Friday, February 28, 2003

Krauthammer breaks it down - - I apologize for the trickle of posts the past week. New job, and plenty to do on my own home front. Expect an ‘explosion’ of posting and ranting this weekend. (Well no promises okay)

Meanwhile Charles the K takes one deep. He delves into a post-Saddam world: bigger security council (with India and Japan), cutting France out of the liberation festivus, say good night to NATO, and hello to our new cadre of friends like Australia, Eastern Europe. But first, the war in Iraq.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

The makings of an Auzzie Wine Boomlet? - - Tim Blair labels French wine, “antifreeze-laced French appeasement juice” in his latest column and details more Auzzie wine defiance.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Hitchens on percussion - - Christopher Hitchens debunks myths weekly for This week: the lie that Bush is “rushing to war.” Far from it, not beating the drum loudly and quickly enough. Here, here.

Is War becoming popular? - - Glenn Reynolds details the makings of a pro-war movement spreading.

Sunday, February 23, 2003

Rabid Anti-Frenchism? - - Saturday Night Live had countless digs at the French, but somebody still likes them. You, of course, had to know it was North Korea. The LA Times offers this story on ‘The Dear Leader.’

“In addition to his penchant for Western movies and beautiful women, the eccentric and self-indulgent Kim has a weakness for French cognac. Hennessy, the maker of Paradis cognac, which sells for a reported $630 a bottle, confirmed in 1994 that Kim was then the biggest buyer of the cognac, spending $650,000 to $800,000 annually on the liquor since 1992. The average North Korean makes about $1,000 a year.”

Saturday, February 22, 2003

Pork Chop Express - - Watching 1986’s “Big Trouble in Little China” right now. And people say Kurt Russell hasn’t done anything good. For shame.

Hot and Cold - - What is it like to be Hans Blix. Last week he was encouraged by Iraq’s cooperation. This week he is imposing a deadline himself. Has he ever said the words “a little bit pregnant?”

Okay, Junior Partner then - - James Taranto explains that Canada is not a member of the axis of weasels. But he implies that Canada must therefore be chicken. Okay chicken is tough, how about consummate ”fence sitters?” None of this helps to explain why the military won’t play in a turn back the clock hockey game for fear that the players might get hurt. Perhaps we can just call Canada a weasel in training?

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Numbers - - Still digesting the anti-war protest numbers from the weekend. Ken Layne breaks them down. Apparently according to Layne, the protestors did about as well as the movie “Kangaroo Jack” did last weekend. He has plenty of comparisons too.

Darth Vader Voice Hawkish - - This is good news. Darth Vader is a super hawk. Wait, wait, wait. That should read James Earl Jones is a super hawk.

Badger Flood Victims Relief - - Damin Penny has the details and the links to help a community that was flooded, now is frozen, and people won’t be able to get back home for some time. He has the links to the Red Cross.

Poets for war - - Thank the maker. If you are looking for people to support something you’ll find peculiar little sects of people everywhere who are for, or against something. I found the link for the “War Poets” at NRO today.

I found this guy pretty good. Aaron Goldstein, who it is claimed is “the Donald Rumsfeld of poetry”, offers ”Peace at any cost.”

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Nobel Peace Prize MADNESS - - Can you imagine an award that dwarfs the Oscars for its absolute nuttiness in winners and candidates? Some early favorites: Bono, Jacques Chirac, The European Union, Hans Blix (but only if he averts war. Huh? Isn’t he just a weapons inspector?) Whatever dudes.

Having Cake and Eating it too - - Andrew Sullivan and Josh Marshall (that’s like getting it from both left and right) are hammering away on Germany today. Why? Well it seems that German officials have some ‘splain’n to do.

Marshall’s set-up: “A news report alleged that the German government had held back its own intelligence about possible stockpiles of smallpox in Iraq. The idea being that they would hold it back during last summer's election to sustain the government's opposition to US policy on regime change.”

Good news strategy for the Germans. Sullivan breaks it down: “By appeasing these thugs, we could deflect the horror toward the Brits and Americans. I do think that's an underlying assumption on the part of Germany and France. By taking the anti-American line, they risk nothing. They know the US will deal with the threat; but by appeasing the Islamofascists, the Franco-German axis hopes to avoid any blowback. This is what they call being an ally.”

