Thursday, August 24, 2006

child abuse 

Welcome to the next level.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Executive Disorder 

I see Lieberman thinks (via Digby) “we did the right thing in going in to overthrow Saddam.” I doubt President Jack Ryan would agree.

Ryan, of course, is the fictional hero in the Tom Clancy books. In 1996’s Executive Orders, Jack assumes the presidency after a terrorist flies an airliner, loaded with jet fuel, into the Capitol building during a joint session of Congress. Shortly thereafter, Saddam Hussein is taken out – by an Iranian assassin – and Iran ends up with enormous control over Iraq because of the resulting instability.

Unlike Joe, President Ryan saw Saddam’s removal as a national security threat. During Ryan’s meeting with a Saudi prince, Clancy writes:
The issue was less about oil than about faith. … Every state on the Gulf feared Iran for its size, for its large population, and for the religious fervor of its citizens. … The Saudis had never wanted Iraq’s President to fall. Enemy though he was, apostate though he was, aggressor though he was, he had fulfilled a useful strategic purpose for his neighbors. Iraq had long been a buffer between the Gulf states and Iran. It was a case in which religion played second fiddle to politics, which thereby served religious purposes. By rejecting the Word of Allah, Iraq’s Shi’a population was taken out of play, and the dual border with Kuwait and the Kingdom was one of mere politics, not religion. But if the Ba’ath Party fell along with its leader, then Iraq might revert to majority religious rule. That would put a Shi’a country on the two borders, and the leader of the Shi’a branch of Islam was Iran. …

[The power vaccuum problem created by Saddam’s removal] was the reason the Persian Gulf War had been fought for limited military objectives, and not to overthrow the aggressor. The Saudis, who had from the beginning charted the war’s strategic objectives, had never allowed America or her allies even to consider a drive to Baghdad, and this despite the fact that with Iraq’s army deployed in and around Kuwait, the Iraqi capital had been as exposed as a nudist on a beach. Ryan had remarked at the time, watching the talking heads on various TV news shows, that not a single one of the commentators remarked that a textbook campaign would have totally ignored Kuwait, seized Baghdad, and then waited for the Iraqi army to stack arms and surrender. Well, not eveyone could read a map.
Recent history, however, has revealed the strategies in Clancy’s fanstasy to be all wrong. First, no one could have imagined that terrorists would fly airplanes into buildings – that’s just completely unbelievable. Second, everyone knows Joe is correct that we did “the right thing” in removing Saddam because we are all “safer” as a result. Finally, the real reason we didn’t go all the way to Baghdad to remove Saddam the first time was because we wimped out.

Vote Joe (Joe-CT)!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Dispatches from the Soft Cage 

I can't wait for this to get here:

The government is reportedly planning to fit all cars in Britain with a personalised microchip so rule-breaking motorists can be prosecuted by computer.

The chip will automatically report a wide range of offences including speeding, road tax evasion and illegal parking, according to The Sunday Times newspaper.

It will even record every time motorists drive in bus lanes, The Sun reports.

But at least we've taken the lead on something:

...“behaviour detection squads” will patrol terminals to monitor the gestures, conversations and facial expressions of passengers. One of their aims will be to spot those who may be concealing fear or anxiety.

People deemed to be acting suspiciously will be taken for questioning and prevented from flying if they fail to explain their actions.

UK trainers have studied the techniques in America, where behaviour detection squads are already deployed at airports.

The plan is part of an overhaul of passenger screening. Instead of solely relying on searches to uncover weapons and bombs, airport authorities are increasingly seeking to pinpoint the terrorists themselves.

In the long run, passengers flying from international hubs such as Heathrow and Gatwick could even face a lie-detector test before they board.

In America behaviour detection officers are working at a dozen airports, including Washington Dulles and Boston Logan. The programme, called Screening Passengers by Observation Technique, or Spot, is run by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Minority Report 

I received this in a forwarded email today:

Dear Mr. Gibson,

I am one Jew who doesn't accept your apology today.

I don't accept it, because you have spit on the graves
of the Goldwyns, the Warners, the Mayers, the Cohns,
the Foxes, the Thalbergs, the Selznicks, the Zukors
and the thousands of other Jews both living and dead
who have made your questionable career possible.

When you do get out of "rehab" and recount your
millions, please consider how much of your fortune you
would have if you had made your true feelings known,
when you were starting out in the film industry.

You are a despicable human being, one that doesn't
even have the sense to realize that he has repeatedly
bitten the hand that fed him. Whatever you (or your
publicity agents) say today, does not even begin to
redress your long standing theories about the Jewish
people. Apparently the apple does not fall far from
the tree. If you haven't yet distanced yourself from
your father's views of the Holocaust, why should the
Jewish community meet with you, or believe anything
you have to say now.

Your words are a thinly veiled attempt to admit that
you really messed up this time, and you want to cover
yourself, so that you can continue to be adored and
further your revenue stream.
The truth is, you are an unreformed, unrepentant anti
semite of the worst kind, and your hollow outreach is
worth less than the price of your next drink, which
will surely find itself in your hands before long. I'm

Of course, if I am wrong, you could start by donating
$1,000,000 today to the State of Israel in her time of

Surely that is a small public relations price to pay
for a man of your stature who "honors all of God's

Steven Spielberg New Rochelle, NY


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