Saturday, February 08, 2003

733t hax0r alert!
Reading the Telegraph's Bush authorised cyber-attack on Iraq:
George W. Bush has backed plans to launch a cyber-attack on Iraqi computer networks if war breaks out, while raising the US terror alert to 'high'.

The US president signed a secret directive last July ordering the Government to develop guidelines to determine when and how to disrupt enemy computer systems, a strategy which military analysts believe could dramatically reduce war causalities.

Invading foreign computer networks could enable the military to shut down radars and electrical plants, and to disrupt phone lines without firing a shot.
reminded me of this from Iraqi blogger Salam:
The juiciest bit of news actually happened about a week ago but I was told about it today. A couple of days ago it was rumored that all top officials had their phone numbers changed, well who cares it’s not like I call Saddam every night to chat, but today a friend explained why. Around six days ago the phone lines of the Iraqi air defense units were "attacked". When you picked up the phone in some of the command units you didn’t get a dial tone but a male voice speaking in broken Arabic. What it said is close to what the infamous email said, don’t use chemical or biological weapons, don’t offer resistance, and don’t obey commands to attack civilian areas and so on. This went on for a couple of hours. Now everyone has new numbers. I have no idea how that is at all possible. I do know that for some rural areas we use microwave signals for phone connections but they can’t be so stupid as to use it for military purposes.

Way to go uncle Sam. This is going to make one hell of a James Bond movie.
I don't follow Dear Raed and frankly don't even know if it is legitimate, but I liked the story. (Hat tip to No Replacement for Displacement.)
Your tax dollars at work!
Matt Hayes at Fox News stuns with Medical Benefits for Non-Citizens:
To hear my client "Rick" tell it, you would think that his third arrest for possession of crack was the best thing that had happened to him in years.

His third narcotics conviction, the result of a guilty plea, landed him in a New York State prison.

Rick was not a U.S. citizen. Though his sentence was nearly served, he was apprehensive that on release he would be deported to Barbados, his home country, and would no longer have access to the free HIV treatment he received while in prison. For Rick, release from prison and deportation to Barbados was a death sentence.

An asylum claim was the only relief from deportation that was available to Rick. The government of Barbados provided free HIV treatment to pregnant females, but as a male, none would be available to Rick. We would argue that the government of Barbados thereby persecuted Rick because of an "immutable characteristic" he possessed (his sex, and the fact that he was unable to become pregnant), and that the inevitable result of that persecution would be Rick's death. A unique argument, but Rick's only shot at continued free HIV treatment.
Claiming political asylum from Barbados?

In case you haven't guessed, Matt is an immigration lawyer. But he is kind enough to explain the scam.
It is amazing that America is willing to provide free medical treatment to people who are not citizens -- and even illegal aliens -- while the home countries of most all of those people will not do so. This occurs while our schools lack adequate money and while many of America's senior citizens scrape to pay for medicine. If you think that the problem is minor, or under control, you should think again. America is in the throws of a historically unprecedented wave of immigration, both legal and illegal, and the costs are mounting.

Medicaid, the program co-funded by the federal government and the governments of participating states, is the main source of money for the medical treatment of uninsured aliens. The Welfare Reform Act of 1996 restricted federal public assistance, including payments made in connection with Medicaid, to be used by citizens and legal immigrants who have already paid into the system for 10 years through payroll taxes. But if you have a medical problem, and are an alien who has not paid taxes, or who is illegal, you will still be treated -- for free.
Last time I looked, the federal and state governments didn't have any money of their own. It comes from the taxpayers.
The Alien Emergency Medical Program, sometimes called Emergency Medicaid or Emergency Medical Assistance, is found in every state that participates in the Medicaid program. It exists because an illegal alien successfully sued the U.S. government for Medicaid coverage, contending that the government's decision to provide Medicaid coverage to citizens and legal aliens, while not also providing it to illegal aliens, violated the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection.

A federal judge in New York City agreed, and the government was compelled to provide Medicaid to illegal aliens. But Congress acted quickly and amended the Medicaid statute to permit payments for illegal aliens only in emergencies. Free medical treatment to illegal aliens through Medicaid survived the 1996 Welfare Reform Act because, at least under the current law, its denial is said to violate the Constitution.
I must have missed that part of the Constitution. I guess the long suffering citizens of the USA owe free medical care to anyone in the world who can manage to get across the border. Think of it as a "Get into hospital free" card. It truly is a land of opportunity!

More details by following the link, including the current tab which is estimated at 1.5 to 2 billion dollars a year. One final excerpt:
In the state of Washington, depression is considered a medical emergency, and Washington will pay for an illegal alien's treatment for depression. So is high blood pressure.
Hmm, now that I've read this, I have both. Maybe I'll mosey on down to the local hospital and tell 'em I'm from Tajikistan.
Everybody Sing! "Who's the leader of the gang that's made for you and me?"
TigerLikesRooster over at FreeRepublic translates a photo funny from the Monthly Chosun:
The caption on the top in red: The Scandal of the Secret Funneling of Money to N. Korea.

The next two lines in blue: There are no pro-North left, only Kim Jong-Il's minions.

Everybody sing!

Gad, paying billions for a singalong with Dear Leader! It gives new meaning to the expression, "How low can you go?"

Why does seeing this make me wonder if Dear Leader would mind a practical joke? I must need more coffee.

UPDATE: It occurs to me that I am being too hard on the Korean useful idiots. After all, they were merely working from the Slickmeister's example:

Friday, February 07, 2003

Another picture we wish we hadn't seen
(Via The Weekly James) From Saddam Streaker Central, Dr. Helen Caldicott & Patch Adams:

Dammit Patch! Did you eat beans again!

Today's Hoot!
Sweet Ann at - 'Will of Allah' pre-empts Iraq invasion:
A quick review of the Treason Times laid bare the objective. Monday's New York Times proclaimed: "As Iraq War Looms, a New Sense of Vulnerability." American hubris blunted again! The article went on to quote a series of random Americans saying things like, "Now I'm hearing a lot of people say if we go to war, we're going to endanger a lot more than seven lives." Another classic Times' Man on the Street said that it "reinforces my belief that we should find diplomatic solutions instead of threatening other countries with war."

The Times' Man on the Street always seems to be standing on a street suspiciously close to Central Park West.
The Gettysburg Address of liberal idiocy was a letter to the editor from a Jim Forbes of San Francisco two days after the crash. The Times titled his contribution to Liberalthink: "A Time of Mourning for Shattered Dreams: A Period of Healing." In full-dress sanctimony, Forbes wrote: "The loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew of seven is a national tragedy. Time is needed for Americans to mourn. I hope that President Bush will do the right thing by slowing down his march to war and focusing instead on the healing that such a blow to national pride requires."

