:: The Fred Willard Fan Site ::


:: Thursday, January 30, 2003 ::

DU Update

Rich Lowry writes in Tuesday's Washington Times [no link] about the junk science that has lead to the demise of politically incorrect ordnance:
According to the Rand Corp., among other reputable organizations that have cleared depleted uranium, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization, "researchers to date report neither adverse renal (kidney) effects attributable to chemical toxicity of DU nor any adverse health effects that relate to DU radiation."

The Iraqis nonetheless allege that depleted uranium has poisoned children near Basra, never mind that the weapons weren't used in that area. Iraqi lies, however, don't even need a superficial plausibility to be parroted by American anti-war activists.

Depleted uranium, like other heavy metals, is toxic when ingested or inhaled. This is why depleted-uranium ammo shouldn't be eaten, and why clouds of vaporized depleted uranium created upon impact are best not inhaled.

I cited those same studiesback in September. As for the fact that DU was never used in or near Basra (in fact, most of the armored battles of the Gulf War occurred in Kuwait), Lowry is showing a bit of naivete of Left-wing polemics. Facts like this are inconsequential, as evidenced by this passage from John Pilger's latest puddle:
I was starkly reminded of the children of Vietnam when I travelled in Iraq two years ago. A paediatrician showed me hospital wards of children similarly deformed: a phenomenon unheard of prior to the Gulf war in 1991.[Emphasis added ... emphatically]

Unheard of? I don't doubt that for a moment.

But Lowry does go a bit overboard in his conclusion:
Somewhere, an Iraqi propaganda official is exulting. And the enemy tank commander the United States might face in some future, as-yet-unforeseen war should feel gratified - American frivolity is doing its best to make his job easier and safer.

Not exactly. The military does have a suitable replacement for DU rounds -- tungsten, which is actually more toxic than depleted uranium.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:43 AM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, January 29, 2003 ::

Say What?

I missed the SOTU, and haven't had time to read or listen to much coverage (unless you consider the ignoramuses calling to C-SPAN's Washington Journal program with their half -a-cent worth "coverage"). I have perused the text of the speech, and didn't really find anything extraordinarily good or bad.

Until I got to this passage:
This tax relief is for everyone who pays income taxes, and it will help our economy immediately. Ninety-two million Americans will keep this year an average of almost $1,100 more of their own money. A family of four with an income of $40,000 would see their federal income taxes fall from $1,178 to $45 per year.[Emphasis added by editor's muscle spasms]

Uh, yeah. I'll by that. I can't wait to see how these numbers were engineered ... "Oh, we didn't mean an average family of four. We meant a family of four with an income of $40K derived entirely from stock dividends. A 'trust fund family,' if you will."

:: COINTELPRO Tool 4:18 PM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 ::

An Interesting Theory

CNN just ran a piece on the criticism from Iraqi dissidents regarding the rather callous response from UNMOVIC to the two Iraqi's who entreated them Saturday. UNMOVIC's response is that the second incident, in which the inspector's may have turned away a notebook with valuable information in addition to sending a man and his family to their deaths, was shaded by the first one -- because the first guy had knives on him, the inspectors were understandably afraid. It's not like they're there to stare down a ruthless dictator and ensure he is complying with UN dictates that he disarm.

In any event, David Ensor suggested the possibility that both men were Iraqi agents, and that the whole thing was staged to show Iraqis that such acts of desperation would be quite futile. Staged or not, the incidents seem to have had that effect. Then again, this kind of insanity has happened before, when the inspectors blabbed publicly when an Iraqi scientist gave them "details about a possible Iraqi nuclear programme," only to have him deny ever giving them such information (message: it doesn't really matter whether there are Iraqi "minders" present during the inspectors' interviews, now does it?).

I wonder if that incident was staged? And if so, by whom?
:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:42 PM [+] ::
:: Monday, January 27, 2003 ::

Some Quotas the Bush Administration Can Live With

FBI Director Robert Mueller is demonstrating that he still doesn't get it:
AS PART OF the effort, NEWSWEEK has learned, Mueller?s top aides have directed chiefs of the bureau?s 56 field offices to develop ?demographic? profiles of their localities?including tallying the number of mosques. Those profiles are then being used, along with other factors, to set specific numerical goals for counter terrorism investigations and secret national-security wiretaps in each region. Top bureau officials have signaled that if field offices don?t meet their pre-established goals, they may be subjected to special reviews by inspection teams from headquarters.

Got that, you slack-ass field agents? FBIHQ is going to hold you accountable. Just like they did this guy.

As faithful readers of COINTELPRO Tool know well, I am very much in favor of what has been misnamed "racial profiling" (a profile should never be based solely on race, but if it doesn't include race, it isn't a profile). But numerical quotas??? Are the feds really going to approach the war on terror as if they were handing out speeding tickets?

