The Chinese, naturally , blame the Dalai Lama for the violence.
Monday, March 31, 2008
The Chinese, naturally , blame the Dalai Lama for the violence.
'The 'surge' hasn't worked, it was an illusion' is the common theme.
But then, what would you expect when the sources are regular writers for Al Independent, Al Guardian and Al Reuters? A more deluded and demented bunch of Bush haters would be hard to find, even in the souks of Teheran. These guys write as though they know the inner workings of all the parties and players and then some.
Don't be surprised, therefore, to find both this morning's articles simply are both plain wrong.
The lead story on this morning's 0300 Radio Left Wing News tells the world that Al Sadr has ordered his forces to withdraw from Bazra and Baghdad so that negotiations may ensue.
It does not seem to occur to these poor leftist buggers who are so desperate for Iraq to disintegrate that the people on the ground there might just know a bit more than a gaggle of worn out shills for the enemy. The giveaway is found at odd places in their text where you will find (if you look hard) grudging admission that 'maybe General Petraeus knows something we don't.'
"...Or maybe Petraeus and Maliki know something about the weaknesses of the Mehdi army that nobody else does.."
You bet he does, fellers. So does Prime Minister Malarkey. They are not siting on their arses in London, writing junk.
Silly Philly also was crowing yesterday at 'the mess in Iraq.' Well, it looks like a pretty successful mess to those without an agenda for defeat.
Maybe it's time for Al phil to change his blog name to 'The Harbour Bridge' where his traffic counter seems to be lodged. Millions of hits/cars through the place each day but only one a week stops - and then it's only to have a break down.
Labour and the left were horrified as if such policies would mean the end of civilization as opposed to the end of a state dominated neo-monopoly, which poorly serves the consumer, us.
National’s John Key seems equally appalled and vowed Sir Roger Douglas would never set foot in a National-led government.
But, as ever, life has its own little embarassments and ironies.
Now, as we know, Dear Leader likes copying policies from Britain’s New Liarbour government.
That’s where the Pledge Cards came from, from Tony Blair, and Liarbour's recent decision to raise the school leaving age to 18 came just a few weeks after UK PM Gordon Brown announced the same.
Now, guess what Liarbour UK has just announced ?- health vouchers!
Tens of thousands of patients needing a variety of treatments will be able to choose where they want to be treated- be it public or private.
UK Health Secretary Alan Johnson supports the move as bringing choice to patients and improving their outcomes.
The former Fairfax business chief has for the past six months being working as managing editor for the http://www.interest.co.nz/ finance comparison website and producing a daily video podcast.
Obviously done on the cheap, nonetheless Bernard does a creditable job, which hopefully should stand him in good stead should any of the major channels decide to handle business properly with some weight and authority- an issue Poneke was complaining about last week.
Indeed, if Guyon Espiner can present a major political debate on TVNZ’s new digital channel, then likewise there must be scope for a meaty business programme and Hickey could well be the man.
Indeed, I wonder if presenting could be in Hickey’s blood. In one podcast presentation, his economic forecasting reminded me of weatherman Jim Hickey! By any chance are the pair related?
Either way, we wish Bernard well with his foray into podcasting.
At present, the progress of podcasting or online television has had a mixed experience in both Britain and New Zealand.
The UK once had 18 Doughty Street, an online tv station with daily programming featuring top blogger Iain Dale. The station ceased production late last year and Dale has now moved on to TelegraphTV, an online offshoot of the Daily Torygraph, as a commentator on its weekly Right On politics show.
The British papers like the Times and Telegraph are expanding from blogs to such podcasts and online tv.
Here, just the New Zealand Herald seems to be presenting video footage in addition to its printed news reports. However, Computerworld magazine has also experiemented with some podcasts on its website.
I look forward to the day when New Zealand has its own online tv station- Imagine an online version of No Minister, Kiwiblog, Whale Oil, etc. Picture Adolf, Whale Oil and Master Farrar interrogating Dear Leader or John Key. Wouldn’t that be fun?
In the meantime, make do with the ever present, hilarious, excellent and long-running ‘Anglosphere’ podcast Shire Network News, which I enjoyed yesterday, and is updated weekly.
