Saturday, December 28, 2002

800,000 Jobless workers to lose benefits as Congress fatcats approve personal salary hike "It's really an act of discrimination," she said, expressing anger at Congress. "They give themselves a raise before they leave and they leave all of us Americans high and dry."
The US Congress authorized a 3.1 percent pay raise for themselves to $154,700 next year. Lawmakers' salaries have risen $18,000 since 1999.

More funny GE corn stories Japan has found trace amounts of StarLink biotech corn, which has not been approved for human consumption, in a U.S. shipment bound for Tokyo's food supply, U.S. exporters said on Friday.

A similar fiasco caused immense damage to US corn exports two years ago. Japan will probably look to China to meet its food needs.
US turns to torture to crack prisoners of war - smh.com.au "We don't kick the [expletive] out of them. We send them to other countries so they can kick the [expletive] out of them."

"If you don't violate someone's human rights some of the time, you probably aren't doing your job," said one official who has supervised the capture and transfer of accused terrorists. "I don't think we want to be promoting a view of zero tolerance on this."


Friday, December 27, 2002

CNN.com - Mega Afghan pipeline deal signed - Dec. 27, 2002 Asked whether Afghanistan had sufficient security for such a high-profile project, Karzai said, "Very much so. I believe it can be considered among the best in the region."
Bush the number one threat, South Koreans say Many were rattled by US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's comments this week suggesting that America could wage simultaneous military campaigns against Iraq and North Korea. "Bush does not make clear his intentions," said Ha Ji-yun, a 26-year-old civil servant. "That's why we are more afraid of the Americans than the North Koreans."

If he did make his intentions clear, Koreans would be less afraid?
A Floral Basket of Evil? General Secretary Kim Jong Il received a lovely christmas floral basket from Yasser Arafat, President of Palestine, on the occasion of the New Year, Juche 92 (2003). The floral basket was handed to Paek Nam Sun, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK, by Shaher Mohammed Abdlah, Palestinian Ambassador to the DPRK, on Wednesday.

DangerFinder's North Korea "North Koreans are taught that Kim was the inventor of everything from centuries-old scientific and physics theories to such modern conveniences as the automobile and the toaster. Some believe he's walked on the moon. By law, every North Korean household must possess at least two portraits of the Great One."

Outdated, but fun site.
UK space shield won't benefit Britain "It depends on early warning to work - to knock the missile out while it is still in space - and that means you need a launcher that can deploy a counter-missile in double quick time.
Except there will be no launchers in Europe. They will all be in, or near, America. The irony of Fylingdales will remain. We'll know the missile is coming, but we won't be able to do a thing about it."

Sounds like another sell job for Colin Powell coming up.
The Matrix Makers meet Orroboros "Now, if Gaeta and his team can create virtual humans, then they can create virtual anything: rooms, vehicles, you name it. And they have. And you’ll never know."

Um, isn't this like the snake eating its tail or something?
The Matrix Makers What happened when construction crews told the Matrix directors that the two mile long freeway film set they wanted would cost some $300,000 per quarter mile?

“We just looked at each other and said, ‘OK, we can do that’.” One 17 minute scene is reported to have cost more than US$42 m to shoot.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

U.S. ability to fight two wars doubted -- The Washington Times "If North Korea attacks South Korea while the United States has troops invading Iraq, the Pentagon would be faced with a whirlwind of decisions. Some domestic units are designated for war in both the Pacific and Gulf theaters. Gen. Tommy Franks, who would direct an invasion of Iraq, might have to relinquish some of his requested 250,000 troops to block the North Korean advance."

and there's more from a US admiral...

"We have a [two-war] strategy that is totally out of whack with the size of the force we have," Adm. Taylor said. "For the secretary to say we can handle two regional conflicts is ludicrous to the point where the rascals of the world, our adversaries, don't believe us. We have lost our ability to deter war."

Did you know Kim il Sung told the owner of the ultra conservative Washington Times that he was "the only man I trust?"
Antiwar voices rapidly becoming a chorus In southern Iraq Clemens toured the reputed site of the Garden of Eden near the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. What he saw was no paradise: defunct water treatment plants, a dilapidated school and a hospital where children are treated for cancer that the Iraqi government blames on radiation from depleted U.S. weapons.
DIY Big Brother "Space Imaging launched the first high-resolution commercial satellite with "one meter resolution" -- meaning it can capture objects as small as one meter (39.37 inches) in size -- in September 1999. It was followed into space in October 2001 by Digital Globe, based in Longmont, Colo., which launched a satellite with 0.6 meter resolution. (The capabilities of U.S. spy satellites are highly classified, but they are believed to be capable of 0.1 meter resolution.)"

