Thursday, September 30, 2010

NATO uh oh

In which Pakistan holds a pruning shear to one of NATO's dangly orbs.

Pakistan has blocked one of two vital supply routes for US and Nato troops in Afghanistan, officials say. The move comes after three Pakistani soldiers were killed in a Nato helicopter attack near the border. The BBC's M Ilyas Khan says it is not clear whether the closure is in retaliation for the attack. But the blockade, if it becomes permanent, could lead to a major escalation in tensions between Pakistan and the United States...

...A queue of about 100 Nato vehicles is now waiting to cross the border into Afghanistan.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said after the border attack on Thursday that "we will have to see whether we are allies or enemies".
However, local officials said the closure was carried out as a security measure to ensure Nato vehicles were not attacked by the Taliban in retaliation for the helicopter attack.
Our correspondent says the route through the Khyber area supplies Kabul and is one of two key supply lines linking Pakistan to Afghanistan.
Another route - going though Quetta and Chaman to southern Afghanistan - remains open.
Security officials said Nato helicopters had entered Pakistani airspace and targeted a paramilitary checkpoint in Thursday's attack.
A Nato official confirmed there was an attack, but said that the military alliance believed it was in Afghan airspace. She added that the incident was under investigation.

Briefly. The local Pakistani officials are wrong. Cutting a MSR is a tried and true method of disrupting the military activity of your enemy. Friends don't do that to friends. The interior minister said as much. This is bad.

More later maybe.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Canadian version of Machtergreifung

I had such high hopes, once upon a time. Instead, a governor-general buckled.
But I thought that it was quite interesting to see that this was a moment in our country to reflect on, ‘Okay, how does our system work?’ I think it was a labour of raising awareness and raising also the responsibility of being well informed and of making the effort to learn about our political system. Because there’s going to be before and after. From now on, people realize that the governor general has a role. The governor general has to analyze, think, make a choice. My preoccupation was really to make the best decision in the interest of the country. What was best for the country.

It was her job to be acutely conversant in our political system. It's been around for a long time.

Paul Von Hindenburg was probably thinking the same thing when his gutless actions created a Fuehrer. She created a presidential prime minister.

At least she's not alone in the history books.

Muslim malcontents . . .

THE NEWSPAPER YOU LOVE TO HATE, THE NATIONAL POST, has an article, "Rory Leishman: Calling out those who ignore Islamist extremists in our midst". It seems that some of our Canadian Islamics haven't been as anti-jihadist as maybe they should be.

Part of the answer can be found in some mainstream Muslim publications in Canada. For example, in July, Al Bilad, a monthly newspaper published in Arabic and English in London, Ont., featured a poem that glorifies an Islamist homicide bomber who pleads to her mother:

“Yumma, tell my son that I did not abandon him, never!
I did it for his freedom and our peoples [sic] right to be able to live free, forever!
Yumma, tell my husband that he will always be my all,
I know he understands and he knows why I took that call.”

Following the publication of this ode to terrorism in Al Bilad, all Canadians who are alert to the peril of home-grown radicalization should surely boycott the newspaper. Yet the current issue includes advertisements for Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party; Irene Mathyssen, NDP MP for London–Fanshawe; Khalil Ramal, Liberal MPP for London-Fanshawe; Jim Chahbar, Conservative candidate for London–Fanshawe; and Ed Holder, Conservative MP for London-West.

Home-grown Islamist extremists are also liable to draw inspiration from groups like the Muslim Association of Canada, a fundamentalist organization with chapters in 11 Canadian cities. MAC leaders state on their national website: “MAC adopts and strives to implement Islam … as understood in its contemporary context by the late Imam, Hassan Al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Banna was one of the prime advocates of violent jihad in the 20th century. In Islam’s Predicament: Perspectives of a Muslim Dissident, Salim Mansur, professor of political science at the University of Western Ontario, notes: “Banna preached a dangerous mix of religion and violence….
He is not just the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, but he is also the source of modern fundamentalist politics in the Arab-Muslim world. His teachings evolved and mutated into the politics and terrorism of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda.

Marvelous. Simply frickin' marvelous. I sure hope CSIS has spiked every Islamic mosque and community center in Canada. When an ostensibly consensus-adhering outfit like the Muslim Association of Canada is actually preaching the twisted hatred of the Muslim Brotherhood and using our politicians like the politically-correct "useful idiots" they are, it is time to oversee just what is being preached, because Canadian Islamics can't be trusted to excise this nest of vipers from their midst. They either can't or won't — and that's not good enough. It should become a Canadian foreign policy goal to get an Islamic Reformation started.

Oh no. This will cost us another billion dollars in new prisons.

Damn it! Now we have to create prisons for bears.

Employees investigating a break-in at a gas station store in Radium Hot Springs, B.C., Monday soon realized that it wasn't a human that was responsible, but a black bear.
The bear smashed through the front door of the Petro Canada at 4 a.m. MT and browsed the aisles for 6 minutes, according to surveillance video.
But apparently, he found nothing to his liking because employees established that nothing was missing, even though the station shares its retail space with a Subway restaurant.
Wait for it! Big buddy Stockwell will soon be telling us all about it. Reported crime - perpetrator not human. A whole new statistic for the crime freaks.

Would you rather be governed by a listerner or an authoritarian?

I've got a little point to add to Boris's latest excellent post.

This was noted in the quoted report: (emphasis mine)
But Emerson was also impressed by Harper’s discipline at the cabinet table, compared with Martin’s disorganized leadership style, where meetings dragged on.

“Paul would just sit there and let this go on,” Emerson said.

“So you could be in the cabinet meeting from nine till noon, no problem at all, and really nothing would happen other than people would download their views. In the Harper cabinet, you really did not intervene unless you had something to say. The cabinet meetings were short and succinct, far more disciplined, far more organized.”
In other words there was no discussion in Harper's cabinet. Decisions had already been made. There was and is no such thing as representation at the table. Martin may have let cabinet meetings go on at length but he was doing what real leaders do - they listen.

One learns more by listening than simply laying down the law. Governance is not about imposing one's views on a country. Governance is about finding a way to give the majority the authority to exercise their will without marginalizing the minority. A good leader will always pay attention to interventions and temper legislative actions to achieve consensus. It isn't easy, but it's not supposed to be. The man is being handed big bucks and an obscene array of regal perks by us peasants to get it right every bloody time.

