Sunday, July 23, 2006
The "lucky" lady is Kim Ok (which is more than you can say about her new husband.)
Once again, proof that truth is stranger than fiction, and sometimers funnier.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Captains Quarters poses the question with some pretty complelling evidence that the answer may well be "yes." Up to this point, I've had some sympathy for Lebanon as a feckless pawn stuck in the middle of a conflict that they really never wanted. If, in fact, they have decided to cast their lot with Hezbollah, well, they deserve what they get. As I said below, when you lie down with dogs.......
Friday, July 21, 2006
I watched her press conference to day and I was deeply impressed. She was articulate, clearly in command of her subject and she hit all of the right notes. I would imagine that, if you found her across a conference table from you, that she would be a force to be reckoned with. She is by far the best cabinet pick that President Bush has made.
WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice rejected the "false promise" of an immediate cease-fire in the spreading war between Israel and Hezbollah on Friday and said she would seek long-term peace during a trip to the Mideast beginning Sunday.
The top U.S. diplomat defended her decision not to meet with Hezbollah leaders or their Syrian backers during her visit.
" Syria' name knows what it needs to do, and Hezbollah is the source of the problem," Rice said as she previewed her trip, which begins with a stop in Israel.
Rice said the United States is committed to ending the bloodshed, but not before certain conditions are met. The Bush administration has said that Hezbollah must first turn over the two Israeli soldiers whose capture set off the 10-day-old violence, and stop firing missiles into Israel.
"We do seek an end to the current violence, we seek it urgently. We also seek to address the root causes of that violence," Rice said. "A cease-fire would be a false promise if it simply returns us to the status quo."
The United States has resisted international pressure to lean on its ally Israel to halt the fighting. The U.S. position has allowed Israel more time to try to destroy what both nations consider a Hezbollah terrorist network in southern Lebanon.
Is she presidential timber? Well, I certainly hope so. Given what I have seen thus far, I would not only vote for her, I would actinely work for her election.
Meanwhile, Kofi Annan continued to sing the only song he knows:
Whatever, Kofi. Just sit down, shut up and we'll call you when we need you.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan demanded an immediate cease-fire Thursday, and denounced the actions of both Israel and Hezbollah. Lebanon's beleaguered prime minister has also asked for an immediate halt to the fighting.
Regarding the letter that the Iranian president wrote to German Chancelloer Merkel requesting her help on his "Jewish problem", I wrote below that Merkel should publicly tell him to go to hell. I then concluded that it's "just not going to happen."
Well, I am happy to say that I misjudged the Chancellor. While she didn't use those exact words, she came close enough:
BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday forcefully rejected a letter from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seeking cooperation with Germany, saying it did not even deserve an answer.Well done Frau Merkel, well done!
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki delivered the letter to the German embassy in Tehran earlier this week. A German government official who saw the letter told Reuters it criticised Israel and said Germany and Iran should cooperate in dealing with Zionism and solving the Palestinian problem.
"He's repeating the old thinking, which is totally unacceptable to us," Merkel told ZDF state television. "Israel's right to exist is a key part of our state policy and he calls this into question time and again; and at the same time our offer - an offer which really gives the Iranian people hope for the future - is not mentioned once," she added.
"That's not in order and thus does not need to be answered."
"At the rate that technology is advancing, people will be implanting chips in our children to advertise directly into their brains and tell them what kind of products to buy"
No, this is not a parody.
WASHINGTON - Madison Ave. ad execs are so bent on taking control of America's children, they'd put computer chips in kids' brains if they could, Sen. Hillary Clinton said yesterday.
Saying advertisers have found so many new ways to get at kids through video games and the Internet, Clinton warned that we're verging on a society out of a grim science fiction novel.
"At the rate that technology is advancing, people will be implanting chips in our children to advertise directly into their brains and tell them what kind of products to buy," Clinton said at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The New York Democrat said the country was performing a "massive experiment" on kids who average more than six hours a day with media and advertising, soaking it up through TV, computers, games and iPods. She said the fastest growing advertising market is the 6- and under set, and that children's health is already being hurt by products like Camel's candy-flavored cigarettes and junk food sold with tips for video games - used to sell more junk food.