Here was the pithiest concentration of the multiple idiotic things liberals were saying about the space shuttle, the insincerity, the audacity, the smarminess - he even worked in "the healing process." How he must have polished that little gem! The idea that liberals feel the shuttle explosion was a tragedy is patent nonsense. They were jumping for joy at this new excuse to denounce the "march to war." The nation is marching to war at such breakneck speed, it will be two years from 9-11 before we attack.
And saving the best for last:
In other appeasement news, former U.N. arms inspector Scott Ritter has completely vanished from the anti-war scene since news of his sex arrest broke. Three weeks ago, it was revealed that Ritter was caught soliciting sex from underage girls on the Internet in 2001. Until news of his arrest broke, the New York Times had been treating Ritter's reincarnation as a peacenik as the greatest act of patriotism since Justice Souter voted to uphold abortion on demand. It's now Day 17 and counting of the Times' refusal to mention Ritter's arrest. Though the peace movement lost Ritter, it seems to have picked up Jerry Springer. Perhaps Springer is hoping he can get Scott Ritter's wife on the show to confront Ritter and the underage girl.
Jer-ry! Jer-ry! Jer-ry!
Tony bin Wedgwood - What a pal!
(Via LGF) Alice Thomson in the Telegraph - Benn - not Powell - made the case for war on Saddam:
It wasn't Colin Powell who swung opinion on this war, or even Hans Blix. It was Tony Benn. I hate to say it, but his interview was a masterpiece. Until then, we had been getting ourselves into a worse stew than Benn's tea leaves. Suddenly we saw what we were up against, and it galvanised even the most faint-hearted.

It had more impact because it came after Martin Bashir's interview with Michael Jackson, the second weirdest man in the world, who also has an obsession with plastic surgery (although Saddam does it on his doubles). They both spend millions on antique urns, incarcerate themselves in some Neverland and force their families to go out covered in veils, surrounded by two dozen bodyguards. Both have been accused of being above the law.
The next evening, Tony Benn took over from Bashir in the interviewer's seat. His approach to his "friend" Saddam couldn't have been more different. Unlike Bashir, he didn't question a single utterance, but looked on with dogged devotion at his hero. He was fawning and sycophantic to a man I'd be even less inclined to let my child join in a sleep-over. This is a dictator who is so divorced from the truth that he had his doctor executed for suggesting he was schizophrenic.
Ken Livingstone's traffic chaos ensured that I spent most of Wednesday driving round London listening to various talkshows. All of them had ditched their usual diet of Zoe Ball, Madonna's non-pregnancy and whether Catherine Zeta Jones should be photographed with her mouth full, to discuss the Benn interview. The DJ Jono, on Heart FM, usually a mild, jolly man, was incandescent.

Today's James Naughtie was also incensed. He couldn't keep the contempt out of his voice. How could you pander to a man who doesn't just dangle one baby out of a window, but allows thousands to starve to death?

Even Benn seemed to realise that he'd scored an own goal. The old Labour toff who has reincarnated himself as a cuddly, tea-drinking grandfather, suddenly turned nasty. He retorted: "If you'd have gone there, you would have learnt nothing. I got an opportunity to hear him."
Thanks Tony! I'm sure it was a dirty job, but someone had to do it. Bwahahahaha!
Hold mon vin alert!
''The Europeans are just not convinced that a war now will lead to a safer world and may in fact lead to a more dangerous world,'' Moisi said. ''They are not Eurowimps, as some American's would say, but perhaps they have a deeper understanding of the complexity of history than Americans.''
How about a leisurely lunch?

Quick, what's more dangerous than a gang of nutjobs trying to kill you and your fellow citizens? I guess the Euros haven't been keeping up with current events.
It's too early in the morning for stuff like this!
(Via Drudge) The bosom chums.
An early morning hoot!
Richard Spencer in the Telegraph - A Chinese puzzle as everyone's a winner:
The puzzling nature of Chinese economics has been highlighted by a study showing that all 31 provinces beat the national average growth rate last year.
"And all our kids are above average!"
Uh Oh!
Lee Bandy in The State (South Carolina) - NAACP Boycott:
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards has backpedaled in his support for the NAACP's economic boycott of South Carolina to protest the flying of the Confederate battle flag on the State House grounds.

On a campaign swing through the state on Martin Luther King Jr. Day last month, the U.S. senator from North Carolina told reporters he would honor the boycott.

Now, however, Edwards' campaign will lease space in the state, and his staff will be free to eat at restaurants and stay in hotels, campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri said.

Edwards himself will stay with friends while campaigning in South Carolina as a symbolic show of solidarity.
Democrats are big on symbolic shows.
The issue could play a role in the state's first-in-the-South primary on Feb. 4, 2004. South Carolina is the first Southern primary in which African-Americans are expected to make up half of the voters.

Edwards' political action committee, the New American Optimists, already had been spending money in South Carolina in violation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People boycott.
According to a year-end report filed with the Federal Election Commission, the Edwards PAC has spent more than $2,000 since last May on restaurants, gasoline, car rentals and lodging.
The FEC report shows the campaign spent money at several Columbia haunts, including Yesterdays in Five Points, Hunter Gatherer Brewery, Delaney's in Five Points, The Publick House, Lizard's Thicket on Two Notch Road, Quality Inn and Suites at Blythewood, and Clarion Town House.
Yee haw! Partying down at The Publick House with Jennifer Palmieri! Hmmm, what's he going to tell the Southern Baptists?
State Sen. John Courson, R-Richland, who crafted the initial legislation that ultimately led to the flag's being taken off the State House dome, said Edwards "has had almost every position possible on this issue."

"It can only make you wonder what John Edwards' position on the boycott or any other issue will be the next time he visits our state."

The six announced candidates have all denounced the banner as a divisive symbol and say it should be removed from the Capitol grounds and placed in a museum.

But only Edwards and New York civil rights activist Al Sharpton have indicated they would honor the boycott by not spending money in the state.
Actually, Johnny has a very consistent position - he'll do anything to get elected.
Naughty Saddam!
Andrew Buncombe in the Independent - Intercepted call linked Saddam to al-Qa'ida terror cell:
He was supposed to have been a professional. He should have known better, but in the end he could not resist. Using a satellite phone, the senior al-Qa'ida operative excitedly called two associates and congratulated them on their cold-blooded assassination of an American diplomat.

The call cost the man his liberty. It may yet cost him his life but, more importantly, it could have provided America with the "smoking gun" evidence it has long sought and which apparently links the Iraqi regime to an active al-Qa'ida cell committing terror killings and planning others across Europe and the Middle East. One thing is certain: it has left Iraq needing to do a lot of explaining.
But then the current regime in Iraq is good at "explaining".

