Right Thinking From The Left Coast
I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them - Isaac Asimov

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Ding Dong Kyoto’s Dead
by Lee

Following up on this post, it looks like Russia has officially decided not to ratify the treaty.  The world’s socialists, environmentalist lunatics, and America-haters are all gathering and praying that it isn’t so.

Russia, whose vote will decide the fate of the landmark Kyoto environmental pact, will not ratify it because doing so would threaten its economic growth, Kremlin economic adviser Andrei Illarionov said Tuesday.

But a U.N. official said Illarionov’s views were not an official rejection of the treaty, and environmentalists said Russia’s industrial output had fallen so far that pollution limits set by the pact would have no impact on its recovery.

“In its current form, this protocol cannot be ratified,” Illarionov, who advises President Vladimir Putin on economic issues, told reporters.

The treaty aims to cut emissions of the gases responsible for global warming. Countries responsible for 55 percent of emissions must ratify the pact for it to come into force but Washington has pulled out, leaving Russia with the casting vote.

“The Kyoto protocol places significant limitations on the economic growth of Russia,” Illarionov said after a meeting between Putin and European businessmen.

But the United Nations, which has gathered ministers and experts from around the world at a conference in Milan to discuss climate change, said the comments did not amount to an official rejection.

“This is a senior adviser to the president, it is not a formal rejection like we saw with America,” said Michael Williams, a U.N. climate talks spokesman. “We remain optimistic that...Russia will ratify.”

Sorry, junk science kooks and Watermelon Party extremists!  You’re just going to have to sit back, watch the US and Russia belch out greenhouse gasses, and notice in 20 or 30 years that all your global-disaster predictions have failed to come true.

Update: Not so fast, says Jean Chretien.

The Kyoto environmental accord is in jeopardy according to a senior adviser in the Russian government, but not according to Prime Minister Jean Chrtien.

Chrtien said Putin had told him he intended to sign the accord.

“I’m practically convinced the Russians will sign the accord,” Chretien told reporters on Tuesday.

Putin is not a stupid man.  He’s not going to hamstring the Russian economy before it even has a chance to take off.

Posted by Lee on 12/02/03 at 04:26 PM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Fiddling While Rome Catches AIDS
by Lee

This is the inevitable end result of the sexual liberation of the 1960s.

[Washington D.C.] health officials, who every day confront the nation’s highest incidence of AIDS, will soon install plain white condom dispensers in select government offices and begin distributing the contraceptives for free.

The goal is to place more than 50 dispensers in offices frequented by the public, including the D.C. Housing Authority and the departments of human services, motor vehicles and public works, among others.

“They’re going to be as common as water fountains,” Ivan O. Torres, interim director of the city’s HIV/AIDS Administration, said of the dispensers. “The mayor is committed to this. . . . This is no longer something to be ashamed of. It affects all of us.”

City officials, who announced the measure on World AIDS Day yesterday, said they know of no other city or state that has distributed prophylactics so broadly from within government buildings.

The condoms are intended for the public and not for city workers, Torres said. They will not be displayed prominently in lobbies but they will be readily available.

The problem here is the total lack of any sort of fundamental morality, compounded by the “if it feels good, do it” mentality that pervades liberal thought.  Look, I’m not a prude by any means, but the problem here is caused by people sticking their dicks in any available hole, not the lack of the availability of condoms.  You know how the liberals always whine about how we need to attack the “root causes” of crime, or the “root causes” of terrorism?  Well, they won’t dare look for the root causes of AIDS transmission, because the root cause is liberalism itself.

Posted by Lee on 12/02/03 at 03:09 PM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Lights! Camera! Iraqtion!
by Lee

I wonder how this is going to turn out.

Art school dropout Odai Rasheed is directing Iraq’s first feature-length movie in more than a decade with film he “liberated” from Saddam Hussein’s culture ministry after the dictator’s fall.

The subject: the fateful spring days when the Americans invaded and the regime collapsed. It’s a time of shame felt by Baghdadis over the looting of the city and joy mixed with pain from being liberated and occupied at once.

“Where is Baghdad in the midst of this real-life nightmare and dream at the same time?” Rasheed, 30, muses in an introduction to the film. “What is it like for the city’s streets to feel pain under the weight of the tanks?”

