discarded lies: monday, april 23, 2018 4:08 pm zst
knowledge enough to fill an entire coconut
daily archive: 10/14/2004
zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
You and Me
A little romance for our insomniacs and early risers

Let's Get It On
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Oil for Terror
This probably should not be considered news (yet it is!) and we all know that Saddam was supporting terrorism. Didn't we? Okay, maybe some of us forgot. Here it is again: Saddam Hussein was using the U.N. oil-for-food program to fund terrorism. Read on while I recover from my shock.
Saddam Hussein's links to terrorism have been proven by documents showing he helped to fund the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The PFLP, whose history of terrorism dates back to the "black September" hijackings of 1970, was personally vetted by Saddam to receive oil vouchers worth £40 million.

The deal has been uncovered by US investigators, trawling millions of pages of documents showing a network of diplomats bribed by Saddam's regimes, and political parties who qualified for backhanded payments from Baghdad.

The Iraq Survey Group (ISG), which is still working its way through 20,000 boxes of documents from Saddam's Baath party discovered only recently, found a list of pressure groups bankrolled by Saddam.

Using the United Nations' own oil-for-food scheme- ironically intended as a sanction to control the behaviour of his dictatorship - Saddam gave Awad Ammora & Partners, a Syrian company, two million barrels of oil.

Documents handed over to US authorities by a former Iraqi oil minister only four months ago show that this was a front for the PFLP - which was then embarked on a spate of car bombings aimed at Israeli officials.

Interviews from Iraqi officials captured by US troops confirm that Saddam saw himself as the potential "liberator" of Palestine. Taped conversations have been uncovered from 1991 saying he wanted to deploy biological warfare on "the Israeli cities - all of them".

Debriefings from Iraqi regime members have also disclosed that "Saddam was conscious of Israel's WMD arsenal and saw Israel as a formidable challenge".

Three years ago, Saddam gave a speech on Iraqi television saying "there can never be stability, security of peace in the Middle East so long as there are immigrant Jews in the land of Palestine".

His financial support also extended to Abu Al-Abbas, leader of the Palestinian Liberation Front - another terrorist group - who was allocated 11.5 million barrels of oil.

The PLO is also named as a main beneficiary from Saddam's scheme - receiving four million barrels under its own name and five million barrels for its "political bureau". The cash was again passed through Syria, a known conduit for Palestinian terror organisations.
Saddam bankrolled Palestinian terrorists

How interesting, practically everywhere, up pops Syria. Has the U.N. Security Council passed any resolutions against Syria yet, for supporting terrorism? I'm sure they will soon, if they haven't yet. We need to trust the U.N., they are here to protect us.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
All That Jaj

At first, the Soldiers went door-to-door, handing chickens out to the Iraqi females to ensure that families would be the recipients. That soon became unnecessary, and almost impossible, due to the increasing crowds of people.

Most of the Soldiers handed out the chickens from their vehicles to avoid being swamped, but a few chose to mingle with the people instead, running from house to house with a crowd of children in tow--or even sometimes hanging from their shoulders.

"The kids that live along that road are really nice," said Claremore, Okla. native Capt. Chuck Slagle, Company B’s commander.

Indeed, to the kids the humanitarian mission was all fun and games. Dozens of them chased after the Soldiers handing the chickens out on foot, laughing and smiling, jumping on the Soldiers if they stayed in one place too long.


After a truck brought the boxes of chickens packed under ice to a staging point near a major thoroughfare in the district, the Soldiers divided the chickens among their vehicles and drove off to the area they had designated for delivery.

Insurgency! Quagmire! The sky is falling!

Thirty minutes after they began, the chickens were gone. All that was left were empty boxes, most shredded by the groping hands of the Iraqi children.

"They really needed that,? Slage said. “That is one of the worst places in our sector.

"I just wish we could've had more chickens," he added. "We didn't make it as near as far down the road as I would've liked."

Slagle said other simple projects are in the works for this troubled area of Baghdad, such as handing out sheep or dates during Ramadan.

"Missions like this are fun, it's good that we can do a little something nice for these people," Riggs said. "It's really just a drop in the bucket, but every little bit helps."

Look, that would be too easy, okay? I'm NOT making the joke about how sheep are dates in the Middle East.

