Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Stories my Blogging Tories never told me.

So, apparently the shabbily-treated troops at Walter Reed are now being punished for having the temerity to complain about being treated, well, shabbily.

Not surprisingly, you won't read about this anywhere over at the "troop-supporting" Blogging Tories, but they'll be happy to tell you all about Al Gore's house.

It's a priorities thing, you know.

I'm going to deal with "goombah" in my own way shortly, but one thing at a time. First, there's a cat litter box to be emptied. Then goombah.

It's a priorities thing, you know.

More fun with Wankerpedia™.

Oh, man ... this has that squid-loving PZ Myers written all over it.

What a difference five years makes.

Gosh ... back then, he was such an adorable young man (emphasis added):

Minister proposes 'sunset clause' for anti-terrorism bill
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 21, 2001 | 12:33 PM ET

The most controversial sections of Canada's proposed anti-terrorism bill will have a time limit, Justice Minister Anne McLellan said on Tuesday.

Speaking before the Commons Justice and Human Rights Committee, McLellan said the government was proposing Bill C-36 be amended to include a sunset clause on powers of preventive arrest and investigative hearings.

She also proposed changes to the definition of terrorist activity contained in the bill...

McLellan also noted that objections have been raised to the definition of terrorist activity contained in the bill.

The original bill excluded lawful activities such as protests, demonstrations or work stoppages from the definition. McLellan suggested removing the word "lawful" so even things such as illegal strikes wouldn't be caught up in the definition of terrorism.

"By taking out the modifier 'lawful,' we will clarify the intent of the government and reassure those who might otherwise be concerned that unlawful activity, but activity that falls well short of terrorist activity, would ever be caught by this legislation," she said.

She also proposed other amendments to the definition intended to prevent hate crimes.

Conservative Peter MacKay says there's still nothing in the bill to distinguish between Nelson Mandela – who on Monday became an honorary Canadian citizen – and a terrorist.

"Mr. Mandela would not have been given honorary citizenship," MacKay said. "He would have been arrested upon arrival under this particular bill."

Why, yes, that is the same Peter MacKay, expressing concern over how an overly broad, draconian and badly-worded security bill might be misinterpreted or abused to inappropriately prosecute innocent people who have nothing to do with actual terrorism.

Time sure flies when you're having your sense of moderation, nuance and perspective surgically removed in order that you can work for Stephen Harper, doesn't it?

BONUS TRACK: It's so much fun to pop into the wayback machine every so often:

Another Liberal breaks ranks over anti-terror bill
Last Updated Wed, 28 Nov 2001 09:12:02 EST
Conservative Peter Mackay is also critical of C-36. As a safeguard, the proposed bill compels the justice minister to make annual reports to Parliament on its use.

"Where are those checks and balances? Parliament? Question period? Debate in the house? We've seen what happened today. If that's the checks and balances, I'm afraid," said Mackay.

Wow. Question period? Debate? An insistence on checks and balances? Apparently, that's before they replaced Peter MacKay with a jar of Folger's Crystals. Dontcha just hate it when that happens?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Spot the logical absurdity! Win valuable prizes!

There's this (all emphasis tail-waggingly added):

Yesterday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he would accept what he called a "compromise" in a report by a Liberal-dominated Senate committee.

The committee recommended a three-year extension of the two measures. But it also urged that an annual report on the use of the measures include an explanation as to whether the provisions remain warranted.

"I prefer something to nothing," Harper said outside the Commons. "It's important to have anti-terrorism provisions that are effective."

And then there's this:

The swoop and snatch "preventative arrest," which requires the detainee to make a next-day appearance before a judge to validate the apprehension, will disappear along with "investigative hearings" that compel a reluctant witness to spill the beans in a private court.

Neither measure has yet been deployed against suspects.

In other news, this elephant repellent is absolutely amazing. You don't see any elephants around here, do you?

The National Post's Don Martin: Document the wankitude.

Seriously, have at it. Here's my favourite bit:

Liberal MP Ralph Goodale, whose righteous indignation knows no blustery bounds, is having none of it. The way he argues it, the political atmosphere in Ottawa has been so poisoned that the Conservatives cannot be trusted to keep their word.

Imagine that -- not trusting the Conservatives to keep their word. I mean, how freakin' paranoid do you have to be to feel that way?

Dear Blogging Tories: Your concern is underwhelming.

A recent referral to this blog comes from Tailrank, which has a page keeping track of a representative sample of bloggers who are blogging on the Canadian 9-year-old currently detained in Texas' Hutto detention centre. And a splendid cross-section of Canadian blogging it is: POGGE, MyBlahg, Liberal Catnip, Dr. Dawg, Hope and Onions, Jim Bobby, and so on.

Notice a pattern there? Why, yes ... yes, you do. "Lefties," every one of them. Not a Blogging Tory in the lot. Apparently, they're still too busy caring about the children to, well, care about the children.

Imagine my utter lack of surprise.

P.S. You'd think that fetus fetishist SUZANNE might spare a blog post or two for the plight of incarcerated children and mothers receiving sub-standard pre-natal care but, sadly, such is not to be. Apparently, obsessing over the unborn is a full-time job.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Huddled Masses

Peterr at firedoglake has a good deal more information about the T. Don Hutto Residential Center. I knew I had heard the name of this place before, turns out that this is where many of the families grabbed up in the recent, large scale ICE sweeps ended up. That was the operation that stranded children when their parents were taken into custody. Were it not for certain church and private relief action, those children would have been abandoned to the streets.

From firedoglake:

"Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) and the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, two well-known and non-partisan NGOs, released a report entitled Locking Up Family Values (large pdf - 2 MB). It details the conditions at two model "family detention facilites" run by ICE, and the story is appalling."

From the report summary:

"Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children felt it vital to examine the implications of this expanding penal approach to family detention in order to inform the development of policy and practice that serves the best interests of children and families. To that end we visited both the T. Don Hutto Residential Center and the Berks Family Shelter Care Facility and talked with detained families as well as former detainees. What we found was disturbing:
• Hutto is a former criminal facility that still looks and feels like a prison, complete with razor wire and prison cells.
• Some families with young children have been detained in these facilities for up to two years.
• The majority of children detained in these facilities appeared to be under the age of 12.
• At night, children as young as six were separated from their parents.
• Separation and threats of separation were used as disciplinary tools.
• People in detention displayed widespread and obvious psychological trauma. Every woman we spoke with in a private setting cried.
• At Hutto pregnant women received inadequate prenatal care.
• Children detained at Hutto received one hour of schooling per day.
• Families in Hutto received no more than twenty minutes to go through the cafeteria line and feed their children and themselves. Children were frequently sick from the food and losing weight.
• Families in Hutto received extremely limited indoor and outdoor recreation time and children did not have any soft toys."

The full report is a highly detailed indictment of outsourced cruelty. Entire families limited to 20 minutes to get their food and finish it. Try getting you and your kids through a cafeteria and out in 20 minutes. No shock then, that a pregnant woman is chronically underweight. Prenatal care is substandard, medical facilities are inadequate and not a grape is allowed out of the cafeteria. An apple or a piece of bread for a harried mom will be confiscated and thrown in the garbage. 20 minutes.

I asked in my earlier post, why would a child mention that he wanted to go outside? Turns out that family recreation time is severely limited. The families sleep in cells. The children are threatened with separation from their parents as a form of discipline. What kind of sick mind dreams up penitentiaries for families? I'm sure you could come up with an example or two.