The film reels that Rasheed and his friends found in the ministry’s storeroom were past their expiration date. Hence the film’s name, “Gheir Saleh,” or “Under Exposure.”

“Gheir Saleh” explores the idea of death through the lives of three friends—Hassan, a movie director; Moataz, a cello player dying of cancer; and Maysoun, a postgraduate archaeology student with whom both men are in love—in the days immediately after Saddam’s ouster.

“What’s Baghdad like today?” Moataz asks Hassan in one scene. “Horror, Baghdad is not Baghdad anymore,” Hassan replies. “There is pain in every meter you walk. The freedom we wanted for years came, but it’s mired in blood and dirt.”

This could go two ways.  It could be a stark, honest dramatization of what it is like to live under a brutal dictatorial regime, followed by a bombing campaign, and subsequent occupation.  These are situations that the vast majority of people in the west have no experience with, and I think that this film could be an interesting exploration of these issues—the joy at finally being free coupled with the shame of knowing you couldn’t (or wouldn’t) do it yourself.  I just hope that it doesn’t turn into a blatantly anti-American screed, designed to impress and play to the Hollywood left, because the only reason this guy is able to make this film in the first place is because of American and allied blood.

Posted by Lee on 12/02/03 at 11:05 AM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Let There Be Light
by Lee

Sorry about the light posting this morning.  I have to take the Deathmobile into the shop at 8:30.

Posted by Lee on 12/02/03 at 10:56 AM in Etcetera  • (2) TrackbacksPermalink

One Good Thing
by Lee

After my crappy day with my near death experience in the car, I had one good thing happen.  I called my mom today, and my brother happened to be over at her house, and he answered the phone.  He asked me if I had bought my ticket home for Christmas yet, and I said no.  He travels internationally for work, and has about a zillion air miles on every major airline.  He said that he had 48,000 miles on United that he had to use by January 1 or he was going to lose them, and asked if I wanted him to get me a ticket.  Of course I said yes.  So, not only did he get me the ticket, but he had enough miles to get me first class both ways.

Sweet.  I had to pay a $10 processing fee.  Not a bad price for two first class tickets. :)

Posted by Lee on 12/02/03 at 01:40 AM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Monday, December 01, 2003

Is It Stealing?
by Lee

We’ve had numerous discussions on this site regarding the downloading of MP3 files.  Many people do not regard it as theft, while I most certainly do.  So I’m quite curious to find out what those of you who justify song-swapping think about this.

The World Health Organisation yesterday predicted that Aids drug prices will drop to levels once thought impossibly low, as it rolled out its new strategy to get treatment to three million in the developing world by 2005.

The cost of Aids treatment in affluent countries where pharmaceutical companies have patents on their medicines is more than $10,000 (5,800) a year.

Copies made by generics companies in India where the same patent rules do not apply are now being sold to African nations for around $300 a year. Launching the WHO plan in Nairobi, assistant secretary-general Jack Chow said: “We expect it to fall to less than half of that by the end of 2005. That is about a dollar a day at present, falling to 50 cents a day or less. In a world that spends billions of dollars on cosmetics, it is not a great deal of money.” . . .

The prices of Aids drugs have tumbled, thanks to grassroots activists in South Africa and elsewhere demanding drugs to keep people with HIV alive. The pharmaceutical companies came under pressure to drop prices and stop trying to block the generics companies from, as they see it, stealing their inventions and making cheaper copies. [Emphasis added]

So, to recap, American pharmaceutical corporations spend millions of dollars to develop a drug.  Indian pharmaceutical companies, which have different rules covering the production of generics, take the formula and reproduce it, completely eliminating the ability of the American company to reap profit from its investment.  Is this stealing, or is this simply yet another example of IP law gone wrong?  If you should be able to legally redistribute unlimited copies of a song you happened to purchase, why should India not be able to take the work product of an American company and make unlimited copies of it?  And what will the long-term effects on AIDS drugs be?  Should US companies be expected to pour R&D money into developing new drugs, knowing full well that India is going to turn around and steal their IP?

