Sunday, July 31, 2005

Government: Top Prez Aide - Karl Rove: The politics of holding off the Plame-Wilson cell to discredit the Prez's War policy

As the story of President Bush's top aid, Karl Rove, starts to rove in so many directions that it becomes difficult to decide where and how to focus in order to many sense of it all. Eric Black's article, Many ways to parse Rove story, in The Minneapolis-St Paul StarTribune,July 31, 2005, attempts to do just that for us. To parse the story, Black comes up with five headings to tell us what the story is about:

President's Men - Karl [2]

1.) It's about the war.
2.) It's about the law.
3.) It's about credibility.
4.) It's about journalism.
5.) It's about politics ...

"Well, sure."

This is a good read; just click the headline above and wade in. Meantime or thereafter, check out these two additional items from the Star Tribune's coverage of the roving story of Rove.

How it came to this: a timeline for the Rove story, Jul30,2k5.

GOP tries to make Wilson the issue, also
Eric Black, Star Tribune, Jul31,2k5.


Karl Rove in deep do-do? The man who always ends up smellin' rosy

Rove broke no law.
Plame would very probably lose a civil suit against him in court, were she to try that avenue of revenge for her overt/covert misdeeds. She got outted, one way or another. You now, exposed along with her hubby, as a pair of disloyalists.

Government of lies: The political meaning of the Rove affair, by Patrick Martin, Global, July 29, 2005. Article links to World Socialist Web Site, published by the International Commitee of the Fourth International (IFCI) - that's a rather sure sign of Trotskyist origins, but you could do worse, as below ...

Calls grow to fire Rove, by Dan Margolis, Peoples' Weekly World, July 29, 2005.

- Collected by Owlie Scowlie

Previously in this series:

President's Men - Karl [1] (Jul 13,2k6)

Diplomac: UN Ambassador - John R. Bolton: Senators on Sunday TV newstalk shows - Dodd, McConnell - and other voices & views

Fox News Channel's Chris Wallace interviews Sen. Christopher Doddd [D, Connecticut] and Sen. Mitch McConnell [R, Kentucky], July 31, 2005, segment on topic of John R. Bolton. Hi-lites & snippets:

WALLACE: Senator Dodd, it seems certain that this week the president is going to go around the Senate and make a recess appointment of John Bolton as U.N. ambassador.

What effect will that have, both in the Senate and at the U.N.?

DODD: Well, the U.N. -- my hope is the president would think a little longer about this. And I understand he feels a certain sense of loyalty, maybe, to Mr. Bolton (search). But he's got to be conscious of the fact this is a very important session coming up in September. We've got some major issues before the U.N., possibly Iran, possibly North Korea, certainly the meeting of the Security Council, the leaders coming together.

I just think Mr. Bolton's the bad choice here, and for all the reasons we've outlined earlier.
WALLACE: But, Senator, that argument is kind of over. I guess the question is -- it looks like he's going to be there. What impact do you think that will have on...

DODD: Well, I think a negative one, and that's my point. And I would hope the president would think a little longer about this from his perspective.

WALLACE: Why negative to have Bolton there?

DODD: He's damaged goods. This is a person who lacks credibility.

This will be the first U.N. ambassador since 1948 that we've ever sent there under a recess appointment. That's not what you want to send up, a person that doesn't have the confidence of the Congress, and so many people who have urged that he not be sent up to do that job.

WALLACE: But, Senator Dodd, we've done some research into this and it turns out that President Clinton made some 140 recess appointments...

MCCONNELL: Senator McConnell, isn't a recess appointment of Bolton -- and as we've pointed out, it's been done by presidents of both sides -- but isn't it going make the atmosphere in the Senate even more poisonous?

MCCONNELL: No, I don't think so.

I mean, typically senators who are not of the party of the president don't like recess appointments. I think Chris and I would both stipulate that. But, look, Bolton's been sort of twisting in the wind since March.

Chris [Wallace, the host/interviewer] mentioned all of the important things that are going to be happening at the U.N. in September. It's important to get an ambassador up there. If the president would have dropped Bolton and sent somebody else, there'd be no chance of getting him in place by September.

Bolton's exactly what the U.N. needs at this point. The president's right on the mark in picking him.

I'll give you an example. This issue that several of my colleagues are working on, with regard to the overspending on renovation of the U.N. building. Donald Trump's come down and said he'd basically donate his service to do it for $700 million and they want to borrow $1.2 billion to do it. But these are the kinds of things that have been going on up there for years.
MCCONNELL: We've finally got somebody who will go up there and challenge the establishment up there at the U.N., bring about the kind of reform that is needed.

You know, if the president recess-appoints John Bolton, I can understand why, because he's been waiting a long time to get the person that he believes is best to represent his administration at the U.N.

Some other info & spin:

Bolton's Abscess Appointment, Don Kraus and Sam Stein,, July 29, 2005.

Bolton form failed to note interview in State inquiry, AP via Washington Times, July 29, 2005.

U.N. Nominee Omitted Data at Hearings in the Senate, by Elisabeth Bumiller, New York times, July 29, 2005.

- Collected by Owlie Scowlie

Juridics: SC - John Roberts: Senate opinion on Sunday TV newstalk shows - Feinstein, Dodd, McConnell - and other voices & views

Sen. Dianne Feinstein on John Roberts journey to his seat on the Supreme Court, Sacramento Bee, July 31, 2005. The California Senator writes a very thawtful piece on what she'll be looking for in the candidacy of John Roberts to take his seat on the Supreme Court. - Politicarp

With the stroke of a pen, a [US Supreme Court] justice may affect millions of lives.

Given this profound impact, I will be looking to ascertain Roberts' judicial philosophy on when precedent can and should be overturned, what is the proper balance of power between the three branches of government and what are his views on individual rights both enumerated and implied in our constitution.

Fundamental questions of law will be affected by his responses to these inquiries, including:

* Whether the court will continue to respect a woman's right to make reproductive choices

* What is covered under the sphere of privacy

* Whether the federal government may intrude on fundamentally personal decisions regarding the end of life

* Whether diversity in our schools continues to be recognized as a compelling state interest

* What is the proper equilibrium between religious beliefs and our public institutions

His judicial philosophy will have broad implications for our national economy, the ability of states and localities to seize private property or infringe upon its uses, the president's authority to conduct the war on terror and the due process rights of enemy combatants and detainees.

NBC News' Meet the Press transcript, July 31, 2005 Hi-lites & snippets:

MR. HARWOOD: ... Judge Roberts is not going to say that he would overturn Roe vs. Wade.

MR. BRODER: You know, Tim, this man is going on to the Supreme Court. And what the Democrats could usefully do, from the country's point of view, is illuminate him not subject him to some sort of cross-examination about specific issues where he will not respond. But he's led a pretty sheltered life in the law. We don't know much about what his view is of American life and society. If we could find that out, it could probably be useful information for the public to have.

MR. RUSSERT: What kind of questions would you ask him?

MR. BRODER: I'd ask him, for example, what does he think about what's happening now in some of the states in this country? What does he think is happening in the relationship between the states and the federal government? What does he think about what is happening between the employers and employees of this country? Get some sense about where his sense of social justice may be, what his sense of obligation to the society, and particularly ask him, what does he think the law means to average citizens? What can they expect from the courts? If he wants to talk about predictability, that would be important to know. If he thinks that there are some specific issues where people have a stake in what the courts decide, we'd like to know that about him.

MS. O'BEIRNE: Interesting, interesting questions. But they're not the kind of thing Democratic senators appear to be interested in.

Fox News Channel's Chris Wallace interviews Sen. Christopher Doddd [D, Connecticut] and Sen. Mitch McConnell [R, Kentucky], July 31, 2005, segment on topic of John Roberts. Snippets:

MCCONNELL: Well, the Democrats think almost everybody's outside the mainstream. Their definition of "mainstream" is a little bit different from mine. My mainstream definition is what would be good in Louisville, Kentucky; theirs, I guess, on the east side of Manhattan.


Look, in terms of the documents, the administration, as you indicated, has turned over 70,000 pages. There are going to be additional requests for solicitors' papers.

But this administration views the letter signed in 2002 by six living former solicitors, a majority of whom were Democrats, that [turning over more solicitors' papers] would have a chilling effect on the young people who work there in the solicitor's office and make it less likely that they would express themselves openly, is the position the [the Administration is] going to take.

So I think the Senate clearly has enough information to make a decision on Judge Roberts, and I think they're going to confirm him.

DODD: ... I think he's probably a pretty good choice. I've been reading the newspaper articles about him. He's a conservative choice but one that has a distinguished legal record, an academic record, certainly qualified on all of those grounds to be on the Supreme Court.

The open-ended question for us clearly is what are his views about some of the basic values, the equal protection clause, the privacy clause of the Constitution. These are things that members of the Congress through their -- and their representatives want to know about during the confirmation process.

This is a nomination, not a coronation. That's why we have a nomination process. I look forward to that process, and if he comes through it and answers those questions well, he'll have my vote.

Dodd is a bit dodgey, but he leaves the door open a crack, while McConnell is rather gung-ho, eh? - Owlb

Rule for Roberts - Separate Church from State, by Marie Szaniszlo, Boston Herald, July 31, 2005.

``Any opposition to Roberts, particularly because of his anti-abortion record, will likely be countered with accusations of anti-Catholicism,'' Adele Stan wrote in the online edition of the liberal magazine The American Prospect.
Even Boston attorney and longtime women's advocate Ellen Zucker said Roberts' religion should be irrelevant, noting that for more than a century, Jews were effectively barred from the bench.
Nor is a person's faith an accurate predictor of how a person will vote. Two of the Catholics on the current court - Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas - are abortion foes. But the third, Anthony Kennedy, voted with the majority in 1992 in a 5-4 ruling reaffirming the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. William Brennan, the lone Catholic on the high court when it decided Roe in 1973, supported liberal access to abortion.
"The question is whether (Roberts) distinguishes between private beliefs and public rights,'' Zucker said.

