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The Therapy Sessions
Friday, February 27, 2004

Proud of America, dammit

The US is more than just a geographical entity. It represents an ideology, an important philosophy without which the world as we know it would not exist.

The world - particularly Europe - can't help but sneer in derision.

But people like me don't care. I'm proud of America and the American military. I haven't always realized this pride (particularly in my wasted youth), but it is based on the proveable fact that there has been no greater force for good in the world in the last century than the US and its forces.

In the last twenty-five years, the US military has overthrown dictators in Grenada, Panama, Kuwait, the Balkans and Afghanistan. Because of those wars, 40 million people live under better governments (not perfect, but measurably better). And the people of Iraq (25 million people) are likely to add to this total. The US military directly defends the people of South Korea, a democracy of 50 million people, and it indirectly protects Taiwan’s democracy of 23 million people. With US victory in the Cold War, the governments of 300 million people were freed from the ridiculous economic straightjacket of socialism. In addition, the US was responsible for the direct military protection of Japan (100 million people) and the people of Western Europe (200 million) during the Cold War.

And it hardly needs repeating: the US was decisive factor in the two world wars against fascism.

750 million people live under better government because of the US and her military. No other government, institution, charity or foreign aid program can boast of even a fraction of these historical accomplishments.

Many nations have fought alongside America in pursuit of these goals, and I do not mean to slight them. Some nations - like Great Britain and Austrailia - and full partners with a very similar forward looking world vision. Hundreds of years from now, when history books are written, they will record that these nations fought on the side of progress.

The good of the American influence doesn't stop with military prowess.

The US economy is the world’s biggest, responsible for one quarter of the world’s economic growth. For better or worse, our culture, our TV shows, movies and music are everywhere on the globe. This makes American culture the closet thing the a global culture that the world has. We make more, we consume more, we invent more and we give more than anyone else (the US gives more to charity than all other nations combined).

We also have the world’s freest trade policy (though it should be freer). And as a result, many nations of the world owe their economies to us.

It comes down to freedom. There is no freer nation in the world, and freedom (but more importantly, the free flow of information) is essential to economic growth. In a capitalist economy, the free flow of information tells everyone where the opportunities are, so that everyone has the ability to profit from them (the alternative is that the same sluggish companies have all the right information, but have no good ideas on what to do with it). In this way, you best insure that most able companies (or individuals) can be in place to take advantage. Likewise, when someone buys stock in a business, they can peruse the properly audited information about the company’s finances, all of it freely available.

All of this benefits the nation in a way that secrecy does not.

This, incidently, is why I’m not all that worried about China. At a certain point, they will realize that holding back the free flow of information is inhibiting their economic growth. Restricting information about companies will alienate foreign investment, and China will increasingly find that controlling information will hurt business. They will be forced to choose: yesterday’s tightly controlled but broken socialist system or the dynamism of a 21st century information economy.

I think they will choose wisely. And a government that cannot control information finds it difficult to maintain its aura of omniscience that is so important in a one party, socialist state.

Capitalism and democracy are necessary to one another: democracy is political freedom and capitalism is economic freedom.

Some people say we should be ashamed of America’s economy. It dominates the world, and that must be (so they say) unfair.

But I’m not ashamed. It means that we are industrious and inventive and, as a result: prosperous. The stagnant economies of Europe and the artificial economies of Asia should take note and learn the power of freedom, particularly the economic freedom we know as capitalism.

Capitalism, very unfortunately, is still a dirty word in many parts of the world.

There are still many in the US who don’t realize that the US has already won, and is pulling ahead, of the rest of the world. They sooth the losers – telling them that the US doesn’t play fair or some other rubbish – they comfort them in their ways and prevent them from reforming their systems to be more competitive.

This is nonsense. The European systems are rotting and desperately need to reform their restrictive labor practices, their trade policies and their overly protective governments. The Asians need to end the cozy relationships that their businesses enjoy with each other and with their home governments. Direct political control of economic growth (which is different from simple regulation, which IS important), as practiced by Japan’s MITI, rarely ends well.