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Today's Hoot!
Byron York at National Review Online - Dems to Miguel Estrada: You’re Not Hispanic Enough:
But to hear representatives from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, and others tell it, the Estrada nomination should be killed ... because Estrada, who was born and raised in Honduras before coming to the United States and learning English at the age of 17, is simply not authentically Hispanic.
"Being Hispanic for us means much more than having a surname," said New Jersey Rep. Bob Menendez, a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. "It means having some relationship with the reality of what it is to live in this country as a Hispanic American." Even though Estrada is of Hispanic origin, and even though he lives in this country, Menendez argued, he falls short of being a true Hispanic.
Marisa Demeo from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund went even farther. Not only is Estrada not authentically Hispanic, Demeo argued, but his elevation to the federal bench would "crush" the American dream for millions of genuine Hispanics in the United States.
I get it - you can't be Hispanic if you don't vote Democratic.
I'll be gobsmacked!
Mary McGrory - I'm Persuaded:
I don't know how the United Nations felt about Colin Powell's "J'accuse" speech against Saddam Hussein. I can only say that he persuaded me, and I was as tough as France to convince.

And the Minneapolis (red)Star Tribune - Powell's speech / Did Russia, France not listen?
It was as if the foreign ministers of China, France and Russia -- especially the latter two -- had not heard a word U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said. Powell's purpose in speaking to the U.N. Security Council Wednesday was to demonstrate that the U.N. weapons inspections program in Iraq is not working because Iraq is very actively trying to defeat it. His case was persuasive. Then came Russia and France to say, respectively, that the inspections have been "effective" and are "working" because they've produced such "significant achievements" as gaining access to Saddam Hussein's palaces. Both went on then to call for beefing up the inspections teams. Their responses were a non sequitur to what Powell had just said.
It was a strong, effective case the secretary of state laid out, one that now will inform the inspections program through Feb. 14, when the chief inspectors again will report to the Security Council. Between now and then, France, Russia and other council doves should put maximum pressure on Saddam to disarm. If no better results are seen in those Feb. 14 inspections reports, the United States and Britain are going to challenge everyone on the council to fish or cut bait. Unity is vital, but it is a two-way street.
Well, I guess that's that!
Roseanne has spoken:
It started out a fashion show for full-figured gals, but Roseanne Barr, that mistress of the public spectacle, quickly turned Tuesday's Lane Bryant runway event into a demo for the disenfranchised.
Suggesting that Bush's Washington has come to resemble the Fuhrer's Berlin, she added: "We're going back to that time now." That comment gave model Tyson Beckford cause to nudge Dubya's cousin Billy Bush, who was in the audience.

Getting back to herself, Roseanne, who's Jewish, then announced to the assembly, "I study the Kabbalah now. I love my Kabbalah instructor, and he gets the best pot."

Her rambling continued backstage, where she told us, "I'm an idol for men and women. I am trying to give a positive message: to not have sex, to stay celibate ... and fat."
I wonder if she's using the Nelson Mandela medication plan.

Which reminds me - has anyone sighted Rosie lately?
The real "human shields"
Juan Tomayo for Knight Ridder Newspapers reports Iraq moving troops, artillery closer to Kuwaiti border. Yeah, but:
Most of the Iraqi troops look ragged, and some complain that they are eating only bread and aren't being paid, said officers in the 32-nation U.N. Iraq-Kuwait Observer Mission, based on the border.

"Some say their families were put under protective custody" to make sure they fight, "and try to sell us things just to eat," said a UNIKOM officer who traveled recently on the Iraqi side of the 150-mile border.
U.S. military experts have long predicted that American troops would face little resistance from Iraq's ill-trained and poorly equipped regular army, largely stationed far from Baghdad. More formidable and elite Republican Guard and Special Republic Guard units guard the capital, some 280 miles north of the border with Kuwait.
UNIKOM officers who patrol the 9-mile-wide demilitarized zone, created after the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and who travel in southern Iraq provided a firsthand independent look at war preparations and troop morale in the region.

"They are terrified," said one army captain, clad in a blue beret. "They won't surrender at the first shot. They will surrender when they hear the first American tank turn on its engine."
Some Iraqi soldiers were armed with British pre-World War II machine guns, prompting speculation that they may be militiamen.

Iraqi troops mostly go unshaven and wear tattered uniforms, sometimes with sandals instead of boots. Some complain that they have been paid only a half-month's salary in the past three months, the officers said.

Soldiers have told visitors that they receive one pizza-like piece of bread at each meal and sometimes beg food from passing civilians and UNIKOM personnel.
In the unlikely event that Saddam's pet thugs don't do a bug out, I guess it's going to be an uptown Saturday night in Baghdad. If we're lucky, all the peaceniks who claim to be on "shield duty" will congregate there with their fascist pals.
Someone Mentions the Emperor's New Clothes Alert!
Mark Steyn in The Spectator says Let’s quit the UN:
Earlier this week, on NBC’s Today Show, Katie Couric, America’s favourite wake-up gal, saluted the fallen heroes of the Columbia: ‘They were an airborne United Nations - men, women, an African-American, an Indian woman, an Israeli....’

Steady on, Katie. They were six Americans plus an Israeli. And, if they had been an ‘airborne United Nations’, for one thing the Zionist usurper wouldn’t have been on board: the UN is divided into regional voting blocs and, Israel being in a region comprised almost entirely of its enemies, it gets frosted out from the organisation’s corridors of power; no country gets so little out of its UN membership.
But, as Katie demonstrated, no matter what the UN actually is, the initials evoke in her and many others some vague soft-focus picture of Danny Kaye, Audrey Hepburn or some other UN ‘special ambassador’ surrounded by smiling children of many lands. There were many woozy Western liberals who felt - and still feel - that the theoretical idealism of communism excused all its terrible failures in practice. The UN gets a similar pass but from a far larger number of people.
UN support for the war presently depends on Washington giving certain understandings to France. Nothing very moral about that. Some of us think the Iraqi people should be allowed to decide for themselves whether, post-Saddam, they want anything to do with the dictator’s best pal, M. Chirac. But no, apparently the moral position is to hole up in the smoke-filled rooms until Jacques comes around.
In the real world, Libya is an irrelevance. So is Cuba, and Syria. In the old days, the ramshackle dictatorships were proxies for heavyweight patrons, but not any more. These days President Sy Kottik represents nobody but himself. Yet somehow, in the post-Cold War talking shops, the loonitoons’ prestige has been enhanced: the UN, as the columnist George Jonas put it, enables ‘dysfunctional dictatorships to punch above their weight’. Away from Kofi and co., the world is moving more or less in the right direction: entire regions that were once tyrannies are now flawed but broadly functioning democracies ? Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America. The UN has been irrelevant to this transformation. Its structures resist reform and the principal beneficiaries are the thug states.
There’s a farmer not far from me, on Route 10 between Lisbon and Littleton, who for over a decade has had painted in huge letters filling the entire side of his barn the slogan ‘US out of UN now’. It never seems to fade, so I figure he re-touches it every few years, which I guess means this isn’t just some passing political bugbear. When I first saw it, circa 1990, I believe I gave a wry chuckle positively Pattenesque in its amused sophistication: to be sure, the UN contains its share of rum coves but no serious person would entertain the notion of US withdrawal. Now I think he’s dead right, and that it’s only smug conventional-wisdom laziness that stops the idea being up for grabs.
More by following the link. "US out of UN now" is OK, but I kinda like "Screw the UN" myself.
Real comforting alert!
(Via Andrew Stuttaford at The Corner) The Telegraph (UK) has a swell piece on how the ICC judges are being selected:
Delegates from the countries that are supporting and funding the new International Criminal Court were greeted on Tuesday by a pile of hand-outs about each country's selected candidate. "Vote for Mr Raymond C Sock, the Gambia's candidate, expert on criminal justice, human rights and humanitarian law," urged one, more in hope than expectation.
Following pressure from the non-governmental organisations that have been heavily involved in setting up the new court, voting rules had also made it impossible for powerful Western nations to elect judges in their own image. Thus, countries had to vote for at least three of the 10 African candidates, two of the six candidates from Asia, two of the seven from Eastern Europe, three of the eight who came from Latin America or the Caribbean and just three of the 12 from a weighty group that included western Europe and Canada.