"People are spending billions and billions of dollars enticing children basically to be obsessed with food," she said. "These foods are almost universally unhealthy." Clinton has offered legislation to study the effects of the "advertising-saturated, media-intense" world on kids.
Robert Thompson, a professor of pop culture at Syracuse University, said Clinton and other politicians like to attack advertising because it's easier than trying to ban bad food products or fund broad education programs.
"To go after advertising really makes no sense," he said. "It's sort of a backdoor tack, but it's the safer one politically."
Yet another example of a news story that reads like a joke but, unfortunately is all too real. The Middle East is on the verge of a protracted war and Hillary Clinton is concerned that Madison Avenue advertising executives are planning to implant chips in the heads of American children so as to pump advertising directly into their brains.
Wow. Aside from the tin foil hat, black helicopter, "they're goning to put chips in my head" paranoia which is really weird, to say the least, this is quite illustrative of the liberal mindset.
"Big Advertising" is just the latest in a long line of industries that Hillary and her ilk have chosen to attack for political gain. The tobacco industry was first, then came (in no particular order) oil, companies, insurance, hospital companies, pharmaceuticals, fast food, soft drinks and probably more that I have failed to mention. The sad fact is that eventually, every industry in this country will be blamed for some deficiency in American life. In Hillary's view, nothing is really the fault of individuals, it's those pesky corporations that are to blame.
Hey America, it's your fault. You're too fat because you eat too much and exercise too little. Stop eating, take a walk and stop blaming your lack of willpower on McDonalds.
The truth is that American kids eat too much of the wrong foods and sit on their big butts watching TV and playing video games. The reason they eat the wrong foods is because their parents are either too timid, or too lazy to tell their child "no". Far too many of these kids are growing up with no fear or respect of their elders, authority figures or their parents because for their entire live they have been raised to think that they are the center of the universe. Many are unruly, impolite, undisciplined and completely anti-social as a result of our child-centric society that has been created by the likes of, well, Hillary Clinton.
Far too many parents are far too indulgent of their children. They give their kids what they ask for and they're not asking for fruits and vegetables or exercise. Too many parents have found that it's much easier to tell their child "yes" than it is to tell them "no." The fruits of this indulgent attitude are lethargic blobs that think the world should satisfy their every whim. There truly can be "too much of a good thing" and the proof is before us.
Does she actually think that this is the first generation of children to be targeted by advertisers? Does she think that prior to now, children didn't crave burgers, fries and anything loaded with sugar? This has been going on since TV was invented. The difference is that the previous generations of parents tended to discipline their children more and insisted that they sit down for family meals, meals that didn't come in a styrofoam box. Sure, there was McDonalds, but it was a treat-not a daily routine.
None of this will be solved by "funding broad education programs" or, God forbid, the banning of certain types of foods, as the "professor of pop culture" seems to be suggesting. Solving it will take some discipline on the part of parents, not only discipline of their children but self-discipline as well. Perhaps some straight talk on the part of government officials would be a start, rather than absolving people of blame that is clearly theirs. Recognition of the problem is the first step.
Mary Ann Sieghart (Timesonline UK) asks that question in this poignant story about the practice of family values by the "Religion of Peace":
Moral superiority? This is barbaric in the extreme. Sadly, this is far from an isolated occurrence among Mulims. A culture that allows this sort of thing to occur without vehement outcry from within is a sick culture indeed.
Rarely does a news story bring tears to the eyes. But when I read the account last week of the murder of Samaira Nazir in an "honour killing" (surely an oxymoron), I nearly wept. Here was a bright, articulate graduate who had her throat cut, was stabbed 18 times by her brother and cousin because she wanted to marry a Muslim man whom her family had not chosen.
The details were particularly horrific. Her mother stood and watched as she was murdered "how could any mother do that? Her two nieces, aged just 2 and 4, were forced to witness their father stabbing her, close enough to be spattered by her blood " how could any parent do that? She screamed for help and neighbours saw her blood-soaked arm emerge briefly from the front door, but their attempts to intervene were rebuffed.
