Minutiae
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"Chuck Norris doesn't read books; he stares them down until he gets the information he wants out of them."
- ChuckNorrisFactsdotcom

Tuesday, March 30, 2004
What the fuck is wrong with the world?

Rwanda [1] ... Bosnia... Kosovo... Congo... Sudan... North Korea... Afghanistan...

Horrific crimes against humanity were allowed to go on for years in some cases. What ended those that are over? US military intervention.

How did negotiation and diplomacy work? Well Saddam went on killing for another decade. North Korea has concentration camps and nukes now. Over a million people are dead in Sudan.

What will stop those still going on? They'll either burn themselves out or the US will. The UN will hold conferences.

400,000 people in mass graves. No action. Entire villages gassed. No action. Children deliberately exposed to carcinogens. No action. Jails full of children. No action.

Does anyone remember when a scandal was a scandal? Now we have several a month it seems. And no one cares.

That's not good. Did the UN, (intentionally or not,) contribute to genocide? We already know they turn a blind eye to it. Again and again.

I'm going to be so fucking pissed if it turns out that the crazy anti-UN old coots were right all along. The more I look the more I want to shout it in the streets. Why doesn't anyone know this stuff?
"Hired by the United Nations to monitor these imports was a Swiss-based firm, Cotecna, which was paid out of the exorbitant fee the United Nations charged for overheads. Rosett, writing in the National Review last week, notes that Kojo Annan, the secretary general's son, was once on staff and later a consultant to that tight-lipped company. In denying to The Daily Telegraph in 1999 that he worked on the UN oil-for-food account, Kojo Annan said, "The decision is made by the contracts committee, not by Kofi Annan."

About that "661 compliance committee," on which the United States has a seat and to which the secretary general now wants to pass the buck: A U.S. official familiar with its operation tells me that "its purpose was formally to approve what the UN staff recommended. Only the U.S. and U.K. experts ever put a hold on a contract, and that about items that had dual use in weaponry. Few U.S. firms got contracts, and those that did worked through middlemen to avoid the General Accounting Office."

Annan's office kept blaming the 661 committee and stonewalling the press until an irate Iraqi Governing Council hired the accountants KPMG and a law firm to investigate what its advisers told Annan was "one of the world's most disgraceful scams." Under mounting pressure, this week the United Nations let it be known that its laughably titled Office of Internal Oversight Services would look into the matter. An internal whitewash? Not nearly good enough.

Will the Security Council appoint an independent counsel to clean house in an inept or corrupt secretariat? No, because France and Russia had their hands in the kickback till.

But free Iraq, backed up by the United States, is not helpless. The U.S. Congress supplies 22 percent of the UN budget, and Americans have a right to an accounting. Henry Hyde, chairman of the House international relations committee, calls this "an outrage" and will arrange for a General Accounting Office briefing this week, to be followed by open hearings in April.

The United Nations can redeem its sullied reputation by helping to shape Iraq's future. To take up that challenge, it must have clean hands."
See I don't really think that they can wash the blood off. Then there's another little raping killing torturing dictatorship that the UN won't take on...
"You come away from these fields and torture chambers - the senselessness of it - having seen pure evil and knowing that to do nothing in the face of such evil is to perpetuate it. It's not a question of weapons of mass destruction, it's a question of evil, and if you let it continue, you have to take responsibility for what's happening. You can't just turn a blind eye."
Yet that's exactly what the UN always does. They are impotent without the US military, and really what's the rush? There's money to be made!

This captures my feelings pretty well. Fuck it. I'm calling evil where I see it and the UN is evil because it allows crooks and cowards and thugs the pretense of honor and legitimacy. This is it. My patience for this nonsense is at an end.
"Terror and tolerance
By Jean-Christophe Mounicq

The morning of Jan. 29, upon hearing about the attack on a bus in Jerusalem, I did not experience the expected emotion. It seemed such a "normal" thing, and I have not enough tears to shed for people I do not know.

The next day, on Jan. 30, I read an article about one of the victims - Avraham Belhassen, 26 years old, a young father - and realized that I could tolerate no more. I can no longer tolerate terrorist folly, Islamist hatred, the passivity of Muslims, the blindness of the West.

Following the attacks in Madrid, this feeling struck me again. The reaction of the Spanish people, cringing in fear before the Islamist claim of responsibility, bothered me even more. I can no longer tolerate such cowardly Munich-like behavior that leads inevitably to dishonor and war.

