Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, came under fire from domestic critics yesterday for his uncompromising stance on the nuclear issue.
[...] Mohammad Atrianfar, a respected political commentator, accused the president of using "the language of the bazaar" and said his comments had made it harder for Ali Larijani, the country's top nuclear negotiator, to reach a compromise with European diplomats.
Critics from across the Iranian political spectrum took him to task for his "no brakes or reverse gear" remarks, bolstering claims in the west that his hardline position may be starting to backfire.
"This rhetoric is not suitable for a president and has no place in diplomatic circles," said Mr Atrianfar, a confidant of Hashemi Rafsanjani, an influential regime insider and rival of Mr Ahmadinejad. "It is the language people in the bazaar and alleyways use to address the simplest issues of life."
Fayaz Zahed, leader of the pro-reform Islamic Iran Solidarity party, criticised the president for seeking to emulate the populist Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, rather than internationally revered leaders such as Nelson Mandela or Vaclav Havel.
"The brake exists to get the train safely to its destination," Mr Zahed wrote in the newspaper Etemad-e Melli. "Perhaps on the journey, we might find the track broken and are obliged to move our passengers by using the reverse gear to get to a safer track. Iran is a nation of earthquakes, flood and national disasters! You are our head. We should be able to trust you."
Even the fundamentalist newspaper Resalat, usually a supporter of Mr Ahmadinejad, was critical. "Neither weakness nor inexperience and unnecessary rhetorical aggression is acceptable in our foreign policy," it said.
They are showing more common sense than many Western pundits, who see Ahmadinejad's position as a brave stance against the imperialistic US.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average.UPDATE. Still more inconvenient is the truth that Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, is greener that Gore's mansion.
Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.
Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006.
Gore’s extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.
UPDATE II. Al Gore has responded, but I agree with Ed Morrisey and Dan Riehl that the argument is really, really lame.
Long time ago, rich Catholics could buy an indulgence from the Pope and eat meat during Lent, unlike regular people. This is exactly the same. Couldn't be better evidence that certain forms of environmentalism are quasi-religious.
UPDATE III. Funny.
Monday, February 26, 2007
A FEW PICTURES of the other Iraq.
THIS AFTERNOON at noon EST (6pm Central European Time) I'll be at BlogTalkRadio with Fausta, the host, and John Chappell. You can hear it live here, but if you can't don't worry, it will be archived for listening and downloading.
UPDATE. The podcast went well; if you didn't listen to it live, here it is archived for you to listen or download.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
BAD, BAD BUSH, who submits Americans to a draconian regime and spies citizens with the lame excuse of the war on terror. You know, the NSA wiretapping and all. Oh, wait:
European governments are preparing legislation to require companies to keep detailed data about people’s Internet and phone use that goes beyond what the countries will be required to do under a European Union directive.
In Germany, a proposal from the Ministry of Justice would essentially prohibit using false information to create an e-mail account, making the standard Internet practice of creating accounts with pseudonyms illegal.
A draft law in the Netherlands would likewise go further than the European Union requires, in this case by requiring phone companies to save records of a caller’s precise location during an entire mobile phone conversation.
Even now, Internet service providers in Europe divulge customer information — which they normally keep on hand for about three months, for billing purposes — to police officials with legally valid orders on a routine basis, said Peter Fleischer, the Paris-based European privacy counsel for Google. The data concerns how the communication was sent and by whom but not its content.
But law enforcement officials argued after the terrorist bombings in Spain and Britain that they needed better and longer data storage from companies handling Europe’s communications networks.
Monday, February 19, 2007
One of the very few foreign journalists who have been able to explore all the complexities without merely echoing the official line is Robert Latona, who has a superb piece in World Politics Watch that I encourage to read in full. He's spot on.
It's not the first time he is: I already linked to two great pieces by him, one on Zapatero as Mr. Bean and another on resurrecting Franco's ghost for political purposes.
Friday, February 16, 2007
MORE ON European anti-Americanism, by Denis Boyles who keeps in good shape.
Anti-Americanism runs deeper than Bush. "Anti-Bushism," says Markovits, is simply the "glaring tip of a massive anti-American iceberg." One immune to reason or climate change for that matter. As he explores, anti-Americanism dates back to 1492 and the discovery of the New World. Long before America became Mr Big, European cultural superiority meant that the US was regarded as venal, vulgar and mediocre - a lack of authenticity pervaded every part of American life. Australian playwright Stephen Sewell succumbed to the same lazy stereotyping in his play, The United States of Nothing.
