Monday, 31 March 2008

Sweden Sells Absolut to Pernod Ricard of France


The Swedish government reported yesterday that it has sold the Vin & Sprit group that owns Absolut vodka to the giant drinks company Pernod Ricard of France for 5.626 billion euros (8.88 billion dollars).

With this purchase, Pernod Ricard will become the world's leading provider of premium spirits, and will be catapulted to a shared first place (with British Diageo) in the sector involving overall wine and spirits sales, with 91 million cases of alcoholic beverages yearly.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

People in Small Planes Dropping Like Flies from the Skies, Continued

UPDATE, MARCH 30th, 2008: Small Plane Crashes Outside of London, Killing Six People

Photo KABC, Los Angeles
The Incident, Los Angeles; January 20th

Small Plane Crash in Florida Kills Five

Taking yourself out this way is one thing, but destroying property and uninvolved people on the ground is quite another....

We hear about these incidents way too often. Not only luminaries like JFK Jr. and Senator Wellstone do it, but those of whom we've never heard--good people who are trusting, and whose faith in the process is based on very little reality when it comes to traveling with amateur pilots in little private planes. The latest tragedy is a group of dissident Russian Orthodox people in Alaska (Alaska has a large population of eastern orthodox immigrants and now second-generation members, due to its proximity to Russia).

I've spent hours in the past writing about this sort of tragedy on the internet. Is it so important to get somewhere quickly--that you would risk your life willingly?
Here is the article about those lost in the aforementioned crash, from FNC.

A few years ago in Southern New Jersey, a woman entered her garage and found a limb from a small-plane passenger on top of her car. There were several houses laid to waste in that accident. Luckily, no one on the ground was injured. That's not always the case, as private property and human life are often destroyed by such crashes.


About ten years ago, a whole Princeton family, including their children who lived in Colorado, was killed flying in the Caribbean. The pilot was the father--someone whom I knew; his wife was spared because she did not go on the flight. People in two states were devastated over the lost family and friends.

Why do I have such interest in the field of flight? My father has been an aerospace professional for 55 years, and has two patents on landing signal systems. Most of his work has involved designing space and defense projects. In his own words, my father's "fingerprints are all over the Space Station fix".

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Boeing's Proposed Aerial Refueling Tanker Exemplifies the Company's Traditional Cutting-Edge Vision

As I wrote lately on M-J in the Republic, Boeing Company's proposed aerial refueling tanker is a slightly smaller and better design than that of EADS/Northrop-Grumman. It will not only have a smaller environmental footprint, but would not require the building and rebuilding of landing strips worldwide in order to accomodate it, as would the competition's behemoth. I've consistently been pro-Airbus/EADS in their acquisition of new contracts, and I realize that their gaining this contract will bring jobs to two continents, including the southern United States.

But, in this case, as always, Boeing has vision.

The Movie, Trade: a Cautionary Tale


It's important for parents of children to see this movie. It's also important for those who believe that travel to Mexico is romantic, and for the high school girl who pleads to go on a Natalie Holloway-style senior trip (that's the kind from which they never return), to view this serious, sad, and intriguing film about a burgeoning criminal culture that is world-wide. I don't want to give away the exciting ending....

From the website:
TALK IT UP – EXPOSE THE TRUTH ABOUT MODERN-DAY SLAVERY: Talk with your family, friends, colleagues, and classmates about the issues of human trafficking and expose the reality of modernday slavery through one-on-one discussions and small group conversations. Don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth awareness raising! You can write op/eds for a local paper, write about trafficking in an online blog, and let others know that human trafficking is a cause that you care about!


Update: The Latest Human SlaveryOutrage, in an Italian "Circus"

Saturday, 29 March 2008

As the Snake-Oil Salesman Said, "We've Got Trouble, Right Here in River City!"

Do you really know what is in your drugs--or what the pharmaceutical companies call "therapies"? Taking any drug is a gamble, but a couple of things are certain: Chinese companies are producing drugs and their components in filthy factories, with dubious ingredients, and people world-wide have died, been injured or paralyzed from ingesting them.

Heparin--just one drug (maybe of many) which can kill you...

Remember the women's drug, Premarin? Donkey pee (PREgnantMARe'surINe).

Stay tuned for what's in Heparin, the popular blood-thinner.*

The New York Times' Euphemistic Headline Minimizes the Rotten Truth: It's Not a Scare, but a Devastating Event (just as 9-1-1 was not terrorism, but murderous sabotage)

*Heparin’s raw material comes from mucous membranes in the intestines of slaughtered pigs. Those membranes are mixed together and cooked, a process that in China often takes place in unregulated family workshops.

And now, another producer of posions for the world: Shanghai Hualian: Producer 0f RU486, the Abortion Drug, Made a Cancer Drug that Killed 200 People

Au Clair de la Lune Recorded in 1860


A 10-second recording of melodic lines from “Au Clair de la Lune” was discovered earlier this month in an archive in Paris by a group of American audio-historians.

Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, a Parisian typesetter and inventor, went to his grave convinced that credit for his breakthroughs had been improperly bestowed upon Thomas Edison. E-L Scott de Martinville's record of sounds predated Edison's by about twenty years. His device had a barrel-shaped horn attached to a stylus, which etched sound waves onto sheets of paper blackened by smoke from an oil lamp. The recordings were not intended for listening; playing music recordings on something like a Victrola had as yet not been imagined. Rather, Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville created a record on paper of human speech that could be deciphered.

