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

Contact me at revmod AT gmail.

Saturday, May 31, 2003

I'm a New Democrat second.

First, I'm a political junkie. And I have to admit, I haven't had so much fun watching results for anything political lately as I'm having watching today's Tory convention.

Do I have a favourite? Well, I think David Orchard is sincere about feeling that his politics are entirely in line with the history of the Conservative party, and good on him, but if he actually somehow pulled it out, it would be bad for the left in this country when he starts stealing our vote. I think Jim Prentice might be the best chance of keeping the Canadian social (as opposed to economic) right-wing split (somehow, I don't see him as Grand Marshall at any Calgary pride parades in the near future). But if the convention delegates are smart (and I think they are) Peter MacKay's going to lead them back to opposition status, which should take fifteen years or so.

Friday, May 30, 2003

Lies, damned lies, and war justification.

Some well-trod ground, but just in case you've already forgotten here's a partial list (via Tom, via Atrios) of the moments when representatives willfully lied about WMD in Iraq.

Update: just to be sure I link to all the big blogs, Hesoid updates the WMD search situation. Seriously, there's more damage being done with Congalese machettes than will ever be done with Iraqi VX. Can we get our priorities straight, here?
Since we're so keen on military interventions and human rights...

... maybe we should consider dropping in on the Ituri province of the Democratic Republic of Congo?

Particularly since, in the leadup to the little adventure in Iraq, Rwanda was trotted out again and again as something we should never have allowed to happen (yes, Mike, I know the Americans are the main ones who resisted any UN effort to intervene with military strength). It's happening now, it's happening in the DRC, and this is exactly the sort of situation the United Nations is there to work against. Forget the "sucking up to the Americans again" resolutions... it's time to do some good for people who could use our help.

Update: you know who is taking the point on trying to get a military intervention? Think cheese-eating. Think surrender-monkies. Seems they're ready to have a fight on occasion after all, if they actually think it might be the moral thing to do.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Do not forget, America --- the rest of the world hasn't.

My views on the Iraq WMD debate have been extensively discussed in this space over the last few months, so I won't go down that road again. But Hesoid points out that now, Tony Blair's government may rest on finding WMD --- and that perhaps the US Administration wants it that way.

More interesting is the article that follows (Hesoid lists it as an "update") quoting extensively Mark Bowden, no dove himself, on the importance of finding the mysterious stash of WMD.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

I mean, sure, it was accurate and fun to listen to, but...

I'm sure you have all seen articles describing the candid conversation the Prime Minister had with reporters yesterday, taking the American government to task. (Trudeau had his walk in the snow, but Chretien takes a walk to the woodshed. Easy!).

Chr�tien said his government has had a string of budget surpluses while the "right-wing" government in Washington is running up a $500-billion deficit.

Chr�tien highlighted several differences between himself and Bush.

He said Bush opposes abortion while he favours a woman's right to choose.

Bush supports capital punishment and Chr�tien does not. Chr�tien supports gun control and Bush does not.
As the title suggests, I wasn't horrified (or even mock-horrified). And he found a certain audience. But I was a little surprised about what was missing from Chr�tien's inventory of critiques:

"Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business." (Michael Ledeen)
Seems to me the USA is one over their limit for the decade.

When I heard the PM was giving Bush what-for, I thought surely it had to be for being increasingly imperialist with each passing month. I was a little disappointed. Still, he's fifty times better than Paul Martin will be when it comes to dealing with Americans, unless I misread Paul terribly.

(Say, while you're over at BertramOnline, be sure to note this story. It'll leave your head a-shakin'. If Canadians were part of Europe (not just the EU, but physically Europe), we'd be Danes. Maybe I'll explain that some day.)

This was produced without any CGI "additions" or assistance in the editing room --- it is two minutes of amazing engineering.

Do not attempt this link over dialup... the page takes forever!

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Me funny!

I'm pretty happy with my performance last night... enough so, that I think I'm going to have to intersperse some of my writing here with topical comedy, to keep those particular writing muscles flexed. Let me give you an example of the sort of thing I'm talking about.

Did you see the headline on today's Sun? "Mad cow crunch". I think I'm going to stick with Froot Loops.

See? It's easy, and topical!

Monday, May 26, 2003

Here we go

Couldn't avoid blogging this: I was wrong about Syria. Iran is next on the menu:

Prompted by evidence that Iran is harboring top al-Qaida operatives linked to last week's suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia and fears that Tehran may be closer to building a nuclear weapon than previously believed, the Bush administration has begun debating whether to take action to destabilize the Islamic republic, U.S. officials said Thursday.


