Saturday, March 30, 2024

A Split Screen News Story For the History Books


Well, now, there's a hell of a split screen image in this election year! 

Trump goes to the wake of a murdered police officer, and at the same time, nearby, Biden holds the biggest campaign fundraiser of all time ever. To carry that off, he needed Obama to lend his crowd appeal, and even brought in Bill Clinton as a chick magnet. 

Meanwhile, Trump paid off the mortgage on the NYPD widow's home and started an education fund for her one year-old child. 

Even mainstream news media are framing that as a side-by-side contrast. 

Did the political geniuses on Biden's reelection campaign team think that would be a good idea? Biden must have. C'mon Man!©, stop the malarky and ask yourself why your poll numbers are dragging on the ground.

AP's "Indefensible Abuse and Atrocious Inhumanity" Wins an Award

I'm sure you've seen that particular photo. Probably you also saw the video of that same atrocious event, in which we saw Palestinian men from Gaza in a absolute state of ecstasy because they were beating the dead naked body of an Israeli woman with a stick. 

Incredibly, that was not the very most atrocious video of the abduction, rape, and murder of teenaged Israeli women and others that went online October 7th, proudly uploaded by Hamas for the excitement of its supporters. Anyone who is the least bit curious about why Gaza is now being reduced to a pile of rubble over the corpse of the last Hamas fighter should review any of that material. 

After twenty years of experience with Hamas running Gaza as a launching pad for more or less constant attacks on Israelis, it's clear that a Carthaginian solution is the only kind there can be to the Hamas problem.    

And what's wrong with that? Taking the long view, you'll notice that Carthage never caused any trouble for anybody ever again. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Assange Gets Half a Step Closer to Being Extradited


I've gone up-to-date on our Julian Assange theme song. This Annie Lennox cover version is not quite to my taste musically, but she is easily pale enough to represent the prison-face Assange. 

The occasion for this update is the bad news Assange and his supporters received today from the UK High Court: 

LONDON, March 26 (Reuters) - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition to the United States from Britain was put on hold on Tuesday after London's High Court said the United States must provide assurances he would not face the death penalty. 

-- snip -- 

[His lawyer's objections had been] that Australian-born Assange arguably would not be entitled to rely on the First Amendment right to free speech as a non-U.S. national and, while none of the existing charges carried the death penalty, he could later face a capital offence such as treason, meaning it would be unlawful to extradite him.

-- snip -- 

The judges invited the U.S. authorities to provide assurances on these matters, saying if they were not forthcoming by April 16, then Assange would be granted permission to appeal. 

However, they rejected his lawyers' argument the case was politically motivated or that he would not receive a fair trial.

On balance, it looks like Assange is screwed. Extradition is looming unless the Biden administration wants to throw the case by refusing to provide those mild assurances the High Court asked it for. 

Will it? Maybe. I can't imagine what election year calculations are going on in the White House, DOJ, and the Biden campaign. 

But one thing I do know. I am thoroughly tired of Assange's self-aggrandizing fantasy about the death penalty. He thrills his supporters with the prospect of the USA sending him to the chair in this or possibly another alternative universe. It's mawkish. Find a better way to build your self-esteem.

Condolences, but Assange isn't charged with any offense that is punishable by death. For that, he'd have to have violated the Prime Directive, or something equally grave.  

Monday, March 25, 2024

UN: Why So Choosy About Which Atrocities You Condemn?

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Recognizing One, Two ... How Many Palestinian States?

Cue the rainbows and unicorns, because Hope is just about ready to break out once again in this world of trouble. Or in parts of Europe, anyway. 

Read about it here: Ireland standing ready to recognise Palestine state 'gives hope'.
Ireland, Spain, Malta and Slovenia standing ready to recognise the Palestine state has given Palestinians "hope," [Palestinian ambassador to Ireland Dr Jilan Abdalmajidits] has said.
Earlier, in a joint-statement, the four countries' prime ministers said they were ready to recognise the Palestine state when the "circumstances are right".
You may wonder what, exactly, are those circumstances? And who decides when they are 'right?' 