Scott’s 1860 phonautogram was made 17 years before Edison received a patent for the phonograph and 28 years before an Edison associate captured a small portion of a Handel oratorio on a wax cylinder, a recording that until now was widely regarded by experts as the oldest that could be played back. Édourd-Léon Scott de Martinville never dreamed that someday his recordings would yield audio-playback.

Audio-historian David Giovannoni, with the help of researcher Patrick Feaster, made the discovery. The scientists used optical imaging and a "virtual stylus" to read Scott's sooty paper. With the stylus, they heard what sounded like a female voice singing a bit of Au Clair de la Lune with crackling noise or distortion in the background.

Additional Édouard-Lyon Scott de Martinville phonautograms have been discovered by the audio-historians in Paris, including recordings made in 1853 and 1854. Those first experiments included attempts to capture the sounds of a human voice and a guitar, but Scott’s phonoautograph (he applied for a patent on it) had been imperfectly calibrated at the time.

Recommended Reading at Discovery.com: Jason Dearen for AP newswire

Friday, 28 March 2008

Professor Robert Fagles, Translator of Homer, Dies in Princeton


Dr. Robert Fagles, Princeton University

Translator of Greek Classics

Princeton University Professor Robert Fagles, noted translator of Greek classics, died March 26 in Princeton of prostate cancer. He was 74.

The Arthur Marks ‘19 Professor of Comparative Literature Emeritus at Princeton, Dr. Fagles was widely acclaimed for his popular translations of Homer’s “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey,” both of which became best-sellers. He also created English renditions of “The Oresteia” by Aeschylus and “The Three Theban Plays” by Sophocles as well as “The Aeneid” by the Roman poet Virgil.


”He was a quiet man, diligent and decorous, yet one who was unexpectedly equal to the swagger and savagery of Homer’s ‘Iliad’ and ‘Odyssey’ in a way no one had managed before him,” said Paul Muldoon, the Howard G.B. Clark ‘21 University Professor in the Humanities and chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts in a statement released by the university. “It was as if two key texts of Western literature had been adapted by a director of Westerns like (Sergio) Leone or (Sam) Peckinpah. Robert Fagles will be remembered for many reasons, not least of which being his extraordinary achievement in giving us not only a Homer, but a Virgil, who were true both to their own moments and ours.”

Robert Hollander, professor of European literature and French and Italian emeritus and a colleague for some 40 years, declared, “No translator of major writers in the Western literary tradition has ever met with the kind of success that Robert Fagles has enjoyed. His ‘trilogy,’ both epics of Homer and that of Virgil, has brought these texts to life for over a million readers. It was a joy to share some of his joy in that success with him, just as it was sadness to watch his brave, slow battle with pain.”

Born in Philadelphia, Robert Fagles earned his bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, in English literature from Amherst College in 1955. He completed his doctorate in English literature at Yale University in 1959 and taught there as an instructor for a year. He joined the Princeton faculty in the department of English in 1960.

Beginning in 1966, he was director of Princeton’s Program in Comparative Literature, which attained department status in 1975. He served as founding chair of the department from 1975 to 1994.

Professor Fagles’ teaching and research specialties were the classical tradition in English and European literature; the theory and practice of translation; interrelationships between the arts; and forms of poetry: lyric, tragedy and epic.

Dr. Robert Fagles received the National Humanities Medal, the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation, the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award of the Academy of American Poets and Princeton’s Behrman Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Professor Fagles retired from the faculty in 2002. In June, the university awarded him an honorary doctor of humane letters for “four decades of feats on behalf of Princeton, as the founding father of comparative literature, as a gracious and wise colleague and as an inspiring mentor and teacher.”

Dr. Fagles is survived by his wife of 51 years, Lynne; daughters and sons-in-law Katya Fagles and Richard Friedman and their daughter Lindsay of Randolph and Nina and Richard Hartley and their children Tessa and Jed of Hampden, Maine.

A memorial service in Princeton University Chapel is being planned for late May.

About ten years ago, I attended Dr. Fagles' presentation of The Odyssey, sponsored by Bristol Myers-Squibb in Princeton, just after the release of his eponymous book. He made the classic seem exciting and ever-relevant.~~M-J

Postscript: I lost my Fagles Odyssey poster, but found this photo of his book:

Boeing Will Acquire Vought Share of Global Aeronautics

Boeing News Release

Global Aeronautica was established in December 2004 as a joint venture between Alenia North America, a Finmeccanica (Italy) company, and Vought Aircraft Industries, based in Dallas.

Global Aeronautica employs more than 300 people and is responsible for joining and integrating 787 fuselage sections from Vought, Alenia and other structural partners. Along with joining the majority of the fuselage sections, the joint venture also installs and tests associated systems and applies primer on the sections.

Vought produces aft fuselage sections 47 and 48 in a new 342,000-square-foot building and employs about 300 workers at its South Carolina plant.

Alenia builds the center fuselage sections 44 and 46 in its facilities and delivers these to the Global Aeronautica integration facility. Alenia also manufactures the horizontal stabilizer of the 787 in its Foggia, Italy facility.

