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May 13, 2008

Should We Intervene in Burma?

There's been some speculation that the United States should intervene in Burma, renamed Myanmar by the ruling junta that has been slowly strangling that nation for over 40 years. Add to that the recent cyclone that may have killed up to 100,000 people and the fact that the junta is not allowing foreign aid workers in to help distribute food and supplies offered willingly by other nations (including American aid, which was rejected out of hand) and the human catastrophe becomes simply astronomical.

But should the United States lead the charge? As heartless as it may sound, I would say no...not at this time. Let me explain.

As horrid as the conditions are in Burma, the country itself poses little or no threat to American interests. They aren't planning to attack us or our allies any time soon. Bear in mind too that the Burmese junta has a great deal of support from China, and it's not really in our best interests to antagonize China right now.

The American military is stretched quite far these days, with troops in Afghanistan and Iraq -- not to mention our peacekeeping presence in nations like Germany and South Korea. And anti-war activists have been screaming about the cost in human and monetary terms since we first entered Iraq in 2003. Would they welcome our entering Burma as well? If they do, they are bigger hypocrites than I ever imagined.

And speaking of Iraq, yes, conditions for the Iraqi people were just as bad, if not worse, than they are for the Burmese. They were being tortured, starved and even eliminated by a brutal dictatorial government. But the main difference is this: in a post-9/11 world, President Bush -- along with former president Bill Clinton, members of Congress, the UN and a number of other world leaders -- believed Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs. We went on the intelligence we had at the time, which believed that Hussein was planning on using his stockpile against us and our allies. Knowing only what we knew then, we could not afford to call his bluff.

Five years later, even though the tide has turned in Iraq, we are still being pilloried for our presence there. We've been criticized by the Left at home and by naysayers abroad for our "unilateral" approach to entering Iraq. So why should we take the "unilateral" approach in Burma -- especially when there's nothing in it for us? What is anyone else doing about it?

The usual suspects believe that military intervention is fine as long as it's purely humanitarian (Darfur comes immediately to mind, as does Bosnia). When it comes to military intervention that would somehow benefit U.S. foreign policy goals, then such action is suddenly uncalled for.

If we had nothing else going on, I might agree that we should try to do something. But we have more than enough on our plate right now. As sorry as I am for the plight of the Burmese people, we cannot fix all of the ills in the world. As usual, damned if we do, damned if we don't.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 11:10 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | International

May 02, 2008

Britain's Labour Party Receives Major Drubbing

The local council elections in Britain are turning into a nightmare for the ruling Labour Party. The BBC reports:

Gordon Brown has admitted a "bad and disappointing" election for Labour, as the party suffered its worst council results in at least 40 years.

BBC research suggests Labour won 24% of votes cast in England and Wales, behind the Tories on 44% and Lib Dems on 25%.

In total Labour lost 331 councillors and key councils like Reading. Tory gains include Bury and North Tyneside.

Britain has been a Socialist paradise for years now. But things may finally have hit the tipping point: it's possible that the citizens are finally starting to tire of the expensive government programs subsidized by higher and higher taxes, coupled with the multiculturalists' slow eradication of British culture.

It doesn't help that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown (whom my friend Adrian always refers to as the "unelected" prime minister...he simply stepped in when Tony Blair stepped out) gave their citizens the finger by signing the EU treaty rather than allow the citizens decide with a referendum as promised. That and his idiotic stance on how to define Islamic terrorism (unfortunately being echoed recently by the Bush administration) may have been enough to convince Brits to say, "Enough!"

I asked Adrian for his thoughts on the election results. After gleefully declaring that it was "a good day -- knowing the anti-democratic sod Gordon Brown has egg all over his face," he sent a follow-up with a more thoughtful and detailed analysis:

Some analysts yesterday, when poll results were coming in, tried to suggest that the figures were a protest vote against Labour/Gordon Brown.

Shortly after that, they were saying that the patterns of voting were so decisive that the phenomenon was not a mere protest vote but a total rejection of Labour policy.

And the implications for the party are really bad.

Today there was another bit of news against Brown.

He has been so anti-democratic. He was not elected, and Labour got into power in 2005 on a manifesto promise of having a referendum on any European "constitution". The European Treaty he signed is a constitution, and man people -- even Labour supporters -- feel betrayed.

And this poor result for a man who has not been elected by the people could mean a revolt in Labour ranks.

Which is what I want to see. If Labour is fighting over its leader, there is more incentive to have a general election. And Labour would lose a general election -- from yesterday's vote.

If the party is fighting, it would be unelectable. That is what happened when John Major (Tory) had a revolt from his party (again over Europe). The Tories went out of power for a decade.

Hopefully Labour will just die as a party. They could not get into power for years because no-one wanted socialism any more. Blair appealed to right-wingers, even though he later betrayed them. Gordon Brown is a boring old Marxist. And thus is out of touch with the electorate. His views belong to another era -- the 1960s and 1970s, when workers were going on strike and bringing the economy to the brink of stagnation.

By general election, Adrian refers to a parliamentary election, where Brown's seat (and others in parliament) would be up for grabs. Unlike the U.S., the Brits don't have what we would call federal elections every two or four years. Legally there must be a general election held five years and one month after the previous one, but they can be called by the party in power at any time. So with this pathetic performance by Labour in the council (local government) election, Britain may be seeing a general election in the near future.

And speaking of London mayor Ken Livingstone (affectionately referred to as Red Ken for his Commie-like tendencies), it looks like he's on the way out too.

Is this the beginning of a reversal of Socialized Britain as we know it? I don't know. But I surely hope so. A great nation has been brought to its knees by Socialist/multicultural claptrap. I'm hoping they get it together so they can stand tall once again.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 02:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | International

October 02, 2007

Burmese Bloggers Being Hunted

The news from Burma (renamed Myanmar by its brutal oppressors) is serious. Not only have protestors (including peaceful monks) been gunned down, but now the Junta is going after bloggers. I had heard about this from someone else, but Blue Crab Boulevard has the goods.

It's tempting to joke that groups like Media Matters and MoveOn would like to do the same to conservative bloggers, but the situation is too grave for that.

Sandra Carney has written a series of articles on the situation in Burma for Family Security Matters. She was born and raised there, so it's obviously a very distressing time for her. Her archived articles can be found here, with the most recent articles at the top. Be sure to check them out.

The Burmese bloggers are responsible for many of the images getting out of Burma, and it's quite obvious why they are now being targeted for death themselves. Reuters has a slideshow here, and more images are here. WARNING: graphic photos, especially on the second link. Don't click if you are at all squeamish.

Pray for the people of Burma, and pray that other civilized countries (including ours) will try to do something about their plight.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 04:53 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | International

September 04, 2007

He Probably Has a Pair of X-Ray Specs, Too!

