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Friday, February 28, 2003

From Yahoo: Russia ready to veto U.S.-British resolution on Iraq to protect `international stability'.

This bugs me. For ages the biggest complaint from the left and the international community regarding American foreign policy has been that the US cares only for stability and ignores the moral issues; that we prop up petty dictators just to keep things from changing. Now all of a sudden we're willing to sacrifice stability to do the right thing and we're still being seen as the bad guy.

Damned if we do, damned if we don't.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:09 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, February 27, 2003

The Washington Post takes on their readers who think they're too eager for war.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:52 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

a) Saddam is a delusional liar who actually believes he won the Gulf War.

b) What they heck was Boeing thinking with their Joint Strike Fighter design? It looked like a bleepin' frog.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 9:38 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

He's got a piece on opinionjournal today about why containment won't work. It's a shame he's not a natural-born American.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:41 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

The Christian Science Monitor carries an unsigned op-ed piece from a former Iraqi who is now a US citizen.

Will you also demonstrate and demand "peaceful" actions to cure the abysmal human rights violations of the Iraqi people under the rule of Saddam Hussein?

Or, will you simply forget about us Iraqis once you discredit George W. Bush?

Will you demand that the United Nations send human rights inspectors to Iraq? Or are you only interested in weapons of "mass destruction" inspections, not of "mass torture" practices?

Will you also insist that such human rights inspectors be given time to discover Hussein's secret prisons and coercion as you do for the weapons inspectors? Or will you simply accept a "clean bill of health" if you can't find the thousands of buried corpses?
Will you vigorously demand an international tribunal to indict Hussein's regime for crimes against humanity? Or will you simply dismiss him as "another" dictator of a "sovereign" country?

Will you question why Hussein builds lavish palaces while his people are suffering? Or will you simply blame it all on UN sanctions and US "hegemony?"
Will you hear the cries of Iraqis executed in acid tanks in Baghdad? the Iraqi women raped in front of their husbands and fathers to extract confessions? Or of children tortured in front of their parents? Or of families billed for the bullets used to execute military "deserters" in front of their own homes?

No. I suspect that most of you will simply retire to your cappucino cafes to brainstorm the next hot topic to protest, and that you will simply forget about us Iraqis, once you succeed in discrediting President Bush.

Please, prove me wrong.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:40 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

What a surprise.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:42 PM in TV

Monday, February 24, 2003

Robert Fisk plays a prominent role in Lee Harris' great column on Good American Hypocrisy.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:07 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

From Best of the Web:

"The time has come for us to end the sanctions against Iraq, because those sanctions punish the people of Iraq for having Saddam Hussein as their leader. These sanctions have been instrumental in causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children."--Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D., Ohio), The Progressive, November 2002

"Saddam Hussein should be removed from power. . . . I think the way that you do it is continue to use sanctions which thwart his efforts to grow."--presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, "Meet the Press," Feb. 23, 2003

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:09 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Saturday, February 22, 2003

Thank God for teamwork. Section 532, Row R. I'm going to Reds Opening Day!

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:42 AM in Baseball , Cincinnati

Friday, February 21, 2003

Orson Scott Card weighs in on the hypocrisy of the anti-war folks, why Bush scares the Left, and the McCarthy-like tactics of the Left.

In other words, our war against Iraq from 1991 never ended. Certainly that is Iraq's declared position -- they consider themselves at war with us, and have been shooting at us since 1991.
So the question of what Iraq has done to us is easy to answer.
But when Sarandon and Garafolo ask that question, it is pure politics -- and pure hypocrisy. Not only do they know the answer, they also don't even believe in the question.
Nither Sarandon or Garafolo really thinks that we have to wait for an evil tyrant to attack America directly before we have a responsibility to take action -- including military action -- to stop them.
Why do I know this? Because neither of them said a single, solitary word against Bill Clinton when he bombed Serbia.
Sarandon and Garafolo are not anti-war. They are merely anti-Bush, and are invoking our collective fake memories of the "noble" anti-war movement of the sixties as a stick to beat him with.
Why? Because George W. Bush is the most frightening President the Left could imagine, domestically or abroad.

