Sean LaFreniere

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Sean's Political Dictionary
So that YOU know what SEAN is talking about when he opens his big mouth:

 

Conservative:

Date: 1831. From Latin conservare, for "to keep", "guard", or "observe". A Conservative relies upon family traditions and figures of authority to establish and maintain values. 

A Conservative puts group security above personal freedoms. 

A Conservative believes that successful use and maintenance of power proves God's favor for the government. 

A Conservative believes that social values, religious rules, and forms of governments may only be altered gradually. 

Stability and continuity are the goals of government.

 

Liberal:

Date: 1820. From Latin liberalis for "free". A Liberal uses reason and logic to set personal, social, and religious values. 

A Liberal places personal freedom above group security. 

A Liberal believes that governments rule by the consent of the governed. 

A liberal believes that governments may be changed or removed at the will of the people.  

A Liberal supports rapid change in the pursuit of progress and reform.

Freedom and Justice are the goals of government.

 

Note: a nation, and an individual, may move back and forth between these positions often. They rarely sum up a personality completely. And they should never be permanent blinders for anyone to view the world.

When a people succeed in a Liberal revolution, for instance, they often find themselves in the Conservative position protecting these gains. Similarly a person might have a Liberal view on public financial assistance and then move into a conservative position once these demands are met.

One might say that Affirmative Action is a prime example. At one point instituting Affirmative Action was a Liberal position, it was needed to reverse decades of discrimination following the end of Slavery. However, today the Liberal position might well be the ending of Affirmative Action, as it has largely completed its task and now stands as a stumbling block to truly moving the nation beyond race as a discriminatory trait. Meanwhile, the position of defending AA is now actually a Conservative stance (whether its so-called "liberal" defenders realize it or not).

Another way to think about this is that these terms describe a way of thinking about issues, not the positions on those issues. That is a Conservative might support a war because politicians they respect urge it, because the enemy scares them, and ultimately because it just "feels right". A Liberal might also come to support the war in spite of the position of authority figures and celebrities, not because it feels right, but because hours of research and consideration support the cause.

Neither is a "better way" of coming to a position, necessarily. Sometimes too much thinking interferes with a solid moral judgment, such as on the Abortion issue. And then other times only rational examination can skip over the emotional baggage and come to the most reasonable decision, as we see in the Abortion issue.

I realize this might be difficult for some people to accept after a long time of hearing party dogma on the issue. Personally I find value in BOTH positions. On some issues I am myself rather Conservative and on others I am quite Liberal. The same with the terms Radical and Reactionary, noted below. I found that stepping beyond these labels opened up my thoughts and cleared my head of a lot of bs.

 

Reactionary:

Date: 1840. From Latin reagere for "to act". A Reactionary uses government pressure as a means of containing and responding to changes in society.

 

Radical:

Date: 14th century. From Latin radicalis from radix for "root". A Radical supports social movements and political pressure groups as a means of affecting change in government.

 

The Right:

Date: early modern. The term comes from  English Parliamentary Rules; which place the party in power on the right of the Speaker. As the Conservatives held sway for a long time, the term Right came to be associated with the "Establishment" and thus with Conservative politics.

 

The Left:

Date: early modern. The party in Opposition sits on the Speaker's left. The Left came to be associated with labor movements, the lower classes, and socialist politics. It has also come to be associated with Liberalism. This was useful for Conservative politicians, and Socialists as well, during the 60's. But I find this to be a big intellectual and political mistake.

 

Capitol Goods:

Date: circa 1639. From the French from Latin capitalis for "top", used in French for "principal" or "chief". (1) : a stock of accumulated goods; especially at a specified time and in contrast to income received during a specified period (2) : accumulated goods devoted to the production of other goods (3) : accumulated possessions calculated to bring in income

 

Capitalism:

Date: 1877. An economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

 

Socialism:

Date: 1837. From Latin socialis for "friend" or "companion" or "associate". Any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods; usually there is no private property; in Marxist theory this is also considered just a transitional stage between capitalism and communism and it is distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.

 

Communism:

Date: 1840. From French communisme, from Latin communis for "common". A doctrine based on revolutionary Marxian socialism and Marxism-Leninism in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed. It is the final stage of society in Marxist theory in which the state has withered away and economic goods are distributed equitably. In its only examples of practical application, in the USSR, China, and Cuba it became a totalitarian system where a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production and the people are enslaved in production geared to support the power of this party.

 

Note: in Marxist theory these three systems represent a sliding scale, with Capitalism on the Right, Socialism in the middle, and Communism on the Left. A nation was supposed to move from one to the other over time. However, in practice few systems in the world have ever been purely one or the other. Most national economic models employ some of all three.

While the US and Europe are considered the paragons of Capitalism, they both retain many Socialist elements. Both the US and Europe offer state sanctioned monopolies of public utilities. The American Postal Service is a state owned enterprise, as are the European aerospace entities. Europe offers state run healthcare, as do many American states, and both regulate the health industry heavily.

Through out history Europe and the US have also held some Communist elements. The common grazing lands of town centers and the great unfenced Western plains were both representative of these traditions. One might say that Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, and the Dole are also holdovers from our more communal days.

On the other hand, while China has long been a paragon of Socialism / Communism, it still has many elements of free enterprise. They allow small farmers and craftsmen to sell excess production on the open market, they have private telecoms and industrial companies, and now they have a stock market, the ultimate symbol and apparatus of Capitalism.

When one system or the other fails to serve a nation, many proponents argue that actually the system simply was not implemented purely enough. However, attempts to purify these systems require a heavy hand in government, education, and economic practice. And this has led to oppressive regimes and brutalized citizens.

 

Democracy:

Date: 1576. From Greek dEmokrati, from demos "people" + kracy "rule". A government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections; usually accompanied by the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges.

 

Republic:

Date: 1604. From Latin respublica; from res "thing" + publica "of the people". A government having a chief of state who is not a monarch and who is elected by popular vote.

 

Note: that the root of the word Democracy is Greek, while the root of the word Republic is Latin. These terms are NOT antithetical, they do not even derive from the same language.

In common use they both have come to describe types of Liberal governments, specifically the one is a type of the other. It is possible for a nation to be a Democracy, but NOT also a Republic. However, a nation that is a Republic is ALWAYS also a Democracy. A Republic is a TYPE of Democracy.

The UK is a Democracy, but not a Republic, because of the Queen. Ireland became a Republic only after it dropped from the Commonwealth and replaced the Queen with an elected President

 

Fascism:

Date: 1921 From Latin fascis for "bundle" or group. Last, but not least, is this term, which actually combines the economic system and the political system entirely. In this system the state and large corporations merge, the rights of the individual are subordinated to the glory of the State, and all dissent is suppressed. It often utilizes a racial or religious cause to motivate the people into giving up their rights in the first place. These states usually rise out of an economic collapse or hardship with high inflation and unemployment.

 
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Friday, April 30, 2004

EU Welcomes New Members

CNN reports that the Cold War has finaly come to a halting jangling and noisy close as Europe readmits 10 nations that fell to Communofascist rule for more than half a century.

Capitals across Europe celebrated Friday night and into Saturday morning as the European Union marked the largest expansion in its history.

Ten new members, eight of them formerly under communist rule, joined the EU at midnight CET (2200 GMT), but celebrations began earlier in countries farther east. The accession unites Eastern and Western Europe, patching rifts left by World War II and the Cold War.

The new member states are Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. The additions bring the EU's population to 450 million, making it the world's largest trading bloc.


Lets hope that the War On Terror concludes as well in 50 years.

