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

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Steve Austin’s Boss
by Lee

I figured I’d make a post for people to live-blog the Oscars.  Comment away!  Or, if you feel like starting up an AOL or Yahoo chat, go ahead and post the details here. 

Michael Moore is, apparently, one of the presenters.  It will be interesting to see if he spews as vitriolic a speech as he did last year, or if he tones it down.  Having no class whatsoever, I don’t see Moore toning down anything.

Also look for political speeches from the usual hate-America crowd:  Sarandon, Robbins, Penn, etc.

Update: Okay, I have to give credit to Michael Moore for making fun of himself in the opening segment, and allowing himself to be crushed by one of the giant elephant creatures from Return of the King.

Posted by Lee on 02/29/04 at 08:24 PM in Life & Culture  • (12) TrackbacksPermalink

Teach Your Children Well
by Lee

When out good friends the French aren’t out beating Jews or burning synagogues they’re teaching their children about America.

In January, a cartoon festival was held in the town of Carquefou, just outside of Nantes in the northwest corner of France. Students of all ages competed in a contest to illustrate their vision of the United States. They drew obese Americans devouring Coca-Cola and McDonald’s hamburgers. They drew the Statue of Liberty with fangs or in chains or being run over by a wicked Uncle Sam on a motorcycle. And they drew George W. Bush: Bush riding a tank to war; Bush taking over the world; Bush as a liar; Bush as a monster.

There were a few lighthearted drawings of Hollywood and Las Vegas and fast food (hamburgers, always hamburgers) but, predominantly, from ages 8 to 18, the French students sketched images of a fierce and fearsome country. One cartoon summed up American villainy with a series of three hands. The first was a fist representing Stalin’s Russia. The second was a saluting palm, representing Hitler’s Germany. The third was another fist clutching a cross, representing Bush’s America.

Stalin, Hitler and Bush—one French student’s axis of evil. ...

Should we really expect anything less from a country where Bowling for Columbine is part of the official elementary school curriculum?

At one point, as we stood onstage getting our pictures taken with yet another student being awarded a prize for yet another anti-American image, I turned to Benson and said I felt like one of the Dixie Chicks, the all-girl country singers who got heat in the heartland for denouncing their president at a concert in Europe. We realized it was one thing for us to point out our country’s flaws in our daily cartoons and [quite another to see our homeland portrayed in such brutal imagery by French schoolkids echoing what they hear from their parents and teachers and see in the media.  [Emphasis added]

And true American patriots like Michael Moore, who travels the world fomenting just these types of paranoid, brutal charicatures, making millions and millions of dollars for himself by giving Europeans justification for their hatred of this country.

Posted by Lee on 02/29/04 at 04:12 PM in Europe and the UK  • (3) TrackbacksPermalink

French Integrity
by Lee

The French, taking a brave stand against anti-semitism.

French cinema chains are refusing to distribute or screen Mel Gibson’s controversial film “The Passion of the Christ” because of fears it will spark a new outbreak of anti-Semitism.

France is the only European country where there is still no distribution deal for the film, which depicts the last days of Jesus Christ in graphic detail and is accused by critics of stoking anti-Jewish sentiment.

The film was released in America last week, but French distributors are wary of its impact on audiences and want to gauge its reception elsewhere in Europe, where it is due to open next month.

“We don’t want to be on the side of those who support such anti-Semitism,” a veteran film industry figure said. “When we distributed ‘It’s a Beautiful Life’ by [Roberto] Benigni, we were worried about the risk of making a comedy about the Holocaust, but that was different. There’s enough anti-Semitic stuff circulating here already without us throwing oil on the fire.”

The debate over the film is highly sensitive in France, where a spate of firebombings of synagogues and Jewish schools and attacks on rabbis over the last year has led Israel to denounce it as the most anti-Semitic country in Europe.

Of all the steps France could be taking to combat the rampant Jew-hating going on there, this is the best they could do?  Simply pathetic, and all-too-typical of what I’ve come to expect from them.

