November 2006 Archives

November 30, 2006

May the farce be with you

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(yoda mode) Strong in the force is this one. My interest, you have gained. (/yoda mode)

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November 29, 2006

The Neocons eye Alberta

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Updated. Please see below.

While American neoconservatives suffer a crisis of faith and credibility as signature project - the War in Iraq - unravels, their counterparts in Canada are in ascendance. But it's still a tough slog for them in stubbornly social democratic Canada. Despite the execrable scandal-ridden government of Paul Martin, the best neocon Golden Boy Stephen Harper could eke out of the electorate was a bare minority, and to win that he had to undergo a thorough political makeover to present himself as a moderate. While Harper has much in common with B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell, he still lacks a firm and secure right wing ally at the provincial level. To rectify this situation, our most prominent neoconservative politicians are stumping hard for Ted Morton to win the Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership and, by default, the office of Premier.

A growing brigade of federal Tory MPs, including high-profile Jason Kenney, will storm back to Alberta this week to throw their political and organizational muscle behind Ted Morton in his fight for the Progressive Conservative reins and premiership.

In a move that political analysts suggest is bordering on a war between federal and provincial Tories, as many as a dozen Conservative members of Parliament could flee Ottawa this week to stump for Morton heading into Saturday's hotly contested leadership vote.

And the man in many MPs' crosshairs is front-runner Jim Dinning, who scored huge votes in Calgary and led Morton after last Saturday's first ballot.

"The difference is (Morton) is a guy governed not by the interests of insiders, but by principles and a desire to plug into the common sense of the common people," Kenney, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's right-hand man, said Monday in an interview from Ottawa. "That really represents the vital force of the national party in Alberta."

Dinning was quick to fight back, assailing Morton's policies and leadership abilities in a speech in Edmonton.

"Ted Morton's Alberta is not mine," he told supporters.

Harper, an old school neocon, is sending his Man Friday to undercut Dinning, a relatively traditional Alberta Conservative with deep corporate connections. Not my particular cup of tea, but a familiar enough feature on the Canadian political landscape.

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November 27, 2006

The Third Solitude

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All right, this is getting downright bizarre. Last week, I agreed with Stephen Harper about something. This week, I agree with something B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell said. I"d look it up in the literature somewhere, but I am pretty sure these are both signs of the end times.

Campbell today called on Ottawa to recognize aborignal people as a nation within Canada, and to give formal recognition to them as one of Canada's three founding peoples.

"Canada's first nations, Métis and Inuit people should not be further marginalized by dint of this effort to unite Canada, which leaves them noticeably out of the picture," Mr. Campbell said.

"It is high time we formally acknowledged Canada's 'third solitude' -- the aboriginal peoples of Canada. We should do that formally, proudly and emphatically in a similar resolution that embraces our heritage as a nation of many nations."

Phil Fontaine, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, yesterday expressed his support for Mr. Campbell's comments. He said the recognition of aboriginal people as a nation is a necessary "symbolic" move, just as it is for Quebeckers.

"We occupy a special place in Canada," Mr. Fontaine said from Vancouver. "So it would do a disservice to the country if we were to ignore, as this motion has done, the important historical fact of the first nations in Canada.

"We are not of a lesser status [than] the Québécois or . . . any people in this country," he said, adding that the current motion should be amended, or a separate motion drafted to recognize aboriginal people.

Absolutely. I have long been a believer in reconciling our national identity with the fact that Canada would never have existed without the active participation of First Nations people from the earliest days. Had the aboriginal people not taken pity on the diseased and dying European wretches they found and taught them how to survive in this harsh and unforgiving land, who knows what would occupy the space we know as Canada? (Something would be here, certianly, but not the country we know today.)

The "two founding peoples" myth has always been a gross insult to aborginal people, and a fundamental denial of the nature of this country. This revision of our history allowed the dominant cultures to create subject peoples out of First Nations instead of recognizing them as the full partners in our great national project. This injustice lies like a tumour in our national soul, much like the legacy of slavery festers in the heart of America.

Aboriginal people are a nation within the country of Canada. Le'ts finally state that for the record.

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November 25, 2006

Not the Liberal leadership race

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I wouldn't call this an open thread.

It has one restriction.

No one posting to this thread may say a single wonkish word about the Liberal leadership candidates, nor about the shenanigans that their supporters are currently engaged in, tying one another's shoelaces together and just generally behaving as though political life in Canada were one endless big frat party.

People can talk about anything else, though. What is on your mind? POGGE International wants to hear from you, about anything except the Liberal leadership campaigns.

Things are getting pretty bloody awful in Iraq, yes? (About which I will try to write tomorrow, but read Juan Cole's posts over the last few days, and just weep.) Or maybe you're worked up about the games the Harpercons are playing with income-splitting or the Canadian Wheat Board. Maybe you're enjoying our strange weather, or if you're not, hang on: half an hour from now, it will be completely different. Perhaps you'd like to compose a poem to the universe. We take those; we cherish them, and we will send them on if we can ever figure out the effective forwarding address. Send recipes. What colour should I paint my bathroom? Do you trust your big brother? Can I? Say something. Say anything.

Just don't talk about the Liberals.

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You're tempting us, Ms Wente

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Now, I know that many are feeling just a touch annoyed at Michael Ignatieff for giving Stephen Harper an opening to look -- well, not good, but smooth -- on what we politely call the national question, but dinna fash yersels, lads and lassies.

I come bearing glad tidings of great joy to all Canadians (or at least anyone who is forced to read the Globe and Mail as her local paper). There is an upside to all the posturing our parliamentarians have been doing this week. We have finally discovered the first good reason known to humankind to resurrect debate over Quebec's formal (or, as Mr Ignatieff would have it, "officialized") status in the constitution.

In her column in today's Globe and Mail, Margaret Wente writes:

Mr. Harper may be many things but he isn't bone-stupid enough to try to fiddle with the Constitution. And that's a good thing, because the next time the C-word gets back on the national agenda, I'm out of here.

Ooh! Somebody stop me. Get the duct tape. I'm not sure I can control myself.

The rest of the column is Wente's standard turgid smart-mouthery. I need my friend Stephen to help me count the clichés, tired metaphors, and mixed platitudes. Really: I don't understand why she writes so scornfully of Ignatieff. She is rather like him in many ways, in the coarseness of expression so evident in his public comments this year and then in their shared naïve idealization of the United States:

Sometimes, I try to explain our national arguments to the Americans, but they don't get it. They know exactly who they are. They never have a crisis of identity, and they spend very little time complaining that all the other parts of the United States are trying to rip off their part.