Sean: Friday, April 30, 2004 [+] |
...
Thursday, April 29, 2004


World Terror Lowest In 30 Years

CNN reports that international acts of terror in 2003 were the fewest in more than 30 years, according to the U.S. State Department's annual terrorism report released Thursday.

The Patterns of Global Terrorism report said 190 acts of international terrorism occurred in 2003 - 45% less than in 2001 and the lowest total since 1969. However the report noted that attacks directed at Americans (the report did not include any combat or guerilla incidents in Iraq)are up slightly. The highest number of attacks, 70, occurred in Asia, the report said.


The report sited the war in Iraq as having largely tied up the resources of past sponsors of terror, such as "Ansar al-Islam, al Qaeda and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi."

The report warned that "several terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, increasingly look to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear materials as a means to cause mass casualties."


The report also blew sunshine at several former terror states... citing Sudan, Libya, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and even North Korea for taking "significant steps to cooperate in the global war on terrorism."

Iran, however, remains on the "short list".

As in previous years, the report said Iran "remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism in 2003." Iran provides safe-haven for members of Ansar al Islam, advocates attacks against coalition forces, and helps insurgents infliltrate southern Iraq. Iran has also failed to identify and transfer senior members of al Qaeda it claims to have in custody.


The report's author sited the March 11th terrorist bombings in Madrid, Spain, which many believe tipped national elections against Prime Minister Jose Aznar, as having sent a counterproductive message:

"Terrorists have concluded, with the help of many others, that there may be a relationship between a terrorist action and an election in a democracy," Black said. "These groups may decide that [the US elections in November] is a good target date to look toward in all democracies."


As silly as it may have sounded to the ears of more sophisticated critics in the US, it looks like their might actually be something to the Andrew Sullivan cited Bush plan behind his famous "Bring em on!" quip... we finally took the fight to them and have so far kept it out of lower Manhattan... some credit might be due.

Sean: Thursday, April 29, 2004 [+] |
...
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Student's Drawing Alerts Secret Service

CNN reports that a student's depiction of a terrorist with Dubya's head on a stick prompted a little visit from the SS. That'l learn 'im!

Secret Service agents questioned a Prosser, WA high school student about anti-war drawings he did for an art class, one of which depicted President Bush's head on a stick.

The drawing that drew the most notice showed a man in what appeared to be Middle Eastern-style clothing, holding a rifle. He was also holding a stick with an oversize head of the president on it.

The student said the head was enlarged because it was intended to be an effigy, Cravens said. The caption called for an end to the war in Iraq.

The artwork was apparently part of an assignment to keep a notebook of drawings, according to Kevin Cravens, a friend of the boy's family.

"If this 15-year-old kid in Prosser is perceived as a threat to the president, then we are living in '1984'," Cravens said.

Tolcacher insisted it was not a freedom of speech issue, but a concern over the depiction of violence.

"From what I saw, [school officials] were right to be concerned," Prosser Police Chief Win Taylor said.

A message left by The Associated Press with an after-hours duty officer with the Secret Service in Washington, D.C., was not immediately returned on Monday.


Maybe they should have rushed the Prez to a "secure location"?

Sean: Wednesday, April 28, 2004 [+] |
...
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
China's True Colors

The NY Times reports that China is backpeddling on its commitment to maintain Hong Kong's democracy and autonomy.

Beijing on Monday barred popular elections for Hong Kong's chief executive in 2007 and ruled out any expanded voting by the general public for the legislature in 2008, in the latest in a series of moves to restrict democracy here.


Evidently peaceful reunification with Taiwan looks like more and more of a longshot and so Beijing no longer needs the fiction of a "free Hong Kong" as a lure.

Nevermind their commitment to the UK and the conditions of the British return of HK (not ever specified or required in their earlier treaties with China).

Lest anyone in the West forget, the Chinese government in Beijing sucks.

Sean: Tuesday, April 27, 2004 [+] |
...
Monday, April 26, 2004
Rue De Bullshit

Tom goes too far this week. In his NY Times column he attempts to make the point that Dubya isn't very popular in the Arab world today... whereas Kennedy was. BS!

I was at a dinner the other night and was introduced to a lovely Lebanese woman. We started reminiscing about the good old days in Lebanon and I asked her where she lived in Beirut. She said it was in a building off "Rue John Kennedy." I stopped her immediately. "Rue John Kennedy?" I said, rolling over the words in my mind. "I forgot there was a time when they actually named streets in the Arab world for an American president." Will there ever be a street in Baghdad named after George W. Bush or any U.S. president? The fact that even asking the question today seems absurd tells you how far things have deteriorated.


Vodkapundit also caught Tom in his dissembling.

What's absurd here is Friedman expecting to get away with his sleight-of-hand. Lebanon in the 1960s was about as typical an Arab country as, say, Jamaica. My great grandmother, Dorothy von Hoffmann, used to go to Beirut to gamble, fer crissakes. And don't think she wasn't gambling without her ever-present scotch & soda.


To help us ground ourselves... here is the avenue in question (it appears to be little more than an alleyway):



The only possible explanation that I could find for any Lebanese appreciation for the America of Kennedy's era was that we supported one of its strongmen against a Muslim/Communist putch in 1958.

Camille Shamun invoked the terms of the Eisenhower Doctrine, which Lebanon had signed the year before. According to its terms the United States would "use armed forces to assist any [Middle East] nation . . . requesting assistance against armed aggression from any country controlled by international communism." Arguing that Lebanese Muslims were being helped by Syria, which had received arms from the Soviet Union, Shamun appealed for United States military intervention. The United States responded, in large measure because of concern over the situation in Iraq (the overthow and murder of their British created "king") and the wish to reassure its allies, such as Iran and Turkey, that the United States could act. United States forces began arrived in Lebanon by mid-afternoon of July 15, but played a symbolic rather than an active role.


But Kennedy wasn't elected for another three years.

I did find some evidence that Western educated Arab diplocrats were just as susceptible to Kennedy worship as the next cat... Dubai even issued commemorative stamps!



It should also be noted that the street name is "Rue de JFK", in otherwords the "French Connection" should not be forgotten... Lebannon was a French protectorate until the 50's (when the US forced them to leave). Thus a street might have been named after the king of "Camelot" by any Francophile diplocrat. It does not necessarily follow that JFK was a hero to the people at large.

Regardless... during the era of Eisenhower and JFK the US was seen as a fairly pro-Arab nation. We didn't recognize Israel's right to exist (not enough is made of the fact that the US offered only "de facto" recognition of Israel, while the USSR offered "de jure" recognition almost immediately in 1948) and even forced it to give back the Suez and the Sinai Peninsula. So it wouldn't be surprising if they liked us back then.

What exactly does this have to do with the "War On Terror" or the overthrow of Saddam Hussein? Why does Tom, or anyone else, worry over the esteem of our President by our self-avowed enemies?

Will a street in Baghdad ever be named after Dubya? Sure, when and if we win. If JFK had backed down during the Cuban missile crisis, or if we had nuked the planet, there wouldnt be a Rue de JFK anywhere.

Sean: Monday, April 26, 2004 [+] |
...
Friday, April 23, 2004
The Great Rail Debate

I just stumbled onto the article posted on the Cascade Policy website by Michael J. (Myles) Cunneen calling Tri-Met's claims to have reduced vehicle traffic on I-84 "baseless".

He sites statistics showing that the number of vehicles traveling on I-84 inside the Max corridor totaled over 270k in 1997 - a jump of 35% from pre-Max 1986 data.

