Thursday, June 30, 2005
It's not that U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is such a pompous arrogant prick that I find so grating. It's that he so often says the most inane, meaningless things and never gets called on them.
Take his recent blitherings regarding the not-going-away-anytime-soon insurgency in Iraq:
We're not going to win against the insurgency. The Iraqi people are going to win against the insurgency. That insurgency could go on for any number of years. Insurgencies tend to go on five, six, eight, 10, 12 years.
Many people are now saying, based on those words, that la Donald claimed the insurgency might last for another 12 years. Those people would be wrong, as Rumsfeld's statement is utterly meaningless twaddle.
How many years? Five. Or maybe six. Hey, perhaps eight. Conceivably 10. Or 12. Let's say 12, how about that? Oh, hell, let's just say "any number" and be done with it, OK?
What you're seeing is the standard Donald Rumsfeld random idiocy generator, in which he appears to pontificate while really throwing out data totally at random. Somewhere between five and 12. Sure, that narrows it down. The above statement is as meaningful (as in, not at all) as another famous Rumsfeld offering:
On March 30, 11 days into the war, Rumsfeld said in an ABC News interview when asked about WMDs: "We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."
What the fuck does that even mean? Utter gibberish, yet it was dutifully printed by every member of the media as if it had actual content. But that's not even the end of it. Once again,
"Insurgencies tend to go on five, six, eight, 10, 12 years."
Really? Insurgencies tend to go on for a certain number of years? I wasn't aware that insurgencies had a industry-standard expected life span. Obviously, I've never read my top-secret, Department of Defense "Insurgencies for Dummies" guide or I'd know this kind of thing. But has a single interviewer asked Rumsfeld where he gets this wisdom? Not that I know of.
And then there's that smug, condescending brush-off by Rumsfeld that everyone's read about by now:
"Well, you know, everybody's running around trying to make a division between what the vice president said or someone else said. The fact is that if you look at the context of his remarks, last throes could be a violent last throe, just as well as a placid or calm last throe. Look it up in the dictionary."
I'd love to, but the phrase "last throe" is not in the dictionary. I've checked. Just more Rumsfeldian bullshit, and no one in the mainstream media with the moxie to say so.
AFTERSNARK: I would, of course, be grossly remiss if I didn't mention Rumsfeld's greatest contribution to utter psychobabble, from back in June, 2003:
“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.”
And, God help us, there are lots more on that page.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Yes, we here at CC HQ finally buckled under the pressure of the constant telemarketing calls and free Ronco salad shooter offer and joined the Progressive Bloggers of Canada, although I don't recall getting my official welcome. Cheap bastards.
In the grand scheme of things, there are unspeakably bad web sites that are enormously popular (think PowerWankBlog). And, conversely, there are some pretty good sites that seem to fly under the radar that I think deserve more readership.
Here's my recommendation. And yours?
In the same way it's always a pleasure to find another worthwhile, progressive Canadian blog, it's almost as much fun to stumble across a Canadian site that's so stunningly moronic, it's worth the read just for the entertainment value.
Following a link from this article over at Antonia's place, I came upon one Damian J. Penny, whose sole redeeming virtue appears to be that, since he's in Newfoundland, I don't have to worry about him ever showing up and sucking all the intellect out of the room or something.
Ms. Z included his site as an example of "Canadian content drool" over Bush's painfully meaningless speech last night and, sad to say, I think she was being overly polite. Penny opens with:
HIS BEST SPEECH EVER
Full text here. Some of President Bush's speaking appearances in the past have been absolutely painful to watch (he's not the orator Adolf Hitler was, as the CounterPunch crowd would say), but he seemed genuinely confident and resolute this evening.
So he's on better meds these days. Big deal. Then Penny descends into gibbering stupidity in the space of a single sentence:
I wish Bush had explained that the WMD issue was just one of several reasons for the invasion of Iraq, ...
And why exactly didn't George try this strategy? Because, quite simply, it would have been total crap. There was one reason, and only one reason, that was offered for the invasion of Iraq when it initially happened, and that was weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Not regime change. Not terrorism. Not spreading democracy. Not Saddam's mistreatment, torture and gassing of his people. None of that. This was a weapons issue, plain and simple.
And how do I know that? Because, unlike Mr. Penny, I can read. And what I'm reading is a revealing document entitled "Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq" which describes, in excruciating detail, the rationale under which the Congress of the United States authorized military force against Iraq. So follow along as we quote selective snippets out of that document to show exactly what the focus was:
Whereas in 1990 in response to Iraq's war of aggression against and illegal occupation of Kuwait, the United States forged a coalition of nations to liberate Kuwait and its people in order to defend the national security of the United States and enforce United Nations Security Council resolutions relating to Iraq;
Let's stop here just long enough to note well that the opening sentence of this resolution makes it clear that, first and foremost, the issue here is one related to defending "the national security of the United States." In short, unless it pertains directly to security, it's not relevant here. So, keeping that in mind, let's continue reading to see just how explicit is the emphasis on WMDs, shall we?
Whereas after the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, Iraq entered into a United Nations sponsored cease-fire agreement pursuant to which Iraq unequivocally agreed, among other things, to eliminate its nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs and the means to deliver and develop them, and to end its support for international terror;
Whereas the efforts of international weapons inspectors, United States intelligence agencies, and Iraqi defectors led to the discovery that Iraq had large stockpiles of chemical weapons and a large scale biological weapons program, and that Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons development program that was much closer to producing a nuclear weapon than intelligence reporting had previously indicated;
Whereas Iraq, in direct and flagrant violation of the cease-fire, attempted to thwart the efforts of weapons inspectors to identify and destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction stockpiles and development capabilities, which finally resulted in the withdrawal of inspectors from Iraq on October 31, 1998;
Whereas in 1998 Congress concluded that Iraq's continuing weapons of mass destruction programs threatened vital United States interests and international peace and security, declared Iraq to be in "material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations" and urged the President "to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations" (Public Law 105-235);
Whereas Iraq both poses a continuing threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region and remains in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations by, among other things, continuing to possess and develop a significant chemical and biological weapons capability, actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability, and supporting and harboring terrorist organizations;
Starting to get the idea? It's not clear how anyone could read this and not understand that this was about WMDs and alleged threats to U.S. national security. And yet, admittedly, every so often, the authors of the resolution apparently felt the need to add a quick human touch, as in the next paragraph:
Whereas Iraq persists in violating resolutions of the United Nations Security Council by continuing to engage in brutal repression of its civilian population thereby threatening international peace and security in the region, by refusing to release, repatriate, or account for non-Iraqi citizens wrongfully detained by Iraq, including an American serviceman, and by failing to return property wrongfully seized by Iraq from Kuwait;
Well, yes, Saddam most certainly did mistreat large segments of his citizens but, regardless of how you feel about that, that in no possible way represents a security threat to the U.S., just as the rest of that passage is absolutely irrelevant when it comes to security issues.
Anyone with a functioning brain stem who reads that resolution will know that it was written, presented and approved with one, and only one, relevant issue at hand -- WMDs and the threat to national security. You will read in vain for even a single mention of "torture", "gassed", "regime change", "democracy" or "freedom" simply because, at the time, no one involved gave a rat's ass about any of that.
Which, coming full circle, nicely explains why Bush never, as Mr. Penny so fervently wished he had, "explained that the WMD issue was just one of several reasons for the invasion of Iraq." Because, quite simply, it wasn't. It was the reason, and the only reason, which makes it kind of surprising that anyone would be such an idiot as to even make the suggestion.
