Thursday, May 31, 2007

Avi Lewis : On The Map

Avi Lewis is back with "On The Map", a 30 minute take on the big news stories of the day airing nightly Monday to Thursday on CBC Newsworld from June 4 to June 28 at 4:30 and 11:30pm PST.
All episodes will be available at following broadcast.
Avi's previous TV show, "The Big Picture", kicked some serious ass - ripping into the spin of official media stories with his trademark very sharp backtalk and rigorous research.
On The Map preview : Avi interviews US neo-con asshat amBushador to the UN John Bolton on the proposed Iraq Oil Law. Go, Avi!
H/T Hello Cool World
(Cross-posted at Creekside)

At the going down of the Sun, and in the morning...

With respect and condolences to the family and friends of Master Corporal Darrell Jason Priede, 3 ASG, Gagetown.

Per Ardua Ad Astra

Too Little Too Late, george . . . .

Let's see now: We're how far away from the end of bushco? I calculate just over 20 months 'til
Inauguration Day, 2009.

george today is calling for climate change talks and meetings between countries "over the next 18 months." Why is he leaving the implementation of any substantive improvement in air quality and energy conservation to the next President? The jerk has had over 6 years in office to accomplish something in this regard.

Oh yeah, I forgot: He's been too busy fighting the waronturrur.

And just whose idea was that, george ? ? ? ?

(Cross-Posted from Moving to Vancouver)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Conservative wit - Dernier cri !

When writing last night's post - Conservative wit : a necessarily short post - about the ridiculous new Con website that attacks Dion in the most juvenile fashion imaginable, I failed to notice that Not A is in fact a bilingual website. Quelle erreur!

Rick Mercer noticed. Take it away, Rick!

"From a show business perspective what is really interesting is that the Prime Minister is making this blog available in both official languages. Now this is cutting edge and very risky because comedy in English generally doesn't translate that well into French, especially this kind. And by "this kind" I mean the "let's make the French look stupid because they are French" kind.

In the official Conservative party's blog, Kyoto the dog likes to quote his "master" Stephane Dion, and of course Dion speaks in broken English. According to the dog, no matter what happens Dion simply says ""You don't know what you speak about!" This is the genius in the comedy. The dumb Frenchie can't speak English! Dion is not a leader because English is his second language and he makes mistakes. I am very curious to see if this will be the blog that breaks through in both English and French Canada.

What's also funny about the blog is that Kyoto says really clever things when he is saying goodbye, like "Time for bed. I'll dream about France. Stéphane tells me we will move back one day."

This is funny because Dion was born in Quebec and has lived most of his life in Canada but his mother is from France. Now this part I admit I didn't get but I think the joke is if you keep telling people in English Canada he is from France they will believe it and apparently this will make him even more unpopular than he already is. There is comedy for you – Stephane Dion is not a leader. His mother is an immigrant! An immigrant's son wants to be Prime Minister! Again while I'm sure this kills inside the Conservative caucus I'm not so sure it will elicit the same guffaws in Quebec."

Heh. The word "petard" is French too, isn't it?

(Cross-posted at Creekside)

Something Doesn't Smell Right About This . . . .

From today's Vancouver Sun Letters to the Editor:

Too many owners treat their pets like children

I loved Marilyn Baker’s commentary. My guests, babysitters and children are always stepping on dog poop on the boulevard on Angus Drive. It isn’t a few dog owners who don’t get it, it is the majority. I can’t step into my alley without a neighbour’s off- leash dog running up to me. I can’t let my rabbits run around the front yard on a nice day because someone’s dog will bolt through the hedge to kill them.

People are treating their pets as children. They take them everywhere — even places I don’t take my kids. I believe it is a phenomenon associated with close living. People subconsciously feel they can expand their personal space in public areas if they have a dog with them because people will give them more room. The pet owner then gains more control and power.

For example, when I bent over to try on shoes in Freedman Shoes a few months back, I felt something sniffing my butt. I knew immediately that it wasn’t human.

Dogs are not children and don’t have the same rights. Dogs don’t need to go shoe shopping, clothing shopping or antique shopping. We don’t allow children to jump up, smell or lick passersby. If dog owners start to realize not everyone wants their dog around, like parents realize not everyone wants their children around, people will be more tolerant.


As "drf" noted: "Poor, poor, Penny" . . . .

Can you tell we're running out of postable (sp?) topics?

(Cross-Posted from Moving to Vancouver)

Conservative wit

A necessarily short post.

A website attacking Dion features such sterling examples of biting wit as musing whether or not he will move back to France. Honestly, Captain Underpants couldn't have said it any better.
I'd give you the direct quotes but unfortunately the website concludes with this warning :
"This website is the property of the Conservative Party of Canada and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without express written permission."
Oh dear, I probably shouldn't have quoted that.
Anyway, humour of this caliber would seem to indicate that the Cons are hoping to lower the voting age to 10.

Our next example is Con Scott Reid heatedly asking for a ruling as to whether NDP Pat Martin was "guilty of an offence" under the Security of Information Act for passing out copies of secret documents that had already been published in two national newspapers.

OK, so that last one wasn't intentionally funny.
(Cross-posted at Creekside)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Whiny-ass deep integration titty-babies

I mean, what the hell is taking so long?

WASHINGTON (CP) - "Some major U.S. businesses are worried that North American co-operation is falling off the agenda, even as leaders of the three countries get ready to meet in Quebec in August.
Uncertainty about progress on a host of cross-border initiatives is rattling some nerves in American boardrooms before President George W. Bush joins Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexico's Felipe Calderon for an annual get-together."

Some quotes from the above-mentioned WADITBs :

"There has to be a plan to implement this, a road map. They asked the
business community to do a lot. We're not seeing any results."
"If we end up with nothing, why would I want to bring my chairman into an embarrassing meeting?"
"Either they demonstrate some progress, change the agenda or the
leaders don't meet."

I'm sorry, what was that last bit again?

"Either they demonstrate some progress, change the agenda or the leaders
don't meet."

Yes, that's what I thought you said.

Then there's Ron Covais. You remember Ron Covais, don't you? President of Lockheed Martin Americas, former Pentagon adviser to Dick Cheney, chair of the North American Competitiveness Council and the not-so-secret-after-all Banff meeting, and author of these happy remarks as reported in Macleans last year :

Ron Covais is in a hurry. Covais figures they've got less than two years of
political will to make it happen. That's when the Bush administration exits, and
"The clock will stop if the Harper minority government falls or a new
governmentis elected."

"The guidance from the ministers was, 'tell us what we need to do and we'll
make it happen."

This is how the future of North America now promises to be written: not in
a sweeping trade agreement on which elections will turn, but by the accretion of hundreds of incremental changes implemented by executive agencies, bureaucracies and regulators. "We've decided not to recommend any things that would require legislative changes," says Covais. "Because we won't get anywhere."

Ron isn't too happy with the slow rate of progress either:

"We're asking for a status update" from top bureaucrats, he said. "By mid-June, we have to have at least a sense of where we're at."

