Archive for July, 2007

Back in Fighting Trim

Looks like the new batteries have kicked in:

Vice President Dick Cheney Tuesday dismissed congressional investigations into the firings of nine U.S. attorneys as “a bit of a witch hunt.”

“First of all, there’s no charge,” Cheney said. “What’s the allegation of wrongdoing here? Frankly, there isn’t any.”

“They keep rolling over rocks hoping they can find something, but there really hasn’t been anything come up that would suggest there was any wrongdoing of any kind,” Cheney told CNN’s Larry King, adding that he did not feel that Bush senior political adviser Karl Rove need testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the matter.

“The president feels strongly — and I do too, I agree with him — that it’s important for us to pass on these offices we occupy to our successors in as good a shape as we found them. And that means protecting and preserving the integrity of those processes,” Cheney said.

Too [bleeping] right. Bush may or may not be judged kindly by history—but I can tell you one thing right now. This Vice President has more gonads than the previous several combined (going back to Truman).

What little heart he has left is stout indeed.

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UN, as in Thank YoU(N)

No, not really:

“The cease-fire acted as a life jacket for the organization [at the end of the Second Lebanon War],” a Hizbullah officer said in an interview aired by Channel 10 on Tuesday.

In the interview, the unnamed officer said Hizbullah gunmen would have surrendered if the fighting last summer had continued for another 10 days.

AAAAAAAARRRRGGHGHGHGHGHGH!!!!!!!!

The UN saved Hezbollah’s ass! I knew it. God damn them.

The officer also said that many Hizbullah commanders were ordered to hide before the war started, and that the gunmen who remained were forced to fire Katyusha rockets from inside urban populations because of the IDF’s efficiency in destroying launchers minutes after a launch had been detected.

He said that when the gunmen relocated to cities and villages, they knew innocent civilians would be hurt as a consequence.

The quick arrival of IAF jets at rocket-launch sites, sometimes only four to five minutes after a Katyusha was fired, “surprised” Hizbullah, the officer said.

I blame Olmert, too. He waited too long to go in. Israeli self-defense is too important to be left to amateurs.

I’m so freakin’ mad, I’m going to put my fist through the monitor.

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Bring on Dr. Kervorkian!

I thought doctors worked to preserve life, silly me. Nice to see they’re on board with the war on terror, defending the right of terrorists to starve themselves to death:

Military doctors violate medical ethics when they approve the force-feeding of hunger strikers at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, according to a commentary in a prestigious medical journal.

The doctors should attempt to prevent force-feeding by refusing to participate, the commentary’s three authors write in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association.

“In medicine, you can’t force treatment on a person who doesn’t give their voluntary informed consent,” said Dr. Sondra Crosby of Boston University, one of the authors. “A military physician needs to be a physician first and a military officer second, in my opinion.”

Department of Defense spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said force-feeding is done “in a humane and compassionate manner,” using a method that is consistent with procedures used in U.S. federal prisons.

Have I missed the uproar over the existing policy of force-feeding federal prisoners? I’ll admit I’m conflicted. If the prisoners want to take their own lives, give them a pistol and a glass of whiskey, and let them be done with it. But to call the humane force feeding of prisoners—in order to keep them alive—a violation of medical ehtics is just asinine.

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How the UN Stands up to Bullies

Supinely:

Britain and France stripped more harsh language from a U.N. Security Council draft resolution that would authorize a 26,000-strong peacekeeping force for Darfur in an attempt to win passage for the proposal this week.

Sudan’s U.N. ambassador, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad, reacted harshly to a version of the draft that circulated at U.N. headquarters last week, calling it “ugly” and “awful.”

The latest draft removes a specific mention of ongoing attacks by government forces and janjaweed militiamen against civilians and humanitarian workers in Darfur and drops a strongly worded condemnation of “continued violations” of the Darfur Peace Agreement.

It also scales back the peacekeeping force’s mandate slightly, removing a section permitting the troops to “take all necessary action” to monitor arms violations in the desert region under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter.

