Friday, March 19, 2004

Finally lazy Wilk chimes in 

Vulf - you should not mention pedophilla and Nader in the same sentence. That is below the belt (okay so is his little election tactic. But perhaps he will get his and no one will vote for him. On the other hand, it would be an excellent Republican gambit to paint Kerrry as such a bum that about 2-3% get annoyed and vote for the consumer advocate).

I myself am done with this Presidential election. I have made up my mind. Also, I am willing to help others make up their minds by pointing out that Bush is an arrogant ass but even if someone by chance happens to like the guy, he/she should still vote Bush out if only to get rid of entourage headed by Cheney. Bush is far too talentless to do anything by himself. Edward Abbey wrote that people of average intelligence need to be feared. But I think he was not totally correct. People of low intelligence (with rich parents and hopes of being president) need to be feared even more. They are so easily controlled.

Anyway, that is not what I wanted to write about. Apparently there is a bit to-do over the Polish President's (Aleksander Kwasniewski) statement about the war in Iraq. In the NYT's Krugman writes:

A year ago, President Bush, who had a global mandate to pursue the terrorists responsible for 9/11, went after someone else instead. Most Americans, I suspect, still don't realize how badly this apparent exploitation of the world's good will — and the subsequent failure to find weapons of mass destruction — damaged our credibility. They imagine that only the dastardly French, and now maybe the cowardly Spaniards, doubt our word. But yesterday, according to Agence France-Presse, the president of Poland — which has roughly 2,500 soldiers in Iraq — had this to say: "That they deceived us about the weapons of mass destruction, that's true. We were taken for a ride."

You probably have heard or seen other examples. In Poland this is a big deal and news here is reporting negative reaction in the States ("the Poles can f.o." and so forth).

Well actually, the Polish President did not say "we were taken for a ride." He did use the word "deceive" but then he qualified it by saying that the information was impossible to confirm and that the decision had to be made based on the best available intelligence and the best interpretation of this intelligence. He also said that Poland would stay in Iraq and that it would even take up the slack in Spain pulls out. The "taken for a ride" statement seems to come from an inaccurate translation from Polish into French (and subsequently French into English). He simply did not say that at all.

I am not sure why Poland supports the US position. What has the US done to deserve such an ally? Do we treat them well? Not really. And what does Poland get out of it? Why is Poland even mixed up in Iraq? Unemployment 20%. General feeling of helplessness. And while there is "universal health coverage" the fact is that nearly everyone is uninsured (that is, they are insured, but if they do not pay for services, they have to wait a very long time for them or the service is substandard).


Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Sick (ness Unto Death)...and Wrong! 

Your loved one dies, and does an honorable thing, donating his or her body to science. Assuming that some green medical professional-to-be is going to dissect your body is bad enough--imagine if instead some lunatic is going to cut it into pieces and sell the parts. As Sam Kinnison would say...."It never ends! It never ends!"

Is there a sicker thing in the world than selling off parts of a donor's body? Yes, pedophilia, necrophilia, misogyny, homophobia, blaming the ETA for the Al Qaeda attack in Madrid, or voting for Nader to "teach Americans a lesson" come to mind. But for crying out loud, getting someone to give you their body and then selling off the parts is simply cannibalism. You sell the parts and eat the profits, you're eating these people.

I realize donating blood falls into the same genre...i.e. donating tissue and letting them "resell" it, but at least you can walk away from it.

-Vulf in Europe

Monday, March 15, 2004

Al Qaeda bombs Spain, ousts Bush's lapdog...BUSH IS LOSING THE WAR 

Well, I missed the Madrid bombings by one country on this trip...

The latest casualty count...augmented by Ass-nar

Spain's new prime minister-elect today reiterated that Spain will withdraw its 1,300 troops from Iraq, unless the United Nations begins "taking charge of the situation."

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said "the war has been a disaster, the occupation continues to be a disaster. . . . There must be consequences. There has been one already," he said, "the election result. The second will be that Spanish troops will come back."

Don't think for a second that Al Qaeda has been diminished by the U.S. Now Bush has lost his closest ally in Europe:

Zapatero's Socialist Party won Spain's parliamentary elections Sunday, following the terrorist attack last week on commuter trains in Madrid that claimed 200 lives.

While the outgoing Popular Party tried to blame the Basque separatist organization ETA, evidence surfacing since the bombing has increasingly pointed to Islamic extremists, probably al Qaeda, as the perpetrators of the worst attack in Spain's post-war history.

In the wake of the bombing, analysts interpreted the election results, in part, as a protest of the incumbent Popular Party's staunch but unpopular support of the United States invasion and occupation of Iraq as well as its attempt to shift responsibility for the attack to ETA.

Let's see...the Al Qaeda has just timed its attack to make sure Spain voted the way they preferred. Hmmm. So far Bush has screwed up Afghanistan and made a mess of Iraq, and meanwhile the Al Qaeda is orchestrating regime change in Spain. Who's really winning the war?

