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Saturday, July 20, 2002

Aziz Poonawalla brought this fascinating article on Iran, The End is Nigh, by David Warren, to my attention:

...but while their parents were cowed into submission, the kids refuse to sit still.

They have been told all their lives that the United States is the "Great Satan". Therefore they love America. (On the night of 9/11, huge numbers of Iranian students appeared spontaneously in the streets of many Iranian cities, carrying lighted candles to mourn the victims of Al Qaeda in New York and Washington. And there were illicit fireworks displays this year on the 4th of July.)

They have been fed from birth the most extraordinary diet of sick-in-the-head anti-Semitism. So Israel seems pretty cool to them, too.

And they have been taught that Islam -- submission to the will of Allah as interpreted by the ayatollahs -- is the whole meaning and purpose of their lives. So most are intensely secular. Or else they embrace an Islam that is increasingly apolitical, mystical, unworldly.

Lately they have also taken to celebrating Zoroastrianism. I have heard several accounts of police busts of "infidels", presumably converted Muslims practising ancient Persian rites, or merely studying the Gathas of Zarathustra. Last March the ayatollahs forcefully commanded the public not to observe Norouz, the ancient Persian fire festival and New Year. But throughout the country, according to numerous reports, flower, food, and candy stores were sold out from festive preparations; and there were bonfires and fireworks aplenty at the solstice. And in the middle of Shia Islam's holiest month, the mosques were almost empty each Friday...
Suman Palit Quotes the same lines, and adds:

I wonder, in fact, how much longer before droves of Iranian kids begin making pilgrimages to India, the last refuge of a sometimes odd but very poetic religion. The Farsis of India were much like the Jewish diaspora. They came to India in small numbers, fleeing persecution and genocide. They lived and loved in their new country and left a huge, indelible footprint on the nations consciousness. Today those Farsis left in India are struggling to keep their dying religion alive.. perhaps they need to look westward for some new hope.
He also writes:
Here is the tKL prediction of the week: Within the next 3-4 years, there will be a new political axis to look out for. I call it the I3 - axis of Israel-Iran-India. Together the I3 - axis has the potential to dramatically alter the balance of power in the region. Along with powerhouse Russia, they could open up the "southern silk route" and help integrate the growing free-market economies of Central and West Asia with those of South and South-Eastern Asia. How do you like *them* apples, Mr. NAFTA..! .
Life is such a mix of contradictions.. we live on the edge of annihilation, and yet the future seems to hold unimaginable promises.. what wickedly confusing and exciting times we live in my dear friends.. stay tuned to this decade.

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Friday, July 19, 2002

If you need a Filipino translation of the Open Letter, you can find one here. Amazin...
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The War on Terrorism is moving ahead at Truth Laid Bear:

Hello and good day to you, fellow American! You've reached the automated voice response system for TIPS.

Please choose from one of the following options:

- If you'd like to report suspicious behavior by a co-worker, press 1
- If you'd like to report suspicious behavior by a friend, press 2
- If you'd like to report suspicious behavior by a family member, press 3
- If you'd like to report suspicious behavior by yourself, press 4
There's lots more...
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Aziz Poonawalla has put up some thoughts on Iran, at Unmedia. He e-mails:

My main point is that reform in Iran must not only be from within, it must take advantage of the current political system, and also reflect the reality that Iran will still be a religious country and that American-style secular democracy might not be the ideal fit.
Being a conservative myself, I don't approve of revolutions, even for good ends. They are bad for the political digestive system. Moderate meals of change and reform work best in the long run...
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Charlene has long been a fan of the Atkins Diet. So she has been feeling a glow of smug satisfaction about the recent reports vindicating low-carb diets in the major media. But that's NOTHING compared to how Dr Atkins feels! This is from the Atkins newsletter:

Sunday, July 7, 2002, was one of the most gratifying days of my life–and one that validated the controlled carbohydrate nutritional approach to weight management and good health. On that day the New York Times Magazine cover story titled What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?, by Gary Taubes, told millions of readers that the low-fat hypothesis has failed the test of time. After hundreds of millions of dollars and 20 years of research, studies on low-fat programs have not proved to promote good health and extend life. This watershed article in a mainstream consumer publication accurately describes the scientific basis and effects of a controlled ! carbohydrate lifestyle, mirroring my conclusions from 40 years of clinical experience: The low-fat belief system causes individuals to over-consume high carbohydrate foods, which in turn has contributed to the current epidemics of both obesity and diabetes.

Taubes, a freelance investigative science writer who authored “The Soft Science of Dietary Fat,” which was published in the respected journal Science (March 30, 2001, Volume 291, pages 2536-2545; is one of the growing number of reporters who actually review all the relevant research and report the facts without bias. He interviewed many of the best researchers in the field of medical nutrition, including respected scientists at Harvard, Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania, Tufts, the University of Connecticut and other institutions. All agreed that the controlled carb approach to weight control and healthy living has been neglected and the subject should be studied further. This is something that I have advocated for the last 20 years.

