Thursday, July 31, 2008

Top Ten Conspiracy Theories, and sometimes a lizard is just a lizard

Via The Guardian :

· 1 Area 51 exists to investigate aliens (48%)
· 2 9/11 was orchestrated by the US government (38%)
· 3 Apollo landing was a hoax (35%)
· 4 Diana and Dodi were murdered (32%)
· 5 The Illuminati secret society and masons are trying to take over the world (25%)
· 6 Scientologists rule Hollywood (17% )
· 7 Barcodes are really intended to control people (7%)
· 8 Microsoft sends messages via Wingdings (6%)
· 9 US let Pearl Harbour happen (5%)
· 10 The world is run by dinosaur-like reptiles (3%)

The survey of 1000 Brits is a 20th Century Fox promotion for its new X-Files flick, which may have skewed the results somewhat, but I'm disappointed to see that my personal fave only barely made it onto the list at #10.

David Icke, TV personality, Son of God, and prominent proponent of the theory that the world is secretly run by 12' lizards, recently ran for office in a by-election in England. He came 12th out of 27 candidates, thereby proving his lizard theory as far as I'm concerned.

In 2001, Icke came to Vancouver on a speaking tour. Given that his theories also include most of the rest of the above top ten list, some locals were alarmed about his allegedly anti-Semitic views and attempted to block his appearances.

In the following excerpt from an article in The Guardian, Jon Ronson recounts an attempt by supporters of David Icke to allay the fears of an anti-racist group. At a strategy meeting beforehand, they agree not to mention the lizards.

The formalities were over and the discussion began.

"So," said Sam, "you say that Icke is not an anti-Semite." Brian held up his finger to say "wait a minute" and he rifled through his briefcase. He retrieved a sheaf of photocopies, which contained the writings of Noam Chomsky.
Brian had marked passages that convincingly reflected his thesis - that David Icke was no more anti-Semitic than this respected Jewish scholar.

Sam studied the photocopies. He nodded thoughtfully. "This might be true to an extent," he finally agreed. "But there is a very big difference between Noam Chomsky saying it and David Icke saying it."

"Which is?" asked Brian, his eyes narrowing.

"Well, firstly," said Sam, "Noam Chomsky is Jewish. Secondly, Noam Chomsky is not mad. Thirdly, Noam Chomsky is, in fact, an intellectual. And, finally, Noam Chomsky is not an anti-Semite."

Henrick shuffled uneasily in his chair. He clearly felt that Brian's modus operandi was falling apart before their eyes. Yes, Henrick had promised to leave the lizards out of the discussion, but these were desperate times, and they called for desperate measures.

Henrick shot me a glance. "Go for it," I mouthed.

"There is full documentation," announced Henrick, which proves that 20 reptilian races have interfaced, intermingled and interbred with the human race, and are now controlling society from above."

Brian stared daggers at Henrick.

"Twenty?" said Sam, leaning forward.
"Approximately 20," said Henrick. "Certainly it is somewhere between 15 and 25."
"Have you got the names of these reptilian races?" asked Sam, producing a notepad from his bag.
"Yes, I have," said Henrick, obviously pleased that Sam was showing an interest. "Okay. Firstly: Grays."
Sam wrote down Grays.
"Next there are the Adopted Grays."
Sam wrote it down.
"Then there are the Troglodytes."
"They're the ones who live in caves, right?" said Sam.
"In caves," confirmed Henrick. "Then there are the Crinklies."
"What do the Crinklies look like?" asked Sam.
"They are cuddly, pink, with old-looking faces," said Henrick."

Can I just point out," interrupted Brian, sharply, "this Chomsky passage regarding the oppressive subtext of the Talmud . . ."

"Then there are the Tall Blondes," said Henrick.
"What do they look like?" asked Sam.
"Kind of like Swedes," said Henrick. "Next come the Tall Robots."
"They're the ones covered in aluminium foil, right?"
"Right," said Henrick. "Then there are the Annunaki."
"The Annunaki," said Sam. "They're the ones David Icke goes on about the most."
"Exactly," said Henrick. "George Bush is Annunaki."

Sam excused himself so he could step outside for a cigarette. He returned to discover that Henrick had taken the opportunity to grab his notepad and add further names of reptilian races to the list.
"The Elderbarians," he had written. "These are the crop-circle makers. The Zebra Repticular. The Albarians. The Interdimensional Sasquatch. The Goat Sucker or Goat Eater often found in Mexico."
"Is there friction between these alien races?" asked Sam.
"Yes," said Henrick. "Constant friction."
"Do they actually fight each other?" asked Sam.
"Yes," said Henrick. "They are constantly battling for control of the 15 dimensional portals. One is in Jerusalem. One is in Tibet. Nobody knows where the other 13 are."
"This," said Sam. "is a very interesting conversation."


Cross-posted at Creekside

"Watch for falling rock" on the 2010 Games

This happened just across the water from me on Tuesday night : a cliff face collapsed onto the Sea-to-Sky highway and the rail line between Vancouver and Whistler. 75 meters of what will be the route to the 2010 Olympic Games is buried in rubble 10 meters deep and will take at least five days to remove.
We must have heard it but as there has been blasting over there every night between midnight and 2am for weeks now, no one would have thought much about it. I wonder if all that blasting had anything to do with loosening that cliff face? In addition to the earthquake in California yesterday and another one in Port Townsend today - hello, San Andreas Fault! - and the fact it rained all day for two days for the first time in weeks - acts of nature we can do nothing about - what about all that blasting and road construction that's been going on?

2010 Games boosters were immediately on damage control :
Premier Gordo Campbell :
"This is an area that was not touched by the improvements that we're making."
"The area where the slide occurred is not part of the $600-million Sea to Sky Highway Improvement Project, so it has not been worked on recently by construction crews."
That's $775 million, actually, guys, with blasting on that mountainside every single night.
"There's no need to worry about a similar incident during the 2010 Winter Olympics. I'm very confident we'll have a situation in place to deal with these things," he said. "We will have contingency plans."
"It's one of the reasons there are two separate athletes' villages -- one in Whistler and one in Vancouver."
"A slide during the Olympics would not ruin the games."
Yeah but it could totally ruin the day of anyone caught under 1600 cubic metres of rubble though, couldn't it, Irene?
"To mitigate any short-term transportation challenges between Vancouver and Whistler, athletes, officials, and the majority of personnel required to stage an Olympic or Paralympic event in Whistler will be housed in the Whistler area, so events will proceed on schedule."
Well, events proceeding on schedule is the most important thing about a rockslide I guess.
And 'short term transportation challenges'?
You mean like the bus driver who thankfully had the wit to floor it out of there as the rockslide smashed into his bus?
So far no one has been reported trapped in the slide - the dog patrols are out sniffing now - but this is a notoriously dangerous highway : 14 major landslides in the last century, with 19 deaths and over 800 accidents in the last five years alone. A rock slide in 1996 was 60,000 cubic meters and another in 1990 took two weeks to clear. It's not called the "Killer Highway" for nothing.