It's clear that Mueller is more interested in the appearance of success rather than actually making us safer. But if he has to use quotas to demonstrate success, why not start with, say, a quota for not squelching good detective work just because it risks embarrassing the bureau?
:: COINTELPRO Tool 8:25 PM [+] ::
:: Sunday, January 26, 2003 ::

Appeasement For Oil Watch

Richard Perle, on Fox News Sunday today, alleges rather craven motives behind the French and German positions on Iraq:
SNOW: Let's talk a little bit about coalition. There's a lot of talk about building a coalition of the willing.

It appears that the French and German are not willing to join in, at least at this point. How do you interpret the joint comments this week by the chancellor of Germany and the president of France?

PERLE: Well, each country has its own underlying reasons.

The Germans have essentially put themselves out of this game by arguing, as the German chancellor did, that, even if the United Nations were to sanction a military action, Germany will have nothing to do with it. So the German chancellor should do us all a favor and stop talking about an issue that he has taken himself out of completely.

As for the French, Chirac has a longstanding predisposition to be friendly to Saddam Hussein, and the French government has commercial interests to protect in Iraq.

SNOW: Oil.


It's ironic that people accuse the United States of being interested in oil. If you want to see who's interested in oil, look at French policy. It is entirely self-concerned, and it has to do with oil contracts and very little else.

SNOW: This week, France invited Colin Powell up to New York for a meeting at the U.N., presumably about terror, and then all of a sudden up comes the topic of Iraq. Did the French sandbag him?

PERLE: I don't know whether -- if by now the secretary of state does not expect to be maneuvered by the French, he'll soon come to the realization.

Look, the French have an attitude toward the United States, toward their role in Europe, toward the role of the United States in Europe in which they clearly want to diminish the significance, the importance, the leadership of the United States, and every French action points in that direction, so no one should be surprised that the French are trying to exploit this very difficult situation for rather narrow and unworthy French purposes.

Independent verification of France's oil motives can be found here. As for diminishing U.S. preeminence in the world, I don't suppose it ever occurred to the French that they could do so by demonstrating leadership themselves, particularly in crises that are European. But their M.O. seems to be, if we can't lead, damned if we'll let anyone else!
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:34 PM [+] ::

Hi, Where Can I Piss Away $2 Million?

What's the point of running this ad during the Superbowl?

Damn, I love having ideological opponents like these twits!
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:16 PM [+] ::
:: Friday, January 24, 2003 ::

Yep, 'Old Europe.' Really Old

Mike Daley (who should have started his own blog by now) sends this story, proving that there is no floor to the ocean of denial in France:
The French Jewish community is in an uproar over allegations that Reform Rabbi Gabriel Farhi, who was stabbed on January 3, may in fact have faked the stabbing.

The allegations surfaced in a report this week by the weekly magazine Marianne, which was then picked up by Le Figaro. The journal reported that police officers investigating the stabbing said it is not clear whether Farhi was actually stabbed by an unknown assailant, and they are not ruling out the possibility that Farhi in fact stabbed himself.

The report stunned French Jewry, which for the past two years has been vociferously protesting law enforcement agencies' failure to take effective action against the hundreds of anti-Semitic attacks the community has suffered.

Do we really want these people on our side?
:: COINTELPRO Tool 8:11 PM [+] ::

Tony Auth: Not a Blog-reader

"Axis of Annoyance?" No, no, no, no, NO. Pay attention, cartoon boy!
:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:58 PM [+] ::

Mrs. Koopman, Please Come Pick Up Your Son

This isn't exactly the only reason by SF Chron reporters shouldn't be allowed to cover combat firsthand, but it's certainly noteworthy:
San Francisco Chronicle writer Joe Koopman may be the sole reporter in the Fort Dix program with prior military experience -- a four-year stint in the Marine Corps in the late 1970s -- but he said the training was a useful refresher course.

He admitted to some difficulty managing the chemical protective mask that everyone carried at their sides. "I've got it down to about 90 seconds," Koopman said.

The instructors say he'd better be able to get it on in nine, Leiby added.

Actually, it's seven seconds for the Navy. They must be using the Air Force standard.

Apart from that, I'd pay money to watch Koopman wrestling with his MCU-2P. I'm picturing a Laurel & Hardy slapstick routine.

[Via Romenesko]
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:12 PM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, January 22, 2003 ::

Non-Sequitur, Thy Name Is George Will

I meant ot blog on this Sunday morning commentary earlier ..
George, this week, Wednesday, is the 30th anniversary of the most imprudent act of judicial power since the Dred Scott decision. In Dred Scott, the Supreme Court tried to settle the slavery controversy. Instead it hastened Civil War. With the Roe V. Wade decision 30 years ago the court tried to end the debate about abortion. Instead it inflamed the issue and embittered our politics, because the court by judicial fiat abruptly ended what had been a democratic process of accommodation and compromise on abortion policy. Before the court suddenly discovered in the Constitution a virtually unlimited right to abortion, many state legislatures were doing what legislatures are supposed to do in a democracy, they were debating and revising laws to reflect changing community thinking.

