Friday, April 15, 2005

I thought it appropriate on April 15 to post this diatribe from T. Coleman Andrews, who is a former commissioner of the IRS:

(I ripped this off from Neal Boortz's site. Boortz is a huge pusher of the FairTax plan, and has just finished a book with John Linder (R) Georgia on the subject.)

"Congress went beyond merely enacting an income tax law and repealed Article IV of the Bill of Rights, by empowering the tax collector to do the very things from which that article says we were to be secure. It opened up our homes, our papers and our effects to the prying eyes of government agents and set the stage for searches of our books and vaults and for inquiries into our private affairs whenever the tax men might decide, even though there might not be any justification beyond mere cynical suspicion.

The income tax is bad because it has robbed you and me of the guarantee of privacy and the respect for our property that were given to us in Article IV of the Bill of Rights. This invasion is absolute and complete as far as the amount of tax that can be assessed is concerned. Please remember that under the Sixteenth Amendment, Congress can take 100% of our income anytime it wants to. As a matter of fact, right now it is imposing a tax as high as 91%. This is downright confiscation and cannot be defended on any other grounds.

The income tax is bad because it was conceived in class hatred, is an instrument of vengeance and plays right into the hands of the communists. It employs the vicious communist principle of taking from each according to his accumulation of the fruits of his labor and giving to others according to their needs, regardless of whether those needs are the result of indolence or lack of pride, self-respect, personal dignity or other attributes of men.

The income tax is fulfilling the Marxist prophecy that the surest way to destroy a capitalist society is by steeply graduated taxes on income and heavy levies upon the estates of people when they die.  

As matters now stand, if our children make the most of their capabilities and training, they will have to give most of it to the tax collector and so become slaves of the government. People cannot pull themselves up by the bootstraps anymore because the tax collector gets the boots and the straps as well.  

The income tax is bad because it is oppressive to all and discriminates particularly against those people who prove themselves most adept at keeping the wheels of business turning and creating maximum employment and a high standard of living for their fellow men.  

I believe that a better way to raise revenue not only can be found but must be found because I am convinced that the present system is leading us right back to the very tyranny from which those, who established this land of freedom, risked their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to forever free themselves..."  

T. Coleman Andrews.  Andrews Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service for three years, from 1953 until 1955.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


I could have used another fancy title, like "THE STAVDA WATCH" , "BELGIAN COMMIES ARE AT IT AGAIN", or "GULP???". Instead I chose this one. It’s the literal translation of the caption above the article shown below, as it appeared in this weekend’s edition (April 9/10, 2005) of leading Belgian newspaper "The Daily Crap", aka "De Standaard" aka "The Stavda" aka whatever wait till we smoke your rat’s hole out.

Commie nonsense


Said article is the rotten fruit of a imperfect brainstorm inside the head of a fella named Ayatollah Jawad al-Khalisi, who is the Secretary-General of an outfit called the Iraqi National Constituent Congress. On June 17, 2004, Auntie Beeb had this to say about the INCC:

The Iraqi National Constituent Congress has brought together prominent Sunni and Shia figures to oppose the US-led occupation of Iraq. It was formed in May 2004 and is led by the respected Shia cleric Jawad al-Khalisi.

On its 16-strong leadership panel are other Shia leaders, and also Sheikh Harith al-Dhari, leader of the Sunni Muslim Ulema Council (note from MFBB: the Association of Muslim Scholars).The group's 500 members also include Kurds and Arab nationalists.
It has pledged to boycott any US-sponsored political group, including the Iraqi Governing Council, to re-establish the national army and to restore sovereignty under the auspices of blah blah blah...

Ok, now that you know that, I’ll have the honor of providing some translated excerpts. Watch out though:

don masks please"The US-British occupation of Iraq is poisoning all political processes in my country and across the Middle East. The elections held under the control of the occupying forces in January were neither free nor fair.

The occupying powers are now following a policy of divide and rule, encouraging sectarian and ethnic divisions and imposing them on all the institutions they have created.

Incidents such as the recent kidnapping of an Italian journalist, released only to be received by a hail of bullets from the US liberators, have fuelled widespread suspicions in Iraq as to who is in fact responsible for many of the terrorist acts - kidnappings, assassinations, and indiscriminate bombing and killing -that are engulfing the whole of Iraq...

Not one of the terrorist crimes has been solved and not a single perpetrator put on trial. After each major terrorist crime, the arrest of perpetrators is proclaimed, using names and personalities spread by the US-controlled media...

These crimes are a taste of the hell created by the US project in the Middle East..

In the same way, the Iraq crisis cannot be resolved by patching up a detested occupation with fraudulent elections and sectarian and ethnic caucuses supported by the occupiers...

The US today is still the ally and backer of many such tyrannical regimes in our region and elsewhere..."

Had enough? I certainly do. Now, take a look at how this article was published in the Guardian, since "De Standaard" copyrighted it from that newspaper in the first place. I'd say that Belgians beat Brits in opinionmaking.

