Archive for January, 2005

Monday, January 31st, 2005

Fanfare for democracy

at Adam Keiper‘s. Beautiful.

Don’t miss also

Monday, January 31st, 2005

Magical thinking at the Magic Mountain

Thomas Mann wrote his novel The Magic Mountain after a stay at Davos. Back then, a stay at Davos was a matter of life-and-death. The sanatoria have closed, to give way to the glamorous, magical-thinking stars.

Look, there’s Angelina Jolie! Angelina, how is the world faring on the health and human rights fronts? Oh, my gosh! It’s Bono! Bono, what needs to be done about African poverty? Hey, Richard Gere and Sharon Stone, how can we tackle the AIDS crisis?

Scott points out the press even covered doodling at Davos.

After all this seriousness, the MSM can look forward to covering Michael Jackson’s trial.

Monday, January 31st, 2005

Arthur has the 20th edition of Good news from Iraq

Among them,

In other recent security successes: the arrest of 50 suspected insurgents, including 17 wanted individuals near Kirkuk; discovery of yet another significant arms cache at Al Montessim; rounding up 25 suspects and weapons near Ad Duluiyah; rounding up more suspects and weapons around Mosul; detention of 36 suspects around Kirkuk, 36 suspects throughout Al Anbar province and 19 near Balad; detention by Iraqi police of a senior insurgent operating an illegal checkpoint in Baghdad; 59 suspects being rounded up throughout the Anbar province; and 42 suspects detained in the Mosul area. Lastly, “in eight separate locations near the Iraqi town of Latifiyah, Task Force Baghdad troops and Iraqi Army Soldiers uncovered a huge cache of weapons, munitions and explosives on Jan. 23… Thousands of small arms ammunition and hundreds of artillery, anti-aircraft and mortar rounds were uncovered west of the north Babil town. Hutton said the task force continues to uncover more munitions in the area, about 35 miles south of the Iraqi capital, putting a dent in any violent plans laid by insurgents.”

And lastly, while Ukraine might be withdrawing its troops from Iraq after the election, its security services have made a considerable contribution to Iraq’s security by preventing an $800 million deal to buy weapons and ammunition for terrorists in Iraq.

As someone said, failure is an orphan, success has many mothers. I wonder how long it’ll take for the UN to take the credit.

As far as the news coverage, Deacon loved Geraldo. Now compare that transcript with France2’s coverage of Dan Rather going nowhere near a polling place in Bagdad. (go to Journal de 20h Voir la vidéo, 5 minutes into the broadcast).

Barcepundit shows the ink-stained finger. He also says

OF COURSE NOT ALL, but some people in Spain can’t fathom that, unlike what happened in Madrid on the general election on March 14, 3 days after the terrorist attacks, there’s a dignified response to Islamofascism.

Take a look at the photos.

In quasi-related news, don’t miss Jack’s Carnival of the Commies and the reactions to the Iraqi elections.

Monday, January 31st, 2005

From the Department of the Obvious

GOP negativity on Corzine isn’t positive

Maybe they ran out of positive negativity.

Monday, January 31st, 2005

What the hey’s the matter with HamColl??

Here at the humble abode in The Principality we count two HamColl alumni, The Husband, and the Father-in-law (now deceased). We’ve attended alumni reunions, given money, and had a favorable impression of the school and its alumni. I don’t exaggerate when I say that many, many Hamilton Alumni have become financially successful and very generously support the school’s annual drive. The Husband and I were even looking forward to third-generation HamColl alumni.

Not any more.

Here’s why: Hamilton College brings another controversial speaker. They’re going ahead with the Ward Churchill lecture. Even Churchill’s wife is invited, I assume with all expenses paid by the Kirkland Project. Last month the Kirkland Project invited ex-convict Sue Rosenberg to teach a course at the school on memoir writing. She later withdrew from the position.

