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Quotes, Quips and Questions
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, July 29, 2006

If you can't win them over to your side, buy them:
The Taliban has found a way to recruit fighters that is less about winning hearts and minds and more about the enduring appeal of cold hard cash.

They are paying fighters up to $12 a day to fight the fledgling Afghan National Army, which pays only $4 a day to its soldiers in the field, according to military officials.
Do I hear $13 a day? Thirteen, going once ...

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Much hand-wringing is taking place over the hundreds of civilian deaths in Lebanon as a result of Israeli attacks against Hezbollah. But if I didn't point you to this, you'd most likely never even know this happened or the level of loss incurred:
War in the Democratic Republic of Congo ended with a peace deal in 2003, but fighting continues. The total number of deaths is estimated at four million, though some experts put the figure much higher.
Where's the outrage? Where's the call for action? Where's the press? Where is the UN? Where are all the talking heads solemnly shaking their heads and saying "never again"? Oh wait, I forgot...Darfur.
"The snapshot of what it is like to be a child in this country is dark. Sexual assaults are used as a weapon of war against young women and children. Last year alone, 25,000 cases were reported…Every month as many as 120,000 people are displaced from their homes…As many as 30,000 children have been associated with the armed forces or rebel groups as fighters, as sexual slaves or as camp followers."
Talk about lost generations.

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Howard Dean wants to stop the divisiveness. No, really. And, as usual, in a campaign stop in FL in support of Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, Dean took the high road:
"Thank God for Bill Nelson, because we'd have another crook in the United States Senate if it weren't for him. He is going to beat the pants off Katherine Harris," Dean said during his 20-minute address. "She doesn't understand that it's…improper to be chairman of a campaign and count the votes at the same time. This is not Russia and she is not Stalin."
On Bush:
"He's always talking about those people. It's always somebody else's fault. It's the gays' fault. It's the immigrants' fault. It's the liberals' fault. It's the Democrats' fault. It's Hollywood people," Dean said. "Americans are sick of that. Even if you win elections doing that, you drag down our country."
On Iraqi PM Maliki:
"The Iraqi prime minister is an anti-Semite," the Democratic leader told a gathering of business leaders in Florida. "We don't need to spend $200 and $300 and $500 billion dollars bringing democracy to Iraq to turn it over to people who believe that Israel doesn't have a right to defend itself and who refuse to condemn Hezbollah."
After that barrage, I'm guessing he's talking about divisiveness in the Democratic party. Hello, Joe Lieberman?

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"I am a Muslim American, angry at Israel."

Those, reportedly, were the words of a gunman who walked into the Jewish Federation in Seattle, WA and shot and killed 1 and wounded 5 others.

As the story says:
Authorities have been advising synagogues and Jewish groups to be watchful in the weeks since hostilities erupted between Israel and Lebanon.
Yet all I seem to ever hear is CAIR carrying on ceaselessly about how Muslims in this country feel threatened and intimidated.

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Ah San Francisco. A beautiful place, a fun place to visit and an expensive place to live. Guess what? It just got more expensive and even less employer friendly:
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to make the city the nation's first to provide all residents with health care, approving a plan that would give adults access to medical services regardless of their immigration or employment status.

Financed by local government, mandatory contributions from employers and income-adjusted premiums, the universal care plan would cover the cost of everything from checkups, prescription drugs and X-rays to ambulance rides, blood tests and operations.
The two things I see coming out of this is an influx of those seeking medical care paid for by someone else and an exit of employers disgusted with having to pay "mandatory contributions" (was ever there a bigger oxymoron than that?).

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Speaking of cities too dumb to survive, Chicago takes a step in that direction as well:
The City Council brushed aside warnings from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to approve an ordinance that makes Chicago the biggest city in the nation to require big-box retailers to pay a "living wage."

The ordinance, which passed 35-14 Wednesday after three hours of impassioned debate, requires mega-retailers to pay wages of at least $10 an hour plus $3 in fringe benefits by mid-2010. It would only apply to companies with more than $1 billion in annual sales and stores of at least 90,000 square feet.