And as to Mr. Penny's lament that he was also "a bit surprised [Bush] didn't address the allegations about Guantanamo Bay," well ... sorry, but there's only so much terminal stupidity I can handle in one day.
It's just way too easy to make the boys over at PowerWank look like imbeciles. From their report on Commander CrotchBulge's content-free meanderings last night, we have:
The only thing I thought was odd was the unnatural quiet in the hall. It was like the audience at a Presidential debate, which has been cautioned not to express approval or disapproval. Only at the end, apparently, were the soldiers permitted to applaud.
Oh, yeah, if I were in charge of crowd control, the first thing I'd insist on is that the audience not show any signs of approval or enthusiasm. Sure, that's how I like my public gatherings -- lifeless and unexciting. What a terrific strategy that is.
How stupid do you have to be to think that Bush's handlers actually enforced a code of silence on the assembled multitudes? But wait, it gets better (just like you knew it would).
As John reports,
ABC's Terry Moran just reported that the only time Bush got applause was in the middle of his speech when a White House advance team member started clapping all on their own in order to cajole the soldiers into clapping, which they dutifully did.
In other words, the numbskulls at PowerWank were full of shit again. Colour me shocked. Time's "Blog of the Year," indeed.
AFTERSNARK: And the Toronto Star weighs in on the embarrassing lack of enthusiasm for George W. Chimpster:
Bush used the uniformed personnel at Fort Bragg as the type of backdrop most favoured by this White House, counting on pictures of brave soldiers to appeal to the patriotic strain of most Americans. But they sat largely in sombre silence, interrupting his 30-minute speech with polite applause only once.
Perhaps they're slowly becoming part of the "reality-based" community. One can only hope.
THIS JUST GETS BETTER AND BETTER: And now for a completely different excuse, we have AP writer Nedra Pickler here, who explains the thundering silence from the military personnel in attendance thusly:
"The war reached our shores on September the 11th, 2001," Bush told a national television audience and 750 soldiers and airmen in dress uniform who mostly listened quietly as they had been asked to do.
Apparently, this is the talking point for the lack of obvious enthusiasm for Bush's worn-out drivel -- those attendees were told not to applaud. But if that's the case, why (as you can read above) were they explicitly encouraged to start clapping at one point by an administration representative?
It's really sad when you can't even come up with a believable lie.
MEDIA MATTERS JUMPS IN: Here.
Wny bother eviscerating Commander Chimpy's speech when Ms. Z has already done so? I particularly liked the reference to the dips at PowerWank, who wrote (in part):
There was nothing in it that we and our readers didn't already know ...
Apparently, the boys at PowerWank didn't get Scott McClellan's memo (via First Draft):
Q Scott, are there new details in the strategy for success? Is there a new direction, or is the President basically summing up what he has said before?
MR. McCLELLAN: As I said, this is a new speech. And the President will be talking in a very specific way about the strategy for succeeding in Iraq. And he will talk about the two-track strategy that we have in place.
Q Well, I guess what I'm asking is, are people going to hear things they haven't heard the President say before? Are there new details?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think many Americans have not heard much of what the President has to say tomorrow night.
Q The question is, is there a new direction, though, or not?
MR. McCLELLAN: You're going to hear from the President tomorrow night. I think we have a clear strategy for success. He's going to be talking in a very specific way about what that strategy is. It's an opportunity for the American people to hear about the strategy... blah blah blah ...
Dontcha just hate it when you're left out of the loop? Man, that's gotta sting.
AFTERSNARK: I'm amused by Michelle Malkin's searing, in-depth, provocative analysis of Bush's "new speech," which talked in a "very specific way" about the "strategy." Malkin's insight:
Just finished watching the speech with my kids. Good speech. Important messages:
* We're winning.
* We have more work to do.
* America is grateful to the troops...and so is the commander-in-chief.
See, that's why Michelle's a world-class conservative pundit, and you're not.
Well, OK, maybe only 37% of them. From this article in today's Mope and Wail describing Commander McChimpy's vacuous TV address last night, we have the following gem:
Fifty-eight per cent of respondents to a Gallup Poll done for CNN and USA Today said they disapprove of Mr. Bush's handling of the war, while 40 per cent said they approve. The same poll reported that 37 per cent of Americans say Mr. Bush has a clear plan for the war.
Translation: 37 per cent of Americans are idiots, since even George's colleagues can't agree on whether the insurgency is in its "last throes" or whether it's going to continue for another 5, 6, 8, 10, 12 years.
"Clear plan"? What clear plan? I think it would have been amusing if the Gallup pollster had a followup question for those folks: "And what would that clear plan be"? I think that would have made for some potentially entertaining journalism:
"37 per cent of Americans insisted that President BunnyPants had a 'clear plan' for the war although, when pressed, not a single one of them could explain what that plan was, thus demonstrating their indescribable stupidity."
And, yes, I think I'd make a terrific pollster:
President George Bush is:
c) one of the above
d) all of the above
Yeah, I could do this.
John over at AmericaBlog is so cute when he's being optimistic:
House of Commons passes legislation granting marriage rights to gays. Expected to pass the Canadian Senate in July, then it's the law.
Some day our neighbor to the north will have a civilizing influence on us. Someday.
Not likely. We may be biologically superior forms of life up here, but even we can't work those kinds of miracles.
Jesus Christ, at what point does this become absolutely pathological:
The House of Commons voted to adopt controversial legislation that will make Canada the third country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage...
But Conservatives promise the debate isn't over yet.
Leader Stephen Harper said he will bring back the same-sex marriage law for another vote if he wins the next election.
“There will be a chance to revisit this in a future Parliament,” Mr. Harper said. “Our intention is to have a free vote.”
This is why Stephen Harper will never, ever, ever be Prime Minister. Because he just can't stop showing everyone what kind of ignorant, hateful bigot he is. And because he can't stop showing everyone just how stupid he is in not knowing when he's lost and it's time to move on.
Get over it, Stephen. You lost. Deal with it, and go find something else to be angry about.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
A couple of my favourite sites are starting to annoy me to the point where I'm about ready to give up on them. First, there's Eschaton which, at least with the Firefox browser, directs me to the Classifieds page constantly. And I know I'm not the only victim as I recall a thread where a number of folks were griping about this. If this keeps up much longer, that's one blog that's disappearing from my bookmarks.
Then there's First Draft which, again using Firefox, insists on initially loading a totally blank page, and sometimes needs to be refreshed several times to finally get some content. And again, life is too short to put up with badly-behaved blogs.
Thoughts? Anyone else having problems with these sites? Any solutions to these irritations?
Monday, June 27, 2005
Not that long ago, we decided to take a close look at the David Horowitz-inspired rantings of National Post columnist Barbara Kay. And an ugly experience it was, what with Kay opening her piece on alleged pro-liberal bias in Canadian academia so sensationally, only to finally admit that, well, she had nothing and, really, could her readers please help her out, pretty please. Well, one month later, the results were in so let's, as they say, go to the videotape.
In her January, 2005 article, Kay opens with (and I swear this is verbatim):
Canadian students in the arts and social science departments of our universities are being recruited to the hyperorthodoxies of multiculturalism, feminism, Marxism, postmodernism and bio-politics. Proponents of these ideologies prefer social engineering and the subversion of Western values to the advancement of learning and respect for Western achievements.
"Hyperorthodoxies"? Apparently, someone just got herself a brand new thesaurus and couldn't wait to try it out. Seriously, what in God's name does the above mean? And "subversion of Western values"? Maybe our best approach is to just get into the meat of Kay's column to see if we can make sense of the above gibberish. And, sadly, we're going to be disappointed.