Dennis has a picture of Ward Churchill in full Che drag. Belgravia Dispatch examines Ward’s views, particularly the following, which he wrote on September 12, 2001 (Any visitors to this blog who want to read Ward’s words at his website are free to google him. I’m not wasting time linking)

The [Pentagon] and those inside comprised military targets, pure and simple. As to those in the World Trade Center: Well, really. Let’s get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America’s global financial empire–the ‘mighty engine of profit’ to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved–and they did so both willingly and knowingly. If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I’d really be interested in hearing about it.”

Hey, Ward, I worked in downtown NYC for many years. It could have been me in that building.

As for HamColl, it can invite whatever many Che-wannabe-impersonators/colorful characters it wants. But as far as I’m concerned, my support has ended. They obviously don’t need the gains from my enslavement to the “technocratic corps at the very heart of America’s global financial empire”.

Sunday, January 30th, 2005

Exciting day in the news

because of the Iraqi polling. Reuters says,

Even in the so-called “triangle of death,” an insurgent hotbed south of Baghdad, turnout was solid, officials said.

In a somewhat related item, Reuters says BBC apologises for misinterpreting Iraqi death stats:

The BBC apologised on Saturday for erroneously reporting that U.S.-led and Iraqi forces may be responsible for the deaths of 60 percent of Iraqi civilians killed in conflict over the last six months.

The Beeb: Not fake, but innacurate?

Back to the election news, don’t miss this morning’s NY Times slideshow, which starts with a dad voting while holding his baby.

In addition to the Instapundit round-ups, Roger L. Simon started by live-blogging the cable news reports; Jeff Jarvis has military and Iraqi links; Arhtur‘s readers add their input. Friends of Democracy (via Samizdata) has information on the candidates and the elections.

Don’t miss Wizbang’s caption contest.

We are seeing wonderful things: the fall of the Berlin Wall, the elections in Afghanistan, the elections in Iraq. We live lives of privilege, and I’m thankful for our country, and for the people in the Service.

Saturday, January 29th, 2005

Iraqi election roundups

From Jersey bloggers Jane and Jeff, and Jack examines the use of the passive voice.

Arthur comments.

Saturday, January 29th, 2005

Chirac wants to raise your taxes
was the title of my September 21, 2004 post,

Jacques Chirac, arguably one of the most corrupt politicians of all time, yesterday gave a speech at the UN (that paragon of transparency) proposing to harness globalisation with a new “ethic for globalization”. The new ethic takes the form of a proposed $50 billion global tax on financial transactions, greenhouse gas emissions, arms sales, airline tickets and credit card purchases.

Back then Jacques reasoned,

“It is up to us to give globalisation a conscience,” he said. “There is no future in globalisation that tolerates predatory behaviour and the hoarding of its profits by a minority. There is no future in globalisation that destroys the social and economic balances, crushes the weak and denies human rights.”

Considering Jacques’s own financial history, I found it interesting that he’d bring up “predatory behaviour and the hoarding of its profits” at all, but I digress. The tax idea fell flat — even the French didn’t like it. Now Jacques is back with more of the same, but this time he wants the Tobin Tax to go towards AIDS relief, too, a cause Jacques hopes will make the tax more appealing.

Less grandiose measures, such as clean water, free trade, and lifting the ban on DDT would probably improve living conditions in poor countries faster and more efficiently than any tax.

EU Referendum comments

But then, if President Chirac really wanted to help the developing world, he and his country would not stand in the way of all attempts to make trade in agricultural goods free. Nor would France support every EU anti-dumping regulation. He would also support lifting all duty that is now placed in quite disproportionate degree on imports from developing countries.

The Economist realizes theineffectiveness of the Tobin Tax

. But in a hastily arranged speech delivered only hours earlier, Mr Chirac seemed to attempt to grab from Mr Blair (and Mr Brown) the intellectual lead on at least the second of those issues, by proposing new “international taxes or levies” to be used directly to finance development. For a start, he said, there should be an experimental levy to finance the fight against AIDS.