Iran's President Ahmadinejad is absolutely, positively certain that America will not attack Iran. Reason one:

"In some discussions I told them 'I am an engineer and I am examining the issue. They do not dare wage war against us and I base this on a double proof'," he said in the speech on Sunday, reported by the reformist Etemad Melli and Kargozaran newspapers.

"I tell them: 'I am an engineer and I am a master in calculation and tabulation.

"I draw up tables. For hours, I write out different hypotheses. I reject, I reason. I reason with planning and I make a conclusion. They cannot make problems for Iran.'"

No tables were available for review, by the way. Then again, I wouldn't want to be the one to ask, as it would probably result in my being hanged, beheaded or stoned. Next!

The deeply religious president said his second reason was: "I believe in what God says."

"God says that those who walk in the path of righteousness will be victorious. What reason can you have for believing God will not keep this promise."

Interesting. George Bush is often mocked for his deeply religious convictions...convictions that guide him, but don't dictate that everyone who doesn't believe the same things he does must be annihilated. If that were true, then we'd be short quite a few Democrats in Congress.

But I don't hear the same dripping derision and scorn used to describe Bush's religious beliefs used to describe Ahmadinejad's.

Wonder why that is?


His religious credentials are never questioned...

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Posted by Pam Meister at 12:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | International

July 31, 2007

US Reps Stick Nose into Canadian, Japanese Business

If the shoe was on the other foot, how many of us would be telling Canada to minds its own beeswax? Via Breitbart:

The US House of Representatives on Monday unanimously passed a resolution demanding that Ottawa end the hunting of baby seals in Canada.
The resolution was introduced by Democrat Tom Lantos, chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, and Christopher Shays, Republican of Connecticut.

The resolution said that more than a million seals have been killed in the past three years, and that over the past five years, 95 percent of the seals killed were less than 12 weeks of age, with the youngest just 12 days old.

Yes: I think clubbing baby harp seals is a nasty practice. But shouldn't our reps be worrying more about our business? Like, say, burgeoning congressional pork and winning (not losing) the war in Iraq?

Plus, Stephen Harper, Canada's PM, is more of a friend to us than his predecessor, leftie Paul Martin. So let's not sour this budding relationship by putting our two cents in when it hasn't been asked for!

Congress has a lot to do without looking for fluff work that makes it seem as though important things are being accomplished, like demanding that Japan apologize for sex slavery that took place during World War II. Shouldn't Japan be able to make that decision without us badgering them about it?

Will Congress pass a resolution demanding that slavery in the Middle East (in countries like Sudan) finally be abolished? Likely not, as this area is cloaked in the heavy mantle of political correctness. Meanwhile, the House is busy bullying our allies over issues that are truly none of our business.

Yet another reason Congress' ratings are in the toilet.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 09:56 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | International

June 27, 2007

Farewell, Tony Blair

Tony Blair is now the former Prime Minister of Britain. He made a final speech before the House of Commons this morning. His successor, Treasury chief Gordon Brown, takes control of the reins as of today.

While he is known for his unfortunate social liberalism (he has helped usher in Britain's ever-growing nanny state status), Blair has been a steadfast friend to the US during difficult times. Not once has he backed down from his decision to ally with us in Afghanistan and Iraq. In fact, he used this morning's speech to confirm that:

Blair also used the session to say he was sorry for the perils faced by British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he gave no apology for his decisions to back the United States in taking military action.

Blair expressed condolences to the families of the fallen, this week including two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

"I am truly sorry about the dangers that they face today in Iraq and Afghanistan," Blair said.

"I know some may think that they face these dangers in vain; I don't and I never will. I believe they are fighting for the security of this country and the wider world against people who would destroy our way of life," he said.

"Whatever view people take of my decisions, I think there is only way view to take of them: they are the bravest and the best," Blair added.

I know I wish Tony Blair only the best in the years to come. He stuck by us through thick and thin. Whether Gordon Brown will, or whether he will choose to let this unique trans-Atlantic friendship wither on the vine, remains to be seen.

Thanks for everything, Tony! (AP photo/Tom Hevezi)

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Posted by Pam Meister at 08:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | International

April 18, 2007

World Doesn't Trust US To Act Responsibly

Rant alert!

Oh goody, more criticism from the world:

CHICAGO (AFP) - There is widespread global concern that the United States cannot be trusted to act responsibly in the world, according to a multinational poll released here Wednesday.

But while there is broad international frustration with how the United States conducts its foreign policy, few people around the world want the United States to completely back off its role as a global policeman, the poll found.

That probably means they still want us to send money and military when they ask us to. Kind of like how teenagers don't want their parents around, but still expect allowance to be paid on time, and for mom and dad to bail them out when they get into some kind of trouble.

You can read the results for yourself.

At this point, I would be more than happy to withdraw from every single thing that didn't affect us directly. Pull our troops out of Europe and either let them come home or put them somewhere where they're truly needed. Let Europe and the rest of the world take care of themselves. If Iran decides to threaten a European country with nukes? Let them. If Russia decides to try to take back its role as dominant power in that part of the world? Fine with me. Islamofascists want to create a new Arab state in France? Fine, let the French reap what they sow.

Oh, and if they don't trust us, then I don't think they should expect our money anymore either. I say let's cut off international aid. We could better spend that money here at home.

I'm pretty much sick of the rest of the world right now.


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Posted by Pam Meister at 08:43 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | International

April 12, 2007

BBC Three-Part Series: Anti-Americanism Examined

Reporting for the BBC, Justin Webb takes on anti-Americanism in a three-part series. His first installment focuses on the home of anti-Americanism: France, specifically Paris. Read it here.

The BBC allowing such things to be said...who would have thought?

h/t: Davids Medienkritik

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Posted by Pam Meister at 12:34 PM | Comments (28) | TrackBack (0) | International

April 04, 2007

Iran Says It Will Return British Sailors

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he will "pardon" the sailors and return them home as a "gift" to the British people. How magnanimous of him. I guess he's used them all he can for his little PR stunt, and figures he'd better get while the going's good.

Ahmadinejad said Iran will never accept trespassing in its territorial waters.

"On behalf of the great Iranian people, I want to thank the Iranian coast guard who courageously defended and captured those who violated their territorial waters," he said.

"We are sorry that British troops remain in Iraq and their sailors are being arrested in Iran," Ahmadinejad said.

There is doubt that the sailors were even in Iranian waters, despite the fact that the sailors "confessed" to trespassing. But Ahmadinejad's not the kind of guy to let conflicting evidence to get in his way.

Ahmadinejad went on to criticize the British navy for deploying Lead Seaman Faye Turney overseas when she has a child at home, deploring the West's lack of "family values." I suppose Middle Eastern family values, where women are considered to be subhuman and children are used by terrorists in car bombings, are more to his taste.