Posted by Lee on 02/29/04 at 01:31 PM in Europe and the UK  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

War: What is it Good For?
by Lee

Well, well, well.  You remember all the wailing we heard from the left about how sanctions against the United Nations had killed 500,000 Iraqi children by starvation, denial of medicine, and denial of clean water?  Well it seems that—are you sitting down?—that Saddam Himself was taking the oil-for-food money for himself!  Yes, I know you’re as stunned as I am, but it really looks like Saddam had set up quite a detailed system to pilfer all the proceeds for his own uses, none of which benefitted the people of Iraq.  The New York Times provides a detailed article.  Here is just a taste, be sure and read the whole thing.

n its final years in power, Saddam Hussein’s government systematically extracted billions of dollars in kickbacks from companies doing business with Iraq, funneling most of the illicit funds through a network of foreign bank accounts in violation of United Nations sanctions.

Millions of Iraqis were struggling to survive on rations of food and medicine. Yet the government’s hidden slush funds were being fed by suppliers and oil traders from around the world who sometimes lugged suitcases full of cash to ministry offices, said Iraqi officials who supervised the skimming operation.

The officials’ accounts were enhanced by a trove of internal Iraqi government documents and financial records provided to The New York Times by members of the Iraqi Governing Council. Among the papers was secret correspondence from Mr. Hussein’s top lieutenants setting up a formal mechanism to siphon cash from Iraq’s business deals, an arrangement that went unnoticed by United Nations monitors.

Under a United Nations program begun in 1997, Iraq was permitted to sell its oil only to buy food and other relief goods. The kickback order went out from Mr. Hussein’s inner circle three years later, when limits on the amount of oil sales were lifted and Iraq’s oil revenues reached $10 billion a year.

In an Aug. 3, 2000, letter marked “urgent and confidential,” the Iraqi vice president, Taha Yassin Ramadan, informed government ministers that a high-command committee wanted “extra revenues” from the oil-for-food program. To that end, he wrote, all suppliers must be told to inflate their contracts “by the biggest percentage possible” and secretly transfer those amounts to Iraq’s bank accounts in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.

“Please acknowledge and certify that this is executed in an accurate and clear way, and under supervision of the specified minister,” Mr. Ramadan wrote.

So, what have we learned from this?  That the United Nations is an utterly inpet, morally bankrupt organization that did nothing more than ensure the prolonged survival of the Hussein regime, and that the people of Iraq were suffering as a result.  Now the people of Iraq are free, and have a better chance to create some kind of nominal democracy free from the totalitarian thugs who permeate the region.  And you can thank the people who got the job done, the United States, Great Britain, Australia, and all the other nations who had the right stuff when it was needed.  You can also point fingers at the United Nations, whose answer to a dictatorial thug starving his own people was to work ever so hard to keep him and his oppressive regime in power. 

What does war solve?  Ask the Iraqis.

Posted by Lee on 02/29/04 at 03:39 AM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Apples and Bums
by Lee

Apple has opened a store in San Francisco, and has posted a nice photo gallery to show it off.  Note that none of the external shots feature any of San Francisco’s multitude of homeless vermin, who will undoubtedly begin to take up residence right outside the store to beg for change from those who make enough money to afford a computer.  The bums are a major blight on what is otherwise one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  You cannot visit the Sony Metreon to see a movie without being accosted by at least five filthy, disgusting, disease-riven winos begging you to support their lifestyle, and the Apple store will turn out to be exactly the same.  Wherever there are people with money there will be disgusting human parasites to feed off them, and in San Francisco there are armies of lawyers and activists willing to fight to allow them to do it.

Posted by Lee on 02/29/04 at 03:26 AM in Cullyforneah  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Reflections on Little Rock
by Lee

Andrew Sullivan has lost his mind.  Take a look at his Quote of the Day for today.

“The right to marry whoever one wishes is an elementary human right compared to which ‘the right to attend an integrated school, the right to sit where one pleases on a bus, the right to go into any hotel or recreation area or place of amusement, regardless of one’s skin or color or race’ are minor indeed. Even political rights, like the right to vote, and nearly all other rights enumerated in the Constitution, are secondary to the inalienable human rights to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence; and to this category the right to home and marriage unquestionably belongs.” - Hannah Arendt, Dissent, Winter 1959.

