Sine Qua Non Pundit

And what is good, Phaedrus, And what is not good -- Need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ------ ------ ------ ------ E-mail: charlesaustin@earthlink.net

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Saturday, January 25, 2003
 

Hookers and Beets

Tim Blair explains.



Friday, January 24, 2003
 

Home Finance

An update on the adventures with my speculative investment funds, for the record. I won't discuss actual amounts, since that's nobody's business but mine (and the IRS's), but I will indicate the trends I expect and specific equities I am buying and selling. Back in September I bought Oracle at $7.50 and GE at $26.40. I sold Oracle two weeks ago at $12.50, but I'm holding on to GE for now. Rule of thumb: anytime I can make a 50% net profit on a stock in less than a year, sell it. Oracle has dipped a little since then, down to $11.77 today. If it drops below $9.00 I may consider it again. GE sunk to $23.06 today, but long term, I'm still very bullish on GE and with its dividend record and with the potential changes to the tax code, it looks even better all the time. I've owned some GE shares now for almost 15 years, and it has been very, very good to me.

Overall, I still believe the market is headed lower. I said in September that I expected it to fall to 7,000 and as a result I have had most of my assets in money market funds since then. This hasn't changed. I was sorely tempted to jump back in when the market dipped below 7,300. Had I done so, I could have made another 20% if I then jumped out when the market approached 9,000. But I'm not really into turning things over that quickly as a rule, and if you have a sound strategy, you really need to stick with it. I have failed miserably in the past at trying to time the market this way, so I don't. I still think the market will drop below 7,000 at which point I will get back in with all my assets. In the meantime, I going to keep watching out for another good buy to plough the Oracle proceeds into.

Of course, I am not making any recommendations or offering any advice to anyone. Manage you own affairs as you see fit. And please don't send me any recommendations or hot tips. Thanks.



 

Postmodern Pedagogy

Iraq to Get Good Grade by Nuke Inspectors

We wouldn't want to hurt their self esteem, even if they aren't performing.



 

Gggrrrrrrr

What are the key words in this passage?

Saddam Hussein will get a "B" on his report card from nuclear inspectors who update the U.N. Security Council next week, and the United States is weighing the option of extended inspections to appease anxious European allies, officials said Friday.

"Appease" is one. My God, someone in the US government has actually advocated appeasement as a policy?

"Allies" is the other. Doesn't the word "ally", by definition, mean someone working with us towards a common goal? What common goal are we pursuing with our erstwhile "allies" that would justify any attempt to appease them? And what are they going to do to appease us? Give us permission to defend ourselves? And them?

Can we please now dispense with the idea that we should sacrifice any national sovereignty to the crooked cabal of socialists, unelected tyrants, and unreconstructed communists who do not have any goodwill for America in their words or deeds? Whatever happened to "you are either with us or against us"?



 

Your 15 Minutes of Infamy Are Up

Here's an old tactic we've seen before; when challenged on the facts, question their motives:

Former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter, a harsh critic of the Bush administration's push toward war with Iraq, suggested that recent news reports of his arrest in an Internet sex sting last year were part of an attempt to silence him.

And loudly bearing the mantle of suppressed dissenter is part of Scott's attempt to distract us from his recurring abuse of underage girls. Keep one thing in mind, he's been caught twice. How many times has he successfully done this without getting caught?

Here's some more words of wisdom from this bastard:

One, if you attack my integrity, I will defend myself. If you attack my patriotism, I will defend myself. If you come after my family, I will counter-attack viciously, I will destroy you.

So, does molesting their underage daughters count as attacking someone else's family Scott?

Anybody think Scott will be welcome at any future Marine gatherings, VFWs, American Legions, or any public bars for that matter? Remember, there is no such thing as an ex-Marine, and since he's made such a big deal about his integrity, perhaps a few Marines somewhere, sometime will have the opportunity to remind him what that word means.



