Cuba has said it will not co-operate in any form with a resolution passed against it by the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva. Moments after the vote was passed, Cuba's foreign minister described it as completely illegitimate. The resolution, brought by the US, calls for the renewal of the mandate of a UN envoy to investigate alleged human rights abuses on the communist island. The envoy was appointed in 2003, but Cuba has never allowed her to visit. Christine Chanet recently urged Cuba to release imprisoned dissidents and allow its people freedom of expression and freedom of travel.
"ALL CAPS IN DEFENSE OF LIBERTY IS NO VICE."
Friday, April 15, 2005
The US and Britain have rejected allegations by UN chief Kofi Annan that they turned a blind eye to oil smuggling by Saddam Hussein's regime. Mr Annan had suggested the two had inadequately policed UN sanctions against Iraq, enabling the regime to earn huge amounts in illegal deals. ... The UN has itself been under fire over the so-called oil-for-food programme.
Clinton was scum. Bush RULES!
"Unfortunately, in the rich countries like ours, we really don't give a damn," said Carter, who was president from 1977 to 1981 and who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. He especially criticized the United States for failing to follow other Western nations which are increasing spending. Although America tops the foreign aid donor list in dollar terms, it falls behind the Netherlands, Canada and many other smaller, less affluent nations when contributions are measured on a per capita basis. U.S. foreign aid is approximately 0.18 percent of gross national product, the lowest of any G-7 nation and far below a 0.7 percent United Nations target that 22 of the world's developed nations have agreed to meet by 2015. A handful have met the goal, while others such as Germany and Great Britain insist they will achieve it.
Leftie Carter overlooks MANY facts, including:
(1) Total USG spending on HIV/AIDS exceeds that of all other donors and developing countries combined.(2) Relief and aid dollar counts NEVER include the contribution of the US armed forces - such as their INVALUABLE service after the recent Tsunami, and the fact that the US armed forces protect the entire free world - allowing Europe to spend next to nothing on defense and spend more on aid, and thus making that aid a bigger percentage of their overall budget. The US armed forces spent $35 MILLION just moving naval assets to the tsunami area. This is NOT counted either.(3) Foreign assistance for development and emergency relief rose from $10 billion in "liberal saint" President Clinton’s last year to $24 billion under "unilateralist neocon" President Bush in 2003. THAT'S RIGHT: BUSH MORE THAN DOUBLED IT!(4) The United States spent almost $15.8 billion for “official development assistance” to developing countries in 2003. Next closest was Japan, at $8.9 billion. That doesn’t include billions more the United States spends in other areas, such as AIDS and HIV programs and other U.N. assistance.(5) Natsios [USAID director] said the Paris organization's figures [used by Carter] overlook a key factor - the billions more Americans give each year in private donations. Americans gave an estimated $241 billion last year to charitable causes - domestic and foreign - according to a study by Giving USA Foundation. That's up from $234 billion in 2002. The foundation did not break down how much was for domestic causes and how much for foreign. "That's a European standard, this percentage that's used," Natsios said. "The United States, for 40 years, has never accepted these standards that it should be based on the gross national product. We base it on the actual dollars that we spent." "The reason is that our gross national product is so enormous. And our growth rates are so much higher than the other wealthy nations."(6) As a percentage of gross national product, the OECD's figures on development aid show that as of April , none of the world's richest countries donated even 1 percent of its gross national product. Norway was highest, at 0.92 percent; the United States was last, at 0.14 percent.
Some analysts say the authorities have managed the protests deftly, though, tolerating and even encouraging discourse that would normally be taboo. "I think the movement has been heavily manipulated," said Yu Jie, a critic of the government who has written extensively on China-Japan relations. "The sentiment against Japan is real, but the government has co-opted it for its own purposes."
Officially, the Foreign Ministry says China had no choice but to allow people to protest. "This protest was held spontaneously by some Beijing people upset about Japan's wrong attitude and actions on the history of the invasion" of China and other issues, said Qin Gang, the Foreign Ministry spokesman.