To Harper, that's a waste of time. In his mind he already knows what's best. And he knows that because he has never believed in anyone but himself and anyone who presents an opinion or a view which he doesn't share is an enemy to be destroyed.

That is a dictator.

Our fore bearers spent thousands of lives, a national treasure and six years of brutal warfare to rid the world of a megalomaniac that took over a different national government in exactly the same way.

So, do we suffer the same indignity of 30 years of rebuilding and shame or do we we reclaim our place on the world stage as the honest broker - a country represented by listeners?

Decide now. Time is rapidly wearing off the clock.

Visceral hatred

They were “viscerally hating their political opposition,” he said. “Sometimes it was just startling to me.”

- David Emerson quoted in Lawrence Martin's new book about Harper.(via Buckdog)

It's a safe bed that at the end of the day, that hatred is the motivation behind everything Harper and his band of orcs do. From visits to the Governor General, to mass prisons and beat-downs in the streets of Toronto, the one 'ideology' we see is a pathological hatred of anything and everyone standing against what they do or think.

This isn't politics. They aren't interested in parliament. There's no tradition of intellectual or philosophical thought underwriting their platform. Their numbers betray their rhetoric about small government for a lie. They shut down critical institutions of state that produce information independent of political control. They break protocol and convention at will.  All they want to do is smash and destroy anything and anyone not fitting their worldview.

Good things, wholesome things. Protestors, programs and policies that embrace people and at least try to promote the health and wellbeing of Canadians are attacked and savaged. Our long history of competent parliamentary democracy, in tatters.

What do you call that sort of thing? I don't know exactly, but you won't find a name for it in any politics textbook. Reactionary visceral hatred: the reptile brain fight or flight instinct in a political party.

Give us an election.

Unbeweavable hair salon

Unbeweavable hair salon. Weally. Twooly. I shudder to think that it might not be a send-up . . . 

Boy racers and teh stupid

Young people are dumb. Some stay that way all their lives, but many learn through experience. Sometimes hard experience. Young men, in my view, are especially dumb. It's relatively easy to convince the average one that drinking 20 pints of lager and swimming across a lake at night is a good idea. Armies know they are easily convinced to madly charge into razor wire and machine gun fire. Young males often have a lethal unappreciation of the consequences of their actions and/or self-preservation.

This is why when I read this little report I cringed.

Motorists called police on Saturday at about 10:45 a.m. PT saying they had spotted two vehicles travelling at very high speeds on the public road up Mount Seymour, said Cpl. Peter DeVries.
An officer on patrol nearby was notified and moments later, "watched, stunned, as a blue Ferrari rocketed past him at almost 200 km/h. A BMW followed close behind," DeVries said.
The officer located the vehicles in the parking lot at the top of Mount Seymour.
The drivers, aged 21 and 22, both residents of Vancouver, were issued almost $1,000 in traffic fines for excessive speeding and driving without due care and attention, said DeVries.
Their licenses also were suspended and their cars impounded for seven days under provisions of new provincial legislation for excessive speeding and street racing, he said.

My first thought was something along the lines of "what the hell is someone that young doing in a Ferrari?" And my second thought was that someone that young should not be behind the wheel of a car with the potential of a Ferrari. And then I looked at the punishment. A thousand dollar ticket and a seven day impound/suspension. A grand is a paltry sum for someone able to afford driving high-end luxury cars. A seven-day suspension becomes a story for their mates about how the doing 200km/h up the mountain was worth the slap.
No, that kind of behaviour, IMHO, ought to fall under the purview of impaired driving. Drunk drivers are criminally faulted for their decision to drive when drunk regardless of whether they realised their judgement was impaired. Sober drivers, driving as recklessly as these punks, have no excuse. They made a willful and conscious decision to drive in a manor dangerous to themselves and others. 
If their judgement is that impaired when they're sober, they ought not to be allowed near a set of car keys until they've been assessed by a mental health professional and been served a punishment similar to that issued to their intoxicated counterparts.

It doesn't get better than this...

Matt Taibbi at his best, explains what Tea Partiers really are.
Scanning the thousands of hopped-up faces in the crowd, I am immediately struck by two things. One is that there isn't a single black person here. The other is the truly awesome quantity of medical hardware: Seemingly every third person in the place is sucking oxygen from a tank or propping their giant atrophied glutes on motorized wheelchair-scooters.
It gets better.

But after lengthy study of the phenomenon, I've concluded that the whole miserable narrative boils down to one stark fact: They're full of shit. All of them. At the voter level, the Tea Party is a movement that purports to be furious about government spending — only the reality is that the vast majority of its members are former Bush supporters who yawned through two terms of record deficits and spent the past two electoral cycles frothing not about spending but about John Kerry's medals and Barack Obama's Sixties associations. The average Tea Partier is sincerely against government spending — with the exception of the money spent on them. In fact, their lack of embarrassment when it comes to collecting government largesse is key to understanding what this movement is all about — and nowhere do we see that dynamic as clearly as here in Kentucky, where Rand Paul is barreling toward the Senate with the aid of conservative icons like Palin.

And then he points out this about the Tea Party's star candidate.
Early in his campaign, Dr. Paul, the son of the uncompromising libertarian hero Ron Paul, denounced Medicare as "socialized medicine." But this spring, when confronted with the idea of reducing Medicare payments to doctors like himself — half of his patients are on Medicare — he balked. This candidate, a man ostensibly so against government power in all its forms that he wants to gut the Americans With Disabilities Act and abolish the departments of Education and Energy, was unwilling to reduce his own government compensation, for a very logical reason. "Physicians," he said, "should be allowed to make a comfortable living."

Really, it's a must read.

Beware the politicians that defence industry leaders lie with

This wasn't just predictable, it was led, as Impolitical points out, by the message management merchants in Harper's office.

The Canadian aerospace industry has entered the political fray to accuse the Liberal Party of putting high-quality jobs at risk by refusing to endorse the government’s plans to purchase new stealth fighter jets.
The "industry" might want to think twice before suffering the machinations of the Harper PR machine. That's a wobbling star and hooking your wagon to it can be perilous.

Lest you forget that conservatives talk a great "defence" story and deliver very little.

The civil service shuffle and the hidden agenda

Last Friday the Harperites announced a rather significant shift in the upper levels of the federal bureaucracy. Except they waited until most of the notepads had been flipped shut and the blackberries were headed for the corner of Elgin and Cooper. Kady, still on the beat, noticed.