Chapter 7 deals with threats to peace and security and can be enforced through a range of measures, from breaking diplomatic and trade relations to military intervention.

Peacekeepers are now instructed to close their eyes and hum loudly to themselves at the sight of violations.

Pathetic as it is, however, this is D-Day compared to the UN on Tibet:

“Mr. Secretary General, the UN is working on the independence of Kosovo. At the same time, one of the oldest nations of the world, Tibet, is still under foreign occupation and is one of the last countries under colonial rule since it was invaded by China in the 1950s. What about the implementation of the UN resolutions on self-determination for Tibet? And what will you do as Secretary General to facilitate a peaceful settlement between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama? Are you ready to meet the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who advocates non-violence, or is the UN more keen to reward those resorting to violent means?”

According to reports, after listening attentively to Buhrer’s question, the Secretary General seemed prepared to respond, but was immediately cut off by his spokesperson, Michèle Montas, and then led out of the room by his entourage, as a bodyguard carelessly knocked into the inquisitive journalist.

The Secretary Generals may change, but the cowardice remains forever.

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989 Nights in Hamastan

Palestinians: blaming the messenger:

PCHR is gravely concerned over the attack by armed members of Izzedeen El-Qassam Battalions, the armed wing of Hamas, on one of the Center’s lawyers who was performing his work. The gunmen seized legal documents from him during his return from a mission in Khan Yunis. The Centre calls for investigating this attack and prosecuting the perpetrators. The Centre calls for stopping all illegal actions by El-Qassam Battalions.

PCHR made several contacts with relevant parties. And at approximately 17:30, the file was returned to the Center’s branch in Khan Yunis, and an apology was submitted to the Centre and the lawyer.

Nice that they kissed and made up, but not everyone is so lucky:

The body of Ismail El-Mashoukhi, a Palestinian intelligence officer, was found in the Mawasi area to the west of Rafah on Monday, 30 July 2007. The body bore signs of torture. El-Mashoukhi was kidnapped on Sunday, 29 July 2007.

Sources in Shifa Hospital indicated that El-Mashoukhi died due to severe torture and beating all over the body. No shots were fired at the body.

Animals. Can I say that without offending the ASPCA?

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Lessons from the Shah

Morey Amsterdinejad seems to have taken a few pages from Savak, the Shah’s brutal secret police:

The student bulletin of Amir Kabir University in Tehran is quoted by the reformist daily Rooz as stating that the student movement leaders who were arrested in early July for activity against the regime (see “Iranian Authorities Arrest Iranian Student Leaders”) are being harshly tortured and sexually abused, and that during their interrogations, which last over 12 hours, they are not permitted to eat or drink or go to the bathroom.

According to the bulletin, the torturers insert objects into the students’ bodies, and their screams of pain can be heard from a distance.

Just don’t put undies on their heads. That would be degrading.

Kamangir has information about a support group for their defense, for what it’s worth.

Plus a few other revolting torture goodies.

And sex advice:

It is mentioned that Imam Sadegh, one of the twelve holy figures in Shia after the Prophet, stated, “Whenever the prophet wanted to marry a woman, he would send someone to see her. He would tell them, ‘smell her neck, because if that smells good, she would smell good and look at her ankle, because if that is fat, she would have a fat vagina’”

Gosh, thanks Mohammed!

Whatever you do, however, don’t do this:

“The Police will not approach people until they act very improperly. Even if a married couple hold hands, the Police will not do anything, although it is not a proper act and married couples should refrain from it.”

I saw you checking out her ankles!

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Me and My Big Mouth

Just when I teased the climate claustrophobes out there about the hurricane season being quiet, too quiet, Mother Nature plants a big, fat tropical storm right in my kisser. If anyone gets hurt, I’m sorry. My bad.

The National Hurricane Center says a tropical depression has strengthened into Tropical Storm Chantal in the open Atlantic.