But is that really the question? It seems to be a false question to me. Beliefs can be kept private at a person's discretion or indolence. Or cunning. But it is not in the nature of beliefs to remain private, beliefs are as public as they are private, and there is no valid reason for excluding them from the public square. - Anaximaximum

A pot pourri of further voices & views that descends to the sheer propaganda of ...<

Democrats Pinpoint the Files They WantThey call their request for Roberts' documents 'limited'; Republicans say it's a delay tactic,
by Maura Reynolds, Los Angeles Times, July 29, 2005

Dissident Voice on Roberts Nomination, by Paul Rogat Loeb, Dissident Voice, July 28, 2005.

Why Can't John Roberts Remember ...?
Stop Thief!, by Tom Englehardt, Mother Jones, July 28, 2005

John Roberts Nomination: Senatorial Advice and Consent, by Marion Edwyn Harrison, Esq., National Ledger, Jul 28, 2005.

Bush Stonewalls, Demands Rubber Stamp on Roberts Nomination, by Leo Walsh, PoliticalAffairs, Marxist Thawt online, July 29, 2005.

- Collected by Owlie Scowlie

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Sport: Philosophy of Soccer: Prosthesis blog has fascinating entry on sport, Dutch soccer hero Johann Cruyff's minority view

Under his heading - Sport, play, and aesthetics - Prosthesis turns to some comments of the Dutch football legend - what we'd call a "soccer legend" in North America - John Cruyff. Besides Cruyff's remarks, you may want to read the whole of the Prosthesis blog entry for a minority alternative view of sport.

"I don't go through life cursing the fact that I didn't win a World Cup. I played in a fantastic team that gave millions of people watching a great time. That's what football is about. The Dutch team of the seventies was fantastic to watch. People say that to me every day ... They talk about us in awe. That is the biggest reward I can have as an ex-player: I played my football in a thrilling team. And I coached Ajax and won the European Cup playing that way, too. Then I went to Barcelona as coach and we won many trophies. But the best reward for me was that people said we were producing the best football in the world.

There is no better medal than being acclaimed for your style. As a coach, my teams might have won more games if we'd played in a less adventurous way. Maybe I'd have earned a little more and the bonuses would have been bigger, but if people say that Barcelona were playing the nicest football in the world with me as coach, what more can I ask for? If you're appearing in the World Cup final it may be the biggest occasion of your life, so why be sad and fearful? Be happy, express yourself and play. Make it special for you and for everyone watching. For the good of football, we need a team of invention, attacking ideas and style to emerge. Even if it doesn't win, it will inspire footballers of all ages everywhere. That is the greatest reward."

Much of the rest of the blong entry turns on the word "play." The first word about sports these writers says is, not win, but play. Winning's nice too, I'd be sure to add. = Owlb

Friday, July 29, 2005

Toronto: City Life: Miller stirs up flak on US source of TO's trouble with guns, Miss Uni gets more notice

Toronto GunsN'Shootin's Watch

Seems that Hizzworship has stirred up a flying furious flurry of flak with his attempt to make the USA the sole problem in regard to Toronto's problem with guns being shot off all over the place these days, by the usual crims. Don't miss Gary Reid's whack at the Mayor in Gary's article today on David Miller, "What a Maroon!," Canadian Free Press, July 29, 2005. (I doubt Gary is aware that "Maroon" is a very specific name for a community of Blacks who were removed from the Carribean and brawt to Halifax under duress.) Theme of the article: David Miller on guns and shootings in Toronto, how its all America's fawlt. Oh yeah, and them Maroons. Click the blog entry title above. But, ironic humour aside, there does seem to be a pattern here, eh? Miller blames guns shot off in Toronto on the USA, and McGuinty blames Toronto's smog on the USA's Federal government, as tho all those automobiles streaming down the Don Valley Parkway every morning aren't commuters coming to town to work, and then going home in the evening, and then the cottagers streaming out on the weekends, and returning again home for work during the week. 70% of Toronto's smog and unbreathable air is the product of our own automobiles, trucks, and planes. But the name of the game is blame USA, and duck the problem at hand. - Politicarp

Miss Universe Watch

"A champion of her silly activity," by Raywat Deonandan, Toronto Star, July 29, 2005. The writer with right good humour makes some telling comparisons.
Miss Uni events should be respected like like baseball and synchronized swimming (thos there's not much of that at Nathan Phillips Square in front of City Hall A hoot! - Owlie Scowlie

That bit about comparing Miss Universe and the Barenakedies of Gay Pride Day Toronto. Read letter-writer Henrietta Wasik in a droll epistle to Ancaster News, July 29, 2005. Whatever your orientation. same rules must apply - Owlb

Six-Nation Negotiations: US & North Korea: Talks grind into 4th day with no sign of break-thru

As the fourth day of talks in Beijing have proceeded from "cautious optimism" to a complex grind, North Korea and the USA have yet to be assured of the meaning of "basic terms" each uses. The process requires unpacking the hidden meanings the other party suspects in the adversary's language of requirements and reassurances. South Korea, Japan, Russia, and of course China are the other four parties to the talks. Each country has its own interests. But the US-NKorea bargaining provides the axis on which everything else seems to turn in the Fourth Round, now in its fourth day.. Perhaps the twosome

North Korea Human Rights

Citizens' Alliance for Human Rights for North Koreans - English section Go to Media Focus section and click on link for "07/22/05 NK Human Rights ‘Not on Table’ for 6-Party Talks," by Park Wong-su, Korea Times, July 22, 2005. (There's also a large Korean-language section of the site.)

will come up with something the whole world will rejoice in. Perhaps. On the other hand, could a NKorea-US agreement be vetoed at the last moment by China? In any case, the two main adversaries are working diligently to come to some possible common statement before the conclusion of this Fourth Round of the Six-Countries Talks on North Korea and its future in the world, "the world community of nations," as it's sometimes idealized.

"We hope that [the North] will see the logic, that doing away with nuclear weapons and rejoining the NPT [nonproliferation treaty] will contribute to its economic and political well-being," a senior US official said Wednesday. He added, "These are important negotiations for us. But they are vital for North Korea, as they will determine the future of the country."

Widely divergent definitions of a nuclear-free Korea - as well as who should blink first in getting there - have proved stumbling blocks. The US is holding to the proposal it made in the last talks in June 2004, that the North must dismantle its nuclear program in exchange for aid and security guarantees. North Korea rejected that proposal, saying it carried too many demands before delivering incentives. The North is calling for the "denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula and removal of the US "nuclear umbrella." The US has repeatedly said it has no nuclear weapons in South Korea and will not negotiate over what it has elsewhere.


Chief US negotiator Christopher Hill said that he was hopeful that the delegation could start drafting a statement quickly. But, he noted, "this is not an easy process. It takes time."

US, North Korea struggle to agree on basic terms, by Amelia Newcomb and Donald Kirk, CSM, July 29, 2005.


The BBC tells us almost in passing what the heart of the matter is:

US envoy Christopher Hill and North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan are trying to agree on a plan to end the North's nuclear programme.

Both nations have put fresh demands on the table, although they are still a long way off reaching a deal.

The US delegation's decision to engage the North Koreans directly is a significant departure from its previous approach, according to BBC correspondent Charles Scanlon.

Further US-N Korea private talks, BBC News, July 29, 2005

The BBC article continues:

Pyongyang wants diplomatic relations with the US and a peace agreement, in addition to security guarantees and economic help.

For its part, Washington has called for concessions on North Korea's development of ballistic missiles and its human rights record.

These demands are in addition to Washington's most significant requirement - that Pyongyang agree to the verifiable dismantlement of its nuclear weapons programmes.

North Korea objects to US demands that it make the first move by scrapping its nuclear weapons facilities. Instead it wants a step-by-step process in which it receives progressive rewards and incentives.

The North has also continued to reject American allegations that it is running a secret enriched uranium programme in addition to its well-known plutonium plant at Yongbyon.

That dispute provoked the current crisis, which began nearly three years ago and has blocked diplomatic progress since.

Next, we turn to The Washington Times:

Hard-liners lose clout in North Korea talks, by Nicholas Kralev, WaTi, July 29, 2005

The new US approach to negotiating with North Korea is remarkably different from the hardline espoused by John R. Bolton as Deputy Undersecretary for under Secretary of State, Colin Powell, during President Bush's first term. While the new Secretary, Condoleeza Rice, has responded aggressively to change circumstances, setting Christoopher Hill on his preent course in the unprecedented face-to-face one-on-one bargaining behind closed doors with North Korea and while she is still using Bolton's former staff in the new approach, at the same time Rice is fully backing Bolton's appointment as Ambassador to the United Nations. I haven't seen it remarked anywhere, but Bolton's expected recess appointment is an extra weapon, however unspoken by Hill and Rice, that, should North Korea not reach some clear determination about its own denuclearization with strict international inspections of nuclear facilities, then the US will go to the UN Security Council and ask for sanctions, making a full and powerful case that well may be backed up - altho China and Russia both hold a veto
on the Security Council, perhaps a resolution of the General Assembly could actually receive passage.

Still, the move would isolate North Korea in a near-total way, and a naval seige could well be put in place. Or a diversion of ships and even air traffic could be organized to prevent anything from getting into or outside North Korea - except from South Korea and China, by land. The problem with sanctions is that there's no mercy in it for the North Korean population who are brutalized beyond imagination. On the other hand, it's difficult to see how their difficulties could get worse, as they don't benefit from what comes into the North in the way of trade and aid.