Of course, grotesque acts of violence happen in all countries. The West is not free from sin. But what sets this type of murder apart is that the perpetrators believe that what they are doing is morally justified. In another (dis)honour killing in 2001, Faqir Mohammed stabbed his daughter 20 times in the head and stomach. He told police: "According to the law it was not right, but according to religion it was right."
My country has been "torn to shreds," said Fouad Siniora, the prime minister of Lebanon, as the death toll among his people passed 300 civilian dead, 1,000 wounded, with half a million homeless.Oh, and how should Israel have responded to the kidnapping and brutal murder of her citizens and soldiers, not to mention rocket attacks launched from Lebanese soil? Perhaps an appeal to the U.N., which despises Israel even more than does Pat Buchanan?
Israel must pay for the "barbaric destruction," said Siniora.
To the contrary, says columnist Lawrence Kudlow, "Israel is doing the Lord's work."
On American TV, former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says the ruination of Lebanon is Hezbollah's doing. But is it Hezbollah that is using U.S.-built F-16s, with precision-guided bombs and 155-mm artillery pieces to wreak death and devastation on Lebanon?
No, Israel is doing this, with the blessing and without a peep of protest from President Bush. And we wonder why they hate us.
Pat has become increasingly annoying over the years and in my opinion he has become increasingly anti-semitic as well. He seems to love the role of contrarian and delights in making controversial statements, seemingly just because they are controversial. On those rare occasions that I agree with him (even a stopped clock is right twice a day), I feel like I should take a shower.
In short, the guy just creeps me out.
Hussein Blames Bush, Iran and Israel Supporters for Iraq's Troubles
BAGHDAD, Iraq, July 20 Saddam Hussein's defense lawyers on Thursday released a letter Mr. Hussein recently wrote in prison that tries to convince the American people that the United States should leave Iraq because President Bush misled them into a deadly quagmire.One has to really wonder about the character of Ramsey Clark and just what goes on inside of his head. He was also a staunch defender of Slobodan Milosevic as well as the murderers in Rwanda, indicating that he has some sort of fetish for bloodthirsty dictators. Exactly how does one go from Attorney General of the United States to defender of the very worst the human race has to offer?
The 5,000-word letter is a rambling treatise outlining what Mr. Hussein asserts are the false reasons the Bush administration used to justify the war in Iraq, from illicit weapons to links with Al Qaeda. Mr. Hussein said he had written it at the behest of Ramsey Clark, the former United States attorney general who serves on his defense team.
Mr. Hussein blames Iran and pro-Israel interests for helping lead the Americans into war. He invokes the specter of the Vietnam War and the spirit of Mao, saying the Chinese revolutionary is "laughing in his grave because his prediction has been fulfilled and America is a paper tiger."
The letter is dated July 7 and was handed by Mr. Hussein to Mr. Clark, said Rasha Oudeh, the office manager for Mr. Hussein's eldest daughter.
From a 1999 Salon article, Ian Williams states, in part:
Many liberals and leftists cut Clark a considerable degree of slack. For a start he is almost the only person the American left has had in high public office since World War II, even if it was a retrospective success, since his long march leftward only began afterward. His views as the former attorney general are listened to with a respect that would be accorded to few others with such eccentric opinions. As a revered spokesman of the left, he is a perfect symbol for its near-impotence in American politics today.
Everyone who has dealings with Clark uses the word "nice" to describe him. But he often sides with people whom no one with a full deck would call nice. (Clark did not respond to a Salon News interview request.) Many former friends, more in sorrow than in anger, trace his present positions to the company he keeps: the International Action Center, which proclaims him its founder but seems entirely in the thrall of an obscure Trotskyist sect, the Workers World Party. Whoever writes his scripts, there is little doubt what Ramsey Clark is against now -- any manifestation of the power of the state he once served at the height of the Vietnam War.
Clark is a perfect example of the fallacy of what we call "the left". While they claim to be "liberal", they are anything but. The fact is, they have always has a soft spot for Communists of every stripe, whether it be Soviet or Red Chinese. They gloss over the untold millions of lives that were taken during the spread of global communism, while placing every American misstep under a microscope. They call Bush a fascist and Castro the creator of a political paradise.
A man like Ramsey Clark should be publicly ostracized from both sides of the political spectrum, and the fact that he is not says more about those who call themselves "the left" than is does about him.
