Dangerous Dan Thoughts and musings on the world

1/25/2006

U.S. Navy: Pirate Busters

Filed under: General,World — Dangerous Dan @ 12:21 am

When writing last November about the Somali pirates who tried taking over a cruise ship, I said, "Of course, if people really wanted to take care of the pirates, they'd ask the U.S. Navy to patrol the coastline and do some housecleaning."

I don't think anybody asked, but they Navy is on the job anyway. The missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill captured a suspected pirate ship along with a crew of 26 men just 56 miles off the Somali coast.

The U.S. Navy has virtually eliminated piracy on the high seas. It's still rampant in smaller localities, such as among the numerous islands that make up the Philippines. But that's not our beat.

1/20/2006

Can’t Win for Losing

Filed under: Politics,World — Dangerous Dan @ 12:13 am

Hillary Clinton gave a speech in which she criticized Bush's handling of Iran. She doesn't think he's been aggressive enough on the issue and has downplayed the threat of a nuclear Iran. Bush has mainly deferred to the Europeans on Iran and let them do much of the negotiating. Predictably, it's gotten them nowhere as the Iranians are merely stringing them along and stalling for time while the mad mullahs continue their nuclear project. It just goes to show how well constant diplomacy works with aggressors who only understand force. If Bush was more involved, of course, Hillary would likely be complaining that he isn't being multilateral by working with the Euros. If he threatened force, you can imagine the uproar. It's a no-win situation, a political Kobayashi Maru.

Really, she's just triangulating again by running to Bush's right on a particular issue. You can still see the Clinton in her, though. Her preferred approach for Iran?

We cannot and should not — must not — permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons. In order to prevent that from occurring, we must have more support vigorously and publicly expressed by China and Russia, and we must move as quickly as feasible for sanctions in the United Nations.

Ah, sanctions, those things that have worked so well in the past. Why, they're one step up from strongly worded UN letters!

Iran is a far more serious issue than is being portrayed here in the U.S. I’m confident there are contingency plans in effect (whether they’re effective is another question) and we still can’t count out the Israelis. I’m not sure what to expect, but I imagine there will be some important and violent developments in the coming year.

1/19/2006

Bin Laden Speaks

Filed under: Politics,World — Dangerous Dan @ 8:58 pm

The big news today, of course, is that a new audiotape from Osama bin Laden has been released. And the news is good. While blustering that his forces are winning in Iraq and Afghanistan and that there are operations ready to go in America, he's also pleading for peace between al Qaeda and the U.S. Wanting a truce belies his chest-thumping. If you have the upper-hand in a conflict, you don't ask for a cease-fire, you continue pressing your advantage until you win. Only when you're losing do you ask for a temporary peace, usually for the purposes of self-preservation or strategy. So when OBL says he wants a truce, it is because things are not going his way and he wants a break from American forces kicking his rear so that he can regroup and launch fresh, more potent attacks.

What's especially funny is that OBL is his own worst enemy in that he parrots the talking points of the anti-war left – the only people who can win the conflict for him:

But what triggered my desire to talk to you is the continuous deliberate misinformation given by your President [George] Bush, when it comes to polls made in your home country which reveal that the majority of your people are willing to withdraw US forces from Iraq.

We know that the majority of your people want this war to end and opinion polls show the Americans do not want to fight the Muslims on Muslim land, nor do they want Muslims to fight them on their [US] land.

But Bush does not want this and claims that it is better to fight his enemies on their land rather than on American land.

Bush tried to ignore the polls that demanded that he end the war in Iraq.

OBL fully realizes that he cannot win the war militarily, he can only hope that Bush's domestic opposition can force a withdrawal, a la Vietnam. By using their talking points, however, OBL discredits them since he makes them sound like the bad guy and therefore erodes their support. He'd be better off sounding like a maniacal Bond villain that everybody can boo and hiss at, while leaving the anti-war folks their arguments.

Note also that he calls this a 'truce.' Now, I don't know if this is the best translation from Arabic or what the connotations are of the word he used, but in the English world, a truce is merely a cease-fire – it's a negotiated respite between battles. In fact, MEMRI says that 'truce' is a poor translation, and 'cease-fire' is closer to the truth. He clearly just wants a break from us and not a long term peace.

