(a Can Lib blogger)
I am in full agreement that Ignatief should pull back from his pro-Iraq/pro-Bush stances, however I think that Koby has the rest of the argument backwards. The humanitarian (as well as the anti-Taliban) argument that Ignatief wields for staying in Afghanistan is compelling on its face. But if Ignatief doesn't repudiate his obvious errors on Iraq, those arguments he makes about Afghanistan will be ignored, not because they are false, but because they mirror the lies of Iraq.
To immunize himself from the poison of Iraq, he need only admit the error of it, and he need not re-work the arguments on Afghanistan, since he has them exactly right.
- Bill Maher
"Under the new rules, introduced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and rubber-stamped in private at last week's Conservative caucus retreat, local ridings will no longer have the power to set nomination dates or be responsible for notifying the party membership.
HQ now calls all the shots a perfect fit with Harper's control fetish and the result is a form of democracy by stealth that will preserve tired incumbency and keep fresh blood from entering a party that campaigned on openness and transparency."
The upshot is that MP Rob Anders, spin-doctor for the mouth-breathing wing of the old Reform party (and my old classmate), who would have faced a tough challenger at his nomination - which is the only kind of challenge there is for a Tory in Alberta, now has buddy Harper rig the process to ensure a smooth ride.
You gotta love Calgary, it's got the climate of Saskatchewan and the politics of 'Chinatown'.
The unsaid question of course is 'why do they need protection from prosecution if they haven't done anything wrong'? Even the most cursory examination of the photos and testimony from Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay will eliminate any doubts about whether what they did was a violation of the Geneva Conventions.
The concern that they might be called to the carpet on their barbarian behaviour has reached the point that some CIA interrogators are taking insurance out for the possibility that they may be prosecuted.
My personal favourite story is that of the CIA torturing one Zubayday - a man who both the CIA and FBI determined was mentally ill prior to his interrogation;
(from the Washington Post review of Run Suskind's book 'The One Percent Doctrine'):
"Which brings us back to the unbalanced Abu Zubaydah. "I said he was important," Bush reportedly told Tenet at one of their daily meetings. "You're not going to let me lose face on this, are you?" "No sir, Mr. President," Tenet replied. Bush "was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth," Suskind writes, and he asked one briefer, "Do some of these harsh methods really work?" Interrogators did their best to find out, Suskind reports. They strapped Abu Zubaydah to a water-board, which reproduces the agony of drowning. They threatened him with certain death. They withheld medication. They bombarded him with deafening noise and harsh lights, depriving him of sleep. Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety -- against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty. With each new tale, "thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each . . . target." And so, Suskind writes, "the United States would torture a mentally disturbed man and then leap, screaming, at every word he uttered."
- All of which reminded me of this;
"If you f*cking beat this pr!ck long enough, he'll tell you he started the goddamn Chicago fire, now that don't necessarily make it f*cking so! "
- Nice Guy Eddie (Reservoir Dogs)
It seems that even the ultra-violent gangsters of Reservoir Dogs know the value of torture is minimal, whereas BushCo. can't seem to grasp the concept.
Even when Mr. Blonde tortured the cop, he did so, not for the information (which we should note that he didn't get), but because he was a grinning psycho-sadist who enjoyed torturing others.
So there we have it, the Bush regime has descended below the moral standard set by Mr. Blonde in Reservoir Dogs.
Congratulations, and nice country you got there.
Eris, along with the slightly smaller Pluto, may now be termed a dwarf planet but she's always a woman to me.
Unfortunately, the current models are only 18" high, which I think, sadly won't be sufficient for most reasonable purposes one would put a female robot too, and certainly nothing that Mr. Allen would consider.
Maybe it can do dishes? That would be nice.
"Are there female robots? Because the possibilities are limitless!"
Woody Allen, Sleeper
"To you, I am an atheist. To God, I am the loyal opposition"
- Woody Allen
"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."
- Stephen F. Roberts
There was an anniversay of sorts yesterday, one that I would just as soon not have noticed if given the choice.
But one thing that the wall-to-wall coverage of 9-11 (in all its deep as a contact lens dish flag waving glory) brought about was a bit of a surprise.
I feel bad for Bush.
Don't get me wrong, I still think he is a sock puppet of a president. One of limited intelligence, education and understanding who is easily manipulated through the machinations of others.
His total inability to deal with the news of 9-11 was on display for all to see (and for us all to review endlessly on YouTube should we so decide), and it wasn't pretty. It was the face of complete and total uncomprehension. Two sentences and Bush's brain simply melted down.
In his defense, the news was horrific, and he is only human. But it was also crystal clear in those paralyzed moments, that he was not capable of being an effective leader, ever. The moment had come and past, and he had been found wanting - for 7+ minutes on live TV.
It is in fact BECAUSE I think he is so outwitted in his current circumstance that I feel bad for him. Stump for a change to Social Security in front of hand picked fawning audiences? He's your man. Strap on a cod-piece for the declaration that the 'Mission is Accomplished' - he's good for that too. Photo-ops are his specialty.
Think clearly and strategically about the Middle East? Please. This President didn't even know that there was a difference between Sunni and Shia muslims until after he authorized the attacks on Iraq.
Total ignorance is not the hall-mark of a sucessful statesman, though in the case of Reagan (the original sock puppet president) it was clearly not the disadvantage it has been for Bush.
And so after three days of hiding on Air Force One while Rudy Giuliani stepped into the still smoking chasm at the heart of New York and showed more spine in those 72 hours than he had in all his time in office prior (some moments do make the man), Bush turns to his dedicated hard working advisors, Rumsfeld, Cheney and Rice for help.
The experts. The sober adults who would provide the information about reality necessary for Bush to make the right call.
So far, it seems pretty clear how that has turned out.
This is a president who operates completely within a reinforced bubble. He doesn't read. He doesn't watch the news. He's more isolated from reality than Chauncey Gardner. So as Iraq spirals inevtiably out of control, as he ponders how it is he lost New Orleans, as his poll numbers hover at Jimmy Carter levels, as newspapers openly debate whether he is the worst president in history, and as the three headed monster of Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice continues on their insane trajectory through the ME, I find I can only feel pity for Bush.
He's a man in so far over his head he has to look up to see the bottom, and he thinks the bottom is the sky.