Welcome to the second, less frequently-posted decade of RevMod.

Contact me at revmod AT gmail.

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Here's a funny joke: what's the difference between a liberation force and an occupation force?

I was thinking of turning off the civilian death count (see leftward) now that the bombing is all done and the database people seem to have gotten caught up on the underreported or unreported incidents. But American soldiers can't seem to stop doing what they do best: killing folks. Fourteen here, and then another two, all engaged in protest. Hesiod has an overview of the possible interpretations of these events, and how none of them look good for the United States. But I'm going to go further on the last possibility he lists. What if there were combatants in the crowd, trying to provoke an overreaction from the Americans (despite crowd-member claims to the contrary)? I'm trying to remember where else the strategy of generating irrational and violent reactions from Americans has worked in fermenting Anti-American feelings in the Arab world. Oh, yeah.

Perhaps the Americans are hoping to build a democracy in Iraq using the American model: start out with revolution against the imperial power. Playing the role of the King George in today's reinactment, Donald Rumsfeld.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Tom's back to Tom's page

And the first thing he posts? This deserves to be repeated on every blog on the web: the United States administration admits they lied about the reasons for war.

Let me say again, they lied about the reasons for war.

They lied, and lied, and lied. And lied and lied and lied and lied and lied. They lied about Iraq's level of threat to the United States, they lied about Iraq's chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs, and they lied about Iraq's relationship with al Quada. And then the media perpetuated those lies, and mocked anyone who dared suggest the administration's lies might not be entirely truthful. (I was going to link this last assertion with examples, but they're too numerous, and they make me too mad... do your own legwork. You don't have to scratch very deep.)

And then Americans wonder why Canadians didn't want to play. Does anyone remember the speech? Hey, Cellucci, I'll be awaiting your apology.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Not much time today after all

Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, following a clip of Mel Lastman raving about the World Health Organization ("Who are these people?!?" Hee.): "I was going to visit Toronto, but I hear the mayor's a dick."

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Things returning to normal

I'll blog like crazy next week to catch up. In the meantime, for those out of towners, a little look at life in Calgary. Stupid, stupid Calgary.

Also, a little walk through the childhood of the thirty-something crowd. Anyone got a spare quarter?

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Kevin Michael Ward: September 1, 1969 - April 22, 2003

I met Kevin Ward at the Calgary Chess Club. Kevin played chess the way he lived life, willing to make sacrifices, finding creative solutions that seemed so obvious... after he showed them to us. He always had a friendly, "Hey, Mister!" for me in greeting, always seemed to be smiling. A steady supply of diet coke fuelled him through most of those evenings, always happy to do the post-game chess analysis or go for one more round of video golf. He never failed to remember the name of a server or bartender, never failed to point out an attractive young woman leaning over a pool table, never failed to tip way, way beyond the standard. I can't think of an occasion when I wasn't happier for having spent time with him.

On Tuesday morning, for no reason I've been able to discern, Kevin chose to end his life. We're all poorer for that, but all richer that we knew him.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

I can't remember the last time I actually had the giggles...

But it certainly happened as I was reading the police blotter of the Arcata (California) Eye.

Arcata is a city that has gained some small fame (okay, posted to both Tom and August... really, what other blogs do you need? Well, this one, I hope, but even then) for passing a resolution at City Council disallowing their police service from enforcing the odious Patriot Act. Since I live in Canada, where the full force of the police state is somewhat restrained by fiscal realities ("Sure, we can set you up a surveillance database --- here's the price of the software. And you're going to need to upgrade that UNIX server." "Whoa, there, Rockefeller... we're still paying for the computers to keep track of a few guns."), I'm not particularly interested in the comings and goings of John Ashcroft's All-Seeing Eye. But if such things interest you, Tom and August are probably good places to start following the links. And you can watch The O'Reiley Factor on FOXNews for a giggle... a City Council member will be appearing. In the words of the Arcata Eye's scroll, "Don't let all your blood boil away before then, folks."