From the NYTIMES:
Mr. Chirac's bold move - his first major effort on behalf of the constitution - occurred amid anxiety that next month's referendum will not pass. Opinion polls show increasing opposition to the document, led by many people who worry that a more powerful union will threaten French social benefits and lead to even higher unemployment, now riding at a five-year high of slightly more than 10 percent. [...]
According to a poll conducted for L'Express this week, 53 percent of French voters intended to vote no on the constitution compared to 47 percent who planned to vote yes. A poll for Le Figaro and for Europe 1 radio produced similar results. [...] Many commentators deplored what they said was a blurring of the line between staged propaganda and informed debate.
Asked by one voter why the unemployment rate was so much lower in the UK than in France, Mr Chirac replied that Britain had social rules that would not be "acceptable to us". Scrambling to reassert his authority, which has been badly damaged by the faltering start to the Yes campaign, the president said that France should be proud of its contribution to Europe and the spreading of civilised values around the world.
However, Mr Chirac's greatest political rival, Nicolas Sarkozy, the populist president of the ruling UMP party, yesterday contradicted the president's upbeat views by saying that the "French social model" was failing the people. In a speech in southern France, Mr Sarkozy said that with a 10 per cent unemployment rate France should stop saying its system worked better than that of others. "In 20 years both the left and the right have doubled the credits to combat unemployment but we have not produced one fewer unemployed person," he said.
Most French newspapers give President Jacques Chirac poor marks for his performance in Thursday's live TV debate aimed at producing a Yes vote in the EU constitution referendum. Faced with an audience in which the No camp seemed to be in the majority, the head of state often struggled to get his pro-European case across, throughout a programme which was often confused," says the leading conservative daily Le Figaro. Le Parisien is even less impressed, calling it a "complicated, chaotic and - all things considered - a very disappointing broadcast." [...] The French president stressed that the constitution sets a goal of full employment, and he told his audience that he opposed an "Anglo-Saxon, Atlanticist Europe".
French media has dismissed as unconvincing President Jacques Chirac's efforts to persuade his country to vote for the EU constitution in an upcoming referendum. [...] "In front of an audience in which those favoring the 'No' seemed to be in the majority, the head of state often struggled to make heard his pro-European plea during a muddled broadcast," the conservative Le Figaro wrote on its front page. "Chirac: difficulty reassuring," LCI television said, while the left-leaning Liberation newspapers said Chirac appeared "strained, almost clenched-up" in the meeting. Laurent Fabius, a former Socialist prime minister and leading "no" campaigner accused Chirac of trying to scare voters into backing the charter. "I found Mr. Chirac, like the constitution, long and not very convincing," he told RTL radio. "I was very struck to see Mr. Chirac saying on the one hand, 'don't be afraid', but his main argument was to try to create fear."
UPDATE - AFP(YAHOO): Chirac's TV show BACKFIRES:
PARIS (AFP) - Two new opinion polls indicated opposition in France to the European constitution has increased since an impassioned appeal by President Jacques Chirac to back the landmark treaty in a May referendum. The surveys were carried out the day after Chirac's high-stakes two-hour live television appearance late Thursday aimed at jumpstarting the flailing 'yes' campaign. One poll conducted by the CSA institute and which is to appear in Saturday's edition of Le Parisien/Aujourd'hui newspaper indicated 56 percent would vote 'no' in the May 29 referendum, while 44 percent would back the constitution. The figures compare to an earlier CSA poll, taken April 12 and 13, which showed 55 percent opposed the treaty and 45 were in favour. A second poll, released late Friday on the Internet site of Paris Match magazine, gave the 'nos' 56 percent and the 'yes' vote 44 percent. In an earlier survey for Paris Match, the IFOP polling institute had figures of 53 and 47 percent respectively.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Rice said efforts by Britain, Germany and France to wean Tehran off its suspected nuclear arms programmes were "the right course" but added, "obviously at some point in time the UN Security Council is an option." Asked how long Washington would wait before deciding to seek tougher UN action, Rice said, "I don't want to put a timeline on it, but I think we probably want to make an assessment this summer and see where we are and see how far we've gone."