Supporters of the proposed 'living wage' ordinance that would force "big box" stores such as Wal-Mart and Target inside Chicago's city limits to pay workers more money cheer as Alderman Joseph Moore addresses the city council about the ordinance Wednesday, July 26, 2006, in Chicago. The council is to vote on the ordinance later today.

"It's trying to get the largest companies in America to pay decent wages," Alderman Toni Preckwinkle said.
Wal-Mart's answer? No problem, we'll just relocate to the burbs. At $3 a gallon for gas, I'm sure Chicagoans will appreciate the diminished savings they'll now get from making the drive out from the city.

Jerry Roper, of the Chicago Chamber of Commerce, summed it up nicely:
"The aldermen who voted in support of this ... helped put the sign up really big that development in Chicago is dead," Roper said.
And if there is any development, look for it to be in the area of 89,000 square feet at the most and from smaller retailers who have no particular interest in discount merchandising, now that Wal-Mart and Target have all but been run out of town.

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Apparently the IDF is using a new tactic to lessen civilian casualties. They phone a house owner prior to bombing his house:
"It was Monday night, about 10:30 in the evening," said [Omar al-Mamluk] the officer from the Palestinian security forces who lived in the house with his two wives and 19 children.

"I received a call with the number of the caller hidden. I thought it was a prank by one of my mates. I asked, 'Are you joking?' and got the reply, 'The Israeli army doesn't make jokes.' Then the caller hung up."
Mamluk evacuated his house, warned his neighbors and blocked the streets leading into the area where his house is. 25 minutes later, it was flattened by and Israeli F-16.
The Palestinian government has condemned the Israeli tactics, accusing the Jewish state of psychological warfare aimed at creating a climate of fear.
A bombed house smacks of more than "psychological warfare" and as far as creating a "climate of fear", I'd be interested to know if Mr. Mamluk would have preferred not to have received the call?
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
On paying soldiers in Afghanistan: if they can be bought so cheaply, let’s spend another billion dollars and end this war tomorrow.
Unless it’s really not about the pay.
-=-=-=-=-
On the Congo: not a big surprise. People are almost without exception selective in their zeal for humanitarian causes.
-=-=-=-=-
On San Francisco’s universal health care: more of this please, and faster. I want to see just how much it takes to make Atlas shrug.
-=-=-=-=-
On Chicago: much the same. Wal-Mart is cleverly building right outside city limits to avoid this BS. Frankly, I whole-heartedly support this mini-exhibition of federalism at work.

I can’t help but laugh when I see all those anti-"big box" people cheering on City Council’s decision to rob Chicago of efficiently-delivered goods, jobs for their lowest-skilled workers, and tax revenue.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
But if I didn’t point you to this, you’d most likely never even know this happened or the level of loss incurred
This story is on the main page of the New York Times website today.
 
Written By: cllam
URL: http://
By the way: given that $1 billion figure I mentioned, at $13 a day, we could pay 210,748 soldiers to fight for us for a year. So it probably wouldn’t require quite that much money to hire enough guns to finish the job... if indeed you could hire reliable mercenaries at that price. Anyone doubt that we could outspend the Taliban?

Unfortunately, I doubt it’s quite that simple.
-=-=-=-=-
cllam has you (and me, I guess) on the Congo thing — it is being reported — although you won’t hear the "calls for action" you hear for certain other humanitarian causes.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
This story is on the main page of the New York Times website today.
Yeah ... it shows up occasionally in a number of places (it’s been going on since last century). But other than a bunch of tongue clucking and tut-tutting, to what end?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I wonder how far $12 a day goes in Afghanistan. That said (to paraphrase), I feel nothing over the death of Taliban mercenaries. Screw them.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Now, now, Wulf..... you’re going to get Stoller and Kos and that crowd all upset.

And McQ; the meaning of Dean’s call is clear... Stopping the divisiveness, means agreeing with him.