That is what we call having your cake and eating it too kids. And America is the crazy cowboy. Cowboy yes; crazy non! Go sell crazy someplace else Germany; we’re all stocked up here.

More: Oh ya, forgot to link to this disturbing news. Germany selling cyanide to North Korea? What funs the Axis of Weasels are having!

And Speaking of Josh Marshall - - He has one other fairly important post today. This time he is on North Korea. He is correct, this issue is as important, possibly even more so, as Iraq. But let me gum up the works a bit.

North Korea is a problem. They need to be dealt with as soon as possible. With me so far? But here’s the rub: America cannot just let Iraq off the hook. What kind of message would that send? That you cannot only threaten the US, but that you can get them to alter their game plans. All good things to those who wait my friends. North Korea better hope that it doesn’t get what it wishes for. It’ll be 150,000 battle-hardened troops in about 6 months.

Serious? You bet. Unmanageable? Get over yourselves.

Monday, February 17, 2003

Divide and Conquer - - Andrew Stuttaford has this link about French President Chirac’s comments on the “new Europe”-the eastern Europe and the ones hoping to get into the EU soon.

Stuttaford: “There is, it has to be admitted, more than a touch of the ethics of Vichy and the Occupation in Chirac's suggestion that a discreet silence might be the most appropriate way to behave in the face of a difficult political and moral challenge. Note too the patronizing way (“It is not well brought-up behavior”) in which Chirac presumes to treat the leaders of these countries like naughty schoolchildren.

With the bluster comes, naturally, a threat. Chirac has warned those countries that are candidate members for the EU that their pro-American position could be "dangerous". Why? Because the parliaments of the 15 EU nations still have to ratify the decision to admit these new members into the EU.”

Here’s the deal. Fine Chirac can play this game with the Eastern Europe states and wannabe EU buddies. But Canada-America-Mexico (NAFTA) should seriously think about stealing these nations away. We don’t have to be anywhere near them to be linked-it just doesn’t matter anymore. Leave France and Germany holding an increasingly wet bag as NAFTA takes their wannabe nations away. Divide and conquer.

Tony Blair in trouble? - - Poll numbers for British PM Blair are looking grim. I wouldn’t worry this is win-win territory. One: what the people are just going to up and vote conservative next time? The poll doesn’t suggest that at all-Labor is still ahead. Yes of course, I am sure that the Tories will be anti-war. Two: Election is going to happen long after action in Iraq-Blair’ll be hero when they take down Saddam. Three: Vote him out. Go ahead and make yourselves look foolish. Four: Will Labor vote him out? Yes, the guy who got them their first victories in what 20 years will go? Come on!

Is Blair, as Howard Fineman said on Hardball tonight, “Fighting for his political life?” Please.

Crackpots on the web - - It appears that from the grave Neville Chamberlain is continuing his incredible diplomacy: peace in our time.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

”The Dark Times” - - The new issue of Enter Stage Right is online. Go forth and check it out!

My contribution is a recap of last Friday’s fiasco at the United Nations. ”The dark times” contrasts the emerging split between the civilization that understands the post 9/11 world and the one that doesn’t. And a handsome photo of Hans Blix is with the article too.

There is plenty of other good content up too! United Nations over? American foreign legion? Maureen Dowd bashing? Clinton inaction? It’s all there!

A Model of Anti-war Stupidity - - This article in The Toronto Star by Haroon Siddiqui simply has to be read to be believed. But don’t bother with the link; let’s dissect the juicy parts bit-by-bit.

When punch-drunk with power, you get blinded to reality and become deaf to even friendly advice. One suspects that's what's happening to America.

What about the friendly advice America is getting from Britain? Spain? Italy? Forget it, isn’t there 18 nations in Europe who are telling us, with friendly advice, that America is right. It would seem that the only friendly advice that counts is from Germany, or France who are, surprise, against the war.

What else explains its determination to invade Iraq in the face of the biggest anti-war protests of modern times? Against the near-unanimous advice of key allies, including Jean Chrétien? In defiance of the report of the United Nations inspectors that Saddam Hussein has no weapons of mass destruction, that he has not resumed his nuclear program and that it may be possible to peacefully force him to comply with all his international obligations?