To make the ballot paper even more complicated, states had to vote for at least nine (but no more than 13) of the 22 candidates whose main expertise was in criminal law and at least five (but no more than nine) of the 21 candidates with a background in international law.

Little wonder, then, that two of the 85 countries got their sums wrong and had their papers declared invalid when the results came out on Tuesday afternoon.
Ah, "non-governmental organizations". That'll strike fear into anyone. And as Stuttaford comments, "Who elected them?"

No matter how much paint you put on it, it's still an outhouse.
It's a smash hit!
The reviews are in.

SUDDENLY, everyone stopped demanding, "Where's the smoking gun?" - because Secretary of State Colin Powell came armed with plenty of ammunition as he made the case against Saddam Hussein.

"It was a 21-gun salute for anyone who was willing to listen," said military analyst Dan Goure.

Democratic critics began falling in line behind President Bush and the magic word was "compelling."

Powell had promised he'd make a "compelling" case and even Bush's toughest critics agreed he'd done it.

"Compelling," said everyone from previously skeptical Democratic presidential contender Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), not to mention Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), who didn't need further convincing.

Even an antiwar 2004 Democratic candidate, ex-Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, said Powell made a "compelling" case, though not enough for "going to war unilaterally."

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) - who voted "no" to an Iraq attack last fall and just last week sought a new vote to block military action - switched his tone and said Powell made "a very convincing case" and left Saddam with "only one final chance" to disarm.

Powell! Right in the kisser

Secretary of State Powell addressed the United Nations Security Council yesterday, but his real audience was the American public. In a brilliant presentation as riveting and as convincing as Adlai Stevenson's 1962 unmasking of Soviet missiles in Cuba, Powell proved beyond any doubt that Iraq still possesses and continues to develop illegal weapons of mass destruction.
The case for war has been made. And it's irrefutable.

The American people saw the truth. Will the world see it too, or will it prefer to remain blind to the deadly threat? How long can the intolerable be tolerated?
Dog bites man alert!
Gabriel Syme over at Samizdata amuses with Oooh, the Tranzis strike back!:
A law firm with a fetching name, Public Interest Lawyers intends to prosecute Prime Minister Tony Blair for war crimes at the new International Criminal Court (ICC), if an Iraqi war goes ahead.

Phil Shiner of the law firm is leading a campaign to prosecute leaders in the seven-month-old ICC, if military action goes ahead without a second United Nations resolution expressly authorising force, or if any Iraqi civilians are killed in bombing campaigns.

"The ICC brings a new international context to war - Blair now has to consider his individual accountability."
Well, that's a surprise!
The United States fiercely opposes the ICC, saying it would infringe U.S. sovereignty, but Britain has ratified its treaty and would have to give up any citizen the court wanted to try.

"The ICC will now place a serious constraint on Blair."

Oh really?! That must make Blair quake in his boots. I fervently hope he ignores the self-righteous and attention-seeking bunch of idiotarians. The International Criminal Court, what a brilliant idea, I hear people cry, just like the UN. The picture comes into focus once the client of Public Interest Lawyers' who initiated the proceedings is revealed! Enter CND, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament!
But there is a serious lesson for Blair and the UK government in this farcical episode - next time read the small print on all those treaties and agreements and codes and declarations you are signing, in case the Tranzis decide you are not dancing to their tune. It seems that in this case, the US knew better...
It was clear from the start that the ICC was to be a forum for whining ankle biters while little or no impediment to the usual suspects in the Axis of Evil and their bottom dwelling pals. I won't even bother to say "I told you so".

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Freshen up his drink alert!
It looks like the usual suspects in the Democrat party are going to filibuster the judicial nomination of Miguel Estrada:
Sources said Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee -- including Sen. Patrick Leahy, the ranking member, and Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, John Edwards of North Carolina, Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, Dianne Feinstein of California and Charles Schumer of New York -- met with Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota and his whip, Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, last week to come up with the Democratic strategy for the upcoming floor battle.

Many of the same players met again Tuesday night with Daschle and Reid to firm up the plan.

According to sources, Democratic planners apparently decided to filibuster -- to block or delay Senate action with procedural or otherwise obstructive motions, frequently with never-ending speechifying -- "if they have the votes" to defeat action to end debate.
One new tactic is Kennedy's assertion that Estrada has "serious temperament problems," a claim that hasn't previously been made. On Wednesday, Kennedy told his Democratic colleagues that members of the Hispanic caucus and other Latino leaders see Estrada as not being "even-tempered" and having a "short fuse."

One influential Hispanic who heard the remarks told Fox News that he found Kennedy's comments "offensive" and "racist." A GOP source, added: "They're trying to make him into Ricky Ricardo."
Way to go, Ted! Maybe Mary Jo can get you a refill?
Nellie is still off his medications alert!
Mandela Would Make U.N.-Backed Iraq Peace Trip:
South Africa's former president Nelson Mandela said Wednesday he was willing to go to Iraq to help avert a war, but only if the United Nations approved.

Mandela also defended his personal attack on President Bush (news - web sites) last week when he said Bush had no foresight and could not think properly as a U.S.-led war looms against Iraq.
"If Iraq wants me to go there, they must get the permission of (U.N. Secretary-General) Kofi Annan (news - web sites). Then I will go," Mandela told reporters at his home in Johannesburg.

"But I won't go on my own just because I have been invited by Iraq," he added.
He said he did not regret his criticism of Bush, which was condemned by some U.S. newspapers but drew little official reaction in Washington.

"I said that because I felt that way. I don't have to repeat it. I'm not changing a word, not even a comma in what I said," Mandela said.

Mandela was skeptical of evidence to be presented by Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) to the United Nations later on Wednesday aimed at convincing a doubting world that war may be needed to ensure Iraq disarms.

"We are going to listen to (U.N. chief weapons inspector) Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei (head of the nuclear arms teams). We are going to listen to them and them alone. We are not going to listen to the United States of America," he said.
Don't let the door hit ya on the butt, Nellie! And Nellie, have you given any thought to being a "human shield"?

Oh yeah, Nellie also unburdened himself on cricket:
Mandela says England should play in Zimbabwe
"They must respect what the international cricket committee says," Mandela told reporters outside his home. "We must show discipline. If we refuse to follow what the international body says, we introduce chaos in cricket.

