YOU JUST CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP!!!

Discussion in 'VMBB General Discussion' started by rooter, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. rooter

    rooter *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff*

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    February 1, 2007
    Chirac Unfazed by Nuclear Iran, Then Backtracks
    By ELAINE SCIOLINO and KATRIN BENNHOLD
    PARIS, Jan. 31 — President Jacques Chirac said this week that if Iran had one or two nuclear weapons, it would not pose a big danger, and that if Iran were to launch a nuclear weapon against a country like Israel, it would lead to the immediate destruction of Tehran.

    The remarks, made in an interview on Monday with The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune and Le Nouvel Observateur, a weekly magazine, were vastly different from stated French policy and what Mr. Chirac has often said.

    On Tuesday, Mr. Chirac summoned the same journalists back to Élysée Palace to retract many of his remarks.

    Mr. Chirac said repeatedly during the second interview that he had spoken casually and quickly the day before because he believed he had been talking about Iran off the record.

    “I should rather have paid attention to what I was saying and understood that perhaps I was on the record,” he said.

    The tape-recorded, on-the-record interview was conducted under an agreement that it would not be published until Thursday, when Le Nouvel Observateur appears on newsstands.

    On Monday, Mr. Chirac began by describing as “very dangerous” Iran’s refusal to stop producing enriched uranium, which can be used to produce electricity or to make nuclear weapons. Then he made his remarks about a nuclear-armed Iran.

    “I would say that what is dangerous about this situation is not the fact of having a nuclear bomb,” he said. “Having one or perhaps a second bomb a little later, well, that’s not very dangerous.

    “But what is very dangerous is proliferation. This means that if Iran continues in the direction it has taken and totally masters nuclear-generated electricity, the danger does not lie in the bomb it will have, and which will be of no use to it.”

    Mr. Chirac said it would be an act of self-destruction for Iran to use a nuclear weapon against another country.

    “Where will it drop it, this bomb? On Israel?” Mr. Chirac asked. “It would not have gone 200 meters into the atmosphere before Tehran would be razed.”

    It was unclear whether Mr. Chirac’s initial remarks reflected what he truly believes. If so, it suggests a growing divide with American policy, which places the highest priority on stopping Iran from gaining the capacity to produce nuclear weapons.

    Mr. Chirac has privately expressed the view occasionally in the past year that a nuclear-armed Iran might be inevitable and that it could try to sell the technology to other countries. But publicly the policy has been very different. In fact, Élysée Palace prepared a heavily edited 19-page transcript of the Monday interview that excluded Mr. Chirac’s assessment of a nuclear-armed Iran.

    The transcript even inserted a line that Mr. Chirac had not said that read, “I do not see what type of scenario could justify Iran’s recourse to an atomic bomb.”

    There are divisions within the French government — and between Europe and the United States — about how much Iran should be punished for behavior that the outside world might not be able to change. Some French officials worry that the more aggressive course of action by the United States toward Iran will lead to a confrontation like the Iraq war, which France opposed.

    In noting the sanctions against Iran that were imposed last month by the Security Council, Mr. Chirac warned Tuesday that escalation of the conflict by both sides was unwise. “Of course we can go further and further, or higher and higher up the scale in the reactions from both sides,” he said. “This is certainly not our thinking nor our intention.”

    In the Monday interview, Mr. Chirac argued that Iran’s possession of a nuclear weapon was less important than the arms race that would ensue.

    “It is really very tempting for other countries in the region that have large financial resources to say: ‘Well, we too are going to do that; we’re going to help others do it,’ ” he said. “Why wouldn’t Saudi Arabia do it? Why wouldn’t it help Egypt to do so as well? That is the real danger.”

    Earlier this month, Mr. Chirac had planned to send his foreign minister to Iran to help resolve the crisis in Lebanon. The venture collapsed after Saudi Arabia and Egypt opposed the trip and members of his own government said it would fail.

    Mr. Chirac, who is 74 and months away from ending his second term as president, suffered a neurological episode in 2005 and is said by French officials to have become much less precise in conversation.

    Mr. Chirac spent much of the second interview refining his remarks of the previous day.

    He retracted, for example, his comment that Tehran would be destroyed if Iran launched a nuclear weapon. “I retract it, of course, when I said, ‘One is going to raze Tehran,’ ” he said.