He frightens them because he is actually a moderate, a centrist. He wants to serve all the people, not just narrow special interests. He actually believes in egalitarian, non-racist policies; he really means it when he talks about "compassionate conservatism."

Just as Clinton de-fanged the Right by coopting all their economic policies, so Bush de-fangs the Left by embracing their populist goals (though not their methods).
They call him stupid, though clearly he is not. They call him a fascist, a racist, a fanatic -- precisely because he is none of those things. They pound at us with lies and name-calling about him and his policies, because they are terrified that people will realize that by and large his policies are good and decent ones that are likely to work pretty well.
What the American Left doesn't seem to realize is that they are behaving exactly like Joseph McCarthy and the red-baiting fanatics of the early 1950s. They fling monstrous charges against decent people, hoping to rouse the anger of the people. And for a time they gain political advantage by doing so.
--The Ornery American

(Oh, and once again, if you haven't already go check out
Ender's Game

Posted by Rob Bernard at 9:39 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Others have become aware of the sinister side of what some say they naïvely interpreted as a kind of extraordinary war protest. "I think the Iraqi government is potentially putting us in a dangerous position," said a young Australian who said he had decided to leave.
--NY Times

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:08 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

At least Cincinnati won't be opposing the war.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:22 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

This argument has been tossed around quite a bit since 9/11, but I don't think anyone's ever taken the time to refute it. Terror isn't the goal of the terrorists, it's the means to achieve their goal. There's nothing wrong with being afraid. There's nothing wrong about changing our habits. The terrorists are trying to kill us and destroy our country, they're not trying to keep small planes trailing signs from flying over stadiums or have us focus terror investigations on Arabs. Changing our lives to take sensible security precautions hurts the terrorists' cause.

Some argue why should we be told to be prepared now when during WWII the people were being encouraged to go about their normal lives. Quite simply, there were plenty of things around in WWII to remind people they were at war. This is a very different war. There are no air raid sirens. No rationing. No constant bombing. This is a war that can quite easily slip away from the public's conscious mind. When people had constant reminders of the terror they didn't need to be reminded to be vigilant. When the biggest inconvenience is the price of gas going up to $1.75 a gallon it's a different story. People need to be reminded every once in a while that they're practically on the front lines of a war. Of course people should be free to go shopping, or go to a ballgame, but it's simply not too much to ask that we change our lives in little ways. These changes hurt the terrorists, they don't lead to the terrorists' victory.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:31 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, February 20, 2003

New Europe isn't exactly pleased with Chirac's recent "they missed an opportunity to shut up" tirade.

"When [Chirac] reproached the candidate countries for not having discussed their attitudes with the others to a minimal extent at least, he forgot that it was mainly France and Germany who, since the very beginning, have taken a negative stance on a possible use of force against Iraq and on Turkey's request for ... military aid without asking about positions of other countries.
Narodna Obroda

Poland Chirac allowed himself to say things which should not have been said... Poland can make its own sovereign decisions about its views. EU membership must not deprive us of this right. Loyalty towards Paris should not mean subordination. Loyalty brings obligations on both sides.

And my favorite...

All right, Monsieur Chirac. Perhaps we are poor. Perhaps we were not raised properly. We do not know about fine wine and the various directions of avant-garde art. But we do not repay those who have helped us and who continue to help us with ingratitude.
Neatkariga Rita Avize

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:39 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

The British Tabloid The Sun is distributing a special edition of their paper Paris. The front page is entirely in French and translates to the following:

Greetings to the citizens of Paris from The Sun newspaper, which is read by ten million people every day.

We think your President, Jacques Chirac, is a disgrace to Europe by constantly threatening to veto military action to enforce the will of the United Nations against Iraq.

