“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The International Community

They led. Did Bush follow their lead?

Google "International Community" and you get 8,640,000 pages. It must be a rather popular concept.

"Community" is a rather comfy word. "International" is a big word, expansive and inclusive, and we all like big ideas and we must be inclusive. A phrase that includes big things and warm comfy things is a simple seductive idea. Two of the more inclusive proponents of "International Community" were Bill Clinton and Tony Blair.

Both men, children of the sixties, liked the big rock concert, big demonstration, arm in arm process of governance. They preferred consensus and of course inclusion to help reinforce their ideas and beliefs. Blair and Clinton confirmed their ideas and the power of the "International Community" with the war on Kosovo.

Bill Richardson is so enthralled with the concept, that he and many others are calling on the "International Community" to act on Pakistan.

Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan are still unresolved, the IC is hardly in concurrence with Iran and now the call is going out for the "big chapatis", Pakistan. A read of a speech made by Tony Blair in 1999 should be made before we take a bite out of that loaf.

On 24 April 1999, Tony Blair made a speech that is hosted on A UK Government website: 'Prime Minister's speech: Doctrine of the International community at the Economic Club, Chicago' He had some interesting things to say in those warm inclusive days.

...While we meet here in Chicago this evening, unspeakable things are happening in Europe. Awful crimes that we never thought we would see again have reappeared - ethnic cleansing. systematic rape, mass murder.

I want to speak to you this evening about events in Kosovo. But I want to put these events in a wider context - economic, political and security - because I do not believe Kosovo can be seen in isolation.

No one in the West who has seen what is happening in Kosovo can doubt that NATO's military action is justified. Bismarck famously said the Balkans were not worth the bones of one Pomeranian Grenadier. Anyone who has seen the tear stained faces of the hundreds of thousands of refugees streaming across the border, heard their heart-rending tales of cruelty or contemplated the unknown fates of those left behind, knows that Bismarck was wrong.

This is a just war, based not on any territorial ambitions but on values. We cannot let the evil of ethnic cleansing stand. We must not rest until it is reversed. We have learned twice before in this century that appeasement does not work. If we let an evil dictator range unchallenged, we will have to spill infinitely more blood and treasure to stop him later"...

..."We need to begin work now on what comes after our success in Kosovo. We will need a new Marshall plan for Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania and Serbia too if it turns to democracy. We need a new framework for the security of the whole of the Balkans. And we will need to assist the war crimes tribunal in its work to bring to justice those who have committed these appalling crimes.

This evening I want to step back and look at what is happening in Kosovo in a wider context"...

..."Twenty years ago we would not have been fighting in Kosovo. We would have turned our backs on it. The fact that we are engaged is the result of a wide range of changes - the end of the Cold War; changing technology; the spread of democracy. But it is bigger than that

I believe the world has changed in a more fundamental way. Globalisation has transformed our economies and our working practices. But globalisation is not just economic. It is also a political and security phenomenon.

We live in a world where isolationism has ceased to have a reason to exist. By necessity we have to co-operate with each other across nation"...

..."We are all internationalists now, whether we like it or not"...

..."national interest is to a significant extent governed by international collaboration and that we need a clear and coherent debate as to the direction this doctrine takes us in each field of international endeavour."...

..."Many of our problems have been caused by two dangerous and ruthless men - Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic."...

..."The most pressing foreign policy problem we face is to identify the circumstances in which we should get actively involved in other people's conflicts. Non -interference has long been considered an important principle of international order. And it is not one we would want to jettison too readily. One state should not feel it has the right to change the political system of another or forment subversion or seize pieces of territory to which it feels it should have some claim. But the principle of non-interference must be qualified in important respects. Acts of genocide can never be a purely internal matter. When oppression produces massive flows of refugees which unsettle neighbouring countries then they can properly be described as "threats to international peace and security". When regimes are based on minority rule they lose legitimacy - look at South Africa."...

He forgot to mention Rhodesia, rather I mean Zimbabwe, of course. How could I forget?