Headquartered in Everett, Washington, Boeing's 787 program is completing work on the first 787 Dreamliner. In addition, three other airplanes are in production at the Everett facility.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Reality Bytes: What Is Great about America: Stefan Koehler

Reality Bytes: What Is Great about America: Stefan Koehler

Funny Election Season Tool

Thanks to Beth of My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy:
Hillary...

It's harmless nonsense--a lot less nasty than any single anti-Bush bumper sticker I've seen polluting the landscape on the back of a Subaru.

My contributions haven't shown up yet. Maybe they never will. In that non-event, here they are:

1)...putts with a mashie niblick.
2)...thinks we're all bozos on this bus.
3)...requires a suspension of disbelief
4)...hears a "who".


Update: looking at the blog-page attached to the aforementioned site, which cites a submission from two weeks ago, it seems apparent to me that the joke-site has stopped using new submissions, and is replaying the same ones over and over....

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Sen. McCain Calls for More Vigorous U.S. Diplomacy

I'm putting this here in case the Mainstream U.S. Media ignore it:

Senator McCain Calls for More Vigorous U.S. Diplomacy: Reuters

Levin, et al: Have YOU Ever Been Tortured?

I listened to your show today on New York’s WABC. You pretend to be incensed by the senseless torture of innocents at the hands of Saddam Hussein's regime, yet you castigate Senator John McCain for his stance on not torturing suspects in Guantanamo camp.

John McCain was tortured, and so was my husband, while in captivity. Who are YOU to judge-- a man who has lived a life of relative peace and calm, free of sadistic freaks prevailing upon you with repeated painful and humiliating assaults–real torture?

You go on to call other people hypocrites. Bite your tongue, if you can take the pain!



P.S. I'm new to your show, and have only listened on-line once-in-a-while since (and because of) the reappearance of Bob Grant on WABC--to whom I have listened since 1988. I like your style, and most of what you say, but on this topic, you're a bit out-of-bounds.

Has there Been a News Blackout on a New Strain of Flu?

Depicted above: Avian Flu Virus
Above: My Depiction, Lacking an Official One, of the New Mystery Virus

We've heard nearly nothing about the flu (or whatever it is) that has been going around. It causes severe sore throat, coughing-up of of blood; fever, body aches, and more. Judging by our correspondence with people around the world, this virus is wide-spread and long-lasting. Some people have had it for six weeks and longer. We've also heard that whole school districts in the U.S. have been shut down lately because of this malady. What is it? Several friends of ours believe they acquired it while on airplanes--one friend has had it for two months, after sitting next to a man from China who was coughing up a lung. His wife subsequently caught it, and also coughed up blood for a couple of weeks. Antibiotics are ineffective against this, and a vaccine has not been developed to prevent it. Why haven't we heard more about it? Has anyone expired from the mystery virus? Someone close to me almost died from it, and hasn't yet recovered. Perhaps it is not influenza, but, rather, something that doesn't fit into any known category.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

"I Misspoke" Is New Code-Phrase for "I Lied"


Senator Clinton believes that just uttering those euphemistic words absolves her of lying about going to Bosnia in a hail of sniper-fire. This is not going to hurt Hillary "I'm human" Clinton a bit. Just how do you think the Clintons were elected so many times? By people who don't care about the truth, and the others whom they count upon to remain in the dark through outright stupidity, ignorance, and a lack of skills in English. The Clintons' condescension allows them to arrogantly expect that of their constituency.

People who crossed over to vote Democrat for Clinton: stay where you are. The Republican party doesn't welcome idiots with great gusto, but the Democrats always do.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Message to Michael, Continued...


...remember you and your people condemning Dick Cheney for owning Halliburton stock? Cheney sold his Halliburton stock before he became Vice President of the United States. Apparently, you have owned lots of Halliburton stock, and no one is demanding that you sell it. Mr. Moore, you're still the most hypocritical, dishonest rabble-rouser in the world; another fascistic Democrat who delights in telling others what to do, and doesn't worry about his followers finding out the truth, because after all, being on the left means never having to read the news.

Listen here, Sicko: My Original Message to Michael

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Slovenian Wines

Photo: Village of Bled, Slovenian Alps; by Bill Russell Mountain Tours


I haven't had any in years, but wine from Slovenia is good. Article

Viticulture in Slovenia

La Slovenie

Beast...


...activiste. Yes, she’s an animal all right! I saw an article in a “fashion” magazine last week lauding a former actress of dirty movies (apparently too over-the-hill to “act” anymore) for her advocation of plastic instead of leather. The stuff we used to jeer at as vinyl or plastic and fake leather is now what this pea-brained neo-fascist/commie is insisting that we all wear. From the depths of disgraceful behavior to an arbiter of taste and ethical comportment? Really. I’m going to continue the tradition that mankind began eons ago: wearing skins in various forms, and anything else I please. And how on earth did this animal stand up for the ethical treatment of humans all those years when she was stuffing her carcass with all manner of evil elements? In her lust for money, did she consider the damage she was doing to women and decency? This new campaign of hers is total twaddle–or, to put it more aptly: TOTAL TWATTLE!

~~Copyright M-J de M.

Postcript: Doesn’t this 100% unnatural woman with the chemically-enhanced brain and plastic implants understand that if it weren’t for the shoe and coat industries, those creatures would never be bred, and not have had the opportunity to exist a single day?

And, does her wide breadth of knowledge not include the simple fact that plastic is derived from fossil fuel, namely petroleum? Or that rubber trees in South America need to be saved?