Thursday, January 23, 2003
 

Like Butta

Damn. Richard Cohen is on a roll. He's a couple days behind the rest of us in whacking John Le Carre for his overwrought anti-American silliness, but Dick whack's him nonetheless.

I may have to hang up my spurs soon.





 

Have They Lost Their Faith in the UN?

In fear of war: Diplomats start to leave Baghdad



 

No Class

Will someone please tell Bill Clinton that ex-presidents are supposed to just shut the f*** up:

Former President Bill Clinton, on hand at the Mayflower Hotel Thursday to discuss health care issues, launched an attack on the Bush administration's tax cut policies, both those from 2001 and the proposals the current president unveiled in Chicago earlier this month. He also said that a deal his administration made with North Korea in 1994 prevented the communist nation from building 50 nuclear weapons instead of the few it is suspected of having.

Imagine the hue and cry from Begala, Carville, Lehane, Davis, et al, if George W. Bush had been so free with his criticism of the boy president through his first term.

The former president took credit for preventing North Korea from reaching its nuclear goals years earlier by signing a 1994 treaty that provided U.S. fuel assistance in exchange for North Korea's agreeing not to develop nuclear weapons.

So he freely admits that all he did was kick the can down the road instead of picking it up and dealing with it. Unbelievable.

"I don't want to get into who did what when."

Oh?

"What we did was good and if we hadn't done it, they would have 50 nuclear weapons today, and it would be a disaster because they would be under great pressure to sell them since they need money. So we did the right thing, but I think we need to do more now and I think we can do it diplomatically as long as we do it, but we have to be very tough about it and we have to proceed and I am hopeful, I think it can be solved."

Oh. This little piggie went "we," "we," "we," all the way home.

After Families USA executive director Ron Pollack introduced Clinton by noting the group had not offered such loud applause except when "the junior senator from New York was here two years ago," the former president quipped: "You should give Hillary a bigger round of applause, because unlike me, she can still do something for you."

Well, he's half right.



 

Life Imitates Sitcoms

I'm in a teleconference at 6:45 PM with staff in Washington and customers in Tokyo and my cell phone rings. I excuse myself and it's my wife calling to tell me to bring home a gallon of milk. For some reason, this strikes me as the most absurd thing to happen to me in about a year. Sorry to trouble you with it.



 

None Shall Pass

Germany blocks the road to war

Fortunately, we have ships, planes, helicopters, and even hovercraft (sans eels!) to avoid having to cut them off at the knees.

Presumably, Bill Clinton isn't going to let us use his bridge to the 21st century either.



Wednesday, January 22, 2003
 

Or What?

I'm still confused about what the Grand Pooh-bah's of the UN are going to do if they don't like the fact that we have liberated Iraq. Will they pass a resolution condemning us? Ooooooo. Or maybe a resolution demanding that we leave Iraq? And they would enforce this resolution how exactly? And why should this particular resolution be enforced any more enthusiastically than any of the others -- which is why we have reached this point to begin with. I want to be careful about this, since hubris must be guarded against, and we really don't like to kill people, willful illiberal mischaracterizations notwithstanding.

But your bluff has been called. Let's see your cards Jacque 1 and Jacque 2. You too Gerhard; Jimmy; Kofi. Kim, Yasser, there's a couple of chairs open. Come on over and ante up.

DOWNDATE: Look's like Donald's holding 4 jacks.



 

I'm a Patriot Hawk/Warmonger

Depending on your perspective of me from the left or the right. But you already knew that. I am also a 10 out of 10 on the rationality score. Find out what you are here, courtesy of one of the new kids on the blog, the Wild Monk.



 

First Iraq Falls, Then NATO? Then the UN? Then the EU?

