded that Germans were among the least satisfied people in the 15 European countries surveyed in the EU before the accession of the 10 recent entrants. The 2004 report was the 10th installment of a study first published in 1983.

Ah, the economy is almost ready; just add a 35 hour work week, don't stir, and serve at room temperature.

What contrast appears to a provincial Murkin like myself when I look at our own reporting? When our census figures even suggest an increase in poverty, whole articles full of analysis are plastered across major publications. FAZ runs a single paragraph, and the english portion of Spiegel doesn't have any article about Germany containing the word "poverty". I point this out only so that you may understand that we Murkins are uninformed, and brainwashed by our right-wing media (insert FNC reference).

Update (8-30-2004): As pointed out by reader Actus, Spiegel may not have had a fair chance to squeeze in an article on Data Report 2004's poverty revelations. Now it's official. Not only are the only articles containing "poverty" at Spiegel's English area once again about America, but a search for "Data Report 2004" comes up empty.

Stolen Honor previews

Three video clips are available for the upcoming documentary Stolen Honor, each featuring a former Vietnam POW. The first clip features eight minutes from Ralph Gaither. For the first few minutes, he discusses the war from a POW perspective, but eventually alludes to Kerry's position behind enemy lines:

We knew two years before the election that the war was going to last at least two more years. The Vietnamese, what we heard from interrogators, they were going to hold on to find out if we wouldn't elect an anti-war president. Somebody like Kerry today, to be on their side, to get us to walk out of the war. When Nixon was re-elected the whole atmosphere changed in North Vietnam. When the bombs started from the B-52's over Hanoi, it was a whole new attitude by the Vietnamese.

Overall, politically pretty mild - not the outright attack vehicle that I expected. Toward the end though, he does address Kerry directly:

Probably if you really sit down and look at it, he had a right to do with his medals whatever he wanted to. But if he's going to throw them over a wall in protest, then stand beside what you say you're going to do. And he's been backing up on it ever since. I think he should feel very lucky that I wasn't there. I would have beat the steam out of him. Maybe that's what he needs.

He doesn't mince words, and he's not a Kerry fan. Next, General Robinson Risner contributes a five minute explanation of the importance of integrity, and support for our fighting forces (just in case there are any Senators out there who still don't get it). Finally, James Warner gives us nine minutes describing first how his captors used the statements of John Kerry to brand him a war criminal ("they told us from the time they got their hands on us that we were criminals, we're not covered by the Geneva convention, so it's ok for them to do whatever they want to do to us"), and then delivering a stinging indictment of Kerry's character.

He was saying things that he knew to be false, and he knew would harm us. That means he abandoned his comrades. He burned up his "band of brothers" membership card when he did that. As I said earlier, to be charitable, at a minimum this shows abominably bad judgement. Although he did some of these things 30 years ago, he has kept the same record for 33 years. He has always opposed everything the US armed forces is called upon to do. He opposes giving them the equipment to do it. He opposes... when we fight someone, he opposes. This is relevant because he wants to be our Commander In Chief. If his judgement is bad, and consistently bad -- not shown by one or two actions as an irresponsible youth, but shown throughout his entire adult life, always showing bad judgement, always when the judgement is bad it is in favor of our enemies and against the United States -- that's why it's relevant. It's because it shows consistency in his attitudes.

Go check out the full clips - I just can't convey everything these guys have to say, but it's worth hearing. If it looks promising to you, note that sponsors of the "Stolen Honor Distribution Fund" are promised a copy of the final product.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Forget Waldo

My faith is restored

For the moment, the universe seems ok again; Dave Matthews Band gets karmic smackdown.

Earlier this week the state of Illinois whipped out a lawsuit against the Dave Matthews Band and its tour bus driver Stefan Wohl, accusing them of violating state water pollution and public nuisance laws for allegedly dumping human waste from a bus into the Chicago River onto the upper deck of a boat filled with tourists.

Every now and then it's nice to see a jackhole suffer for being a jackhole. This only says he's being sued by the state though - he's exposed to suits from the tourists too, isn't he? Jackhole.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Nazis re-invade France via America!

60 years after France liberated itself, it is under Nazi assault again! The 9th Circuit Court were my heroes - I thought they were the only good and decent people left in our government. I'm so disillusioned! They're nothing but tools of the Bushies!

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a federal judge did not have the authority to hear a case or make a decision that could affect two French human rights groups trying to ban the sale of Nazi-related items onYahoo's popular auction site.

Since when does a federal court not know that it has authority over everything!? And this is human rights, people! This illegal ruling is against the UN charter! Bush does not equal Hitler - he's the reincarnation of Hitler, and this proves it!

