Sunday, 02 March 2008
MARION COTILLARD: ANOTHER ACTOR/IDIOT
"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people
think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."
-- Mark Twain
I do not care about the oscars. I swear I don't, you could even ask my
But there was one award that did interest me this year: Best
Actress. We both thought that Marion Cotillard's performance in La Vie En
Rose (she, of course, played Edith Piaf) was so great that it would be terrific
if she won.
Well, she did win and was most gracious in her acceptance speech. How
I wish that were the end of it. But it isn't.
I just read an article in London's Daily Mail, in which cotillard
imparts her wit and wisdom about 9/11 and the 1969 moon landing.
Based on that article, she has just won another award. The Cameron
Diaz/Rosie O'Donnell award for the single most idiotic set of views in the
What did she say? Here is the relevant excerpt from the Daily Mail
article which spells it out. The idiocy is cotillard's. The
bold print is mine:
'9/11 attacks made up, ' says French best actress
Last updated at 01:08am on 2nd March 2008
Actress Marion Cotillard sparked a political row
yesterday after accusing America of fabricating the 9/11 attacks.
The 32-year-old French actress, who received an
Oscar last month for her performance as singer Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose,
openly questioned the truth behind the terrorist atrocity in an interview
broadcast on a French website.
"I think we're lied to about a number of
things," Cotillard said, singling out the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center
as an example of the US making up horror stories for political ends.
Referring to the two passenger jets being
flown into the Twin Towers, Cotillard said:
"We see other towers of the same kind
being hit by planes. Are they burned? They [sic] was a tower, I believe it was
in Spain, which burnt for 24 hours. It never collapsed. None of these towers
collapsed. And there [in New York], in a few minutes, the whole thing
She added that the towers, planned in the
early Sixties, were an outdated "money-sucker" that would have cost more to
modernise than to rebuild altogether, which is why they were destroyed.
She said: "It was a money-sucker because
they were finished, it seems to me, by 1973, and to re-cable all that, to bring
up-to-date all the technology and everything, it was a lot more expensive, that
work, than destroying them."
Cotillard's stardom and increased earning power
looked assured following her Oscar win.
But after her outburst, in which she also
queried the 1969 Moon landings, a successful future in Hollywood appears to be
She said: "Did a man really walk on the
Moon? I saw plenty of documentaries on it, and I really wondered. And in any
case I don't believe all they tell me, that's for sure."
Cotillard, who was born and brought up in Paris,
made the comments on Paris Premire - Paris Dernire, a programme broadcast a
At the time her remarks were largely ignored, but
their appearance yesterday on the French magazine website Marianne2 comes at a
time when Cotillard's profile is sky-high.
You could not invent a more imbecilic, mindless set of comments than
I wonder who Ms. Cotillard thinks brought down the towers. It certainly
wasn't the government, because they weren't who put them up and weren't losing
all this money she knows was at the core of their destruction.
Does she think the private company that owned the
towers did it? If so, why would government protect them? And how much did they
pay for those planes to be hijacked?
But wait..... now here's a really tough one: If
the towers were taken down because they were losing money, how is it that the
country lost untold billions, maybe untold trillions of dollars as the
result of them coming
Did Ms. cotillard notice the economic disaster that ensued? Or was she too
busy trying to figure out how we fabricated a moonwalk in 1969?
Forest Gump's mother said "stupid is as stupid does". Well marion
If she has an ounce of brains (a big if, to say the least) maybe she will use
it to remind herself that she should shut up. Just shut up. So other
people won't know what an idiot she is.
But based on what she has said already, I seriously doubt her capability to
Yesterday, Israel attacked some of the locations in Gaza from which rockets and other
artillery were being fired into Israeli towns, most notably the town of
Sderot. If the reports are accurate, about 60 - 75 or so Gazans were
killed, a good many of them civilians (no one knows the exact total for
Not surprisingly, there is a huge outcry about the Israeli attack, with UN
condemnations sure to follow. Palestinian Arab President Mahmoud Abbas in
particular is up in arms about how this has destroyed the so-called "peace
Before continuing, I would like to ask you a few questions.
