The Spectacle Blog

Australia John Howard scandal

By on 2.3.06 | 11:06PM

Spoke Australia source that the Oil for Food scandal has now washed onshore to damage the John Howard government. The allegations are graft, skimming, kickbacks, bribery and conspiracy to conceal with regard trading with Baghdad as late as 2002; and the tale points to a bevy of plutocrats and also toward Howard and his able, popular Foreign Secretary Alexander Downer. It is smoke for now, but there is noise of documents linking Howard directly, at least as someone who should have known of the schemes earlier than now. Worse ahead. Downer and Howard are ducking questions thrown at them each time they appear without buffers.

Not resigning weather, now now.

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Re: Cartoon Intifada

By on 2.3.06 | 6:52PM

(a) Wish I'd originated that headline; (b) the State Department, siding with the Muslims against Europe, means the inmates are still running that particular asylum; and (c) the more these protests continue, the greater the risk of permanent damage to freedom of the press here as well as in Europe. This began as farce, and now may end as tragedy. For freedom of the press, and us all.

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Those Toons

By on 2.3.06 | 4:14PM

I had missed this: The Islamic Society of Denmark apparently ginned up this controversy by mixing in with the images that were actually published three cartoons that are much more offensive than the others -- and obviously created by a Muslim. (Who else would think to use "unclean" animals like pigs and dogs for maximum shock-value?)

Meanwhile, the US State Department is siding against Europe. Bernard Vanden Bloock, a Belgian Instapundit reader, has apt thoughts.

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Taboos and Old Reliables

By on 2.3.06 | 2:07PM

You didn’t think you’d see the day when the European media was taking a harder stand than the U.S. on an important issue in the Islamic world, but that’s what appears to be happening, as major U.S. media outlets are refusing to run the offending cartoons. "I don't think we would run a cartoon in this newspaper that would be deemed offensive to any religious figure," says a foreign editor of The Detroit Free Press. "We're very careful in terms of any photo or any caricature that we run." Can someone do a check and see if this paper has ever run Ted Rall cartoons?

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India waking

By on 2.3.06 | 1:50PM

Report from Gujarat province in India that the national strike by government employed airport workers that has paralyzed India air travel and commerce is a sign of India transforming itself into a 21st century economy. The Singh-led Congress Party created a welfare state of indolence from the 1950s to 2000, and the Congress Party must now lead the struggle to dismantle the sloth machine.

The airport strike is called because the Congress Party-led government wants to privatize the airports. This certainly means up to half their workers will be out of a job in three years. The Communist-led Calcutta governent fights back by supporting a shutdown in the Calcutta airport. But the Congress Party is adamant.

India is the dozing tiger of Asia; it will match and surpass the late start Chinese when Mother India finally finds the will to shed its fantasy of Marxism and fatalism and sentimental indolence. Sooner or later?

Note that the future prosperity of the United States depends upon its alliance with India, and upon India's ability to discover that supply-side capitalism works and works and works.

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New York Times errors!

By on 2.3.06 | 1:23PM

Re: this ridiculous paragraph from a story by Adam Nossiter in the New York Slimes:

In the late 1980s, Mr. Landrieu was one of a handful of white state legislators who distanced themselves from the ex-Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, when Mr. Duke was elected to the state House from Metairie. Mr. Landrieu denounced Mr. Duke while other white lawmakers, particularly Republicans, embraced him. That stance solidified his support among blacks.

This is so wrong, on so many levels, that it raises the question of how incredibly skewed and biased and insular is the worldview of the NY Times editors who could let this see print without a fact check.

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Iran indicator, watch the fleet

By on 2.3.06 | 1:23PM

Much noise and doubt from the EU and UN remains to sort through about Iran and its apocalyptic aggression; however the leading indicator I am told to watch, at the end of the day, is the US Navy.

When it is time, the POTUS, whoever he is at the time, will deploy multiple carrier battle groups to the Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf, Med, Indian Ocean; and the deployment will be deliberate and over weeks. The interval will be a form of last grasp diplomacy.

Until the fleet puts to sea with the usual arsenal of recon and strike aircraft, until the straegic bombers concentrate, the posturing in Tehran and Vienna and Washington will be entertainment value only. Enjoy.

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The Cartoon Intifada

By on 2.3.06 | 1:09PM

Jed -- quite right to name-check Salman Rushdie. The crucible for the European will to liberty is the howler you quoted: "Freedom of the press and of artists must be protected. But it ends where you start trampling on people's dignity."

By this standard, Mapplethorpe and Serrano would have been run out on a rail long ago. Marilyn Manson, who is a very good artist if you like that sort of thing, would be banned out of business. Whose dignity counts? The trouble is that "people's dignity" is a legal netherworld when definitional reliance is placed upon the indignant. That problem is illustrated by Salman Rushdie, someone who should know about the dilemmas stirred up by dignity and Islamist censorship. Writes he, back on December 10, 2005 in the Times of London:

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Taboos or Free Speech?

By on 2.3.06 | 12:11PM

The battles over the cartoons published -- first in Denmark and then in several other Euro nations -- depicting Islam's founder Mohammed are still escalating. Danish PM Rasmussen characterized the controversy as a clash between Islamic taboos and western freedom of the press. In that, he is entirely correct. But the EUnuchs had yet to sound off. Now they have, as reported here in the Financial Times:

Peter Mandelson, European Union commissioner, said republishing the caricatures was "throwing petrol on the flames of the original issue."

"I can understand the motivation at one level; they are standing up for freedom of speech. They also have to understand the offense that's caused,'' he told the BBC.

Nadeem Elyas, chairman of the Central Council of Muslims, a moderate German Muslim lobby, said the cartoons were "insulting."

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Smack!

By on 2.3.06 | 11:24AM

Business Week's Eamon Javers has been on quite the witch hunt for conservative columnists with ties to lobbyists and think tanks in recent weeks. Turns out Javers has some lobbyist pals of his own. Lisa DePasquale nails him here.

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