Random thoughts and insights – always shaken, never stirred

Archive for November 2004

A Difference of Degree?

leave a comment »

Sometimes, one is forced to wonder why the Dutch have gotten so worked up over the deaths of Theo van Gogh or Pim Fortuyn. They were just midway between the extremes after all.


Written by martinipundit

November 30, 2004 at 6:37 pm

Posted in GWOT

Aunt Helen in the Spotlight

leave a comment »

I know that Helen Thomas has been called the “crazy old aunt” of American politics, but one really has to wonder why she is even sent to the White House press briefings anymore. After all, when this is what she asks:

Q Why are we killing people in Iraq? There are many men, women and children being killed there. I mean, what is the reason we are there, killing people, continuing. It’s outrageous.

MR. McCLELLAN: The reason we are there is the same reason the international community is, is united in helping Iraq — the international community is united in helping Iraq move forward on a free and peaceful and democratic future. I think you can look to the recent commitments from the United Nations, from the European Union, from the recent meetings in Sharm el-Sheikh last week, there is a united front from the international community in working together to help the Iraqi people realize a free and peaceful future. There are terrorists and other Saddam loyalists who continue to seek to derail that transition to democracy, but they will —

Q They are fighting for their own country.

MR. McCLELLAN: — they will not prevail. And we are there to partner with the Iraqi people as they work to realize a better future, one that stands in stark contrast to the past of Saddam Hussein and his brutal regime.

To be sure, others will say it’s a valid question and perhaps it is. But isn’t the format a trifle tendentious? Does she really expect him to come agree with her premise and say, “yeah, we are killing an awful lot of people for no good reason.” One would be forgiven for thinking she just wants to get her complaint in the record, but one might also wonder of her editors (does she have editors?) are getting their money’s worth.

Meanwhile, some are speculating that the Iraqi elections will need to be postponed (Auntie Helen no doubt among them) but Amir Taheri explains why that would be a colossally bad idea.

Written by martinipundit

November 30, 2004 at 12:34 pm

Dan’s Not Even Cold Yet

leave a comment »

Matt Welch is saying goodbye to Dan Rather over at Reason Online but not in a good way:

The battle over Diamond Dan’s obit continues to be waged elsewhere. My own two cents has nothing to do with fonts, pajamas, liberal bias, or the name “Kenneth.” What irked me about Rather was that he was one of journalism’s all-time great self-flagellators, always eager to confess blame for the declining standards of the trade, always making sure to spread that blame out nice and thick on the rest of us…and always showing up on time to collect his seven-figure paycheck.

There’s a lot more.

Written by martinipundit

November 30, 2004 at 10:13 am

Washington State Gubernatorial Follies

leave a comment »

In today’s Opinion Journal, John Fund recounts the current sorry state of the Washington governor’s race. It’s not pretty:

[T]he one out of 50 Americans who live in Washington state are living through a Florida-style nightmare, with Republican Dino Rossi clinging to a 42-vote lead over Democrat Christine Gregoire in the governor’s race after a machine recount of 2.8 million ballots. In the latest example of why this country needs to clean up and clarify its sloppy election systems, Douglas firs substitute for palm trees as the backdrop.

In Seattle’s King County alone the vote counting so far has featured such anomalies as 10,000 ballots being mysteriously discovered nearly two weeks after Election Day, election officials “enhancing” hundreds of unreadable optical-scan ballots, and a judge allowing political partisans to selectively track down voters who cast questionable provisional ballots to see if they could turn them into valid votes. Ms. Gregoire gained several hundred votes through such maneuvers, so she has now declared her intention to pay for a hand recount of some of the state’s precincts to see if she can take the lead. If a selective recount changes the overall winner, the state would pay for a laborious hand recount of all the votes The process could drag on past Christmas and might eventually have to be settled by the state Supreme Court. Gov. Gary Locke is scheduled to leave office on Jan. 12, but wags are already joking he shouldn’t pack his bags too soon.