But I just finished combing through the same ODOT data, for reasons of my own, and noticed that the number that Myles sites could only have come from the permanent traffic counter in Troutdale, 12 miles east of Portland. By all reasonable logic this counter is well beyond the Max service area and would include every semi on its way to Idaho and beyond.

The relevant numbers should have been from I-205 to the downtown bridges. And the numbers for this area show little growth during most of that period. For instance, the number of vehicles increased from 140k in 1993 to only around 160k in 2002, or about a 15% increase. During a similar period the Portland metropolitan area grew from from 1.5 million in 1990 to 1.9 million in 2000, an increase of 400,000 people or 27%.

Meanwhile the entire argument, from either side, misses the point. We should expect that a freeway will always carry as much traffic as its lanes can accommodate. Meanwhile Max should be judged on its own merits... do people use it, has it allowed us to skip widening the freeway, did it spur economic development along the line, and was it constructed and is it maintained at a rate commiserate with highways as compared to its use?

By these accounts Max appears to function quite well and few people living a block from a station (as Myles claims) would complain.

Light Rail Facts:

Eastside Max counted over 50k boardings in 2003, up from 20k in the 1980's.

http://www.trimet.org/inside/history/maxpage.htm#ridership

In 1986 the 15 miles of Eastside Max cost $214 million - or $14.2 million per mile; while the addition of two lanes to the Banfield Freeway (I-84)for just five miles cost more than $107 million - or more than $20 million a mile.

http://www.trimet.org/inside/publications/pdf/railfactsheet-banfield.pdf

The Eastside Max line has attracted more than $2 billion worth of investment and the Westside line has drawn more than a billion additional dollars over its 18 miles since the decision to build in 1998.

http://www.publictransportation.org/pdf/land_use.pdf.

Analyzing 41 studies of 15 rail systems CalState researchers found that "light rail transit has enhanced residential property values 2-18% in Portland, Sacramento, San Diego and Santa Clara."

http://www.octa.net/center/intro/myths.asp

Q: Are the estimated costs and ridership projections accurate?

A: When planned and implemented correctly, projections and estimates are very accurate. When Portland's MAX system opened critics argued the ridership projections were overly optimistic. MAX surpassed it's 2005 projections by its second anniversary, carrying 71,000 riders per day.

Q: Aren't buses a lot less expensive than light rail?

A: FTA's 1999 National Transit Database shows an average operating cost per passenger mile on light rail of 45 cents, compared to 55 cents on buses. In Portland, operating costs per boarding are $1.40 on light rail and $1.67 on buses.

Q: Does Light Rail cost more than building freeways?

A: The reality is you can build a light rail system with the capacity of a six-lane freeway for 1/3 the cost and on 1/5 the footprint. In Portland, the Oregon State Department of Transportation estimated a six lane freeway alternative would have cost $1.74 billion more than the light rail project. ($1.5 billion for LRT, $3.24 billion for the freeway). That freeway would have been half the length of the rail line and offer half the capacity.

Q: Will light rail help or hurt property values?

A: A study by the University of North Texas on the effects of DART on development and business found that properties adjoining light rail stations grew 25% more in value than comparable properties away from the rail lines. Average occupancies for office buildings near the line increased from 80% before rail to 88.5% after. Average rents rose from $15.60 a square foot to $23. Strip mall owners near DART stations had a 49.5% increase in occupancy and a 64.8% increase in rental rates. San Diego's trolley has spurred 15 major joint development projects valued at over $540 million. Research in the Pleasant Hill area in San Francisco shows that people are willing to pay $16 more for every foot closer they can get to the BART station itself. Conversely, homeowners are willing to pay $8 more for every foot further from a freeway interchange in that same area.

Q: Transit is subsidized, but freeways are not. Why?

A: According to the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) the annual cost for automobile users ranges from $2.1 trillion to $2.9 trillion. User fees cover between $1.7 trillion and $1.9 trillion. To make a long story short, highways receive an annual subsidy of somewhere between $439 billion and $1trillion. According to the APTA 2000 Fact Book, 65.7% of the expense of public transit-operating and capital costs-came from the taxpayer. In dollars, the taxpayers annual contribution was $17 billion. According to the same OTA study, cars cover 66% to 80% of expenses. San Diego's trolley covers 70% of its expenses at the farebox. Our own Metrolink recovers 53% at the farebox. In addition, a recent book on public transit in America found that on a per capita basis, tax support for transit declined one-third from 1980 to 1992.


Sean: Friday, April 23, 2004 [+] |
...
Thursday, April 22, 2004


IGN reports that the WB television station has canceled the Buffy spinoff series Angel. The show has only 4 more episodes and just 28 days of life left. This is a crying shame.

For seven years the Buffy series treated discerning audiences to a combination of laughs, excitement, and intelligent dialogue. The witty repartee advanced both plots and characters. And the entire show managed to comment on life in a non-cliche manner - the only manner that Gen X can take such commenting.

When the Buffy series ended, women (most being just girls when they began watching) all over the world cried (and their men held their hands). The one bright ray of light was the spinoff show of Angel.

Surprisingly this show turned out to be just as good as Buffy, with perhaps an even darker and more sophisticated demeanor. And those broken hearts mended just a bit.

But, just as Angel has begun to really come alive, the WB is killing it off in favor of yet more "reality" TV.

A word should be said about the demographics of this show. The young girls who made up most of the fan base of Buffy grew up and went to college during Angel. They are just now beginning to make good money in their first real jobs.

Smart advertisers and studio execs have been investing in this market for nearly a dozen years. They would be beyond foolish to cut them loose now. I am sure that we all have faith that these folks will wake up and realize that the Neilsens cannot tell them the future spending of their viewers.

Loyal fans are attempting to change the studios mind with an on-line petition and an internet site devoted to saving the series.

Good luck.

Sean: Thursday, April 22, 2004 [+] |
...
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Culturally Relative Beatings

CNN reports:

Rania al-Baz, a popular Saudi television host, publicly showed her bruised and bloodied face and has shocked her compatriots into openly talking about one of the kingdom's long-hidden problems: violence against women.

Al-Baz, in her 30s, said her husband of six years, singer Mohammed Bakr al-Fallatta, had beaten her before. But she said the April 10 attack was especially vicious, and that she thought he wanted to kill her.

After banging her head on the floor and the wall until she lost consciousness, al-Baz said her husband drove her to the hospital and left her at the front doors, claiming she was a victim of a traffic accident and that he was going to pick up others who had been hurt.

He then drove off and has not been seen or heard from since.

Al-Baz's television persona -- warm smile wrapped in a stylish headscarf -- made the photographs of her wrecked face after the April 10 beating all the more startling. Al-Baz suffered 13 facial fractures and required 12 operations.

Al-Baz said she is not sure what triggered the attack. But al-Fallatta had been out of work for nearly three years and was depressed, she said. And days before the beating, he got angry when he found her watching a Lebanese TV show that featured his sister, a singer who lives in Beirut.


Such disrespect for women as many "traditional" cultures express leads directly to the kind of abuse in this sad story.

Although Islam prohibits violence against women, many believe spousal abuse is common in the almost entirely Muslim Saudi Arabia.

There are no statistics available on wife abuse in the kingdom, but husbands rarely meet disapproval for "reforming" spouses deemed "disobedient" by hitting them.

According to the U.S. State Department, "hospital workers report that many women are admitted for treatment of injuries that apparently result from spousal violence."

Nahed Bashatah, a Saudi who has written extensively about abuse of women, said al-Baz's celebrity has given her case prominence, but "there are hundreds of other abused women who nobody hears about."