Or what, asshole? You'll withdraw your support for all that non-legislative change? Punish us by taking water and oil off the agenda? Toss the keys to the kingdoms and go home? What exactly?

Luckily, Canadian Council of Chief Executives chief quisling and NAU cheerleader Tom d'Aquino is right there to reassure Colonel Sanders that the Canadian chickens really really support whatever the hell it is the colonel wants this time :
"The view from Canada is that all the fretting is unnecessary, said Thomas
d'Aquino. "I would like to see more speed," but there's already been a lot of
movement, he said."

And he has a remedy :
"One problem, he said, is that the leaders haven't been out publicly
defending the SPP, "even though armies are working on it. We are urging our governments to do that."

Bring it, Tom. Bring it.
We'd love to hear Harper defend being called to account by your US corporate buddies.

Bonus : If you click the Macleans link above for the Ron Covais quotes, you'll also find some bonus bitching from Dr. Ron Pastor, author of "Toward A North American Community" and member of the board of directors for the North American Forum on Integration, that group shilling the NAU to students.

H/T Mes Amis for the CP link
Cross-posted at Creekside

the swift and terrible sword of justice

In Ohio, the sword of justice is certainly terrible -- swift, not so much.

LUCASVILLE, Ohio (AP) -- Death penalty opponents called on the state to halt executions after prison staff struggled to find suitable veins on a condemned man's arm to deliver the lethal chemicals. The execution team stuck Christopher Newton at least 10 times with needles Thursday to insert the shunts where the chemicals are injected. He died at 11:53 a.m., nearly two hours after the scheduled start of his execution at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. The process typically takes about 20 minutes.

At least the condemned was a good sport about it:

But Newton, who had insisted on the death penalty as punishment and made no attempt to appeal, chatted and laughed with prison staff throughout the delay.
It took so long that the staff paused to allow Newton a bathroom break.

I can see the Monty Python/SNL sketch already:

Executioner: Okay, are we ready? Doctor, have you found a vein?
Doctor: Yes
Executioner: Warden, can we go ahead?
Warden: Do your duty.
Convict: Duty? Duty? Wait a minute! Wait! I need to go to the toilet.
Executioner: Didn't you go before we left the cell?
Convict: I didn't need to go then!
Executioner: Well, can't you hold it for a few minutes? This won't take long.
Convict: No. I need to go now!
Executioner: (Sighs) Okay. Okay. Guard, unstrap him.
Convict: Thanks, I owe you one.
Executioner: Yeah, yeah, whatever. Can we just get on with this? I have to take my kid to soccer practice and I can't stay late tonight.
(Convict and guard shuffle out of death chamber, Executioner, warden, priest, doctor make uncomfortable small talk "how about those Mets, huh?" until convict and guard shuffle back in)
Executioner: Okay, ready? Can we do this now? (convict is strapped in) Bill Smith, you have been convicted of murder in the first degree by a jury of your peers and sentenced by a lawful court to death. Padre, would you administer the last rights?
Priest: Through this holy anointing, may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy....Uh, can we just pause there for a minute, I need to visit the uh...
Executioner: Oh, for the love of God -- fine! Just hurry it up will you? (to convict) Sorry about the delay, really.
Convict: 'Sallright
(more uncomfortable silence, guard starts to whistle aimlessly, some lively tune like Oasis' "Live Forever" or Queen's "Who wants to live forever" or even "Live and Let Die" until he notices others scowling at him. Priest returns.)
Priest: Sorry about that, just got caught short, I had a lot of coffee this morning
Executioner: Okay, are we ready now? Bill Smith, you have been convicted of murder in the first degree by a jury of your peers and sentenced by a lawful court to death. Padre, would you administer the last rights?
Priest: Through this holy anointing, may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit...
(Warden's cell phone rings, Executioner glares at him as it continues to ring. the Warden answers)
Warden: Oh, uh hello Governor...I'm fine, how are you?...really, I'm sorry to hear that. Have you seen anyone about it?..uh-huh...and the ointment is working, is it?...uh-huh...that's great!.....A 78, fantastic!, not yet...okay...okay...right...Really! Gosh that is surprising...well, if that's the way you feel about it...I suppose it is for the best...Well, no, nobody likes to play God, I suppose....Yeah, I'll take care of it...Okay, thanks Governor, I understand... I'll talk to you later...right, okay...bye-bye.
(Warden puts phone back in pocket, resumes stance next to convict strapped to gurney. Executioner continues to stare at him)
Executioner: Well? (Everyone stares at Warden)
Warden:What? Oh! The phone (laughs) yeah, it was the governor. He shot a 78 in the pro-am last week, can you believe it?
(They continue to stare)
Convict: AND?
Warden: Well, he's going on junket to Hawaii next week and he was thinking of having his hamster put down, since he won't be home to feed it, but I promised to take care of it for him. Executioner: (sighs with relief and starts up again, very quickly) Bill Smith, you have been convicted of murder in the first degree by a jury of your peers and sentenced by a lawful court to death.....

Cross posted from the Woodshed

Sunday, May 27, 2007

You deserve a break today

A group of well-to-do busybodies in England are petitioning the Oxford English Dictionary to change the definition of "McJob" from "an unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector."

"We believe this definition is out of date, out of touch with reality and most importantly is insulting to those hard-working, talented and committed people who serve the public every day in the UK. As the namesake for this derogatory term, this prejudice is felt most sharply by the 67,000 people who pursue careers and jobs at McDonald's in the UK."

"It is time the dictionary definition of "McJob" changed to reflect a job that is stimulating, rewarding and offers genuine opportunities for career progression and skills that last a lifetime."

In a related story, a group of serial onanists are petitioning the editors of the Cockney Rhyming Slang Dictionary to remove the term "Merchant Banker" as they feel associating their their sensual pursuit with such people is demeaning.

"At least our hobby brings pleasure to someone, even if it is only to myself," said Hans Innis-Pahnts, spokesperson for Onanists Organized Over Orwellian Humbuggery.

"This lot obviously has too much time and not enough meat on their hands. Uh...I mean to say, Sir Digby obviously hasn't spent a lot of time flipping greasy beef, stuffing it between buns and slathering it with....uh, excuse me for a few moments," said Innis-Pahnts, who could not be reached for further comment.

In a related development the White House announced it would petition to have the definition of "corruption" changed to "a win-win situation" and "incompetence" changed to "doing a heckuva job." Other proposed changes include "Up" being defined as "Down" and "Black" being defined as "White."

The late George Orwell could not be reached for comment, but journalists visiting his grave reported hearing a definite whirring sound.