To what would this “international solidarity levy”—which Mr Chirac said could raise $10 billion a year—be applied? He had several suggestions: a very low rate of tax on international financial transactions, perhaps; a contribution by countries that maintain bank secrecy (hello, Switzerland) to compensate for the tax evasion they thereby facilitate; a tax on the use of fuel in transport by air or sea (which surely contributes to climate change); or even, say, a $1 levy on each of the 3 billion plane tickets sold each year worldwide.

This would not be, insisted Mr Chirac, that old French favourite, the “Tobin tax”, as proposed by the late Nobel prize-winning economist, James Tobin. But in the case of the levy on financial transactions, that is exactly what it would be. Such a tax has well-known disadvantages. It wrongly assumes that no cost would arise from the reduced liquidity in financial markets that would surely result. It also requires that all governments co-operate in levying the tax (unlikely, you might suppose); otherwise financial transactions would simply shift to non-co-operating countries.

Jacques made his speech via videolink. One wonders if he’ll get to meet Angelina, Sharon, and Bono after all that mental effort.

Saturday, January 29th, 2005

Whitman’s sampler

From Roberto,

Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind research center did a poll of New Jersey voters, asking them to pick the best and worst New Jersey governor. The poll respondents were asked to pick from a list of the six most recent governors: Richard Hughes, Brendan Byrne, Tom Kean, Jim Florio, Christie Whitman and Jim McGreevey. Tom Kean got the highest percentage for best governor and in a shocking upset, Christie Whitman tied Jim McGreevey for worst governor. I say “upset” because even though I really don’t like the two of them, I would have picked Jim Florio, but “flim-flam Florio” was picked as third worst governor.

I would have picked “Comeback Kid” McGreevey and “Tax-the-toilet-paper” Florio for the top 2 spots. At least Whitman doesn’t have an arena named after her . . . yet. Betsy blogged about the survey, and has a link to Patrick Ruffini‘s article, comparing the GW Bush re-election to Whitman’s. Will Franklin speculates,

One wonders if Whitman wrote most of her book prior to November, expecting the President to lose, so she could swoop in and claim that she knew what direction to take the GOP. When Bush won, one wonders if Whitman had to go back and edit the book to be less embarrassing to her.

Ed Driscoll links to a photo of Whitman and Jimmy Carter laying flowers at Arafat’s grave. Not the best of company, in my opinion. Joe predicts more Whitman book tour appearances,

Watch for her upcoming appearances on Lou Dobbs, The Daily Show (oi), and, at some indefinite point in the future, check her out on Air America radio, on 60 Minutes, in The New York Times, in Michael Moore’s next film: The Evils of Fat, Rich, White Men Who Aren’t Me, in her new Prius, wherever the nearest non-fat double-tall low-foam half-caf latte can be found, and at Ted Kennedy’s next soiree.

Meanwhile, even the RINOs are in the picture.

Friday, January 28th, 2005

Still Revulsed by Pérez-Reverte

Last January 16 I wrote about an article written by Arturo Pérez-Reverte in a Spanish newspaper. The article was supposed to be humorous, but it bombed. I was particularly annoyed by this paragraph (my translation),

But just take a look at this season. In order to arrive in Spain, the Kings must cross the Orient, as always. And that’s all f*ck*d up. They have to cross the Tigris and the Euphrates without having the American Marines liberate them from themselves, as the Marines have done with the rest of Iraq, and spraying them with bullets as they ride by. But then, if the Magi survive those sons of b*tch*s, they’ll still have to deal with other sons of b*tch*s a little nearer to us here; as they [the Magi] cross Israel they’ll deal with the sons of b*tch*s with side curls, and yarmulkes on their noggins, and rifles and Markava tanks protecting their backs; or the son of a b*tch who’s wearing a munitions vest (chaleco de cloratita note: the word cloratita is a new word to me, but in context, I take it to mean munitions vest) of the Allah Akbar variety, and so long suckers.