It should be funny, but it isn’t, to look at such maneuvers and see business as usual for the Democrats. Indeed, the one trick Al Gore did manage to pull off was to offload the blame for attempting to steal the 2000 election onto Bush. For anyone actually paying attention to the last century, it should be clear by now that such shenanigans come from the donkeys. Indeed, here it is baldly stated:

Ryan Bianchi, communications assistant for Ms. Gregoire, made it clear how blatantly partisan the approach was. Democratic volunteers asked if voters had cast ballots for Ms. Gregoire. “If they say no, we just tell them to have a nice day,” he told the Seattle Times. Only if they say yes, did the Democrats ask if they want to make their ballot valid.

Some might be shocked, but as I said – business as usual for the Democratic Party.

What is perfectly clear is that the next Governor of Washington will have no real legitimacy, and that the state is doomed to repeat this sort of nonsense until they clean up their act.

Written by martinipundit

November 29, 2004 at 1:10 pm

Anniversary of the UN Vote on Resolution 181

leave a comment »

This BlogBurst piece is cross-posted by participating websites, to commemorate a milestone in Israel’s history. The list of the participating sites is appended at the end of this post.

November 29, 2004:

Anniversary of the UN vote on Resolution 181

Today is the anniversary of the UN vote on resolution 181, which approved the partition of the western part Palestine into a predominately Jewish state and a predominately Arab state. (It is vital to recall that the UN partition plan referred to western Palestine, to underscore that in 1921 the eastern part was ripped off the Jewish National Home by the British Government and handed over to the then Emir Abdullah.)

The partition plan was approved by 33 to 13, with 10 abstentions.

The 33 countries that cast the — Yes” vote were: Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Byelorussia, Canada, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Haiti, Iceland, Liberia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Sweden, Ukraine, Union of South Africa, USSR, USA, Uruguay, Venezuela. (Among other countries, the list includes the US, the three British Dominions, all the European countries except for Greece and the UK, but including all the Soviet-block countries.)

The 13 countries that chose the Hall of Shame and voted — No” were: Afghanistan, Cuba, Egypt, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Yemen. (Ten of these are Moslem countries; Greece has the special distinction of being the only European country to have joined the Hall of Shame.)

The ten countries that abstained are: Argentina, Chile, China, Colombia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Mexico, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia.

On November 30, 1947, the day following the vote, the Palestinian Arabs murdered six Jews in a bus making its way to Jerusalem, and proceeded to murder another Jew in the Tel-Aviv – Jaffa area. This was a prelude to a war that claimed the lives of 6,000 Jews, or 1% of the total Jewish population in 1948. This toll is the per capita equivalent of today’s Canada losing 300,000 lives, or the US losing 3,000,000.

The object of the war, launched by the Arabs in the former Palestine and the armies of Egypt, Tansjordan, Syria and Lebanon (with help from other Arab countries), was to “throw the Jews into the sea”. As the partition map indicates, however, rather than annihilate the Jewish population, the Arabs ended up with less territory than they would have gained by peaceful means.

In addition to the bloodshed in nascent Israel, immediately after the UN vote, Arabs attacks their Jewish neighbours in a number of Arab countries, the murders in Syria’s Aleppo being the best known.

Bruised and bleeding, Israel prevailed nonetheless. May our sister-democracy thrive and flourish.

List of participating sites, in alphabetical order of site name


Written by martinipundit

November 29, 2004 at 10:21 am

Posted in Anti-Semitism, Israel, UN

Feasting Kitties

leave a comment »

Carnival of the Cats #36 is up, and many feasting kitties can be seen.

Written by martinipundit

November 29, 2004 at 10:01 am

Posted in Catblogging

Tagged with

Sunday Reads

leave a comment »

Elections are things we tend to take for granted in the United States, but it’s good to remember that even our democracy, with strong roots in the British experience, had some teething pains (link to PDF). This is important in light of the precarious state of democracy in the Ukraine.

France has been having some difficulty in the Ivory Coast, but then, France is used to trouble.

Of course, France could always continue its attempts to use the United Nations as a counterweight to the US, but some think that tactic is outdated, especially given the rampant corruption permeating the UN.

We conclude today with more proof that Bill O’Reilly is an entity unto himself and not much use to either side of the political debate.


Written by martinipundit

November 28, 2004 at 1:20 pm

Posted in General

%d bloggers like this: