Tuesday, September 29, 1998

NY Times headline: "Older People Enjoy Sex, Survey Says".

In the 1950s Israel had agents go undercover as Arabs, some of whom took Muslim wives and had children. And then the program was wrapped up in 1959 and most of them left their Muslim wives and children.

Jiang Jemin, in a speech whose purpose was to show the continuing relevance of the Communist Party, praised if for having defeated the recent flooding (how, he didn't precisely say), comparing this victory to the one over the demonstrators at Tiananmen Square.

Faced with an odd reluctance to go into the military, the Russian army has been resorting to press gangs. Didn't Yeltsin promise to have the draft eliminated by just about now?

Saturday, September 26, 1998

Such a thing as too much participatory democracy

From the CA. voter's pamphlet: "If horsemeat is outlawed, only outlaws will eat horsemeat"

Friday, September 25, 1998

Today's quiz: the largest parliamentary constituency in the world is located where? Answer at the very end.

The NY Democratic party is running D'Amato's ads. They're running the ads depicting NY City as a shark-like parasite stealing tax money from good farming ads, which D'Amato is running upstate, in NY City, and the ads he's showing in the city, showing support for him by mayors Benito Guiliani and Koch, upstate.

I got a fortune cookie with a misspelling today. I'm not sure what it means: "You are very expressive and positive in word, act and felling."

Everyone seems to be taking as meaningful the meaningless statements by the Iranian government that it is not now a threat to Salman Rushdie's life. The US and British government see it as in their current economic interests to declare victory and move on, ignoring the fact that the fatwa still stands and that Iranian foundation hasn't revoked the price on his head ($2.5 million--what does it mean that the reward has always been in even numbers in American money?).

Answer: Western Australia, over one million square miles. It is represented by a racist.

Thursday, September 24, 1998

More thoughts on Cigargate

The Malaysian prime minister has deposed his deputy PM and had him arrested for sodomy. I wonder where he got the idea.

Tom Carson of the Village Voice wonders about the "cant that [Clinton's resignation] would be traumatic for the country--even though European leaders tarnished by scandal quit or get the boot pretty regularly, at no cost to democracy and a considerable gain in dispatch. Only the US treats its status quo, however, dismal, the way Doris Day treated her virginity."

Wednesday, September 23, 1998

Monica the dupe

The new Iranian president at the UN says that he wants cultural contacts with the US. And yet he seems pissed off at the forthcoming Radio Free Iran. His idea of an olive branch is to say how much he admires the Puritans.

I'm sorry, but if someone you're threatening with prosecution (Monica again) asks to see a lawyer, that's it, all questioning ceases. And the Starr inquisitors definitely have no right to suggest that any deal is conditional on her not talking with her lawyers.

It now seems that the prosecutors tried to get her to wear a wire on Vernon Jordan, and rather more interestingly that it was Linda Tripp who suggested that Monica contact Jordan to get her a job. This is interesting because the only tenuous connection between Whitewater and Monica was the alleged pattern whereby Jordan would get jobs as pay-offs for silence. Now it seems that this connection was actually created by Starr, acting through Tripp. Entrapment, in other words. Tripp also tried to get Monica to say that she wanted a job before she would sign a perjurous affidavit, surely a trap to get Clinton to bribe a witness into lying. Very underhanded, although there are plenty of prosecutors who will defend it as ordinary practice.

On a completely unrelated subject (wink wink), did you see where those Chicago cops found the real murderer (they say) after browbeating a couple of kids of, what was it, 6, 7 years old, into confessing in the absence of their parents or lawyers, and then realizing that little kids are unlikely to have also raped the victim? The cop that succeeding in getting the innocent to confess evidently has a reputation of getting children to confess, which is why he was brought in. Makes you wonder.

Tuesday, September 22, 1998

According to the NY Times, US intelligence inside Sudan was so terrible that it is now admitted that they couldn't have known, only "surmised" that the pharmaceutical plant made chemweapons on the side. Sudan supports or at least harbors terrorists, for sure, but there was a sort of institutional demonization of the country inside the US government because of previous warnings that Sudan planned to take the US, including assassinating Anthony Lake. These warnings were false, coming from agents who were taking CIA money and making up their reports (see Graham Greene, Our Man in Havana, John Le Carré, The Tailor of Panama).
Monica wanted a job in a PR company (she's certainly done great things for the reputations of every man she's ever been associated with) or George Magazine. Somewhere, John John is heaving a sigh of relief.