  1. 2164th: Blair and Clinton confirmed their ideas and the power of the "International Community" with the war on Kosovo.

    It's a popular idea. After Britain and Poland and Australia leave Iraq, and its just the United States and Tuvalu left there, Bush will still be saying "Coalition forces won an important victory today."

  2. "..What we need is a Marshall Plan..."

    And there's the rub. The "International Community" is UN bureaucrats using American taxpayer money (hell, now it's the taxpayers too) to prop up third world shitholes and harebrained, utopian schemes that they use to enrich themselves and their buddies.

    NATO members in AFG won't commit their troops to fight or to areas that are dangerous. No one has spare helicopters either, apparently.

    We screwed up IRQ on our own, but the surge may yield something good if the Iraqi government can pull it together.

    Kosovo can slide back into chaos with the next election.

    The Korean Peninsula is still in a state of war.

    Darfur. Lots of talk. No action, unless of course the US sends in an MEU and babysits for the next, oh, 20 years at its own expense of lives and treasure.

    The "International Community" showed their colors with their "Climate Change" conference in Bali. Results: All Kyoto signers increased their CO2 outputs, blamed the US for everything, proposed taxes that would have developed nations' income transferred to third-world shitholes in a scheme administered by UN bureaucrats.

    In other words, all talk, no action, it's the US' fault.

    Glad we have such smart people around to save us from ourselves.

  3. ..."Many of our problems have been caused by two dangerous and ruthless men - Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic."...

    Both fellows are long gone from the scene, but the crimes continue.

    Those guys being symptoms, not causations. But that reality not fitting into the "criminal evil doer" mindset the pervails in the International Community. Blame falling upon one man, his cronies, just along for the ride.

    Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic, Mugembe, Arabfat, Osama and the good old Doc Z, not the tips of icebergs, but the whole enchilada in and of themselves.

    Obelisks and pyramid power, the symbolism there can explain a lot, if one wants to color outside the lines.

    If not, then the explaination is that all the civic leaders, bankers and industrialists of the West are fools and incompetents.

    Rather than men of vision, goals and accomplishments.

    The Rothchilds, Rockefellers, Harrimans and et al, just fools and knaves, through the generations. The politicos they support and empower, even more foolish and misguided.

    We can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.
    Each gets to decide that, for themselves.

  4. The Russians agree to supply Iran weapons for self-defense.
    The US is aggitated

    Russia's sale to Iran of anti-aircraft system to strain Russia-U.S. ties
    2007-12-29 16:58:05

    But then the deal is denied, to the Western press

    MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has no plans to sell its advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Iran, a Russian government agency said on Friday.

    "The issue of supplying Iran with S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems, raised by mass media, is not on the agenda, is not being considered and is not being discussed with the Iranian side at the moment," Russia's Federal Military and Technical Cooperation Service said on its Web site.

    Both sides against the middle?

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. In response to Ms trish and her
    "Who mentioned 100 A-Teams?"
    retort, two threads back.

    That was Mr Vickers, in the WaPo piece, "Sorry, Charlie. This Is Michael Vickers's War".

    The same Mr Vickers that she triumphed previously, but the retort was not directed at her.

    Just the very concept of perpetual conflict that his Strategic Vision of continuous low intensity conflict encapsulates.

  7. The world truly seems to be upside down somedays. Today I wake up to that great promoter of democracy Bhenizer Bhutto passing the mantle of HER party on to her husband and 19 yr. old son (ohh so democratic that is) and Bill Kristol is now a columnist for the NY Times.

  8. The Russians aka Soviets have sold the islamic world BILLIONS of weapons, useless against the west but quite impressive in parades and for internal consumption. Nothing beats a "death to israel" and a "death to the USA" parade than a shitload of big, bad scary looking russian built weapon systems.

    In the end the Russians/Soviets will drain (as will the americans with 2nd tier quality arms) a hugh % of cash BACK from the arabs (and persians & other black rockers) that we spend for oil

    So Russia is completing nuke power plant for iran & sprucing up it's protection...


