What you won't be able to upload is tomorrow's hangover after the wild partying tonight...
Happy 2007, everybody!
My English is not perfect? Well, it's not my mother tongue, so sue me!
See also Barcepundit (the original, in Spanish)
EVERYONE COMES DOWN to Barcelona eventually too; take that, Glenn!
Yesterday: Spanish/socialist/appeaser PM Jose Luis Zapatero explains how his government is doing a great job keeping Spain safe from domestic terrorists, namely ETA. How? By working with them, of course.Worthnoting a real shocker said by Zapatero in that year-end press conference yesterday. When he was saying that things were better now with ETA's cease-fire, he asked: "Isn't it true that things are better now than they were a few days ago, when there were tragic accidents?" (emphasis mine). Tragic accidents: it's how Zapatero calls terrorists murders. Friggin' unbelievable."Are we better now with a permanent cease-fire or when we had bombs, car bombs and explosions?" Zapatero asked. "This time next year we will be better off than we are today," he said. [Is that a New Year's resolution?]Today (Day 1 of "Next Year"): A car bomb has gone off at Madrid's Barajas airport, likely in violation of the "permanent" cease fire with the terrorists.
ETA has intentionally made Zap look like a complete moron, since last night he gave his year-end speech and said he was "convinced" that the negotiations with the terrorist gang "would be going better than now" within a year. To quote La Vangua on page 13 today, "Zapatero made a commitment to the citizenry that guaranteed the continuity and advance of the peace process, a continuity that did not seem so clear a few weeks ago."I wouldn't count on that; they'll find ways to blame the Popular Party because they weren't supporting the negotiation with ETA.
This is going to mean a big hit to Zap's reelection chances; expect a several-point swing to the PP in the next surveys with only a year or so left before the next general election. I think he's a one-term accidental prime minister, a Spanish Jimmy Carter.
"THE TREE OF LIBERTY must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure." -- Thomas Jefferson
The desire to oppose the many abuses that America and American power has committed in the world leads people to believe that these others, the people who claim rhetorically to be against that, are actually in some way allies. But actually the truth is that Islamic radicalism, whether it’s Al Qaeda, whether it’s Wahhabism, by whatever name you call it, is not interested in creating a world of greater social justice. It’s not interested in liberating women. It’s not interested in tolerance for minorities and sexual dissidents. It’s not interested in democracy. It’s not interested in having more of the community having a larger share of the pie. It’s not interested in economic redistribution. It’s not interested in any of the things that you would call social justice.There's much more; read it all.
It’s interested in what the Taliban is interested in. It’s interested in creating a new religious, fascist rule over the planet, you know, the Caliphate, the Talibanization of the earth. For the left to refuse to understand the nature of the people that they’re refusing to criticize is a historical mistake as great as those who were the fellow travelers of Stalinist Communism in an earlier age.
THE LATE JAMES BROWN wasn't known for his excesses for nothing. Don't miss this video of a TV interview in which he certainly was feeling good...
THE PET PROJECT of the Three Amigos (Kofi Annan, Zapatero and Turkish PM Erdogan) gets a vivisection by Bret Schaefer that you can't miss: The False Promise of "The Alliance of the Civilizations."
IF YOU'RE STILL in festive mood, you could do worse than watching these 101 classic Christmas videos of all times: from full feature films -like What a Wonderful Life!-, TV episodes and specials, commercials, cartoons, etc. It's pretty impressive.
TRUCE? WHAT TRUCE? Since the Israeli-Palestinian truce started, 56 Qassam rockets have been fired from Gaza. Of course, this only "endangers" the truce; everybody knows that truces are only broken when the wicked Israelis fire back...
IF IRAN really wants to collaborate towards the stabilization of Iraq -of course, only the MSM could buy that bullsh*t from Ahmadinejad- it could start by not not sending high-ranking military to collaborate with the insurgency...
JAMES BROWN has died.
I want you to please accept with no obligation,
implied or implicit,
my best wishes for an environmentally conscious,
socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive,
gender neutral, celebration of
the winter solstice holiday,
practiced within the most enjoyable
traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice,
or secular practices of your choice,
with respect for the religious/secular
persuasions and/or traditions of others,
or their choice not to practice
religious or secular traditions at all...