The UK Sunday Telegraph takes up the theme that appears to have started late last week when Time columnist Joe Klein speculated on the role of the Superdelegates.
These seem to be unelected party grandees who will have the final say should the primaries produce no clear outcome.
They could well call in on Al Gore as a compromise candidate between the two warring factions.
An Gore-Obama ticket is being openly touted.
Either way, Al Gore seems the perfect compromise candidate for the Democrats.
Like Hillary Clinton, he is a proven liar, with his Inconvenient Truth shown to be full of lies.
And like Obama, he has connections to a dodgy religion: Gorebull Warming hysteria!
Sunday, March 30, 2008
This has helped fuel the growing exodus of Kiwis over the ditch as the growing wealth gap proves too much. Our extra high interest rates fuelled by Liarbour's rampant growth in public spending hasn't helped matters either.
The message I took from Earth Hour was the rather odd one that burning candles is better for the environment than using electric lights. I mean, how likely is it really that burning things will be better for the environment than using electricity which, in this country anyway, comes largely from renewable sources? What next? Send a message against global warming by switching off the heat pump and burning some coal in the good ole fireplace?
The Herald on Sunday today continues with the raft of hard luck stories showing the struggle of young homeowners. A $375,000 house costs $900 a week in mortgage payments! No wonder the poor guy pictured looks like he needs a new singlet and a good feed.
But anyway, people should stop bleating.
There's affordable housing a plenty if you look hard enough for it.
Perusing through the property section of the Weekend Herald last night I came across a few veritable bargains.
A one bedroomed apartment in Zest in central Auckland can be had for a bargain $99,000! I've seen what the two-bedroomed places are like so don't expect any room and if you survive a week before jumping off the balcony, I commend your fortitude.
The collapse of Hannover Finance recently means there's a few bargains to be had in Vincent Street, central Auckland. Studios can be had for around $70,000 and a one bedroom from about $120,000. They don't come with parking mind you, but we are talking CBD here, you don't need a car.
Many such properties will be auctioned off this week, so I might pop along to see what's available. Even at today's depressed prices, I doubt anything decent might be affordable for me to live in, but an investment property might be affordable. Yes, good enough for someone else to live in , but me?, good Lord no!
Of course, rather than bleating, maybe we should look further afield. Take a look at Trade Me, which displays many, many properties to rent or buy.
The commute from Karapiro or Kaitaia is not too bad and there's always the removeable bungalows.
We can always economise too. Who needs kids anyway? We can import immigrants. But they may well be muslims, better known for terrorism, religious extremism, sucking welfare states dry, as opposed to being hardworking and delivering positive benefits to an economy.
But we should stop bleating. We are kiwis. The powers that be have determined that apartment living is the way of the future. We won't need cars as cars are evil and bad for the environment, we must be dependent on the state for transport as well as other things.
The Kiwi quarter acre pavlova paradise and our independence that comes with it is but a fond and distant memory.
This waste of newsprint tells us that Jenni McManus considers a person who plays golf once a month is living the high life. Good God, woman. Do you live in Invercargill? Most people I know play golf once a week and those with single figure handicaps play twice a week or more.
What about the man's cars, his favorite restaurants, his overseas holidays, his hand tailored suits, his viagra supplier, his art collection, his $100+ bottles of vintage wine, all the other brothels he visits or possibly owns?
Naaah. The real scandal is the thieving bastard plays golf once a month.
What a vapidly useless journalist. All she did was ring up the Remuera Golf Club and talk to some silly bastard (who now will lose his job) into blabbing about the dates on which a couple of members play golf.
If you want to get the real oil on Bryers there's only one place to go. The NZ Herald. I'm told their Anne Gibson has 'had it in for Bryers' for at least five years.
Compared with Gibson, as bitches go, McManus is an entry level Girl Guide.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
For fuck's sake, what on earth is a ninety year old doing mortgaging her home in order to buy an investment property? No prudent or responsible lender would have advanced such a loan.
Did the stupid bitch think she was going to live to be one hundred and ten years old?
Adolf sincerely hopes that Mark Bryers and the rest of the duplicitous crooks who ran BlueChip go to jail but he has absolutely no sympathy for this family, whose members simply threw all normal prudence out the door in the face of insatiable greed.