Update: Here’s another wrinkle for the discussion.  Pirate copies of Microsoft’s new operating system, Longhorn, are available for sale on the streets of Malaysia.  (Knowing China as I do, I’ll be willing to bet it’s all over Shanghai, too.) Now, does Microsoft have a right to their IP?  These are obviously developer CDs, given out at MS’s last developer conference.  So, since MS gave the OS to users, does this give the users the right to freely redistribute the software, even though it violates the terms and conditions agreed to as a prerequisite of the exchange?

Posted by Lee on 12/01/03 at 11:20 PM in Deep Thoughts  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Here We Go!
by Lee

We all knew this was going to happen, I’m just surprised it happened so quickly.

A lawyer for a Utah man with five wives argued Monday that his bigamy convictions should be thrown out following a Supreme Court decision decriminalizing gay sex.

The nation’s high court in June struck down a Texas sodomy law, ruling that what gay men and women do in the privacy of their homes is no business of government.

It’s no different for polygamists, argued Tom Green’s attorney, John Bucher, to the Utah Supreme Court.

“It doesn’t bother anyone, (and with) no compelling state interest in what you do in your own home with consenting adults, you should be allowed to do so,” Bucher said.

The gay marriage issue is going to get ugly before it’s resolved, specifically because of potential side-effects like this.

Posted by Lee on 12/01/03 at 10:37 PM in Decline of Western Civilization  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Bang Bang at the UN
by Lee

There’s weirdness afoot at the United Nations.

A body was found inside United Nations headquarters on Monday, a U.N. spokesman said. U.N. security and the New York police department are investigating the matter.

The U.N. spokesman said the person had been shot, and that the body was discovered inside the building’s third-floor lounge at about 11:30 a.m. He declined to give any details on the deceased person pending notification of the family.

The spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the world body considered the shooting an “isolated incident.’’

Please allow me to remind you, gentle reader, of the piece of art that sits outside the UN building in New York.

I would also ask you to take a look at this post.  It seems that guns are bad, unless they’re being used to protect Kofi Annan.  Or kill anonymous people inside the UN building, it would seem.

Posted by Lee on 12/01/03 at 04:24 PM in 2nd Amendment  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Near Death Experience
by Lee

So I’m driving home for lunch as I do every day.  It’s raining, cold, and wet here today.  I’m driving along at the speed limit when all of a sudden my car lurches forward.  My cruise control decided to engage even though it was turned off.  I popped the car in neutral and coasted to the shoulder.  The engine was revving like crazy, as was my heart, which was about 240 bpm.  I turned the car off, waited a few seconds, and turned it back on again.  Everything seemed fine, so I continued home.  As I pulled into my apartment I felt the cruise control kick in again.  So I won’t be going back to work, I’ll be taking the damn car into the shop.

Just what I wanted to piss away $1,000 on right before Christmas.  Fuck.

Posted by Lee on 12/01/03 at 03:42 PM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Marching for Evil
by Lee

Gee, guess what?  The British anti-war movement is dominated by communists and socialists.

The peace movement could be destroyed by the takeover of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Stop the War coalition by Trotskyist groups and the Communist party, according to allegations circulated by a leading campaigner.

The claims have been made by Jimmy Barnes, the veteran leftwing secretary of the trade union CND movement. He has warned in a paper sent to the campaign’s national council and the trade union CND executive that “CND itself is now a small divided group with little future, unless there is a change”.

Mr Barnes claims the Communist party and Socialist Action sought control of CND in order to use the campaign as a base from which to exert influence over the Stop the War coalition, the loose body which organised the massive protests against the war in Iraq. Mr Barnes asserts the coalition is increasingly dominated by another Trotskyist group, the Socialist Workers party.

Referring to the last CND conference, he claimed “the antagonism we saw at the conference is derivative of the aggressive and sectarian behaviour of those involved in the Stop the War coalition who strove hard to control and dominate the anti-war protest movement”.

He claims CND officer positions are “now dominated by people associated with these two political groups, although in practice the groups act as one”. The new leadership were so polarised from the membership that the campaign could no longer function as a forum for debate.