The people in places like Hutto are there on matter of immigration. Immigration is civil, not criminal law. But it all gets dirtied up by the Department of Homeland Security. Somehow, when Michael Chertoff is involved, human suffering isn't far behind. Something has gone wrong in America. That great obnoxious land of sky's the limit has become that which it professes to hate. They are becoming villains against freedom, breakers of liberty and all in the rapture of sweet terror. Each new sweeping campaign against the mysterious somebody, somewhere, that might mean you harm, excuses a new encroachment on basic freedoms. Dissent is treason. Families are interned. Malkin can sleep well, because somewhere brown children are paying.

A paranoid soul might imagine that everything America ever stood for is being dismantled. Right, left, middle and fringe, America has always been the place that others aspired to, the wild western frontier. A land of laws, rights and freedoms, governed by the will of an informed populace. America has never been perfect but it has often been astounding, even heroic. But now, it is a nation led by small men sick with greed and they are looting the place. I worry about all my friends down there, exercising their freedom. I worry about what the cult of fear might do next. I worry about a little kid that just wants to come home.

Leaving a trail of slime wherever they go ...

Via Liberal Catnip, we learn to our shock and amazement that Stephen Harper and his Harperettes are once again acting like spoiled children, soiling official Government of Canada websites with partisan propaganda.

Yes, raising the issue during question period was clearly the right thing to do but anyone who thinks the CPoC would realize the error of their ways and act with any maturity has clearly not been paying attention. However, the goal here should not be to effect any changes, but simply to start keeping a record because, if the Liberals manage to get their collective shit together (a minor miracle in the making) and win the next election, they'll have a lengthy collection of things on their "Getting Even" list to start working through.

First thing would be to remove that pretentious "Canada's New Government" slogan from all official government web pages, and replace it with something more appropriate. I'm thinking of possibly, "Canada's Adult Government: The Grown-Ups are Back in Charge and We're Dreadfully Sorry About that Nasty Bout of Wingnuttery Back There." Sure it's verbose, but if you use a slightly smaller font, I'm sure it would fit. And if any official GC web pages need photos of the respective party leaders, well I'm guessing that this would work just fine, don't you?

Yeah, if I was a Liberal, I wouldn't be wasting any energy trying to get the current government to act like adults. No, I'd just be watching carefully, and keeping a meticulous log book of every childish abuse of power ... and just waiting for the chance when I had the administrative password for those web pages.

Oh, yes, that's when the fun would begin.

Logic for thee, but not for me.

All right, kids, pay attention 'cuz here's how it works.

When a Republican congressman is revealed as a long-time sexual predator of teenage pages whose stalking of said pages was well-known to his GOP colleagues, it's important to treat this as an isolated incident and to not smear anyone by association.

On the other hand, when an ex-state president of the "liberal" ACLU is charged with possessing child pornography, well ... oh, Christ, do I have to draw you a picture?

OH, JESUS ... is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that those on the Right seem utterly incapable of understanding even the simplest point?

And I'm amused by M@'s observation that Anonymous's comments are being scrutinized carefully by none other than Weasel Boy himself, given that WB is himself a Bible-thumping father of two young children who still appears to have the time to defend a 50-year-old sexual predator since, after all, his targets were of "legal" age so everything's all right then, I guess.

Most of the time, I'm disgusted by the Right, and the only time I'm not is when I decide to be appalled instead. I just need the occasional variety.

Wait ... that sounds vaguely familiar.

Apparently, the National Post's Lorne Gunter has his thong in a knot over the hypocrisy of environmental defenders using electricity and burning fossil fuel. And I, for one, can see his point.

It's sort of like campaigning on a platform of openness and accountability, then arbitrarily breaking your campaign promises for the sake of political expediency after you're elected. Yeah, sort of like that.

Hey ... I'm not retardophobic ...

... I'm just smart-o-centric.

Is Google stalking me or what?

I've mentioned this before, but the tendency for Google to direct people to this site based on almost any search combination is starting to weird me out just a little bit.

From sitemeter, we find that someone Googling on the words "letter to parliament" will get, at the moment, 4,360,000 hits. Guess who's number three? Am I the only one who's seeing this? And it just continues. I mean, I'm sure I'm not the only person to blog on "right wing christian hypocrisy".

And for utterly gratuitous entertainment, you can always Google on "canada wankers". Well, OK, I guess I can be proud of that one.

But the others are still weird.

It's OUTRAGEOUS, I tell you ... OK, where was I?

And in breaking news from Lower Wankerville, right-wing hacks boil over with outrage over a smear campaign against Mitt Romney based on utterly meaningless and irrelevant nonsense, immediately before they return to reminding us how Barack Obama's middle name is "Hussein."

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Suffer the children...

skdadl at pogge points to a post at
verbena that exposes the horrible plight of Kevin, a Canadian child and his family, currently held in a detention center in Texas. The facility is a privately run, for profit, conversion of a maximum security penitentiary. Amy Goodman's interview with Kevin and his father Majid is up at
democracy now.

Pending any sort of charge or action on the part of either the Canadian or American governments, this family is lost in legal limbo. This is where they are being held:

T. Don Hutto Residential Center
1001 Welch St., P.O. Box 1063
Taylor, Texas 76574

Total Beds: 512
Customer Base: Immigration and Customs Enforcement
ACA Accreditation: Yes
Tour Contact: Warden Liles 512-352-3502

A Residential Center indeed. The sort of residence where a Canadian child is kept in a cell and left to languish. The kind of residence where an innocent, Canadian youth develops asthma, sleeps next to an open toilet and waits. Waits for some help. The kind of help that Mr. Peter MacKay might render between rounds of lapping at Ms. Katrina Boots' heels and sharing manly tears with Buddy, the neighbour's absorbent dog. As the child of immigrants and the first of my family born in Canada, I am sickened by what's been done to this family. Perhaps Mr. MacKay might dial the number for Warden Liles, listed above and arrange a tour on the behalf of an unjustly imprisoned Canadian child, on behalf of Canada. He could even invite Condi to join him, it would be like a second date.

It seems, from the company's web site, that CCA has been running private detention facilities for 20 years. All evidence would indicate that in George Bush's America, they are indeed at the forefront of a booming growth industry. One thing I found deeply weird is what looks like the irradiation of the prisoner and guard in the graphic at the top of their page. Creepy shit.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement site paints a rather glowing picture of a family friendly facility. Somethig that struck me was this:

"The facility includes three large shaded pavilions outdoors and spacious outdoor play areas."

If that is so, why is it that during the telephone interview with Amy Goodman, the boy says this?

"Kevin says: “I want to be free. I want go to outside. I want to go home to Canada.”

I want to go outside. The kid is nine. It's one thing to have spacious play areas. It's another thing to let kids use them.

That boy is every bit as Canadian as I am. He was born here and this is the only home he has ever known. His parents had fled Iran, seeking asylum in Canada. In December of 2005, they were deported by Canada and returned to Iran. In Iran they were imprisoned, abused and threatened. Fearing for their lives, they once again fled. A case like this shines a light on the central lie of the far right. These are the very people that they pretend to support. These are the people that want to see change in the rule and regime of a nation that we are told threatens our freedoms. These are the allies that we need and must support if there is to be substantive and positive change in the balance of power in the middle east. These are the very fucking people that the right claims that we need to fight endless, bloody war to liberate.

If everything that the far right proclaims about the brutality of Iran is true. Then should this young family be returned there, they will surely perish. These are people fleeing a repressive regime. They have fallen into the clutches of another repressive regime. The American government has committed a crime against this Canadian child and his parents, refugees from a sworn enemy. The circumstance of their abduction is both chilling and repugnant, it smacks of institutional racism.