"Yahoo cannot expect both to benefit from the fact that its content may be viewed around the world and to be shielded from the resulting costs," Ferguson wrote in the 35-page decision. Judge Melvin Brunetti, dissented, saying because French groups specifically "targeted" Yahoo in California, U.S. courts should have jurisdiction.
"Yahoo would like the world to be covered by America's First Amendment because that would make it easier for Yahoo to do business around the world," said Jones. "But that puts Yahoo in the ironic position of trying to impose American values on the rest of the world."

And here it is - bald-faced yankee cultural imperialism! I can't believe the First Amendment isn't unconstitutional, but I guess maybe it is because republicans own the courts. We have to do EVERYTHING WE CAN in November, or Bush will use Yahoo and Google to take over the world!

Hitler committed suicide on Monday, April 30, 1945.
President Bush was born on Saturday, July 6, 1946.
432 days after Hitler's death
432 backwards is 234
432 + 234 = 666

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

So nice I ballot twice

Show me your tin foil - how many suspect that the fingerprints of the smartest woman in America are on this?

Some 46,000 New Yorkers are registered to vote in both the city and Florida, a shocking finding that exposes both states to potential abuses that could alter the outcome of elections, a Daily News investigation shows.

Registering in two places is illegal in both states, but the massive snowbird scandal goes undetected because election officials don't check rolls across state lines.

The finding is even more stunning given the pivotal role Florida played in the 2000 presidential election, when a margin there of 537 votes tipped a victory to George W. Bush.
Of the 46,000 registered in both states, 68% are Democrats, 12% are Republicans and 16% didn't claim a party.

You can take that to the bank

Via David Limbaugh -

"I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed." - John Kerry, Meet the Press, 1971

"I'm reporting for duty again." - John Kerry, Democratic National Convention, 2004

If he gets wounded three times, can we send him home?

Monday, August 23, 2004

Say it ain't so!

What?? The International Court of Justice might be a political tool, rather than a cornucopia of legal principle? Balderdash, I say! Balderdash!

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Say, how's my reality doing?

Every so often, I need to check my assumptions, presumptions, observations, and conclusions. It isn't good enough to simply have them; to just rest on them. I need to make sure they're as well-founded as I'd like. Occasional events that catch my notice and seem to fit aren't good enough; I need to test them and be sure that they're actually valid. For example, is there really a left bias in major mainstream media? I don't just mean pieces that can be interpereted as being a bit to the left, or might have actually been written a little leftish - I mean thinking so solidly grounded in leftist ideology that it's dripping with socialist presumptions.

It was the ringing of just such questions in my head this morning which eventually prompted a pilgrimmage to The Daily Worker New York Times. I give you the first random article I selected: In Germany's East, a Harvest of Silence.

LEIPZIG, Germany — In the flush of German reunification, Chancellor Helmut Kohl declared that the former East German states would be transformed into "blossoming landscapes, where it will be worth living and working."

Germany backed up its promise with one of the greatest transfers of wealth in human history: some $1.5 trillion has flowed from west to east since 1990, propping up living standards and financing epic public works projects, among them a latticework of superhighways.

But many roads lead nowhere. The landscape in eastern Germany remains barren - emptier even than during Communist times, when the planned economy supplied jobs and at least the illusion of commercial activity. Traveling through eastern Germany with a camera 15 years later offers a chance to document how tragically short a grand renovation project has fallen.

Well, it seems that all the best mumbo jumbo the capitalists could come up with has failed [shake head] and failed badly. It appears that no amount of free market witchery can offset insufficient economic planning.

Today, roughly one eastern German in five does not have a job, an unemployment rate nearly twice that for Germany as a whole. The population has dwindled by 1.6 million since 1990, to 15.1 million, as a steady stream of people, particularly young women, have gone west in search of work. The ebb tide has devastated places like Hoyerswerda, a small town that was turned into a model industrial city by the Communists.

The poor east Germans swallowed every drop of snake oil, and woe; Germany is sinking in a quagmire of liberal markets! Oh, for those heady, halcyon days of communism.

With most of its jobs gone, the town has lost nearly half of its 70,000 inhabitants. Empty apartment buildings darken the horizon like cement tombstones. Many fall to the wrecking ball, their jagged remains a hunting ground for scavengers and boys with slingshots.

Witness the suffering wrought by capitalism!

Children seem almost an endangered species, since the couples who would start families are precisely the ones who leave. Dresden, the proud but tattered capital of the state of Saxony, is closing 43 schools this summer because there are not enough kids to fill the classrooms.

Germans, worried that the languishing east threatens to hobble the entire country, have begun a national debate over what went wrong. The answer supplied recently by a blue-ribbon commission is stark: too much money spent on bricks and mortar, not enough on people.

This, the subtext breaking surface, is truly stunning pathology; you may need to read that a few times to truly appreciate it. The reason that merging a hale and hearty, vibrant West German economy with a collapsed and anemic East hasn't worked well is not that the west has adopted too much from the east (i.e., strangling the economy with wage controls) - it's because the east adopted too much of the west.