We think it is all the more hypocritical because the world knows that eventually President Chirac will agree to support the UN, America and Great Britain.

British people feel M Chirac, who in the UK is nicknamed the 'worm', is arrogantly strutting about trying to make France seem more important in the world than it really is.

The truth is that all the world - including France - recognises that Saddam Hussein must be dealt with. But only the French President seems determined to frustrate the will of the international community.

When Saddam Hussein has gone, people in Britain and the rest of Europe will look at France and ask themselves whether France is much of an ally any more. People will ask themselves why anyone should bother with what France and its leader say.

We also think in Britain that you in France have forgotten how much you owe to other nations, particularly America and Britain, for coming to your aid in two world wars.

You were glad enough to welcome the Americans when Hitler ruled France.

But now you sneer at the American people and their president, and forget how the war cemeteries of France are packed with American and British soldiers and sailors and airmen who laid down their lives so France could be free.

Today, the Americans - backed by other European nations braver than France - are preparing again to rid the world of a tyrant.

On behalf of our ten million readers, we say to you today:

Are you not ashamed of your president?

Right on.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:20 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Wednesday, February 19, 2003
All people have to be prepared. If we are going to be the police, we also have to be the guardians. We can no longer play games. I was not against the war in Bosnia. I was against it taking so long. I was not against the war in Somalia. Again, it took too long, and we didn't finish the job. We should've stayed and finished the job. About this pending war, I just think we should've finished that war the first time.

--James Earl Jones

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:08 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

According to the BBC, plenty.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:54 PM in Miscellaneous
While the major Arab countries, headed by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria... invest faithful efforts towards resolving [the crisis] through peaceful means - and to persuade the American administration not to close the door on diplomatic efforts - the Iraqi regime continues its policy of arrogance and empty obstinacy and does all it can to thwart these efforts. The Iraqi regime is like someone galloping, with a driving force that is unclear, on the path of annihilation, while dragging the region yet again into a destructive war.

While regional and international forces act to open a window of hope to diplomatic efforts, the Iraqi regime misses opportunity after opportunity by continuing its policy of statements of pseudo-heroism ungrounded in objective foundations or realistic considerations. It has reached the point where I can almost say that the Iraqi people and its well-being are not a consideration for the Iraqi leadership, which excels in games, maneuvers, and even in arrogance over the powers genuinely striving to defend Iraq ... from maltreatment by a leadership that cannot read reality.
A peaceful solution to the crisis is still possible, but the main obstacle is the leadership that was cast upon the Iraqi people and the entire Arab region."

The Iraqi leadership is characterized by great pride combined with total ignorance. When these two traits are joined, they cause the [kind of] disasters and crises that Saddam Hussein's regime has brought upon us time after time.
--Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram(Translation by MEMRI)

The Arabs have done everything they can to avoid war and Saddam has just ignored every opportunity available, and it looks like the Arabs are just about fed up with him, regardless of all the protestors who seem to think the Arabs are going along with us only because we're forcing them to. The Arabs have seen what France refuses to see: that the root of the problem is not Bush or a lack of inspectors, but the unwillingness of the Iraqi regime to comply in any way with International mandates.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:40 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Tuesday, February 18, 2003
Anti-war protesters blocked lanes on State Route 520 in Seattle during the morning commute Tuesday. State troopers arrested several people and have cleared the scene.

Protesters set up a pyramid structure with three poles in the eastbound lanes of 520 at Montlake and appeared to be trying to put up a banner on the structure before it was taken down by troopers.

Troopers made eight arrests, KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reported.

Officers removed the pole-structure, banner and towed away a car to get traffic moving again.

The incident slowed the flow of traffic across the Highway 520 floating bridge during the latter part of the morning commute, on the day following a three-day weekend for many workers.

A group of three or four dozen other demonstrators watched the demonstration and shouted anti-war slogans.

