Sunday, January 26, 2003

AFTER MONTHS OF WANDERING in the wilderness of Blogger, the Legal Bean has stopped wandering and has found a new home.

Come check out the new digs and change your bookmarks accordingly, as this will be the last post ever on this weblog . . .

Saturday, January 25, 2003

NEW COFFEE ROASTER INFORMATION

A lot of folks reach this site via searches for "The Zach & Dani's Gourmet Coffee Roaster." I don't own this roaster and thus, have never posted a review.

However, Tom Olson of Sweet Maria's has given it the most thorough review that I've seen or ever expect to see. Check it out.

Friday, January 24, 2003

I'M OFF TO TAKE IN THIS warm weather by enjoying a short hike and then later I'll be enjoying some authentic Thai food and a nice beaujolais with a friend. Ya gotta love central Montana in late January!

UPDATE: My god that Thai food was good! Wow!

Thursday, January 23, 2003

OKAY, JUST A liiiIITTLE MORE TIME

"Today, we know from multiple sources that Saddam has ordered that any scientist who co-operates during interviews will be killed, as well as their families," Wolfowitz said in a speech to the Council on Foreign Affairs.

Didn't Saddam just promise stepped up cooperation, then a day later lauch a campaign to discredit inspectors and raise (forced) public outrage?

Which raises the question: More time for what exactly?

Schroeder? . . . . . . . . .Schroeder? . . . . . . . . .Schroeder? . . . . . . . . .

(via Letter from Gotham)

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

IRAQ FOR 2012 SUMMER OLYMPICS!!

NYTimes: Jan. 22 -- Many Iraqis, Like Their Government, Complain About Arms Inspections.

Associated Press: Jan. 22 -- Iraqis Protest 'Provocative' Inspections

Crystal ball looking into the future:

PARIS (Legal Bean) -- Jan. 25th -- France and Germany Demand that Weapons Inspectors Pull out of Iraq.

After celebrating 40 years of reconciliation on Wednesday, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac, in a new unity of perceived European power, have called for a pullout of U.N. weapons inspectors.

Schroeder and Chirac cite to the "will and authority of the Iraqi people."

"The Iraqi people have spoken," Schroeder said. "They have gathered in the streets demonstrating their will that the arrogant occupiers and invaders of Iraqi sovereignty are not welcome and must leave."

Chirac agreed. "Even duly elected President Hussein has charged that the inspectors are engaged in spying," he said. "France and Germany will not take part in thwarting the will of the Iraqi people."

Schroeder and Chirac said that, in a demonstration of solidarity with Iraq, they would likely encourage Iraq to bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
AS A HOME COFFEE ROASTER, I have a particular interest in chasing down sources of the best green (unroasted) coffee on the planet.

Or, more accurately, I have an interest in chasing down those who chase down the best coffee on the planet. The most impressive coffees I have found are from two sites that cater solely to the home roaster: Sweet Maria's and Two Loons Coffee. Both take a keen interest in educating we home-roastin' folk.

Last week I found this article on GreenBiz.com about Allegro Coffee Company. If you have in interest in Fair Trade issues, you can access my previous post on Allegro here, discussing that an independent firm verified that Allegro, through the first half of 2002, paid Fair Trade prices or, more often, well-above Fair Trade prices to small, independent coffee farmers that do not belong to co-ops and thus cannot afford the steep price to TransFair to warrant a "Fair Trade" certification.

That piece of information, combined with discovering from an independent source that "Allegro is one of the country's leading and most sophisticated sellers of premium single origin coffees, committed to giving equal value to intrinsic coffee character and to environmental and social issues in its coffee sourcing," piqued my interest. So I attempted to order some greens from Allegro.

What I found is that Allegro will only sell their coffee after roasting it to their exacting standards, so I was out of luck on that avenue. However, as fate would have it, Allegro responded to my request with great kindness and offered to send me some complimentary roasted coffee which I am very much looking forward to trying. After brewing it and sharing it with my co-workers, I'll write a review of the coffee and post it here.

Anyway, since I have this blog to say whatever the heck I want, I want to express a sincere THANK YOU to Allegro Coffee Company for their kindness. I'd also like to express an appreciation for the fact that Allegro seeks out small coffee farmers who can't afford the "Fair Trade" certification and pays them above Fair Trade prices.

If you are interested in buying coffee that you can be sure supported small coffee farmers with fair prices, follow this link and find out where you can buy Allegro coffee.
GERMAN SPEAKING FRENCH?

I don't know if James Taranto has been sharper:

A group of Iraqi women whose families have been victimized by Saddam Hussein's dictatorship gathered in Paris yesterday, where they "called for the Iraqi leader to be indicted for war crimes and said regime change is the only way to save their desperate nation," the Associated Press reports. "The women also denounced the systematic beheading of innocent women who belong to families suspected of opposing Saddam's regime," the AP notes. One of them "said 16 innocent women were decapitated in front of their own children three months ago."

What's the big deal? ask the leaders of France and Germany. "Don't expect Germany to approve a resolution legitimizing war, don't expect it," CNN quotes Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder as saying. Adds President Jacques Chirac: "Germany and France have the same judgment on this crisis."

