Daily Archives: September 25, 2007

Gordon Brown’s vision: UK as a work camp

brown_frown

The Prime Minister has resolved that for the greater good of us all, he will turn Britain into a work camp.

Telegraph | Sep 25, 2007

By Andrew Gimson

Gordon Brown received his most enthusiastic applause before he had spoken: there was real warmth in the greeting extended to the new Prime Minister as he arrived on the podium.

But as Comrade Brown addressed the party, he achieved a most dispiriting effect.

It was admirable stuff, at least in parts, but there was so much of it and such unrelieved earnestness and such a continual and relentless emphasis on hard work.

Comrades, we are building a land fit for workaholics and if you cancel your holiday in order to get the new tractor factory finished on time, you are a hero of our time.

The Prime Minister has resolved that for the greater good of us all, he will turn Britain into a work camp.

If you work hard, things will go well for you, or as Comrade Brown put it: “If you try hard, we will help you make the most of your talents.”

But he warned that “immorality” will not be tolerated.

Comrade Brown expects “discipline, respect, responsibility”, and “anyone who is caught selling drugs or using guns will be thrown out”.

What is more, he thundered, “No one who sells drugs to our children or uses guns has the right to stay in our country.”

We are surprised that some commentators said they could find “nothing new” in Comrade Brown’s speech, for it seems to us that his promise to deport drug dealers and gun-toting criminals is a striking innovation in penal policy.

But perhaps the Brownites will point out that it is simply a return to the wholesome 18th-century practice of deportation, from which the American colonies and Australia benefited so enormously, receiving as they did so many of the most energetic and freedom-loving inhabitants of these islands.

We cannot help wondering how easy Comrade Brown will find it to deport French or German criminals.

But where there is a will, there must be a way, and the vital thing, as the Prime Minister pointed out, is to defend our British way of life.

The British way of life used to include a place for the bumbler, the idler and the joker and used to value freedom and spontaneity over state control and regimentation.

We are told that people in the olden days used sometimes to laugh at authority and liked to sit down for a cup of tea and a chat, and even thought it a good idea, at the end of the day, to relax with a pint of beer and a cigarette.

But that almost unimaginably barbaric era is over and so is the ridiculous notion that the answer to some of our problems might be to give people more freedom, not less.

So Comrade Brown told the conference: “We will send out a clear message that drugs are never going to be decriminalised.”

Some of us could not help raising an eyebrow as we heard the word “never”.

Gordon Brown New World Order Speech

It appears that Comrade Brown intends to guide our destinies until the end of time.

Surely he has not already succumbed to the monstrous vanity of thinking that his moral tyranny, firmly buttressed by extracts from his estimable father’s sermons, will endure forever?

As if sensing that he had failed to delight everyone, and had even inspired vague, involuntary feelings of gloom in some of his supporters, Mr Brown told the conference at the end of his address: “Sometimes people say I am too serious and I fight too hard and maybe that’s true.”

One of the things people actually used to say about the Brownites, in the long years before their man got the top job, was that they could never see a belt without hitting below it.

But those days are also past and moral seriousness lies at the heart of the appeal the new Prime Minister is making to us.

His tone of voice is different, but Mr Brown turns out to be every bit as self-righteous as Tony Blair.

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Arnie and Al push for climate action at UN

“It would seem that men and women need a common motivation, namely a common adversary, to organize and act together in the vacuum such as motivation seemed to have ceased to exist or have yet to be found. The need for enemies seems to be a common historical factor…

Bring the divided nation together to face an outside enemy, either a real one or else one invented for the purpose…

Democracy will be made to seem responsible for the lagging economy, the scarcity and uncertainties. The very concept of democracy could then be brought into question and allow for the seizure of power by extremists of one brand or the other…

In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. The real enemy [of the elites and their minions] then is humanity itself.”

– “The First Global Revolution” (1991) published by the Club of Rome. Members of the Club of Rome include: Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, Bill Gates, George Soros and author of the Kyoto Protocols Maurice Strong.

“My friends don’t want me to mention Kurt’s name, because of all the recent Nazi stuff and the U.N. controversy, but I love him and Maria does too, and so thank you, Kurt.”

– Arnold Schwarzenegger, on his friend and fellow Austrian Kurt Waldheim, a Nazi war criminal

“I was always dreaming about very powerful people – dictators and things like that. I was just always impressed by people who could be remembered for hundreds of years, or even, like Jesus, be for thousands of years remembered.”

– Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1977 film “Pumping Iron”

. . .
climate_un_schwarzenegger

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger addresses the United Nations High-level Event on Climate Change at the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, September 24, 2007. (Chip East/Reuters)

AP | Sep 25, 2007

By CHARLES J. HANLEY

UNITED NATIONS – “Arnie” and “Al,” Republican and Democrat, shared the world spotlight to press for climate action, adding a touch of star quality to the staid proceedings of a U.N. summit.

The two headliners, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Vice President Al Gore, also highlighted by their presence President Bush’s absence from the eight hours of high-level speechmaking Monday on what to do about global warming.

Bush, who did take part later in a small, private U.N. dinner with key players on climate, rejects the idea of international treaty obligations to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” blamed for global warming — an idea central to U.N. climate negotiations.

The Republican Schwarzenegger, on the other hand, has taken the lead on emissions caps at the state level, signing legislation mandating such reductions in California.

“One responsibility we all have is action. Action, action, action,” the former Hollywood action star said as he helped open the summit, winning warm applause from the assembled presidents and premiers.

The Democrat Gore — a Hollywood figure himself as the lead in the Oscar-winning climate documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” — took his star turn at a summit luncheon, where he cited a lengthening list of global warming’s impacts, from the shrinking Arctic ice cap to disappearing lakes in Africa.

“The need to act is now,” Gore told delegates to the one-day summit, which drew more than 80 world leaders. “We need a mandate at Bali.”

He was referring the annual U.N. climate treaty conference, scheduled for December in Bali, Indonesia, where the Europeans and others hope to initiate talks for an emissions-reduction agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol in 2012.

The 175-nation Kyoto pact, which the U.S. rejects, requires 36 industrial nations to reduce the heat-trapping gases emitted by power plants and other industrial, agricultural and transportation sources. The 1997 agreement set relatively small target reductions averaging 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

The advocates of emissions caps say a breakthrough is needed at Bali to ensure an uninterrupted transition from the Kyoto deal to a new, deeper-cutting regime, something that almost certainly would require a change in the position of the U.S., long the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases.

Bush objects that Kyoto-style mandates would damage the U.S. economy and says they should be imposed on fast-growing poorer countries such as China and India in addition to developed nations. He instead is urging industry to cut emissions voluntarily and is emphasizing research on clean-energy technology as one answer.

On Thursday and Friday, Bush will host his own Washington climate meeting, limited to 16 “major emitter” countries, including China and India, the first in a series of U.S.-led gatherings expected to focus on those themes.

“The Washington meeting is a distraction,” Hans Verolme, climate campaigner for the Worldwide Fund for Nature, told reporters here. The Bush administration needs “to show they are serious and implement domestic legislation to reduce emissions,” he said.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking at the summit, put the Washington meetings in a different light, describing them as designed “to support and help advance the ongoing U.N. discussion.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Jiang Yu said Tuesday that Xie Zhenghua, the vice director of the National Development and Reform Commission, will represent China at the meeting. “We wish the meeting success in promoting better cooperation between major economic entities … to press ahead on the track of the U.N. (Framework Convention on Climate Change) and the Kyoto Protocol,” Jiang said at a briefing.

Late Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was asked by reporters about Bush’s position during the informal dinner discussions. “He made it quite clear that what he’s going to do is help the United Nations’ effort,” he replied. On Tuesday, Brazil’s president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, emerged from a bilateral meeting with Bush saying the U.S. president told him he was ready to be more flexible on climate.

Japan’s envoy, former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, told the summit Tokyo believes the separate U.S. talks will “contribute to achieving consensus” in the U.N. process, in which all agree that China, India and others must eventually accept emission limits.

But Japan, the Europeans and others, to one degree or another, stressed that all nations — including the United States — must accept binding emissions targets, something Bush gives no sign of doing.

To try to spur global negotiations, the European Union, which must reduce emissions by 8 percent under Kyoto, has committed unilaterally to a further reduction of at least 20 percent by 2020.

Speaking for the EU, French President Nicolas Sarkozy told Monday’s gathering that “all the developed countries and the largest emitters” must commit to a 50 percent reduction by 2050. In a comment clearly aimed at Washington, he also said the U.N. negotiations are the only “legitimate framework,” a point stressed repeatedly by Ban as well.

. . .