When those types of announcements are made late on a Friday afternoon there is good reason to cast a cynical eye and Cathie raised the obvious question. The Harperites are trying to hide something - but what?

Today, she nails it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons

Apparently the above scored highest on a US survey about general knowledge of religion.

Atheists and agnostics scored the highest, with an average score of 21 correct on the 32-question survey. Jews and Mormons both averaged about 20 correct answers, while Protestants averaged 16 correct answers and Catholics averaged 15. Atheists, agnostics, and Jews also knew the most about other faiths. Questions ranged in difficulty, from the name of the first book of the Bible, to what century the Mormon religion was founded. People who said they attended worship once a week or more tended to score higher, as did those with higher levels of education.
I might hazard that for whatever this little survey is worth (we all know statistics are the work of the devil; long form census anyone?), that the religions with the more ignorant poorly informed followers tend to bray the loudest about the dangers of other [non-]faiths and the merits of their own. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Flaherty meets reality TV

Honeslty, "Honest Jim", how much did you think we bought in the first place?

Scam artists are scam artists. And you are one of the accomplished ones.

For an example we send you to TBogg.

Don't be a Sucker!

This bit of film was produced in 1947 by that notorious gang of liberal pinkos, the United States War Department. Does any of it sound familiar?

Let me be perfectly clear -- this is exactly where wedge issue politics leads. It is all part of a divide-and-conquer strategy to make sure we are too occupied with fighting our fellow citizens and neighbours to notice that the wealthy and powerful are bleeding us dry and making the lives of millions more difficult so that they can enrich themselves. The income gap between the top and bottom of the economic ladder is larger than it has ever been in North America and poverty is at an all time high in the United States as the middle class is being systematically eroded by debt and economic mobility is being stifled by the high cost of health care and education. But any suggestion that the rich are mercilessly exploiting the poor is greeted with pearl-clutching about "class war" and accusations of socialism by the people controlling public discourse.
We are treated to the latest tawdry escapades of people like Paris Hilton and reassured that the system works and is fair when she gets arrested for possession of cocaine, but ask yourself whether a 30-year-old hispanic hotel chambermaid with a couple of prior convictions would have gotten off as lightly in the era of zero tolerance? And while we are fed scapegoats ranging from Muslims to Mexicans, from "Cadillac-driving welfare queens" and "secular liberals who want to take your guns" to "ivory tower intellectuals" and "crooked unions" --we very rarely hear about the new robber barons like the Koch brothers, and when we do, the pushback in the media is massive and immediate.

We are being played for suckers.

(crossposted from the Woodshed)

Booting a terrorist . . .

GIZMODO has an article by Jesus Diaz, "How They Found and Killed the Bloodiest Narcoterrorist In the World". Apparently, last Thursday, the Colombian government caught up with Mono Joyjoy, all thanks to a boot. A very special boot, it seems . . . 

Víctor Julio Suárez aka Jorge Briceño Suárez aka Mono Jojoy, born in 1953, was the big boss of the military organization of FARC, the so called Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The objective of this Marxist-Leninist 11,000-man-strong guerrilla is to overthrown the government through terrorist acts, financing themselves with drug traffic, kidnaps and extortion of all kinds of innocent people.

Last Thursday, Mono Jojoy was at his secret headquarters in La Macarena, an area deep into the Colombian jungle. It was a normal day at the 984-foot long base. Nobody expected what was about to happen, which is probably the reason why they didn't use the escape tunnels that go out of the military bunker, at the heart of the base.

After all, they all were sure that nobody knew where this base was, hidden from US spy satellites by the thick foliage. And in any case, they probably thought that neither the Colombian nor the US intelligence could ever learn where Mono Jojoy was located at any given time.

Mono Jojoy was probably doing whatever it is that bloody terrorists do when they are not planning how to screw the lives of people who don't give a damn about their revolution.

And taking care of his poor feet.

He suffered from diabetes which, combined with the rigors of the life in the jungle, had caused painful injuries on his feet. That was the reason why he had to order a new pair of special boots. And that was when Operation Sodoma started and his death begun.

The guerrilla command sent a message asking for these special boots, which was caught by Colombian intelligence. The Colombians were able to intercept the boots and rig one of them with GPS circuitry. When Mono got them, his fate was sealed.

Shoulda stayed with Crocs.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I "heart" Joe Fiorito

I was a little stunned when I had heard that the federal finance finance minister, Jim Flaherty, had publicly endorsed a candidate for mayor in the Toronto municipal elections. What the hell is a federal political animal doing meddling in municipal politics?

Thankfully Joe Fiorito got in front of the story and laid it out. He masterfully guts Flaherty and then drives the blade right between the poison little prick's eyes.

If our financial house is not in order, why might that be? Could it be, perhaps, that Jim Flaherty has had a grip on Toronto’s neck for a very long time? 
Is it not — and I do not choose these words lightly — both hypocritical and cynical to criticize us because we have been unable to catch our breath?

More recently, Jim Flaherty is the finance minister in a federal government that every year takes billions more from this city in taxes than it sends us in return.

And most recently of all, Jim Flaherty helped to saddle this city with the costs associated with the G20 fiasco, and yet his government refuses to act quickly to compensate all those small businesses that lost money each and every day Toronto was turned into an armed camp.
And then the blade:
Rob Ford — he is Jim Flaherty’s man — says he doesn’t want any more immigrants in Toronto because we can’t take care of the people we have. 
You might not think that such a remark is code for something pale and nasty, but if I were a recent immigrant, I’d be offended.

Better to remember that Jim Flaherty is the finance minister in a federal government that has power over immigration matters, and yet the federal government is unwilling to provide the support Rob Ford says this city does not have.
Do you get it now?

Tail slap to Montreal Simon

Regressive Conservatives

I'm so glad I moved back to Canada in time to vote against these jerks. I said when they passed this law that it was bad idea and poorly thought out. Now that I'm dealing with the realities of applying for confirmation of citizenship for my two kids born in Tokyo and applying for permanent resident status for my wife, I think it was an even worse idea that was not thought through at all. But I suppose the Conservatives consider anyone who has been further away from home than spending a weekend shopping at the outlet malls near Plattsburgh or a golf holiday in Florida to be an "elite." Remember, getting too much of that fancy egghead book-learning just makes you want to live in a big city with other elites or - god forbid - among foreigners. The only Real Canadians (tm) are those who stay on the farm, clinging to their bibles, guns and Conservative Party of Canada membership cards. Maybe Stephen can figure out a way to revoke citizenship for those that leave the country -- he certainly seems to be working on it.