Let’s not forget that Sullivan has a PhD from Harvard, so he’s not a stupid man by any means.  But he’s so blinded by the marriage issue that he posts quotes like this, which are taken completely out of context, and doesn’t see just how detrimental it is to his own positions.  As anyone who has read my two recent posts on the subject can tell you (see here and here) I am fundamentally in agreement with Sullivan’s positions, and it is largely due to arguments he has put forth.  But I simply don’t agree with the “fundamental right” argument being put forth by proponents of gay marriage, just like I don’t agree with the “sanctity of marriage” argument being used by its opponents. 

I was intrigued by this quote of Arendts and wanted to read the context in which it was written, and found that information here.  I think it is enlightening, especially in light of the point Sullivan is trying to make.

A final example comes from a pioneer of interracial studies, J. A. Rogers, in whose 1917 novel, From ‘‘Superman’’ to Man, the Negro Pullman porter Dixon combines the kinds of arguments advanced by Beaumont and Garrison and memorably pronounces that the ‘‘right to select one’s mate is one of the most ancient, most sacred of individual rights, and when the state interferes in this, except in the case of the mentally unfit, it but adds humor to the witticism—‘This is a free country’ ’’ (Rogers 1988:80). This character in Rogers’s little-known 1917 novel anticipates Hannah Arendt’s 1959 argument as well as Justice Warren’s 1967 Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Commonwealth of Virginia, both of which are included in this book.  It is telling that the German-Jewish refugee Arendt prefaced her ‘‘Reflections on Little Rock’’ with the comment, ‘‘Like most people of European origin I have difficulty in understanding, let alone sharing, the common prejudices of Americans in this area.’’ In her essay she firmly insisted:

The right to marry whoever one wishes is an elementary human right compared to which ‘‘the right to attend an integrated school, the right to sit where one pleases on a bus, the right to go into any hotel or recreation area or place of amusement, regardless of one’s skin or color or race’’ are minor indeed. (p. 496, this volume.)

That essay was so controversial in 1959 that Commentary, which had commissioned it, refused to publish it, and when it finally did appear in Dissent, it was accompanied by an editorial disclaimer and two sharp rebuttals, one of which called Arendt an ‘‘ardent champion’’ of intermarriage; in the subsequent issue of Dissent, Sidney Hook wrote that Arendt gave ‘‘priority to agitation for equality in the bedroom rather than to equality in education.’’ Yet eight years later Chief Justice Warren virtually adopted Arendt’s (or shall we say, Rogers’s porter Dixon’s?) arguments when, in ending the era of ‘‘miscegenation’’ laws, he stated: ‘‘Marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man, fundamental to our very existence and survival. . . . Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry or not to marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed upon by the State.’’ Just as laws shaped and gave themes to literature, literature may also have affected the realm of the law.

The context in which she was writing were laws banning interracial marriage.  This was the case before the Supreme Court in Loving vs. Virginia which described the right to marry the person of one’s choosing as a fundamental right.  There is one main area, however, that I think applying this argument and this case to the gay marriage debate is flawed.

Throughout history there have been interracial marriages, but they have been between a man and a woman who happened to be of a different race.  There have been attempts throughout the years to ban certain types of marriage, such as these types of laws here in the United States.  Sullivan himself links to a latter to the WaPo reminding readers of a proposed amendment from 1912:  “Intermarriage between negros or persons of color and Caucasians . . . within the United States . . . is forever prohibited.” The distinction here, though, is that this did not seek to redefine what a marriage was, it simply tried to legislate away certain types of marriage.  The only reason that the Loving decision is not more specific in its definition of marriage is, I feel, because the idea of two men or two women wanting to be legally wed was so utterly preposterous at the time that even a dedicated liberal activist like Earl Warren couldn’t have conceived of it.  So while he discussed marriaqge as a fundamental right, it was still well within the traditional context of marriage being between a man and woman who are not cosanguinous. 

If the right to marry whoever you want, without condition, is granted as a “fundamental human right,” then I do believe that the worst fears of gay marriage’s conservative critics will come true, and incestuous and polyamorous marriages will have to be permitted under than definition.  After all, being able to choose your marriage partner is a fundamental right, isn’t it?  By allowing one redefinition of marriage under the rubric of human rights you must therefore, in the name of human rights, allow all redefinitions.  That’s the way the system works.