(1) WASHINGTON: The External Affairs Minister, Natwar Singh, met the U.S. President, George W. Bush, on Thursday. Mr. Bush said he was "extremely excited" about the state of India-U.S. relations. — PTI(2) India and the United States today signed a landmark agreement, permitting any number of airlines to operate any number of flights to any point in each other's territory. The historic agreement was signed by the Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Praful Patel, and the visiting U.S. Transportation Secretary, Norman Y. Mineta, here. "If prior experience is any indicator, this bilateral `Open Skies' agreement between India and the U.S. will stimulate new passenger and cargo services, new partnerships, innovation, and lower prices to the benefit of our economies, our businesses and our citizens," Mr. Mineta said.
BRAVO!More here from the BUSINESS STANDARD:Signalling a new warmth in bilateral ties, President George W Bush today said the US held India as a “global power” and wanted to work together for mutual economic benefit and cooperate in the civilian nuclear and other energy sectors. During the 30-minute meeting with External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh at the Oval office, Bush said the US regarded India as a global power with which the Washington wanted to work very closely for the common good, for world peace and for mutual economic benefit.
Bush told Singh that India and the US needed to work together in the energy sector that would include co-operation in civilian nuclear energy. Terming the Indo-US relations as the “best we have had for a very long time”, Singh said India was interested in having a “much closer relationship” during Bush’s second term in office.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said Bush told Singh that he was looking forward to his trip to India, hopefully within this year. The US President said he “very much looks forward” to receiving Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Washington in the near future. Bush said he was “extremely excited” and “pleased” with the state of Indo-US relations. Saran described the meeting extremely warm, friendly and very productive. Terming India as a “flourishing democracy”, the President said he was going to use the next four years of his second term to further strengthen these relations to take them to a “much higher level.”
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
"Loyal Republican to the Core" Carl Ford Donated to Democrats -
Self-professed “loyal, conservative Republican to the core” Carl Ford has not always put his money where his mouth is. Over the past five years, Ford donated more than $3,000 to a number of prominent Democrats including John Kerry and Charles Rangel, according to OpenSecrets.org.
Ford has also donated to a number of Republicans, including President Bush. The Democrat donations include:
$1,000 Charles Rangel 8/12/04; $500, Daniel Inouye, 2/18/04; $1,0000 Jane Harman, 12/8/03; $250 Jane Harman, 3/7/2004; $500 John Kerry, 11/9/99.
(1) from theUK TELEGRAPH:
(2) from the UK TELEGRAPH:
Deutsche Bank warned yesterday that a likely French 'No' to the European constitution could begin a wave of currency speculation across Eastern Europe, setting off a chain of economic disruption. Norbert Walter, the bank's chief economist, said rejection of the treaty in France's referendum on May 29 could halt the eastward expansion of the euro-zone. The Turkish lira is also vulnerable."There could be a wave of currency attacks in the new member states. These countries would then have to raise interest rates. We could see enormous exchange rate swings," he told FT Deutschland. "The problem is that the EU has no strategy for dealing with a rejection of the treaty. People may well question whether the eurozone should have any new members at all," he said. The warning follows eight consecutive opinion polls showing the 'No' side are ahead. An Ipsos survey for Le Figaro yesterday gave a six-point lead to opponents of the treaty prompting a front-page headline: "The No takes root".
(3) from the IHT:
A top European Union official said France, Italy and Spain faced a catastrophic" slump in exports as a fresh batch of gloomy data hit the eurozone yesterday. French industrial output slumped 0.5pc in February, following a 2.2pc contraction announced last week by Germany. The slide was blamed on high oil prices and the continued strength of the euro against the dollar and key Asian currencies. The French prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin admitted yesterday that he now had no hope of fulfilling his pledge to cut unemployment below 10pc over coming months. The yield on 10-year French bonds fell to near historical lows of 3.58pc. The aborted recovery is causing growing alarm at the European Commission and the European Central Bank. Both bodies have slashed their eurozone growth forecasts from over 2pc to 1.6pc in 2005. A senior EU official said the eurozone was now acutely vulnerable to any slowdown in the United States, having failed to generate enough internal demand to sustain recovery.