I always say when complimented on my natural attire, “What better way to immortalize a poor critter?”~~copyright M-Jeanne de M.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Goya Etchings Missing

Dateline Helsinki, Finland; March, 2005 ¡Qué Valór! (Francisco de Goya y Lucientes)
From Helsingin Sanomat (Helsinki News), this piece about 30 out of a collection of 80 etchings by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes
Note: apparently the linked article no longer appears at Helsingin Sanomat, so I have captured the copy:

Search Continues for Missing Goya Etchings at Ateneum Art Museum




An ongoing inventory at the Finnish National Gallery has revealed that 30 etchings by the world-famous Spanish artist Francisco de Goya (1746-1828) have gone missing.
The etchings are part of Goya's famous series of graphic art called "Disasters of War" conceived between 1810-1814. The topic of the etchings is the Peninsular War, which resulted from Napoleon's marching his troops into Spain in 1808.
In its entirety Goya's series consists of 82 prints. The Finnish National Gallery's collection has 80 of them, 30 of which have now vanished.

The series of etchings was donated to the Ateneum Art Museum in 1901 as part of the Collan Collection, which consisted of hundreds of graphic prints by various artists.
"This is the first time a complete inventory of the museum's collections is being carried out", explains Tuula Arkio, general director of the Finnish National Gallery.
The inventory, which is now approaching completion, has taken two years. By the end of April the inventory's final part, the survey of the graphics section of the Ateneum collections, should be completed.

Arkio hopes that the missing works will still turn up.
"The last sighting of the Goya series is from 1980, when some of the prints were on loan in Iceland. Had something been missing then, it would have been noticed."
After that the museum's graphics collection has undergone three changes. While the Ateneum underwent a renovation the collection was temporarily moved to its facility at Kansakoulunkatu, and then back again. Later the collection was divided between the Ateneum and the Sinebrychoff Art Museum.
"When prints get misplaced it is not always easy to find them. Unfortunately things like this happen in every large museum", Arkio sighs.

The Finnish National Gallery's drawing and print collection consists of about 19,000 works, 15,000 of which are placed in the Ateneum and the rest in the Sinebrychoff Art Museum.
The Ateneum's Goya etchings were printed after the artist's death, and they are not considered of prime quality. When on loan to Iceland, each etching was valued at around EUR 330.


Links:
Finnish National Gallery
Napoleonic Guide: Goya´s Disasters of War
The Peninsular War 1808-1814

UPDATE: University of California, Berkeley showed its own series of the Goya prints in 2007.

Boeing/Continental Airlines and Biofuel

Article

Sir Richard Branson's Boeing Jumbojet Runs on Biofuel

Time Magazine Assesses Senator Clinton's "Experience"

Article

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

As the Person Whose Blog Continually Reports on Aerospace (esp. Boeing and Airbus) and Steadfastly Supports Senator McCain...

...I am certainly qualified to further comment on John McCain's perceived complicity in the failure of the U.S. Airforce to grant the contract for their proposed aerial refueling tanker to Boeing. I've already commented on that, but I would like to share this by Michael Schuyler of Bainbridge Island Washington (a stone's throw from Boeing), from his blog, which is entitled, "Reality Bytes": The Real Deal on McCain and the Tanker Deal

Postscript: I am the recipient of hundreds of "hits" on this site from aerospace/aeronautics companies and their customers, both potential and existing, worldwide. I have been reporting on the subject since the founding of this blog.

All of a sudden, scads of would-be experts, who heretofore neither knew nor cared about the subject, are posting like mad on their blogs, scoffing at Boeing. Apparently, all it took was the sarcastic voice from a veritable vacuum of knowledge--Senator Pelosi, to get their twisted tongues wagging about John McCain and his nonexistent participation in this new deal. He was proven correct in 2004! As I'm fond of saying on this blog, being on the left means never having to read the news.

We had dinner regularly in 2004 with my father and his friend, a retired Boeing vice president. There was neither sympathy for Boeing in the aborted tanker deal, nor antipathy for Senator McCain. A lot of bad stories (from first-hand knowledge) about fired Boeing chief Phil Condit were told, however--neither he nor the woman responsible for the scandal were popular at our table. The scorn was palpable, and well-deserved.

My Posts on Boeing, Airbus

My Posts on Airbus/EADS

Shirley Temple Black: a Great Lady

Shirley Temple Black as Ambassador to Czechoslovakia


I like to recognize people while they are still with us. Shirley Temple was a brilliant child actress, the equal of which the world has not seen since her years on the screen. As an adult, she was an ambassador...Biography on Wikipedia

US Ambassador to Czechoslovakia (1989-92)
US Chief of Protocol (1976-77)
US Ambassador to Ghana (1974-76)
American Academy of Diplomacy Charter Member
Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Board of Directors
Association for Intelligence Officers Honorary Board of Directors
Council of American Ambassadors
Council on Foreign Relations
Pacific Council on International Policy
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Grand Marshal of the Tournament of Roses 1939
Grand Marshal of the Tournament of Roses 1989
Grand Marshal of the Tournament of Roses 1999 (shared)
Kennedy Center Honor 1998
Kentucky Colonel
Hollywood Walk of Fame 1500 Vine St.
Sgt. Pepper Lonely Heart
Mastectomy

McCain Campaign on Old Corrupt Tanker Deal

To: Interested Parties

From: Steve Schmidt

Subject: Facts on John McCain and the tanker deal

Date: 3/12/2008

Over the past few days, there have been a number of political attacks launched by John McCain’s political opponents attempting to blame him for the Boeing Company not being awarded the USAF tanker contract.