Anti-Americanism cannot be explained simply by US policy stances or as anti-imperialism either. The US was hated during its isolationist periods and under its pacifist presidents. Under Bill Clinton, the US was a hyperpower according to French foreign minister Hubert Vedrine. (Clinton is now lionised by European elites as a effete kind of non-American). The hapless Jimmy Carter, so cautious of bloodshed that 52 hostages were held captive in the US embassy in Tehran for 444 days, was equally despised. Should he become president, even Barack Obama will also incur the anti-American wrath.
And, of course, US policy is not always right. Indeed, big countries make big mistakes. Pick a decade and you'll find a major stuff-up by American political leaders, from the passing of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act by US Congress in 1930 that led to worldwide protectionism, to the CIA overthrowing the government of Iran in 1953 which unleashed anti-American sentiment across the Middle East.
But the distinguishing features of anti-Americanism are its intellectual dishonesty and irrationality. US malevolence is assumed, not proven.
So the Islamic world will complain the US is anti-Muslim while overlooking Bosnia. Europeans regularly overlook the fact that American power, resolve and, yes, idealism, delivered them from both Nazism and communism. Nor, when they nip down to the corner store for some foie gras in their BMWs or Citroens, do they remember the contribution the Marshall Plan made to their postwar prosperity.
SINCE 9/11 and the United 93 heroes, nothing is the same:
Passengers overpowered a suspected armed hijacker who had commandeered a Mauritanian plane on Thursday when he was knocked off his feet during a hard landing, a source close to the Mauritanian presidency said.As Glenn Reynolds would say, "a pack, not a herd."
The Air Mauritania Boeing 737 was on an internal flight in Mauritania when the hijacker, armed with pistols, demanded to be flown to France, officials said. The pilot landed in Spain's Canary Islands instead, where Spanish police arrested the man.
"When the pilot landed he deliberately braked very hard. The man fell to the ground and was jumped on by passengers. He fired two bullets but there are no serious injuries," the Mauritanian source told Reuters.
A spokeswoman for the Spanish emergency services said 20 people suffered minor cuts and bruises but added she knew of nobody being injured by gunfire, as one emergency services source had reported earlier.
Spain's Interior Ministry said security forces arrested the hijacker and freed all 71 passengers and eight crew after the plane touched down at Gando airport on the island of Gran Canaria. Media reported the hijacker was North African.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
A VERY INTERESTING ARTICLE by Josef Joffe, former editor of the German newspaper Die Zeit, on anti-Americanismo in Europe.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
TODAY I'M IN, but my DSL is down so I'm posting this via dialup. How could we ever live with this? In any case, don't expect too many entries until the matter is resolved...
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
North Korea has agreed to shut down its main nuclear reactor within 60 days and eventually dismantle its atomic weapons programme.Of course that's the key, since they fooled Clinton and Carter as special envoy. But it's a good first step, and the Bush administration has proven that it knows how to handle these things and make sure they're for real: look at what happened in Lybia.
Under the deal at talks with the US and four regional powers, the North will receive an initial 50,000 tonnes worth of aid in heavy fuel oil for shutting down and sealing its main nuclear reactor, to be confirmed by international inspectors, Chinese envoy Wu Dawei said.
The North will eventually receive another 950,000 tonnes in aid for irreversibly disabling the reactor.
If Pyongyang goes through with its promises, they will be the first moves the communist nation has made to scale back its atomic development after more that three years of six-nation negotiations marked by delays, deadlock and the North's first nuclear test explosion in October.
Monday, February 12, 2007
NO WONDER there's a so-called "scientific consensus" about climate change: when a Danish scientist did an experiment suggesting it was due to the sun and cosmic rays, no scientific magazine published it. So he had to publish a book that the former editor of the New Scientist reviews for the Times (UK):
When politicians and journalists declare that the science of global warming is settled, they show a regrettable ignorance about how science works. We were treated to another dose of it recently when the experts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued the Summary for Policymakers that puts the political spin on an unfinished scientific dossier on climate change due for publication in a few months’ time. They declared that most of the rise in temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to man-made greenhouse gases.Keep reading, and also this piece at the Daily Telegraph.