"ASB Bank says Mr Chamberlin "escalated" the dispute to get a golden handshake, and tried to draw managing director Hugh Burrett into it as part of "cranking things up".
MugCaption1: Hugh Burrett
A former ASB Bank fraud investigator says he was forced to quit because managing director Hugh Burrett went easy on a customer who passed off a counterfeit US$70,000 ($87,000) bank draft."
The pieces mention that the poll was taken during and after Sir Roger Douglas's re-entry into politics which in itself gained ACT a week of wall to wall publicity. Yet these two experienced commentators make no reference at all to ACT's performance, or lack of performance, in this latest poll.
Wouldn't you think it a major news story if ACT had not improved or worse still, not registered, in spite of Sir Roger? An equally big story if they had improved?
Reading this stuff is a bit like eating a burger only to find afterwards there was no meat in it.
Interesting to note yet another example of how lunatic leftists have allowed their obsession with George W Bush to screw up yet another opportunity for progress.
"..............tearing down the notion, so carefully constructed by George Bush after September 11 of separating terrorism from the "religion of peace.
By repeatedly invoking Islam as the cause or, alternatively, the justification, for violent behavior, both the Left and the Right have jointly undermined the strategy of forming political coalitions with certain elements in the Islamic world to prosecute other elements. This coalition strategy undergirds the actions in Iraq and Afghanistan; it is implicit in US cooperation with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey. In those places the US associates itself with certain elements of the "religion of peace" (such as Grand Ayatollah Sistani) against other elements........."
"..........If the Left had been smart they would have supported Bush's war on targeted elements of Islam. But by falling back on a reflexive pacifism, they gradually deligitimized this appoach without providing a viable warfighting strategy of their own. The Left's own rhetorical unconsciously painted them into the corner of inaction. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, for example, rely on the slogan of "getting troops out of harm's way" in place of any real program for resolving the current world crisis."
"If Peters follows the pattern of the last election, when he could lay legitimate claim to be leading the "third" party, he will appear only in leaders debates that include Helen Clark, against whom he appears human, and John Key, against whom he appears experienced."
Friday, March 28, 2008
Remember Dear Leader touting biofuels as the saviour for the planet?
Well, it seems the government is having second thoughts.
As reported many times before, biofuels are bad for the planet.
They are driving up food prices as farmers choose not to grow food, and they lead to habitat being destroyed to grow the new biofuel crops.
They also emit as much carbon dioxide as traditionally made petroleums.
The Herald reports the latest developments here, while Whale Oil goes into great length debunking the green support for them.
AND IN OTHER GREEN NEWS, Labour rejects claims its energy policies will cause fuel prices to rise 50% as reported yesterday. Instead, the Greens talk of a maximum 15%.
Now, that makes us all feel better, doesn't it?
Thursday, March 27, 2008
All Australians are in the process of being f**cked by a wombat - one which speaks Mandarin.
You see, dear readers, Helen Clark is right. The trans Tasman traffic is not one way. We receive an inflow of quality people from across the ditch, doncha know?
These dividends were funded by our ever increasing power bills and they are in fact a defacto tax amounting to around $500 for every man woman and child in the land.
Is this the same Meridien Energy which has failed to build new generating capacity to meet our growing energy needs as we energetically claw our way further down the latter of OECD prosperity?
If these 'dividends' had been retained, as they should and used to fund capital borrowings then we could have had $3 billion dollars worth of clean green efficient north island nuclear power plants up and running since maybe 2003.
Then you would'nt need to pollute the Waikato with grotesque power pylons.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
With CBS indoctrinating the people, you'd have to wonder what their fate will be.
Clearly, the Democratic Party shills who infest CBS have decided that the game should go to uber leftist racist and America hater Obama Sin Laden.
CBS has sent a rocket propelled grenade into the delicate flanks of the Clinton campaign. They have high lighted her brazen lies concerning her visit to Bosnia in 1996.
The fireworks is only just starting.
I thought right from the start this mess would get political and today it did. With over four thousand people involved in the biggest ripoff since petrol tax and an election in the offing this has to be the gift Labour have been looking for. They can be seen to be running down and punishing a genuine 'rich prick' who made his millions on the backs of innocent hard working greedy tax dodging kiwis.
