Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Sorry for the lack of posts -- its one of those weeks at work, and my brain is mush (yeah, yeah, I know -- so what's new about that?) Anyway, more soon, I hope.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Climate change photos

Here's the Globe and Mail's wonderful photo gallery relating to their story on global warming. Above is the cover photo of Greenland's disappearing glaciers. Below are the rest of the photos, with the cutlines from the website. Columnist Jeffrey Simpson writes:
Climate-change scoffers are now as rare as defenders of the invasion of Iraq. Reasonable people, in Canada and abroad, can differ over the means to combat the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that produce climatic changes, but only a dwindling few now deny changes are occurring — and that more will occur, with mostly negative effects.

A woman walks on the dried-up river bed in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality. Photo: China Daily News.

A farmer walks through a dusty field after the barley crop that was planted in it failed in Parkes, Australia. Photo: Ian Waldie/GETTY IMAGES

Mike Davis scrapes ice from his car windows after a winter storm in Austin, Tex. Photo: Ben Sklar/GETTY IMAGES

Oranges are covered in ice at a citrus orchard in Fresno, California. An estimated 70 per cent of California's citrus crops have been damaged by a severe cold snap. Photo: Justin Sullivan/GETTY IMAGES

Sheep drink from a dam in the drought-ravaged farming areas of the McLaren Vale region in South Australia, 80 kilometers southeast of Adelaide.

Scientists say the vast icy landscape of Greenland is thinning, and many blame global warming. Photo: John McConnico/AP

An iceberg carved from a glacier floats in the Jacobshavn fjord in southwest Greenland. Photo: Konrad Steffen/UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO

A polar bear on the hunt prowls across ice floes in the Arctic Ocean. Photo: Donald M. Robinson/AP

Three polar bears on the Beaufort Sea coast within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A vehicle lies buried under a fallen tree and snow in Vancouver's Stanley Park.

The stump of a tree sits shredded in Vancouver's Stanley Park. A devastating windstorm felled hundreds of trees, many well over a century old.

Workers in Vancouver's Stanley Park clean up the damage caused by a severe storm. Photo: John Lehmann/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Not impressive, Stephane

So instead of taking advantage of all the Canadian interest in him which was raised by his exciting come-from-behind win at the Liberal convention, and embarking on a high-profile cross-country flying tour in December, Liberal leader Stephane Dion somehow disappeared since the Christmas break -- emerging briefly to pick a shadow cabinet, big deal, ho hum, who cares other than Ottawa insiders, then evaporating again.
So now he's finally back in the news -- but its for resurrecting the sponsorship scandal by saying that one of the people Martin kicked out of the party should maybe be let back in:
"We can't sideline people who make mistakes forever," Dion told the Quebec newspaper Le Soleil.
Well, why not? Does any political party actually need these guys?
But wait. It gets worse.
In a chilling display of non-leadership, Dion then tries to shift the whole mess out of his lap by blaming the party or its constitution or something:
Dion told Le Soleil that Cote's punishment was exaggerated, that he'd recognized his error and shouldn't be penalized for life. Later in the day, Dion appeared to be more guarded, pointing out to reporters that none of the 10 expelled members has requested readmission to the party. He added that should any of them do so, there is a process the party would follow in determining whether to welcome them back.
"I have no recommendation to make.… It's not my job to make recommendation[s] to the party through the media."
Well, then, why did you?

Just shut up!

"Shut up" seems to be the new American meme.
Last weekend we had neocon William Kristol on a talk show saying war critics should shut up for a few months. Then last night we had George Bush saying that everyone should just be quiet and give his new Iraq strategy "a chance to work." Today Dick Cheney told Wolf Blitzer he was "out of line" about his daughter's pregnancy. And then we hear Ambassador Wilkins telling Stockwell Day to shut up about Maher Arar.
Next thing they'll be putting their hands over their ears and going "na-na-na-na".