In the five years before 1973, 16 states with 41 percent of the nation's population liberalized their abortion laws including governor Reagan's California. Remember that when the next supreme court vacancy perhaps this year ignites a confirmation battle centering on the possibility that a 1-vote change could reverse Roe V. Wade, but reversal would not make abortion illegal. It would just restore abortion as a matter for states to regulate and probably no state would outlaw first trimester abortions, which are almost 90 percent of all abortions. Whether you like it or not, the culture has changed a lot since 1973. Today, abortion ends more than one in five pregnancies. Abortion is one of the most common surgical procedures. The widely exercised right to abortion is not about to be extinguished but neither is the debate about abortion, which continues to trouble thoughtful people. Unfortunately, 30 years ago, the supreme court said to the American people, shut up, pipe down, your debate about abortion is pointless because we will decide policy, thus, did the supreme court diminish American democracy.

Well, which is it George? Is Roe as destructive to our democracy as Dred Scott, or is it so insignificant that its reversal will have no effect on our body of laws?

But you know, he's absolutely right. Overturning Roe would most likely have as little effect on state abortion laws as, say ... overturning Brown v. Board of Ed. would have on school integration. We could get rid of the 14th Amendment tomorrow, and really, now -- how many states are going to pass laws that deny the right to a fair trial?

I wonder if any of today's demonstrators are carrying signs with this slogan: OVERTURN ROE V. WADE. IT WON'T REALLY CHANGE ANYTHING! Pretty weak as far as pro-life arguments go, if you ask me. But I guess I should take it as a sign of progress that pro-lifers have resorted to this.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 2:06 PM [+] ::

A Serious Logic Flaw

I've always been amazed at the arrogance of hunger strikes -- the presumption that I'm supposed to care if someone else wilingly deprives him or herself of food to the detriment of his or her health. The logic of the human shields heading to Iraq is, in many ways, even more presumptuous:
"The potential for white Western body parts flying around with the Iraqi ones should make them think again about this imperialist oil war," organizer Ken Nichols, a former U.S. marine in the 1991 Gulf War, told Reuters.

Why on earth would he think that? Oh, I forgot -- we're greedy racists who don't value the lives of swarthy people, but we wince at the bloodletting of white meat.

This may come as a surprise to people like Nichols, but I would actually care a lot less if they were killed by U.S. bombs raining down on Baghdad than I do about the deaths of innocent Iraqis.

No, I'm not looking forward to any noncombatants being killed in the coming war. But I have much more concern for the welfare of hapless Iraqis than I do about snotty rich white kids who have the freedom to choose to go to Iraq and show their solidarity with Saddam. Oops, I forgot -- they're showing solidarity with the Iraqi people, not it's government. Uh, except the ones who are routinely murdered by the Iraqi government, whose numbers dwarf even the most imaginitive estimates for noncombatant casualties. Screw them!

And Nichols really believes I'm more worried about him being killed than someone whose only crime was to be born Iraqi?

Despite Nichols' hysterical rhetoric, his actions reveal an underlying pro-Western bias. Frankly, I'm flattered by his presumption, as egotistic as it is, that we would base major geostrategic decisions on the possibility we might harm a hair on his head. And I know it has become a hackneyed phrase in the blogosphere, but Nichols is welcome to to act as a human shield at a Passover sader in Tel Aviv. This guy knows what I'm talking about.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:36 PM [+] ::

This Made My Morning


We would like to invite you to a unique one day training program on 7
Habits of Highly Effective People at the Avari Towers Karachi on January
25, 2003 between 10AM to 6PM.

Well, I do have some frequent flyer miles racked up.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:37 PM [+] ::
:: Monday, January 20, 2003 ::


I wonder how long it will take for this story to grow legs. So far, it's been reported in George Costanza's sole reason for getting up in the morning, but no major dailies or networks. Not even Drudge.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 3:18 PM [+] ::

Ah, San Francisco

Like the racism of the Old South, they prefer their anti-Americanism without cream or sugar -- naked, unashamed, and brewed to perfection.

You won't catch these people hiding behind some ambiguous front organization to hide their true agenda. No, sir.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:09 PM [+] ::

Historic Moments in the Struggle for Human Rights

Jan. 20, 2003 -- The U.N Human Rights Commission elects Libyan ambassador Najat Al-Hajjaji as its president (33-3 with 17 abstentions), despite that country's rather dismal track record respecting the human rights of its own citizens, or those of other countries.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:57 AM [+] ::
:: Sunday, January 19, 2003 ::

:: COINTELPRO Tool 8:38 PM [+] ::

How Did Punditwatch Miss This?

From today's CNN Late Edition:
BLITZER: All right, let's move on. And this weekend in Washington, more than -- at least tens of thousands of people, we don't exactly know how many, turned out to protest going to war with Iraq. Other demonstrations were held around country.

Jonah, is the anti-war momentum growing?

GOLDBERG: Yes, I think it is. The problem is, is that the momentum is growing in the wrong direction. If this had been an anti- war movement organized by, say, the National Council of Churches or somebody like that, you wouldn't have had the freak show that you had in Washington this weekend.