Crossposted from the Woodshed

The great Igor photo op. Updated

Something has been bugging me about this ever since I heard it on a radio broadcast. Two things actually, but in order of the way they appeared on my plate.
“I have seen flooding, but I have never seen anything like this,” said Mr. Harper, surveying the damage Friday in Trouty, one of dozens of towns coping with flood waters, downed power lines and washed out bridges and roads after Igor blew through on Tuesday.
“I have never seen damage like this in Canada. Where we were standing at one point, the water would have been over our heads here,” he said.
Now, I don't disagree with the prime minister surveying the devastation wrought by a tropical hurricane on very un-tropical Newfoundland. In fact, it was absolutely necessary that he make the trip. But that statement has been bugging me. He's never seen anything like it.

Maybe that's the case. I'm certainly not going to dispute it. However, first we have Harper telling us where the flood waters were, even though he wasn't there and secondly, he fails to acknowledge what actually happened.

A politician chose to take the spotlight and act as a spokesman for somebody else. He doesn't know where the flood waters were; someone else told him. And since Harper was being so authoritative in his assessment and analysis why didn't some reporter simply nail him right then? Question: Isn't it a bit odd for mid-latitude Newfoundland to take a direct hit from a tropical Atlantic Category 1 hurricane? Since you're providing details would you explain how that meteorological event evolved?

Think about it. We've got intact tropical hurricanes, still with all their tropical characteristics, making direct hits on landmass at 47 degrees north latitude. The federal government's head politician says he's never seen anything like it. The same politician who refuses to take any action to curb, or even acknowledge the existence of the anthropogenic contribution to global warming.

Never seen anything like it before in Canada? Wait for it; there's a lot more to come.

And yes, there is one more thing bugging me. Strangely, this trip by Harper got some pretty wide coverage. Why would the readers of the Boston Globe or the mono-synaptic lint pickers at Fox News give a tinker's damn whether the Canadian prime minister is visiting Newfoundland to survey the damage? It must have been a slower news day than the ones where Felipe Calderon did the same thing in his country.

Update: I'm going to toss this link here for now. There is a lot more to add and there will be a lot more on the subject of extreme weather events. I'm sure the PMO kids are weighing the value of sending the leading example of poor physical fitness to northern Vancouver Island.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons.

Good morning, darlings – I’m up to my ears in reviews and edits. Yes, my life is indeed an endless glamourfest.


Friday, September 24, 2010

You can't fix stupid . . .

THE UK TELEGRAPH has a report that's sure to get the politically-correct in the wonderful world of tighty-whitey wedgie: "Tattooed woman 'told to put bag over head by Jobcentre'"

Hayley O'Neil, 23, - who also has 20 body piercings - says was also advised to ''stand behind a wall'' when she asked a job centre official what post she could apply for.

She eventually left the Job Centre Plus centre in Blackburn Lancs in tears without any interviews lined up after the advisor concluded: ''Who would hire you looking like that?''

Miss O'Neil, who got her first tattoo from her mother as an 18th birthday present said: ''I just felt so humiliated. I couldn't believe what this guy was saying.

''I said I could take the piercings out but they look a lot worse when they are out."

"The guy said: 'on first impressions do you think anyone would hire you?' He said: 'look at it this way if you were to stand behind a wall - or put a paper bag over your face do you think you would have a better chance?'

At least there's call centers.

Harper and Ahmadinejad

When a few UN General Assembly delegates, including Canada's, leave the room when Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is speaking, the press calls it a "walk out".

What do you call it when 90% of the room is absent when Stephen Harper gives his wee lecture?

Perhaps the two of them went for drinks afterward and cried to each other about how unappreciated they are.

Ghost in the Machine?

Last night I received an email to one of my accounts dated 2003 from someone I knew then. It was the second time I'd got that email (first time was in 03), but when I replied the email bounced back because the address no longer existed. Oddly, this morning the email was gone, and only the mailer daemon rebound was there, but the text of the actual note was gobbledegook.

Any thoughts? Or does the intertubes really never forget...

There will be much splashing in the Ottawa swamp today

Sometime after 11:15 a.m. Ottawa time you can expect some furious tail slapping as the swamp erupts. There will be howls of "waste" and "scam" and who-knows-what. And the hillbillies, their muzzle-loaders still subject to registration, will growl and lie to try and hide their sins.

Melissa provides a Quick Start guide ....

... for those who are too lazy to read the whole manual.

Adult content.

Tropical Storms Matthew and Lisa 24/1400Z

I have reversed those two cyclones alphabetically because of the inherent threats each one represents. TS Lisa has been with us for a while but remains a weak system and presents less risk to population. Matthew developed overnight and is now the subject of Hurricane Warnings and Watches in Central America.

Tropical Storm Matthew is something of a guessing game at the moment. Track models vary significantly. Because of this the intensity forecast is also very thready since the route Matthew takes will have an effect on its intensity.

Matthew has been given an initial intensity of 45 knots (83 kmh/52 mph) keeping it well below hurricane strength for the time being. It is located 170 miles (275 km) East-Southeast of the Nicaragua/Honduras border, tracking in a westerly direction at 14 knots (26 kmh/16 mph). The cyclone will probably track West-Northwest and slow somewhat over the next day or two. After that the official forecast is that this cyclone will start to track North into the Gulf of Mexico. The NHC gives that forecast a low confidence. None of the intensity models have Matthew becoming a hurricane before making landfall however, caution suggests that hurricane preparations for Nicaragua and Honduras are prudent.

Hurricane Warnings are flying for Puerto Cabezas Nicaragua to Limon Honduras including the offshore islands.
Hurricane Watch is in effect for the coast of Belize.
Tropical Storm Warnings have been issued for Limon Honduras westward to the Guatemala border.

Tropical Storm Lisa presents no threat to population although there is some risk to shipping. Located about 295 miles (475 km) Northwest of the Cape Verde Islands, Lisa is tracking Northeastward at 4 knots (7 kmh/5 mph). Max sustained winds are 35 knots (65 kmh/40 mph).

Lisa is expected to move northward and weaken as it comes under the influence of increased wind shear.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Naw. The Tbogg Bassets win.

Well, unless it comes from Scandinavia. The price of my loyalty is so cheap. 

Standing Room Only . . .