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Thursday, July 18, 2002

I've been eager to see how Renata fares on her move to Israel. She's starting to post some reports...

...Something interesting I want to say is that it was the first time I've seen news in Fox News, as in Brasil I didn't have this option. Boys... What a difference! In CNN, the headline was At least six dead in suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. Six dead... Yeah... Acording to this, they 'd probably died "out of the blue"... They were murdered, not simply dead.

In Fox News, it was At least six israelis killed in homicide bombing in Tel Aviv. Can someone notice something different? Yeah. They caught it. They understood israelis were murdered in the street. I am definitely a Fox News fan right now.

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Frank Vannerson sent this. He called it "A Q&A you will never see reported in the liberal media"...

REP. KING: We've seen other countries where the issue of crony capitalism has been so inbred that it takes an economy years to recover from it ... How can you be that confident that the corruption is not entrenched itself and is not so deep-rooted that it could take many years for it to recover?

MR. GREENSPAN: The reason I'm reasonably sure about the fact that the malfeasance that we've observed and documented in very great detail has not cut to the core of the system is the fact that we have got a remarkably efficient and productive economy. You cannot reconcile this dramatic increase in productivity which we've been seeing in recent years, in fact, concurrently with a goodly part of the type of corporate malfeasance concerning us.

It has had an effect. It has an effect on the margins, and it would have an effect if it were carried forward and continued indefinitely. But that is not going to happen, because I think a goodly part of the tinder, the huge capital gains tinder which created a goodly part of the attraction to do things which people ordinarily wouldn't do, that's gone.

And as far as I can see, the underlying structure of the economy, its underlying efficiency, has not been materially impacted. If it were, we wouldn't see the type of productivity numbers, the type of efficiencies, that have emerged in recent years. So we're very fortunate in that regard. It could have been different, but the evidence does not suggest that ...the malfeasance cut to the core of the system...

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It's interesting, I'm starting to get a lot of hits from weblogs written in Farsi. Thank you, Kaveh D., for that translation
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In the category of Open Letters that ought to be passed along, here's one to the Archbishop of Wales, by One Hand Clapping. Here's part of it:

...You also wrote,
It's deplorable that the world's most powerful nations continue to regard war, and the threat of war, as an acceptable instrument of foreign policy.
You are mistaken. The United States and I am sure, Great Britain, do not regard war as an "acceptable" instrument of foreign policy. We regard it as the very regrettable necessity of our foreign policies because the US was suddenly and viciously attacked by terrorists on Sept. 11, killing many Britons as well as thousands of Americans. Don't you remember? (Or do you truly care?)

On Sept. 11 the US was at peace. We were pursuing peaceful diplomacy about many matters. You may recall that a few months before, the Chinese illegally attacked and seized a US Navy aircraft flying in international waters. In response, did the US decide that war with China was "acceptable?" No, we negotiated the release of the plane and the crew peacefully. Only a year before the terrorist attacks the US government had come closer than anyone had ever come to resolving the Palestinian problem - through displomacy, not war - failing only because the terrorist Yasser Arafat would not accept 97 percent of his demands being granted, against the advice and counsel of every one of the other representatives of the Palestinian Authority. Then he went home and commanded a new terror campaign against Israel.

The terrorist enemies of the USA and the UK have said, in writing, that they want to kill four million Americans, half of whom are to be children. That's two million dead children al Qaeda wants to kill, Dr. Williams. Two millions kids.

Does that disturb you? Do you have any idea how to prevent it? Can you offer us any actual concrete suggestions for how to proceed apart from war? What should the US do tomorrow that protects its citizens' lives and "tackles the root causes" of the "dispute?" Can you tell us specific, concrete actions our governments should take?

No, of course you can't. But you can spout leftist slogans and call it sophisticated theology. That's just pathetic, Dr. Williams. The UK deserves better, and so does the Church.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Word note: Natalie finds the name "American Prowler" odd. In her burg a prowler is a criminal. Here, a prowler is someone stealthily looking for prey, but that can also mean the good guys. A police car is called a prowl car, or used to be; I haven't heard that term used in a long time. Perhaps it's not PC. Squad car seems also to have disappeared, replaced perhaps by black 'n white.
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Some good lines from Bill Quick :

...You'd think they'd eventually figure it out, wouldn't you? Bush says, "I won't negotiate as long as Arafat's there." Then the mediacrats and Eurowieners go to work on it, and decide that what he really meant was, "Well, maybe I would work with him if he had a different title...or office...or power level...or something..."