Describing the results of her plaintive cry for help, Kay writes:
Last month I posed a series of questions about ideological harassment in academia. I asked students if it is still possible to get a classic, broadening education in public universities today.
Well, no, actually she didn't. If you care to read the original article, what Kay was clearly asking was whether there was an obvious, pro-left-liberal bias in academia, plain and simple, so it's a little bit tacky for her to start changing the definition of the survey at this point to try to turn this into a discourse on "classic, broadening education in public universities." Ah, but this bit of intellectual dishonesty is the least of Kay's sins, as you're about to see.
The vast majority of the 100-odd respondents to my unscientific poll say no. More than 90% agree that campus political correctness generates a frosty anti-intellectual climate hostile to academic freedom. Out of 500,000 university students in Canada, 100 responses is a picayune representation.
No shit that's "picayune," and yet it doesn't stop Kay from making massively sweeping generalizations based on an infinitesimally small response set, generalizations made all the more meaningless since not a single one contains enough detail to allow further study by the interested reader. Savour, if you will, the overwhelming non-specificity of the following:
Comparative Politics teachers wouldn't admit The Economist (in one case) or Fraser Institute reports (in another) as source material because of their "right wing, biased writers";
An International Relations professor pronounced political realism as a method of inquiry "dead" and inadmissible in argumentation; - Political Science students taught by a feminist were not permitted to use statistics to bolster an argument because "mathematics is a male construct for a male-dominated world";
A professor in a course on terrorism said: "No educated person can support Israel ... educated people don't have those kinds of views."
A feminist teacher in a school of nursing insisted that her male students participate in a "Montreal Massacre" commemoration.
Yes, based on some 100-odd anonymous, unsubstantiated complaints, public education in Canada is clearly a complete mess, but all of the above sloppy thinking pales by comparison with the following attempt at analysis by Kay earlier in the article. Feast your eyes on this delightful bit of sheer boneheadedness:
Out of 500,000 university students in Canada, 100 responses is a picayune representation. Yet every anecdote reflects an opinion or behaviour exposed to a classroom of between 20 and 300 students. Multiply that figure by every class the same instructor offers per semester, and then factor in a lifetime of teaching.
That's right -- Kay took her picayune, anonymous 100-odd responses, and proceeded to generalize to the worst imaginable conclusion -- that each and every report represented, not just the opinion of the respondent, but that it could be extended to encompass every student in every class in every year associated with the professor in question over an entire lifetime of teaching.
Apparently, it never occurred to Kay that such reports might represent, perhaps, the personal opinion of just the respondent. Or, since all of the responses are completely anonymous, some of them might even represent reports from students in the same class, rendering her (alleged) logic just a wee bit flawed.
Or perhaps -- just perhaps -- Kay might consider that some of those responses might be from the new breed of crybaby conservatives who seem to get mortally offended by damned near anything that ruffles their delicate sensibilities so that some of those responses aren't really worth shit, if I may be so blunt.
Of course, there's no way to know since Kay doesn't give us squat in terms of any way to follow up on her thoroughly unscientific poll. If I could give Kay some friendly advice: Please don't try to do logic or mathematics again. It can be a bit tricky, and you just aren't up to the task.
What the f...? Can any of these imbeciles come up with a consistent story? Hot on the heels of Dick Cheney's "The insurgency is in its last throes" fantasy, we have Secretary of Pompous Arrogance Donald Rumsfeld telling a slightly different story:
Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Sunday he is bracing for even more violence in Iraq and acknowledged the insurgency "could go on for any number of years."
Defeating the insurgency may take as long as 12 years, he said, with Iraqi security forces, not U.S. and foreign troops, taking the lead and finishing the job.
Memo to members of the American military: I hope you enjoy Iraq, it appears you're going to be there for a while. I'll think of you while I'm vacationing in the Canadian Rockies or something, maybe sucking back a cool Big Rock, while you're sweeping the sand out of your tent.
BONUS SNARK: And to all those fellow Canadians who thought this invasion was such a terrifically, peachy-keen idea, well ... as I understand it, the military recruiters in the U.S. are having a pretty tough time making their quotas.
I'll bet they'd be just tickled to get some able-bodied, gung-ho Canadians. Really.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Over at TruthOut, there's a new piece by Arundhati Roy whose title alone -- "The most cowardly war in history" -- is one of the best descriptions of the U.S. invasion of Iraq you could come up with. By way of explanation, Roy describes the world tribunal of Iraq thusly:
Before the testimonies begin, I would like to briefly address as straightforwardly as I can a few questions that have been raised about this tribunal.
The first is that this tribunal is a Kangaroo Court. That it represents only one point of view. That it is a prosecution without a defense. That the verdict is a foregone conclusion.
Now this view seems to suggest a touching concern that in this harsh world, the views of the US government and the so-called Coalition of the Willing headed by President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair have somehow gone unrepresented. That the World Tribunal on Iraq isn't aware of the arguments in support of the war and is unwilling to consider the point of view of the invaders. If in the era of the multinational corporate media and embedded journalism anybody can seriously hold this view, then we truly do live in the Age of Irony, in an age when satire has become meaningless because real life is more satirical than satire can ever be.
Let me say categorically that this tribunal is the defense. It is an act of resistance in itself. It is a defense mounted against one of the most cowardly wars ever fought in history, a war in which international institutions were used to force a country to disarm and then stood by while it was attacked with a greater array of weapons than has ever been used in the history of war.
Let me expand on that last statement by describing one of the most shameful aspects of the invasion, in which the U.S., despite its overwhelming military advantage, proved just how unspeakably cowardly it really is.
As almost everyone knows, the early rationale for the invasion was that Saddam Hussein, in defiance of the United Nations, refused to disarm and give up his weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). As we've seen since, no one's been able to find them since, most likely, they never existed in the first place. But it's the case where Saddam did clearly have weapons that will demonstrate my point.
While Saddam had already given up a large part of his weaponry, many people were unaware that there were weapons he legally was allowed to hang onto. Specifically, he was apparently allowed to keep any missiles whose range was up to 150 km. The argument was that, if Saddam disarmed totally, he would be utterly helpless against his neighbours, so it was decided that 150-km range missiles were acceptable.
But there was a problem, as described by this page at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies:
When UN inspectors returned to Iraq in late 2002, they noted "a surge of activity in the missile technology field." UNMOVIC determined that the Al Samoud II missile exceeded the permitted range (150 kilometers) by 30 kilometers and discovered large chambers that could be used to produce missile rocket motors.
The problem, as you can read, was that the Samoud II missile had a range exceeding the limit, and this discovery was paraded all over the media, with rarely a mention that it was only by 30 km. In addition, Iraq protested that the 180 km range was only for missiles that had no warhead or guidance system and that, when those were installed, the range did in fact fall below the 150 km maximum due to the additional weight.
Regardless of who you believe, it's obvious that the violation was not what you'd call egregious, and Iraq had an argument that was at least worth checking. However, rather than continue the argument:
But when UNMOVIC officials demanded that the missiles and the chambers be destroyed, Baghdad yielded ...
In other words, Baghdad just decided not to argue the point and began destroying missiles, a scene I distinctly recall seeing numerous times on the evening news. And Baghdad's reward for capitulating to the UN, even when they might very well have been in the right?
But when UNMOVIC officials demanded that the missiles and the chambers be destroyed, Baghdad yielded: eradication was underway when the U.S. invasion began.