Well you know I'm not a huge fan of the two week Five Ring Circus urban renewal project and I'm bound to be crabby about all this so let's hear from a professional - geologist Colin Smith with Vancouver-based Fundamental Research Corp :
"The Sea to Sky Highway route in the Porteau Cove area is one of the worst possible places to build a road. In fact, Tuesday's slide near Porteau Cove may have weakened surrounding rock structures to the point of making a future slide in the same area more likely."
but, but, but ... Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon said:
"There's going to be a lot of rock-bolting ... and we will have all the contingencies and eventualities in place."
Colin Smith :
"I don't think rock-bolting really would have done a whole lot," he said. "Over time there's not a whole lot you can do, especially when you exploit the weakness by undercutting the structure with the road."
Oh look, here's Crebo, spokesman for the Transport Ministry, with another update :

"The slide was "nowhere near" roadwork on the highway."

Ok, I think we're getting your main point here, Dave, but the mountain might not agree.
Meanwhile 15,000 to 20,000 people are stranded in what the papers have taken to calling "the affluent alpine village of Whistler" for the next five days.
Now what was that in our bid for the Olympics about "an imaginative combination of road, rail, marine and air" options again?

Shock first and ask questions later

Imagine you're a small town cop in the heartland of America. You're responding to a report about a teen walking on the expressway overpass - a driver was worried the kid might get hit by a car or something. You arrive to find the 16-year-old lying on the shoulder of the highway 30 feet below the overpass. Do you:

1. Call an ambulance
2. Render first aid
3. Order him to get up and taser him 19 times when he fails to comply because its hard to stand up with a broken spine.

Seriously, what kind of IQ/psychiatric screening process does one have to fail to be issued a taser as a cop these days? I'm sure the big strong cops with their nightsticks, pepper spray, heavy flashlights, pistols and body armor (and likely a trunk full of rifles and shotguns) were scared that the teenager might have been on drugs or something since he was raving incoherently- as you might if you fell off a bridge and broke your back - but surely it would have occurred to most people after the second or third jolt that something was amiss with the young miscreant

Remember not to lose your temper in an airport, or question the authority of a campus cop, or fail to spring to attention when ordered to do so by someone in uniform, or be a loud drunk, or the wrong color..... for a whole round up you can look here or check out some of the bloggers addressing the misuse of Tomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle today.

Hat tips to the General and Corrente and Pam's House Blend

Crossposted from The Woodshed

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New Church Window in Order* . . . .

Sometimes, a picture really is worth a thousand words . . . .

H/T Olde Goat Patrick

*No pun intended

(Cross-posted from Moved to Vancouver)


From Edge / The Third Culture

Imagine telling Ansel wait for new algorithms, so your pictures can improve. It's a very different world today.

Great article, and some fine pictures of places that look like north of 60°. The panoramas are superb. Arctic warming is a concern, and having pictures like these at hand keeps considerations from the abstract.


Goose, Gander, etc., etc., etc. . . . .

Per Reuters:

China spying on Olympics hotel guests: U.S. senator
Tue Jul 29, 2008 - By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China has installed Internet-spying equipment in all the major hotel chains serving the 2008 Summer Olympics, a U.S. senator charged on Tuesday.

"The Chinese government has put in place a system to spy on and gather information about every guest at hotels where Olympic visitors are staying," said Sen. Sam Brownback.

The conservative Republican from Kansas, citing hotel documents he received, added that journalists, athletes' families and others attending the Olympics next month "will be subjected to invasive intelligence-gathering" by China's Public Security Bureau. He said the agency will be monitoring Internet communications at the hotels.


The senator called on China to reverse its policy, but said the hotels are advising guests that "your communications and Web site activity are not private" and that e-mails and Web sites being visited are accessible to local law enforcement.

Exactly how is this any different from the US government with the "new and improved" FISA legislation passed by a democratic Congress and signed by gwbush?

What a bunch of hypocrites . . . .

(Cross-posted from Moved to Vancouver)

A town called malice

Why is it that the Excited States is viewed by many reasonsable people in other civilized countries as a sort of open-air barrier-free lunatic asylum? Reason #472: Kennesaw, Georgia

Kennesaw is the sort of picturesque Old Southern town that doubtless considers itself the very embodiment of Traditional American Values. So much so that back in 1982, when those Yankee pinkos and sissies in Morton Grove, Illinois, decided to ban handguns from their town in an effort to cut down on violent crime, Kennesaw's city council took umbrage. Such umbrage that they decided to make it mandatory for each home to have a gun and ammunition.

Not to worry though, those weapons are in good hands:

Dent "Wildman" Myers, 76, styles himself as a keeper of the flame when it comes to Kennesaw's gun ordinance. His downtown shop contains a cornucopia of artifacts, including old uniforms and dozens of flags of the Confederacy that fought the Union in part in defense of slavery in the Civil War. At the back is a Ku Klux Klan outfit with a noose and a hood.

There also are posters praising defenders of the white race, White Power CDs and a sign that reads: "No Dogs Allowed, No Negroes, No Mexicans." Someone had crossed out the first part of the sign and added "Dogs Allowed."

Myers said he wanted to protect the values that made the town and the South distinct from other parts of the United States.

"They destroyed anything historic and replaced it with the PC (politically correct) stuff. It's become a cookie cutter town," Myers said, his hands resting lightly on two .45-caliber guns at his hips. He said he considered his guns to be tools, much like a rake or a shovel.

Hell, yes! Those shooting irons absolutely are tools, just like a rake or a shovel. All tools have a purpose. You use a shovel to dig holes, a rake to break up and smooth soil or gather fallen leaves and you use guns to kill people. They are just tools, just like Mr. Myers. And thanks to the recent Supreme Court ruling on the Washington D.C. handgun ban, even places like Morton Grove are going to have more tool than they want.
And speaking of tools, the Ole Perfessor has also muddied the waters, fortunately Paul Helmke at the Brady Project unmuddies them.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Barbara Amiel considers the plight of people who spend under $2,000 on a handbag

Amiel : "If ostensibly privileged defendants like us can be baselessly smeared, wrongly deprived, falsely accused, shamelessly persecuted . . . what happens to the vulnerable, the powerless, the working-class people whose savings have been eaten up trying to defend themselves?"
This marks, to my knowledge, the first time that such a consideration has ever crossed the rightwing mind of Baroness Black of Crossharbour, but it's fitting, I guess, given that her title is named after a public transit subway stop in London.
Here's another good question, Barbara : What happens to the national reputation of a prime minister who crosses your husband's ambition to join the British peerage if your husband owns the National Post?