I won't believe Ahmadinejad until those sailors have been handed over. He's not the kind of guy I would trust in a handshake deal. If he is true to his word in this instance, I'll be glad that the whole thing is over. Until, of course, the next time. I have no doubt there will be some kind of next time.

UPDATE: From yesterday, but still worth reading. John Hawkins discusses how this hostage situation has shown the worthlessness of European allies.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 08:49 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | International

April 03, 2007

Some Much-Needed Perspective on Brit Hostage Situation

Tim Wilson, writing for Family Security Matters, chimes in on how he thinks the British sailors and Marines got into this mess, and why it's dragged on as long as it has. Here's his opener:

The current hostage crisis in Iran is showing the problems of weak leadership at a time when strength is needed. Prime Minister Tony Blair may have been committed to Iraq, but his failure to respond robustly to this latest outrage shows clearly he is no Churchill or Thatcher. His popularity in the USA is not matched at home and amongst the UK military he was not well regarded before this latest challenge. As a result he is more worried about petty politics than the damage done to Western credibility by the success of this latest Iranian outrage.

Click here for the rest. According to Wilson's bio, "a retired British Army officer who served in a variety of command appointments on numerous operational tours during a 30 year military career," so I would think his insight carries some weight.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 02:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | International

April 02, 2007

Britain Fiddles While Sailors "Burn"

There used to be a time when Britain didn't take guff from anyone. As one of Michelle Malkin's readers comments,

25 years ago today, British Royal Marines fought back when someone came to get them. See the Royal Marine Detachment at Port Stanley at the opening of the Falklands War.

In an earlier post, I said Tony Blair wasn't squishy when it came to his military. It seems I'm being proven sadly wrong. In this Washington Times op-ed, Diana West concurs.

When a civilization no longer inculcates an overriding attachment to its own survival, well, it no longer survives as a civilization. In peacetime, the disintegration appears more theoretical. In wartime, the holes really begin to show.

Sticking with Britain as an example, when Tony Blair long ago brought forth his "Cool Britannia," multiculti, domestic agenda, the ensuing debate was a "culture war," not a real war. It might have politically divided Britain, but the country seemed to remain intact. When the government of Britain recently responded to a recognized act of war against its military personnel by threatening diplomacy, a kind of emptiness to the whole British enterprise was exposed.

Indeed. A commenter at this post says, "Blair is almost to the point of yelling, 'Great Scott!'"

Britain used to be one of the world's foremost military powers. Now, instead of giving Iran an ultimatum and then following through, government officials are thinking of apologizing to Iran. Winston Churchill must be rolling in his grave. I can't even imagine what Margaret Thatcher is thinking.

Iran is exploiting this namby pamby, "We Are the World" attitude that has swept Britain (and other Western nations) into its thrall since the 1990s. Mark Steyn puts in his two cents:

So we live today in a world of one-way sovereignty: American, British and Iraqi forces in Iraq respect the Syrian and Iranian borders; the Syrians and Iranians do not respect the Iraqi border. Patrolling the Shatt al-Arab at a time of war, the Royal Navy operates under rules of engagement designed by distant fainthearts with an eye to the polite fictions of “international law”: If you’re in a “warship,” you can’t wage war. If you’re in a “destroyer,” don’t destroy anything. If you’re in a “frigate,” you’re frigging done for.

All this dithering on Britain's part only serves to embolden Iran and other would-be rogue states. A popular British mascot has been the bulldog, known for its tenacity. Perhaps the Brits should consider replacing the bulldog with the teacup chihuahua. Truth in advertising, and all that rot.

UPDATE: I was looking for this link, as I wanted to include it in the main post, but only just came upon it (h/t Right Wing Nation):

The only wry smile to be derived from the humiliating circumstances in which our 15 sailors and Royal Marines were captured by just six Iranians came from the comment by Patricia Hewitt. "It was deplorable," pronounced our tight-lipped Health Secretary, "that the woman hostage should be shown smoking. This sends completely the wrong message to our young people."

Considering British doctors were pushing to have long sharp knives banned because they can *gasp* be used as weapons, perhaps we shouldn't be so surprised that the Health Secretary is more concerned with Faye Turney having a stress-relieving smoke than the fact that Turney is being held hostage in Iran. Priorities, people...

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Posted by Pam Meister at 10:12 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | International

March 31, 2007

Pelosi Ignores Brit Sailor Plight

You know, for a leader (the highest-ranking woman in the US, we are constantly reminded), Nancy Pelosi sure has a lot to learn. She and her hand-selected companions (including the token Republican) left for the Middle East yesterday, with nary a word on the plight of the 15 British sailors and Marines being held hostage in Iran.

"I am very disappointed that the speaker chose not to act," said Rep. Charles Dent, R-Pa.

"I believe it's important for us as Americans to show our solidarity with the Britons," he added in a phone interview Friday. "The British are our closest allies, and I think we have to stand next to them in a moment like this."

Agreed. Since we got over our differences over 200 years ago, Britain has been our staunchest ally. Even if we can't actually do anything about the situation in Iran until (1) the British act first and (2) they ask us, a show of support and solidarity from our elected leaders is the very least we should offer at this juncture.

But Pelosi & Co. obviously don't see things that way. That the priority is to travel to the Middle East to speak to the president of Syria (against the wishes of this administration) in a blatant affront to President Bush speaks volumes. Britain's situation is just a minor detail.

Obviously, Britain needs to step up to the plate first. Their dithering is making the situation even worse. Iran is doing its best to show other Middle Eastern countries that the West is all bluff and bluster. Continued attempts at diplomacy in a situation where diplomacy is a joke simply bolster Iran's position amongst its neighbors.

No doubt the recent Congressional vote to pull out of Iraq on a specified date is contributing to Iran's renewed beligerence. But power here at home is more important than international consequences.

Democrats worry more about the good opinion of countries like France and Germany, even though France and Germany do everything they can to jam a stick in our foreign policy spokes, and ignore Britain when she needs us. We should all feel embarrassed on their behalf, since they obviously aren't.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 09:32 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | International

March 29, 2007

Spiegel Online: Evil Americans, Poor Mullahs

Here's an article from Spiegel Online (the English translation) that is an absolute must-read if you are at all concerned about the rash of anti-Americanism in Europe, specifically in Germany. Don't think it exists? With today's technology allowing us to hear and read news from all over the world, if you don't know about it, you must be too busy watching Dancing With the Stars. Teaser:

[German] Anti-Americanism is hypocrisy at its finest. You can spend your evening catching the latest episode of "24" and then complain about Guantanamo the next morning. You can claim that the Americans have themselves to blame for terrorism, while at the same time calling for tougher restrictions on Muslim immigration to Germany. You can call the American president a mass murderer and book a flight to New York the next day. You can lament the average American's supposed lack of culture and savvy and meanwhile send off for the documents for the Green Card lottery.