That's right, you read that correctly -- the United States launched their invasion while Iraq was in the process of destroying their arsenal of Samoud II missiles. It really does take a special kind of coward to demand that you disarm, then attacks you while you're in the process of doing just that, and after you've given up almost all of your other weapons.
So ... hobble a country with 10 years of sanctions, pound them with months of (unofficial) air strikes, force them to almost totally disarm, then attack them with overwhelming military force as they're in the act of dismantling what were arguably perfectly legal weapons.
If there's a better description of total cowardice, I'm not sure what it is.
I haven't checked enough to know whether this is legitimate, so I'm interested in hearing from anyone else who's on top of this:
Looking for an easy way to protest Bush foreign policy week after week? And an easy way to help alleviate global poverty? Buy your gasoline at Citgo stations.
And tell your friends.
Of the top oil producing countries in the world, only one is a democracy with a president who was elected on a platform of using his nation's oil revenue to benefit the poor. The country is Venezuela. The President is Hugo Chavez. Call him "the Anti-Bush."
Thoughts? (Note to Canadian readers: I'm not aware of how widespread Citgo stations are here in Canada.)
CAUTIONARY UPDATE: Just for clarification, no one here at CC HQ claims that Chavez is the perfect leader. If you check out this interview with Paul Krugman, Krugman makes it clear that he and many others consider Chavez to be "a goon and a dinosaur."
Regardless, he is the elected president and that has to stand until the next election, so whether or not you want to support him or not is your choice. I suspect the best way to describe this would be "the lesser of two evils."
Although I've linked to this piece before, I think it's amusing to emphasize this snippet of dialogue:
Mr. Rumsfeld's usual dismissal of any criticism was met with disdain from 87-year-old Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia. "I've been here a long time, longer than you have . . . I don't think I've ever heard a secretary of defence who likes to lecture the committee as much as you do."
"I don't mean to be discourteous," Mr. Byrd continued.
"I've just heard enough of your smart answers to these people here who are elected. . . . So get off your high horse when you come up here."
Mr. Rumsfeld was strangely silent in response.
Hmmmm ... hard to believe that that's the same Donald Rumsfeld from back here in February:
Two dozen members of the House Armed Services Committee had not yet had their turn to question Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld at yesterday's hearings when he decided he had had enough.
At 12:54, he announced that at 1 p.m. he would be taking a break and then going to another hearing in the Senate. "We're going to have to get out and get lunch and get over there," he said. When the questioning continued for four more minutes, Rumsfeld picked up his briefcase and began to pack up his papers.
By the way, that latter piece was written by WaPo's Dana Milbank, before Milbank turned into the smarmy Dem-bashing asshole that he's become today.
Friday, June 24, 2005
Unless you're currently in a persistent vegetative state, I'm sure you're familiar with the current dust-up involving White House advisor Karl Rove, and his insinuation that liberals' main motivation is to see American troops get killed in Iraq. Apparently, most of the citizens of Left Blogsylvania are just all cranked that they're presenting a united front about this, demanding, yes demanding, that Rove either apologize or resign.
My God, but you people are spineless.
The only demand Dems should be making is that Rove be given a choice to either resign or be fired, and that's it. The man is such a thoroughly loathsome slimeball, Dems shouldn't feel even the slightest bit guilty about wanting his sorry ass tossed.
What good is an apology going to do? Even if he condescends to give one, you know perfectly well it's going to be one of those non-apology, "Well, I'm sorry if what I said was misinterpreted by some people since what they apparently heard is not what I intended to be what I meant." BFD.
Instead, we have a sizable chunk of the liberal community stroking themselves because they're insisting that Rove resign. Or apologize, hey, that'll work, too, if it's not too much trouble unless you're busy or something.
With that kind of lack of spine, it's no wonder that a semi-literate, C-student girly-man like George W. can kick your asses in two straight elections. You folks just never learn, do you?
SEE WHAT I MEAN? Over at AmericaBlog, "Joe in DC" is making the same mistake when he writes:
Rove is a bully. A strategic bully.
The only way to fight a bully is to go for their jugular. Hit back hard and play to win. Clearly, from the reaction on the blogs, we get that.
No, Joe, you don't. As long as you're publicly saying that you'll be satisfied with merely an apology, you still don't get it.
I guess just accusing her of being a left-liberal, troop-hating Democrat isn't quite going to work, is it?
A candidate for North Carolina Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court has announced on her campaign's blog that she is leaving the Republican Party and denounced the Bush administration's policy on troop withdrawal from Iraq. Rachel Lea Hunter, a Republican and a candidate for Chief Justice, likens Bush’s administration to the “Nazis” and says that all who disagree with the administration are being branded as “traitors”.
Why does Rachel Lea Hunter hate America?
OK, that's gotta hurt. Again.
The Liberal government organized an end run on the federal Tories last night in an effort to force a final vote on the budget, forestalling a confidence test next week that the Conservatives had threatened to do everything in their power to win.
Daylong machinations between the Bloc Québécois, the New Democrats and Liberals resulted in a move that a livid Tory deputy leader Peter MacKay called "diabolical, sneaky and treacherous."
Advice to Peter: Take it like a man. No, Dear God, not like that.
About that "last throes" stuff?
The leading U.S. military commander in the Persian Gulf conceded yesterday that the Iraqi insurgency is as strong as it was six months ago, countering declarations by Vice-President Dick Cheney that the revolt is "in its last throes."
I like this part:
[Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld responded that he is convinced that the United States has the staying power to do what is right in Iraq. "The alternative is to turn that region back to darkness, to people who behead people. And that is not a happy prospect."
Damn straight about that beheading thing. It's far more compassionate to first soften up the area with a decade of crippling sanctions, then some damned fine "Shock and Awe" firepower, followed by indiscriminate shootings of unarmed civilians, and top it all off with arbitrary, indefinite incarceration involving torture and, for effect, the occasional beating death. Fuck that beheading stuff, it's just so third world, isn't it?
Which is, of course, a deliberately provocative title given that my site meter tells me that the referred traffic from over at Wankerville Prime has dwindled to almost nothing and, good Lord, we have to give those folks something to get their ballsacks in a knot about and so, without further ado, here you go -- not vicious or snarky, just too damned funny not to share.
We now return you to your regularly-scheduled program of slapping the daylights out of conservatives, Republicans, creationists, fundamentalists, Scientologists, psychic surgeons and various other subclasses of society, all of which is, strangely enough, perfectly acceptable.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Still confused about what Dick Cheney meant when he said that the Iraqi insurgency was in its "last throes"? Let NYT columnist and uber-wanker David Brooks explain it:
Insurgent attacks are up. Casualties are up. Few Iraqi security forces can operate independently, so far. There aren't enough U.S. troops to hold the ground they conquer. The insurgents are adaptable, organized and still learning.
Now you know.
Oh, Jesus. From this morning's LA Times:
A major Chinese oil company made a landmark offer to buy California-based Unocal Corp. for $18.5 billion on Wednesday, topping a bid by rival U.S. oil giant Chevron Corp. and setting the stage for an intense political debate over the future of U.S. energy, security and trade policies.
The unsolicited offer by CNOOC Ltd., an arm of state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp., was the most dramatic example yet of China's growing influence in global markets and would be China's largest foreign acquisition by far.
So, normally, this would be just another story of a multi-billion-dollar takeover attempt -- not really news any more, but it's that national security aspect that kind of makes things interesting.
The proposed buyout could raise hackles in the United States, which is heavily dependent on foreign oil. China's fast-growing economy is consuming ever-larger amounts of crude, which is helping to drive the price to record heights on world markets, and CNOOC wants to add Unocal's assets to its energy reserves.