What isn't mentioned is that that traffic backup led to an accident that killed a 30 year old mother trying to get to work. When informed of the death one of the protestors said "sometimes, people have to die for a cause. This death could prevent hundreds and thousands more."

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:23 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, February 17, 2003

French President Jacques Chirac launched a withering attack Monday on eastern European nations who signed letters backing the U.S. position on Iraq, warning it could jeopardize their chances of joining the European Union.

"It is not really responsible behavior," he told a news conference. "It is not well brought up behavior. They missed a good opportunity to keep quiet."

Chirac was angered when EU candidates Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic joined pro-U.S. EU members such as Britain, Spain and Italy last month in a letter supporting Washington's line on Iraq against the more dovish stance of France and Germany.


Say whatever you will Mr. Chirac, but if being a part of the European Union means being treated like children and having to kowtow to France's opinion maybe it's the European Union that's the problem, not the upstart countries in the East.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 8:56 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Offered a choice of three reasons to best explain why they opposed going to war, 76 percent of the anti-war camp said they "dislike they way the United States is behaving in the crisis". Just nine percent said the were mainly against military action because Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was not a threat to international security and 13 percent chose to explain their view by saying the crisis did not affect France's interests. --Reuters
Posted by Rob Bernard at 8:49 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Blair wants the anti-war protestors to read an e-mail sent to him by an Iraqi exile.

“Saddam has murdered more than a million Iraqis over the past 30 years; are you willing to allow him to kill another million?” Ms Kashi was born in Kuwait after her parents sought refuge from Saddam’s persecution. The family had to flee to Britain when Saddam had the Kuwaitis deport Iraqi men to Baghdad. On the border he had those returning killed. She stated: “We were lucky. We made it safely to Britain. My father was lucky — his brother was caught trying to escape, and tortured. So here I am, 19 years later, never having set foot in the country of my parents.”
"Why is it now — at the very time that the Iraqi people are being given real hope, however slight and however precarious, that they can live in an Iraq that is free of the horrors partly described in this e-mail — that you deem it appropriate to voice your disillusions with America’s policy in Iraq?

"Do not use the Iraqi people as a pawn in your game for moral superiority — when you allow a monster like Saddam to rule for 30 years without so much as protesting against his rule.” She added: “Of course, it would be ideal if an invasion could be undertaken, not by, the Americans, but by, say, the Nelson Mandela International Peace Force. That’s not on offer. The Iraqi people cannot wait until such a force materialises."

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:25 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Carol Moseley-Braun speaking before a "small group" in Iowa.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:21 AM in Politics/Government

I've been doing a lot of movie watching while I've been snowed in and I've come up with a very brief list of movies (or parts of movies) that should be watched before we inevitably find ourselves engaged in a war with Iraq.

The Sum of All Fears -- Especially relevant to today's situation, and in my opinion the best Clancy movie since Red October. (Never was much of a fan of Ford as Ryan.)

Saving Private Ryan (The first 30 minutes) -- The last two hours or so sucked, but every once in a while you need a reminder that war is hell. Feel free to turn it off when Hanks gets his new orders.

We Were Soldiers -- Takes the best part of Saving Private Ryan and expands it out over 2 hours. It's a good reminder of not only the bravery of those on the front lines in war, but also highlights the pain of those at home and reminds us that regardless of what you think of the reasoning behind the war our troops deserve our support. (Regardless of what idiots like Clay Evans say.)

Donnie Darko -- Ok, this one has absolutely nothing to do with war, but it’s probably THE most overlooked movie of the past 2 years. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but if you could stand Vanilla Sky or Mulholland Drive you should be ok with this one. Think of those two movies with dashes of Magnolia and American Beauty.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:01 AM in Movies , War/Terrorism/Middle East

Sunday, February 16, 2003

It took me 5 years of college but Monday will be my first ever college snow day. I'm happy. Now if they'd just bump the Snow Emergency down to level 2 I could leave my house.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 9:38 PM in Miscellaneous

Check out this concise military history of France.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:24 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Friday, February 14, 2003
The threat of force must remain. Force should always be a last resort. I have preached this for most of my professional life as a soldier and as a diplomat. But it must be a resort. --Powell before the UNSC
Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:33 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Not only are they blocking defense planning for Turkey, but now Belgium thinks they can try anyone they want for war crimes committed anywhere.