What Sullivan should be doing more of is trying to convence others why the redefinition of marriage to include gay couples is a good idea.  By trying to play these types of semantic word games he is, I feel, weaking his argument, and I’m someone who has had his beliefs on this issue changed largely by Sullivans arguments in the past.  Just like the “sanctity of marriage” argument, I think that this is very, very weak.  I expect better.

Posted by Lee on 02/29/04 at 12:39 AM in Decline of Western Civilization  • (2) TrackbacksPermalink

Explosion on the High Seas
by Lee

There’s been a huge explosion on an ethanol tanker.

A tanker carrying 3.5 million gallons of industrial ethanol exploded and sank about 50 miles off the Virginia coast Saturday, the Coast Guard said. At least three of the 27 crew members died and most of the others were missing.

Two people died among the eight transported by helicopter to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, spokeswoman Vicky Gray said. The other six men were being evaluated, she said.

Toni Keiser, a spokeswoman for Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin, Md., said a dead man from the tanker was brought to the hospital, and that two rescue divers were treated and released there for minor injuries.

The Bow Mariner, a 570-foot tanker flying a Singapore flag, made an emergency call just after 6 p.m., saying there had been an explosion on board, said Petty Officer Stacey Pardini of the Coast Guard Atlantic area in Portsmouth, Va. The ship had been headed to Houston from New York.

The explosion occurred about 50 miles east of Chincoteague, Va., after a fire started on the deck of the ship, said Lt. Chris Shaffer of Ocean City (Md.) Emergency Services.

Any chance of terrorism?

“We have no indication that this was anything other than an accident at this point,” Moss said, adding that he didn’t know what caused the explosion.

This is one of these incidents like the California wildfires that are most likely not terrorism, but could very well turn out to be so at some point in the future.  Which is a more likely scenario, that terrorists are going to try and pull off a ridiculously complex and difficult stunt involving planes and/or US government targets, or they’re going to attack us where we’re most vulnerable?  And where we are vulnerable is in our millions and millions of acres of unprotected forest, or our tanker fleet.  A small boat filled with explosives blew a hole in the USS Cole, and that was a US Navy ship.  How difficult could it be to pull off the same type of thing against an unprotected merchant ship?  According to one study, not all that difficult.

Posted by Lee on 02/29/04 at 12:26 AM in Etcetera  • (2) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Don’t Be Haiti’n
by Lee

One of the first major acts by President Bill Clinton was to send the Marines into Haiti to reinstall their first democratically-elected corrupt, incompetent left-wing dictator.  Now President Bush is fixing that mistake, just the latest in a long line of looming disasters left on his plate by the previous administration.

The United States has blamed Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide for the bloody revolt he is facing and has called on him to leave power for the good of his country.

As armed rebels pushed closer to the capital Port-au-Prince, the White House said Aristide needed to accept responsibility for breaching democratic principles and dividing the country.

“This long-simmering crisis is largely of Mr. Aristide’s making,” the White House said in a written statement. “His own actions have called into question his fitness to continue to govern Haiti.”

“We urge him to examine his position carefully, to accept responsibility, and to act in the best interests of the people of Haiti,” the White House added.

The harsh words from the Bush administration added to pressure on Aristide. France has also called on him to quit in order to help resolve an armed rebellion that began on February 5.

“His failure to adhere to democratic principles has contributed to the deep polarisation and violent unrest that we are witnessing in Haiti today,” the White House statement added.

President George W. Bush, who faces a re-election vote in November, was criticised by Democratic front-runner John Kerry for “neglect” of the political instability in Haiti. The Massachusetts senator had called for the naming of a special envoy to help end the crisis.

I think Kerry is right, we should send a special envoy.  Who to send?  Again, I recommend Al Sharpton.  He’s a black liberal Democrat who has been very critical of Bush.  He’s volunteered to go.  Why not send him?  How much more magnanimous and presidential could you be, sending as your special envoy a guy who wants your job? 

How could sending him possibly hurt the Bush administration?  If he actually manages to accompliosh something—unlikely—Kerry and Edwards are going to be placed in the position of having to publicly kiss his big fat ass, and the Democrat Party will have to give in to his racial extortion in order to deliver the black vote in November.  Even if Sharpton fails Kerry and Edwards are going tyo have to laud his bravery and idealism.  Besides, Bush is being blamed for the Hatian situation anyway.