It never gets sillier, though, than when people insist that Russia, Germany, France and China should have a vital say in – or veto power over - US foreign policy.

The US, they argue, is just another nation, with no claim to be more important than… say… Luxembourg.

It's comical when you think about it.

Russia, Germany, France and China (!) – four nations that have caused more misery than any others, giving the world Stalin, Hitler, Napoleon, and Mao. Four men who improved very few lives, and together killed hundreds of millions of people.

The principal goal of US foreign policy – the expansion of human liberty – is not a goal that should be subverted to the whims of others – particularly this motley crew.

The cause of liberty is too vital for debate or half measures.

If I ever came to know of any country more devoted to the cause of human liberty than United States of America, I would pack my bags and go there right away.

So far, I’m staying put. The future of the world – so far – lies between California and New York.

But the world will be a safer place if the future can include more nations. But Europe and Asia must evolve into freer economies for that to happen.

That, in a nutshell, is why I believe that the US is the last great hope of the world. Even if the world refuses to recognize it.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Haiti is travelling a well worn path

I've grown tired of dictators of all stripes. But some of them are so deluded as to be comical:

Aristide begs for international help against rebels

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - President Jean-Bertrand Aristide begged other nations yesterday to rescue Haiti from an intensifying crisis that he said raised the specter of mass deaths and could propel waves of "boat people" to U.S. shores.

Aristide was once an elected leader. When he was an alternative to the military thugs who took over Haiti in 1992, he had strong support from the US.

He squandered it in a typically African attempt to christen himself president for life. He wasted the good will of the world, and spent the aid money Haiti received on useless vanity projects.

Like so many African countries, Haiti (which is African in every sense except for its geography) suffers from big man syndrome.

I worked as Peace Corps volunteer in Sierra Leone and I have travelled in Haiti.

I believe the problem can be put bluntly: African governments are fakes. They have all the trappings of governmental authority: big buildings, presidential palaces, leaders in limos, and abundant office workers. But at the head of almost every agency is a corrupt man on the take, and the closer to the top you get, the more corruption you will see. Leaders pretend to fill a few vague criteria for donor nations, and then when the donor’s back is turned, they do pretty much as they please with the money in hand that they need to continue ruling. A typical country runs a budget that is largely financed by foreign aid, and every year these governments do precious little with it.

Aid, at least as it is currently known, does not generally solve problems in African countries. In the West, it may soothe consciences (the primary reason for it). But in Africa, aid is often part of the problem. It reinforces a toxic idea: in order to advance economically, Africans must curry favor with Western politicians. These governments do little with the aid money they are given. This being so, giving more aid to them is, truly, throwing good money after bad. You would do just as well to send it to a dictator’s Swiss bank account.

I suggest a different approach. I think that in most Sub-Saharan African countries, most aid given to the governments should be ended, and we should marshal our resources for the few countries that are willing to take the painful steps needed to solve their problems. This will concentrate our aid in countries that might just use it wisely.

The painful steps are the very "structural adjustment programs" that liberals consider harsh.

They are harsh, but they are necessary.

What are the painful steps? They are basic steps that any are the foundation of any working economy.

African nations must reduce budget deficits (which are the highest in the world). They desperately need to end price controls, particularly on food and energy. Price controls favor the rich in the cities while they impoverish farmers, encourage scarcity, and create black markets. Countries must stop recklessly printing worthless currency (which causes inflation), develop fair systems of taxation (so that citizens will develop a proprietary understanding of their governments), and clamp down on corruption (which is difficult if people do not have a proprietary understanding of their government).

It is vital for countries to open their borders to trade with (at least) other African countries. Right now, working for the customs department is the road to wealth for mid-level African bureaucrats: the bribes and tariffs are wealth creation, African style. Freeing trade will improve access to needed goods (especially food), stimulate competition and improve efficiency. Standards of living and diets will not be far behind.