The problem is, is the people running the anti-war movement aren't honest, conscientious, liberal sort of people who are against war or have a reasonable argument about this stuff.

It is run by this group ANSWER and some other coalition groups that are basically a bunch of pachouli-soaked nut jobs, who are Marxists, anarchists, who have all sorts of bizarre agendas about what the world should be about. And their biggest problem for the anti-war movement today is that whenever their leaders speak, they discredit themselves.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 7:52 PM [+] ::

Readin', Writin', & Re-education

Your kids are in good hands at the Edmund Burke School.

[David Putty voice]Yeah, that's right. Edmund Burke[/David Putty voice]. Edmund "The only thing needed for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing" Burke.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:48 AM [+] ::

OK, Now I got something

Recognize the artwork on this dufus' sign?

Why, it's a Latuff -- the rabid anti-Semite who offers his hate speech sans licencing to any organization warped enough to promote it (like Indymedia, fer instance). Because his work is so vile and (and because he shamelessly used holocaust imagery in his anti-Israel propaganda), his work was (are you ready for this) banned by the Swiss branch of Indymedia. It took threats of legal action for them to remove his posts, so they get no credit for good judgement.

UPDATE: Reader Steve Brandon notes that another site that promotes Latuffs work (and the one he links to in his posts to Indymedia) also has a fondness for cartoonists from the white supremacist Vanguard News Network. Lovely.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:31 AM [+] ::
:: Saturday, January 18, 2003 ::

Damn, How Do I follow That?

Ahem ...

Uh ...

I got nothing!
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:44 PM [+] ::
(Do not adjust your web browser... this is the 18th entry in the Amish Tech Support Blog A Day Tour by Laurence Simon.)

There's quite a few reports from various cities where protests are being held that the turnout wasn't as great as expected. InstaPundit's been a switchboard operator for various bleats of disappointment from the liberal media, doing their best to play up the enthusiasm of the crowds as opposed to their numbers.

This reminds me a lot of what went on in the audience of the talk show that used to be at the station I worked at. Despite having an audience area that could seat a hundred or so poor, deluded souls, typical attendance was usually somewhere in the twenties or thirties if a name guest wasn't appearing or if a school or retirement home managed not to cancel at the last minute.

Every now and then, just to depress me further to see what garbage was being spewed over the invisible spectrum through the systems I sweated and bled to keep running, I'd sit in the audience of the show. Aside from being told when to applaud or cheer, like trained seals, the audience was also shifted from seating area to seating area and rearranged now and then to make it look like it was a full house.

If the host was in the "kitchen" area, the audience was opposite the kitchen.

If the host was in the "patio" area, the audience was herded to the seats opposite the patio.

If the host was interviewing on the couch, well, you get where I'm going with this.

It doesn't take much to make a few dozen people look like a throng. With the right camera angles and the right background noise, you can stage a pretty good demonstration on the front lines while there's nobody really bringing up the back ranks. Sure, the videotape doesn't lie, but it doesn't take much to edit it down into something that does. With just the right words, something that really isn't becomes an overwhelming something that is.

Unlike Hollywood, where the same "movie magic" yields entertaining results, the constant attempts to manufacture a tide of dissent only becomes that much more pathetic of a ripple. Even though a mountain has been made out of a molehill, the organizers of the rallies will be sorely disappointed if they believe in the self-imposed delusions and try to ski down it.

(Thank you for taking part in the Blog A Day Tour, Bill. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled blogging.)
:: Laurence 5:04 PM [+] ::


I suppose you couldn't expect more from a demonstration organized primarily by A.N.S.W.E.R., but having watched the speeches from today's demonstration (or is it an historical reenactment) for two hours now, I have concluded that the extremists (or, in Indyspeak, the only activists who aren't CIA operatives) have succeeded in putting the worst possible face on the event.

It's ironic that they accuse men like David Corn and Normon Solomon of intellectual treason, when it is these brave individuals who are the lone voices of reason, trying to prevent the misnamed peace movement from degenerating into the goofy spectacle I see before me now.


The demonstration, as past ones have, included the obligatory Stalinist pet causes, featuring a spokeswoman from some outfit called the Korea Truth Commission, predictably railing against "acts of murder" by U.S. servicemembers against Korean children (murder, tragic accident .. why quibble over details?) and blaming the country that provides the largest share of food aid to North Korea for the current crisis on the peninsula.

Also, we've heard of the boiler plate call for the release of U.S. "political prisoners" (prisoners whose crimes of violence were politically motivated, for those of you unfamiliar with the term). This time, there was no mention of Mumia. The flavor of the week is now the Cuban Five -- a group of Cuban immigrants who were found guilty of passing intelligence to the Castro government that led to it's successful shootdown of a Brothers to the Rescue (a terrorist organization, of course) plane over international waters in 1996.

The five have been enshrined as martyr for the Cuban revolution.