Why is it, that only one family, on a Canadian airline with no U.S. stops or destinations, is detained for failure to produce a visa? The flight made an emergency landing in Puerto Rico, after a passenger fell ill. Why would any passenger on that flight have a visa for the United States? Why were they not all detained for failure to produce such papers? Why has our neighbour and ally abducted and imprisoned a Canadian child? I would like to see some answers and a response from the Canadian Government. I will be writing my letter to Mr. MacKay in a moment. I urge you to write to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and demand that Kevin be brought home, that his family's request for asylum be revisited.

You can write to Mr. MacKay here:

You can smell the jealousy from here.

Yeah, that's right, you only wish.

Yesterday's statement are ... uh ... inoperative.

It seems like just yesterday:

Bush denies preparing attack against Iran

George W. Bush on Friday sought to deny widespread rumours his administration was preparing some kind of military action against Iran. Mr Bush confirmed a report in Friday’s Washington Post that he had authorised US troops to shoot and kill Iranian operatives in Iraq, but denied this was a prelude to stronger action.

What a difference a month makes:

Israel seeks all clear for Iran air strike

Israel is negotiating with the United States for permission to fly over Iraq as part of a plan to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

To conduct surgical air strikes against Iran's nuclear programme, Israeli war planes would need to fly across Iraq. But to do so the Israeli military authorities in Tel Aviv need permission from the Pentagon.

Don't you just love semantics?

I'd kill it but it's already dead.

Yeah, uh ... about that Victory Caucus thing? I'm pretty sure we won't have them to kick around much longer.

Poor wankers ... we hardly knew ye.

Don't interrupt the Blogging Tories while they're busy ignoring reality.

And while the growing scandal of veterans' medical care down south continues to snowball, well, you won't read about that anywhere over at the Blogging Tories. 'Cuz that's uncomfortable reality, and the Blogging Tories don't do uncomfortable reality.

On the other hand, if you want to know about David Suzuki's tour bus, well, they are all over that baby. Priorities, ya know.

BONUS TRACK: Here's something else you won't find over at the Blogging Tories. They're still obsessing over that tour bus, you know.

Brace yourself ... right-wing humour is back.

And just when you've finally recovered from the stomach-churning, intellectual colonic that is "The America Show," well ... God help us, it just gets worse.

AFTERSNARK: From that post, this might well be the paragraph of the year:

Comedy is truth, truth is reality, and if "Reality has a well-known liberal bias" for now, anyway, you just have to suck that up if your job is the funny. One party has boring, earnest junior Senators with competing health plans running for President. The other party has the guy in charge of fighting child pornography online soliciting minors online, a Senator who talked about "man on dog" action, a State Representative who doesn't believe the Earth revolves around the Sun, and a Vice-President who won on an anti-gay platform with a gay daughter who's pregnant with another woman's child, which may be why he shot a dude in the face. Nobody's fault Fate dealt one player the "goofy" cards for the last few hands.

Reality has a well-known liberal bias. And being hideously unfunny has a similarly well-known conservative bias. Doesn't that just explain a whole lot?

What IS it with conservatives and farm animals?

Jeebus. Just when you were getting over this, along comes this.

Has anyone mentioned this to Rick Santorum?

It's showdown time at the Crawford corral.

September 15, 2006:

And that's the way I will continue to conduct the war. I'll listen to generals.

December 21, 2006:

The debate over sending more U.S. troops to Iraq intensified yesterday as President Bush signaled that he will listen but not necessarily defer to balky military officers ...

January 18, 2007:

Retired Army Generals Criticize Bush's Iraq Plan

February 25, 2007:

US generals ‘will quit’ if Bush orders Iran attack

SOME of America’s most senior military commanders are prepared to resign if the White House orders a military strike against Iran, according to highly placed defence and intelligence sources.

I believe this is the classic example of the irresistible, militarily-experienced force meeting the immovable, mentally-retarded object.

I believe popcorn is in order.

What is wrong with this picture?

From this piece in the Boston Herald, we have:

... soldiers are housed in deteriorated conditions of mold, mice infestations and disrepair. Facilities for amputees are inadequate. Depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome are often overlooked. Nightmarish paperwork stymies even the most aggressive ... I found a soldier without his legs sent in four different directions for four forms over the course of a day. His exhausted wife, near tears, was pushing him in a wheelchair through ice.

and we have this (emphasis added):

In recent days, the commander at Walter Reed, Maj. Gen. George Weightman, and the Army’s surgeon general, Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, have been all over TV, saying the problems at the facility are being fixed and that they are “extremely proud” of the work their staffs are doing.

I'm guessing that these people are using a definition of "extremely proud" with which I am unfamiliar.

TODAY'S CC READER CHALLENGE: I realize it's almost childishly unfair but, given the Blogging Tories' slavish devotion to, and unbounded adoration for, the Bush administration and its vacuous "support the troops" rhetoric, can anyone find an example of a Blogging Tory that's expressed even a moderate amount of outrage over any of the above?

BONUS TRACK: Jesus' General shows the true depth of the Right's concern.

DOUBLE PLUS GOOD BONUS SNARK: As moderator "Miss Ladybug" over at the Victory Caucus chides commenter "Concerned Man":

However upsetting this might be, [the conditions at Walter Reed are not] part of the Mission of The Victory Caucus. Please refrain from posting topics not addressing our Mission or Beliefs.

Which sounds eminently reasonable until one actually reads the VC's Mission and Beliefs page (emphasis gleefully added):

Our Beliefs
We support the troops, and those organizations which assist the wounded in their recoveries and support the families of those who sacrificed everything.

Ooooooh ... that must be embarrassing.

And remember ... you didn't hear it from me.

Via a commenter from over at Hairy Fishnuts, we follow the links to learn that it can be a real bitch for Americans to visit Canada these days:

"People say, 'I've been going to Canada for 20 years and never had a problem,' '' Lesperance says. "It's classic. I say, 'Well, you've been getting away with it for 20 years.' ''

A prior record has always made it difficult to cross the border. What you probably didn't know was that, as the Canadian Consulate's Web site says, "Driving while under the influence of alcohol is regarded as an extremely serious offense in Canada.''

Damned right. So it would be a wee bit embarrassing if something like, oh, this were to become common knowledge, wouldn't it?

Because if we allow stupid, irresponsible, alcoholic, war-mongering Republican war criminals into this country, the terrorists will have won.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

shorter dick cheney

when dick cheney comes to visit, drops a shit in your sink and says he baked you a cheesecake, he expects you to taste it and tell him how rich it is.

inspired by an ap article at huffpo, he even calls iraq a "wonderful achievement". breathtaking.

Gilliard hospitalized.

A quick word before I get ready to run a first draft of the video script past the boss. One of my favourite blogs is the newsblog. Steve Gilliard is a brilliant writer and analyst. His coverage of the Iraq war is informed by his deep understanding of military history. While I occasionally disagree with Steve, I always learn something during my daily stop at his door.

Steve is in the hospital suffering from what sounds like a severe respiratory infection. In the meantime, his co-blogger, Jen, is scrambling to keep the place up and running. Steve blogs full time. I don't know the state of his health coverage, but I do know that an overnight in an American ICU will put a dent in his wallet.

Please show your support for one of the very brightest and most outspoken stalwarts of the leftward blogiverse. Take a swing by the newsblog and notice the paypal button. If you can spare it, throw some love that way. If you can't afford it, spend fifteen minutes clicking the ad links.

Get well soon Steve.

And while your there, show some love to Jen in the comments. She's working her butt off to look after Gillie, the blog and her own world too.

Much love from Canada.

Your daily Wankerpedia™.

This has potential for endless entertainment. How about:


A pagan is someone who beleives [sic] in false gods.

I can't wait for the entry on Ted Haggard. They could just save time and use this one.