Run that by me again? Red states/blue states? Civil War? Originalists and federalists and unitary-executarians versus, ah, democrats? Paranoid isolationists versus crusading imperialists? Martin Luther King? Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta? This is a country with a "unitary" sense of identity? Been reading a lot of John Yoo and David Addington lately, have we, Ms Wente?

But no. I won't do it. Yet. I won't trek down to Front and Spadina and start yelling "Constitution! Constitution!" I mean, that might look too much like "a giant step down the slippery slope," as Ms Wente so curiously puts these things. Just tape me to my chair for a few hours and let me read about Uzbekistan, and I'll be ok.

Thanks for some of my own smart-mouthery to deBeauxOs and lagatta at

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November 24, 2006

Friday night blues blogging

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Willie Dixon's the one.

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November 23, 2006

CBA reaction round up

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James Bow provides his endorsements for the Canadian Blog Awards and offers a round up of other reactions here. It makes for a good read, even if POGGE gets short shrift in his endorsements. I mean come on, Stageleft? Never heard of them.

Remember to vote for your favourites beginning this Saturday.

And a sincere thanks to everyone who nominated us and supported us through round one.

Update: I must remember the value of smileys. Devon, a commenter on this post, takes great umbrage at my dismissal of Stageleft.

Do you realize how much of a prat you become by writing this sentence? As if the world is profoundly moved by your blog.

Get a life, and put things in perspective.


Anyway, for anyone visiting here for the first time, this post is having a little fun with both James and the Bunker Dwellers at Stageleft, who are longtime blogging acquaintances of mine.

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I hate Michael Ignatieff

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Updated. Please see below.

In case the title of this post was ambiguous, let me state it for the record: Sweet Lord Liftin' Jesus, but I hate Michael Ignatieff.

I know, I know, strong words, but bear with me. It was bad enough when he swooped back into Canada to try to capture the Liberal leadership, a position that has almost always leads to the prime ministership, despite not having lived here for decades and having spent precious little time dwelling on the issues of his native land.

It has been painful to watch his intellectual contortions on the issues of war with Iraq and the use of torture.

It was absolute agony to watch this feckless half neo-con throw himself into the status of Quebec debate with all the restraint of a first-year university student at a keg party, attempting to use the unity of our country as a political tool to further his leadership aspirations.

But it is white-hot needles in the eyeballs to say this: thanks to Ignatieff's blundering, Stephen Harper has had a chance to rise to the occasion and show some leadership, and dammit if the bugger hasn't gone and done exactly that.

The Liberal caucus said Thursday it would support a Conservative government bid to declare Quebeckers a nation within a united Canada, minutes before the Bloc Québécois tabled its own, slightly amended, motion in the House Thursday.

The Bloc House Leader Michel Gauthier announced a slight change to his party's motion on the recognition of Quebeckers as a nation early Thursday, adding that the province forms a nation "that is currently inside Canada."

The Bloc was responding to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's surprise motion on the same issue a day earlier that Quebeckers form a nation "in a united Canada."

Mr. Harper's motion will go to a vote on Monday, and is expected to win the support of all federalist parties, after the Liberals announced their support.

The surprise move by the Conservative Party has undercut the Bloc's efforts to embarrass the Liberal Party over internal divisions over the nation issue.

With this smooth manoeuvre, Harper has spanked the Bloc, who had planned to use Ignatieff's screw up as a powerful rhetorical tool, and neatly skewered the Liberals, who are still flailing about trying to find a coherent position on this. Gilles Duceppe has been left to bluster, and to offer up amended motions that have not the slightest hope of passing.

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November 22, 2006

The results are in for the first round of voting in the Canadian Blog Awards, and your humble scribes here at Peace, Order and Good Government, Eh? have moved on to the final round in a few categories.

Second round voting begins December 2 November 25. You can vote once a day every day.

As usual, kudos have to go to Robert McClelland for taking on what has become a fairly massive project, and for improving on it every year.

Random aside: Who would have thought that a blog on the Vancouver housing market would be so damn popular?

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John Allan Cameron, 1938-2006

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There shall I visit the place of my birth.
They'll give me a welcome the warmest on earth.
So loving and kind, full of music and mirth,
The sweet sounding language of home.

- From "The Mist Covered Mountains"

I am much saddened by the passing of the brilliant Robert Altman, of whom I am great fan, but I feel much more deeply the loss of John Allan Cameron.

As a Nova Scotia boy, it is hard to exaggerate just how great a role Celtic music played in my life. My father was the muscial one in our family. His Irish mother instilled in him a lifelong love of folk music in the Irish and Canadian Celtic traditions, and sing-alongs around the piano or organ were a staple of my childhood. My Nova Scotian mother also revelled in the Celtic music traditions, and Don Messer's Jubilee, Singalong Jubilee and The Pig and Whistle were all standard television fare in our home.

John Allan was the great ambassador of the Celtic music tradition. He helped transform the Canadian version of Celtic music from a quaint regional musical tradition to the powerful force it is today. Groups like Great Big Sea, The Rankins and Captain Tractor owe much of their success to John Allan's pioneering work. His reputation as a leader in Canadian Celtic music led to his being named a Member of the Order of Canada, the highest honour in a life not lacking in formal recognition.

He was renowned as a charismatic live performer who played the audience as well as he played his 12-string guitar. His signature cry of "Are you with me?" was always greeted with a roar of approval. I saw him at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium in Halifax as a young man, and that show remains one of my most treasured musical memories. Sometimes his vocals were drowned out by the crowd singing right along with him, and at other times, audience members, transported by the power of his music, performed jigs or strathspeys in the aisles.

"Are you with me?"

Always, John Allan.

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Dishonesty as policy

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I suspected that the Conservatives were full of crap when it came to their little tussle with the Chinese regarding ameeting with their President, but I couldn't prove it. As I noted in the comments to this post, something was fishy about the whole affair.

I am tempted to say the whole thing was stage-managed to make Harper look good, especially since a meeting is now suddenly back on again. Still, I have no proof of that, only deep suspicions.