Incredibly, several news organizations have parroted the attack. Here are the facts:

(M-J's Note: it must be pointed out that the following incident was in 2004--shame on Nancy Pelosi and the NYT, for playing upon the emotions of what they perceive to be an ignorant constituency!) John McCain uncovered a massive taxpayer rip-off and evidence leading to corruption convictions for Boeing and Pentagon officials, some of whom went to jail for their crimes. The CEO of Boeing resigned.[1]

John McCain’s investigation saved the taxpayers over $6 billion dollars.[2]

Is it really possible that there are Members of Congress saying that John McCain was wrong to fight and stop the corruption? Should the fraudulent deal have been permitted? Should criminals not have gone to jail? Should the Department of Defense not be held accountable to select the most capable systems for the best price to the taxpayers? Isn’t that what our security requires, and American taxpayers deserve?

Are the Democrats now the Party of no-bid contracts?

That John McCain is being attacked for uncovering and stopping corruption that sent criminals to jail speaks directly to everything that is wrong in Washington today.

All John McCain has ever cared about is a transparent, fair defense procurement process. This process, established by the DOD following the tanker scandal, allows for a fair and open competition and an appeal process — which Boeing is entitled to under law. John McCain fully supports Boeing’s right to a review, and will demand that this review is fair.

The American people want leaders that put principle over politics, who value our national security interests and the good stewardship of the taxpayer’s dollar over political self-interest. That’s what straight talk is all about. That’s John McCain.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Repeat Post from Nov. 11th, 2007: President Bush's Humanitarian Assistance to Darfur

I was listening to a webcast from a public radio station in the U.S., wherein the pontificators were lamenting "our leaders in Washington's hearts" when it came to Darfur and humane Immigration reform. Apparently, they'd never read that it was President Bush's initiative in Darfur which sparked interest in the problem, and that the late, unimplemented immigration bill--the one which was being lamented--was his brain-child. Were they disparaging their own do-nothing congress, where job number one is to thwart all ideas and actions because they come from a source to which their minds are not open? Doubtful. They never let the facts deter them from venting their all-consuming, mindless hatred of President Bush.
Here is a non-copyrighted press release from the White House, 2004:

For Immediate Release--Office of the Press Secretary; October 21, 2004

Humanitarian Assistance for the People of Darfur

The United States is working to reduce suffering from the Darfur crisis. With manpower and money, we continue to support the humanitarian efforts underway in order to avert an even greater loss of life in the region.
The United States leads the world in responding to the crisis in Darfur. We have provided over $300 million in aid to date for food, shelter, access to clean water, and basic health services for the 1.5 million displaced people of Darfur. Recognizing the severity of crisis, the United States has already exceeded its humanitarian aid pledge for 2005 and will provide additional assistance.
The United States has disaster specialists on the ground, is assisting UN organizations and their efforts, is funding dozens of NGOs that directly assist people in need, is funding human rights monitoring, and is engaging the Sudanese government to further improve humanitarian access to the region. This support, combined with that of other countries, has made it possible for at least some assistance to reach 90 percent of Darfur's displaced people.
Though there has been some progress in reducing the suffering and loss of life, the crisis in Darfur continues. The world community must work together to bring an end to the crisis while simultaneously supporting persons already displaced. We commend the African Union's efforts to stem the violence and call on the world to support their efforts. We also urge the international community to respond generously to fund the vital programs that support the victims in both Chad and Sudan. Only when the people of Darfur can safely return home will the job be done.
# # #

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Sunday, 9 March 2008

On Clinton's Watch: the Rwandan Massacre

The U.N., the United States, France, Belgium and other western nations could have stopped the genocide, but chose to do nothing. In particular, the American president, Bill Clinton, deserves blame for his apathy and the cynical response of his cabinet.

Together with the perpetrators themselves, President Clinton and his advisers carry the lion’s share of responsibility for the slaughter of 800,000 Rwandans in the spring of 1994.

Recently declassified documents definitively point to our former Commander-in-Chief. He didn’t overtly or covertly participate or encourage the carnage, but he had the power to stop it.

There are sins of omission and sins of commission. President Clinton’s sins in Rwanda, together with those of Secretary of State Warren Christopher, NSC Advisor Anthony Lake, and U.N. Ambassador Madeleine Albright, allowed the East African atrocities to occur.

Prelude to Genocide

People living in east Africa knew what was about to transpire just by reading “The Nation” (a Kenyan newspaper) or the “East African” (a regional publication). If they knew it, so did intelligence officers at the State Department and the White House.

The American diplomats in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, certainly knew about the impending holocaust.

Almost everyone in a position to act refused to do so in any significant manner. Their negligible actions made the situation more horrific.

Background

Rwanda is an east central African country the size of Vermont, which borders on the Congo, Burundi, Uganda, and Tanzania. Rwanda means “land of a thousand hills” and is known to some as the home of endangered mountain gorillas.

Rwanda is a former Belgian colony. When the colonials drew the arbitrary boundary lines for Africa, they unwittingly put warring tribes together while separating friends, allies and clans.