The 'It gets better' project

You know, this little gem could actually save a life.

Be sure to pass it on to anyone you know who might benefit from a bit of peer support.


The reality of The World Stage(tm)

Some years ago, just after the Harper government won its first minority,  someone with an ear to the ground in New York told me that the usually active and vocal Canada had gone silent and withdrawn. According to my source, our diplomats and representatives at the UN had been told to shut-up and the other countries had apparently noticed. 

Now, suddenly, the UN (well the blowy-up stuff Security Council at least) is all-important to Stephen the Harper and his uh, brilliant foreign policy-ing.

Once again the Conservatives learn there are consequences to "asshole" as a policy. 

Too bad.

Boogityboogity Dep't.:

ZERO HEDGE is a financial site, that looks at the financial world a little differently than most, as indicated by their slogan, which you can see above. Anyway, Tyler Durden has a report, "DEADF007 - Is Stuxnet The Secret Weapon To Attack Iran's Nukes; Is A Virus About To Revolutionize Modern Warfare?".

Yikes! Even paranoids have enemies, but this does not seem to be tinfoil hat time; it seems somebody went to quite a bit of trouble to create this beastie that is infesting computers in the Middle East especially. Who's gonna get stuck by Stuxnet? Is it designed to rain on Ineedadinnerjacket's parade? (H/T to Helmut at Defend-Net.)

Since reverse engineering chunks of Stuxnet's massive code, senior US cyber security experts confirm what Mr. Langner, the German researcher, told the Monitor: Stuxnet is essentially a precision, military-grade cyber missile deployed early last year to seek out and destroy one real-world target of high importance – a target still unknown.

"Stuxnet is a 100-percent-directed cyber attack aimed at destroying an industrial process in the physical world," says Langner, who last week became the first to publicly detail Stuxnet's destructive purpose and its authors' malicious intent. "This is not about espionage, as some have said. This is a 100 percent sabotage attack."

The Tea Party corruption of history

When, on December 16th, 1773, a group of 116 colonial Americans boarded the Dartmouth to dump 342 cases of East India Company tea into Boston's harbour, they were dumping a product which, even with taxes in, was considerably cheaper to buy than the Dutch black-market stuff they had been drinking.

Many will point at that event and suggest that this was the trigger for the civil war that would come to be known as The American Revolution; a tax revolt led by patriots who only wished direct representation in the British parliament. The residents of the American colonies on the day of the Boston Tea Party were paying one-fiftieth of the taxes levied on equivalent British subjects in Britain itself.

Good propaganda, but not the reason a small group of rebels decided to push against British governance. The history is long and rather more complicated, and most of it has been consigned to the dustier parts of the stacks because it just doesn't make good patriot reading. Perhaps we'll go farther down that road in the future.

The party that boarded the Dartmouth disguised themselves as "indians", quite probably Mohawks, since the warriors of that aboriginal nation had become something of a symbol for the Sons of Liberty. It was neither the first nor the last time that rebels would disguise themselves as indigenous peoples. (There is still controversy as to whether the group which attacked and burned the revenue schooner HMS Gaspee off Rhode Island in 1772 actually disguised themselves as Narragansett indians). That, and subsequent acts, would long haunt the aboriginal populations of the US North America.

The American Revolution, despite some of the legitimate grievances of American colonists, had more to do with removing the limits of westward expansion and the preservation of the power of the southern rice baron. No matter what got written into the Declaration of Independence, the words in that document did not apply to all who resided in the American colonies.Without spelling it out, the lofty words, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," placed a certain restriction on who constituted "all". And by the end of the Revolutionary War, the southern rice planters had seen nicely to that.

Less than 100 years later the descendants of those southern planters were back at it. No less than they had embraced the rebel-patriot side in Revolutionary War to preserve their wealth, the move by the southern rice grandees to secede from the greater union of the United States was fueled by greed.

And today's Tea Party movement? Same thing. Dennis at Balloon Juice explains:
Now some think the goal of the Astroturf TeaTards is to roll things back to pre-Obama. Other think pre-Clinton or pre-LBJ or pre-FDR. And yes, they would like to roll past all of the laws, rules, traditions and regulations of all of these guys. But the real target is Lincoln.

It was Lincoln changed the term “United States” from a descriptive term about States sometimes working together into a proper noun that named our Nation. It was Lincoln who began the move away from gold and issued paper money. It was Lincoln who could multi-task with an eye to the future. While he was kicking Confederate ass he also financed a transcontinental railroad, land grant schools and education and land for homesteaders. It was Lincoln who worked to protect free labor and to end slavery. Ending slavery, he also set up the first government run welfare effort to help former slaves transition to freemen. And it was Lincoln who led our Nation to soundly defeat the Confederacy and deliver to these traitors a well-earned ass whopping. Their ideological descendants are still holding a grudge towards the America that Lincoln shaped.

In all of these efforts and many more, Lincoln changed the rules of the American economy to favor the working class, the poor and to create new entrepreneurial opportunities. He totally screwed the Southern oligarchs who were used to running the Country. To protect their power, those Southern planter oligarchs created the Confederacy. The modern oligarchs in America have created the TeaTards to protect them from market forces. Then as now, the appeal to the gullible is racism, fear and the promotion of ignorance as a source of strength.

When I listen to these fuckers these days all I can hear is the echo of Confederate bullshit in their every statement, their every word. Their understanding of the US Constitution is a Confederate understanding. Their understanding of the Founding Fathers is completely informed by Confederate myths, memes and spin. When they wrap themselves in the American flag you know that they would rather wrap themselves in a Confederate battle flag snuggie. And when the chant USA! USA! USA! USA! you can be sure that they really mean CSA! CSA! CSA! CSA!

It is a common line of these wankers to state that “We need to take our Country back”. I believe them, but the Country they seek to rescue is the Confederate States of America. As for the United States of America, they are always quick to tell you that that government is their enemy. It is ironic that this group of neo-Confederate deadenders have captured Lincoln’s Party and killed it. Now they seek to do the same to the Union and Nation Abe gave his life for.

Will the next Veterans Ombudsman even be a veteran?