So, back to the police blotter. It may be earning a permanent link on my site... it has already replaced The Onion in my head, at least for a little while. Tom has a few samples, but allow me to choose out a few others:

Sunday, March 9 10:36 p.m. �Get away from me!� she screamed amid the sound of slamming doors and breaking glass. Police found a he, a she and a trailer park. The first two left with each other.

Tuesday, March 11 12:30 p.m. Another male and female found their interests in collision. The two serve as caretakers for a patient at their home, and share a room. But she said he was harassing and threatening her, and he admitted to being bothersome. She said he�d threatened to drive her to various places and just leave her there. Police introduced a concept as innovative as it was counterintuitive: make different living arrangements.

Friday, January 10 12:37 a.m. Chaucer and sherry by the crackling fire, coddled in an overstuffed chair with Vivaldi lilting into the small immortality of the wee hours. Or face down blotto in the sputum-pocked asphalt behind the laundromat. Which scenario you suppose ended in an arrest?

Friday, January 10 11:58 a.m. Some busybody called police after seeing a man in a dark hooded parka taking a TV from an apartment via a window. Police found the beardo and his cathode-ray quarry a ways away. He said it was his; she said he�d threatened her. And so that joyous artifact, the restraining order, danced into another life. Can�t they just include them with hooded jackets and save all the rigmarole?

Monday, April 21, 2003

I could click these links all day:

Revolution is not an AOL keyword. (via Wil)
Remember when people had to make sense?

The Daily Howler talks about it relative to the big American media. August can't believe television commentators could possibly have such a disconnect from basic logic.

Yes, this week's talking point as distributed by the Republican Party of the United States seems to be "Liberals were wrong, and the war has proved that." And guess who seems to be on that same talking point mailing list?

Step right up, Ezra Levant!

"They said Saddam did not have illegal weapons, including Scuds. On the first day of the war, Iraq fired those Scuds it did not have." False. The scuds claimed by the Americans to be owned by Iraq before the war are still missing in action.

"They said Turkey and Israel would use the distraction of the war to abuse their minorities. They did not." I can't speak for Turkey, but Israel? It's been a bad few weeks to be Palestinian.

"They said the war would cost $100 billion. It has cost $20 billion..." I haven't been able to confirm or deny these numbers. But I can't believe that even Ezra thinks the occupation (and the associated accumulating price) is over.

"They said the war on Iraq was not related to the war on terror. Last week, terrorist kingpin Abu Abbas was found in Baghdad." What, this guy? "Even Israel allowed him in and out of Gaza a few years ago as it accepted that he had given up violence and was supporting the Oslo peace process," says a BBC article following his capture. Though I think what we actually said was no link between Iraq and al Quada, but Ezra never lets the facts get in the way of a good story.

But my main complaint is not primarily about the shaky logic and FOXNews view of the rest of the world outside of the United States. Instead, my main complaint is the argument that Americans have somehow "earned" the right to rebuild Iraq, since they bombed it in the first place, and since the French and UN were too "cowardly" to involve themselves in delivering death from 25,000 feet. Argue about the reasons all you like, but is anyone serious still calling the French "cowards"? And has anyone at all --- anyone but Ezra Levant --- anyone, anywhere in any context called Kofi Annan a coward?

I wonder if Ezra's editors read this shit with a straight face.
Time to catch up

I took the weekend off from here, and from my various game sites. Naturally, I'm way behind on everything now. Today's all about getting caught up.

Here's the highest priority for the blog - something I should have linked last week. The Mustard Seed is in some financial trouble, as the provincial government declares poverty and backs out of its committments. This is pathetic, in the richest jurisdiction on the continent. More details are here.

Update: Mike thinks the reason for the closing of the shelter are more complex and less problematic than I'm making out, and he may be right. I'm happy to admit that I'm immediately suspicious of anything touched by this provincial government.