The Lebanese Minister of Defense warned Israel Thursday that if IDF ground forces are sent into southern Lebanon, Lebanese troops will fight along with the Hizbullah against Israel.
What's with these guys, do they have some sort of death wish? Oh, I forgot, they're Muslims. Of course they have death wish!
Seriously though, this would be a very bad move on the part of Lebanon, or anyone else who is thinking getting in the ring with the IDF. I think that Israel is serious this time and the injection of a third party may well ignite a free-for-all. In that case, either all parties will get their asses kicked by the IDF conventionally, or unconventionally. I believe that, when faced with her very survival, Israel will do what is necessary.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
IN SPAIN, ANTI-SEMITISM IS NEW LEFTIST TREND
In other Eurotrash Jew-hatred news, I find this rather disturbing opinion piece by Ignacio Russell Cano:
Oddly, his ascent to the office of Prime Minister was a direct result of the Muslim terrorist train bombings in Madrid in 2004, go figure. The Spanish people, in a frenzy to appease the Muslim murderers, sought to distance themselves from the previous government which was friendly to the Bush administration and Zapatero was easily elected. One can only assume that Spaniards have devolved into a detestable lot.
Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Prime Minister of Spain and Secretary General of the Socialist Party, arrived to power at a time nobody expected, not even inside the Party.
Keen on populist tirades against the United States "Dickhead Bush" and "Ketchup Queen Kerry", his whole campaign did not bring much attention until the moment Al-Qaeda decided to blow up Madrid trains, killing almost 200 people and bringing to an end Spain's membership of the West.
From that moment on, everybody knew nothing would be the same, and Spanish Jews knew there were hard times ahead. Prime Minister Zapatero has not disappointed them.
Although many experts had foretold of the imminent disappearing of European Jews, nobody expected such a virulent explosion of anti-Semitism in Spain, not even under a Leftist government.
The first signal came on Monday, 5 December, when during a dinner with the Benarroch family, Zapatero and wife began claiming what Vidal Quadras, member of the European Parliament, described on the radio as "a tirade of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism".
By the moment the Benarroch couple had left the table to express their regrets, Zapatero was explaining his lack of surprise about the Holocaust: according to the people present, Zapatero claimed to understand the Nazis.
While Zapatero is a real piece of work, this Spanish anti-Semitism is really nothing new. During the Spanish Inquisition, Jews were given the choice to either leave Spain or die, or at least the lucky ones were. While I hesitate in judging a country by centuries-old events, Spain, like Germany has evidently failed to acknowledge and learn from its past, thus dooming them to repeat it.
If you don't understand the term "Eurotrash", you need only look at Spain, Germany and as always, France.
P.S. It should be noted that the Zapatero government is described as "Leftist" and Zapatero himself is "Secretary General of the Socialist Party". Perhaps American Jews should note where their support is coming from, and from where it is not. -D.W.
Iran leader asks Germany for help on Zionism
Sometimes you run across news that appears to have been written by Mel Brooks, then you find out that it's real. This is one of those times. Following, is an article from ynet news with some added commentary that I simply could not resist:
A German government official said on Thursday that letter written by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to German Chancellor Angela Merkel asks her to help solve the Palestinian problem and deal with Zionism.Ah yes, I would guess that would be an area of "extreme sensitivity". It continues:
"There's nothing about the nuclear issue (in the letter)," the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity due to the extreme sensitivity of the issue for the German government.
"It's all related to Germany and how we have to find a solution to the Palestinian problems and Zionism and so on. It's rather weird" The official, who has seen the letter, said.Rather weird?
Iranian students news agency said on Wednesday that Ahmadinejad had written to Merkel, but until Thursday officials had not spoken about the contents.Yes, "touchy" extremely "touchy", we get the picture. That whole Nazi thing and all.
Zionism is a political movement that supports a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine, now the state of Israel. The fate of Palestinian Arab refugees is one of the world's largest and most long-lasting refugee problems.
Berlin's relations with Ahmadinejad have been complicated by his denial of the Holocaust, in which Germany's Nazi regime killed six million Jews, and his call for Israel to be wiped off the map.
Holocaust denial is a crime in Germany punishable with up to five years in prison.