-Suppose you lived next door to someone who threw rocks into your
backyard every day. Suppose sometimes the rocks hit people in your
-How many times (if any) would you ignore this before doing something
-You might go to the police. But what if they had a history of
ignoring the laws about throwing rocks into someone else's
property? Suppose the police operated by majority vote and
the guy next door was part of the majority? Suppose, no matter what
he did, they blamed you?
-So, realizing that you are on your own, what would you do about the
guy next door then? Would you warn him once or twice (if that many
times) before retaliating?
-Oh, one last thing; suppose the guy always threw the rocks
while standing among his own family, thus using them as his human
shields, so if you did retaliate you would almost certainly
be hitting one or more of them too?
Ok, let's talk about Israel again.
Rockets and mortars are fired from Gaza into Israel every day.
Sometimes they hit nothing. But the intent is always to wound and
kill Israelis and sometimes they succeed.
What should Israel do? How many warnings should the country give
before doing something about it?
Should Israel go to the UN - an organization with about 60 Muslim countries,
virtually all of which hate Israel, versus just one Jewish state? Should
they expect an organization which never tires of condemning Israel,
while ignoring every attack against it no matter how depraved and
murderous, to act fairly?
And what about the fact that these attacks almost invariably come from
civilian areas - i.e. the attackers use their own people, whether willingly
or unwillingly, as human shields? Now what should the country do?
Israel is literally put in the position of either not retaliating, which
protects Gazan civilians at the expense of Israelis, or retaliating, which
protects Israeli citizens but guarantees civilian collateral damage in
To date, Israel has almost always answered either with limited
retaliation or none at all. In other words, it has allowed its own
citizens to be targets instead of jeopardizing the Gazan civilians who
terrorists hide behind while they try to kill Israelis.
I challenge you to name any other country which would have suffered
these kinds of attacks every day for years and years without levelling
levelling the places they were coming from and vanquishing their
The reason you can't is because there isn't one.
So, yes, Israel attacked Gaza yesterday. And many people - some of them
attackers and some of them human shields used by the attackers - are dead.
Will it stop the attacks on Israel? No. If Gazan terrorists have
proved one thing it is that they are indifferent to what retaliatory damage is
inflicted on the land they live in and the people they live with. And if
palestinian Arab "leaders" have proved one thing it is that they will never lift
a hand to stop the attacks.
To me, the only solution that makes sense is that,
after the next round of attacks (which is inevitable), Israel will give one
or two days' warning so that civilians can leave the places those attacks came
from. Then Israel will reduce them to rubble.
And then Israel will assure Gazans that if rockets are fired from any
other place at Israeli targets, that place will be reduced to
rubble as well.
The only other viable alternative would be for Israel to do what every other
country would have done already; to rain bombs throughout
Gaza until there was a surrender or the entire territory was destroyed along
with its people.
If Israel ever does what I am suggesting (and if yesterday's attacks are any
indication that time may be coming), I guarantee the UN would spring
to action, and unleash a record number of condemnations. Every one will
be aimed at Israel.
Yawn. What else is new?
BARACK OBAMA AND TONY REZKO. IT GETS WORSE
This may come under the heading "Too late for Hillary Clinton, but just in
time for John McCain".
Here are the particulars, from today's Times of London. As usual, the
bold print is mine:
Corruption trial threatens
IN THE summer of 2005, a 20-year-old Chicago
student named John Aramanda arrived at the Washington office of Senator Barack
Obama to begin a coveted summer internship. He was one of about 100 bright young
Illinois students who passed through the senators office that year, gaining
invaluable experience in the front line of a future presidential candidates
This week Aramandas name may return to
haunt Obama. The students father, Joseph, has emerged as a central figure in
the trial beginning on Tuesday of Antoin Tony Rezko, a prominent Chicago
political broker accused of a long list of fraud and corruption offences.
As a former friend and neighbour of Rezko,
Obama was also a political beneficiary of the Syrian-born millionaires
extensive fundraising operations. Central to the prosecutions case against
Rezko is a $375,000 (187,500) payoff - called a finders fee - that is
alleged to have been skimmed illegally from investment fees paid by the Illinois
state teachers pension fund.