Who knows? To my mind, only after all Hamas fighters have been killed will there be any point in even thinking about post-conflict reconstruction. But that's why I'd never make an EU small country Prime Minister. 

Before you break out the champagne, see this part of the statement:
"We agreed that the only way to achieve lasting peace and stability in the region is through implementation of a two-state solution, with Israeli and Palestinian States living side-by-side, in peace and security," the statement said.
Now, that phrase "Palestinian States" - plural states, as in more than one state - is literally correct, since there are two of them, one run by Hamas in Gaza and the other run by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. 

Yes, I know that's not the intended meaning of the phrase, but just a bit of linguistic ambiguity. However, its the almost poetic blurting out of an awkward truth, all the same.  

If any EU small country PMs want to see an Israeli state side-by-side with a single Palestinian state, then someone will first have to make peace between the two Palestinian states that currently exist. Good luck with that.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

First Saudi Male AI Robot Gets Handsy With Female Reporter

Just too funny. 

Is it something in the sand, or the silicon, over there?

Monday, March 11, 2024

Latest Update From Embassy Haiti: Still Evacuating Non-Essential Staff

At 3PM Eastern time the embassy website posted this update: U.S. military conducts operation to augment security of the U.S. Embassy in Haiti 
At the request of the Department of State, the U.S. military conducted an operation to augment the security of the U.S. Embassy at Port-au-Prince, allow our Embassy mission operations to continue, and enable non-essential personnel to depart.
This airlift of personnel into and out of the Embassy is consistent with our standard practice for Embassy security augmentation worldwide, and no Haitians were on board the military aircraft.
Our Embassy remains focused on advancing U.S. government efforts to support the Haitian people, including mobilizing support for the Haitian National Police, expediting the deployment of the United Nations-authorized Multinational Security Support (MSS) mission, and accelerating a peaceful transition of power via free and fair elections.
As announced in September 2023, the Department of Defense is postured to provide robust enabling support for the MSS, including planning assistance, information sharing, airlift, communications, and medical support.
Haitians please note that "no Haitians were on board," meaning, we are not taking sides in your local conflict. 

U.S. voters please note that "our Embassy remains focused on a laundry list of highly unlikely, not to say laughable, ways to fix Haiti." Anyway, that's my free interpretation of the third para in that update. 

Meanwhile, I'm sticking with my favorable impression of Jimmy 'Barbecue' Chérizier. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.


Thursday, March 7, 2024

"The Washington Elite" Benefit From DOD-Run VIP Medical Care

In case you have ever wondered why there might be a strong appeal of populism in contemporary American politics, look no further than this story: VIP health system for top US officials risked jeopardizing care for rank-and-file soldiers

Yes, an OIG investigation found that this VIP practice resulted in your government "prioritizing medical care by seniority rather than medical need." I don't suppose that should raise any ruckus among the hoi polloi, do you? 

A few key quotes:
Through a unit at the White House, government personnel were routinely allowed to receive treatment under aliases, providing no home address or insurance information. For some of them, the care was free, as Walter Reed had no way to bill for it or waived charges.
White House officials, senior military and other national security leaders, retired military officers, and family members have all benefited. The Washington elite could jump the line when filling prescriptions, book appointments through special call centers, and receive choice parking spots and escorts at military hospitals and other facilities, including Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, according to the Pentagon’s inspector general.
At Walter Reed, the program is available to Cabinet members; members of Congress; Supreme Court justices [think RBG]; active-duty and retired generals and flag officers and their beneficiaries; members of the Senior Executive Service who retired from the military; secretaries, deputy secretaries, and assistant secretaries of the Department of Defense and military departments; certain foreign military officers; and Medal of Honor recipients.
I agree with giving special privileges for that last category, incidentally. As for "the Washington elite," I'd prefer that they use the ordinary federal group health insurance plans - which are excellent, by the way - that all the feds have.

That ought to be elite enough for anyone.