Truce or cease-fire, though, the promise is hallow. The same deal was extended to Spain if it withdrew its troops from Iraq. That's exactly what they did and it got them nowhere as there have been several successful and attempted terrorist attacks in Spain since then. Agreeing to a truce is nothing but a sign of weakness to al Qaeda – it's blood in the water. They see that their attacks succeeded in attaining their goals and so they will execute more attacks for further success. It's only suicidal to agree to their demands.

One last point… is it just me or is OBL channeling Howard Hughes. We don't actually see him anymore, we only get audiotapes of him, letting us know that rumors of his death are greatly exaggerated. I suspect he's in a cave in Pakistan somewhere with Kleenex boxes on his feet.

Update:
If you want fun reading on this topic, check out the comments on this HuffPo post. HuffPo is quickly becoming DU-Lite and I expect them to soon set up a merchant site that sells only the very best tinfoil hats with Arianna's picture branded on them. Many think OBL's statement is an indicator that we're in trouble. Others (at HuffPo and at DU) tuned in signals telling them that this is a scam by Bush & Co. to help his poll numbers, nevermind that the current timing isn't very helpful (these are the same folks who think raising the terror alert level at election time is a Bush ploy, ignoring the fact that it would be a likely time for terrorism and that al Qaeda actually did the Spain train bombings three days before national elections).

Related to how OBL damages his own cause, it seems Chris Matthews thought the same thing:

On Hardball today, Chris Matthews compared Michael Moore to Osama Bin Laden while discussing the newly released tape with Joe Biden.

Matthews: I mean he sounds like an over the top Michael Moore here, if not a Michael Moore. You think that sells…

There's a lot of sound and fury in the HuffPo comments over the association, but this is exactly the problem I mentioned. By using the anti-war left's talking points, he makes those people sound like him – the bad guy – and that's not helpful to his cause.

Update2: Dread Pundit Bluto has a nice roundup of comparison quotes between the new tape and the anti-war left.

1/14/2006

Chinese Cars Are Coming

Filed under: General,Society,World — Dangerous Dan @ 5:08 pm

Look out, China is preparing to enter the American auto market. Two Chinese automakers, Geely and Chery, are making plans to introduce cars here in the next several years. Geely even had a booth at this year's Detroit Auto Show where they showed off one of their latest models. The main thing holding them back right now is that their cars don't meet U.S. safety and environmental standards (imagine that). Just one or two more automakers in a crowded field, you might think, but it's expected that the first cars will sell for $10,000 or less, which could make them very popular. China's labor costs are, as you might think, a little less than in most places.

I'm a little ambivalent about this. I don't mind competition and actually quite like it. And though I buy many products made in China (something I noted here), I don't like the idea of forking over so much money to a Chinese corporation. China's politics are oppressive, it's actively working to undermine American interests here and abroad (the Chinese spy network in the U.S. is quite extensive and quite good), and by one trick or another it’s stealing American technology.

Generally, the Chinese government owns a controlling stake in any prominent Chinese corporation (you may recall the state-owned company Haier, which tried to buy out Maytag last year), meaning a large chunk of the profits goes straight into Party coffers, something I don't care to support. Chery admits that it’s straight-out government-owned.

While I can't find much substantive info on Geely, several accounts (all from Geely's CEO or from state news wires) say that the government has no ownership in the company. Considering the sources, I don't know whether to believe that, but I still find it unimportant. Corporations in China simply don't exist without the government's blessing and without government officials or cronies in executive positions, so that any corporation is de facto controlled by the state.

It's bad enough I buy pans and furniture made in China. I don't care to contribute car money to the Chicoms.

1/13/2006

Does al Qaeda Have Its Own Lumbergh?

Filed under: World — Dangerous Dan @ 9:22 pm

So it turns out that al Qaeda has a jihadi application form. Who knew? U.S. prosecutors in the Jose Padilla trial say they obtained Padilla's app (view the pdf here) along with many others during the Afghanistan invasion. New folks who entered the country wanting to become mujahadeen filled out a form for the al Qaeda “suits” (robes?) and answered such mundane questions as those pertaining to birthdate, degrees, and hobbies. Strangely, there's not a single question relating to whether you'd be willing to blow yourself up.

