Archive for November, 2005

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

Venezuela: Norwegian MSM goes to the hospital; Beeb flounders; rioting in Trujillo
Norwegian Channel 2 news reports on Venezuela video here. It flies in the face of all the craven lies about how Hugo’s free-medical-care-works-so-well-for-the-poor. I’ve translated the Spanish subtitles and include the full text since I don’t know for how long the video will remain available:

Anchor: Venezuela earns huge amounts of money from its oil production, but the money doesn’t reach its people. The country lives under misgovernment and corruption. TV2 asked President Chávez, where is the money going?
Male reporter’s voice (off-screen, in Norwegian): The beautiful country is rich in oil but is in economic chaos. In Caracas, emergency rooms are in crisis. Poverty, and therefore, violence, are out of control.
Vargas Hospital emergency room doctor (in English): He has gunshots.
Male reporter (off-screen, in Norwegian): The kid’s only 15 (years old)
Emergency room doctor, speaking in English and pointing to gunshot wounds): One in the hand, one in the stomach, one in the leg. You’ll see a lot more [like him].
Reporter at the emergency room, in Spanish, pointing at another patient: And what happened to this gentleman?
Emergency room doctor, in English English: That’s another gunshot.
Completely absurd. Completely grotesque. This is not supposed to happen. We’re not at war.
Reporter at the emergency room, in English, referring to a man who’s writing on a note pad while standing next to a wounded young man lying on a gurney: And what’s he doing?
Emergency room doctor, in English: Right now he’s asking what’s the medicine he has to buy. And he’s writing it down to go and buy [the subtitles say his dad will buy them]. And that is supposed to be free medicine.
Male reporter’s voice (off-screen) in Norwegian: The hospitals of the country full of oil are out of medicine.
Emergency room doctor, in English: We don’t have gloves, we don’t have needles, we don’t have or the medicines, or antibiotics. Things that a nurse uses to work with a patient, we don’t have. Someone is keeping the money; it’s obvious the money’s coming into Venezuela.
Male reporter’s voice (off-screen), in Norwegian: Poverty’s increasing, more than half live below poverty level, while the price of oil reaches record highs and money pours in.
For three days we struggled with the bodyguards surrounding socialist president Hugo Chávez.
Everything turns into chaos when Chávez comes down to the level of the people to greet them (Norwegian newsman now on screen, with Chávez shaking hands with the crowd in the background), and it’s difficult to ask him even one question that might criticize him.
Norwegian reporter asks Chávez in English through a Spanish translator: I visited a hospital and they didn’t even have medicine. What’s happening?
Chávez: I don’t know what you’re talking about. But beyond what you might have found, we have a strategic project that advances social projects, to give you an example. . .
The Norwegian reporter didn’t give airtime to whatever else Chávez said, continuing instead by saying: He started talking about something else, turned around, and his bodyguards pushed us aside.
Back to the Vargas Hospital Emergency room doctor, in English: After all the years of democracy, there’s something that is killing us, and that is corruption. I want to run, I want to go away, because being here is really really sad. It’s really difficult to work like this.

The Beeb has this article: Chavez denounces poll ‘sabotage’ on the upcoming congressional elections, which three opposition parties have decided to boycott. Don’t miss Captain Marlow‘s excellent post on the boycott.

The BBC page also has video report (see sidebar under Opposition politicians on why they have pulled out), which they aired in this morning’s BBCA broadcast, that starts with the usual blab about Chávez’s charisma and helping the poor

“No one in Venezuela’s polarized society as much as Hugo Chávez. President Chávez is charismatic, outspoken, and is swimming in dollars from the country’s oil bonanza. And he’s spending most of it on the poor. They make up around 70% of the country.”

Maybe the Beeb should watch more Norwegian TV while they’re holed in their hotel room. Or maybe they just think of “the poor” in terms of money spent on weapons purchases, cozying up to Mugabe, Chirac, and Castro, trying to export the Bolivarian revolution, and the folks in Massachusetts: Last week I posted on how Hugo’s helping the people of Massachusetts — people like Bill Delahunt and Joe Kennedy. The WSJ throws the ultimate insult at William Delahunt (emphasis mine)

“To Citgo, to the people of Venezuela, our debt,” the Congressman pledged. Mr. Delahunt should rightly feel a debt to the people of Venezuela, whose per-capita income is perhaps one-tenth that of Massachusetts and whose sole source of hard currency is the oil that their leader is now giving away to the second-richest state in the union. But Mr. Delahunt has no unpaid debt to Mr. Chávez. For some years now the Congressman has been lobbying hard for the Venezuelan despot, whom he paints as a misunderstood humanitarian. How French.