Israeli officials reacted with outrage today to a decision by Belgium's highest court that Belgium could try Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for war crimes once he leaves office.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the foreign minister, lashed out at the decision as "an affront to truth, justice, and the right of the state of Israel to defend itself against terrorism."
At issue is a 1993 Belgian law allowing the courts "universal jurisdiction" over crimes against humanity or war crimes. The court's ruling on Wednesday accorded high officials immunity, but implied that they could be pursued once they left office. The ruling overturned a lower court's decision last year that accused people had to be present in Belgium to be investigated.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:48 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

I can't express just how shocked I am that the Times editorial page is toeing the Democratic line on the Estrada issue.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:33 PM in Politics/Government

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

The lack of civility that [Limbaugh] demonstrates toward liberal politicians is really dangerous to our political public. I hate to say it, but I wish the guy would have gone deaf.

--Eric Alterman

Yep, nothing says civility quite like wishing harm on another human being..

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:09 PM in Politics/Government
PARIS - This evening, in what is easily the most stunning development in America's war on terror, Boy Scouts from Troop 320 of Manchester, Md. staged a daring preemptive strike on France.

Details are sketchy but the lightening fast operation, lasting all of 5 hours, stunned France and the world. "Our troop hit the ground at just after noon and we raised Ol' Glory before dinner." said beaming Troop Leader Alex Ledsinger adding "We didn't even have all 15 of the boys with us. The Stevens boys couldn't make the trip due to conduct problems at school this year."


Privately the Boy Scouts themselves expressed surprise at the events. "We were supposed to meet the French President, or whatever they call it, and take our picture with him and he was all like waving his arms in the air and begging for mercy." according to Josh Perlman, 13, adding "It was weird but our Troop Leader told us to just go with it."

--Blogs of War

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:02 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

From American RealPolitik:

I'll never forget that horrible evening I took my grandmother to the emergency room. And after an hour of pacing the doctor said, "Emo, your grandmother is on an artificial life support system. Although her brain is dead, her heart is still beating."
I said, "Oh my God, we've never had a Democrat in the family before."
I was pulled over in Massachusetts for reckless driving. When brought before the judge, they asked if I knew what the punishment for drunk driving in that state was. My reply: "I don't know, re-election to the Senate?"
The IRS sent back my tax return saying I owed $800. I said "If you'll notice, I sent a paper clip with my return. Given what you've been paying for things lately, that should more than make up the difference."
-- Emo Phillips

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:55 PM in Politics/Government

... that the highest profile muslim I can come up with that is speaking out against terrorism is the Imman on last night's episode of 24.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:50 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Andy Serkis was robbed.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 7:05 PM in Movies

If you really are alive we would appreciate a video message or at least some kind of proof of life photo instead of the audio diatribes.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:24 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

... oh, you mean this tape?

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:00 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

The Washington Times has a good piece on public opinion towards France and Germany.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:45 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Brian Griffin doesn't like my take on the Talking Points Memo.

I think Rob analysis is a bit to knee-jerk "themism." Calling Josh a "blame America first" follower is just ignorant. His opinions are very thoughtful and that of a moderate democrat.

Whether he's a blame-America-first follower or not, this particular post of his was an example of it. The French, Germans, and Belgians are taking positions that are against our national interest and Marshall tries to blame the Bush admin for the widening gap in relations.