One is left wondering when one reads this Notice of Vacancy posted at Veterans Affairs Canada. (Emphasis mine)
The successful candidate must have a degree from a recognized university in a relevant discipline or a combination of equivalent education, job-related training and experience. A law degree would be an asset.
Interesting. Colonel Stogran has a degree in electrical engineering.
The selected candidate must have demonstrated experience in developing and fostering productive partnerships, as well as experience dealing with government, preferably with senior officials.
That all depends on what "dealing with government" means and what constitutes a "senior official". Are we talking about the bureaucracy or are we talking about the hillbillies in the Prime Minister's Office? Is a senior official a senior civil servant (a boffin) or a PMO message management merchant (bollard head)?
The favoured candidate must have knowledge of the principles of administrative law and natural justice ...
I'm betting the Command and Staff College level of legal training for senior officers is suddenly not going to be sufficient.
The selected candidate must have good knowledge of the operations of government.
Really? In relation to what? Does this mean some intimate knowledge beyond what a responsible and informed citizen would possess? Or, does this mean willing to take orders from the political animals in the PMO?
The chosen candidate must possess strong leadership and managerial skills and a proven aptitude for appropriate and effective liaison and interaction with stakeholders. The successful candidate must have superior interpersonal skills and will be an individual of integrity, discretion and strong professional ethics. The ability to apply analytical, interpretative and evaluative thinking to situations and the ability to anticipate the short and long-term consequences of his/her strategies are required. In addition, the preferred candidate will have superior communications skills, both written and oral, and the ability to act as spokesperson in dealing with the media, public institutions, governments and other organizations. The selected candidate will not only be objective, impartial and fair, but also flexible and resilient.
Colonel Stogran was all of those things, and more. I am betting, however, that "flexible and resilient" doesn't mean getting knocked down by the kids in the PMO and come back fighting.

It's starting to look like the PCO wants a senior civil servant lawyer with connections to the current government. Either Pat Stogran's appointment as the first Veterans Ombudsman was PMO orchestrated window dressing or they simply couldn't handle the type of fight offered by a real combat veteran. Maybe it was a bit of both.

In any case, nowhere in that Notice of Vacancy does it state that the candidate, successful, preferred, chosen or otherwise will possess experience with the Canadian Forces and have a strong understanding of the culture of Canada's service personnel.

Musical interlude

Chune is Natural Selection, artist is UNKLE and I'm finding it a little catchy today. Oh, and the new blogger blogpost creation interface is groovy. Now back to my thesis.

The Backroom Deal that screwed veterans

And got Sean Bruyea's confidential medical information into a ministerial briefing note.

What is just as important, however, is what led to all of this: a back-of-the-plane deal to implement a new Veteran's Charter without proper parliamentary scrutiny and without public debate.

Pogge takes it right to the quick.
Allow me to draw your attention back to "the legislation zoomed through parliament." It seems that members of all the political parties are capable of forgetting what parliament is for. Of course there's nothing wrong with politicians from different parties getting together for informal discussions. But in this case, it sounds like they slapped a deal together in the privacy of an airplane's passenger compartment and then didn't look back. The study and debate that should take place at committee and in the Commons was treated like a formality. As evidence of that I offer the fact that the most important "stakeholders" in this — the veterans themselves — are up in arms about a policy that has a profound effect on them. Isn't this what they mean by "back room deals?"
It is indeed, and it will be worth keeping in mind as this unfolds further. The new Veterans Charter was heavily flawed from the start. It was first and foremost a cost-cutting exercise carried out on the backs of veterans.

More later.

My apparent lack of outrage

Many of us of have commented with eminently justifiable outrage on the revelation that the Conservatives were completely willing to probably illegally dig into the confidential medical records of a veteran and spread that apparently secure information around to all and sundry, like a stallion's head in the bed.

I've had a number of thoughts on that, but I think I'm beyond the point of immediate shock and outrage at this latest revelation. Yes, they are a toxic spill and the fish are bloating to the surface, but at some point you've got to snap out of it, stop staring and start organising HAZMAT.

Time and time again, from Canadians like Abousfian Abdelrazik to our veterans, this government and often its ministers and functionaries have demonstrated only one way of behaving toward individual or groups of Canadians it or they do not like. They ignore protocol and statute, as well as the basic social norms of respect, and do their utmost to utterly ruin that person's life or prevent those groups of demonstrating their point.

I said sometime ago on this blog that this is a government that makes lists of enemies; lists and files containing whatever damaging or private information might be useful to them. At this point it would not surprise me in the least to find out that some minister's office is data mining bloggers, activists, veterans, or anyone else who has made a disparaging comment about them or stood in a line against them. It wouldn't surprise me at all to find out that some public money went to hiring "contractors" to spy on political enemies, either in office or private citizens, and gather information on their personal lives. They have already spent a billion dollars to use the entire state security apparatus, including the enacting of secret laws, to crush peaceful dissent at a level alien to just about every other parliamentary democracy in the world and Canada especially. It would not surprise me in the least to find out that the names and photos of the arrested or copies of their police files have made their way to Party offices.

This is simply how the Party operates. At some point we must get over the shock of what they do, recognise them for what they are, and set about the task of methodically taking them apart. The line of departure here it seems is the next election. The Cons just lost a major platform vote in the House. There's a new scandal every week. They are on the defensive.

When the election comes, get out to your all-candidates meetings. Get behind the microphone and very politely ask the concise embarassing questions about their record and their Party's. If the security people come to shut you up for asking the awkward question, have a silent friend record it and post it on the internet and send it to news outlets. If they don't, record the "answers" and "explanations" the Con gives. Post them.

In fact, record everything around them and make it public, blog, post it, send it to media. They do it us, so then we ought to turn the fucking tables. These people have difficulty with improv and they'll almost certainly step in it.

Push those minority polling numbers down into Opposition. They don't need to go far. Just a few points. We're not dislodging a majority at all. Deficit Jim shows us they are in real fear of losing now which tells us we have the advantage. Press it home.

Updating Betty Krawczyk

Alison has updated her post to include a summary of Betty's 22 September court appearance. There was no resolution and we're now awaiting the announcement of a further court date.

To make things a little easier for Alison, if you have comments or questions related to yesterday's proceedings it would be best to bring them together in one place over at Creekside.

There was an interesting development. Crown counsel Brundrett dismissed the obvious stinking pile he'd left in his wake and said he was not seeking an increase in sentence. He suggested the 15 and 25 year sentencing comparison to two cases involving pedophiles was to provide "scope". Now there's a memo or two I would love to read.

CBC covered this case on The Current yesterday. You can download the segment here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

True bravery . . .