Now we have proof that you can really never be too suspicious of the actions of this pack of liars.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's churlish rhubarb with the parliamentary press gallery went a few steps too far this past weekend when, on a trip to Hanoi, Harper allowed an utterly false reporting of the status of his meetings with Chinese leader Hu Jintao to remain on the public record for 14 hours.

The falsehood appears to have emanated directly from Harper's entourage, which continued to tell reporters that the Harper-Hu meeting was off, even though the two men had, in fact, already met. It was only after the Chinese officials gave details of the meeting that the Prime Minister's aides owned up that, indeed, the two had met and discussed some key points of friction, including trade and human rights.

This was not a question of going out of their way to correct reporters who had overstated what they did or did not know. This was failing to correct misinformation that had emanated from the Prime Minister's Office. This obfuscation of events unfolding at the APEC summit in Vietnam steps over the fine line between managing the government's communications strategy and deliberately allowing the public to be misled.

Whatever one feels about Harper's contempt for the media, it is wholly unacceptable that some government officials appear to have actively engaged in misinformation.

Is anyone surprised that a Prime Minister so obssessed with information control would eventually resort to simply putting our disinformation? Is anyone surprised that man who slavishly emulates his Republican mentors would eventually adopt this signature tactic of theirs?

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November 21, 2006

Lebanon blogs

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The murder today of Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel is deeply disturbing. Many of us have been inspired by the story of Lebanon's recovery from the horrifying civil wars of 1975-1990. Many of us were all the more outraged at the devastating assault on the country this past July and August.

Who benefits from the continuing destabilization of Lebanon, which this murder may well accomplish? In the coming days we will read competing answers to that question, and we will probably lack convincing evidence to back any of those answers up for some time, although we may fairly predict some opportunistic moves from the usual suspects. George W. Bush is already out of the starting-gate, denouncing all those who would violate the desire of the Lebanese people to live in peace -- as he also did so effectively week after week this past summer, yes?

For the moment, I am glad to learn from Simon Jeffery at the Guardian that a number of Lebanese bloggers have been building larger communities and an international readership since the summer and have already begun to respond to Gemayel's murder in their different ways:

The firsts posts are necessarily brief: Beirut Spring mourns a hero on the road to our blood soaked independence; Doha at The Lebanese Bloggers sees echoes of events in 1975 that began the civil war; and Manamania leaves a simple "Oh shit oh shit oh shit". Keep an eye on these, and others such as Kerblog and Ramzi's Blah Blah, for a voice from inside Lebanon. Please post links to other blogs in the comments below.

In one very early piece of analysis, the US-based Foreign Policy Passport suggests that "those bound to ascribe this to Hizbullah or Syria" will be quick to point out the minister's death will necessitate the establishment of a new cabinet - an "ongoing Hizbullah demand".

You can connect to all those sites through the Guardian links. [ETA: Never mind. I stuck them in m'self.] As a first reaction, Manamania's seems to me most eloquent:

Shit. Oh shit oh shit oh shit. They killed Pierre Gemayel. oh my god

I may write an update on the flip tomorrow. There is background on the Gemayel family and the Phalange to be recalled. But whatever the national politics, the hope of Lebanon rested and still rests in getting all the other grubby opportunists and machiavels to back off -- and not just the ones that "we" don't officially like, eh? -- given the extraordinary capacity that the Lebanese have shown for building democracy amid diversity.

Here's to Lebanon tonight.

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Everything old is new again

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Lest anyone think the Bush administration has learned anything from the sound thrashing they received at the hands of the electorate, let us put that notion to rest. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House dismissed a classified CIA draft assessment that found no conclusive evidence of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program, The New Yorker magazine reported. The article by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh said the CIA's analysis was based on technical intelligence collected by satellites and on other evidence like measurements of the radioactivity of water samples.

"The CIA found no conclusive evidence, as yet, of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program running parallel to the civilian operations that Iran has declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency," according to the article.

"A current senior intelligence official confirmed the existence of the CIA analysis, and told me that the White House had been hostile to it," it said.

The United States has accused Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian energy program.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino did not respond directly to Hersh's assertions, but said the article was another "error-filled piece" in a "series of inaccuracy-riddled articles about the Bush administration."

"The White House is not going to dignify the work of an author who has viciously degraded our troops, and whose articles consistently rely on outright falsehoods to justify his own radical views," she said on Monday.

So rather than comment on the actual report that is the subject of Hersh's article, the White House has decided instead to attack the reporter who has shown they are once again cherry-picking intelligence to suit their political goals.

Oh well. It's not like selective intelligence and dishonest politics has ever gotten them into trouble before, right?

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November 20, 2006

Justice redefined

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The deterioration of the American concept of justice under Geroge Bush's watch has been difficult to watch. Although the United States has never been the beacon of justice its own mythology has always proclaimed it to be, there was usually a sense that the niceties of presumption of innocence and relatively humane incarceration formed some fairly importnat pillars of a modern justice system.

My, how times change.

After he was arrested in 2002, Jose Padilla was considered so dangerous that he was held without charges in a military prison for more than three years -- accused first of plotting a radiological "dirty bomb" attack and later of conspiring with al-Qaeda to blow up apartment buildings with natural gas.

But now, nearly a year after his abrupt transfer into a regular criminal court, the Justice Department's prosecution of the former Chicago gang member is running into trouble.

A Republican-appointed federal judge in Miami has already dumped the most serious conspiracy count against Padilla, removing for now the possibility of a life sentence. The same judge has also disparaged the government's case as "light on facts," while defense lawyers have made detailed allegations that Padilla was illegally tortured, threatened and perhaps even drugged during his detention at a Navy brig in South Carolina.

The Justice Department denied the allegations of torture last week and is pursuing an appeal of the conspiracy ruling in hopes that the charge will be reinstated. Prosecutors on Thursday also took the unusual step of revealing that Abu Zubaida, an al-Qaeda lieutenant now imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was a key source who led authorities to capture Padilla.

But some legal scholars and defense lawyers argue that the government's case is so fundamentally weak, and its legal options so limited, that Padilla could draw a relatively minor prison term or even be acquitted. The trial has already been postponed once, until January, and is almost certain to be delayed again.

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November 18, 2006

Belated blues blogging

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Seems I ruined someone's Saturday morning breakfast. Sorry 'bout that. Long story. Here's Sunday morning's breakfast instead.