The Sunalta project was intended only as a stop gap measure in order to provide additional housing to get people through the winter. It was never intended to become a permanant shelter, only a temporary measure in response to what was seen as a emergency situation.

Therefore " the provincial government declares poverty and backs out of its committments. This is pathetic " is rather unfair. Unless you want them to be more reluctant to take on such projects in the future.

Several new low income housing projects are nearly completion with the help of city, provincial, and federal funding. I haven't gone looking for numbers, but I remember reading 2600 or so units between Calgary and Edmonton. The city and province also just announced another 400 unit project is to begin construction. I heard them discussing this on QR77.

Now shouldn't our government be looking at the long view by proceding with projects like this, we already have a large investment in shelters.

Shouldn't the priority now be to ensure these people have the opportunity to get out of the shelter and on with their lives. Affordable Housing and subsidized housing are going to be the only way to clear the working poor out of the shelters, and make room for those who do not have the means.

I think the government is moving on this course, and I feel it is the right one.
For myself, I've seen enough to believe there isn't enough shelter space in Calgary. But I'm not going to pretend to have as deep an understanding of the situation as Tim, who turned me toward this story.

Friday, April 18, 2003

Yeah, I'm looking at you, guy who wandered in with a Google search about Bill C-250 or that Simpsons FOX scroll or some such!

Was the American government as honourable as they claimed going into the war? Did they want true liberty for the Iraqi people?

This appointment indicates otherwise.

Consider this a challenge to all of you who were pro-war going in... you're the ones who need to tell the White House that this is unacceptable, that your faith in the honorable intentions of the government, a faith you expressed loudly and eloquently through the past months, is betrayed by this appointment.
Jessica Lynch's statue treatment, part II

Words nearly fail me... the stories surrounding Old Shoe's "rescue" are getting more and more disconcerting.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Let's pick on another line from Ezra's column

The anti-war Left has no shame. This week should have brought a wave of apologies from those who opposed liberation, second-guessed generals, or questioned U.S. motives in the war.
Really? I would have thought the lack of WMD would have brought apologies from the right for starting the war on false pretenses.

Why haven't any weapons of mass destruction been found? Because there probably aren't any, says Hans Blix. Haven't I been saying that for months, now? Haven't many, many people on the left been saying that for months now? When will UN weapons inspectors be allowed to return to Iraq to confirm this, one way or another?

Someone asked me on a discussion board why I wanted UN inspectors. Are they the only ones who can recognise a WMD, I was asked?

Perhaps not. But they are the only ones who could recognise a WMD and be believed. Anything found by American military personel will be dismissed by much of the world as planted evidence. Too bad, but you can't convince me that the country that brought you fake connections with Niger and al Quada hasn't earned the mistrust of the world on the subject.
Now it makes sense

US ambassador Paul Cellucci on the radio this morning:

"We're the last superpower, and with power comes responsibility."

Great. United States foreign policy is being cribbed from Marvel Comics.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Now for some provincial dog-wagging

Why is Klein talking up this "firewall" idea? Is it just me, or does this sound suspiciously like sovereignty-association? Myself, I don't think the Alberta government should be threatening to declare de facto independence by fiat. By the way, the idea originally came from Canadian Alliance leader Stephen Harper, so if it has any bounce in the Tory caucus, well, hey, you know exactly who to thank for dismantling confederation.

However, I don't think we should worry about it too hard. What we should really worry about is what he's distracting us from when he's talking about it. Every time we hear talk about independence, about firewalls, or about evil Ottawa, it always seems to be at the same time as legislation reducing the protection of workers, or their right to strike, or an elimination of elected positions from the RHAs, or some other inconvenient or unpleasant piece of legislation.

I know I'm publishing this post without serious links, but I will spend some time with this topic, and give you as much detail as I can find over the next several days and weeks. I'm concerned by the lack of documentation of this pattern.