    He added that any number of third countries would stop an Iranian bomb from ever reaching its target. “It is obvious that this bomb, at the moment it was launched, obviously would be destroyed immediately,” Mr. Chirac said. “We have the means — several countries have the means to destroy a bomb.”

    Mr. Chirac also retracted his prediction that a nuclear Iran could encourage Saudi Arabia and Egypt to follow suit.

    “I drifted — because I thought we were off the record — to say that, for example, Saudi Arabia or Egypt could be tempted to follow this example,” he said. “I retract it, of course, since neither Saudi Arabia nor Egypt has made the slightest declaration on these subjects, so it is not up to me to make them.”

    As for his suggestion in the first interview that Israel could be a target of an Iranian attack and could retaliate, Mr. Chirac said: “I don’t think I spoke about Israel yesterday. Maybe I did so but I don’t think so. I have no recollection of that.”

    There were other clarifications. In the initial interview, for example, Mr. Chirac referred to the Iranian Islamic Republic as “a bit fragile.” In the subsequent interview, he called Iran “a great country” with a “very old culture” that “has an important role to play in the region” as a force for stability.

    Mr. Chirac’s initial comments contradicted long-held French policy, which holds that Iran must not go nuclear. The thinking is that a nuclear-armed Iran would give Iran the ability to project power throughout the region and threaten its neighbors — as well as encourage others in the region to seek the bomb.

    Under Mr. Chirac’s presidency, France has joined the United States and other countries in moving to punish Iran for refusing to stop enriching uranium, as demanded by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations Security Council.

    Iran insists that the purpose of its uranium enrichment program is to produce energy; France, along with many other countries, including the United States, is convinced that the program is part of a nuclear weapons project.

    The purpose of the initial interview was for Mr. Chirac to talk about climate change and an international conference in Paris later this week that parallels a United Nations conference on the global environment.

    The question about Iran followed a comment by Mr. Chirac on the importance of developing nuclear energy programs that are transparent, safe and secure.

    In the midst of his initial remarks on Iran, Mr. Chirac’s spokesman passed him a handwritten note, which Mr. Chirac read aloud. “Yes, he’s telling me that we have to go back to the environment,” Mr. Chirac said. He then continued a discussion of Shiite Muslims, who are by far the majority in Iran but a minority in the Muslim world.

    “Shiites do not have the reaction of the Sunnis or of Europeans,” said Mr. Chirac, who over the years in private meetings has expressed distrust of Shiite Muslims.

    The president had a different demeanor during the two encounters.

    In the first interview, which took place in the late morning, he appeared distracted at times, grasping for names and dates and relying on advisers to fill in the blanks. His hands shook slightly. When he spoke about climate change, he read from prepared talking points printed in large letters and highlighted in yellow and pink.

    By contrast, in the second interview, which came just after lunch, he appeared both confident and comfortable with the subject matter.

    The attempt by Élysée Palace to change the president’s remarks in a formal text is not unusual. It is a long-held tradition in French journalism for interview subjects — from the president to business and cultural figures — to be given the opportunity to edit the texts of question-and-answer interviews before publication.
  2. rooter

    rooter *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff*

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    February 1, 2007
    Biden Unwraps His Bid for ’08 With an Oops!
    By ADAM NAGOURNEY
    WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 — In an era of meticulous political choreography, the staging of the kickoff for this presidential candidacy could hardly have gone worse.

    Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, who announced his candidacy on Wednesday with the hope that he could ride his foreign policy expertise into contention for the Democratic nomination, instead spent the day struggling to explain his description of Senator Barack Obama, the Illinois Democrat running for president, as “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”

    The remark, published Wednesday in The New York Observer, left Mr. Biden’s campaign struggling to survive its first hours and injected race more directly into the presidential contest. The day ended, appropriately enough for the way politics is practiced now, with Mr. Biden explaining himself to Jon Stewart on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”

    Earlier, in a decidedly nonpresidential afternoon conference call with reporters that had been intended to announce his candidacy, Mr. Biden, speaking over loud echoes and a blaring television set, said that he had been “quoted accurately.” He volunteered that he had called Mr. Obama to express regret that his remarks had been taken “out of context,” and that Mr. Obama had assured him he had nothing to explain.

    “Barack Obama is probably the most exciting candidate that the Democratic or Republican party has produced at least since I’ve been around,” he said, adding: “Call Senator Obama. He knew what I meant by it. The idea was very straightforward and simple. This guy is something brand new that nobody has seen before.”