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Great line of the day

Following Bush's mention of a product called Baby Einstein in the State of the Union, Digby talks about the potential of selling corporate naming rights to locations like the White House ("Halliburton House"), congressional offices ("the Senator from Pfizer"), and so forth:
Product placement to fund the government is the kind of creative brainstorming that makes America great.
Maybe Tony Snow could have a Coke sitting on the press room lecturn, too.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Nothing to see here, move along, move along

Well, well.
Apparently the Justice department considered asking Mulroney for some of our $2 million back after The Fifth Estate revealed last February that German businessman Karlheinz Schreiber had paid Mulroney $300,000 in cash during the 1990s -- stated by Mulroney's spokesperson to be "compensation for help promoting Schreiber's pasta business as well arranging introductions and meetings with international business executives" but by Schreiber to "help [Mulroney] ease back into private life".
Certainly. Of course.
The payment had nothing to do with the 1988 Air Canada purchase of the Airbus planes.
And the Justice department decision not to reopen the libel case settlement last year had nothing to do with the Harper election.
A senior government official said there was no political input into the decision to drop the matter.
"Absolutely not, because there's a clear distinction between political and judicial (decisions) and there can be no interference."
Well, that's a relief!
I'm sure that will settle it once and for all.

Great line of the day

Following his discussion of the attempt by Fox News and Insight Magazine to smear Barack Obama with the accusation that he attended a "madrasah" (which actually just means "school" in Arabic), Juan Cole says:
The real question is why foreign billionaire cultists own so much of America's media . . . This smear was brought to us by the media owned by the Reverend Moon (who did jail time for tax evasion) and by Rupert Murdoch (which picked it up shamelessly). Americans will never get back their purloined liberty until they stop letting the super-rich tell them what to think.
Emphasis mine.

Monday, January 22, 2007

It's my body, so it's my decision

It's "blogging for choice" day on the web and there are a lot of great posts everywhere today, from the Ninjas blogging for choice to a powerful description of how "choice" is really women's right to self-determination. And here are some more.
What we are supposed to blog about today is the reason why we are pro-choice. For me, its pretty simple -- its my body, so its my decision.
And if I have the right to control my own body, then so does everybody else.
Now, this doesn't mean I would necessarily have ever had an abortion myself, nor does it mean that I wouldn't try to convince another woman not to have one. But I don't have to explain my decisions to anyone else, nor do they have to explain themselves to me. Its not up to me to judge whether some other woman's reasons for having an abortion are "worthy" or "right" or "good enough" -- in the end, its her decision.
Anyone under 30 won't remember the Abortion Wars of the 60s to 80s, from 1969, when Trudeau said Canadian hospitals could perform abortions if a committee of doctors agreed, to 1988, when the Supreme Court threw out the abortion law. Though the hospital committee approach was better than a back street, it was a shameful system which encouraged everyone to lie, doctors as much as anyone else, and it was ripe for corruption. Pro-lifers tried to take over the hospital boards so they could get "their" doctors onto the committees, and the hospital board elections were nightmares. I hope society never has to go through this again.
Here is Wikipedia's map of abortion access in Canada:

Great line of the day

Roy at Alicublog, after quoting from a right-wing back-to-the-50s screed about how great life was when women just wanted to get married:
This is the sort of thing that makes me sorry I learned how to read.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sunday talk

LiberalOasis' Sunday Talk Show Breakdown is my "don't miss" weekly feature and one of the reasons I admire Bill Scher and Liberal Oasis so much.
Scher is one of the clearest-thinking writers on the web, and his analysis of the political "tilt" in the US Sunday talk-shows provides a frame for the stories of the previous week and for the upcoming spin.
On Democrat motions to try to stop the Iraq war, Scher writes:
Bush will ignore whatever Democrats do. That's not the point. He's going to keep us in Iraq come 2008 no matter what, so long as he's President.
The point is to make it clear to the public that Democrats are trying to change the course, have a plan to change the course, and if the course isn't changed, that's all on the shoulders of Bush and his supporters.
Then the public knows what it has to do to change the course. Change the occupant in the Oval Office.
There's the message for the next two years.

Blog for Choice

Tomorrow is blog for choice day.

Where is Matt?

This has been viewed something like 4 million times. See why. (h/t Americablog.)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Great line of the day

From Glenn Greenwald:
The reason [U.S.] foreign policy has been so incoherent, amoral and bloodthirsty is because the people behind it are.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Denny Doherty died

Ve must see your papers, old man!

Yes, I know -- its this man's own fault that he let his passport expire.
And its his own fault that he lost his proof of citizenship card, without which he cannot get a new passport.
And he should have known better because he knew his mother in England was getting old and he knew that he might need to get over there fast to see her if she got sick.
But after reading his story, I was still left with a bad taste in my mouth. I think it was the line about how "the application process is necessary to guard against fraud". Yes, indeed -- but the man is 74 years old, and he only wanted to see his mother before she died.
So, like the lead said, couldn't we show a little compassion?