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Giuliani party seeks $9.11 per person

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Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani gestures while delivering remarks to law enforcement officials in South Portland, Maine, Monday, Sept. 24, 2007. Giuliani promised to crack down on illegal immigration and terrorist activities if elected. (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach)

Associated Press | Sep 25, 2007

By LIBBY QUAID

WASHINGTON – A spokeswoman for Rudy Giuliani says it is unfortunate that a supporter throwing a party that aims to raise $9.11 per person for the Republican’s presidential campaign is asking for that amount.

Abraham Sofaer is having a fundraiser at his Palo Alto, Calif., home on Wednesday, when Giuliani backers across the country are participating in the campaign’s national house party night.

But Sofaer said he had nothing to do with the “$9.11 for Rudy” theme.

“There are some young people who came up with it,” Sofaer said when reached by telephone Monday evening. He referred other questions to Giuliani’s campaign.

“I’m just providing support for him. He’s an old friend of mine,” Sofaer said of Giuliani.

Sofaer was a State Department adviser under President Reagan and is a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Federal election data indicates Sofaer has given nearly $50,000 to Republican causes and candidates, including Giuliani, since 1995.

Giuliani spokeswoman Maria Comella said: “These are two volunteers who acted independently of and without the knowledge of the campaign. Their decision to ask individuals for that amount was an unfortunate choice.”

According to the invitation, “$9.11 for Rudy” is an “independent, non-denominational grass-roots campaign to raise $10,000 in small increments to show how many individual, everyday Americans support ‘America’s Mayor.'”

Giuliani was mayor of New York during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

. . .

TulsaTruth Confronts Giuliani

U.S. snipers accused of ‘baiting’ Iraqis

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A U.S. soldier holds his sniper position on a rooftop in a Shiite enclave of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, in this April file photo. Army snipers hunting insurgents in Iraq were under orders to ‘bait’ their targets with suspicious materials, such as detonation cords, and then kill whoever picked up the items, according to the defense attorney for a soldier accused of planting evidence on an Iraqi he killed. (AP Photo/Adil al-Khazali, FILE)

Associated Press | Sep 25, 2007

By PAULINE JELINEK and ROBERT BURNS

WASHINGTON – Army snipers hunting insurgents in Iraq were under orders to “bait” their targets with suspicious materials, such as detonation cords, and then kill whoever picked up the items, according to the defense attorney for a soldier accused of planting evidence on an Iraqi he killed. Gary Myers, an attorney for Sgt. Evan Vela, said his client had acted “pursuant to orders.”

“We believe that our client has done nothing more than he was instructed to do by superiors,” Myers said in a telephone interview.

Myers and Vela’s father, Curtis Carnahan of Idaho Falls, Idaho, said in separate interviews that sworn statements and testimony in the cases of two other accused Ranger snipers indicate that the Army has a classified program that encourages snipers to “bait” potential targets and then kill whoever takes the bait.

The Army on Monday declined to confirm such a program exists.

“To prevent the enemy from learning about our tactics, techniques and training procedures, we don’t discuss specific methods targeting enemy combatants,” said Paul Boyce, an Army spokesman.

Boyce also said there are no classified programs that authorize the murder of Iraqi civilians or the use of “drop weapons” to make killings appeared to be legally justified, which is what Vela and the two other snipers are accused of doing.

The transcript of a court hearing for two of the three accused snipers makes several references to the existence of a classified “baiting” program but provides few details of how it works. A copy of the transcript was provided to The Associated Press by Vela’s father.

The Washington Post, which first reported the existence of the “baiting” program, cited the sworn statement of Capt. Matthew P. Didier, the leader of a Ranger sniper scout platoon.

“Baiting is putting an object out there that we know they will use, with the intention of destroying the enemy,” Didier said in the statement. “Basically, we would put an item out there and watch it. If someone found the item, picked it up and attempted to leave with the item, we would engage the individual as I saw this as a sign they would use the item against U.S. forces.”

The Post said the program was devised by the Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group, which advises commanders on more effective methods in today’s unconventional conflicts, including ways to combat roadside bombs.

Within months of the “baiting” program’s introduction, three snipers in Didier’s platoon were charged with murder for allegedly using those items and others to make shootings seem legitimate, according to the Post.

The Post said that although it doesn’t appear that the three alleged shootings were specifically part of the classified program, defense attorneys argue that the program may have encouraged them by blurring the legal lines in a complex war zone.