...and a fiscally successful,
personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated
recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2007,
but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures
whose contributions to society have helped make this planet great,
[not to imply that this
planet is necessarily greater than any other planet
or is the only planet in the known or unknown universe],
and without regard to the race, creed,
color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer
platform, or sexual preference of the wishee.
An off duty Basque regional policeman has discovered an ETA arms cache in a mountainous area close to Amorebieta in Vizcaya. He made the find by chance as he was walking in the mountains.
The police say the cache was only set up in the last few days and consisted of 50 kilos of chemicals used to make explosives. There was a buried large plastic container with Ammonium Nitrate and Aluminium powder. There were also some detonators.
The security services are said to be concerned by the find and think that ETA had brought the material in from France where it was probably stolen.
If it was a matter of "prestige and moral credibility", why didn't the
captive nations dream about Switzerland or Sweden? What they liked
about America was the proof it offered that titanic military power
could be reconciled with liberal and economic order.
Earlier this year a jihadist document calling for the liberation of so-called occupied territories and issued by the al-Qaeda-linked group Nadim al-Magrebi was posted on the Islamic extremist website Alansar. In most European capitals, where the cult of Palestinianism reins supreme, such demands are often met with approval since the occupied land in question is usually Israeli. But this time the statement addressed Spain—not Israel. It warned of a “holy war against the infidel Spanish state which has occupied the two cities.”
The two cities in question are Ceuta and Melilla, Spanish enclaves on the North African coast which Spain gained control of nearly 500 years ago.
Kofi Annan in his farewell address lectured America on its apparent abandonment of civil liberties—remonstrating that when the United States “appears to abandon its own ideals and objectives, its friends abroad are naturally troubled and confused.”Read the rest.
Some thoughts: the use of wiretaps, surveillance cameras, and civil detention of citizens is far more common in Europe than here in the United States.
In comparison to past wartime measures—suspension of habeas corpus (Lincoln/Andrew Johnson), shutting down newspapers (Lincoln), jailing of dissidents (Wilson), interning citizens, military tribunals (Roosevelt), or enemies lists, misuse of the IRS and FBI (Nixon), the Patriot Act, passed by both houses of Congress, is pretty tame.
In fact, there is much more transparency, accountability, and free speech in the present U.S. government than under the UN as run by Mr. Annan. Had one of the Bush children, Annan-style, shipped in a Mercedes using government exemptions to avoid fees and charges, or had Bush himself turned over his government-subsidized apartment to a wealthy sibling, the outrage would have been immediate.
[...] And concerning Kofi Annan: But by any fair token, his tenure at the United Nations will go down as one of the most corrupt in the entire history of the organization. The extent of the $50 billion oil-for-food scandal boggles the mind. Annan’s son profited from his dad’s position, and tried to profit from an embargo that put Saddam Hussein’s interests ahead of the strapped Iraqi people. When you add in the son’s business with the Mercedes, and the father’s apartment deal, then the corruption extended to the personal and petty. All this is largely forgotten once the suave Annan, emblematic of both the Third World and replete with a sophisticated British-Continental accent, begins his teary-eyed moral sermons.
A man who was being hunted for the murder of a policewoman is understood to have escaped from Britain by disguising himself as a veiled Muslim woman.
Mustaf Jama, a prime suspect in the fatal shooting of PC Sharon Beshenivsky, assumed his sister’s identity — wearing the niqab and using her passport — to evade supposedly stringent checks at Heathrow, according to police sources.
ONLY HOLY WAR will liberate Palestine, the charming No.2 of al-Qaeda, al-Zawahiri, said in a new tape released this morning.
FRENCH SOLDIERS had Osama in the crosshairs, in Afghanistan? Twice? And they say they didn't shoot because they didn't get the order to do it? Heads must roll.
THE WSJ deconstructs Spain's economy, which is not in such a good shape as leading indicators are, well, indicating:
Spain's economy is booming. So, more dramatically, is its housing market, with prices up 180% in the past decade. Rising wages and low interest rates fuel the housing demands of the upwardly mobile in this Iberian tiger.(Subscription required, but you should be able to read it the next seven day at this link)
Here's a reality check: All fiestas must end, or at least wind down. In this case, the thriving housing market covers up structural shortcomings in the economy to which the center-left government has paid scant attention.