I suppose even terrorist organizations have to deal with boring paper shuffling and administrative work. All I know is that I'd pay good money to see an Office Space-style movie about al Qaeda:

bin Laden: Hello, Abu. What's happening? We need to talk about your WMD reports.
Abu Mohammed: Yeah. The coversheet. I know, I know. Uh, Zawahiri talked to me about it.
bin Laden: Yeah. Uh, did you get that memo?
Abu Mohammed: Yeah. I got the memo. And I understand the policy. The problem is, I just forgot this one time. And I've already taken care of it so it's not even a problem anymore.
bin Laden: Yeah. It's just that we're putting new coversheets on all the WMD reports before they go out now. So if you could just remember to do that from now on, that'd be great. All right!

(links via MM)

1/8/2006

North Korea Accuses the Kettle

Filed under: General,Pics,World — Dangerous Dan @ 1:00 am

North Korea is demanding a billion dollars in compensation from South Korea for alleged abuses against POWs and spies that it held. SK had held 63 prisoners ever since the armistice put a hold on the Korean War in 1953. They were repatriated after a 2000 reconciliation summit. NK is accusing the South of all sorts of atrocities against the prisoners and thinks they should get compensated:

"The unconverted long-term prisoners reserve the right to punish the assailants and demand they make apology and compensation for the mental and material losses they suffered as miserable sufferers and victims," it said.

They deserve billions, eh? Well, let's see. Looking strictly at monetary damages, say, lost wages, the per capita income of North Korea is $1,700 according to the CIA World Factbook (188 out of a list of 232 countries, and likely inflated). Assuming this held steady over 47 years, that would be a mere $5,033,700. Kim Jong Il may feel free to hold his pinky to the corner of his mouth in his best Dr. Evil impression. At the demand of just a billion dollars, that would leave $994,966,300 in punitive damages. Not even backwoods Alabama juries would award that much in a class action suit.

What's really galling, though, is the chutzpah of the demand, considering that NK is still holding prisoners from the South, not to mention all the people they kidnapped.

The North, however, has not given a meaningful response to the South's repeated demand for repatriating hundreds of South Korean prisoners of war and civilians held in the communist state.

More than 540 South Korean prisoners of war are still held alive in the North, according to the defense ministry in Seoul. Another 500 or more South Korean abductees are also said to be held in the North.

A UN resolution, issued in November 2004, expressed concern about alleged torture, public executions, the imposition of the death penalty for political reasons and the extensive use of forced labour in North Korea.

If 63 people were worth one billion in compensation, then 1,040 people are worth about $16.5 billion in compensation. I recommend that South Korea ask the North to pay them $15.5 billion and then they'll call it even.

I've posted on North Korea multiple times in the past. It's an impressively corrupt place where joy goes to die. As well as commonsense, usually in the pursuit of perceived self-importance. Time magazine had a short photo essay of life in North Korea and this, I think, expressed the country's absurdity best:

Pyongyang street

It's a street in North Korea's captial Pyongyang. Despite the fact that there are no cars in sight and that cars are extremely rare and used only for official purposes because of their expense and the fact that there's little gas, there's still a traffic cop standing in the middle of the intersection ready to direct traffic that isn't there and won't come, and people are forced to use pedestrian underpasses instead of just walking across the barren street. It's amazing.

11/30/2005

Wise as Serpents or Naive as Children?

Filed under: Society,World — Dangerous Dan @ 12:55 am

Matthew 10:16
"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."

Four members of a lefty group called Christian Peacemaker Teams were taken hostage in Iraq. I imagine their first thought was one of amazement that the people they're supposed to be helping would kidnap them. Unfortunately for them, their kidnappers don't give a damn. The four are Westerners (one American, one Briton, and two Canadians) and that's enough. They go out preaching peace and denouncing the "torture" committed by America while simultaneously declaring that the brutal men who bomb children, behead civilians, and threaten innocents are merely misunderstood or are pushed into their sadistic lifestyle by American actions. Even now their parent group has the following statement on their main page:

We are angry because what has happened to our teammates is the result of the actions of the U.S. and U.K. governments due to the illegal attack on Iraq and the continuing occupation and oppression of its people.