Tribes
In Rwanda, the majority tribe is the Hutu. Prior to independence in 1962, the Belgians had made the minority Tutsi (about 15% of the population) the privileged ruling class. Clashes between Hutu and Tutsi followed close on the heels of independence.

Timeline
The following list leads up to and proceeds past the 1994 disaster. The dates and events are based on Reuters news accounts. All of the quotes and interviews are from the September, 2001 Atlantic On-line article by Samantha Power. Please, read the entire 42-page document to understand the enormity of the events and the complicity of our government. She based her article on the declassified Rwanda documents brought to light by a George Washington University group.

1990 Tutsi rebels start a civil war against the Hutu-led government.

1993 Arusha Accords are signed, in order to end war and mandate a power-sharing agreement.

1993 The majority of Hutus reject Arusha peace accords; 3,000 die in conflict.

1993 Planeloads of guns, grenades and machetes are shipped into Kigali.

1993 Human rights groups warn western nations that conditions are ripe for possible ethnic cleansing (genocide).

July, 1993 Romeo Dallaire, a Canadian General, takes over as head of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Rwanda.

October 3, 1993 Hundreds of miles away, in an unrelated incident, U.S. peacekeepers are ambushed in the north African nation of Somalia. Eighteen U.S. citizens/soldiers are killed. An American Blackhawk helicopter pilot is dragged through the streets of Mogadishu.

October, 1993 General Dallaire in Rwanda requests 5,000 more troops to double his U.N. force. The U.S. blocks the increase. U.N. Ambassador Madeleine Albright quipped, “The global 9-1-1 was always either busy or nobody was there.”

January, 1994 Gen. Dallaire sends a facsimile message to the U.N. in New York. A Hutu informant has told him that “all Tutsi are ordered to be registered.” He “suspects it is for their extermination” Nazi-style. Plans call for Hutu militiamen to round up and kill 1,000 Tutsi every 20 minutes. They will kill Belgian and other U.N. peacekeepers first, to inspire them to evacuate the country.

Washington blocks Dallaire’s call for assistance, saying he’s a “neophyte who doesn’t know Africa.” His request to raid the Hutu arms depot is blocked by Washington and others because it is outside the parameters of a peacekeeping mission.

April 6, 1994 The Rwandan President’s plane is shot down. He’s a Hutu. State Department diplomat Prudence Bushnell in Washington receives a cable from the U.S. embassy in Rwanda warning of mass killings in retaliation. The Joint Chiefs of Staff respond flippantly, asking, “Is it Hutu and Tutsi or Tutu and Hutsi?”

April 6, 1994 The Hutu militiamen use the assassination of their president as cover for revenge.

April 7, 1994 Hutu soldiers round up ten Belgian soldiers, execute them and mutilate their bodies.

April 7, 1994 Previously assembled lists of Tutsi are used by Hutu to target innocent people for killing. Kigali radio broadcasts the names, addresses and auto license plate numbers of Tutsi. Samantha Power reports that Hutu carried machetes in one hand and a portable radio in the other.

April 7, 1994 Flushed out of their homes, Tutsi flee. Bodies pile up at roadblocks and in city streets.

April 7, 1994 American Ambassador David Rawson is ordered to close the U.S. embassy and evacuate U.S. citizens. When Prudence Bushnell issues warnings about the escalating violence, she’s told: “Look Pru, these people do this from time to time.”

April 8, 1994 President Clinton asks the State Department to find Ms. Monique Mujawamariyn, a peace activist he had met.

April 8, 1994 Kenyan newspapers and radio broadcasts report mass executions in Rwanda. Prudence Bushnell appeals to Secretary of State Warren Christopher, National Security Council members and the White House for assistance.

April 9, 1994 Front-page Washington Post story relates eyewitness accounts of slaughter.

April 9, 1994 All foreign nationals being evacuated from Rwanda. Over 1,000 French, Belgian, and Italian soldiers arrive at Kigali airport to provide cover for European and American evacuees. 300 U.S. commandos stay put in neighboring Burundi.

April 9, 1994 Three days after the president’s plane crash. The Tutsi death toll now stands at 10,000. General Dallaire appeals to the foreign soldiers to stay. “Mass slaughter was happening and suddenly there in Kigali we had the forces we needed to contain it, and maybe even stop it,” he recalled. “Yet they picked up their people and turned and walked away.” The U.S. and U.N. were afraid foreign soldiers would be caught in a cross-fire and ordered their removal. After three days of providing evacuation cover, the soldiers depart.

April 10, 1994 New York Times front-page story says tens of thousands are dead. The Washington Post cites “a pile of corpses six feet high.”

April 11, 1994 A State Department memo says: “Unless both sides can be convinced to return to the peace process, a massive (hundreds of thousands of deaths) bloodbath will ensue.”

April 12, 1994 The Tutsi death toll now stands at 30,000.

April 12, 1994 The President and First Lady visit the State Department’s Special Operations Room after the evacuation was complete, calling it a “job well done.”

April 14, 1994 The New York Times vividly reports the execution of 1,200 men, women and children in a church where they had sought refuge.

April 15, 1994 Secretary of State Christopher orders U.N. Ambassador Albright to demand full withdrawal of peacekeepers. he claimed that there were "no grounds for them to stay; their mission is over".