His embrace of economic reform seems unlikely to have sprung from a commitment to freedom, given the overarching contempt for liberty that characterized the rest of his government. Rather, in order to insulate himself from the consequences of his murderous seizure of power, Pinochet sought out political allies, and his free market reforms helped him to garner support domestically on the right, and also among members of the international community. One must be careful not to fall into Pinochet's trap--accepting his brutal seizure of power and tyrannical rule as a natural accompaniment of free market reforms. Propagandists on the left lost no time in seeking to discredit economic freedom by associating it with Pinochet. To this day, we hear from Moscow that it takes a Pinochet to implement economic reforms successfully; Vladimir Putin seems all too willing to have Pinochet's uniform taken in a few sizes so he can try it on.Exactly.
Pinochet and his apologists argue thus: "Castro and the far left are worse than Pinochet, they kill more people and deliver fewer benefits than did the military government of Chile." Are we to admire Pinochet because his murderous regime was more efficient than tyrants on the left at producing higher GDP? Without the torture, rape, and killing, would economic and political freedom have been impossible in Chile? Hardly! But this is the argument insinuated by Pinochet. He successfully appropriated the utilitarian fallacy to which many on the left fall prey: that murder and torture are acceptable if they hasten the advent of the utopia implied by one's ideological model. That fallacy probably killed more people during the 20th century than typhus, and it stands to do so again in this century if we do not inoculate ourselves against it.
Pinochet tied his advocacy of free markets about people's eyes like a blindfold, to keep them from seeing his firing squads. Nothing that was achieved during his years of tyranny justifies the crimes he committed. Nor is there any meaningful sense in which the policies adopted by the Pinochet government should be viewed as paradigmatic for economic freedom.
IT'S THE JibJab year in review!.
SO THE WORLD'S POOR are getting poorer, as the mantra goes? Well, this is absolutely and demonstrably false.
Spanish police have arrested 11 suspects linked to Islamic militants in a raid on a poor neighbourhood in Spain's North African enclave Ceuta, an Interior Ministry official said on Tuesday.You may not know, but this guy was the poster boy of popular opinion here, who saw him as one of the examples of Bush trumping the civil liberties of people all over the world, etc. They war saying he had been unfairly arrested and imprisoned, only because he 'happened' to be in Afghanistan. In the middle of a war. With the Taliban.
Spanish media reported that one of those arrested was Hamed Abderrahaman Ahmed, a Spaniard who spent two years in U.S. detention in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after being captured in Pakistan. The so-called "Spanish Taliban" was freed earlier this year after terrorism charges in Spain were overturned.
KILL BY THE SWORD, die by the sword: the New York Times has been jaysonblaired by one of Spain's leading newspapers. A NY-based special envoy, Julio Valdeón Blanco, has plagiarized a piece in the Grey Lady on TVnewser, almost word by word. You can see the result here (subscription required for the next week, then it will be free), and here is my analysis in the Spanish edition of Barcepundit, where I juxtapose the paragraphs of each.
JAMES WOOLSEY, former CIA director during the Clinton presidency, has written an open letter to President Bush urging him to ignore the Baker report advice most celebrated in Europe: to engage with Iran and Syria.
The death of Alexander Litvinenko by radiological poisoning points to the possibility that the former Soviet spy may have been involved with Islamic terrorists in the preparation of tactical nuclear weapons for use in the jihad against the United States and its NATO allies.A bit too far-fetched, perhaps, but scary. Whether it was the case or not, the reality is that it's a matter of when, not if, something like this happens.
CAFÉ À LA PERLE: my colleague Richard Miniter, Pajamas Media Washington editor, has interviewed Richard Perle at his home while he was brewing some coffee. Some people will be surprised of what he says, quite different from how the 'Prince of Darkness' myth goes.
When Muslims conquer non-Muslim territories — such as Constantinople, not to mention all of North Africa, Spain and southwest Asia — those whom they have conquered as well as their descendants are not to expect any apologies, let alone political or territorial concessions.
Herein lies the conundrum. When Islamists wage jihad — past, present and future — conquering and consolidating non-Muslim territories and centers in the name of Islam, never once considering to cede them back to their previous owners, they ultimately demonstrate that they live by the age-old adage “might makes right.” That’s fine; many people agree with this Hobbesian view.