…and compare it with the way The Pride of Belgian Journalism puts it, above. The format you see is the one used in the "Opinie & Analyse" pages (Opinion & Analysis, I’m sure you were smart enough to figure that out). In these pages, De Standaard’s selected, ahem, analysts review global political issues and offer, well, opinions and analysis, in other words informed comment. The way Mr. al-Khalisis ramblings were trusted onto precious Flemish recycled paper however tends to lead the innocent, or shall we say, the silly reader to take what is printed for granted. The article and the way the layout is done leaves no room on the page for other topics, since below it (not shown), there’s just an overview of De Standaard staff explaining who does what.

My point is, I’ve been looking on the Web for more info on Jawad al-Khalisi. I’ve been querying on ITM and Big Pharaoh, searching for election results here and there and, to cut a long story short, found no evidence whatsoever that this dude represents anything more than "vijf man en een paardekop", or five blokes and a horsehead, as we here in Flemingland say. Meaning the INCC Secretary-General weighs in on Iraqs political decisionmaking about as heavily as Camilla Parker-Bowles.

Now the question is: WHY for God’s sake would newspapers like the Guardian or De Standaard be willing to spend so much attention to a dipshit raving Khomeini clone whom they think worthy of offering his insights on Iraqi democracy while he can’t in all likelihood tell the US’s electoral processus from, say, Zimbabwes? The answer is simple: a nice rant fitting exactly in the gloomy picture they so LOOOOOOVE to present. Looooooooots of sappy quotes castigating the evil US of A.

Ladies and gentlemen, make no mistake. Drivel like this is no exception. Like I said time and again before, "news" like this is the rule. Comprendo? Now if you feel ever so apt to blame the euroweenies for their ungrateful attitude towards Uncle Sam, try to imagine for a moment how YOU would look at your government if you were fed nonsense like this not for two months, not for two years, not for two decades, no, for FORTY GODDAM YEARS!!!!

Oh, I know how proud you all are of your "winner-takes-all electoral system". And frankly, you have every right to. It makes for clean and straight politics and quick formation of administrations. No mess like in Europe or Iraq (ok, forget 2000, blame that on, uh, Bush). We all know the fancy maps of the States with Jesusland colored bright red and some fringe areas on the east and west coast in blue huh? Now, while that’s a nice way to illustrate Dubyas victory, you’d maybe do well to ponder how the map would have looked if you had adopted Europes representative system. The States would be Purple from LA till Bangor and from Anchorage to Nogales folks.

By which I mean to say: you had FOX. You had Power Line. You had the WSJ. You had Buckhead. You had Rush Limbaugh. You had LGF. You even had Sandy Bergers, Joe Wilsons and Dan Rathers screwups. AND STILL Bush won only by a – admit it – narrow margin!!! Now, over here in the Union of Nanny States we have NOTHING of all that. But we have PLENTY of stinkin sh*t like The Stavda. Why are you surprised Europe is anti-American?

The media is the key people. Take my word for it. I won't say it twice. The media is the key. The media is the key. The media is the key. The media is the key. the media is the key. The media is the key. We need a European FOX. For starters. Presto.



In Iraq The Model's comments section, I asked the Fadhil Brothers and the other posters if they knew who this Jawad al-Khalisi was. Omar was so kind to answer me by email not two hours later:

Hi Michael,
regarding your question on the comment section:

I actually don't think that this Ayatollah is a member of the National Assembly because he was against the elections in the 1st place.
but still, the constitution drafting society may include many members from outside the Assembly. I will do more research on this and update you if I happen to find any further information.

Best my friend,


So. This guy al-Chalico is in all likelihood not even a member of the 275-strong Iraqi Assembly. I gather he means doodley-squat in Iraqi politics. The Graudian and De Standaard see fit to give the A-hole a FORUM.... just because he says what they LOVE TO HEAR. Thanks Omar. May you eat Belgian Fries at least once in your lifetime.

Sunday, April 10, 2005


For some time I have been wanting to write some stuff on the Boeing-Airbus mêlée, since it is reminiscent of the greater economic struggle being waged between the USA and the EU. Its example can thus not only highlight the pitfalls but also the mutual benefits of economic interaction between adversaries which sport both striking similarities as well as radical differences in philosophy and approach.

Initially, I meant to keep the story short, but as I began digging into the ample material available on the Net, it became apparent I'd need to make this a fleshed-out post around several chapters or else leave the task to others. Indeed, the intricate Boeing/Airbus Saga is something deserving far more attention than the piecemeal media reporting, and I hope that in the nearby future some author will take up the challenge to devote a volume on the subject. In the meantime, I hope the following post, structured around five chapters, can shed some light and offer new insights on a conflict which, while it threatens to turn ugly, also holds the promise of substantial mutual benefits. The chapters are:

1.) A new era: the Airbus A380

2.) A Brief History of Airbus

3.) The Boeing/Airbus Feud

4.) A difficult choice - and Boeings dilemma

5.) Conclusions

Today, I will submit the first two chapters.

1.) A new era: the Airbus A380.