So the tapes were more boring than advertised. Which leads to the question, who did the advertising? Did Clinton's people leak the stories about him storming out and so forth, to make the actual tapes look anti-climactic? Even without that, and rather to my surprise, I came out much more sympathetic to the Big Creep than I expected. All the legalisms come across as justified, in context (well, most of them: the thing about not being alone with Monica is still a lie). The Jones case was about sexual harassment; only some aspects of his sex life were relevant to that case (if any), and he didn't tell them about the aspects that didn't, which were no one's business. This is why there was such a specific definition of sexual relations in that trial. If he actually made that case to the public, I think most of his PR problems would go away. No one could have missed the "sexual McCarthyism" of the questions, since the questions, rather than the answers, were what justified all those warnings about explicit content.

Most of the bits that the Judiciary Committee spent so much time arguing about redacting, were actually already in the Starr Report.

The rest of the world is laughing at us, but the rest of the world includes Egypt, where a court just ordered a female nuclear scientist and professor to bear children by her husband.

Monday, September 21, 1998

Happy 5759! No Y2K problem here.

Just saw the documentary on Angola Prison in Louisiana. I haven't seen so many people professing that god has forgiven them and hence everyone else should too since, oh, the last Clinton speech.

Henry Hyde was lying, according to the woman he had the affair with. Where Hyde says that he did the honorable thing and broke off the affair immediately after he was, well, caught, she says it was 2 1/2 years later. She also says he was also sleeping with other women and, less believably, that he told her he was not married. It seems she's not especially thrilled by their relationship of five to eight years depending on whose story you believe being passed off as a fling, a "youthful indiscretion" (a phrase that would have gotten Clinton's balls handed to him). D'you think all politicians are like this? I remember one of the early reactions to the Lewinsky thing, I think by Tom Carson of the Village Voice, was to wonder why Americans professed to find it axiomatic that power was more important than sex.

The Clinton Cabinet, the Post says, is indeed like America, in that its white male members are significantly wealthier than its minorities and women.

Bumper sticker seen on Highway 24: If you tailgate me I'll flick boogers at your windshield.

OK, in a few hours more we'll have a better idea of whether Clinton will resign, but it certainly can't be before this year's elections. Why? And I'm shocked at myself for not having thought of this before, and even more shocked that neither the NY Times nor the Washington Post seem to have either. The reason is that it has to be after January if Gore is to be able to run in 2004.

Remember that Israeli settler who last Thursday shot up a bunch of Palestinian high school students, killing one and severely wounding another? They let him out of jail for the holidays.

Sunday, September 20, 1998

New Statesman competition

From a NS competition in which biblical stories were to be retold as by a modern author. In most of these, to know the choice is not to need to read more. For ex., Noah as by Hemingway: "When the call came, the old man knew what he had to do..." etc. The loaves and fishes as by Irvine Welsh (the author of Trainspotting): "Faithless wankers! spat Jesus--Shut it and wait." David & Goliath as by Frederick Forsyth (Day of the Jackal): "The momentum of the quicksilver carried it forward through the front of the pebble, shattering it into 2,143 tiny slivers, sharper than glass; 2,081 failed to penetrate the skull, but any 27 of the remaining 62 shards would have been enough." My favorite, in the style of Arthur Conan Doyle:

In the third week of November a dense fog settled over the eastern suburb of Eden where my father Adam resided with his housekeeper Eve.
"Nothing of interest in the paper, Cain? The Eden criminal is a dull fellow. Since the death of the serpent, that Napoleon of crime, no problem has arisen worthy of my talents. But what do I see in this field? A corpse. There is a spirituality about the face which arable farming does not generate. I judge that he was a shepherd. Since you and I are now the only males in existence I deduce that it is my son, Abel. The death-blow was a heavy one that could only have been delivered by a man, and I know that it was not I. We may congratulate ourselves, Cain, on the resolution of a curious, and in some respects unique, case. From the first we were puzzled by the remarkable lack of possible suspects. When you have eliminated the impossible, what remains, however improbable, must be the truth. You, Cain, are the murderer."
"Wonderful!" I ejaculated.
"Commonplace," said Adam.

Saturday, September 19, 1998

Not unlike Clinton's semen-stain-in-the-shape-of-the-Madonna

NAPLES, Sept. 19-A flask of saint's blood appeared to liquefy today in the hands of Naples' cardinal, sparking immediate, impassioned debate among Italians over whether it was a sign of divine favor for the cardinal in a loan-sharking case.

Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

Friday, September 18, 1998

I see the Palestinians have opened their casino. Well, give them a reservation and they will act like Indians. Seems only fair.