April 18, 1994 Monique Mujawamariya, the woman Bill Clinton interceded for, escapes to Belgium. A State Department official says: “I can’t tell you how much time we spent trying to find Monique.”

April 19, 1994 Human Rights Watch estimates the Rwandan genocide total now 100,000, including both Tutsi and moderate Hutu.

April 19, 1994 The Washington Post reports “how the heads and limbs of victims were sorted and piled neatly, a bone-chilling order in the midst of chaos that hearkened back to the Holocaust.”

April 19, 1994 The permanent battalion of Belgian troops, under criticism from home after the mutilation of ten soldiers, departs.

April 19, 1994 National Security Council staffer Susan Rice asks in a meeting: “If we use the word ‘genocide’ and are seen doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November Congressional elections?”

April 19, 1994 Dallaire pleads with U.S. diplomat Prudence Bushnell to knock out the Kigali radio station. It was still coordinating the killings which had spread nation-wide. On May 5, the Pentagon said it was an expensive operation at $8500/hour for the plane. The State Department said it was illegal. When Bushnell pushed harder, Pentagon personnel responded: “Pru, radios don’t kill people, people kill people.”

April 21, 1994 The U.S. votes at the U.N. to slash General Dallaire’s forces to 270 men and evacuate the rest.

April 25, 1994 Dallaire’s troops evacuated. “My force,” he later wrote, “was standing knee-deep in mutilated bodies, surrounded by the guttural moans of dying people, looking into the eyes of children bleeding to death with their wounds burning in the sun and being invaded by maggots and flies. I found myself walking through villages where the only sign of life was a goat, or a chicken, or a songbird, as all the people were dead, their bodies being eaten by voracious packs of wild dogs.”

April 30, 1994 Rep. Patricia Schroeder of Colorado says: “There are some (environmental) groups terribly concerned about the gorillas.”

May 1, 1994 Legal staffers warn against using the term “genocide” because it could trigger rules from the 1948 Genocide Convention which we signed. “Be careful,” they said. “Legal at State was worried about this yesterday — a Genocide finding could commit the U.S. government to actually do something.”

May 1, 1994 The death toll now stood at 300,000.

May 10, 1994 Vice President Al Gore met with the U.N. Secretary General and promised logistical help to get the Rwandans still hiding out of danger.

May 17, 1994 The Pentagon protests to Gore over the cost of the mission.

May 18, 1994 Humanitarian organizations put the death toll at 500,000.

June 19, 1994 A few unmanned, ill-equipped U.S. personnel carriers arrive in Rwanda.

July, 1994 Death toll at 800,000. Millions of refugees flee to Tanzania, Kenya and Congo.

July, 1994 The butchery stops.

March, 1998 U.S. President Bill Clinton stops in Kigali, Rwanda as part of a multi-nation African trade trip. He said:

“We come here today partly in recognition of the fact that we in the United States and the world community did not do as much as we could have and should have done to try to limit what occurred in Rwanda. Never again must we be shy in the face of evidence.”

Responsible?
According to Dr. Samantha Power’s account, when the new President of Rwanda came to Washington and met Prudence Bushnell and others, “he leaned across the table toward her, eyes blazing, and said: ‘You Madame, are partially responsible for the genocide, because we told you what was going to happen and you did nothing.’”

Next in Line
Ms. Bushnell is later named Ambassador to Kenya. She notices a lack of security around the Nairobi embassy. No one acts on her request for protection. On August 7, 1998 at 10:40 AM, terrorists bomb the embassy, killing 212 people and wounding 4,650 more.

Ms. Power also relates the post-Rwanda life of General Dallaire:

“‘My soul is in Rwanda,’ he says. ‘It has never, ever come back, and I’m not sure it ever will.’ He carries the guilt of the genocide with him, and he feels that the eyes and the spirits of those killed are constantly watching him. He says he can barely stand living and has attempted suicide.”

The Clinton Legacy

Intimidated by his previous failure in Somalia, the young President turned a blind eye to the chilling picture and accounts of Rwandan genocide.

To read Samantha Power’s full account of the American failure in Rwanda, please click here.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Boeing Defense is Victim of Bait-and-Switch

Stay tuned for a big story. The Air Force is said to have changed their specs during selection process for the aerial refueling tanker, and had misled Boeing company into believing that they wanted a smaller, safer, more efficient model....

John McCain: the Man in the Arena

Senator McCain, Prisoner-of-War McCain: the MAN in the Arena

Friday, 7 March 2008

Senator Obama Wins in Sweden

...among the Democrats Abroad.

Other Obama News

Dr. Samantha Power, an adviser to Senator Obama's presidential campaign, has a spot-on interpretation of his Democrat opponent. She spoke the truth as most of us know it, and subsequently resigned that position. I wish she hadn't retracted the statement. There doesn't seem to be much stigma attached to being a monster these days--one who will "stoop to anything"!


Thursday, 6 March 2008

Boeing Defense Chief on Tanker

Yesterday James Albaugh, chief executive of Boeing's Integrated Defense Systems (IDS), declared that the Air Force had discouraged Boeing from proposing a bigger aerial refueling tanker built on the 777, and directly challenged Pentagon leaks suggesting that the rival Northrop Grumman-EADS team's plane had beaten Boeing's smaller offering on all aspects.