Chirac also said: "As far as we're concerned, war always means failure." CNN doesn't say what language he was speaking when he said this, but if it was French and not German, the statement refutes itself. [Emphasis mine]
Classic.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

I GUESS IT WAS ONLY A DREAM

“We are reminded once again by the events of the last year that there are those who don’t understand Dr. King’s dream and legacy,” Mrs. Clinton said. “Yes, we want to be judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin. But what makes up character?” she said, quoting from Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. “If we don’t take race as part of our character, then we are kidding ourselves.”

New York Senator Hillary Clinton

"I have a dream, that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!"

Martin Luther King, Jr.
FECKLESS; APPEASERS; IMPOTENT; SELF-IMMOLATORS: Of course I'm speaking of the French. But, then again, they have dealt with terrorists for decades with a combination of living in fear and appeasement of the terrorists.

I'm guessing that France's foreign minister, Mr. Dominique de Villepin, in his comments to Secretary Powell today, failed to mention one of France's real fears if it were to join in a potential war in Iraq: retaliation from its own massive unassimilated Muslim population.

This is what he stated today: "Since we can disarm Iraq through peaceful means, we should not take the risk to endanger the lives of innocent civilians or soldiers, to jeopardise the stability of the region ... We should not take the risk to fuel terrorism," he said.

Stability is not a good-in-itself. To believe so is to legitimize it in all forms, whether it is through democracy or through the murderous impulses of a blood-thirsty dictator like Saddam Hussein.

To wish for stability in the region is a failure to recognize that it is this very stability that, as NNP states, is the stability that incubated the attacks on New York City and Washington and resulted in the murder of 3,000 citizens.

"We should not take the risk . . .???" Tell me Mr. de Villepin, should we ever take any risks or simply suffer the results of inaction and appeasement of terrorists for decade after decade?

I vote to officially ignore France who, in my eyes, has no credibility in the war on terrorism. And if Iraq becomes a thriving democracy, maybe they'll think twice about trading with those who would have denied them their liberation.

Not wanting to depart from realism, like our friendly foes the French, I recognize that France's vote, at the very end, will probably be driven precisely by economics rather than its current irrational policy:

Realists recognize that France's oppostition to war is based on its own economic interests in Iraq, its pathological eagerness to still appear relevant to international affairs, and finally its very real and very justified fear that a war with Iraq will inflame its own hostile, unassimilated, ghetto-ized and armed-to-the-teeth muslim population inhabiting its inner cities. Realists can see that Saudi Arabia doesn't want Saddam to be deposed because he's the quitessential class troublemaker of the Middle East, who will draw the teacher's attention away from the slightly more discrete criminal doings of all the other children. Realists also don't blind themselves from the fact that, in the end, these countries will likely go along with a US-led attack once it becomes clear that we won't be deterred by any international hecklers, because the thing they fear most is being left out of a high-profile, one-sided victory, whereby they may slide even further into a place of irrelevance from which their rhetoric will hold even less meaning for us than it already does.
I've seen hits from people in France on my site counter. If any French readers happen by again, feel free to let me know what you think.
GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION?

Diane (Letter from Gotham) is back again with some quality comments (as usual) on this widely debated question here in the Blogosphere:

Whether a person can join an anti-war protest sponsered by International A.N.S.W.E.R. yet be free from association with their pro-communist, pro-dictator views.

Pretty much everything Diane write is worth reading. Here is her conclusion on this question (but the whole thing is worth reading):
To go to a demonstration organized by ANSWER is to give them legitmacy. To lend legitmacy to an organization is to create an association between you, the individual who makes moral choices, and them, the organization that stands for certain things. You, the moral actor, have consented to take part in a demonstration, a sacred public constitutionally protected activity that they have organized. The association is clear, public and can't be erased.

You cannot do that and then claim that there is no association between you and them. To fling the charge, "guilt by association!" is a feckless moral evasion. The only morally acceptable answer to Tacitus' charge is to say that you accept the association between you and ANSWER because you think that demonstrating against a US-led invasion of Iraq overrides any reservations you have about ANSWER'S politics. I'd accept that as honest, even if morally squalid.

"I accept the association, I am associated with an organization that supports mass-murder, because on this issue, they facilitated my ability to object to US Government policy." Say that aloud five times, because that is the situation that you find yourself in. If you can live with that, be my guest.

But, anyone who attends an ANSWER-organized demonstration, and who slithers away from the association with thoughtless counter-charges and who evades responsibility for such associations is both dishonest and morally squalid.

Monday, January 20, 2003

EVAN MARRIOT'S UNDERWEAR

For all the people who keep finding their way here with Google and Yahoo searches for "evan marriott underwear" (seemingly endless) I'm not asking questions. I just want to say that my post on Joe Millionaire is here.
"REUTERS", ALWAYS ON TOP OF THE "BIG" STORIES

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said Monday he was not losing any sleep over a possible U.S. invasion of his country.
* * *
"I can assure you and put your minds at ease that I rarely find it difficult to sleep," Saddam told senior army officers, including his son Qusay, supervisor of the elite Republican Guards.

