Monday, July 30, 2007

Mr. Hitchens Raises a Question

I would ask Mr. Hitchens the reverse of his question. Why does he feel the need to insult Muslims at all? And saying it is "a right" is not an answer, it is a justification.
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Wankers Of The Day

Take your pick. Any of these will do. The frat boys (and girls) of the the right. What a bunch of losers (and I say that as someone who despised Trudeau's politics and never voted for him).

Update: Media types. Just for "fun" someone should ask Mr. Harper if he agrees with his base that Trudeau is a worse Canadian than Clifford Olsen.
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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Winston Was On To Something

"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject"--Winston Churchill. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Kathy Shaidle. Remember to bring your Phisohex along. You will feel the need to clean yourself after wading into the cesspool that is Ms. Shaidle's "mind".
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Friday, July 27, 2007

Quote Of The Day

This one comes from south of the border, but is easily transferable to the less reality based denizens of the Blogging Tories.
I hear so much from the right about how they love the troops. But they don't seem to love the actual human beings who wear the uniform, they love those little GI Joe dolls they played with as children which they could dress up in little costumes and contort into pretzels for their fun and amusement. If they loved the actual troops they wouldn't require them to be like two dimensional John Waynes, withholding their real experiences and feelings for fear that a virtual armchair lynch mob would come after them.

Thank God Joseph Heller and James Jones and Erich Maria Remarque and countless others aren't trying to write their books today. They'd be burned as heretics by a bunch of nasty boys and girls who have fetishized "the troops" into a strange form of Boy Band eroticism --- that empty, nonthreatening form of masculinity the tweens use to bridge the scary gap between puberty and adolescence. Private Peter Pan reporting for duty.

The real men for them are the civilians on 24 torturing suspected terrorists for an hour each week, keeping the lil'est tough guys safe from harm with hard sadism and easy answers. That's where this wingnut war is really being fought. With popcorn.
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Woke Up This Morning. Got Yourself A Gun....

Liberal, Tory, same old story. Tired of kleptocracy masquerading as government, yet?
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Signs Of Withdrawl Are Everywhere

Boy, is Paul Wells ever missing his cable. ;)
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Musical Interlude

Here is Quebec artist, Patrick Watson, singing "The Great Escape". I really like the Nick Drake vibe.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

No Sign Of Intelligent Life Here

"If Harper gets us a majority then this [the wheat board] will be done," Brad McKay, a 39-year-old grain farmer from Vulcan, Alta., shouted to a wheat board supporter outside the court.

"Enjoy the next couple of years."

I was going to say, "What planet is that guy from?", but I was laughing so hard, I wet myself. Excuse me while I change.
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Captain Tubby And Native Rights

The government convened the aboriginal affairs committee today. The official reason was to help the government pass legislation to extend human rights to natives. However, no one believes this to be the real reason. The government knew in advance they were outvoted and none of the opposition parties were going to change its votes. So, why did they waste everyone's time? Good question. One that the papers are already chewing on:
Others speculate that the Tories craftily put themselves in a position of being able to say that opposition MPs blocked their efforts to extend native human rights. This, as Conservatives have faced growing acrimony in recent months over what some native leaders say is hard-hearted aboriginal policy.
Captain Tubby sure is a political genius eh? Force the "leftists" to "block" their rights legislation and then hope like hell, no one bothers to ask the natives what they think about it all. Oh darn, the natives. He forgot about the natives.
A long line of native witnesses who appeared last spring before the committee almost unanimously called for proper consultation and more time to get ready, she noted.
Of course, Captain Tubby may have other motives aside from his usual deft political touch (that has his party at a whopping 31%!) as well. But as usual, he is not saying.
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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Generation Jones

I had never heard this term until yesterday. It used to describe those born between 1954 and 1965. It describes a "lost generation" who, although part of the "baby boom" identify as feeling separate from the boomers. I would identify myself as a "joneser". I remember the sixties, but was not allowed to stay up late enough to engage in protests. By the time I were old enough, the protests had been replaced by discos. I have always had a vague sense of having missed out. This is a common feeling among "jonesers". I am glad someone from my generation has finally said what we have all been secretly thinking.

Update: I think there are some real differences between American and Canadian "Jonesers". My generation was the Trudeau generation and Canada was not conservative during the 1970's. I would say my generation is more cynical than the boomers (because we did see them sell out, big time), but still cling to the hope and ideals of the Trudeau era.