and posted my reaction,

Where do I start to describe why I find the above paragraph offensive? Do I start with the cultural note on the Iraqis being “saved from themselves”, as if murderous dictators were exclusive to that country? Do I look at the murderous Marines statement? Do I wonder about any depths to that anti-Americanism? How about that anti-Semitic, Judeophobic cliché, lifted right off the worst propaganda? In the interest of fairness, do I bother wonder what the average Palestinian would think of that portrayal? Do I show annoyance at the gratuitous mocking of a religious holiday? Or do I ponder the moral equivalency of it all?

Clearly I wasn’t the only one annoyed. Other bloggers wrote about it, among them Roger L. Simon, who wrote Resigning from “The Club Dumas” – More Racism from “Old Europe”. Aapparently APR’s agents and friends received a flood of emails and instant messages protesting APR’s attitude.

Pérez-Reverte has replied with El domingo que fui Goebbels The Sunday I was Goebbels (link via Barcepundit), and he’s sticking to his guns. He starts the article by saying,

Me telefonean mi agente norteamericano, Howard Morhaim, y Daniel Sherr, y algunos amigos argentinos, franceses y españoles, todos judíos hasta las cachas, para decirme qué pasa,

(my translation:) My American agents, Howard Morhaim and Daniel Sherr, and several Argentenian, French, and Spanish friends, all Jewish to the hilt, called, asking what’s the matter

Consciously or not, with this opening sentence APR starts by making sure we know

1. he has Jewish friends.

2. the people complaining are Jewish.

I don’t need to go into the bigotry shown by the statement “some of my friends/best friends are [fill ethnic/religious group]”.

As to the people complaining, Mr. Pérez-Reverte is cordially invited to read this blog. Like millions of people of Spanish origin, there’s a high probability that back in the Dark Ages or Middle Ages my ancestors were Jewish/Muslim/Visigoths/Roman/Celts, even when the last 5 generations or so of my family are/were Catholic (some have strayed to other faiths or agnosticism.) It is “I” who’s complaining. I’m not Jewish. I didn’t get the article through an email chain, or through instant messaging., I read it directly from the ABC/El Semanal website. The point I want to make clear is that I’m not blindly following anyone’s lead; I’m voicing my opinion.

No, not all the people complaining are Jewish.

In the new article Pérez-Reverte mentions that some TV commenter called APR Goebbles and Himler, for which he’s right to be outraged. The woman who did so on TV should lose her job.

On to the second paragraph,

Que el 2 de enero publiqué un artículo en el que, entre otras cosas, apuntaba que en Israel hay —se sobreentiende que entre otras— dos variedades que detesto: “Hijo de puta ultra con trenzas, kipá en el cogote, escopeta y tanque Merkava guardándole las espaldas, o hijo de puta con chaleco de cloratita en la variedad Alá Ajbar y hasta luego Lucas

(my translation:) That, on January 2, I published an article in which, among other things, I noted that in Israel there are – among others, it is understood – two varieties that I hate: “the sons of b*tch*s with side curls, and yarmulkes on their noggins, and rifles and Markava tanks protecting their backs; or the son of a b*tch who’s wearing a munitions vest of the Allah Akbar variety, and so long suckers.”

As I noted before, APR uses an anti-Semitic, Judeophobic cliché, lifted right off the worst propaganda. He’s doing the Palestinians no favors, either.

Está claro para quien no sea un malintencionado, un fanático o un imbécil, que la frase no sólo alude a judíos, sino también a palestinos, aunque los fariseos escandalizados omitan esto último.

Clearly, anyone that’s who doesn’t have bad intentions (i.e., has an agenda), a fanatic, or an imbecile, would know that the statement doesn’t only allude to Jews, but also to Palestinians, even when the scandalized Pharisees omit the latter group.