The small print explains “very likely” as meaning that the experts who made the judgment felt 90% sure about it. Older readers may recall a press conference at Harwell in 1958 when Sir John Cockcroft, Britain’s top nuclear physicist, said he was 90% certain that his lads had achieved controlled nuclear fusion. It turned out that he was wrong. More positively, a 10% uncertainty in any theory is a wide open breach for any latterday Galileo or Einstein to storm through with a better idea. That is how science really works.
Twenty years ago, climate research became politicised in favour of one particular hypothesis, which redefined the subject as the study of the effect of greenhouse gases. As a result, the rebellious spirits essential for innovative and trustworthy science are greeted with impediments to their research careers. And while the media usually find mavericks at least entertaining, in this case they often imagine that anyone who doubts the hypothesis of man-made global warming must be in the pay of the oil companies. As a result, some key discoveries in climate research go almost unreported.
Enthusiasm for the global-warming scare also ensures that heatwaves make headlines, while contrary symptoms, such as this winter’s billion-dollar loss of Californian crops to unusual frost, are relegated to the business pages. The early arrival of migrant birds in spring provides colourful evidence for a recent warming of the northern lands. But did anyone tell you that in east Antarctica the Adélie penguins and Cape petrels are turning up at their spring nesting sites around nine days later than they did 50 years ago? While sea-ice has diminished in the Arctic since 1978, it has grown by 8% in the Southern Ocean.
So one awkward question you can ask, when you’re forking out those extra taxes for climate change, is “Why is east Antarctica getting colder?” It makes no sense at all if carbon dioxide is driving global warming. While you’re at it, you might inquire whether Gordon Brown will give you a refund if it’s confirmed that global warming has stopped. The best measurements of global air temperatures come from American weather satellites, and they show wobbles but no overall change since 1999.
That levelling off is just what is expected by the chief rival hypothesis, which says that the sun drives climate changes more emphatically than greenhouse gases do. After becoming much more active during the 20th century, the sun now stands at a high but roughly level state of activity. Solar physicists warn of possible global cooling, should the sun revert to the lazier mood it was in during the Little Ice Age 300 years ago.
Climate history and related archeology give solid support to the solar hypothesis. The 20th-century episode, or Modern Warming, was just the latest in a long string of similar events produced by a hyperactive sun, of which the last was the Medieval Warming.
The Chinese population doubled then, while in Europe the Vikings and cathedral-builders prospered. Fascinating relics of earlier episodes come from the Swiss Alps, with the rediscovery in 2003 of a long-forgotten pass used intermittently whenever the world was warm.
What does the Intergovernmental Panel do with such emphatic evidence for an alternation of warm and cold periods, linked to solar activity and going on long before human industry was a possible factor? Less than nothing. The 2007 Summary for Policymakers boasts of cutting in half a very small contribution by the sun to climate change conceded in a 2001 report.
Disdain for the sun goes with a failure by the self-appointed greenhouse experts to keep up with inconvenient discoveries about how the solar variations control the climate. The sun’s brightness may change too little to account for the big swings in the climate. But more than 10 years have passed since Henrik Svensmark in Copenhagen first pointed out a much more powerful mechanism.
He saw from compilations of weather satellite data that cloudiness varies according to how many atomic particles are coming in from exploded stars. More cosmic rays, more clouds. The sun’s magnetic field bats away many of the cosmic rays, and its intensification during the 20th century meant fewer cosmic rays, fewer clouds, and a warmer world. On the other hand the Little Ice Age was chilly because the lazy sun let in more cosmic rays, leaving the world cloudier and gloomier.
The only trouble with Svensmark’s idea — apart from its being politically incorrect — was that meteorologists denied that cosmic rays could be involved in cloud formation. After long delays in scraping together the funds for an experiment, Svensmark and his small team at the Danish National Space Center hit the jackpot in the summer of 2005.
Scientists skeptical of climate-change theories say they are increasingly coming under attack -- treatment that may make other analysts less likely to present contrarian views about global warming.
"In general, if you do not agree with the consensus that we are headed toward disaster, you are treated like a pariah," said William O'Keefe, chief executive officer of the Marshall Institute, which assesses scientific issues that shape public policy.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
The IPCC has produced a good report - an attempt to summarise what the world's scientists know about global warming. Unlike the Bush administration, caught downplaying the science, the IPCC squarely tells us that mankind is largely responsible for the planet's recent warming. And, unlike Al Gore, who has travelled the world warning that our cities might soon be under the oceans, it refrains from scaremongering.There's more, so go and read the rest.