I don't get it

I don't understand the point of this story: Canadian snowbirds without passports won't get stuck in U.S., says Chertoff
Well, of course not. It's not up to Chertoff to decide whether a Canadian can come home to Canada without a passport -- that's up to Canada Customs.
But no snowbird should expect to be exempt from the US rules -- the excuse that they were just flying home briefly and now want to fly back to the US isn't going to cut it.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I read the news today...

Well, I had a positively brilliant post just about ready to go, including environmental stuff with a seque to Abu Gonzales, when my browser died and took my post with it.
So just go read Saskboy instead -- his post is better than what I wrote anyway...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Great line of the day

Ken Levine:
. . . should players who are suspected of illegally enhancing their performance be denied entrance into the hallowed hall? Does this mean we keep out Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmiero, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens, and Jason Grimsley?
Just think, if the Rock n’ Roll Hall-of-Fame had a drug restriction its only members would be Debby Boone and the Singing Nun.
Emphasis mine. And I'm not so sure about Debby.
Then Levin continues into this terrific rant:
. . . Since Hall-of-Famer, Ty Cobb first captured the stolen base crown by spiking infielders at second base, players and teams have always looked for an edge. They steal signs, they cork bats, juice balls, tilt foul lines, hire a midget, water down basepaths, wear reflective jewelry, play “Pop Goes the Weasel” and show fountains spouting on Diamondvision Boards when Viagra spokesman, Rafael Palmiero comes to the plate. I’m not saying I condone it (well…maybe the last example) but that’s just part of the game. Baseball is built on tradition and that’s one of them.
Gaylord Perry’s in the Hall-of-Fame. He never threw a pitch that didn’t spray the first four rows of the grandstands . . .
Read the whole thing.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Great line of the day

From August J. Pollak:
It's totally unfair to address someone's personal life when it pertains to a political debate unless they work undercover at the CIA.

Check out the new links

I finally did some updating on my sidebar -- deleted some old links, and added more to my "new links" list.
UPDATE: Also, I just did some Comment cleanup, too. Buh-bye "James Halifax" AKA "sirBruce" and "Carla" AKA "ootpootfizzfizz" -- I don't like astroturfing, nor will I tolerate being called names. Start your own blog, and you can call me whatever you want.

A yarn tale (sock, that is)

I love the Internets.
Could you have ever guessed that yarn fans and knitting fanatics have connected on-line and form clubs for the knitting of socks and for the purchsing of the specialized yarn which is used there-for? Well, one bank didn't (guess, that is) -- read all about it here (h/t The Sideshow).


Sunday's Doonesbury - brilliant:

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Upchucking the koolaid

Glenn Greenwald has a great post quoting conservative columnist Rod Dreher about how he grew up while watching Bush's speech:
As I sat in my office last night watching President Bush deliver his big speech, I seethed over the waste, the folly, the stupidity of this war.
I had a heretical thought for a conservative - that I have got to teach my kids that they must never, ever take Presidents and Generals at their word - that their government will send them to kill and die for noble-sounding rot - that they have to question authority.
On the walk to the parking garage, it hit me. Hadn't the hippies tried to tell my generation that? Why had we scorned them so blithely?
Will my children, too small now to understand Iraq, take me seriously when I tell them one day what powerful men, whom their father once believed in, did to this country.
Yes, nothing like a stupid war to convince Americans that the hippies were right!
Greenwald also links to Mahablog describing how we are all influenced, perhaps overly so, by the political events of our teenage years in determining whether we are "liberal" or "conservative".
Too often, I think, we pick one point of view when we are young, then we spend the rest of our lives editing reality to fit.
Easier, I guess, or more comfortable, or something.
But sometimes, as Dreher has now realized, there is a limit to how much we can ignore, how far we can stretch. Sometimes, reality just crashes through.
The political experience of Iraq may well produce a new generation of Americans who will rediscover "liberalism".
Maybe they'll start singing Kumbaya and wearing flowers in their hair. Maybe they'll even start supporting health insurance.
And when I think about my own background and the political events which shaped me, I guess one of the key events in my young life was the Doctor's Strike in 1962, which showed me the importance of people acting together to implement what we believe in. When an aroused public supports something as much as we supported Medicare in 1962, well then, we shall overcome. I saw it happen and I have never forgotten it.