How to stand out in a crowd.

Well, sure, hundreds of thousands of blogs are currently wetting themselves with laughter over the right-wing dumbfuckitude that is the Wankerpedia™, but we made the short list.

Saturday kat blogging.

"I'm sorry ... were you going somewhere?"

Gosh, Grandma ... what impressive moral relativism you have.

It's not like I should even have to point this out but, what the hell. When the topic was same-sex marriage, Canada's depressing collection of wankers couldn't get enough of that precious Charter of Rights and Freedoms:

Recently there has been a great deal of criticism for the Conservative government for even contemplating legislation to protect religious freedom in Canada. This is rather surprising considering that religious freedom is "guaranteed" as a "fundamental freedom" in section 2(a) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Even the opposition parties have lined up against this. Don't they believe in the Charter? Are they opposed to human rights?

Yes, when it's a matter of protecting religious freedom to discriminate, that Charter is a wanker's bestest friend, isn't it?

On the other hand, when that very same Charter is used to protect the rights of other people, well, you can see the ugly result for yourself:

For the second time in a week the Liberal elites in this country provided aid & comfort to those who wish us harm all in the interest of maintaining slavish devotion to that damn charter.

Canada's wankersphere: Always ready to give you their opinion on the Charter, but only after you explain the context first.

See, here's one of the subtle differences.

  • Progressive blogger Verbena-19:

    I am asking ALL Canadians who care about human rights and social justice to PLEASE CONTACT OUR FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER, PETER MacKAY about the ordeal of the nine-year-old Canadian boy who is being held at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor Texas!

  • The Blogging Tories:


I imagine the Blogging Tories would be all over this story if they weren't so busy being pro-family and caring about the children. It's a tough job, being pro-family and caring about the children. Really cuts into your time for actually, you know, doing stuff for families and children.

It's funny how that works.

Intellectual relativism, as it were.

See, here's how it works. When a poll shows Stephen Harper's Republican Party leading the Liberals (in many cases by only a couple percentage points), there is, of course, much rejoicing and cheesecake eating in the Canadian dumbass-o-sphere.

On the other hand, when an overwhelming majority of Canadians suggest that they actually care about civil liberties, well, that only proves that 70.43% of Canadians are idiots.

Tune in tomorrow when Frank checks the news and decides on the spur of the moment whether he likes polls again.

The irony is almost lethal.

Not content with just sitting at the children's table, Werner Patels decides to amble over and shriek at the grown-ups because he wants some attention:

Dumbass comment by leftie

This is the "dumbest post of the day": ...

Canadian Cynic raises this question in response to some of the opinions expressed about today's stupidity of our incompetent Supreme Court judges.

The question should be rephrased as follows:

"Why do the Supreme Court judges, the Liberals and so many people who have gone soft in the brain hate Canada, but love and coddle terrorists?"

Note how Werner insists on keeping the conversation civil and mature by tagging his post with (among other things) "corrupt judges" and "lunatic fringe."

Note also how Werner's first commenter, Lance, upbraids him and tries to actually educate him. And note how Werner has the gall to, while the CPoC is currently running things, describe the left as wanting to "dismantle our country, society and culture wholesale." Um ... right.

Thanks for playing, Werner. Now, if you wouldn't mind tottering off back to the kids' table, we adults have some grown-up things to talk about. You wouldn't be interested.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Any excuse for a party.

Yee. Ha.

By way of celebration, there will be cheesecake. And in the spirit of the adorably subservient women at REAL Women of Canada, it's the chicks' job to provide it.

Dig in.

Dear Mike: Buh-bye.

I don't care how well you write -- anyone who requires a login just to read their blog doesn't last long on my blogroll.

Why do the Blogging Tories hate Canada?

You know, you'd think that one of the things that makes Canada such an international role model is that, as a country, we have an inherent and fundamental sense of fairness and justice. You know, sort of like this:

The Supreme Court of Canada has struck down the security certificate system used by the federal government to detain and deport foreign-born terrorist suspects.

In a 9-0 judgment handed down Friday, the court found that the system, described by the government as a key tool for safeguarding national security, violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms...

The court said while it might not be arbitrary to detain the suspects in the first instance, it's arbitrary to continue the detention without a review for such a long time, she said.

You'd think it would be hard to argue against a fundamental civil right like this:

The court said the men, who are accused of having ties to al-Qaeda, have the right to see and respond to evidence against them.

You'd think that ... unless you were a Blogging Tory.

  • Socialist Gulag: "For the second time in a week the Liberal elites in this country provided aid & comfort to those who wish us harm all in the interest of maintaining slavish devotion to that damn charter."

  • Civitatensis: "Friends of Osama?"

  • Canadian Blue Lemons: "Who will rid us of these pestilent priests and protectors of the enemies of our society?"

  • Dr. Roy: " Canadians are less safe today thanks to the fiberals and the fiberal supreme court."

  • mesopotamia west: "Court in Bed with Terrorism."

Tune in next week when the same people who are utterly indifferent to perpetual incarceration based on secret evidence explain how gay marriage is a horrifying and intolerable affront to their civil rights.

Fun with Wankerpedia™.

And over at Pharyngula, the fun just goes on and on and on ...

CC READER CHALLENGE: Find the most absurd "fact" in Wankerpedia™. Via Jon Swift, we can use this as a baseline:

Like all modern animals, modern kangaroos originated in the Middle East and are the descendants of the two founding members of the modern kangaroo baramin that were taken aboard Noah's Ark prior to the Great Flood. It has not yet been determined whether kangaroos form a holobarmin with the wallaby, tree-kangaroo, wallaroo, pademelon and quokka, or if all these species are in fact apobaraminic or polybaraminic.

After the Flood, kangaroos bred from the Ark passengers migrated to Australia. There is debate whether this migration happened over land -- as Australia was still for a time connected to the Middle East before the supercontinent of Pangea broke apart -- or if they rafted on mats of vegetation torn up by the receding flood waters.

Top that, suckas.

The similarities are starting to creep me out in a big way.

As the days go by, I'm starting to see less and less difference. There's this:

Vice President Dick Cheney refused Friday to take back his charge that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's opposition to President Bush's Iraq war buildup is playing into the hands of the al-Qaida terrorist network.

And there's George Bush's north-of-the-border sock puppet, who seems incapable of even the most basic original thought:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper refused to apologize on Thursday after sparking an uproar in the House of Commons a day earlier when he seemed to imply the Liberals were voting against extending two provisions of the anti-terrorism law to protect one of their MPs.

Can we just have Harper cross the floor to join the Republicans and get this charade over with?

I wish I could take the credit ...

Well, sure, it's always nice to read stuff like this from Jennifer:

Another thing that makes me happy is my new favorite blog. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:

The Canadian Cynic.

Except that, given Jennifer's areas of interest, I'm going to assume she's really referring to PSA's recent articles on things like ACTRA. And that's cool, too. A little something for everyone, that's what I always say. And "Stephen Harper is a lying weasel." I always say that, too. But that's not quite as relevant in this situation, is it?

In any event, drop by Jennifer's site and say hello. It's the polite thing to do.

Stephen Harper: Learning well from his Republican masters.

Give PM Stephen Harper credit -- he's a quick study:

But Harper, who was accompanied by family members of victims of the Air India bombings into question period Thursday, ...

If that sounds vaguely familiar, well, it should:

In the fine tradition of George W. Bush standing under the "Mission Accomplished" sign, or any one of the Katrina backdrops (where no expense was spared to bring power to an area for a photo op, and then just as quickly cut off), we now have the head of the NRCC, Tom Reynolds, using small prop children as set decoration in a press conference devoted to the topic of…yes, predatory online sexual solicitation of minors.