    Many [State Department officials] said the administration has been able to change its approach because of a different attitude in Pyongyang.
    "They understood that we are very serious about their nuclear programs," one official said. "Plus, they might have been hoping for a different administration in Washington after last year's election, and that obviously didn't happen."

Atmosphere improves at nuclear talks, Burt Herman, AP via Yahoo!News, July 29, 2005.

Ambassador Hill said:

There is a growing consensus that where we end up is the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula — that is no nuclear weapons, no nuclear weapons programs ... no nuclear programs that could conceivably be nuclear weapons programs," he said.

However, he said there was dissension on "how that's going to be sequenced" — a reference to the North Korean demand for aid and concessions first before giving up its nuclear trump card. Washington wants to see the weapons programs eliminated before it rewards the North.

The delegates hope to start drafting a joint document Saturday on what they've agreed to so far, a Japanese official said on condition of anonymity due to the delicate nature of the ongoing talks.

The latest nuclear standoff with North Korea was sparked after U.S. officials say the North admitted in late 2002 to running a uranium enrichment program — which could provide fuel for atomic bombs — in violation of an earlier 1994 deal with Washington.

North Korea has subsequently denied having such a program, and Hill said Friday that its status was one of the sticking points in a resolution.

Also, Hill said the North has insisted it should have the right to use peaceful nuclear technology for power generation if it rejoins the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The United States maintains the North shouldn't be allowed to do so because of proliferation concerns.

Meanwhile, the foreign ministers of the two Koreas adopted a joint statement Friday at an Asian regional summit in Laos calling for a peaceful resolution of the nuclear standoff and better relations between the two countries, the North's official Korean Central News Agency reported.

The South's Ban Ki-moon and his North Korean counterpart, Paek Nam Sun, called for "substantial and constructive progress" at the nuclear talks, KCNA said.

In Frontpage Magazine, Lt Col Gordon Cucullu
raises the human rights issue in regard to North Korea.

First, he informs of the American legal situation regarding North Korea and negotiating with it, a legal situation which apparently is playing no role in negotiations with North Korea:

Late last year both houses of Congress unanimously passed the North Korean Human Rights Act. It was immediately signed into law by President Bush. The law demands that in all dealings with the North Koreans that human rights for the long-suffering people of North Korea be placed on the table for discussion along with any other issues, nuclear, chemical, or missile. This is not mere policy or guidance – either of which would demand obedience from a loyal staff - but is the law of the land, duly filed and recorded.

Then, Cucullu summarizes the barbarity of the present regirm in North Korea:

...[T]hose of us who read reports that North Korean people have had their meager government food ration cut to 200 g daily (520 g is the world standard for survival), while well-fed diplomats preen around conference tables and pose for grip-and-grin photo ops, grind our teeth in frustration. As long as the Six Party talks continue on a flawed policy of separation of strategic arms discussion from human rights issues – which are catastrophic in North Korea – then the outcome of the talks is predestined to failure. Such luminaries as Natan Sharansky, who has through his own experience seen what happens in such a case, call for a gathering of nations to produce a policy similar to the Helsinki Accords that linked human rights to strategic issues and in so doing finally brought about freedom for Eastern Europe and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Such an accord would be incredibly more productive that the current failed Six Party talks and would recognize our moral responsibility to free the people of North Korea.

I conclude with the screeching understatement that the situation is truly difficult, and the way forward obscure. - Politicarp

Thursday, July 28, 2005

USA: UN Ambassador: John Bolton seems a shoo-in on Monday

Congress seems set for adjournment for its summer break on Saturday or Sunday. And the media are giving the distinct impression that President Bush will be naming John R. Bolton, formerly in an important post in the State Department as Undersecretrary of State for Arms Control, to become US Ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton pursued his task with vigour and is now paying the price for it in the rearguard opposition launched against his confirmation in the Senate. Lacking formal confirmation, Bush it seems now that will be free on Monday to make an appointment of one and a half years's duration, until the beginning of 2007. At that time, a new Congress will be sworn in, Bolton will have a 17-month record of performance on the job, and just possibly there will be more Republicans in the Senate itself. In other words, there could be a new round of nomination, scrutiny, and vote for or against confirmation.

Bolton's nomination did get to the Senate floor and he did garner a majority vote in favour of his confirmation, but not the full 60 votes out of 100 that the rules at the time required. The Delaycrats dredged up all sorts of excuses to deny consent to his nomination, a veritable smoke screen, but a good number of the negative arguments adduced then proved to be false or seriously inaccurate. The remainder seem baseless allegations, and the source of some of the canards must be taken into account before they can be given any crediblity - that is, they don't have crediblity once one considers the motives and agenda of the sources of each of the remainder.

"I would anticipate an interim appointment," said Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., one of Bolton's main supporters on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "We have a conference on U.N. reform in September. The president is going to be speaking at that conference. We're going to need an ambassador. We're going to need John Bolton there."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice seemed to be saying much the same thing in an interview Thursday on PBS' "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."

While she avoided a direct answer when asked whether Bush would make Bolton a recess appointment, she emphasized that "what we can't be is without leadership at the United Nations. I can tell you, Jim, that I'm spending an awful lot of time these days preparing for the high-level meetings that are going to take place in September ... about refreshing the United Nations after 60 years. The United States needs to be active in that and ... we need our permanent representative to the United Nations."

I think the UN would be a much more interesting and self-critical institution with Bolton there to add a voice that has been lacking in the smug self-congratulatory atmosphere that has prevailed there for some time now. Unfortunately, Canada has been on the smug side for some time at the UN. - Politicarp

Bolton appointment to UN Ambassador anticipated

Sports : Celebrities: Miss Universe + 1000 kids in Toronto will host a soccer match of Canadian vs Italian politicos

Welcome Miss Universe!
with cast of more than a thousand, Italian Senators and Canadian Parliamentarians!

A team made up of Italian Senators and Members of Parliament will be coming to Toronto to play their Canadian counterparts in a cross-Atlantic soccer match billed as the "Battle of Parliaments: Kick-off for Youth." Team Canada players include Peter MacKay, M.P., Frank Klees, M.P.P. and team captain Hon. Maurizio Bevilacqua, M.P.

The match will begin at 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 4th at Centennial Stadium, 56 Centennial Park Road, in Toronto (south of Eglinton Ave., west of Renforth Dr.). The teams, who will be playing in support of the newly launched Universal Youth Foundation, will be welcomed at the stadium by over 1000 children and Miss Universe - Natalie Glebova. Founded by philanthropist Mario Cortellucci, the Universal Youth Foundation is committed to providing educational assistance to children and youth in need throughout the world by funding schools and teachers.

A Gala Dinner Dance honouring the players will take place on August 5th at the Renaissance Parque Convention Centre in Vaughan, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Under the theme, "Back to School for Children who don't have Schools," the event will raise funds for the Universal Youth Foundation. The Honorary Chair for the evening is Julian Fantino, Commissioner of Emergency Management and Former Chief, Toronto Police Service.

The soccer match will be the first opportunity for the Italian parliamentary soccer team to travel to North America to raise funds for a worthy cause. In the past, the team has raised funds for such causes as the south Asian tsunami relief effort.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Africa : Niger : Heading off mass starvation in Niger, aid agencies rolling, UN dickering & ducking; but Bush broadly backs UN

The situation in Niger has been politicized; we expect this phenomenon these days. Word comes anyway that aid agencies are up and running to save an estimated 800,000 children under 5 years of age, who are especially vulnerable in the wake of the destruction of the harvest this year by locausts and drought. There is fear as well that the conditions will spread to neighbouring countries of Black Africa.

Regions of Black Africa

Meera Selva and Anne Penketh reported today in The Independent, London, UK, "Aid agencies race to feed Niger's starving children," July 27, 2005 (click the headline above to view the entirety of this important article).

Toby Porter, the director of emergencies for Save The Children, said: "It's not a famine. These kids are starving to death because they are poor." He said the "hidden emergency" had been caused by the chain of events occurring in one of the world's most impoverished countries. The lack of rain, followed by poor harvest and a steep rise in the price of millet had pushed more than one third of the population over the edge. ¶ Mr Porter said: "The Make Poverty History campaign said a child in Africa dies every three seconds. This is what it looks like." ¶ The UN put out urgent appeals to raise funds for 2.5 million people in Niger 10 months ago but received no money until children began starving to death. ¶ But while aid agencies and governments have rushed food to Niger, its neighbouring countries are still in need of help. The UN is warning that the food shortages will spread to other countries in the Sahel desert, such as Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

What the UN is at last acknowledging is that it has never bothered to establish a Reserve Fund to fill the time-gap between the emergence of a starvation-potential crisis which its experts can detect earlier than the media and the public can absorbe the idea, and the mobilization of the latter into the gift-giving and allocation mode. according to a July 20 press statement from the WorldBank Media Centre.

Niger's severe food crisis could have been prevented if the United Nations had a reserve fund to jump-start humanitarian aid while appeals for money were considered, Reuters reports a senior UN official said on Tuesday.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, known as OCHA, has $50,000 to quickly respond to emergencies, but only for loans, which must be repaid. Instead, it wants $500,000 for grants to rapidly launch emergency relief campaigns as soon as warning signs emerge, Jan Egeland, the head of OCHA, told a group of reporters. "We need a central emergency fund so that we can have some predictability," Egeland said. "As of now we have none."