Fair, the "F-word"

Western farmers to vote in federal barley plebiscite:
Federal Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl . . . wants to ensure the question is fair. "There are a bunch of things you could say that could skew the question and I think everybody understands that if you want this to be legitimate, which I do, then you have to ask an unbiased question," Strahl said in a telephone interview. "You do that by making sure there aren't words like 'freedom' in there and 'getting out of the yoke.' "
So I guess neither "Do you want to throw off the shackles of a socialist marketing scheme ..." or "Do you want to watch your family starve because no company will give you a decent price for your grain ...." will do.

Oh, what a lovely war?

Robert Parry describes the broader Middle East war which he thinks the Bush administration is trying to start:
. . . Bush announced other steps that could be interpreted as building a military infrastructure for a regional war or at least for air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities . . .
Militarily, a second aircraft carrier strike force would do little to interdict arms smuggling across the Iran-Iraq border. Similarly, Patriot anti-missile batteries would be of no use in defeating lightly armed insurgent forces and militias inside Iraq.
However, both deployments would be useful to deter – or defend against – retaliatory missile strikes from Iran if the Israelis or the United States bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities or stage military raids inside Iranian territory.
Iran has a relatively sophisticated arsenal of short- and medium-range missiles. Those short-range missiles could be fired at U.S. bases in Iraq or elsewhere in the Persian Gulf. The medium-range missiles could conceivably hit Tel Aviv.
Not only could Patriot missiles be used to knock down Iranian missiles while they’re heading toward their targets, but the fearsome firepower of two aircraft carrier strike forces could deter any Iranian retaliatory strike following a U.S. or Israeli attack.
In other words, the deployments would fit with Israel or the United States bombing Iran’s nuclear sites and then trying to tamp down any Iranian response.
Another danger to American interests, however, would be pro-Iranian Shiite militias in Iraq seeking revenge against U.S. troops. If that were to happen, Bush’s escalation of troop levels in Iraq would make sense as a way to protect the Green Zone and other sensitive targets.
So, Bush’s actions and rhetoric over the past several weeks continue to mesh with a scenario for a wider regional war . . .
And in the meantime, the Patriot air missile defense units are mobilized and USS F-16's have arrived at the Incirlik Air base in southern Turkey.
My question is this, is the rest of the world going to tell the Bush administration to stop?
Or are we going to stand around twiddling our thumbs while Bush starts a devastating war?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Signs and whispers

One thing to remember with the Bush administration is that things are always worse than they first appear.
It feels paranoid to read between the lines of every Bush speech, trying to parse deeper meanings out of words and syllables and sentence fragments. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean someone isn't really out to get you.
Like Digby, I sorta dozed off during Bush's speech tonight. But reading the tea leaves, there are a few indications of what the future may hold.
Here's one: Bush blamed "too many restrictions on the troops" for the US lack of success in Baghdad so far -- funny, I never heard American troops being criticized before for their restraint. But this is Operation Big Swinging Dick, and everyone's Inner Cheney now gets to kick ass. Expect more air strikes killing more civilians, more cluster bombs, more door-kicking, more shoot-first-never-ask-questions-at-all.
And here's another one: Iraqi forces will be "going door to door to gain the trust of Baghdad residents". Now these Iraqi forces are going to be Kurdish troops, so we'll have Kurds kicking in the doors of both Sunnis and Shiites. That oughta calm things down, yes siree.
And then there is this one: what's with that part of the speech about providing Patriot Missile defense systems to "our friends and allies" -- like maybe Israel? Saudi Arabia? Who is going to be firing those Patriot missiles toward the friends & allies anyway? Is this why Saudi Arabia summoned Cheney in December, to demand protection during war with Iran?
And Bush apparently still thinks America is losing the war because of those gosh-darn 'outside agitators' from Syria and Iran. I don't know quite what to make of this -- do Bush and Cheney really think they can convince America that their problems in Iraq are the fault of Syria and Iran? Do they think they can gin up another war based on "darkened" intelligence and the American people will go along with it again?
Well, maybe.
But here are the whispers. Maybe this time America won't drink the Koolaid. For the very first time ever tonight, after Bush's speech, I heard David Gregory of MSNBC report on the anti-war protestors at the White House. They've been there for years, but the press just never mentioned them before. And after five years of refusing to mention any Bush administration lies, the Associated Press actually has a story posted tonight titled Bush rhetoric hard to square with facts.
Matthew Yglesias writes:
... to sum up, neither the American military nor the American congress nor the American people nor the Iraqi government nor the Iraqi public wants an American military escalation. Naturally, we're getting one.
I wonder if America now shares his skepticism?
UPDATE: Dave at Galloping Beaver finds some more stuff which the Bush administration hoped would stay hidden a little longer.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


We drove home in this. Luckily, my husband is a great driver -- there were several times when we couldn't see the front end of the car, but we had to keep going because otherwise the people behind would have hit us. A 15 minute drive took 2 hours.
The newspaper says this blizzard is one of worst ever and its certainly the worst I've ever seen -- and I 've lived here for most of the last 57 years.
I thought it was completely irresponsible for the highways workers to strike -- this could have killed innocent people. They came to their senses and went back yesterday, just in time for today's blizzard.