Stephen Harper: a credit to his GOP handlers. I'm guessing another gold star is already in the mail.

In other news, Satan was seen ice skating to work.

And in the third installment of the National Post's series on bidirectional religious conversions, we have a quite reasonable accounting from Christian-turned-atheist Michael O'Shaughnessy, which can mean only that we have one day before we get to read a representative sample of angry, spittle-flecked submissions to the letters section from the outraged devout.

Let the paralogia begin. Wingnuts, start your engines.

The Stupidpedia! It BURNS!

Chester also has some fun with the Conservapedia.

REAL Women of Canada: When evolution drops the ball.

Via Dave over at TGB, we learn how the rest of the animal kingdom works:

"Although tool use is known to occur in species ranging from naked mole rats [1] to owls [2], chimpanzees are the most accomplished tool users [3, 4, 5]. The modification and use of tools during hunting, however, is still considered to be a uniquely human trait among primates. Here, we report the first account of habitual tool use during vertebrate hunting by nonhumans."

When Pruetz and Bertolani were making their observations they discovered something even more amazing. While all the chimps hunted as a group, it was the females who selected the branch of a tree, trimmed it, sharpened it into a spear and then employed it as a weapon. The scientists have a reason for that. The females, being smaller and less powerful than the males, have employed a technical device to allow them to compete equally with the hunting males. In short, because the females do not possess the physical strength of male chimps, they use their brains to a greater degree than the males.

In short, the female chimps make up for their comparative lack of size and strength by being smarter, as opposed to REAL Women of Canada, who make up for their comparative lack of size and strength with their superior talent for incessant nagging and whiny insistence on male superiority.

REAL Women of Canada: When you can only aspire to the level of biological evolution of chimpanzees but, you never know, maybe there's still hope.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Imagine, if you will, a turbulent summer. Heat and tempers rise, a fractious Quebec election erupts in violence. People are injured, some seriously. The streets fill with protestors, there are clashes with police, several officers and more people are hurt. A woman in the custody of security forces is raped and serially sexually assaulted by officers.

Despite the obvious stress and the physical and emotional trauma, she comes forward. Brutalized and violated, she summons the courage to file a charge. Despite the stigma of shame in the eyes of her family, her community, her church. It is difficult enough to prosecute a faceless assailant, a stranger. To accuse the very authorities, honour bound to serve and to protect, must be sheer terror. These are armed men, organized and powerful and possessed of great access and resources.

Imagine the chill sense of dread in the hearts of your wives, sisters and daughters in every step they take beyond the shelter of a locked door. Imagine the hesitation of trust as public guardians stand accused, the potential for violent reprisals looms and public outrage mounts. Then imagine that within fouteen hours of the news hitting, the Prime Minister, the leader of the nation, dismisses all charges outright. He goes on to call the woman a liar and a criminal. He promises to reward the men accused of gang rape.

Imagine that.

Fourteen hours after the report of a violent crime, the fucking Prime Minister has parachuted in. He's collected all of the pertinent evidence, documenting, securing and verifying chain of custody. Because the charges are quite serious, he puts a rush on the forensic work-up. Hell, if you want something done right, do it yourself. So he takes the lead, DNA samples are gathered to match against saliva, semen, blood or lies. The clock is ticking. Thorough interviews are conducted with both accuser and accused. It's almost lunch, the Prime Minister skips lunch and finishes his dissertation to become a forensic psychologist. Tiring somewhat, he takes a thirty second nap.

Leaping into the afternoon, he curses the DNA machinery, too damn slow. He takes out his sliderule and redsigns the software on the fly, coding with a Sinclair because it's cute. While the code executes, he reviews all of the interviews from memory because playback is too slow. By dinner the DNA results begin to come in. He pauses to relax for a few minutes, reading a few dozen books on case law and dining on a single grape (wouldn't want to over-stimulate). Finally, as his day draws to a close he testifies before himself and hands down his verdict, case dismissed. What a great fucking Prime Minister that would be. Isn't democracy grand? You can really smell the freedom, it smells just like mayhem.

Dear neo-cons: Is that your final answer?

What's wrong with this picture?

A WAR of words erupted between Vice President Dick Cheney and the top Democrat in Congress today after Cheney said lawmakers opposing a US troop buildup in Iraq "validate the al Qaeda strategy."


On a visit to Tokyo, Mr Cheney hailed British Prime Minister Tony Blair's announcement of a timetable for withdrawing forces from Iraq, calling it a sign of progress.

Think hard ... it'll come to you.

Chickenhawk ... chickenshit ...

... what's the difference?

: Don't forget this creepy perspective on young chickenhawk Republicans from back in 2004. Profiles in pants-wetting cowardice, the lot of them.

turds in place of a rose

at 86 years of age, helen thomas is a living legend. bane of presidents and other fools, she has been in the front row of the white house briefing room since kennedy's presidency. with the redesign of the media room, it appears that helen is going to lose her seat to cable. considering what passes for journalism these days, i suppose it's only fitting that the front row adds some fluffers and light weights to the ranks. gannon is gone but he's not forgotten.

fox and cnn are campaigning to move up front, feeling that the extra leg room will burnish their prestige. after all, ad sales indicate that they have what has come to represent gravitas, revenue. under a regime that has pounded words like tradition and values into a meaningless paste, you can't be too surprised. helen thomas has been in the front row not simply because of seniority but because of merit. the deference and respect she is accorded by her peers and by successive administrations has been well earned. she isn't just the beloved senior scribe, she's the last true voice of the fourth estate in the room.

helen thomas has never shied away from asking the difficult questions and pursuing press secretaries for answers. in a time of war, with an administration mired in corruption, profiteering, war crimes and torture while staging a full scale assault on the constitution, her leadership is more important than ever. she is the last wolf in room full of sheep. in a recent press event, tony snow and a few others of the self-congratulatory set whined about the bloggers, those wannabe pretenders. david gregory, he of the occasional spine, and a few others puffed up their chests to demean emerging media. as i'm sure the old farts of the news rooms sneared at radio and then at television.

what they are failing to grasp is that, like helen thomas, the blogs are willing to ask the more challenging questions and fight for answers. sure, the blogosphere is a partisan pit of delusions, agendas and basement dwellers but i defy the traditional media to best the coverage that the plame, libby, shooter affair has received at firedog lake. hell, during the libby trial the firedogs were in the courthouse with full accreditation, live blogging the proceedings. they have become a principal source for the very same mainstream media that poo-poos the blogs.

granted, few blogs have the skills and expertise amassed at firedog lake. but then, how many papers, beyond the big nationals, can arrange full-time analysis by a team of former prosecutors, defense attorneys, psychologists and lay experts? to be sure, blogs are generally partisan. two words: fox news. at a recent press event starring president swagger britches, the white house press played patty cake until one brave soul asked a legitimate question and followed up. he was given the bush treatment, mockery and snot. how did the noble beltway fawns react? they chuckled along with his imperial shrubness. the questions died of neglect. the modern press, exposed as access whoring shills by the testimony of russert in the libby trial, have betrayed the example of courage set by helen thomas. they have failed their profession and most notably their public duty, to demand answers from the political establishment.


my output will be limited over the next week as i have picked up a gig scripting a music video. more on that later.

The dumbing down of the already dumb.

Via PZ Myers, we discover Wikipedia for the hard of thinking.

HEAD-SHAKING AFTERSNARK: Perhaps the funniest thing about the Conservapedia is how it takes the single redeeming feature of the Wikipedia ... and junks it.