State-owned enterprises, which fill the pockets of corrupt leaders, should be sold. Most of them divert government money and attention, and the collusion of business and government interests inevitably leads to corruption. Imagine if the owner of your company could have you arrested and tortured for not working hard enough. This is the case in the Congo. Cotonniere, the state-owned cotton monopoly, makes government officials rich and the police beat farmers when they fail to grow enough cotton. Business and government interests are best kept separate.

African property ownership thoroughly needs to be reformed and legitimized. Currently, Africans are allowed to work lands that have been in their families for centuries, but they do not own them and they can lose them at any time. Formal ownership of land would make households wealthier, give homeowners collateral so that they can formally borrow money, and reduce tribalism. It would also strengthen African legal systems, which in most cases are in their infancy.

What countries would practice such “radical” economic policies?

These are the very same policies practiced by the rich nations of the world, and they are the primary reason that these countries maintain their wealth. Africa has suffered for thirty years with nationalized industries, Marxist leaders preaching economic self-sufficiency and independence from the outside world. Bad economic policy is at the heart of African poverty.

What can the U.S. do? We could certainly stop dumping cheap subsidized food on them, for one. But the most important thing is simple: give African countries freedom to sell their products on the American market. West Africa would love to sell its fine cotton and cloth to Americans, not to mention its fruit, and Haiti would love to sell us sugar. If it weren’t for US law, the flood of hard currency would certainly transform these economies much more than any aid package would. The opening of the US market could be used as a reward for any country that is willing to undergo such painful structural reforms.

This is my vision, but free trade is currently a bad word. And liberals are abandoning it entirely.

This is terrible news for the US, American workers and consumers, and the world.


What is the going rate for dead Jews these days?

Lebanese group paying bonus for Israeli deaths

JERUSALEM - Lebanese guerrillas financing Palestinian suicide bombings have paid bonuses of several hundred dollars for each Israeli killed, the chairman of the Israeli parliament's security committee said yesterday....

A Knesset official made the charge. Palestinians confirmed it, but denied having a set fee scale...

No set fee scale? Oh, then I guess it's OK.....


"This is your pilot speaking..."

From Kim du Toit:
"In the unlikely event of a water landing, you may use your seat cushion as a flotation device..."

Oh, great.

Leaving aside the fact that an airliner usually effects a "water landing" with all the aplomb of a lawn dart, all I need is to be bobbing in the middle of the freezing Atlantic Ocean, and kept afloat by a piece of foam rubber impregnated with the 10,000 farts of Passengers Past.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

See no evil, hear no evil

Alan Greenspan testifies on the need to check the growth of social security before it is too late....

The congressmen listened attentively, of course.

Through random motion, that thought about entitlements probably entered into more than one Senator's ear.

In almost all cases, it rattled around a bit before it found the other ear hole, making its way out the stiffling emptiness.

Maybe it was chased out by a more pressing concerns...Senators are busy, and their brains are small but active:

"What am I going to eat for lunch?...Oh, he's done? ...Must applaud geeky economics guy... Move hands rhythmically...Smile...Shake hands...Think about lunch time.... "

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Not from the Onion....but it should be.

Here's another reason why our schools stink:

At Cramp Elementary (ha ha!) in Philadelphia, an employee's job was shifted after he made students write sentences. He inflicted, as the Inquirer puts it, "a repetitive-writing punishment" on his poor students.

Oh. My. God.

School debates disciplinary methods

At Cramp Elementary in West Kensington, there's an argument about how students should be disciplined, and veteran educator Fred Creel is at its center.

The clash between using stern, "old-school" methods, which Creel employed for seven years as disciplinarian, and teaching students to adopt "self-discipline," favored by principal Adrienne Carpenter, came to a head yesterday at a raucous meeting of more than 60 parents.