One can see the legacy of feckless investment in Saxony, once the industrial heart of East Germany. Rust-belt cities like Chemnitz, formerly Karl Marx Stadt, are full of shuttered factories. Many were bought after 1990 by western Germans, who found they could not churn out ball bearings or grinding machinery or auto parts cheaply enough to make a go of it.

These poor, poor people were snookered into all that capitalist chicanery. Alas, in the end it was nothing but smoke and mirrors.

In the wake of that futile gold rush, a more serious class of investors has come, putting up microchip factories in Dresden and automobile factories around Leipzig. Drawn as much by public subsidies as by patriotism, they nevertheless offer a reed of hope for an industrial renaissance.

But there is hope! Planned economy makes a comeback!

Eastern Germany's problems, however, will not be solved by yet another BMW plant. The real challenge is human: how to transform a society reared on Communism and addicted to handouts from Berlin into a vital region ready to compete with hungrier lands to the east.

And as we were just informed, the answer to that challenge is more social programs so nevermind the man behind the curtain and HEY - look over there!

These days, some Ossis, as eastern Germans are not so affectionately called by western Germans, rouse themselves only to protest the government's plan to scale back unemployment checks. Former state farms lie fallow because their new owners see no economic benefit to tilling the fields. Where wheat and oats once grew, weeds and wildflowers now run riot.

Helmut Kohl's promise of a blossoming landscape came true after all. But surely not as he intended.

Yes, look over here for one last, wistful glance back at the old days.

When I look back, I'll be seeing slabs of wall being laid down - warm, colorfully painted on the west, and cold, plain grey concrete on the east. I wonder what The Dawn New York Times sees?

Friday, August 20, 2004

He doth protest too much

As a new Kerry ad attacking the Swiftvets heads for the airwaves, Kerry and campaign mouthpieces are complaining that he has to spend ad money in August. They say they hadn't planned to, prefering to save it up for September-October, and isn't it just awful that they need to talk more about Kerry's war record? Call me a cynic, but are these really complaints?

Kerry yesterday suggested that the Swiftvets not only gave aid and comfort to Bush, but that they did so at Bush's behest. "If he wants to have a debate about our service in Vietnam, here is my answer: Bring it on," challenged Kerry, and I don't think the enthusiasm was feigned. If the past two weeks of the Swiftvet's case are any indication, I think that's an avenue Kerry would very much like to travel. Sound implausable? Well, what would we be talking about if we weren't talking about Kerry's war record?

For starters, we might be taking a step back to ask ourselves about the relevance of a four-month stint on a swift boat 35 years ago to the question of whether or not a man is qualified to lead our country. He is neither the only man who had responsibility in Vietnam, nor the only one who came out of it with medals - he is however the only one claiming it qualifies him to be leader of the free world. In his place, I'd rather be discussing the veracity of my record than the validity of that claim any day.

You see, if that claim weren't valid, then the discussion would need to turn to elsewhere. Someone besides the Bush campaign might notice that I'd spent a couple decades in a high legislative office, and decide that this might be more relevant to a presidential bid. In fact, some people have noticed exactly this, but they're difficult to hear over the din of attacks against the Swiftvets. That would suit me just fine.

A recent Bush ad notes Kerry's abysmal Intelligence Comittee attendance record. At a time when intelligence failures are under scrutiny, we might instead be talking about what role Kerry may have played in them. It's tough to put a positive spin on skipping a year's worth of meetings after the 1993 WTC attack against that sort of backdrop. Nope, I don't think I could do it - more war record for me, please.

Of course, if I somehow dodged those discussions, I might be compelled to get even more relevant still - I might have to divulge my Sooper-Sekrit Plan™ for America. Why would I want to talk about what I intend to do as president when everyone can argue over how I got rice grains in my ass? I mean really, look at this ass - isn't that more important than my plans for this country? Ok, I guess not, but the debates are still coming. So far Bush's only attempt to define a president Kerry is the claim that I'll raise taxes, so why should I define a president Kerry either. That takes away all-important wriggle room, and besides - Republicans haven't yet learned to critisize a plan they haven't heard.

So... how upset can Kerry actually be that we "have" to talk about his war record some more? Kerry's cadre will have to keep telling us he's heroic, and the national media has a pretext to continue ripping the Swiftvets without actually addressing most of their claims. Compared to the alternatives, that must be music to Kerry's ears. In fact, I'd like to hear tape of his statement again - he might have actually said "Bring it on, please".

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Look who's feeling froggy

Aggressive imperialist rhetoric has forced Iran to go postal.

Iran warns of preemptive strike to prevent attack on nuclear sites

DOHA (AFP) - Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani warned that Iran might launch a preemptive strike against US forces in the region to prevent an attack on its nuclear facilities.