But if we live in a world where the strong rule and the weak submit, why is it that whenever Muslim regions are conquered, such as in the case of Palestine, the same Islamists who would never concede one inch of Islam’s conquests resort to the United Nations and the court of public opinion, demanding justice, restitutions, rights and so forth?
Put another way, when Muslims beat infidels, it’s just too bad for the latter; they must submit to their new overlords’ rules with all the attendant discrimination and humiliation mandated for non-Muslims. Yet when Islam is beaten, demands for apologies and concessions are expected from the infidel world at large.
Day of InfamyDon't miss the rest.
Sixty-five years ago today we were attacked at Pearl Harbor. I wrote today in my weekly Tribune Media Services column , why, unlike our forefathers, we haven’t been able to finish the war within four years following that similar preemptory and surprise attack on American soil.
Suffice to say that when the Democrats allege incompetence because we are not yet victorious, they forget we have lost 50 soldiers a month since September 11, not 8,000 as was true of every month during World War II. And it is much easier to carpet bomb Tokyo, as horrendously difficult as that was, than to go into Fallujah and sort out the terrorists from the “innocent” under the glare of a hostile globalized media, and a disunited American public, some of whom believe that Cindy Sheehan or Michael Moore should be consulted for their superior wisdom.
Mistakes and then there were mistakes
I haven’t engaged much in the parlor game of identifying mistakes in the occupation, because none of them (and there were many) reached a magnitude of those in World War II (e.g., daylight bombing without fighter escort in 1942-3, intelligence failures about the hedgerows, surprise at the Bulge, etc) or Korea (surprise at the Yalu). Nor were any fatal to our cause, despite the ‘disbanding’ of the army, Abu Ghraib, etc. If there were any serious blunders, they concerned the sense of hesitation that gave our enemies confidence—the sudden departure of Gen. Franks, the pullback from first Fallujah, the reprieve given Sadr, etc. In other words, once we were in a war, whatever public downside there was to using too much force was far outweighed by losing our sense of control and power, and ceding momentum to the terrorists. So we can learn from that, and begin again cracking down hard on the insurgents before calling for more troops.
And the only specific strategic proposal is a linkage between Iraq and a “renewed and sustained commitment” to a “comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace” – which concedes the same ludicrous rationale that the Saudi King Abdullah and all the rest of them make: that one tiny ten-mile sliver of Jews is the reason why millions of Muslims from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Emirates are mired in dictatorships, failed economies and jihadist fever. For the Baker group to endorse this clapped out pan-Arabism is disgusting. An “Arab-Israeli peace”? What does that mean? What exactly is Israel doing to Iraq, or Tunisia, or Qatar, or any other Arabs except those in the “Palestinian territories”? To frame it in those terms is to adopt the pathologies of the enemy. Shame on Baker, Hamilton and all the rest.Exactly.
A huge study from Denmark offers the latest reassurance that cell phones don't trigger cancer. Scientists tracked 420,000 Danish cell phone users, including 52,000 who had gabbed on the gadgets for 10 years or more, and some who started using them 21 years ago.Yeah, you can bet on that.
They matched phone records to the famed Danish Cancer Registry that records every citizen who gets the disease - and reported Tuesday that cell-phone callers are no more likely than anyone else to suffer a range of cancer types.
The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, is the largest yet to find no bad news about the safety of cell phones and the radiofrequency energy they emit.
But even the lead researcher doubts it will end the debate.
POLITICAL CORRECTNESS and gender equality gone crazy:
The town of Fuenlabrada on the outskirts of Madrid is taking a novel step in the struggle to achieve equality between Spanish men and women.If it was Scotland, they'd need to give them mammary glands...
The local council is changing the town's traffic signals.
Half of the walking, stick figures on signs at pedestrian crossings and the little, green men that flash inside traffic lights are being given skirts.
Authorities have arrested seven people, four of them police officers, in a suburb of Madrid for suspected trafficking of the same explosive used in the deadly train bomb of March 2004, the Interior Ministry said.
Children have been subjected to rape and prostitution by United Nations peacekeepers in Haiti and Liberia, a BBC investigation has found.Captain's Quarters has apt commentary.
Girls have told of regular encounters with soldiers where sex is demanded in return for food or money.
A senior official with the organisation has accepted the claims are credible.