So who's got their panties in a bunch over this scenario? Oh, look:
One congressman, Rep. Richard W. Pombo (R-Tracy), said he didn't believe it was "in the best interest of the United States to have Unocal owned by the Chinese national government," adding that the deal could have "disastrous consequences for our economic and national security."
Pombo and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon) sent a letter to President Bush last week urging him to look closely at any Chinese bid to acquire U.S. energy assets. Such an attempt "raises many concerns about U.S. jobs, energy production and energy security," their letter said.
And gosh, I'll just bet you thought the Republicans were such avid fans of unfettered capitalism, less government regulation and the power of the free market, didn't you? Apparently, not always. Who would have guessed?
(By the way, you remember Duncan Hunter, don't you? Is this really the man you want monitoring the security aspects of multi-billion-dollar, international energy deals? But I digress. Onward.)
And what's everyone worried about, anyway? So what if "China's fast-growing economy is consuming ever-larger amounts of crude." What's the big deal? After all, these guys aren't worried. And, remember, they're experts.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
And now, for something completely different -- a little less snark, a little more scholarly research. Oh, don't act so shocked. Sarcasm doesn't become you. Anyway, a question that should be growing increasingly relevant but, as far as I can tell, isn't: What happens on December 31, 2005 when Iraq becomes officially "sovereign"?
Currently, Iraq is "governed" (and I use that word with all of the eye-rolling cynicism that's appropriate) by something called the "Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period", or just the "Transitional Law" for brevity, of which you can peruse a copy here. As you can read, the purpose of the Transitional Law is to govern Iraq "until Iraqis approve a permanent constitution and a permanent Iraqi government takes office." And when exactly would that be? Good question, it turns out.
First note the very opening sentence of the document:
On June 30, 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) intends to transfer power in Iraq to a fully sovereign Iraqi interim government.
"Fully sovereign"? What exactly does that mean? Using the standard definition of the word, one would think that it means that the new Iraqi government could tell the occupying troops to pack up their shit and get out of town, no? Interestingly, although Iraqi politicians are getting increasingly vocal about wanting the U.S. military off of their soil, the Americans aren't showing any signs of starting to pack, are they? How odd.
You can, of course, continue reading the gory details of the proposed timeline, but let's jump ahead to the best part, shall we?
The National Assembly will perform legislative and oversight functions. Composed of 275 members, it will develop its own internal procedures and sit in public sessions. It will examine bills proposed by the Council of Ministers, propose its own bills, ratify international treaties, and exercise oversight over the work of the executive authority.
OK, that's pretty boring, but what comes next isn't:
A key function of the National Assembly is to write a draft permanent constitution by August 15, 2005. The Iraqi people will then vote to approve the constitution in a general referendum to be held by October 15, 2005. If the permanent constitution is approved in the referendum, elections for a permanent government would take place no later than December 15, 2005, and the permanent government would take office no later than December 31, 2005. However, if a majority of Iraqi voters do not approve the draft constitution or if two-thirds of the voters in three or more governorates reject it, then the National Assembly will be dissolved. Elections for a new National Assembly would
take place by December 15, 2005. The new government would continue to operate under the transitional law and be responsible for writing another draft permanent constitution.
Now that last development sounds kind of conclusive, doesn't it? So, does that mean Iraq is back to being a "sovereign" nation with full control over their land? If not, why not? And if not then, when? Again, despite these magnificently-detailed political milestones, there's no indication that the U.S. is planning on leaving any time soon, and Secretary of State Condi Rice just described a "generational commitment" of the U.S. to Iraq. So what's going on here? When will the Iraqis have control of their country back? Or will they?
It strikes me that buried in all of this is a pointed question that someone should be asking White House Press Lizard Scott McClellan during some upcoming gaggle, and I imagine it going something like this:
Q: Scott, regarding Iraqi sovereignty, technically speaking, does the Iraqi government currently have the authority to demand that the U.S. withdraw from Iraq? And if not, why not? According to the government's own document describing the Transitional Law:
The transitional law states that a fully sovereign interim government will assume power in Iraq on June 30, 2004, and that the interim government will be formed through consultations with Iraqis and possibly in consultation with the United Nations.
If the government that took power last year is, in fact, fully sovereign, do they not have the authority to demand the withdrawal of U.S. troops? And if not, what does it mean to say they're fully sovereign? And at what point would they have the authority?
I don't think this is an unreasonable question, and Li'l Scottie can't even blow it off as "hypothetical," since no one is asking if the Iraqis will be doing this, or whether they're thinking about doing this -- it's only asking whether they have the authority, and there's nothing hypothetical about that, is there?
Bummed by high gas prices? No worries, mate, at least in the long term according to "one of the energy industry's top consultancies":
An oil glut is coming. That's right, a glut, way too much oil -- and the bold prediction is being made by one of the energy industry's top consultancies.
Even more bold is the prediction's timing, just as the benchmark price of oil is on the verge of cracking $60 (U.S.) a barrel and futures contracts suggest oil will remain higher than $55 for the rest of the decade.
Cambridge Energy Research Associates Inc., based near Boston, is skeptical, and yesterday released highlights of a report that concludes the world's capacity to produce oil will likely easily exceed the world's voracious demand for the product that fuels cars, ships and planes.
Increasing oil production capacity "will comfortably meet volatile and expanding demand in the next five years and beyond," Peter Jackson and Robert Esser, the authors of the report, write in their introduction.
Yes, I'm sure you're skeptical, but that's why they're the high-priced consultants and you're not. I mean, folks like this have a track record for this sort of stuff.
A couple years ago:
Today: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is of the view that the US engagement in Iraq is ‘a generational commitment’ and the United States will stay in the country for as long as it takes to normalize the situation.
Must ... stay calm ... and try to ... reconcile ... completely contradictory ... public statements ... uuuuurrrrrrk!!
From this demented piece, we have la Marsden:
As for [Howard] Dean, he continued his assault on Middle America voters last week by saying that a lot of Republicans "have never made an honest living in their lives" - even though the only income class that strongly favoured Democratic candidate John Kerry over Bush was composed of those earning less than US$30,000, many of whom likely eke out this "honest living" by latching on to the government teat.
Shorter Marsden: Poor people suck. I'm so glad I don't have to, like, touch them with my hands or anything.
I'm guessing that, in Marsden's universe, corporate welfare somehow doesn't constitute latching on to the government teat.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Remember how I suggested back here that National Post columnist Barbara Kay was pathetically lazy by not actually doing some research before writing her sensationalistic column about academic bias in Canada?
Apparently, laziness is quite the common attribute in East Wankerville these days, as the folks at Think Progress point out:
The conservative blogosphere, desperate to discredit the Downing Street Minutes, is abuzz with the ridiculous rumor that London Times reporter Michael Smith – who broke the DSM story – used to work for Mary Mapes at CBS. The extremely popular site Little Green Footballs breathlessly asks:
Is British reporter Michael Smith, who broke the Downing Street memo story…the same Michael Smith who was hired by Mary Mapes as a CBS assistant producer in the Rathergate scandal?
... It took me a grand total of one phone call to CBS to see if this rumor was true. The answer is no. The Michael Smith who used to work for Mary Mapes is not the same Michael Smith who writes for the London times.
Yes, nothing says right-wing conspiracy theory like pure, unadulterated laziness.