The court martial of one of the accused soldiers, Spec. Jorge Sandoval Jr., is scheduled to begin in Baghdad on Wednesday. Also facing premeditated murder charges are Vela and Staff Sgt. Michael Hensley.

They are part of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska.

Bush urges U.N. to spread freedom

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Associated Press | Sep 25, 2007

By BEN FELLER

UNITED NATIONS – President Bush announced new sanctions Tuesday against the military dictatorship in Myanmar, accusing it of imposing “a 19-year reign of fear” that denies basic freedoms of speech, assembly and worship.

“Americans are outraged by the situation in Burma,” the president said in an address to the U.N. General Assembly.

Bush is expected to mention Iran in his speech — but only briefly, citing Iran in a list of countries where people lack freedoms and live in fear. The White House wants to avoid giving any more attention to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose splash of speeches and interviews has dominated the days leading to the U.N. meeting.

Instead of Iran, the Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar, also known as Burma, was drawing Bush’s ire. He was announcing new visa restrictions and financial sanctions against the regime and those who provide it financial aid.

The policies come as Myanmar’s military government issued a threat Monday to the barefoot Buddhist monks who led 100,000 people marching through a major city. It was the strongest protest against the repressive regime in two decades.

Bush spent Monday trying to revive the Mideast peace process. He was reminded of the hurdles as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas insisted that a U.S. peace conference deal with “issues of substance” — a sign of old skepticism that accompanies new hope.

Late Tuesday morning, Bush planned to meet with another friend under tense circumstances, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The Iraqi leader is deeply frustrated over the killing of 11 Iraqi civilians by Blackwater USA security guards.

By calling on the U.N. to take up a “mission of liberation,” Bush was posing a challenge to the U.N. to uphold its original goal of ensuring freedom in many forms — from tyranny, disease, illiteracy and poverty. He was expected to lean heavily on the U.N.’s Declaration of Human Rights, approved more than 50 years ago.

His aim is to remind the body that the expansion of freedom is not a Western goal, nor even just a Bush doctrine, but rather one that underpins the U.N. itself. The president heads to the forum, though, with his clout weakened by the plodding war in Iraq.

His speech, said White House spokesman Dana Perino, is about “upholding the promise of the U.N. founding.” Bush aides say that by design, the address will stick to broad themes.

What it is not about, Perino said plainly, is Iran.

“The president wanted this speech to focus on many other issues that are facing the world — issues that people in Sudan and Zimbabwe and Burma and countless other countries are dealing with,” she said.

Still, Iran’s leader, Ahmadinejad, managed to cause a stir.

In an interview with The Associated Press, he denied all the chief accusations against Iran: that it is providing weapons to kill U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, supporting terrorism or breaking international law by developing nuclear weapons.

Behind the scenes, the U.S. is aggressively pushing for a new round of Security Council sanctions against Iran for its defiance on the nuclear issue.

Bush did not expect to cross paths with Ahmadinejad in the U.N. building.

Ann Coulter: It’s Good for Wall Street If We Bomb Iran

The Iranian leader also would not be attending the president’s reception for fellow world leaders at his hotel in the evening.

“Lost in the mail,” Perino said of Ahmandinejad’s invitation.

Bush later will participate in a roundtable on democracy; take part in a U.N. Security Council session on crisis in Africa; host a reception; and attend a dinner of leaders.

He had spent Monday trying to add some life to the Mideast peace process.

Appearing before reporters with Abbas after an hour-long meeting that also included Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Bush didn’t mention the fall conference he has championed.

He promised the United States “will be a strong partner” in establishing an independent state for Palestinians. “I believe that the vision of two states side by side in peace is achievable,” Bush said.

But Abbas said the meeting should be the precursor to “full negotiations on the permanent status.” A senior White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity to more freely discuss the president’s private talks, said “there will not be a negotiation” at the November meeting.

Bush says Clinton will be Dem nominee

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Bush quietly advising Hillary Clinton, top Democrats
President Bush is quietly providing back-channel advice to Hillary Rodham Clinton, urging her to modulate her rhetoric so she can effectively prosecute the war in Iraq if elected president.

. . .

bush_hillary

AP | Sep 24, 2007

By TERENCE HUNT

WASHINGTON – President Bush, breaking his rule not to talk about presidential politics, says he believes Hillary Rodham Clinton will defeat Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential primaries. Bush also predicts that Clinton will be defeated in the general election by the Republican nominee.

“I believe our candidate can beat her but it’s going to be a tough race,” the president said.