Many parents demanded the return of Creel, who was transferred out of his post to a teaching position at Cramp in October after parents complained he made disruptive students write sentences such as "I will not hit or head-butt someone" 100 times.

Officials at Cramp, a 900-student kindergarten-through-fifth-grade school, decided the writing assignments were a form of corporal punishment, and corporal punishment is prohibited by the district.

I practically spent my whole youth writing sentences!

I should sue!


John Kerry, war criminal?

John Kerry comes clean:

"I personally didn't see personal atrocities in the sense I saw somebody cut a head off or something like that," Kerry said. "However, I did take part in free-fire zones, I did take part in harassment and interdiction fire, I did take part in search-and-destroy missions in which the houses of noncombatants were burned to the ground. And all of these acts, I find out later on, are contrary to the Hague and Geneva conventions and to the laws of warfare. So in that sense, anybody who took part in those, if you carry out the application of the Nuremberg Principles, is in fact guilty."

And so in that sense, if we carry out the application of the Nuremberg Principles, John Kerry is guilty of war crimes.

Of course, this story is not in the same league as Bush's dental records from 1972.

But shouldn't it warrant at least a news story?

Anyway, in a few months, it could be a campaign commercial. Bush's people are probably splicing the tape as we speak.

(A nice pick up from Q and O.....)

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Pass the ammunition...

I hope that Wretchard is right about current events.

And prophetic about future ones:

In the future many observations will be made of this battle: that the Al Qaeda timed their assaults to coincide with US unit rotations through Iraq; that they chose the moment when the baton is passing from US soldier to Iraqi policeman. But if the Iraqi nation goes on to live another hundred years, it will remember this:

Officers from the 82nd Airborne Division stationed a 10-minute drive away could hear the battle clearly. They offered help but the Hammad said it wasn't needed. The Americans did provide additional ammunition and weapons, including light machine guns. After the battle, soldiers at the civil defense base proudly displayed a light machine gun and a pair of rocket propelled grenade launchers they had captured from the attackers.

That when dying and bleeding, beset by the flower of terrorism, with pistol to set against automatic rifle and grenade, the Iraqi police did not ask for help from 82nd Airborne.

They asked for ammunition.

We have given the Iraqis a chance. The question now - and the most important question of the whole war - is whether they will take it and run with it.

I pray that they do. For their sake and ours.

Friday, February 13, 2004

The bliss of youth

Lileks brings it all back for me. What I believed back then - in a nutshell:
Ronald Reagan had the IQ of a Sea-Monkey, and not only wanted nuclear war but was completely unaware of the consequences of such an event, because he hadn’t read that New Yorker article by Jonathan Schell!

All people in the military were either brainwashed killbots, or generals who saw weapons as phallic substitutes, playthings whose lethality they could not possibly comprehend (The phrase “Boys and their toys” was the height of insight in our circle)

The Soviets could be best deterred by signing agreements that spelled out exactly how many thousand ICBMs we could point at one another, and the more we showed we desperately wanted peace the more they would want to be our friends, and while the USSR was possibly, maybe, perhaps an evil empire, it was extremely unhelpful to say such a thing out loud

It was better to let all of Latin America fall to Soviet-friendly regimes than to support governments that did not resemble North Dakota school boards

Europe had it all figured out

Rich people suck.

How I've changed....

Thursday, February 12, 2004

That boring WMD non-issue....

Oh, ho hum.

The president is rattling on about WMD again. The intelligence was wrong in Iraq, and surely it's wrong again:

A. Q. Khan (the scientist who ran Pakistan's nuclear program) operated mostly out of Pakistan. He served as director of the network, its leading scientific mind, as well as its primary salesman. Over the past decade, he made frequent trips to consult with his clients and to sell his expertise. He and his associates sold the blueprints for centrifuges to enrich uranium, as well as a nuclear design stolen from the Pakistani government. The network sold uranium hexafluoride, the gas that the centrifuge process can transform into enriched uranium for nuclear bombs. Khan and his associates provided Iran and Libya and North Korea with designs for Pakistan's older centrifuges, as well as designs for more advanced and efficient models. The network also provided these countries with components, and in some cases, with complete centrifuges.