I've had my share of jobs in the service sector working in kitchens and classrooms where everything has been time-and-motion studied to death and all actions, attitudes, attire and thoughts must conform with the manual. It seems that according to the authors of the aforementioned letter -- Sir Digby Jones, late of the Confederation of British Industry and David Frost, director-general of the British Chamber of Commerce and about a dozen others who have probably never flipped a burger, scrubbed a hotel toilet or read from a call center script-- the problem with demeaning, soul-destroying low-wage jobs is not that people are forced to smile while working long and hard at tasks that would bore the shit out of your average farm animal, but that the Oxford English Dictionary acknowledges that fact in its definition of "McJob."

I'll give him the hard-working part, not that most service sector workers have much choice. Slack off when you're feeling tired and you'll be replaced by another faceless cog in short order. "Talented" -- well, it's called "unskilled" labor for a reason. Any half-bright cro-magnon can be trained to do most McJobs - I know, I've done them. Most consist of very simple, very repetitive tasks -- the more repetitive the better from a management point of view, because then employees can specialize and get really good at cleaning toilets or pulling french fries out of the grease in the manner laid out in the manual. "Committed" -- yeah, more than a year at most McJobs and you'll feel like you're ready to be committed to an asylum. There is a reason the employee turnover rate at Micky D's is over 300% and it isn't because good help is hard to find.

"Stimulating" -- yeah nothing is quite as stimulating as choking on the rancid fumes while cleaning out a grease trap, taking crap from arrogant teenage customers who think it's funny to leave your tip in the ketchup or having some stressed out yuppie unload his rage on you because his burger has pickles, but not tomatoes instead of the other way around. "Rewarding" -- ooooh, $6 whole dollars an hour, assuming your area has an enforcible minimum wage law. And you can progress from fry cook to crew chief to assistant manager to the lofty pinnacle of manager in just a few short years, making almost enough to move out of Mom's basement.

I will admit that learning to repeat "Would you like fries with that?" or "Your call is important to us" like an automaton and getting the hang of smiling at customers and sleeping at night while knowingly selling an obviously inferior product do have wider applications in life. Likewise significantly increasing the saliva and mucous content of an annoying prick's take-out order can be satisfying, but I suspect that isn't what Jones, Frost and company had in mind.

I think a quick poll of the 67,000 people working at McDonalds in the UK would indicate that barring the trainable mentally handicapped and the brainwashed cultists from Hamburger University, most would say the definition is entirely accurate. Just ask these folks if they are "lovin' it."

And it isn't just McDonald's that is guilty of exploiting its employees; most fast food chains and other low wage franchise and chain service businesses like Molly Maid, Wal-Mart and most supermarkets stay in the black by paying as little as the traffic will bear. That why companies like McDonalds and WalMart hate unions or anyone who rocks the boat and demands a little dignity -- there just isn't any room for that in the manual or the budget.

If you've worked enough of these kinds of jobs you know they are a tough slog and means to an end, not a career choice. I'm not talking about middle-class teenagers working part time for a little spending cash- being on the exploited side of the equasion might actually teach them a little humility - I'm talking about adults who take these jobs because they need work and can't find anything better. Someone will always have to do these jobs, but shouldn't they be entitled to decent treatment and a living wage? If you think people in the service industry are just lazy and should pull themselves up by their bootstraps, go read Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickled and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America while I get your take-out order ready Mr. merchant banker.

(cross-posted from the Woodshed)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Canadian Coma

Remember when one of the objectives of the "Independent Task Force on the Future of North America" was to "launch an educational project to teach the idea of a shared NA identity in schools"?
That objective seems to be coming along rather nicely, thanks to The North American Forum on Integration, a Montreal-based non-profit promoting deep integration.
In April we had the 6th Student Organization of North America Conference:Highlights of the Conference included : Embracing our North American Identity
And just wrapping up yesterday in Washington DC is another NAFI project, the 3rd Triumvirate, a North American Model Parliament for students from Canada, Mexico, and the US.
According to their website, their main objectives : "To develop their sense of a North American identity" and "To identify the elements of the North American agenda which would allow consolidation and reinforcement of the North American region".
This year's themes : creation of a customs union, water management, human trafficking and telecommunications.
Water management ?
The students for the mock parliament were divided into three groups : legislators, lobbyists, and journalists.
One of those student journalists was really doing her job. From her report regarding a resolution in which Canada would give up 10% of her customs duties in exchange for US 'protection' or access to Canadian resources:

Canadian Coma

An editorial by Eléonore Bernier-Hamel

The Canadian delegation of the Triumvirate in the Customs Union commission
has been successfully exploited by the United States and has agreed to a very
questionable proposition.

I went to see the Canadian delegates to ask them if they were happy with
the resolution. I didn’t have a clue because they remained silent during the
commission and they always voted in the same way as the others.

The Americans made it clear at the beginning of our commission: they would
ask either for significant monetary contributions for enforced security or for
access to Canadian natural resources. Canadians had accepted the American’s
rules: they were ready to give up one or the other.

I could sense the nervousness of the American delegates and I tried to
understand the nature of their concern. I found out that they wanted the
resolution to be finalized as quickly as possible because they were stunned by
the silence of the others, especially the Canadians, and they were afraid to see
them waking up and refusing what appeared to be unacceptable.

The press conference on Thursday was framed as if the resolution had
been a success for everyone.

I would have failed my readers had I not reported this.
As a Canadian –Québécoise I am wondering why this country has to pay for
the rude attitude of the US government towards the Middle-East and the security
problem that comes from this. The Canadian government refuses to participate in
the missile defence program as the American government wished after 9/11; why
should Canada now accept to finance a plan of national security that covers the
entire territory of North America?

Go, Eleonore! You can read the rest of her report here.

Sounds just like life, isn't it?
Nice to see a little spunk from a student journalist in a mock parliament at a conference which, incidentally, included a former Canadian ambassador to the US, a conference whose only purpose is to promote the NAU.
Would be nice to see rather more of her particular spunk out here.
Note : I'm personally not against some eventual form of North American Union.
I just don't see how we can currently avoid it being, in Ann Coulter's happy phrase, "America rolling over and crushing Canada in her sleep". Or coma.
(Cross-posted at Creekside)

Oil for Food . . . .

Rep. Jim McDermott, D-WA, gets it, re: Iran/CIA/Oil as we noted previously. He puts Iraq into context: It's always been all about the oil.

As the first commenter says in the AlterNet article:

"I mean that someone who speaks so honestly on American foreign policy can actually be a member of Congress defies belief. We only need another 400 like him to have something resembling a representative legislature."

Would that the rest of our elected "representatives" actually were.

"Representatives", that is . . . .

(Cross-Posted from Moving to Vancouver)

Food for Thought . . . .

As a follow up to this previous post, Catnip over at Liberal Catnip has an excellent analysis on the Democrats' current stand on the Iraq debacle.

As a MoveOn supporter it has definitely given me pause.

Read it and see what you think . . . .

(Cross-Posted from Moving to Vancouver)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Operation Photo Ops

aka Operation Enduring a Slump in the Polls
aka Operation "It's, I think, made them a better military notwithstanding — and maybe in some way because of — the casualties."

(Cross-posted at Creekside)

At the going down of the Sun, and in the morning...

