Saturday, December 06, 2003

Aggressive headscarves

The officials overseeing Sunday’s Russian parliamentary elections are under the authority of the KGB. There are already signs of massive fraud, but it doesn’t matter. What I said here during the last Russian election still holds: this is another non-issues election campaign. Putin’s party literally lacks a platform. A vote for it is a vote for fill in the blank, and that is not representative democracy but electoral dictatorship (and I only use the word electoral because I think Putin would win even without stealing the election). Also, access to the media for opposition parties is nill.

And there is a terrorist attack blamed on the Chechens, just as there is before every Russian election in which Putin is involved. Coincidence, I’m sure.

FORGIVE, FORGET: Bush appoints James Baker to lead the effort to restructure Iraq’s debt, which means get other nations to ignore that country’s past debts, just like Baker was chosen in 2000 to get the courts to ignore the results of the presidential elections. (Did that symmetry work? I think it sounded better in my head than it does on screen.) Iraq owes between $200 and 400 billion. The US also likes to forget how much money it owes, (given the boom in national debt begun by Reagan’s Treasury secretary, one James Baker) as Paul Krugman points out in a good NYT column (but for the hell of it, I’m linking to Pravda).

Joshua Marshall points out that Baker has way too many business links to Saudi Arabia for this to be a good appointment.

Chirac says Islamic headscarves are a kind of aggression. “We cannot accept ostentatious displays, of whatever sort, of religious proselytising.” If you’ve already seen this story, you might have noticed that he made these statements in Tunisia, and wondered about the choice of location. In fact, they are illegal in Tunisia.

“A woman who drove over a McDonald's manager, causing her serious internal injuries in a row over a cheeseburger, has been jailed for 10 years. Waynetta Nolan, 37, flew into a rage after she was refused mayonnaise in Houston, Texas.”

From AP: “Democrat John F. Kerry on Friday challenged the notion that questioning President Bush is unpatriotic and defended his right to criticize, saying he left "some blood on a battlefield that President Bush never left anywhere."” Well he did choke on a pretzel once. I’m getting sick of Kerry using military service in a stupid war, that even he admits was a stupid war, as if it was a qualification for anything.

Some newly declassified State Dept papers from the 1970s implicate Kissinger even more deeply in the atrocities in Chile, that he in fact gave an explicit green light. Why nothing in the NY Times or, I think, the Post? Instead, I give you the Guardian, and the Miami Herald.

The soldiers who had Thanksgiving with the Turkey in Chief were actually screened by their commanding officers.

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