-Vulf in Europe

Bertuzzi's Attempted Murder... 

Yet another reason to ignore Pro Sports...couldn't have said it any better than the following:

More on Bertuzzi affair: http://lpit.blogspot.com

Todd Bertuzzi called the press together last night for purposes of offering a tearful apology for his blind-side attack on Steve Moore. At least, that's what we're supposed to believe.

I wanted to take the opportunity to compliment Todd's lawyers on one of the more meticulously crafted statements I've ever heard. If you want to read a transcript of what Todd had to say for himself before I lay in, (click here. http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~84~2010350,00.html)

Now, I'm a communicator and an analyst of communication by trade. I almost never take things at face value, because communication is pretty much NEVER as simple as it seems (the exception is academic writing and professional jargoneering, which is never as complicated as the writers want you to think it is; but that's another story).

So I decided to have a close, critical look at Bertuzzi's statement. Let's go point by point and see what reveals itself, shall we?

TB: "Steve, I just want to apologize for what happened out there. I had no intention of hurting you. I feel awful for what transpired."

Analysis: Note the lack of active voice right from the start. It is one thing, rhetorically, to say "I made mistakes" and another thing entirely to say that "mistakes were made." You can word things in such a way that you seem less implicated, less an agent of action, and hence, less responsible for whatever it is that you did. And with this case, it's already happening.

Todd wants to apologize for "what happened out there," not for "what I did out there." He does use active construction next, but - as will be the case throughout - he uses the "I xxx" formula only when excusing himself. Here it's "I had no intention of hurting you." That will be important once the authorities get him in front of a jury - this statement isn't about apologizing to Moore, it's about establishing a lack of criminal intent to maim.

Next sentence - expresses remorse, but not for "what I did." Instead, "I feel awful for what transpired." Well, hell, I feel awful about what transpired out there, too, so in what way are you different from me, Todd?

TB: "To Steve's family, I am sorry you had to go through this. I am so sorry about what happened out there."

Analysis: More of the same. Not "I'm sorry I put you through this." Not "I am so sorry about what I did out there." No first-person acknowledgment of responsibility - if you didn't know what happened, you could read this entire statement without ever being quite sure that Bertuzzi DID anything, or even WHAT HAPPENED.

TB: "I am relieved to hear that Steve is going to have a full recovery. It means a lot to me to hear that that's going to happen."

Analysis: Without doubt, the most authentically believable thing Bertuzzi says in the entire statement. If Steve has a full recovery, that lessens Todd's culpability. Punishment isn't as tough when the victim lives.

I also assumes facts not in evidence. It doesn't sound, from what we're told, like Moore's been paralyzed, but we're a LONG way from seeing him back on the ice.

TB: "I want to apologize to Mr. Burke (Vancouver Canucks general manager), Mr. McCaw (Canucks owner) and the Vancouver Canucks organization and to my teammates."

Analysis: This is the part that Mr. Burke and Mr. McCaw's lawyers probably wrote, or at least insisted on (assuming they didn't write the whole thing), because the last thing in hell they can afford is to be held responsible. It has to be clear from the git-go that the men upstairs were not responsible. This is especially important since they had been hearing talk of a bounty on Steve Moore for two or three weeks and had done nothing to stop it, a point that will certainly be crucial if Steve Moore ever decides to file a civil suit in the case.

TB: "To the fans of hockey and the fans of Vancouver, to the kids that watch the game, I am truly sorry. I don't play the game that way. I'm not a mean-spirited person. I'm sorry for what happened."

Analysis: Or, "to the potential jury pool in Vancouver, I don't play the game that way, even though you have multiple video angles showing that, in fact, I DO play the game that way. To the fans and kids, please keep buying Bertuzzi jerseys. I am actually a really good guy, and it's going to be a while before I draw another paycheck."

(Note: I'm sorry that last paragraph was written. I'm not the kind of person who takes cynical cheap shots.)

Ahem. Again, more preparation for the coming criminal investigation and trial. Return of the first-person voice, to reiterate that "I'm not the guy you think you saw the other night."

All in all, I can believe that Bertuzzi didn't intend to cripple Moore, but any suggestion that he didn't act with an intent to injure is simply bullshit. All those tears he shed on the stand would have a lot more credibility if the words coming out of his mouth were something more than premeditated jury-spin.

Bertuzzi's performance before the cameras was as gutless and premeditated as his performance on the ice. Here's hoping jurors in Vancouver are smart enough to see through the wall of smoke that is already being pumped into the room.

Bertuzzi jumped Moore from behind and threw his entire weight down on him, trying to kill him. He should be convicted of attempted murder, for that is what it was. Not to mention weeks of pre-meditation.

-Vulf in Europe

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