But lost among the hype is the unexciting fact that this report is actually no more dire than the IPCC's last report, issued in 2001. In two important ways, this year's effort was actually less dire.
The report reflected the fact that since 2001, scientists have become more certain that humans are responsible for a large part of global warming. Otherwise, though, this report had a definite sense of déjà vu . Estimates of temperature increases, heat waves, and cold waves are all nearly identical to those produced six years ago.
The report did, however, contain two surprising facts. Both went unmentioned in most reports. First, the world's scientists have re-jigged their estimates about how much sea levels will rise. In the 1980s, America's Environmental Protection Agency expected oceans to rise by several metres by 2100. By the 1990s, the IPCC was expecting a 67-centimetre rise. Six years ago, it anticipated ocean levels would be 48.5 centimeters higher than they are currently. In this year's report, the estimated rise is 38.5 centimeters on average.
This is especially interesting since it fundamentally rejects one of the most harrowing scenes from Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth. In graphic detail, Mr Gore demonstrated how a 20-foot rise in the sea level would inundate much of Florida, Shanghai, and the Netherlands. The IPCC report makes it clear that exaggerations of this magnitude have no basis in science - though clearly they frightened people and perhaps will win Mr Gore an Oscar.
The report also revealed the improbability of another Gore scenario: that global warming could make the Gulf Stream shut down, turning Europe into a new Siberia. The IPCC simply and tersely tells us that this scenario - also vividly depicted in the Hollywood movie The Day After Tomorrow - is considered "very unlikely". Moreover, even if the Gulf Stream were to weaken over the century, this would be good, as there would be less net warming over land areas.
So why have we been left with a very different impression of the climate panel's report? The IPCC is by statute "politically neutral" - it is supposed to tell us just the facts and leave the rest to politicians and the people who elect them. This is why the report is a careful and sensible document.
But scientists and journalists - acting as intermediaries between the report and the public - have engaged in greenhouse activism. Elsewhere calling for immediate and substantial cuts in carbon emissions, the IPCC's director even declared that he hoped the IPCC report would "shock people, governments into taking more serious action".
It is inappropriate for somebody in such an important and apolitical role to engage in blatant activism. Imagine if the director of the CIA published a new assessment of Iran, saying: "I hope this report will shock people, governments into taking more serious action."
Climate change is a real and serious problem. But the problem with the recent media frenzy is that some seem to believe no new report or development is enough if it doesn't reveal more serious consequences and more terrifying calamities than humanity has ever considered before.
Indeed, this media frenzy has little or no scientific backing. One of England's foremost climatologists, Mike Hulme, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, points out that green militancy and megaphone journalism use "catastrophe and chaos as unguided weapons with which forlornly to threaten society into behavioural change". In his words, "we need to take a deep breath and pause."
A 38.5cm rise in the ocean's levels is a problem, but by no means will it bring down civilisation. Last century sea levels rose by half that amount without most of us even noticing.
The UN tells us that there is virtually nothing we can do that would affect climate change before 2030. So we have to ask the hard question of whether we could do better by focusing on other issues first - helping real people improve their lives and resilience so they can better deal with the world's challenges.
I CAN SYMPATHIZE with this guy: I also get mad when I see stupid errors in an article, or watch TV newscasts. But then again, I don't call the newspaper in question. That's why I blog!
Friday, February 09, 2007
Hydrogen is only a source of energy if it can be taken in its pure form and reacted with another chemical, such as oxygen. But all the hydrogen on Earth, except that in hydrocarbons, has already been oxidized, so none of it is available as fuel. If you want to get plentiful unbound hydrogen, the closest place it can be found is on the surface of the Sun; mining this hydrogen supply would be quite a trick. After the Sun, the next closest source of free hydrogen would be the atmosphere of Jupiter. Jupiter is surrounded by radiation belts so intense that they are deadly to humans and electronics. It also has a massive gravity field that would severely impair hydrogen export operations. These would also be complicated by the 2.5-year Jupiter-to-Earth flight transit time (during which any liquid hydrogen launched would probably boil away), and the fact that upon re-entry at Earth, the imagined hydrogen shipping capsule would face heat loads about eight times higher than those withstood by a space shuttle returning from orbit.Read the rest.
So if we put aside the spectacularly improbable prospect of fueling our planet with extraterrestrial hydrogen imports, the only way to get free hydrogen on Earth is to make it. The trouble is that making hydrogen requires more energy than the hydrogen so produced can provide. Hydrogen, therefore, is not a source of energy. It simply is a carrier of energy. And it is, as we shall see, an extremely poor one.