This is almost funny:

GERMANY will use its power as incoming president of the UN Security Council to try to head off war with Iraq by asking the chief weapons inspectors to report twice in three weeks

My first thought is that they should bring their armies if they want to stop the war, but on second thought, who cares? The Blix-krieg for "peace" is of no consequence to the US, but it is clear that panic is starting to set in as Germany and France realize that the US really does mean business. It's laughable that Herr Schroeder thinks his UN maneuvering is going to save Saddam. Yes, I mean save Saddam, because that's what any effort to stop the war now really means.

Germany fears that President Bush could use Hans Blix’s report, and his own State of the Union speech on Tuesday, as a trigger for war. It is therefore proposing bringing the inspectors back for a second assessment on February 14. It will also invite them to Berlin for talks, probably around February 5.

Assess away. And talk. By all means talk. Pardon our absence though, we've got work to do. Like walking away from NATO since there is clearly no reason for us to protect Germany or France, i.e., most of the heart of Europe, any longer, which was the sole purpose of NATO to begin with.

“Any decision belongs to the UN Security Council and to it alone, speaking after having heard the report of the arms inspectors, in conformity with the resolutions it has adopted,” M Chirac said after a Franco-German cabinet meeting in the Elysée Palace.

Not content with Franco-German dominance of the EU, they now want to pretend that the Franco-German alliance can control the UN. Say goodnight to the UN.

Tony Blair hit back instantly by warning that Britain would be prepared to take military action against Iraq with or without a second UN Security Council resolution. “We would support it (military action) where it was clear there was a breach by Saddam and there was an unreasonable blockage of a Security Council resolution,” he told the Commons.

Does this mean the end of the EU? How can the UK effectively remain in the EU if France and Germany so clearly line up against it in the most important question of the 21st century? If the UK stops sending money to the EU (which should make Gordon Brown happy, incidentally), how will they EU survive? Where will the money come from for French agricultural subsidies and the nightmare bureaucracy in Brussels with French and German deficits soaring and all the new poor members just added? And without the UK to counterbalance the French and German dominance of the EU, will all the other members really want to stay? Are you sure?

Time to short the Euro, big time.



Tuesday, January 21, 2003
 

The Beginning of the End

Or the end of the beginning?

Japan, the second-largest financial contributor to the United Nations, plans to cut its support by one-quarter in coming years, senior foreign policy makers said.

Say goodbye to the UN. And good riddance. Maybe the third time will be the charm, if we can dispense with the current organization and leadership.



 

I Wouldn't Touch That With a 10 Foot Poll

Poll Suggests Public Caution on Iraq

I'm gonna guess this poll was not flying the American flag.



 

Lack of Diversity of Thought Is Our Strength

A very short discussion:

Presidential Candidates Discuss Abortion

That is, if they want to remain as Democratic presidential candidates.

And again, for the record, my libertarian beliefs lead me to be pro-choice, although I abhor the concept and think many abortions border on infantcide. Pro-life activists worry me. Pro-choice activists disgust me.

There. Is there anyone I haven't managed to alienate now?





 

Admit It, You're Jealous

President George W. Bush is coming to St. Louis tomorrow.



 

Too Much Is Not Enough

Al Sharpton joins the race for second place in 2004. So which red state is Al gonna take away from President George W. Bush? Personally, I look forward to how he will solve the Korean crisis. Al has experience with Koreans, you know.



 

Good News for the Gene Pool

I hate to sound cruel, but it's real hard to have sympathy for traitors:

A first wave of mainly Western volunteers will leave London this weekend on a convoy bound for Iraq to act as "human shields" at key sites and populous areas in case of a U.S.-led war on Baghdad. "The potential for white Western body parts flying around with the Iraqi ones should make them think again about this imperialist oil war," organizer Ken Nichols, a former U.S. marine in the 1991 Gulf War, told Reuters.

The penalty for stupidity is death. Personally, I think their passports should be revoked and when they try to reenter the country they should be arrested as traitors (just imagine what would suddenly go through Jane Fonda's mind), or at the very least as aiding and abetting terrorism. Assuming they survive, of course.



 

Way to Go, Dick. No, Really!