"I fall asleep as soon as I put my head on the pillow. I don't need sleeping pills, unlike some officials we hear about, and I don't get insomnia like some people do," the 65-year-old president said in the comments carried by the Iraq News Agency.

But Saddam, who has ruled Iraq with an iron fist for over two decades, admitted that sometimes sleep does elude him.

"I sometimes can't sleep when there is an idea going around in my head that I haven't put on paper. But I fall asleep as soon as I've got up to write it down," he said.
Tomorrow's Headline:

WASHINGTON (Rueters) -- President Bush said Tuesday that he loses no sleep even after 18 ounces of bitter French Roast. "I probably should've ordered tastier coffee," the President admitted, "and I'm not even sure this pot was made with filtered water."

"Next time I'll order coffee from The Legal Bean," the 56-year-old president said in comments carried by the only news service in the Western world that believes that one person's "terrorist" is another person's "freedom fighter."

The Legal Bean micro-roasts its coffee at a mere 2.5 ounces at a time according to Rueters sources. Bitterness is almost non-existent.

"But really, good coffee or bad coffee, I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow," the president said.
HILARIOUS BOOTLEG OF THE FELLOWSHIP

Via Meryl Yourish I found this site with captions from a bootleg copy of the Fellowship of the Ring. The transcript is not, er, well, as accurate as it could be.

I can only echo Meryl's thoughts: "It is utterly hilarious. Go, read, but put down your coffee and soda first."
DEBKAfile REPORTS THAT last week's discover by U.N. inspectors of the 12 empty warheads was not the outcome of intelligence but the result of subtle Iraqi manipulation, and that Iraq planted the warheads and led the inspectors directly to them. Why would they do this? DEBKA reports:
Wednesday, January 15, US president George W. Bush declared he was sick and tired of Saddam Hussein’s games and deceit – with effect on the US timetable. Hearing this, the Iraqi ruler understood the American president was near his limit and must be calmed down to give Iraq more time to manufacture fresh delays. Iraqi intelligence, a world-class practitioner of deceit, trickery, diversion and disinformation, was instructed to organize 12 empty chemical shells in sealed crates and place them in a military ammunition depot. Double agents planted among the UN arms inspectors’ technical aides, most of them from Middle Eastern countries, were told to pass the “tip” on to the Blix team.

The effect of the find was electric.
Follow the link to read how this "discovery" served the purpose of further delay.

(via Powerline)
THE BRITISH LEFT IN FAVOR OF WAR?

First, a liberal editorial from Johann Hari, a writer for the steadfastly liberal Independent, urges support for this morally just war. Now the liberal Observer believes the case has been made:
Those who demanded a multilateral route have responsibilities, too. They must recognise that the much-maligned Bush administration has dutifully pursued a multilateral approach over both Iraq and the war in Afghanistan. The world asked America to work through the UN. The UN and its members must now show that its decisions and resolutions can be effective.

Some will still argue that because the world contains other unpleasant dictators, it would be wrong to get rid of this one. We disagree. The recent past contains several examples of military intervention against sovereign states where the outcome, if not ideal, has certainly been much better in humanitarian terms than what went before: Vietnam's removal of Pol Pot from Cambodia; Nato's Kosovo campaign, with the subsequent indictment of Slobodan Milosevic; the removal of the Taliban from Afghanistan.

War with Iraq may yet not come, but, conscious of the potentially terrifying responsibility resting with the British Government, we find ourselves supporting the current commitment to a possible use of force. That is not because we have not agonised, as have so many of our readers and those who demonstrated across the country yesterday, about what is right. It is because we believe that, if Saddam does not yield, military action may eventually be the least awful necessity for Iraq, for the Middle East and for the world.
How refreshing is it to see liberal media looking to the "recent past" as an example of the humanitarian good that can come from war instead of remaining fixated on the anomaly of all wars, Vietnam?
LIBERAL JOURNALISTS NEED TO DIG DEEPER

I've written quite a bit on International A.N.S.W.E.R. in the last couple days. And I asked whether the New York Times (or any big media for that matter) would report on the pro-communist agenda of International A.N.S.W.E.R., revealing it to be a front for the World Worker's Party, an organization that generally seem to support dictators of all ilk. Looking through the news today, it appears that the answer is a resounding "no."

Sure, conservative publication are beating the drums and attempting to educate people (as usual), but liberal media is complicit and sickly-pale, almost guilefully partisan, as Democratic journalists are refusing to look inward. Self-policing by both parties is a must, but whereas Republicans deserve much credit for the resignation of Trent Lott and for marginalizing the likes of Pat Buchanan and David Duke, the Democratic party is still lying comfortably in bed with the likes of the World Worker's Party, anti-Semites like Cynthia McKinney and irrational anti-American, pro-terrorist dissidents like Noam Chomsky and Robert Fisk.