Bashatah pointed out that Saudi women need to be accompanied by a male guardian even if they want to go to the police to report abuse.

Saudi law requires a woman to be accompanied by a male guardian -- her husband, or, for unmarried women, her father, brother or son -- on almost any public chore. Saudi women also are not allowed to drive.


I have heard far to many well-intentioned Leftists try to lecture me about how Muslim women like the veil, etc.

The veil, as just one example, was foisted upon Muslim women because the wives of the Prophet were often picked on in public (a common occurrence for the members of any cult whose leader makes claims to prophesy). The current "excuse" for continuing this practice is that the site of unbound hair, even one exposed lock, or any facial feature at all, causes men to lose control and "asks for" a rape. When women were the veil today they are making a public show of "accepting" the brutality of men and their own helplessness before it.

Human rights are not culturally relative. Just because your neighbor is used to beating his wife, and she as well, does not mean that you should keep quiet about it. Second class status for half the human race is intolerable under any guise.

Sean: Wednesday, April 21, 2004 [+] |
...
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Spanish Inquisition

CNN reports the mutilation of the corpse of a Spanish police officer who dared to try to defend his country from Islamist terrorists:

The body of a Spanish police officer who was killed in a raid on suspected Islamic terrorists was removed from its tomb Sunday night, dragged across a cemetery, doused with gasoline and burned, a Spanish police official told CNN.

Police do not know who committed the crime, and an investigation is under way (they need an inquisition? how about just one guess?).

Spain's new interior minister Jose Antonio Alonso, at a previously scheduled event Monday, did not discuss what had happened to Torronteras' body.

But he called the slain officer an example of the bravery exhibited by all the Spanish officers who have died in the line of duty.

But he said: "I want to express my heartfelt recognition for the police special operations officer who died in the line of duty in the well-known operation on Saturday the 3rd in Leganes.

"In a way, he is the symbol of so many police officers and civil guards who have died earlier in the line of duty."


Then the new Spanish government ordered the immediate retreat of their soldiers in Iraq.

Sean: Tuesday, April 20, 2004 [+] |
...
Monday, April 19, 2004
Irsael's Rantisi Assassination: EU and Russian hypocracy in response

After repeated blogger errors I finally succeeded in posting this, unfortunately after the Russian one, but you can probably still get the point...

CNN reports that Hamas leader killed in Israeli airstrike, the targeted killing follows deadly suicide bombing in Erez:

Abdel Aziz Rantisi, the leader of the militant group Hamas in Gaza, was killed Saturday in Gaza City by an Israeli helicopter missile strike, Israeli officials and Palestinian security sources said.

"This evening, in a security forces operation in the Northern Gaza Strip, the IDF targeted a car carrying the leader of Hamas, Abdel Aziz Rantisi, who is directly responsible for the killing of scores of Israelis in numerous terror attacks," a statement from the Israel Defense Forces said.

"We tried to do it a few months ago. At that time, he managed to run away. This time we got him," Meir said.

"Somebody who is sending suicide bombers to kill innocent Israelis is a legitimate target for the government of Israel," he told CNN.

The strike came hours after a Palestinian suicide bomber launched an attack in the Erez industrial zone Saturday, killing a border police officer and wounding three others.


Compare Russia's response to the previous posting about their killing of four Chechyan rebel leaders:

AlJ reports: A Russian foreign ministry spokesman said: "Moscow is seriously concerned about the potential consequences and worsening tensions in the Middle East. Russia has repeatedly stressed the unacceptability of extrajudicial settling of scores and targeted killings."

Newfromrussia reports: The assassination of Abdel Aziz Rantisi, the newly appointed leader of Hamas, will not change its terrorist character, said Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the State Duma (lower house of Russian parliament) International Affairs Committee.

The Scotsman reports: Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said in a statement: "Such use of force cannot lead to a Palestinian-Israeli settlement, nor can it help a turn towards peace in the region as a whole. Said a statement posted on the foreign ministry's official web site.

Sean: Monday, April 19, 2004 [+] |
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Sunday, April 18, 2004
Russia Assasintates Islamist Terror Leaders

CNN reports that Russia has assasinated the four heads of the Chechyan resistance.

Russian troops have killed four Chechen rebels linked to guerrilla leader Shamil Basayev near Chechnya this weekend, capping a week-long crackdown on separatists in the turbulent Caucasus region.

The leader of Arab fighters in Muslim Chechnya, Saudi-born Abu al-Waleed al-Ghamdi with close links to Basayev, was among those killed there in recent days, his brother said on Sunday.

More than 10 rebels, including Wahhabi militants, were killed in planned "special operations" by Russian troops in the mountainous region last week, news agencies reported.

Among those reported killed was 27-year-old Magomed Khazhiyev, a religious leader of an ultra-radical Islamic Wahhabi community in Ingushetia's Sunzhensky region.

Russia says it bringing Chechnya, where it has fought separatist guerrillas for nine years, under control and says it is reducing its troop levels and heavy weaponry. But servicemen and police are killed daily.

In a separate operation early on Sunday, Russian troops killed a Wahhabi militant in the Chechen capital Grozny who Russian security services said could be linked to a suicide bomb attack on Ingush President Murat Zyazikov on April 6, Tass said.

Late on Sunday, a train carrying oil products came under fire in Chechnya and immediately caught fire, Interfax news agency reported. It was unclear who was behind the attack.


A little late night "extrajudicial killing" for the Russians.


Sean: Sunday, April 18, 2004 [+] |
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Friday, April 16, 2004
Sharon Confuses Enemy With Surrender

This week Ariel Sharon visited the US to make public his party's plan to "unilaterally withdraw" from Palestinian territories in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. This means the abandonment of the Israeli policy of "defensive settlement" that Sharon helped initiate over 30 years ago. In a very real sense it is a strategic retreat from a demographically unwinnable battle. And it gives the Palestinians about the best deal that they could realistically hope for. The BBC reports the highlights:

Israel will withdraw from the Gaza Strip, including all the existing Israeli settlements, and will redeploy in territory outside of the Strip.

Israel will exclusively control the airspace of the Gaza Strip, and will continue to carry out military operations in the sea.

The Gaza Strip will be demilitarised of weapons whose existence are not in accordance with existing agreements between the two sides.

Israel will evacuate the settlements of Ganim, Kadim, Homesh and Sanur, and all permanent military installations in this area.

The process will allow for a continuous Palestinian territory in the area of the northern West Bank.

If circumstances allow, Israel will consider reducing its activity in Palestinian cities.

Israel will work towards reducing the number of checkpoints in the West Bank as a whole.

The [Israeli built] infrastructures of water, electricity, waste management and communications serving the settlements and the Palestinians will remain in place.

General arrangements currently in place between Israel and the Palestinians will remain in effect, including the entrance of Palestinian workers into Israel and the flow of goods.

The withdrawal is planned to be completed by the end of 2005.


To all of which the Palestinian response was:

"The Palestinian leadership warns of the dangers of reaching such an accord, because it means clearly the complete end of the peace process," Mr. Arafat said in a statement.

Sean: Friday, April 16, 2004 [+] |
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Thursday, April 15, 2004
Unilateral

Do you remember when all them Lefties complained about the US "going it alone" in the "War On Terror"? Well, this is what they mean... that's 25 countries and over 27,000 troops just from Europe itself.

Meanwhile, Bin Laden must be smelling blood in the water after Madrid... Al Queda offers Europe a "truce".