Uh oh. Seems like a whole bunch of Golden Staters are having a serious case of buyer's remorse:
Support for governor plunging, poll finds
Special election, budget unpopular among Californians
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger suddenly ranks among the most unpopular governors in modern California history, as residents grow increasingly unhappy about the action hero-turned-politician's budget plans and his call for a special election, according to a new Field Poll.
Less than a third -- 31 percent -- of the state's adults approve of the job the governor is doing in Sacramento, down from 54 percent in February. The numbers are only slightly better among registered voters, 37 percent of whom are happy with Schwarzenegger's performance and 53 percent dissatisfied.
Gosh, a well-known, wildly-popular, right-wing actor who turned out to be a total dud as a politician. Who would have guessed?
So many conservative wingnuts, so little time. Pity. Anyway, a quick, snarky potshot at Kay before I (sadly) must get involved in actual work. Back here, you might remember National Post columnist and right-wing whiner Barbara Kay, begging for evidence of a massive left-liberal academic conspiracy here in Canada and, as some kind of indirect substantiation, saying nice things about The American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a pathetic collection of conservative loons if ever there was one.
I pointed out that ACTA got its comeuppance here in an article by Paul Street. Turns out, he's not the only one unhappy with ACTA. Hard to believe but, over here, we find that the National Catholic Reporter Online is similarly unimpressed.
Now, you have to ask yourself -- just how creepy a bunch of wankers do you have to be for even the National Catholic Reporter to smack you down?
BONUS SNARK: If you want a brief but unsettling glimpse into the ACTA mindset, check out their report publications page, where the "Defending Civilization" report is promoted thusly:
It was not only America that was attacked on September 11, but civilization. We were attacked not for our vices, but for our virtues—for what we stand for. In response, ACTA has established the Defense of Civilization Fund to support the study of American history and civics and of Western civilization.
The "Defense of Civilization"??? Jesus, but some folks are just a little full of themselves, aren't they?
Monday, June 20, 2005
It's things like this that kind of dampen my enthusiasm for the Catholic Church, if you know what I mean. (Via Pharyngula.)
CORRECTION: I shouldn't have referred to the "Catholic" Church above, since the article refers to the Romanian Orthodox Church which is part of the Eastern Orthodox Church. My bad.
If you've already read the earlier piece on the intellectual shenanigans of National Post columnist Barbara Kay, well, I have a bonus for you. In Kay's Dec. 2004 column describing the allegedly hideous over-representation of liberals on college faculties, Kay writes:
For example, one recent study shows that amongst American university teachers, Democrats outnumber Republicans 15 to one. That's on average. In anthropology, Democrats cast 30 votes for every one Republican. Similar results doubtless apply in the faculties of sociology, education, English literature, and women's studies (probably more like 1,000 to one there).
Let's ignore Kay's obvious attempt at pulling statistics out of her ass in that last sentence when she writes "Similar results doubtless apply ...", making it clear she has no clue and is just speculating. No, let's concentrate on the figures she supplies to see where she got them from.
Kay curiously doesn't give a reference to this "recent study" she quotes and, when you finally track it down, you begin to understand why. It's almost certain that the study she's referring to is "How Politically Diverse Are the Social Sciences and Humanities? Survey Evidence from Six Fields," by Daniel Klein and Charlotta Stern. From the abstract, you can clearly see the identical values quoted by Kay:
The most lopsided fields surveyed are Anthropology with a D to R ratio of 30.2 to 1 ... The average of the six ratios by field is about 15 to 1."
Can there be any doubt that this is the study Kay is talking about? But hold everything! What's this? Note well the relevant portion of the title of that study: "How Politically Diverse Are the Social Sciences and Humanities?". [Emphasis added.]
This is clearly not a survey of faculty political affiliation across the entire spectrum, only within the social sciences and humanities, which most people would expect to be more liberally-flavoured, just as one would expect more of a conservative presence in areas such as, say, law, business and economics.
But notice how Kay describes the study:
For example, one recent study shows that amongst American university teachers, Democrats outnumber Republicans 15 to one. That's on average.
But that's not what the study purported to show; the study spoke only of the alleged ideological imbalance within the humanities and social sciences. In short, Kay simply lied about the results of that study. I'm sure you're all just mortified by the thought of a right-wing propagandist playing fast and loose with the facts, aren't you?
BONUS TRACK: I've linked to this Russell Jacoby article before but it's such a sweet piece of writing, it really deserves as much publicity as it can get.
Sunday, June 19, 2005
I did say I was going to get around eventually to dealing with accusations of academic imbalance and liberal indoctrination in colleges and universities here in Canada, so today might as well be the day. And for this exercise, we are going to slowly and lovingly disembowel one Barbara Kay, whose Dec. 2004 piece in the National Post is such a delightfully vapid piece of idiocy, I may not have to address this issue again for quite some time. Feel free to bring up another window and follow along.
Kay sets the tone early with the title of her article, "Propaganda in the classroom," which certainly suggests that this whole issue is not open to debate, no sir, there's nasty stuff going down in Canada's hallways of higher education and, by God, Kay is going to show you just where it is. None of this namby-pamby "bias" nonsense for Kay -- she goes straight for the "propaganda" label so you figure she's done her homework and has the goods, right?
Until you read her first sentence:
Today's column is in part an amateur poll on intellectual harassment in our universities.
Excuse me? So, within her opening sentence, Kay manages to crank up the sensationalism factor even further with suggestions of "harassment," and yet ... and yet ... she now admits that what she's really doing is, in part, taking a survey. For what? Bias in the classroom? She's asking now?? Gosh, you'd think she might have actually done that research before writing her article, no? That's sort of the way most reporters work, but Kay is apparently above that sort of tedium. Think I'm being overly snarky? Read the rest of the opening paragraph, gloriously verbatim:
I'm asking Canada's future educators and lawmakers -- students in, or recent grads from, the humanities and social sciences -- if they're being ideologically brainwashed by their professors. So without further ado: Do you see a balanced ideological perspective in your courses? Does your professor direct you to alternative points of views? Is dissent or diversity of opinion encouraged in discussion? Are Judeo-Christian perspectives denigrated or mocked? Are grades a reflection of the merit of your arguments or conformity with the professor's ideology?
So many delightfully leading questions and, as you'll see shortly, so little actual evidence to answer any of them. On to paragraph two:
There are already numerous published surveys, polls and journal articles on the indoctrination of students by academics, ...
All right, evidence coming right up. Can't wait. Here it comes ...
... but none deal with Canadian universities.
Damn it! (Said with best impression of Stewie from "Family Guy".) So, to recap Kay's position: There's propaganda! Actually, no there isn't, that's why I'm asking. Wait, there are studies! But not involving Canada. You can only hope it gets better. And, sadly, you'll be disappointed:
[The studies] all catalogue the near-monolithic domination of the academy by leftists in the United States.
Oh, please, please, dear God, please, provide some evidence for that claim.
For example, one recent study shows that amongst American university teachers, Democrats outnumber Republicans 15 to one. That's on average. In anthropology, Democrats cast 30 votes for every one Republican. Similar results doubtless apply in the faculties of sociology, education, English literature, and women's studies (probably more like 1,000 to one there).
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh, damn ... I think I just wet myself. There is, of course, absolutely no reference given for this "recent study," but it might just be the same one I eviscerated back here, which was a thorougly dishonest piece of crap. And if you think Kay has embarrassed herself sufficiently, well, sweetie, you ain't seen nothing yet, as Kay continues:
Voting stats aside, there is evidence that leftist views play out in propagandist behaviours. A survey by The American Council of Trustees and Alumni finds almost half of students are exposed to only one ideological viewpoint, with teachers sanctioning none but their political views in class. An ACTA spokesperson comments: "If this were a survey of students reporting widespread sexual harassment, there would be an uproar."