The Republicans are insane. Who do they think they are, talking about ordering the FBI to investigate who leaked the Henry Hyde affair. 1) We do not investigate the free press. 2) The husband of the woman Hyde was fucking "leaked" the story, which is surely his to leak, end of story, full stop.

Margaret Cammermeyer, the lesbian kicked out of the Army National Guard who sued and won and was played by Glenn Close in the tv movie, has won the Dem. nomination for Congress in Washington state.

If anyone cares, which they don't, Congo-Kinshasa looks set to spiral into the African civil war to end all African civil wars, with half the continent's countries sending troops to one side or other, Angola because Unita is operating out of Congo and the Sudan in order to pay Uganda back for helping rebels in southern Sudan.

Monica had a pretty high security clearance. Of course she had that wonderful ability to keep secrets.

And the US claim some time back that Iraqi missiles had nerve gas on them turns out to be unconfirmable by any other country (France & Switzerland) that has tried to find the evidence.

Wednesday, September 16, 1998

As for the presidents and sex, oh sure you could name more (and subtract some of the unfounded gossip here, I'm afraid). But how many of them talked endlessly about the importance of the family. Remember that film made for the 92 Demo convention on Clinton's life that mentioned his alcoholic step-father but not his Rhodes scholarship? Of course in the last election those Republicans all supported someone whose most memorable line on family values was "I want out".

Tuesday, September 15, 1998

Monica thoughts

The Guardian notes that one of those phone calls Clinton may have been a little too, uh, distracted to give proper attention to, was with Alfonso Fanjul, the zillionaire sugar baron, a connection that was much more dangerous to the republic that anything Brillo Head was getting up to. Thank to import restrictions, Americans pay twice as much for sugar as we should, but what was particularly worrying Fanjul that day was that there was a suggestion that the sugar industry actually pay for some of the cleanup for its vast destruction of the Florida Everglades. Of course Fanjul was a major Clinton fundraiser, so that idea went nowhere.

Will Durst suggests that the real source of outrage in the media is that the Starr report was so detailed as to ruin their chances of selling a tell-all book, as it's all ready all been told. The disconnection in views between the pundit-industrial complex and the great unwashed has been described by David Corn in the Nation as an "umbrage gap". Learn that term and use it in all future conversations about this, because there is a real danger not only that we'll be setting the bar too high for politicians in the future, as most NY Times columnists have been suggesting as the worst long-time result of an impeachment/resignation, but that in a few months or a years when the last witches have been burned and the smoke is dissipating, and the monumental silliness of all this sinks in, it will be remembered, as Robert Harris of the London Sunday Times has put it, as a coup d'etat. Sorry about the length of that sentence.

Trust Clinton to form a committee of ministers to assist him in keeping it in his pants in the future.

I have a PC question: is it ok for a member of the masculine persuasion such as myself to call Monica a "ho", or is that acceptable only for women on Politically Incorrect, like nigger and queer?

Monday, September 14, 1998

Today's NY Times has an advertising section for the newspaper industry (y'know, like when Bahrain takes out 10 pages to try to stir up investment), featuring the following timely pull-quote: "A Texas expert in newspaper education believes that newspapers can be useful reading for a child beginning in third or fourth grade, although some teachers start as early as kindergarten."

Sunday, September 13, 1998

A quick reminder of some of the news no one is paying attention to: Serbia has now cleansed 1/4 of Kosovo's population, and Montenegro just closed the border. There are elections in Bavaria and Bosnia that might repay some attention. There are coups pending in Pakistan and Lesotho. Israel killed two Hamas leaders and has decided to keep their bodies as bargaining chips.

Saturday, September 12, 1998

Several Americans are seeking political asylum in the UK because in the US they are forced to pay for their own medical care. Eventually they'll be turned down, but the backlog there is as long as it is here so in the meantime they get free treatment on the NHS (these are mostly AIDS patients), accomodation and, oh yes, free legal aid to put forward their asylum claim. I wonder if I can apply for political asylum in Canada before my next operation, eh?

Starr's father was a fundamentalist minister who once delivered a sermon on the perils of women dressed in Bermuda shorts.

