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The Earth is Flat Award

A celebration of the inane, insipid and asinine...

web posted November 26, 2001

Bernard LandryEvery once in a while you come across a politician who truly boggles the mind. One such politician is Quebec Premier Bernard Landry. During a speech November 18 to a Parti Quebecois convention (the party seeks Quebec's separation from Canada), Landry claimed that the terrorist attacks of September 11 were caused by the bitterness that results when nations like Quebec fail to win independence fueled a wave of outrage last night.

"At this point in human history, the future for nations shall be either libertarian or reactionary," Landry said. "The freedom of peoples and nations and their character is an indispensable condition of global equilibrium: Otherwise we will go from dominant imperialism and disappointment to deep bitterness.

"Since the events of Sept. 11, if there is one conclusion to draw in relation to the project of Quebec sovereignty and the sovereignty and liberty of all people, that is it."

Not knowing when to stop, Landry then referred to Catalonia, a region of Spain which has its own language, culture and limited political autonomy. "The future is Catalan or Taliban," Landry said, stating that he was quoting former U.S. president Bill Clinton.

A spokesman for the gaffe prone premier told reporters after that Landry was not, in fact, trying to link Quebec's withering separation movement to the September 11 attacks.

Of course not.

web posted November 5, 2001

It would appear that holding an election is harder than most people realize. It's a fact that the Screen Actors Guild learned the hard way recently.

On November 1, SAG decided to proceed with an election despite possible polling irregularities. That night, union's elections committee decided to defer, until after the election, a decision on a request to impound thousands of ballots due to alleged violations of procedure. The problem was that 25 000 ballots sent out to New York voters lack a signature line or instructions even though the New York rules specify those conditions; the other 73 000 SAG ballots contain signature lines and instructions. SAG insisted earlier in the week that unsigned ballots will still be counted.

The panel's decision capped a day of uncertainty, fueled by mounting disclosures of rule violations and calls to void the contest. Candidates were floored over the refusal of SAG staff and executives to explain what transpired.

Stunning developments continued mounting on November 1 with the emergence of a document from polling administrator Sequoia Voting Systems showing an explicit violation of Sequoia's agreement with SAG. The Sequoia-SAG agreement covering New York elections specifies that "ballot return envelopes will be inspected for any required certification including required signature. Unsigned ballots will be set aside."

What's so humorous about the situation, along with the fact that it occurred nearly a year to the day that another election imbroglio began to erupt, is that so many Hollywood bright lights so condemned George W. Bush for winning a contested election. Many today still refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of his administration though Rosie O'Donnell -- of all people -- announced last week that she was fully supportive of Dubya's leadership during this time of war. Perhaps Hollywood liberals have learned an election that the self-described wisest people on the planet, actors and actresses, aren't quite as bright as they thought.

For the record, Melissa Gilbert (45.3 per cent) defeated Valerie Harper (39.4 per cent) for the SAG presidency. No word on whether Alec Baldwin announced whether he would move to France after the election.

The Vinegar in Freedom Award

There is an old Serbian proverb that says vinegar in freedom tastes better than honey in slavery. This award is meant for events and people Enter Stage Right considers to be positive.

web posted November 5, 2001

The American-led military campaign in Afghanistan is only a few weeks old but already the media is beginning to use the words "failure" and "doubt" in their news stories. What's prompted this pessimism isn't known. Consider this: the military campaign has already destroyed the air capability of the Taliban, its command and control network, its air defense capabilities, troops possibly running into the hundreds, military infrastructure and has left the religious dictatorship able to at best feebly respond to further attacks.

A Northern Alliance fighter looks at smoke rising after U.S. Air Force jets bombed front line Taliban positions in Estarghech, some 35 kms north of the Afghan capital Kabul on November 3
A Northern Alliance fighter looks at smoke rising after U.S. Air Force jets bombed front line Taliban positions in Estarghech, some 35 kms north of the Afghan capital Kabul on November 3

All without the death of a single American or British soldier in combat. We are, of course, aware that deaths among American forces have occurred, but not because of Taliban efforts.

By most reckonings that's a successful beginning to a military campaign. I doubt that Clausewitz or Sun Tzu would think at this point that the assault isn't a complete success. Granted, the much trickier ground operation remains to be conducted but if the Powell Doctrine is followed -- American soldiers should only be sent in overwhelming numbers with a clear target and exit strategy -- then it's hard not to believe that the second stage should also be a success.

Of course, the media doesn't see it that way. With information tightly controlled by the Pentagon -- as it should be when soldiers are operating during the early stages of a war -- the media has come to believe that no news must mean failure. Unless spectacular victories occur on a daily basis then the war must be grinding down. With an attitude like that, today's media would have declared the early days of the Battle of the Bulge or Operation Market Garden the end of the Second World War and a victory for Nazi Germany.

We here at ESR like to take a longer range view. To date, the war has been a complete success. It is being prosecuted with absolute efficiency and with a clear result in mind: the disabling of the Taliban, its armed forces, and the forced inactivity of Osama bin Laden -- the later who has been reduced to making videotapes decrying his opponents. We salute the soldiers currently serving as part of the operation to capture bin Laden and the fine work that they have done. Let the nattering nabobs of negativity have their "failures." The rest of America knows the truth.

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