At least $10,000 of that money turned up
in Obamas campaign account through a donation by Joseph Aramanda, who according
to prosecutors received $250,000 from the pension fund payoff and directed it to
others at Rezkos behest.
The payment to Obama was made a year before
Aramandas son was awarded his internship. Obamas aides have denied any
connection between the donation and the internship, and Joseph Aramanda has not
been accused of any crime. Rezko has pleaded not guilty to all the charges
Yet even before the first state witnesses begin to
explain the complex financial dealings that federal investigators claim were
corrupt, it is clear the Rezko trial could scarcely have come at a worse
moment for the Illinois senator who has built his presidential challenge on
promises of hope, integrity and change.
Republican operatives are hovering gleefully at
the margins of the Rezko trial, keen to gather ammunition against Obama for
their White House campaign. While there is no suggestion that the senator has
broken any law, the Republicans intend to call his political judgment into
They will also focus on evidence that he developed
his political career in Chicago with the help of some controversial friends.
Illinois, the home of Al Capone, has never been a
state for the politically fainthearted. One former governor, George Ryan, is
currently serving a 6year jail sentence for steering state contracts to cronies
and accepting payoffs in return. The current governor, Rod Blagojevich, is
clinging to office amid claims by federal agents that he was the main
beneficiary of Rezkos allegedly illegal schemes.
In the old days it started with newly arrived
immigrants going to precinct political bosses for jobs, said Cynthia Canary,
director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, an independent watchdog.
It was about trading political favours, about you scratch my back and Ill
For years the inside trading of the states
largely Democratic political machines was known as pay to play. It has since
morphed into something more sinister: government jobs and contracts were
effectively put up for sale in exchange for politicians campaign contributions.
It used to be relatively small-scale
stuff, Canary said. It was, Put my cousin Vinnie on the payroll and heres a
hundred bucks. But today the price of admission has escalated tremendously.
The roots of the Rezko investigation appear to lie
in a remarkable outburst in 2005 by Blagojevichs father-in-law, a powerful
Chicago alderman named Dick Mell. After a public falling-out with his daughters
husband, Mell alleged that state government posts were being sold to the highest
bidder, prompting prosecutors to launch a grand jury investigation.
As long ago as 2002, there were suggestions that
officials in Springfield, the state capital, had been coerced by FBI agents into
wearing wires to record evidence of payoffs and bribes to local politicians.
It was into this festering swamp that
Obama launched his political career, first as a local official and from 2004 as
an Illinois senator. I knew Obama when he worked in Springfield, and in my
experience he led a pretty straight and narrow path, said Canary.
But no politician can survive in Illinois
without access to the campaign funds controlled by the states principal power
brokers, Canary added. There are very few other routes you can take to power.
You just have to hold your nose and work your way through the system.
Obama fell in with Rezko, who owned a string of
restaurant and property businesses. Rezko organised fundraisers for the
states newest African-American star; and when Obama made national headlines
after his spellbinding performance at the 2004 Democratic convention, Rezko
helped him to acquire a piece of land next to a $1.65m mansion the Obamas were
buying in a historic neighbourhood close to the University of Chicago.
That property deal, completed in June
2005, has caused Obama no end of grief, not least because on the day that the
house was sold at a discount of $300,000, Rezkos wife Rita bought from the same
vendor the vacant plot next door at the full asking price of $625,000. Part of
the plot was then sold to Obama.
No evidence has surfaced that the deal was in any
way improper, and last week the vendors emerged at the behest of the Obama
campaign to confirm that the senators bid was the highest they received.
Yet the deal has tied Obama irrevocably to Rezko.
The senator has since admitted that his dealings with Rezko were bone-headed.
His campaign has donated to charity more than $85,000 of donations linked to
Aramanda, a businessman who once took over several
Rezko-owned pizza restaurants in Wisconsin, could not be contacted last week. He
has previously told the Chicago Tribune that there was nothing untoward about
his sons internship.
Last week the judge in charge of the Rezko trial
ruled that prosecutors could introduce detailed evidence regarding the $375,000
payoff. Judge Amy St Eve declared that the tracing of the finders fee was
integral to the indictment.