It's extremely touchy (for the German government)," said the official, adding that the government did not yet know if or how it would respond. "There are a lot of propaganda phrases about Israel and the Jews inside."
In May Ahmadinejad wrote US President George W. Bush an 18-page letter discussing religious values, history and international relations.Oh yes, he wants to "solve the problems of the world together", so why not start with the Jewish problem? And who knows more about the Jewish problem than the Germans?
In it, he took swipes at Israel and at the United States.
He sharply criticized Bush on many fronts, implying that the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, abuses of detainees in US prisons in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib "and his staunch support for Israel" were somehow inconsistent with Bush's Christian beliefs.
But the letter to Merkel was different and was not confrontational in tone, the official said. "It's not negative like Ahmadinejad's letter to Bush. He is not criticizing Germany," he said. "it's basically about how we have to work together and solve the problems of the world together."
In February, Merkel compared Ahmadinejad's statements and stance to Adolf Hitler's rise to power when he and his Nazi party began threatening to exterminate European Jewry.Why doesn't Merkel release the entire text of the letter and then, publicly, tell Ahmadinejad and his cadre of mullahs to go straight to hell? In February, she saw the eerie similarity between what Ahmadinejad is saying now and what Hitler said more than 70 years ago, why is she reticent now that he is actively soliciting Germany's help in his own version of the "final solution"? If Merkel wants to show that Germany circa 2006 has learned a positive lesson from Germany circa 1936, she should tell this cut rate Muslim furher to go to hell and then publicly state Germany' support for Israel in the current conflict.
"Remember that in 1933 many people said it was just rhetoric," Merkel said.
The German official said it was interesting that the letter did not discuss Iran's nuclear standoff with the United States, European Union and other countries.
Iran is facing possible action at the UN Security Council over suspicions that it is developing nuclear arms. Tehran denies the charge, saying it is working on nuclear fuel only to run power stations.
Yes, I know. That's just not going to happen.
The reason that this is such a "touchy subject" in Germany is that many Germans have simply failed to acknowledge the culpability of many of the German people during the Nazi regime. What allowed this hideous atrocity was the tendency to "look the other way" and there were plenty of Germans who did just that. I know that it wasn't that a majority of Germans that actually participated in the Holocaust, but it was a majority that allowed it to happen. They tried to appease the evil in their midst in the hopes that it would go away, or at the very least not affect them. The people's crime was one of silence in the face of unspeakable evil.
Now, more than 70 years later, joined by most of Europe, they are still trying to appease the evil by remaining silent.
Remember when you were school? There's always some punk kid for whom antagonizes you mercilessly, day after day, and the teacher doesn't really notice. Your sense of honor precludes you from complaining to the teacher, so you just take it. After all, you're a pretty well-adjusted kid, not prone to fighting other kids on the playground. Finally, the day comes when you say "enough is enough" and you choose to stand up for yourself, even at the risk of getting pummelled by the antagonizing punk. What happens? You both get in trouble. This is your first indication that the world just isn't fair. It's also your first indication that sometimes you just have to stand up for yourself, even if no one will stand with you, because it's just the right thing to do.
This is applicable to the current situation in Lebanon. Israel has been mercilessly attacked by Hamas, the thugocratic government of "Palestine" for years. They have indiscriminately bombed civilian targets, killed innocent people - even going so far as to break into houses and shoot women and children, and much of the world has barely noticed. Now Hezbollah, the wholly-owned subsidiary of the Iranian-Syrian Joint Venture has launched hostilities against Israel and her citizens from Lebanon, a weakly governed country which seems to have neither the will or the means to expel Hezbollah from its territory. Hezbollah, in true terrorist fashion, has melted into the Lebanese citizenry and the Lebanese government has voiced nary a peep. To the Lebanese people's credit, they chose to expel the Syrians from their country months ago. They did not, however, choose to expel Hezbollah and therein lies the problem. Hezbollah is launching artillery and rocket attacks on Israel from Lebanon, with the tacit approval of the Lebanese government and people. While the Lebanese people successfully marched in the streets to rid their country of the Syrian occupying force, no such sentiment seems apparent to rid themselves of the Syrian-Iranian client, Hezbollah.