Not a day passes in Germany when someone isn't making the wildest claims, hurling the vilest insults or spreading the most outlandish conspiracy theories about the United States. But there's no risk involved and it all serves mainly to boost the German feeling of self-righteousness.

It goes on to discuss how America is the guy in the black hat, while Iran and other Muslim countries wear the white one. Read the rest here.

David's Medienkritik, the German blog devoted to exposing the never-ending anti-American sentitment in German media, has an important point to make:

MAJOR PROBLEM: Neither Malzahn nor Gloger address the key role German media, particularly SPIEGEL and Stern, have played in drastically raising the level of anti-Americanism in Germany over the past several years. In that sense they and their colleagues remain - (Thomas Kleine Brockhoff comes to mind) - in a deep "state of denial." Introspection and self-criticism are painful - but to ignore the horrific malpractice and anti-Americanism in German media over the past several years is, in a sense, to play the audience for fools.

Emphasis mine.

This reminds me of the problems in our own media, where the major outlets are in a state of denial regarding their liberal slant when covering the news. Journalists, constantly looking for ways to expose shoddy practices in business and government, shy away from going so far as to expose their own shoddy practices.

It's a token article, surely. But one that is welcome nonetheless.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 12:51 PM | Comments (46) | TrackBack (0) | International

March 28, 2007

Blair Turns Up Heat on Iran

Tony Blair may be squishy when it comes to social policies in Britain, but he's no squish when it comes to Britain's national security and military. He's now saying that if the 15 sailors and Marines Iran has detained are not released through diplomacy, a "different phase" could begin.

His words, immediately condemned by Iran as “provocative”, came as the US Navy began its biggest show of force in the Gulf since the invasion of Iraq four years ago, with manoeuvres involving two aircraft carriers, a dozen warships and more than 100 aircraft.

Who's being provacative? Iran grabbed British sailors who they say were in Iranian waters -- a claim that is being disputed by Britain, with Iraqi backing. And, as the US Navy is on hand giving demonstrations, I'm glad to see that if it comes down to it, we will not leave Britain in the lurch.

Commander [Kevin] Aandahl said that it was for “regional stability and security”. He added: “If there’s a destabilising effect, it’s Iran’s behaviour.”

Exactly. Iran started it. We'll see who finishes it.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 08:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | International

March 19, 2007

Chinese Web Editor Jailed for Subversion

While leftwingers here break out into cries of "censorship" anytime they are criticized, real censorship is taking place elsewhere, with unpalatable results:

THE former editor-in-chief of a Chinese Website has been given a six-year prison term for subversion, the Ningbo Intermediate People's Court in east China's Zhejiang Province said.

The court ruled yesterday that Zhang Jianhong, former editor-in-chief of a Website named "Aiqinhai," or "Aegean Sea," had written articles which defamed the Chinese government and amounted to agitation aimed at toppling the government.

After his Website was shut down and he was punished for illegal practices, Zhang had published more than 110 articles under the pseudonym "Lihong" on overseas Websites from May to September 2006, the court said.

A court statement said that in more than 60 articles, Zhang had slandered the government and China's social system to vent his discontent with the government.

The court also deprived Zhang of his political rights for one year.

The statement said the court had showed leniency in the trial as Zhang showed remorse after his arrest. Zhang was unemployed after his Website was closed.

Six years in jail for criticizing the government online is lenient? I'm afraid to find out what Zhang would have been subject to if the judge was having a bad day.

Just one more thing to be grateful for here in America...

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Posted by Pam Meister at 04:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | International

February 07, 2007

Worldwide Child Porn Ring Busted

When I first heard this story on the radio this morning, I honestly felt sick to my stomach. Austrian officials were key in busting it open. Sick perverts from all over the world paid money to see these monstrous videos, including at least 600 from the US.

When it comes to the well-being of children, I say harsh punishment of such offenders is needed. I don't feel sorry for any of these creeps. It's time to bring back the stocks and let the citizenry take care of these miserable excuses for humanity.

The Puritans had the right idea on punishment

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Posted by Pam Meister at 08:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | International

February 01, 2007

Chirac: Open Mouth, Insert Foot

Hoo boy. Jacques Chirac said a few things to reporters on Monday, and a day later was calling those same reporters back to retract his comments, saying he should have been paying more attention to the fact that his comments were on the record.

What did he say that he didn't want published?

On Monday, Chirac said of Iran and its nuclear program: "I would say that what is dangerous about this situation is not the fact of having a nuclear bomb. Having one or perhaps a second bomb a little later, well, that's not very dangerous."

Instead, Chirac said, the danger lies in the chances of proliferation or an arms race in the Middle East should Iran build a nuclear bomb. Possessing the weapon would be useless for Iran -- whose leader has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" -- as using it would mean an instant counterattack.

"Where will it drop it, this bomb? On Israel?" Chirac asked. "It would not have gone 200 meters into the atmosphere before Tehran would be razed."

Now why on earth would he make such a ridiculous statement?

Alexander Pikayev, a Moscow-based defense analyst who is co-chairman of the Committee of Scientists for Global Security, told The Associated Press that Chirac's "incautious" remarks revealed "the mood of the French ruling elite."

"French leaders are afraid not so much of Iran's nuclearization, but that Iran will be attacked. France's tough position is not aimed against Iran becoming a nuclear power, but against the United States or Israel striking Iran," he said.

Pikayev added that France had fiercely opposed invading Iraq and now wants to avoid a similar scenario in Iran, having economic interests in that country and having a sizable Iranian and Muslim diaspora, which would not support a strike on Iran.

Perhaps France isn't worried about Iran procuring the bomb, but any other world leader with an ounce of sense is. But the French have had their heads in the sand so long that the sand is starting to work its way into their brains...so comments like this really shouldn't come as a big surprise.

It should be a relief to all that Chirac isn't expected to seek re-election, but heaven only knows who will replace him.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 08:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | International

January 25, 2007

Unspeakably Disgusting

Stories like this bring tears to my eyes:

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (CNN) -- At an age when most children might be preparing for their first day of school, Srey, 6, already has undergone trauma that is almost unspeakable.

She was sold to a brothel by her parents when she was 5. It is not known how much her family got for Srey, but other girls talk of being sold for $100; one was sold for $10.

Before she was rescued, Srey endured months of abuse at the hands of pimps and sex tourists.

There is a woman trying to make a difference for children like Srey, but she's just one person. Read it, if you can bear it.