Although one senior official engaged in the debate said "the military option is never off the table," others said no one was suggesting an invasion of Iran, although some officials think the United States should launch a limited air strike on Iran's nuclear weapons facilities if Iran appears on the verge of producing a nuclear weapon. By some estimates, Iran could have a nuclear weapon within two years.
(emphasis mine)
Do you notice the article completely removes the source of that estimation, even as a human presense ("sources say...")? Do you want to bet that estimate comes from the same source that brought you the estimates of Iraq's WMD capacity? Do you want to bet both estimates were pulled from the same ass?

But even if the "estimates" are backed by hard evidence, shouldn't it concern the Americans a little that we hear information like that from the government of the United States, and the instinctive reaction is to not believe it? Shouldn't they have been a little more careful with their reputation? Nice work, American government, you big fat idiot liar! Go cry Wolfowitz to someone who cares.

No real posting today... too busy freaking out about doing stand-up comedy tonight. I know... I thought I was too bitter for it, too.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

And finally (for now) this:

Ted Rall explains why the "War on Terrorism" is turning into a horrible failure. I know, we're winning, blah blah blah... but the bombs keep going off, so I'm not entirely convinced.

Anyway, I recommend this article at least in part because the coolest metaphor of the week:

"hunting down individual terrorists is an expensive and pointless game of whack-a-mole. Only Allah knows how many eager recruits have sprung up, hydra-like, to fill Khalid Sheikh Mohammad's flip-flops."
(By the way, I recognize that all three of my posts this morning have involved links back to Alternet. Honest, I'm not being lazy... I just found myself having "Aha" moments over and over as I was browsing there last night. Sue me.)

"Twenty-four" spoilers ahead. Not twenty-four different spoilers, or spoilers for twenty-four different things. Rather, spoilers about the second season of the television programme "24".

I searched and searched, but coundn't find the post where I predicted how the last eight hours of this year's 24 would go, after the B-O-M-B went off. And no wonder... it turned out to be an e-mail sent to a couple of people. I was pretty close to the mark, too... ah, well.

The reason I was searching is because of the "life imitates art" flavour of the situation: a terrorist attack is foiled through the first sixteen episodes, sure, but the last eight involves the American government engaging in a debate of who to attack and how quickly. I wasn't the only person to notice that flavour, however: Stephen Blackburn writes a compare and contrast piece between life and art. Life comes up a little short, I'm sad to say.

Optimism? Yeah, alright.

The Liberals will get to rule Canada for another twenty years (more on that later - perhaps next week, but before the Tory convention), but the Republicans have no such lock on the White House, says Senator Robert Byrd, who believes Dubya is spinning out the rest of his single term while the scales fall from the eyes of their fellow citizens.

But, I contend that, through it all, the people know. The American people unfortunately are used to political shading, spin, and the usual chicanery they hear from public officials. They patiently tolerate it up to a point. But there is a line. It may seem to be drawn in invisible ink for a time, but eventually it will appear in dark colors, tinged with anger. When it comes to shedding American blood � when it comes to wreaking havoc on civilians, on innocent men, women, and children, callous dissembling is not acceptable. Nothing is worth that kind of lie � not oil, not revenge, not reelection, not somebody's grand pipedream of a democratic domino theory.
I've jumped to the conclusion here, but go read it all... it's an excellent overview of the abuses the Bush Administration have committed against the truth.

Friday, May 23, 2003

Everything is perspective; perspective is everything.

What Michael Schrage described as intentional ambiguity about Iraq's WMD possession in his essay in the Washington Post, Hans Blix is suggesting might have simply been a cultural (and control) issue, and that he was becoming convinced that there were no WMD in Iraq when he was forced to leave so the war could begin on schedule.

You remember the war? The one we had to have because the inspections process wasn't working? I love leaving everyone with happy thoughts like this as the week ends.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Lynch v Corrie

What, did you forget who Rachel Corrie is already? Here's are two hints: Palestine. Bulldozer.

Fellow Canuck Naomi Klein has written a "compare & contrast" piece for the Guardian, and it's some good writing about some shocking spin.

And while you're getting your Lynch fix, have a peek at Tom's latest discussion of the blog event of the summer. Seriously, other that to prove that the US military is in the business of PR (as well as killing and exploding stuff and what-not), why is this story interesting? And didn't we already know that anyway? I'm talking to you, Mr. Embedded Reporter!