"They have examined the matter they have conducted research and so on. They know what is dangerous for cricketers," Mandela said.

"If they say cricketers must go to Zimbabwe, must go to Kenya, that is what they must do."
Maybe Nellie needs a hobby. One that doesn't involve sharp objects.
Well Yee Haw!
Colin Powell puts the hammer down. Now is it time?

Image from
Today's Hoot!
James Lileks fisks Minneapolis Councilperson Natalie Johnson Lee giving the local Green party’s response to Bush’s SOTU. You really have to read the whole thing, but here are a couple of excerpts:
the Green Party takes a very different view. We call for full federal funding to support children, families, the unemployed, elderly and disabled.

If you want a definition of "full federal funding," think of the phrase "open bar" as applied to the Rat Pack.
No corporate contributors are tying up our phone lines. We are waiting to hear from you.

As the country-western song said: if your phone don’t ring, you’ll know it’s me.

Maybe they'll pick up the clue phone when it rings! Naw, not too likely.
A Guardian Hoot!
(Via Professor Bunyip) David Aaronovitch, in the Guardian of all places, does a send up of Tony Benn's interview with Saddam - Benn and Saddam: the transcript:
TB: Well, it's interesting you should raise that. America goes to war where there's an oil interest, as we did in the Falklands, because the Falklands was an oil war - there's more oil around the Falklands than there is around the United Kingdom. And, of course, some companies are now bigger than nation states. Ford is bigger than South Africa. Toyota is bigger than Norway.

SH: Bigger than Norway?

TB: Bigger than Norway. And I do not want a world which is safe only for oil companies and motor companies, but which is dangerous for my grandchildren.

SH: I too am a grandfather. I too think of my grandchildren, Raghda and Rana's fatherless children.

TB: Fatherless? What happened to their fathers?

SH: I shot them. But there were others I didn't personally shoot, you understand. Family gatherings in our country can sometimes become, how do you say, over-exuberant. We have much family: uncles, half-brothers, nieces' husbands. And they all want jobs in the secret services or running the Olympic committee. They get angry. Boom! What can you do? But you, Mr Bin Wedgwood, are a courageous horseman, a roaring tiger, for coming here to speak peace.
Tony Bin Wedgwood, how apt!
Forget weasel, how about skunk?
(Via Gweilo Diaries) Mark Erikson in the Asia Times tees off on the two faced Herr Schroeder in Germany's leading role in arming Iraq:
Expurgated portions of Iraq's December 7 report to the UN Security Council show that German firms made up the bulk of suppliers for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. What's galling is that German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his minions have long known the facts, German intelligence services know them and have loads of information on what Saddam Hussein is hiding, and Schroeder nonetheless plays holier than thou to an easily manipulated, pacifist-inclined domestic audience.
The reason the BND is well-informed of Iraqi WMD programs - nuclear, biological and chemical - is straightforward: since the early 1980s, it has monitored German exports of dual-use nuclear technologies, precursor chemicals for poison-gas weapons, and "pharmaceutical" products and equipment for biological weapons manufacture to the Middle East. Indeed, there are strong suspicions that it was a silent partner in a Hamburg front company, Water Engineering Trading or WET, which covered for and facilitated such exports. Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix said in his January 27 report that tons of Iraqi chemical and biological agents and precursors were unaccounted for. Over the years, well over half of the precursor materials and a majority of the tools and know-how for their conversion into weapons were sold to Iraq by German firms - both prior to and after the 1991 Gulf War. The BND has the details.

[Follow the link for the voluminous details from German intelligence chief, August Hanning]

The BND's warnings didn't stop with that report. In April 2001, Hanning told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that Iraq was developing a new class of chemical weapons, reiterated his alert on Iraq's missile and nuclear programs, and said that several German companies had continued to deliver to Baghdad components needed for the production of poison gas. In March 2002, he told the New Yorker magazine that, "It is our estimate that Iraq will have an atomic bomb in three years." The German opposition parties' demand that the government make public what it knows is thus no irresponsible, idle, politically inspired chatter as the ruling Social Democrats and Greens charge. The irresponsible chatter and politicking is Herr Schroeder's.
That Gerry, what a pal!

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!
Tim Blair is providing an early warning:
You've got to warn everyone and tell them! Margo Kingston will be naked! You've got to tell them! MARGO WILL BE NAKED!
Now that's right scary!

Power Tsk Alert!
Jong-Heon Lee from UPI is reporting Summit scandal hits S.Korea
South Korea's much-touted efforts to reconcile with North Korea suffered a major setback as a controversy flared up that President Kim Dae-jung had bribed the communist regime to stage a historic inter-Korean summit in 2000.

A former intelligence officer has revealed that the South Korean leader funneled some 2 trillion won ($1.7 billion) to his North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong Il, in return for holding the summit, and lobbied foreign countries to get the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize.

With the cash, North Korea purchased key components for nuclear weapons, 40 Soviet-made MiG jets and a submarine from Kazakhstan, said the former agent known only by his family name, Kim.

The flap came just after government auditors confirmed that the country's giant business conglomerate Hyundai secretly transferred some $200 million, obtained from a South Korean state-run bank, to North Korea just ahead of the summit in June 2000.

Auditors said the purposes of the expenditures were unclear, but opposition lawmakers say the money was given to the North as "payment" for the unprecedented inter-Korean summit, which helped Kim Dae-jung win the Nobel Peace Prize. Under South Korean law, any secret financial aid to North Korea is illegal.
Being a nutcase dictator means long hours, but the pay is good!
Leisurely Lunch Alert!

Cheese eating surrender monkey
Tony Benn Bends Over Alert!
(Via Drudge) You don't even need to turn on the telly to witness Tony Benn's schmoozefest with Saddam Hussein. The transcript is already online.
Third World Politics Alert!
NBC 4 in Los Angeles reports on the city of South Gate in Mayor Punches Councilman At Her Last Meeting: Audience Members: 'Arrest The Mayor':
In a dramatic ending to her tenure as mayor, Xochilt Ruvalcaba tried unsuccessfully to ram through millions of dollars in city loans and punched a fellow council member before exiting what will likely be her last city council meeting.

Ruvalcaba, one of three City Council members booted from office by voters last week after being accused of depleting city coffers of nearly $8 million, had called one last meeting to vote on several costly measures.

Vice Mayor Raul Moriel, Councilwoman Maria Benavides and Treasurer Albert Robles also were recalled.

Before a packed audience Monday night, the council's three outgoing members failed in their bid to award more than $1 million in low-interest federal loans. Earlier in the day, a Superior Court judge issued an order blocking the council from awarding the money.

They did succeed in promoting at least 12 employees, including four top officials in the city's department of public works.

