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The Passion of Hutton Gibson

I’ve always enjoyed Mel Gibson’s acting, and I’ll withhold judgement from his controversial new movie The Passion until after I’ve seen it. Sadly, it seems his father, Hutton Gibson, is an anti-Semitic lunatic who thinks the Holocaust was exaggerated, Alan Greenspan should be lynched, and the United States government should be overthrown. Meryl Yourish has the details.

Weekend Reading

Cara Remal’s open letter to her anti-war friends.

My New Gig

It’s been a little while now since I’ve published an article at Tech Central Station. But Nick Shulz was kind enough to take me on as a bi-weekly columnist. So from here on out you’ll get a new column from me every two weeks.

Here’s my latest. It’s called Kill Saddam.

Yearning for Tyranny

The Guardian reports (surprise, surprise) that some British politicians were paid to help prop up Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq.

Anti-sanctions campaigns by former Irish premier Albert Reynolds, former Labour MP George Galloway, and current Labour MP Tam Dalyell were bankrolled by money from the UN’s oil for food program.

Tam Dalyell made a name for himself last year when he attacked Tony Blair for being in thrall to a “Jewish cabal.” Whoops! Looks like Mr. Dalyell was projecting. He’s the one in thrall to a cabal. And not a make-believe cabal, but a real one based in Baghdad.

Galloway’s defense of himself is pathetic.

Mr Galloway said he was unaware that his financial sponsors were getting oil cash from the UN programme. But he accepts that he knew his supporters had links with Saddam’s regime, and regarded that as an inevitable price to pay.

Galloway most certainly did not view the fact that his friends were Baathists as a “price.” He is and has been an open admirer of totalitarian regimes from the Soviet Union to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to Fidel Castro’s little tinpot paradise in Cuba.

After visiting Saddam in 1994, Galloway said to him, “Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability.” When asked if he was a Stalinist, he answered thusly: “If you are asking did I support the Soviet Union, yes I did. Yes, I did support the Soviet Union, and I think the disappearance of the Soviet Union is the biggest catastrophe of my life.” He supports North Korea while he’s at it. “If it comes to invasion of North Korea, I’ll be with North Korea. Be sure about that.”

Naturally he’s a fan of the terrorists in Iraq. “The Iraqis have a legal and moral right to resist violent, illegal, foreign occupation, and that’s what they’re exercising.”

And, as Andrew Sullivan pointed out yesterday, he just adores Fidel Castro. “He’s the most magnificent human being I’ve ever met.”

The man is despicable, but give him some credit. He makes no bones about the fact that he sides with the enemies of democracy and the enemies of his country. He doesn’t waste any time dressing his wicked sympathies in liberal drag.

I can’t help but think some people admire totalitarian regimes not because they want to live in one, but because they want to be in charge of one. The Labour Party kicked George Galloway out on his ass, but he’s still a member of parliament.

Bogus Scandal

Via Andrew Sullivan, it looks like the John Kerry intern scandal is about as substance-free the Bush AWOL story. No big surprise.

Alexandra Polier, supposedly the intern Kerry had an affair with, denies she ever slept with him. That’s to be expected, and it doesn’t mean much of anything.

But she also says she never interned for Kerry, nor did she work for him in any other capacity. This sort of thing is so easily disproved if it isn’t true, and there’s no reason to deny working for him in any case. It’s an intern scandal without an intern.

(Yawn.)

Not a Serious Candidate

John Kerry talks as though he could wish the Terror War away through dint of sheer will.

Here he is at the debate two nights ago.

GILBERT: Senator Kerry, President Bush a week ago on “Meet the Press” described himself as a war president. He said he’s got war on his mind as he considers these policies and decisions he has to make. If you were elected, would you see yourself as a war president?

This should be a no-brainer.

KERRY: I’d see myself first of all as a jobs president, as a health care president, as an education president and also an environmental president. And add them all together, you can’t be safe at home today unless you are also safe abroad.

KERRY: So I would see myself as a very different kind of global leader than George Bush.

What a total ridiculous dodge. It isn’t even a dodge-worthy question.