    Target Rich Environment

  9. I like Vickers for his, shall we say, generously multi-disciplined approach to matters, which is in sharp contrast to the hammer/nail folks that still populate the oxygen-thin upper reaches.

    "NATO members in AFG won't commit their troops to fight or to areas that are dangerous..."

    Not *entirely* true, but it explains those conveniently hard-to-find helicopters. Which is why NATO is turning to rent-a-bird. Not your crew/not your PR headache. Until that 2 AM phone call...

  10. Call it voodoo reality. No need to kill the enemy, PC rules being there to protect our soldiers and citizens from enemy lawsuits brought forth by government agents in the pay of the enemy. Management of the battle space is where it's at, as dRat mentioned. CNN BBC NYT CIA DOS being some of the witch doctors in this reality management scam. Trish being upset that someone would call her on this fraud.

  11. Listening to Rothman on KGO last nite while nodding off, mention was made, I think, of a koranic passage regarding 'weapons hotter than the sun that melt rock' or something along those lines. Does anyone know of such a koranic passage?

    Rothman is very worried about things and agrees with Ash we are in a turvy world, and doesn't think Benazir JR. is probably up to the task. Nor son of shah, either, or the both of them together.

  12. China ia a 'paper tiger', unlikely to jump the fence and escape the zoo. At least for a long time to come. Too many poor baby tigers to feed. THE GREAT FALL OF CHINA

  13. Bob,

    If it exists, it's not from the Koran.

  14. "No need to kill the enemy..."

    Missing the gist entirely of "multi-disciplined."

    There's a mud hut and a month's worth of jerky in a high, hairy asscrack that's got Shit-Talking Dentist written all over it. Say when.

  15. Multi-disciplined being how to bribe who. Darling, youz getting boring.

  16. Bored? My suggestion, then, mat, is to blithely skip over my comments.

    But you won't.

  17. Don't forget to eat that salat, Bob. :)

  18. Those Iowa polls are all over the map, in both parties. Write the candidates on the wall, throw dart, pick a winner. Which is what one in depth study by the WSJ showed to be the best way to pick stocks. Just put the listings on the wall, and if you are going to buy five different stocks, throw five darts, you'll do just as well as following the experts, according to the Journal.

  19. Darling Trish, you know when I say you, I don't mean you.

  20. I do support the concept of 100 A-Teams, as it takes the US conventional force out of the mix, both tactically and strategicly.

    Takes them from tasks for which they are ill suited to undertake, by both training and temperment.

    It promotes the use of proxies as instruments of US policy, which I have always supported.

    The US will not defeat the 100 millon plus irroconcilables with that strategy, but can maintain perpetual conflict against them, using those tactics.

    Afghanistan and Somalia the two best examples of that strategy being implemented, currently.

    Obtaining neither victory nor defeat, but at low cost and of little domestic political concern.

    As opposed to what we've done in Iraq, where neither victory nor defeat will be obtained, but much treasure expended, in a cause that cannot be defined, to the US people in a way they will continue to support.

    The withdrawal from there having begun.

    Perpetual conflict becoming the objective of US policy.

  21. Mat, maybe that phrase or something like it is found in the maze of the hadiths.

  22. It's not that F-13 is killing people, that's not a "real" problem, but that they target folks based upon their skin color.

    That is beyond the pale!

    Feds Take on Latino Gang 'Florencia 13,' Accused of Targeting Blacks in Los Angeles
    12-30-2007 11:58 AM
    By THOMAS WATKINS, Associated Press Writer

    LOS ANGELES (Associated Press) -- In a murderous quest aimed at "cleansing" their turf of snitches and rival gangsters, members of one of Los Angeles County's most vicious Latino gangs sometimes killed people just because of their race, an investigation found.

    There were even instances in which Florencia 13 leaders ordered killings of black gangsters and then, when the intended victim couldn't be located, said "Well, shoot any black you see," Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said.