(Yes, I acknowledge that the Adventure of Jessica Lynch is a particularly gratuitious example of the disconnect between spin and reality, but there's so many others. They all take us one step closer to the Matrix, feeding our bodies while our brains enjoy the wild fantasies concocted by our evil overlords to keep us quiet.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Think I'm too left-wing?

This blog may be more up your alley.
The promised correspondence

Back on May 10, I blogged this smarmy little entry about this article in the Washington Post. I am reluctant to boil the article down here, but just a reminder: it's about the foreign policy objective of reducing ambiguity. If you didn't read the article then, now would be a good time, to follow the rest of this post.

I was, I'll admit, a little surprised to receive e-mail from the author of the Washington Post article, Michael Schrage, last week. The understanding that anyone can actually read what I'm writing here was a little disconcerting. (I've gotta start spellchecking.)

Here is the correspondence, edited slightly for readability, but not at all for content:

(Michael S)...well, thanks for the mention, but even left-leaning canadians should be able to offer an even-handed interpretation of an argument before attempting to skewer it...then again, that's less fun -cheers, mds

(Don)I'm happy to admit it was not the most thoughtful post ever written, so your point there is well taken (if you'd like, I'll be happy to blog that same admission). I may not have posted it had your department been labelled Strategic, as opposed to Security Studies, because that was certainly the point I flashed on that made me curious enough to read the piece.

I think your analysis of Hussein�s rationale for wanting to preserve ambiguity was pretty cogent. It makes much less sense to me from the American realpolitik point of view. And given that the Administration was producing lies and fabrications leading up to the war (Quite a sentence, your "...Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's dramatic yet desperate presentation before the U.N. Security Council was harshly attacked by critics who maintained that, yes, America's WMD evidence was inconclusively ambiguous." It seems to me you're dissembling a bit, here... that satellite photo didn't fake itself), I would think that people with CIA reports to read and actual satellite images to see may have had a much less ambiguous view of Iraq's WMD potential than Saddam might have wished.

Likewise, it also appeared that the American Administration was constantly closing doors on any diplomatic "outs" Iraq might have had to avoid the war. What you suggested, that Iraq could let it quietly slip that they had no weapons, was quietly slipped by Powell's star witness, Hussien Kamel years ago. There was no evidence that WMD were being produced since.

During the leadup, those who disagreed with my anti-war stance called me foolish (and far worse) for not believing that there was much of anything left in the Iraqi WMD arsenal, along with not believing the alleged links with al Quada. Now, post-war (and what looks on-and-off to me like pre-the next military adventure), I may be too quick and too defensive about other claims and rationales as to why the war was necessary. If I was too dismissive of your op-ed piece, for that I apologise.

But one of the basic themes running through my weblog has been that America the Republic is to be admired, while America the Empire is to be feared. An America that is ready to go to war in order to protect their interests against ambiguous threats, possible threats, as opposed to credible threats, is closer to Empire than Republic. And the effect is multiplied when the United Stated seems disinterested in diplomatic work with their allies to bring them onside. If your essay was meant merely to point out the reality of the realpolitik calculations made by Iraqi and American leadership, then your lack of discussion about those strained diplomatic relations and the negative impact on the security of American interests worldwide is a huge omission. It hints that your essay was interested in advocacy of the anti-ambiguity strategy, not merely a reporting of it. -Don

(Schrage)thank you for your thoughtful response; I accept several of your comments as eminently fair...

that said, I think you�re being a tad harsh when you say the US precluded saddam�s more diplomatic �outs� in that kamal had said wmd had been � or was being � destroyed...i don�t think two or three defectors are enough in this instance � ESPECIALLY after a 9-11...

I think we have to accept the reality that hussein looked at 9-11, bush�s treatment of arafat after the karine-a, and the afghanistan conflict and STILL believed he could get away with rebuffing the US ... The world had changed as far as the US Administration was concerned...Ironically, I think he felt he �won� when the UN was sent in to inspect because, frankly, he and his people had done a pretty good job dealing with the UN on iraq�s terms...in other words, saddam hussein had a less-good hand that he played very, very badly... I honestly believe that if he ! had been even 20 percent more open and aggressive BEFORE 1441, he and his loathsome sons would still be torturing iraqis � sheltered beneath the protective wings of an invertebrate EU and a terrified saudi arabia, etc. - best, mds
As much as I appreciate the tip of the hat in the last of those e-mails, there are a couple of things that are notable beyond that:

- Resolution 1441 has been identified here as the cut point, the point beyond which we were on the monorail to Shocktown and Aweville. I think that's correct, but it certainly makes a mockery of the UN process, recognizing out loud that to the American government, the UN is a hoop to jump through, not a tool to peaceful disarmament.