Richard Cohen has roughly the same view regarding affirmative action in university admissions as I, and he articulates it well. Mr. Cohen even goes so far as to credit President George W. Bush with looking beyond race to do what's right. I'm stunned, but appreciative. Hence they will be no Scourge for today's column.

I was going to title this entry Magic Dick, but I was afraid it might confuse the last 48 remaining J. Geils Band fans who thought they must of (sic) got lost after Google led them here. Of course, God knows what sort of Google hits I'm going to get now. Jeez, even when Richard Cohen writes something good, my life remains suboptimal.



 

A Sentence With Syntax That Would Challenge Dr. Weevil

I would have been deprived of the opportunity to read Salon rather than ponying up for the privilege, since they have discovered, seven years and $80,000,000 later, the necessity of having a business plan that includes such esoteric items as revenue; but I haven't been paying anything to not read them before, so why start now?

DOWNDATE: You've heard that old saying, "you get what you pay for," before. I know my posts are not worth much, but, then again, no one has paid a dime to read any of them. Imagine how bad my posts would have to have been for me to lose $80,000,000 writing them. You're welcome.



 

Scott Ritter

With the latest revelations of Scott Ritter's crimes, I wonder if he might not be long for this earth. If Scott was set up by Saddam as some have suggested, will they allow him to now spill the beans? And whether he was set up or not, might he be tempted to escape the shame through drastic self-inflicted means?

There are a number of "dead pools" out there, but that is too morbid for me. The idea of rooting for someone's death is a bit much, staunch death penalty advocate that I am -- especially when it comes to child molesters. If there is anyone out there that cares for Scott Ritter as a person, I would suggest that they try to counsel him soon. On the other hand, if Scott Ritter has abused any children then I'm for using the machinery of the state to grind him up and spit him out.

Either way, this doesn't "further discredit" his analysis on Iraq the last couple of years. He had no credibility there to begin with.



 

War Is Not the Worst Solution

How many times have you heard from "serious" commentators and writers that, "War is the worst solution to Iraq."? I don't believe it. The worst solution to Iraq and North Korea is abject surrender, which seems to be what the EU, the UN, and the anti-American shock troops want to try and force upon us.

Here's to the French decision to block any UN action on Iraq, thereby destroying the UN once and for all. Hear! Hear! Pity poor France. Without a UNSC veto, they really will be just a shitty middle-sized country with an enormous unemployment problem, a significant fifth column of Islamic insurrection, and two centuries worth of festering civil unrest as a result of misunderstanding the true nature of the American Revolution. But they do have nukes. Maybe they are lobbying for inclusion into the Axis of Evil. They aren't even challenging the precept of being with us or against us. They seem to be actively lining up on the side opposing the US. Their choice.



Sunday, January 19, 2003
 

The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. LXXV

(Ed. -- The following is a bit of mean spiritedness that will be an on-going feature of this blog. Normally the author will endeavor to be reasonably fair, but this is an exception.)

Considering the mess created by the last set of “professionals” that Richard Cohen admired in the White House, I wonder why he thinks it would be such a bad thing for it to be Amateur Hour at the White House:

It is Casey Stengel time for the Bush administration.

We had Giuliani time in New York, now we have Stengel time?

The long time Yankee manager, having crossed the river to run the hapless New York Mets, looked over his field one dismal day and wondered, "Can't anybody here play this game?"

But within 6 years, they had won the World Series, whereas the Yankees didn’t make it back to the World Series for another 15 years. Perhaps Richard’s use of mighty Casey’s quote struck out.

The same can be asked about the Bush administration and its approach to North Korea.

Uh huh. I assume we’ll get the opportunity to compare the Bush administration’s approach to North Korea to the Clinton administration’s approach ot North Korea sometime in the next few hundred words.

Even to call it an approach hardly does justice to what has happened. It has been a stumble, a fumble, an error compounded by a blooper.