As pointed out by David Horowitz today, this trend in the Democratic party should worry more than just Democrats, but also Republicans and all Americans:

The second thing Americans should think about is the fact that this anti-American support movement for America's enemies has deep roots in the Democratic Party. I am a firm believer in the two-party system. I find it extremely worrying, therefore, that one party can no longer be trusted with the nation's security. This problem will not be easily fixed. But it won't be fixed at all unless attention is drawn to it, and we cannot do that unless we stop the charade of calling this a "peace" movement and recognize instead that it is anti-American movement to divide this country in the face of its enemies and give aid and comfort to those who would destroy us.
Will Democratic journalists, and therefore liberal big media, step up to the plate? Let's hope so for the good of the whole country.
U.S. units on hunt to track Saddam from USA TODAY

JORDAN-IRAQ BORDER — As the Bush administration moves into what officials call the last phase of the showdown with Iraq, the United States is undertaking a vigorous military and intelligence effort to track, and possibly kill, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

The effort involves, among other things, small teams of U.S. special operations forces and CIA paramilitary units inside and around Iraq, satellite imagery, radio intercepts and airborne reconnaissance, U.S. intelligence officials say.
Could this have anything to do with President Bush returning from Camp David a day early?
TONECLUSTER CHANNELS a conversation between Saddam and "anti-imperialist," defender of Saddam, defender of Milosevic, apologist for North Korea, apologist for China, founder of International A.N.S.W.E.R. and steadfast supporter of the socialist Worker's World Party, Ramsey Clark:

Another intercept from Tonecluster intelligence sources, somewhere in Baghdad...

[Riiiing]

Saddam, the magnificient, the brilliant, the leader of all the Arabs, wishes to speak to Ramsey Clark leader of all the friends of Saddam.

Ramsey speaking. What more can I do for you. Have I not gotten coverage on CNN and the New York Times? It was cold out there yesterday.

You have failed me, Ramsey, useful idiot that you are. Hugo Chavez had 50,000 protesters, I only had 30,000. Have you no idea how that makes me feel? A man with not enough sense to set up a terror regime can be disliked more than me.

I did my best, Saddam. I got all the lefties from the sixties to put on long underwear and earmuffs. I got coverage from TV news, I sold your pictures. They will now be hung in every dorm room in Berkeley. What more can we do?

Have you not heard of VX gas? In London they played with Ricin. Have you no imagination?
International A.N.S.W.E.R. is a sad face for the anti-war movement.

Sunday, January 19, 2003

THE CHURCH OF THE BLINDING WHITE LIGHT OF STUPIDITY puts it all together:

[More] Chemical warheads found....
Documents found showing the Iraqis have an ongoing nuclear program...
Americans destroy 8 Iraqi communication facilities...
Bush returns from Camp David one day early...

Could it be time?
IN DEFENSE OF OIL, NPR to the rescue. From this week's Punditwatch:

Unprovoked, NPR’s Juan Williams tried to defend and explain the peace demonstrators’ use of the slogan, “No blood for oil” on Fox News Sunday. Brit Hume and Bill Kristol, seemingly shocked by what they saw as his naiveté, pointed out that the US was already getting Iraqi oil and could get all it wanted by lifting the sanctions.
One has to wonder if Juan has been listening to too much NPR.
I WENT TO A MOVIE with a very liberal friend last night and, while driving to the theater, I mentioned that I had been watching the anti-war protests on television earlier. I told her I wished I had been there for the entertainment value and to argue with the socialists sponsoring the rally.

She reacted with shock and assured me that absolutely not one person in Iraq, nor any other Muslim country for that matter, wanted us over there nor did the Iraqi people want to be liberated, because they hated, just hated us.

I, of course, expected this and it was a fun mini-debate. No one, liberal or whatever, can continue to credibly argue that human beings want to live under fear of death under an unforgiving dictator, and the "but but buts" have to end eventually.

Today, via Andrew Sullivan, I found this great article that I printed out for her. It's by Johann Hari, a writer for the steadfastly liberal Independent, where the article first appeared. Some excerpts:

What has become of the left that argued that we had a moral responsibility to defend our fellow humans from fascist dictators? By taking the route of hunting for WMD, and only accepting the overthrow of Saddam on those grounds, we have made a crucial mistake. The greatest possible evidence for this is that, while some in the West celebrate today, the Iraqi people will be weeping.

Who, you may be asking incredulously, would want their country to be bombed? What would make people want to risk their children being blown to pieces? I thought this too until, last October, I spent a month as a journalist seeing the reality of life under Saddam Hussein.