Niger map 75%

An appeal by the Food and Agricultural Organization for $4 million brought in $650,000, all of it from Sweden. UN agencies have appealed for $30 million in humanitarian aid, and about $10 million of that has come in so far. Had the world responded immediately, it would have cost $1 a day to prevent malnutrition among children. Now it costs some $80 to save a malnourished child's life, Egeland said. The combined annual UN appeal for humanitarian aid, typically about $3.5 billion a year, "is one-third of what Europeans eat in ice cream a year, and it is one-tenth of what Americans spend on their pets a year," he said. Xinhua and Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) further reports the Norwegian government has granted an extra 15 million Norwegian Kroners ($2.25 million) in emergency aid to victims of the famine in Niger.

Bush broadly backs UN against Congress' naysayers; says UN reforms are coming

Barry Schweid of the Associated Press via Yahoo!News, reported already on July 21, 2005 that theWhite House Opposes Bill to Cut UN Funds. The President believes support for the UN is the path to its reform. I propose that the need for a UN Humanitarian Crisis Reserve Fund should constitute one of the absolutely necessary UN reforms, but that its usage be strictly llimited by explicit criteria well established in advance. Further, the administration and outlay of the funds of a UNHC Reserve Fund should be carefully monitored so as not to repeat the kind of fiasco that occured with the Oil-for-Food program that facilitated greedy UN personnel and contractors creaming off the top, in cahoots with Saddam Hussein. - Politicarp

Space : Shuttle : After tragedy of Columbia shuttle burnup on return, new launch evokes rejoicing, but fleet grounded

Amidst all the sheer joy of NASA's new space shuttle Discovery making it off the launch pad, the videos of the take-off revealed debris floating down and away from the craft (seems a bird was also struck). This has taken the focus off the astronauts and their work, and put it on the question of the shuttle's safe return.

The deaths of 7 astronauts on the Columbia in February 1, 2003, haunts even the slightest indicator of a possible problem regarding the return into the earth's atmosphere at the completion of Discovery's journey. An earlier attempt to launch Discovery on July 13, 2005, was called off because of a problem with a fuel sensor.

Canadians are especially proud of the "space arm" manufactured for this mission by Sparr, a Canuck engineering firm. The arm will now figure in a vital way to rectify the effects of the events videotaped.

The events were captured in onboard video and the agency says it now needs to consider their significance. ¶ In one case, a heatshield tile seems to have been affected on the underside of the shuttle. ¶ Discovery's astronauts are to use a 15m-long robotic arm to inspect the orbiter's exterior. ¶ The arm is equipped with sensor and camera attachments. A full sweep of the shuttle's key surfaces will take several hours.


In a late development 2 hours ago, NASA reached a decision about the status of further launches.

"NASA said it was grounding the US space shuttle fleet after a large piece of foam insulation broke off from the fuel tank of the Discovery shuttle on liftoff. ¶ While the US space agency said the foam did not damage the shuttle on Tuesday's launch, a spokesman said that future flights are on hold until the problem is corrected. ¶ "Until we're ready we won't fly again," said Bill Parsons, space shuttle program manager."

Here's hopin' all the astrogang return safe and sound. - Owlb

Northern Ireland : Reversal? Seems a role reversal is underway in Northern Ireland - IRA closing down violence, Loyalists not

I couldn't help but notice in recent days that sad news comes again from Northern Ireland - Belfast in particular - regarding the Loyalist Protestant armed factions, once called "counter-terrorist," which I had thawt with gratitude had tapered off the ultra-violence gig. refWrite carried info earlier regarding the opening of the season of marches by the Protestants and the bonfires on the eve before. But the imagery was coupled with little or no mass horrors, if memory serves. David McKettrick, however, reported yesterday in London UK's The Independent, "Feuding loyalists bring the fear back to Belfast," July 26, 2005.

Belfast's Protestant para-military strongholds are again gripped in one of the bouts of sporadic feuding which erupt in the loyalist underworld, claiming lives and causing much social disruption. Such violence is a familiar part of the Belfast landscape: each year of the past decade has seen killings resulting from them, usually of active loyalists.

Two feuds are boiling, one of them centring on disputes within the Ulster Defence Association, the largest grouping. But the one causing most worry involves the Ulster Volunteer Force, another large grouping apparently intent on wiping out the smaller Loyalist Volunteer Force.

It doubly saddens to read the details in McKettrick's piece, because I had heard that in the recent elections the victory within the Protestant vote had placed Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists in first place, retired the previous Protestant leadership probably permanently, and placed 7 or so "born-again Christians" in the NI parliament. Apparently, the legally-elected office-holders have no influence whatsoever on the paramilitaries on the Protestant side.

The same tragedy had been obvious on the Catholic side, as regards Sinn Fein party which is connected to the military apparatus of the Irish Republic Army (IRA). But today, a new report by Jim Dwyer and Brian Lavery, "I.R.A. to Give Up Violence in Favor of Political Struggle, July 27, 2005.

The Irish Republican Army has given up its armed struggle for a united Ireland, agreeing to turn solely to political methods, an American businessman said yesterday after being briefed on a statement expected from the guerrilla group later this week.

The agreement, if borne out, would be a historic turning point in the violent history of Ireland and Northern Ireland. But there is still widespread official skepticism about I.R.A. promises, particularly when it comes to the issue of disarmament.

Indeed, it was not immediately clear whether the I.R.A. would address how several tons of arms, hidden in bunkers across Ireland, would be disposed of, according to the businessman, Niall O'Dowd, who brokered talks between the I.R.A. and American officials that helped lead to a cease-fire in 1994. The continued existence of those weapons, which were to have been destroyed under an agreement reached after the cease-fire, contributed to the collapse of the Northern Ireland government in 2003.

Yes, by all means, what about those tons of arms? Also, what about the armed gang mega-robberies of banks, offings of critical non-belligerents in the Catholic community, and similar recent events that indicate that there had been a shift in the sociological profile of the IRA from revolutionary activism to criminal ring, and that already in a period when Gerry Adams was directly involved in the IRA. It was only yesterday that "Ireland's justice minister, Michael McDowell, said the top leaders of Sinn Fein, including Gerry Adams and Mr. McGuinness, had stepped down from positions on the I.R.A.'s secretive governing council."

So the skepticism will not be limited to officials.

The fact that the Democratic Unionists displaced the Ulster Unionist Party as Northern Ireland's largest political party in the 2005 election, while Sinn Fein came in second, did indeed create a new poiitical constellation. The new order and number of seats is: DUP 9; SF 5; Social Democratic Labour Party (leftwing Catholics); and now in last place the Ulster Unionists with only 1 seat. While that's significant, and while Gerry Adams' desire to dissociate Sinn Fein entirely from the criminal activities of uncontrollable IRA elements now that the strictly revolutionary élan is gone, I can't help but feel that the IRA is also reading the world news and is very aware that it's former bombings in London UK have been rendered less significant than what the new terrorist forces there have "accomplished." It now would be ni impossible to gain mass sympathy in London for an IRA bombing operation there. Let's hope all that is past.

Yet, in either case, it's difficult to be other than skeptical about the Loyalist Prods, as they call themselves, or the IRA. - Politicarp

Toronto: City life & stories : New: What's happening to "eh"? Updates: Miss Uni, Subway terror - Is The Star shifting?

Miss Universe Fiasco

The heat has simmered down after having boiled down the Mayor, the Law against Beauty-Contest Winners, and the Bureaucratic Wahhabist Strict Enforcers (BWSE) thereof. But I couldn't resist this item simply because of its headline, otherwise rather repetitious. Whereas the headlne is delicious. Bring your tiara and sash, Toront says, welcoming Miss Universe. Actually the title wasn't quite that good: "Bring your tiara and sash ...," so far so good, but then reality sets in, "apologetic Toronto tells Miss Universe." If only the words "Welcome to Toronto City Hall!" could have followed "Bring your tiara and sash" into one of those headlines at some point, but of course an apology was very much in order and now apparently has been fully made, according to the report of David Usborne in London UK's The Independent. Unfortunately, the article as a whole has disappeared into the Ind's pay-for archives. But a snippet survives for your delectation:

An embarrassed Toronto has formally apologised to the reigning Miss Universe after some of its more politically correct bureaucrats prevented her from attending a recent Thai food festival in the city's main square, citing a by-law that bars sexual degradation or stereotyping.

Natalie Glebova, 23, a citizen of Toronto who won the Miss Universe contest in Thailand in May, was to open the festival in Nathan Phillips Square, in front of City Hall, last Saturday. But officials said she would be allowed to participate only if she ditched her tiara and sash and other beauty queen regalia. An almighty row predictably followed.

About the almighty row. And I'm still backtracking a bit to recover some items I earlier missed, this time from Norman Spector's Daily Press Review, with a flourish of a Hat Tip to that gent and reporter par excellence, tho mired in a rather leftist orientation in my opinion.

Norman continues: The Gazette [of Montreal] gooses Toronto:

Even by Toronto standards, this week's ban on Miss Universe was ludicrous. And Mayor David Miller knows it. Hizzoner apologized to Natalie Glebova - who has lived in the Toronto area since early childhood - after some zealous crank at city hall barred her from taking part in a "Taste of Thailand" street fair in front of city hall last weekend. (Glebova won her title at a pageant in Bangkok in May.)

Toronto, predictably, has a policy banning anything that could "exploit the bodies of men, women, boys or girls," and flatly bans beauty contests. So she could have attended as an individual, but not as Miss Universe. She chose not to attend at all.

Well, what else can you expect from a city that vetoed a 1992 concert by the rock band Barenaked Ladies, because some city hall busybody deemed the name offensive?

But now Toronto's stupidity can be Montreal's gain. Memo to Mayor Gerald Tremblay: There's still time to invite Glebova to come and take part in the closing ceremonies for the World Aquatics Championships. Montrealers don't object to physical beauty, and don't have a dress code. And at an event taking place at poolside, Glebova could even get away with wearing a bathing suit.