Ah, yes ... ACTA. Worthless hacks. Go read. Moving on, to where Kay finally just shreds what little is left of her credibility by praising the work of (oh, Lord, you know who's coming, don't you?):
American conservatives are fighting back. The most dynamic amongst them is fiercely anti-Marxist crusader David Horowitz, founder of FrontPageMagazine.com.
Words fail me, they really do. I'm not even going to comment on this; interested readers are welcome to go back through the CC archives to see what kind of despicable, lying slime David Horowitz is. I just don't have the enthusiasm for it anymore.
Not surprisingly, the rest of Kay's piece is just as vacuous and dishonest. For corroboration, she refers to research by University of British Columbia philosophy professor Andrew Irvine, but fails to mention his participation in Canada's right-wing Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship, which is the kind of disclosure some readers might find enlightening.
Kay also bolsters her case by citing University of of Toronto psychology professor John Furedy and, oh, look, here he is, too. What an adorably closed club we have here -- just another right-wing echo chamber. Isn't that cute? To be fair, Kay does finally refer to the SAFS organization toward the end of the article, without actually mentioning Irvine's or Furedy's assocation.
But it's the last paragraph where Kay, as she did at the beginning, has to admit she has no evidence, and is reduced to begging her readers for proof:
So students (and parents), please send me your responses. Confidentiality is assured. Validate my keen assessment, or shame me for my wildly off-the-mark rush to judgment: It's your call. Survey 101 results TBA.
This might be a bit late, but I have some advice I'd like to pass on to Kay. Do your own damned research, and stop asking your readers to do it for you. It's called "being a journalist." You should try it.
BY THE WAY: When one writes an article praising an organization, it's generally considered good form to reveal one's connections to said organization. Conflict of interest, disclosure, that sort of thing. Which suggests that Kay might have wanted to mention, even in passing, her dealings with SAFS located by Google, some of which are listed here. (Note: one of those links is actually a wonderfully snarky putdown of Kay's work, so you can't hold all of those links against her.)
And, no, I'm not done with these people. In my next installment, we'll discuss the results of Kay's survey.
Saturday, June 18, 2005
Remember way back (it seems like such a long time ago, doesn't it?) when Commander George W. Chimpster was crowing about his massive, overwhelming election victory:
Bush staked his claim to a broad mandate and announced his top priorities at a post-election news conference, saying his 3.5 million vote victory had won him political capital that he would spend enacting his conservative agenda.
"I earned capital in this campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it," Bush told reporters. "It is my style."
Yeah, you couldn't turn over a rock without finding a conservative crowing about how magnificent was this 51% to 48% devastating smackdown of John Kerry. 51%. You just couldn't escape the incessant bragging, could you?
And now, with Chimpy's numbers going down faster than porn star Mary Carey at a Republican fundraiser, funny how the administration just isn't talking about polls and percentages any more. Fancy that.
BY THE WAY: For those of you with visual fixations.
Did anyone else catch the CBC's "As It Happens" last night? Driving home, I just caught the last snippet of an interview in which the guest was talking about border security and claimed that some 11 of the 9/11 hijackers entered the U.S. through Canada, a myth that has been thoroughly debunked by now.
To her credit, the host was moderately aggressive in disagreeing with that claim, saying something like "I'm pretty sure that's not true." Personally, I would have preferred a response something like, "You are an ignorant dick and total wanker, and I'm going to cut you off before you say something even stupider." But I'll take what I can get.
Are show transcripts available online somewhere? From the brief clip I heard, it sounded like the guest might have been one of these volunteer, border patrol Minutemen assholes,
Man, some folks never give up, do they? Over here at WingNutDaily, they just won't let it go:
Challenging the assumptions of many analysts and news reports [Ed: and competent physicians and, well, pretty much anyone who isn't a total moron], an attorney who specializes in medical ethics cases points out the autopsy report of Terri Schiavo indicates the brain-injured woman might have been cognizant of her surroundings as her family insisted...
"It is very possible that she remained cognizant of sounds and other things without being able to communicate," Ward said. "It's possible Terri was aware of everything being done to her -- yet could do little to make people aware that she was there."
A bit of advice to the right-wing wankersphere: Let. It. Go. Please, for God's sake, just let it go. One can only fantasize that you folks showed one-tenth this amount of compassion for the prisoners who were tortured and, in some cases, beaten to death in Abu Ghraib and Gitmo. Ah, but I forget -- they weren't white. Sorry, what was I thinking?
BONUS IDIOCY: Just in case you needed any more proof of the intellectual bankruptcy of these people, feast your eyes on this delightful morsel of illogic:
[Jerri Lynn] Ward also challenges analysts who insist there was no abuse, pointing out the report does not rule out that possibility.
The autopsy report says, rather, that the medical examiner could not detect any evidence.
In other words, despite the fact that there was no evidence of abuse whatsoever, well, you can't prove that it didn't happen, can you? The mind just reels, doesn't it?
Friday, June 17, 2005
Just FYI, it seems somewhat timely to point out that our Ms. Marsden's work experience includes being fired by none other than stressed-out Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal, which leads one to wonder: Just how untouchably radioactive do you have to be to be fired by Gurmant Grewal?
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Once upon a time back here, I advertised a new, regular feature here at CC HQ -- the Rachel Marsden watch, devoted to critiquing the punditry of Canadian right-wing banshee Rachel Marsden. (You remember Marsden, right? She's the conservative pundit whose journalistic claims to fame include trying to look sexy by stealing Julia Roberts' body.)
Well, it's been a bit busy lately and, now that I finally got the chance to re-visit Marsden's output over at her web site, I have to admit, I really don't see much value in this exercise anymore for the simple reason that Marsden's writings are so shrill and infantile, dissecting them intellectually would be akin to sandblasting a soup cracker. Seriously, follow along here and tell me if I'm wrong.
Given that my original piece was written on June 4, it seemed only fair to pick up where I left off and check out her column in the National Post on that same date. And, Jesus Christ, what a piece of absolute crap it turned out to be, where one need only read the first paragraph to realize that total rubbish isn't far behind:
I recently moved to Toronto from the tabloid-driven metropolis of Vancouver, where everyone is far more interested in who you’re doing than in what you’re doing. Vancouver is a town full of sandal-wearing, granola-chomping lefties that doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is: Slackerville. Business is dead, and networking is virtually non-existent. And I don’t care what the government stats tell you about employment levels. They must be factoring squeegee kid jobs into those numbers. So it’s hardly a shock that many people I know from Vancouver have given up the ooh-aaah of the pretty Left Coast mountains for the booming job opportunities in Toronto.
Note first that Marsden has the same literary writing habit as so many other conservative wanks before her -- everything in her world is one of exactly two colours, and there is no middle ground or qualification whatsoever. Note how, in Vancouver, "everyone is far more interested in who you’re doing than in what you’re doing." Not most people, not many people, oh no, "everyone".
Staying in that vein, we are told that Vancouver is "a town full of sandal-wearing, granola-chomping lefties that doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is: Slackerville." It's apparently unthinkable that the city might have a variety of inhabitants with a variety of lifestyles. To Marsden, it's apparently just full of Slackerville hippies. And, naturally, business is "dead." Not slow or struggling or unimpressive or anything subtle or nuanced like that. No, just "dead." Apparently, la Marsden doesn't do subtlety or nuance, it being perhaps unpleasantly, intellectually taxing.