    "In certain cases some murders were just purely motivated on killing a black person,"
    Baca said.

    Authorities say there were 20 murders among more than 80 shootings documented during the gang's rampage in the hardscrabble Florence-Firestone neighborhood, exceptional even in an area where gang violence has been commonplace for decades. They don't specify the time frame or how many of the killings were racial.

  23. In Pakistan, Ralph Peters takes issue with the "rich" maintaining political control, while in the US ....

    Private fortunes are spent, with little comment, in pusuit of the White House.

    WASHINGTON (Associated Press) --
    Two multimillionaires in the presidential race _ two ways to spend their money. Republican Mitt Romney has pumped more than $17 million of his own into his race; Democrat John Edwards, by law, can tap his fortune for no more than $50,000.

    What a difference public financing makes.

    Romney has chosen to bypass the taxpayer-financed presidential campaign fund, a move that lets him use his wealth without limitation. If he has put more of his money in during the past three months, his campaign isn't saying. The public won't find out until Jan. 31, when Romney must submit campaign finance reports to the Federal Election Commission.

    Edwards has been certified to get $8.8 million in public funds, and he plans to collect. The step not only restricts his spending, it also prohibits him from dipping into his personal wealth. Meanwhile, his campaign is getting more than $2 million in help from labor-backed independent groups.

    Which is the dummy?
    Mr Romney spending $17 million, to date, or Mr Edwards recieving $8.8 million from the public coffers?

    What are their objectives?

  24. They led. Did Bush follow their lead?

    Blair took a lot heat for being Bush's poodle but I've thought for some time now that it was exactly the reverse. I bet Blair had as much influence on Bush as any neocon.

  25. Perhaps. Even so, Bob. What do the hadiths to do with anything mystical? You might as well study the Talmud, or US tax laws.

  26. "I do support the concept of 100 A-Teams,.."

    Then it's time for an independent Kurdistan, the break up of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, just for starters.

  27. The Long War forever!

    Hoorah! boys Hoorah!!

    Down with the non-reconcilables
    Up with the Cause!

    We'll rally round THEIR flag, boys!
    We'll rally once again!

    Shouting the battle cry of proxies!!

    Send in the foreign fighters!!
    Hire the hordes!!

    Provide for peace through superior fire power
    A little "Death from Above"
    & they'll do just fine.

  28. I might get some actual benefit from studying the tax laws, Mat. :)

  29. Har! Another hatchling is born!! You best sign up for membership in the guild.

  30. In an 'international community world' should one be able to vote in many nations?

    . Huckabee Seeks to Restrict Dual Citizenship

    Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee supports a measure that would make it a crime for Americans with dual citizenship to vote in foreign elections, perform military service in other nations, or even use a foreign passport.

    Huckabee’s "Secure America Plan" includes a call to "discourage dual citizenship" by imposing "civil and/or criminal penalties on American citizens who illegitimately use their dual status."

    Prohibited uses of dual citizenship would include "using a foreign passport, voting in elections in both a foreign country and the U.S.," and other actions.

    Huckabee’s plan is based largely on work done by the Center for Immigration Studies.

    Holding dual citizenship creates “supercitizens” with split loyalties, said Mark Krikorian, the Center’s executive director. “It’s the political equivalent of bigamy.”

    And Stanley Renshon, a political science professor at the City University of New York who has worked with the Center, said dual citizenship and voting abroad are “a hindrance” to integrating new Americans into the country, the New York Sun reports.

    But the proposal is not likely to sit well with Americans with ties to Israel, Taiwan, Poland, Iraq, and other nations who have voted in those countries in large numbers in recent years.

    “For Americans of many ethnic backgrounds — including Americans Jews who are also citizens of Israel — any move to punish dual citizenship may cause resentment,” the Jewish publication Forward observed.

    Marc Stern, general counsel for the American Jewish Congress, said the proposal “would create huge problems . . . Some states won’t even allow you to renounce your citizenship.”

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1967 that American citizens did not lose their citizenship by voting in an Israeli election.