He claims both CND and the Stop the War movement believe the political opposition to the Iraq war is “generalisable into a political reaction against the New Labour project overall”. Mr Barnes partially agrees with that position, but warns that the million plus anti-Iraq war marchers “have not been asked about this alternative political project and are unlikely to feel much affinity for it”.

He also alleges that some in the Stop the War coalition have compromised on issues such as gay rights and even anti-semitism to retain the support of some British Muslims.

What?  You mean leftists are willing to compromise with thugs, tyrants, and dictators in order to do anything to see the west lose?  I’m shocked, I tell you, shocked! Leftist anti-semites?  Perish the thought.

Seriously, this comes as a surprise to no right-thinking person.  I refer you to Frederick Forsyth’s excellent letter of a couple of weeks ago.

The British left intermittently erupts like a pustule upon the buttock of a rather good country. Seventy years ago it opposed mobilisation against Adolf Hitler and worshipped the other genocide, Josef Stalin.

It has marched for Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Khrushchev, Brezhnev and Andropov. It has slobbered over Ceausescu and Mugabe. It has demonstrated against everything and everyone American for a century. Broadly speaking, it hates your country first, mine second.

And now it can march for Osama and Saddam.  How proud they must be.

Posted by Lee on 12/01/03 at 01:07 PM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (2) TrackbacksPermalink

King Missile
by Lee

This is alternately humorous and horrifying.

It was Saddam Hussein’s last weapons deal—and it did not go exactly as he and his generals imagined.

For two years before the American invasion of Iraq, Saddam’s sons, generals and front companies were engaged in lengthy negotiations with North Korea, according to computer files discovered by international inspectors and the accounts of Bush administration officials. The officials now say they believe that those negotiations—mostly conducted in neighboring Syria, apparently with the knowledge of the Syrian government—were not merely to buy a few North Korean missiles.

Instead, the goal was to obtain a full production line to manufacture, under an Iraqi flag, the North Korean missile system, which would be capable of hitting American allies and bases around the region, according to the Bush administration officials.

As war with the United States approached, though, the Iraqi files show that Saddam discovered what American officials say they have known for nearly a decade now: that Kim Jong Il, the North Korean leader, is less than a fully reliable negotiating partner.

In return for a $10 million down payment, Saddam appears to have gotten nothing.

So while it is kind of funny that Saddam got screwed by Lil’ Kim, it shows that he wasn’t playing around about building up his weapons systems.  Should we have waited until he had a whole fleet of missiles, armed and ready to go, to justify an “imminent” threat?  You be the judge.

Posted by Lee on 12/01/03 at 10:45 AM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

It’s About Time
by Lee

Bush has seen the light.

The Bush administration has decided to repeal most of its 20-month-old tariffs on imported steel to head off a trade war that would have included foreign retaliation against products exported from politically crucial states, administration and industry sources said yesterday.

The officials would not say when President Bush will announce the decision but said it is likely to be this week. The officials said they had to allow for the possibility that he would make some change in the plan, but a source close to the White House said it was “all but set in stone.”

European countries had vowed to respond to the tariffs, which were ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization, by imposing sanctions on up to &dol;2.2 billion in exports from the United States, beginning as soon as Dec. 15. Japan issued a similar threat Wednesday. The sources said Bush’s aides concluded they could not run the risk that the European Union would carry out its threat to impose sanctions on orange juice and other citrus products from Florida, motorcycles, farm machinery, textiles, shoes, and other products.

Bush advisers said they were aware the reversal could produce a backlash against him in several steel-producing states of the Rust Belt—including Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. That arc of states has been hit severely by losses in manufacturing jobs and will be among the most closely contested in his reelection race.

The sources said that Bush’s aides agonized over the options to present to the president and that they considered it one of the diciest political calculations of this term. A source involved in the negotiations said White House aides looked for some step short of a full repeal that would satisfy the European Union but concluded that it was “technically possible but practically impossible.”

I will refer you to my comments from a few months ago.