My take: anyone who has a hand in doing such things to a child ought to be shot on sight, no questions asked. And don't talk to me about their rights.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 09:18 AM | Comments (19) | TrackBack (0) | International

January 19, 2007

Chinese Test Anti-Satellite Weapon

This news is huge:

U. S. intelligence agencies believe China performed a successful anti-satellite (asat) weapons test at more than 500 mi. altitude Jan. 11 destroying an aging Chinese weather satellite target with a kinetic kill vehicle launched on board a ballistic missile.

The Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, NASA and other government organizations have a full court press underway to obtain data on the alleged test, Aviation Week & Space Technology will report in its Jan. 22 issue.

If the test is verified it will signify a major new Chinese military capability.

Neither the Office of the U. S. Secretary of Defense nor Air Force Space Command would comment on the attack, which followed by several months the alleged illumination of a U. S. military spacecraft by a Chinese ground based laser.

More at Aviation Week.

h/t: Jeanette

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Posted by Pam Meister at 11:35 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | International

January 15, 2007

Chirac to Run Again?

Even though he has been expected to retire after his current term, there is speculation that French president Jacques Chirac will run for a third term this year (h/t Marathon Pundit), although even his wife doesn't know for sure.

At 74, one would think that Chirac would prefer to give up the daily strain of being the leader of one of the world's superpowers (cough, cough) and spend the rest of his days drinking wine and enjoying cheese and crackers in the beautiful French countryside.

However, there is that little matter of graft while he was mayor of Paris that Chirac may be worried about. As president, he is immune from prosecution, but once he's out, all bets are off. From The Australian (September 2006):

With only the slenderest hope of re-election next year, Mr Chirac faces prosecution in connection with a series of scandals dating from his time as the mayor of Paris, between 1977 and 1995. Three have resulted in court cases.

In 2004, Alain Juppe, his closest associate and former prime minister, was given a 14-month suspended prison sentence and barred from office for a year for his role in a 1980s racket to award fake jobs to Gaullist Party members.

Last year, Michel Roussin, formerly the head of Mr Chirac's private cabinet, was given a four-year suspended sentence and a E50,000 fine in connection with a system of kickbacks over contracts to repair schools in the Paris region.

And this year, Georges Perol, another Chirac associate, was given a two-year suspended sentence and a E20,000 fine over corruption involving public housing contracts in Paris.

Mr Chirac is alleged to have known about - and benefited from - all three affairs.

He is also suspected of involvement in a fourth scandal relating to the manipulation of electoral lists in Paris, which will come to trial this month.

Could it be Chirac is hoping to put off the inevitable? With 81% of those polled saying he should not seek re-election, it's a slim hope indeed.

Instead of a relaxing retirement, Chirac
faces possible prosecution.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 04:28 PM | Comments (27) | TrackBack (0) | International

January 12, 2007

All Emergencies Must Wait Until After Teatime

Just when you thought healthcare horror stories in Britain couldn't get any worse, they do. On December 31, 2006, a 76-year-old man was forced to wait 20 minutes for an ambulance after his heart attack -- even though one was only five minutes away -- because the paramedics (or whatever they call them there) were on their EU-mandated break.

The same thing happened ten days prior, when a 21-year-old man was forced to wait, and died of a drug overdose. (Some may say he was asking for it by dabbling in drugs, but that is beside the point.)

This latest case emerged as controversial new guidance was issued to managers saying paramedics working at the same station should be given breaks simultaneously, despite the potential delays.

One ambulance worker, who asked not to be named, said: "It has caused nothing but problems since it was introduced. Staff deserve a break but we have not got enough crews to make sure we maintain cover and get to calls.

While medical staff on call should not be expected to work straight through their shifts without a lunch or dinner break, having everyone go on break at the same time is foolhardy at best, deadly at worst.

There is always the chance that neither of these men would have lived even if the ambulance had arrived within minutes of being called. But we'll never know, will we?

And to think there are people here at home who admire the "free" healthcare provided in Britain (and also in Canada). As the families of these two men can attest to, nothing is ever free.

If you want a better idea as to what the healthcare system in Britain is like, check out this posting board: NHS Sucks.

Ambulance crew on lunch break. Will return at 1:30 p.m.

Idea for this post stolen shamelessly from Moonbattery.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 02:11 PM | Comments (71) | TrackBack (0) | International

December 29, 2006

Chavez Clamps Down on Free Speech

Cindy Sheehan's main squeeze, Hugo Chavez, has said he won't renew the license of Veneuela's second biggest television station when it expires in March 2007 (although the head of the station says the license isn't up for renewal that soon). Chavez said he won't allow media that is working for a coup against him.

"It runs out in March. So it's better that you go and prepare your suitcase and look around for what you're going to do in March," [Chavez] said during a televised speech to soldiers at a military academy in Caracas.

"There will be no new operating licence for this coupist TV channel called RCTV. The operating licence is over... So go and turn off the equipment," Mr Chavez said.

The station is known for its support against Chavez.

I'd like to know what all the Bush-haters in this country, who delight in calling our president a fascist, think about this latest move in Venezuela by a true fascist. I don't see President Bush threatening to shut down television stations or any other kind of media outlet, despite the MSM's obvious slant against him and Republicans in general. That's because we live in a country where the government does not have that kind of control, nor will it (unless certain Democrats get their way).

Cindy Sheehan's antics would never be allowed in Venezuela if she was a Venezuelan citizen airing her grievances about Chavez. Unfortunately, she's too dim to realize that. And so are a lot of other people, who obviously cannot appreciate how good they really have it here.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 09:52 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | International

November 29, 2006

Oh Boy, a Letter!

Have you been wondering what Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is thinking and planning?

Wonder no more. He's written a five-page letter to the American people, and his U.N. representative will be unveiling it today.

"Many American people asked me to talk to them in order to explain the views of the Iranian people," Ahmadinejad told reporters, referring to his visit to New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly session in September 2005.

I'd just like to know about a couple of little things: when he plans to wipe Israel off the map and when he plans to convert the rest of the world to Islam.

The mailman is bringing something special from this guy!

h/t: Cookiewrangler

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Posted by Pam Meister at 10:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | International

November 03, 2006

Le Gasp!


Of course, they won't worry about the so-called danger next time there's a natural disaster somewhere and they want the U.S. to open up its pocketbook.

Source: Guardian UK (surprise!)

h/t: Cookiewrangler

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Posted by Pam Meister at 09:43 AM | Comments (368) | TrackBack (0) | International

November 02, 2006

Iran's Missile Test: Ability to Reach Israel

Not good news:

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran test-fired dozens of missiles, including the Shahab-3 that can reach Israel, in military maneuvers Thursday that it said were aimed at putting a stop to the role of world powers in the Persian Gulf region.