And then Bush says, "No, I won't negotiate as long as Arafat's there."
It must be driving them crazy. And you know, it's really not fair. Bush is causing a terrible amount of confusion by saying what he means, and then saying it again and again. How in the heck are they supposed to figure out what he's trying to say?

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Translation of the Open Letter

Kaveh writes:

Hey John,

Being an Iranian living in western Canada, I am excited about your open letter to Iranian people.I've created a page and put the translation of your letter there.
(Click here)
There's also GIF and PDF forms !
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One blog I haven't read before (despite Dave's recommendation) is Armed Liberal. He's got some good lines...

DAMN, WHAT AN IMAGINATION I’VE GOT Says a character in John Brunner’s great book ’Stand on Zanzibar’. It’s a book you ought to read, even if you don’t like SF.

One of the key features in the book is the prevalence of ‘muckers’…individuals who just lose it in the face of whatever social/population/personal collapse they are facing, and decide to just kill whoever is at hand. Some of them go high-tech, and blow up bridges.

I think we’re there, and I’ll ask the question: where does madness end and organized terrorism begin? Because I’ll bet that the LAX Limo Driver (I won’t immortalize his name) was on that cusp.
Here's part of a quote from a Hamas leader:
...As members of a cell, we attacked suspected collaborators with Israel, some of whom were put to death. In order to get the truth out of suspected collaborators when we interrogated them, we used to break their legs and arms with iron bars and chains and to stab them with knives. It was not cruelty for its own sake, but the way an underground organization has to operate in occupied territory...
And these:
When it’s democracy time, countries develop democracy. It is not a plant that can simply be transplanted onto violent tribal roots.
It’s simple; if folks don’t want the ‘under God’ clause in the Pledge, remove it politically. Don’t get me started on the hijacking of political life in the West by the legal system…

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Glenn Frazier has put up a special
Iran page. He's pickin' up the slack...
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Dawson has been publishing pictures of Palestinians who've been publicly executed without trial because they are suspected of 'collaborating' with Israel. Gruesome stuff, but it's good to keep in mind who's really oppressing the Palestinians.
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Canada scores!

Canadian destroyer chases down two terrorist suspects in Arabian Sea

TORONTO (AP) -- The Canadian navy captured two men with suspected terrorist links after a nighttime chase in the north Arabian Sea and handed them over to the United States, Canadian military officials said Monday.

In Washington, U.S. defense officials confirmed the capture but said they had no further details.

The suspects were among about 25 people in one of three small, motorized boats spotted by a Canadian military aircraft late Saturday in the Gulf of Oman.

When a Canadian destroyer attempted to close in, the three smaller boats scattered at high speed, said Commodore Eric Lerhe, commander of Canada's naval task group in the north Arabian Sea.

The HMCS Algonquin gave chase along with several other coalition ships and aircraft and eventually tracked down the 26-foot boat...

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P. Krugman
#27: We have to tip our hat...

We have to tip our hat to Paul Krugman. He got more mileage out of the Harken/Bush story than we ever thought imaginable. He single handedly resurrected this 12-year-old issue, got the liberal media stirred up about it and now he is expanding it to include all of Bush’s Texas business dealings prior to and during his governorship. In "Steps to Wealth" (07/16/02) Krugman goes after the Bush years with the Texas Rangers baseball team and as governor with the University of Texas endowment. On the opposite side of the op-ed page (is this New York Times piling on, or what?) Nicholas Kristof, in "Bush and the Texas Land Grab", focuses on lawsuits concerning the Rangers' baseball stadium in Arlington Texas. The modus operandi of both columns is the same, "He broke no laws, BUT…."

The "BUTs" are supposed to offer us insights into the Bush administration's penchant for secrecy and "indifference to conflicts of interest" in such matters as whistleblower protection in the proposed the Department of Homeland Security and "sweetheart deals" between the Pentagon and Dick Cheney's former employer Halliburton.

Kristof's column can be easily dismissed since it is based almost entirely on quotes from the legal briefs of Rangers' owners opponents in a lawsuit. The briefs from the Rangers' side are never mentioned. On the other hand, the Krugman column is clever, not very specific and vicious. In other words, it's the usual from Krugman. As in the Harken case, we will leave it to legalbloggers to dig up the complete story. But there are a few obvious questions we will mention that should occur to anyone.

For example, he asks "who is the mystery buyer of Mr. Bush's [Harken Energy] stock?" as though there is some big scandal being covered up. But how can there be? A principal reason for having a public stock exchange is to provide an anonymous, arms length venue for above board transactions between buyers and sellers. This is Krugman at his scurrilous best! Naturally, he also fails to mention that whomever the buyer (or buyers) were of the Bush stock, they bought at $4 and soon had a stock worth $8.