Tubes Time . . . .

Per McClatchy, and still breaking: (Updates below the fold)

Alaska's Sen. Ted Stevens indicted by federal grand jury
Erika Bolstad | McClatchy Newspapers
July 29, 2008 01:03:49 PM

WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the U.S. Senate and one of the chamber's most powerful members, was indicted Tuesday in Washington, a result of a year-long investigation into corruption in Alaska politics.

The 7-count indictment comes nearly one year after federal agents raided Stevens' home in Girdwood, a resort town about 40 miles south of Anchorage. The Justice Department has scheduled a press conference for 1:20 p.m. to announce the indcitment.

Wonder if those internet "tubes" will be flushing him down the drain soon ? ? ? ?

Update: Matt Stoller from Open Left has a great post on the Congressional cronyism surrounding this and the "club" in general. He is right on target, as usual . . . .

Update #2: Liddy Dole bails on "Tubular Ted" . . . .

Update #3: "Tubular Ted" pleads innocent . . . .

(Cross-posted from Moved to Vancouver)

Brief Interlude

While we wait for a new one of these.

Which explains why B O A T actually stands for Break Out Another Thousand.

In the meantime, here is a bit of a photo log produced by Cheryl: (Click to enlarge)

Who says you can't have a traffic jam at sea? This is nearing slack tide passing though a narrows. Actually everyone was very well behaved and the passage went without incident. Well, sort of. A larger vessel, port of registry which I will not disclose for now, but suffice to say there is no maple leaf in its national flag, made an announcement that it had the "right of way" because of the particular direction it was travelling and demanded that all other vessels get out of the way.

A quick re-look at Rule 9 verified what I have known for 30 years: The young fellow was full of shit. (As a process of education, I will leave you to search out Rule 9 of Collision Regulations).

And those things too always pass, thus giving us an early morning departure from the anchorage for a day of fishing. (We won't discuss what was found in the crab trap that morning).

The adventure continues.

Civil Cold War turning hot?

The recent shooting in a Tennessee Unitarian-Universalist Church is a tragic event and as distasteful as it is to use a tragedy to make a political point, there is no escaping the facts in this case:

Knoxville Police Department Officer Steve Still requested the search warrant after interviewing Adkisson. who was subdued by several church members after firing three rounds from a 12-gauge shotgun into the congregation.

Adkisson targeted the church, Still wrote in the document obtained by WBIR-TV, Channel 10, "because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country's hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of media outlets."

Adkisson told Still that "he could not get to the leaders of the liberal movement that he would then target those that had voted them in to office."...Inside the house, officers found "Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder" by radio talk show host Michael Savage, "Let Freedom Ring" by talk show host Sean Hannity, and "The
O'Reilly Factor," by television talk show host Bill O'Reilly.

It was a politically driven murder, in that the man who committed the crime specifically targeted the church and its congregation because of their politics. I wonder why.

"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."
-Ann Coulter, August 26, 2002

"I'd hang every lawyer that went down to Guantanamo"
-Michael Savage, June 19, 2008

"In this recurring nightmare of a presidency, we have a national debate about whether he "did it," even though all sentient people know he did. Otherwise there would be debates only about whether to impeach or assassinate. "
-Ann Coulter, High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton, 1998

The definitive list is here (Special thanks to David Neiwert, who has been shining a light on this kind of rhetoric for years)

I'm not saying that everyone who reads a book by Sean Hannity is a potential mass murderer or that watching Bill O'Reilly leads ignorant alcoholics to try to gun down liberals any more than video games cause school shootings. What I am saying is that the constant eliminationist rhetoric of the right does push some people in that direction. I'm not advocating censorship, I'm advocating responsible speech. I love passionate invective as much as the next guy, but when you start seriously advocating killing people on a radio broadcast or a television show, you've crossed a very serious threshold and ought to be held responsible in a court of law.

crossposted from the Woodshed

Throw the bum out

Williams Lake B.C. Mayor Scott Nelson has decided that enough is enough. He has convinced the local RCMP detachment to arrest a local panhandler and wants the man banned from town for five years. I suppose with oil prices what they are, it was too expensive for the Mayor to heat up the tar to go with the feathers himself. In the linked story, the panhandler Robert Inglis is described as aggressive, and as having "problems" - a little reading between the lines in the various news stories and looking at Inglis' history (he's already been banned from nearby Prince George for two years in the hope that he would return to Williams Lake) leads one to believe that his guy, like many homeless panhandlers, needs some psychological/psychiatric help. This looks like a mental health problem, not a criminal justice problem. I'm sure he's very scary and verbally abusive and I don't doubt for a second that he is a blight on beautiful downtown Williams Lake, but this isn't the 13th century and you can't just form a mob and chase the hunchback out of the village. Inglis likely need to be committed and treated. Chasing him out of town just makes him someone else's problem.

A quick read of the Mayor's bio and some council minutes just furthers my impression that Mayor Nelson is the kind of civic-booster-chamber-of-commerce-small-businessman-big-fish-in a-small-pond that plagues local government everywhere, until their wish comes true and they get a seat in the provincial legislature or parliament where they are a plague on the province or nation. He doesn't like having bums in town and after 14 years on the council figures he's just the kind of guy to run this undesirable out of town, so he can get back to privatizing the local water system, sucking up to timber companies and "creating a positive investment climate to enhance and expand our business community. "

He certainly looks the type:

Frankly, I'd say 14 years is long enough and the people of Williams Lake out to follow the mayor's advice and throw the authoritarian, babbling bourgeois Babbittish bum out

Monday, July 28, 2008

Guess It Beats "Finding Religion" for Forgiveness . . . .

Serious medical issue or convenient excuse?

From this afternoon's Toronto Star:

Robert Novak diagnosed with brain tumour - World
July 28, 2008

Conservative political commentator Robert Novak announced today he has been diagnosed with a brain tumour, less than a week after he struck a pedestrian with his Corvette and drove away.

Novak, 77, fell ill on Cape Cod this weekend while visiting his daughter and was rushed to Brigham and Women's Hospital, where he said he was diagnosed Sunday with the tumour.