Friday, September 11, 1998

Well, I've read it. All of it, including the footnotes, which are funnier than the actual report. For example, "Ms. Lewinsky testified that she had multiple orgasms." I don't think anybody can read the report without asking themself one question: who would have blow jobs without ejaculating? I think we need another special prosecutor to get to the bottom of this important question. Monica does come across as quite the emotional blackmailer. More than emotional, I guess, since she wanted a cushy job as well. And Clinton with the cigar (Gallup polls show that 63% of Americans who have accessed the report simply did a word search for "cigar".) does not seem any more perverted than Starr in dredging out every last sordid detail, including the names of the Congressmen the Big Schmuck talked to on the phone while Monica did what Monica does best. The extensive coverage of their conversations seems intended to further either Monica or Kenneth the Menace's agenda of showing that it was a relationship, rather than just a sex thing. I can't believe Starr subpoenaed her psychologist.

It doesn't come to much, does it? Is there really nothing to say about Whitewater after $30 million? Starr's self-righteousness comes through when he counts Clinton's putting forth of perfectly credible (some of them) legal claims of privilege as further charges against him, and the refusal to testify voluntarily. Also, "The combination of the President's silence and his deception of his aides had the effect of presenting a false view of events to the grand jury." Reaching just a tad.

This is where having a different wife would have come in handy. Trying to protect your wife from your indiscretions would be a reasonably acceptable excuse if Hillary was more of a delicate flower than she is.

One interesting detail of the independent counsel law, as I understand it, is that all those aides and whatnots can have their legal bills picked up by the government, but only if Starr doesn't indict them. Not convict them, just indict them. Now that's too much power.

To sum up, the tortoise seems to have won this race. Starr was able to choose his forum and instead of the courts where most of the report would have been ruled inadmissable and he couldn't have made his accusations in this bombastic form, he chose to go to... the Internet, where it seems right at home. And somehow we're gone past censure to impeachment, which took on the air of inevitability for no really good reason. Even Paula Jones is somehow supposed to be vindicated.

Thursday, September 10, 1998

Chernomyrdin, taking his rejection well, compares the decision with the Munich pact.

The INS is currently detaining 16,000 immigrants, 11,000 in ordinary jails and prisons over which it has no control. Welcome to the US.

Helen Chenoweth (R-NRA), friend of the militias and enemy of fuzzy animals everywhere, who says that Clinton makes Nixon look like a saint (Saint Richard!), has been outed as an adulteress, after running ads linking her opponent with Clinton and saying that "personal conduct and integrity does matter", which is not only hypocritical but bad grammar as well. She defends herself by saying that she was single at the time, although he wasn't. Actually she was single by the end of the affair, but only because she got divorced after she began screwing around.

Dan Burton was evidently known back in Indiana for screwing everything that moved.


Bad Hollywood remake idea of the week: The Prisoner, starring Mel Gibson.

Wednesday, September 09, 1998

Independent Counsel Kenneth the Menace Starr?

In the shitstorm of hypocrisy that will follow the release of the report, remember: "We are the sum of the things we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be." (Kurt Vonnegut)

Back to school, and many districts now require see-through backpacks, exposing students to the ridicule of their peers for carrying last year's gun.

Kaliningrad (or is it Kalingrad?) declared a state of emergency today. Moscow told it that it couldn't do that, but one aspect of the breakdown of the Russian government is that the 89 regions are taking unilateral illegal steps like regulating prices. Meanwhile, Yeltsin, the invisible president, hasn't resubmitted Chernomyrdin's name, and Lebed says that if anyone wants him to save the day, he'd be happy to do so.

New York Magazine Competition. Oxymorons:

Fast Food
Franco-American Spaghetti
Smart ass
Common courtesy
Parental guidance
Rapid City, South Dakota
Sly Stallone
Internet access
Coach class

[NOTE: More New York Magazine competitions here.]

Tuesday, September 08, 1998

First line of a NY Times story: "Today might be one of those rare heady days for Russia's post-Soviet Communists, if only someone could say what a post-Soviet Communist is."

I started a thought a couple of days ago, got distracted and failed to finish it. I mentioned that Gerhard Schroder was courting the Germany gay vote. I meant to contrast it with the problem the CDU is having with replacing Kohl: the #2 man is a guy in a wheelchair. So since the Nazis, gays have been rehabilitated but not crips.

The WP runs an AP story reporting that California congressman Randy Cunningham has apologized for saying last Saturday during an appearance at a medical center that a rectal procedure he underwent during his recent treatment for prostate problems was "just not natural, unless maybe you're Barney Frank."

Monday, September 07, 1998

The next German chancellor Gerhard Schroder has been courting the homosexual vote.

There is one open homosexual in the Reichstag, a Green. What color do you get when you mix pink & green?

Jewish settlers in the West Bank and Gaza have increased by 12.4% over the last 18 months.