Were the articles written by a less capable writer, I might not pay so much attention to the choice of words, but, coming from APR, a writer that I used to admire, I can confidently assume that each word carries weight. So let’s look at that paragraph.

For as long as I’ve been an adult I’ve been very opinionated, but my intent in airing my opinions is to open towards a dialogue. That’s my only agenda — if any. To me, both articles show bigotry. Would it be unreasonable to believe that at least some of the people criticizing APR share my concern? Does that me us “fanatics”, or “imbeciles”?

Culturally, I grew up around Spanish men who assumed that their points of view should go unquestioned, and that those who disagreed by definition were fanatics or imbeciles (or worse yet, an American woman, such as myself?). Be that as it may, the fact is that, when criticized, APR has resorted to name calling.

Incidentally, in my prior post you can see that one of the reasons I found APR’s article offensive was his attitude towards Palestinians. Palestinians would be right to take umbrage. I also submit to APR the idea that any one of his readers doesn’t have to be exclusively pro-Palestinian/anti-Jewish or exclusively pro-Jewish/anti-Palestinian. One can grieve for both sides.

Finishing the paragraph, APR resorts, again, to anti-Semitic imagery by the use of the word Pharisees, who, after all, were thrown out of the Temple by Jesus himself.

APR continues,

Pero es que, además, ni siquiera utilizo la palabra judío, pues no me refiero a quienes pertenecen a esa religión y usan la dignísima kipá —el gorrito mosaico—, sino a un grupo concreto que vive en Israel. Ese “ultra” con “escopeta y tanque Merkava guardándole las espaldas” alude a los colonos armados, extremistas y fanáticos, que, criticados por sus propios compatriotas y enfrentados al gobierno israelí, al que acusan de blando —y ser más duro que Sharon tiene tela— agravan el conflicto con su cerril intransigencia.

But that also, I didn’t even use the word Jew, since I don’t refer to those who belong to that religion and wear the very worthy yarmulke, but also to a particular group living in Israel. That “ultra” with “and rifles and Markava tanks protecting their backs” refers to the armed, extremist, and fanatical colonists, who, when criticized by by their fellow countrymen and confronted by the Israeli government, which they regard as being soft – and it takes a lot to be tougher than Sharon – aggravate the conflict with their intransigence.

APR didn’t need to use the word Jew. He already had used, as I said before, the necessary imagery. As to the second sentence, José Cohen explained in his blog the wrongs of equating the State of Israel and Jewish orthodoxy. José also correctly pointed out that Pérez-Reverte does not pretend to be anti-semitic. He is just a product of a society.

The next paragraph dwells into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and I won’t examine the details since I am not knowledgeable enough. Undoubtedly the Palestinians have suffered, and continue to suffer. Pérez-Reverte mentions how thirty years ago he helped pull Palestinian children from a a building that was bombed by the Israelis, which must have been the most heartbreaking of tasks. However, the paragraph’s final sentence stands out,

Respecto al holocausto y el antisemitismo, tampoco me toquen la flor. Esa atrocidad ocurrió hace más de medio siglo, la recordamos todos muy bien, y no justifica lo injustificable.

As for the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, don’t go there. That atrocity took place more than half a century ago, we all remember it very well, and it doesn’t justify the unjustifiable.

The Holocaust is not simply something isolated and remote that “took place more than half a century ago”, in some far-away place. There were dozens of concentration camps, right in the middle of Europe, within driving distance of major cities.

We don’t “all remember it very well” at all: it took all of 60 years for the UN to acknowledge the Holocaust this week.

Much of the current conflicts in the Middle East have roots in the Holocaust. As you can read in the following article, Nazi Roots of Palestinian Nationalism

The Mufti`s hatred of the West was matched only by his hatred of the Jews. It is not a coincidence that Germany suddenly abandoned the policy of expelling Jews and adopted far harsher methods a short time after the Mufti arrived in Germany. When Haj Amin came to Germany again, the Nazis decided to execute the Final Solution to the Jewish Problem.