"I will be suspending my journalistic work for an indefinite but, God willing, not too lengthy period," Novak, editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report, said in the statement released by his publisher, Eagle Publishing.


Novak's office refused further comment to The Associated Press, other than to confirm the comments on the newspaper website.

Hospital spokesman Kevin Myron confirmed Novak was a patient, but said Novak requested that no further information be released.

Last week, Novak was given a $50 citation after he struck a homeless man with his black Corvette in downtown Washington. Novak kept going until he was stopped by a bicyclist, who said the man was splayed on Novak's windshield.

Dr. Lynne Taylor, a neuro-oncologist at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, said residents at the hospital are taught to check for brain tumours in patients who report having a recent car accident in which they didn't realize they struck something.

"People get spatial and visual neglect of a certain part of their bodies and they don't realize they've done what they've done," said Taylor, a fellow with the American Academy of Neurology.

I guess time will tell . . . .

(Cross-posted at Moved to Vancouver)

Force Protection

In recent years military and police organisations have placed increasing emphasis on protection of the lives of their members. This includes passive measures such as improved body armour and vehicles, as well as more active measures such as electro-shock weapons and 25mm cannon:
Canadian troops have killed a two-year-old boy and his four-year-old sister by opening fire on a car they feared was about to attack their convoy in Afghanistan, the Canadian Forces announced Monday.

Facing a split-second decision about what to do when a car failed to heed repeated warnings to pull over, a gunner in a light armoured vehicle pulled the trigger on a 25-millimetre cannon.

Its giant round tore through the little girl's skull and left a gaping wound in her younger brother's chest, witnesses said.

The children's mother later frantically paced the hallways at the local hospital, shrieking and cursing foreign soldiers between sobs.

One police officer at the Kandahar city hospital said he saw the mother scream: "My innocent children have been killed by foreigners - for no reason!"

The father, believed to have been driving the vehicle, was being treated for lacerations but left the hospital without permission to attend his children's funeral.

Another hospital visitor said that if he were the children's father, he would personally strap on a suicide vest and exact vengeance on Canadian troops.

Unfortunately, this practice of reducing the risk of physical harm to the uniformed has the net effect of increasing the risk of harm to the people they interact with, particularly when active measures are used.

Furthermore, this emphasis on protection that results in harm to the oft-innocent public means, de facto, the life and limb of the police officer or soldier are regarded as being of higher value than those of the general public.

The problem, of course, is that the immediate tactical interest in protection comes at the expense of the strategic necessity of trust between the uniformed and non-uniformed.

In Winnipeg, Ottawa and Kandahar, this is either unmentionable, or its impact on the task at hand is rhetorically minimised.

The transition from combat to training

As the new time horizon for U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq approaches, here’s a preview of what top U.S. officers will be training the Iraqi army to do:
  • Set up military-industrial complex.
  • Take over budget of civilian government.
  • Subcontract to private companies beyond reach of law.
  • Get hired by those companies at higher pay.
  • Find comfy post-military career in lobbying.

From Ironic Times

Sunday, July 27, 2008

When you got lemons, you make lemonaid

Greenland gets going with global warming.

"But while most of the world sees only peril in the island’s meltwater, Greenland’s independence movement has explicitly tied its fortunes to the warming of the globe."

"In November, Greenlanders will vote on a referendum that would leverage global warming into a path to independence. The island’s 56,000 predominantly Inuit residents have enjoyed limited home rule since 1978. The proposed plan for self-rule, drafted in partnership with Copenhagen, is expected to pass overwhelmingly. It would grant the first $16 million of oil and mineral income to the local government, with further revenues split equally until Denmark’s share reaches roughly the $680 million a year Greenlanders currently receive from the Danes. Then there would be no further obstacles to sovereignty."

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ooooh.... a contest!

Buckets is holding a witty caption contest in celebration of KLR VU Bothering People Having Dinner Polling Company and the rousing success of their MASSIVE POLL on the intertoobz this week.


RCMP TASER™ 16 year old girl in holding cell

A Manitoba girl picked up for being drunk says she was "held down by four officers, one for each limb, while a taser was used on her legs and groin area." Three times.
She says they warned her if she didn't stop screaming they would TASER™ her again but she couldn't stop screaming.

An internal RCMP investigation has "concluded there was no criminal wrongdoing."
"...the spokesman added that there's no prohibition against using tasers in cells. They are used when officers feel there is a risk to their safety, he said."

A risk to their safety.
An unarmed 130 pound 16 year old girl already inside a holding cell is a risk to their safety.

She was drunk, she was resisting arrest, and she admits she was obnoxious and panicking at being locked up : "She says she hit out in anger at the last officer to leave the cell, at which point he called the others back in and they held her down and tasered her."

"The police didn't tell the girl's mother about the incident when she picked her up the next morning, and the girl was too ashamed to tell. As a result, the wounds [on her thighs] became infected."

Following on the heels of the death of another Manitoba First Nations teen, 17 year old Michael Langan, "the family will now proceed with a public complaint against the officers involved."

Cross-posted at Creekside

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Night Humour . . . .

Emma the Embryo on the Massive New Poll

Or as Fern Hill put it : 90% Don't Give a Shit
The Massive New Poll, as Campaign Life Coalition proudly calls it, was carried out via an automated demon-dialer which, according to the brand new website of the polling company CLC employed to bother people eating their dinner, "plays a pre-recorded message on a customer's answering machine, voicemail service, or even to a "live" person" :
"Do you believe abortionist Henry Morgentaler deserves the Order of Canada Press 1 for Yes Press 2 for ...."
Less than 5%, guys. You should have stuck with freeping the G&M poll.
JJ and Big City Lib investigate the various anti-choice ReformaTory relatives associated with the polling company.
And deBeauxOs at Birth Pangs explains why we should care about those associations in a chilling piece about what Operation Rescue has been up to lately.
Finally, here's a little BC history moment on Campaign Life Coalition's links to Operation Rescue :
Anti-Abortion Cop Uses Police Computer to Track Clinic Workers
Update : Buckets posts screen shots of a page from the one-day-old KLR Vu polling website -
and it's a word-for-word copy of a US polling website, which is fitting really, given that our anti-choice websites up here are often also mirror images of U.S. ones. I suppose the inability to spell "Canadians" properly should have tipped me off.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The More Things "Change You Can Believe In . . . "

And exactly how is a democratic administration going to make things "Change You Can Believe In" any better over there?