And if you think it gets any better, well, carry on to the second paragraph to read:
If you’re a media personality like myself and you’re living in Vancouver, you may as well be in Siberia. Vancouver media people — navel-gazers who naturally figure they’re the center of the universe — are unaware of their own backwater insignificance in much the same way that fish don’t know they’re wet.
See how that works? Not just some media people, or even perhaps most of them -- nope, it's all of them. Clearly, there's no room in Marsden's universe for anything but 100%, unqualified observations about damned near everything. There's a word to describe this type of writing: lazy. But that's just the warm-up.
Not much further down, Marsden continues to gratuitously insult entire swaths of society, writing:
Toronto has a special breed of lefty that Vancouver lacks in significant numbers: rich intellectual snoots who think they can buy their way into Club Conservative. Yes, I’m talking about you, all you Rosedale and Forest Hill elitist snobs with 20 letters after your name, who bastardize the “conservative” label. It’s time to hop aboard the Marsden Tough Talk Express.
And, oh Lord, can you believe that Marsden is so childish that she actually invents a bad-ass proper name for her writing -- the "Marsden Tough Talk Express"? Of course, there's nothing particularly original about this; loudmouth members of the right-wing wankersphere have a grand tradition of this sort of idiocy.
You have Bill O'Reilly and his "O'Reilly Factor," where one enters "The No-Spin Zone." Oooooooh. There's total dickhead Joe Scarborough who's such a stud, he hangs out in "Scarborough Country." Chris Matthews? Well, don't mess with that muthah, 'cuz he plays "Hardball". And on, and on and tediously on -- self-appointed, kick-ass names for some of the biggest wimps and whiners on the planet, now joined by Marsden and her "Tough Talk Express." Big fucking whoop.
But it's in her last paragraph that Marsden demonstrates just how incredibly childish she is:
So why did I move to Toronto and not to a more conservative town like Calgary? Toronto is where the action is. It’s the biggest possible pot of liberals and faux-cons in this country in which to raise holy hell. Apparently, fighting on behalf of the traditional values on which our society was founded is a really rebellious thing to do nowadays. Contrary to liberal conventional wisdom, it’s conservatives who really love this country — who are defending all the good things that underpin our society — while the lefties hate this country so much that they can’t change it fast enough. Now, you tell me who’s really “scary” here.
So, conservatives love Canada while left-liberals all hate it. This is so perfectly, so beautifully, Ann Coulter that it's a wonder Coulter doesn't sue Marsden for copyright infringement or something. It's been said that Marsden is just a cheap, knock-off Ann Coulter-wannabe, but who would have thought she'd be so sleazy as to just steal Coulter's whole shtick of slamming liberals in their entirety?
In the end, it's not how someone as worthless and pathetic a writer as Marsden got so famous that's such a puzzle. Rather, what's curious is why the Post decided that Marsden's shit was worth a twice-weekly column. Really, what audience is the Post going after with her? Do they really think there's a mass market for crappy, right-wing, childish dreck like Marsden's?
And, finally getting to my point, is there much point in even bothering with it?
Following a link from the Rude One, we have the delightfully pro-war (in the sense of "as long as everyone else does the dying in it") College Republicans, describing how Commander Chimpy is such a muthahfuckin' stud when it comes to the War on Terror:
President Bush has outlined three commitments in America’s new approach to peace in the world, and we have found successful results:
* President Bush is defending the peace by taking the fight to the terrorists ...
Um ... well, that sounds just peachy, except for the fact that, back in 2003, that same stud said the following:
We're helping to train civil defense forces to keep order, and an Iraqi police service to enforce the law, a facilities protection service, Iraqi border guards to help secure the borders, and a new Iraqi army.
Now, correct me if I'm wrong but it does seem a bit contradictory to, on the one hand, brag that you're taking the fight right to the terrorists, only to turn around and "secure the borders" to make sure they can't get to you.
One would think that Chimpy, rather than trying to keep those bad old terrorists at a distance, would be throwing open the Iraqi borders and inviting those same terrorists to "Come on down!" or "Bring it on!" or ... Oh, wait. He tried that last part, didn't he? Didn't work out so well, did it?
You know, you can only hope that there are a few slightly red faces in the right-wing wankersphere this morning after the release of the autopsy report on Terri Schiavo:
An autopsy on Terri Schiavo backed her husband's contention that she was in a persistent vegetative state, finding that she had massive and irreversible brain damage and was blind, the medical examiner's office said Wednesday. It also found no evidence that she was strangled or otherwise abused.
Wow. I'll bet that "blind" part comes as a bit of a shock to Senate majority leader Bill Frist (R - Political Opportunism) who, from a cursory viewing of a Schiavo videotape, suggested that she "certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli." Oopsie.
And, gosh, what will all those wankers do with their Terri-related blogrolls? Suggestions? Perhaps ... oh, i don't know ... get a fucking life or something?
BY THE WAY: There's a certain irony in Frist's crocodile tears over Terri Schiavo, given his contempt towards other forms of life when he was a med student.
DEPRESSING UPDATE: Well, you just knew that some folks weren't going to be convinced. How pathetic is this?
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Apparently, those lovable scamps over at MarriageReferendum.ca have an online poll, asking whether you support the notion of same-sex marriage. Why not drop by and let them know what you think?
(By the way, anyone there look familiar?)
From Kevin Drum, we learn that, God help us all, someone over at the NYT managed to sneak a few actual facts regarding Social Security into a news piece.
I'm sure someone at the Times will give reporter Stout a stern talking-to, and we won't see that kind of irresponsible, America-hating journalism again any time soon.
Apparently, the controversial Gurmant Grewal has a nasty habit of ... well, making shit up. Shocked, shocked, we are, by such revelations.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Like this one:
Michael Jackson's website trumpeted his courtroom vindication Tuesday, linking it with such historic events as the birth of Martin Luther King, while his lawyer vowed his client will stop sharing his bed with young boys.
You American Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) fans might want to start looking for alternatives for your objective news, given this:
June 14, 2005
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
401 9th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004-2129
Dear Board Members,
I was troubled to read in The Washington Post that former Republican National Committee co-chairwoman Patricia de Stacy Harrison is the "leading candidate" to be the next president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a position to which the CPB board of directors would appoint her.
As you know, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was established to shield American public broadcasting from political pressure. While Ms. Harrison has an impressive resume as a Republican activist and political appointee within the Bush administration, she lacks any experience in public broadcasting or independent journalism. I find it implausible that CPB chairman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson and your board cannot find a leading candidate who has the kind of extensive, relevant experience the position demands.
More troubling, by appointing a Republican activist to manage an organization designed to protect public broadcasting from political pressure, the board would be signaling to those who have treasured public broadcasting as a bastion of fairness and balance that it is now vulnerable to political manipulation. From Rush Limbaugh to the Fox News Channel, there is no shortage of conservative media in the United States. If CPB is committed to continuing to provide a nonpartisan alternative to such outlets, turning over the reins to a former co-chairwoman of the Republican Party is on odd way to accomplish that goal.
I urge you to find another candidate to lead CPB, hopefully one with more experience in public broadcasting than in partisan politics.
You do know what's actually happening here, right? Given a Republican CPB president, the CPB will inexorably begin to slant all of its programming to the right, alienating its current centrist and progressive listeners who will start tuning out in droves, driving down CPB's audience, at which point the Bush administration, citing CPB's dwindling audience, can justify slashing its funding.
See how that works? If you're a Republican, there's no need to explicitly get rid of the CPB. You just have to make it so awful that no one wants to listen to it anymore. Clever, no?