"We will not sit (with arms folded) to wait for what others will do to us. Some military commanders in Iran are convinced that preventive operations which the Americans talk about are not their monopoly," Shamkhani told Al-Jazeera TV when asked if Iran would respond to an American attack on its nuclear facilities.

I'm not sure why, but this brings to mind images of Egypt's predident Nasser screaming "Death to the Jews! We'll throw them into the sea!" at TV cameras in 1967 (and while I'm thinking of it, thank you Nasser for inspiring great t-shirts, however inadvertantly).

Even though I have trouble taking this seriously - which could admittedly turn out to be a grave miscalculation - it does provide food for thought. Would a pre-emptive attack by Iran finish polarizing the split between the new west and the neosoviets?

Ah, those microsoft people...

Tales of ineptitude, as only mega-multi-billion dollar companies can do it.

C/Net: How eight pixels cost Microsoft millions

Personal favorite highlight:

Microsoft has also managed to upset women and entire countries. A Spanish-language version of Windows XP, destined for Latin American markets, asked users to select their gender between "not specified," "male" or "bitch," because of an unfortunate error in translation.

Localization mishaps rock.


If you've been around discussions of the Kerry/Swiftvets brouhaha, you've likely either run into citations of this "report", or at least points lifted directly from it. You might have been left wondering just where the fact checking was supposed to start - you're not alone

Those attacking the credibility of the swiftboat vets are citing a supposedly impartial, unbiased, non-partisan report on the Annenberg Foundation-supported site as evidence their claims are bogus.

What I found there is a one-sided, biased report that seems to set out with one purpose – to undermine the legitimate assertions of some 250 sincere Vietnam veterans who believe with all their hearts John Kerry is a sinister fraud unworthy of being considered as a legitimate candidate for the presidency.

If you've already read the piece, there's probably nothing here that you didn't already know. It's just nice to see that people with real jobs writing also noticed. I think a naturally resulting question would be "Is this a deviation from FactCheck's practices"? A quick search of the site suggests not.

Update: Man Kerry Rescued Calls Swift Boat Ad False: Gives Vivid Account of Rescue Under Enemy Fire
Wherein flatly ignores every contrary fact to arrive at the conclusion that Kerry's got it right. On the basis of what facts? Journals, affadavits, Freedom of Information Act requests, interviews, or books of first person accounts perhaps? No, Rassman's WSJ op-ed - a very solid basis on which to disregard the word of a couple hundred other people, it would seem.

Clarification: Kerry's Silver Star citations
The original version was "Kerry didn't get the star for shooting a kid." The new, corrected version is "Ok, we were wrong, Kerry did shoot a kid, and that reaffirms that he didn't get a star for shooting a kid." I'm not making this up.

At first glance,'s Kerry articles could only be more partisan if they could vote straight-ticket Democrat. The only check that any fact seems to undergo is whether or not it supports the desired conclusion. The lack of a DNC seal on the site appears to be an oversight.

It takes a further review of the site's handling of Kerry to find that it is indeed capable of being critical of him (as in this examination of two campaign ads), but apparently only when not given alternative targets like the Swiftvets. So - just who is fact-checking, anyway? I haven't a clue, but thanks to Joseph Farah for asking.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

And now for something completely democratic

I need to put down my snark pen for a moment to point out a recent announcement by Ali and Mohammed at Iraq the Model. These Iraqi bloggers have been writing for months about Iraq; attitudes in Iraq, the hopes and visions of everyday people in Iraq, and what they aspire to for its future. It takes reading no more than a handful of postings by either one of them (or Omar, for that matter) to recognize that they share a clarity of common vision which I think makes them exceptional voices for the Iraqi common people, and for that they've won my enduring admiration. Well, folks - they've announced candidacy for the Iraqi National Assembly.

We've been pretty focused on our own impending elections here, with ramped-up media rhetoric about what an important election this is, with growing partisanship as supposed evidence of this. Well, the single issue that I think makes this election important is how we will proceed with the prosecution of the war on terror. There is no electoral outcome in the US that will cease the flow of European bile towards us (don't kid yourself, a Kerry win would buy a couple months' abatement at best), and there is no outcome that will make wahabbist nutjobs decide they don't want to slaughter us after all. No matter who wins, our situation can really only get a bit better, or a bit worse - our country isn't going anywhere in a handbasket any time soon. Iraq's coming election is a weightier matter. More to the point, your hard-earned pennies will make much less difference to our candidates than to candidates in Iraq.