Honestly, I think Bush could score a lot of points with his core constituence (i.e. people like me) if he got up there and said, “Look. At the time we enacted these tariffs they sounded like a good way to help protect the American steel industry, but things simply haven’t worked out that way. We’ve actually hurt the economy by causing jobs in other areas to be lost, industries that depend on steel. And these tariffs haven’t gone over well with the rest of the world, either. The World Trade Organization has found these tariffs to be in violation of international agreements. So, I’ve decided to rescind the tariffs. When you look at the balance sheet the costs to keeping them in place are greater than the benefits, and keeping them in place simply isn’t good for the country.”

Be sure and check out this post, too.

Posted by Lee on 12/01/03 at 10:37 AM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Nuclear Black Market II
by Lee

A couple of weeks ago I blogged on attempts by individuals to sell components for a “dirty bomb” to terrorists.  Well, here’s another example.

Inside Makeria’s boxes were two capsules of highly radioactive metals—strontium and cesium—of a type that terrorism experts say can be used in a dirty bomb, a device that spews radiation but does not trigger a nuclear explosion. A third container held a vial of brown liquid that Georgian police identified as the substance used in mustard gas, one of the earliest chemical weapons. Only later did police learn Makeria’s role in the affair. He was a courier for criminals trading in components and materials for weapons of mass destruction.

In a scheme still not fully understood, the boxes were delivered to Makeria by another Georgian, a man with a history of drug offenses. Makeria’s job was to carry the boxes by train from Tbilisi to Adzharia province, a troubled enclave on Georgia’s southwestern frontier. From there, police believe, they were to be transported by other couriers across the border into Turkey or perhaps even Iran, for delivery to an expectant customer. The buyer’s identity remains unknown.

What is certain is that the Georgians who sought to profit from selling components of a dirty bomb are far from unique.

There have been dozens of cases of trafficking in radiological materials over the past three years, along with what some weapons experts describe as a disturbing new trend. While most sellers of such materials have traditionally been amateurs—opportunists and lone actors in search of easy profits—authorities are now seeing a surge of interest among criminal groups. In a string of incidents from the Caucasus and Eastern Europe to West Africa and South America, gangs have stalked and stolen radiological devices to sell for profit or to use in crimes ranging from extortion to murder.

It’s going to happen, folks.  And those setting it off will feel emboldened by doing so, so much so that they will pursue a full scale nuke.  I figure I’ve got 40-60 years left on this planet, and I am positively convinced that I’ll see that full nuke detonation in a major western city sometime before I kick the bucket.  The dirty bomb will probably happen in the next year or two, if not sooner.

Posted by Lee on 12/01/03 at 03:18 AM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Use Your Delusion
by Lee

Earlier today I blogged on how liberal activism (or more specifically, its motivations) meet the standard to be called a delusional disorder.  And now, proving my point, we get this tale through Drudge, proving to the world why he rules.

Top Hollywood activists and intellectuals are planning to gather this week in Beverly Hills for an event billed as “Hate Bush,’ the DRUDGE REPORT has learned!

Laurie David [wife of SEINFELD creator Larry David] has sent out invites to the planned Tuesday evening meeting at the Hilton with the bold heading: “Hate Bush 12/2 - Event”

The message reads:

“This is the most important meeting you can attend to prevent the advancement of the current extremist right wing agenda. Do not miss this meeting. This will be a high-level briefing to discuss the strategies… to affect what happens next November.”

Political heavies Harold Ickes, Former Deputy White House Chief of Staff and Campaign Manager for the 96 Clinton/Gore re-elect, and Ellen Malcolm, Founder of Emily’s List, a political action committee that elects pro-choice, Democratic women, will chair the gathering.

Names included on the “HATE BUSH” invite, obtained by DRUDGE, include:

Go to the site to read the names.  Nobody of any real great import is there, which makes this all the more pathetic. 

The characteristic common to all delusional orders is “the view that the world is a hostile place, filled with persecutors and conspirators, a world where the writer holds a special place as victim, savior, or both.” Once again, this fits this Hollywood Asshat pow-wow.  They view the world as a hostile place, that Bush is the one making it so, and thus they must use their (minor) celebrity to overcome the shackles of their Ashcroft victimhood and become the saviors of America by doing all they can to oust Bush, thus achieving the exaltation of mere lesser liberals. 

Like a glove, my friends.

Posted by Lee on 12/01/03 at 02:39 AM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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