I particularly find the idea of “key allies” a preposterous way to describe any advice that the Canadian Prime Minister might add to the debate. And don’t get me started-that the Canadian government has cynically agreed to send our troops in a peace keeping mission making it rather absurd that we could be for, or against, participating in a war. Secondly the idea that the weapons inspectors have concluded that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction is crazy at best. They are trying to verify the absence of such weapons against an Iraqi declaration that it has none. I think any sane person would conclude that it is hard to tell.

Thirdly, the idea that there is hope to “peacefully force” Saddam to comply ignores 12 years of failed U.N. resolutions and endless lies. Nothing has been able to make him comply thus far, what will do so? Letting him off the hook once again. I would imagine that he’d probably kill some Iraqi women for sport if the UN doesn’t forcibly disarm him.

When Colin Powell responded to Hans Blix and Mohammed elBaradei at the crucial Security Council session Friday, it was as though he had not heard what they, along with the French foreign minister, had said in challenging some key aspects of Washington's relentless propaganda.

If I were Colin Powell I would probably look the same way. Again, how can anyone, with a straight face, take what Blix said seriously? Or for that matter the choir he was preaching to from France? Blix wouldn’t be inspecting anything if it were not for the United States-they forced resolution 1441 and now Blix takes shady politically charged jabs at Powell’s presentation of last week. What does that have to do with inspecting? As for France and friends, why did they sign 1441 at all?

America has been twisting facts, leaping to questionable, at times illogical, conclusions and resorting to scare tactics.

Just last week, in the middle of a terror alert, and on a day when Osama bin Laden reinserted himself into the headlines, the FBI announced that hundreds of Al Qaeda operatives are already in the United States awaiting orders to carry out terrorist attacks. If so, why doesn't the FBI just scoop them up?

Just one thought here. I imagine Mr. Siddiqui’s article when the FBI drags in a couple hundred suspects. Not pretty.

America insists that Saddam Hussein is linked to Al Qaeda through Ansar al-Islam, a murderous guerrilla force of about 500 operating a poison factory in a remote corner of northeast Iraq. If so, why not blast it and them, rather than cite them to justify blasting innocent Iraqis?

This is interesting. Let’s suppose that America did chose to simply bomb Ansar al-Islam’s toxic factory. What happens to the chemical and biological weapons that Saddam has not accounted for? Would he then feel more emboldened to use them? Would he give them to terrorists as a consolation prize?

As for the innocent Iraqis I think the actions in Afghanistan demonstrated that the liability towards innocents has been greatly exaggerated. This is not to say that it is meaningless, or the case cookie cutter to Iraq, but that factory is hardly the sole justification. See: Saddam Hussein, cross reference weapons of mass destruction, friend of terrorists.

America says Saddam's Unmanned Aerial Vehicles can fly more than 800 kilometres and possibly attack Jordan, Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Oman, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and parts of the Central Asian republics. Why is it, then, that these potential victims do not feel threatened and almost all are opposing the war?

Ha! Let’s start with the softball. Yes Israel is not threatened by Iraq’s unmanned vehicles. Hey wasn’t it Israel who took out Saddam’s nukes the first time? Were they not bombed by Iraq in 1991? Iran? Yes they love Saddam? (And it would seem al Qaeda too) Jordan and Turkey? Turkey is looking for NATO help; Jordan is cozying up to the US.

The world is also wary of American intelligence, which is what Washington has been citing almost every day to justify attacking Iraq.

The folks who failed to foresee Sept. 11 also had no inkling of the 1979 Iranian revolution, Iraq's invasion of Iran the same year and of Kuwait in 1990, or the 1998 nuclear tests in India.

Well to think that intelligence is infallible is asking too much of the intelligence agencies. I wonder if Mr. Siddiqui would approve, if the intelligence was available, to prevent any of these things. A preemptive attack on Iraq in 1990? A preemptive attack on India in 1998? I doubt that. Intelligence is one thing; action is quite another. Judging by what Powell is saying I would think that there is credible intelligence, and that is why the administration wants the UN to act on it.

There is no knowing, yet, what to make of the latest CIA assertions about other such terror links. But we do know that Blix and elBaradei have shot down the CIA declarations about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

So if intelligence is so important, and the CIA (according to Siddiqui) is so incompetent in predicting things, why are Blix and elBardadei to be so readily believed? What intelligence do they have? I don’t get this.

It is simply not credible for America to now claim that Saddam's weapons of mass destruction "may turn up in our cities" — especially not after the revelation that, unlike Iraq, North Korea has missiles capable of reaching North America.