An audio tape, purportedly by Osama Bin Laden, offered a truce to Europeans if they withdrew troops from Muslim nations but vowed to continue fighting the United States and Israel

Bin Laden also said the March 11 train bombings in Madrid that killed 191 people were retaliation for Spain's role in Iraq, Afghanistan, and with the Palestinians.

Security analysts said bin Laden was maneuvering to split the U.S.-led coalition and scare wavering members out of Iraq (no? really?).


Well, it looks like Bin Laden might have misread the Euroweenies...


French President Jacques Chirac said there can be no "bargaining with terrorists."

Germany said it would not negotiate with "criminals" like bin Laden.

European Commission President Romano Prodi said there would be no negotiating under a "terrorist threat."

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said it was "completely unthinkable" to talk with the al Qaeda leader.

Britain said the right response was to "continue to fight terrorism."


Many thanks to our brothers in the UK, glad to have you on board. Garcon, more whine please.

Sean: Thursday, April 15, 2004 [+] |
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Wednesday, April 14, 2004
Chavez Defeats The People, Again

CNN reports that Venezuela's dictator, Hugo Chavez, gloated during a press conference Wednesday that an opposition effort to force a recall referendum on his rule has been squashed.

"Those people have been knocked out," Chavez said of his opponents during a speech to supporters. "They're dead."

Opposition leaders submitted more than 3 million signatures -- exceeding the 2.4 million needed -- on December 19 to demand a binding referendum on whether Chavez should quit.

The National Elections Council ruled last month that only 1.8 million were valid, and opposition leaders have since struggled to get the recall effort back on track.

The referendum must take place during the first four years of Chavez's six-year term -- before August 19 -- for there to be fresh presidential elections. If the vote takes place after that date, the vice president would take over the presidency until the scheduled 2006 elections. Opponents fear Chavez would simply rule behind the scenes if that happens.

Chavez' critics accuse him of undermining Venezuela's democratic institutions and fueling class hatred with "revolutionary" rhetoric. Supporters say he is the first president in decades to show concern for the impoverished majority.


Taking advantage of the misery of the poor to gain a political stranglehold on an oil rich country is not "showing concern". This is "the man who would be Saddam". He has to go.

Sean: Wednesday, April 14, 2004 [+] |
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Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Andrew Gets A Letter From The Front

"Dear Andrew,"

Sadir et al. - Although his uprising is seen as a ominious sign for the coalition, it does have an upside. His poorly trained and poorly equiped rag-bad militia is being chewed up by our army. His defeat and eventual marginalization will serve the coalition well. After one year of occupation, I think many Iraqis have come to see the army as rather toothless - we get blown up by roadside bombs or mortars and yet we continue to rebuild schools, enforce the laws, train police etc. Now because of Fallujah and what has been going on in Baghdad, our potency and resolve are on full display. My task force alone has killed many insurgents in the last two weeks - something that was not happening before. By confronting us in a conventional way, Sadir et al. are playing to our military strengths - and it isn't going well for them.


Read the whole thing.


Sean: Tuesday, April 13, 2004 [+] |
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Monday, April 12, 2004
America's military - not so conservative after all

Dave Moniz of The Christian Science Monitor writes back in Feb 2000 that: "Yes, most military leaders lean Republican, but beneath their party affiliation, many hold moderate views on key issues such as gun control."

For years, some of America's most influential experts and academics have suggested that the US military is drifting dangerously far to the right on a host of important social issues.

Yet mounting evidence challenge long-held stereotypes and paint a more textured portrait of the military's decisionmakers.

"Like any other group, they are really more diverse than a lot of people give them credit for," says Carroll Doherty of the Pew Research Center in Washington.

Perhaps the strongest support for the notion of a moderate military is a study by Peter Feaver, a political scientist at Duke University in Durham, N.C., that was released last year by the Triangle Institute for Security Studies.

It showed that senior military officers identify with the Republican Party by an 8 to 1 margin, but they are measurably less conservative than the public on a number of key issues (italics are mine).

Among the findings in the report:

More than two-thirds of military officers (69 percent) favor strict handgun controls. A 1999 Pew survey found only 56 percent of the public favored controls.

Some 65 percent of senior military officers surveyed supported leaving abortion decisions to women and their doctors. A September ABC News/Washington Post poll showed that 57 percent of the public favored keeping abortion legal in most circumstances, Pew says.

Military officers strongly opposed banning books advocating homosexuality or communism. More than half the public says "books containing dangerous ideas" should be banned from public school libraries, Pew reports.

Young adults entering the enlisted military are less Republican than young adults entering college.

"The military is squarely between elite civilians and the general public on many issues," says Professor Feaver.

To many professional officers, these findings show the military's attitudes can't easily be pigeonholed, and exonerate them from accusations of political favoritism.

"We are not practicing partisan politics to the detriment of military professionalism," says Lt. Gen. Richard Chilcoat, president of National Defense University and the oldest serving general on active duty.

"When you get beneath the surface, you see that military officers have a strain of liberalism that runs through them - they're more liberal than the general public on a number of issues," he says.


And this year Jim Lobe writes:

While nearly two thirds of the officers identified themselves as Republican, only 49 per cent of enlisted personnel checked that box.

Hodierne stressed that the survey did not include members of the reserves or the National Guard, who make up almost 30 per cent of the soldiers currently deployed to Iraq or its neighboring states.

Members of these two services, whose numbers also total about 1.4 million, have tended to be far more critical of the Iraq deployment than the full-time military.

Hodierne said he believed that the sample was not a perfect cross-section, even of active-duty personnel. "Our sample tends to be older, higher-ranking, and longer in service," he said, noting these variables might also contribute to a somewhat more Republican and conservative result.

On other factors, the survey found that 53 per cent of active- duty personnel described themselves as either "very conservative" or "conservative", compared to 40 per cent of the general population.


The Washington Monthly avers that the Iraq war is putting even more distance between the GOP and soldiers.

But their faith in [Bush], and the GOP powers in Washington, has been rattled. "I'm a strong Republican, but the Republicans have been the problem; we've been treated like second-class citizens," a retired Vietnam Marine helicopter gunnery sergeant named Don Beaver told me in North Carolina. Elsie P. Smith, the town's Republican mayor, says: "There's a few people who have become very hostile [towards the Bush administration]. . . the longer the war goes on, the more of that subtle shift you're going to see."

Holly Rossi, whose husband, Rob, is an Army reserve engineer out of Londonderry, N.H., has watched the Family Support Group for his unit, wives who started the war as staunch pro-Bush patriots, come to doubt the political mission. "A lot of people feel tugged. We have built our lives around ... patriotism no matter what, but we're feeling very abandoned." Charles Carter, a retired Naval chief petty officer, told Knight Ridder: "I will vote non-Republican in a heartbeat if it continues as is."


And supposedly a recent Army Times poll asking "who
would you vote for President right now?" returned surprising results:

Gen. Wesley Clark (Ret.) 38.74%
George W. Bush 28.94%
Sen. John Kerry 19.58%
Howard Dean 7.59%
Dick Gephardt 2.02%
Al Sharpton 1.39%
Sen. Joe Lieberman 0.71%
Sen. John Edwards 0.52%
Dennis Kucinich 0.28%
Carol Mosely Braun 0.26%


That would be over 70% for the Democrats compared to 29% for Bush.

So yes, the US military is more conservative than the general public, but not nearly as much as any given Blue Chip company or Ivy League college. Meanwhile, the armed forces still maintain a tradition of a-politics, denying themselves the freedom to express their views or campaign for candidates while they serve. This has been an FYI to all them conspiracy minded folks.