Please, stop by this page even if the only two words you'll pay attention to are "Visa" and "Mastercard" - clicking them will take you to a secure PayPal page for the Iraqi Pro-Democracy Party. The counter on that page says they have 136 days until showtime. It's my firmly held opinion that minds like these governing Iraq will not only enable Iraq to come into it's own, but further the war on terror by truly making Iraq a model for the middle east. A few bucks more in Bush or Kerry's coffers really won't influence the future of our country for better or worse - a few bucks in the right hands over there can only help Iraq start out more firmly grounded. It takes genuine courage to run for office there if you're not squarely in the favor of terrorists or the likes of al-Sadr, so support these guys please. They'll stand up if you'll stand behind them.

Now where'd I put that snark pen...

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Liberal democracy reigns

"Liberal democracy" is of course the one where if you don't like how a vote tallies, you keep doing it over until you do. It's alive and well in Germany - ZDF yanks the poll again.

And Where's bin Laden?

What a major embarassment for the Bush administration! Saudis win the War on Terror first, without bombing anybody! Did the Bush administration win yet? NO! But Saudi Arabia won without massive defecits. This prince guy sounds like he knows how to wage a sensitive war on terrorism. He's going to finish it like a real leader (any American presidents reading this should pay attention), and lead al-Qaeda back down the right path. See that? LEAD them, not BOMB them, Georgie!

Monday, August 16, 2004

Campaign contribution disclosure

Via The Truth Laid Bear, a curious bit of number-crunching from As The Truth Laid Bear points out, the disclosure rate for Kerry's contributions seems... well, a bit off. This little statistical anamoly is shared by... Wesley Clark?

I'm in danger of spending the day at

Campaign finance trivia -
Bush hasn't put in a dime of personal money.
Kerry has pitched in $6,387,965 of his own funds.

Individual contributions to the Bush campaign - $224,987,266
Individual contributions to the Kerry campaign - $171,178,534

The Bush campaign's most lucrative industry is Retired [$17,855,519]
The Kerry campaign's top industry is Lawyers/Law Firms [$13,462,288]
I guess George has more pinchable cheeks.

Bush's biggest contributing sector is Finance/Insurance/Real Estate [$28,661,952].
After "Other" [$17,802,083], Kerry gets the most from the Lawyers & Lobbyists sector [$13,982,938].

Bush's top money states are Texas, California, Florida, and New York.
Kerry's top money states are Massachusetts, California, Florida, and New York.

The total contributions of Dennis Kucinich's top 6 donors [$35,450] didn't top the 2003 per capita GDP [$37,800]. Lyndon LaRouche's top donor alone doubled it [$79,416]. Ouch.

Whatever PACs are represented as Goldman Sachs are either diverse, stunningly moderate, or hedging their bets - they've contributed substantially to George Bush's campaign [$352,875], but they've contributed nearly as much [$301,500] to Democratic campaigns (Kerry, Edwards).

What fascinates me even more though is that a company which posted $1.19 billion in net income for Q2 maintains this as a web site. I feel badly. Maybe we should take up a collection and at least buy them a second browser to check it in before calling it "done". Put away your credit cards, I've found a donor!

How to handle a tourism slump

Sometimes there just has to be more to the story. I'm pretty sure that "Come fly the condescending skies" wouldn't work as an ad campaign. Did the employee think she just wasn't having a rough enough day until they came along?

Another lost opportunity

Once again, I'll bet Poland should have kept it's mouth shut.

Arguing for a more forceful and independent Polish foreign policy, Rokita said that it was a mistake for Poland to have joined the EU at the United Nations in condemning Israel's security fence. He said Poland should have abstained in the vote.

"The current Polish government is scared of too many disputes with the EU," he said, adding that the vote was more of an "adjustment towards EU policy" and did not accurately express Poland's actual position on the issue of the fence.

Other senior Polish government officials have said that the decision to vote against the fence was made out of a desire not to fight over a foreign policy issue that was not critical to Poland during already tense relations within the EU.

Suggesting that EU decisions at the U.N. might be anything but principled selections of what is right for the situation is probably... oh, what - ungrateful, I'll warrant.

In the interview, Rokita, 45, said that Poland's entry to the EU was perceived by the French as a danger to their "monopoly over Europe."

Franceholio: "Are you threatening me??"

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Don't make me come over there

From one of David's favorite objects of scrutiny, Spiegel Online on Darfur:

For the government in Khartoum the rainy season comes at a convenient time. It wants the fewest possible foreign eyewitnesses who will be able to send back reports of starvation and genocide. These days, the international community has made the "Wild West" of this multiracial state its most important concern. Europeans, Americans, and the UN have finally roused themselves and have put pressure on the military regime of 60-year-old Islamic General Umar al-Bashir.

Ok, so we're finally acknowledging that this really is the will of those cherubic little kittens in Khartoum. That sounds like progress!

Last April, the German Federal Government succeeded in getting the UN Security Council to deal with the subject of Darfur; several cabinet members publicly criticized the violation of human rights in Darfur. Subsequently Colin Powell, Joschka Fischer, and Kofi Annan went to Sudan. Clearly the subtext of their visit was that this African country, the largest in Africa, is too important for the chaos in Darfur - a region the size of France - to be ignored.