Source: Pied Pipers Of Baghdad? Laughing Kids Follow Trail Of Chicken

[Jaj is the Arabic word for chicken. You just knew it had to be some cheesy pun, didn't you? Well, you got me :-)]
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
The Right Way For The Left To Hate Cheney
The left loves, loves to talk about Halliburton. And by "talk about", I mean "playa hate on".
Most of the criticism is without merit. Some of it is off-key and downright comical, such as this pathetic stunt. Grown men and women risk gruesome, painful deaths, they risk widowing their spouses and orphaning their children daily, in order to improve ordinary Iraqis' lot. Simultaneously, this miserable spoiled clown, living safe and smug in the lap of luxury, thinks that it's a good use of his time-no, the height of cleverness-to harass Halliburton's employees on their lunch break. He compounds obnoxiousness upon obnoxiousness and milks his inevitable expulsion for trespassing to make himself look like some kind of hero. I swear, there must be some kind of a script floating around for this kind of meaningless, parasitic, attention-seeking stunt. I'm getting that "it's like deja-vu all over again" feeling.

There's a huge seriousness gap in American politics today. The phrase I say the most often is "Are you fucking kidding me?". Kerry said he voted against the 87 billion to avoid giving a slush fund to Halliburton? Are you fucking kidding me?! Today, the loudest leftists are the least-serious people, and the people in control of the Democratic party think that these people are the Democratic mainstream and should be catered to. This is not a good development, to say the least. I'm so weary of these people who screech and screech. Aren't you? They make me feel dirty. Reverend Billy, you vaguely sickening stooge. Let's freshen up and dress up, and visit with some sane, interesting people instead.

Here's a couple of interesting people who I suspect are Democrats, who have serious perspectives on Halliburton. Warning: I might be wrong about both their political affiliations.

One of my regular reads is Phillip Carter at INTEL DUMP. In his entry titled Halliburton Speaks he looks at an op-ed by Halliburton's CEO in his company's defense and concludes that it's well-founded.
Short of a national mobilization (which would most likely have to include a draft), the only way to conduct these kinds of missions on this scale is to contract them out to a company with the capacity of KBR or DynCorp, who in turn raise the workforces themselves via economic means.
…later in the paragraph he concludes that
the contractors deserve criticism when they screw up. But by large, I think they do a good job, and the blame for the systemic problems belongs to Washington.
follow the link and read it all, I've quoted selectively and omitted parts of his post that are very much worth reading, including a link to a longer Slate piece that he wrote containing cogent criticisms and reservations about the outsourcing of non-warfighting functions under the Bush administration.

Another person who seems to be a Democrat with a considered point of view (again, I don't know for sure. He sounds like a Democrat. Really, it doesn't matter, except that I'm desperate to find people on the left who are serious because I can only stare into the abyss for so long before I start losing my mind. ) is praktike, a Winds of Change.NET commenter. He explains his own reservations about the Halliburton model and Pentagon large-scale procurement:
the large contractor model of which Halliburton is the embodiment simply doesn't work. It wastes money on overhead and security while not allowing Iraqis to participate and share in the benefits of rebuilding their country.
He links approvingly to a Washington Post piece that seems to lay all wisdom at the feet of the mandarins at State and all blame, implicitly, at DOD-but we'll overlook that. Bureaucratic wrangling and turf fights often mar the Washington Post's pieces because every source has an agenda independent of the objective truth. Yes, the Pentagon is who hired Halliburton. It's the same Pentagon that gives low-level commanders large quantities of cash to disburse on retail, local-scale improvement projects employing Iraqis in large numbers. The paperwork burden for these disbursements is pleasantly light. I'm talking about the CERP of course. And a lot of the kinds of projects Kellogg, Brown and Root is tasked would be far more difficult and much slower without expensive (in security overhead and in purely financial terms) Western expertise and human resources. As it is they're already the kinds of projects that have payoffs three-five years in the future. And I think the implicit assertion that these long-term infrastructure projects are freezing out Iraqi natives in favor of imported labor is unsupportable in practice.

As an aside, I really hope praktike finds the time to expand on this promising stump of an entry. As an admitted huge Ledeen fan (he's been raising the alarm and banging the drum about Iran for a long time, and I appreciate him keeping that fire burning when the rest of the media is trying to let it go out) I was kind of taken aback by his perspective, but it's a promising line of attack and I hope he pursues it further. Even if it's only because a good challenge might strengthen Ledeen's own reasoning. I'll admit it, he got me a little rattled with that one. Read it.

Back to Halliburton again, and the recent Kerry charges, playing more to the loony-left than to the mainstream, that Cheney is a war-profiteer of some kind:
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have to tell you, you know, the country saw the clarity. The country sees the choice. He had no answer about Halliburton. He had no answer about, you know, taking care of the drug companies and the other company. He had no answer about the unfairness of their taxes. And he was incorrect in the facts.
Kerry-Edwards have been running an ad that says
DICK CHENEY, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: I have no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind and haven't had now for over three your.