Additionally, how is it "blame America first" when you point out where the Bush Administration is going through the world with blinders on, even though he made policy statements during the campaign that he just gave up on?
I don't agree that Bush "just gave up on" strengthening alliances. You can only go so far in strengthening alliances when other countries take positions that go directly against your national interests and the interests of the world at large. A majority of countries support us in this war, it's France, Germany, and the rest that are bucking the worldwide trend. Shouldn't France, Germany and the others be making some effort of their own to strengthen our alliances?
Saying that policy must change because of 9/11 is a convenient excuse allowing Bush to not have to admit that his policies would have been bad without 9/11.
Convenient? Yes. Wrong? No. Of course his current policies would have been bad without 9/11. Just like the policy of fire-bombing Tokyo would have been bad without Pearl Harbor. The fact of the matter is that we live in a world where 9/11 occurred and of course the Administration's policies are going to change because of it. I'd love to live in a world where Latin America could be a priority for us (and there's no reason to believe that without 9/11 it wouldn't have been), but that isn't the world we live in now.

--On a side note, one of these days I'm really going to have to get around to saying something about Cincinnati's racial troubles so that Brian and I have something to agree on. :)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:29 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, February 10, 2003
Iraq said Monday that it would allow the United Nations to use American U-2 spy planes for aerial surveillance without conditions -- but shortly after, Saddam said coalition forces patrolling the "no-fly" zones should not launch raids on Iraq during the U-2 surveillance flights.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 8:05 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Stephen Green and Jen think we should abandon NATO and set up a new arrangement. Why would we do such a thing?

Perhaps France's last minute veto of the NATO plan to protect Turkey have something to do with it? They were joined in this foolishness by Belgium and Germany. Three of Nineteen NATO members imposing their will. Hey, isn't that damn near unilateralism?
Should we pull all our funding from NATO and set up an organization of countries that "get it"? Damned Right we should.

--American RealPolitik

I have to disagree here. I don't see why we should have to get rid of NATO. 3 out of 19 member countries are making a fuss. I don't see why we don't just kick their ungrateful asses out of NATO and let in the European countries that are clamoring to get in. It's not NATO that's failed; it's France, Belgium, and Germany. If they don't like it I fail to see why they (not we) should remain a part of NATO.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 7:52 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

From Talking Points Memo:

"As commander-in-chief, I will rebuild our military and strengthen our alliances,"
Bush campaign stump speech, 2000.

"Saudis Plan to End US Presence,"
February 9th, 2003, New York Times.

Right, after we take out Iraq and in an effort to become more democratic.

"NATO Allies Trade Barbs Over Iraq: Rumsfeld: Critics Are Undermining Alliance's Strength,"
February 9th, 2003, Washington Post.

"Shifting Loyalties: Seoul Looks to New Alliances,"
January 26th, 2003, New York Times.

Hmmmm, seems to me it's Seoul and the critics who are at fault here, not the Bush team.

"Latin America On Back Burner; Bush's Priorities Have Shifted Since 2000 Campaign,"
December 23rd, 2002 Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

Ya think?! If priorities hadn't shifted after 9/11 I'd be worried. Of course we're less concerned with Latin America. We've got other people threatening to blow us up. If that isn't a good enough reason I don't know what is.

All in all just more blame-America-first claptrap.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 7:35 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Friday, February 7, 2003

Andrew Sullivan raises a good point:

I dont buy the notion that he's sexually abusing children. But abuse need not be sexual to be abuse, as Jackson's own vile father showed.

I'm not convinced that he's sexually abusing children either, but I definitely think that the way he acts towards his children (the seclusion, the masks, etc...) is a form of abuse no matter how unintentional. Just as Michael's father thought what he did for Michael was for the best Michael also thinks that he's really saving his children from the spotlight when most likely he's permanently scarring them.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:25 PM in Miscellaneous

Watching the Jackson special last night it occurred to me that he's really not that different from Willy Wonka. Reclusive man brings groups of children to his amusement park and does horrible things to them. Replace "amusement park" with "chocolate factory" and you've the script to Willy Wonka.