Translation: "aimed at wiping Israel off the map."

Something else that should worry us:

MOSCOW (AP) - Russian and China indicated that they will not support a draft U.N. resolution imposing tough sanctions on Iran for its refusal to halt its nuclear enrichment program.

The comments by Russia's foreign minister and China's U.N. ambassador were the strongest reactions yet to the draft by the two key U.N. Security Council members, and signaled difficult negotiations ahead on the resolution drawn up by Britain, France and Germany.

Not that I think U.N. sanctions will do much...just remember how effective they were with Iraq. But by outright refusal to co-operate, we see where Russia and China stand...and it's not with us.

It's not a brave new world we live in, but a scary new world. We need leaders in Congress and the White House that will take these threats seriously. Take that into consideration when you head to the polls on November 7th.

Those aren't toy missiles Iran set off today...

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Posted by Pam Meister at 06:36 PM | Comments (110) | TrackBack (0) | International

May 19, 2006

In the Shadow of Hitler

UPDATE (via Michelle Malkin): The report may not be true.

From Canada.com:

Human rights groups are raising alarms over a new law passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country's Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims.

"This is reminiscent of the Holocaust," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. "Iran is moving closer and closer to the ideology of the Nazis."

Iranian expatriates living in Canada yesterday confirmed reports that the Iranian parliament, called the Islamic Majlis, passed a law this week setting a dress code for all Iranians, requiring them to wear almost identical "standard Islamic garments."

The law, which must still be approved by Iran's "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenehi before being put into effect, also establishes special insignia to be worn by non-Muslims.

Iran's roughly 25,000 Jews would have to sew a yellow strip of cloth on the front of their clothes, while Christians would wear red badges and Zoroastrians would be forced to wear blue cloth.

"There's no reason to believe they won't pass this," said Rabbi Hier. "It will certainly pass unless there's some sort of international outcry over this."

Read the rest here.

Rabbi Hier, quoted in the article, says this will pass unless there's an "international outcry." Frankly, I don't think such an outcry would have much effect on Iran's decision either way. Consider President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's reaction to incentives being offered by Europe if Iran suspends uranium enrichment:

"Do you think you are dealing with a 4-year-old child to whom you can give some walnuts and chocolates and get gold from him?"


"They say they want to offer us incentives," he said. "We tell them: keep the incentives as a gift for yourself. We have no hope of anything good from you."

His defiance was met with shouts of, "We love you Ahmadinejad!" from the crowd.

Iran is intent upon developing nuclear weapons. Iran plans to make non-Muslims wear color-coded badges for identification. Europe continues to put its collective heads in the sand.

Same story, different antagonist, higher stakes. Will the end result be the same?

A blast from the past?

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Posted by Pam Meister at 08:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | International

April 11, 2006

French Students Protest, Despite Victory

Why? Because it's better than working.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 11:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | International

March 27, 2006

Tony Blair on Anti-Americanism

Tony Blair, during an official visit to Australia, had a few frank words regarding America's role in international affairs:

Solving the world's problems needed an "active foreign policy of engagement, not isolation" between countries, the British Labour Party leader told lawmakers, and Washington needed to be on board as much as possible.

But he pointed out: "This alliance does not end with, but it does begin with America. For us in Europe and for you, this alliance is central. And I want to speak plainly here. I do not always agree with the US.

"Sometimes they can be difficult friends to have. But the strain of, frankly, anti-American feeling in parts of European politics is madness when set against the long-term interests of the world we believe in.

"The danger with America today is not that they are too much involved. The danger is that they decide to pull up the drawbridge and disengage. We need them involved. We want them engaged."

Thanks, Tony. We don't always agree with Britain either. Being able to deal with the occasional disagreement shows maturity. And we're grateful for friends like the UK and Australia, and others who haven't turned their backs on us.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 09:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | International

March 11, 2006

Milosevic Dead

Via AP:

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslav leader, who was branded "the butcher of the Balkans" and was on trial for war crimes after orchestrating a decade of bloodshed during the breakup of his country, was found dead Saturday in his prison cell. He was 64.

Milosevic, who suffered chronic heart ailments and high blood pressure, apparently died of natural causes and was found in his bed, the U.N. tribunal said, without giving an exact time of death.

More here.

Two words: good riddance.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 11:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | International

February 06, 2006

George W. Bush is Not a Dolt

This from Davids Medienkritik, a great blog from Germany that I recently added to my blogroll. The post is entitled The Secrets of the American Success Story.

Of course, President Bush isn't a dolt - but other than that, I have to agree with much of what Anatole Kaletsky writes in this Times article. He addresses a number of reasons for America's greatness - almost all of which are a mystery for the German media:

The President is a dolt - so how can America be such a success story?

(...) For the past five years, America has been led by a president who is clearly not up to the job — a man who is not just inarticulate, but lacking in judgment, intelligence, integrity, charisma or staying power. Yet America as a nation seems to be stronger, more prosperous and self-confident than ever. (...)

Why does America’s prosperity and self-confidence seem to bear so little relationship to the competence of its government? The obvious answer is that America, founded on a libertarian theory of minimal government, has always had low expectations of politicians. In America, it is not just business that thrives independently of government, perhaps even in spite of government. The same is also true of other areas of excellence which in Britain are considered quintessentially in the public domain — higher education, leading-edge science, culture and academic research. Because Americans expect so little of their government, they are rarely disappointed. They do not slump into German-style angst when their governments fail to find solutions to the nation’s problems.

Read the whole post, and the accompanying comments.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 12:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | International

February 03, 2006

Looking for Accurate World News? It's Al-Jazeera!

According to this article in the Guardian UK, everyone's favorite leftwing newspaper overseas, the US does a terrible job in reporting international news, and al-Jazeera is poised to take over the void.

The US media reached an "all-time low" in failing to reflect public opinion and Americans' desire for trusted information, instead acting as a "cheerleader" for war, said Amy Goodman, the executive producer and host of US TV and radio news show Democracy Now!, at a news forum organised by al-Jazeera.

Well there's a surprise! And, if you're interested in Goodman's political leanings, check out the Democracy Now! website.

"The US media have done a shameful job of reporting on the Arab world. With the rise of al-Jazeera and independent media there is a chance for the Arab media to react back, but instead what we get is a clash," said Ethan Zuckerman, the co-founder of Global Voices Online and research fellow at the Berkman Centre for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School.

"I would urge everyone involved with new Arabic media not just to report on this [Arabic] world more fairly and accurately, but to report on the whole world more fairly and accurately. I challenge al-Jazeera and the new Arabic media players to do a better job that the US in covering the rest of the world," he said.

Here's a sampling of how Zuckerman really feels about al-Jazeera. Shall we give him a set of pom poms and a megaphone?