With respect and condolences to the family and friends of Cpl. Matthew McCully, 2 CMBG Headquarters and Signals Squadron, Petawawa.

Velox, Versutus, Vigilans

Narcotecture in Afghanistan

Photographer : Ash Sweeting

A slideshow at the Monocle
The building boom in the western Afghan city of Herat.
Much of the construction is being fuelled by money from drugs, guns or graft, and gaudy palaces are wiping out the face of the medieval city.
Lifestyles of the nouveau riche and infamous

Link via Panglossian Notes

Thursday, May 24, 2007

One Scoop or Two ? ? ? ?

From Frances Madeson over at AlterNet:

The FBI May Have the Inside Scoop on You

Think surveillance is for terrorists? Think again. Under the terms of the Patriot Act, a ton of your personal and financial information may already be in the FBI's database.

I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, but worth bringing to the forefront of our psyches, nonetheless.

Somewhere I saw the aforementioned legislation referred to as the "pat-riot act".

Quite apropos, don't you think?

(Cross-posted from Moving to Vancouver)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Looking at the world upside down

The Globe and Mail ran this picture of Harper looking at a map of Afghanistan upside down on its front page today.
So why isn't this funny in the way that photo of Bush looking through binoculars with the lens caps on was funny?
Because we understand the different rules in play here : it's a photo op, so naturally the map is facing us.
On last night's CBC TV coverage of Harper's visit to see the mayor of Kabul, this map was on an easel in a room empty but for all the other easels with maps and pictures on them. Standing in front of it was the head of Canada's International Development Agency for Afghanistan, and she took a question about one of the blue pins representing Canada's reconstruction efforts.
There are too many ongoing rebuilding projects, she said, for any one pin to represent a specific project.
So it's just a map with some pins stuck in it then.
The Star : .“I’m not here because of the polls. I’m here because it’s the right thing to do,” Harper said.
The prime minister tried to put a brighter face on the mission this morning as he visited the Aschiana school in the capital’s downtown, where 200 boys and girls attend classes.
“Why don’t we get a photo with the children,” Harper said, as he accepted roses proffered by a group of girls and boys."
Take it away, Thwap's Schoolyard :
"So, now you take this expensive trip, to prove what exactly? That you can fly in an airplane? That you can hand out pencils?
No, don't worry Harper. I've figured it out: We've spent $39,000 on this school. It's all part of our plan to reconstruct Afghanistan by paying one dollar out of every ten dollars we spend on Afganistan on initiatives that provide you with cynical, "heartwarming" photo-ops, while we spend nine dollars out of ten continuing to blast the country to pieces."
Thank you, Thwap. I think that just about covers it.
(cross-posted at Creekside)
Photo credit : Tom Hanson/CP

Dems Better Than Repugs ? ? ? ?

Those voters in the US who espouse the Democrats to be the saviours of the system better think twice.

Not only yesterday's "cave" on the Iraq funding bill but crap like this -also noted here - on trade policy should make one think twice about how much better the US would be under the dem's. (Please note that once again, Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold is on the correct side of this issue - Unlike other Democrat "leaders".)

We need a thorough house cleaning, top to bottom to have a chance at a government really of and for the people.

Chances of getting that?

"Slim to none" comes to mind . . . .

(Cross-Posted from Moving to Vancouver)

History Repeats Itself . . . .

Come on, citizens of the world, are we the only people that can see the similarities??

bushco authorizes CIA covert action in Iran. Seems like back in '53 the same scenario was initiated by the US. Never mind that Mossadegh was democratically elected by the Iranian people.

Those that ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

Idiots . . . .

(Cross-Posted from Moving to Vancouver)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Not to sound like a conspiracy nut, but...

It is strictly speculation, but could philanthropist Glen Davis have been murdered because of his support of the conservation movement? He gave millions a year to the World Wildlife Fund and the Sierra Club and that may not have sat well with some of the more extreme "traitorous liberals should all die" types out there. He survived a vicious beating two years ago that was never explained and his attackers were never caught.
I'm not saying he was killed because of his involvement with the environmental movement - I don't know enough about the other aspects of his life to say that there wasn't some other motive for the murder. But when I see the kind of overblown rhetoric that gets thrown around on the right side of the blogosphere about how this person or that person should die in some horrible way because they don't have the same beliefs as the poster, I always wonder how long it's going to be before some nut job take the idea to heart.
Certainly, this has happened in the abortion debate. Call those doctors providing abortions baby-killers enough times and viola, some fetus fetishist dingbat decides to be judge, jury and executioner and plant a "pro-life" bomb at a clinic or shoot a physician in front of his family.
I don't know whether Davis was assassinated for giving millions to the World Wildlife Fund and the Sierra Club, but sadly it isn't beyond the realm of possibility

Speaking of nutjobs with bombs - While I'm sure sensible people everywhere would feel bad if there had been violence at Jerry Falwell's funeral, apparently it was his own guys that were ready to start throwing firebombs. Weren't Fred Phelps and his addled band of cultists supposed to be picketing there?

(crossposted at The Woodshed)

Like a hibachi, only bigger

Another weekend, another barbecue
Dave said I could post weird stuff, so I thought I'd blog about my weekend, most just so I could post an odd photo. I took the curvaceous and emminently capable Ms. Rev. Paperboy and the youngin' up into the mountains of Yamanashi Prefecture this weekend to camp out on a mountain top at The Northlands campground with 50 of our closest friends from my old watering hole in Kawasaki, Moby Dick, (named for the drum solo, not the whale) the friendliest bar in Japan, if not the world.

To paraphrase the master (and this is the real list): "We had 5 cases of Heineken, 2 bottles of Captain Morgan's dark rum, 2 bottles of Blanton's Single Barrel bourbon, a bottle of Black Bush, 2 bottles of Beefeater, 2 bottles of Jose Cuervo Gold, a bottle of Bacardi white rum, 5 litres of red wine, 5 litres of white wine, a bottle of Glenlivet, a bottle of Kalua, a bottle of Amaretto, a bottle of cassis, ten litres of assorted sake, a half dozen different kinds of sho-chu, 5 kilos of Rev. Paperboy's homemade spicy Italian sausage, 3 kilos of chicken, 4 kilos of assorted beef, 2 tuna heads, a dozen baguettes, a broad assortment of salads, pickles, olives, cheeses, chocolates, 'smores and 6 litres of Take-san's fabulous vegetable-chicken-sausage soup.
The only thing that worried me was the tuna heads. There is nothing more helpless and irresponsible than a man drunk on sake in the depths of a tuna binge."

I'm not claiming we drank all the aforementioned booze - though I think I had the last beer the next morning - but we certainly put a dent in it. I know we went through about half of the Irish whisky just er...toasting my sausage -- which isn't nearly as dirty as it sounds.

(further details at the Woodshed)

They're Number One

Oh boy, the US is number one in a lot of categories. Aren't we just so damn proud?!?