Fools. The Iraq war is merely an excuse for jihadis, a justification to others for actions they already thought were justified. These four could wind up with their heads lying atop their stomachs instead of their necks and it will not be because of America. It will be because they are from a decadent West and because they are Christian. To men who regularly murder Muslim Iraqis accused of being collaborators, being a Christian Westerner accused of being a spy is more than enough justification for killing. The kidnappers are infected with a violent permutation of a religion and they will not listen to reason; they have no use for it.

The fact that this group works for peace is, in and of itself, noble. They have, however, forgotten the first part of that verse up above. They are not wise as serpents, they are naïve as children. They traipse around a country ignorant of the sort of men who have sworn their destruction – ignorant of what they are, what they do, and why they do it. Jesus instructed His followers to be peaceful, but not to be stupid and not to be ignorant of the world around them. The CPT folks haven't succeeded in this. They don’t understand the nature of conflicts or of evil men and so their methods and policies are accordingly confused. Their lack of serpentine shrewdness makes them harmful to themselves and others, so they wind up failing the verse’s second component as well.

If the hostages are released, and I hope they are, I would like to think they will have learned something about evil.

But I wouldn't count on it.

Want more?
Visit Jawa Report

11/14/2005

Can the Commies Control the Technology?

Filed under: Politics,Society,World — Dangerous Dan @ 12:05 am

One of the especially nice things about the increasing miniaturization and spread of technology is that it's opening up worlds previously hidden to us. Sure, there are there are the pervs who use small cameras to take upskirt pics (I said here that science will always be exploited for pervy purposes), but there are also stories like this. In North Korea, dissidents have managed to smuggle out images and video of the prison camps Kim Jong Il's regime claims do not exist and also street scenes it would rather you not see:

Images from video smuggled from North Korea show a public execution and what appears to be a concentration camp housing political prisoners, according to a CNN documentary set to air Sunday night.

Sarah McDonald, who produced and directed the documentary, "Undercover in the Secret State," said her crew interviewed a man who had been in a camp shown in the movie.

"What he described, we didn't put it in the film," she said Friday from London, England. "It is so appalling, you just can't imagine. He said that 95 percent of people who go into that prison die in the prison. Their whole motivation is to kill these people, but they won't let them die easily.

"They — they torture them to death over a very long period of time."

Other images from the film include emaciated children begging and stealing on streets littered with dead bodies and a nearby market selling bags of rice that had been provided by the United Nations for famine relief.

Nothing quite like a worker's paradise.

Because cell phone cameras, as well as dedicated digital cameras and vidcams, are essentially spy cams and because they're in so many hands, we're getting to see things that simply weren't possible before now. Regimes are having trouble restricting their use.

This goes for technology generally. China censors what internet sites its citizens may see and has recently restricted cell phone text messaging. A communist country (especially of the Stalinist derivation) depends on being able to limit and monitor what information gets to its people. In the days of dinosaur media, this was a relatively easy task. Newspapers, broadcast TV, and movies1 were by nature large operations that could not be done discreetly; they required government patronage and control. Violations were obvious. Now, though, entire books can be carried on a memory card the size of a postage stamp. Publishing your thoughts to the world takes only a few mouse clicks. Audio podcasting is increasing in popularity and as memory and bandwidth costs lower, vidcasts will come along as well. And the commies are desperate to control it all.

It remains to be seen that they can. Information among a populace is like a flow of water. It will leak through any cracks it can find and will steadily beat at its barriers, constantly eroding them until it finally breaks through.


  1. Radio could be done more easily, but signal triangulation could find you out. It was usually left up to free radio operators on the borders broadcasting into the country. This is one reason why radios in North Korea must be registered with the government, are modified to receive only a few approved stations, and are subject to random searches to see if they've been tampered with. [back]

11/13/2005

Saddam’s Grand Lawyer Army Abandons Him

Filed under: World — Dangerous Dan @ 11:25 pm

According to the Guardian, 1,100 lawyers on Saddam Hussein's defense team have withdrawn from the case because they fear for their safefty.