Would you see yourself as a war president? The answer to that one ought to be obvious. Of course. There’s a war on.

Kerry is certainly free to have a different strategy against terrorism and rogue regimes than the sitting president. I, for one, would love to hear an alternate plan that doesn’t involve running away from conflict or handing responsibility over to the feckless UN. But to answer a simple foreign policy question with “jobs,” “education,” and “the environment” is enough to make me next-to certain that I can never vote for him.

I’ve tried to give Kerry some slack due to the built-in distortions of the primary season. And I will continue, at least in the short run, to do so. He’s not an ANSWER nut, nor is he Howard Dean. But on the single most important question so far he’s a big fat zero. He has no foreign policy whatsoever. He brings nothing to the table and clearly wishes the whole thing would just go away.

It won’t.

UPDATE: Stephen Green comments.

Vietnam at Half Volume

Mark Steyn paints John Kerry as the poster boy for Vietnam Syndrome.

Thanks to Kerry in his Hanoi Jane period, Vietnam was a disaster for America that gave the establishment a wholly irrational fear of almost every ramshackle Third World basket case on the planet. Look at what everyone from Arthur Schlesinger to Chris Matthews wrote about the ”unconquerable” Afghans only two years ago. That defeatism was the Kerry legacy from the ’70s: a terrified, Kerrified America.

True enough. John Kerry isn’t exactly Mr. Tough or Mr. Backbone.

But Steyn doesn’t seem to notice the good news farther up in his own column.

Look at Kerry’s stump speech: ”We band of brothers,” he says, indicating his fellow veterans. ”We’re a little older, we’re a little grayer, but we still know how to fight for this country.” Thirty years ago, he came back from Vietnam and denounced his ”band of brothers” as a gang of drug-fueled torturers, rapists and murderers.

He then proceeds to zing Kerry for his inconsistency. But let’s give Kerry some credit. Give the Democrats some credit. At least our soldiers aren’t still being libeled as baby killers, at least not by the establishment of the Democratic Party. (The goons in International ANSWER are another matter. They haven’t even caught up with the 60s. They’re still stuck in 1917.)

I believed (mistakenly, as it turns out) that the Vietnam Syndrome was buried in Bosnia. My own lukewarm pacifism did die in Sarajevo, but I was never scarred by Vietnam in the first place. I was a small child when Nixon pulled out, and I have no personal memory of it.

I’m glad to see that with Howard Dean’s primary loss, the worst of the anti-war paranoia will take a back seat in the election campaign. Kerry’s incoherent waffling on foreign policy is a problem for the Democrats, and it will be a problem if he’s elected. But even at his most extreme he doesn’t wistfully (at least not in public) recall his days with Hanoi Jane. He boasts about his service.

It was not so long ago that the Democrats had to play down the front-runner’s combat experience. It was unthinkable for them to tout their guy as a war hero. Even if it’s all image and no substance, it’s progress of a sort.

UPDATE: Turns out Kerry’s 1971 testimony before Congress has been spun out of context. Kerry didn’t quite say what Mark Steyn says he said. The New Republic has the details. (Thanks to Grant McEntire in the comments.)

Weekend Time Waster

This rocks. 80s video games. You don’t even need to download them. Just play them in your Web browser.

UPDATE: Here’s more. Including Missile Command, Defender, Centipede, and Joust.

Happy Valentine’s Day…

…From Saudi Arabia.

RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s religious authorities have ordered Muslims to shun the “pagan” holiday of Valentine’s Day so as not to incur God’s wrath, the local al-Riyadh newspaper said Friday.

“It is a pagan Christian holiday and Muslims who believe in God and Judgment Day should not celebrate or acknowledge it or congratulate (people on it). It is a duty to shun it to avoid God’s anger and punishment,” said an edict issued by Saudi Arabia’s fatwa committee published in the Arabic-language daily.

“There are only two holidays in Islam — Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha — and any other holidays, whether to celebrate an individual, group or event, are inventions which Muslims are banned from,” said the committee, headed by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh.

According to these clowns, God hates love, sex, romance, pagans, Christians, and holidays. At least they left the Jews out of it for once. But that was probably just an oversight.