At a meeting in Brussels, EU leaders took a strong turn toward entrenching Europe's high-tax social model by backing away from a radical deregulation of the Continent's services sector. They wanted to assuage fears among voters in France and Germany that cheaper workers from the free-market economies of Eastern Europe would steal their jobs.
Sunday, April 10, 2005
El Baradei is NO FRIEND TO BUSH, THE USA, or THE GWOT. So his WARNING CANNOT be written off by Lefties as bellicose political maneuvering, and it's all the more reason we must URGENTLY CRACKDOWN ON THE NUCLEAR TYRANTS IN IRAN AND NORTH KOREA - they are the LEAST RELIABLE nuclear nations on earth. They could easily sell or give a nuke to neojihadists.
The head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog said in an interview that al Qaeda and other extremist groups had sought to obtain a nuclear weapon, Norwegian television reported on Saturday. "They were actively looking into acquiring a nuclear weapon and other weapons of mass destruction," Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in an interview in Vienna with Norway's commercial TV 2 channel. [...] ElBaradei as saying that proof had been found in Afghanistan, where U.S.-led-troops toppled the Taliban government in 2001 after it refused to hand over al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. "I would be surprised if they did not try to acquire nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. That would be the most horrible scenario because these extremist groups -- if they have the weapon, they will use it," ElBaradei said. He said there was a "race against time" to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and plug gaps in the security of atomic weapons and materials. "The more nuclear weapons that exist, the more threat we are facing. And the more countries that have nuclear weapons, the more danger we are facing," ElBaradei said. "We can't afford one single lapse in the system of security of nuclear material or nuclear weapons," he said.
"Stone-throwing protesters have smashed windows at the Japanese embassy in the Chinese capital, Beijing, during a big rally against Japan's war-time past. Japanese-owned businesses also came under attack during the march, which thousands of protesters joined. The protests come less than a week after China criticised Japan for approving new school books which it says gloss over Japanese atrocities. Protests on this scale are very rare in China's tightly-regulated capital."
Indeed, Beijing's overtures toward India are being contemplated with a keen awareness of China's rivalry with the United States, which has also jealously courted New Delhi, lately promising to help make it a "major world power in the 21st century. For that reason, Wen will come with a package of initiatives. They are aimed at drawing India and China, the world's two most populous nations, closer than they have been at any time since the 1950s. Both sides say they will push hard to resolve a decades-old border dispute. There is talk of a free-trade agreement as well as joint oil exploration and purchases of commercial airliners. China may even endorse India's bid to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, or at least strongly hint at its support."
This indicates to me that my point is NOT ONLY VALID, but URGENT! We must get India into our camp: it's both highly strategic and natural: we are both English-speaking pluralistic democracies with more to gain from each other than from strengthening ties to or appeasing an evermore hegemonic China. If India gets closer to China now, it is essentially nothing more than APPEASEMENT. By getting closer to us, India would be strengthening their independence.
Condi should go to India ASAP; this should be followed by a visit by GWB.
(Previous post on INCREASING CHINESE HEGEMONY HERE.)
China and India should work together to dominate the world's tech industry, bringing together Chinese hardware with Indian software, China's prime inister said Sunday. [...] The two countries have been improving ties despite decades of
frosty relations and rivalry. China is also a longtime ally and the main supplier of military hardware to Pakistan - India's archrival. [...] China is keen to develop a free trade area with a combined population total 2 billion, which would make it the largest free trade area in the world. India-China trade reached $13.6 billion in 2004, with India recording a trade surplus of $1.75 billion, Indian Commerce Ministry statistics show. On other issues, Wen and Singh are expected to discuss the more than 50-year-old border dispute over their 650-mile frontier, parts of which are not demarcated. A solution is expected to be reached during Wen's four-day visit. Wen is also expected to discuss with Indian authorities the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India, Chinese officials have said.
As I said above: we need to contain and diminish China's power in the region, and contruct a wedge - leverage - against China's growing power. Building an alliance with India is the best way to do this. This means we need negotiate a FREE TRADE AGREEMENT with India and become their major arms supplier, and wean them away from the tyrannical hegemonic China. And we need to begin NOW!