Strangely, it's the small details which remain in the memory, even now, three months later. It's the pale, sickly look that would come over people's faces when I mentioned Saddam. It's the fact that the Marsh Arabs - a proud, independent people who have seen their marshes drained and been "relocated" to tiny desert shacks - are forced to hang a small, menacing picture of Saddam in their new "homes". It's the child wearing a T-shirt saying "Yes, yes, yes to Daddy Saddam".
* * *
This evidence is, admittedly, anecdotal, and I would be wary of supporting a war based on my own impressions. But now there is concrete evidence. The International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based independent think-tank, by no means pro-war, conducted extensive interviews with the Iraqi population last year and, as their report explains, "a significant number of those Iraqis interviewed, with surprising candour, expressed their view that, if (regime change) required an American-led attack, they would support it. The notion of leaving the country's destiny in the hands of an omnipotent foreign party has more appeal than might be expected - and the desire for a long-term US involvement is higher than expected."
* * *
And, crucially, the Iraqi people expect the Americans to help to rebuild their country after the war. This, surely, is what we should be marching in the streets for - not to oppose a war that will remove one of the world's worst dictators, but to secure a guarantee from Blair and Bush that after the conflict we will stay and help its people to build a peaceful, federal, democratic Iraq. Those who scorn this possibility, either with the racist notion that Arabs are incapable of democracy or with a fashionable cynicism about political progress, should remember that their sneers could equally have been directed towards post-World War II Japan and Germany.
* * *
It is time that, in light of the ICG report, we in the West admit that we have misunderstood the Iraqi people's position. We have been acting as though an attack on Saddam would be the beginning of another hideous ordeal for the population, the interruption of an otherwise peaceful situation. In fact, as the ICG report explains, "for the Iraqi people, who since 1980 have lived through a devastating conflict with Iran, Desert Storm, sanctions, international isolation and periodic US-UK aerial attacks, a state of war has existed for two decades already." Do not imagine that if we fail to act, the Iraqi people will be left in peace - quite the opposite.
* * *
If your hatred of Dubya overwhelms your hatred of Saddam, then I sympathise - that is the reason why I, too, once viewed this war with dread and contempt - but I strongly suspect that if you were confronted with the reality of Saddam's Iraq, you would change your mind. Of course, forming an alliance with George Bush is an unpleasant experience, but we formed an alliance with Stalin to defeat Hitler. It is also possible that Bush, like his father, will betray the hopes of the people of Iraq - and we must campaign to prevent this.
I'll be giving the article to her next time I see her.
THE STORIES THAT DON'T MAKE HEADLINES

289 Million Americans Avoid Peace Rallies
COMPARE AND CONTRAST:

"The Bush administration, concerned that a "smoking gun" may never be found in Iraq, is urgently assembling an argument that Baghdad's withholding of weapons information, and its refusal to make scientists freely available, should persuade American allies to back the use of force against Saddam Hussein."

New York Times, January 18th. (Section: International "News")

" When it comes to the U.N. weapons inspection in Iraq, looking for a smoking gun is a fool's mission. That was true 11 years ago when I led the inspections there. It is no less true today -- even after the seemingly important discovery on Thursday of a dozen empty short-range missile warheads left over from the 1980s."

Washington Post, January 19th. (Section: Opinion and Commentary)
IRAQ'S NUCLEAR PROGRAMS REVEALED

(via LGF) "BREAKING NEWS: the UN inspectors discovered something far more damning than a few empty warheads last week—they also unearthed the blueprints for Iraq’s ongoing nuclear weapons program."
Thursday evening turned into a wild night at the al-Hyatt hotel in Baghdad, for the 150 or so United Nations weapons inspectors who have made it their home.

Jordanian-imported wine flowed, glasses of whiskey were handed round and, as one witness put it, "the men from the UN with their blue baseball caps and grey faces were suddenly smiling".

During their two-and-a-half month stay in Iraq, the inspectors have not developed a reputation for holding late-night parties. Almost all are soberly in bed by 11pm, in order to be up the next day at 6.30 for a breakfast of fried eggs, omelettes or bread rolls. But this was a special occasion.

During the day, the United Nations Monitoring Verification and Inspection Commission (Unmovic), had made the first significant find since its arrival in Iraq.

At the Ukhaider weapons depot, 90 miles south-west of Baghdad, inspectors had discovered 12 hidden artillery shells designed to carry chemical weapons. "We finally found something shaped like a weapon and not like a test-tube," said one inspector.

But while in public the inspectors were celebrating their discovery of the artillery shells, in private experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna were digesting the details of a substantially more significant find - the blueprint of Saddam's nuclear weapons project.

On the same morning that a team of inspectors had found the 12 artillery shells, another team of nuclear weapons experts had paid a surprise visit to the homes of two of Saddam's leading nuclear physicists who worked for Iraq's top secret for the Ministry of Military Industrialisation (MMI).

The ministry, which is run by Saddam's younger son Qusay, recently replaced the Military Industrialisation Organisation (MIO), the institution which historically has controlled the development of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction arsenal since the mid-1970s.

In their eagerness to get into the scientists' homes, some of the inspectors had been seen jumping over a garden wall.

Once inside they found what one Western official has described as a "highly significant" batch of documents which, on closer inspection, revealed that Saddam's scientists were continuing development work on producing an Iraqi nuclear weapon.

Although these documents are this weekend still being examined by IAEA experts to establish the current state of Saddam's nuclear weapons programme, the discovery could well turn out to be the "smoking gun" that officials in the Bush administration have pinned their hopes on obtaining in order to justify launching military action against Baghdad.

When Saddam submitted his 12,000 page dossier to the United Nations Security Council at the end of last year, the Iraqi leader insisted that Baghdad no longer had any interest in developing nuclear weapons, and that Iraq's nuclear research programme had been discontinued.