At the end of the meeting, an amateur video tape caught Ruvalcaba in a shoving match with Councilman Henry Gonzalez which ended when the mayor hit him across the side of his head with a black purse and then punched him in the head.
After watching the altercation, audience members shouted, "Arrest the mayor! Arrest the mayor!"
It was the last for hurrah for a cast of characters that was also notable for their behavior in the recall election as the LA Times reports in The Freebies Pile Up as South Gate Goes to Polls:
Julia Barraza knew campaign season had arrived in her Mexican pueblo when politicians in open-bed trucks rolled by offering sombreros, sarapes and food for votes.

She moved to South Gate years ago, but Barraza sees a similar thing happening: free trash service, free boxes of food, and even a free three-bedroom house for one lucky resident.

"Igualito ... igualito," -- the same, the same, Barraza said. "It's like I never left Mexico."

Have Third World politics come to South Gate?
The four recall targets portray themselves as misunderstood reformers whose efforts to improve services have met with vicious resistance by the city's old guard.

Critics call them self-dealing "klepto-crats" who have awarded sweetheart deals to cronies while spending almost all of the city's $8-million reserve.
Recall proponents, led by the city's two police unions, tick off a long list of reasons to oust the four. In the last two years, the council majority has tripled their salaries, stripped the elected city clerk of most of her duties and have a convicted embezzler working as their litigation specialist. Last summer the council hired an officer once fired from the city Police Department for tipping off suspects of a federal drug investigation.

The city has spent more than $1 million on the legal fees for Robles, who last month stood trial on charges of threatening to kill four people, including two state legislators. (Robles was appointed to the $111,000-per-year post of deputy city manager after his arrest last spring.) His trial ended in a hung jury and the judge this month dismissed the charges.

It was while Robles was standing trial that many city-funded giveaways began, prompting jokes about Santa Claus taking up residence at City Hall. In December, the city offered residents free trash service for the month, and newly registered voters were signed up for a city-publicized raffle of a television set.

Next came the house raffle, held last week on the park-like grounds of City Hall. Amid a carnival atmosphere of rainbow-colored lights and thumping Mexican ranchera music, the recall targets played host to hundreds of residents -- many of them working-class immigrants -- hoping for a picket-fenced paradise.
Actually the residents of South Gate, by turfing out the turkeys, showed a more refined sense of good government than the citizens of most US big cities.
Workaday Bluez
New York Magazine's Intelligencer column stuns with Chelsea Clinton: Working Girl. No, not that kind of "Working Girl":
For most college grads, this is the toughest job market in years, but Chelsea Clinton, who doesn’t finish up at Oxford until the spring, has already lined up a gig. Sources tell us that the former First Daughter has been offered a position with McKinsey, the powerhouse consulting firm. "I know she had an interview and got a good offer," one Chelsea pal tells us. (Neither McKinsey nor Clinton returned calls by press time.) Sources say her starting salary is probably about $65,000.
Regardless of what one thinks of professional consultants, can you think of any subject on which you would pay for Ms. Clinton's advice? On the other hand, if this is like her higher education, she is probably going to phone it in. And she cleaned up real nice.
And speaking of bloated bloviators...
(Via Tim Blair) The AP startles with Former President Bill Clinton to appear at Rolling Stones concert:
Former President Bill Clinton plans to appear at a free Rolling Stones concert this week dedicated to raising awareness about global warming, event organizers said Sunday.

Clinton, who sported sunglasses and played his sax on "The Arsenio Hall Show" during a 1992 campaign appearance, isn't expected to perform with the rock band during the Thursday concert at Los Angeles' Staples Center.

Instead, he will make a speech from the stage addressing the importance of fighting global warming, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nonprofit activist group staging the event.

The show was conceived as a way to put "a worldwide spotlight on global warming and the opportunities that exist right now to start fixing the problem," said Jon Coifman, spokesman for NRDC.
Having Bubba speak will put more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere than the entire US fleet of SUV's do in a year. Especially if he tops off at a Taco Bell before the show.

Phatty's got a brand new bag!
Brain Graze observes that bloated bloviator Phillip Adams has been banished to the weekend supplement. The good professor also weighs in and suggests Phatty may feel a tad out of place alongside Mystic Medusa. Hmm, I would have thought he would feel right at home!
Captain Hook Pipes Up from the Wingnut Gallery
The Times (UK) (and home of an excessively annoying registration system) stuns with Shuttle destroyed by God, says Abu Hamza:
There were renewed calls for the deportation of Abu Hamza al-Masri yesterday after he said that Allah had destroyed the shuttle because it was a "trinity of evil" against Islam.

The militant cleric said that God had destroyed the Columbia because it was carrying American Christians, an Indian-born Hindu and an Israeli Jew. He added that the craft’s explosion was a message from God because the first Israeli in space, Ilan Ramon, a former fighter pilot, was killed over an area of Texas called Palestine.

The former imam of Finsbury Park Mosque in North London came under fierce criticism from politicians and leading Muslims. They accused him of inciting racial and religious hatred and revelling in the deaths of innocent people.

Mr Hamza, 44, said: "The Muslim people see these pilots as criminals. By going into space they would have sharpened the accuracy of their bombs through satellites. These missions would increase the number of satellites for military purposes. It would increase the slavery of governance of other countries by America. It is a punishment from God. Muslims see it that way. It is a trinity of evil because it carried Americans, an Israeli and a Hindu, a trinity of evil against Islam."

The Muslim Council of Great Britain said: "The vast majority of Muslims are now quite disgusted by (Mr Hamza’s) sentiments."
When last we caught up with ole Abu, he had received £100,000 in welfare benefits over the last 3 years and was under investigation for the bigamous marriage that got him UK citizenship:
The Home Office has been unwilling to extradite him to Yemen, however, as there are fears that he would not be given a fair trial. Nor has the Government been able to deport him to Egypt, as he has been a British citizen since his marriage, in May 1980, to an Englishwoman. Last night that impasse appeared to have been broken, when it was discovered that the marriage was bigamous, and therefore void.
I'm sure he'll be comfy back in the old country. What's holding up the parade? (And Yemen would be good too.)

Monday, February 03, 2003

And speaking of whines...
Ernst Blofeld, er, Maurice Strong came back from North Korea and put a bug in Kofi's ear:
Secretary-General Kofi Annan appealed for funds Monday to "avert a major humanitarian crisis" in North Korea and create better conditions to peacefully resolve the nuclear standoff.

Annan's urgent appeal followed talks with his personal envoy, Maurice Strong, who visited North Korea last month and told the secretary-general that desperately needed food and medicine will soon be unavailable.

After his visit, Strong warned that the pipeline of food and medicine that 6 to 8 million North Koreans depended on was drying up and there was "an urgent need to keep that pipeline flowing."

North Korea has been relying on outside aid since the mid-1990s to help feed its 22 million people.
But Wingnuttico Magnifico has enough spare change for his own nuclear weapons program. Pardon me if I don't get my wallet out.
Being an idiot has consequences
The Telegraph (UK) keeps a straight face while reporting Blair blocked ship deal to snub Chirac:
Tony Blair blocked a decision to award a French company a £3 billion contract to build the Royal Navy's two new aircraft carriers because of anger at President Jacques Chirac's behaviour over Iraq and Zimbabwe.