Time for the trivial

I've been talking far too much heavy stuff lately... here's an article about what's wrong with the movies these days, via the Hollywood Investigator.
American heroism in the face of no resistance

Does anyone remember the film Wag the Dog? I think it was an utterly unremarkable film that is nonetheless trotted out as a metaphor for what is going on at any particular point when war is approaching. Except for one thing: the Albanian war in the film was entirely fake. It was the victory of public relations over reality. And while the leadup to the Iraq war had large elements of that (Saddam and Osama belong to the same secret society, faked satellite photos prove fake nuclear weapons programs), the war itself has been an actual war.

Having said that, there are a couple of notable events of the war that have reminded me of that film, that have reminded me of the moulding of public opinion through fake events and PR. The statue-toppling was one. The rescue of Jessica Lynch, it seems, is another. (I am entertained and impressed by AlterNet's headline for this story, in fact: "Jessica Lynch got the "statue treatment"". So much more concise than this rambling post.)

There was a character in Wag the Dog, an invented POW by the name of Private Shoemaker --- "Old Shoe". Do I need to spell out the parallel? There were more POWs than Jessica Lynch, but she was the story, she was the hook, she's the one who will have a post-military career pitching her ghost-written book. She's this war's "Old Shoe".

Last night on Ideas, there was a discussion of landscape architecture. (I lead an exciting life, I know.) What caught my attention was the argument that what we find "picturesque" is more easily found in parks than in nature. Nature is not organised in a pleasant way, generally, and urban parks are all about organising nature to be pleasant... a copse of trees here, a stretch of water there, some open lawn between.

Here's the surprise that is not a surprise... modern war is the same way. It's complicated, it's ugly, and it doesn't communicate well to television. Fortunately, we have our PR specialists who can organize the war into a few easily-digestible bites, so that we can understand it better. Thus the statue. Thus Jessica Lynch's "rescue". Thus my refusal to watch television news since mid-February.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

I probably shouldn't be surprised.

Ezra Levant continues his casual stroll through crazy extremism. In Monday's Sun, he published this prize example of good old-fashioned racism:

English speakers support America. Chretien is French. Polls in France showed that one-third of French citizens wanted Saddam to win the war. In Canada, Quebec is the only province opposed to the war. Jean Chretien made his choice based on ethnic and cultural tribalism.
On how many levels is that idiotic? England's citizens were pretty split on the war before it began... what's the tribal division there? I'm anti-war, and sadly unilingual... "English speakers support America"? WTF? Anglophone cabinet members and MPs have been the ones caught out expressing vaugely anti-Bush sentiments... I haven't heard nearly so much from the Francophone caucas.

Is Ezra pro-war because he's Jewish? I wouldn't have thought so, but it's Ezra who introduced the suggestion of ethnic loyalties, not me.

Whatever Jean Chretien's faults, he leads a government that, by insisting on a UN resolution for war as a precondition of our approval, was following a tradition of nearly sixty years of supporting internationalism through the UN over tribalism. The United States government has unilaterally shredded the internationalist rule of law. By opposing that shredding, the only tribal line Jean Chretien followed was Canadian.

Monday, April 14, 2003

Change of plans

George Bush won't be coming to Canada in May.

Boo. Hoo.

I think he was scared off by the exchange rate.

And speaking of Canada/U.S. relations, congratulations to Mike Weir on his Masters victory. Shame about that Debbie McCormick, though... I'm not sure we got the better of that trophy trade. Still, congratulations to her, as well.
Election day in Quebec

If you're in Quebec, don't forget to go vote. Hey, remember the good old days, when every vote in Quebec seemed to send a warning shot over the bow of Confederation? Those days are gone. Health care, education, taxes... that's what the campaign has been about. I wouldn't mind seeing the PQ lose, because sovereignty tends to rear its head at unexpected moments, and I wouldn't mind seeing the ADQ grab a decent share of seats, because I think three-party systems tend toward more democracy and drive politics harder toward the centre of the political spectrum, where I like my politics.