This has got to be worth at least two points in the polls for Labour and if they can manipulate the police and the courts to have the bastard jailed in October, then they probably will win their coveted fourth term.
There's a few tales of doom and gloom out there, and Government, particularly our Liarbour government, can take its share of the blame.
First, high house prices means that an unaffordable deposit of $122,000 is now needed for that first home.
Such higher housing costs are now reflected in higher rentals too as landlords struggle with higher mortgages, rates and other bills.
Now, that will make it harder for people to save for their first home, won't it?
And then there's the higher food, fuel and mortage costs, making people feel incredibly poor.
Indeed, more kiwis feel poorer now than last year compared to those who feel better off.
Consumer confidence is slumping.
Now, where does government fit in?
Liarbour tax rises in 1999 helped fuel the housing boom as it became more tax efficient for landlords to invest in property. Higher government spending helped fuel higher interest rates- the highest in the developed world- which is now reinforcing the nasty effects from the global credit crunch. Yet higher government spending has not improved services.
Fuel prices are rising thanks in part to their tax policies, such as 5 cents or so on petrol, and this before planned Greenhouse taxes come in.
Food prices are also higher, thanks in part to the biofuels policies Liarbour supports.
But back to energy, where Fairfax columnist Bernard Hickey has some strong analysys of the power genration sector, pointing out a major rip-off of the consumer by state owned power companies, which in turn prevents the Reserve Bank of New Zealand from reducing interest rates ahead of an impending slump.
Commenting on power company profits, annnounced yesterday, Bernard says:
"these power generators are putting up prices much faster than the rest of the economy and are just another source of government-generated inflation that is keeping interest rates higher for longer than they need to be. These higher power charges, higher profits and higher dividends have simply become another tax on every household."
Bernard brands it 'state-owned profiteering', noting many produce and sell power in captive, monopolistic markets, and there is no need for marketing, etc.
But the general picture is clear. Inflation generated by local government, central government and government-owned corporates is high and rising.
There seems to be insufficient investment in new generation capacity and lines capacity to handle growth or the risk of some of our ageing infrastructure failing.
Noting how the government, as owner, then pockets the money, Hickey concludes:
We (1.6 million households) pay through higher electricity charges and then we pay again through higher interest rates. That’s because the Reserve Bank has no choice but to keep rates high when inflation continues to bubble along above its 2-3% target range.
So how does Liarbour plan to spend it $175 million windfall?
I heard more talk on tv about john Key bringing forward taxcuts to help hardpressed householders, but Cullen wants to spend up large buying back the railways.
Considering how government operates the energy sector, I am sure that makes us all feel better doesn't it?
The mathematically challenged Anthony Scott writes in this morning's Herald:-
"The real significance of the $700 million capital fund for innovation in the pastoral and food industries is in danger of being overlooked......"
The corrected version is:-
"The paltry insignificance of the $700 million capital fund for innovation in the pastoral and food industries is in danger of being overlooked....."
He goes on to say:-
"They are important issues and deserve close attention. But they miss the larger point of this announcement and attendant reactions.
The package does three things:"
After which he details not three but just two bullet points. Perhaps the missing 'thing' was the confusion sown by the package in the minds of those economic simpletons who who can't tell the difference between capital and income.
The best is kept for later however.
"With private sector contributions included, the fund may distribute up to $2 billion over the next 10-15 years."
Remember folks, the private sector is to contribute dollar for dollar. So, we have a $700 mil fund, earning interest at say 10%. Retain 3% for inflation proofing and you've got $49 mil to spend each year on scientific endeavour. (That's somewhere about the figure Jamdertin was talking.) Add the private contribution and there is about $100 mil per year, in real terms, each year, for 'the next ten to fifteen years.'
To use John key's immortal words, I'm buggered if I can see how that gets to two billion dollars.
One hundred million dollars per year is not really a hell of a lot when one puts it into perspective. Why, it's only 0.06% of Fonterra's turnover.
Maybe, Mr Scott has been taught to value investment by ANZ financial advisers or the good people from BlueChip.
Clearly he has been conned by the snake oil salesmen from Labour.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Rumours are sweeping the internet that Dutch filmaker and politician has NOT made an 'anti-Islamic' film called Fitna.