To increase their profits, Khan and his associates used a factory in Malaysia to manufacture key parts for centrifuges. Other necessary parts were purchased through network operatives based in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. These procurement agents saw the trade in nuclear technologies as a shortcut to personal wealth, and they set up front companies to deceive legitimate firms into selling them tightly controlled materials

It must be wrong.

But even if it isn't: Americans don't care anyway. They really want to talk about education and health care. We simply must find a way to get the government to totally pay for granny's drugs and all her operations. That's the issue that really matters to the American voter.

Foreign policy is on the back burner, the press tells us.

Incineration of American cities? Highly theoretical rubbish! The preoccupation of inferior minds...The people who read Clancy novels and other trash.

Enough sarcasm.

Sometimes I feel like we are living in a period of incredible blindness, like the ones that preceded Pearl Harbor and Sept 11th.

What dark days lie in our future? The days of nuclear terrorism are fast approaching and the nation is roiled by differing opinions on .... ?? ...

Dealing with the threats of Al Qaeda?

What to do about Pakistan's duplicity or North Korea's belligerence?

Strategy to head off a nuclear attack on our cities?

No, the most fervent debate is on whether gay people's unions should be recognized as marriages.

Or civil unions.

Or "living in sin."

Oh brother....

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Here comes President Kerry (?)

I am going into the 2004 election in a somber mood. I think Bush is fairly likely to lose in November, but that is not why I am down.

In fact, I’m a little ambivalent about that.

Bush reminds me a lot of his father: wasting government money to win over people who will never vote for him while ignoring a revolt among fiscal conservatives (whose votes he takes for granted).

Up until last month, I thought there was nothing worse than a “tax and spend” liberal.

Oh but there is: a BORROW and spend “conservative.” I am also sick of George Bush, the social conservative. I’m tired of his useless platitudes, and his superficial appeals to “voting blocks." When it comes to big government, he is a RINO (Republican In Name Only). His runaway spending threatens the future economic health of the country almost as much as the Democrat's recklesslessly idealistic foreign policy fantasies do.

But I have to vote for him anyway. I vote Republican because the Republicans are the adult party. In theory, they abhor “big government” and new spending programs. They distrust welfare and the entitlements. They are (still) the party most likely to reform Social Security and Medicare (essential step for the future of my children). When Republicans spend money, they spend it on the military – a useful investment in a dangerous and unpredictable world.

By contrast, the Democrats tell everyone what they what to hear. Consummate politicians, they cannot help but tell every group what they would do for them, and how they would help them if they were in office. Promises, promises – all soon forgotten when they get into office (if we’re lucky - - sometimes they actually keep their promises). Every interest group gets a gift, and we all get the bill. The bills for Medicare and Social Security will be paid by my children. The Democrats, predictably, would like to make that bill even more onerous by putting a government health insurance program in place.

As I see it, there are three promises John Kerry must now make if he wants to get elected (and I think he's smart enough to make them):

1. President Kerry will not abandon Iraq, and US will stay to insure that a more representative government is in place.

2. President Kerry will not “roll back” the tax cuts (except perhaps to the very wealthy), and will try to get the government to live within its means. (This is nothing but a promise – but Kerry’s "promise made" will trump Bush’s "promise broken:" a "conservative" with a record of unfettered spending.)

3. President Kerry will not pursue any bold new entitlement programs like national health insurance. (At least not yet.).

Such moves won’t please his Democratic base, but they are likely to get him elected.

They won't be enough for me. For national security reasons, the idea of Democratic president still makes me physically sick. It used to give me tremors of terror. But if Kerry makes those promises, it won’t be quite that bad: just the mild gut rumblings one gets with an attack of mild diarrhea.