It must have been a glorious moment for the quartet of key European leaders President Chirac, Chancellor Schroeder, PM Zapatero and PM Blair, marred as all four of them had been for different reasons, when on January 18, 2005, the Airbus management, before a 5,000-strong audience and in the presence of said gentlemen, revealed its new flagship, the A380, to the press. The 73-meter (238ft 8in) long triple-deck passenger jet was proudly displayed in Airbus’s gigantic assembly hall, the biggest building (490m x 250m x 46m) on the site of the so-called Jean-Luc Lagadère factory in Blagnac near Toulouse. The A380, which will eclipse the Boeing 747 as the world’s biggest airliner, can seat 555 passengers in a three-class arrangement, but this can be raised to 800, which is why the official denomination is A380-800. Its specifications are impressive: a wing span of 79.8 m (261ft 10 in), a height of 24.1m (79ft), and a maximum takeoff weight of 560 tons (1,234,600 lb). Thrust is provided by four 302 to 374kN (68,000 to 84,000lb) Rolls Royce Trent RB 967 turbofans or four EA GP-7267 turbofans (EA = Engine Alliance, a joint venture of General Electric and Pratt&Whitney).

Airbus A380; image by Airbus Industrie

For all its innovative technology like advanced avionics and novel materials (a.o. a fibre-aluminium composite material called GLARE), the outward appearance of the A380 is, apart from its size, rather conventional. Indeed, were it not for the double row of windows, the big Airbus would simply look like an upscaled version of the veteran A330/340. That is not to say no trails leading to a distinctly different look have been considered, since one of the numerous models provided for a very wide (twelve seats abreast) rather than high airframe as well as twin tails. But in the end the designers returned to the trusted basic passenger’s jet configuration as we have known it for forty years, a sleek cylindrical body upon swept-back wings with engines podded underneath. It should also be noted that this conventional layout greatly attributes to easier pilot conversion and commonality throughout the Airbus family.

Airbus A380; image by Airbus Industrie

The massive Airbus is, as everyone realizes, the first true competitor to Boeings 35-year old 747. And it shows: on the very day the A380 was presented, January 18, 2005, Airbus could boast 149 firm orders. The company claims the break even point for the gigantic investment is some 260 orders. By contrast, sales for the Jumbo have all but dried up, the few examples sold yet being mostly intended for cargo.

b.) A Brief History of Airbus

The story of Airbus is a study in microcosm of successful European cooperation. It all started in 1970 when Frances Aerospatiale and Germany’s Deutsche Aerospace merged to form the Airbus Industrie GIE (Groupement d’Intérêt Economique, literally Group of Economic Interest) consortium, as by the late sixties it had become increasingly clear that no single European aircraft company could compete effectively with US giants like Lockheed, McDonnell-Douglas and especially Boeing. In 1971 Spains Construcciones Aeronauticas S.A. (CASA) joined, and 1972 saw the launch of Airbus’ first aircraft, the A300, which could transport 226 passengers in a two-class layout. It is interesting to note that by introducing this plane, Airbus directly entered the middle class segment of commercial airliners.

The mid-seventies were by far the toughest years for the young consortium with very few new orders placed (none in 1976!). All that changed after a desperate attempt by Airbus to break into the US market when the US’s bankrupt Eastern Airlines leased 23 A300B4s (initially four) at very favourable conditions (a.o. with maintenance and US certification paid for by Airbus). This apparently boosted airline confidence in the new company enough to resume placing orders. And so, by the beginning of 1978 Airbus had 133 plus firm orders as well as a market share by value of 26 percent. 1978 also saw the introduction of the A310, in outward appearance a shorter A300 but incorporating such novelties as a two-man cockpit and CRT displays instead of dials.

In 1979 British Aerospace became Airbus’s fourth full member. In 1984 the A320 entered the market, setting a new standard as the first commercial jet with fly-by-wire and sidesticks. Now while the A300 and the shorter A310 were essentially middle-class jets, the A320 was meant to be Airbus’s competitor for the so-called "narrow bodies" (single aisle, short range), competing in that field with jets like Boeings 727 and 737, BAC’s One-Eleven and Douglas’ DC-9. The A320 was the first of Airbus’ "small" family, a range that since 1984 has seen the emergence of the A318, for 100 passengers, and the A319, capable of transporting 125 passengers. Linking Airbus’s lower manufacturing end to its middle class was the A321, essentially a longer A320.

Having thus established itself in the market for small and medium-sized commercial jet planes, Airbus then embarked, in 1987, on the production of jets in the "widebody" segment (double aisle, medium to long range), and these would eventually become known as the four-engined A340 (launched 1993) and the twin-engined A330 (launched 1994).

In 1991, Airbus began talks with major international airline companies to investigate the development of a new super-huge passenger aircraft, of which production finally started in 2000. Before the advent of the 747’s first true nemesis though, in 2002, almost ten years after the introduction of the A340, came first two larger versions of this plane with extended fuselages, the A340-600 and the A340-500.

It should furthermore be noted that only in 2001, thus thirty years after its creation, Airbus formally became a single integrated company instead of a conglomerate. Shareholders in the new Airbus company are EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, being the merger between Aerospatiale Matra SA of France, Daimler Chrysler Aerospace AG of Germany and Construcciones Aeronauticas SA of Spain), with 80%, and the UK’s BAE SYSTEMS, with 20% of the new stock.