The thing is, the categories we're number one in are those that don't give one a warm and fuzzy feeling. That is, unless you're into war games or maiming and killing other human beings.

No surprise that we lead the world in weapons of mass destruction - sad nonetheless. But hey, as long as the military - industrial - congressional* complex is happy with our position, I guess that's all that matters, right?

Compliments of TomDispatch and Frida Berrigan:

A Nation of Firsts Arms the World By Frida Berrigan

They don't call us the sole superpower for nothing. Paul Wolfowitz might be looking for a new job right now, but the term he used to describe the pervasiveness of U.S. might back when he was a mere deputy secretary of defense -- hyperpower -- still fits the bill.

Face it, the United States is a proud nation of firsts. Among them:

One of the more disturbing "firsts" is this one:

First in External Debt:

The United States owes $10.040 trillion, nearly a quarter of the global debt total of $44 trillion.

If you think that won't come back to bite the economy in the ass one day, you're dreamin' . . . .

*Yes, in Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1961 address to the nation, he did include the Congress in the equation. Funny how that's been minimized over the years.

(Cross Posted from Moving to Vancouver)

The Amero....again.

Globe&Mail :
"Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge says North America could one day embrace a euro-style single currency. (snip)
The idea of a common currency has long been a subject of curiosity, particularly among Canadian academics, who see it as a way to escape sharp gyrations in the exchange rate. (snip)
Some proponents have dubbed the single North American currency the “amero.”
It is more likely, however, that a common currency would mean that Canada and Mexico would adopt the U.S. dollar, giving up significant economic control to a central bank dominated by the United States."

In 1999, former Alliance MP Herb Grubal wrote a paper for the Fraser Institute entitled The Case For the Amero : The Economics and Politics of a North American Monetary Union .

In it he describes how in March of 1999, Reform Party members Rob Anders, Rahim Jaffer and Jason Kenney "spearheaded a debate in parliament over the issue of monetary union for North America. In the process, they asked the Prime Minister to form a committee of parliament to study the subject."

Well, so much for "being a subject of curiosity, particularly among academics".

Interesting how far back the public record on this idea goes among the gnugovs, although they do say they were expecting "some resistance".
In endnote #39 to "The Case For the Amero", Grubal notes : "Resistance to the amero will be lessened by continuing to call it officially a "dollar" in the United States and Canada."

Oh come on now, Reformers, you know you really want to call it the "The Almighty Dollar" - in honour of, you know, "Him".
However, given the current US trade deficit with China, a very good reason among many other very good reasons for Canada not to consider this idea at all, they might have to settle for the "Almighty Yuan".

(cross-posted at Creekside)

Malalai Joya ousted

Not for calling for war crimes trials against both the Taliban and our allies, the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan, which the western media prefers to call the Northern Alliance.
Not for referring to Karzai as a U.S. puppet and her fellow MPs as drug lords and war criminals, specifically the vice president, named by Human Rights Watch as a war criminal; the minister of water and power; the anti-corruption chief, a convicted drug trafficker who served time in a Nevada state prison; the deputy interior minister in charge of the anti-drug effort, a famous drug-trafficker; the chief of staff of the Afghan army, also named by Human Rights Watch as a war criminal; and various senators and advisors to Hamid Karzai.
Not for speaking out against the increasing violence towards women and children as perpetrated by the Afghan state.
Not for her speaking engagements abroad, in which she argues that "Afghans are deeply fed-up with the current situation and every day that passes they turn against the government, the foreign troops and the warlords, and the Taliban make use of this resentment to increase their influence amongst the commom people."
Not even for calling the US-installed Afghan government a "B52 democracy".
No, Malalai Joya has been ousted for referring to parliament on national television as "a zoo", or in some other translations, as "a stable of animals".
That, apparently, was just too much for them.
On her return to Afghanistan after visiting Canada in September last year, Joya was at pains to explain to her countrymen that support for the US invasion of Afghanistan was not the fault of the Canadian and American people.
"I didn't realize how much they don't know," she said. "Their government lies to them, and the media."
(cross-posted at Creekside).

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Devil made me do it!

A male comedian dressed up like a woman saying "the devil made me do it" in a comedy routine is funny.

A fundamentalist Christian teenage mother using it to defend her teenage would-be preacher's attempt to roast their toddler alive-- ehhh, not so much.

More progressive parenting in Jebusland:

Woman blames devil, not husband for burning daughter in microwave

May 20, 2007, 12:45PM
© 2007 The Associated Press

GALVESTON, Texas — A woman blames the devil and not her husband for severely burning their infant daughter after the 2-month-old was put in a microwave, a Houston television station reported.
Eva Marie Mauldin said Satan compelled her 19-year-old husband, Joshua Royce Mauldin, to microwave their daughter May 10 because the devil disapproved of Joshua's efforts to become a preacher.
"Satan saw my husband as a threat. Satan attacked him because he saw (Joshua) as a threat," Eva Mauldin told Houston television station KHOU-TV.
A Galveston County grand jury indicted Joshua Mauldin last week on child injury charges after hearing evidence that he placed his daughter in a motel microwave for 10 to 20 seconds. The infant, Ana Marie, remains hospitalized. She suffered burns on the left side of her face and to her left hand, police said.
Eva Marie Mauldin, the girl's 20-year-old mother, told the television station that her husband is "not the monster people are making him out to be."

(cross posted from the Woodshed)

That Was Then, This is Now . . . . Unfortunately.

Late last week former President Jimmy Carter was commenting on current President george bush and his abysmal job performance. No surprise here, Jimmy is not too impressed with george's performance in office. (He did clarify today that perhaps his remarks were "careless.") The White House is striking back.

Personally, I'd much prefer an "irrelevant" Jimmy Carter representing US interests around the world than a bungling bush.

No contest . . . .

(Cross Posted from Moving to Vancouver)

I wonder if the CRTC have really thought this one through.

You come home from the daily grind and kick back with a glass of something or other in front of the tube.

First up there's that irritating European guy in the weirdly pseudo-modern suit striding purposefully back and forth in front of skyscrapers dispensing vigorous advice about your "stock portfolio". And that lovable pair of SUV owners are still ploughing their pride and joy through remote mountain streams to the admiring glances of the local wildlife. "Some stories we're following..." Some sort of disposable mop. "Always" - now there's a happy thought - and we're back to the irritating European guy again.

The CRTC are increasing the currently allowed 12 minutes of advertising per hour to 14 minutes as of Sept 1, 15 minutes the year after, and finally in the spring of 2008, all advertising time restrictions will be lifted.

Reuters : "The CRTC said that the move from the current 12 minutes- per-hour primetime advertising limit to a completely market-driven model aims to give broadcasters additional revenue to deal with increasing competition from cable channels, new media and other emerging digital platforms."
"The commission considers it essential that broadcasters have the flexibility to maximize advertising revenues to respond to the negative impact of audience fragmentation," the regulator said in a statement."