On a more serious note, last night's special let you really see just how messed up he is. He doesn't do these freaky things just to be freaky; he does them because he doesn't know any better. He's completely convinced that there's nothing wrong with any of the eccentric behavior.

The upside for Michael is that after watching it I was left with the impression that even if he wanted to sexually abuse the children he wouldn't be able to. As creepy as his love for children might be it appears to be completely real. He can barely get past his psychological problems to sex with women; I just have a hard time seeing him hurting the children like that.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:07 PM in Miscellaneous

Thursday, February 6, 2003

Republican Babe of the Week from

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:42 PM in Politics/Government
COLD WAR IN GRAND RAPIDS Snowball fight erupts during president’s healthcare message

President Bush was in Grand Rapids, Mich., last week to unveil the administration’s health-care reform plan.
“I wish people who think he’s inarticulate could have seen him talking without notes,” said Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich), who accompanied the president on the trip from Washington on board Air Force One.
Meanwhile, outside an estimated 500 pro- and anti-Bush demonstrators clashed in a savage snowball fight.
“There was about 10 inches on the ground,” reported Ehlers, so opposing forces had plenty of ammo.
By the time order was restored, several demonstrators were arrested. But Ehlers, a professor at UC-Berkeley in the 1960s, wasn’t impressed.
“Nothing like a Vietnam protest,” he said of the melee, in which outnumbered Bush supporters routed their opponents, according to one participant, by using “better target selection and superior firepower.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:31 PM in Politics/Government

Simply amazing.

PETA's Peace Plan
• Our friends at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have outdone themselves this time, sending a deferential letter to Yasser Arafat about a Jan. 26 Jerusalem bombing in which a donkey -- but no human beings -- died after being strapped with explosives and detonated.

"Your Excellency," PETA President Ingrid Newkirk wrote in the note faxed on Monday to Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah. "We have received many calls and letters from people shocked at the bombing. . . . All nations behave abominably in many ways when they are fighting their enemies, and animals are always caught in the crossfire. The U.S. Army abandoned thousands of loyal service dogs in Vietnam. Al-Qaeda and the British government have both used animals in hideously cruel biological weaponry tests. We watched on television as stray cats in your own compound fled as best they could from the Israeli bulldozers. . . . If you have the opportunity, will you please add to your burdens my request that you appeal to all those who listen to you to leave the animals out of this conflict?"

Yesterday we asked Newkirk if she considered asking Arafat to persuade those who listen to him to stop blowing up people as well. "It's not my business to inject myself into human wars," she replied. Israeli Embassy spokesman Mark Regev declined to comment on PETA's plea, but told us: "I find it ironic that the Palestinian leaders choose to send donkeys to kill civilians. Surely, the Palestinian people deserve better than the current bunch of asses who run their affairs."

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:26 PM in Miscellaneous
In a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll of 601 adult Americans who watched Powell's speech or heard about what he said, 57 percent said they favored military action against Saddam, 15 percent said they were opposed and 26 percent were unsure.

Before the speech, 50 percent of respondents favored military action, 22 percent were against it and 28 percent were unsure.

The poll had a sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.


Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:20 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

You mean Iraq is disagreeing with what Powell said?

Iraq on Thursday called Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites)'s speech to the Security Council a "typical American show complete with stunts and special effects."

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:02 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Wednesday, February 5, 2003

1st Officer: "Remove."
2nd Officer: "Remove."
1st: "The expression."
2nd: "The expression, I got it."
1st: "Nerve agents."
2nd: "Nerve agents."
1st: "Wherever it comes up."
2nd: "Wherever it comes up."
1st: "In the wireless instructions."
2nd: "In the instructions."
1st: "Wireless."
2nd: "Wireless."