There would be a certain amount of justice in a 2004 Bush loss: Politicans shouldn't squander the treasury trying to get re-elected.

Being a Democrat, President Kerry is likely to be tone deaf to that lesson.

And then maybe we'll get President McCain in 2008. His campaign finance reform silliness aside, I think he is serious about fixing entitlements, cutting pork and protecting the nation.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Why I love the fence.

When Israel started building a protective wall, many complained that Israel couldn't expect a mere barrier to protect it from the rising tide of Muslim fanatics.

I expected such silliness from liberals: they are always eager to buy off Isalmic terror. I suspect they just really thought it unfair that Israel refused to be brought to its knees by Hamas and Arafat.

The Bush Administration unwisely criticized the wall. It wouldn't work, they said, and it wasn't "constructive."

But behold! The wall is working, protecting Israeli schoolchildren from the wicked men who would blow them to bits:

Attacks are down, and thwarted attacks are up. Since the wall was first built along areas that suffered frequent attacks, the attackers are being corralled into new and more perilous routes, and many of them are being caught by the Israeli police.

The wall is now a success, but soon it will be a triumph.

The only thing that unites the Palestinians is their hatred of Jews. That hatred allows them to tolerate Arafat's corruption and incompetence. Their (wrong headed) perception is that Arafat - by winking at terror - will bring them more Israeli concessions.

In this crazy mindset, each terrorist attack was "progress," cheered on by the Palestinian mobs.

In one particularly poignant moment, the deliberate murder of a five-year-old girl was pure liquor to a mob drunk with hatred for Jews. Gal Aizenman was five years old when she was killed:

Palestinian mobs celebrated and called for the murder of more Jewish children.


The Israelis worked harder to save their children from Gal's fate. The construction of the wall sped up.

There are fewer attacks today, and there will be fewer still in the future. This will have grave consequences for the Palestinians.

The Palestinians are deeply divided, and groups like Hamas, Hezb'Allah and Islamic Jihad draw devoted followings that threaten Arafat's Fatah movement. Frustration will sharpen these divisions, and at some point, they are likely to become violent.

In addition, the wall will also make it harder for Palestinians who work in Israel, and their income is a major factor in the Authority's economy. Israel will import more workers from other countries who are less of a security threat.

This is a lethal combination for Arafat. Without evidence of continued "progress" against Israel (i.e. terrorist attacks), he will lose popularity to various splinter groups. With accelerated economic decay and corruption, these groups will exercise new authority.

The result is likely to be civil war in the Palestinian territories, a civil war that Israel will watch from behind its wall.

I'd say that this was a terrible thing, but I do not believe that.

The Palestinians choose war: they were offered most of what they wanted at the negiotiating table. They rejected it outright.

Now they will get their war. It just won't be the war they wanted (against the Jews).

They will lose (once again).

And this is an important message to every other "popular" movement in the world. The leaders of the FARC in Columbia are watching. So are the leaders of PKK. And the Basques. The IRA. The Zapatistas. And so is Al Qaeda. All types of separatist groups and nationalist movements are wondering if terrorism can bring democracy to its knees.

The devastation of the Palestinians should provide them with an answer. (Whether they learn from it or not is something else entirely.)

In the interest of peace, the message should be clear: blowing up civilians is a losing strategy.

It must fail whenever its tried.

(Table found on Cold Fury)

Monday, February 02, 2004

How'd they get so stupid? They read their (state controlled) newspapers!

It's always fun to hear what the Arabs tell themselves in their media:

The Saudi Press: 'Bush Didn't Stop Beating the Drums of War;' 'The American People Itself Will be Scorched by It'

In an editorial titled "The American President, George Bush, Threatens the World with War!" the Saudi government daily 'Okaz wrote: "The American president George Bush ... did not stop beating the drums of war in his address! In contrast with his previous address ... in which he celebrated the decision to go to war against Afghanistan and announced the war on Iraq, in his last address the American president turned war into an open option and threatened additional wars if the American people elect him for another term...!