Robert Cray lost his woman to a Twelve year old boy.

And a bonus track.

RIP Ruth Brown

Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean

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Have you bonded with multiple persons? Do you realize what you have done to yourself, you abandoned creature you, besides becoming a serial fornicator?

Why, you have diminished the power of your oxytocin by recklessly elevating your endorphin levels, you silly strumpet, and we all know where that leads, don't we? You have ahead of you a life of ever-escalating sexual adventure, if of the decadent, depraved, degraded, and promiscuous sort. (C'mon, you guys: try to look scared.) What you need is lessons in how to restore your very own body's supply of "God's 'super-glue,'" and George W. Bush has found for you the man who can do that.

He has also just appointed this quack chief of family planning at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This is how Dr Eric Keroak sounds in one of his better-known if unpublished and non-peer-reviewed articles, "Fornication and Oxytocin" (I was quoting above from his even more wonderfully titled presentation "If I Only Had a Brain"):

In women, a more positive relationship with her mate is associated with higher levels of oxytocin. This suggests that a woman's previous sexual relationships can alter the release of the biochemical "super-glue." If a woman's sexual history is sufficiently adverse, she will lose her ability to bond in the current relationship. An interesting finding in oxytocin research is the likelihood that oxytocin inhibits the development of tolerance in the brain's opiate receptors. The excitement of sex is partly credited to endorphins exciting opiate receptors. As a human relationship matures, fewer endorphins are released. If sexual relationships are well bonded, though, the oxytocin response maintains the excitement despite how few endorphins are released. This keeps excitement present between oxytocin-bonded couples. In the same way, though, these studies reveal the rationale behind an inability of some to stay bonded in seemingly good relationships. People who have misused sex to become bonded with multiple persons will diminish their oxytocin bonding within their current relationship. In the absence of oxytocin, the person will find less or no excitement. The person will then feel the need to move on to what looks more exciting.

-- Medical Information provided by: "Bonding Imperative," (a special report from the Abstinence Medical Council) by Eric J. Keroack, M.D., FACOG and John R. Diggs Jr., M.D.

In other words, friends, once again in Washington, they've got a live one. Can anyone remember a loopier profile for a new Bush appointee since John Ashcroft first performed "Let the Eagle Soar"?

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November 16, 2006

But they say his body made a great wound in the air,

and God Damn the English judge that put him there.

-- Patrick Anderson, from "The Country Still Unpossessed" (1946)

Louis Riel was hanged 121 years ago today, as Buckdog reminds us.

Buckdog also points us to this interesting news of a poem that Riel wrote for his jailer three weeks before he was hanged, apparently the only poem that Riel wrote in English that we have so far.

He shall hang though every dog in Quebec bark in his favour.

-- Sir John A. Macdonald, November 1885

It is all too easy, should disturbances erupt, to crush them in the name of law and order. We must never forget that, in the long run, a democracy is judged by the way the majority treats the minority. Louis Riel's battle is not yet won.

-- Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 2 October 1969

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He also has a remarkably coarse way of expressing himself for someone who was sold to us as the epitome of civilization and sophistication in our times.

Apparently the Rae people are very upset today by one word that Ignatieff used to describe the NDP while hinting that Rae would lead the Liberals in that dreaded direction:

Yesterday, Mr. Ignatieff fired back, saying "Bob remains enduringly weak in Ontario" and that he would take the party left with a losing electoral strategy.

"That's fishing in the wrong pond. That's the wrong strategy," Mr. Ignatieff said yesterday.

"He doesn't realize that Liberals fight the NDP in election after election.

"What Liberals need is someone who can run down the middle with a progressive message, and leave the NDP in their own particular ghetto," Mr. Ignatieff said in an interview.

Now, I could go on at some length in righteous wrath about the casual callousness of that use of the word "ghetto" and what it implies about Ignatieff's tendency to cheap snobbery. I could, except I got over my immediate reaction to it pretty quickly, inured as I am, like most people by now, I should think, to Ignatieff's casual callousness. And besides, I figure that Rae's minions will be busy all day quoting dictionary passages and wagging their fingers at Ignatieff's minions, so I'll leave that drudgery to them.

Two things about that interview in Winnipeg yesterday amuse me much more.

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Given Adam Daifallah's love of fact-free statements, it is no wonder he has found a journalistic home at the National Post. Take a look at this gem:

Who's the party of human rights?

Probably not what you expected.

Given this and so many other examples over the years from across the Anglosphere, it still amazes me how many people still associate support for human rights with the political Left, when the complete opposite is true. It's frustrating.

Le'ts a take a little stroll around the Conservative "Anglosphere", shall we Adam?

Let's start here:

Over the past five years, Australia’s record on human rights has been tarnished by international criticism of its policies toward refugees and asylum seekers, and its treatment of Indigenous people. The Commonwealth government’s reluctance—or, in some cases, refusal—to support the strengthening of international rights mechanisms, including the International Criminal Court, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention Against Torture, have also been condemned. At the same time, Australians must continue to rely only on the shaky foundations of the parliament and the common law to uphold their rights. It seems more important than ever to explore the potential of a Bill of Rights for better defending and upholding human rights in Australia.

Hmmm...shaky start, there. It is worth noting that Australia has been run by conservatives during the years covered in that report. Let's move on.

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November 15, 2006

Vote early, vote often

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I see we're being encouraged to boycott the Canadian Blog Awards. That would be my cue to let you know that first round voting has begun and to encourage you to go here and vote for your favorite blogs.

And when I said "vote often", I meant it. You can vote every day.

Thanks again to Robert McClelland for the time and expense he's invested in this.

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Pear tart

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And that is my straight line for the day.

I made a version of this last week, and it is hyper-galactically good. CSIS could turn me if they offered me one of these.

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November 12, 2006

Iggy's Albatross

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According to an SES Research National Survey released Saturday, the latest version of "distinct society" status for Quebec looks like a loser for the Liberals. Nik Nanos puts it best:

The symbolic recognition of Quebec as a nation has traction only in Quebec. Outside of Quebec – it is quite likely to push voters away from the federal Liberals. The two key battlegrounds for the next election are Ontario and Quebec. Think of the trade-off. On the one hand you have a net negative impact in Ontario (10% more likely to vote Liberal while 54% say they would be less likely to vote Liberal), while there is a potential upside in Quebec (40% more likely to vote Liberal while 12% less likely to vote Liberal) where voters can already opt for the pro-Quebec Bloc. This is dangerous and volatile ground for the Liberals.