But my only guess for the evening? Low turnout. That's not a good thing, but there it is.
Socratic dialogue

I'm down with it. That's why I want you to have a look at this photograph, presented as proof that there was a significant crowd in the square when Saddam's statue came down (which was for the benefit of the media, according to links I posted here).

Thing is, this square doesn't look any more full to me than it does in the overhead shot. The peace rally I attended in downtown Calgary in March had many, many more people than the ones apparent in this photograph. If someone feels the need to count heads, hey, go nuts, but I would say no more are apparent in the "rally" section of the photo than maybe two hundred. And of those, I've spotted what I think are at least two shoulder-mounted television cameras. But hey, good try! If you'd like to read more of the debunking attempt, I started my wanderings through the right side of this discussion where I start all of my explorations of the right side of discussions, at Damien Penny's blog from Cornerbrook. You'll need to scroll down to the article posted April 13, 1:27 PM. His archive links don't seem to be working.

And while you're there, mark his words now:

I'd be lying if I said part of me didn't want to see Bashir Al-Assad meet the same fate as the late Saddam Hussein, but I don't think military action against Syria is justified at this time. Iraq had constantly flouted the terms of an armistice agreement it signed after being driven out of Kuwait and 12 years of UN Security Council resolutions aimed at disarming it. Even if they haven't yet found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (and I think they'll find the roots of a WMD program before too long), Iraq acted awfully guilty for over a decade, and that's why Bush could plausibly claim he was simply doing what the international community had promised, and failed, to do. Syria, by contrast, has not been subject to any such resolutions or agreements, and an invasion would lend credence to charges that the U.S. is a loose cannon.
Since I'm becoming convinced that such an invasion will come, it's good to know that it will give Damien and perhaps other Iraq hawks pause.

(The block quote link doesn't work yet... same problem with his archive. I'm sure he'll fix it eventually.)

Sunday, April 13, 2003

With great power comes great responsibility

The US and British militaries are the only power that exists in Iraq right now. They are the only law. So who needs to accept responsibility for not policing the people who are destroying the infrastructure of the country, not to mention their history, through looting? I can accept that a few Iraqis have reacted to the end of the regime through looting and property damage... hell, we do that over a hockey result. (Mike sends me an article that suggests the looters were not Iraqis at all, but I admit I can't see a reason why the Pentagon would import people to run amok, and I really can't imagine why anyone who doesn't absolutely have to be in Baghdad right now would have gone... the story smells like bullshit to me.) What I can't accept is the apparent disinterest the Americans seem to be showing in keeping hospitals, museums, and bread factories safe.

They wanted this responsibility. When will they assume it? For many of the remnants of history of the cradle of civilisation --- a heritage we all share --- it is already too late.
Haven't written a whole lot this week

And no wonder. There's nothing much going on, these days.

Ha, ha!

I'll try to catch up a bit today. Where to begin? I got some provincial budget stuff, some SARS stuff, some war stuff, some Canada - US relations stuff. I also want to start working on the site's code again, to fix the platform problem I identified back here. I also have backgammon moves to make, and a chess tournament to submit for rating, so I may not get to everything on this list. But you should see some action here today.

Friday, April 11, 2003

Too early to judge, but liberation isn't looking so hot just yet.

Robert Fisk has published some tales from Baghdad... they make for interesting reading.

One can hardly be moralistic about the spoils of Saddam's henchmen but how is the government of America's so-called "New Iraq" supposed to operate now that the state's property has been so comprehensively looted? And what is one to make of the scene on the Hillah road yesterday where I found the owner of a grain silo and factory ordering his armed guards to fire on the looters who were trying to steal his lorries. This desperate and armed attempt to preserve the very basis of Baghdad's bread supply was being observed from just 100 metres away by eight soldiers of the US 3rd Infantry Division, who were sitting on their tanks �V doing nothing. The UN offices that were looted downtown are 200 metres from a US Marine checkpoint.


