Sunday, June 11, 2006

InstaHoglets 11th June 06

  • The calculated insult to international diplomacy that is John Bolton continues to spew invective and warmongering bloodlust. This time, he has hawked up all over Condi Rice's new policy of negotiations with Iran, darkly warning that he doesn't expect that policy to work and that sanctions should just be a first step towards regime change. No wonder the world thinks the U.S. is run by thugs - America sent a thug to be its primary voice in international forums. And unbelievably, there are those thuggish enough to want Bolton as President! I've a better idea - when an ambassador cannot agree with the policy of his President and Secretary of State, a policy he is honor-bound to back while he still wears the mantle, he should resign.

  • Abbas and Hamas are at loggerheads over a referendum that the Israeli leader says is "meaningless" in any case. Meanwhile, Hamas have ended a unilateral truce which lasted 18 months over the Israeli shelling of kids at a beach picnic. Mind you, the Israeli apology for that shelling has to be read to be believed in all its weasel-worded insincerity:

    The head of the Southern Command Aviv Kochavi, said through a spokesman, "I cannot say what caused this incident. We have fired thousands of shells in the past and this has never happened before. We are investigating at this time but it seems that neither Air nor Naval means were the cause. We fired towards open areas ...and towards the ruins of Dugit, an area which is routinely used for rocket launching. The Palestinian population was warned to steer clear of this area. If as a result of our activity innocent Palestinians were hurt, I'm sorry for it."

    Shorter version - "we're sorry we can't aim straight. We were trying to kill a whole different bunch of Palestinians who might well have been innocent too."

  • I'm certain, if you live outwith the UK, that you heard last week about two people arrested in London on suspicion of conducting a plot to detonate a chemical bomb in London. Tony Blur said he was 101% sure of the plot. But you may not have heard that both suspects have been released without charges - after police failed to find any link to an alleged biological terror plot whatsoever.

    Tony Blur has, in the last decade, devoted himself to making sure that Brits become more like Americans...including turning the nation that once had Blitz Spirit into one scared of its own shadow. It's sad that he has been so successful. (Sorry, dear readers, but most Americans really are 'fraidy-cats. Utterly risk-averse even if it means losing the freedoms you are supposed to be fighting for. Just look at the nonsense written about cellphones on planes or at public support for NSA wiretapping.)

  • Here's one thing from the Red State heartland I will happily agree with - under the measure signed by Oklahoma's Gov. Brad Henry on Friday, anyone convicted twice for rape, sodomy or lewd molestation involving children under 14 can face the death penalty. For me, the justice system should be about rehabilitation, not revenge. Only in cases where rehabilitation is impossible (like most pedophiles) and the prospect of escape or release (with an inevitable re-offence) is too horrible to countenance should the world take the ultimate step to wash its hands of a human being and execute them as expediently as possible. My rationale would mean less executed murderers (mainly the BTK types) but more executed sex criminals - and a lot less waiting time on death row. Anyone have a problem with that?

  • I'm amazed that more people aren't talking about this one. Maybe someone could bring it to Ezra Klein's attention? It seems the 2003 Medicare drug bill also created a bipartisan Congressional commission to look into healthcare needs. Their conclusion? Americans want universal healthcare - probably paid for by a payroll deduction!

    In other words, Americans want a National Health Service very akin to that which exists in the UK. I've previously pointed out that it could be had for less than the present U.S. system costs the populace and probably deliver better results than the currently underfunded British version. I'm tempted to paraphrase a great Churchill quotation about democracy - "A National Health Service is imperfect, it is just less imperfect than any other system."

  • Activists beware - if you are hanging out with an attractive older woman who seems fascinated by your geekiness but keeps pressuring you to build bombs and actually do something instead of just passing out leaflets - you might be the victim of an entrapment sting by an FBI agent provocateur.

  • Some more essential commentary on Zarqawi's death. Nir Rosen says that it won't do much, if anything, to halt the Iraqi civil war. Riverbend, blogging from Iraq, agrees and says "Now- who do they have to kill to stop the Ministry of Interior death squads, and trigger-happy foreign troops?"

  • Nowadays, there are bloggers who put out op-ed analysis at least as good as any in the MSM and rarely get the kudos for it. "pessimist" at The Left Coaster notes that if Zarqawi's death was a small victory in the war on terror then happenings in Somalia, where Islamists have wrested the captial from the control of US-backed warlords, constitute a major defeat. A must read run-down on events so far and likely events to come.

  • In New Zealand, the former chairman of their far-right National Front party has formed his own white supremacist militia which promises violent action and is trying to collect military hardware. A reminder that not all threats to free democratic society come from fascists with brown skin who pray towards Mecca...praying fanatics and bigots of any color are dangerous.
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