"The National Post’s David Asper dumps on TO" [even more acerbically, to continue with Norman's posts of record]:

Not that we need any more examples of how stupid the doctrine of political correctness (polcorism) has become, but once in a while its purveyors (polcorites) achieve new lows worth noting. Such is the case of the as-yet-unidentified Toronto bureaucrat who barred Miss Universe, Canada's own Natalie Glebova, from opening a festival scheduled to occur on city property. This polcorite -- who purported to be acting on the authority of a bylaw prohibiting all things degrading to women -- should be named and forced to explain him or herself.

According to her bio, Ms. Glebova is a Russian immigrant to Canada. Overcoming language and cultural barriers in her new land, she received a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Ryerson University and has worked as a motivational speaker for students in the Toronto area. She is also a model, as well as a trained classical pianist and athlete who has won a number of regional gymnastic competitions. Her accomplishments in life, including winning the Miss Universe Pageant, probably far exceed those of the pointy-headed polcorite who tried to shoot her down. Which of the two, one might ask, is the better role model? Which is giving more to society?

Thankfully, Toronto Mayor David Miller stepped in and did the proper thing by apologizing for the cock-up. But one has to wonder: In a city that annually opens its streets (municipal property, of course) to celebrate a parade of gay, transsexual and transgendered people, how is it that Miss Universe, an accomplished, successful woman, becomes verboten?

Would this happen in any other Canadian city? Not a chance.

As enlightened as are most Torontonians, the fact is that the city will always be held back from greatness by its polcorites. They are a sour, energy-sucking plague upon the metropolis. Only someone with a warped mindset could see in Natalie Glebova, decked out in her Miss Universe regalia, a sinister plot to promote sexist stereotypes. How else can one explain the decision to bar a glamorous and accomplished woman from a festival's opening ceremonies?

I find the comparison with the decorum of attire at the Gay Pride Parade and events is being contrasted in many reports and opinion pieces regarding the treatment of Miss Universe. - Owlb

Toronto losing its "eh," eh?

Here's another item that has largely disappeared into the paid-for archives, this time those of the National Post again, where originally it appeared under the byline of Siri Agrell.

A new study chronicling the patterns of "Toronto English" has found the language of Canada's most populous city is changing rapidly and the archetype of cliched Canadian parlance -- eh? -- is dying.

The term "eh" is losing favour in the Ontario capital, according to the Toronto English Project, a study led by a University of Toronto linguistics professor. …

She found that the way Torontonians talk is evolving at a rate outpacing that of Americans and Britons, and that the word "eh" -- as in "Sure is humid, eh?" is being replaced by words such as "so," "whatever," "right" and "and stuff" -- as in "You sure are sweating and stuff."

Now, that last one doesn't sound plausible, eh? Thanks to Norman Spector again for carrying this snippet too! And damn the archives, full speed ahead! - Owlb

Subway terrorism

Background blog entries previously in refWrite:
•July 24 - Harper wants tuffened national security, TTC's Moscoe defeatist on subway security
•July 22 - In Toronto, Canadian Muslim leaders unite against terrorism
•July 21 -GTA terrorist watch focuses on subway system

It seems reality is catching up with the Toronto Star; it is shifting to rightward, and joining a newly-centre on the issue of opposing terrorism. It has taken The Star decades to do so, but for the reasons outlined in its editorial yesterday, Struggling to cope with a new reality, July 26, 2005.

All of a sudden, the Toronto newsdaily is embracing in one concept New York. Baghdad, Madrid, Bali, London. refWrite had already done so earlier - except we didn't have the guts to include Baghdad. However, The Star suddenly legitmates the inclusion - yet holding back on the full weight of the logic necessary to the world-pattern, as also we did. Sharm el Sheikh belongs on the list, and refWrite got that right earlier. Yes, New York, Baghdad, Madrid, Bali, London also belong on the list. Good for you, Toronto Star. But so does Jerusalem belong, Tel Aviv, and numerous other cities and towns of Israel, all Isreal belongs on the list. That's where the logic of seeing the pattern takes us. When The Star says "Now, more than ever, civilians — regardless of race, religion or ethnic background — are under attack, primarily from suicide bombers, a phenomenon almost unheard of a few years ago." Really, it was heard of an awful lot regarding Jerusalem and other locales in Israel. But The Star has claudicated along, with that blind spot large in its field of vision, never holding Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations, just as now we are asked by the new government in Lebanon not to hold Hizbollah there, accountable in the same way for the terrorist deeds perpetrated according to the pattern that the editorial now sees as worldwide. Let's not make convenient exceptions.

But The Star editorial rings with a clarity that many of us have not yet been able to achieve. Recounting the attacks of the last week, the editorial says pointedly:

Each of these events was a graphic demonstration of how extremists' tactics are changing. Their aim is to disrupt society and breed suspicion and fear. Their tactics have been particularly alarming in Western Europe and North America, where citizens have been largely insulated from the violent tactics that have long been a fact of life in many parts of the world. ¶ More suicide terrorist attacks are inevitable. Within security forces, there's a growing belief that they are impossible to prevent. ¶ Faced with this new reality, governments around the world, including in Canada, must decide how best to cope with extremist ideologies and strategies that know no boundaries, humanity or reason.

Now, a new problem is upon us. The editorial does not shy away from this. It notes that the death of an innocent occured in London while the police there were in hot pursuit of a suspected terrorist. The editorial notes that the police chief remarked forthrightly that more innocents will die, it goes with territory. The editorial doesn not shy away from that awful fact either:

As frightening as this new reality may be, particularly to minorities who feel they will be unjustly targeted, it is not unreasonable that police should adopt such a policy. After all, London's transit system was attacked twice in two weeks. Dozens of people died and 700 were injured. And when police suspect a suicide bombing is about to take place, every second counts. Regrettably, tragic mistakes sometimes will happen.

May God have mercy on us all. Which all brings us down to the question of how we defend the TTC and Toronto's subway system? - Owlb for us all, Anaximaximum, Politicarp, and Owlie Scowlie.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Juridics: Supreme Court : Judge Roberts questioned about his religion; Canadian SC nomination process angers Canadian Bar group

The obstacles being amassed to block Judge Roberts' confirmation by the US Senate turn now on the campaign of the Delaycrats to conduct a major fishing expedition into every iota, jot and tittle of decades-old documentation amassed on a daily basis when the candidate served as Solicitor General. The goal is to fish up anything that could possibly be construed in a way that opponents of confirmation in this case deem unacceptable by their own arcane standards. They demand the widest scope in access to all materials for their anti-confirmation scrutiny, but they give no list of criteria in advance of what they mite find to be in violation of a standard they have in only the vaguest of terms in their own minds. The Bush administration has insisted No, initiating a "Sensitive Docments" doctrine of privilege that the Senate cannot violate. So much for the presumption of the Delaycrats, since the US Constitution gives them no such power as they would arrogate to themselves.

FLASH UPDATE: Bush releases large load of Roberts materials, but stickes to policy of not all

Before the above development matured, refWrite provided an orientation and several links still important as a background (including links to the Canadian process for comparison).

With the above development coming to the fore and with the background of our earlier Blog Entry, of course, readers will easiliy discern the chief real criterion for the present atmosphere of inquest: any comment Roberts may ever have made not simply applausive of the idea of abortion on demand, should damn him. London UK's The Independent was on to this already on July 21, when its headline for a story read flatly, "Abortion dominates fight to put Roberts into Supreme Court." No one questions that the root of this unlimited-abortion criterion lays for the Delaycrats in the economics of a huge capitalist abortion-industry thru which people hold jobs and earn their livings and medical-facility owners make a profit in the US - all this has burgeoned into massive proportions in the years since Roe v. Wade was decided by the US Supreme Court, when the science of embryo and fetal development was backward compared to today, and the question of the personhood of the unborn was in a much more primitive stage of ethical reflection.

It is this obstacle that fires the drive behind the fishing expedition into any remark Roberts made have made in writing to anyone, less than in full agreement and approval of the SC decision. So it seems inevitable that now naysayers to Roberts are questioning his religion. Not his faith, as the New York Times suggests, but the measure of integration he attempts between his faith and his practice as a Judge. It's the particulars of that integration between one's faith (whatever it be) and one's practice in one's daily calling (whatever it be) that constitutes the better part of one's religion. We don't all have the same "measure of faith" (whatever it be); and we don't all have the same degree of integration. Everyone is different in these regards. The Delaycrats want to wiggle their way deep inside Roberts's soul perhaps to dissect it, or surgically remove it and place it under some microscope to which apparently they alone have access What the questioners don't want is a Supreme Court Justice who agrees with the Magisterium (Teaching Authority of the Catholic Church), its doctrine regarding the onset of life and personhood in the embryo and fetus, and the authority of the Pope, now His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For myself, a Protestant Christian, I don't agree with Magisterium on many matters, including both the consistent ethic of life, which to me is remarkably unnuances, and the Just War Doctrine which no longer can do the job required for ethical guildelines against the present terrorist take-over of our lives. But why should Judge Roberts have to subject himself to these Inquisitors of the Delaycrats in order to become a Justice of the US Supreme Court?