Apparantly , it's all a ruse just to prove his point that Islam is an evil barbaric religion.
Robert Spencer of Jihadwatch has made this interesting observation:
By now the idea is spreading all over the place that there is no movie Fitna, and never will be -- that Geert Wilders simply announced that there would be to expose Islamic intolerance.
I have no direct knowledge either way, but I'm inclined to credit this idea at this point, since the film has not appeared now on several dates on which it had been announced to appear. Maybe it will finally burst upon the world, but I won't be surprised if it never does.
And look what we have seen: for the mere announcement that he was making a film quoting the Qur'an and showing Muslims acting violently in accord with its words, we have seen threats from several Muslim countries, threats from Al-Qaeda, demonstrations in the Netherlands and around the world, and quailing dhimmitude from the august leaders of Europe, as they cringed before the anticipated Islamic wrath, and from Network Solutions, as they pulled Wilders's site while it was almost entirely devoid of content.
Note, meanwhile, that hardly a day goes by on which some Muslims somewhere do not commit an act of violence that they deem to be justified by the words of the Qur'an. Jihadist leaders routinely invoke Qur'anic passages to explain their actions and make recruits among peaceful Muslims. In other words, we see the announced theme of Wilders's Fitna played out every day, not by non-Muslims but by Muslims -- and there is nary a peep of protest from anyone. Muslims in the West issue vague denunciations of "terrorism," but never specifically explain whom they actually believe to be a terrorist, and there are no protests, no threats, no nothing against those who have supposedly "hijacked" their religion.
Maybe that was Wilders's point all along, and it is a point well made, made again and again and again.
I don't know either. I was quite looking forward to posting a link to the movie and watching it myself. Anyway, here's a story about muslim protest against that possibly non-existant movie.
Known as the "Shameless" family among horrified neighbours, the McFaddens "boast" three generations of adults who are not working. All ten members of the clan share a council house and live off benefits amounting to around £32,000 a year. And very happy they are, too. "The only problem is," she says without a hint of irony, "that we're living in a three-bedroom council house, which is ridiculous. "I'm asking the council for a ten-bedroom home for all of us. We need more space. It's awful sometimes when all the children are squabbling. Still, we do have a big TV with Sky, but we need some relaxation."
Jean Thompson, 66, hasn't worked for over 40 years. She lives in Neath, Swansea, with husband Glyn, 61, a retired plumber. They have three grown-up children, two of whom live on benefits, including son Steven Martin, 39. "I'm certainly not angry that Steven doesn't have a job. He's got children, that's his job. And I don't worry that he's setting a bad example to his children - that's up to him." Steven left school 23 years ago and has worked for only five years in that time. It's 12 years since he last had a job. Steven lives in Swansea with partner Donna, 24, who's never worked, and their daughter Celsea, three. His eldest daughter from a previous partner, 17-year-old Jessica, is also on benefits.That is around 60,000 Australian dollars a year, for doing nothing, just sitting on your ass and watching daytime television all day. I can't even fathom that, you suckers are out there busting your asses to earn the average earnings in Australia, which I think is less than 60 large. And when you're done busting your ass to earn that and you get home, there's the taxman waiting for his share of the pie before you can lay your tired ass down so you can do it all over again the next day. Your tax pounds at work folks, hard at work. The News of the World reinforced the point with this story about a "preacher of Hate" (no prizes for guessing his religion), who is also feeding off the state he aims to destroy, receiving 25,000 pounds a year in benefits ( about $65,000).
Certainly, Emma Sussock's life is a grim blueprint set out by the generations before her. Her mother Ann, a divorcee, hasn't worked for 30 years, and exists on benefits and daytime television. Meanwhile, her beloved step-grandfather Carl Davies, a former gas fitter, has survived on benefits since a heart attack 20 years ago. Ann, a divorcee, lives in a one-bedroom council flat in West Derby, Liverpool. She says: "When I left school at 16 with no qualifications I did a youth training type scheme for a year, serving up meals at the local YMCA for about £25 a week. Then I went on benefits and haven't come off them since. I didn't enjoy the work. "I wasn't encouraged to work hard by my parents and lots of my friends went straight onto benefits, so I did the same.