The American case for war — dubious to start with because of its inconsistencies and double standards, and because of the politics of oil — is getting eroded by Washington's absurd and increasingly dishonest arguments.

These last two paragraphs are telling. Fine, the point that North Korea has a missile capable of hitting the US, is worrisome. Fine, lets go after them? I’m sure that the anti-war protestors will just love that too, right? The answer is no. We would turn our sights to North Korea, and the anti-war crowd would find a way to oppose it, capitulate, or be blackmailed.

I especially like how at the end of the article, for fun or perhaps bonus points, he casually slips in everyone’s favorite “politics of oil” argument. And if it is disingenuousness that you want you have to think about France, Germany, and to a lesser degree Russia.

Jonah Goldberg argues that the politics of oil has little to do with the US and everything to do with France. “If we were hellbent on Iraqi oil, we would lift the sanctions tomorrow in exchange for fat oil contracts -- something Hussein has suggested in the past. Or we could have just taken Iraq's oil a decade ago when we briefly occupied the region. America has no interest in fighting a war for oil. But France desperately wants ‘peace for oil,’” writes Goldberg.

But the main point here is that America is being dishonest and absurd. I find it amusing that after three months of dealing with inspectors; it is the US, whom Siddiqui thinks is lying-surely it has to be Iraq? Even the NY Times is growing impatient: “There is ample evidence that Iraq has produced highly toxic VX nerve gas and anthrax and has the capacity to produce a lot more. It has concealed these materials, lied about them, and more recently failed to account for them to the current inspectors. The Security Council doesn't need to sit through more months of inconclusive reports. It needs full and immediate Iraqi disarmament. It needs to say so, backed by the threat of military force.”

I would gladly wager that pretty much everyone would accept what Colin Powell has been saying in 2003. Months ago, when Powell was playing the administrations game of seeking UN approval, the same protestors were all about him being the voice of reason against Rumsfeld and Cheney and Bush. Now that he has seen the silly inaction by the UN, the Sec. Of State has decided that if the UN won’t uphold Saddam to disarm, the US will.

As with most of the current arguments against war, it has less to do with Saddam Hussein or his arsenal, and everything to do with the United States. The forces of opposition simply don’t like the power of America being able to eliminate problems that threaten world peace and stability. The question to ask them is why?

French Leader, Sort of Jerk - - Oops, that should read, “soda jerk.” My apologies to the French people. Here is part of an interesting interview in Time Magazine with France’s President Jacques Chirac:

Some charge you are motivated by anti-Americanism. “I've known the U.S. for a long time. I visit often, I've studied there, worked as a forklift operator for Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis and as a soda jerk at Howard Johnson's. I've hitchhiked across the whole United States; I even worked as a journalist and wrote a story for the New Orleans Times-Picayune on the front page. I know the U.S. perhaps better than most French people, and I really like the United States. I've made many excellent friends there, I feel good there. I love junk food, and I always come home with a few extra pounds. I've always worked and supported transatlantic solidarity. When I hear people say that I'm anti-American, I'm sad—not angry, but really sad.”

Meanwhile Ken Layne brings to our attention an article about a steakhouse in Reno dumping its collection of French wines to protest the French government.

NBA better than ever - - Eric Neel gives 26 reasons to believe that the NBA is better than ever.

Fallout from Yesterdays Protests - - What is to be made of the protests yesterday? Merde In France quietly notes that while there were about 150,000 peace protestors yesterday, there were more than 250,000 marching in protest of France’s failed pension system just weeks ago. Indeed, many people showed up this weekend to protest, but it really says nothing about the mood of the nation, or any nation, as a whole.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has some words for the protestors. (Props to Glenn Reynolds)

“But I ask the marchers to understand this.

I do not seek unpopularity as a badge of honour. But sometimes it is the price of leadership. And the cost of conviction.

But as you watch your TV pictures of the march, ponder this:

If there are 500,000 on that march, that is still less than the number of people whose deaths Saddam has been responsible for.

If there are one million, that is still less than the number of people who dies in the wars he started.”

And then there is Sullivan. He also liked Blair’s speech-in fact he called him, “Winston Blair.” He links to this Nick Cohen article about how the left has pretty much abandoned the idea of helping to create a democratic Iraq.