As long as the media protrays this demonstration as impartially as C-SPAN has, it will certainly repel any and all reasonable people who have misgivings about U.S. foreign policy away from them. It could not have been a more alienating and odious spectacle if I had organized it myself.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:23 PM [+] ::
:: Friday, January 17, 2003 ::

Building One Big-ass Runway

I especially like the GPS-quality precision of the dateline for this photo.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 6:52 PM [+] ::
:: Thursday, January 16, 2003 ::


Despite my somewhat rightward drift, I still love Tom Toles. Here's why.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:29 AM [+] ::


All I have to say about this is that if the Dems have to resort to fielding a defeated disgraced and defeated ex-Senator just to keep Al Sharpton from having a strong showing in the presidential primaries, they are in dire straits.

What's next, a Traficant candidacy to weaken Lyndon LaRouche's stranglehold on the tinfoil hat vote?
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:26 AM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 ::

Glaringly Idiotic Pronouncement of the Day

Too bad TNR no longer does its Idiocy Watch feature. Maybe I can convince Andrew Sullivan to give this guy one of his, er, coveted Sontag awards:
It's too bad the early Zionists didn't pick Kenya for their new colony instead of Palestine. The United States would have had a much easier time of it. Hopefully, though, one day Americans will get tired of pulling Israel's chestnuts out of the fires of its own making. Eliminating threats by making peace with its neighbors seems to be a low priority in Israel.


:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:17 PM [+] ::

Mas Whining

More on the Vieques closing:
Now that the practice bombing is about to stop - the last scheduled exercise began Monday, and should run for about a month - the commander of the Atlantic Fleet says there's no reason for the Navy to remain at Roosevelt Roads.

"Without Vieques, there is no way I need the Navy facilities at Roosevelt Roads - none," says Adm. Robert Natter. "It's a drain on Defense Department and taxpayer dollars."

What will the loss of the 63-year-old facility mean to Puerto Rico?

Nothing less than $250 million a year for the local economy, not to mention 3,850 civilian workers and 3,000 active-duty personnel.

In fact, the installation is one of the largest single employers in the entire commonwealth.

Which is why folks like Rep. Jose Serrano - suddenly faced with the realization that the misguided political campaign to halt the bombing is having unexpected consequences - are scrambling to keep Roosevelt Roads from closing.

They might win: Base closings must be approved by Congress based on the recommendations of an independent commission. Which means ultimately that - like the initial controversy - partisan politics may well triumph over fiscal and military considerations.

Not that everyone in Puerto Rico has been particularly grateful, up to now, for the opportunities created by the Navy's presence.

So there you have it. The Puerto Rican government (not to be confused with the Puerto Rican people, who serve their country in large numbers) doesn't see any reason to support the country's armed forces in any meaningful way -- and its leaders have even compared such training to the September 11 terror attacks -- but they do expect those armed forces to continue to support Puerto Rico. I mean in addition to that whole risking one's life in the defense of the nation thing.

Meanwhile, the violent attacks on service members by Vieques' "peace" movement continue, through the last exercise the Navy will ever conduct on the island.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:14 PM [+] ::

This is Interesting ...

From the Yomiuri Shimbun ...
The Japanese and U.S. governments have agreed for the first time to allow a U.S. Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to be based at Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japanese government sources said Monday. It will be the first time for such a vessel to be permitted to be based in Japan.

The two governments have begun discussing measures to accommodate the nuclear flattop, including a maintenance facility and disaster-prevention systems in areas near the U.S. Yokosuka Naval Base, the sources said.

This would settle the question of what the Navy would do about forward basing a carrier in the Western Pacific once USS Kitty Hawk is decommissioned. THey're running out of the thirty-year-old conventional steam platforms they've been rotating through Yokosuka.

UPDATE: Interesting, and apparently not true at all (subsription required):
U.S. Navy and Japanese officials are denying a Japanese newspaper report that an agreement has been reached to base a nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier at Fleet Activities Yokosuka.

The United States has been in negotiations with Japan to replace the aging non-nuclear carrier Kitty Hawk — now based at Yokosuka — with a nuclear-powered carrier when Kitty Hawk decommissions.

But a strong anti-nuclear current among Japan’s citizenry stemming from the United States dropping two atomic bombs on the country during World War II have kept the Japanese government from saying yes to such a move.

So it was a startling claim in the Jan. 14 Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper that Japan’s “government accepted the request to strengthen the bilateral alliance, and the U.S. government agreed to continue complying with Japan’s three non-nuclear principles — not possessing, not manufacturing and not bringing in nuclear weapons to Japan.”

The story, citing unnamed government sources, goes on to say that “the flattop [carrier] to be dispatched to the Yokosuka base has not yet been decided, but government sources said a newly built one scheduled to go into service in 2008 is a likely candidate. … Flattops that went into service around 1990, including the USS George Washington, are also being considered.”

:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:33 AM [+] ::
:: Monday, January 13, 2003 ::

Let the Whining Begin!

My ears have not yet stopped ringing from the Navy's announcement that it has found replacement sites for its training ranges on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, and we're already begun to hear wailing about the effect of the Navy's pullout will have on their economy:
Pérez, 59, owns two homes and an apartment she rents to Navy personnel, earning more than $1,400 per month.

"There are lots of people here in Ceiba who live off rents. If the base closes, we get stuck with no money," she said.

Such thoughts are a recurring theme in the eastern island towns that surround Roosevelt Roads, ranging from Fajardo in the north to Naguabo in the south. If Roosevelt Roads were to close, as the Navy called for last week after announcing that it would halt by May all bombing exercises on the island of Vieques, the economic impact would be felt most keenly in this region.

Pérez isn't sorry to see the Navy leave Vieques -- she's just sorry their money has to go with them.

This is NIMBYism of the worst kind, despite all the 1960's-era nationalistic rhetoric employed by much of the anti-Navy activists. They do want a Navy presence on the Puerto Rican mainland (whose population is actually more anti-Navy than Viequenses are). They just don't want them to do anything. They're perfectly content to take the contracting dollars from military construction projects, rents, and the consumption dollars of resident Sailors, but they aren't willing to contribute anything to their training, before they go put themselves in harm's way to defend U.S. national interests.

Screw 'em. Let them eat their anti-Navy banners, and the rocks and bottles they routinely throw at those Sailors and Marines whose hard-earned cash they like so much.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 3:28 PM [+] ::

Environmental Activism vs. Science

The debate over military readiness vs. environmental protection took a turn for the farcical last week, when activists sued the Navy over its testing (that's testing not deployment) of its experimental high frequency "whale finder" sonar, and the 9th Circuit obliged the Luddites by temporarily blocking further testing of the device.

Why is this significant? These same activists have been haranguing against the Navy's new Low Frequency Active (SURTASS LFA) sonar, which is designed to detect submarines at much greater distances than its conventional tactical sonars, despite the fact that all available scientific evidence (to which the Navy and the Navy alone has made significant contributions) demonstrates that the technology can be used with minimal impact on marine life (for background on LFA, read this and this). These groups sued the government after NOAA Fisheries granted the Navy a permit to use the sonar, and the issue is still working its way through the courts.

The high frequency sonar is intended to be used as a safety mechanism for the more powerful LFA sonar -- to ensure that no marine mammals are within a range that the LFA array could do harm. The high frequency sonar operates like a commercial "fish finder," at a frequncy and decibel level that severly limits its range and effects. But the fringe environmentalists that make up the opposition to the technology are inexplicably trying to prevent its use.

As in the LFA debate, the scientific community is solidly behind the Navy on this:
The case is focusing attention on efforts by Woods Hole and Scientific Solutions Inc. of Nashua, N.H., to develop so-called whale-finder sonar. The goal: make it easy to spot animals that are about to swim into areas where they'd be exposed to potentially harmful man-made sounds, such as explosions, seismic surveys and naval sonar emitted at a frequency the species can hear.

"We currently monitor whales by watching for them from a ship or the shore, which isn't effective at night or in fog," says Tyack, whose study was scheduled to begin Jan. 9. "We need to be able to find the whales when they're submerged, in all types of weather, at any time of day."

The experiment was approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service, which is responsible for protecting marine mammals. The agency gave Tyack a permit to use high-frequency sonar that would emit 20 to 40 kilohertz signals in brief bursts. The study is designed to test how well the sonar detects gray whales and whether it alters the animal's behavior.

Dr. Peter Tyack, who has few peers in the field of bioacoustics, also says ...
"High-frequency sonar doesn't travel as far, so its impact on the environment is limited. It is meant only to identify whales that are swimming into harm's way. I find it ironic that a nuisance lawsuit by environmentalists has disrupted an experiment meant to help whales."

But it's not really that ironic when the opposition's goal all along has been to stop science at any cost.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:37 AM [+] ::
:: Friday, January 10, 2003 ::

End the Profiling of Muslims with Boxcutters and Hair Dye Now!

WaPo has yet another tale of the horrors of immigrant detention, including this rather non-sequiturial passage:
But when hijacked jetliners struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that morning, U.S. authorities ordered all air traffic grounded. The plane carrying Khan and Azmath landed in St. Louis, and they decided to finish their journey by train.

The following day, near Fort Worth, "my humiliating ordeal began as soon as the four officers barged into the Amtrak train and began searching my luggage," Khan recalled. "I was shocked and asked why. One of them curtly replied, 'Disturbing behavior.' " When the officers discovered Khan and Azmath were carrying about $5,000 in cash, black hair dye and box cutters -- similar to those believed to have been used as weapons by the Sept. 11 hijackers -- the two men were handcuffed and taken into custody.

"We were singled out. It was based on racial profiling," Khan whispered softly, his hands trembling.

The article does include allegations of mistreatment that should be investigated, but the protestations of "mean" behavior cast some doubt on the man's credibility, as does the fact that he pleaded guilty to credit card fraud before being deported.