Six million Britons are living in homes where no one has a job and "benefits are a way of life", according to a report by MPs. Shock figures also revealed that 20,000 households in Britain are pocketing more than £30,000 a year in state benefits.
The story follows on from another Muslim bludger , No Minister reported in February, who couldn't be bothered working because the same state, he too aimed to destroy, was happy to pay him , his wife and 11 kids some 27,000 pounds a year for sitting on his arse, except when impregnating his wife.
No wonder soft touch Britain has become a beacon to bludgers of whatever colour, be they British or immigrants and refugees from afar. But is it alone?
Now, I am not suspecting there's taxpayer funded 'Preachers of Hate" sucking off the state tit in downtown Sandrabad and Mt Roskillistan but I am sure there must be some equally worthless bludging scum somewhere in New Zealand, South Auckland especially.
I am sure an enterprising newspaper must be capable of finding some, even if it does not fit in with their values or agendas. I mean, the Weekend Herald might run such an expose but I doubt the Sunday Star-Times would, but who knows?
However, if anyone out there knows of similar welfare abuse, do let us know at No Minister. I am sure we can find a media outlet to put such a story to good use.
The Herald needs to put a boot up the arse of it's headline writer because nowhere, in a well written and balanced article, did Winston Peters say any such thing. Indeed, in the second paragraph he reviewed the commitment made by Commodore Frank to the last Pacific Forum meeting; the good progress already made; and the prospects for the March 2009 date being met.
What Winston seems unable to get his head around is the fact that Fiji is not 'just like New Zealand' when he comments disparagingly about The Commodore's 'People's Charter' which in itself is the key to positive political change in Fiji.
"At times Commodore Bainimarama appears to be saying that elections will only take place if those who stand as candidates accept the results of his "People's Charter" initiative, which seeks radically to re-shape Fiji's political, economic and social structures.
Foreign governments invited to support this process, including ours, have declined, citing legal, constitutional and practical reservations.
There are very real questions about the level of public support for this initiative, which is closely controlled by the regime and not inclusive. Even well-designed and well-intentioned policies will not survive if citizens do not feel they own them.
The Commodore has also suggested that the army will intervene again if a future government does not adhere to the "People's Charter" outcomes.
That raises doubts about his commitment to foster an environment which respects and upholds open political dialogue and freedom of expression.
Without these, the international community would find it difficult to assess an election to be free and fair."
It is more than likely the only people who oppose the charter are Qarase, Balu Khan and all their venal mates whose snouts have been in the trough for decades while the poor people of all races languished in poverty.
Monday, March 24, 2008
They couldn't be more wrong.
The U.S. war in Iraq — and by extension, President Bush — started coming under withering criticism not too long after it started in March 2003. Quickly forgotten were these salient quotes, made just the year before:
"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." — Sen. Ted Kennedy, on Sept. 27, 2002.
"It is clear . . . that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons." — Sen. Hillary Clinton, Oct. 10, 2002.
"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country." — Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002.
We could go on and on. Others said similar things. Suffice to say, support at the time for "doing something" about Iraq was wide and deep. They even egged Bush on, urging him to get tough. Then, in the fall of 2002, Congress authorized Bush to go to war.
Only later, in late 2003 and 2004, as polls showed public support waning, did many of those same prominent politicians who once enthusiastically stumped for war and even voted for it in Congress suddenly do an about-face. It stands as one of the most shameful political turnabouts in U.S. history.
Opponents suddenly claimed the war was a sham, that they were fooled into supporting it by cooked intelligence, that we should have never removed Saddam, that Iraqis were better off with him in power than with us as occupiers.
The war in Iraq, in short, simply wasn't worth it. But they were wrong on all counts.
The data on the war weren't cooked; virtually every major foreign intelligence service, including those of France, Germany and the U.K., among others, believed Saddam Hussein was pursuing nuclear and biological weapons — weapons of mass destruction.
Moreover, Saddam's ties to al-Qaida, despite recent news reports to the contrary, were clear. He openly tolerated Ansar al-Islam, an al-Qaida affiliate, in northern Iraq. He welcomed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi with open arms before the war began.
His intelligence service met with al-Qaida cell leader and 9/11 terrorist Mohammed Atta months before he attacked the Twin Towers. Osama bin Laden even wrote a now-infamous letter to Saddam in the 1990s, asking for help.