- The main argument I would have to the final e-mail here is that I don't think September 11 was the real spark of a change in foreign policy direction for the American government. An excuse, yes (and no, I don't think there was a conspiracy within that government to promote or even allow the attacks, but that's another post), but I think you would see moves in this direction regardless. September 11 created fertile ground for the American public to embrace an aggressive policy of international control, but I think there's plenty of evidence that yer Paul Wolfowitzes and yer Dick Cheneys were looking that direction long before.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Think Alberta's ecomomy is strictly dependent on oil?

Then you're in for a rude awakening. BSC has been found in an Alberta cow. Depending on what is identified as the source of the infection, last year's drought could be looking like the good old days to cattle farmers in this province.

Working on setting up a comments section

Because I really give a rat's ass what you think.

(That ought to generate a comment or two.)
Lynch, Lynch, Lynch

You know, I write all of this good stuff about pot legalization, or WMD, or al Quada attacks around the world, and what do I get in return? A zillion google searches for "Jessica Lynch fake rescue" (#6 right now... woo-hoo!) and variations thereof.

So, in the spirit of giving the people what they want, let me first recap. I first mentioned her here, when the Washington Post wrote the first article suggesting that the "rescue" had more to do with creating a dramatic television moment than accomplishing something.

I followed up here, when the London Times added more detail to the tale, including the part where Iraqi doctors tried to deliver Pvt. Lynch to an American checkpoint, only to have Americans open fire as their ambulance approached.

And now for the update, which I noticed thanks to Tom: the Guardian is beginning to sink their teeth into this story, The revelation in this one? They US military expended time and effort shooting blanks. Hey, it's the summer action blockbuster, and you'll never believe the special effects!

Saturday, May 17, 2003

On holiday

I've had a response from the writer of one of the articles I blogged about last week, and I'm going to be blogging the ensuing conversation. But not now, because I'm in sunny (rainy) Vancouver! See you Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

This would be scary:

Question: Ari, everybody's getting into this trap a little bit about whether WMD will be found, which may not be the issue, because, A, you may not find them, they may have been destroyed, whereas the president said they may have been dispersed, which raises the question that they could have somehow been spirited out of the country by terrorist groups and the like. What information do you have about that eventuality happening? I mean, isn't it presumptuous to presume that the American people are safer when you can't account for whether weapons have been taken out of the country or weapons materials have been taken out of the country?

Fleischer: Well, I think the real threat here came from a nation-state headed by Saddam Hussein and his henchmen who showed they were willing to use weapons of mass destruction before....That's the basis for saying that people are safer. If you're asking the question, on what basis does the president conclude people are safer, that's the answer.

Question: I thought the concern was [weapons of mass destruction] would fall into the hands of Al Qaeda. Wasn't that the rationale?

Fleischer: Well, I'm continuing. The president said that the removal of the regime has diminished the threat and increased our security, and I think that's unquestionable. It was, after all, the regime that used weapons of mass destruction in attacks previously. Of course we always have concerns about any place that has weapons of mass destruction passing them along. But given the routing of the Iraqi regime, it certainly makes that much harder to do
What? Saddam might give weapons to al Quada, that would be bad. Al Quada just takes them, that's just fine. Again, what?

Two things will keep me (and perhaps keep the US Administration) from worrying about this:

1. There probably weren't any WMD.

2. The Baath Party is running everything again, and they aren't friends of al Quada.

Of course, these two things are in opposition to the lies we were being told in the leadup to war, but isn't it a relief to know the American Government shares these beliefs?

A bit far-fetched

A Canadian broadcaster, Barrie Zwicker, is promoting the idea that there may be much more to 9/11 than we were led to believe, and he cites questions about why fighters weren't scrambled to intercept much earlier, among many other questions.

I find this a little hard to believe. The transparent lies that led up to the war in Iraq faded under the slightest light. Can we possibly believe these are the masterminds of a government/corporate conspiracy to destroy the WTC and kill thousands of people? Not this lot of Keystone Cops.
Link highlights from This Modern World:

Charles Bronson on the world stage indeed.

And no wonder, with these jokers.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Damn job's keeping me from the real cutting edge

Let me be the last blogger to inform you that the American and Saudi government knew the Riyadh attacks were coming --- and still didn't manage to stop them! Seriously. Click from the first story to the second. This was predicted. This was anticipated. And it still wasn't avoided.