The reaction of the European media and political class to the elimination of Sheikh Yassin - the master of hate and terrorism, and one who had called for the murder of Jews - pushed me over the edge. I can no longer tolerate descriptions of the monster responsible for hundreds of deaths and thousands of wounded as a "spiritual leader," a poor "paralytic in a wheelchair." I can no longer tolerate murderous, barbaric Islamist hatred.

I can no longer tolerate the electoral victories of Islamists in Algeria, Turkey or France. I can no longer tolerate the indifference of Muslim leaders and the majority of Muslims to the suffering of non-Muslims. I can no longer tolerate their affected statements or their perpetual self-victimization.

I can no longer tolerate the double game of Yasser Arafat, the Saudi princes or Pakistani leaders. I can no longer tolerate watching Muslims dance with joy, in the Palestinian territories or in Paris, following attacks on the World Trade Center or an Israeli bus. I can no longer tolerate their anti-Semitism, anti-Christianism, anti-Buddhism or anti-Hinduism.

I can no longer tolerate those who hate liberty but take every advantage of it. I can no longer tolerate Islamist lack of respect for secularism and equality, between men and women, Muslims and others. I can no longer tolerate their lack of respect for the cultures of the very countries that shelter them. I can no longer tolerate the multiplication of veils on women in the streets of Paris.

I can no longer tolerate attacks on French officials, abusive complaints against the police, terrorism against judges, the ban against teaching about the Holocaust in schools, or the brutalization of male doctors who treat Muslim women in hospitals. I can no longer tolerate burning cars in Strasbourg and synagogues in Bondi. I can no longer tolerate catcalls when the Marseillaise is played during games at the Stadium of France. I can no longer tolerate the cries of "death to Jews" in their demonstrations or "death to Christians" written on walls.

I can no longer tolerate concealing the massacres of Christians and Jews in Islamic countries, Copts in the Middle East, of one-and-a-half million Orthodox Armenians in Turkey at the beginning of the last century, as well as a million-and-a-half Christian Sudanese at its end. I can no longer tolerate Muslim ethnic cleansing in Kosovo or Palestine. I can no longer tolerate Islamist totalitarianism.

I can no longer tolerate the relativism and masochism of a West incapable of recalling its own history other than to denounce it. I can no longer tolerate comparing the Crusades to jihad, when the Crusades were nothing but a parenthesis in the history of Christianity while jihad is an integral part of Islam.

I can no longer tolerate the cowardice, weakness and mediocrity of the majority of Western leaders, or the unwillingness of Westerners to affirm their own values and the superiority of liberty and democracy over all other principles and systems. I can no longer tolerate the inability of Europe to recall its Judeo-Christian heritage.

I can no longer tolerate taxes that the European Union transforms into subsidies for the Palestinian Authority or that France transforms into arms for Saddam Hussein. I can no longer tolerate paying the maternity bills for women ready to sacrifice their infants as suicide bombers or for teaching children hatred on the West Bank.

I'm going to pray in the memory of Avraham, pray that his death and those of so many others might finally open the eyes of the cowards in the West who refuse to face the truth. I'm going to pray for Westerners to understand that the war on terrorism is in reality a war against Islamism, and that Islamism is gaining ground among Muslims.

I'm going to pray that moderate Muslims might organize demonstrations against the terrorists just as Corsicans and Basques have demonstrated against their own terrorists. Pray that Islam, which is entering its nuclear era, might become neither conqueror nor warrior, but rather adapt to modernity before it is too late."
If you don't see reality, you don't have to deal with reality. This reality is pretty damn grim, but the alternative, the natural consequence of non-action is so much worse. Just as religion can be the opiate of the masses so can relativism be the opiate of the intellectual. We all know what heroin does to you. Cognitive dissonance creates discomfort. Relativism alleviates the discomfort by denying reality. It's a Freudian defense mechanism dressed up as post-modern morals. The irony is delicious in an awful sort of way.


[1. Notice that The Guardian is whitewashing for Kofi? "By what appeared to be a coincidence of timing, the South African Press Association reported on Thursday night that the UN had received the black box flight recorder from the wrecked plane and would turn it over to outside investigators. No other details were available." When Kofi admits that it was a foul up. Were I truly paranoid, I'd say isn't that convenient? The choices here are staggering incompetence or outright ill intent. I believe in the principle that you should never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity. Either way, they're demonstrably useless.]

posted by Rachel 3/30/2004
. . .
Tell 'em sister! Though the graphic is not really very mature.
"Until a few days ago, presidential candidate John Kerry was able to take all the shots he wanted at President Bush's record in the war on terror, while remaining out of critical range himself. But last week's 9/11 commission hearings changed all that.