The Wikipedia has its flaws, of course, the major one being that it's susceptible to contributors with a political or ideological axe to grind. But as long as there are contributors and readers to watch for that sort of thing, the idea is that extreme and dishonest submissions from both sides will get weeded out eventually, and the content of the Wikipedia should (theoretically, of course) approach something at least marginally resembling objective reality.

Which is why it's so amusing that the founders of the Conservapedia have taken this single example of self-correcting behaviour and thrown it away, turning that web site into the most outrageous example of a hermetically sealed echo chamber imaginable.

It's hard to imagine a more self-defeating project -- trying to design an online knowledge base that, right up front, admits that it has an inherent ideological bias.

I'm not sure whether to be amused or horrified. Maybe I'll go for a little of both.

The National Post and religion: I think our job here is done.

Thomas Huxley once said, "Life is too short to occupy oneself with the slaying of the slain more than once," which suggests that beating up on the National Post's new series on religious enlightenment is an exercise in exquisite redundancy.

Having opened with an apparent attempt to be even-handed ("Have you found religion? Or lost it?"), is anyone surprised by today's sophomoric, comic book-level installment? Here, let me save you the trouble of reading the whole thing:

In today's instalment, Bruce Dean writes about finding God after a motorcycle accident that almost killed him ... caused me to doubt my faith. That doubt would disappear when tragedy struck at the age of 25 ... passenger on a motorcycle ... struck by an impaired driver ... lying in the field for some time ... began praying to God ... newfound faith was strengthened in the weeks following ... During my time in coma, God held me close ... vision of rising from my bed and being guided by an unseen and unheard source ... path was often difficult and frustrating. But it was a path I believed was paved by God. The faith I'd questioned throughout my youth has returned. And never again will I allow myself to question it.

There, I just saved you several minutes of your life you'd never be able to get back. Oh, wait ... I almost forgot this delightful nugget:

Bruce Dean is a member of the Family Coalition Party of Ontario,

How about that? And you thought this series was to allow regular folks to share their stories, when it's actually free publicity for right-wing propaganda mills like the Family Coalition Party. Silly you.

If the National Post really wants your opinion, I'm sure they'll ask you for it.

P.S. In case you're keeping track, that Post series is now; religious deliciousness: 2, non-religious, God-hating humanists: 0. Which suggests that, for the sake of fairness, it's time for the Post to present a story going the other way, ideally from a disillusioned, disenchanted, bitter, baby-killing and (dare I say it?) cynical atheist, presented of course in the worst possible light.

It's a "fair and balanced" thing, you know.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Oh, screw the troops already.

This should be the final nail in that whole right-wing "we support the troops" bullshit.

The National Post and religious journalism: Dumb and dumber.

Oh, man ... talk about comedic potential:

Have you found religion? Or lost it? If so, the Post Comment section wants to hear your story. In a series beginning today, Faith: Lost and Found, we are publishing the tales of readers whose life-experiences have imbued them with a belief in a higher power --or taken that faith away.

Why, sure, and what better outlet to present a fair and balanced perspective on both sides of the religion issue than Canada's answer to The Drudge Report? I suspect this opening salvo should tell us everything we need to know, as author McCloskey leaves no doubt which side of the fence he's on:

The article described how [Northrop] Frye came to grips with the death of his beloved wife of many years. He began by mentioning the fact that, in 1936, before his academic life began, the author was ordained a United Church minister.

Yet he admitted that during his entire life he had never had faith. Even as the author of the monumental The Great Code: the Bible and Literature, Frye hadn't believed in God. It seems that, for most of his life, he was content to consider all matters of faith as academic.

Yet after his wife died, Frye could no longer sustain an academic distance from his own life. Though he had a masterpiece on the Bible to his credit, on the question of God he now felt the need to go deeper. So he put his giant intellectual motor to work.

What he could not accept was that his wife of a lifetime -- what she had meant to him, the essence of her -- could be reduced to simply a collection of cells that had once lived and were now dead. And since this belief was his strongest impulse, it followed that he must believe that she continued to live in some way. And if this latter belief was really stronger than his former academic belief, he reasoned that this was faith, perhaps not in the accepted pure sense of the word, but what he saw as a negative faith--a default faith.

It was an epiphany. If Northrop Frye believed that the concept of negative faith had merit, that was good enough for me.

After a lifetime of guilt for what I had not been able to believe, Frye's revelation was a welcome relief. Negative faith may not be a fulfilling form of faith -- because it means never really knowing the things we long to know, such as the nature of God and the afterlife.

Well, that is a revelation, isn't it? A religious "faith" based on nothing more than the fact that it makes you feel better. How enlightening. How educational. How ... how ... Church of Scientology, or a hundred other spiritual scams.

And as for any potential fair and balanced, well, let's let McCloskey end the suspense right now, shall we?

But I'll take negative faith with an open mind over the fraudulence of an atheist's claim to knowing what can never be known.

Well, how about that? One wonders what's left to say in the rest of this series? On the one hand, we have the uplifting, emotionally satisfying value of "negative faith" based on nothing more than adorably infantile wishful thinking while, in the opposite corner, we have the closed-minded, fraudulent, intellectual dishonesty of atheism -- at least in the opinion of someone who's so mind-numbingly, jaw-droppingly fucking stupid, he doesn't even know what the word "atheism" means.

I can't wait to read the rest of this series. I always enjoy it when other people make me feel really, really smart.

P.S. If you don't understand the term "atheism," well, let me help you out. And if you still don't understand after reading that, please, for the sake of all of us, don't come back here and whine about it. Just accept that you're too dumb and move on. It'll make life easier for us all.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Barefoot and pregnant ... yeah, that's the ticket.

Via Robert McClelland, we find this revealing exchange:

[NDP] MP Irene Mathyssen: I wonder, do you think that equal pay for work of equal value is a laudable goal?

[REAL Women's] Ms. Gwendolyn Landolt
: No, it’s a feminist concept. We do not agree with that.

Mrs. Irene Mathyssen
: You talked about professionals in Canada, women having reached professional status. Were you aware that even in female-dominated professions in Canada, women still make less on average than their male counterparts?

Ms. Gwendolyn Landolt
: Yes. And do you know why that is? Because women work differently from men.

Ignore, if you will, why an MP is wasting her time and energy on a right-wing dingbat like Landolt. Rather, imagine the hilarity that would ensue if Mathyssen introduced a private member's bill to (in accord with Landolt's anti-feminism) reduce all female Conservative MP's salaries to, say, 75% of their male counterparts, and all those "anti-feminist" CPoC MPs suddenly decided that Landolt was a screeching loon and they didn't want anything to do with her.

Man, I'd pay to watch that.

a river run red

We hear the woeful cries of those that squat and gobble, how we never see the good news from Iraq. They tell us that the media conspires against dear leader's noble cause. That it's freedom we hate and defeat that we crave. With chubby little fingers they point and they snide at every honest question as an attack from inside. Critical thought is for traitors and the truth is a whore, caught sleeping with the enemy in a time of illegal war. With every bit of venom in their snot crusted souls, they spin and they smear and they gild their sweet lies. To dissent is to give comfort, aid and succour to our foes. How dare we not confirm to what they pretend to know?

With fairy tales and yellow cake and never ending war, the pig folk gorge on spilling blood and squeal, they must have more. There can never be a substitute for the self righteous lust for death. Because pure failure is just victory that hasn't been declared. We're there to free those that they vilify, with every conservative breath. So salute the flag, support the troops and turn your backs on the wounded in want of care. Since when did we close the rape rooms, since when did the torture come to an end?

Riverbend alway makes me cry. This is the news we aren't hearing out of Iraq. These are the unvarnished stories from life on the ground in Iraq. Ruin and chaos, loss and fear painted in blood red, ghost white and corpse blue.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Blogging Tories and crickets: Part deux.