The poll which has a margin of error of +/-3.1% asked

If the Liberal Party of Canada adopted a motion to symbolically recognize Quebec as a nation would you be more likely to vote Liberal, less likely to vote Liberal or would this have no impact on your likelihood to vote Liberal?

I'm not sure why anyone would find the results particularly surprising.

More likely to vote Liberal (16%) – (40% in Quebec)

Less likely to vote Liberal (40%)

No impact on vote (36%)

Unsure (8%)

It's pretty clear why Bob Rae and others have wanted Ignatief to STF up.

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I've seen a number of Canadian bloggers looking askance at the soothing noises Nancy Pelosi has tossed in Dubya's direction in the last few days. I think the rumours of Bush getting off scott-free are premature. When Pelosi states that impeachment is off the table I think there's an implicit qualifier attached to that statement: for the moment.

Filing articles of impeachment is a serious business and it could backfire badly if the specific charges can't be proven due to lack of evidence. And thanks to the way the GOP dominated house has abdicated its responsibility, hard evidence is a little skimpy right now. I've seen no indication that Democratic congresscritters intend to continue with that abdication and every indication that some of them are actively looking forward to having the authority to pursue investigations. So let the investigations begin and let's see what actually comes out of them.

From what I've read, one of Pelosi's strengths is her ability to assert party discipline -- to get all of her caucus members on the same page so they'll be more effective. I think that's all that's happening here. It seems a pretty safe bet that the Democrats can afford to talk about bipartisanship, secure in the knowledge that Bush and company will soon demonstrate that for them talk about bipartisanship is so much empty rhetoric. Let the GOP be the ones who are seen to obstruct a congress that's trying to assume its traditional role. Let the GOP demonstrate once again that democracy is the furthest thing from their minds. You know they won't be able to help themselves.

PS: And don't forget where impeachment hearings are actually held: not in the House of Representatives but in the Senate, where the Democrats still have a pretty tenuous grip on power and where a two-thirds majority is required to convict.

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'Bye Harry

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If you watched the national news on Saturday, you may have heard a reference to the death of Winnipeg social activist Reverend Harry Lehotsky. Harry was born in New York. After a near fatal heroin overdose, he decided it was time to make some changes in his life. He became a Baptist minister and, somehow, found his way to Winnipeg 23 years ago where he spent the rest of his life working in the inner city West End - one of Canada's poorest neighbourhoods.

I disagreed with Harry's religion and his politics - he ran for the provincial Conservatives in 1999. But one thing you could never disagree with was his commitment to his flock. He worked tirelessly to rid the neighbourhood of drugs, violence, prostitution and irresponsible parents. He once said "The laws are stricter for stray dogs than stray kids."

Among his projects was a non-profit cafe where local people could afford to go for a meal as well as providing some much needed job skills training. Another of his projects was the Lazarus Housing project that raised money to renovate abandoned 100 year old buildings into livable homes for low-income residents.

Last May, Lehotsky was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that had spread into his liver and other organs. He was told he had only a few months to live. One of the first things he did was to apologize for abandoning his flock because he had started so many projects that he wouldn't be able to finish. He worked until the end preparing voluminous lists of things to do and how to get them done so those he left behind could finish those projects. One thing he understood that most of us tend to ignore is that you change things one person at a time.

Reverend Harry Lehotsky died on Saturday at the age of 49. His wife and three sons as well as a whole neighbourhood lost a good guy. Goodbye Harry.

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November 11, 2006

The war to end all wars

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The heros and heroines we honour today used to describe war that way. Even though they had fought -- in fact, precisely because they had fought and had seen what fighting means, the sheer horror that it always eventually means -- they hoped that the last war, the one that was over now, would be the war to end all wars, the last time we would descend to the bloody business of skewering and shredding and raping and incinerating living human bodies, the last time we would so violate one another and our own consciences.

In these dark times, we find ourselves trapped in the fantasies-made-real of a few small groups of powerful people who believe in the very opposite: war without end, amen.

It is up to us to revive the spirit of human decency that animated our heros and heroines as they returned (those who did) from the world wars of the last century and then committed themselves to building international institutions as a way to mediate among nations, to check the ambitions of the strong and to give a voice to the dispossessed, and to bring justice to those who have been wronged. The whole world is unbalanced by wrong to any of us, and for a time there seemed a will to grasp that truth and body it forth.

I pay tribute on this day every year to my father's older brother, who died at Passchendaele in November 1917, two days after that vainglorious assault was declared a victory. My uncle was nineteen when a shell landed above the tunnel into a trench wall that he was sheltering in, and smothered him in the mud.

I pay tribute to my mother and my father and a whole passel of their siblings as well, all of whom signed up in 1939, many of them with clear memories of older siblings or parents lost in the previous war to end all wars that turned out not quite to have ended. I pay tribute especially to the women vets I have known, the nursing sisters and the trackers and technicians in all the services, many of whom came home after the war with a taste for independence and the courage to blaze new trails for other women. I will have lunch next week with one of those women, an RCAF vet who is about to turn eighty-nine and is still more active than I am, who was for many years my husband's boss, mentor to dozens, and the centre of a great ring of friends now spanning five generations.

When the little men for whom war is a game, one they are gambling will win them greater power or riches, appropriate for themselves the true nobility of our citizen armies, I hate to watch and listen. Most of the time I do watch and listen, though -- we have to. We have to listen to the sanctimonious lies in order to take them apart, one by one. We have to watch the way the powerful work in the world, the games they play with lives here and abroad, in order to check their murderous impact on the world and all the beautiful creatures in it.

On this one day, though, the puffed-up little men shrink to their true insignificance. Memory rises up against them, the memory of people who believed in turning away from the wars to build a better world. We pay tribute to our heroic generations when we turn away from their wars with them and renew their commitment to a future of international justice. Courage, my friends. It's never too late ...

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The torture twerp

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As a coda to pogge's entry below, I thought that John Yoo deserved a bit of a dedicated encore.