Sullivan analyses the protests and the left this way:

“think yesterday's massive marches represent something deeply, deeply corrupt in the soul of the left: a form of Western self-loathing that, unless it is resisted, will lead not just to tyranny for more people in the Middle East, but for the slow erosion of Western freedom itself in the face of terror. The only response is resistance. Not from the governments in Washington and London; but from the rest of us. The lies must be challenged day by day, hour by hour. The self-hatred must be countered with calm recitation of the West's proud history; the excuses for tyranny opposed by a growing demand that the Arab world not be tool in the Western left's attempt to destroy Western freedom, but seen as a part of humanity that deserves the freedom that the rest of us enjoy. No justice. No peace. As the left used to say.”

Which is why the left, and in particular, the peace movement cannot be allowed to carry the day. It is a larger struggle than can be conceptualized in “No Blood for Oil” placards and chants. They simply don’t get it. Worse, they are compromising everything else to satisfy their hatred of the west. Sacrificing the people of Iraq for the good of their own wicked self-interested coffee shop debates is unacceptable.

More: Thomas Friedman is must read today. On why it is important for everyone to get on Board: “You (like some Bushies) still have a lot of cold war reflexes. Indeed, some Chinese intellectuals, not to mention French and Russian, actually believe you all have more to fear from American power than from Osama, Kim or Saddam. That's nuts. If America has to manage the World of Disorder alone, the American people will quickly tire.”

More II: John R. Burns has a story from the Jordan-Iraqi border. Iraqis who have fled are more ready to talk about the Iraqi regime:

“Almost to a man, these Iraqis said they wanted the Iraqi dictator removed. Better still, they said — and it was a point made again and again — they wanted him dead. The men, some in their teens, some in their 50's, told of grotesque repression, of relatives and friends tortured, raped and murdered or, as often, arrested and ‘disappeared.’”

But they still had reservations about the Americans as their saviors. Read it all.

Saturday, February 15, 2003

Peace in our time? - - Go check out this post from Charles Johnson. He has a great photo of some peaceniks holding a wonderfully ridiculous sign, “Peace in our time.”

The appeasers are out in full force today. And here is Johnson’s coup de grace: “Having learned nothing from history—indeed, having learned no history at all—the fools above rush gleefully into the arms of dictators who promise peace.” Way to go protest buddies! You wouldn’t know peace if it hit you square in the head.

More: See them in London. New York. Everywhere.

Phew - - At last, Glenn Reynolds points out that there is an Axis of Weasel’s website:

Axis of Evil doing its best - - Bill Gertz is reporting that senior members of al Qaeda (including one of bin Laden’s sons) are hiding in Iran.

Friday, February 14, 2003

Powell ON FIRE - - Powell is back at the UN. In two weeks he has completely turned around as one of the best voices in the known ‘Hawk’ world by basically making the UN his personal bitch.

Go Deroy! - - Deroy Murdock wants a counter-filibuster. Only good can come from this.

Weasels Meet - - NY Post covers are amazing. Click it. Click it Frenchie. (Props: NRO’s The Corner)

New target; Wil Wheaton - - Jonah Goldberg has briefly turned his attention from France to former Star Trek buddy Wesley Crusher. More here.

Fun at the UN - - Currently watching the reactions of the security council to the reports of the inspectors. France is talking. In short: “inspectors are producing results.” Is it me or does this sort of stuff sound terrible when the translator is so droll? Oh and the irony of the French foreign minister, clearly a man, being translated by a women. “War is the sanction of failure.” He’s right, the UN has failed, and war must proceed. My reaction: “unserious.”

Answering the Antiwar crowd - - Former Iraqi lays out the case against the protestors. (Props to Glenn Reynolds)

“I am so frustrated by the appalling views of most of the British people, media and politicians. I want to say to all these people who are against the possible war, that if you think by doing so you are serving the interests of Iraqi people or saving them, you are not. You are effectively saving Saddam. You are depriving the Iraqi people of probably their last real chance get rid of him and to get out of this dark era in their history. . . .”

Terror threat level in Vancouver, Canada - - I have spent much of the week salvaging old Chinese Kung-Fu movies out of an long abandoned theatre. Literally thousands of reels-some gems by Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. The building is in terrible shape. So bad that you have to wear a double filter respirator to counter the mold spores.