Having slashed funding to various social programs for allegedly not being cost-effective (or something like that), we read via My Blahg that Stevie Boy's Cons are in full pre-election, "spend like a drunken sailor" mode, to the point where even their regular supporters are starting to get a bit creeped out:

It's got small-c conservatives like John Williamson, director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, griping that the Conservatives have put on the backburner their commitments to paying down debt and broad-based tax relief.

"When it comes to spending and making announcements, the `new' government looks an awful lot like the old government," Williamson says.

He says the government has failed to keep its promises on two counts: it is not reining in spending growth, and it is "spending down the surplus" just as the Liberals used to do.

Which brings us to this week's CC reader challenge: be the first one on your block to find a Blogging Tory who dares criticize Dear Leader and his blatant attempt to buy votes. Remember, these are the same people who would be howling with blood-lust if a Liberal government were doing it. So ... who's going to be first Blogging Tory to stun and amaze us all and show some actual fiscal principle?

Call now -- the lines are open and operators are standing by.

"Whoops, I see we're all out of time here, darn it."

If there's one thing that distinguishes the Blogging Tories from, well, sane human beings, it's their jaw-dropping ability to be so biased, it's a fucking miracle they don't just fall over sideways.

Exhibit A would be one Jonathan Strong, who gets bent completely out of shape over a poor choice of words by one Barack Obama:

In his first major slip-up, Barack Hussein Obama labeled the lives of soldiers who have been killed in Iraq "wasted". Barack quickly caught himself and said that soldiers who give their lives are never wasted.

And what conclusion does Jonathan draw from this? The obvious one, of course:

The fact is, Democrats loathe the military and most are pacifists who oppose war in any circumstance.

Now, keeping in mind Jonathan's obvious outrage over a matter of words, let's drop by AmericaBlog, where John and company are running a whole slew of articles, exposing the horrific treatment of America's veterans by the Bush administration. Just start at the top and start scrolling -- it won't take long to get the general idea.

So one can ask the obvious question -- if Jonathan is this infuriated by simple words, what can we expect to hear from him regarding the appalling treatment of disabled veterans by the GOP? Here, let me open the bidding -- nothing. Because to hacks like Jonathan, "support the troops" is a convenient catchphrase, to be pulled out only to beat Democrats with. It has nothing to do with actually, you know, supporting troops.

Or hadn't you noticed yet?

A COUPLE MORE SWIFT BOOTS TO THE NADS: It's almost cruel, but let's expose Jonathan for the sleazy, dishonest wank that he is, shall we?

First, he demonstrates his immaturity by referring to Obama with his full name, "Barack Hussein Obama." Gosh, Jonathan, that's so adorable -- making sure people notice that Obama has the middle name of "Hussein." You know, that was marginally entertaining the first 2,000 times a right-wing hack wrote it. Now, it's getting really old, know what I mean? Even 8-year-olds can figure out when a joke is getting stale. But that's not the best part.

Jonathan also writes:

This is the typical damage control done by Democrats. Just like John Kerry saying that if you don't go to school you end up in Iraq.

Except that anyone who paid even half attention to that controversy knows exactly what Kerry was trying to say, and it's only lying, dishonest hacks like Jonathan who, to this day, insist on deliberately misunderstanding it.

And as for Jonathan's deluded fantasy that all Democrats hate the military ...

And from the Blogging Tories ... ***crickets***.

Gosh, it wasn't that long ago that the Blogging Tory wank-o-sphere was abuzz with an Ottawa Citizen column by one Randall Denley, proclaiming that Stephane Dion was "unfit to lead this country."

Yes, you could barely turn around without one of the BTs joyfully linking to a hit piece on Dion by someone they'd almost certainly never heard of before but no matter -- if someone said something bad about Dion, well, it must be true. And there was much rejoicing in Wankerville.

Fast forward to this piece in that very same Ottawa Citizen, which takes one Stephen Harper to task, using such delightful phrases as "debased", "sour contempt", "petulant" and "vitriolic partisanship." Yes, that would be our Stevie, all right, and from the BTs we hear ... a deafening silence.

The Blogging Tories: When you absolutely, positively need to avoid half of reality all of the time.

Canada's New Government

Doing away with Canadian innovation.

Sadly, that adorable amputee novelty has a shelf life.

Once upon a time, being a war amputee had its perks:

President Bush took a jog Tuesday with a soldier who lost part of both legs in Iraq, following through on a bedside promise even the president had doubts about at the time.

Despite a slight drizzle, Bush and Staff Sgt. Christian Bagge took a slow jog around a spongy track that circles the White House's South Lawn. About halfway through their approximately half-mile run, Bush and Bagge paused briefly for reporters.

"He ran the president into the ground, I might add," Bush said, as the two gripped hands in an emotional, lengthy shake. "But I'm proud of you. I'm proud of your strength, proud of your character."

Nowadays, eh ... that whole amputee attraction is wearing kinda thin.

Perks and stardom do not come to every amputee. Sgt. David Thomas, a gunner with the Tennessee National Guard, spent his first three months at Walter Reed with no decent clothes; medics in Samarra had cut off his uniform. Heavily drugged, missing one leg and suffering from traumatic brain injury, David, 42, was finally told by a physical therapist to go to the Red Cross office, where he was given a T-shirt and sweat pants. He was awarded a Purple Heart but had no underwear.

David tangled with Walter Reed's image machine when he wanted to attend a ceremony for a fellow amputee, a Mexican national who was being granted U.S. citizenship by President Bush. A case worker quizzed him about what he would wear. It was summer, so David said shorts. The case manager said the media would be there and shorts were not advisable because the amputees would be seated in the front row.

" 'Are you telling me that I can't go to the ceremony 'cause I'm an amputee?' " David recalled asking. "She said, 'No, I'm saying you need to wear pants.' "

David told the case worker, "I'm not ashamed of what I did, and y'all shouldn't be neither." When the guest list came out for the ceremony, his name was not on it.

Yes, missing limbs can be a downer, but look on the bright side -- they're going to need somebody for that next presidential photo-op. Why not you?

Accountability and transparency, sure. Loyalty? Not so much.

Courtesy of Dave from TGB in the comments section back here, we are reminded of the ongoing saga of CPoC MP Jeff Watson (emphasis tail-waggingly added):

A bitter rift among local Conservatives who battled for 46 years to capture the Essex riding has led to a drive to oust MP Jeff Watson.

Two party members say they want to challenge Watson at a nomination meeting prior to the next election.

The protracted dispute that has brought the potential challengers forward became public when one of Watson's former campaign volunteers, Nick Kouvalis, was charged and recently acquitted of threatening to kill the MP.

Don't you miss when the Conservatives just settled for calling people "whores?" And that was at least someone from a different party.