If you're like me, your reaction should be, 1,100 lawyers are on his defense team?! That is a mess of lawyers. I can see why he might need a team of attorneys, but 1,100? Now, to their credit, they seem to actually serve more than just Saddam; they're also defending seven other folks on trial with Hussein.1 If so, that still makes for 137 lawyers per person, which seems a bit much.


  1. I think so anyway. The article isn't clear on if these lawyers are aiding the defense of the seven others. [back]

Bruce Willis is the Man

Filed under: General,Society,World — Dangerous Dan @ 12:23 pm

Bruce Willis has just become my favorite actor.

Tough guy actor Bruce Willis apparently wants to chip in on the bounties that are now on the heads of Islamofascists Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri or Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Bruce Willis is such a die-hard patriot that he's offering $1 million to any civilian who turns in terror kingpins Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri or Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The hairless Hollywood he-man announced his bounty offer on MSNBC's "Rita Cosby: Live and Direct" this week.

There are already sizable sums on these guys' heads, so this probably won't make a big difference, but I gotta like a guy who's willing to put up that much cash for the capture (or heads) of bin Laden, al-Zawahiri, and al-Zarqawi.

And if that weren't enough to make me like him, there's this:

Willis also revealed he was in talks to make a movie about the Deuce Four, the soldiers whose heroic exploits have been chronicled by embedded blogger Michael Yon.1

And then this!:

Willis complained about media coverage of the war:

"I am baffled to understand why the things that I saw happening in Iraq, really good things happening in Iraq, are not being reported on."

That's it. I'm going out to buy Die Hard, all three of 'em. No, that's not enough. This deserves even getting Hudson Hawk.


  1. Michael Yon's blog is here and I highly, highly recommend it. Will Willis play Yon or LTC Kurilla? [back]

Fowling Your Own Nest

Filed under: Society,World — Dangerous Dan @ 12:10 pm

Related to the last post, if the West's tolerance often works against it, then militant Islam's predilection for violence is its greatest weakness. It could have (and has) comfortably exploited the West's tolerance, gained footholds and political power, and gradually made changes in its favor. Instead, it perpetrated the events on 9/11 and woke up America to its threat. Then it roused the even sleepier Europeans by bombing a Spanish train, murdering Theo Van Gogh, sending death threats to a Dutch newspaper, and rioting across France, making them aware of the danger in their midst.1 Then, if that weren't enough, they attack their own base. They set off bombs in Saudi Arabia, bomb hotels in Egypt and Jordan, and commit unusually abhorrent atrocities in Iraq. In doing so, they turn their supporters against them. It's a remarkably bad strategy, but because their primary tactic is violence, violence, violence, they are unable to do otherwise even when it works against their best interests. It’s a self-destructive pattern.


  1. I'm not claiming these are coordinated events under some monolithic militant Islam, but rather that they all stem from the same ideology. [back]

An Apology Isn’t Warranted

Filed under: Politics,Society,World — Dangerous Dan @ 10:56 am

LGF points to this piece about the Church of England's plan to apologize for the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq.

"We do believe that the church has a visionary role for reconciliation beyond that of any government," one of the authors, Bishop Richard Harries of Oxford, told BBC Radio.

That role involves what the report called "truth and reconciliation" meetings with Muslim leaders that would give Christian counterparts the opportunity to perform a "public act of institutional penance" for the West's "long litany of errors" in dealing with Iraq, including the 2003 war.

An apology is a contrite expression proffered by party A to party B when A has wronged B in some way. This means that for an apology to be warranted, B must have a grievance against A (the apology must be applicable – it would make no sense to apologize to B when it was actually party C who was wronged) and the grievance must be legitimate in that it is something worthy of apology and for which A should feel sorry. So are these conditions met?

First off, why need we apologize to Muslim leaders for attacking Iraq? We weren't attacking Islam, we were going after a secular dictator. A dictator that killed his own people, held the living in the grip of fear, attacked his fellow Muslim countries, and had institutionalized rape, torture, and murder. Unless the Muslim leaders want to claim that those are values that Islam holds dear, then they shouldn't be concerned that we overthrew the man who did those things and we accordingly do not need to apologize.