The documents seized at the homes of the two scientists, however, confirm what Western intelligence has been arguing all along, that Saddam is continuing with his quest to develop the first Arab atom bomb.
Council on American Islamic Relations = “mujahadeen”

Couldn't be! Or at least they would never admit it, or then again, would they?
It’s at NewsMax (so the tone is a little over the top), but what they’re reporting is true—I watched it myself. Near the end of today’s rally in DC, CAIR representative Ghazi Khaksan referred to the Council on American Islamic Relations as “mujahadeen.”
Dr. Ghazi Khaksan, of the Council on American Islamic Relations, took to the podium near the end of the rally to read a poem packed with criticism of the Bush administration.

"Tell Bush, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Tony Blair to stop colonizing Middle East oil through blood and warfare," he told the crowd. "We're all against weapons of mass destruction. But let's compare. Who has them stockpiled in the Middle East - only Israel, I declare."

Near the end of his poem, Khaksan announced, "I bring to you salaams and greetings from the Mujahadeen at CAIR."
(via LGF)

Saturday, January 18, 2003

INSPIRATION FROM PREVIOUS LEFTY, Darmon Thornton:

I tried watching the rally coverage on C-SPAN. It was nothing new but the same old "America sucks/revolution now/no blood for oil/free Mumia/impeach Bush" rhetoric all over again (second verse, same as the first!).

Come to think of it, it brings back memories of my days as a leftist in college, protesting the Gulf War over a decade ago. Suffice it to say, I've matured and lost the blinders since then.

As the protesters enjoy the freedom to raise their fists and utter chants of dissension, I will not repeat the error in judgment I made 12 years ago -- and support those whose lives are being put on the line to guarantee the very same freedoms for the next generation of anti-war protesters.

Because if the protesters get their way, we can most certainly kiss liberty goodbye. A socialist America would never tolerate any form of dissent compared to our supposedly "oppressive" present-day government.
I'm with ya DC. Now, will the New York Times actually "report" on the socialist, pro-communist agenda of International A.N.S.W.E.R. tomorrow and reveal that it is a front for the World Worker's Party that "fights for a socialist society -- where the wealth is socially owned and production is planned to satisfy human need?"

We'll see.

If the WWP got the society they wanted, I wonder how long it would take for its leaders to approve of a new Gulag? Maybe they could even get Saddam Hussein to "guard" the wrong-thinking, politically dangerous imperialist capitalist prisoners.

I guess we should just be thankful that the WWP exercises its First Amendment rights in this wonderful nation of individual liberty as defined by the Bill of Rights. I just parrot what I have said over and over again:

The more they speak, the more we realize just how much they aren't worth listening to.
EMPTY CHEMICAL WARHEADS: Tell me this. It's been a few days now since the empty warheads have been discovered. Is it significant that they were empty? Do you know the significance? If you don't know, why not? If you do know, why do you know?

The point to this: If your news source is only big media: NYTimes, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, CNN, then you don't know the significance because the story itself, to the liberal media, is insignificant.

If you have listened to any media that does not addictively and blindly suppress information, meaning just basic facts, which support the conservative agenda, then you may have heard something like this, as told by Hindrocket at Powerline:

By the way, the other recent Iraq arms discovery, along with the nuclear weapons research referred to by Trunk, is the "empty" chemical warheads that were discovered a few days ago. I didn't understand the significance of the warheads being "empty" until this afternoon when I was listening to Oliver North in my car. He explained that because chemical weapons are extraordinarily corrosive, the warheads are commonly filled just moments before they are fired. In other words, "empty" is exactly how you would expect to find stockpiled chemical warheads. Maybe this has been all over the mainstream press, but I haven't seen it.
I've got news for ya Hindrocket, a search on Google News for "chemical corrosive warhead" reveals zero stories. None whatsoever.

Does anyone really doubt that these warheads were intended to deliver chemical weapons and that they weren't declared?

I can tell you this, when Bush decides to give the military the go ahead, he will have an easy time making the case for war to the American people (see my previous post on who has the burden of proof), and I have little doubt that we'll have more allies in this war than some might expect.
POWERLINE HAS A GOOD roundup of the anti-war protest in D.C. today:
In fifteen minutes of internet research, you can figure out that the anti-war demonstrations taking place today were organized and led by unreconstructed Communists. This would seem to be significant news. Watch for it tomorrow morning in the New York Times.
I wonder if it will even be a consideration of the "Raines-tilted" Times to "uncover" anything negatively significant in this hyper-leftist group, unless it's buried deep in the paper. There seems too much fodder for criticizing conservatives here.

In case you haven't read up on them, International A.N.S.W.E.R. no more than a front for the pro-Saddam, pro-North Korea, pro-Communism, Workers World Party, as is International Action Center, another WWP front founded by Ramsey Clark. (See my previous post on International A.N.S.W.E.R. for more on their web site and supposed "Fact Sheet").