    In 2005, John Hayworth, who was then a Republican congressman from Arizona, introduced a bill that would have imposed jail time or a fine on naturalized American dual nationals for voting in foreign elections, using a foreign passport, or serving in the armed forces of their second country, according to the Sun.

    The bill never made it out of committee.
    I can think of any number of foreign elections I would like to participate in, but I bet the other countries wouldn't allow me to do that. I'd like to vote in Mexico, Venezuela, Iran, Israel etc. Even Sweden.

  31. Bob,

    I think it was 150,000 Israelis that votes for Putin in the last "election". It is that big a problem in the US?

  32. No, that's not part of the program, defending the status que, that's what we do.

    There's only country that we supported the break-up of, TransJordan, and that has not worked out well, not at all.

    Mr Olmert in a rare frankness, expressed these fears in an interview with the daily Haaretz right after returning from Annapolis: "The day will come when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights … As soon as that happens, the state of Israel (as an exclusively Jewish state) is finished."

    Which may be true, with even wi"o" now promoting a Palistinian State scenario. While it was not that long ago that: ...the same parties that once considered the recognition of the word "Palestine" as blasphemous and anti-Semitic, they are now advocating a Palestinian state.

    Though, without dooubt their scenario calls for Palistine to be little more than a last attempt of Israel at "preserving" its Jewish identity, and creating South Africa-style Palestinian Bantustans. Palestinians will be granted the freedom to call such disconnected islands whatever they wish, and to hoist their flag within the caged entities, if they must, but nothing more.

    The last hopes of those supporting the Sectarian State concept. Rather than reunification and free and fair elections.

    How mant A-Teams will the Barbie Dolls need, mat, to maintain their Sectarian State?

  33. "No, that's not part of the program, defending the status que, that's what we do.."

    LOL. I thought you'd quickly change your mind. Youz still comfortable now. We'll see for how long.

  34. I don't know, Mat. I don't know what the statistics are, I doubt it is very widespread. I am a one man/woman, one vote, one country type of guy, so on that particular issue I think the Huckster is on the right track.

  35. "I am a one man/woman, one vote, one country type of guy.."

    What country is that? You best consult with dRat. He seems to think that Mexicans are legitimate US voters. Sectarian, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, political, military, economic divides, etc., being irrelevant.

  36. The US is withdrawing from the mussulman conflict, mat.

    That is what Mr Vicker's program portends. An A-Team is 12 to 18 guys. Well trained fellows, with radios to call for air support.
    100 of them, under 2,000 guys.

    That is the real extent of it.
    Funneling money for bribes and pay offs. Pickig the "best" of the locals to subvert, then train.

    Ethiopia the best example in Africa. Chad, not.
    The Philipinos a success in South Asia, the Indonesians, not.

    The US will not support breaking up Turkey. The US will not even call the Armenian slaughter by the "Young Turks" a "genocide". We allow Turkey access to Kurdistan/Iraqi airspace, to kill Iraqis

    The US will not support breaking up Pakistan.

    Not even breaking up Iran is in the cards. Conflict, low intensity conflict at that, becomes the Goal of the strategy. Not victory, just a bleeding, torture by a thousand cuts, we becoming the slicers.

    That is Mr Vicker's vision.

    Based upon both current US actions and rhetoric.

  37. Well sure, mat.
    That is how the US does it.
    In Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Colorado. All were parts of Mexico we've annexed and given the residents US citizen status, at the time of annexation.

    Unlike a Sectarian State.
    Religious fascism is not the US way of doing business.

    Even after a Civil War, where enemies of the Constitution took up arms against it, they were forgiven, based upon their word, their promise of future fidelity.

    That is the way we do it. Universal franchise to citizens, with citizenship not often denied by race, nationality or creed.
    Especially after the 14th Amendment was ratified.

    That is how the US does it.
    Dual citizenship not prima facia proof of treason. Per the Supremes.

    Like Hamdan, it's the Law, like it or not.