NARRATOR: The truth? As Vice President Cheney received $2 million from Halliburton. Halliburton got billions in no-bid contracts in Iraq. Cheney got $2 million. What did we get? A $200 billion bill for Iraq, lost jobs, rising healthcare costs. It's time for a new direction.
Special Report with Brit Hume showed these two clips, then interviewed Brooks Jackson, the director of Factcheck.org (nbl: Omar Javaid). Interview transcript and lots more tasty analysis after the jump...
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The Polls
Please, November, get here. I am so ready for these elections to be over. I want to get back to the important things in life, like which shoes to wear out to dinner.

Polling Report

(nbl: Jim Russell)
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Choose Not To Yield
An excellent commentary by Bret Stephens, in WSJ (subscription only): The Way We Live Now (In Israel)

Anyone who visits Jerusalem today will not see the ghost town it was in 2002, when Israel was absorbing an average of one suicide bombing per week. And anyone who visits Ramallah will find what is, by (non-Gulf state) Arab standards, a calm and economically prospering city, where the only Israeli-made ruin is the Palestinian Authority headquarters, deliberately kept that way as a monument of Arafatian agitprop.

How did things improve so dramatically, and so quickly, for Palestinians and Israelis alike? Begin by recalling Israel's assassination, in late March, of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. At the time, the action was all-but-universally condemned as reckless and counterproductive. "By granting Yassin the martyrdom he craved, the Israelis have provided a motive for new suicide attacks," went an editorial in the normally pro-Israel Daily Telegraph of London. "More young Palestinians will fall in love with death, and more Israeli civilians will die with them."

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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The Anti-Christ of AUP
American Student Hides Support for Bush
Jennifer Locke, a bright-eyed blonde New Yorker, drags on her cigarette and nods to pals at the American University of Paris. She'd be just one of the gang but for a deep, dirty secret.

At 21, living among the fractious French who mostly revile President Bush, Jennifer Locke votes Republican.

"I'm always the one on the other side," she lamented with a bitter laugh, recounting the insults and near violence she draws out when she champions Bush.

"There are 800 students in this school, and I think I'm the only one who admits to being Republican," Locke said. That is likely an exaggeration, she acknowledges. But, she adds, it's close enough.

Once Locke heard an American student suggest in class that all Republicans should be killed. No one objected, she said, not even the professor. If he was joking, Locke did not find it funny.

The U.S. presidential election has generated extraordinary interest in France, where there is a widespread feeling that the fate of the civilized world hangs in the balance.

Locke surfaced in an informal sampling of AUP students at a broadcast journalism course. When an AP reporter asked students who favored Bush, her hand shot up.

Most students accused Bush of spurring terrorism and alienating America's old allies, but Locke, an international affairs major whose ambition is to be an anchor on Fox News, stuck to her guns.

Later, she produced an essay she recently sent to her former paper at Masteus School in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.

In it, she described what happened when she wore a button a friend brought her from Washington that proclaimed: Proud to be a Republican.

"Some snickered, others asked if it was a joke," she wrote. "Some asked if I was in the Ku Klux Klan as well. It's a PIN, for God's sake!!!"

"A waiter," she wrote, "looked as if he was going to spit in my pizza. A man in the dining hall asked me what the pin said, twice, and then walked away. I felt like dirt. I felt worse than dirt."

An old friend saw the pin and started a fight, she added. "The people around me didn't defend me; they stood there and glared!!! ... Just because I'm a Republican doesn't mean I'm the anti-Christ."

I don't know Jennifer... Have you checked your body for that infamous 666 number? And are you sure your mother's name wasn't Rosemary?
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Bilingual Brain Anatomy
This is so cool, I love it when we discover new things about how the brain works. A study showed that people who speak two languages have more gray matter in the language region of the brain. (This is another reason I thought this was cool: gray is a chic colour and always in fashion.)

What the study didn't study is the difficulty in having two languages. Bilingual people have two or more words for each object and idea, and when slightly different meanings are attached to words in these languages it can create confusion in choosing a word, a meaning or an idea even. This interference also slows down the thinking process and in students it can create anxiety and poor test performance.

And don't even get me started on bilingual education.

Well, all right.

I think the concept of bilingual education is good but not in the manner that it's thought of in some U.S. States. For example, in California, bilingual education is promoted as a solution to assimilating thousands of children of migrant camp workers, so it becomes a much more complicated affair. Research is thrown back and forth and in their hurry to highlight the "benefits" of bilingual education, well-meaning people refuse to accept that bilingual children face drawbacks. They cite studies like the one above to show how beneficial it is to know a second language yet ignore other studies that have shown larger response latencies for bilingual children than monolingual children in simple questionnaires. And in some other studies, bilingual adults taking a personality test in each of the languages they spoke, showed different personality characteristics in each language. How weird is that?

I told you not to get me started.

Here's another interesting article on bilingual thinking.
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