After a gun battle in the Adamiya area during the morning, an American Marine sniper sitting atop the palace gate wounded three civilians, including a little girl, in a car that failed to halt �V then shot and killed a man who had walked on to his balcony to discover the source of the firing. Within minutes, the sniper also shot dead the driver of another car and wounded two more passengers in that vehicle, including a young woman.
I don't remember any of this in Berlin in 1989 at all.

Once again, I find myself drawing from the Information Clearing House. Good source.
The fog of victory

Warning: this post is likely to add significantly to your sense of disillusionment.

Did you, like me, feel some joy when we watched that statue come down? No matter how stupid the war is, the bootheel was lifted at last... look how happy those people are.

The event was staged for the benefit of the media.

The entire thing took place in a square across the street from the Palestine Hotel, where the foreign media is hosted. The square was closed off by American armour. The hundred-odd would-be statue-destroyers were ex-pats, flown into Iraq by the Pentagon.

I suppose the good news is that the first of these images went up inside of twenty-four hours. How long was the bombing of Cambodia thirty-odd years ago "secret"? Lies told by the American government have no legs now.

No, wait... they do. I don't understand that at all, when the truth is so readily available.

Stories and links came to my attention via my old favourites, Tom and August.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Oh, God

Well, the good news is, I feel inspired to blog again. The very bad news is, mark your calanders: war on Syria is coming to a news channel near you.

Here's the story that will be coming: the reason there were no WMD found in Iraq is that Saddam shipped everything to Syria for storage. It's a good two-birds one-stone story. It may change over time, the way the Iraq story did, but that will be the initial argument.

I want you to ask yourself, and everyone you know, a few questions over the next few days. Is war with Syria a good idea? Do you know who runs Syria, and do you have any strong feelings about Syria's political leadership? Do you think Saddam might have given away his weapons for safekeeping, rather than, say, keeping them for use against an invading American army? Ask those same questions in a few months, and if the answers are different, ask what lies Ari Flescher told, what spin points the media swallowed whole, to change your mind.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

The other oil front: Alberta

Yesterday was budget day, and the biggest increases in spending are toward capital budgets. Two things strike me:

First, capital spending fits the philosophy of the Klein government. They like having budgets they can back out of in a hurry. That's why they like privatisation so much --- not because it's cheaper, and not because of some philosophical bent, but mostly because it's easier to tell a company that your contract with them is over than it is to fire a bunch of government employees. Capital spending is along these lines, because it's easier to build schools (paid for once) than it is to staff them (paid every year).

Second, I'm starting to think that the government is starting to prepare a legacy of buildings across the province that can be pointed to, saying "that's from the Klein era." (There's currently not much, unlike the Manning and Lougheed eras, when lots of schools and hospitals went up and were staffed... I can still drive around Calgary and tell you which were which.) I don't think Klein will be around much beyond the Centenary in 2005, so he's got to get moving on this.
You think I'm cynical?

When I see something like this, I remember where the "Moderation" in the blog title comes from... this goes well beyond my personal critique of the current American administration.
Good news

I am happy that the war against Saddam Hussein and his administration seems to be overwhelmingly over (notwithstanding what the US administration says - when Iraq's UN ambassador stops talking up Iraq's war successes, it's probably done). I am hopeful that we are not likely to see many more civilian deaths as a result of this war, unless the Americans find themselves trying to impose change in Iraq by force. The nice thing about liberty is that the Iraqi people get to choose their own future, not have one imposed by a foreign power. It will be interesting to see if the Americans see it the same way.

But don't let American/British war victory cow you into silence about our criticisms of the war. I just heard Rumsfeld refer once again to the fantasy Scud missiles. Victory for the Americans will not end the spin. As long as we still call a lie a lie, as long as we still identify spin as spin, the pressure will remain to prove us wrong by truly liberating the country. Once our gaze shifts away, Iraq becomes Afghanistan, but with more money for Halliburton.

