Sunday, October 27, 2002

German insurance companies have decided to keep 1/4 of the fund for the Holocaust victims they previously stiffed, as “administration costs”. That idea was rubber-stamped by Lawrence Eagleburger--remember him? how could you forget when McNeil-Lehrer keeps dredging him out of his swamp to pontificate stupidly--who is chairman of the international commission, salary $340,000, part of those administration costs.

The Observer on a phenomenon I’ve been noticing more stories on, Israeli settlers terrorizing Palestinians, poisoning their water supplies, stealing their crops, killing them and generally trying to force them out. Possibly it’s just the stories that are new, since in the case they talk about, this has been going on for 5 years.

Bush, in a very Bush-like move, appoints William Webster, the 78-year old former head of the FBI & CIA, to be chairman of the new accounting oversight board. This makes it look like Bush is taking corporate fraud seriously by putting in charge a heavyweight--but one who will need to take a lot of naps.

Speaking of wrinklies, the Desperate Dems have been reaching for retired pols to fill the sudden gaps in important Congressional races--Mondale, Lauchtenburg--who will probably not be able to serve out their terms. Even if the Dems keep control of the Senate, they could lose it to demographics.

A large part of Kuwait was just declared a colony of the United States. Or a free-fire zone, depending on how you want to interpret it. In this area, US soldiers will build up for their war, out of the public eye, and all Kuwaiti citizens have been ordered to leave.

The Department of Agriculture has decided to allow irradiated meats in school, as part of a program of energy self-sufficiency, in which we save electricity by letting children be their own night-lights.

According to North Korea, it was actually Bush who abrogated the 1994 nuclear treaty, by saying that it was part of an axis of evil, which was, according to the North Koreans, a declaration of war and a statement of intent to hit them with a nuclear attack. Before resuming the treaty, they want a non-aggression pact in which the US promises not to launch a nuclear first strike against them. OK by me. There’s also something mentioned glancingly in the NY Times, that they also think the US ambassador has been interfering in the thaw of relations between the Koreas. It would be nice to know what was meant by that.

Some weeks back I asked why the US was insisting that a UN resolution on Iraq had to say that it had violated previous agreements. The answer: as a hidden tripwire that would allow the US to then say that Iraq had violated the 1991 cease-fire, justifying resuming the first Gulf War.

So if the US resolution is rejected and it goes to war anyway, going against the decision of the Security Council, shouldn’t its seat be taken away? Shouldn’t the minimum requirement for having standing to ask a body’s permission to do something be agreement to abide by its decision? Even the People’s Court tv show insists on that. “Heads I win, tails you lose” is not supposed to be one of the principles of international law.

Can’t wait to find out what “sleeping gas” the Russians used. They’re not letting the families near the hostages who are still in hospital, which I’m assuming is a sign of something nefarious. And the doctors aren’t being told what it is they’re treating, either. No one’s mentioned whether they’re releasing bodies, which if they’re not would be another sign. It now looks like very few of the 117 or so dead were shot, maybe 2 of them, the rest were all poisoned. That said, it’s hard to see what the alternative was, although Putin is still a shit, and is conducting a war of extermination against the Chechens, who haven’t been left much alternative either. The initial claim by the government that they acted because hostages were being shot is not actually true.

The German military attaché in Israel is holding a ceremony to honor SS and other World War II (and WW I) soldiers. So he invited some Israeli army officers along. This is not going over very well.

That law Berlusconi passed to allow him to challenge judges, take it to appeal and run out the clock? It seems members of his party in parliament voted illegally, pressing their absent neighbor’s button, or taping down their own button so the machine would vote in their absence.

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