    Asked about Mr. Biden’s comments, Mr. Obama said in an interview, “I didn’t take it personally and I don’t think he intended to offend.” Mr. Obama, who serves with Mr. Biden on the Foreign Relations Committee, added, “But the way he constructed the statement was probably a little unfortunate.”

    But later in the day, with Mr. Biden coming under fire from some black leaders, Mr. Obama issued a statement that approached a condemnation. “I didn’t take Senator Biden’s comments personally, but obviously they were historically inaccurate,” he said. “African-American presidential candidates like Jesse Jackson, Shirley Chisholm, Carol Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton gave a voice to many important issues through their campaigns, and no one would call them inarticulate.”

    For Mr. Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, it was an inauspicious beginning to his first presidential campaign since 1988, when he dropped out after acknowledging using without attribution portions of a speech from a British politician. By the end of the day on Wednesday, Democrats were asking only half-jokingly whether Mr. Biden might be remembered for having the shortest-lived presidential campaign in the history of the Republic.

    Shortly after 6 p.m., Mr. Biden issued a written statement. “I deeply regret any offense my remark in the New York Observer might have caused anyone,” he said. “That was not my intent and I expressed that to Senator Obama.”

    Under questioning from reporters at his announcement conference call, Mr. Biden was pressed on what he meant in his description of Mr. Obama, particularly in his use of the word clean.

    “He understood exactly what I meant,” Mr. Biden said. “And I have no doubt that Jesse Jackson and every other black leader — Al Sharpton and the rest — will know exactly what I meant.”

    When he was asked, again, what he meant, Mr. Biden — known in Washington for his long-winded ways and his love of the microphone and the spotlight — bristled as he struggled over the squawk of feedback and echoes.

    “I’m not going to repeat everything I just said,” he said. “There is a vote that starts at 2:30, it takes 11 minutes to get to the floor. I can take one more question but not on the subject I have already spoken to.”

    And after taking one more question, Mr. Biden did something entirely out of character: He announced he was done talking.

    Mr. Biden’s assurances notwithstanding, both Mr. Jackson and Mr. Sharpton — African-Americans who have run for president — said they had no idea what Mr. Biden meant. And both suggested they felt at least a little offended by the remarks.

    Mr. Jackson described Mr. Biden’s remarks to the Observer, which also included critical statements about the Iraq positions of two of his Democratic opponents — Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina — as “blabbering bluster.”

    A wounded note to his voice, Mr. Jackson pointed out that he had run against Mr. Biden for the 1988 Democratic nomination, and had lasted far longer and drawn more votes than did Mr. Biden. Mr. Biden was forced out in September 1987.

    “I am not sure what he means — ask him to explain what he meant,” Mr. Jackson said. “I don’t know whether it was an attempt to diminish what I had done in ’88, or to say Barack is all style and no substance.”

    Mr. Sharpton said that when Mr. Biden called him to apologize, Mr. Sharpton started off the conversation reassuring Mr. Biden about his hygienic practices. “I told him I take a bath every day,” Mr. Sharpton said.

    No stranger to electoral intrigue, Mr. Sharpton was quick to offer a political motive: That Mr. Biden was drawing distinctions between Mr. Obama and African-American leaders like Mr. Sharpton and Mr. Jackson, to “discredit Mr. Obama with his base.”

    At the very least, Mr. Biden’s remarks obscured a campaign roll-out in which he said that Mr. Bush had “dug America into a very big hole” with the war in Iraq and that the nation would need a leader experienced in foreign policy to take over during dangerous times. More than that, it seemed sure to harden Mr. Biden’s image in political circles as politically undisciplined, an image he had been working scrupulously to change in what has emerged as a long-term political rehabilitation project for him.

    In his conference call, Mr. Biden quoted his mother in trying to explain what he meant about Mr. Obama. “My mother has an expression: Clean as a whistle and sharp as a tack,” Mr. Biden said, showering more praise on one of his biggest opponents for the nomination.

    On Comedy Central, he told Mr. Stewart: “What got me in trouble was using the world clean. I should have said fresh. What I meant was he’s got new ideas.”

    Mr. Biden’s comments also focused new attention on remarks he made about Indians last year, when he said, “you cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.”