The storm is moving northeast at about 23 mph. The threshold for a tropical storm is sustained winds of 39 mph. When those winds reach 74 mph, it becomes a hurricane.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and was centered about 330 miles south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, according to theNational Hurricane Center.

The storm was expected to grow stronger but “as a tropical system it has a very short life ahead of it,” said James Franklin, a senior hurricane specialist with the National Hurricane Center.

Chantal, we hardly knew ye.

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Who You Callin’ Palestinian?

Jordan to Israel: Don’t look at me:

Government Spokesman Nasser Judeh on Monday said what Israeli media reports have attributed to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that there was a suggestion to send Jordanian troops to the West Bank is absolutely rejected by Jordan.

“Many Israeli politicians usually resort to sending out such suggestions, which are definitely rejected by Jordan irrespective of their source or who propagates for them,” Judeh said in a statement to Petra.

Hey, I’m not sure I like the idea of inviting Jordan’s army up to the walls of Jerusalem either—but you might at least acknowledge that Jordan is a Palestinian state, if not the Palestinian state.

Maybe this is why they want nothing to do with the West Bank:

IDF troops uncovered a horde of weapons and ammunition in Kfar Silwad, northeast of Ramallah, overnight Monday.

The weapons and ammunition were confiscated and a Palestinian involved in the incident was transferred to security interrogations.

Or this:

Palestinians opened fire at soldiers operating in the Jenin refugee camp overnight Monday. No casualties were reported.

Or this:

IDF soldiers came under fire at Awarta Chackpoint south of Nablus. There were no reports of wounded or damage.

Or this:

IDF troops stopped a car traveling near Tekoa, which was found to contain an explosive device ready for detonation.

Or this:

Palestinians threw rocks at an Israeli bus driving in Hebron on Monday night.

And that’s just one day’s worth of stories. I’d disown them, too.

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Hitting the Rhodesia [UPDATED]

You want to talk about the “working poor”? Tell it to this guy:

His name is “Average” and the story of his desperate flight from the wreckage of President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe is an increasingly common one.

“There is nothing for me there in our country any more. I had no job and I could not afford anything. Even when I was working life was tough,” he said.

“It’s hard for everyone … I thought it was better for me here,” said the former store clerk, whose dusty jeans and boots tell of a long and difficult journey.

The tale told by Average — whose name is not unusual in Zimbabwe — is depressingly familiar to a people who have watched their once prosperous land spiral into economic disaster.

When Mugabe’s government, facing inflation of close to 5,000 percent, ordered companies to halve prices of basic goods and services a month ago — effectively demanding that they operate at a loss — Average lost his job as the supermarket chain he worked for cut staff.

Facing the prospect of homelessness and hunger in his own country, he joined the estimated 4,000 Zimbabweans who head south to South Africa, most of them illegally, every day.

Wow, man. Sucks to be Zimbabwean.

UPDATE

Case in point:

The IMF said on Tuesday that Zimbabwe’s year-on-year inflation rate could reach over 100,000 percent by the end of the year.

“… If recent monthly trends continue, (IMF) staff projects that year-on-year inflation could well exceed 100,000 percent by year-end,” Abdoulaye Bio Tchane, director of the IMF’s Africa department, told Reuters in an interview.

But Mugabe is still unclear of the concept:

President Robert Mugabe has promised to print more money for underfunded municipal projects – at the height of the government’s campaign to cut retail prices to tame the country’s hyperinflation.

Somebody send that man a complete set of the works of Milton Friedman, asap.

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Friendship, Friendship, Just a Perfect Blendship

I know people have been praying for Tony Blair’s departure not least because Gordon Brown would keep President Bush at arm’s length.

Silly rabbits, don’t you know that arms are for hugging?

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Monday that the United States and Britain are engaged in a “generation-long battle” against al Qaeda-inspired terrorism and that Britain “absolutely” shares President Bush’s philosophy on the war on terror.

“This is a battle for which we can give no quarter. It’s a battle that’s got to be fought in military, diplomatic, intelligence, security, policing and ideological terms,” Brown said during a news conference. “There should be no safe haven and no hiding place for those that practice terrorist violence or preach terrorist extremism.”