Great line of the day

Stephen Colbert about Bill O'Reilly:
"It is an honor to speak face-to-face with a broadcasting legend, and I feel the same way about Mr. O'Reilly."

"Little Mosque" is good

Little Mosque on the Prairie -- I liked it, a lot. Mercy isn't quite Dog River, not yet anyway, but I think it will come close.
And the Mayor of Dog River showed up in the restaurant, too.
Besides, anything that Margaret Wente doesn't like is, by definition, must-see TV.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A dark moment in Canadian history

Via Raw Story managing editor Larisa Alexandrovna's At-Largely blog, here is a fascinating but horrifying CP story -- Canadian victim of CIA brainwashing seeks class-action against government:
Janine Huard says she was a young mother of four with mild post-partum depression when she checked herself in for psychiatric treatment at a Montreal hospital more than five decades ago. . . . On and off over more than a decade at McGill University's renowned Allan Memorial Institute, Huard says she received massive electroshocks and was fed more than 40 experimental pills a day . . . "I came out of there so sick that my mother had to live with me for 10 years," Huard says. "I couldn't take care of my children any more.". . . The ordeal came at the hands of Dr. Ewen Cameron, an Edinburgh-educated, New York-based doctor who pioneered "psychic driving," by which he believed he could erase the memories of patients and rebuild their psyches without psychiatric defect.
The idea intrigued the CIA, which recruited Cameron to experiment with mind control techniques beginning in 1950 . . . Cameron gave patients LSD and subjected them to massive and multiple electroshock treatments. Some underwent sleep deprivation or total sensory deprivation.
Others were kept in drug-induced comas for months on end while speakers under their pillows broadcasts messages for up to 16 hours a day.
Apparently the story of the CIA experiments in Canada has been known for a number of years -- in fact, some of the victims have already been compensated, but victims like Huard haven't received any compentation yet because they were not considered to have been sufficiently damaged by the so-called 'treatments'. But all this was news to me. The Wikipedia entry says:
The CIA appears to have given [Dr. Cameron] the potentially deadly experiments to carry out since they would be used on non-U.S. citizens.
We have a history of this.

Monday, January 08, 2007

We have met the enemy and he is us

Echidne of the Snakes asks Who put our oil underneath their sand?
It occured to me that the arrogant Western world has been asking that question for the last 300 years:
Who put our diamonds underneath their jungle?
Who put our minerals underneath their mountains?
Who allowed their buffalo to graze where we want to put our railroad, and grow our crops?
And now we're asking:
Who overfished our cod and who cut our rainforests and who polluted our lakes and who burned our coal?
We have met the enemy and he is us.

Great line of the day

From Paul Krugman, as quoted by Atrios:
. . . Iraq has become a quagmire of the vanities — a place where America is spending blood and treasure to protect the egos of men who won’t admit that they were wrong.