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

MARINE CORPS EYES PORTABLE THERMOBARIC WARHEAD FOR URBAN OPS “As it stands, these thermobaric weapons have generated a fair amount of public misunderstanding, and have been made out to be a peculiarly horrible means of killing people,” Pike told ITN last week. “If it turned out that in practice the primary effect was indeed incendiary, there might be some problems under the international laws of armed conflict.”

Flamethrowers and incendiary grenades are currently illegal under the Geneva Conventions when used on civilians, civilian property or on military targets near civilian populations.
Thermobaric weapons not effective against all WMDs A Pentagon expert told IEEE Spectrum that destruction of bioagents by heat–or by neutralization with special chemical fills—is not a 100 percent solution. What is more, not all thermobaric fills are effective against the entire range of stored biological and chemical agents an enemy might possess–each toxic agent might, indeed, require a custom chemical solution. The thermobaric weapon’s high heat and longer sustained reaction may kill the deadly anthrax spore, for example, but against, say, nerve agents, may not be as efficacious.
Gulf War II can be over in a flash - DEC 25, 2002 But Mr Rob Hewson, editor of Jane's Air-Launched Weapons, cautioned: 'Basically, a microwave weapon would fry the electrics, but it would be indiscriminate, not just turning off electricity for Iraq's radar stations, but also affecting power supply to hospitals and schools.'
Hudson Shipwrecks Found, but No Loose Lips The first riverbed surveys of NY's Hudson River have turned up mysterious structures, including a series of 3,000 year old submerged walls more than 900 feet long that scientists say are clearly of human construction.
The Online Beat More than any other punk star, Strummer argued that the movement itself needed to be remembered as a radical break not just from increasingly pompous musical norms of the early 1970s but from a conservative mindset. "I will always believe in punk rock, because it's about creating something for yourself," he said in a July, 2002, interview. "Part of it was: 'Stop being a sap! Lift your head up and see what is really going on in the political, social and religious situations, and try to see through the smoke screens."
Strummer knew the cost of life "inside the bubble" - theage.com.au "He always gave his all, with complete and utter conviction. He was one of the first people to encourage people to stand up for their rights in three-chord punk rock, and that was the only way people would believe such a political agenda because it was delivered in a way people would understand. It's exactly what we try to do," said Owen.
The Village Voice: Features: Peace Trainer by John Giuffo "A movement's success is based on what it says and what it does, not who is organizing it," he says. "Every progressive movement has had in it some fringe groups." But when asked if, in the same spirit of anti-war solidarity, he would support a protest rally organized by the America-first isolationist Pat Buchanan, who also opposes a war in Iraq, Zinn concedes that there are limits to whom one can find common ground with, support for Maoist despotism notwithstanding.
'Fence': Breaking Down The Barriers to Home (washingtonpost.com) (When the girls are taken from their mothers, the women collapse into keening heaps, taking on the primal form of the landscape itself.)