What does this have to do with the terror threat level in Vancouver? Well I can tell you that while the theatre is in a pretty shady part of town, nobody seems to care about a couple of guys walking around in bright orange gloves and masks. Hey, if I saw a couple of guys come out of an old building wearing masks and scary gloves, I wouldn’t strike up a convo with them, to say nothing of going up to them. But people do. Threat level in Vancouver? Very low.

Read James Lileks take on the “feelings” of terror. Duct tape sales are way up!

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Yippee: Praise for two of my favorite things - - Hazzah! Radley Balko serves up ‘super size’ compliments for Coca-Cola and McDonalds. Weeee!

Non! - - News that should really get the surrender monkey’s going bananas. Stop importing fancy French water. I like free trade, but I would find this amusing.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Code Orange Supply Kit - - The incredible Ken Layne lists his Code Orange ration supply kit. Is it bad to want something to happen, and then go over to Mr. Layne’s house? Two words: Fire Drill! Take the supplies out for test drive. Make sure we really are ready.

We got new players folks, Step right up - - Spike Lee and Ed Norton are this weeks new morons. Take a seat George Clooney-or call your office. Sean Penn, you are sooo yesterday. (All courtesy of the Corner, and Rod Dreher)

Read the whole story to find out why Dreher said this: “Use the link to read the whole story, and see what these and other shameful Celebrity-Americans, pampered Hollywood prisspots all, are saying abroad.”

In a related vain, I watched the West Wing tonight and even Martin Sheen, er, President Bartlet is killing terrorists and going a little hawk. Question: why is it that if anything is done under the umbrella of “humanitarianism” its okay for the left crowd, but talk about national interest, international stability, weapons of mass destruction, liberation, freedom, or terrorism. (and of Course if anything is said by ‘the cowboy’ Bush it is wrong)

And what about this? What would they say about their hero FDR?

Three things to watch at the Oscars - - One: trying to justify Gangs of New York getting a nomination, hopefully not a win, for best ‘original’ screenplay. (Originally terrible) Two: Michael Moore acceptance speech for Best Documentary. (Worst. Documentary. Ever) Three: quizzical looks from out of touch audience when Eminem sings the 8 Mile song. (Lose Yourself.)

More: Damian Penny sums up his view of the Oscars thusly: “Personally, I gave up on the Academy Awards in 1999, when Miramax bought the Best Picture award for Shakespeare in Love. (An amusing film, but better than Saving Private Ryan?)”

Spinning the Simpson’s - - An important article on The Simpson’s and why it may be less funny than it used to be in its peak years. (I would add that it is still, in aging form, better than pretty much everything else) Happy 300th to the gang on Sunday. 300 episodes. Incredible.

Fun with Anti-War Protestors - - Sullivan has a huge list of anti-war protest slogans for your t-shirts and stuff. Get busy kids there are some for everyone: Nerds: “Bush Is A Servant Of Sauron. We Hates Him!” Oscar voters: “Drop Names, Not Bombs” Matrix fans: “If War Is The Answer We're Asking The Wrong Question” Arrianna Huffington: “Real Patriots Drive Hybrids” Intelligently challenged: “Let's Try Preemptive Peace”. Read on.

Monday, February 10, 2003

Why Europe Hates Us - - And when I say us, I mean America. Even though I am writing from Canada, which pretty much sums up my position on the whole debate doesn’t it.

Here’s Sullivan: Europeans know how American society is equalling or besting theirs' in almost every field, from technology to medicine through literature and the arts. They know that demographically, America is still booming, while they are in decline. Yes, they can reassure themselves that economic inequality is lesser in Europe, but only because the market has been restrained from rewarding talent, the same restraints that guarantee lower levels of economic growth for the Europeans. Moreover, the days when Germany or France actually mattered as great powers are long over, and the United States' intention to engage more aggressively in the world since 9/11 merely rubs this in.”

And to add fuel to an already burning fire, here is Glenn Reynolds suggesting what the world might be like if the US was actually a unilateral, imperial, bully. It goes something like this: “An Imperial America would probably join with nascent superpower India to divide up and conquer the region. India could have Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran; we’d take Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Egypt.”

You know, that doesn’t sound to bad.

Update: Sullivan and Steve Martinovich have been talking “Norwalk” virus. Mmmm? Al Qaeda first strike plot against bellicose bloggers? Or French plot? Let’s hope not.