Hmmm. A rather remarkable similarity to Radical Islam, in that sense, isn’t it?

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
I am a Muslim American, angry at Israel."
So man up and go to Lebannon and practice jihad against targets who will fire back. P*ssy.
This is not Russia and she is not Stalin."
It’s refreshing to see a prominent member of the left taking a derogatory view of a leftist murderer. Now if we can only stop the Che and Castro worship...
The Iraqi prime minister is an anti-Semite," the Democratic leader told a gathering of business leaders in Florida. "We don’t need to spend $200 and $300 and $500 billion dollars bringing democracy to Iraq to turn it over to people who believe that Israel doesn’t have a right to defend itself and who refuse to condemn Hezbollah
"But we’ll gladly take all the support and donations we can get from the Kos crowd, who also don’t believe in the right of Israel to defend themselves" Dean went on to say.
The City Council brushed aside warnings from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to approve an ordinance that makes Chicago the biggest city in the nation to require big-box retailers to pay a "living wage."
Now the crusade has gone from a minimum wage to a "living wage". Well, there’s living and then there’s living, you know? How long until these social planning mandate retailers pay enough to keep employees living in luxury condos? In the meantime, those in the inner cities can enjoy paying $5.50 for a stale loaf of bread at the local craphole market.
 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
I’ve turned over a new leaf here, today, McQ. Thanks.

You see, I would usually take issue with your constant condescension over the media’s lack of, or disproportionate coverage to any given issue. And I would usually, gleefully, write retort covering well beaten ground like consumer driven market, free market industry, voluntary involvement, and wanting critics desperate for information that reinforces their political beliefs.

And then throw in a, “well, if you don’t like it, then do it yourself” for good measure.

But not today. Today is a new day. The sun is shining and the air is sweet with life.
My therapist – Melissa the barkeep down at The Richmond Arms – tells me that I need to let go of my habitual cynicism, and she tells me that not everyone is a fool, a thief, or a liar.
She tells me that I should look upon things that I would normally take with great cynicism, and look for a way to turn it to my personal advantage.
I think that’s good advice.

So today, when I see McQ write things like this,
But if I didn’t point you to this, you’d most likely never even know this happened or the level of loss incurred:
Or on Wednesday when McQ wrote this,
But if anyone has watched or read various news reports from Beirut from other sources, this is hardly well known.
And see that I knew about those things. From news sources. Like here, here, and here.
I’m not going to take that as McQ is wrong, and that it is being reported, and that people would know about this if McQ hadn’t told us; But I’ll take it a different way.

I’ll take that for personal indulgence. That not everyone is as well read as I, that not everyone is learned as I, and that not everyone is as canny as I.

Thanks, McQ. Thanks giving me my daily affirmation.

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Thanks, McQ. Thanks giving me my daily affirmation.
Are you allergic to bee stings?

Just wondering.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
But I do have a serious question for you Pogue ... did you know the total for the Congo’s civil war is estimated to be in the 4 million range?

And if you did, do you think it’s pretty common knowledge? I mean, it would seem to me any war in which there were casualties in six figures, much less seven, would warrant more than an occasional mention. My goodness, look at Iraq and Lebanon for example.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
And if you did, do you think it’s pretty common knowledge?
Right, right. No, I don’t think it is common knowledge in America. Hell, I would be surprised if your average American could tell you what the DRC is and where The Congo is. Which is why now that I will take that as affirmation. ;)
Seriously though, I understand your point. I’m just breakin’ balls here.

I do understand why there is an abundant amount of reports coming out of the ME versus Central Africa. It’s the simple reason that we are heavily involved in the ME region and any pertinent activity – such as war, death, and destruction – deserves our, via the press, scrutiny. I don’t have to remind you that we have thousands and thousand of military personal over there; I don’t have to remind you that our attackers spawned from that wretched pool. Our involvement in Central Africa is, rightly or wrongly, minimal at best.
I really believe it’s that simple.

I don’t believe, like some people I know, that it is some sort of bias or that the media has an “agenda” other than reporting the news as they see it and turning a profit.