Rumblin’, fumblin’, stumblin’ on the frozen tundra of the fabled 38th parallel.

It has been wrong in its conception and amateurish in its execution -- as appalling a display of diplomacy as anyone has seen since a shooting in Sarajevo turned into World War I.

Except for Neville Chamberlain’s in Munich, Franklin Roosevelt’s in Yalta, Nikita Khrushchev’s in Cuba, and dare I say it, Jimmy Carter’s in Pyongyang. Oh, and Richard seems to have conveniently forgotten about Vietnam.

It's hard anymore to know what the administration's policy is.

Especially if you've missed one column deadline this week and there just isn't time to approach it fairly with an open mind. And anyway, President George W. Bush is a Republican.

Initially, it proclaimed boldly and, in the argot of Washington, robustly, that it would not talk to North Korea about its intentions to become a nuclear power.

I just love to read the pompous, tedious, knee-jerk, pretentious, self-serving, commentary of the unable to see beyond the beltway argot-nauts, e.g., Richard Cohen.

No talks meant no negotiations. And no negotiations meant that North Korea would not be rewarded for breaking its agreement with the Clinton administration.

Perhaps the Clinton administration can call out its armed forces to enforce its treaties. Or did Richard mean that North Korea should not be rewarded for breaking its agreement with the United States?

That was, well, last week.

This is, well, this week.

This week George Bush is in a negotiating frame of mind. Now he is willing to consider agricultural and energy aid to the impoverished nation -- after it dismantles its nuclear weapons program.

As opposed to the Clinton administration plan of accepting a promise that North Korea would give up its nuclear weapon program in return for lots of fuel, food and a couple of “safer” nuclear reactors. Clearly, it’s all President George W. Bush’s fault.

At the same time, the president insisted that the mighty United States would not be "blackmailed" -- although, as anyone can see, the offer of aid looks suspiciously like ransom.

I’m sorry, but why is it blackmail for President George W. Bush, if it wasn’t for the ex-President Jimmy Carter / President Bill Clinton catastrophe? And did someone in the Bush administration actually use the adjective “mighty” when describing the United States in this matter, or is this just some more of Dick’s hyperbole?

The Bush administration is in a box -- one of its own making.

The duplicity and incompetence of the Clinton administration had nothing to do with it. Clearly, it’s all President George W. Bush’s fault.

This does not mean North Korea is blameless, …

I see a big but coming…

… since it sure as shootin' …

"Sure as shootin’?" Has Richard started cribbing from Molly Ivins?

… first cheated and then reneged …

Cheating’s not reneging?

… on its agreement with Bill Clinton.

And once again, did North Korea have an agreement with the United States or with President Bill Clinton? Or was it ex-President Jimmy Carter?

But the present crisis -- and it is that, no matter what the White House says -- was clearly exacerbated by a policy of hostility toward North Korea and, in particular, its leader, Kim Jong Il.

It's a full moon! Remember when everyone said North Korea was only included in the Axis of Evil so that President George W. Bush could have a non-Muslim country in the mix? What exactly has North Korea or Kim Jong Il done that doesn’t merit hostility? So Richard apparently thinks we should just ignore the monstrous acts of Kim’s regime. Clearly, it’s all President George W. Bush’s fault.

First, Bush virtually repudiated the agreement the Clinton administration had reached with North Korea regarding medium-range missiles.

No, I think it was repudiated first by North Korea. President George W. Bush merely pointed out that the United States had no intention of living up to an agreement that North Korea had been violating since before the ink was dry.

This agreement made so much sense that Colin Powell privately called it a "no-brainer."

I concur. It was clearly a “no-brainer” or something put together and accepted by a group of people that couldn’t think clearly.

The White House thought otherwise and said so.

I guess it won’t do any good to point out that Colin Powell is part of the “White House.” Nah.

In doing so, the Bush administration pulled the rug out from under the South Korean president, Kim Dae Jung, who had only won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to conciliate the two Koreas.