The transmission telling them to stop talking about their nerve agents because it might be intercepted being intercepted... mmmmm that's good irony.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:04 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

I think it's safe to say the administration is presenting ample evidence.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:21 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Tuesday, February 4, 2003

Robert Wright's piece in today's NY Times starts off on the right track, but then veers into what you might expect from a piece on Iraq in the Times.

But an honest liberal has to admit that Mr. Bush's unilateralist belligerence lit a fire under the Security Council, giving the United Nations a prominence it has rarely enjoyed in its 57-year history. In fact, there remains a slim chance that the president could, however paradoxically, emerge as a historic figure in the United Nations' evolution toward enduring significance. But only if administration hawks make an admission of their own: that working through the United Nations could get them everything they profess to want. That means not just disarmament, but regime change and the introduction of democracy.

Both the United Nations' champions and its critics sometimes indulge a gauzy conception of its founding mission. The idea wasn't to bring world peace through love and understanding. The main idea was that powerful nations would spot troublemakers and pound them into submission (hence bringing "collective security," in polite language).

That I can agree with. Bush has given the UN a chance to show that it can actually stand up and do the job it was meant to do, but he goes on...

If President Bush starts a war without explicit Security Council sanction, and before weapons inspectors have caught Iraq red-handed, he will have undone any good he did for the United Nations in November. The lesson learned — by, say, a North Korean dictator — will be that if you let weapons inspectors in, America may attack you anyway, even if they don't find much of anything. But if the president works through the Security Council and unseats Saddam Hussein without war, this could be a watershed in the history of the United Nations.

If "Bush starts a war without explicit Security Council sanction," it won't be America that's doing harm to the UN's reputation; it will be the UN itself. The proof is there that Iraq is not complying, we already know that even if the Doves Dead Pigeons... (Even a dove will fight back so that term won't work...) don't want to admit it. It is up to the UN now to step up and go along with this war (assuming nothing radical comes out of Baghdad) or it will be their own fault that they have lost their significance.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:34 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Could Michael Jackson get any creepier?

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:07 AM in Miscellaneous

Monday, February 3, 2003
The good vs. evil plot lines of the best-selling books are imbued with Christian morals, the Rev. Don Peter Fleetwood told a Vatican news conference Monday.

"I don't see any, any problems in the Harry Potter series," Fleetwood said.

He was responding to questions following the release of a new Vatican document on the New Age phenomenon, which he helped draft as a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

Fleetwood was asked whether the magic embraced by Harry Potter and his pals at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was problematic for the Roman Catholic Church. Some evangelical groups have condemned the series for glamorizing magic and the occult.

"I don't think there's anyone in this room who grew up without fairies, magic and angels in their imaginary world," said Fleetwood, who is British. "They aren't bad. They aren't serving as a banner for an anti-Christian ideology.

"If I have understood well the intentions of Harry Potter's author, they help children to see the difference between good and evil," said Fleetwood. "And she is very clear on this."


Posted by Rob Bernard at 8:52 PM in Religion

Solar panels have been installed on the White House grounds to help heat water for the pool and spa.

It's a small matter really, but it wasn't publicized at all, and you'd that that if the Bush administration were really as hungry to appear eco-friendly as the cynics would have us believe they'd have at least mentioned this.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:55 PM in Technology/Internet

Sunday, February 2, 2003

This new Dragnet kind of makes you nostalgic for the days when the biggest crime problem in L.A. was damn hippies on acid and ordinary robberies.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:51 PM in TV

Saturday, February 1, 2003
“Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the trembling mirth of sun-split clouds – and done 100 things you have not dreamed of
– wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence.

Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept hills with easy grace,
Where never lark, or even eagle flew;

And, while with silent, lifting mind, I trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand, and touched the face of God!”

- John Gillespie Maggee

That's all for now. Don't so much see what good my blabbering's going to do.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:37 PM in Miscellaneous

He acquitted himself quite well during tonight's rematch with Donahue. Phil just couldn't seem to get the concept of not judging people by their groupings.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:14 AM in Politics/Government


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