The spokesmen for the hydrogen hoax claim that hydrogen will be manufactured from water via electrolysis. It is certainly possible to make hydrogen this way, but it is very expensive—so much so, that only four percent of all hydrogen currently produced in the United States is produced in this manner. The rest is made by breaking down hydrocarbons, through processes like pyrolysis of natural gas or steam reforming of coal.
Neither type of hydrogen is even remotely economical as fuel. The wholesale cost of commercial grade liquid hydrogen (made the cheap way, from hydrocarbons) shipped to large customers in the United States is about $6 per kilogram. High purity hydrogen made from electrolysis for scientific applications costs considerably more. Dispensed in compressed gas cylinders to retail customers, the current price of commercial grade hydrogen is about $100 per kilogram. For comparison, a kilogram of hydrogen contains about the same amount of energy as a gallon of gasoline. This means that even if hydrogen cars were available and hydrogen stations existed to fuel them, no one with the power to choose otherwise would ever buy such vehicles. This fact alone makes the hydrogen economy a non-starter in a free society.
And even if you are among those willing to sacrifice freedom and economic rationality for the sake of the environment, and therefore prefer hydrogen for its advertised benefit of reduced carbon dioxide emissions, think again. Because hydrogen is actually made by reforming hydrocarbons, its use as fuel would not reduce greenhouse gas emissions at all. In fact, it would greatly increase them.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
A judge Wednesday ordered a U.S. soldier to stand trial in absentia for the fatal shooting of an Italian intelligence agent at a checkpoint in Baghdad, the prosecutor said.
Spc. Mario Lozano is indicted for murder and attempted murder in the death of Nicola Calipari, who was shot on March 4, 2005, on his way to the Baghdad airport shortly after securing the release of an Italian journalist who had been kidnapped in the Iraqi capital, prosecutor Pietro Saviotti said.
Another agent, who was driving the car, and the journalist, Giuliana Sgrena, were wounded.
"This looks to me like the first step on a long road toward truth and justice, and I hope justice will come in the end," said a visibly emotional Rosa Calipari, the agent's widow.
Lozano was not at the hearing and his whereabouts are not known. Judge Sante Spinaci set his trial date for April 17.
According to prosecutors, the judge said in his ruling that Lozano can be tried for "political murder," because Calipari was a civil servant and his slaying damaged Italy's interests.
Italian law does not allow foreigners charged with killing Italians abroad to be tried in absentia unless the murder has political connotations, prosecutors have said in the past.
Sgrena's lawyer, Alessandro Gamberini, said the judge agreed to attach a civil lawsuit against the Defense Department.
Prosecutors so far have not sought the soldier's arrest. Lozano, a member of the New York-based 69th Infantry Regiment, has said through friends in the military that he had no idea the car was carrying the Italians.
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said there are no plans to make Lozano available for the trial.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
And he ends with something absolutely appaling: “Not being able to live a normal life is very hard. Only those of us who have experienced it can understand it,” he said.
There's something worse than not being able to live a normal life, you sonofabitch. It's not being able to live at all, like the 25 persons you murdered.
And one further thought: would The Times have published an interview with Bobby Sands or the other ten when he was in a hunger strike?
IF YOU STILL have any doubts that the so-called "scientific consensus" on global warming is bogus, a buddy in Barcelona sends me this link with several articles of prominent scientists who don't toe the histerical eco-chondriacs' line.
Monday, February 05, 2007
Spanish judge Santiago Pedraz may seek the suspension of Spain's judicial assistance treaty with the United States, the daily El Pais reported Monday.Yes, and it will be more than annoying to Spain: a little known fact is that American intelligence has been key in the fight against ETA.
National Court magistrate Pedraz could take his request to high judicial organs after Washington refused to supply information on three US soldiers wanted by Spain for the death of a Spanish cameraman during the Iraq conflict.
[...] The suspension of the judicial assistance agreement would be annoying for the US, which often seeks Spain's help in capturing criminals such as drug traffickers, according to El Pais.
Oh, wait, we're not fighting anymore...
Anyway, I'll be interested in how the US will react: probably will shrug off the threat, there's no way he'll collaborate with this travesty of justice. More fun to watch is what Spain will do next if the US doesn't comply: declare war?