Update 2:Meet the British Jonesers.
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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Note To All Concerned

Get to the bottom of this incident as soon as possible. Be completely transparent and hide nothing.
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Friday, July 20, 2007

Captain Tubby's Excellent Adventure

Stephen Harper is never one to waste an opportunity to get his picture taken with members of the military -- even if he has to "bump into them" in the Caribbean (side note: I just love it that the navy called the mission "Op Caribbean", wink, wink). Is this the best way to be spending our defence budget? I wonder what opposition leader Stephen Harper would have said if a Liberal PM "just happened" to be in the neighbourhood and decided to "drop in" on the troops (who "coincidentally" invited a couple of Caribbean naval vets on board that day)? Also, I just have to ask myself whether this election campaign that the Prime Minister has got himself running continuously will ever end? It is so old it should be collecting a pension.
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Thursday, July 19, 2007

From The Flogging A Dead Horse Department

I don't know what is more pathetic, the fact that the Tories are reintroducing a bill to reduce our freedoms, just so they can divide the Liberals, or the fact that the Liberals will divide (calling all Liberal MPs from Scarborough) over something so obviously counter to the interests of Canadians.
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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Worst News Of The Day

Italian football has infected the Brazilians. Sigh.
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Maybe If Hillier Claps A Little Louder

Tinkerbell will live! Does anyone believe the rationale for withholding information about Afghan detainees bears any relation to the following?
“This is being done for one reason and one reason alone: to ensure there is no inadvertent release of information that could assist the enemy and put Canadian, allied or Afghan lives at greater risk,” the statement says.
Me neither. Someone should tell Little Ricky (and his psychotic boss) that using our soldiers as human shields, against a political storm, is pretty low.
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Forget About Terrorism

If the U.S. government wants to worry about a real threat to America, they should worry about this. If dumping the buck as the world currency catches on, the U.S. is in deep doo doo.
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Sunday, July 15, 2007

U.S. Out

The U.S. was dumped from the U-20World Cup yesterday. I was deeply saddened by their 2-1 loss to Austria. I will miss them in the tournament. The play very attractive football, dare I say a North American Style of football -- tough, gritty, aggressive, but fair. It is like North American hockey transplanted onto grass. Anyone who would rather see a game between Austria and the Czech Republic (snore) than Spain and the U.S., needs to have their pulse taken. The tournament is poorer for the U.S.'s exit.

Let me say one more thing. I predict the U.S. will win the World Cup (the big boys version) and sooner rather than later. I for one will be cheering them on (unless they are playing against Canada of course). They have won me as a fan.
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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Quote Of The Day

T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) wrote the entry for "Guerilla" for the Encyclopedia Britanica, in 1929. Here are some excerpts. See if they don't ring some bells:
Armies were like plants, immobile as a whole, firm-rooted, nourished through long stems to the head. The Arabs might be a vapour, blowing where they listed. It seemed that a regular soldier might be helpless without a target. He would own the ground he sat on, and what he could poke his rifle at. The next step was to estimate how many posts they would need to contain this attack in depth, sedition putting up her head in every unoccupied one of these 100,000 square miles. They would have need of a fortified post every four square miles, and a post could not be less than 20 men. The Turks would need 600,000 men to meet the combined ill wills of all the local Arab people. They had 100,000 men available. It seemed that the assets in this sphere were with the Arabs, and climate, railways, deserts, technical weapons could also be attached to their interests. The Turk was stupid and would believe that rebellion was absolute, like war, and deal with it on the analogy of absolute warfare.
The Arab army must impose the longest possible passive defence on the Turks (this being the most materially expensive form of war) by extending its own front to the maximum. Tactically it must develop a highly mobile, highly equipped type of force, of the smallest size, and use it successively at distributed points of the Turkish line, to make the Turks reinforce their occupying posts beyond the economic minimum of 20 men. The power of this striking force would not be reckoned merely by its strength. The ratio between number and area determined the character of the war, and by having five times the mobility of the Turks the Arabs could be on terms with them with one-fifth their number.
Range over Force. Success was certain, to be proved by paper and pencil as soon as the proportion of space and number had been learned. The contest was not physical, but moral, and so battles were a mistake. All that could be won in a battle was the ammunition the enemy fired off. Napoleon had said it was rare to find generals willing to fight battles. The curse of this war was that so few could do anything else. Napoleon had spoken in angry reaction against the excessive finesse of the 18th century, when men almost forgot that war gave licence to murder. Military thought had been swinging out on his dictum for 100 years, and it was time to go back a bit again. Battles are impositions on the side which believes itself weaker, made unavoidable either by lack of land-room, or by the need to defend a material property dearer than the lives of soldiers. The Arabs had nothing material to lose, so they were to defend nothing and to shoot nothing. Their cards were speed and time, not hitting power, and these gave them strategical rather than tactical strength. Range is more to strategy than force. The invention of bully-beef had modified land-war more profoundly than the invention of gunpowder.
Rebellion must have an unassailable base, something guarded not merely from attack, but from the fear of it: such a base as the Arab revolt had in the Red Sea ports, the desert, or in the minds of men converted to its creed. It must have a sophisticated alien enemy, in the form of a disciplined army of occupation too small to fulfil the doctrine of acreage: too few to adjust number to space, in order to dominate the whole area effectively from fortified posts. It must have a friendly population, not actively friendly, but sympathetic to the point of not betraying rebel movements to the enemy. Rebellions can be made by 2% active in a striking force, and 98% passively sympathetic. The few active rebels must have the qualities of speed and endurance, ubiquity and independence of arteries of supply. They must have the technical equipment to destroy or paralyze the enemy's organized communications, for irregular war is fairly Willisen's definition of strategy, "the study of communication," in its extreme degree, of attack where the enemy is not. In 50 words: Granted mobility, security (in the form of denying targets to the enemy), time, and doctrine (the idea to convert every subject to friendliness), victory will rest with the insurgents, for the algebraical factors are in the end decisive, and against them perfections of means and spirit struggle quite in vain.
It seems to me the Taliban have read Lawrence's entry. The question is, have we?
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Friday, July 13, 2007