(Before you email accusing me of hating/dumping on the French, read this post. Not my fault the French have a reputation of being corrupt.)

The Journal explains,

Mr. Chávez came to power in 1999. In seven years he has a domestic record of human rights abuses, election fraud, property confiscations a la Zimbabwe’s Mugabe, erosion of the independent judiciary, limits on press freedom and militarization. His best friends include Fidel Castro, the Iranian mullahs and Colombia’s FARC terrorists.

The poor people at the Vargas Hospital Emergency room? They’re not in Hugo’s list of friends. Congressman Delahunt is.

Don’t count Mario Vargas Llosa among Hugo’s friends. He says

Chávez “mirrors a pseudo-indigenous choice. As a matter of fact, it is racist, militarist, authoritarian, a Peruvian-style, clearly racist, fascism, which, astoundingly is high in the surveys.”

But back to the Beeb’s report: while the video says “Gone are the days when Venezuela’s opposition managed to get crowds of tens of thousands trying to oust Mr. Chávez”, Gateway Pundit (via Publius Pundit) has a long post on the rioting, where one person died Monday night, and VCrisis says that students are reportedly rioting in Merida, Valencia and Barquisimeto. The Devil’s Excrement has a photo of the rioting in Trujillo. Since it took the Beeb a few days to report the French riots, I’m not surprised.

Venezuela News and Views posts on the electoral system, including some problems with the fingerprinting machines.

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Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

Hitler Wins Palestinian Primary, Associated Press Deficit Disorder continues
Via Barcepundit,
IRIS Blog posts,

The winner of the Fatah primary in Jenin goes by the name “Hitler.” He is wanted by Israel for the murder of several Arabs. Originally his name was Jamal Abu Rob.

IRIS continues,

The Associated Press describes these results as “the rejuvenation of Fatah” and a “housecleaning” in a straight news piece titled Young Activists May Help Fatah Party. Hitler is not mentioned.
. . .
Another AP reporter has picked up the “Hamas clean-government” theme in an article containing significantly plagiarized elements from the one mentioned above.

No mention of the word terrorist, or that the overall winner of the Fatah primary was convicted mass-murderer Marwan Barghouti.

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Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

$ong of Bernadette
Jacques Chirac’s wife Bernadette dances to the same tune as her husband:
Police probe on Chirac’s wife

The police also are looking into suggestions that the company, which was run by a Chirac ally, offered six free flights to the president’s wife worth a total of 41,121 euros ($65,766) between June 1998 and July 1999.
. . .
Mr Chirac, president since 1995, has survived a series of scandals including an uproar over large suspect cash payments he made for private trips abroad in the 1990s.

Bernadette obviously was trying to save money, since clearly she and Jacques can’t manage on a budget of €82 million a year (approx $100,000,000), which brings an income of €31,900,000. Not quite at par with Fidel, but getting there.

While all of this investigation of Bernadette goes on, Jacques is not taking it lying down, and A French lawyer has accused President Jacques Chirac of impeding criminal investigations into the alleged illegal use of private jets by his wife, Bernadette.

There are two important points in this (latest) get-Jacques-rich-scheme:

  • Under French law, the undeclared donation or receipt of a public company’s resources can be regarded as embezzlement.
  • Mr Chirac is immune from questioning or prosecution as long as he is head of state but his wife is not.

Does this mean we’ll see Bernadette wearing stripes, doing time à la Martha?

Don’t count on it.

Back in June 2001 the Beeb reported that Jacques was facing an official probe into why he paid 2.4m French francs (£240,000, over $400,000) handed over in brown envelopes to a Paris travel agency, including trips to Japan, and nothing came of that.

I wonder if Bernadette approved of the frequent Japan trips, though.

While still pondering Jacques on flight, Mark in Mexico found out that the Times of London thinks Jacques’s an airy-fairy, and not just because of all those frequent-flyer miles.

Tales of the Stupid ponders the French budget.

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Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

The latest “Michael Moore/Ken Burns documentary”
(coffee alert: it will make you spray the screen with coffee) would look like this, if they ever made one (thank you Judith!).