I think that might have slightly larger impact on Khan's future than the "stigma of being a 9/11 suspect."
:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:38 AM [+] ::
:: Thursday, January 09, 2003 ::

A Textbook Case of 'Jejune Rhetoric"

George Will is as predictable as ever on the president's proposed stimulus package:
The president's proposed tax cuts have provoked the usual jejune rhetoric about favoring "the rich." However, any significant cut, meaning any cut large enough to prod this enormous economy, must be largely a cut for the rich, because only they pay significant taxes. In 2000 the highest income among America's second-richest quintile of households was $81,960. This quintile paid 19.9 percent of federal taxes -- more than the bottom three quintiles combined (0.7, 3.9 and 10.2 percent, respectively). The top quintile (mean income, $141,620) paid 65.1 percent.

Will uses the tired distortion-by-omission common to conservative fiscal sophistry, counting only the individual income tax -- which accounts for less than 40% of federal revenues -- as "federal taxes."

Apart from that glaring factual error, Will doubly distorts the picture of taxation by failing to mention how much of the country's total income was earned by those same quintiles. Here is Will's source, which clearly indicates that the top quintile -- the one that paid 65.1% of "federal taxes" -- earned 50.1% of the all household income. Will also makes much of the fact that the 2nd quintile paid more [income] taxes than the bottom three combined. It is also true that this same quintile earned 23.0% of household income, while the bottom three earned 3.5, 8.7, and 14.6% respectively, for a combined total of 26.8%.

He even resorts to compzring apples and oranges -- citing the mean income of the top quintile, as well as the ceiling for the second highest quintile ($81,960, while the mean for that same quintile is actually $65,653) -- in his cynical, Procrustean attempt to make the data fit his "only the rich (which include those earning $65,000 per year) pay significant taxes" mantra.

So the federal individual income tax is moderately progressive, and not a soak-the-rich Leftist's dream. The other federal taxes -- the ones that make up the the other 60+% of revenues -- are at least as regressive as the income tax is progressive. The payroll tax is, after all, capped at a dollar amount, rather than a rate. And smart liberals should realize that the corporate income tax is no such thing. Studies have confirmed that average corporate profit margins are larger today than they were before such taxes were levied, which certainly stands to reason: corporations don't pay taxes, they pass them on to their customers. Hence, the national sales tax corporate income tax can also be lumped into the regressive category.

As for the economic effects of the president's proposed tax cuts, Will agrees that they are not really a "stimulus," at least in the short term. Having never been one to buy into the silly notion that people need "incentives" to invest money in things that in the end will earn them more money regardless of how much taxes they have to pay on that investment, I would have to agree. But be fair, I doubt the Democratic proposal would do much better.

I'm convinced that our current economic problems are due almost entirely to the uncertainty posed by terrorism and other threats to national security. Hence, in the long term, the best thing the government can do is simply win the war on terror, and do so decisively. No amount of tax cuts, whether they are designed to spur investment, consumption, or both, are likely to have much of an effect when people are not convinced that such investments fall within a reasonable degree of risk.

In the short term, the only thing the government can do is (brace yourself for a shamelessly Keynesian argument) is absorb the excess capacity through public investment. This needn't -- and shouldn't -- be in the form of larger bureaucracy. But there is an undeniable need for investment in the infrastructure of homeland security, and even increased foreign aid spending (as part of the "nation-building" leg of the war on terror) invariably winds up in the pockets of U.S. businesses.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 3:25 PM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, January 08, 2003 ::

Buh-bye, Now

Hmm ... What kind of gift do you get a racist piece of shit who's on his way to prison for soliciting the murder of a federal judge?

I'm sure I'll think of something.

[Via Damian Penny]
:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:16 PM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, January 07, 2003 ::

David Bow-ie??

Someone please slap the piss out of this wench. Immediately.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:50 AM [+] ::
:: Friday, January 03, 2003 ::

Licence and Registration, Please ... And Here's a Brochure on How to Sue My Ass

Under a new racial profiling lawsuit settlement Maryland police will be required to give a little more than the Miranda warning:
Particularly vexing is a requirement that the state police prepare a brochure on how to file racial-profiling complaints and make copies available to drivers, said Nick Paros, acting president of the Maryland Troopers Association.

"When you are pulling people over, it's not the best of circumstances. You're usually writing them a ticket," said Paros, who learned of the settlement from a Washington Post reporter yesterday. "Now you are going to have to invite them to file a complaint against you for doing your job."

Soon, they will be required to Antioch-style consent from suspected criminals before frisking them.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 3:36 PM [+] ::

What Passes for Brutality in the West

Today's London Times (no link) has unearthed a shocking memo detailing mistreatment of North Korean prisoners during the Korean War in 1952:
The attack was brought to the attention of ministers but kept secret until yesterday. It accused the Americans of incompetence, ill-discipline, abuse and breaking the Geneva Conventions on treatment of prisoners. The document was written in August 1952 by Major Dawney Bancroft of the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, who commanded a Commonwealth unit sent to the island of Koje-do to take over the running of a prison camp where 3,200 North Korean officers were held. Although British troops were fighting alongside the Americans against the Chinese-backed North Koreans, co-operation between the allies appeared to break down away from the front.