No Sleaze, Please (Updated)

Andrew Sullivan is plenty peeved about the Kerry story.

If the Republicans are behind this, they deserve to be trashed. This is absolutely not something that deserves to be a factor in our current debate.

Same goes for any Democratic campaign that might be behind this.

I certainly don’t want to go back to the lurid and hysterical anti-Clinton days. I think that’s true for a lot of people. So-called Clinton-fatigue was caused as much by Kenneth Starr as it was by Bill and Hill.

This is the first election since September 11. We have some grown-up problems to take care of, problems much of the rest of the world pretends don’t even exist. Save the sleaze and the ass-clowning for Jerry Springer.

UPDATE: Several people in the comments point out that no one in the GOP is likely behind this story. The timing is off. It would make more sense to wait until Kerry is the nominee before “leaking”this story into the press.

That’s a good point. That won’t, however, exonerate the right if they decide to run with this and make a big stink out of a tabloid story during war time.

Free advice to Republicans: Drop it.

UPDATE: Can I direct my free advice to a wider audience? The media ought to drop this, too. They are unserious enough as it is.

Required Reading

I’m sick of the John Kerry scandal. Fox News hasn’t even broken the story yet, and I already wish they’d move on. (I know that’s not fair. I just felt like writing that sentence.)

Anyhoo, if you’re in the mood for something serious, here is your required reading for Friday. Remembrance of Future Past by Cara Remal.

Here We Go

Drudge reports that the Kerry campaign is about to implode. It’s another intern scandal.

Kerry isn’t my favorite person. He certainly isn’t my first choice for president.

But, you know? I just don’t care about his sex life. I really don’t. We aren’t electing the pope or the chief marriage counselor.

If Kerry were my guy, this scandal – if it’s even legit in the first place – wouldn’t change that. As it is, I don’t particularly care for him, but I don’t think much worse of him as a candidate. (At least not yet.)

That sound you hear in the corner? Howard Dean is licking his chops.

Some Beauties in The Big O

I often complain that the opinion page in the Portland Oregonian is boring. There aren’t enough opinions in there. Wouldn’t want to offend the readers. They might disagree with something they read, the poor dears.

Man, were there some doozies this month, though. Law Professor Jack Bogdanski saved ‘em.

None of the Above

Matt Welch is bummed about the lameness of this year’s election. Wesley Clark is “miserable,” John Kerry is “as inspiring as a bag of kelp.”

So I’ll pull the lever for either Dean or Edwards on March 2, if either are still around, and I might just vote for one of ‘em if they stand aside. Too bad that this exciting political season lasted about three weeks.

His pal Ken Layne won’t write about politics on his blog anymore, so we have to read Welch’s comments box if we want to know what he thinks:

I also find Kerry stiff & creepy & an advertisement for everything wrong with spending your adult life trying to win higher office and / or fame. But your interest in Dean (an absolute clown who seems to stand for whatever he’s told by some geeks on the MeetUp, and just as willing to toss all that for Al Gore and whatever lobbyist advisors) and Clark (possibly the weakest candidate — and most worthless human being — to run for this office since Dan Quayle) is utterly weird.

Then again, you proudly voted for Nader, which apparently taught you absolutely nothing.

Well, I proudly voted for Nader too. (Though I won’t do it again, Ken. I promise!) One thing I liked about the guy was that he backed a “None of the Above” option on future election ballots. If “None of the Above” wins, we pitch the losers over the side and hold a brand new election with different people.

This time, like last time, I want none of the above. I want a new election. Dump every candidate (except maybe for Edwards) and start over. Dump Bush, too.

Wishful thinking, I know. Kinda like voting for Nader…

UPDATE: Ilyka Damen is with me on this. She calls do-overs.

Did You Eat Paste in Fourth Grade?

Here is John Kerry in the year of my birth (1970):

I’m an internationalist…I’d like to see our troops dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations.

George W. Bush missed some Air National Guard drills when I was three.

How much, exactly, does this stuff matter?

Jane Galt answers with a question:

What would you think of a job interviewer who wanted to discuss how many times you ate paste in the fourth grade?

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