The hearings presented a Democratic record on terrorism that is marred by fundamental policy fumbles and ultimately fatal misjudgments. Of course, some of the errors in fighting terrorism in the 1990s could have been -- and were -- made or repeated by the Republican administration of George W. Bush. But a top-five list drawn from the testimony before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States and the reports prepared by commission staff, reveals errors that stemmed from what might be described as the post Cold War, Democratic world-view. They include:
 
* Unwillingness to use force to retaliate against terrorism or pre-empt attacks.
* Inaction in the face of legal obstacles
* Animus toward the intelligence community
* Fear of unpopularity in the court of domestic and foreign public opinion
* Failure to improve the effectiveness of bilateral relations with Arab states and Pakistan.
Now who does that sound like?

posted by Rachel 3/30/2004
. . .
Lovely. One year ago
France succeeded in having the UN remove the special rapporteur on Human Rights from Sudan because they had supposedly improved their record. (Though their own special rapporteur said that they hadn't. Ironically, it does appear that France voted against it in the end.) Today more than half a million people are dead, genocide is occurring, and the UN does nothing while Sudan currently sits on the Human Rights Commission. And it's somehow Bush's responsibility.

(I happen to agree. Not because I think that the US should be the world policeman, but because it is so painfully obvious that if we don't no one else will. The world will not be this way within reach of my hand. That's one of the benchmarks on the stages of moral development.)

Never Again.

This is complicity with evil. The UN has officially been taken over by monsters.
"Mr Kapila called for more aid and for urgent international intervention to bring about a ceasefire in the war.

"I was present in Rwanda at the time of the genocide, and I've seen many other situations around the world and I am totally shocked at what is going on in Darfur," he told the BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"This is ethnic cleansing, this is the world's greatest humanitarian crisis, and I don't know why the world isn't doing more about it."

The fighting in the west of Sudan has intensified as government peace talks to resolve the 20-year war with southern rebels are nearing an end.

But the UN is concerned that this conflict could undermine the peace talks in Kenya."
Do you understand that? The UN is concerned that genocide might undermine peace talks. Not that it's taking place but that it might hinder the negotiations. The special rapporteur on Human Rights said as much during his last report on the human rights situation.
"The team clearly stated that eyewitness accounts of military attacks and subsequent actions by soldiers and militia violate the letter and spirit of the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement to protect non-combatant civilians and civilian facilities from military attack. I should add that the team pointed to the fact that the practice of burning villages is common to both SPLM/A and Government-backed militias. I strongly condemn any violations of the existing agreements.

I am concerned to see that such elements have not been discussed within the peace process, allegedly for fear of derailing it. I also wish to express concern at the structure of such verification teams and their extremely restrictive interpretation of their mandate and hereby wish to reiterate the fact that human rights monitoring should not fall under the overall management of military elements.

Another major issue of concern is the escalating conflict in Darfur, western Sudan. I have received information pointing to a serious deterioration of the situation, with a high potential of destabilizing the country. The conflict is escalating, thus aggravating the human rights situation. Different sources referred to the current inaccessibility of the Jebel Marra area, where military activities are reportedly taking place. As a result, food and medicines are reportedly lacking. The Government stated that the area was now under its control and was fully accessible as a "normal area". However, sources also reported attacks against civilians and targeting of local tribes, to the point that some accused the Government of implementing a clear policy of ethnic cleansing aimed at eliminating African tribes from Darfur. According to information received mass executions by armed forces and aerial bombardment in areas which are densely populated have continued to take place for the past few years. Most sources pointed to the Government's responsibility: for failing to protect local tribes against attacks, failing to provide any form of compensations for victims of abuses and failing to support traditional means of conflict resolution while playing divide and rule tactics, thus putting one tribe against the other. The Government's interpretation of the conflict as caused by armed groups engaged in robbery and its response to solve the Darfur issue by resorting to Special Courts, group trials, death sentences and cruel and inhumane punishment such as cross amputation, are totally inadequate and resulted in serious human rights abuses. I was informed by the Minister of Justice that Special Courts have now been abolished. However, while no more sentences were passed by Special Courts in the past few months, some cases are still pending at the High Court or Constitutional Court. The people of Darfur have been marginalised for too long. The Government has a legal and moral responsibility to protect them and give them an equal chance to develop. Traditional means of conflict resolution should be strengthened. I fully support Amnesty International's call for an independent Commission of Inquiry to look into the situation in Darfur. Such a Commission should also "identify mechanisms which are in accordance with human rights standards to protect effectively the population from attacks" Sudan: Urgent call for Commission of Inquiry in Darfur as situation deteriorates, Amnesty International Press release, ai-index AFR 54/004/2003 (Public) 21/02/2003."
He said that to the Human Rights Commission on March 28th 2003.