How far these Senate fishermen will get, fishing for a different catch than that sawt by the Fisher of Souls, in their new gambit, all this remains to be seen before the confirmation vote expected in September. - Politicarp

UPDATE: Canada's Supreme Court nomination process

In an earlier Blog Entry, linked to key sources for understanding the Canada's own SC nomination process. Today, a new development requires we update and correct in part(just scroll down the page past the American stuff) with this new information from CanWest via Norman Spector. In future, when there's a new appointment to make to the Court the nominees will be scrutinized by a committee specially struck for that purpose. "When Alberta's Justice Jack Major retires next fall, the vetting committee will enjoy unprecedented clout in choosing his successor, for the first time constraining the absolute discretion to appoint Supreme Court judges that Canadian prime ministers have enjoyed for the past 130 years." However, as Spector reports, Susan McGrath president of the Canadian Bar Association is complaining strenuously that, whereas previously her nationwide organization had behind-the-scenes participation in the processess, now the lawyers have been written out entirely. - Owlb

War: US Hero in battle: True story of a combat warrior and why he's received a citation for combat bravery

Rookmaker Club

An unusually strong narrative, both lots of pictures and strong text. It honours a combat warrior of the United States Marine Corps who fawt in Iraq and celebrates the awarding to him, Brian Chontosh, the Navy Cross. You know, of course, that officially the Marines are a branch of the US Navy.

This story is a nominee for the Rookmaker Club's award for War Journalism Online; text by journalist and broadcaster Bob Lonsberry; webpage by Mary Jones, June, 2005.

- Politicarp

Marine Authentication: Rochester, NY Marine receives Navy Cross, by Cpl Jeremy Vought, Marine Corps News, story ID# 200456162723

Monday, July 25, 2005

Egypt: Terrorism: Sharm el Sheikh joins London, Madrid, Bali, New York's Twin Towers - yet schedules elections for Sept 7

Jonathan Wright reports in Yahoo!News, July 24, 2005, that Egypt has gone ahead and scheduled its upcoming presidential elections for September 7, apparently come hell or hi water.

On-the-scene coverage by BBC News (July 25) of the terrorist attack in Sharm el Sheikh can be found under the title,Egypt investigates resort attacks at Sharm el Sheikh.

The two stories are fused into a third on the rise of a significant trend in publicy opinion, in which Egyptians are perceived as rising against both terrorism and state bullying, but not putting the emphasis right now on the serious shortcomings of the Murbarak regime, as much as on the terrorists who would stop democratic development in its tracks and give a massive excuse to represssion by the state out of its fear of violent anarchy. See Egypt unites against bombers, by Donald Macintyre in Sharm el Sheikh, The Independent London UK, July 25, 2005.

Sexuality: Porn: Clergy of Evangelical persuasion more prone to porn?

The Lawrence [Kansas] JournalWorld, July 21, 2005, carries a lengthy article by Dave Ranney, "Minister who was addicted to porn says case not rare."

When the Rev. Darrell Brazell, an evangelical minister, first heard that police had found thousands of pornographic images on former Christian-school leader Martin K. Miller’s home computer, he wasn’t surprised.

“They said they found something like 6,000 images,” Brazell said. “That sounds like a lot, but it’s not. You can download that much in a very short amount of time.”

Brazell knows. He admitted to being addicted to pornography for 15 years.

“I suspect if there was a forensic examination of all the personal computers in Lawrence, some similar-size collections would show up in some very shocking places,” said Brazell, pastor at New Hope Fellowship, 1449 Kasold Drive.

Brazell, who said he’s been “clean” for five years, counsels and coordinates faith-based support groups for men addicted to pornography.

Lawrence, Kansas, is especially interested in these facts because Rev. Brazell has been meeting with the accused murderer Marty Miller, who gave up porn apparently two months after his wife was dead.

His ever-escalating addiction, Miller said, caused him to participate in an online adult dating service, which led to his having an extramarital affair with a Eudora woman that included role-playing, bondage, spanking and explicit photographs.

Prosecutors argued that Miller, a carpenter, wanted his wife out of the way so he’d be free to pursue sexual relationships with other women and so he could collect more than $300,000 in life-insurance money.

Clearly, Brazell said, Miller’s addiction to pornography caused him to act irrationally.

Now, a chain argument is called an enthymeme. Ain't that some danged enthymeme of rationality the Rev. Brazell is handing out on behalf of the reformed crazy-from-porn Mr Miller? In the face of such an irrational argument for the plea of irrationality in a murder, I think I'd want to revert to the good ol'fashioned "The Devil made me do it." - Owlb

Sports: Tour de France: Lance Armstrong wins and retires from bicycle racing, Kennedy politicizes on day of his drunk car race

7-time winner and living legend of the annual Tour de France bicycle race, Lance Anderson said his farewell to active participation in the event that gave him world fame. He said he plans to chilll out and take some time with his family, while figuring out where his interests will take him next.

Jerome Pugmire has an excellent account here, Associated Press, July 25, 2005.

Strangely, Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts piggybacked on Armstrong, perhaps thinking the racer's bike was a two-seater. Kennedy got international press attention as well, remarking that Armstrong "would make a terrific politician." How so? A vote-getter perhaps, assuming fame is transferable automatically from a narrow-niche sport to a regional political configuration - like Massachusetts? Is Kennedy floating an idea for a successor? - after all he's not immortal.

Musing on the Senator's suggestion, I wondered how serious Kennedy could have been about Armstrong's prospects, because when I looked at LeDevoir today, it seemed Kennedy's approval amounted to a strange kiss of death from the very guy who is celebrated the anniversary on July 21 of his "fleeing from the secne of an accident" Mary Jo Kopechne dead in pond. Kennedy refuses to acknowledge that especially many Americans still alive have always felt felt he should have been tried for the young woman's murder.

Translated from LeDevoir, Montreal French news daily's email newslettters, July 23, 2005:

July 21, 1969 - Ted Kennedy is shown to have left the place of an accident (Article - Duty).

EDGARTOWN, Mass (according to AP) - "Senator Edward Kennedy, brother of deceased Robert F Kennedy and deceased John F Kennedy, respectively assassinated on June 6, 1968 and on November 22, 1963, is today regarded by the town of Edgartown to have left the scene of a car accident implicating him in an accident which caused a person's death." 36 years ago, still waiting for a proper trial.

Surely, Lance Armstrong doesn't need the loud kudos in the press by such a man on such a day of infamy. - Politicarp

Rwanda: Cliinton apology: Former US Prez apologizes for 'personal failure', Rwanda's genocide

Former US President Bill Clinton apologized for his 'personal failure' regarding the 1994 Rwanda genocide, in a visit to Kilgali regarding HIV/AIDS relief projects. The outside world was ineffective to prevent the slaughter of 800,000 people, which the UN addressed with too little too late, as testified by the Canadian General of the UN Force, Romeo Daillaire.

On a brief visit to look at HIV/AIDS projects in the central African country, Clinton laid a wreath at a museum commemorating victims of the 100-day massacre by extremists from the Hutu majority which took place during his presidency.

"I express regret for my personal failure," he said before touring the museum, which features graphic images of people being decapitated and bodies twitching on the road.

It's important that Clinton made this gesture. As, I recall the situation at the time, however, the period in US politics in relation to Black Africa was determined by a stance of total nonintervention, as strenuously advocated by the Congressional Black Caucus. No one expected the outbreak of stupendous violence that raged while the Hutu leadership sawt the decimation of the politically-dominant Tutsi tribes-people who had been privileged all thru the French colonlial period in the country's history. - Owlb

Canada: Parties: Montreal Gazette says parties bereft, names Bob Rae & Michael Ignatieff to head Fed Libs, replace 'Mr Dithers'

It's a good read, this edition of Montreal's English-language daily The Gazette, a good read at least in the tongue-in-cheek department, if like unacknowledged gentle irony, as exhibited in this editorial, July 25, 2005.

It claims there's no comeback for Bernard Landry to head the provinical separtist Parti Québecois; and the eleven standing candidates have little stature.

It says the Québec provincial Liberals under former national Conservative leader Jean Charest, won't be returned to office in the next election as head of the Québec government.

The Fed Conservatives are dead in the water, it pokes, with Stephen Harper at the helm; most Canadians just don't want him.

Then it takes on You-know-who of the You-know-whos Party:

After 15 years of striving, Paul Martin finally won the Liberal crown, but the head on which it sits has been teetering ever since. Where he was once widely considered the ideal Liberal leader - smarter than Jean Chretien and better at math than Pierre Trudeau, as the finance minister who smote the deficit demon - he has become Mr. Dithers since coming to power. More than half the respondents in the most recent national poll said they'd prefer someone else as prime minister.

Then The Gazette speculates on two possible "philosopher kings" either of whom mite woooosh their way into power leading the brave brigades of the Fed Libs, in Trudeau-style. Then it demurs on its proposal.

Picture looks grim from where sits Gzette. - Owlb


Canada: Islamic Canadians: Anti-terrorist Canadian Muslims are of two different voices on cooperation with CSIS

Canadian Muslims are of two different voices, leaving aside the pro-terrorism group and its sympathizers among the young and others. Those Muslims in Canada, whether citizens or legal immigrants, who are beginning to stand up to the pressure and blackmail of the small hardcore pro-terrorist minority among them, remain divided apparently between the assist-CSIS mainstream and and the obstruct-CSIS radicals who still claim and probably in their own are positive toward Canada herself, in all the breadth and vagueness of the wonderful appelation.

In an editorial in today's Toronto Sun, enitlted Islam is not to blame, July 25, 2005, the writer/s

In Canada, more than 120 Islamic religious leaders issued a declaration last week denouncing acts of terrorism as a "perversion" of their faith.

"Anyone who claims to be a Muslim and participates in any way in the taking of innocent life is betraying the very spirit and letter of Islam," said the statement, read by Shaikh Ahmad Kutty of the Islamic Institute of Toronto.

In Ottawa, Imam Gamal Solaiman added his voice, calling on all Muslims to challenge and confront extremism and hate. "We do not want to be hijacked by a few crazy persons," he said. "We want to reassure our fellow Canadians that all Muslims aren't crazy. Our community cannot accept acts of violence."