We should always encourage the sheep to try and negotiate with the wolves. Isn’t that what Kim Dae Jung won the Nobel Peace Prize for? Not that winning a Nobel Peace Prize is exactly something to be proud of anymore. I suppose we’ll be seeing another Richard Cohen column soon on how President George W. Bush pulled the rug out from under Yasser Arafat, who had only won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to conciliate Israel and the Palestinian Authority, or how President George W. Bush pulled the rug out from Jimmy Carter who had only won a Nobel Peace Prize for, well, apparently for not being George W. Bush as far as we can tell. Clearly, it’s all President George W. Bush’s fault.

Next, Bush included North Korea in his "axis of evil" -- along with Iran and Iraq.

See! Clearly, it’s all President George W. Bush’s fault.

The United States was already making plans to go to war against Iraq. What should North Korea assume?

That a long overdue judgment day is coming?

A bit later the Bush administration announced a new foreign policy doctrine that asserted the right of preemptive action against rogue states that possess weapons of mass destruction.

It’s called doing what is necessary to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, Dick.

This, too, must have made the North Koreans think.

Why would this make them think? Unless, of course, they are a rogue state that possesses weapons of mass destruction?

And just to dot the "i," Bush told Bob Woodward, "I loathe Kim Jong Il."

And we have Bob Woodward’s word for that. Bush might have been taking a nap for all we know, but we can trust Bob. But what’s wrong with loathing Kim Jong Il. Who doesn’t? Outside of Madeleine Albright, I mean.

What's a poor despot to do?

Sympathy for the devil.

The Bush administration had virtually put his face on a wanted poster and distributed it to every post office in the world.

Works for me.

First, Hussein, then Kim.

What? No lament that we haven’t found Osama yet? Richard is slipping.

The tough talk -- so refreshingly honest, we were told -- somehow had unforeseen (or, as some warned, foreseen) consequences. If there was a policy here, it was simply to do the opposite of what Bill Clinton had done.

Not a bad policy when you get right down to it. With only two years of hindsight, there seems to be little question that Bill Clinton was batting well under .500.

Now Bush is going down the same path Clinton did -- only on crutches.

Ohmigod! Has Jimmy Carter been dispatched to Pyongyang again, only this time with Amy to advise him on her fear of nuclear war?

He has no choice.

And that would be because of the brilliant machinations of the Clinton administration? Clearly, it’s all President George W. Bush’s fault.

War with North Korea is unthinkable.

Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Only utopians think this way. It quite thinkable, and more likely because of the pandering to North Korea in the past.

It would devastate South Korea, whose capital, Seoul, is only 30 miles from the border -- within range of more than 8,400 North Korean howitzers and 2,400 rocket launchers.

Clearly, it’s all President George W. Bush’s fault.

Even without nuclear weapons, the North could devastate the South.

Perhaps. But devastation doesn;t even begin to describe what would happen to North Korea.

The Bush administration is in disarray.

What Richard means is that they are not Democrats. If you think I’m kidding, when has Richard ever thought the Bush administration knew what it was doing?

This week, Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly said in Seoul that the United States was willing to offer the North some aid. Immediately, his remarks were repudiated in Washington by an anonymous administration official who said Kelly was "off the reservation."

Sounds about right to me. The sooner Foggy Bottom gets with the program, the better.

But it is the Bush administration itself that is reeling. Its rhetoric and pronouncements are at odds with reality. It has been self-indulgent in its moralizing -- all that tripe about evil -- too pushy in its foreign policy and too eager to personalize matters of international relations.

They’re not really evil, they are just misunderstood. How dare President George W. Bush try to apply a sense of morality! Is that it, Dick?

The administration's problem with North Korea is symptomatic of a larger one: It talks before it thinks.

I’m waiting for Richard, or Molly, or Modo to coin the phrase, “The Texas of Evil.”

Certainly, the Clinton administration's agreement with North Korea could have been improved.