Now that Israel has reached the "enough is enough" phase and has chosen to defend herself against occupied Lebanon, Kofi Annan, in a masterpiece of myopia has chosen to divide responsibility between Hezbollah holding "an entire nation hostage" and Israel's "excessive use of force" thus seeing moral equivalence where there is none. Lebanon is hosting an occupying force, bent on the destruction of Israel and the killing of her citizens and Israel has chosen to defend herself with the only real means available. As long as Lebanon agrees to host Hezbollah, knowing that they hide among the Lebanese populace, and as long as the Lebanese people allow this to continue, the Lebanese people will continue to be at risk-they can't have it both ways.
Much as the teacher in school, Kofi Annan and the worthless UN have chosen to sacrifice justice for the cessation of conflict. Israel, on the other hand, has chosen to stand up for justice and the right of self-defense and all who value justice should stand with her. As for the Lebanese people, they have a choice as well; they are either with the terrorists or against them.
Monday, July 17, 2006
From Cox and Forkum:
The criticism that Israel is using a "disproportionate response" to the kidnappings of its soldiers is an attempt to morally disarm Israel and make Israel out to be a bully. This notion is ludicrous when considered in the full context: Hezbollah and Hamas initiated the current crisis in an ongoing war against Israel's right to exist. Notice that no one cried "disproportionate response" when Hamas demanded 1,200 prisoners in exchange for one Israeli hostage. Hamas and Hezbollah aren't playing a game of proportions, why should Israel?
Israel, an outpost of freedom in the Middle East, has every right to use whatever means necessary for her long-term interests to defeat those who are warring against her. All the "disproportionate response" critics are accomplishing is to empower Israel's enemies to wage more war, harm more Israeli citizens and escalate the violence. They are kicking Israel when she is down, when she needs our support the most.
I think that about sums it up. Supporting Israel against these enemies of mankind is simply the right thing to do.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
This is an interesting take on Israel's plans for the immediate future from OPFOR, someone who knows what he's talking about:
One of the lessons America, and the world, drew from the lightning campaigns of Gulf Wars I & II was the importance of battlesplace preparation. That is, the conditioning of the battlefield's environment prior to initiating full scale military operations.
What we are witnessing in southern Lebanon is concurrent with actions designed to prep a battlefield for the insertion of ground forces. So far, Israel has relied on its dominance in sea and air forces to isolate Hezbollah, rather than focusing their brunt of their superior forces on actual enemy positions. By blockading the coast,
neutralizing Beruit's airport, and damaging roads and bridges into and out of Lebanon, the IDF has cut off Hezbollah's supply routes by land, sea, and air, and blocked all lines of escape.
These isolation actions are eerily similiar to Coalition movements prior to operation Hail Mary during the first Gulf War, where allied aircraft severed supply lines to foward deployed Iraqi Army units. The end result is a battlespace that traps the now ill-equipped enemy force, the ideal environment for Israel to crush Hezbollah forces.
I think that in the coming days, we will see a sizable Israeli ground incursion into southern Lebanon, a campaign designed to exploit the favorable conditions that Israel has created for itself. I have the feeling that once that invasion comes, Hezbollah's ability to launch rocket attacks into Israel proper will be severly reduced, if not eliminated.
Endstate: IDF holds the territory until it is satisfied that the Lebanese Army is A) free from Syrian control and B) capable of holding the southern border on their own.
As for me, I feel pretty certain that what we have seen in the last few days is just the beginning. Moreover, both Syrian and Iranian fingerprints are all over Hezbollah and and the day of reckoning may well be drawing near.
Israel has shown remarkable restraint, but restraint has its limitations. At some point, the muslim antagonists, and their enablers, must be made to pay a price for their wanton murder and kidnapping of innocents. That point has been reached.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Maybe a little uplifting escapism is in order.
Trains were bombed in India by practitioners of the "religion of peace", killing well over a hundred innocents. A Chicago subway derailed , causing a fire and sending hundreds to hospitals. The "religion of peace" was apparently not responsible, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised if they took credit. Two abducted U.S. soldiers were brutally murdered and mutilated by "religion of peace" adherents who chose to tape the heinous act. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. The point is, day-to-day reality can be a very depressing spectacle. A very depressing spectacle indeed.