Per McClatchy:

Obama talks tough about Iran during visit to Israel
Margaret Talev and Dion Nissenbaum | McClatchy Newspapers

July 23, 2008

SDEROT, Israel — Tough talk on Iran dominated Barack Obama's meetings Wednesday in Israel and the West Bank, as Israeli officials amplified their enemy's threat and the Democratic presidential hopeful declared that a "nuclear Iran would be a game-changing situation."

Speaking at an afternoon news conference in Sderot, a city near the Gaza Strip that's long been a target for Palestinian rocket attacks, Obama said that "the world must prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons" and that "America must always stand up for Israel's right to defend itself against those who threaten its people."

The Illinois senator warned pointedly that no options are "off the table" in confronting a nuclear threat from Iran, though he added that Iran should be offered "big carrots" as well as "big sticks."

Obama's aggressive rhetoric on Iran followed his emphasis earlier this week on his plan to send more U.S. troops to fight terrorism in Afghanistan should he defeat Republican John McCain in November. Obama also has made clear that he remains committed to withdrawing combat troops from Iraq over 16 months, and that he still sees merit in talking to enemy nations including Iran. But his rhetoric has taken on a more militaristic tone in recent days than was typical in his primary election campaign.


Obama did, however, weigh in on another contentious issue — saying that Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel. He added that whether it should be all under Israeli control or divided with Palestinians should be settled by negotiation, and that it's not up to the United States to determine.

Obama's general election rival, Republican John McCain, who visited Israel earlier this year, also visited Sderot, but unlike Obama, McCain did not meet with the Palestinians.

While Obama leads McCain in national polls back home, polls show that he may not be able to count on as wide a majority of Jewish supporters as is typical for Democrats. Polls also indicate that Israelis favor McCain over Obama on issues of Israel's security.

No matter who gets elected in the US this fall any change in the Mideast situation will be minimal. There are way too many monied interests with major fingers in that pie. It's doubtful the major defense contractors will allow a substantial deviation in the war machine's juggernaut toward corporate profits.

Slogans are one thing, concrete results are quite another - Witness Mr. Obama's "change" on FISA legislation. His refusal to stand up for the 4th Amendment and protect The Constitution as he swore he would is a major disappointment for someone who aspires to be the leader of the US.

The difference between the repugs and the dems:

Pocket "Change You Can Believe In . . . ."

(Cross-posted from Moved to Vancouver)

Abdelrazik is another Arar

Remember Abousfian Abdelrazik, the Canadian/Sudanese imprisoned and allegedly tortured in Sudan for two years at Canada's request? Sudan found him innocent of terrorist charges in 2004 and offered to fly him back to Montreal but Canada declined so Abdelrazik is now living in the lobby of the Canadian embassy in Khartoum. Yeah that guy.

Canada feared U.S. backlash over man trapped in Sudan
Senior [Transport Canada] intelligence officials warned against allowing Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Canadian citizen, to return home from Sudan because it could upset the Bush administration, classified documents reveal.

"Senior government of Canada officials should be mindful of the potential reaction of our U.S. counterparts to Abdelrazik's return to Canada as he is on the U.S. no-fly list," intelligence officials say in documents in the possession of The Globe and Mail.

"Continued co-operation between Canada and the U.S. in the matters of security is essential. We will need to continue to work closely on issues related to the Security of North America, including the case of Mr. Abdelrazik," the document says.

The "Security of North America".
Drop Steve and David a line : and

Update : A response from DFAIT :

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G2
July 24, 2008


On behalf of the Honourable David Emerson, Minister of Foreign Affairs, thank you for your correspondence of July 2, 2008 regarding Mr. Abousfian Abdelrazik in Sudan.

While the Privacy Act prevents me from sharing detailed information on this case, I can assure you that Canadian consular officials are providing Mr. Abdelrazik with assistance to ensure his health and well-being. We will continue to assist Mr. Abdelrazik until the matter has been resolved.

With respect to allegations that the Government of Canada was involved in Mr. Abdelrazik's arrest, I should clarify that this matter falls outside the purview of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. As such, you may wish to share your concerns with Public Safety Canada.

Again, thank you for writing.

Sincerely yours,
Sean Robertson,
Director, Case Management Division
Consular Services and Emergency Management Branch

Mr Robertson is, according to CBC, "the senior foreign affairs official in charge of Abdelrazik's file".

Cross-posted at Creekside

CSIS issues a clarification

- Hey, it wasn't us who conducted interviews with a sleep-deprived Omar Khadr.

Canadian Security Intelligence Service - 2003 Interviews with Omar Khadr - Media Coverage
Ottawa, July 21st, 2008

"Information relating to interviews of Omar Khadr by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service CSIS and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) were recently released to Mr. Khadr’s legal counsel, following rulings by the Supreme Court of Canada in May 2008, and by the Federal Court of Canada in June 2008.

Following the public release of this information by Mr. Khadr’s lawyers, there has been much national and international media coverage pertaining to these interviews. Much of this coverage has focussed on video footage of Service interviews conducted with Mr. Khadr in February 2003.

Mr. Khadr was questioned by CSIS in 2003 about individuals - including those linked to the Al Qaeda organization - who may pose a threat to the security of Canada and its interests. CSIS interviewed Mr. Khadr to collect threat-related information and intelligence and did not discuss consular issues with him, as this is not CSIS's role.

During the recent media coverage of this issue, some factual errors have been reported by certain media outlets. Specifically, select media outlets have claimed that Mr. Khadr had been mistreated by U.S. authorities - including via sleep deprivation - prior to those 2003 interviews with CSIS. This is simply not accurate. In fact, it should be clear that CSIS had no information to substantiate claims that Mr. Khadr was being mistreated by U.S. authorities in conjunction with the CSIS interviews in 2003.

Furthermore, the allegations which subsequently surfaced regarding sleep deprivation were in relation to a 2004 interview in Guantanamo Bay with Mr. Khadr, an interview in which CSIS was not a participant."

Over to you, DFAIT.

Cross-posted at Creekside

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bastards ! ! ! !

Why is this not at all surprising based on previous US actions?

Per Reuters this evening:

U.S. rejects outside probe of Canadian sent to Syria
Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:18pm EDT - By James Vicini

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey said on Wednesday he had rejected a request from lawmakers that an outside special counsel investigate the case of a Canadian taken off a plane in New York and sent to Syria, where he says he was tortured.

Mukasey said under questioning at a House of Representatives Judiciary Committee hearing that he did not believe that a special counsel was warranted "at this time."

Maher Arar, a Syrian-born software engineer, was taken into custody by U.S. officials during a 2002 stopover in New York while on his way home to Canada and then deported to Syria because of suspected links to al Qaeda.