Sean: Monday, April 12, 2004 [+] |
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Friday, April 09, 2004
The Alamo Redux

Ginmar writes about her experience in Kut, Iraq:

We just got back on base. For a while there, I didn’t think that would happen. We got ambushed yesterday, except it was a twenty-one hour ambush. We made CNN, except of course they got it wrong. They said that the Ukrainians have left my city. This is not true. We had to evacuate the compound. If you see first a clip of a guy in a white shirt running carrying an AK next to a railing, that's my city. That bridge behind them? The insurgents mined it.

At about four AM the other day, the Ukrainian force rode out the gate and took back the town. At nine thirty we rolled out, arrived at our usual destination, and by ten thirty, we were under fire. We were in a compound of five or six major buildings, large enough to be hotels, not quite large enough to be palaces, that had once been owned by Chemical Ali.

We started out on the roofs, looking for snipers. But RPGs and mortar fire forced us down and as we retreated, the shooters started hitting the building more often because they were walking their weapons closer. Eventually, our safe area was reduced to just one hallway in a central building.

I have never been so scared in my life...


Go read the whole thing.

Sean: Friday, April 09, 2004 [+] |
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Thursday, April 08, 2004
Marines Destory Them

David Swanson at the Philly Inquirer has this account:

RAMADI, Iraq - The fighting here started as a series of well-coordinated Iraqi ambushes of routine Marine patrols. It turned into a day of nonstop, house-to- house, roof-to-roof fighting.

The patrolling Marines were slammed by M-16s, heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars. The attackers appeared acquainted with the Marines' patterns of patrol.

The coalition forces responded with massive fire, armor and air support. Fighting raged around one street corner in particular and extended to other areas.

At one point, Marines fought house-to-house, some even leaping from one rooftop to the next as they chased and caught some of the insurgents.

It was a cacophony of fire for five or six hours, leaving the bodies of Iraqi attackers lying mangled in the dust, one with its head gone, but still clad in a vintage U.S.-made flak jacket.

Marines stepped warily around the Iraqi bodies, looking for their own comrades. American Cobra and Chinook helicopters thumped overhead, and Bradley Fighting Vehicles rumbled on the roads.

By 2 o'clock this morning, the Marines of Echo Company, after a brief rest, were getting ready to set off again in search of the insurgents.

"We are going to find these thugs, these terrorists, and we are going to destroy them," said Royer.
And...

"Military officials said they got an unexpected assist from some Iraqi civilians who offered their cars and, in one instance, a bus to take wounded troops to safety."


Sean: Thursday, April 08, 2004 [+] |
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Wednesday, April 07, 2004
Iraqi Leadership

This comment posted by Dody Gunawinata on at The Command Post is worth reiterating:

"I was thinking in similar lines these past few days. Where the f*ck is the whole Iraqi leadership? Why we only hear from the radicals and the clergy establishment in Najaf? Why doesn’t the civilian leadership stand up and say something?"

From NYTimes Editorial:

It is understandable that average Iraqis are simply trying to keep their heads down in this time of crisis. But there is no excuse for the stunning passivity of the Iraqi Governing Council, starting with one of its most prominent members, Ahmad Chalabi, the former exile who owes the United States his political life in the new Iraq. Mr. Chalabi has no influence over the Sunni and Shiite militias, but his impotence now does not inspire confidence in the notion that the new government will do better when this sort of challenge inevitably repeats itself after June 30.


Darned tooting! I mean if our own puppet government cant give us a few supporting words, what good is a puppet government?

Sean: Wednesday, April 07, 2004 [+] |
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Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Wal-Mart Defeated

Voters in California have sent Wal-Mart packing.

INGLEWOOD, California (AP) -- Voters in this Los Angeles suburb rejected a ballot measure Tuesday that would have allowed Wal-Mart to build a warehouse-sized store while skirting zoning, traffic and environmental reviews.

With 25 of 29 precincts reporting, Inglewood voters opposed the initiative, with 65.7 percent voting "no" and 34.2 percent voting "yes," said Gabby Contreras of the city clerk's office.

"This is very, very positive for those folks who want to stand up and ... hold this corporate giant responsible," said Daniel Tabor, a former City Council member who had campaigned against the initiative.

Inglewood's City Council last year blocked the proposed shopping center, which would include both a Wal-Mart Supercenter and other stores, prompting the company to collect more than 10,000 signatures to force the vote in the working-class community.

Wal-Mart has argued in Inglewood and elsewhere in California that its stores create jobs and said residents should be able to decide for themselves if they want the stores in their community.

But opponents say the Supercenters amount to low-wage, low-benefit job mills that displace better-paying jobs as independent retailers are driven out of business. They also fear the stores will contribute to suburban sprawl and jammed roadways.

"Maybe the store would possibly be a good thing in the beginning, but it will drive out the smaller businesses," said Alversia Carmouche, a beauty shop owner, 66. "I really feel it will absolutely close this town out."

Objections to the Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart have surfaced elsewhere around the country, including Chicago, where the City Council recently stalled a measure to approve the first Wal-Mart inside city limits because of concerns about the company's labor practices.

Previously, Wal-Mart has battled zoning boards, but Walker said this is the first time he's seen the discounter taking the issue to a public referendum.

Wal-Mart officials have said they have not decided what they would do if the initiative failed. The company spent more than $1 million on its Inglewood campaign, according to campaign-finance records, while opponents spent a fraction of that amount.


More on the Evils Of Wal-Mart can be found here.


With nearly a million workers, Wal-Mart sets a standard as the largest private employer in the United States. But in its zeal to increase profit margins and boost its stock price, that standard is unparalleled in its race to the bottom.

The nation’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart is also vehemently antiunion. "We’re not antiunion," said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Cynthia Illick. "We just don’t believe that unions have a place in our business."

Employees, or as Wal-Mart prefers to call them, "associates," earn barely enough to eke out a living, an average hourly wage of $7.50 - between $2 and $3 below that of UFCW-represented workers.

An average Wal-Mart employee takes home $250 a week. Part-time workers do not even become eligible to purchase full health benefits for two years. Once they do, it costs between $97 and $173 per month for a family.

The rest of us end up paying the staggering tab for those 700,000 workers who can’t afford the health insurance coverage. "The cost to other employers and taxpayers is upwards of $2 billion a year," said UFCW’s Jill Cashen. "It’s a simple cost shift."

Not only does Wal-Mart pay pathetically low hourly wages, last December, a federal jury in Portland, Oregon, found Wal-Mart guilty of forcing [more than 400] of its [Oreon] employees to work unpaid overtime.

Wal-Mart is a global force of unmatched proportion, exerting downward pressure on wages, and not only of its own workers. Its sheer size and buying power gives it the ability to influence wage rates of its competitors and suppliers, including manufacturing and construction companies. This has resulted in facilities—and jobs—being relocated overseas.

"Wal-Mart’s continuing dominance—strengthened by every dollar spent at its stores—is hurting far more workers than those in its employ," said IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill. "Wal-Mart has a stealthy but devastating impact on every worker on the job in North America."

Despite the country’s mild recession, Wal-Mart reported $250 billion in annual revenue in fiscal year 2002—a 15 percent increase over 2001—in large part by undercutting the prices of its rivals and saving on labor costs.

Forty years ago, when Wal-Mart started opening stores in small towns across the Midwest and the South, it immediately became the largest employer, setting wage rates for all area retailers. Now it’s having the same impact on retail wages nationwide.

Wal-Mart is the largest customer for some of the best-known consumer brands in the country. Those suppliers—such as Kraft, Gillette and Proctor & Gamble—are more likely to respond to Wal-Mart’s requests to lower prices and product changes. And in its quest for ever-lower prices, Wal-Mart has contributed to driving thousands of manufacturing jobs overseas.