Speaking at an investor conference in New York, Jim Albaugh unequivocally contradicted claims by Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
Albaugh insisted that Boeing's bid for the $40 billion refueling tanker contract was cheaper, lower risk and met military requirements better than the winning Northrop/EADS bid, despite suggestions to the contrary since the Air Force announced its decision last Friday.

"Frankly nothing that was said last Friday, or nothing that's been leaked to the press, changes our view that we address those three criteria better than the competition," Albaugh said.

Albaugh hinted that leaks from the Air Force during this week, which suggested that the Northrop/EADS A330 airplane beat out the Boeing 767 because of its larger size and increased capacity for fuel, cargo and troop-carrying, were intrinsically false.

"This was never about the biggest airplane and it was never about who could haul the most cargo and it wasn't about... who could haul the most gas," said Mr. Albaugh. "What this thing was about was deploying fuel to the fight and being able to get to austere forward base runways."
"If they had wanted a big airplane, obviously we could offer the 777," Albaugh said, "and we were discouraged from offering the 777."
Albaugh said that the $35 billion mentioned in last Friday's announcement was the full price of the 179 tankers (not counting operational support and maintenance costs), proving that Boeing's proposal was less costly than that of EADS/Northrop Grumman.

"Our proposal is less than $35 billion and we were lower cost than that," Mr. Albaugh continued. "It was about life cycle cost and we know that the 767 burns less fuel than A330, so it's hard for us to understand how from the life-cycle cost standpoint we weren't lower."
Regarding risk, Albaugh asserted that the Northrop/EADS plan to build parts in Europe and ship them across the Atlantic to a plant in Alabama (one that is not yet built) certainly could not be considered less risky than building the 767 tanker in Everett.
"Boeing is a single company. It uses common operating systems. We've been building tankers for 60 years. And we know how to work together (Boeing Commercial) and IDS," Albaugh said. "Look at the competition. We're talking about two companies that will be working together for the first time on a tanker, different systems, different languages, different cultures, across an ocean. It's difficult for me to understand how we could be higher risk."
~~M-J de M.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

"Principled" Republicans?


There's something singularly perverse about Republicans who won't vote for Senator McCain because they differ with him on one or two issues, yet will change party affiliation to Democrat on primary election day (that's not done in most states--one must have registered with their "chosen" party well-ahead of the actual polling date, in order to vote in the primary) just to sway the opposition party's primary results--by voting for a communist.

There's also something extraordinarily stupid about a state where no mechanism is in place to prevent such an act.
The Republican party has been fractious and self-defeating for many years, but yesterday's outrage takes the cake. Congratulations!
R.I.P., G.O.P!

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Racist Republicans Vote Democrat for Hillary...

...today in Texas (dictating the other party's candidate is not allowed in most state primaries, by the way). So much for their values and integrity. Yet, when they call Sean Hannity to confess their dirty deeds, he pronounces them Great Americans, and says that he is proud of them. Shame on you, Sean and your shams!

Monday, 3 March 2008

Boeing Tanker Design is Not Bigger, Just Better...

...with respect to size. Sure, the Airbus/EADS/Grumman tanker design was seen as carrying more people. But, the thing is outsize for most other purposes (and what is so positive about more, when it's a matter of more lives at stake? In socialist Europe, human life is less individually important, but in the U.S., philosophy is different. Many people see a whole city in the sky as an idea that just won't fly). Larger landing-strips must be built to accomodate the Airbus behemoth. Thus, the Airbus/EADS/Northrop-Grumman tanker would necessitate much disruption and expense in order to put it into action. The Boeing proposal is more maneuverable, and in analogous fashion to the Dreamliner, would have a smaller environmental footprint. Isn't the spirit of the age opposed to the "bigger is better" attitude? I see a lack of vision here. By the way, my father brought a book home from Boeing in the early 1960s. Its title: VISION (the history of Boeing Company).
~~M-J de M.

Sick Freaks Set Fire to Street North of Seattle

An organization of fake environmentalists, ironically named Earth Liberation Front, has again caused colossal pollution by setting fires.
Article

This time, the setting is former hick-town Woodinville, Washington. My goodness, how things have changed. It's been developed for a long time now, and the land is expensive there. The street where new homes were being built until ELF (an apt acronym, for the size of their brains is infinitesimal) burnt them down advertised houses that are environmentally friendly. What does it take to satisfy the destruction-lust of ELF? That's one of the mysteries of the New Age. How can they justify causing so much pollution? Even they don't know, in their heart of puny hearts and even tinier minds. They left a sign at the scene of the holocaust, with their imprimatur on it, and the illiterate message, ""Built Green? Nope black!"

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Maybe Michael Moore Got My Message...

...he showed up at the Academy Awards ceremony with a clean-shaven face!

MY MESSAGE to MICHAEL

Taking Demagoguery to New Heights


Mrs. Clinton not only talks down to black voters by putting on a plantation patois, but today in Texas, the candidate aped a Texan accent!

Considering that she can't make a speech without using notes for brains, it's not surprising that she misunderstood her handlers when they told her to "speak their language" while visiting specific groups.

Everyone knows that Senator Clinton still has her Chicago accent ("ee-yuhk-sunt")--one that is the complete opposite of the southern accent her "husband" has. How can people accept the condescension and not see through the shameless ploy? Should she get yet another plastic surgery operation and join Shape-Shifters Anonymous?