Arar says he was imprisoned in Syria for a year and tortured. His case has become a sore spot in U.S.-Canada relations.


Rep. William Delahunt, a Democrat from Massachusetts, cited testimony last month that U.S. officials may have sent Arar to Syria, rather than Canada, because they knew of the likelihood of torture.

"If that doesn't trigger need for a special prosecutor, I can't imagine what would," he said.

Mukasey said U.S. officials received assurances from Syria that Arar would not be tortured. "Sending him to Canada could have posed a threat to our country," Mukasey said, adding that sending him to Syria was "safer."


Maria LaHood, an attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, which represents Arar in the United States, replied, "Sending Maher to Syria instead of home to Canada was certainly not safer for him, and did nothing to make the United States safer."

She said, "The tendency of the Department of Justice to cover up its crimes is exactly why an outside prosecutor is needed."

The title of this post says it all . . . .

(Cross-posted from Moved to Vancouver)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

TASER™ Saves Lives Inc. - Victim #21

A man was TASERED™ and then pronounced dead in hospital after more than five police cars with at least eight officers attended a citizen's call in Winnipeg today, bringing the total of TASER™ related deaths in Canada to 21.
Very few details and no citizen videos are available so far.
A Winnipeg police spokesperson said : "... at this point it's too early to tell if the cause of death had anything at all to do with the electronic control device."

Police in Winnipeg recently received 50 more TASERs™ which are classed in the same intermediate force category as pepper spray.

In other TASER™ news :
"RCMP officers who went to Poland to talk to people close to Robert Dziekanski seemed focused on finding negative things about him, says one of those interviewed.

"What kind of person was he, was he a drinker, drug user? Was he aggressive?" she said through a translator. "Most questions were to expose him as not a nice human being -- not to find out what kind of person he really was."

This fits in with some Vancouver news articles on Dziekanski that came out following the release of Paul Pritchard's incriminating video :
" the decrepit, $77-a-month flat Dziekanski shared with his alcoholic partner ... a five-year jail term for robbery when he was a teenager ... tumultuous common-law relationship ..."

Oh well then.

Cross-posted at Creekside

Logic, the Blogging Tories and Omar Khadr

A busy weekend this side of the pond and I was at a bit of a loss for material for a blog post --once again it is JimDandy to the rescue as David lights the fuse on the bomb of Teh Stoopid that is the Blogging Tories and their maximum supremo numero uno Stephen Taylor.

Taylor says:

As a conservative, I have for the most part found intellectual solace in logic on issue tracks where my bleeding-heart friends usually hug the emotional left rail. The broad-arching free markets help rise more people out of poverty than knee-jerk social and emotional reaction to give hand-outs to sustain a substandard of living is but one example where cold right-wing logic is a better and more constructive end that short-sighted albeit well-meaning emotionalism. I have always believed that right-wingers act upon what they know to be true, whereas left-wingers act upon what they feel to be true.


The conservative movement?

Surely, you jest!

We are talking here about the same people whose shrieking hysteria about gay marriage is based on nothing any more well-considered than "My pastor said teh gays make baby Jebus cry," a deepseated prejudice that "homos are icky" and that if two lesbians want their relationship legally recognized by the state and a wedding at the Unitarian Church, it somehow means that their own marital bliss is endangered and that the Catholic Church will be forced to host gay weddings resembling drag queen festivals.

The same people who think that their religious tomfoolery belongs in biology classes.

The same people who think that just because a handful of cranks and crackpots publish some crap on a blog or self-publish a book denying global warming, their arguments are of equal weight to those made by the overwhelming majority of scientists in peer-reviewed journals.

Need I go on?

These paragons of logic are the same people who want to cut taxes while the country is involved in a costly war with no real end in sight and while the government still has a massive debt to pay off.

These are the guys who, in every election, tell a few gory anecdotes to scare the rubes and promise "to get tough on crime and fight the rising tide of lawlessness" despite the fact that the crime rate has gone down more or less continuously since the 1970s.

These sensible and reasonable people are the ones who seem to see Islamofascistcommie terrorists under the bed and are suspicious of anyone slightly brownish.

The same chuckleheaded Leave-It-to-Beaver wannabes that think because their next door neighbor eats curry or pad Thai instead of pot roast on Sunday, and the bank teller has an unfamiliar accent, that multiculturalism is ruining the country.

The conservatives in Canada, as in most countries are all about emotions: Fear of the new and foreign and grief for the old and familiar.

To parse Taylor's egregious overstatements more closely, let us look at this gem:

"The broad-arching free markets help rise more people out of poverty than knee-jerk social and emotional reaction to give hand-outs to sustain a substandard of living is but one example where cold right-wing logic is a better and more constructive end that short-sighted albeit well-meaning emotionalism. "

Yes, because as we all know providing people who have no food and no money with the means to stay alive is really just cruel. Those knee-jerk social and emotional reactionaries at Unicef and the World Food Program are just prolonging misery in the third world. Don't those starving kids know that big corporations have every right to own the DNA patterns of corn seed? Don't those people with AIDS in Africa know that drug companies need to make a bigger profit than last year and can't just sell drugs at slightly above cost to the needy? Better to let them starve, sicken and die and be done with it and let the magic hand of the market take care of things. You know, the same markets that kept coal miners on starvation wages until they died of black lung in North America before they were unionized and the evil well-meaning emotionalist do-gooders managed to get things like child-labor and workplace-safety laws passed.

Conservatives who seem to think the Adam Smith's Wealth of Nation is the first and last word on the beauty of laissez-faire capitalism would do well to remember that before he wrote it, Smith authored The Theory of Moral Sentiments. While Smith was a dour, persnickity Scots academic who prized independence, prudence and propriety, and by today's standards a bit of a prude, his theory of morals was based on sympathy and benevolence was ranked among the most valued virtues.


You keep using this word, Stephen. I don't think it means what you think it means.

Stephen's original post deals with how Omar Khadr, the notorious teenage threat to western civilization who has now spent a third of his life in Guantanamo Bay must not be allowed back into the country. About how the Prime Minister should not intervene and bring him back to Canada, because he faces very serious charges and we just don't repatriate Canadians who fall afoul of the law in foreign countries.


"But, let’s go to first principles. Omar Khadr doesn’t himself deserve to be released from jihadi limbo at Gitmo and tried before an American court."

How about the first principle of "innocent until proven guilty" or the right to habeas corpus and a timely trial?

However, as individuals who are defending a society based upon key values such as due process, presumption of innocence, and the rule of law, we deserve it.