It's a good thing they chose to deal with the subject, so that it wouldn't be ignored! Thanks to their attention... well, nothing changed. Ah, but that all important subtext was introduced. I wonder how many people that subtext prevented from being butchered, starving, or dying from cholera when they were forced off their lands. Because I wonder about things like that.

Last Monday the European Union also denounced the orgies of slaughter and expulsion. Great Britain even considered sending 5,000 troops, then decided in favor of a UN force.

The next day Sudan summoned the German and British ambassadors to protest any interference or possible intervention. Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said his country would "not submit quietly" but would "strike back." Ambassador Hans-Günter Gnodtke was told in no uncertain terms that the Germans should "moderate their hostile attitude."

Uh-oh - that almost sounds like das unilateralist cowgirls aren't respecting Sudan's sovereignty. I'm already gearing up to mournfully explain to them that "perhaps now they will understand that the world sees them as arrogant"... but maybe I'm counting my chickens a bit too soon.

The Khartoum regime at once rejected the resolution, which required that it disarm the Janjaweed whom it had up to now been half tolerating, half supporting. The UN has set a deadline of 30 days to bring peace to the region. Otherwise, short of imposing sanctions, the Security Council will decide on "measures" that would amount to the same thing. But the resolution was toned down in one important respect: There was no explicit mention of genocide - so the option of military intervention remains open.

Now they'd better watch it, or the UN will become really unhinged! They have 30 days to stop it, or else they'll be told to stop it again! Then again, since we already know that "dire consequences" means "we'll tell you again", I guess "measures" would be something less - "we'll pretend you did what we said" perhaps, because I really doubt that it means "sanctions". That could create problems for TotalFina Elf, after all.

George W. Bush, his eye on the U.S. Black vote, cannot afford to tolerate the situation in Darfur without doing something. But since another military intervention is not opportune for Washington after its costly adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. has urged the UN and the European Union to take action.

As any sufficiently indoctrinated enlightened person will know, George W. Bush naturally has an ulterior motive in Darfur, unlike altruistic Germany (the fact that Germany imports over 90% of it's oil is certainly not a factor). Spiegel's conjecture cultivated insight into black America must certainly be on target, because being as worldly and cultured as I'm assured that Germans are, it couldn't be racist presumption. Doubtless, Darfur will be the deciding issue among black American voters, as there certainly couldn't be any issue more relevant to black Americans. I may never know how Spiegel became so faultlessly familiar with the black American voter. I'm also not sure when 'black' became a proper noun, I must have missed that memo.

The Europeans, on the other hand, are ready to provide eight of the 150 observers who are to supervise the anticipated suspension of hostilities from six locations in Darfur and report any irregularities to the African Union in Addis Ababa. The AU apparently will send 360 soldiers in early August to protect the observers. These soldiers would comprise the first neutral military group in Darfur. The European Union intends to finance them to the tune of twelve million euros.

That's it, I'm sold on the multilateralist paradigm! Europe is ready to provide eight of 150 observers. I understand now, this is the proper way to project authority and resolve crisis. Yes, now I'm confident that Europe can take on responsibilities in the world, causing miscreants of every stripe to straighten up and fly right - or else they'll be reported. "Halten! Schtop dis killink, or else I vill be tellink on you!". There'd better not be any monkey business after that, or you might risk losing phone priveleges for a whole week, and no desert with your subsidy.

Russia has just sold twelve MIG-29 fighter planes to Khartoum. Renault has assured itself of a near-monopoly for buses. Korea is the principal source of automobile imports. Arab states import large quantities of meat from Sudan, and not the least of their worries is that the U.S. could topple still another Arab government, this time with help from the UN.

Ah good, no incentives for the U.N. to coddle a murderous regime then. Carry on.

But primarily it is the Sudanese oil reserves, an estimated two billion barrels, that make the country such a focus of attention. For example, China National Petrol Corporation has obtained a license to work the oilfields, among them Block 6 which extends through the south of Darfur. Last week the European-Asiatic consortium Petrodar signed a 1.4 billion euro deal.

Businesses deals like this require basically stable conditions. Joschka Fischer's unequivocal declaration that "Darfur cannot be left to its own devices" is therefore not just a hollow phrase, but a program. Escalating unrest and a government that doesn't have a grip on the situation in its own country are poison to profitable trade.

Uh-oh - this is starting to sound like unilateralist meddling with other countrys' sovereignty again... and isn't the problem that the government does have a grip on the situation? Ah, I almost missed the transition to "nuance mode"... you have to do that before you start sympathizing with Khartoum again.

Recently 50,000 Darfuri have lost their lives. In some of the refugee camps there is only one well for thousands of people. As recently as July 3rd Bashir promised the UN that he would disarm the Janjaweed within 90 days. Four thousand out of a total of 6,000 soldiers have arrived already to protect the population, Bashir said.