It has been difficult for Bush to remain silent about the 2008 president race, despite his promises not to be the “prognosticator in chief.” He has been talking about the race and handicapping candidates during off-the-record chats with visitors to the White House.

He finally went public with his Clinton prediction in an interview for a book by Bill Sammon, a reporter for The Washington Examiner.

“She’s got a great national presence and this is becoming a national primary,” Bush told Sammon. “And therefore the person with the national presence, who has got the ability to raise enough money to sustain an effort in a multiplicity of sites, has got a good chance to be nominated.”

The White House did not challenge Sammon’s account.

“Frankly, it’s difficult to not talk about the ’08 election a lot,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said. “There’s a lot of interest in it and it does have consequence.”

She denied the notion that Bush was talking up Clinton’s prospects to energize the Republican base against her candidacy.

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“The bottom line is, it really doesn’t matter what the president thinks about who will win the Democratic primary,” Perino said. “There’s going to be a showdown at the OK Corral and they’ll figure out whose going to be the nominee and from there the president will campaign vigorously for the Republican candidate.

Colleen Flanagan, a spokeswoman for Clinton’s rival Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, said in a statement: “I can understand why the president would want Senator Clinton to be the nominee.”

On the Republican side, Bush has expressed surprise that former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani remains the front-runner despite his liberal positions on social and cultural issues normally critical to the party base, according to The Washington Post. It ran a story about Bush’s recent off-the-record chat with television news anchors and Sunday show hosts.

Bush said Giuliani’s popularity was a sign of how important the terrorism issue is to Republican voters, the newspaper said. It said Bush cautioned against ruling out Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., saying he had managed to revive his campaign after an implosion earlier this year.
. . .

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NRA audience called for female protester to be Tased

When people start chanting “Tase her! Tase Her!”, then we really got a problem Houston. Because now we are more and more getting in the mode of what is referred to as a “self-policing” herd of sheeple. That’s bad, real bad, because it is a sure mark of totalitarian societies. And it comes as no surprise when the people have become so dumbed down by the media, entertainment, sports and “education”. I mean, what’s next?

This reminds me a little about a recent situation near the Mall in DC. I was watching CSPAN while some Veterans for Peace people were speaking to a crowd of peace protesters. As the last speaker wrapped up, some young guy walked up on stage trying to commondere the mic. He was restrained by an organizer as he struggled to say something. Then the mostly liberal protesters started chanting “Let Him Speak!”, “Let him speak!” So they let him speak and as soon as opened his mouth to say, “I’m a conservative and I’m for the war”, they started booing and shouting him down as his fingers were pryed off the mic and he was summarily hustled away. It was amazing to watch how quickly they turned against him and his freedom of expression.

Anyway, just one more item to consider when you say we live in a “free society”.

We don’t.

PW

. . .

RAW STORY | Sep 24, 2007

Despite the uproar that ensued after a questioner was shocked following a forum Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) held in Florida, not everyone is unhappy with the Taser.

At the National Rifle Association’s “Celebration of American values” conference Friday, as Sen. John Thune (R-SD) delivered his opening remarks, a protester stood up and began yelling, according to a 183-word brief by Ben Pershing in Monday’s Roll Call.

The audience responded.

“As she bellowed, a source who was present told [the paper], ‘All these old dudes started shouting, ‘Tase her! Tase her!’’

“Alas, security personnel just quietly walked the offender out the door, sans the 50,000 volts of electricity and — as NRA members might appreciate — ‘more stopping power than a .357 Magnum’ that Taser claims to provide,” Pershing wrote. “Maybe next time.”

A report on the protester in an MSNBC blog made no mention of any ‘Tase cheers.’

NBC’s Lauren Appelbaum wrote, “At the NRA conference, while GOP Sen. John Thune was speaking, a woman rushed into the ballroom holding a sign that said ‘honk for peace’ on one side and showed a picture of dead children on the other side. She yelled ‘Don’t Iraq Iran’ and addressed the senator directly. ‘Please senator, don’t Iraq Iran. Stop killing the children. You are all accomplices to war crimes. I will not stand any more bloodshed.’ A NRA member yelled at security, repeatedly saying ‘How the hell did she get in here? Get her out of here.'”

According to MSNBC, afterward, Thune defended the woman’s right to protest.

“Thune, after the woman was forcefully removed, talked about rights and said basic rights included her right to speak her mind. Then he went on with his speech,” Appelbaum wrote for MSNBC’s First Read.