Let me also point out that as I look up at CNN right now, I see they're covering a story about a lying NY Times journalist. Earlier, they covered the murder of two Texas children, allegedly by their mother. Also in Texas, the state Democrats are unhappy enough with a redistricting plan to break quorum.

WTF? Al Quada is fucking active! When did CNN decide that wasn't important enough to cover as if they meant it? Do car bombers not provide the same sort of wargasm that fucking Shock and Awe did? Their coverage of this bombing has been obscenely thin. Admittedly, so has mine, but I've got another job now. This is Wolf Blitzer's only Goddamned job. I think he should get on it.
Close, but not quite

I think Linda McQuaig missed it here, in her critique of the American missile defense plan and Canadian participation in it. I don't happen to think the Americans really want to nuke other nations with impunity, without fear of retaliation. Rather, I think what is going on is that the American government, again, is forgetting that their security is best protected not by better weapons of greater variety, but rather by an international community that respects the rule of law. When the Americans toss aside international agreements for what seems like their own benefit, they are going to suffer.

The Americans as good as tore up an agreement in 2001 that would have strengthened the biological weapons inspection process. Are Americans safer for this? Did the US really need to hide away its biological weapons programme so badly that it was unwilling to take the steps necessary to check on North Korea's?

This is the same strategical error. On the surface, and from the American perspective, it looks like upholding the conditions of the ABM treaty makes the world more dangerous... the American government couldn't build a missile defense system to protect themselves. In fact, the opposite is true... the world is more dangerous, the United States is more dangerous, because of the hubris engendered by (over)confidence in such a system, and because of the world's increased alienation from a country turning into Charles Bronson on the world stage.

Canada would be no friend to the United States if we enable such dangerous behavior. Time for an intervention.
Love to write something...

... but work, work, work. I can't believe how much time I used to fill with this thing!

But I won't give it up. For now, just assume I've written some witty, snarky entry about how al Quada seems to still be active despite Saddam Hussien's rule coming to an end. "Wha? Damn, that attack didn't help the War Against Terror after all! Guess they must be in Syria. Onward!"

Saturday, May 10, 2003

"Tell us or we'll kill you"

Isn't that the very definition of coercive force at its most extreme? That, it seems, is perfectly good foreign policy, according to Michael Schrage of MITs Security Studies Programme, in tomorrow's Washington Post.

War to reduce ambiguity seems perhaps a little extreme to me, but I'm no professor of "Security Studies". However, I'm smart enoguh to figure out that the "Security" in that department name doesn't extend to dark-skinned non-English-speaking foreigners, who were cluster-bombed into unambiguous deaths. Whatever happened to "Strategic Studies"? It speaks to the hegemony and arrogance of the Americans, that they no longer need to think strategically, with the idea that others might be working at cross-purposes. Now it's only "security", and that's an end to which any means seem appropriate.

The world exhausts me... I must go buy a copy of Black and White, and lose myself for the rest of the weekend.
So, to the issue itself

It dawned on me this morning that mocking Elsie "Straight-pride Parade" Wayne was entertaining, but what of the actual issue at hand? The federal government is debating allowing gay couples to marry.

The arguments against this seem to be along the lines of "This is never what marriage has meant, and to allow marriage to describe homosexual relationships would degrade the institution" (Please, someone tell me if I'm wrong, if there are deeper, smarter arguments, if I've only set up a straw man here. These are the best I've heard or found, and I've heard far worse.)

I'm thinking the institution has already been sufficiently degrades by people like this. Or this. In fact, I'm wondering why gay couples would want to degrade their relationships by using the same word.

Except that I don't wonder. Two people can have a lot of control over the boundaries of their relationship, whatever the legal status, while both are hale and hearty. But should one die, or become severely ill, the other partner may find themselves watching from the sidelines while biological family members or courts start making decisions. In the case of the widowed not-legally-but-c'mon-let's-be-honest-here-spouse, shared property, pensions, even the home can disappear as blood family squabble over the estate. But worse is the case of the partner of someone severly ill, where access to their loving, dying partner is denied by family members, and decisions the spouse made and shared before the illness are being overturned by potentially well-meaning but less intimate family members. I can't imagine the difficulty of watching a spouse die, but how much harder must it be when your feelings of helplessness are multiplied by a legal and cultural system that denies your role in your partner's life? How galling would it be to sit in a back pew, while a funeral service your partner would have hated never uses the word "gay", never acknowledges who your partner was to the world?

These are the "special rights" that so much of the right-wing goes on about. And they're correct. Having the role your relationship plays in your lives recognized is a very special right indeed, and one that heterosexuals would do well to stop abusing and degrading.