And so does young Mr. Khadr. We all deserve due procress - equality in the eyes of the law and all that, you know. Small problem though, Stephen, due process should have kicked in when he was captured as a child of 14 -- five years ago, but the United States government decided that the Geneva Convention was "quaint" and just didn't apply to them and that they could just make up the rules as they went along. Khadr is accused of throwing a grenade in a firefight in Afghanistan that killed an American soldier. While it is all a bit murky whether he actually did so, I would expect anyone big enough to heft a grenade or a rifle could probably be reasonably expected to do so if the place they were staying, which is alleged to be an Al-Qaida base, was suddenly overrun by foreign troops. The American soldiers in question were, after all, shooting at Khadr. I think self-defense could certainly be argued as could his being a valid, if underage, prisoner of war. If killing enemy combatants on the battlefield is murder, he could be judge guilty of that, but I think calling it a war crime is stretching the definition a bit.

Khadr’s present threat does not manifest itself in his illiberal hatred of our culture, it rests instead in the extent to which we are to make our own values malleable in order rationalize our understandable but illogical emotion.

Good grief, I agree with Stephen Taylor -- somebody mark the day on the calendar. The blind squirrel has found a nut - those who give up liberty for security get and deserve neither. But then, as if to prove himself blind, he bring the whole thing back and dumps it in the lap of the "Eeeeevul Libruls"

There is inconsistency on the Liberal side too, of course. Khadr was captured, interrogated and held under approval from the previous Liberal administrations. For them to demand his return, shows intellectual dishonesty and absurd emotionalism.

Or it could show that new information has come to light regarding the fact that the boy was being tortured, that the previous governments had no reason to think he would be held indefinitely, or simply that they are willing to admit that they made a mistake and would like to see it corrected. But of course admitting mistakes is not something neocons are really able to do for some reason.

Khadr should not be returned to Canada, as we do not simply return Canadian citizens to Canada when they run afoul of the law in the United States. However,
to complete this logical loop, Khadr must face the law in an American court. With both US Presidential candidates calling for the closure of Guantanamo, Prime Minister Harper would be wise to call for Khadr to face American due process.

Yes, it would be wise for the Prime Minister to call for Khadr to face due process, if such a thing existed instead of the current kangaroo court system faced by Gitmo inmates. And we regularly bring Canadians imprisoned in foreign countries back to Canada.

Some background on the "due process" and this case can be found here. There is plenty to digest, but in terms of the system faced, this bit is enlightening:

The Supreme Court heard on March 28, 2006, a challenge to George W. Bush's power to create military commissions to put Guantanamo prisoners on trial for war crimes (cf. the profile of Salim Ahmed Hamdan in "related cases"). On June 29, 2006, the Supreme Court ruled that the US President exceeded his authority in establishing the military commissions at Guant√°namo Bay. The Court also ruled that the commissions violated U.S. military law and the Geneva Conventions.

A controversial new bill was passed by the US Senate and the House of Representatives in late September 2006.

The Military Commissions Act, which is heavily criticised by human rights organisations- allows terror suspects to be tried by military tribunals rather than civilian courts- gives defendants a legal right to see evidence and a (limited) right to counsel- forbids "serious" breaches of the Geneva Conventions, such as torture, in the course of interrogation procedures- gives the president the authority to "interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions"- allows for hearsay evidence in trials of terror suspects.

Furthermore, the new legislation prohibits any person from invoking the Geneva Conventions or their protocols as a source of rights in any action in any US court.

The new bill entered into force following signature by the President in October

So given the cold, hard facts in the cases, namely that due process as it is understood by reasonable people anywhere in the western democracies will not be visited upon the unfortunate Mr.Khadr, and given that he says we all deserve due process etcetera, Stephen chooses to jump off the bridge of logic into the river of fear and concludes that we don't dare bring one our own citizens home to face due process, but that we should abandon them to a kangaroo court system in a country that has repudiated the rule of law and its own adherence to international treaties and acceptable conduct. A country that tortured Khadr while he was still a child and continues to hold hundreds without charge and dubious recourse to the courts. Interesting choice.


You keep using this word, Stephen. I don't think it means what you think it means.

Crossposted and expanded from the Woodshed

Monday, July 21, 2008

Vacation... finally!

We're getting out of here for a while. It's been a busy two years and a break has finally presented itself. We're taking it.

To most of those who really know me they'd accuse me of a bus man's holiday. We're taking our boat from Maple Bay to northern Vancouver Island to visit old friends. 34 feet of exclusion and solitude. And perhaps a few moments of dealing with the reality of navigation. (Actually, a lot of them, but that's the reality, and the responsibility, of being in a vessel on the water.)

We will be doing 6 knots. Period. That's our new reality. Sometimes we may be going slower. Tides can do that to you.

Who cares?

We're out to have some fun, take a bunch of pictures and perhaps, (FSM willing) catch a few fish. As much as we're looking forward to that what we're really looking forward to is what we're not going to get: newspapers, contracts, emails, phone calls and threats from the city that we were watering on the wrong day.

We're leaving and we're not coming back until we're thoroughly tired of some of the friends who helped us along in life. In fact, Cheryl wants to visit one of her bridesmaids. (There's a story you need to hear.)

Co-bloggers, it's all yours.

Readers, we'll see you when the days get shorter and the fog rolls in.

Growing in California

How medical marijuana is transforming the pot industry. 

California now has more than two hundred thousand physician-sanctioned pot users and hundreds of dispensaries.

Since 1996, when a referendum known as Proposition 215 was approved by California voters, it has been legal, under California state law, for authorized patients to possess or cultivate the drug. The proposition also allowed a grower to cultivate marijuana for a patient, as long as he had been designated a “primary caregiver” by that patient.

In 2003, the California State Legislature passed Senate Bill 420. The law was intended to clear up some of the confusion caused by Proposition 215, which had failed to specify how patients who could not grow their own pot were expected to obtain the drug, and how much pot could be cultivated for medical purposes. The law permitted any Californian with a doctor’s note to own up to six mature marijuana plants, or to possess up to half a pound of processed weed, which could be obtained from a patients’ collective or co√∂perative—terms that were not precisely defined in the statute. It also permitted a primary caregiver to be paid “reasonable compensation” for services provided to a qualified patient “to enable that person to use marijuana.”