Operation Big Swinging Dick

Throwing another 20,000 troops into Iraq should be called "Operation Big Swinging Dick" -- because that's whose idea it was, and that's what the idea is.
It's a typical Dick Cheney balls-up, and the purpose is really just to show the Democrats and the GOP doubters that Bush is still the boss.
If you want to understand Iraq, read Juan Cole and Today in Iraq for the details and Steve Gilliard for the big picture. Here is Gilliard's summary of what has gone wrong for the Americans in Iraq:
. . . here's a brief explaination of why the Iraq war failed.
1)Iraq is not an artificial state, but one with distinct interest groups. Saddam spent much of his time protecting himself from, and catering to them. Some people, the Talibanis, the Sadrs, were never happy, but others were. If you try to fracture Iraq, no state will be strong enough to survive.
2) Exiles sold their fantasies of being conquering heroes and instead were met with contempt from the survivors of Saddam. They were weaker compared to the prevailing forces, the Sunni shieks, B'aathists, Sadrists and Sistani. All would define what would happen in Iraq far more than any exile.
3) There were two different plans for Iraq, both doomed to fail. The first was to hand the country over to Chalabi, which would have resulted in anarchy within days, or to establish a colonial regime. Since the infighting was so intense, neither plan was fully hatched until Viceroy Bremer was sent to bring order.
4)The Bush Administration had no respect for the complications of establishing order in a colony, so they sent the young and untrained to run Iraq. Few ever saw what they were supposed to be changing. The Americans neither trusted nor respected the Iraqis they were supposed to serve. Having no training in foreign service matters, they were more hinderance than help.
5)Combat never stopped. The US was unable to ever establish order in the streets of Baghdad, which meant their word was useless. Soon, those who worked with the Americans became targets. The Iraqis had a much better sense of how to manipulate the Americans than vice versa.
6) Despite all their blather, few people realized what this war was quickly turning into. They talked about Al Qaeda and dead enders, but in less than a year, the Shia were running major attacks on them. Only Sistani's intervention prevented a full scale war on the Americans. The US was falling into the trap of fighting a colonial war, while all the warbloggers talked about Islamofascism. While they were attacking Cindy Sheehan, they forgot one thing: her son was killed by the Sadrists. Which went against the narrative we had been fed.
7) By the time the Iraqis finally had elections, what you had was all the factions, excluding the Sunnis, in parliment, and they wanted revenge. The government forces quickly fell under the spell of various militias and while we trained them, they didn't improve their effectiveness. But the Mahdi Army did. SCIRI did, the guerrillas in Anbar Province did.
While there was a great deal of rhetoric about a united Iraq, the US was playing the game of divide and conquer. Their trump move was to install Hakim's puppet over Maliki. Until Sistani said no, and left the power in the hands of Sadr. The exact opposite of their plans.
It wasn't bungled execution.
No Iraqi government not controlled by the Sadrists could have survived. Because they are the majority. They had no interest in sharing anything or a democratic government. Because this is a colonial war, and no structure set up by the US would have had any credibility.
So 20,000 troops aren't going to make any difference at all. Apparently the Iraqi government is saying it will bring in Kurdish pesh merga units to disarm the militias - oh, sure -- while the Americans troops fight the Sunnis. Gilliard describes what is actually going to happen next:
. . . someone better realize that the Saddam execution and the Sistani quashing of the coup means the last man standing is the guy with the funny teeth and black turban.
Bush is so clueless and desperate that he doesn't realize he's being coopted into assisting ethnic cleansing. At the end of this, Sadr will be in near total control of most of Iraq's population.
Petraeus should know better. While US troops are getting killed killing Sunnis, Sadr will increase his control over the military and police. He thinks they're going to disarm the Mahdi Army? Hell no. The Mahdi Army are the real protectors of the Shia population, they have won support on the ground by saving lives and feeding people. The government is subordinate to Sadr and his supporters, and Sistani made that happen.
Bush and his supporters live in a cloud cuckoo land where they don't understand how they have been manuvered into this mess. Americans troops are being asked to die to establish a Shia theocracy in Iraq.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

War 2, the Sequel*

Dave at Galloping Beaver picks up a number of key points about the American plan for War 2, the Sequel* otherwise known as war with Iran, including this very significant piece to the puzzle:

Would Bush do it?
Do we really need to ask that?
He would if he could get away with it. The truth is, he has the authority under two umbrellas: The Authorization for the Use Of Military Force which flowed from the September 2001 attacks and the War Powers Act of 1973, which gives him 60 days to do whatever he wants. The AUMF is weak in that it specifies the power is to be used to go after the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
That would be why Lieberman is suddenly making linkages between al Qaeda and Iran. It was the same lie that got Bush his war in Iraq.
Emphasis mine.
* And yes, I am deliberately using a movie title parody for this war, because I think it is being promoted by Cheney and Abrams and the other Washington chickenhawks as a John Wayne movie where the hero always gets the girl and the Americans always win in the end.
Apparently none of them have ever seen Dr. Strangelove.
Or Platoon.

Great line of the day

From Molly Irwins in the Chicago Tribune - Bush won't end Iraq war on his own:
The president of the United States does not have the sense God gave a duck--so it's up to us. You and me.

Attack of the Amazon Women

Wild speculation? But wouldn't it be interesting, if true. So here's my scenario:
Dick Cheney resigns and Condi Rice is appointed VP.
Then Bush is impeached and Rice becomes President.
Then, in a fit of absoultely insane bipartisanship, Rice appoints Hillary as her VP.
So there you have it -- Rice, Clinton and Pelosi in charge of the United States.
Wouldn't that be a party? Oh, well, dare to dream...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

There's a man with a gun over there

There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear . . .

Bush to name new general to oversee Iraq:
. . . Admiral Fallon would be the first Navy officer to serve as the senior officer of the Central Command, which is managing simultaneous ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Admiral Fallon is regarded within the military as one of its stronger regional combat commanders, and his possible appointment also reflects a greater emphasis on countering Iranian power, a mission that relies heavily on naval forces and combat airpower to project American influence in the Persian Gulf.
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware . . .

Arianna Huffington:
. . . [Wes] Clark was really angry about what he'd read in this column by UPI Editor at Large Arnaud de Borchgrave . . . de Borchgrave details Bibi Netanyahu leading the charge to lobby the Bush administration to take out Iran's nuclear facilities, and paints U.S. air strikes against Iran in 2007/08 as all-but-a-done deal.
"How can you talk about bombing a country when you won't even talk to them?" said Clark. "It's outrageous. We're the United States of America; we don't do that. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the military option is off the table -- but diplomacy is not what Jim Baker says it is. It's not, What will it take for you boys to support us on Iraq? It's sitting down for a couple of days and talking about our families and our hopes, and building relationships."
When we asked him what made him so sure the Bush administration was headed in this direction, he replied: "You just have to read what's in the Israeli press. The Jewish community is divided but there is so much pressure being channeled from the New York money people to the office seekers." . . . For Clark, this is the biggest foreign policy issue facing the U.S. "I'm worried about the surge," he said. "But I'm worried about this even more."
I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down. . .

Exclusive: Iran War 'In 2 yrs':
CIA specialist on Iran Reuel Marc Gerecht said there had been a "tidal shift" of opinion towards military action, especially in Israel.
He added: "I think it has now become highly likely the Israelis will launch a strike before the end of George Bush's presidency."
An Israeli attack before the US election in November 2008 risks sparking a military explosion in the Middle East.
It is likely to be backed up by American and possibly British air support from Iraq.
Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away
. . .

Reveaked: Israel plans nuclear strike on Iran:

Israel has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons.
Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters”, according to several Israeli military sources. . . Israeli and American officials have met several times to consider military action. Military analysts said the disclosure of the plans could be intended to put pressure on Tehran to halt enrichment, cajole America into action or soften up world opinion in advance of an Israeli attack . . .

Stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down . . .

Friday, January 05, 2007

Justice shuffle

I know the big news of the day was the replacement of Rona Ambrose as Environment minister, but I actually thought the replacement of Vic Toews as Justice Minister could turn out to be pretty significant, too.
What's going to happen to all the Conservative "let's send more Canadians to jail" law proposals, like the three-strikes idea (which is, I think, both contrary to natural justice and unnecessary), not to mention "let's staff our courts with more right-wing, ideological judges" and then"'let's tie their hands with more mandatory sentences".

Thursday, January 04, 2007

"Regardless of gender"

Well, that's big of them:
A White House spokesman Thursday said President Bush is ready to work with incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California.
Pelosi will be considered "an equal leader in government," White House spokesman Tony Fratto told reporters when asked how he views her.
"There are no questions of whether they sit and talk as equals," he added. "I think it's impressive that no one has any questions of whether they can work together regardless of gender."
Emphasis mine. Are we supposed to give the Bush administration a big round of applause for treating Nancy Pelosi as though she was a real leader of government -- instead of just a mere woman?
Does this fellow have any idea how patronizing he sounds? I wonder if he would be so pleased if someone gave the White House credit for hiring him "regardless of being Italian."
(h/t TGW)

I read the news today, oh boy

Buh-bye, Rona: CP reports that Ambrose is gone from Environment. And I thought this was an interesting observation in the news story:
Ambrose's allies say her fierce loyalty to Harper ultimately hurt her, as she allowed some in his office to micromanage her portfolio in areas of both policy and communications.
She forgot that her job was to "minister" to her department, not to the PMO.

Whew! I hate shootouts but at least this time we won it.

Three parents? Well, why not? Sure, there may be complications, but this court decision resolves the inequity and unfairness of the existing law and, most importantly I think, revises the law to reflect Canadian reality (rather than contorting reality to fit into an outdated law). Beyond gay parents, there are many other situations where legal recognition of family responsibility and accountability could be appropriate, like grandparents and step-parents.