Friday, May 09, 2003


Elsie Wayne. Wow. Huh. You know, I enjoyed her so much when it was just she and Jean Charest alone for the Tories in the House. She was serious backbench material, but thrust into the spotlight by becoming 50% of the former governing party's House of Commons caucus, she seemed to be enjoying herself.

I think she must be missing that spotlight, and perhaps jealous of her old caucusmate's fresh new Premiership. Because I can't find any other rational explanation for this:

"There is not any need for this nonsense whatsoever and we should not have to tolerate it in Canada," Ms. Wayne said of court rulings endorsing same-sex marriage.

"Why do they have to be out there in the public always debating that they want to call it marriage? Why are they in parades? Why are they dressed up as women on floats? They do not see us getting up on the floats, for heaven's sake, to say we are husband and wife. We do not do that. Why do they have to go around trying to get a whole lot of publicity?
" [Emphasas mine, as I cry "Jebus!" to punctuate each one]
"Mommy, why is there a Mother's Day and Father's Day, but no Kids Day?" "Because every day is kids day."

Could Elsie really be this obtuse? I never dreamed.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

It's two, two, two stories in one!

I think this pair of stories work better as a team:

Neither Paul Krugman from the New York Times nor Mark Weisbrot from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington D.C. think George Bush could survive an active, critical, hard-working media. The big difference between the two, I think, is that Krugman seems to believe the media is merely lazy, whereas Weisbrot would probably be more ready to use the word "complicit".
Look who's back!

Salam Pax is alive and well. Go. Visit. Read.

It appears that there are many, many pages of entries that were written, but went unposted over the last month+ until this week... I haven't begun to read it all. But that's what my work hours are for.
Another fan

I'm thinking about building a "reciprocal links" list, because I'm starting to build quite a collection of people who not only read and enjoy me (and I appreciate that more than I can possibly say), but link me so that others are exposed to my lunatic ravings.

Until I build that list, though, I'm happy to promote on an ad hoc basis. Here's someone else who thinks I'm worth a look. Given the depth of his research and writing skill, and given the scope, that's quite a compliment. Here's Bud from North Carolina, operator of Bud's Misty Mountain Hop. Go read him for a couple of days... I'm returning to my old job (but for way more money! Hooray!) in the morning, and probably won't be in front of a computer alone for the first little while.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

You know what's nice?

The American press corps, who were notably silent when it came to criticism of the rationales for war in the leadup, are now starting to ask the right questions, and even imply the right accusations. How refreshing!

But I need to add, had the shakiness of the "evidence" been as widely reported as the American administration spin before the war, we might have avoided the whole thing in the first place. Here, we have a short description of an article (I'm too cheap too buy the thing) by the same writer, saying: "Pres Bush and Sec of State Colin Powell have demonstrated that Iraq is hiding weapons..." on February 7. But check the sources listed here... and in fairness to Mr. Kristof, check only those sources that existed before February 7. There was plenty, even then, to raise doubts that no one in the mainstream media was expressing.

Hints that Iraq had little or no useful WMD have been around for some time, and I'm sure there was more available to the State Department through still-classified documents. The evidence of "nothing serious" way outweighed the evidence of "security threat", even in January and February. But the American administration talked out their collective asses for months, no one at major media organisations bothered to fact-check them, and by the time the amateur reporters (bloggers, mostly) caught up, the big outlets didn't have time to correct or pursue the questions, because they were on to reporting the next big lie.

Consider the transcript of Hussien Kamel's interrogation. Kamel said "I ordered destruction of all chemical weapons. All weapons - biological, chemical, missile, nuclear were destroyed" And it was reported by Robin Wright, among so many others, as "In 1995, Saddam Hussein actually appeared to be winning in his strategy of cheat and retreat. He had actually managed to hide so many of his weapons that many of the U.N. weapons inspectors thought that he had turned over most of them, and were prepared to make that kind of recommendation. And it was only on the defection of his son-in-law and cousin [Kamel] that the international community realized how much he really still had." What?

I have to say it once more. They lied and lied and lied to get this war. I'm glad the big papers are starting to say so as well. Next time, catch them in the act, and we might avoid a war, the price of which can be found in the left column.