As 9/11 Committee co-chairman and former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean said, "There was no question in our minds that there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida."
We achieved many concrete benefits from taking Saddam out — none of them, by the way, related to "blood for oil," the libelous and patently false phrase used by the left to tarnish the U.S. war effort.
For instance, Libya's Muammar Qaddafi gave up his nuclear weapons just weeks after the U.S. deposed Saddam. Coincidence?
Syria pulled its troops out of Lebanon, a country it bullied for decades. Elections followed. Iraq and Afghanistan had free and fair elections, while Saudi Arabia, Egypt and even Syria recognized democratic movements. North Korea suddenly decided to talk.
Oh, but we didn't find WMDs?
On the contrary, U.S. troops found more than 500 weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. True, we didn't find an operational nuclear weapon, but U.N. inspectors found lots of equipment and plans clearly showing that Iraq had been working on one — and intended to do so again.
All of these are facts. And so are the following:
Iraq is today a growing economy again. From 2002 through 2006, the most recent year for which data are available, per capita GDP in dollars jumped 110%.
Before the war, there were some 833,000 people with telephones. Today, there's 9.8 million. Fewer than 5,000 people were on the Internet during Saddam's rein of terror; today, it's a quarter million.
There were no private TV stations under Saddam; today Iraq has more than 50. There are at least 260 independent newspapers and magazines in Iraq, vs. none under Saddam. Just 1.5 million cars were registered before the war; by 2005, that had hit 3.1 million.
In short, by almost any objective measure one might choose, Iraqis are today much better off than they were under Saddam. Those that deny this are, frankly, deluded.
Better still, Saddam's jackbooted minions no longer pull people screaming out of their homes for torture sessions and murder.
By some estimates, an average of 50,000 people died each year from Saddam's campaigns of genocide, ethnic cleansing and political murder. Last year, the peak of the surge, there were 18,000 civilian deaths — mostly by terrorists.
Today, Iraq's nascent democracy, though imperfect, seems solid. A recent look at the Index of Political Freedom shows Iraq ranking as the fourth-freest country in the Mideast, out of 20. Those who term the war a "failure" need to define that term.
Since the surge began a year ago, nearly every indicator of violence in the country is down, and down sharply: civilian fatalities, off 80% from the peak; enemy attacks, off 40%; bombings, off 81%.
Yes, U.S. fatalities are nearing 4,000. And every death of every brave soldier is a tragedy. But we lost more soldiers on D-Day.
In 2007 — widely reported by the media last summer as the "worst" yet during the war — 901 American troops lost their lives. By comparison, during the Clinton administration, an average of 938 American soldiers died each year in the military. The notion that we've suffered unconscionable troop losses is false and misleading. This is the most bloodless war in history.
So far, we've spent about $500 billion on the war — less than 1% of our GDP over the past five years. Yet with that money, we've perhaps recast the history of the Mideast, giving its people a chance to throw off the shackles of tyranny and to live in peaceful democracies. We've bashed al-Qaida severely, killing key leaders and demoralizing the terrorist group's followers.
We've not had a single major terrorist attack since 9/11 — no doubt, in part, because we showed our mettle when attacked. Just as important, we've helped make the threat of nuclear annihilation by rogue states a focus of international diplomacy — something that might end up saving the West.
Not bad for an unpopular war. Democrats may propose a total withdrawal of all our troops, as Barack Obama has done, but increasingly Americans look to be siding with President Bush. On Wednesday, he called for us to stay in Iraq until the war is completely won. We agree.
Sir Roger Douglas has hit back at a piece from the Herald's John Armstrong who branded the former finance minister's policies as 'hard right.'
As Sir Roger says in today's NZ Herald, his policies are not so much hard right, it is that Liarbour is so hard left, in want state-owned monopolists to provide services.
All Douglas is promoting is choice and diversity in provision, which even happens in socialist Sweden.
While John Key is playing it right in currently distancing himself from such ideas, I only hope that as Sir Roger does such a fine job in selling them, that they do not appear so radical and scary after all, but a common sense alternative to the failing status quo.
Then, National might have the courage to adopt much of Sir Roger's programme by itself.
But first the debate over state monopolist v private and competitive provision needs to be heard first.