I came across two splendid commentaries on Yoo this morning as background to something else. One is already a classic, the other a recent review of Yoo's second book, War by Other Means. Given the source of the review -- James Bovard writing in the American Conservative, a Buchananite journal -- I was at first wanting to resist admiring it. But credit where credit is due: I can't imagine a better, shorter, fiercer, more detailed, more damning, or more righteously scornful dismissal of John Yoo's entire inglorious and incompetent career than this essay of Bovard's:

... Yoo implies that the torture scandal may be largely a liberal media concoction. After citing The New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh, Yoo says, “Articles have appeared claiming abuses at Guantanamo such as long-term isolation, stress positions, and exposure to extreme heat or cold or noise. At this writing we cannot know if such reports are false, or isolated examples. They are currently unverified and the subject of continuing investigations.”

Unverified—except for a deluge of e-mails from FBI agents who visited Gitmo and were horrified by what they saw. An FBI agent reported on Dec. 5, 2003 that the “torture techniques” used at Gitmo have “produced no intelligence of a threat neutralization nature.” One FBI agent complained about a female U.S. military interrogator who yanked back a shackled prisoner’s thumbs and grabbed his genitals. Another FBI agent e-mailed bureau headquarters on Aug. 2, 2004 after seeing detainees “chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they had urinated or defecated on themselves and had been left there for 18, 24 hours or more.” FBI agents also observed that detainees were being abused with extreme temperatures and loud rap music. An agent detailed to Iraq complained to FBI headquarters in June 2004 after seeing U.S. forces involved in “numerous serious physical abuse incidents of Iraqi civilian detainees ... strangulation, beatings, placement of lit cigarettes into the detainees’ ear openings.” (The FBI memos were disclosed as a result of an ACLU lawsuit.)

Yoo plays to True Believers throughout the book, invoking Vice President Dick Cheney as an authority on the value of torture—as well as “the popular Fox television program 24.” But he ignores FBI and military experts who disdain torture because it generates false confessions ...


The more power Yoo believes the president deserves, the more obfuscations he makes about how existing power has been used. Though this book went to press in July 2006, Yoo relies on dubious data from September 2004 to exonerate the federal torturers. Yoo cites a report done by a committee headed by Vice Admiral Albert Church, who literally became a laughingstock when he testified in March 2005 before the Senate Armed Services committee ...

Regardless, Yoo relies on this guy as a top defense witness: “Church’s investigation found (as of September 2004) 71 cases of detainee abuse and 6 deaths, and with only 20 of those cases involving interrogation, and 130 cases still under investigation.” Yoo asserts, “this is an extremely low error rate,” considering that the U.S. had detained 50,000 people at that point.

The week after Church testified, the Pentagon admitted that 26 detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan had been killed in what appeared to be criminal homicides—more than four times as many homicides as Church noticed. Yoo disdained updating the morgue count ...


In War by Other Means, Yoo eschews following his logic to its conclusions. He was more forthcoming in a debate last December when asked: “If the president deems that he’s got to torture somebody including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?” Yoo replied, “No treaty.” His opponent, Notre Dame law professor Doug Cassell, followed up: “Also no law—that is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo.” Yoo replied, “I think it depends on why the president thinks he needs to do that.” (One blogger summarized Yoo’s philosophy of government: “All Your Balls Belong to Us!”) Yoo has yet to specify appropriate presidential pretexts for juvenile testicular demolition.

While curtsying to the prevailing rhetoric on democracy, Yoo shows contempt for “government by consent.” He claims the 2004 election vindicated Bush’s torture policy: “Our nation had a presidential and congressional election after Abu Ghraib and the leaking of the [2002] memos. If the people had disagreed with administration policies, they could have made a change.”

How could the people judge the policy when the Bush administration was suppressing almost all information about it? ...

Some of you may have read at the time the clever blogger Bovard refers to. I hadn't, but now I've found him, and I'm sure his post bears endless reviewing. I wish we could file it under the heading of "Never Again," but for now I think we have to settle for "Never Forget," not until we have answered to all those screaming bodies and violated minds by bringing the banal courtiers who authorized their torment to justice.

Here is BottleOfBlog with "All Your Balls Are Belong To Us."

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November 10, 2006

I Put A Spell On You was originally written and recorded by Screamin' Jay Hawkins. Creedence Clearwater Revival famously covered it and here's a more recent version by John Fogerty.

And here's Mica Paris with David Gilmour on guitar.

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The usual suspects

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Charges Sought Against Rumsfeld Over Prison Abuse

Just days after his resignation, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is about to face more repercussions for his involvement in the troubled wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. New legal documents, to be filed next week with Germany's top prosecutor, will seek a criminal investigation and prosecution of Rumsfeld, along with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA director George Tenet and other senior U.S. civilian and military officers, for their alleged roles in abuses committed at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Along with Rumsfeld, Gonzales and Tenet, the other defendants in the case are Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone; former assistant attorney general Jay Bybee; former deputy assisant attorney general John Yoo; General Counsel for the Department of Defense William James Haynes II; and David S. Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff. Senior military officers named in the filing are General Ricardo Sanchez, the former top Army official in Iraq; Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the former commander of Guantanamo; senior Iraq commander, Major General Walter Wojdakowski; and Col. Thomas Pappas, the one-time head of military intelligence at Abu Ghraib.

Germany was chosen for the court filing because German law provides "universal jurisdiction" allowing for the prosecution of war crimes and related offenses that take place anywhere in the world.

They've cast a fairly wide net. I'm sure if this had happened last week, someone would have been frantically scouring the menu in the congressional cafeteria looking for dishes to rename.

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Howard the Vampire Slayer

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The Liberals have announced that the keynote speaker at their upcoming convention will be Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean. I noticed that Paul Wells seemed almost disappointed by that but I'm not sure why. I doubt the Big Dog would have anything to say that Liberals haven't already heard and he'd want $150,000 to repeat it. And anyone who wants to know what Obama has to say can read his newly published book. I realize he's the newest phenom in Democratic politics as far as the Beltway pundits are concerned but personally I think he has a ways to go before he can be considered either an expert on anything or a serious contender for the presidential nomination. It seems to me he was pretty much a non-factor in the midterms.

Dean deserves a lot of credit for sticking to his guns. When he was elected chair of the DNC he implemented a 50 state strategy on the premise that the Democrats needed to have the organization in place to field credible candidates and run competent campaigns everywhere in the country, not just in selected, high-odds districts. He stared down the DLC and party elites who wanted a chunk of the money he'd helped raise so they could flood only those specially selected districts with the same old, bland, non-committal, faux-moderate message -- the one that worked so well two years ago. He also stared down all those self-appointed experts in the media who insisted that the Dems didn't stand a chance unless they did things exactly the same way that had been losing them elections for the last decade. In short, it was Dean who played a big part in preventing the Democratic elites and the Kool Kidz from sucking the life out of what turned out to be a pretty impressive victory. And in the process he helped lay the foundation for future victories.