In the meantime, will those caught lying have to face some sort of Congressional review? Is lying about nuclear weapons owned by foreign powers so you can have a war more serious than, say, lying about getting a hummer in the Oval Office? I guess I'm just displaying some of the moral relativism we left-wingers are so fond of --- I have absolutely no concept of right and wrong.
George W. Bush hates Canada

It's official. Here's what he did instead of his visit here:

"The [tax cut] proposal I outlined four months ago was designed to address the specific weaknesses in our economy, and to remove obstacles that keep companies from hiring workers," Bush told 2,000 people hand-picked by the state GOP to cheer him on in a downtown convention hall.


The president had been scheduled to meet Monday with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien in Ottawa. But, with relations strained over Canada's opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq and a trade dispute over softwood lumber imports, the visit was "postponed" � with no new date � as advisers said Bush needed to focus instead on rebuilding Iraq.
[Emphasis mine]
Build a better Iraq through American tax cuts to the rich. Huh?

No matter. I emphasize the "hand-picked" crowd to point toward Hesoid's analysis of Bush's enissophobia. And to wonder out loud if Canadian authorities weren't willing to guarantee that dissenters would be sent to Guantonimo, or at least kept out of earshot.

You know, we built this country's trading relationships for the last 130 years playing the Americans off the British, and vice versa. Our problems today might be borne from the Yanks and Brits becoming too cozy with one another for Canada's economic good. I think our solution has to come from elsewhere. Hey, EU --- need some softwood lumber? Some Durham wheat? Have we got a deal for you! (Alternatively, we could try to frame the Americans for something against British interests, but I really don't trust CSIS to manage subtle and dangerous Tom Clancyesque operations.) In the meantime, we should be preparing to open our doors to a second wave of United Empire Loyalists --- this lot, from Britain. Bad enough they lost the revolution in North America... now they have to lose it at home, too?

Monday, May 05, 2003

Forget the story

August pointed me to this article, but I was pretty indifferent to it. Until I went to close the window, and noticed something.

What's educational here is where it exists on CNN's website. That's right - this just in: CNN acknowledges television news is "entertainment". About frickin' time they admitted that. Can we stop taking it seriously now?

(I particularly enjoy the URL... the page alludes to "Entertainment", but the URL uses "Showbiz". Hee!)
George Bush visits Canada

Not! Ha-ha!

It's true, the White House had originally scheduled a trip to Canada for Cinco de Mayo, and then cancelled. "Too preoccupied with Iraq," reported the White House. Okay, then. Have fun with your ponderings! I understand you'll be spending some of the day in Little Rock, Arkansas. Because George Bush really loves celebrating civil liberties.

In the meantime, Americans all over the place wish they were more like Canada, or at least, more like themselves. The story I linked about Canada having "too many liberties" has been linked widely. This Modern World. LibertyThink. chunshek.com. And dozens more.

Janeane Garofalo was on the CBC this morning, discussing how much she likes and admires Canada. But she had no idea if expressing an unpopular opinion would get her any easier ride than it has in the United States. Geez, I dunno, Janeane... let's ask Kiefer Sutherland, or Don Cherry... it doesn't seem to do anyone on either wing any serious damage.
And lied

And lied and lied and lied.

Sunday, May 04, 2003


Who would have thought to get people to a site by creating the domain "blogpot.com"? Use any blogSpot URL, subtract the "s", and you've got Aaron's bible page. Marketing genius, yes... by e-mailing me, no.

Which brings me back to the site I linked earlier today. There's a real WB, in fact, and her political blog can be found at http://wordsonapage1.blogspot.com/. (She also keeps a second, non-political blog. Also interesting reading) Thanks for steering me straight, WB. Use or link what you like... that's the whole point. :-)
Speaking of anti-Semitism

Actually, I wasn't, other than to allude how crazy Ernst Zundel and his ilk are. But anti-Semitism can be far more subtle and tricky than him.

For instance, remember the Christmas Cracker episode in Calgary? Who knows how many unsuspecting children had their holidays ruined by a sudden desire to read Mein Kampf and get prison tattoos? And now Coke is destroying the tolerance inherent in a generation of children who call Hong Kong home.

We get so afraid of of people like Ernst Zundel, who claim that the Holocaust never happened. I don't see why that frightens us. It's preferable to believe that than to believe that human beings could perpetuate such an unbelievable horror through the tools of bureaucracy. But we escape both thoughts: of course it happened, but humans didn�t cause it... it was caused by Evil, by Nazis, by the people and symbols that have become verboten in our culture. Leonard Cohen wrote "All there is to know about Adolph Eichmann" to remind us that the Holocaust was perpetuated by banal people doing banal things, and that a very thin line separates us from that time and that horror.