Just for the Mao of it - - Fellow Canadian blogger Colby Cosh is wondering why, dear god why, Canada is giving foreign aid to China. He points out that China has its own space program and is hosting the big Olympic party in 2008 so why is Canada forking over this cash to them? What, we couldn’t find something pork related here at home? Couldn’t legitimately bail out a hockey team?

Sunday, February 09, 2003

”It’s not easy being orange” - - Orange Terror alerts, Alias, The Recruit, reality TV, the French, and more in my latest column over at Enter Stage Right.

Also don’t miss two dynamic articles on my favorite institution and yours, the United Nations.

The Wonder that is Neal Pollack - - On Friday night, after another long week working in the underbelly of the film industry, one of a seemingly endless stream of packages from arrived. It included the Neal Pollack tomb, Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature. The book was fantastic-a spoof of a pretentious but hilarious writer who seems to have been everywhere a good reporter should go.

That’s a relief - - Donald Rumsfeld has been disowned by his German relatives. (Saw this in NRO’s The Corner)

Opening Shots? - - Little Green Footballs is making an interesting point. The assassination of several Kurdish military figures in the Wild West of Northern Iraq could mirror the assassination of Afghan Northern Alliance leader Massoud just days before 9/11.

It seems to me, that even threatening Iraq is further flushing out terrorists and motives of said terrorists. Far from exposing no connections between al Qaeda and Iraq, I think that this sort of thing strengthens the position that there is indeed a link. A link in motive at the very least.

In another entertaining post, Charles Johnson writes about the “Idiotarian Super Bowl”. I particularly enjoyed his mouth watering set-up graph: “Proving again that all the world’s idiocies are congealing into one vast heaving lump of sullen victimhood, discredited ideologies, and cynical intellectualism, the anti-globalist crowd got together with the radical Islamists in Porto Alegre last month in a sort of nightmarish Idiotarian Super Bowl, presided over by the King and Queen of the Loony Left.”

If convergence for something like AOL-Time Warner has been a disaster, I (compassionate as I am) feel for the merger of anti-globalization (or anti-capitalism) and radical time twisting Islam. AOL-Time Warner have unleashed a huge bomb of losses, while the nexus of ‘anti-globo-islam’ will lay a large egg-a terrible combination of backwardness and stupidity.

The Bush Budget - - Often I am asked if there is anything that George Bush does that I disagree with-of course there is much, but most of that is trumped by the war, and tax cuts. But the new US budget is not a good thing. Far from it. Andrew Sullivan takes a long hard look at the Bush numbers and has some serious issues with them. Runaway spending? This is really not good. But Bush has often surprised even his ardent defenders.

One question to ask: is Bush playing rope-a-dope with the Budget? Probably not, but at this point, there is nothing that suggests Bush is a huge spender in the long run. Perhaps he is making the budget deliberately worse (including no money for a war in Iraq included) knowing he will have to reverse course-in fact he’d probably get Democrats and Republicans to actually cut spending. (Not just a cut in the increases in spending). Everyone it seems has come out as a deficit hawk. Now who wants to make the first cut in spending-anyone, anyone?

Poor Babies - - Some lefties are upset that Saturday Night Live hasn’t had near enough laughs at the expense of President Bush lately. To which I answer: “Awww Muffin”. Why make fun of Bush when everyone, not just some, get a laugh at ridiculous protestors and the United Nations.

Sunday Politics - - Pundit Watch recounts my favorite moment of the Sunday Political shows this week. When Tim Russert shows clips of Clinton and Sec. Of State Albright being as hawkish as Bush in 1998, Albright looks stumped. She was pretty sure that going to war was not a good idea but what changed her tune in 5 years? That’s politics kids.

Bush and the art of rope-a-dope - - I read this in print yesterday, and rereading parts of it now, online it is really good stuff. Bravo Matt Welch.

Saturday, February 08, 2003

Good God, No - - Humor or not, joking about a return of Dukakis is not funny.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

February-into-March Madness (International Relations Ed.) - - The US State Dept. is thinking of bumping up the terror threat meter up a notch-to ORANGE.

United Nations R.I.P. - - Mark Steyn in his usual way, is sounding off on the possibility that the world’s most useless (okay, we may have to check that) organization. And guess what it may be, surprise, France’s fault. George Will adds some commentary too.