He also claims that Governor Bush changed the rules concerning investment procedures of the University of Texas endowment so that investment decisions were made behind closed doors and hidden from public view. What is he talking about? Most institutional investors make investment decisions in non-public meetings, but this does not mean the decisions themselves are secret. They are always disclosed. Krugman admits as much when he claims to know which fund managers got accounts. He further claims that performance results are "hard to find", but, of course, he found them, and informs us that "they seem to have done quite badly" without providing any details. Finally, he says an employee of Utimco, the non-profit asset allocator for the endowment, alerted university auditors (to what exactly we are not told) and was fired. But he never gives the name of the employee.

This hardly qualifies as smoke. It is totally ridiculous. Krugman should name names so facts can be checked. Who were the investment managers? What were the results? And who was the fired employee?

Don't hold your breath.

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Monday, July 15, 2002

There's an interesting piece in medpundit on the possibility that African AIDS numbers provided by the UN may be inflated.(Via Iain Murray)
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By the way, if some of you fellow webloggers don't want to participate in this Iran--Blog thing, that's all right by me. Personally, I usually hate any sort of pressure-on-everybody-to-join-in group activities. "Children, let's all join hands and sing..." Ugh! Barf!
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Michael Ledeen's latest Article is now up at NRO. I recommend it.

...This is a moment when those who claim to support freedom must embrace the legitimate cause of the Iranian people, the brave Iranians who lit candles to mourn our dead on the eleventh of September, and who lit fires to celebrate the fourth of July with us earlier this month. The president has done this twice, first in his "axis of evil" speech, and now again in honor of the demonstrators...

Sunday, July 14, 2002

Iranian demonstrators

A hardliner (Left) raises his hand to hit a reformist woman demonstrating near Tehran University 09 July 2002.Photo from IranMania

Weblogggers and Iran

Your help needed !

I started this idea of webloggers showing support for those Iranians who are demonstrating against tyranny. Now I realize I don't have the time to organize and publicize things. (Real Life, you know, pain-in-the-neck)

BUT, This is the Internet, where the best things organize themselves without top-down management. Lots of people have expressed enthusiastic interest in this. So I'm asking you to just take it and run with it. Make this replicate like a virus, or a chain letter.

Please copy the 'open letter,' or write a better one, or say something appropriate. Add your own links and comments. Ask your readers to pass it along. (No author attribution requested.) I hope this stays non-partisan and peaceful, but I'll just trust your judgment. Extra effective -- leave it at the 'top' of your blog for a day.

When the American colonists were beginning to fight for Independence, they were intensely aware of what Europe was saying. Statements of support, especially from England, were widely reprinted. This may be a similar time. You could be helping make history.

*Update: Glenn Frazier suggests that stories on a personal level would be very effective. If you know any Iranians (friend of a friend of a friend) they probably have something interesting to say...

*Update: Kathy Kinsley has provided a discussion space for this subject here. She adds, "Anonymous posting is allowed in that area, but please post your website there if you want to leave the letter up, so everyone can get linked. Please do not leave your e-mail in a forum message unless you have a special spam address, I block a lot of e-mail harvesting programs from the site, but no-one can get them all! "

*ALSO I'm removing the from sunrise to sunset today line, since this has turned into a more free-form campaign. I'm hoping it will just ripple outward... BTW, here's the Michael Ledeen article that got me started on this. AND Michael Ledeen just e-mailed me: ...btw, the president issued a wonderful statement on Iran late on Friday, I have a piece on it coming up on NRO tomorrow morning.

Here's the letter again:


We are not politicians, nor are we generals. We hold no power to dispatch diplomats to negotiate; we can send no troops to defend those who choose to risk their lives in the cause of freedom.

What power we have is in our words, and in our thoughts. And it is that strength which we offer to the people of Iran on this day.

Across the diverse and often contentious world of weblogs, each of us has chosen to put aside our differences and come together today to declare our unanimity on the following simple principles:

- That the people of Iran are allies of free men and women everywhere in the world, and deserve to live under a government of their own choosing, which respects their own personal liberties

- That the current Iranian regime has failed to create a free and prosperous society, and attempts to mask its own failures by repression and tyranny

We do not presume to know what is best for the people of Iran; but we are firm in our conviction that the policies of the current government stand in the way of the Iranians ability to make those choices for themselves.

And so we urge our own governments to turn their attention to Iran. The leaders and diplomats of the world's democracies must be clear in their opposition to the repressive actions of the current Iranian regime, but even more importantly, must be clear in their support for the aspirations of the Iranian people.

And to the people of Iran, we say: You are not alone. We see your demonstrations in the streets; we hear of your newspapers falling to censorship; and we watch with anticipation as you join the community of the Internet in greater and greater numbers. Our hopes are with you in your struggle for freedom. We cannot and will not presume to tell you the correct path to freedom; that is for you to choose. But we look forward to the day when we can welcome your nation into the community of free societies of the world, for we know with deepest certainty that such a day will come.