Why am I going on about this now? Because when I hear that people are upset about swastikas appearing in innocuous places, probably intended as Buddhist symbols by the producer, I get the feeling that people have completely disconnected from the content, so busy they are being concerned about the symbols. Your children are not going to be converted to anti-Semitism through Pepsi giveaways. They might be susceptible if they're constantly told their worthlessness, told never to question authority, told that the world or some element thereof is out to get them. They'll be susceptible if they're taught to hate, and it takes more than a panda or robot to teach that.
Welcome - wipe your feet on the mat, and have a look around.

I've been seeing readers wander in from a link on this site. The writing's excellent, the info is great, the format's not my favourite. But I've been saying that about August for as long as I've been blogging, so what do I know? Anyway, welcome aboard, Gael's readers. Have fun! No looting.

I also got this e-mail:

From: W. B.

Subject: Your blog

Dear Don,

Please let me start by saying that I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog.

I for one admire and respect Canada and her countrymen.

I have added a link to your blog on my blogsite.

I also posted some of your comments in my blog, of course giving you full credit for them. I will include a link to my blog with this note, so you can check it out and see if you have any objections. If you do, please email me and I will remove anything that you object too.



Before you go clicking on that link, let me warn you: this page is concerned with proselytising the Good News of Jesus. It doesn't seem to have links back to me, despite the e-mail's declaration (though there are so many layers to the page it is difficult to know. I mean, it has the design of a Zundelesque hate site, though in this case I haven't yet located a "kill the Jews" message obscured within the layers of unintelligible dense pages with lots of bold and italics and caps.). It seems innocuous. Sure, lots of "Christians are right and everyone else is wrong", but that IS a basic tenet of faith in a Christian church. Perhaps less so in mine, but the United Church of Canada probably wouldn't meet with WB's approval, judging by the site.

Anyway, the point is, a little target marketing goes a long way... fine work, WB, wherever you are. But your site could stand to be a little easier to navigate.
Alrighty, let's talk about the carrier speech:

"No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because the regime is no more."
This extends the list of regimes that won't supply al Quada with WMD, which until now included the Roman empire, the Byzantine empire, Rhodesia, Enron, and the Winnipeg Jets. In fact, so far, the only supplier of WMD to al Quada has been American Airlines.

Too soon?

Anyway, the opinion, expressed in the same speech, that the tide has turned in the War on Terror (because, you know, Iraq was part of that) isn't even shared by the State Department.

Friday, May 02, 2003

Connection hooped again today

I'm getting the impression that the telephone cable has become too wet, and there's too much noise on the line. What fun!

Let me add this to the list of things I love about living in rural Alberta.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

But what about the children?

The Oxford English Dictionary editors are debating the inclusion of "Bling-bling". I guess if I'm blogging this, I should probably form an opinion about it, but I'm really indifferent. Nonetheless, in good blogging tradition, let me encourage you to go make your voice heard at the Globe und Mail site. Because I'm sure the OED's editors could give a rabbit's crap what the G&M's readers think on the topic. ("No" is currently winning by a three-to-one margin, so I'm going to go with "yes".)
Ya got a problem wit' dat?

I know I didn't blog at all today. Blame my ISP, whose modem pool was hooped, but insisted, when I called to let them know, on stepping me through changing the modem settings half a dozen times. I was spoiled by Cadvision, who gave me service cheap and provided fantastic support. I went for the cheap (Nucleus) rather than the fantastic support (TELUS).

Still, I know you're all on the edge of your seats to hear my views on Bush's "Battle of Iraq" speech (I can't wait for Powell to go to the UN, and explain how they'd already authorized the war, through authorizing war on Afghanistan. "Seriously, guys, it's the same war!" And I'm looking forward to discussing Bush's contention that the Iraqi regime will never supply WMD to al Quada. It's true, but it was true in February, too.). I know you want to hear my thoughts on the Prime Minister decriminalising possesion of small amounts of weed ("It's not five kilos, officer... it's five thousand grams. Several small amounts." "Right. Off you go, then." Actually, the best part of this story is the bird we flip to the Americans in the process... pissing them off by calling them "Bastards" is stupid, but pissing them off by reminding them we're actually a seperate country is another thing altogether.). And I know you can't wait to hear my thoughts on the latest episode of Survivor (I know it's junk, but damned if this isn't becoming the least predictable season ever).

Well, get used to that position (er... the edge-of-your-seat position. I mentioned it way up there. I'm rambling), because you'll just have to wait for tomorrow... now that my connection has cleared, I've got backgammon to play.

Happy May Day, everyone... go hug a worker. How come I can't find May Day cards at the Hallmark store in the mall?