The British reported that American soldiers on sentry duty often fell asleep, or abandoned their posts to spend the night in local brothels. They rarely searched the prisoners’ quarters and mail was distributed erratically. He said that prisoners were usually addressed by their American captors as “slant-eyed, yellow bastards”.

Early on in his command, Major Bancroft intervened to protect a sick prisoner who was being mistreated by an American soldier assigned to take him to hospital.

“This was the first of many occasions I witnessed US troops openly violating the Geneva Conventions,” he wrote.

The rest of the article -- which required two Times reporters for its 326 words -- provides no details of those other occasions, despite the verbal abuse and *ahem* mail deprivation. Moreover, the term "axe murder" is not among those 326 words. The behavior of the Americans at Koje-do was certainly wrong, but a little perspective is in order.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 3:05 PM [+] ::

If You Read Only One News Story Today ...

Tony Perry writes in today's LA Times a piece that would undoubtedly be described by Marc Herold as an ethnocentric treatment of what passes for journalism in the Middle East:
On the day after the Bahraini election in October -- the first parliamentary balloting in nearly 30 years -- local journalists were eager to see how the vote was viewed by outsiders. An international contingent of poll-watchers from a Washington-based group had deemed it fair and open.

A Pakistani journalist working for the English-language Bahrain Tribune asked me what I thought of the election. He said he was working on a Dave Barry-like humor column and needed one more quote.

Never one to refuse help to a reporter on deadline, I joked that the election was so smooth that maybe the Bahrainis should conduct the next election in Florida.

The next morning a front-page news story appeared in the Tribune with a four-column headline: "Model for Florida: U.S. journalist."

In the story I was quoted saying, "I will tell the congressmen that they should request Bahraini authorities to conduct elections in the state of Florida, where the U.S. Supreme Court had to intervene.... "

The story brought me an invitation to appear on Bahrain's equivalent of "Meet the Press," along with a veteran Middle East correspondent from Britain's Daily Telegraph. I tried to steer clear of taking sides in partisan or sectarian issues -- Sunni vs. Shiite Muslims, for example -- and talk about the election procedure. The moderator asked about American elections.

He offers more insight into the prevailing attitudes in the region:
But what was different in this assignment was the collateral role of unofficial U.S. ambassador at large. I can't remember a day when I wasn't quizzed by cab drivers, government officials, students, shopkeepers and other strangers about America, its history, foreign policy, visa requirements, intentions toward the Middle East, showdown with Iraq -- and even whether Disneyland provides discount prices for foreign visitors.

Make no mistake: There is a level of animosity toward America throughout the Gulf region. But there is also enormous fascination, envy, curiosity and even affection. And also, a great deal of misunderstanding.

I was asked more than once why Jewish Americans get preference for jobs and college admissions and why Jews knew to stay away from work at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. I was asked why U.S. soldiers have been promised medals if they kill Iraqi children.

Perry also notes that he was warned not to debate the Israeli-Palestine conflict with locals, as it was "beyond rationality with a lot of people in this region." He goes on to argue that the Arab world is dying to know more about America and Americans "if only we will take the time to talk to them." But his own observations make clear that rising above the din of the disinformation they are fed on a daily basis -- I suppose Perry thinks those "misconceptions" appear out of thin air -- to get through to them.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:49 AM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 ::


G. Beato offers the most beautiful drubbing of innumerate blowhard Bill O'Reilly that I've ever read. It pulls my pants down and taunts me.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 8:55 PM [+] ::

A Well-deserved Award

Reader Mike Daley sends news of David Letterman being named "Media Mensch of the Year" by the New York Observer. This story profiles Letterman's hoopla-free USO visit to troops stationed in Afghanistan:
For a high-profile guy, Mr. Letterman's Afghanistan trip was a well-kept secret. Only a handful of staffers knew he was going. It's not certain if CBS president Leslie Moonves knew -- he was away on vacation Dec. 27 and unreachable -- but it's clear that Mr. Letterman didn't want to kick up a lot of fuss about his plan, which he briefly discussed on the air during a Dec. 26 Late Show taped just hours after he, Mr. Schaffer and Mr. Henderson returned to New York.

"This was a very personal affair for Dave," said U.S.O. director of entertainment Mitch Marovitz, who helped orchestrate Mr. Letterman's visit and accompanied the Late Show trio to the U.S. base in Kandahar. "He just wanted to go out and say thank you. He certainly didn't want anyone to have the slightest inkling or feeling that he was doing this for publicity. This was personal."

Letterman offered no self-serving schtick from the trip on his show -- in fact the only schtick was from the troops themselves, including a few top ten lists (which included items he couldn't read on the air). Only a couple of the still photos featured from the trip included Dave, Paul Schaffer, or Biff Henderson. He made the entire presentation about the troops themselves, which I found refreshing.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 8:42 PM [+] ::

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