    Before he went on television, Mr. Biden found himself sharing a stage with Mr. Obama at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Iraq, where he was noticeably solicitous to his new presidential rival as members of the committee questioned Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state. Mr. Biden chastised Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat, to keep his comments short (“just one minute, Senator, or we will have everybody else”).

    But he could not have been more accommodating to Mr. Obama as the senator from Illinois began wrapping up: “I know I’m out of time.”

    Mr. Biden would have none of that. “That’s O.K.,” he told Mr. Obama. “You’re making a very salient point.”

    Jeff Zeleny and Helene Cooper contributed reporting from Washington, and Conrad Mulcahy from New York.
  3. rooter

    rooter *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff*

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    February 1, 2007
    Suspicious Devices in Boston Turn Out to Be Ad Campaign for Cartoon
    By PAM BELLUCK
    BOSTON, Jan. 31 — Boston temporarily closed parts of bridges, subway stations, an Interstate highway and even part of the Charles River on Wednesday after the authorities found what the police described as suspicious devices at nine places.

    But the devices, which included circuit boards, turned out to be part of a marketing campaign by Turner Broadcasting to advertise a cartoon television show, “Aqua Teen Hunger Force.”

    Wednesday night, Peter Berdovsky, 27, of Arlington, was arrested and charged with placing a hoax device and disorderly conduct. On Mr. Berdovsky’s Web site, photos show people putting the lights on a bridge, a hospital, a bar awning and a clothing store.

    Turner Broadcasting, part of Time Warner, issued a statement saying, “The ‘packages’ in question are magnetic lights that pose no danger.”

    The statement said the “outdoor marketing campaign” had “been in place for two to three weeks in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco and Philadelphia.”

    The company said it was informing the local and federal law enforcement authorities here of the sites of its “billboards” and added, “We regret that they were mistakenly thought to pose any danger.”

    Mayor Thomas M. Menino was in no mood to accept the apology.

    “It is outrageous, in a post-9/11 world, that a company would use this type of marketing scheme,” Mr. Menino said in a statement. “I am prepared to take any and all legal action against Turner Broadcasting and its affiliates for any and all expenses incurred during the response to today’s incidents.”

    The devices are dotted with blue and purple lights and are shaped like “Aqua Teen” characters, mooninites. One character, Err, seems angry, with slanted eyebrows and what appear to be raised middle fingers.

    A film based on the cartoon is to be released this year.

    Police officials in Atlanta, Chicago and New York said they had not noticed the devices or received complaints about them.

    But in Boston, the discovery of the devices unleashed a sense of chaos as law enforcement officials vaulted into their emergency response mode.

    From the time that the first device was found around 8 a.m., hanging from a steel beam under Interstate 93 at the Sullivan Square subway station, more reports of sightings kept trickling in. They included on the Longfellow and Boston University Bridges, in a room at the Tufts-New England Medical Center, on an overpass in Somerville and at intersections here and in Cambridge.

    Explosives experts removed the device at Sullivan Square. Northbound Route I-93 and Storrow Drive were briefly closed. A Coast Guard cutter blocked off a section of the Charles River for several hours. Officials from the F.B.I. and the Homeland Security Department were called in, as well as bomb squads, and extra police officers were deployed around the city.

    “This has created an enormous inconvenience for people in the city,” Police Commissioner Edward Davis said at a news conference about the same time that Turner was acknowledging responsibility.

    At the news conference, Mr. Davis, Mr. Menino and Gov. Deval L. Patrick said no explosives had been found and urged calm.

    “There is not a reason for anyone to panic,” Mr. Patrick said. “But there are reasons for us to be vigilant.”

    He called the objects “hoax devices.”

    After the involvement of Turner Broadcasting became known, Mr. Patrick said in a statement: “This stunt has caused considerable disruption and anxiety in our community. I understand that Turner Broadcasting has purported to apologize for this. I intend nonetheless to consult with the attorney general and other advisers about what recourse we may have.”

    Brenda Goodman contributed reporting from Atlanta and Libby Sander from Chicago.
  4. AL MOUNT

    AL MOUNT New Member

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    I wonder if Chirac had a French chef fix his crow before he ate it.

    He should send the leftovers to Biden.......:eek:

    Two world class morons......:rolleyes: :rolleyes:


    Ole Al Sharpton told Biden he takes a bath every day......:D

    And I'll bet that's a lie too......:D
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