There’s also the so-called bad news fatigue. You know, there is only so much pain, death, misery that the consumer can handle. I believe that is why you see “puff” pieces on the news all of the time. To balance the bitter with the sweet.
Should reports from The Congo garner more attention than some mentally handicapped kid playing basketball? Absolutely. But I saw that on CBS Evening News… Twice.

The bitter with the sweet.
Which reminds me, one cannot be allergic to bee venom and do what I do.

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Should reports from The Congo garner more attention than some mentally handicapped kid playing basketball? Absolutely. But I saw that on CBS Evening News. Twice.
Well yeah, Pogue, that’s because it is a hot topic right now, kind of like Darfur is occassionally.

Tell me how many times you see things on it in a month, OK?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Like it or not we deal mainly with the place that is in our "national interest." At the moment the ME can if they got it together severly hurt the US and other western nations. They have chemical weapons willy nilly all over the place, atomic weapons begining to show up all over and say every other day how they will use them on our interests. Duhhhh... yea we are paying attention.

Africa..they couldn’t hurt anyone at the moment so we don’t pay attention. We will wait till the radicals take over and have a good foothold. Build defence and then offensive weapons then pay attention.

It kinda sucks. In my opinion we cant forcfully do anything until they threaten us. That would go against my belief in let live and living. However, if we wait to pay attention to Africa until they can hurt us then we are back with a new ME.

 
Written By: SkyWatch
URL: http://
PogueMahone -
I do understand why there is an abundant amount of reports coming out of the ME versus Central Africa. It’s the simple reason that we are heavily involved in the ME region and any pertinent activity – such as war, death, and destruction – deserves our, via the press, scrutiny. I don’t have to remind you that we have thousands and thousand of military personal over there; I don’t have to remind you that our attackers spawned from that wretched pool. Our involvement in Central Africa is, rightly or wrongly, minimal at best.
I really believe it’s that simple.
I don’t think so.

The patterns of US media coverage are selective in ways that do not reflect "US involvement". The atrocities of the Hun in WWI were well documented, the depredations of Japan against China were covered intensely in the 30s - all while the butchery of the Bolsheviks and atrocities like the Ukraine Famine were covered up. It was more about giving Communism a pass from media scrutiny while covering "non-progressive barbarism". Like the ME, where American ground presence was minimal outside expats in the Gulf, American involvement in the great media events of the 1st half of the 20th Century was also minimal. The Spanish Civil War was a media event - and it was covered as the "good" Communists and Progressives against the "bad" Catholics and "Reactionaries".

Post WWII - Israel gets more coverage than any USA state save perhaps California, more than any nation save perhaps the USSR, and more recently, China and Mexico - reflecting economic manufacturing dominance and demographics, respectively. Israel’s early routine front page coverage reflects the support of Jewish socialists who heavily populate the ranks of media owners, writers, editors, and journalists, seeing the rise of a model socialist paradise state supported by both the US and the Soviet Union. But our involvement with Israel was minimal for the 1st 25 years of it’s history while for much of our media, it was covered as a major nation. In later years, it was Leftist Jews adopting the victim-oppressor meme to the Pal-Israel conflict, and the tremendous power of the Israel Lobby, the curious rural Christian evangelists - in making Israel a strange centerpiece of American diplomacy and foreign policy direction. Coverage of Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia primarily involves media fascination as to how those nations affect Israel. Outside America, since a global press exists, coverage of the ME has picked up - for the first 30 years, Israel was a progessive socialist nation. Then it became the tail wagging the US dog, and the nexus of victim-oppressor debate, the likely epicenter of WWIII, and with the ME in Europe’s back yard and the demographics of radicalized Muslims invading Europe, a debate happening in every city.