I would like to take just a little break from this doleful cavalcade of current events and report that there will be a new "Rocky" movie, entitled "Rocky Balboa" released in December. A trailer can be found here. Frankly, when I first heard rumors that a new "Rocky" movie was in the offing, I thought it was a joke, but I must say that now, I'm looking forward to seeing how they go about ending the story.
Yes, I know that the "Rocky" series decended into farce after the 3rd installment (many would argue it was earlier than that), but I admit that I'm a bit of a sucker for these films (though even I didn't like IV or V). They are good escapist fare where the underdog strives to overcome daunting odds and, in the end, triumphs. Is it realistic? No, but movies like this will lift your spirits, if you allow them to. Was "Field of Dreams" realistic? Well, of course it wasn't. But it was a very moving film and to this day I can not watch it without tears rolling down my face.
Call me a rube if you will, but I like escapist movies that inspire me and make me feel good.
The "Rocky" series has suffered a great deal of criticizm, some deserved and some not. As I said, I think IV and V sullied the reputation of the previous three. That said, you may wonder why I am looking forward to the 6th installment when I have already admitted that the 4th and 5th were "bridges too far" in the series. Let's just say that I would hope that the last in the "Rocky" series will redeem the series, much like "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" redeemed the abyssmal "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom".
Admittedly, it will be an uphill battle as the very thought of a 50-something Rocky Balboa going up against a young fighter in his prime is, well, a bit of a stretch (to say the least) . Then again, isn't that what "Rocky" was always about?
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Iraq violated the terms of their 1991 surrender almost daily, violated and literally flouted every UN resolution on the books and went so far as to physically remove UN weapons inspectors. No UN action was taken, other than to enrich a small group of UN fetishists via the "Oil for Food" scheme, a program designed by, well, the UN. Were starving Iraqis fed by the program? Well, no.
Iran, a state run by a radical theocratic regime and headed by a man given to bizarre sentiments, and musings that can only be described as insane, lusts mightily for nuclear weapons and the UN sees no reason to act.
Racial genocide continues in Sudan and the UN does nothing. In fact, racial genocide has been occurring all across Africa for decades and the UN has turned a blind eye.
Now North Korea, apparently feeling that it may be upstaged as the world's premier scary nut-state by Iran, decides to test missiles to see if they could hit anything, just in case they ever got the itch to put a nuke on top of one. They couldn't, but not for a lack of trying. The UN will be meeting soon to discuss this and determine what actions that will not be taken in response.
This is, by no means, a comprehensive list of UN failures. No, I cannot even call them failures for the word failure indicates that some action was taken and the action failed. These are failures to act, and those are the most egregious failures of all. This is an organization where all countries are given equal weight, regardless of size. The Security Council, where most of the action, or shall I say inaction takes place is a body where China's vote on a subject such as human rights has equal weight with the United States. How can there be anything but a failure to act?
While totally fabricated, this does have a familiar ring, no?:
1) Rogue country (probably a UN member) commits overt hostile act (invasion of another country, wholesale slaughter of it's own citizens, etc).
2) US condemns act. UN does nothing.
3) Rogue country continues, even escalates hostile act.
4) US, UK fume and demand action. UN agrees to meet to discuss rogue country's hostile act.
5) Rogue country further escalates hostile act.
6) UN issues statement "deploring" rogue country's hostile act. US, UK demand action in the strongest possible terms.
7) UN Security Council meet and vote. Russia, China and France abstain. US, UK demand immediate action.
8) Security Council meets again and again. Finally they reach a lukewarm resolution designed not to offend anyone, least of all the rogue country in question.
9) Rogue country tells UN to go to hell.
10) UN passes further and stronger resolution.
11) Rogue country tells UN to go STRAIGHT to hell, do not pass go, do not collect $200.
12) UN passes several more resolutions, each one stronger than the last. UN demands rogue country cease and desist.
13) Rogue country demands that UN go to hell with the horse they rode in on.
14) UN passes resolution that Rogue country honor past resolutions.
15) Rogue country suggests UN have intercourse with itself and to place it's resolutions firmly in a place without sunlight and to do all of this on it's way to hell.
