Now This

This blog is now read by more machines than humans: RSS robots, spam-laying insectopoids, echoes of blog-gathering .edu projects. This essentially is the state of affairs that all human activities w

Cleaning Up the Nation

Austin Bay:

If Air America were a conservative radio network its corrupt funding trail and cynical abuse of a poverty program would be front page news at the NY Times and full-time mega-scandal at

Rank Materialism

Freedom. I am now the proud new owner of a Gateway 6020GZ laptop, perfect for students and others with limited means. I can now go into a Starbucks or a Barnes & Noble and look like I'm doing some

Fallujah Fonda

Uh-oh. From the Telegraph comes this exciting news:

Jane Fonda is returning to anti-war activism and embarking on a cross-country tour to call for an end to US military operations in Iraq.

Acros

John Pilger: Partner in Terrorism

In an outrageous piece of terrorist propaganda appearing on the cover of today's New Statesman, John Pilger puts the blame for the 7/7 London attacks not on the terrorists, but rather on Tony Blair:

Withholding Evidence

In the second half of a story, the AP reports on an alleged controversy regarding Arnold Schwarzenegger's speech at the RNC:

Some Austrians also questioned Schwarzenegger's reminiscence about seeing Soviet tanks growing up in Austria, which was divided into U.S., British, French and Soviet occupation zones after the war.

"When I was a boy, the Soviets occupied part of Austria. I saw their tanks in the streets," he told the Republican convention. "I saw tanks in the streets. I saw communism with my own eyes," he added.

"It's a fact, as a child he could not have seen a Soviet tank in Styria," the southeastern province where Schwarzenegger was born on July 30, 1947, historian Stefan Karner told the Kurier, noting that province and neighboring Carinthia were guarded by British troops.

Thompson, the governor's spokeswoman, said he was referring to a visit to the Soviet zone, which was as close as 30 miles to his family's home.

"Never in there did the governor reference that the tanks were where he grew up. It was a reference to visiting Soviet-occupied Austria," she said.

Many ordinary Austrians seemed in a forgiving mood Friday over any gaffes.

"Maybe he has a wrong recollection — it's so many years since he left," said Wilma Fadrany, 32, a waitress in Vienna.

"There must be political reasons for such comments," she said. "You've got to tell the (convention delegates) what they want to hear in order to win them over. Politicians always talk the way it fits into their agenda."

Notice the he said/she said form the story takes. Arnold says he saw Soviet tanks. An expert says there were no tanks in Arnie's hometown. Some shill of Arnold's claims he really meant that he saw tanks during an alleged visit elsewhere within Austria. Keep in mind though that this was a political speech. Arnold was telling people what they wanted to hear. Who knows if he was making it up or not? It seems we'll never get to the bottom of this minor controversy.

Unless we read the speech, that is:

When I was a boy, the Soviets occupied part of Austria. I saw their tanks in the streets. I saw communism with my own eyes. I remember the fear we had when we had to cross into the Soviet sector.

They only had to extend their excerpt of the speech by one sentence. Why would the AP try to whip up a controversy and omit a fact that they have access to that would clear the whole thing up? I'll leave it to you.

Update: The Telegraph has posted a much worse version of the same story, this time without even Schwarzenegger's assistant's explanation. So now it appears that Arnold was just lying. The AP piece was titled Austrians Doubt Schwarzenegger's Memories. The Telegraph's is headlined History lesson for Arnie. The press has moved from doubt to certainty, apparently.

(Interestingly, the Telegraph article is clearly a bastardized version of the AP story, but AP isn't credited. I didn't know that this happened.)

Another Update: These articles also dispute Schwarzenegger's statement "As a kid I saw the socialist country that Austria became after the Soviets left."

They mention that "Austria had conservative leaders during the entire time he lived there" and "all Austria's chancellors between 1945 and 1970 were conservatives."

Knowing nothing about Austrian history that isn't in The Sound of Music, I didn't address that part of the controversy. But tooling around, I found this:

By the 1960s unprecedented prosperity had been attained. Austria had joined the European Free Trade Association in 1959, but association with the European Economic Community (Common Market) was held back by Soviet opposition. Politically, a nearly equal balance of power between the conservative People's party and the Socialist party resulted in successive coalition cabinets until 1966, when the People's party won a clear majority. They were ousted by the Socialists in the 1970 elections, and Bruno Kreisky became chancellor. A long-standing dispute with Italy over the German-speaking population of the Trentino–Alto Adige region of Italy was dealt with in a treaty ratified in 1971.

I don't know, but I suppose Austria could have been too socialist for Arnold under those coalition governments, despite having conservatives as chancellors. Notice that the articles don't come out and say that Austria wasn't socialist, just that the top leadership wasn't socialist. How much socialism one can tolerate in a government is a matter of personal taste, to some degree. This aspect won't be neatly resolved, like the Soviet tank aspect. I just find the obvious slant... interesting.

This concludes (maybe) today's Austrian history lesson.

Update: Secular Blasphemy, Prestopundit, and XRLQ have more.

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