Haitian activists Friday accused the Bush administration of covertly supporting opposition forces to oust President Aristide from power.

“The Bush administration is again engaged in regime change by armed aggression,” former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark said. “This time, the armed aggression is against the administration of the democratically elected president of Haiti.”

Ramsey Clark is a “Hatian activist”?  Exactly what does one have to do to earn that mantle, speak out against the Bush administration?  Notice that when he was doing so over Iraq he wasn’t referred to as a “Ba’ath party activist.” (Oh, that liberal media.)

Activists at a Friday press briefing outlined what they believe to be a well-crafted plan by the Bush administration to overthrow Aristide. Former Haitian military members, drug dealers and militants were armed and trained in the Dominican Republic thanks to military support from the United States. They have now crossed the border into Haiti, activists said. ...

“Policy is being engineered, just like when the U.S. wanted to overthrow the Sandinista government,” said Ben Dupuy, secretary-general of the National Popular Party of Haiti. Covert CIA operations in Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and the Congo were also mentioned by activists, who repeatedly called for the United States to cease any involvement in the Caribbean nation.

Yeah, how horrible of us to want to overthrow the Sandanistas, a Marxist pro-Soviet government.  Allow me to remind you, gentle reader, that in the first democratically held elections in Nicaragua—monitored by Jimmy Carter, no less!— the people threw the Sandanistas out on their ass, That’s how popular they were.

“The U.S. talks about democracy, but it’s their democracy, not the people’s democracy,” Dupuy said.

And the Hatians talk about democracy, but they’re a bunch of corrupt dictatorial thugs who couldn’t give two shits about their people.  But whining and blaming evil old America is much easier than, ya know, actually dealing with the problems there.

Posted by Lee on 02/28/04 at 10:28 PM in Politics  • (7) TrackbacksPermalink

Movies and Stuff
by Lee

Sorry for the light posting, I’ve been out and about today.  I’m heading out again right now, after which I will most likely take my mom out to dinner, then go to see The Passion of the Christ.  I’ll blog my review, plus some good stuff on Michael Moore, when I get back.  Until then, check out a review of the film over at The Moderate Voice.  The money quote:  “I am at a loss as to what the fuss is all about.”

See ya later.

Update: Change of plans.  We went to dinner, but the movies were PACKED.  So we’ll go see it tomorrow or Monday.

Posted by Lee on 02/28/04 at 06:12 PM in Life & Culture  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Thinking About the Capture
by Lee

Here’s the latest in a long line of similarities between the thinking of fundamentalist Islamofascist thugs and well-heeled western liberals.

Iran’s state radio, quoting an unnamed source, said Saturday that Osama bin Laden was captured in Pakistan “a long time ago.” A Pakistan army spokesman denied he was captured.

The report said that U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s visit to the region this week was in connection with the arrest.

The state radio said a reporter for its Pushtun service in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar “confirmed the news” that bin Laden had been captured in a tribal region in Pakistan. He said the news was from “a very reliable source in Peshawar, Pakistan,” but the source was not identified.

Pakistani Army spokesman Gen. Shaukat Sultan told The Associated Press that the report is completely untrue. “That information is wrong,” he said.

A Pakistani military operation has been under way in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan and a Pakistani official said previously that members of al-Qaida are being sought there, although bin laden was not a specific target.

Iranian state radio quoted its reporter as saying the arrest happened a long time ago.

“Osama bin Laden has been arrested a long time ago, but Bush is intending to use it for propaganda maneuvering in the presidential election,” he said.

I’ve been hearing around San Francisco for the last year or so that Bush, the master propagandist, was going to capture bin Laden, then keep it a secret until the perfect moment, so that he could use it to win the election.  It’s interesting, isn’t it, the many similarities between the peace-and-love crowd and the Allah-will-smite-thee crowd.

Posted by Lee on 02/28/04 at 01:37 PM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Problem Solved
by Lee

Once again the Catholic Church shows its dedication to children.

Just after the release on Friday of two long-awaited studies on the sexual abuse of children by more than 4,000 priests, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops declared with emphatic finality in a news conference that the bishops had faced the problem, come clean and swept the church of abusers.