Vote NO on Wal-Mart every chance you get America!

Sean: Tuesday, April 06, 2004 [+] |
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Monday, April 05, 2004
Iraqis Comment On Recent Violence

Healing Iraq

Monday

Al-Shu'la, Al-Hurria, Thawra (Sadr city), and Kadhimiya (all Shi'ite neighborhoods in Baghdad) have been declared liberated from occupation.

Looting has already started at some places downtown. A friend of mine just returned from Sadun street and he says Al-Mahdi militiamen are breaking stores and clinics open and also at Tahrir square just across the river from the Green Zone.

News from other cities in the south indicate that Sadr followers (tens of thousands of them) have taken over IP stations and governorate buildings in Kufa, Nassiriya, Ammara, Kut, and Basrah.

Al-Jazeera says that policemen in these cities have sided with the Shia insurgents, which doesn't come as a surprise to me since a large portion of the police forces in these areas were recruited from Shi'ite militias and we have talked about that ages ago. And it looks like this move has been planned a long time ago.

No one knows what is happening in the capital right now. Power has been cut off in my neighborhood since the afternoon, and I can only hear helicopters, massive explosions, and continuous shooting nearby.

The streets are empty, someone told us half an hour ago that Al-Mahdi are trying to take over our neighborhood and are being met by resistance from Sunni hardliners. Doors are locked, and AK-47's are being loaded and put close by in case they are needed.

The phone keeps ringing frantically. Baghdadis are horrified and everyone seems to have made up their mind to stay home tomorrow until the situation is clear.

Where is Shitstani? And why is he keeping silent about this?

I have to admit that until now I have never longed for the days of Saddam, but maybe we need a person like Saddam to keep those rabid dogs at bay. What a laugh! I am so disappointed in Iraqis. We are not worth your trouble.

UPDATE: Sorry for the depressing note. It seems like everything is back under control, at least from what I can see in my neighborhood. There is an eerie silence outside, only dogs barking. Until about an hour ago, it sounded like a battlefield, and we had flashbacks of last April. I don't know what happened, but there were large plumes of smoke from the direction of Adhamiya and Kadhimiya. I wanted to take some pictures but my father and uncle both said they would shoot me on the spot if I tried, they were afraid the Apaches would mistake us for troublemakers and fire at us. I'm dreading tomorrow.

Friday

Muqtada Al Sadr deserves no [press], but recent events force me to write about this man.

MS is simply an ignorant and repressed surrounded by thugs like him. He thinks that he inherited authority from his father. But MS is a timid man. He would not dare to utter one word if Saddam was still here. The Arab media inflates MS as a leader, just like other Arab tyrants, but MS is nothing but a lunatic.

What is happening is something bigger than one adolescent man. Very recently an important officer from the Iranian Intelligence services defected from Iran. He mentioned that the Iranian Intelligent Security had established many secret bases inside Iraq. We know that MS gets his money mostly from Iran.

MS may have a connection to the assassination of Majeed Khoei and maybe others. He should have been arrested by Iraqi police, not coalition forces, and put on trial in an Iraqi court. This should have been done before allowing him to organize groups and somehow train people for demonstrations and criminal acts.

The best solution now is for Mr Ali Sistani to issue a FATWA to ask for calm and to consider any unrest not acceptable. Such a Fatwa will do the magic that no other forces could do it. Let the Iraqi GC and CPA pressure this man to get the Fatwa.

If force must be used, it would be best if Iraqi police did it, because we need to do this for ourselves.

While writing these lines I am watching the junk TV of Al Jazeera inflame the situation as if the whole world were going into a 4th world war! They send the Wahabi journalist Ahmed Mansor who is a very poisonous man. He is broadcasting from Fullojah and he just injected his poison by claiming that GWB will face the same fate as his father.

Arab Al Jazeera and Al Arabyiah are poisonous channels that have a negative influence on the ordinary Iraqi man. Someone needs to put serious pressure on them, and the government that supports them. They need a serious and real warning - or better, they should be shut off. Likewise shut down anyone calling for unrest like MS by the appropriate means with no bloodshed.

Hammorabi

Friday

I was busy for the last 5 days and fortunately or may be unfortunately I haven't seen the attack of the 4 civilian Americans who have been attacked and their body mutilated by the indescribable stinky bloodthirsty dirty devils in Fulojaha.

I read about it in the newspapers and felt so sick of this crime, which has nothing to do with any Islam or any other religion or ethics. There is no simulation for it in the animal or insect species neither in the devilish species. It is worse than any thing in existence.

I was sick when I saw the pictures of the corpses hanged on the bridge and some thugs dance around them and stone them. These are the same thugs are those who were involved in the mass graves and atrocities of all crimes. Saddam has trained them for such things and they lost their jobs as executioners and now they tried to practice it in public. They also practice stealing and robbery from any car passing through their region.

Every one knows that infiltrator Wahabis used Fulojaha as a base, so surround it and search every one and put them on trial as terrorist Wahabis. You have those thugs caught on tape and in pictures.

So send in the Special Forces and the Iraqi police. Get them and put them into trial in an Iraqi court. And let capital punishment come back.

Any one who provides them with shelter should be held responsible and face the same fate. Any government that allows its citizens and money to go there should be punished. Every one knows from where the Wahabis are coming and what link they have with Fulojaha. The reconstruction in such areas should not be done until they cut the terrorist attacks and surrender the infiltrators.

We know that attacks will increase in the next few months, which are a sign of death for the terrorist because they dug their graves for themselves.

Our deep sympathy and condolences is for the families of the victims and our hearts with them. The best response to the thugs would be if we tell them that there is no retreat from freedom and democracy and because they are the enemy of this they have no place in the civilized world at all!

Nabil’s Blog

Saturday

The situation in Fallouga is increased day by day I want to give the Americans an advice that they should take a hard diction because these horror pics that we've saw was really hurt the feelings I cant imagine how could the human kill the others this way I mean why (why they are doing this) Iraq is getting better now and the situation is getting really good in Baghdad, the phone lines worked again the electricity is good but day by day it will because better and better.

They don't have any right to kill these men and shot there car with a missile and pull the bodies of the men on the ground. Now every bad thing happiness against the people of falluga they deserve it.

Firas

Monday

As an Iraqi in Baghdad in such day I should say something about what’s going on. But I’m not going to analyze anything...I’m going to give facts I saw and heard today and things I know about.

I started my day by attending my house building site and I talked to the ceramic worker who lives in Sader city, asked him about his friend the tiles worker who couldn’t come to work today because he lives in the same place, may be because the streets were closed.

And when I asked the man about what happened yesterday he said:

“It was bad yesterday, The Sader city people occupied all the police stations and burned one or two hummers, and they are all armed and on the houses roofs waiting to fight. But this morning the Americans entered the city without any fight with tanks as big as my house. They are ignorant people want to fight America. Master our problem is ignorance”

That was the words of a simple man from Sader city, after that we shouldn’t say they are all bad. If they were at work yesterday then they wouldn’t be in the protests and clashes that happened and this man and his friend is my evidence for that. That’s a fact we should admit, if they had jobs they would forget all about protesting. I Am saying this because I’m familiar with it.

I left the man working to attend the bank for some business and on my way I saw:

Communication workers trying to fix phone cable; two buses full of university students about to go to a picnic; traffic Police trying to enforce more order in the streets; teenage girls walking to school; gardeners taking care of public squares; many building workers working in the Mamon communication tower; and people shopping.