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

Creation and intelligent design, examined by a scientist and by a humanist
First the scientist, Evolution: Rationality vs. Randomness, by Dr. Gerald Schroeder, concludes that

In brief, randomness cannot have been the driving force behind the success of life. Our understanding of statistics and molecular biology clearly supports the notion that there must have been a direction and a Director behind the success of life.

Now, the humanist: The intelligent design debate: Part II, by Dr. John Flelming,

It was a cruel recompense for the gentle genius of a great scientist that “Darwin” has become for so many a kind of surrogate for the hard-edged secular, the godless and the intellectually coercive. The ancient Christian “fish” symbol, a kind of antique rebus in which the letters of the Greek word for fish (?????) form the initials of the phrase “Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Savior,” has been revived by modern evangelicals. You surely have seen such a medallion or decal attached to the back of a car behind which you languished in slow traffic. You may have one on your own car. Probably also you have seen its parodic riposte: a fish that in its amphibian ambitions has sprouted evolutionary feet and now bears the name “Darwin.”

The absurd construction of the constitutional prohibition of the “establishment of religion” to mean a prohibition of intelligent and civil conversation about religion in the public sphere has nearly guaranteed that we shall suffer cyclical episodes of the genre emblematized by the Intelligent Design “debate.” If we seek to bask in the feel-good sunshine of our much-vaunted “diversity,” we may have to prepare ourselves for a few cloudy days on which diversity means something other than lockstep conformity.

As I have stated previously, my personal feeling is that, while I oppose the teaching of Intelligent Design in science classes, I also support a scientific analysis of the theory of evolution that would include whatever findings support or contradict said theory. To me, rigorous scientific study can be introduced at a very early age in schools. Embracing either Intelligent Design or the theory of evolution unquestioningly is wrong. Science, by definition, evolves based on the impartial analysis of facts that can be quantified and reproduced. Maintaining science in the science classroom is a top priority in any society.

If the scientific debate leads us in the direction of Dr. Schroeder’s findings, our lives will be richer for it. Prohibiting intelligent and civil conversation about religion in the public sphere,as Dr. Fleming points out, makes us all the poorer for it.

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Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

Peaktalk posts on Canada, and on integration
Pieter Dorsman, who I had the pleasure of meeting two weeks ago, has to excellent posts:
Into an election,

Canada’s minority Liberal government fell last night, setting the stage for a mid-January election. Good news or bad news?

and Finkielkraut recants:

It’s about ten days old, but it was a highly remarkable interview in Ha’aretz with French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut, who in no uncertain terms diminished the economic argument to explain the French riots. Instead he put forward an ethnic-religious argument which caused a huge stir in France, prompting Finkielkraut to recant.

Don’t miss either.

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

Shoe blogging: The Pope’s, and Judi Werthein’s
As any reader of The Manolo knows, the Pope, he wears the Prada for the traditional red papal shoes.

I for one congratulate the Pope on his good taste. I wonder if he gets them for free.

Barbara Simpson looks at Judi Werthein’s shoes and asks, Who’s stupid now? (article via Maria). Werthein gets shoes that were made in China for $17 a pair, and sells them in chic boutiques for $215 a pair, in the true spirit of capitalism. Since the shoes also have a compass, a flashlight, a map, and some Tylenol, she’s giving them away for free to illegal aliens soon to attempt the “brinco”, which the BC defines as

They call the act of crossing the “brinco” – literally “jump” in Spanish.

According to the Beeb, State-of-the-art shoes aid migrants. Barbara Simpson wants to know,

It makes you wonder why, if they have such compassion for poor Mexicans, they didn’t have the shoes made in a Mexican factory? Then again, where is their compassion for the slave labor in Chinese factories?

I wonder if Werthein’ll come up with sneakers for NJ commuters, with room for a train ticket, a lipstick (can’t go anywhere without red lipstick!), a train schedule, and a map of NY subways printed on the innersole, along with the Tylenol for those train delays.

Today’s related headlines on the Pope, and on illegal aliens: Pope seeks solution to misery in Darfur
Bush Pushes For Changes On Immigration

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Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

Four intersting articles sent by Maria, TBHB deputy researcher:
Our accomplishments in Iraq make for long list

We’re over there, we Yanks, in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait. We kicked the Taliban thugs out of Afghanistan, sent them packing, and worked with the populace that emerged from the rubble, allowed a government to form, citizens to vote, women to go outside, girls to go back to school, and all to return to work in hospitals, stores and banks.