Thanks to Power Line, here is a quotation from Nancy Mitchell, a prominent member of the WWP, explaining her WWP politics:

"Those of us who came to the movement during this period of reaction and through the expansion and success of the I[nternational]A[ction][Committee] over the last decade have had a lot of experience fighting racism and imperialism. But we may feel a little less prepared to do mass agitational work on the need for socialism and building a communist party in the United States.

"But I know I speak for the newer comrades when I say: I'm excited to start. I'm excited to strengthen my ability to talk about socialism, to get the paper out to the workers in my union, to build the branch meetings, to pass out palm cards with the www.workers.org Web site on them. And I'm really excited about having regular Marxism classes and doing introductory classes for students and workers, to show them that Marxism is not some field for academic study--it's a living struggle!"
The left's love of Marxism is baffling.
STORIES ABOUT GLOBALIZATION: No Two Countries with McDonald’s Have Ever Gone to War, by Paul Feine.
TO ANYONE WHO MISSED MY previous link to the Guantanamo Bay Prisoner's Newsletter, check it out. Trust me, it's entertaining.
"Poor, hardworking, struggling for the American dream, academically excellent and white = Screwed by the great University of Michigan."

A worthwhile story on racism in action over at Dean's World.

And the debate on colorblindness v. racial preferences between Balkin and Rosenberg continues. Also worth reading.
THE ANTI-WAR RALLY in Washington D.C.is in CSPAN right now. Here's a quote I just heard. I can't guarantee that it is perfectly verbatim since I just listened to it and tried to type fast:

"If you are looking for evil, look in the belly of the beast -- the exploitation and oppression taking place right here."

The Bitch Girls seem to have a running commentary.

Speaking of "exploitation and oppression," maybe that last speaker should read Scrappleface:

Prostestor Takes to Street in Baghdad

(2003-01-18) -- A protestor took to the street in Baghdad today, chanting slogans against the policies of the Hussein administration.

Unfortunately, he had to cut short his protest when he learned that his house had burned to the ground in a matter of seconds, killing his entire family.

On his way home, he was accidentally killed when his car ran into a hail of gunfire.
One always needs to look out for that accidental gunfire.

And then there's this from openDemocracy:

If the counsel of the peaceniks had been followed, Kuwait would today be the nineteenth province of Iraq (and on his own recently produced evidence, Saddam Hussein would have acquired nuclear weapons). Moreover, Bosnia would be a trampled and cleansed province of Greater Serbia, Kosovo would have been emptied of most of its inhabitants, and the Taliban would still be in power in Afghanistan. Yet nothing seems to disturb the contented air of moral superiority which surrounds those who intone the ‘peace’ mantra.
But what do we have instead? Apparently, according to the peaceniks, we have "empire, exploitation and oppression" in Bosnia and Afghanistan.

No response necessary.

Now the peaceniks, with their prescience, are predicting more "empire, exploitation and oppression" in Iraq. Funny, I thought the people of Iraq were experiencing that already. But then again, Saddam did receive 100% of the vote in the last election.

UPDATE: Here's an interesting website: (International A.O.W.C.U.T.G.D.F.P.) Authoritarian Opportunists Who Cozy Up To Genocidal Dictators - for Peace. The site has lots of information on International A.N.S.W.E.R.

ANOTHER UPDATE: How does Scrappleface do it?

Peace Rallies Call On Iraq to Disarm

(2003-01-18) -- Protestors gathering for anti-war demonstrations in several cities around the globe called on Saddam Hussein to disclose all weapons of mass destruction, disarm and to comply with all United Nations sanctions.

The peace protestors often chanted their demands, in the rhythm which became standard at such rallies decades ago. Here are some examples of what they chanted:

Saddam
Disarm
And we won't do you no harm.

Anthrax
and gas
Show Blix whatever you has

Disclose
Comply
Cause peace ain't made from a lie.

We won't
Attack
If there's no threat from Iraq
Yea, like peace protestors are really going to ask Saddam to change. I mean, he's a sovereign dude with a sovereign country and can kill as many of his people as he wants, especially since the oppressive, morally selective United States hasn't solved the Israeli-Palestinian crisis yet. Ha! But seriously, that comes before everything else, right?

This goes nicely with Instaman's observation that he doesn't trust any protestor not carrying a "Disarm Saddam" lunchbox!

LAST UPDATE: The rally is now over, but CSPAN will show it again tonight at 8:00pm Eastern if you missed it and, well, don't have anything else to do.
FROM THE Neolibertarian News Portal: "The U.S. has no interest in the 'stability' of a region that incubated the attacks on New York City and Washington and the murder of 3,000 citizens."