Axis of Smart Hollywood - - Holy smokes Batman. Amazingly there appears to be life in Hollywood. An Axis of Smart Hollywood: Dennis Miller, James Woods, Ron Silver and Tom Cruise? Perhaps there are people in Hollywood who aren’t just ”really, really good looking!” Unfortunately there just ain’t enough of ‘em.

European Posse - - stands at 18 nations! Lets go get ‘em boys!

Without Clinton: Female Democrats gone wild - - Patrick Ruffini has the links and details of the male/female divide over the Democratic ’04 field. The girls are just wild about Joe Lieberman. Dogs and cats are living together too.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Slam dunk - - I got to watch just enough of Powell’s “Adlai” moment this morning to see that again, Iraq is yanking the UN’s chain. Apparently it wasn’t enough for France and Germany-what a surprise. Some more of Euro-land is now in the Bush camp. Mandela outdoes even himself. Iraq still hates us.

I do have one question though. Powell was speaking to the Security Council, and America is a permanent member. Why do they still have the cheesy plastic looking Country nameplate? Well, considering that the body seems to be melting away in front of us-indeed, why have anything but temporary nameplates when you know the body will last about 60 years tops. James Lileks notes that there isn’t even a big red button in the UN to declare war.

Sunday, February 02, 2003

Totally Tubular - - President Bush mentioned the aluminum tubes in the SOTU this past week, then I saw Joe Conason (and his terrible hair) on MSNBC making such a huge deal out of the nod, I had to write something about it. So I did, in the new issue of Enter Stage Right.

Plenty of other good stuff this week too: Alan Caruba on why we explore space; W. James Antle III is warming up to an invasion of Iraq; Mandela stupid quotes fallout; U.N. irrelevance; and more.

Friedman at his best - - Today’s column by Thomas Friedman is why you have to keep reading him, even when you don’t agree. “Being weak after being powerful is a terrible thing. It can make you stupid. It can make you reject U.S. policies simply to differentiate yourself from the world's only superpower. Or, in the case of Mr. Chirac, it can even prompt you to invite Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe — a terrible tyrant — to visit Paris just to spite Tony Blair. Ah, those principled French.”

Especially amusing is Friedman’s notice that the menu at a hotel in Switzerland serves U.S. beef with a disclaimer about its possibly genetically modified nature. The Europeans are gleefully not eating harmless U.S. meat while puffing away on enough cigarettes to kill-for Friedman this is another example of Europe not being serious.

Shuttle Aftermath - - There is, rightly, going to be plenty of this kind of article about the absurdity of the entire shuttle program.

Meanwhile Mark Steyn has an excellent article on why America needs to renew its space program. I would add, that providing Bush gets reelected in 2004, the President should use is second inauguration speech to do just that. Make a statement about America as the leader, and pledge to put men on Mars by a certain date. That would inspire.

Groundhog Day - - Vermin predicts more winter.

Saturday, February 01, 2003

Space Shuttle Tragedy - - Dreadful news. For some unknown reason I was up earlier than usual on a Saturday, and immediately tuned into CNN, and what a miserable way to start a new month. While it didn’t shock me as much as 9/11 did, (growing up with the knowledge of Challenger certainly confirmed how dangerous space travel truly is) it still was a considerable shock. I don’t have much to add, and won’t, that hasn’t been said by others most of the day.

Glenn Reynolds has been a good clearing house of information throughout the day. Taranto is chalk full of content too. And Peggy Noonan is always good in the most trying of times: “It has to do with the impossibility, the sheer implausibility, of the facts. We are on the verge of war in the Mideast, a war springing in its modern origins from the tensions of the Arab-Israeli conflict; our president, a Texan, believes we must move on Iraq. The space shuttle that broke up today carried, for the first time ever, a Mideastern astronaut, an Israeli who won fame when he led a daring raid on a nuclear reactor in Iraq, 20 years ago. The shuttle broke up over the president's home state, Texas. The center of the debris field appears to be a little town called Palestine.”

It is definitely worth a trip to re-read Reagan’s speech in the wake of 1986’s Challenger disaster.

I think President Bush encapsulated the feelings of most, and I especially appreciated the sentiments that space travel must and will go on. “The cause in which they died will continue. Mankind is led into the darkness beyond our world by the inspiration of discovery and the longing to understand. Our journey into space will go on.”

Bush goes on: “The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth; yet we can pray that all are safely home.”