What would happen if tomorrow we were told that, after all, the Earth is flat? It would probably be the most important piece of news in the media and would generate a lot of debate. So why is it that when scientists who have studied the Global Warming phenomenon for years say that humans are not the cause nobody listens? Why does no one acknowledge that the Emperor has no clothes on?Keep reading.
Believe it or not, Global Warming is not due to human contribution of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). This in fact is the greatest deception in the history of science. We are wasting time, energy and trillions of dollars while creating unnecessary fear and consternation over an issue with no scientific justification.
AN AL-QAEDA TERRORIST has been nabbed in Spain today; he was wanted in his home country, Morocco, for sending terrorists to Iraq. Andrew Cochran thinks the fact that he was arrested in Spain is troubling, "indicating possible plans to carry out attacks there and in Europe and a network of supporters and sympathizers sufficient to support his presence there."
Well, not necessarily so: a cynic might say that he was here just because he thought he was in a safe place, where so many people see anything that hurts the Americans as semi-heroes. But I'm not a cynic so I won't say it.
UNLIKE the "peace-in-our-time" demonstration three weeks ago, last Satuday's was indeed an anti-ETA protest. One that didn't call for merely achieving peace -which is not saying much, since peace can be the end result of victory or defeat- but specifically for achieving peace by defeating terrorists.
As I said in that post, that was hardly clear in the rally by Zapatero allies three weeks ago. Zapatero always sports a calculated ambiguity, saying he wants peace, his favorite word. As you know, the other way to achieving peace is by negotiating, which is the equivalent to surrender when there's a democratic country at one side of the table and a group of thugs at the other. And especially when that group of thugs keeps hitting, as they just did again today. I also said I was afraid that Zapaterlain would see that demonstration by his allies as a vindication that even after the deadly Barajas bomb it was worth to keep negotiating. I disagreed with Robert Mayer on that respect, who was encouraged that it would mean an end once and for all of Zapatero's temptation to negotiate further.
If it only were so. Zapatero has unequivocally said that in spite of the "tragic accident" (sic) in Barajas, it's still his moral duty to "find peace." Of course, the Socialist party and its allies didn't attend last Saturday's anti-ETA demonstration, something that hasn't been highlighted by Reuters or the NYT as it was when the PP didn't attend January's protest. Most telling is the furious reaction of the Zapatero administration. The most absurd, the silliest complaint, is saying that the Popular Party was "demonstrating against Zapatero rather than against ETA." Well, look at this picture; and also think how absurd the accusation is, because of course there was shouting against Zapatero. They're the ones negotiating with a terrorist group, and that's what people disagrees with. Is that criticizing more the government and less ETA? Of course not: if you protest against your government's anti-terror policies you're not less against terrorists: you simply are also against the political decisions. I mean, the Socialists' complaints are as if a lab doing animal tests would say, when PETA activist protests are at its doors, "how sad, you're protesting more about us than about mistreatment of animals."
If the government of your country does something that you don't agree with and you demonstrate against it, you're protesting against both, not one above the other. Just as anti-Iraq war protesters: they thought Bush was wrong with his decision and protesting it, but that didn't mean that demonstrators were any less against war, did it?
Friday, February 02, 2007
MICHAEL FREUND does the math:
It's time we open our eyes and confront reality. Ever since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the media has sought to reassure us that only a tiny minority of Muslims actually support the use of violence against Israel and the West.Read the rest.
It's just a small fringe, a marginal few at best, they tell us, so don't worry about it all too much. One percent or three percent - who cares? Just sit back, enjoy your morning eggs and coffee and have a nice day.
But a look at the numbers tells a very different story. The extent of support for global jihad is frightening in its proportions, and the numbers are anything but insignificant.
Consider, for example, the following statistics regarding support for suicide bombings and other types of terror attacks.
In a poll conducted five months ago, and broadcast on Britain's Channel 4 TV, nearly 25% of British Muslims said the July 7, 2005, terror bombings in London, which killed 52 innocent commuters, were justified. Another 30% said they would prefer to live under strict Islamic Sharia law rather than England's democratic system.
Now, one in four justifying terror may not be a majority, but it certainly isn't a "small fringe" either.
In other countries, the figures are no less unsettling.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
PROBABLY one of the most beatiful pieces of music ever written: The Song of the Birds, composed by Pau Casals while in exile during Franco's dictatorship.
(video hat tip: Clive Davis)