As I understand it, there should soon be a new country. The newly elected government of Malta intend to invite the Knights of Malta back in. Now the Knights are currently a state with UN observer status in the same way as the PLO was, but without an actual country. But when they return, they get back their old Fortress, thus combining government with actual territory, making them an official country sort of like the Vatican, but smaller.

Sunday, September 06, 1998

The Tory party's attempts to save hereditary peers may have been damaged by Lord Joseph Philip Sebastian Yorke being caught selling cocaine in the House of Lords during the debate on the terrorism bill.

Said bill includes a provision which makes it illegal to plan crimes committed abroad, a move resisted for over 150 years by more liberal-minded MPs (the Emperor Napoleon III was pissed off that the bomb in an attempted assassination on him was made in England). The provision includes an exemption for MI6, so evidently there really is a license to kill.

McNeill-Lehrer, of all things, had an exposé no one else seems to have picked up, on those Iraqis the US first used against Hussein, and then tried to deport from the US using secret "evidence" they could not see. You will remember they hired a former CIA director as their lawyer, but even he couldn't see the evidence. Then 95% of it was declassified, and guess what, there really wasn't any evidence. The FBI mistook someone's tribe for a last name, used unsupported hearsay, and one agent told the judge that according to his long experience, Arabs just plain lie.

So Dan Burton has an illegitimate kid from an affair. That means two women have had sex with him.

Even if you take Chernomyrdin's economic plan seriously, it amounts to a massive tax forgiveness. First they will massively inflate the economy by printing money, and then later they'll crack down on taxes. Who wouldn't want to pay their back taxes with worthless rubles? The Washington Post today has a good story on the disappearance in the crash of South Korea's middle class, but it's the Russian middle class that has really been screwed. The poor barter, the rich had their money outside the country....

Thursday, September 03, 1998

Hurricane Earl. Finally a storm with an appropriately white trash name.

Clinton in Moscow: "a country that rebuffed Napoleon and Hitler can surely adjust to the realities of the global marketplace." Russia fought Napoleon and Hitler by withdrawing deep into its territory, poisoning the wells, destroying crops and so on. So Yeltsin's already made a pretty good start.

Tuesday, September 01, 1998

Dachau PR + giraffes in platform shoe

Palestine holds its first executions. Another state joins the elite death penalty fraternity, with Jamaica set to.

I haven't seen today's tv coverage of the Potemkin Summit yet, but when I do I'll be looking to check out my theory that Yeltsin had a stroke at some point. With no government in Russia, what can they have to talk about? If next month Clinton takes up vodka and Yeltsin takes up interns, I guess we'll know.

The United Kingdom was invaded today by the Kingdom of Arucania and Patagonia. I've read two articles in two papers about this (the Guardian evidently didn't find it newsworthy) and I still don't quite understand, except that some Frenchman was elected king in 1860 or so by some Indians who owned the Falklands, and today some Patagonians on a yacht raised the flag on the Minkies Reef and claimed the southernmost outhouse in the UK.

5,600 of Ecuador's 9,500 prisoners have served more than one year without a trial (which is now unconstitutional). Their protest has progressed from hunger strikes to sewing their lips together.

MGM is selling a walk-on in Pierce Brosnan's next movies for $10,000. Of course there is no guarantee against winding up on the cutting-room floor. No one mentioned it in the article, but the price might go up (or down) if it is realized that this is a remake of The Thomas Crown Affair, a 1968 or so film with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway known as being the first American film to feature open-mouthed kissing.

It has been announced that the prime minister of Norway is too depressed by the onset of the long northern winter to do his job. This is not the first time that this has happened in Norway.

Yesterday's testing by North Korea of a new missile, which overflew Japan, should perhaps be getting more attention than it has. The missile is actually intended to be aimed at Japan or more specifically at the US bases in Japan, so that in the event of another war, the US can be forced out quickly by North Korea inflicting damages in the form of a fast 20,000 casualties.

An interesting story in the London Times, for which some historical background is required. Fortunately, you have me to explain it. The British Labour Party has its origins in the Labour Representation Committee, formed something like 125 years ago. For the first few decades, the Labour party had no policies separate from those of the Liberal Party but existed simply to elect members of the working class to Parliament, who would bring their own experiences to bear on parliamentary debates, in the same way that Emily's List tries to get women elected today, in theory irrespective of their party affiliations. Eventually the Labour party developed its own platform. And now, the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union has formed a fund to elect working-class members of Parliament, because in 125 years we have come full circle and the Parliamentary Labour Party now contains only 13% former manual workers.