I've been blogging slow this week as I've rededicated myself to my job hunt, and that will continue for a few more days. I'm going to take some time to properly link up my references in this post later today, but I don't want to wait to post this. Now is the time.

Monday, April 07, 2003

An old favourite question:

Atrios asks: Remember Afghanistan? Seems peace, love, and understanding are on hold. This bodes all too poorly for post-war Iraq.
Around the Internet

I followed a link posted by Tom to a specific story on the website Spinsanity. I'd never been there before, but spent a couple of hours this morning reading articles almost at random. It's as interesting from a fact-checking perspective as The Daily Howler, but it doesn't seem to be so left-leaning (at first blush). If I keep enjoying it, the list to my left will get one link longer.

And while I'm on the subject of links, I want to thank Carl of Barbecued Memes (I've never seen Leslie post, but thanks there too), Fearthainn, author of Trash, and Jon, who is finally posting regularly about his experiences teaching in Korea in Random Thoughts. They've all hosted links to me for a long time. From three such very different and very interesting blogs, that's quite a compliment. As it stands, I'm trying to keep my permalinks down to political sites that are along similar lines (but naturally much better) to my own. I think those are the ones my readers would likely head to and enjoy. (I'm thinking of dropping Wil Wheaton... he's fun to read, and I like having his head on my page, but one of these blogs is not like the others, if you know what I mean. I digress.) But that, and not quality or entertainment or my own reading habits, is what keeps me from posting permalinks to them. Go read their sites, because I'm hoping to post a little lighter this week, and catch up on other aspects of my life instead.

Finally, a goofy but entertaining little link. August pointed me toward it. And I like to credit my sources.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Web watch

Al Jazeera's English language web site is back on the air, just in time for the ugly, confusing part of the war. But let's keep this our little secret... as soon as some idiot with a little computer skill realizes it, they'll be back knocking it down.

In news closer to home, my April archive doesn't yet work, and I don't know why. I blame Blogger, but it's probably my fault.

Update: Archive is up and running once more... like al Jazeera, persistence pays off.

Friday, April 04, 2003

The wisdom of Rumsfeld part two

(From a Department of Defence briefing, brought to my attention via The Daily Show):

Q: Well, we kept hearing that you kept sending the plan back -- wasn't imaginative enough --

Rumsfeld: You say keep hearing things. It's the same thing like we cut the force in half. The fact that one person prints it, and then everyone else runs around and copycats it and writes it again -- then pretty soon it's been printed 16 times, and everyone says, "Well, it must be true." That's nonsense.
Do I have to spell this out? "Iraq bought aluminium tubes for nuclear weapons." "Iraq was involved in September 11." "Iraq has huge stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons." "Weapons inspections aren't working --- the lack of evidence they're finding is proof of that" And on, and on.

Thursday, April 03, 2003


I just saw my page in Netscape for the first time. What happened to all of my graphics for links? Why does the page look so awful?

I think I have some fixing to do... but in the meantime, consider this a "best viewed with evil Microsoft product" warning.
Thanks, August

Here's an article with some of the found poetry of Donald Rumsfeld. My favourite is the first:

The Unknown

As we know,

There are known knowns.

There are things we know we know.

We also know

There are known unknowns.

That is to say

We know there are some things

We do not know.

But there are also unknown unknowns,

The ones we don't know

We don't know.
If Hart Seely (the finder of these poems) publishes a book, I'll buy it.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Thanks, Mike

You might have noticed the little cartoon square down near the bottom of my links. It's connects to getyourwaron.com, the work of David Rees. David Rees is interviewed by Mother Jones here. Read some of the comic before you bother with the interview.
Saddam and the NYSE: two sides of the same coin?

Al Jazeera has been expelled by Iraqi officials. Because people just hate reporters!
Celebrities for Bombs

Don Cherry and Wayne Gretzky have both been taking some heat for their support of the American/British invasion of Iraq. But you know what? I'm not going to add to that grief. The same rules apply to Wayne Gretzky that apply to Janeane Garofalo: celebrities are still citizens of democracies, and are welcome to speak their minds. (Actually, one rule applies to Garofalo that doesn't apply to Gretzky, but that's between me and my partner.)