But on his maiden voyage to the White House, Brown kept his comments short regarding Iraq, focusing primarily on moving from combat to “overwatch” missions in three of the four provinces for which Britain has responsibility.

As expected, Brown emphasized that the U.S.-British alliance remains strong, but he also said he was disappointed with some aspects of the effort in Iraq — namely difficulties “getting political reconciliation within Iraq itself, moving forward the reconstruction and the time it has taken to do so.”

If that’s criticism, I’d blush at praise.

See, when responsible people are put in positions of responsibility, how do you think they act?

Say it with me: Responsibly.

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We Regret to Report…

While laid up getting his new Energizers installed, Dick Cheney read his Constitution:

Vice President Cheney said yesterday that he disagreed with the jury’s verdict in the trial of his former chief of staff, who was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the investigation into the Bush administration’s leak of the identity of an undercover CIA officer.

Cheney’s remarks about his former aide, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, appear to conflict with the views of President Bush, who said after the verdict that he “respected” the jury verdict but felt that the 30-month sentence handed to Libby was excessive. Bush commuted Libby’s sentence earlier this month, leaving a fine in place but exempting him from jail time.

Cheney declined to explain his view but said he agreed with Bush’s actions: “I thought the president handled it right,” he said during an interview with CBS Radio. “I supported his decision.”

Cheney also defended embattled Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, saying that Gonzales “has testified truthfully” before Congress and has performed well as head of the Justice Department.

“I’m a big fan of Al’s,” Cheney said in the radio interview. “. . . I think Al has done a good job under difficult circumstances. The debate between he and the Senate is something they’re going to have to resolve. But I think he has testified truthfully.

Cheney said he does not agree with lawmakers, including Sens. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), who say that Gonzales’s credibility has been gravely damaged. “I think the key is whether or not he has the confidence of the president, and he clearly does,” Cheney said.

Well, said, Mr. Vice President. But can you stop depressing people?

I find myself in an unaccustomed and unexpected position: defending Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Liberal dreams of scandal and impeachment are popping like soap bubbles in the bath, soon to start circling the drain.

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We Get Results

I don’t know how often I’ve read David Ignatius in the Washington Post, and sighed in despair. Looks like he may be reading Bloodthirsty Liberal—with somewhat different results:

The National Intelligence Estimate released July 17 put the problem plainly enough: Al-Qaeda has “regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capability” using a new haven in the lawless frontier area of northwest Pakistan known as Waziristan.

The question is: What is the United States going to do about it?

Are you calling us out? Challenging the President’s manhood (when that flightsuit revealed exactly how much manhood he had)? Are you saying you want a fight?

Amigo!

For those who might have forgotten in the six years since Sept. 11, 2001, what a reconstituted al-Qaeda could do, the intelligence analysts explained that the terrorist group has “the goal of producing mass casualties, visually dramatic destruction, significant economic aftershocks and/or fear among the U.S. population.” The analysts noted that al-Qaeda continues to seek biological, radiological and nuclear weapons “and would not hesitate to use them.”

Perhaps it is human nature not to see threats clearly until a disaster happens — even if it’s the second time around. How else to explain the limited public response to this clear and emphatic warning? Maybe the Bush administration has cried wolf about terrorism so often that people have stopped believing anything the government says. Or that the whole subject is now obscured by the choking fog of Iraq, as in the president’s mind-numbing formulation of the threat: “They are al-Qaeda . . . in . . . Iraq.”

What, they aren’t Al Qaeda in Iraq?

Never mind that now. The point is he’s crossed over to the dark side; logic wasn’t always his strong suit. Now he wants preventive action, joint strikes, and other operations that make my palms sweaty and my breathing shallow.

I’m so proud.

I can only hope that someday, God willing, he’ll see terrorists in Iraq as just as dangerous as terrorists in Wazoo-istan, and act accordingly. But why push my luck?

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