The industry journal Defence Analysis will say today that the reason for snubbing the French company was "purely political".

M Chirac's decision to invite President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe to Paris for a summit on Africa this month in defiance of EU travel sanctions proved to be "the last straw".

The disclosure that Mr Blair intervened to ensure that Britain's BAE Systems was made the prime contractor will increase tensions between him and M Chirac at today's Anglo-French summit at the resort of Le Touquet, near Calais.
I wonder if M Chirac would like some cheese with his whine?
News of the Weird
In the Times (UK) (beware of bizarre registration system), Joe Joesph stuns with When this man smiles, his ankle flesh twitches:
BEFORE watching Martin Bashir’s documentary Living With Michael Jackson (ITV1), you might - quite understandably - have assumed that Michael Jackson was a little weird. But after 90 minutes in his company you realised that he’s VERY weird.
Ya think?
But the chief excitement is always catching sight of Jackson’s latest seasonal facial configuration. It’s like bumping into a schoolfriend you haven’t seen for 25 years and wondering if you’ll still recognise him.

And suddenly, there it was, filling the screen. Oh my! You doubt that there are many ads in the Los Angeles Times from plastic surgeons boasting: ?Cosmetic surgeon to Michael Jackson?.

The nose looks as if it has been moulded from Plasticine. The lips are carmine. The face is the white of a powdered Regency dandy’s. The skin, taut as a drum, looks as if it has been pulled up from Lord knows where. When Jackson smiles his ankle flesh twitches. And then it hits you! He doesn’t look so strange after all. He looks like someone familiar. Yes, that’s it! He looks like Diana Ross!

Bashir deserves full marks for securing this scoop access to Jackson. But, frankly, once inside Neverland, Jackson’s Peter Pan-themed estate in Los Angeles, pretty much all he had to do was point the camera in Jackson’s direction to make our jaws drop.
Kinda like visiting the zoo. Or Berkeley.
Curry wurst alert!
The Straits Times reports Heavy poll defeat leaves Schroeder out in the cold:
BERLIN - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has suffered a humiliating loss of authority at home after his Social Democrats (SPD) suffered their worst defeats in two state elections since 1945 as voters vented their anger at high unemployment, tax hikes and near-recession.

Not even the chancellor's opposition to a possible Iraq war, which has left him isolated abroad but popular in war-weary Germany, was enough to offset public discontent over the economy four months after his re-election.
War-weary Germany? I must have missed the dust-up!

The IHT terms it, Schroeder feels pressure to relent on opposing war:
Following its stunning defeat in state elections in Germany, the government of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is coming under increasing pressure to relent in his adamant opposition to war with Iraq.

Opposition politicians who until now have been constrained by the strong anti-war sentiment in this country say they have been emboldened by the election Sunday to press the Schroeder government to end what they see as Germany's isolation on the Iraqi question and to align the country more closely with its traditional allies, the United States and Britain.

Meanwhile, as part of a nascent effort to influence German public opinion, opposition figures, accusing the government of withholding a true picture of the Iraqi threat from the public, have cited classified German intelligence information that Iraq possesses the smallpox virus and that the Saddam Hussein regime has mobile factories capable of producing chemical and biological weapons.

The German health minister, Ulla Schmidt, has recommended that Germany stockpile smallpox vaccine in order to guard against a possible terrorist attack. The recommendation, which was reported on the Web site of the German news weekly Der Spiegel over the weekend, has not been made public. A text of the full memo was provided to the New York Times by an opposition member.

In it, Schmidt denies that there is any new intelligence information, suggesting that the German government has known for some time of the Iraqi smallpox stock. But the overall recommendation made by Schmidt, a member of Schroeder's government, seems to align her with the U.S. position that a biological attack is a real possibility.
Uh oh!
Schroeder said Monday that Sunday's election results represented "one of the most bitter defeats I have known," but he declared that the setback would have no effect on his opposition to war with Iraq.

"We were against military action and we remain against it now," he said.

But there was clearly a sense on the day after the vote that Schroeder was considerably weakened and even isolated. The cover on the weekly newsmagazine Speigel on Monday showed a picture of Schroeder under the caption, "The Lonely Chancellor."
Poor baby!
Point 'em toward the clue phone
James Taranto in Best of the Web:
What puts us in mind of this is another Y2K-like scare in the air: the fear that America liberating Iraq will cause a new wave of Muslim terrorism. The argument isn't that Iraq will use terrorism as a tactic in the war; indeed, many of the same people issuing this warning also steadfastly deny that Saddam Hussein has anything to do with terrorists. Rather, it is that overthrowing Saddam will inflame the Muslim world and provide the impetus for more terror.

This claim--call it Y2K3--is everywhere, but we'll just cite a few examples. The Washington Post's William Raspberry, in a column that rehearses every defeatist argument he can cram into 800 words, declares: "Even a war that ostensibly would be waged against terrorism would have the likely effect of generating new legions of anti-American terrorists throughout the Arab world, and maybe here as well." Over at the New York Times, poor little Nick Kristof got himself so spooked over the putative threat last week that we hope he's sleeping with a night light on. And the Associated Press reports that the Vatican hopes to convince Washington that liberating Iraq isn't worth "irritating a billion of Islamics," in the words of Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the pope's secretary of state.
These boys just haven't been keeping up if they think the current level of Islamic terrorism is somehow acceptable. And they haven't got even a whiff of a clue, if they think rolling over would stop the terrorists. I wonder if any of them have heard of "Live Free or Die" or "Don't Tread on Me" or "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute!"? I know, it was left out of their textbooks, and there was a lot of bumpf instead about how it was all the fault of the USA.

On the other hand, I'm sure Kristof is quite fetching in a burqua.
Another PR blitz alert!
The Globe and Mail (Canada) reports Canada turns on the charm to woo U.S.:
WASHINGTON -- Tim Hortons doughnuts, Malpeque oysters, Celtic music and a barrage of Canadian jokes.

It may sound like a sure-fire recipe for indigestion. But it's actually part of a major new public relations push to remind Americans that Canada is a vital trading partner, a trusted ally and a loyal friend.

Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew is coming to Washington on Wednesday to host a one-day charm blitz directed at members of Congress, their staff and government officials.
Now, Canada is ramping up an effort to get relations back on track. There are plans to reopen as many as half a dozen consulates across the United States, step up lobbying and use advertising more aggressively. It's also paying proxy groups -- including mayors, trade associations and other private sector alliances on both sides of the border -- to take its case to decision makers in Washington and across the United States.
That's the spirit! When's the next Buddhist temple hoedown? And don't forget to bring cash!
The timing of Mr. Pettigrew's Washington visit is emblematic of how badly out of sync the two governments have slipped. While the Minister is serving doughnuts and lecturing members of Congress on softwood lumber, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell will be handing the United Nations long-awaited intelligence information to justify war against Iraq.
Canadian officials concede the timing is unfortunate. But the aim of the event -- as well as the other advocacy work -- is to make sure Washington politicians have "a clear picture of the contribution Canada makes globally to the security of the United States and its economic prosperity," said Sébastien Théberge, Mr. Pettigrew's spokesman.
Yep, Sébastien used present tense. He must not be keeping up with current events.
Mr. Sands noted that the Canadian government used to devote a lot more resources to image building in the United States. That has dwindled since the completion of the Canada-U.S. free-trade agreement and later the North American free-trade agreement. There are now a dozen Canadian government offices or consulates across the United States, plus the embassy in Washington. Even with six new full consulates -- possibly in Denver and Miami -- Canada would still have fewer than half as many as Mexico.

"Mexico has cleaned Canada's clock," Mr. Sands said. "They focus on building ties to local communities and they throw money around. Canada used to be the king of this game. Canada was one of the countries that had a reputation for working discreetly, but effectively. Canada has been outflanked and it's in a tough environment."
Yeah, but the Mexican consulate franchise operation is to keep the illegal immigrants flowing into the USA and the money flowing back to Mexico.
Canadian officials have developed a reputation of always needing something when they come calling in Washington and elsewhere, Mr. Sands said. The reservoir of goodwill toward Canada is badly depleted, and it will take more than PR to replenish it, he added.
And Mexico doesn't "need" something?

As always, the people of Canada are separate and distinct from the wingnuttery of their government.
Are we there yet?
The Daily Star of Lebanon startles with CNN to air ad campaign promoting Lebanon as tourist destination:
The Trade and Economy Ministry has signed a contract with international news channel CNN to start an advertising campaign to lure potential tourists into the country.

The contract, inked last December, is "the beginning of a broader plan to show the beauty of Lebanon and its potential as a tourist destination," according to Trade and Economy Minister Basil Fuleihan.

The campaign is expected to begin in March or April, "after the budget for the campaign is approved and as soon as the first money transfer is received by CNN," Fuleihan told The Daily Star.

The price for the promotion is tagged at $1 million and will be aired for one full year on CNN International. The amount will be payable over a two-year period with no interest, allowing the government to easily pay for the investment.

Each advertisement will run approximately twice a day and the film, which will last 60 seconds, is currently in the process of being produced by a CNN team.

"The CNN advertisement will be a very practical medium of communicating to people that Lebanon is a safe, unique tourist and business center boasting many different options of natural, cultural, sports and entertainment activities," added Fuleihan.
Reading another top story in the Star makes me wonder what kind of weapons the tourists should bring?
Walid Jumblatt lashed out Sunday against Western politicians and "the Jews," calling on Arab leaders to hold popular referendums before allowing in foreign troops for a war against Iraq.

The Progressive Socialist Party leader also said he felt "great joy" at Saturday’s destruction of the United States space shuttle Columbia, because it carried an Israeli astronaut who had taken part in aggression against "Lebanon and Iraq."

"The true axis of evil that rules the world today is an axis of oil and Jews," Jumblatt said at his family home of Mukhtara, Chouf.
Hey, maybe it's open season year round on assholes with no bag limit. Still, who would want Walid on the wall above the fireplace?

Sunday, February 02, 2003

Someone else noticed
Business Week examines The New Global Job Shift. Their subtitle: "The next round of globalization is sending upscale jobs offshore. They include basic research, chip design, engineering--even financial analysis. Can America lose these jobs and still prosper? Who wins? Who loses?"
The sense of resignation inside Bank of America (BAC ) is clear from the e-mail dispatch. "The handwriting is on the wall," writes a veteran information-technology specialist who says he has been warned not to talk to the press. Three years ago, the Charlotte (N.C.)-based bank needed IT talent so badly it had to outbid rivals. But last fall, his entire 15-engineer team was told their jobs "wouldn't last through September." In the past year, BofA has slashed 3,700 of its 25,000 tech and back-office jobs. An additional 1,000 will go by March.

Corporate downsizings, of course, are part of the ebb and flow of business. These layoffs, though, aren't just happening because demand has dried up. Ex-BofA managers and contractors say one-third of those jobs are headed to India, where work that costs $100 an hour in the U.S. gets done for $20. Many former BofA workers are returning to college to learn new software skills. Some are getting real estate licenses. BofA acknowledges it will outsource up to 1,100 jobs to Indian companies this year, but it insists not all India-bound jobs are leading to layoffs.

Cut to India. In dazzling new technology parks rising on the dusty outskirts of the major cities, no one's talking about job losses. Inside Infosys Technologies Ltd.'s (INFY ) impeccably landscaped 22-hectare campus in Bangalore, 250 engineers develop IT applications for BofA. Elsewhere, Infosys staffers process home loans for Greenpoint Mortgage of Novato, Calif. Near Bangalore's airport, at the offices of Wipro Ltd. (WIT ), five radiologists interpret 30 CT scans a day for Massachusetts General Hospital. Not far away, 26-year-old engineer Dharin Shah talks excitedly about his $10,000-a-year job designing third-generation mobile-phone chips, as sun pours through a skylight at the Texas Instrument Inc. (TXN ) research center. Five years ago, an engineer like Shah would have made a beeline for Silicon Valley. Now, he says, "the sky is the limit here."


It's globalization's next wave--and one of the biggest trends reshaping the global economy. The first wave started two decades ago with the exodus of jobs making shoes, cheap electronics, and toys to developing countries. After that, simple service work, like processing credit-card receipts, and mind-numbing digital toil, like writing software code, began fleeing high-cost countries.

Now, all kinds of knowledge work can be done almost anywhere. "You will see an explosion of work going overseas," says Forrester Research Inc. analyst John C. McCarthy. He goes so far as to predict at least 3.3 million white-collar jobs and $136 billion in wages will shift from the U.S. to low-cost countries by 2015. Europe is joining the trend, too. British banks like HSBC Securities Inc. (HBC ) have huge back offices in China and India; French companies are using call centers in Mauritius; and German multinationals from Siemens (SI ) to roller-bearings maker INA-Schaeffler are hiring in Russia, the Baltics, and Eastern Europe.
Maybe in the USA we can all sell each other real estate and insurance?
Mark Steyn in the Telegraph reveals The Ultimate Butt. Some excerpts:
'Hello," I said, a little sheepishly. "I'd like to see some of your celebrity lingerie collections. Kylie's Love Fever, that sort of thing. The missus thought it might spice up our love life."

"Certainly, sir," said Nikkii. "We have the very latest from Paris. Entente by Jacques."
"It's not 'Laanjairee'," scoffed Don Rumsfeld. "It's 'Lingerie', as in underwear to linger round the house all day doing nothing in. Now you can have all the sophistication of an Old European Nato member. Say you're suddenly overcome by a sudden cowboy-like urge to action. The 200lb of lead in your pants will ensure you won't be able to do anything but stagger round ineffectually. Hey, Jacques, Gerhard, come on out, and bring the Belgian and Canadian fellers with you."