Now, Don Cherry is a slightly different case. Gretzky's advocation of the war is something he did as a private citizen. But Cherry used his few minutes on Hockey Night in Canada --- his job --- to make his point of view clear. That's a little different. Some people would tell you it's a lot different, and if it had been Ron McLean, I'd agree.

But it was Don Cherry. His job title is "Loudmouthed, nationalistic to the point of idiotic arrogance, troublemaking, racist (though, in fairness, almost always against white non-anglos: Russians, Finns, Quebecois) anger-provoking asshole". (In the CBC organizational charts, the position is simply listed as "hockey asshole")

Okay, that's probably not true. But can anyone deny the description fits what he's employed to be? Tell me his pro-war stance, and his over-the-top rhetoric around it, weren't exactly what you would have expected? It's the Michael Moore Oscar speech from the other side of the fence --- it's Don being Don.

Cherry said his pro-American stance brings praise from ordinary Canadians but criticism from the media.

"Our media up here is totally left wing," he explained.

"It's socialist, left-wing, pinko, Commies. I got ripped to shreds in the left-wing media. That's the chance you take."
Hee, hee! Don being Don indeed.
Thank goodness for this

August found me a more complete scorecard than the simple civilian death count to the left.

I am the first to admit, there are almost certainly going to be civilian deaths during even the most morally justifiable and carefully executed war. Because it's, you know... a war. So we need more information to really make the "was it worth it?" calculus. Current score:

Bombs dropped: 22400

Civilian casualties: 725 (I see they're using the high estimate from the body count)

Oil wells aflame: 2

Leaflets dropped: 35,300,000

Coalition fatalities: 83

WMD sites uncovered: 0

Iraq soldiers surrendered: 5200

There's also a map of territorial control. Bookmark it... it'll save you hours and hours of CNN. In the meantime, I'm going to add a link right below the body count.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Blogger's been down

Sorry I've not written... Blogger's been down all morning. And now, sadly, I have to run off. Tomorrow is another day, Fiddle-Dee-Dee and all that rot.

One quick note, however, and I think it taps into my discomfort with the Levant column: Is it called terrorism when you target an invading military? I'm far from the first to ask this question, and to be frank, I was a little afraid to be the first to ask it. I guess in that sense, the American and British forces are Israelis now, as Levant claimed. They are Israeli in the sense that they are frustrated that their occupation is resented instead of embraced, that they would like their opponents to come at them openly with guns so they can execute them from a mile off with the advantage of money and technology, and that they will begin to blur the line between combatants and non-combatants out of fear.

"The Iraqis are sick people and we are the chemotherapy," said Corporal Ryan Dupre. "I am starting to hate this country. Wait till I get hold of a friggin' Iraqi. No, I won't get hold of one. I'll just kill him."
I don't want to vilify every American in uniform over this quote. I think it's an example of what can happen when you occupy a people who don't want to be occupied. I think it's what Israeli soldiers tend toward in the occupied territories, because they don't know where death might come from, and they don't like the looks they get on the street in Gaza. American soldiers have to be feeling the same way: "Hey, weren't these people supposed to be thanking us and celebrating? We're bringing them water. We're their liberators. Why don't they understand that? Well, screw them!"

I'm going to put aside Levant's "We're" all Israeli (hey, it's not my war, and it's not Canada's war, you cock), and say yes, the American military is facing what the Israeli military faces, and it will become worse when the official, CNN part of the war is over and the so-called peace begins. Do you think the rest of the Arab world isn't going to draw the same conclusion? "We're all Palestinian, now" Which leaves a whole lot of people ready to ask Osama where to sign up. Hey, I think I found the link between Osama and Saddam! I knew it was there somewhere.

I have a better idea. Why don't we learn from the Israeli experience indstead of just repeating it?