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November 9, 2006

This is going to be fun

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In my post below, I mused about a few of the benefits that may accrue to us Canucks thanks to the RIGHTEOUS FRICKING ASS-KICKING the Republicans took delivery of on Tuesday, but leave it to Declan to find the most delicious aspect of it all.

First of all, a cheer for the American voters who delivered a huge victory to the Democrats in the midterm elections, a result which will meet with universal acclaim here in Canada (progressives welcome the result, and right-wing folks are too touchy about anti-Americanism to criticize anything that happens there).

I can see myself deploying this quote a lot over the next two years:

"I, for one, deplore the dreadful anti-Americanism on display amongst right wing commentators, who are clearly in the thrall of PDS (Pelosi Derangment Syndrome)."

I think our friends on the right need to be prepared to reap what they have sown.

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November 8, 2006

Democrats are quite rightly basking in an almost sexual afterglow today after giving it to the Republicans big time. They have forced themselves upon the House of Representatives, and look very much like they are about to have their way with the Senate as well. Today, their members are standing tall...

Okay, I'm going to drop that particular metaphorical line and move on...

So, good news to our progressive cousins down south, but what does all this mean to us, the average hosers of this Great Dominion?

Well, for starters, it will mean that Stephen Harper won't have the same number of ideological allies to suck up to in the U.S., and that is a good thing. Sure, George Bush gets to live in the White House for another two years as a angry dim-witted dry drunk, but as his star rapidly fades, so too will any chances that Harper will be pressured into nonsensical schemes like ballistic missile defense. As the Republican agenda withers on the vine, so too will its chances of being imported to Canada.

It should also be noted that this election was a resounding rebuke of neoconservatism's signature event: the War in Iraq. Despite the desperate scramble by neocons to put the blame entirely on Bush incompetence, the War in Iraq was their baby from the beginning, and was a stupid idea from the word go. This election marks the twilight of neoconservatism as a credible philospohy, so Harper's brain trust in the Calgary School will now have to find a less idiotic guiding philosophy, like say tantric flying.

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November 7, 2006

Please ensure you consume your grain of salt prior to getting too excited about this, as these are exit polls after all, but things are looking pretty upbeat for the Democrats in the race to control the Senate.

From Chris Bowers at MyDD:

Don't know if these are accurate, but I just heard these.

Democrats leading in:
VA: 53-46
RI: 53-46
PA: 57-42
OH: 57-43
NJ: 53-45
MT: 53-46
MO: 50-48

Republicans leading:
TN: 51-48
AZ: 50-46

Double super caution: These numbers are both unconfirmed and they are exit polls.

Five new seats net is the magic number the Democrats need to take control of the Senate. As Chris advises, be cautious in letting your hopes rise too much from these exit polls, but I say a little bouyancy of spirit never hurt anyone.

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Democracy - Republican Style

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Our friends to the south go the polls today to for their midterm elections. The polls show that the Republicans in general - and George Bush in particular - are extremely unpopular. In any normal democracy, these numbers would indicate a massive rout for the incumbents, but in America, where the political discourse is so twisted by a power-worshipping elite media and a well-oiled right wing noise machine, nothing is certain. And adding to this uncertainty is the Republican Party's well documented dislike for, well, actual democracy.

They are called "dirty tricks". I refer to the widespread voter suppression techniques the Republicans employ. The right wing noise machine has tried to portray electoral dirty tricks as a bipartisan problem, but in fact it is the Republicans who specialize in intimidating minorities, making absurd demands for voter ID, moving polling stations to inconvenience voters, and harassing voters with robocalls, ostensibly from Democratic candidates.

Our own Alec Oveis, who sadly left the Prospect few months ago, calls in from Connecticut, where he's volunteering on behalf of Chris Murphy (one of Tom's "Dropkick Murphys" positioned to defeat GOP incumbents this year). He reports that voter fury over robocalls is amazing and palpable at the polling site he's near. Several people have gone out of their way to tell him and other Murphy people that they're voting for Republican incumbent Nancy Johnson strictly out of anger at the harassing phone calls they've been receiving from the Murphy campaign. Alec and other's explanations that those calls are actually paid for by Republicans have generally been falling on deaf ears (they are, after all, holding Murphy signs while offering these explanations).

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U.S. Election 2006 - Update

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Here are the final seat projections from Greg Morrow at democraticSpace.

Seat projections provided by democraticSpace
Seat projections provided by democraticSpaceThe only change is in the Senate race where Greg feels the Republicans will narrowly maintain control.

To our American neighbours: Despite the many reports of voter supression, we sincerely hope that tomorrow is the beginning of a new era in your country. The best of luck to you. Get out and vote and take three five friends with you.

Updated update:
I received an email from Greg last night with some additional changes. The projection is now 51 - 47 Republican in the Senate (+1 for the Republicans from earlier) and 225 - 210 Democrat in the House (+1for the Dems from earlier)

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November 6, 2006

In an earlier post, skdadl wrote about the Vanity Fair piece in which prominent neocons lined up to disassociate themselves from the disastrous results of the war they lobbied so hard for. And incidentally, Glenn Greenwald follows up on Michael Ledeen in particular with the blogging equivalent of a 2 x 4.

But there was one central figure missing in this discussion: our old friend Ahmad Chalabi. That's been remedied.

So, Ahmad Chalabi, what went wrong in Iraq in the war you helped to sell? “The Americans sold us out,” he tells longtime Baghdad reporter Dexter Filkins in a lengthy cover story in this coming Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, reviewed by E&P.

Chalabi was the Iraqi exile who worked -- via everyone from Paul Wolfowitz to Judith Miller -- to convince America to topple Saddam in 2003 (not that many in the administration needed much convincing).

Now, in an interview in his London home, Chalabi, betraying what Filkins calls “a touch of bitterness,” declares, “The real culprit in all this is Wolfowitz,” the former assistant secretary of defense, whom he still considers a friend. “They chickened out. The Pentagon guys chickened out…The Americans screwed it up.”