THE NYTIMES has a report by John F. Burns, "Eileen Nearne, Wartime Spy, Dies at 89". It's an obituary of a very brave woman. You see, Eileen was a member of England's S.O.E. (Special Operations Executive), and was a radio operator in occupied France, in WW2.

After she died earlier this month, a frail 89-year-old alone in a flat in the British seaside town of Torquay, Eileen Nearne, her body undiscovered for several days, was listed by local officials as a candidate for what is known in Britain as a council burial, or what in the past was called a pauper’s grave.

But after the police looked through her possessions, including a Croix de Guerre medal awarded to her by the French government after World War II, the obscurity Ms. Nearne had cultivated for decades began to slip away.

Known to her neighbors as an insistently private woman who loved cats and revealed almost nothing about her past, she has emerged as a heroine in the tortured story of Nazi-occupied France, one of the secret agents who helped prepare the French resistance for the D-Day landings in June 1944.

• • •

Ms. Nearne, known as Didi, volunteered for work that was as dangerous as any that wartime Britain had to offer: operating a secret radio link from Paris that was used to organize weapons drops to the French resistance and to shuttle messages back and forth between controllers in London and the resistance.

After several narrow escapes, she was arrested by the Gestapo in July 1944 and sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp near Berlin, a camp that was primarily intended for women, tens of thousands of whom died there. 
Ms. Nearne survived, though other women working for the Special Operations Executive were executed in the Nazi camps.

As she related in postwar debriefings, documented in Britain’s National Archives, the Gestapo tortured her — beating her, stripping her naked, then submerging her repeatedly in a bath of ice-cold water until she began to black out from lack of oxygen. Yet they failed to force her to yield the secrets they sought: her real identity, the names of others working with her in the resistance and the assignments given to her by London. At the time, she was 23.

An incredibly brave, quiet woman — and about as far as you can get from Stevie and Airshow.

Using LSD to catch fish

DOSE NATION has a report that an article from a 1964 edition of Sports Illustrated describes one scientist's exploration into the use of LSD to catch fish. Really. SI's page confirms this:

March 30, 1964
A Dreamy New Era For Fish
Experiments with LSD-25 and other hallucinogenic drugs indicate it may be possible to spook trash fish up—and out—of angling waters.
• • •
But if a chemical could cause all the fish to surface for several hours without killing them, then the undesirable fish could be picked out and the game fish left to prosper. Again, a surfacing chemical would enable biologists to take a highly accurate fish census of a body of water without harming a fin. A low-flying plane could photograph a treated body of water, and biologists, interpreting the pictures, could get a count of species and populations.

This found its way into a scientific journal

I follow meteorological and oceanographic research as closely as I can. It's what I do. In my post-grad days, it's the only thing I did.

So I was a little confounded when I read the abstract for this bit of work funded by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR/NCAR) and the Office of Naval Research.

Then I read this:
Competing interests: The lead author has a web site,, that addresses Christian faith and biological evolution. The Red Sea crossing is mentioned there briefly. The present study treats the Exodus 14 narrative as an interesting and ancient story of uncertain origin.
What?! The paper, supposedly scientific, is done to support some mythical bible story about Moses parting the Red Sea.

How the hell did that make it past an initial review?

Then I noticed that I wasn't the only one who had noticed. Read on at PZ Myers.


Read this! I mean it. Read it!

When I used to tell my troops that I would have their gut for garters, this is the kind of thing that qualified for executing such an act.

Ask yourself: Where is you income tax form going? No wonder these guys want to get rid of the long-form census. They believe everyone will abuse it the way they do.

Holy crap

I don't normally engage in fights with ignorant shit heads, but this time I'm prepared to make an exception.
And as I like to say: "The Vatican doesn't issue fatwas."

Right. They just give them a different name.
The Roman Catholic Inquisition was one of the greatest disasters ever to befall mankind. In the name of Jesus Christ, Catholic priests mounted an enormous effort to kill all "heretics" in Europe and Britain. Heretics is defined whichever way Rome wanted it defined; it ranged from people who disagreed with official policy, to Hermetic Philosophers [Black Magick Practitioners], to Jews, to Witches, and to the Protestant reformers.
I know I'm going to get a "timeline" argument in rebuttal.

It ends right fucking here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Harper's refugee from the Mike Harris disaster speaks

And he did it in the wrong place. As Impolitical makes clear, the audience, The Canadian Club of Toronto, is there to hear facts. Hell, they're willing to listen to a point of view. But they do not gather to hear the trial run of an election campaign.

Canadian Club veterans muttered about the bad manners shown in using their meeting as a venue for an assault on the opposition parties, noting with disapproval that Mr. Flaherty had urged his opponents to “rise above petty politics” before putting the boots to them.
What do you expect from a two-bit ambulance chaser; a Mike Harris refugee? This is not a principled individual who would respect the platform he had been offered. This is a Harper puppet. He will abuse anything, everything and everyone to achieve whatever it is he wants to achieve. The one business that he does not consider relevant is the truth. Ever.

Flaherty sirened on about how the Liberal, the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois are somehow already aligned in a coalition ready to govern with all the policies of each party becoming a national policy package.

Except there is no coalition. It is as imaginary as the porn the frat boys in Harper's office consume.

Flaherty however, knows a different reality. His government is a coalition. It exists from bill to bill. The Harper conservatives have survived by garnering the support of the "socialists" on any given bill. They have welcomed the "separatists" to support a budget bill. They are themselves a coalition of real Tories, religious nut-cases, Alberta oil-patch reformers and political refugees from the vandalism foisted on Ontario by Mike Harris.

When Flaherty yaps on about how a coalition would raise taxes we have to look no further than his own actions. Against all advice he lowered the GST and cancelled income tax reductions. That left you seriously out of pocket and increased disposable income to the wealthy. You would pay less on items you cannot afford but Stevie and Jim still get a huge chunk of what you earn before you can spend it anyway.

The man is socially and politically deficient. He tells us that an election would hurt any economic recovery.


He has handed us the largest fiscal deficit this country has ever recorded. At the same time these goofs run off and spend money on mega-conferences like there is no tomorrow. Do they demonstrate austerity? No ... they go the other way!

What Flaherty did is to tell The Canadian Club that democracy is a bad thing. It interferes with his agenda. The one that is propped up by a socialist, separatist, reform, religious and tory coalition.

And if there is any hint that the coalition will fail, he and Harper just run to their bought and paid-for Governor General and have the doors of Parliament barred.

Imagine how this little tyrant would behave if the roadblocks were removed.