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Observer | Will he really risk a fight? "...Arab sources at the UN make a point they think the US has failed to grasp: 'If Saddam presumes,' said the source, 'that the Americans were going to fight the war anyway whatever he did, then why would he hand over a list of his weapons to fight back with, and tell his enemy where to find them?'"
Iran, N. Korea Nuclear Plans Pose New Peril (washingtonpost.com) "There is no handbook, no clear enforcement features in the treaties," Sokolski said. "Now that we have, or are about to have, violations, we have to decide what to do. And what we decide to do today will decide what, if anything, will be done with future violators -- and indeed, the fate of the treaties being violated."
Iran, N. Korea Nuclear Plans Pose New Peril (washingtonpost.com) "The nuclear issue is back again in a way it hasn't been around since the 1950s," said Andrei Kokoshin, a Russian legislator and an adviser to former president Boris Yeltsin on military and security issues. "There is a great probability that arsenals will grow and new countries will acquire weapons. And we are simply not prepared for it."
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | N Korea threatens to 'destroy world' "There can be no earth without Korea," it said. "The army and people of the DPRK will destroy the earth if the enemies dare make a nuclear strike at it. This is their do-or-die spirit."
U.S. firms move IT overseas - Tech News - CNET.com IT services companies are jostling to promise customers cheaper, flexible services using technology professionals in low-wage countries such as India, China and Mexico. Hewlett-Packard is the latest U.S.-based company to announce its overseas intentions. At a meeting with financial analysts last week, Ann Livermore, HP's services chief, said the company plans to relocate a major portion of its IT services work to India.
Yahoo! Groups : LiesOfOzzy Messages : Message 953 of 954 "The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State." - Dr. Joseph M. Goebbels
United Press International: UPI Exclusive: FBI is tracking Hatfill Many former FBI agents and federal prosecutors claim that there is no legal meaning to the phrase "person of interest" within the FBI and that it unfairly raises suspicion about someone without evidence. In October, Sen. Charles Grassley, D-Iowa, inserted himself into the case asking the Justice Department what the phrase meant. An assistant attorney general at the Justice Department responded in a letter dated Nov. 4, 2002, that there was "no formal definition" for the term and that it is "commonly understood to refer to an individual whom law enforcement officials seek to question."
United Press International: Rumsfeld warns N. Korea: U.S. can fight In Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov suggested that President George W. Bush's decision to include North Korea in an "axis of evil" might have caused Pyongyang to defy U.N.-sponsored restrictions on its nuclear facilities.
"How should a small country feel when it is told that it is all but part of forces of evil of biblical proportions and should be fought against until total annihilation?" asked Mamedov while talking to the Vremya Novostei daily newspaper.
"There is no use expecting countries included in the 'axis of evil' to remain passive. By reacting they may naturally break certain international agreements," said Mamedov.
But the State Department rejected the allegation as "absurd."
Aug 2002, Indonesian Protestors Shot During Labor Rally Recent decisions by Nike and Reebok to move production out of Indonesia have resulted in large rallies by workers to protect their jobs.
On August 20, over 3,000 workers marched through Jakarta to protest the withdrawal of orders by Nike from its PT Doson factory. The move could leave approximately 7,000 workers jobless. On July 29, over 1,000 workers took to the streets to protest Reebok's decision to pull its orders from their plant, PT Primarindo. Over 5,400 workers stand to lose their jobs following the Reebok move.
drafted January 1996 by the Hong Kong Coalition
for the Safe Production of Toys
Pundit Magazine - Canada's Leading Online Political Magazine All we know, at this point, is that most Canadians support it in principle; in practice, they may well decide that the costs outweigh the benefits. If Kyoto's opponents do a good job of articulating their concerns, we'll likely wind up with something approximating a 50/50 split in public opinion. And for a party barely over 10 percent in the polls, the opportunity to be the sole party aligned with that other 40 percent is too good to pass up.
Shift.com - feature - THE FAILED PROMISE OF NEW JOURNALISM Believing the internet to be a vehicle for real political change and dissenting voices is a view we might have subscribed to in, say, 1995. Nowadays, even the most compelling web site, the most well-organized chatroom or the best email listserv can't hide the fact that the most effective means for political dialogue is a face-to-face dynamic.
CBS News | War Games Get More Serious | December 23, 2002 03:04:54 On their gun barrels, they have painted names that include the flight numbers of the Sept. 11 airplanes that were hijacked, as well as a threat that now seems more timely: "All the way to Baghdad."

"I kind of feel sorry for them," said 1st Lt. Ryan Kuo of Reno, Nevada. "It is not like 10 years ago. The weapons we have now don't miss."

Monday, December 23, 2002

The Grumbling Hive
The spate of recent warbloggers pleading for a buck caught the spirit of this stanza reprinted in The Memory Hole-

Among the many Priests of Jove,
Hir'd to draw Blessings from Above,
Some few were learn'd and eloquent,
But Thousands hot and ignorant:
Yet all past Muster, that could hide
Their Sloth, Lust, Avarice and Pride;
For which they were as famed, as Taylors
For Cabbage; or for Brandy, Sailors:
Some meagre look'd, and meanly clad
Would mystically pray for Bread,
Meaning by that an ample Store,
Yet lit'rally receiv'd no more;
And, whilst these holy Drudges starv'd,
The lazy Ones, for which they serv'd,
Indulg'd their Ease, with all the Graces
Of Health and Plenty in their Faces.

Anti-American Feeling Rises in Pakistan as U.S. Confronts Iraq Mr. Ahmed, a middle-class 37-year-old Pakistani shopkeeper, says Presidents Bush and Saddam Hussein are "equally aggressive." He cannot understand why the United States feels threatened by a small country like Iraq. He says it "goes without saying" that the United States is biased toward "the Jews" and discriminates against Muslims.

Looks like Pakistan could soon be joining the axis of evil....especially if they find evidence Pakistan operatives gave Iraq nuke parts or plans...but then again, who didn't?
US Censored Iraq declaration raises concerns A UN source in New York said: 'The questions being asked are valid. What did the US take out? And if weapons inspectors are supposed to be checking against the dossier's content, how can any future claim be verified. In effect the US is saying trust us, and there are many who just will not.'

Their number is growing exponentially every day, especially when Saddam rolls out the red carpet for the CIA and Bush says no thanks. Both China and Sadaam are making Bush look like a propaganda amateur.
North Korean nukes "greater danger" "This is a greater danger immediately to US interests at this very moment, in my view, than Saddam Hussein is," said Sen. Joe Biden, outgoing chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Whatever happened to Americans listening to their oldest and most experienced statesmen? Jimmy Carter, recognised as the most moral and ethically decent man to hold their highest office, is now reviled by America's own warblogging radicals as somekind of official Idiot.