And many other normal people and normal daily life actions. And it wasn’t in one place; it was in Bayaa area, Mansor area, Dora area, Karada area, and these about 25 % of Baghdad. And in at work nobody is absent and they come from all over Baghdad. And we made many jokes about what happened and we were sorry it happened.

All that we heard about the clashes was from TV (Arabiya & Jazira). I am not saying it didn’t happen, but it was exaggerated. As I said I don’t want to analyze anything yet but I wanted to tell you about what I saw.

Kurdo

Monday

A Message for Bremer : Terrorize Al-Sadder before he terrorizes us

So Muqtada Sadder has called to terrorize his enemies which include "Coalition forces and the Kurds" yeah ? This young kid who acts as a teenager does not know nothing apart from terror. He is the most hated person in Kurdistan after Saddam Hussein.

His last message to the Kurds was "to the citizens of Northern Iraq, I don’t' say Kurds because they are Iraqis and are no different from us, stop assisting the coalition forces"....May I say Muqtada that we are assisting the coalition because we want to help people like you... We are not obliged to be part of your kingdom.. We are not following you and we are not supporting you... We do not want to be part of your Iranian plans....

Now Muqtada wants to be the president of Iraq, which was liberated by the Coalition Forces.. Just yesterday, his troops killed 7 US soldiers and injured 24... where were they just one year ago ?

Mr. Bremer; why Muqtada is still allowed to have his own government inside your Iraq ??? He has a completely Islamic government right under your nose, yet you fail to do anything about it.

Where were you Mr. Muqtada Sadder while Saddam was sucking up your blood ?

I have one thing to say against this Iranian agent..."Terrorize him before he terrorizes us"... A couple of Israeli tips would help here....They are great in dealing with these kinda people.. If Bremer gives a green light to his termination, it will be the right decision. There might be some unrest for a few days but there will be a great positive effect for long-term.

It is officially a war… and freedom-loving people will lose nothing because it is not us who started it.

Further ramblings...

Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan

Sean: Monday, April 05, 2004 [+] |
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Saturday, April 03, 2004
The Chief Of Toys


Master Chief Paul Holton, AKA Chief Wiggles, has had an amazing success with his Toys For Iraq program.



The Chief fills a van.

The Chief makes a delivery.

Happy Children.

You can visit the charity website to make your own contributions.

Operation Give was founded as a not-for-profit corporation in answer to a call from a soldier stationed in Iraq, known affectionately as Chief Wiggles.

Operation Give is grass-roots, non-partisan, volunteer-driven, and non-political. All we want to do is help children of Iraq in their recovery from years of depredation, and make the world a better place.

Our main coordinator in Iraq is the man who created this project, Chief Wiggles (who is, indeed, a real person). We are also inspired by an earlier American military man, Gail Halvorsen, also known as Uncle Wiggle Wings.

If you have toys or other appropriate goods you want to send to Iraq, we can help you figure out how to get them there. If you want to give money, we'll use your money to ship more kid stuff to Iraq.

If you have an organization that would like to help promote our efforts, we can help you with that as well.


Give deep and give often (assuming that you still have a job in this economy).


Sean: Saturday, April 03, 2004 [+] |
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Friday, April 02, 2004
An Iraq To Be Proud Of...

Andrew Apostalou has been traveling extensively in Iraq for the National Review. In his latest article online her details a year of largely unacknowledged U.S. achievements in Iraq.

Dismantling the Iraqi Army:

The most-impressive achievement of the last year was the destruction of the Iraqi army, the vehicle for Saddam's ambitions... Many pundits have wrongly bemoaned Bremer's decree closing down the Iraqi army. The Iraqi army had long been an obstacle to any hope for democratic change in Iraq, providing Iraq with dictators and undermining legitimate governments long before Saddam came to power. The Iraqi army's first independent combat mission, in 1933, was to murder Assyrian Christians. Less a fighting force than a criminal organization, the Iraqi army then went on to invade four other countries - Iran, Israel, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia - and conducted campaigns of genocide within Iraq against the Kurds and the Marsh Arabs.


Replacing the failed currencies of the past:

The other great unreported success story is the economy and, in particular, the new Iraqi currency. The economic revival of Iraq bears favorable comparison with the faltering transition that took place in the former Soviet Union after the collapse of Communism. Currency reform in many former Soviet republics was an administrative and economic fiasco, with the thrifty robbed of their savings and widespread confusion all round. By contrast, between October 15, 2003, and January 15, 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) replaced not one, but two currencies in Iraq. What is more, the new Iraqi currency was brought in despite near-daily terrorist violence in Baghdad and the Sunni triangle that has claimed hundreds of Iraqi lives and 165 Coalition dead.


The success of the US military:

Similarly underestimated has been the postwar performance of the U.S. military. The controversy over how many U.S. troops are needed in Iraq has overshadowed the fact that no other army could have performed so many missions - counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, policing, economic and political reconstruction - so well. [And] the conduct of U.S. troops in a strange and sometimes-menacing country has been a model of restraint. Not one Iraqi from any community - Sunni Arab, Shia Arab, or Kurd - encountered on a recent visit to the country wanted the U.S. troops to leave. Quite the contrary, Iraqis fear the departure of the Americans, who presence is now unobtrusive.


The bottom line: "A year ago, most Iraqi soldiers fled rather than fight advancing Coalition forces. Today, however, Iraq is a country that Iraqis are willing to voluntarily defend and die for."

Sean: Friday, April 02, 2004 [+] |
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Thursday, April 01, 2004
Boots On the Ground

I don't have much to say about Fallujah. I mean, on the one hand, of course I am pissed off as hell. But on the other, I don't think it much matters. I hate the question "why do they hate us" when talking about a nation that was cut off from the outside world and fed lies for 28 years by their own government. Its not very useful. So, thinking about Fallujah aint very useful either. They did what they did because they thought it was right, they thought it was right because they have been lied to for 28 years. End of discussion.

But at a time like this we have to keep our perspective. If we were to react in any large fashion to this disgusting bit of brutality we would be rewarding those thugs. We cannot retreat, nor can we retaliate. Meanwhile, we should keep in mind that this attack is little different from the hundreds that go on all week. Each one is a "tragedy", but none of them, nor all of them, are a reason to give up and pull out of Iraq.

Here I will let Boots On The Ground give us the "pounder's view" of the situation:

It is pretty obvious the attackers are shifting their targets from military to civilians targets. Obviously, the reason is, the only thing suicide bombers have been successful at when attacking a military compound is resulting in a loud bang and a few innocent bystanders dead and no damage done to the compound. This is due to the American military being very efficient at keeping bad guys out of their compounds. So, the next best thing is to blow up a hotel full of completely innocent people. I for one, wish they would continue to attack us. Then we could eliminate this much sooner.

We fight a group that claims to be brave and fighting for Iraqis, and yet, in a lot of their own ambushes they set up against military convoys they kill more of their own and seem to think of it as acceptable. However, if we get into a fire fight and some Iraqi bystander dumb enough to watch gets wounded, we are murders.

I wish there could be no war, but reality is, it has been with us since our beginning and will be there at our end. We were also upset about the fact that when there is a world crises, everyone in the world begs the USA to come to the rescue. When they USA does not come and "save the day" we are accused of standing by and letting bad things happen when we had the power to stop them, and when we do something like this, we are just as bad as Hitler and our military forces are evil and the US Army is a bunch of killers like the Waffen SS. I wish the world could stop being hypocrites.


Hold the line boys. Hold the line.


Sean: Thursday, April 01, 2004 [+] |
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