MSNBC's relentless promotion of its live coverage of Congress -- as though Nancy Pelosi is going to start passing legislation tomorrow morning -- sort of reminded me of this. And the Pearl-Clutching is right on schedule.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Jesus wept, part 2

I read Today in Iraq as often as I can bear it. Here is Tuesday's list of "security incidents" -- all from a single day!
The military announced the death of a U.S. soldier by a roadside bomb southwest of Baghdad. The blast Monday wounded three others, including an interpreter, as they talked with residents about sectarian violence, the military said.
This raises the number of American casualties in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003 to 3,003 killed and more than 22,000 wounded according to U.S. data.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: U.S. forces killed the coach of Iraq's basketball team for the disabled in front of his house in the area of al-Mansour, western Baghdad, according to an official in Iraq's Paralympics Committee. A roadside bomb killed three civilians and wounded seven others in eastern Baghdad. Three of those injured were policemen. The bomb was hidden in a pile of garbage in the Camp Sarah neighborhood, a mixed area, police said. Iraqi police patrols found 17 unidentified bodies in separate parts of northern Baghdad district of al-Aazamiya. Police officials in Baghdad said 15 bodies were discovered in the mainly industrial Sheikh Omar district of northern Baghdad. U.S. forces raided the Imam al-Muntazhir mosque in Baghdad's al-Hurriya district and cordoned several streets in the area, eyewitnesses said. U.S. troops killed a suspected al-Qaida weapons dealer and two other people in Baghdad. Five armed men began firing at coalition forces when they approached a targeted building, the military said. "Coalition forces returned fire killing three armed men and wounding a fourth," it said. The building burst into flames. A roadside bomb went off at the Camp Sarah neighborhood in eastern Baghdad early in the morning, wounding six people. Seven Iraqi civilians were wounded when an explosive charge went off southeast of Baghdad, a police source said.
Diyala Prv: Gunmen shot dead Ali Majeed Salbokh, a member of the Diyala provincial council, and three of his aides, 20 km (12 miles) east of Baquba on Monday.
Fallujah: A roadside bomb exploded at a U.S. patrol in Falluja's district of Saqlawiya, destroying a Humvee vehicle, but it was not clear if there were casualties among troops, eyewitnesses said.
Madean: Gunmen forced a minibus to stop and kidnapped a family in the town of Madaen, 45 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, Interior Ministry sources said. It was not known exactly how many people were missing. Unknown gunmen shot dead six people,including three children, from one family in south of Baghdad on Tuesday, an Interior Ministry source said. "Armed men stormed the house of a family in the Ja'arah village near Madain town early in the morning and opened fire, killing all the family members," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Nahrawan: Police found five bodies bearing signs of torture and bullet wounds in the town of Nahrawan, 30 km (20 miles) southeast of Baghdad.
Mosul: The hospital in Mosul received the bullet-riddled bodies of three brothers on Monday, hospital and morgue sources said.
And meanwhile the Iraq government ordered the closure of the Baghdad office of a Dubai-based television station whose newscaster wore black mourning clothes while reporting on the hanging of Hussein. And they're going to investigate Saddam's tawdry execution.
Nice to know they're got their priorities straight.

Jesus wept

Anon Liberal, writing at Unclaimed Territory reports that Head War Cheerleader and Neocon Extraordinare Bill Kristol is going to be a columnist in Time magazine.
Kristol was just so pumped last summer by the prospect of a Middle East war that even Fox News thought he was mad:
You just want war, war, war, and you want us in more war. You wanted us in Iraq. Now you want us in Iran. Now you want us to get into the Middle East . . . You’re saying, why doesn’t the United States take this hard, unforgiving line? Well, the hard and unforgiving line has been, we don’t talk to anybody. We don’t talk to Hamas. We don’t talk to Hezbollah. We’re not going to talk to Iran. Where has it gotten us, Bill?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Great photo of the day

If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't have believed it.
Alison at Creekside generously shares this fantastic, ridiculous, essence-of-pop-culture photo -- the Star Wars stormtroopers carry the flags of the world in the Rose Bowl parade.

Great line of the day

As the story of Saddam Hussein's cheap, hurried, ugly, and thuggish execution emerges, Josh Marshall asks the question about which many Americans will be wondering:
Is that what 3,000 Americans died for?
And just to hammer another nail into the coffin of American hopes in Iraq, now go read BBC reporter John Simpson on Saddam's new reputation as a martyr.