The counties of California were allowed to amend the state guidelines, and the result was a patchwork of rules and regulations. Upstate in Humboldt County, the heartland of high-grade marijuana farming in California, the district attorney, Paul Gallegos, decided that a resident could grow up to ninety-nine plants at a time, in a space of a hundred square feet or less, on behalf of a qualified patient. The limited legal protections afforded to pot growers and dispensary owners have turned marijuana cultivation and distribution in California into a classic “gray area” business, like gambling or strip clubs, which are tolerated or not, to varying degrees, depending on where you live and on how aggressive your local sheriff is feeling that afternoon. 

Most researchers agree that the value of the U.S. marijuana crop has increased sharply since the mid-nineties, as California and twelve other states have passed medical-marijuana laws. A drug-policy analyst named Jon Gettman recently estimated that in 2006 Californians grew more than twenty million pot plants. He reckoned that between 1981 and 2006 domestic marijuana production increased tenfold, making pot the leading cash crop in America, displacing corn. A 2005 State Department report put the country’s marijuana crop at twenty-two million pounds. The street value of California’s crop alone may be as high as fourteen billion dollars.

In the past five years, an unwritten set of rules has emerged to govern Californians participating in the medical-marijuana trade. Federal authorities do not generally bother arresting patients or doctors who write prescriptions. Instead, the D.E.A. pressures landlords to evict dispensaries and stages periodic raids on them, either shutting them down or seizing their money and marijuana. Dispensary owners are rarely arrested, and patient records are usually left alone. Through trial and error, dispensary owners have learned how to avoid trouble: Don’t advertise in newspapers, on billboards, or on flyers distributed door to door. Don’t sell to minors or cops. Don’t open more than two stores. Any Californian who is reasonably prudent can live a life centered on the cultivation, sale, and consumption of marijuana with little fear of being fined or going to jail.

Marvellous, worth the read.

Shorter Korn Kob Kory

on repatriating Omar Khadr:

"Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah

The Libs did it fir-rst and so

we're just following the-em

Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah"

A rousing display of independent foreign policy analysis from "the genius behind Corn Cob Bob, the ethanol lobby's mascot with the corncob head"

Fox News does education...

But apparently they can't spell it. And as the Huffington Post points out, Fox News has a bit of trouble with geography too.

h/t Think Progress

Sunday, July 20, 2008

You want a mouse? THIS is a mouse!

I know at least one blogger who is going to think this is very cool. Found this in the cabin at Cap'n Dyke, Lesbian Pirate Queen & Rogue Blogger, where we proudly serve as the Canukistani member in The Mound.

Nuri al-Maliki backs Obama

The prime minister of Iraq has made his choice. Of the two ideas for continuing the US occupation of Iraq, (Obama - depart within 16 months; or, McCain - stay forever) Nuri al-Maliki is clearly siding with Obama.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told a German magazine he supported prospective U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's proposal that U.S. troops should leave Iraq within 16 months.

In an interview with Der Spiegel released on Saturday, Maliki said he wanted U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible.

"U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes."

There was another little nuance in Nuri's interview with Der Spiegel. (emphasis mine)

Asked if he supported Obama's ideas more than those of John McCain, Republican presidential hopeful, Maliki said he did not want to recommend who people should vote for.

"Whoever is thinking about the shorter term is closer to reality. Artificially extending the stay of U.S. troops would cause problems."

What Nuri is suggesting is that if the US stays in Iraq any longer it is under false pretenses. (Notwithstanding the fact that the reason they are there in the first place is the result of false pretenses.)

The White House said on Friday President George W. Bush and Maliki had agreed that a security deal under negotiation should set a "time horizon" for meeting "aspirational goals" for reducing U.S. forces in Iraq.
That statement is sufficiently vague as to mean US troops could effectively stay in Iraq forever.

"The Americans have found it difficult to agree on a concrete timetable for the exit because it seems like an admission of defeat to them. But it isn't," Maliki told Der Spiegel.
That would be the line used by negotiators in the Bush administration, and may well be a factor among those who would like the whole thing to end but hesitate to view the whole thing as a total waste, but it is overshadowed by the fact that the Bush administration has lost on so many fronts in Iraq that setting an exit date for US forces isn't really going to change much. And the Bush administration, as dday at Hullabaloo points out, wasn't in Iraq to win.

Regardless of Maliki's motives, this is a total rejection of the McCain conservative position on Iraq. They never wanted to "win," they wanted to stay. And they are being told they have to leave.
It's not defeat the conservative camp is so worried about, (but you can expect to hear a lot from them in the future on that subject if Obama ascends to the presidency), it's the loss of a colony they can't stand.

The Iraq adventure had nothing to do with winning or losing. The Cheney faction had not even considered losing. They really believed that they had the upper hand militarily and that the whole thing would be a three-week overrun of a weak opponent, a mild looking occupation to get things running, the American way, the insertion of a tame government under the guise of purple-fingered democracy, colonial supervision of everything and the exploitation of Iraq's primary and very valuable natural resource. And of course, much like the British did in India, (something the Cheney faction never bothered to look into), the colony (and the resource) would have to be protected from avaricious neighbours and other greedy buggers who might be inclined to steal or even make a deal for what was now rightfully the property of the Bush administration and its sponsor, Big Oil.

It was all very neat and tidy. If it seems overly simplistic, the reality is, the Cheney faction never planned for anything else. There was no occupation plan, no contingency planning and the timetable never went beyond On this date we start pumping oil, pay for our little invasion and we'll all continue to drive Hummers and Escalades down to the corner store.

It was all made evident when, after the Cheney faction paraded their stooge on the deck of USS Abraham Lincoln to announce Mission Accomplished, the Bush administration has twice issued strategy changes to deal with an insurgency they never even considered in their ramp up to invasion. When Bush stood and crowed that major combat operations had ended in Iraq the US military had lost 140 people killed. Since then the number has risen to 4125.

Iraq's "democracy" is a mess and oil production, over five years into the economic colonization, is still struggling to achieve a fraction of its potential output. The US is mortgaged to the hilt and is viewed around the globe as something akin to a hungry shark in kiddies wading pool.

Defeat? That would be the least of America's problems. But that's all you'll hear about from the Cheney faction in the next few months.

UPDATE: Nuri al-Malaki is now saying he was misquoted and the translation was wrong in Der Spiegel.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki did not back the plan of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq and his comments to a German magazine on the issue were misunderstood, the government's spokesman said on Sunday.
It was all in the translation.

Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement that Maliki's remarks to Der Spiegel were translated incorrectly.

Translation: This is your supreme leader. You withdraw those comments and find a way to make it look like a reporter's mistake or I'll cut off your money faster than a moron can choke on a pretzel.

The colonialism continues.

Thanks to co-blogger West End Bob for the heads up.