Americans the people at self professed "anti-idiotarians" LGF hate are mostly those the rest of the world admire most. These are people those of us living outside America view as summing up the qualities of greatness that are almost universally admired by all.

Jimmy Carter? He should over in North Korea, Japan and China right now, trying to stop a war that would certainly kill millions. To these people, he's an idiot.

Above all, they hate the success of the world's funniest and most successful documentary producer, the brilliant Mike Moore.

Mike Moore is America's greatest advertisement for the right to speak one's own mind and build an audience around an radically opposing point of view from that of the dominant news paradigm of the day. People outside the USA also appreciate he can make us laugh at American values while reaffirming them all at the same time. That ability to self-criticise is seen as an attractive American trait, but one seen as fast disappearing under a newfound sense of clampdown.

Sunday, December 22, 2002

Anti-American feelings rise around the world NY Times: Mr. Ahmed, a middle-class 37-year-old Pakistani shopkeeper, says Presidents Bush and Saddam Hussein are "equally aggressive." He cannot understand why the United States feels threatened by a small country like Iraq. He says it "goes without saying" that the United States is biased toward "the Jews" and discriminates against Muslims..Iraqi civilians paying price for Anglo "phony war" "They are killing people," Nahla Mohammed, 49, who has lost her son and brother, said, occasionally succumbing to tears as she talked. "Why do they commit such crimes? Why was my son just walking along the streets and died? Why?"

Bush to Indo TNI: Find Freeport Killers In a surprise move, the US has rejected three separate investigations by the Indonesian TNI exonerating the military command in the deaths of two US teachers in West Papua.

Freeport can no longer pay TNI for "protection" now that US authorities are involved. Too much public dynamite to keep this one hidden, despite indifference from US media.
Bush's Jewish neocon Mideast policy chief backs Likud hardline Jerusalem attributes the strict U.S. stance to the appointment of Elliott Abrams to the National Security Council.

By now you should be reacquainted with the Iran contra deal.
Enough said about Mr Abrams
Israeli pollies "the weakest link"? View From Here relates that a recent Weakest Link in Israel was an eyeopener. One Likud pollie did not know that that the most famous Jewish writer of last century, Isaac Bashevis-Singer, wrote in Yiddish, guessed that Mongolia is on the continent of Africa, and said that Catherine the Great ruled over Greece!
"Worst of all when asked to finish the statement a wolf in whose clothing," she replied without hesitating: "elephant"."
Fathers and Sons: The curious case of Omri Sharon The man seen as most responsible for Sharon's grabbing power is his son Omri Sharon. Omri's clandestine meetings in Yassir Arafat's Ramallah headquarters caused Arafat to declare once that "Omri's like my son."

A few months back,Omri was questioned over Illegal funding for Party primaries after Israel's State Comptroller Eliezer Goldberg said that Omri Sharon had gathered US$1.28 million in illegal funding during the 1999 Likud primary campaign and the 2001 special prime ministerial elections with his help.

Now he's at the centre of a fresh Likud vote-buying scandal. Has Likud married the Mob?
Drug Companies' Cheney scuttles Sydney WTO "breakthrough" Remember the righteous froth Tim Blair, Mark Vaile and Michael Costa worked up in October over the largely peaceful WTO protests in Sydney?

Tim Blair:
"THE usual pinheads have defended Sydney's subliterate protest community during this week's demonstrations against the WTO. Let's see them defend this:
Meanwhile, what evil was the WTO hatching that demanded such action? The 25 world trade ministers meeting inside the Novotel Hotel struck a deal to deliver life-saving medicines to poor nations.

What a joke. There is no deal.Can't get fooled again "There's an old saying in Tennessee--I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee--that says fool me once, shame on--shame on you. Fool me--you can't get fooled again." --George W'
Blair passes Akubra, threatens elves Blair: "Keep it running by hitting the donation thing over on your left. Or I will kill one of Santa's elves every day until Christmas."

National Lampoon's "Buy this magazine or we'll kill this dog" for the warbloggin' naughtys?
Tim, isn't this whole blog thing a labour of ideological love? Don't let Sullivan's greed anywhere near the ozblogosphere! Save the elves!
Murray's remarks on bin Laden draw GOP ire As the new keepers of political correctness in Washington fume over Sen. Murray's recent theorising over reasons for Osama bin Ladin's popularity abroad, Michael Swetnam, co-author of a book on bin Laden and al-Qaida, said Murray's comments were mostly on the mark. He said bin Laden since 1988 has been on a mission to build schools, roads and homes for widows of those killed in the fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan.

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