  38. "The US is withdrawing from the mussulman conflict, mat... Religious fascism is not the US way of doing business."

    You'll let me know when them jihadi oil facilities become disposable to your business interests and your way of doing business.

  39. Why, that's business, not military.

    The US military telling US there is not a military solution to the mussulman challenge.

    They've been saying it, based upon experience for a number of years now. It has sunk in, there in DC.

    We will use the oil from reconciled sources, as we need it.

    Reconciliation is US policy, that has been the deal, since FDR, that is the deal, under Bush, will remain the deal under whomever replaces him.

    We are not at war with Islam, not going to war with Islam, we will maintain a low intensity conflict against those that are non-reconcilable.

    Mr Abbas, he's reconciled. The perfect example of US success. Mr Olmert, the Israeli representitive to the World and the political leader of all its' citizens, agrees.

    Whether you approve, or not.
    I assume you vote, in Israeli elections, your voice heard, then discounted. As it should be.

  40. The US not a socialist country, the government does not supply oil, is not part of the supply chain, but from a security standpoint.

    The US military coming to terms with the new realities. Political negotiation, reconciliation and an overwatch position with many eyes on the ground.

    That's the 100 A-Team concept.
    that's where we're going.

    Like it or not.

    The troops are coming home!
    Hoorah! Hoorah!

  41. The US has no permenat enemies, we are way beyond that.

    Been that way since 1866,
    no reason to change now.
    Our success, while using that dogma, well it blows everyone else away.

    We are the model, the paymaster and the puppet king.

    Learn to love it.

  42. mətušélaḥ said...
    "I do support the concept of 100 A-Teams,.."

    Then it's time for an independent Kurdistan, the break up of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, just for starters.


    peace in the middle east will be achieved when the current occupiers of most of it (the black rockers) are driven into exile towards arabia...

    as foolish as it sounds only when the coptic, kurds, berbers, jews and several other hundred oppressed HISTORIC peoples are returned to their RIGHTFUL position in their lands, with historic rights given to them will true peace come...

    Yes i KNOW all about the fake national identity created called "palestinan" but let's LOOK at my HANDLE... What is "occupation"

    Arabs have conquered and invaded many lands that they now claim as their own, the only problem? despite their best efforts minority peoples have refused to die and go away...

    The west (currently CHOOSING it's own standards as well) will be in battle soon enough against everyone from the "paki's of londonstan" to the "Nation of Aztlan" in America. So it's quite a grey issue except for one thing...

    If it's against the law, according to the world's bodies for the Nation of Israel to BUILD fucking houses in the Historic lands of the Jews, THERE IS NOT ONE OTHER PEOPLES WHO CLAIMS MEAN ANYTHING..

    Let me say it again...

    If the Jews have no rights to Judia and Sameria then NO ONE has any real right to anywhere...

  43. The mussulman challenge would not be a challenge without oil. There would be no protection money, no money for political weapons, no money for military weapons, no money for propaganda weapons.

    The mussulman challenge exists because whore Lady Liberty seem to like it as she gets repeatedly fscked by her mussulman sheiks and the oil she protects for them.

  44. Mr Abbas, betcha he gets an A-Team or maybe two, to train hs National Army.

    The APC's are the way, as we speak, Mr Olmert giving his blessing to their delivery, just yesterday.

  45. The Pakistani don't have oil.

    Not alot of it any way.
    Nor did the Afghans.

    Is your short sightedness the causation or a symptom of your prejudices?

  46. Nope. Neither does Kosovo.
    Like I said, you seem to like it when Arab sheiks ride you for their holy crusades of justice.

    Heidi hoe, horsy!

  47. Rat, my dig at the 100 A Teams is the grandiosity of it. We're low now and it'd be a decade at the least before we could field numbers like that. They're a prized (and relatively scarce) commodity precisely because of what goes into growing them and keeping them around. (Not that you can't run it like crap through a goose and end up with, in a manner of speaking, 20 A Teams, 20 B Teams, and 60 C Teams.)

    The bonus over 15 is currently 165k.