Another Blogging Tory Love Letter To Quebec

They just keep sending them and I keep pointing them out.
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Quote Of The Day

From today's Guardian:
It is not too late to win back the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. International troops are excelling in an exceptionally hostile environment, but this is not a war that will be won by military means alone. With public perception a crucial factor in winning the war, and the Taliban poised to launch a large military initiative next spring, failure to adopt a successful local strategy could signify the last chance the international community will have to build a secure and stable Afghanistan.

But a successful strategy - one that responds to Afghanistan's extreme poverty crisis - requires that the international community reverse course on crop eradication. In fact, the eradication of poppy crops not only damages local communities and undermines the international community's goals, but it is also failing: opium production last year was at an all-time high. In September, the United Nations Office on Drugs Crime announced that poppy cultivation soared by a record-high 60%.

Eradication will never be successful in Afghanistan, because it destroys the single crop that will grow in the south's harsh climate - and thus serves as the main source of income to millions of people. So a new, long-term, economically sustainable solution is urgently needed - one that directly engages with the communities that are suffering most - in order to achieve the support of the deeply impoverished rural population
The solution is to license farmers to produce opium for medical morphine. It is a great suggestion. I fear the Bush Administration will not be interested in it. That's why I remain very, very pessimistic about the chances for success in Afghanistan.
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Least Surprising Story Of The Day

The government is changing its tune on the war, in order to trick the Liberal Party into supporting it (AGAIN!). This is no surprise to me, but it does explain why they wound up their defacto Minister of Defense and sent him over to Liberal Daily Organ for a chat.
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Let Me Get This Straight

The government's communications strategy on the war in Afghanistan is seen as propaganda by the public. The government knows this because a conservative polling firm has told them so. So, what is the government doing with this information? Is it changing its strategy in the war? Is it going to tell Canadians the truth about "the mission"? No, it is going to change its spin lines. It will be a prettier, softer spin, with 70 percent more smiles from Psycho Steve (although he may only be capable of grimaces).

All I can ask is, who paid for this? This poll looks like political advice to me. I sure hope my tax dollars didn't pay for advice on how to bullshit Canadians into accepting a wrongheaded strategy in Afghanistan, in order to aid the electoral prospects of the Conservative Party.

Update: The polling firm wants the government to concentrate on happy stories about poppy eradication. I guess this is not what they had in mind.
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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I Guess It's Kind Of A Solution

The release of information about the treatment of Afghan prisoners to the press, highlighted the need to do something, with all due speed, about the problem. To this government's credit they acted without banning the release of information about prisoners. Problem solved. With this government, as the old saying goes, if the only tool it has is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
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Monday, July 09, 2007

Friday, July 06, 2007

Flea V. Shake

As I was reading the Flea's latest offering about "the left", i was reminded of the "thoughts" of Master Shake. Read the Flea and then watch Master Shake. You decide who makes more sense.

Update:As an added bonus, go here. Did you ever give a midget a massage?

Update 2: Just in case readers want to know what "stream of consciousness" means. No reason.
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The line to kiss Stephen Harper's ass will form on the right. Please, no shoving. There's plenty of ass for everybody.
Last evening, Mr. Harper told 400 Conservatives in Kenaston, Sask., their province was the biggest winner in the federal budget this year.

But "not all the money went to this ungrateful NDP government in this province," he said. "In fact, for every dollar that went to them, about $2 or $3 went to the people of Saskatchewan.
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Tories, Ask Yourselves Why

From today's Globe article about the "pacified" area in which our six soldiers were just killed:
But parts of the district are falling back into Taliban hands, locals say, after security duties were handed to a ragtag police force that quickly found itself overwhelmed by a lack of supplies and reduced to banditry for survival.
Why, after six years, are the police forces a)still described as "ragtag" and b)"overwhelmed by a lack of supplies and reduced to banditry for survival"? Does this look like success, or even the beginning of success? Is our aid money getting down to the local level, or is it being sent to Swiss bank accounts? Tories would do well to try to find the answers to these questions, rather than covering their ears and shouting "Support the troops".