Sunday, May 20, 2007

And he's killed fewer people than Charlie Manson

Note to Conrad Black: If you want to stay out of jail, you may not want to compare yourself to the only man ever driven from the White House for his criminality.

The Money Quote:
His book, Richard Nixon: The Invincible Quest, is largely an attempt at rehabilitating the president brought down by Watergate. Had it not been for his "legal and ethical shortcomings," he writes, Nixon would now be ranked alongside Reagan andFDR as one of America's greatest presidents.
Yeah, and aside from that brief bit of unpleasantness in front of the Book Depository, the future Mrs. Onasis quite enjoyed the drive through Dallas. On what basis can Nixon be considered a great president? His prolongation of the Vietnam war? His secret and illegal wars against Cambodia and Laos? His backing of Pinochet's coup in Chile? His backing of Indonesia's bloody invasion of Timor?

"Oh, but he went to China!" the conservatives always say. He was hardly the first to recognize that the communist regime there formed a legitimate government -- and it only happened 30 years after they had chased Chang-kai Shek off the mainland.

Yes, he ended the draft and started the EPA, but that hardly makes up for using the constitution as toilet paper.

And let's be clear: Reagan was a disaster as president. He tripled the national debt, sparked the homeless problem by emptying the mental hospitals, was a union-buster, sold arms to Saddam Hussien, gave the religious right the undue influence in U.S. politics that it weilds to this day, got rid of the FCC's fairness doctrine thereby allowing evil, lying bags of pus like Rush Limbaugh to abuse the public airwaves, contributed to international tensions and instability by heating up the cold war until it threatened to turn hot, ignored AIDS until it reached epidemic proportions and made George Bush his vice president, thus leading to the coronation of the current dolt in the White House.

And all that is in addition to the crimes he commited gassing students as Gov. of California, rushing to eagerly name names for Joesph McCarthy and making the Bonzo movies.

That Black believes Nixon and Reagan were great presidents on par with FDR tells you all you need to know about his lunatic, aristocratic Tory view of history, but if you need other reasons to dislike him look let us judge him by his actions and his words rather than his reputation as a ruthless robber baron who gutted the Canadian newspaper industry.

He also responds to the repeated attempts by the prosecution to portray him not just as a thief but prone to an over-the-top lifestyle. "It is a total fraud that I lived with any particular extravagance," he complains. "I had certain ideas about how the chairman of a big newspaper should behave. So I tried to conform to that. But I was not a vulgar person."
Contrast that with:
While he admits that there have been some "scary moments", he goes on to insist:
"The game is won. I'm on an inexorable march to victory."
That is going to look so good after Lady Babs has one of the servants embroider it on a sampler for his lordship to hang in his cell.

Commenter John M. Miller correctly points out that Ford and not Nixon was the president during the invasion of East Timor. However, I would argue that as Ford and Kissinger were both Nixon appointees, Nixon still bears some degree of responsibility for what happened on their watch. The same goes for ending the draft - it was Ford that signed the papers in 1975, but the original groundwork had already been laid by Nixon, who ended active conscription in 1973.

There is one other nail that should be driven into Nixon's coffin; He brought Donald Rumsfeld (whom he admiringly called a "ruthless little bastard") into the executive branch, and thus Dick Cheney, both of whom clearly took to heart the boss's arguments about executive privilege and the right of the president to do anything he wants.

(crossposted to The Woodshed)

If you read nothing else this weekend, read Joss

Joss Whedon explodes. It's something I wish I'd written, but I didn't because Joss did so much better a job.
How did more than half the people in the world come out incorrectly? I have spent a good part of my life trying to do that math, and I’m no closer to a viable equation. And I have yet to find a culture that doesn’t buy into it. Women’s inferiority – in fact, their malevolence -- is as ingrained in American popular culture as it is anywhere they’re sporting burkhas. I find it in movies, I hear it in the jokes of colleagues, I see it plastered on billboards, and not just the ones for horror movies. Women are weak. Women are manipulative. Women are somehow morally unfinished. (Objectification: another tangential rant avoided.) And the logical extension of this line of thinking is that women are, at the very least, expendable.
Read all of it.

Hat tip Amanda

This is interesting

Wandering around cyberspace this morning, wait, uh, I mean editing an ethics proposal, I found this unsettling little distribution from Valuesystem (h/t John Robb):


And now, for something different

The crew here at The Galloping Beaver is going swanning. It is, however, not aimless wandering. Dana is conducting in-depth research at the world's most important scotch distilleries; I have a bit of work to get out of the way; Cheryl is joining me whence we will turn the trip into a much needed period of decompression. Hopefully the odd wild Chinook salmon will make an appearance. Laura and Boris are still here, however, they are working on the requirements of higher education which must always stay the first priority.

So, for the next few weeks, Boris and Laura will be joined by three exceptional guest-bloggers. If you don't already know them, (and you should really be checking their blogs), meet:

Alison from Creekside

West End Bound from Moving To Vancouver

The Rev.Paperboy from The Woodshed

Regular readers will already be familiar with the great writing and diverse perspective offered by our three guests. (Geographically, they are located all over the planet).

We'll start crawling back onto the plates sometime towards the end of the month with a renewed sense of qwerty.

So, take it away! And enjoy!

Addendum from Cheryl:

No tax clients were killed during this posting. Ooooh, OK, I maimed one or two. (but they deserved it!). When Dave and I get back from my post-tax season meltdown, I plan on getting back to blogging and justifying my name on the blogroll. Happy May and June to everyone!

The only reconstruction that seems to count

A little over a year ago, we reported this and this about the reconstruction in Iraq. Here are some nice pictures (AP photos) which show the progress.

May 2006:

May 2007:
Progress... no? Of course it is. And as Ann Gearan reports:
The 21-building complex on the Tigris River was envisioned three years ago partly as a headquarters for the democratic expansion in the Middle East that President Bush identified as the organizing principle for foreign policy in his second term.

The complex quickly could become a white elephant if the U.S. scales back its presence and ambitions in Iraq. Although the U.S. probably will have forces in Iraq for years to come, it is not clear how much of the traditional work of diplomacy can proceed amid the violence and what the future holds for Iraq's government.

"What you have is a situation in which they are building an embassy without really thinking about what its functions are," said Edward Peck, a former top U.S. diplomat in Iraq.

"What kind of embassy is it when everybody lives inside and it's blast-proof, and people are running around with helmets and crouching behind sandbags?"

The Bush administration did something without thinking ahead?! Go figure.

This was to be the centerpiece of US presence in the Middle-East. A place where the business of collapsing Sultanates and disappearing dictatorships could be observed. This was to be the place where control of a huge amount of the world's oil could be administered.

This was to be the Bush administration's palace in the east. A testament to the wisdom of PNAC. But if it's anything it is proof that the US plan is to stay forever. The Iraqis can pass legislation, they can send petitions and they can try to pry the Americans loose with 7.62 ammunition. This building is the legacy of the Bush administration in Iraq.