As for subsaharan Africa, we, Asia, and Europe consider it peripheral and tacitly, full of primitive blacks unable to self-govern themselves. New Orleans writ large. THe only media coverage since WWII was PC about how wonderful it was that black nations were independent, the black victim - white oppressor meme again played out in S Africa, the wonderful animals there and how to save them, rock stars "saving starving black people". We generally consider, as does the media though they would never admit it - beyond meaningful salvage. Which is why outside blubbering NGOs - the slaughter, democide, anarchy of places like Zaire, now the Congo, Rwanda, Nigeria tribal warfare, Sudan, Liberia, Etria, Somalia, Angola are generally ignored. The head of Central African Republic was a cannibal? The modern world was shocked, just shocked - and it made for the only "tasty" news coverage of that sorrya$$ place in 40 years. Famines in Africa can capture our attention for a little while with the typical starving crying baby with a distended belly and the compassionate blonde Swede babe "saving it", but we all know the Swede moves on and the Famines are cyclical in lands where overpopulation has destroyed the environment and ability of a population to weather drought. Those lands once had 20 times less people for good reason. More was not sustainable.
 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
"the atrocities of the Hun in WWI were well documented"
The atoricities of the Hun in WWI were largely invented. The chopping nuns hands off and all that.

The Brits made it up to involve us.

For example, the Lusitania really was carrying armaments, she was a legal target.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
All nations had to go thru a "the biggest, meanest, most unethical" ruler faze to make them a nation. The toughest finally won and joined a nation under one roof. After a few generations the ruler stopped being so ruthless becuase they didn’t have to fight anymore. They had already won.

Africa, never did for whatever reason. One of the earliest peoples but never had a conquer take over the nation. It stayed in tribal form and never became one. Africa became easy pickins because all a nation had to fight was this tribe over here or that tribe over there never a nation.

Now, it is doubtful we could leave it alone long enough to become a nation since the killing would make the 4 million chicken feed.
 
Written By: SkyWtach
URL: http://
By the way: given that $1 billion figure I mentioned, at $13 a day, we could pay 210,748 soldiers to fight for us for a year.
There’s a bit of a problem with that. If they take the money from the Taliban and then fail to follow through on their soldiering, they’ll probably be shot. If we offered money and they took it, most would bug out, we would not know how to find them, and we wouldn’t really do anything to them if we did.

It’s the disadvantage of fighting in a way that, despite the braying of the left, is actually quite a stretch more moral than the way the other side fights.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
If salaries mean the Taliban continue their current practice of bunching up so they can be killed in wholesale lots, I’m all for it. It’s like the flypaper strategy with the other side paying for the glue.
 
Written By: Achillea
URL: http://
If the media showed a picture a day of a woman and child harmed in the Congo like they do for Lebanon, we’d care a whole lot more.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Where are the Taliban (defeated ex-governers of the 3rd poorest state in the world) getting liquidity to pay $12 per day?

Last time round they were supported by the ISI, but hopefully the Pakis are not helping this time. That leaves the drug trade - war on terror morphs to war on drugs; or they are funded by those same ammorphous unknown, possibly non-existant, certainly rich jihadi supporters from somewhere that fund Al Qaeda.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
I disagree Harun. The media has tried to get our attention (Sally Strothers comes to mind and Feed the Children) but when it comes down to it we dont care as much for them becuase they are not threating us at the moment. They are killing and starving thier own people but not saying that they will kill us.

I think it’s a part of human nature that we pay more attention to the persons saying they want to kill me and my family. It’s just to bad that that thinking leads poorer nations to act out in order to get attention.
 
Written By: SkyWatch
URL: http://
As for subsaharan Africa, we, Asia, and Europe consider it peripheral and tacitly, full of primitive blacks unable to self-govern themselves. New Orleans writ large.
Game ball goes to C. Ford. That is the most succinct comparison of apples to apples I have heard this year (I live in the New Orleans area). Well done.
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://repatriate.blogspot.com
There are about 16,500 uniformed troops for the UN in the Congo (85 peacekeepers got killed there allready). That’s quite a big part of the ca. 60,000 UN troops worldwide employed.

Yes we were aware, in our part of the globe.
 
Written By: dutchmarbel
URL: marbel.info/blog/

 
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