16) UN says this is the last straw, threatens immediate action.
17) Rogue country: "See #15"
18) UN says that is the very very last straw, threatens immediate action. Further states that they really, really mean it this time.
19) Rogue country: "We said, see #15!"
20) Security Council meet to determine what action should be taken. Russia, China and France abstain.
21) US states it's intention, as a permanent member of the Security Council, to enforce all previous resolutions on rogue state's hostile actions.
22) Rogue state tells US to go to hell.
23) US promptly kicks rogue states ass in no uncertain terms.
24) Rogue state appeals to UN. Russia, China and France sponsor draft resolution against US hostile action against rogue state.
25) European press, Hollywood stars and a host of usual suspects deplore "Amerikka's Nazi tactics" against poor defenseless rogue state and ask "Why didn't we just let the UN handle this, after all isn't that what they're for?"
The point of this exercise is to illustrate the utter uselessness of the UN. They have been called an "irrelevant debating society" and in a lot of ways I think that is true. The problem is that rogue states such as North Korea, Saddam's Iraq and Iran couldn't care less about their image in the UN because they do not subscribe to such niceties as "debating societies". They are thugs and the only thing they understand is raw force and the very real threat thereof.
The fact that many rogue states rarely care about world opinion renders a world opinion forum such as the UN irrelevant. The fact that the UN makes no distiction between opressive thugocracies such as Syria and Iran and democracies such as Great Britain and the United States renders it irrelevant. The fact that it has become little more than a world forum for America bashing renders it irrelevant. In consistantly failing to act, the UN has rendered itself irrelevant.
In many ways, I think that the UN serves as a black hole where many file all of the difficult geopolitical problems rather that actually solving them. North Korean nukes? Well, we appealed to the UN, and. . . . Genocide in Darfur? Well, we turned that one over to the UN and. . . .
The problem is that these problems do not go away and more often than not their solution requires just the type of decisive action that the UN has proven itself incapable of taking.
The solution? The embrace of liberal democracy as a critera for entry would be a start. Thug dictators standing shoulder to shoulder with duly elected heads of free states is something I find apalling. Sure, there will always be France, but better them having a vote than China. Secondly, I simply do not think that Luxumbourg's vote should be weighted the same as, say, Italy or Canada. Some sort of Electoral system would seem to be in order. Thirdly, The United States should not continue to foot the lions share of the bill, particularly given the anti-US sentiment that is pervasive in the UN.
Frankly, I don't think any of this has a snowball's chance in hell of ever happening. I only present these solutions because fairness dictates that criticism should be followed by a suggested solution. Personally, I think the UN will lumber on and will continue to be the most vocal critic of its largest benefactor-the US. We will continue to endure the slings and arrows, because the fact is that they need us a lot more than they will admit.
We need them a lot less than they will admit as well.
Good Lord, what a bunch of morons, has beens, miscreants and moneyed malcontents:
The hunger strike will see at least four activists, Sheehan, veteran comedian and peace campaigner Dick Gregory, former army colonel Ann Wright and environmental campaigner Diane Wilson launch serious, long-term fasts.
"I don't know how long I can fast, but I am making this open-ended," said Wilson.
Other supporters, including Penn, Sarandon, novelist Alice Walker and actor Danny Glover will join a 'rolling" fast, a relay in which 2,700 activists pledge to refuse food for at least 24 hours, and then hand over to a comrade.
Wow! Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon and Danny Glover will not eat for 24 hours, and then someone else won't eat for 24 hours! I'm sure that a couple of days of this will certainly show the administration the error of it's ways! Geez.
As for "vetran comedian" Dick Gregory, he hasn't been a working "comedian" for decades having long since abanodoned that profession for another, professional whiner notwithstanding. From his own website:
In 1973, the year he released his comedy album Caught in the Act, Gregory moved with his family to Plymouth, Massachusetts, where he developed an interest in vegetarianism and became a nutritional consultant. In 1984 he founded Health Enterprises, Inc., a company that distributed weight loss products. In 1987 Gregory introduced the Slim-Safe Bahamian Diet, a powdered diet mix, which was immensely profitable.
Perhaps he can now market the "don't eat for peace" diet.