Chalabi's complaint, it turns out, is that the U.S. insisted on sticking around instead of simply toppling Saddam, handing the reins of power over to him and buggering off. As far as Ahmad is concerned, it's all about Ahmad. But anyone with two IQ points to rub together figured that one out a long time ago.
He adds: “America betrays its friends. It sets them up and betrays them. I’d rather be America’s enemy.”

Something tells me you may get your wish.

Hat-tip to War and Piece.

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Monday evening bonus track

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For all our American friends: Have You Had Enough?

(I'm not familiar with this particular candidate but I wanted the whole two minutes and forty-eight seconds.)

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November 4, 2006

U. S. Election 2006

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I have been watching the US election campaign but, frankly, there has not been much in what is one of the most corrupt and decadent political systems among the major "democratic" countries that has jumped out and said "Blog me!" The following table covers the latest predictions from our associate and master election predictor, Greg Morrow over at democraticSpace. If Greg is as accurate at predicting the outcome of American elections as he is at predicting Canadian elections, you can pretty well take this to the bank. There is a good chance that Greg will do another update Sunday or Monday and I will update this table as soon as I have the information

U.S.Election 2006

























































Seat projections provided by democraticSpace

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I think that our friend Mandos at politblogo is trying to help me to see the lighter side of vile and hateful sexist jerkery (no, I won't say piggery: I admire pigs), and I'll admit that his latest clever title gave me a wonderful Saturday morning pure laugh: "Iraq: contaminated by girl cooties."

The absurd infantility of paranoid if powerful neo-con men who will blame anyone, absolutely anybody else, for the messes they have deposited themselves but refuse to take adult responsibility for is perfectly caught in that title. "Eww! Girls! The White House is full of them! Ewww! That's why we're losing the war! It's not my fault!"

Mandos was sending us to this so-called article on the Vanity Fair website. I see the point of wading through flaccid American liberal excuses for serious journalism for one reason only: they have better access to the raw material than most of us do, and we need the raw material. Richard Perle and Michael Ledeen are not about to grant me an interview, but they will talk to some lazy hack from Vanity Fair who at least knows how to transcribe, so I suppose we must be grateful for small mercies.

And the cheap transcriptions turn out to be, after all, good enough. These guys -- the neo-con ideologues who bullied and harangued their own people and much of the Western world into murderous "pre-emptive" wars, who now recognize how totally their fantasies of international domination have failed -- convict themselves with every self-pitying word they utter.

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November 3, 2006

Friday night blues blogging

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Robben Ford is one of my favorite Guitar Players That Most People Don't Seem To Have Heard Of. Here's Born Under A Bad Sign.

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November 2, 2006


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Many in the Canadian blogging community have followed the trials of John of Dawg's Blawg and his wife Marianne, who was battling pancreatic cancer for the past three months. She passed away recently, and John has written a lovely tribute to her.

Deepest sympathies from all of us here at Pogge, John.

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November 1, 2006

What liberal media?

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In my post below, a commenter referred to my suggestion that the U.S. media acts as a megaphone for Republican talking points as "laughable." First, let me just say that anyone who asserts that the U.S. media is liberal is either a complete idiot, a right wing nutcase or a combination thereof. The mainstream U.S. media is stark, unfriendly territory for any liberal. Just ask John Kerry, whose mangled joke has dominated the news cycle for the past 24 hours and resulted in insane saturation coverage. Never mind that Kerry isn't actually running for office this year.

Now let's compare the coverage of the Kerry gaffe with a recent statement by conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh, who last week made fun of actor Michael J. Fox, accusing him of faking his symptoms of Parkinson's disease, and even did a cruel pantomime of a Parkinson's sufferer. How did the U.S. press react to the most prominent Republican commentor's monstrous behaviour?

Let's go to Eric Boehlert at Media Matters, who compares the coverage of the Limbaugh incident in the Canadian press to that of their U.S. counterparts.

Fox made a heartfelt plea urging voters in Missouri to support Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill, who he stated "shares [his] hope for cures" through stem cell research. Limbaugh promptly belittled the actor, telling listeners the herky-jerky motions Fox was making during the commercial were a con; "purely an act" to elicit an emotional response. Limbaugh even uncorked spastic, in-studio gesticulations to mimic Fox's awkward appearance.

Limbaugh said if he was proven wrong he'd apologized. But the press took that for an apology itself. Days later, as the controversy raged, Limbaugh was even clearer, insisting, "I stand by what I said [about Fox]. I take back none of what I said. I wouldn't rephrase it any differently. It is what I believe. It is what I think. It is what I have found to be true."

That quote was key to understanding the radical, remorseless position Limbaugh had staked out for himself. And here, according to a search of the Nexis database, is a list of major Canadian papers that published the direct, "I stand by what I said" quote from Limbaugh:

The Edmonton Journal, The Gazette (Montreal), the Regina Leader-Post (Saskatchewan), the National Post, the Ottawa Citizen, the Saskatoon StarPhoenix (Saskatchewan), The Province (Vancouver, British Columbia), the Vancouver Sun (British Columbia), and the Windsor Star (Ontario)

Meanwhile, here's a list of major American newspapers that published the same revealing quote from Limbaugh:


The sounds of silence were fitting for a press corps that treated Limbaugh's allegation as rational, manufactured a central element of the story (his 'apology'), mischaracterized Fox's commercial, suggested his actions had "spark[ed]" the controversy, and absolutely refused to put Limbaugh's attack in any sort of historical context regarding the talker's established record of hate speech.

If you come to this site decrying the "liberal media" you will get all the contempt your worthless opinion deserves. The evidence of the idiocy of that belief is on display every day on American airwaves and in American newspapers. It's nice to see our media compare favourably to their U.S. counterparts in their coverage of this particularly sick issue.

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The first media reports about the testimony of current and former CSIS officials before the parliamentary committee that's following up on the O'Connor report into Maher Arar's rendition focused on their claims that they were kept as much in the dark by the RCMP as everyone else.

The revelation that the RCMP did not advise its key national security partner of its missteps in the Arar case came in testimony by Jim Judd, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and his predecessor, Ward Elcock, before the public safety committee.

It stunned many MPs because RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli has testified that although he did not personally inform his political masters, the RCMP did provide to government authorities and the minister of the day its "best information" about the case.

But there's another angle on this story emerging.

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