“I assure you that known offenders are not in ministry,” the leader, Bishop Wilton D. Gregory of Belleville, Ill., said as he punched out his words. “The terrible history recorded here today is history.”

Tell that to the little boy who, even as a grown man, will always remember the taste of his priest’s semen in his mouth, or the searing pain, terror, and humiliation as the priest’s cock was rammed up his ass.  I write in these vulgar terms because they express the true essence of the act of a child being raped, and for a priest—a bishop!—to stand there and declare the problem to be “history” is nothing but the latest sign on just how morally repugnant the American Catholic leadership has become.

One report said that “there must be consequences” for the leaders who failed to stop the abuses and that the bishops should hold one another accountable in the future. That did not satisfy critics, who said the church was continuing to sidestep the most sensitive and intractable issues that the scandal had raised. ...

Kinda sounds like some left-wing anti-war anti-American asshat saying that, of course there must be consequences for Saddam Hussein defying UNSC sanctions for 12 years, but…

And why have most bishops not released the names of offending priests, many of whom are living unsupervised and anonymously in the civilian world as a result of the church’s new “zero tolerance” policy?

“What Catholics want to know is has there been a pedophile priest in my parish or in my school?” said Peter Isely, a psychotherapist in Milwaukee who is a board member of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. “The most useful information the bishops have they’re not giving us.”

Of course not.  That would require honesty, integrity, introspection, and a desire to confront the problem greater than the desire to protect their own asses.  The church leadership utterly, completely fails in every regard.  I’m absolutely disgusted.

Posted by Lee on 02/28/04 at 12:28 AM in Decline of Western Civilization  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Friday, February 27, 2004

Brilliant Bums
by Lee

One of my favorite complaints about San Francisco is the way it coddles and gives money to filthy, stinking homeless vermin.  Well, following close on San Francisco’s heels is Portland, Oregon.

A one-acre tent city established by Portland’s homeless has won the right to be called a campground, a designation that finally makes it legal.

The 60 residents of the area, called Dignity Village, have battled for four years to gain legal recognition for their encampment of tents, scavenged planks and cardboard boxes, all of which violate the city’s zoning codes if defined as housing.

The campground status, which four of five city officials voted for Thursday, gives them the right to stay in their self-regulated tent city.

“Usually, when I became homeless, I went into the woods,” said the village’s treasurer, Tim McCarthy. “I was all alone—this was the first chance I had to be around other people in the same situation.”

Critics of the tent city argued that the focus should instead be on creating affordable housing, but supporters say that solution would take years to implement.

Dignity Village was founded by eight homeless men and women who decided to pitch five tents on public land, saying they had nowhere else to go. Waiting lists for shelter beds, a recently released study said, is as long as 12 weeks.

The encampment has grown to include its own village council, elected officers, a Web site and nonprofit status.

Astonishing, isn’t it, that these bums have the ability and intelligence to create a city, elect officials, become a nonprofit, create a website, and take their case before the city council, yet somehow they’re incapable of getting jobs and providing for their own welfare.

Posted by Lee on 02/27/04 at 07:49 PM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Holidays Without Jews
by Lee

Thinking of soaking up the sun in glorious, fun-filled Saudia Arabia?  You might want to read the fine print first.

Saudi Arabia, normally a byword for stern and puritanical sobriety, is preparing to show the world its jollier side by issuing visas to tourists. At present they are issued only for employment, pilgrimages and other approved visits, and can be difficult to obtain.

Tourist visas will be introduced within a few weeks, officials quoted by the daily Arab News in Jeddah said.  ...

The supreme commission for tourism’s website lists those who will not be allowed in: Jews; people with Israeli stamps in their passport; “those who don’t abide by the Saudi traditions concerning appearance and behaviour”, and “those under the influence of alcohol”.

No Jews.  Our good friends, our allies against terror, the Saudi fascist regime.  This has not gone unnoticed by at least one sharp eye in Washington.

Rep. Anthony Weiner, a frequent critic of United States policy toward Saudi Arabia, said Thursday that the Middle East country’s new visa policy outlined on a tourist Web site should be quickly condemned by American officials.