Now... it's a target.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Rapid Senate Reform: Blow it up

I do believe Senator Terry Stratton is counseling a criminal act.
A senior Conservative senator says the dysfunctional upper chamber should be "blown up" because the large Liberal majority, acting too often as judge and jury, has brought the Senate to an all-time low as a political body.

"This is an incestuous place which should be blown up," an exasperated Terry Stratton, who acts as whip for senators on the government side of the red chamber, said in a telephone interview from Winnipeg.

Nasty, nasty, nasty. I think Senator Stratton needs to get back on his medication. It sounds like having a sleeping berth in the red chamber is too much for him.

Now go read The Next Agenda.

Added: Senator Stratton, given his propensity to counsel violent acts against parliament, should encounter some difficulty flying now.

Like mother. Like son?

Laura Schlessinger rarely hesitates to tear a strip of anyone who commits an act or lives a life which she considers immoral. Cookie Jill found this little bit of information.
The soldier son of talk radio relationship counselor Laura Schlessinger is under investigation for a graphic personal Web page that one Army official has called "repulsive." The MySpace page, publicly available until Friday when it disappeared from the Internet, included cartoon depictions of rape, murder, torture and child molestation; photographs of soldiers with guns in their mouths; a photograph of a bound and blindfolded detainee captioned "My Sweet Little Habib"; accounts of illicit drug use; and a blog entry headlined by a series of obscenities and racial epithets. The site is credited to and includes many photographs of Deryk Schlessinger, the 21-year-old son of the talk radio personality known simply as Dr. Laura.
Hypocrisy meet your progeny. I guess that morally-perfect, orthodox upbringing didn't take.

His own radio talk-show can't too far in the offing.

Just Leave, OK?

(Guest Post while Dave & Team are otherwise occupied)

This from McClatchy Baghdad Bureau reporters:

We are happy that we got rid of Saddam but we will never be happy to give away our country in return.

Sorry if our flesh harmed your knives... is that what they want us to say. Is this what they came for?

The failure of this invasion is a victory for FREEDOM and a defeat for radicals in U.S. and later in Iraq.

These folks know of what they speak. They're there . . . .

At the going down of the Sun, and in the morning...

With respect and condolences to the family and friends of Captain Shawn McCaughy, 431 (Air Demonstration) Squadron.


Friday, May 18, 2007

An 8 year old blows open the US occupation of Iraq

Political scientist Pete Moore was doing historical research on the American occupation of Iraq, particularly that time when the Coalition Provisional Authority was running things in 2003/04. Moore, who has researched many colonial occupations, expected that unlike past projects which relied on the mountains of paper left by colonial authorities, finding documents from the CPA era, which stored all records on computers, would probably yield very little.

That was until his 8-year old son, who was "helping Dad", accidentally carried out a couple of keystrokes which opened redacted documents and revealed information never meant to be read by anybody.
My son made his discovery while impatiently waiting to play a computer game on my laptop. As part of a research project, I had downloaded 45 documents from a section of the CPA Web site known as Consolidated Weekly Reports. All but three of the documents were Microsoft Word. I had one of the Word documents up on my screen when my son starting toying with the computer mouse. Somehow, inadvertently, he managed to pull down the "View" menu at the top of the screen and select the "Mark up" option. If you are in a Word document where "Track changes" has been turned on, hitting "Mark up" will reveal all the deletions and insertions ever made in the document, complete with times, dates and (sometimes) the initials of the editors. When my son did it, all the deleted passages in a document with the innocuous name "Administrator's Weekly Economic Report" suddenly appeared in blue and purple. It was the electronic equivalent of seeing every draft of an author's paper manuscript and all the penciled changes made by the editors. I soon figured out that with a few keystrokes I could see the deleted passages in 20 of the 42 Word documents I'd downloaded. For an academic like myself it was a small treasure trove, and after I'd stopped hooting and hollering it took some time before I could convince my startled son that he hadn't done anything wrong.
What was discovered was a look into the mindset of the young, unqualified politically appointed Bushites which presumed to occupy Iraq. In one document, Moore discovers that a 28 March, 2004 Weekly Economic Report contained deleted text highlighting how the CPA actually viewed the developing insurgency. In one instance, the author of the report considers the idea that insurgent groups have taken an operational pause to regroup and strengthen the insurgent action against the American occupation as "boring".
Operational Pause: A boring theory is that the terrorists are in an operational pause, needing to regroup after the recent spate of roundups. There are very few persons we have met who subscribe to this.
That alone shows the unbelievable arrogance and stupidity of the occupation administrators. To dismiss the idea that insurgents have simply gone to ground because no one would tell them that's what actually happened is the height of ignorance. Did they expect a notification from various groups telling them they would be back?

Moore's entire article is a captivating piece of work, and the source document is stunning. The administrators of the occupation were so out of touch with the reality of Iraq that they suggested that insurgent violence was a normal part of the political discourse. They referred to defeated Iraqi government officials as "losers" and, when realizing that the Iraqi population had read the hand-over timetable for June 2004 to mean that US troops would be withdrawing, decided the best thing to do was leave them in the dark and not correct the confusion.

Moore's conclusion however, demonstrates how incompetent the CPA actually was. (Emphasis mine)
Nowhere in any of these theories, including the "boring" one, does the author address the dissolution of the Iraqi Army as a major contributor to the violence. Nowhere, in fact, does the author seem to know which "bums" or "losers" are attacking the Americans or why. Indeed, the most remarkable passage in the entire deletion is a simple statement by an Iraqi businessman, whom the writer quotes in passing while explaining why American-induced economic prosperity will end the fighting. "It is nothing personal," the Iraqi says. "I like you and believe you could be bringing us a better future, but I still sympathize with those who attack the coalition because it is not right for Iraq to be occupied by foreign military forces." In the world of the CPA circa 2004, first one American glosses over this Iraqi's prophetic words, and then another tries -- unsuccessfully, as it turns out -- to delete them.
Because tossing 400,000 former combat troops onto the streets would hardly fuel an insurgency in the minds of the unqualified and the politically connected.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Costs soaring on new tanks and Afghanistan

That didn't take long. Last month, Minister of National Defence, Gordon O'Connor, when he wasn't making up detainee transfer stories, announced the acquisition of slightly used Leopard 2 main battle tanks: 20 on loan from the Germans and 100 to be purchased from The Netherlands. The total cost of the deal was announced to be $650 million, including spare parts and modification to Canadian standards.
Canada is negotiating government-to-government agreements for both borrowing and acquiring the Leopard 2 tanks. The total project cost of the loaned tanks, the acquisition of 100 surplus tanks from the Netherlands, the requisite upgrades and enhancements to this new Leopard 2 fleet, and an initial acquisition of spare parts is $650 million, which will be funded from existing departmental allocations.
No other expenditure was announced and no further estimate of funds was discussed. As it is, taking $650 million from "existing allocations" means shifting money from other essential operations and maintenance.