And with that, Richard absolves the Clinton administration of the critical, lingering errors it made on its watch. President George W. Bush gets a foreign policy tabula rosa to begin his watch. Historical revisionism at its best.

But Bush has not done that. He has left it a shambles -- with nothing to take its place.

Clearly, it’s all President George W. Bush’s fault.

I am tempted to quote the late Mr. Stengel again.

It is certainly easier that coming up with something original.

But the problem this time is not with the players -- it's with the manager.

If you thought this was a pathetic waste of time, it’s not the Scourger – it’s the author.



 

To Live In This Town, You Must Be Tough, Tough, Tough, Tough, Tough, Tough, Tough

Go ahead, bite the Big Apple:

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is fuming mad over Rolling Stones members smoking on stage at Madison Square Garden during an nationally televised concert this weekend, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned. "The mayor sent cops to issue summonses," one stage source told the DRUDGE REPORT late Saturday. "But the cops watched the show, off stage, by a monitor, instead of stopping the concert."

Don't mind the maggots.



 

Gator Fans

Just kidding! But orange and blue look better on the Fighting Illini anyway.

One more new year's prediction: I see hate mail in my future.



 

They Still Don't Get It

This isn't about scoring debating points.

Chief U.N. Inspectors Report Progress in Iraq Talks

Progress in talks. About all the UN is good for.

Chief U.N. arms inspectors said they extracted promises of more information from Iraq on some issues

And an Iraqi government promise is worth how much again?



 

Being "Out There" Is Getting Harder and Harder

In the desperate struggle to be leftier-than-thou, Oliver Stone releases his latest bit of spittle:

Director Oliver Stone is set to screen ''Comandante,'' his documentary tribute to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City Utah this week.

Oh, but there are still unexplored chasms in this miasmic cesspool of idiotarianism:

His next project? Yasser Arafat.

Oh boy! I can't wait to hear how the CIA and George W. Bush are behind the genocide bombers and how they have almost succeeded in pinning the blame on Arafat.

Those who have seen the film and understand the atrocities committed by Castro – from mass killings to holding of political prisoners to sponsorship of terrorism – say it is a one-sided propaganda piece that portrays the Cuban dictator as an international cultural and political hero.

Well, we didn't really expect Oliver to understand, now did we?

While ''Comandante'' is sure to make them stand up and cheer at Sundance, even many in Hollywood are wondering if Stone may go over the top in ''Persona Non Grata,'' a potentially explosive movie project lionizing Yasser Arafat.

And what else would we expect from preening celebrities and celebrity wannabees? Of course, not everyone falls for Ollie's laurels:

''If Hollywood director Oliver Stone's upcoming documentary on Yasser Arafat is as close to reality as were his movies on John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, Israel has real reason for concern,'' said Herb Keinon in the Jerusalem Post.

He left out Conan the Barbarian! Oliver's screenwriting talents on Conan the Barbarian may have produced something closer to reality than any of the films he has directed.

Stone interviewed Arafat last March in Arafat's Ramallah compound and was photographed at the time with Portuguese Nobel Prize-winning author Jose Samargo. On that same trip, Samarago accused Israel of employing ''Nazi tactics'' against Palestinian Arabs.

Sorry Jose. The rules very clearly state that when you resort to calling your opponents Nazi's, you lose.

The film has been commissioned by French and Spanish television companies. There is a possibility PBS may buy rights to air it in the U.S.

Now there's a surprise! Bill Moyers must be really annoyed that he didn't think of doing this first. Perhaps he was too busy consulting on the remake of his "daisy" ad.

Following his trip to the Middle east last year, Stone was quoted in Daily Variety as saying he ''understands why they, the suicide bombers, feel the way they do.''

And when I look at the aftermath of their handiwork, I know why the Israeli's and I feel they way we do.

DOWNDATE: Josh Chafetz has found something that I'm sure will be featured in Comandante. Link via, well, the big guy.





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