The Web site, promoting a new Saudi program to offer tourist visas to encourage more foreign visitors, lists four groups not entitled to tourist visas, including “Jewish People.”

The Saudi government has traditionally only issued travel visas for employment, Hajj pilgrimages, and other visits with official sanction.

In addition to Jews, the Web site by the Supreme Commission for Tourism also says it will refuse visas to anyone with an Israeli passport or a passport that has an Israeli stamp.

“It is very difficult to see the Saudis as anything other than a backward country with backward ideals and this reaffirms that,” said Weiner. “I think the administration should take a hard look at this Web site and decide whether a country that has these policies should be considered our ally.”

I could not agree more.  I don’t have a problem with maintaining diplomatic relations with the Saudis, but to call these theocratic vermin our ally is an insult to all of our other allies, especially Israel.

Posted by Lee on 02/27/04 at 01:20 PM in The Religion of Peace™  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Landmine Bombshell
by Lee

Yet again we have a policy of compromise from the Bush administration which will be spun by its detractors as one-sided arrogant unilateralism.

The Bush administration is set to declare it intends to make all U.S. land mines detectable to American forces and scrap those that are not timed to self-destruct. But it will not join the 150 nations that have signed an anti-land mine treaty.

While continuing to find useful military purposes in land mines, the policy shift rules out retaining any that are not timed to be disarmed. At the same time, though, the Clinton administration’s goal to have the treaty signed by the United States in 2006 if conditions are right is being supplanted by outright opposition to joining the international accord.

The decision to get rid of land mines that are militarily useless and make all land mines detectable by U.S. authorities and automatically defuseable - or “smart” - is designed to lessen the danger of people and vehicles accidentally tripping over hidden mines in countries such as Afghanistan and Cambodia.

The United States, Russia and China are among the 47 countries that have not signed the treaty, on which Canada took the lead, and a senior U.S. official said in advance of the expected announcement Friday that the Bush administration did not intend to be hemmed in by the accord and would not sign it.

Let us not forget, gentle reader, that Bill Clinton refused to sign America to this treaty, yet it will be Bush who is villified for compromising on America’s landmine policies because he didn’t capitulate far enough.  And I would be remiss in not pointing out that the country who “took the lead” in signing this treaty, Canada, is also a country with a bankrupt army.  I imagine it’s quite easy to sign on to a law banning your use of landmines when you have a military that, generally speaking, goes nowhere and does nothing.

The administration, like its predecessors, considers land mines a useful deterrent to attack - on the Korean peninsula, for instance. As a result, those land mines that are retooled to become inoperable may be reset before they self-destruct if they are judged to have a continuing, significant military purpose, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The announcement was expected to include a decision to double to $70 million what the United States spends annually to locate and remove mines considered hazards to people and serving no deterrent purpose, the official said,

Lincoln Bloomfield, an assistant secretary of state who is President Bush’s special adviser on land mines, was scheduled to announce the new policy at the State Department.

So, we’re changing our landmine policies, making the mines self-destructing and easier to locate, and we’re doubling our spending on landmine removal.  Bush = Hitler.

Posted by Lee on 02/27/04 at 12:51 PM in Politics  • (2) TrackbacksPermalink

Fahrenheit 7/11
by Lee

This is one of the funniest damn things I’ve seen imn a long time.  A Pakistani news website called the Pak Tribune has posted an article about how the Pentagon is working to capture Osama bin Laden.

The U.S. military has dispatched its elite and successful anti-terrorism unit to Afghanistan; in the hope of finally catching Osama bin Laden. The Pentagon began sending elements of Task Force 121, the same group that got Saddam Hussein, to Afghanistan after it became convinced that bin Laden had become, essentially, boxed into a small, known region, the Washington Times reported Monday.

Besides the al-Qaida leader, the Pentagon hopes to also get Mullah Mohammed Omar, head of the Taliban.

Why is this interesting?  Because, like most news stories on this subject, they have included a file photo of bin Laden.  Somehow the file photo is a Photoshop job of OBL working at 7/11.  The site is hard to get through to, and since this will undoubtedly get fixed or taken down I have saved a screen grab for future generations to laugh at.

Posted by Lee on 02/27/04 at 02:46 AM in Fun and Humor  • (2) TrackbacksPermalink
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