“The Mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry,” reported Eichmann`s deputy, Dieter Wisliceny. “[He had] played a role in the decision to exterminate the European Jews. The importance of this role must not be disregarded…. The Mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry.”

We do not know if al-Husseini played a major role in shaping the Final Solution. “There is, however,” wrote Joseph Schechtman, “abundant first-hand evidence of the part the Mufti played in making foolproof the ban on emigration (of Jews out of Germany).”

When the war ended, al-Husseini returned to the Middle East as a hero. On October 1, 1948, he was proclaimed the president of the government of All-Palestine. The government was fictional, however, because it did not control any land and was recognized by only a handful of Arab nations. In 1959 it was dispersed by its sponsor, Egypt.

By that time, however, another member of the al-Husseini clan was planning terror. Around the same time that the All-Palestine government was disbanded, a man by the name of Muhammad Abd al-Rahman ar-Rauf al-Qudwah al-Husaini – better known as Yasir Arafat – was busy organizing Fatah, which would go on to become the main faction of the PLO

Arthur Chrenkoff wrote on the fallacy of the Palestinian claims of genocide:

In 1933, the Jewish population of Europe was 9.5 million. By 1950 it was only 3.5 million. The total Palestinian population in 1933 was somewhere around 950,000 (mostly Muslim, some Christian) – it is now around 4.5 million. Based on the same rate of growth, the Jewish population of Europe could be 45 million today. I’m sure the European Jews of the yesteryear would have wished that the Germans had waged the same sort of “war of extermination” on them that the Israelis are apparently waging on the Palestinians today.

Back to Pérez-Reverte:

De cualquier modo, el mecanismo no es nuevo. En los doce años que llevo tecleando esta página, ha pasado muchas veces, y volverá a pasar. Cuando de fanáticos e imbéciles se trata, da igual que uno mencione a israelíes, a palestinos o a taxistas. La diferencia es que, cuando digo que un taxista es un ladrón y un sinvergüenza y los taxistas protestan porque insulto al gremio del taxi, la cosa queda en esperpento. Lo otro tiene ribetes más sombríos, pues prueba que quienes viven de ser víctimas, rentabilizando cada ocasión, se frotan las manos ante supuestas conspiraciones, enemigos y odios, sean judeófobos, nacionalistófobos, o capullófobos. Aún así, lo peor no son los manipuladores que sacan partido de esa murga, sino los cantamañanas que, ingenuamente, se dejan llevar por ellos al huerto.

Anyway, this is nothing new. In the twelve years I’ve been writing this page, it’s happened many times, and will continue happening. When it comes to fanatics and imbeciles, it’s all the same if one’s talking about Israelis, Palestinians, or cab drivers. The difference is that, when I say that a cab driver’s a thief and a bastard and the cab drivers complain to the taxi drivers’ union, the thing ends there. The other stuff has darker edges, since it shows that those who live from playing the victim, cashing in on each occasion, rub their hands [with glee] at each prospective conspiracy, enemy or hate, whether it’s Judeo-phobe, nationalistc-phobe, or whatever-phobe. Even then, the worst are not the manipulators that gain from it, but the fools that naively go along and get taken for a ride.

We’re not talking about unionized cab drivers, and some of us simply write freely, out of our own volition, not cashing in, neither playing the victim nor victimizing anyone.

I have emailed a copy of this and my prior post to APR’s agent. I invite a dialogue from all visitors to this page, and from APR or his representatives, if they would honor us with their comments. But I urge you all to realize, that, when people are complaining about something they read it’s best to examine the point they try to make than what it is to dismiss their opinions as coming from “fools that naively go along and get taken for a ride”.

Reasonable people can disagree, and still maintain respect and civility. Otherwise, we are all fools.