If you would like to say, though, that this really was an attack on Islam in that we were going after Islamic terrorism, then what does that entail? We certainly didn't attack Islam, per se, or else we would have established tidy concentration camps for all Muslims in the U.S. Rather we were/are going after violent Islamist extremism that advocates the murdering of civilians, beheading innocents, killing children and then rigging the kids' bodies so as to blow up the parents who retrieve them. Again, unless the Muslim leaders care to hold up such activities as representative of Islam itself, then there is nothing for which we need to apologize. If they perhaps want to claim that Islam does support these things, then they certainly do not deserve any apology (we apologize for preventing you from blowing up innocents?) and they too are a threat.

So as concerns the war in Iraq and the war against Islamic terrorism, an apology to Muslim leaders simply isn't applicable since no affront was made towards peaceful Islam. The only way an apology could apply is if the leaders in question are themselves violent Islamists and then they too are not only enemies, but also repugnant people to whom no apology is warranted since justice is being served to them. Their grievance is not legitimate.

If you perhaps want to inflate this into an apology not just for our current actions, but also for the Crusades, colonialism, and other past behavior to Muslims in general, my response is that maybe that can occur when the Muslim world is also willing to apologize for its actions towards the West. Our poor cultural memory seems to forget that up until around the 1700's, the West suffered disproportionately at the hands of the Muslim world, to the point that it was nearly wiped out at several points. Turkey, the Mediterranean Middle-East, and North Africa, for example, were at one time, thoroughly Western domains until they were conquered by Muslim armies. Spain, Greece, and parts of Eastern Europe changed hands several times. Istanbul, of course, was once Constantinople, a crown jewel of the Roman Empire. So if Muslim leaders deserve an apology for rough treatment from the West, then the West is equally deserving of an apology from those same Muslim leaders for the same reason.

So why would the Church of England (or other liberal Christians generally) think an apology is warranted? I can only imagine that it is due to a fundamental misunderstanding of whom they are dealing with. The great mistake many in the West make is believing that everybody is fundamentally like themselves. Perhaps at same truly basic human level this is true, but cultural, religious, and economic differences prevent similarities from going beyond that. Their perception of the world is very different and in some ways, these differences are positive. In many other ways, however, they are negative, and more importantly, they are bad for us. While the CofE seeks to apologize to Muslim leaders and engage in reconciliation, many of those leaders (especially those of the Wahhabist inclination) envision the eventual domination of Islam over the world, the forced subjugation of the West, and the crescent flag flying over the Vatican. Reconciliation requires that both (or all, depending on the case) parties be willing to meet in the middle and resolve problems. Groups like the CofE, however, seem to be quite willing to march across the center ground and meet the others wholly on their side. They give away the farm and demand no sacrifice or penance from the other side. Essentially, they execute an unconditional surrender.

I have said in the past that no power can ever defeat the West; the West can only defeat itself. Powers hostile to the West use and exploit the West's tolerance and inclusiveness (perhaps its greatest strengths and also its greatest weaknesses) against itself. Its tendency for self-reflection and correction (again, highly valuable) are equally dangerous. While I don't at all propose the West lose these qualities, they must be used with wisdom and discretion, and this is lost on the CofE and others. When used well, the qualities are good, but they are self-defeating when used poorly.

So while the Church of England may commune with moderate Muslim leaders (I obviously don't mean to impugn all Muslims, as many… most… are not subject to the charges leveled above; it is the militant variety with which I am concerned and which the CofE is happily including), those moderate Muslims don't need an apology as the apology the CofE is proposing is not applicable to them since they are moderates. The militant Muslim leaders obviously don't warrant an apology. So to whom is the CofE apologizing?

11/12/2005

Pirates and U.N. Solutions

Filed under: Politics,World — Dangerous Dan @ 12:43 pm

People often like to romanticize the high seas pirates of a few centuries ago and call them swashbucklers, adventurers, etc. Think of Blackbeard, Captain Kidd, or even the fictional "Jack Sparrow" of Pirates of the Caribbean. Truth is, most of the old pirates were sociopath bastards who thieved for a living (even the "licensed" ones with letters of mark).

That's why it should be enlightening for these folks when stories of the Somali pirates come out. They recently attacked a cruise ship with machine guns and RPG's, and, according to eyewitnesses account, seemed to be having an enjoyable time. It appears they have a mother ship that's been spotted a few times and they've even taken seven ships and their crews captive. Arrr, just like the pirates of yore getting their booty and galley slaves.