  48. Not that you can't augment with contractors. And we surely do.

    But the 100 is mighty chuckle-worthy in the medium term.

  49. I've often heard people say they'd like to have someone as President who didn't really want to be President, someone like, well, me, for instance.(And I'd make a Great One) Or Fred Thompson your next best choice.

  50. I could be President too, if I wanted, I just don't care to.

  51. Bob,

    That would be my choice too. Now, aren't you sorry I don't have a dual Israeli/US citizenship! :)

  52. Evidently young Bhutto is a sensible man, like us Mat, and, in his case, has decided to stay at Oxford.

  53. Must be the fish and chips restaurants in Londonstan that clinched it.

  54. Thank gawd Litvak
    girls is just my little secret.

  55. Both major opposition parties have said they will run in upcoming elections, apparently ending the threat of a boycott as Pakistan struggles to move to full democracy after years of military rule. Earlier in the day, a spokesman for the country's ruling party said the Jan. 8 vote may be delayed up to four months.

    He said the parliamentary elections would lose credibility if held as scheduled and that he expects a formal announcement within 24 hours.

    The Pakistan People's Party of Canada has also joined the call for an international inquiry into the controversy surrounding Bhutto's death.

    Fair Elections

  56. The Pakistan People's Party of Canada

    What the hell...

  57. Multiculturalism, a reality check

    We hear a lot about the virtues of multiculturalism these days—you know, openness to “the Other,” to “alternative social constructions,” to the rich and diverse tapestry of human experience. The multiculturalist tends to deprecate our Greek and Roman heritage as a dead-white-guy’s patrimony. The one classical tag he can be relied upon to have a soft spot for is Terence’s overquoted boast that “humani nihil a me alienum,” that “nothing human is alien” to him. But what does multiculturalism look like on the ground, so to speak? How do cultures committed to learning about and understanding others actually act? A simple question with a complex answer, no doubt.

    Yet surely one measure of curiosity about other cultures is the number of books that are translated every year from other languages. A few years ago, The World Press Review published a story with some interesting statistics on this question. Citing a report on twenty-two Arab countries overseen by the U.N., the article notes that
    the total number of books translated into Arabic yearly is no more than 330, or one-fifth of those translated in a small country like Greece.

    Indeed, the total number of books translated into Arabic during the 1,000 years since the age of Caliph Al-Mamoun [a ninth-century Arab ruler who was a patron of cultural interaction between Arab, Persian, and Greek scholars] to this day is less than those translated in Spain in one year.

    By contrast, according to the U.N.’s Index Translationum database, since 1979 some 260,000 books have been translated into German, 194,000 into Spanish, 110,000 into English. Just something to keep in mind the next time some academic starts nattering on about “Eurocentricism,” multiculturalism, etc.- The New Critereon

  58. What do you mean what the hell? We're talkin' the International Community here.

  59. For your holiday pleasure, here are some highlights from a year of low-blow attacks -- a list of parliamentary sucker punches and head-butts.

    Wednesday, January 31

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper takes a page from the Wizard of Oz and goes after Liberal Leader Stephane Dion's dog, Kyoto, in a debate about climate change. At least he didn't name his furry friend Greenhouse Gas Emitter.


    Wednesday, February 21

    During debate over a motion to compel people to testify at the Air India inquiry, Harper singles out Liberal MP Navdeep Bains because his father-in-law, Darshan Singh Saini, is on a list of potential RCMP witnesses in connection with the 1985 bombing. The prime minister is drowned out by opposition MPs before he can finish.

    House of Commons

  60. Swedish Sexual Liberation Party of America.

  61. Hey, c'mon now. I just googled that. No such thing.

  62. Merry ol England is a real mix. They had Vikings coming in, Normans, this and that, not to mention a few Romans, and now all this third world stuff. Most of them more or less related until now with the new elements. Lord knows how it will turn out. The new element is putting more of a strain on the culture than the others.
    Well, there should be one.

  63. Loosen those folks in Iowa up a bit.