In Iraq, we cornered the dictator’s sadistic sons and sent them to their final judgment. We captured their father, the tyrant and mass-murdering Saddam Hussein, dragged him out of a rat-hole in the desert and are bringing him to justice before a jury of Iraqis. We’ve seen the populace of Iraq vote on a constitution — even under threat of being beheaded by Islamofascists — going to the polls some 70 percent strong. Schools are opening, stores are operating and soon the Iraqi people will vote again on a new government.

A gruesome album of photographs of mass graves in Iraq from the Rush Limbaugh website.

The Big Paradox: A swirl of self-contradiction in New Orleans

The Big Easy is now the Big Paradox. As this entire region reels, its chief city attempts resurrection within a swirl of self-contradiction.

Former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy, proposes guidelines for coercive interrogation in his article The “Moral Authority” Canard: Senator McCain is heroic, awe-inspiring, and wrong

Maria also sent articles on Judi Werthein’s shoes, and on Evolution: Rationality vs. Randomness

Thank you, Maria!

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

How to avoid identity fraud
Stealing Christmas, a must-read from Forbes

Monday, November 28th, 2005

Frank Rich lied
Today’s New York Sun Staff Editorial:

Those who charge President Bush and Vice President Cheney with lying to get America involved in the war in Iraq, as the New York Times columnist Frank Rich did yesterday, have a special obligation to get the truth correct themselves. It’s one thing for Mr. Rich to disagree with the decision to go to war in Iraq and to blame Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney for the decision. It’s another for Mr. Rich to accuse our elected leaders of misleading the country while the columnist himself goes about misleading readers of The New York Times.

The NYSun explains that

  • The words “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” But those 16 words are neither bogus nor fictitious. They were and are true
  • Two major reports that looked into the matter of the administration and intelligence did exonerate the president
  • But it’s undisputed that the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq is a Jordanian, Zarqawi, who shares with the rest of Al Qaeda, including the September 11 terrorists, the goal of re-establishing the caliphate
  • , the DIA report is not much different from what Bush administration officials were saying publicly at the time. On February 6, 2002, the director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet, made a similar argument in public testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, saying, “Baghdad has a long history of supporting terrorism, altering its targets to reflect changing priorities and goals. It has also had contacts with al-Qa’ida. Their ties may be limited by divergent ideologies, but the two sides’ mutual antipathy toward the United States and the Saudi royal family suggests that tactical cooperation between them is possible – even though Saddam is well aware that such activity would carry serious consequences.”
    Moreover, the notion that the secular Baathists and the Islamic jihadists are so ideologically divergent that they will not work together has been disproven by what is going on now in Iraq, where they are cooperating against Iraqi moderates and American troops.
  • the Times, in reviewing Mr. Bamford’s 2001 book, remarked on Mr. Bamford’s “palpable distaste for the Israeli state.” Said the Times review, “Rather too credulously, Bamford sides with the conspiracy theorists.”
  • The Associated Press’s Nadia Abou El-Magd interviewed Firas Adnan, whose tongue had been cut off with a box cutter by a Saddam loyalist. Mr. Adnan, “his slurred words barely comprehensible,” said of Saddam, “He is a despot, the biggest despot, Iraq will be much better without him.” Susan Sachs of Mr. Rich’s own New York Times reported from the mass graves of Hilla: “On April 11, 1991, a few weeks into the Shiite rebellion, Iraqi helicopters dropped leaflets over Karbala ordering everyone to leave or be attacked with chemical weapons. Mr. Mohani piled his relatives into a pickup truck and a car and fled. About four miles south of the city, the escape route was blocked. There, he said, he saw Mr. Hussein’s son-in-law, Hussein Kamal, executing people randomly at a checkpoint. ‘He was telling people to get out of their cars and then he would shoot them, shoot them until his arm was too tired to do it anymore.’”

Frank Rich should have kept to doing movie reviews.

Pamela has more on Saddam, AlQaeda, and 9/11, and asks,

How do they compare Bush’s eight months in office to Clinton’s eight years of squandered prosperity, inaction on terrorism and missed opportunities to get Bin Laden?

Why Is No One Blaming Bill Clinton for Understating [the] Terror Threat?

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