This has been a big problem along the Somali coast since Somalia’s government is practically non-existent and the country is run by warlords who are probably also doing the pirating. It's also, however, along a busy trade route and commercial businesses frown upon their ships, crews, and goods getting shot at. So what to do?

Some of the world's leading shipping bodies called on the U.N. to urgently address the issue.

Since the UN has no power in the region (and has actually proven itself to be incompetent there) and no navy to police the place, this seems like an excellent idea. What has the UN done with its terrific might?

On Wednesday, the U.N. Security Council criticized Somalia's squabbling government and urged rival factions to work to confront the chaos and piracy plaguing the lawless nation.

The council expressed "serious concern" about the recent wave of pirate attacks off the coast, and urged regional powers and international bodies to address the problem urgently.

Ouch. Nothing stings more than strongly worded letters. Just look at how Iran and North Korea quake before the UN's serious concern.

Of course, if people really wanted to take care of the pirates, they'd ask the U.S. navy to patrol the coastline and do some housecleaning. It's unlikely that Somalia would take such action, though, since they probably still hold a grudge against us trying to salvage their godforsaken hellhole almost 15 years ago.

11/1/2005

Don’t Scare the Chavez!

Filed under: World — Dangerous Dan @ 11:52 pm

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is becoming more tyrannical all the time. He must be getting dictator lessons from Castro when they get together. His latest move is that he's trying to ban Halloween on the basis that it's 'terrorist.' How it's terrorist, I'm not sure… maybe he once got egged by disgruntled teenagers. He seems to be claiming it's a gringo holiday being forced on the country or something along those lines. Chavez is labeling just about everything and everybody he doesn't like with 'terrorist,' though. He's merely using the real threat of terrorism and applying the term to his enemies since it plays well in the media and with useful idiots.

That he's trying to end Halloween may seem silly (real conservative Christians try do this in the U.S., after all), but there are serious underlying issues here. He's trying to reshape Venezuela into what he wants it to be, even going to absurd lengths such as this. He's trying to assert control over people's lives and customs, telling them what they can and cannot celebrate. This is the stuff of megalomaniacs and tyrants.

It doesn't help that some decorations were apparently used against him:

His comments came after authorities in Caracas recently seized pumpkins, cardboard skeleton costumes and other traditional Halloween items inscribed with anti-Chavez messages.

It's unsettling that police had the authority to seize these items because they were anti-Chavez.

Visit Moonbattery for a nice picture of Chavez and his papi.

10/31/2005

EU Party

Filed under: Politics,World — Dangerous Dan @ 12:19 am

The EU is turning 50 (kinda) on March 25, 2007. That means Brussels is having a massive 50 day party at what will almost certainly be taxpayer expense. In fact, though it won't be held for another 17 months, the planning has already begun.

On March 25, 2007, the Treaty of Rome, the founding document of the EU, will be half a century old. Brussels believes that this is such a key event that planning began last week, 17 months in advance.

The EU, together with the local Brussels government, envisages a massive programme of concerts, carnivals and firework displays.

Sophie Goeminne, who represents the Brussels government on the jubilee celebrations steering committee, said: "We are looking at a series of events around March 25, possibly starting on that date and running until May 9.

"This will be our way of bringing the EU closer to its citizens."

Ah, bread and circuses. Nothing like a government throwing a two-month party to make the citizens forget how much they're being charged for it (and how much got "lost" in accounting mismanagement) and how inefficient and wasteful their leaders are. And 50 days? The U.S. turned 230 this year. We had one day with a lot of celebrating and people maybe took a few days off and then it was back to business. The EU, though, is throwing itself a Bacchanalia for turning 50 (kinda).

This reminds me of the Roman Empire. When they first took power or when their popularity was suffering, emperors routinely held massive celebrations paid for with gold from the treasury. Although, to their credit, the Roman emperors often paid for such extravagance with plunder obtained during their constant conquering. The Coliseum, for example, was financed by gold and treasure taken from Jerusalem when Vespasian sacked it in AD 69. So perhaps the EU should engage in some good old-fashioned conquering to fund its party instead of plundering the pockets of its own people.

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