"With this strategy for marketing the option of war, President Bush seeks to evade the American people's demand for accountability regarding his reasons for launching his wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq. He went to war in Afghanistan and did not achieve the defeat of terror that he promised. He went to war in Iraq to get rid of the weapons of mass destruction... [but] although he succeeded in overcoming Saddam, he did not find the WMDs for which he went to war!

"The American president wants the American people to give him the power to go to war with no hesitation. What is important is for the American people to have a better option than the war strategy for which its president is calling - otherwise the American people itself will be scorched by the fire of war even before the American president burns the world with it."

The Syrians know the routine too:
The Syrian Press: 'Bush's So-Called Achievements Are Nothing But Mistakes, Errors, And Catastrophes'

In general, the official Syrian press ignored Bush's address, but on its front pages highlighted criticism that came in its wake, particularly Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's calling Bush's [foreign] policy "arrogant and inept."

In the Syrian government daily Teshreen, Bassam Radhwan wrote: "There is no doubt that President Bush's address constitutes an election campaign, by means of which he tried to emphasize the domestic and foreign 'achievements' of the Republican administration. All the criticism directed toward the address, [coming] primarily out of the U.S. itself, notes that what President Bush calls 'achievements' are nothing but the Republicans' mistakes, errors, and catastrophes... On the foreign policy level, the address began by [stating] that the 'mission' was not yet completed, primarily regarding the struggle against 'terror,' Iraq, weapons of mass destruction, and spreading 'democracy.'

It's good to see that Kerry is the Arab candidate. Good news for Bush.
Jordanian Press: 'Bush's Address: A Tragedy Not Only for Mankind, But For the Peoples of the Middle East'

Columnist Rakan Al-Majali wrote in the Jordanian government daily Al-Dustour: "The useful thing about Bush's address was that the Arabs will understand that the U.S. is not interested in solving the Palestinian problem, except according to the conditions set by Israel and according to the balance of power that aspires to impose facts in the field... We must also understand that the American call to establish democracy in the Arab homeland and Muslim world by way of dictates is nothing but an attempt to embarrass the regimes. Again, the positive thing in Bush's address was the clarity of his hostile approach to the region, its people, and its countries. Oh Allah the Savior... "

Our good friends the Egyptians - who recieve $2 billion a year in US foreign aid - are in the game too:
The Egyptian Press: 'President Bush has Ceased to Act with Logic and Common Sense'

In an article titled "A Big Disappointment" the editor of Egyptian daily Al-Akhbar, Jalal Daweidar, wrote: "The 'state of the union' speech of the U.S. President Bush is a big disappointment for the entire world in general and for the countries and peoples of the Middle East in particular. All the elements in the president's speech didn't go beyond the content of a broken record; talking about terror, the security of the U.S. and spreading democracy on the American way. These shining titles ignore the real reasons for the problems facing the U.S. and don't aim at serving the peoples concerned and their freedom. They assure that their fundamental aim is to serve the American interests which are in alliance with the Zionist interests and nothing more...

"It seems that President Bush, under the influence of the extreme right groups and the Zionist lobby has ceased to act with logic and common sense. He has ignored the enormous oppression that the Middle East peoples suffer from the American power for the benefit of Israel. In order to be able to find honest solution to the problem, it is necessary to admit without arrogance that this policy ... is the production line responsible for the birth to the enemies of the U.S. in the Middle East and the whole world...

Yes, a free press will do wonders for that region. It will allow Arab liberals and moderates to question the party line.


Where are the headline police?

B2K's 'You Got Served' Boogies to No. 1 Debut

I got served what?


Stupid rodent superstitions

Groundhog Predicts Six More Weeks of Winter

Now what does that mean?

By my calculation, six more weeks of winter means winter will "end" on March 17th.

Spring flowers in early April? That's not too bad.

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