Ms Goodman said in the run-up to the Iraq war a study of NBC, CBS, ABC and PBS newscasts over a fortnight recorded 393 interviews on the conflict, of which only three reported the anti-war movement.

"This is a media cheerleading for war and does not represent mainstream opinion in the US," she added.

Ms Goodman said she believed the policy of embedding reporters with coalition forces was "a total failure for independent journalism ... western audiences need to see the other side of the story - from communities and hospitals".

"If people in the US had a true picture of war - dead babies, women with their legs blown off, dead and dying soldiers - they would say 'no'," she said.

"There is nothing more important than the media - it is more powerful than any bomb or missile and we have to take it back ... we need a media that is independent and honestly showing us the images, the hell, ugliness and brutality of war, not selling us war."

That's really rich. The MSM rarely talks about any of the advances in the war, none of the good things the troops are accomplishing. Their favorite topic is the death toll (but not of the terrorists). And, since when don't they report on the anti-war stance? Maybe they don't have to because they espouse it in their reporting about the war.

Not all journalists are embedded. If I were a journalist, I would rather be embedded with troops who would be there to protect me if need be, rather than run the risk of kidnapping and beheading by terrorists.

The whole concept of an unbiased al-Jazeera is the biggest joke since the MSM worldwide called itself unbiased. Let's face it, folks, all media has a slant whether it's admitted or not. As humans, it is very difficult for journalists to keep feelings and beliefs out of their reports.

Now if the media were to hire reporters of different ideologies, then the public might get a more balanced view of world events. But with a high percentage of journalists describing their own views as liberal, that's not reassuring.

For more on al-Jazeera, click here .

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Posted by Pam Meister at 01:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | International

January 26, 2006

The BBC and Its Interest in US Executions

This post (from last week, sorry) from Scott over at The American Expatriate asks why the BBC is so interested in the execution rate here in the US?

So, to sum up, for the year 2005 the BBC covered the executions of 5 specific individuals (and clemency grant of 1) with 21 articles, and touched on the death penalty in the US more generally in an additional 7 pieces. This, in a year in which 60 convicted criminals were executed throughout all of the US. Even if we ignore the BBC's Tookie Williams campaign and count all of its 11 articles on him as one, the BBC still averagied more than an article a month about the US death penalty.

The BBC also repeatedly reminded its readers that the US ranked 4th behind leader China in total number of executions for the year 2004, a fact which presents us with an interesting comparison.

A definitive figure on the number of executions in China for the year 2005 could not be found, but Amnesty International estimates that the figure was "at least 3,400". How many articles do you suppose can be found on the BBC website specifically about executions in China?

Take a guess. I wonder how many of those executed in China had 10 years plus in which to appeal their sentences...

Could this interest have anything to do with the quote at the top of Scott's blog?

"America is often portrayed as an ignorant, unsophisticated sort of place, full of bible bashers and ruled to a dangerous extent by trashy television, superstition and religious bigotry, a place lacking in respect for evidence based knowledge. I know that is how it is portrayed because I have done my bit to paint that picture..." BBC's Washington correspondent Justin Webb, in a remarkably frank admission of his role in misinforming the British public about America and Americans

h/t: GD

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Posted by Pam Meister at 10:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | International

January 23, 2006

Talkin' 'bout a Revolution

The bloodless kind.

While columnist Kathleen Parker may bemoan the blog explosion in the US, it's a sign of (better) times in Wahabbi-controlled Saudi Arabia. It seems that along with men, women are electronically shedding the burqa and reveling in the freedom the Internet provides.

Men and women blogging together, of course, represents a total flouting of Saudi rules mandating sex segregation. And there can be no turning back. Saudi authorities cannot confiscate all the computers, Blackberrys, and cell phones in the kingdom. Nor can they forbid the use of the English language.

Some women are quite bold in their blogging entries. One blogger, Farooha, discusses many of the challenges that women face in Saudi Arabia, and some of the less savory aspects of fundamentalist Islam.

The same article condemns Saudi-Wahhabi incitement to rape non-Wahhabi women: "Imagine that women in the 21st century follow fatwas of scholars who at one point start to discuss the viability of capturing the enemy's women, and then having sexual relations with them. Some even go on to discuss the capturing of this enemy's women at time of peace, as well; and all the while, you do not even know who the enemy in question is."

Discussions like this could never take place in the open, especially by women. But the blogsphere is providing a forum for people to stand up and be heard, albeit anonymously.

The MSM elite in this country dislike the blogosphere because they fear the masses are wresting control of popular opinion away from them. In countries like Saudi Arabia, the stakes are much higher, as an entire way of life is at stake.

The ruling Wahabbists in Saudi Arabia may well be fearing their grip on power. Thanks to modern technology, there's no telling how long they'll stay on top.

h/t: GD

Crossposted at Lifelike Pundits

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Posted by Pam Meister at 11:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | International

January 19, 2006

France Gets Tough

Who'da thunkit? From Reuters via Yahoo:

France said on Thursday it would be ready to use nuclear weapons against any state that carried out a terrorist attack against it, reaffirming the need for its nuclear deterrent.

Deflecting criticism of France's costly nuclear arms program, President Jacques Chirac said security came at a price and France must be able to hit back hard at a hostile state's centers of power and its "capacity to act."

Of course it wasn't mentioned if France would consider a preemptive strike against a known threat.

Could it be that French leaders are finally taking their heads out of the sand?

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Posted by Pam Meister at 11:56 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | International

January 17, 2006

Sound Familiar?

From Breitbart:

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia and China made clear on Tuesday they did not favor U.N. sanctions to induce Iran to scale back its nuclear program, and Tehran urged the European Union to return to the negotiating table.

I wonder why Iran seems to have Russia and China in its pocket? Didn't we go through a similar scenario with Iraq? Why aren't France and Germany in on this bandwagon too?

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Posted by Pam Meister at 10:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | International

December 26, 2005

Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium No More

Arnold Schwarzenegger's name was removed from the stadium in his hometown of Graz, Austria at his request:

The California governor had asked for his name to be stricken from the 15,300-seat arena after critics in his birthplace, where opposition to capital punishment runs high, scorned him for refusing to block this month's execution of convicted killer Stanley Tookie Williams.

Capital punishment may be illegal and unpopular in Austria, but Schwarzenegger is now an American citizen and the governor of one of America's most populous states.

His actions in this ridiculous matter show that he cares more for his duties as California's governor than popular opinion in the hometown he left nearly 40 years ago.

Thumbs up to Arnold!

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Posted by Pam Meister at 12:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | International

December 20, 2005

Deutschland Uber Alles

Seems like our pals in Germany have allowed a Hizbollah member supposedly jailed for life because he murdered a Navy Seal diver to go free, sending him back to Lebanon.