Antoin "Tony" Rezko is the 1,000 pound gorilla in the middle of Barack Obama's
road. He is the thoroughly corrupt slumlord who likes to give lots and
lots of money to Mr. Obama and likes to get lots and lots of favors for that
What people tend to forget (largely because media tend not to remind them) is
that Barack Obama is straight out of the Chicago Democratic political
machine. No one, and I do mean no one, comes out of that background with
Originally Mr. Obama told us that he regretted the $50,000 or so he got from
Rezko. But then it turned out that the amount was more like
$160,000. Would you doubt for a second that the true amount is
higher? Would you doubt for a second that there are other Rezkos in Mr.
Obama's past - maybe even his present?
Well, now the Rezko trial is upon us. And every day it continues
will be a potential disaster for Mr. Obama.
If Hillary Clinton loses Ohio and Texas, her candidacy for the Democratic nomination is all but
over. But if this happens and she stays in anyway, I will assume
it is because Ms. Clinton is hoping that things will come out in the Rezko
trial that will damage Obama enough to bring her back into play.
And she just might have a point.
THE NEW YORK TIMES & THE GLOBAL WARMING STRAW MAN
One of the most commonly used (and often effective) strategies in a debate is
the creation of a "straw man". This involves setting up a premise that
sounds legitimate, but that you know you can blow to smithereens.....which you
Here is a great example, which I have excerpted from today's New York
Times. It concerns global warming:
Skeptics on Human Climate Impact
Seize on Cold Spell
The world has seen some extraordinary winter
conditions in both hemispheres over the past year: snow in Johannesburg last
June and in Baghdad in January, Arctic sea ice returning with a vengeance after
a record retreat last summer, paralyzing blizzards in China, and a sharp drop in
the globes average temperature.
It is no wonder that some scientists, opinion
writers, political operatives and other people who challenge warnings about
dangerous human-caused global warming have
jumped on this as a teachable moment.
Earths Fever Breaks: Global COOLING Currently
Under Way, read a blog post and news
release on Wednesday from Marc Morano, the communications director for the
Republican minority on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
So what is happening?
According to a host of climate experts, including
some who question the extent and risks of global warming, it is mostly good
old-fashioned weather, along with a cold kick from the tropical Pacific Ocean,
which is in its La Nia phase for a
few more months, a year after it was in the opposite warm El Nio
If anything else is afoot like some cooling
related to sunspot cycles or slow shifts in ocean and atmospheric patterns that
can influence temperatures an array of scientists who have staked out
differing positions on the overall threat from global warming agree that there
is no way to pinpoint whether such a new force is at work.
Many scientists also say that the cool spell in no
way undermines the enormous body of evidence pointing to a warming world with
disrupted weather patterns, less ice and rising seas should heat-trapping
greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels and forests continue to accumulate in
The current downturn is not very unusual, said
Carl Mears, a scientist at Remote Sensing Systems, a private research group in
Santa Rosa, Calif., that has been using satellite data to track global
temperature and whose findings have been held out as reliable by a variety of
climate experts. He pointed to similar drops in 1988, 1991-92, and 1998, but
with a long-term warming trend clear nonetheless.
Temperatures are very likely to recover after the
La Nia event is over, he said.
Wow. Now you see it, now you don't.
Yes, there is overwhelming, indisputable evidence that while some places on
planet earth have seen unusually warm temperatures in the last few years, other
places have seen unusually cold temperatures.
Now, to the untrained observer (i.e. someone without the benefit of the New
York Times explaining things to them), this might mean that the situation is
perfectly normal. Some places colder, some warmer, it all averages
But no no no. You can't be allowed to conclude any
such thing. It's all just a momentary figment of our imagination.
Honest. Global warming is here and the fact that some places are colder - which
seems to happen a lot - has nothing to do with anything. It's
just temporary. Rest assured that we will be able to resume our stark fear over
being slow-baked by greenhouse gases again in a jiffy.
I guess the straw man doesn't need an overcoat. Just the people in
South Africa, the middle east, China and all the other places where it is
cold enough to wonder what makes anyone think global warming is an immutable
Me, I'm a bit skeptical. Aren't you?