Today, however, the real cost of buying main battle tanks was disclosed.
Canada's purchase and long-term support of 100 slightly used Leopard 2A6 battle tanks will be $1.3 billion — roughly double the Conservative government's initial public estimate last month.

As he detailed a laundry list of military hardware the Conservative government plans to buy over the next few years, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor surprised the Commons by announcing there will be a 20-year, $650-million service contract attached to the tank deal.

“The capital acquisition is $650 million and the support for 20 years is about $650 million; about the same range,” he said in reply to an opposition question during debate over Defence Department estimates.

Once this little disclosure was made DND officials starting bobbing and weaving, sucking and blowing and generally answering questions by speaking into their lapels.

The official did not explain why the Conservative government broke with its long-standing practice of rolling both the purchase price and long-term support costs into one package.

When other big-ticket equipment purchases were made, such as the $4.7 billion acquisition of 16 heavy-lift Chinook helicopters, the entire program cost was announced at the same time.

It's really not all that confusing, and Dawn Black nailed it.

New Democrat defence critic Dawn Black accused the Conservatives of deliberately trying to hide the true of cost the tanks.

“They know that Canadians are becoming more and more concerned about the mission in Afghanistan and they're low-balling” the cost pricetag, she said.

“Canadians are concerned about all of the costs of the mission.”

Yes. It's a lack of transparency, a lack of accountability and, well, dishonest. And if you think that's all there is, you'd be wrong.

Also on Thursday night, Mr. O'Connor released a revised estimate on the cost of Canada's current mission to Kandahar. From February 2006 to February 2009, when the mission is slated to end, it is estimated that $4.3 billion will have been spent by the Defence Department — an increase of $400 million since the last forecast in November.

The increase is attributed to the additional cost of reinforcements, including tanks, which were dispatched to Kandahar last September by the Conservatives.

“We've added a few hundred more soldiers; they cost money,” Mr. O'Connor said. “There's more machines in there.”

The latest estimate does not include the price tag of all of the new equipment the Defence Department has purchased over the last few months specifically for the mission.

So, in truth, the cost of the Afghanistan mission is even higher than the revised and increased estimate provided by O'Connor today. Why didn't he provide the true figure?


He's deliberately burying the true figure. Even though new equipment has been purchased he will defend the cost by stating that new artillery, new ammunition, new vehicles, etc. are all now a part of army's permanent equipment inventory and the fact that it's all been purchased for the Afghanistan mission is irrelevant. Count on it.

Again, all of that money comes from the fixed Defence budget which means operations and maintenance in other areas of the Canadian Forces is succumbing to funding shortfalls. If the money isn't coming from the Defence budget then it's being taken from other departments and that is illegal. Parliament is required to be consulted on estimates and amending budget items is a decision of the House of Commons.

Worst. Defence. Minister. Ever.

Conservative Guidebook on Unleashing Chaos

Don Martin in the National Post spills the beans on Harper caucus committee stratagery.

It's like a satire on hell.

"• ...the Conservative party helps pick committee witnesses. The chairman "should ensure that witnesses suggested by the Conservative Party of Canada are favourable to the government and ministry," the document warns.

• The chairmen should also seek to "include witnesses from Conservative ridings across Canada" and make sure their local MPs take the place of a member at the committee when a constituent appears, to show they listen and care.

• The chairmen should "meet with witnesses so as to review testimony and assist in question preparation."

• Procedural notes tell the chairmen to always recognize a Conservative member just before a motion is put to a vote "and let them speak as long as they wish" - a maneuver used to kickstart a filibuster as a stall tactic.

• Chairmen are told to notify all affected ministries prior to a motion being voted upon. "Communicate concerns with the Prime Minister's Office, House Leader or Whip," the document insists. "Try to anticipate the response of the press and how party could be portrayed."

• The guide says a "disruptive" committee should be adjourned by the chairman on short notice. "Such authority is solely in the discretion of the chair. No debate, no appeal possible." By failing to appoint the vice chair to run the meeting, the adjournment will last until the chair is ready to reconvene the committee."

Nobody could make up shit like this.

What's the rationale behind the approval they get from their base again?


Who's their base?

The Trailer Park Boys, that's who.

Slick Dancing Mitt fights the War on Terror

Via Think Progress, Slick Dancing Mitt spoke about some topic vaguely related to torturing terrorists at the Republican debate earlier in the week. Here's the man who would be leader of the free world:

ROMNEY: I am glad [detainees] are at Guantanamo. I don’t want them on our soil. I want them on Guantanamo, where they don’t get the access to lawyers they get when they’re on our soil. I don’t want them in our prisons, I want them there. Some people have said we ought to close Guantanamo. My view is we ought to double Guantanamo.

Since Slick Dancing Mitt makes 2000-era Bush look like the sort of deeply conscientious genius any party should be proud to call its nominee, I don't want to ascribe too much weight to his comments. Still, I wonder if Candidate Romney was referring obliquely and signalling his support for the ongoing efforts by the Bush Justice Department to get all the lawyers out of Gitmo for good? Sort of like, by saying it, he can make it a done deal? Maybe not though. To be fair, Romney is right that access to lawyers at Gitmo has always been dicey. Dahlia Lithwick summarized last year what tended to happen when Gitmo detainees didn't get those lawyers at their initial hearings:

But weren't [the detainees] all proved guilty of something at their status review hearings? Calling these proceedings "hearings" does violence to that word. Detainees are assumed guilty until proven innocent, provided no lawyers, and never told what the evidence against them consists of. That evidence, according to another report by Hegland, often consists of little beyond admissions or accusations by other detainees that follow hundreds of hours of interrogations. (A single prisoner at Guantanamo, following repeated interrogation, accused over 60 of his fellow inmates—or more than 10 percent of the prison's population. Some of his accounts are factual impossibilities.) Another detainee "confessed" following an interminable interrogation, shouting: "Fine, you got me; I'm a terrorist." When the government tried to list this as a confession, his own interrogators were forced to break the outrageous game of telephone and explain it as sarcasm. A Yemeni accused of being a Bin Laden bodyguard eventually "admitted" to having seen Bin Laden five times: "Three times on Al Jazeera and twice on Yemeni news." His file: "Detainee admitted to knowing Osama Bin Laden."

More of this please! On the other hand, this could all be much ado about nothing. After all, it's not clear that "doubling" Gitmo in a physical sense (which is what I assume Romney means) would really be necessary, even under the grandest designs. As SDM surely knows, even after Congress overrode the Supreme Court's decision to forbid trials by military tribunals, it has still proved so impossible to actually make cases against the detainees, that the Administration has been forced to simply release hundreds of them, bringing the total number of inmates from an initial 700 down to about 380. That leaves plenty of room for whoever it is that President Romney wants to stick in there without needing to "double" anything. Bin Laden could have his own private room! I think it's safe to say Castro can breathe easy.

Anyway, I'm waiting for Romney to get back to the things that really matter, like trashing his home state and fighting the War on French Debauchery.