Sources in Berlin and Beirut said earlier that Mohammad Ali Hammadi, convicted of killing Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem in Beirut during the 1985 hijacking of a TWA flight and sentenced to life in prison, was flown back to Lebanon last week.

Let's see...he was sentenced to life, but according to Germany's justice ministry he "served his term." I guess the German justice system must have a foolproof way to rehabilitate prisoners. I'm sure Hammadi has no intention of returning to Hizbollah (also spelled Hezbollah), one of the most dangerous terrorist groups around.

Morons. But hey, a poke in the eye of the US (and Israel) is worth it...

h/t: GD

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Posted by Pam Meister at 09:29 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | International

December 13, 2005

Canada's Paul Martin: Not Much to Say

Prime Minister Paul Martin, our old pal from the Great White North, is at it again.

David Wilkins, the U.S. Ambassador to Canada warned Prime Minister Paul Martin to knock off the bashing of America in the days leading up to its election:

"It may be smart election politics to thump your chest and constantly criticize your friend and your No. 1 trading partner. But it's a slippery slope and all of us should hope it doesn't have a long-term impact on our relationship."


In the campaign for the June 2004 election Martin regularly said Canada did not want U.S.-style health care, fiscal deficits, taxes or attack ads.

But in the last several months, particularly in frustration over U.S. refusal to eliminate duties on Canadian softwood, he has made more direct attacks on U.S. policy, and continued to do so during the election campaign.

Martin refuses to back down, saying he has the right to "defend [his] country."

Of course, he has every right to make us look bad while he tries to hold onto his office after a vote of no-confidence. However, it doesn't say much for his leadership and record if he feels that using the old "America as a punching bag" tactic is a great way to win votes.

Doesn't he have anything else to offer?

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Posted by Pam Meister at 07:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | International

November 29, 2005

Homeless Die in France

People walk past as a homeless person takes cover from the cold on a Paris sidewalk November 28, 2005, as six homeless have died in France since the arrival of winter temperatures. French authorities have raised their weather alert in 31 departments and asked for increased vigilance to the homeless in Paris.

I thought this sort of thing didn't occur in a socialist utopia!

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Posted by Pam Meister at 06:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | International

November 16, 2005

More on French Rioting

How's this for a theory?

PARIS (Reuters) - Polygamy may have been a factor behind the unprecedented wave of riots that swept France over the past three weeks, senior conservative politicians said on Wednesday.

Bernard Accoyer, leader of the Union for a Popular Majority (UMP) in the National Assembly lower house of parliament, told French radio that children from large polygamous families had problems integrating into mainstream society.

The Financial Times quoted Employment Minister Gerard Larcher as saying large polygamous families sometimes led to anti-social behavior by youths who lacked a father figure and made employers reluctant to hire them.

And I thought it was the failed socialism model. You know, when employers hire as few people as possible because of the tremendous expense involved if they end up letting them go...and so those at the bottom of the skills and economic ladder (i.e. Muslim immigrants) are passed over.

_40994482_bus203afp.jpgBut what do I know? I'm just a dumb American.

Meanwhile, it seems that the Muslim rioters were integrated a little more than we thought:

PARIS (AP) - The torching of thousands of cars by restive suburban youths across France in the last few weeks has drawn worldwide attention, but it's a tactic with a long tradition in this country.

Whether for revenge, crime or simply for sport, French youths have been setting cars aflame for decades.


Setting cars afire has a symbolic impact, [criminologist Alain] Bauer said.

"In France, a car is like a jewel," he said. "You use it not only to work but as a representation of your social status."

There's nothing like absorbing the best of what a culture has to offer.


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Posted by Pam Meister at 07:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | International

October 25, 2005

Children from Earthquake Sold Into Prostitution

This story is extremely disturbing:

SIX-YEAR-OLD Aisha loves the orange blouse and jeans given to her by the kind woman who rescued her from the chaos of the Kashmir earthquake. She snuggles up to the woman, trying to forget the devastation of her village home and the deaths of her parents 16 days ago.

What Aisha does not know is that the woman, Kausar, is a prostitute who has
bought her from relatives for 50,000 rupees ($1500) and plans to put her to work in the sex trade as soon as she reaches puberty.

Aisha is apparently one of only hundreds of orphaned Pakistani children being targeted by greed-motivated gangs for prostitution.

This is rich:

"I will provide a good education for her. I would not like her to be a cheap, third-class prostitute. I do care about the girl. I will take good care of her, and then reap the benefit. I'm providing for her protection and I don't care what Allah thinks."

Sure, we want her to be an educated prostitute. It wouldn't do at all if she couldn't count how many rupees she needs to turn over to her pimp.

According to the story, this lovely woman wouldn't allow any intervention by journalists. (It's comforting to know they tried. I wonder if they reported it to the authorities? If they did, would the authorities be able to do anything?)

This kind of thing just turns my stomach. Where the heck is UNICEF when you need them? Oh, right, making videos of the Smurfs being annihilated.

*Note: the photo is NOT connected to the story, but is of refugee children after the earthquake. I'm just going for the emphasis thing here.*

h/t: Lucky Dawg News

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Posted by Pam Meister at 09:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | International

March 21, 2005

Syria and Iran...Take Heed of the Big Guns

In today's edition of India Daily, we learn that there is a convergence of three air carrier groups in the Mediterranean Sea, including the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS Carl Vinson.

Each carrier group is capable of handling 85 aircraft. These aircraft include anti-submarine, airborne-early-warning and rotary-wing.

In addition, each carrier group is independent...meaning they can hold out for a long, long time.

It seems American are preparing to deal with Syria and Iran in the next several months. The first priority right now is diplomacy in association with the Europeans and the rest of the world. But the leadership in Teheran and Damascus are taking notice of the power build up in the region.

The next step is already being planned. Dictators in the Middle East had best step with care.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 11:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | International

March 16, 2005

China Hangs On to Death Penalty

Apparently China still believes in the death penalty...Premiere Wen Jiabo said at a press conference this week, "Given our national conditions, we cannot abolish the death penalty." However, he also says that reforms are in progress that would ensure the death penalty is used with more prudence.

The AP article says:

Activists complain that death sentences often are handed out during anti-crimecrackdowns for nonviolent offenses that weren't capital crimes at the time they were committed.

Some of those crimes apparently include not only murder, but tax evasion.

Now while I shudder at the thought of prisoners being killed for a non-violent crime such as evading their taxes (can you imagine what would have happened to a Chinese version of Martha Stewart?), I also notice that China doesn't seem to be worried about that much-sought after world opinion.

Interesting...I wonder if the Dem-keteers and the Supreme Court justices have read this article?

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Posted by Pam Meister at 11:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | International

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