Could this be why?
"For years, these atrocities were largely ignored by the international community. Only in the mid-1990s did the Clinton administration finally wake up to mounting evidence of Khartoum's sponsorship of international and domestic terrorism. The response was robust. The US government declared Sudan to be a terrorist state. It sponsored strong resolutions at the UN Commission for Human Rights condemning Khartoum for slavery and a host of other crimes. Strict US economic sanctions were imposed.

What did the Franco-German duo do? It led the EU in the opposite direction. France provided Khartoum with military intelligence for the prosecution of the jihad, while French and German helicopters have been used for ethnic cleansing in southern Sudan's oil fields. Driving black, non-Muslims out of their homes creates greater security for the investments of oil firms like Total Fina (France/Belgium) and the German engineering giant Mannesmann.

The Sudanese government's role in the revival of the country's once-dormant slave trade formed the greatest single political obstacle to legitimizing the EU's appeasement policy. France and Germany therefore spearheaded a UN whitewash of this crime against humanity. With the rest of the EU and their new East European satellite states in tow, they overcame American objections and easily persuaded the UN Commission on Human Rights to censor any use of the word ''slavery'' from official documents on Sudan and replace it with the euphemism ''abduction'' -- a lesser offense."
This is what it's come to. Now learn.
"Indeed, there is a certain perversely edifying effect that derives from witnessing deeply repressive regimes with the power to declare on the world's diplomatic stage that Sudan's realities are other than what the Special Rapporteur---and every other human rights organization and assessment---has revealed them to be."
But these are the people who MUST give us permission to act, without which we're illegitimate, unilateral, threats to world peace. This is the international community whose opinions we're supposed to heed.

posted by Rachel 3/30/2004
. . .
Well this is
good news. This is not. Especially in light of this. I'm afraid they may already have nukes. If not, I desperately hope that Israel takes action. Think about Pakistan. They have nukes. Musharraf has had attempts on his life within the past few months. If he dies those nukes are up for grabs in a country where a significant portion of the population was pro-taliban. That's enough nuclear uncertainty in the world without adding a country that's currently working on a revolution.

posted by Rachel 3/30/2004
. . .
Eeeeeeew. All I'll say is do it in private. Please don't make me watch you do it.

posted by Rachel 3/30/2004
. . .
Oish. What a week. It began with a dead water heater and ended with clogged sinuses.

I wonder why a hot water heater would opt to die on a Sunday. Of all the days to die, that one alone guarantees a cold shower the next morning. Even Home Despot, of the "Same Day Emergency Water Heater Replacement" lies, couldn't start our week with a hot shower. (AND they wanted $400 above the price of the heater to install it!) We now fully appreciate the boon that is running hot water. Carrying pots of boiling water the 20' to the tub is a hassle and you still can't really heat enough for a comfortable bath. It's amazing how magical it becomes after less than 2 full days without.

(Strangely enough, it looks like our neighbors had the same problem. They've tossed their old water heater out into their backyard. I'm struck with completely irrational guilt everytime I see it. People might think that it's ours. Nevermind that they would have no way of knowing that we replaced ours because it remains in the basement.)

Later in the week I got to do our taxes. Whoopee. We got a nice
refund. (Thanks W.) It's timed well to ease the unemployment strain. We can pay the bills. Yay. Still, it feels like going to the dentist and getting a clean check up. So why did I put myself through this? Of course, I know the answer. You do these unpleasant things because they have to get done or you deal with much worse consequences, still...

Now I'm battling a nasty tickle in my throat and plugged sinuses. Probably the leaf mold getting a good start on the allergy season. Nothing beats running salt water through your sinuses as an activity that becomes less appealing when you need to do it.

As disgusted as I am with the state of my existence right now, I'm optimistic. I'll find a job sooner or later. Spring will come. My head will clear... sooner or later. We have hot water and a warranty. Life is ok.

posted by Rachel 3/30/2004
. . .
On the site listed below is a lovely compilation of
legal idiocy. If you think that this sort of thing doesn't cost you money, well, you're fooling yourself. You pay taxes to and you purchase goods from these victims of uneducated juries.

posted by Rachel 3/30/2004
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