Do you mean "recently" as in "since April, when Germany succeeded in getting the U.N. to deal with Darfur"? I guess you do. Well, at least it looks like Bashir is serious about restoring some semblance of normalcy, stability, and decency to these people's lives - he sent 4,000 of 6,000 troops. Since it only took a month for him to do it, I guess we can rely on him to take care of things. One way or another.

I've gotta stop here or I'll never get anything done today, but I can't until I say this:

If we lived in some kind of world where we could try one path, then bring back all the dead and try another, I'd cheerfully say "Europe - do it to it. Take the lead, balls to the wall". I'd do that confident in the knowledge that if and when it all went colossally FUBAR, we could fix it and even get in an "I told you so", and hey - I probably wouldn't even be one of the ones who had to die. No skin off my nose.

We don't have a world anything like that though. In the world we have, there are thousands upon thousands of people living without shelter, in places where many have a hard time finding potable water in the midst of a rainy season, where they're as far from their homes as they've been able to get, and the rest of us have trouble finding them and getting food to them. They deal with this while trying to keep their families from being cut down by roving bands of thugs, and their government is on the thugs' side, not theirs. When they're gone, they don't come back - we have a choice as to whether we'll just let them go. I thought that choice was already made after Rwanda, but I might have been mistaken.

Talking, and stroking, and coddling, and nuancing with subtexts is all great sport, but these people don't have time for astronomically useless pantywaists to go through all that bromidic pomp. Save the sermons for when it's your own life hinging on your ideals. Moralistic castigation about diplomacy, respect, and global fraternity erases no impending consequence; when these people are gone, we're not absolved for having observed the proper international mating rituals. If we keep this crap up, we're going to talk these people to death.

When those in power visit death and misery on the masses they should be charged with leading forward, playing footsie with them has not ever resolved it for the better. What resolves it for the better is big guys with guns, and people at home who believe in them and their mission; we should be tired of learning this by now. Observe whatever you like, Europe; we need to find some cowboys.

Your electoral duty

Before I forget, David says you must vote. And he wouldn't steer you wrong, because... well, he's David. Bush is ahead at 89% to 10% - if you ever wanted to find out what trips a pulmonary embolism, consider this an experiment. Run - do not walk.

Guess who's still AWOL

Here's another story we can watch the media frantically disregard.

( - Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry has criticized President Bush's response to the 9/11 Commission report, insisting that he would do a better job of fighting the war against terror.

But according to the Republican National Committee, Kerry missed most of the public hearings when he sat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence between 1993 and 2000.

Scurrilous rumors say Paul Krugman and Molly Ivins will fight a cage match over who gets to ignore it first. Ok, yes, I did start them. Happy?

We can rest assured that he really would have reacted better to the report, because we already know he would have reacted better to 9-11. As for what a president Kerry might have done on 9-11 - well, sure, it may look like he's full of bunk when says he'd have acted immediately, but I've already cracked that nut.

Oh, but that was when he only had Senatorial Powers! If he had Presidential Super Powers, it all would have been different!

He would have leapt up, thrown down the book, and shoved the Secret Service aside as he dashed to the principal's office! Once there, he would have activated the Super-Secret Command Center that is built into every school, and been pulling levers and twisting dials before the consoles even stopped unfolding from the walls. Then, when he had personally directed every member of military and law enforcement personnel in his coordinated Super-Strategy (which would take ordinary mortals several days, but he could accomplish in mere seconds with those powers) he would have dashed into the hardened bunker disguised as a toolshed that every school also has and climbed into the mechanized rocket suit stored there!

He would have zoomed into the sky and wrestled the remaining two jets safely to the ground, gone inside and cleaned the terrorists out of both (without killing them of course, because he doesn't support the death penalty for terrorists... or does he? Whatever). THEN he would have flown around the world really fast like in Superman II to reverse time and stopped the WTC from being hit in the first place! And then he would have flown to Europe, so that he could bask in the warm glow of admiration that all Europeans would have had for America, detouring briefly to go hear the cheers of the middle east. Germans today would still wipe a small tear from their eye as they exclaim how blessed they are to be permitted to be our friends.

And this is precisely what we need a president Kerry for. Remember in November, he'll do the job. Even if it's someone else's job.

NO MORE BLOOD FOR... whatever

I've decided to embark on a path that will leave the world a better place when I'm gone. I'm going to invent an antimatter bomb that leaves a U.N.-shaped hole in reality. Anyone with experience in physics, antimatter, or bombs is welcome to help. Anyone with experience in reality is already nowhere near the U.N.

Broken record warning: U.N. OUT OF CONGO NOW!