"Hey, Jim, why'd you disown your kids?"

"Well, they were a threat to my net income potential..."

Democracy is non-negotiable, Jim. Fuck with our elections, and we'll take the gloves off.

Once again, these people ain't right in the head.

Clean Catholic Cash . . . .

bennie and his Jerks are the gift that keeps on giving.

Check this out via
The Guardian UK today:

Vatican bank chief investigated over money laundering claims

In unprecedented move, judge freezes €23m held in account at financial institution with close church links

* John Hooper in Rome
*, Tuesday 21 September 2010

The head of the Vatican bank has formally been place
d under investigation in an inquiry into a suspected violation of Italy's money-laundering laws, judicial sources said today.

At the same time, a judge in Rome ordered a freeze on €23m (£19.5m) held in an account opened by the Vatican bank, the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), at another financial institution in the Italian capital. It was thought to be the first time such action had been authorised against the IOR in Italy.


The Vatican has a long history of withholding co-operation from Italian investigators seeking access to its bank's books. The IOR was involved in a
major scandal in 1982 arising from the fraudulent bankruptcy of Banco Ambrosiano, then Italy's largest private bank.


Maybe now we have the definitive answer as to how bennie affords all those fabulous pumps he struts around in . . . .

Hurricane Igor 21/1400Z

Igor remains a Cat 1 Hurricane as the centre approaches the coast of Newfoundland. At 0930 NDT Igor was 155 miles (290 km) South-Southwest of Cape Race tracking Northeast at 35 knots (65 kmh). Given that movement at the time of this report the southeast coast of Newfoundland will be at the closest point of approach of the tropical cyclone. Igor still has winds of 65 knots (120 kmh/75 mph) with expected increases to a sustained 75 knots.

Heavy rains have already fallen in many areas and Sagona Island and St. Pierre have reported hurricane-force gusts.

Hurricane watches are issued for coastal Newfoundland from Stones Cove northward and eastward to Fogo Island.

Tropical Storm Warnings are issued for coastal Newfoundland from Burgeo northward and eastward to Triton; Islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon.

There was an expectation that this cyclone would have made the transition to extra-tropical by this time (developing a frontal pattern) however this has been slow and there has been some new pockets of convection developing ahead of the centre. While Igor has lost many of its tropical characteristics, it remains a tropical cyclone until it transitions probably later on this evening.

Some areas under warnings and watches should expect hurricane-force winds and also extremely heavy rainfall. Great quantities of moisture will be released by Igor in a very short time.

New Gower Street, St. John's webcam.

George Street, St. John's CBC webcam.

And just so the entertainment doesn't end, Tropical Storm Lisa has emerged in the tropical eastern Atlantic.

Click any image to enlarge.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The world's new slinky

Yeah. It's amazing!

Let's say you're a small country. Very small. Your means of defence is arrived at by some convoluted deal in which the country with world's largest and most expensive military keeps you at a level of military capability which will keep you fighting for about three weeks. After that, your ass depends on that other country either having swayed world opinion in your favour, (and the global cavalry comes over the hill to save the day), or they park a couple of super-carriers on your doorstep and neither confirm nor deny that they have it within their means to turn your opposition's cities into glass parking lots.

Still, you have enough moxie to know what you need to keep yourself going for three weeks and have the history to demonstrate that, with the right resources, you can dispatch all comers before you have to pull the fire alarm.

The problem is, being able to pull off that three weeks is expensive and most of your TO and E is paid for by the foreign aid contribution of that large country. Still, you'd like to be able to pick your own stuff and maybe even modify it to suit your needs.

Then, along comes the F-35 Lightning II. You view it as expensive and unsuitable for your needs. You have something different in mind. Until that large country, your defence benefactor, tells you otherwise.
It now turns out that unostentatiously, while overseeing the Israel-Palestinian peace talks, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton busied herself last week in Jerusalem with an errand of equal important to Washington: bulldozing Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak into agreeing to buy 35 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning stealth warplanes for the Israeli Air Force at a cost of $4.7 billion.

This transaction Israel can ill afford. debkafile's military sources report it is opposed by senior ministers, especially Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, and even more fiercely by high IDF officers and heads of Israel's Aerospace Industries. Nonetheless, Clinton got her wish; a special committee the Prime Minister set up for the purpose approved the purchase after cutting down the final number of F-35 warplanes from 35 to 20 at a cost of "only" $2.7 billion.

Military chiefs, furious over Netanyahu's hasty action, said it makes nonsense of the drastic cuts just imposed on defense spending and means that the IDF will have to do without certain new weapons systems needed for facing up to threats from Iran, Syria, Hizballah and Hamas. One officer accused the prime minister of "shamefully and needlessly surrendering to American pressure."

Hmmm. DEBKA is unabashedly hawkish when it comes to Israeli defence and has a reputation for getting pretty chummy with right-wing journals. They also have a habit of using "unnamed sources" for just about everything. The problem, however, is that read as archival history, they have a reputation for accuracy.

The Israelis, no less than any other purchaser of a new and untested warplane, would want to be in on some of the production, and they, like any other country would want regional industrial benefits from such a purchase.

... military sources dismiss reports that Israeli industry will take part in manufacturing the F-35s on sale are untrue. On the contrary, the Americans have laid down tougher limitations than ever before against Israeli access to the production process.

Israeli aeronautical experts and technicians are denied access to the production lines of the plane. Israel's Air Force and Aerospace Industries are prohibited from installing their own homemade systems to the new plane or even altering the Lockheed Martin systems to meet their special needs without prior US consent.


A. You're buying this thing because it's "the best fighter ever". We don't care if you really want the Euro-fighter - in the end it's us paying for it;

B. No. You can't help build it. We already have "gentlemens' agreements" with other countries and if we jeopardize those IRBs they may cancel their order;

C. Lockheed Martin 'R' Us. We're in a world of hurt if we can't peddle this crate so ... shut up and buy them. Just tell everyone there was a competition and Boeing lost.

Even Israeli pilots will only see the finished product when it is ready for their instruction. This will happen towards the end of 2011. The first F-35s are scheduled for delivery in 2015.

Two ministers, Steinitz and the former chief of staff Moshe Yaalon, are skeptical about the US plane's ability to contribute much toward enhancing the IAF's standards. Its design has met wide criticism in military aviation circles. They fear that the decision to purchase it was guided by politics rather than military considerations.

Now where have you heard that before?