An educational article along the same lines: The False Allure of "Stability" -- an excerpt:

Stability is not inherently good or bad. It depends on what kind you're talking about, and what the alternatives are. Stalinist Russia was very stable; one ruler stayed in power for almost 30 years, and anyone who threatened public order was shot or shipped off to the gulag. By contrast, postwar Italy has not been terribly stable; governments seem to change as often as hemlines. But where would you rather live--in Russia in the 1930s or Italy since World War II?
* * *
This "stability above all" policy is not just perverse. It's downright anti-American. The United States of America, after all, is a country that was founded amidst great turmoil. Luckily, one of the superpowers of the day--France--was willing to help American rebels instead of supporting British repression in the name of stability. It is a favor that we should be more anxious to perform for other peoples yearning to be free.
FOUND A COOL NEW BLOG tonight: Dancing with Dogs - Check out this link for an interesting collection of responses from the Blogosphere to Sheryl Crow. One of my favorites:

THE QUOTE OF THE WEEK? "I think war is based in greed and there are huge karmic retributions that will follow. I think war is never the answer to solving any problems. The best way to solve problems is to not have enemies." -- Singer and expert on international affairs Sheryl Crow. Too bad she wasn't our Secretary of State in 1941. We could have "not had enemies" in Germany and Japan, and my grandfather wouldn't have spent three years getting shot up.
And I literally just bought Sheryl Crow's "c'mon, c'mon" CD on Tuesday. It's great by the way. In fact, it has been from my selfish desire to continue listening to it that I've avoided following the stories about Sheryl too closely. I've decided to just soak up the sun instead.
MEDIA BIAS? YOU DECIDE: "The Iraqis are a very friendly people. I know at a time when we're on the brink of war, perhaps a lot of people don't want to hear that . . . ."

Dan Rather on CNN Larry King Live tonight.

Seriously Dan, listen to yourself.

To be fair, Dan actually did a pretty good job overall tonight of reporting and giving perspectives that I would term "centrist," and thus, a bit more politically objective. But the above statement kind of stuck in my craw.

Friday, January 17, 2003

COMPARE AND CONTRAST:

"One thing that is true is that when we look at George Bush and his impotence right now -- what he has done -- on January 15, the actual birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., he spoke out against affirmative action and against what the University of Michigan was all about. It was a chosen day to send a message to white supremists [sic] in this country, because that has been the mentality of this administration,"

Rev. Graylan Hagler, of the Plymouth Congregational Church in Washington, D.C. Endorser of International A.N.S.W.E.R.

"I agree with the president's position, which emphasizes the need for diversity and recognizes the continued legacy of racial prejudice, and the need to fight it. I believe that while race-neutral means are preferable, it is appropriate to use race as one factor among others in achieving a diverse student body."

Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor for President George W. Bush

(January 2003) "This month the American Civil Rights Institute, along with the Center for Equal Opportunity and the Independent Women's Forum, filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court. The brief supports the petitioners and urges the Court to reject the diversity rationale and to oppose the use of racial and ethnic admissions preferences at the University of Michigan."

American Civil Rights Institute Their motto: "Race has no place in American life or law."
JACQUES CHIRAC AND U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTORS are asking for more time to determine whether Iraq "had" stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.

The fundamental flaw with this request is its underlying misunderstanding of who has the burden of proving that Iraq no longer has the weapons and weapons programs that it did, at one time, unquestionably, have. This burden of proof is set by and defined by the most recent U.N. resolutions. To meet this burden of proof, Iraq is (I should say "was") required to submit an accurate report declaring all chemical, biological and nuclear programs and weapons that it, at one point, did have, as well as documentation of the destruction of these weapons and dismantling of the programs.

The U.N. weapons inspectors are not in Iraq for the purpose of spending months or years searching for a needle in a haystack, because the inspectors do not have the burden of proving that Iraq does have such weapons. They are there to verify that the weapons and weapons programs no longer exist. Saddam did have chemical and biological weapons. He used them. He has killed thousands upon thousands of people with them. He now has the burden of proving that he no longer has them. Period.

If he screws up; if he doesn't declare his programs and weapons in their entirety, he is in material breach by failing to meet the burden of proof that is unquestionably on him and him alone.

Folks, if it turns out that the discovered warheads were to be used as a chemical delivery system and were not declared, Iraq has failed in its burden of proof and the inspectors need no more time, and thus need no extension of time, because they are not there to search for more weapons after finding a material breach. If the warheads turn out to have been an undeclared chemical or biological delivery system, the job of the U.N. weapons inspectors has come to and end. No extension required.

Oh wait, my mistake, those weren't warheads, they were peaceheads!

Thursday, January 16, 2003

"AN ESPECIALLY ERUDITE critique of The Two Towers." And another.

(via gTexts and Blogmosis)
THE COLLECTIVE IQ of the Blogosphere has increased with the entry of Jack M. Balkin and his blog: Balkinization. Jack is a professor of Constitutional law at Yale Law School. He has some very in depth, dense (in a good way) comments on affirmative action and the question of what it is that makes something discrimination "on the basis of" race.

The Blogosphere is also blessed with John Rosenberg of Discriminations. John is working on his dissertation at Stanford on, you guessed it, discrimination. The two of them have begun a conversation about racial discrimination that is worth following as the days and weeks go by. I'd suggest checking in with each of them on a daily basis.
THE SECOND TO LAST sentence in an AP story on public support declining for a U.S. led war with Iraq:
Some in the public will be skeptical no matter what the president tells them about Iraq.
Taking a line from Taranto . . . . "You don't say."