Update: And if you really want to give your brains a workout, read this. Ask yourself, does this read like NATO has a handle on the drug trade (and note well the spreading corruption within the Afghan government)? I realize your automatic "liberal media" gag reflex has kicked in, but try to keep an open mind.
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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Realism, Not Wishful Thinking

If only the Blogging Tories would stop spitting on Jack Layton and actually listen to the people who know what is going on in Afghanistan. People like Rory Stewart:
"I see little interest on the part of the Afghan army or police to fight the Taliban in the south of Afghanistan," says Rory Stewart, a writer and former British foreign office official who now heads a charity called Turquoise Mountain dedicated to helping artisans in and around Kabul. "The Afghan government may want to keep out the Taliban, but they clearly lack either the capacity or the power to do it."... Stewart believes the most realistic way forward could be to allow a decentralized form of government in which Taliban, and other deeply conservative elements, would play a role if they were accepted by people in the regions.

"We may be forced to reconsider our theory of state-building, which is based on a centralized bureaucracy. But the Afghan government doesn't have the ability to run the country that way. The alternative would be to look to the villages, which have been running things their own way for 25 years because there was no real government."...

"The diversity of the country is enormous, and it's little understood in the West. Some people want freedom from torture, but not freedom of the press. Others believe sharia law is crucial. There are those who want minority rights, but not minority rule, and more prosperity but not market reform. And there are many who are more in sympathy with the Taliban than with foreign troops. We need a policy that's built on realism, not wishful thinking." Toronto Star. Toronto, Ont.: Apr 14, 2007. pg. A.18
It is easy to shut your cerebral cortex down and spew hate toward Jack Layton (and no I don't agree with the party's position on Afghanistan). Try turning it on, for a change and give some thought to the realities of Afghanistan. The time for telling yourselves fairy tales about creating the Switzerland of Central Asia (and hiding behind jingoism) is over.
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Toryspeak Translated

Conclusive proof, if more is needed, that "Support Our Troops" translated into English means, "Shut the fuck up and do what we say!"
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Be Careful, English

The Dear Leader has a brilliant new approach to federal provincial relations. It is called the Amish Plan. Any premier who challenges orthodoxy (i.e. that Steve never tells anything but God's own truth), will be shunned. Wikipedia defines the purpose of shunning this way:
Shunning can be broken down into behaviours and practices that seek to accomplish either or both of two primary goals.

1. To modify the behaviour of a member. This approach seeks to influence, encourage, or coerce normative behaviours from members. It may, conversely, seek to dissuade, provide disincentives for, or to compel avoidance of certain behaviours. In this context shunning may include disassociation from the member by other members of the community who are in good standing. It may also include more antagonistic psychological behaviours (described below). This approach may be seen as either corrective or punitive (or both) by the group membership or leadership, and may also be intended as a deterrent.
2. To remove or limit the influence of a member (or former member) over other members in a community. This approach may seek to isolate, to discredit, or otherwise dis-empower such a member, often in the context of actions or positions advocated by that member. For groups with clearly defined membership criteria, especially criteria based on key behaviours or ideological precepts, this approach may be seen as limiting damage to the community or its leadership. This is often paired with some form of excommunication.

No word will pass between Steve's glorious, pouty lips, to the evil doer in question. No invitations to Steve's parties will ever be issued. No more barn raisings for Rodney, Danny and Lorne.
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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Quote Of The Day (Well Yesterday Really)

From the Times about our American allies, in Afghanistan:
The Americans will lose the war for us. They have no idea about counter-insurgency and they have no idea about winning hearts and minds, one British officer told The Times.
I guess that trooper doesn't support himself. Hat tip to Paul Wells.
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Bush To Scooter

Keep your mouth shut until January '09 and the pardon is yours.
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Sunday, July 01, 2007

More Canadiana On Canada Day

If I may be allowed some Ontario-centrism this Canada Day (and I am since this is my blog), I would say this is the best Ontario-themed song ever written. It was written by Wade Hemsworth, who I had never heard of (which is typical, sadly of Canadians of my generation) until this fantastic version was brought out by the National Film Board. Sit back, relax, and try not to scratch.

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Ten Reasons To Love Canada

10. Hockey Night In Canada
9. Feist
8. Montreal Bagels
7. Medicare
6. Trailer Park Boys (especially Bubbles)
5. Butter Tarts
4. Gay Marriage
3. Niagara Wines
2. Sweet, sweet, freedom
1. It's home.

Happy Canada Day to all. And for the U20 team. Go Canada Go!
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