This what I'm calling the mainstream anti-terrorist Canadian Muslim community. May God bless them for joining in our common civic duty to keep this land as free of violence, especially of the terrorist kind, as we together possibly can. I feel confident in this attitude because the Sun's editorial continues, including this statement, The Declaration of the 120 Islamic religious leaders "included a pledge of willingness not only to denounce extremism in the Canadian Muslim community, but to work with the RCMP and CSIS in identifying extremists here. That stance is reassuring, but it is not unanimous for other Imams and Islamic religious leaders, apparently.

Colin Freeze reports in The Globe & Mail today, Imam warns Ottawa to back off Muslims, July 25, 2005.

A controversial Toronto imam warned Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan at a closed-door meeting to stop "terrorizing" Canadian Muslims.

"If you try to cross the line I can't guarantee what is going to happen. Our young people, we can't control," Aly Hindy, the head of Scarborough's Salaheddin Islamic Centre, recalls telling the minister at the May meeting she held in Toronto with dozens of Muslim leaders.

The meeting was part of an effort by Ms. McLellan to reach out to Canadian Muslims amid complaints that the RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service are engaging in racial profiling.

Mr. Hindy claims not only that the Mounties and the CSISers have been poking around his activities, his family, and his mosque for some time, but that apparently in recent times a Muslim woman of his knowledge was ruffed up by "Canadian spies." However, there are many reasons why "spies" would isolate a woman and interfere with her; how sure is Mr Hindy who wasn't at the alleged event that the spies were "Canadian" in an official way that points to the RCMP or CSIS?

After making the above points at the meeting with Ms. McLellan, the report goes on about Imam Hindy:

Several people who attended shrugged off the imam's remarks, but some Muslims and government agents later approached Mr. Hindy asking him to explain himself.

"The police came to me and said, 'This is a kind of threat,' and I said yes," he said. "But it's for the good of this country."

"And they said, 'Do you know some of the names of those people you expect to cause some problems?' And I said, 'You just open the telephone directory.' "

While government investigators probing the woman's complaint told Mr. Hindy they have not found evidence of wrongdoing, he isn't giving the spy service the benefit of the doubt.

"We believe CSIS should stop terrorizing us," he says in a flyer he is circulating to mosques. "CSIS is powerless. CSIS has no authority over you. If CSIS agents come to your door, do not open [it] for them."

'You just open the telephone directory.' - now isn't Mr Hindy doing here his own racial profiling? And if his statement be true, then isn't it folly for the RCMP and CSIS not to follow suite?

• Mr Hindy "isn't giving the spy service the benefit of the doubt." To whom does he give the benefit of the doubt? Can the rest of his community and can all of the rest of us afford not to give the Mounties and CSIS generally "the benefit of the doubt" when someone tries to obstruct their work on behalf of us all? If a case comes up, with witnesses and documentation, then it can be investigated. If it's just a matter of a visit and an allegation, who knows who's telling the truth? Mr Hindy in the case of the woman allegedly ruffed up, doesn't seem to claim to be a witness, nor does he cite any others. Why does he believe the woman? Because he has a long history of paranoia vis à vis Canada's security officials? Maybe it's Mr Hindy's background that needs more thoro investigation by the press. I have no reason in the face of his allegations to untilt my general bias in favour of the Mounties and CSIS.

• Mr Hindy: "If CSIS agents come to your door, do not open [it] for them." Okay, you don't have to let them in without a warrant or something. But read Mr Hindy's words more closely, and notice that the reporter supplied the word "it." Now, I think a better reading would be "don't open for them." Don't open your mouth, don't open your heart, don't give them any information. All they may get from us Muslims is the telphone directory. Imam Hindy is an obstructionist; he doesn't want to help Canada's official security agencies get on with their work in anti-terorrism with the help of Canadian Muslims. Notice that this obstructionist line, pretends to be with the mainstream of Canadian Muslims, but it exaggerates and stereotypes our Canadian security personnel in a way that allows, even requires, those who want to follow Imam's teachings, not to cooperate in bringing Muslim terrorists to account - neither for the good of the rest of Canadian Muslims, nor for the good of their neighbours, all of us living cooperatively in what should be a terrorism-free Canada.

When Imam Aly Hindi claims that the RCMP and CSIS are "terrorists," he is giving out disinformation to his own community, abd escalating the rhetoric of complaint against any misbehaviour of individual security personnel beyond all crediblity. We should reject these techniques out of hand; and we should redouble our efforts to be welcoming and friendly to Canada's Muslims who are neither much of the Hindist school nor of the terrorist sleeper cells in this country. - Politicarp

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Iraq: Constitution writing: Sunni Arabs signal their readiness to resume work on Constitution drafting commission


•Nathan Brown of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace explains developments in the Iraq Constitution drafting process of its Bill of Rights. By clicking up the new linked page of the title above, you can get a PDF download of the document in translation by Brown, with his commentary. Also his explanatory notes will prove quite helpful. - Owlb

•In comparison, look at the unsigned commentary, "Iraqi citizenship: Anyone but Israelis - Draft bill singles out Jewish state," here in the premiere rightwing online daily, WorldNetDaily. - Owlb


Sunni Arabs signal their readiness to end Constitutional boycott, reports USA Today, July 23, 2005.

Whew! This was a close one. You can't blame the Sunni participants in the commission now drafting the Iraq constitution which is supposed to be submitted to a national referendum on August 15, just 3 weeks away. But two members of the Sunni "delegation" had been picked off in assassination attacks by Sunni extremist terrorists, who resent any participation with the Shia-majority interim parliament elected while Sunnis largely boycotted that entire election.

Since then more and more Sunnis have been saying they had better participate to ensure that not everything in the new Constitution is stacked against them, to put it as pessimistically as I assume many now-cooperating Sunnis do. But the assassinations became an unbearable factor, and some Sunnis were inclined to blame extremist Shi'ites seeking revenge for what the Sunni extremists have doled out against the Shi8a community.

So, those working on the drafting commission and its committees went on strike, so to speak. In the meantime, the committee drafting the section for the new Constitution on the rights of women, divorce and inheritance (apparently all Shi'ites, and a certain hardcore declaring themselves just after Canada adopted gmarriage as the law of the land) decided to junk the more liberal law that Saddam Hussein's regime had supplied on these isssues. What an irony, eh?

Work on the draft charter stalled after 12 remaining Sunni members announced a walkout following the Tuesday assassination of colleagues Mijbil Issa and Dhamim Hussein al-Obeidi.

The committee is working against an Aug. 15 deadline for completing the charter — considered a key step in the establishment of a broad-based, constitutional government — and the Sunni walkout raised doubts whether the document could be finished on time.

On Saturday, however, Sunni committee member Saleh al-Mutlaq said he and his colleagues had nearly reached agreement on most of the demands set by the influential minority — including an international investigation into the killings, better security and a greater role in deliberations.

"We have reached an agreement on most of the points, except for the international investigation," al-Mutlaq said. "We will try to find a formula to solve this problem and return to participating in the committee."

Earlier Saturday, the drafting committee decided to postpone discussions on key disputed issues until the Sunni Arab members ended their boycott. Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish member of the committee, identified those issues as federalism, self-determination, dual nationality and Iraq's national identity.

To these latter four issues - federalism, self-determination of the federated "states" or "provinces," dual nationality (of Iraqis abroad who have taken citizenship in their countries of refuge?), and Iraq's national identity (as a Muslim or non-sectarian state?), I would add the ensemble of women's rights in regard to marriage, divorce, and inheritance. Altogether, that's a lot of work to do in the time-frame for which most Iraqis seem to hope. - Owlb

Canada: National Security: Opposition leader Harper wants tuffened national security, TO's Moscoe defeatist on subway security

Stephen Harper, the peripatetic opposition leader for the Tories in the House of Commons, complete his 10-day campaign tour of Onatrio by a low-key visit to Toronto's Lake Ontario area, but had a strong message. He isn't happy with the state of the country's national security situation,

Canada Map ok
National Security

Toronto Subway Security

he thinks the Liberals are lacklustre in taking command of supplying identifiable needs, and he is calling for a major overhaul of the various Federal agencies overlooking security concerns and their relations with counterpart bureaucracies on the provincial and local levels.

"Any country that opposes the views of some of these organizations is going to be named by them," he said while touring the city's lakefront. "Our country has been named by them as a potential target and we have to take that seriously."

Harper reiterated his call for the creation of an new authority of a commissioner of national security to co-ordinate all security and defence services.

"We should never deceive ourselves into thinking that we're somehow beyond any of this activity," he said.

Meanwhile, the Chair of the Toronto Transit Commission, Howard Moscoe, continued to put his defeatist foot in his repeatist mouth, for which he was called a "buffoon" by Canada Free Press' Associate Editor Arthur Weinreb. I scored that Weinreb's remark at the time, but now I'm thinking perhaps Moscoe deserved what he got and perhaps needs more of the same. Defeatism is not the way to go, not the talk, not the way to joke. It is the way to die, should terrorists ever come the way of our subterranean transport lines. And they choose the time and place. Yes, the task is immense. But Moscoe can no longer hide out in the problems of the past, no matter how difficult their resolution had been and no matter what good work he had done in that previous phase of our life together in this great city. We stand to get it in the neck, in the Tube (to borrow London's term,; so does Montreal's Metro, as its called).

Howard, you can put cameras in buses and subwaycars.

Howard, you can think-thru the Toronto of the Future in its present condition of being vulnerable to mass transit terorism.

Terrorism clearly poses a greater threat to some cities than to others. The symbolic global importance and high population density of London and New York made them inviting targets to terrorists. Moreover, unlike smaller cities and suburbs and more modern, sprawling places such as Phoenix, Houston or Los Angeles, which depend on multiple job centers and private cars, centralized London and New York rely on the very transit modes -- subways, trains and buses -- that terrorist operators clearly target. Over the past three decades, in fact, terrorists have attacked such transportation systems to kill more than 11,000 people in cities from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Baghdad to Madrid and London.