But my most specialest ire is reserved for the collaborationist lapdogs at CNN:

(CNN) -- Armed attackers have killed up to 150 people in a raid on a refugee camp in Burundi, according to the United Nations.
"It's devastation, you can hear people wailing and screaming," said David Short, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, describing the scene in Gatumba, near the capital Bujumbura.
The United Nations has been working to stem humanitarian violations in the war-torn central African country.

On Thursday, the top U.N. envoy to Burundi Carolyn McAskie blamed the human rights abuses -- which include summary executions, torture, sexual violence and arbitrary detentions -- on both sides "for political and military gain."

Thousands of Banyamulenge refugees have fled the Democratic Republic of Congo in recent months, taking shelter in camps in Burundi run by the U.N. refugee agency.

If you read the Guardian link, do you also have this nagging sensation, like some trifling detail is missing from this account? You know, something like "The people who were slaughtered were supposed to be in the U.N.'s care, but the U.N. failed miserably to protect these people AGAIN"? Do you think that trivial item might have gotten pared out of the first draft? How do you think that decision might happen?

Maybe it just wasn't deemed important that it was the U.N.'s camp that was attacked, or maybe there's some other reason that this fact was carefully skirted around. "Skirted around" is what it is though - it's hard to claim a mistake when so significant a detail appears so obliquely 2/3 of the way through the article.

Here's a tip to the CNN copy monkey, and their editor (my treat, the first one's always free): When the Guardian is markedly less sympathetic to the U.N. than you are, your objectivity is probably due for scrutiny. It's time to put up your feet and think about it.

The REAL TRUTH About Hurricane Charley!

I wonder just how much money the Bushco's paid the media to ignore the lying Swiftvets for a minute and run these non-stop stories about Charley. This so-called "storm" is clearly the work of Karl Rove! Not only does he need to misdirect public attention away from Vietraq, but think about it - where is this weather? Flor-uh-duh! It can't be a coincidence that Bush's campaign co-chair was Secretary of State in the same place that this weather supposedly happened. The National Guard always responds to federal disasters, so clearly this "disaster" was invented to let Rumsfeld intimidate voters with their presence! Think about it - with the international third party observers, there's just no other way John Ashcroft can tamper with the voting machines! It all works in their favor! THEY'RE GOING TO STEAL FLORIDA AGAIN! WAKE UP PEOPLEEEEE!!!1

Why is that title so familiar?

Flitting hither and thither on this super-cyber-interway thing, I ran across a poet named Langston Hughes. This American communist had French-sounding ideals, but for some reason I keep thinking of Vietnam... not sure why. Might I have heard this title from someone else lately?

Saturday, August 14, 2004

It's been real

At the risk of appearing to display exhuberance in undue excess, YYYYEEEEEESSSSSSSS!

President Bush will announce Monday that he plans to pull 70,000 to 100,000 troops out of Europe and Asia in the first major reconfiguration of overseas military deployments by the United States since the Cold War ended, White House officials said yesterday.

Bush, who will reveal his plan in a speech to the annual convention of the 2.6 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars in Cincinnati, plans to say that the change is necessary to adapt the nation's military to the demands of the global war on terrorism and to take advantage of new technologies, said a senior aide involved in developing the plan.

The only thing wrong with this plan is that it wasn't enacted in Bush 41's term. Bring 70,000 US paychecks back from Germany? I like it. Pull 160,000 Americans out of that festering swamp of bigotry? I'm behind that, too. Take the support money for these fine folks (that Germany refused to continue protecting after begging that they be kept there), and channel it into something more productive and -- dare I say -- domestic? Right on, brother - I feel the fervor upon me! The Soviet threat is history, and the neosoviet threat shouldn't need our troops; it's long past time to bring 'em all back home. I'll be busy rounding up red carpets.

But then - to not stop there and bring our guys off the DMZ too? Man! That's like ordering a sundae and getting free hot fudge! After South Korea, whose native traffic fatality rates suggest that it may embrace Death Race 2000 as a national sport, erupted in protests over the accidental deaths of two children hit by a U.S. tank, I thought it was high time that all concerned re-thought our position in Korea. As we pull our 37,000 man "speed bump" out of South Korea, we should also remove the millions of land mines we've placed in the DMZ, eliciting much disapproval, just as quickly as possible. It's only the decent thing to do, right? (hey, Morocco - is that offer still open?) Besides the overwhelming outpouring of international affection that I'm positive this will generate (predictable by years of strident international reproach), gleeful South Koreans liberated from the oppressive presence of U.S. troops and hardware will be able to contemplate the unimpeded path from Kaesong to Seoul in peace. Right? Right??

Sometimes the best way to bring people around is to give them exactly what they want. Auf Wiedersehen, hasta luega, au revoir, sayonara, 안녕, and seeyalatagoobye.

My only question is: will Bush try to count these as offshore jobs that he brought home?