As Toronto's Sun has suggested there are some technological things that can be done, well before they're overdone. Look further in the article just quoted from The Washington Post, by Joel Kotkin, July 24, 2005

Technological measures -- from cameras in subway tunnels to radiation-scanning devices at highway approaches to major cities -- can also help improve security, as can steps like putting more police and bomb-sniffing dogs on trains, buses and subways, as New York recently decided to do. But the notion of imposing the kinds of controls we now see at airports -- magnetometers and scanners and body searches at the entrance to every public place -- would make life in cities far less enjoyable, and anonymous, than it is today, and is to be viewed strictly as a last resort.

Howard, don't skip litely to visions proferred by capitlist architectural and condominium developers and real-estate operators. Think about how to get real for the real people who use the actual subway over which you preside. If you've already reached your highest level of competence and now can only serve us up with defeatism based on nostalgia for a bygone day, then please, we thank you for all you've done, but resign pronto! We need someone else if you've met your Peter Principle. Perhaps you could take a year off from politics and study the urban security of Toronto against terrorism. You were a great civil servant (as will as city councillor), and you could be yet again. But not running for the New Defeatist Party, and not by sitting on or chairing the Toronto Transit Commision.

Last but not least, on a hi-er philosophical level, we all need to re-evalute certain orientations toward national policy that makes Toronto especially vulnerable these days.

Consider London's multiculturalist Mayor Ken Livingstone, who last year actually welcomed a radical jihadist, Egyptian cleric Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi, to his city. ¶ Multiculturalism and overly permissive immigration policies have also played a role here in North America. Unfettered in their own enclave, Muslim extremists in Brooklyn helped organize the first attack on the World Trade Center in the early 1990s. Lax Canadian refugee policies have allowed radical Islamists to find homes in places like Montreal and Toronto, where some might have planned attacks on this country, like the alleged 2000 plot to blow up Los Angeles International Airport.

We need to keep up an active open stance of welcome to our Muslim community, but we do not need to continue in the lax manner of "Lax Canadian refugee policies [that] have allowed radical Islamists to find homes in places like Montreal and Toronto where some" are probably planning their day of glory right now - in the subway system over which you preside, in all your own glorious defeatism, Mr. Commissioner!

Hopefully, if Stephen Harper's proposed Security Czar is created and assigned powers, staff, and enforceable coordination, laggards like Moscoe will have to widern the horizon and level of effective provision and action - and get the support needed to do so. Toronto's subway system is a national asset, tho the Liberals have long thawt of it as merely internal civic concern. With Harper's Security Czar in place, we should have the wherewithal to do what must be done.

- Politicarp

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Iran: Nuclear Proliferation: Outgoing and incoming Presidents of Iran seem to be one on nuke empowerment

UPDATE July 24:

Iran Nukes - students & academics rally to support regime, and to enforce the continuity between outgoing Prez Khatami and incoming Prez Amhadenijad, making sure policy against the negotiators for the EU - Britain, France, and Germany - remains steady in the country (were there doubt in any quarters). Iran Students: Restart uranium program, Yahoo News, July 23, 2005

Iran Nuke


Iran, a signatory to the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty, already back in November 2004, froze

"all uranium fuel work, including activities at Isfahan and Natanz, ... as part of an agreement with the European Union’s big three powers Britain, Germany and France.

The EU trio and Iran failed to reach a final agreement on Iran’s nuclear program at new talks in London on Friday night but agreed to continue the negotiations at a later date.

The EU trio has warned Tehran it will back U.S. calls for Iran’s nuclear case to be sent to the Security Council.

By stopping short of resuming the actual enrichment of uranium, a process that can be used to make bomb grade fuel, Iran hopes to avoid such a showdown, a senior EU diplomat in Tehran said.

So reported MSNBC in the online article, Iran says it’s set to resume nuclear work - Talks over future of nuclear program fail to reach agreement, April 30, 2005.

(It should be noted that Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty, where as India, with which the USA has been cooperating in nuclear matters recently, has never been a signatory, and has made solemn commitments to President Bush and the US Congress that it is devoted to peaceful uses, and would only use the nukes it has as a weapon in self-defense. See yesterday's refWrite blog on the sujbect.)

As to Iran, these prospects of "a summer of crisis" raise questions regarding what continity of approach may obtain between the outgoing President Mohammad Khatami and the incoming new President Ahmadinejad in regard to the Iran nuclear issue which has been champtioned by key leaders of Iran's bellicose Mullocracy.

The UK Christian leftwing ekklesia reports in an unsigned survey on "Iran’s new president a blow to US foreign policy," June 25, 2005:

The landslide victory of the conservative mayor of Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in Iran’s presidential poll has thwarted US hopes of a satisfactory resolution to the nuclear standoff between the two nations. It has also challenged the effectiveness of America’s aggressive foreign policy stance in the region.

Western analysts were caught off guard by the scale of the defeat of moderate ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, whose political pragmatism and dialogue with progressive students over democratisation held out hopes for further change in Iran.

Mr Ahmadinejad won the run-off in the two-stage election with 62 per cent of the 22 million votes cast on a turnout of 47 per cent. The average turnout in the two contests was 55 per cent.

But the nuclear issue is not the only concern of the new President. In contrast to earlier presidencies and the tone of approach of the mullahs at the top of the theocratic hierarchy's Council of Guardians and related figures, one mite want to characterize Ahmadinejad, however vaguely, as something of populist and advocate for the poor. It's felt that this theme in his campaign won him class-specific votes which otherwise mite have gone in the second round to "moderate" candidate Rajsanjani. The rhetoric and the votes certainly did not create absolute ease among the wealthy and successful corporate interests which have been titely allied up to this point with the theocratic leaderhship of the mullahs. Of course, the plus business interests can envision a silver lining in a peaceful use of nculear-generated electricity, which could be devoted in large part to expanded manufcturing and propsects for generating greater profits on its investments. That lines up class-interests for a possible conflict regarding the spoils of nuclearization. Thus, if nothing else, the Ahmadinejad win has generated hopes and even expectations that may run counter to the existing mullocrat-business alliance.

Ahmadinejad may have to fulfill in more ways than the prospect of nuclear energy raises for the supply of (cheap?) electricity to the poor. Will the promised cheap electricity be enuff to buy off further discontent from this quarter? Will the prioritization of electricity mesh with the priorities of the poor themselves? Yes answers do not come easily to mind. What else will the new President at least have to try to deliver? And what will the add-ons' effect be on the vested monied interests? And, then, what stresses may unfold within the mullah-business alliance, and within the ranks of the mullahs themselves?

Iran's nuclear stance, continued by Ahmadinejad, will have an impact upon a whole further set of issues and concerns.

Regional commentators say that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory is due to a number of factors – his appeal to poor voters and those opposing corruption, his defiance of what is seen as US aggression, and his positioning as an Iranian nationalist aligned to conservative Islamic forces but not imprisoned by them.

Suddenly in the last two days Iran has indicated there will be no lag in its nuclear time-table, according to the opposition blog Regime Change in Iran which today reports in its Daily Briefing feature online
Iran to resume uranium enrichment on August 1, drawing on a report in Iran Focus, July 21, 2005.

Iran’s decision to resume uranium enrichment is being made public after a string of hard-line pronouncements in recent days on Iran’s nuclear programme by senior Iranian officials, including outgoing President Mohammad Khatami.

"Iran's mastering of the fuel cycle is the right of the Iranian people... and is not negotiable," Khatami said in a speech on Tuesday.

The influential ultra-conservative daily Kayhan threatened the EU-3 in its Wednesday editorial that Iran would soon resume work at Isfahan and Natanz nuclear sites.

The editorial, entitled, “Don’t threaten us with the Security Council,” underscored Iran’s determination “to never abandon the use of nuclear fuel cycle technology”. The paper challenged France, Germany and Britain to send Iran’s nuclear file to the UN Security Council.

“Nothing will happen in the Security Council”, the ultra-conservative daily wrote. “The only thing that will happen is that we will be able to resume our suspended activities and quickly reach results. The Security Council will open up big avenues in front of us, but the Europeans will lose the only option that they now have”.

Document: Senior Iranian Official: Europe Will Recognize Iran's Right to a Limited Nuclear Fuel Cycle; Iran to Start Operations at Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility


A word further seems to be in order about the Brit Christian leftwing website mentioned, ekklesia, which bypassed all the critical issues about the Iranian election, and managed to turn its report into another mere anti-Bush piece. It should be given credit, nevertheless, for putting a few key factoids before readers regarding what's known of the Christian community in Iraq, and that is a concern for some readers of refWrite, we know.

Christians and other minority groups in Iran are wondering what the future will hold for them under the new, hard-line presidency. ¶ The majority of Iran's 250,000 Christian population are members of the Armenian Orthodox Church, with others belonging to Assyrian Church of the East. There are also small numbers of Chaldean Catholics, Anglicans and Protestants. ¶ Persians, Parthians and Medes were among the first new Christian converts at Pentecost. Since then there had been a continuous minority Christian presence in Iran. The Armenian Church has a recognised status, though its activities are carefully controlled. Protestant Christianity is seen as Western-aligned [by whom?, I ask] and treated accordingly [by whom?, I ask]."

- Politicarp

But once again ekklesia misses a crucial point, close enuff to bite it in the nose. On recent religious persecution in Iran of Pentecostal Christians, peruse this webpage of Bittersweet site. Will new President Mohammad Amadinejab continue the polcy of religious persecution conducted under outgoing hardliner Khatami?