Yeah, those were the good old days.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

i read your mail today, oh boy...

be afraid, be very afraid.

i'm not a lawyer. i've had the blood tests, i can prove it. crooks & liars points at this piece of legislation headed for the floors of congress:

"Internet Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today's Youth Act (SAFETY) of 2007 (Introduced in House) HR 837 IH"

the sexual exploitation of children can be summed up in three words: deeply evil madness. something is very wrong with people who are sexually attracted to children. children are the sacred people. we, individually and as communities, are duty and honour bound to protect children from harm and exploitation.

and while i don't argue the stated ends, i certainly question the proposed means. the bill is entitled:

"H. R. 837
To amend title 18, United States Code, to protect youth from exploitation by adults using the Internet, and for other purposes."

these are the folks introducing the bill:

"Mr. SMITH of Texas (for himself, Mr. FORBES, Mr. GALLEGLY, Mr. CHABOT, Mr. FEENEY, Mr. FRANKS of Arizona, and Mr. PENCE) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary"

the upshot, via the the agonist, is that the law, "...would require ISPs to record all users' surfing activity, IM conversations and email traffic indefinitely." well isn't that swell. seems to me that this is a shell game. the nsa has been hampered in recording the private communications of the nation. this is the elegant solution, hide an invasive, blanket surveillance act (and the death of privacy rights) in legislation on an emotionally powerful issue.

i'm going to hope that the better instincts of the authors were overcome by zeal and not by malice. yes, the prevention and prosecution of pedophiles is vital, but at what cost? the only letters i've written and snailed in the last few years, have been legal papers and business paperwork. the rest of my correspondence is online. if you're reading this, i doubt your world is shaped much different. think this doesn't affect canada? how much of our web and email traffic gets routed through american servers, nodes and portals? each transient residence in the servers is subject.

but you aren't a diddler and neither am i? nothing to worry about. right? if these rules go into effect. the queue of lawyers will wind over the horizon. what copyright holder wouldn't want unfettered access to the entirety of the web traffic of the land. every "illegal" download subject to prosecution and litigation. i imagine the legal team at universal music group are wearing lobster bibs to catch the drool. what branch of law enforcement wouldn't want to go crime-fighting in your private data? and if all of that information is being phished for one crime, why not a host of crimes?

this is over reach with staggering implications, this sort of draconian measure could stop the web in its tracks and roll digital culture back a generation.

It's February, so the Conservatives must care about women.

Um ... all right, then ...

OTTAWA -- Opposition MPs and environmentalists are baffled and outraged by warnings from a Conservatives MP that aggressive action to fight climate change and air pollution could lead to an increase in domestic violence and suicides.

Ok, then ... apparently, the Conservatives are terribly, terribly concerned about domestic violence. And when exactly did that happen?

Ottawa (24 Oct. 2006) - The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has joined with Canadians across the country in condemning the Harper Conservative government’s recent attack on the Status of Women Canada, an agency which promotes gender equality...

"I am writing to you on behalf of the 340,000 members of the National Union of Public and General Employees. We represent workers in the public and private sectors, a significant majority of whom are women. The National Union has worked tirelessly over the last 25 years to ensure equality for women both within our union and in Canada as a whole. We have worked closely with our allies in the women’s movement who have helped us research the situation of Canadian women in areas such as pay equity, domestic violence, child care and Aboriginal women’s issues."

Like I was saying back here, if you give the Right enough time, eventually they'll come around. After all, we progressives were against domestic violence before being against domestic violence was, like, cool, ya know?

We're such trendsetters that way.

"3,000 dead soldiers? Sorry, what's your point?"

From the "Did you seriously just say that?" Department:

NEW YORK Surely, at this stage, the White House would be willing to admit that conditions in Iraq following the 2003 invasion haven't gone exactly according to plan? White House Press Secretary Tony Snow was asked about this today at the daily briefing, following the release of military documents from 2002 that revealed that the U.S. expected that by now a token American force of 5,000 would be able to keep things under control in Iraq -- and the occupation would require only a two or three month "stabilization" period.

"What went wrong?" the reporter reasonably asked.

Snow replied: "I'm not sure anything went wrong."

You know, where I come from, this is what we'd consider "going wrong":

Then again, that's just me.

AFTERSNARK: Out of all of Snow's absurdities, perhaps the most infuriating is:

The President believes that we did the right thing in going into Iraq. The question is, should you saddle any military planner with an expectation that they're going to have perfect insight into what happens five years later? Aand the answer is, of course not.

You might normally cut someone some slack for not predicting everything about a military campaign perfectly; that is, unless they've spent years lecturing you about how absolutely certain they are about everything.

Go on ... read that article and count how many times a member of the Bush administration "knows" something, or how frequently something is a "fact," or how often a Bushie makes a statement, completely undiluted by any qualifier of uncertainty whatsoever. (If you have the stomach, feel free to Google on the combination of "George W. Bush" and the phrase "no doubt" to appreciate the hideously-misplaced confidence Commander Codpiece had in his own abilities.)

No, Tony, you don't get a pass on this. You don't get to play the "Hey, no one can ever be sure" card, not after you've spent the last few years being exactly that sure about absolutely everything, and accusing of treason anyone who tried to present the most minimally-dissenting view.

No, Tony -- you made that bed of complete certainty, now you have to lie in it. Make yourself comfortable.

Support the troops.

Apparently, America's neo-cons have a novel definition of the word "support".

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Canada's New Government

Now Hiring: Activist Judges
Apply Within

Something we lefties learned a long time ago: Patience is a virtue.

If there's one thing we in the Leftosphere should understand by now, it's that we only need to be patient -- reality will catch up with everyone else eventually.

It was lefties who, way back in 2003, kept saying that invading Iraq was a bad idea, while the neo-cons couldn't stop clapping their little paws with glee about how easy it was going to be, what with all that democracy to spread and oil to pilfer. At this point, I'm not worried about who history is going to look kindly on, are you?

Then there was global warming, of which we progressives have been saying increasingly ominous things for quite some time. Pooh, pooh, said the Right. Oh, dear ... apparently, we proggies have been vindicated yet again.

The latest example of finally coming around is USA Today founder Al Neuharth, who ran into reality the other day and had it hoof him in the nads. While hacks like Powerline's John Assrocket describe President George W. McRetard as "a man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius," poor Al has finally figured things out, admitting that, yes indeed, George W. really is the worst president ever -- something we liberals have been suggesting for a while now.

So now that we Canadian progressives are suggesting that Stephen Harper and the CPoC are possibly the worst thing to ever happen to this country, the only question is -- how long will it take before Canada's wankers begin to reluctantly admit that, yes, it appears that we were right all along?

Yes, instant gratification is nice, but most of us on the Left have outgrown it. We've learned to be patient. Given that we almost always turn out to be correct in the end, we can afford to be.

Dear Steve: Your concern is underwhelming.

Shorter Captain Charisma: "Yeah, some of you will snuff it. Shit happens. Now ... watch this drive."

Bonus dumbassitude at no extra charge:

Friday, February 16, 2007

i sed lissen

wut i tell yu?

uh oh!

brace for impact...

Gosh, Macleans ... what a coincidence.

Macleans magazine gifts us with the "Macleans 50" -- a "diverse field of Canada’s most well known and respected personalities from journalists to politicians offering their comments on the issues of the day, everyday."

Anyone notice a common theme here?

  • 20: Steve Maich is a senior editor and columnist with Maclean's, ...

  • 27: John Geddes is Maclean’s magazine’s Ottawa bureau chief ...

  • 31: Luiza Ch. Savage is the Washington bureau chief for Maclean's ...

  • 32: Andrew Potter writes a column on public affairs for Maclean's ...

  • 33: Adam Radwanski is the managing editor of ...

  • 46: As Maclean's managing editor, special projects, Tony Keller ...

Wow. 50 of the most well-known and respected pundits in the country, and six of them happen to be associated with Macleans. Some magazines just have all the luck, don't they?

lissen to mah cat awthoritah

tremble before my cat iggy. 18 years of attitude and carnage.

Utterly gratuitous cheap humour.

Coming soon on DVD ...

There's regular stupid, and then there's right-wing stupid.

First, there's the opening salvo of stupidity. Then there's the awkward realization that you've just embarrassed yourself.

But, really, the obvious question here is -- how much of an idiot do you have to be to have taken that memo seriously in the first place? I mean, does the purely wingnut phrase "evolution science" not set off at least a couple of warning bells?

The NDP: Canada's Joe Lieberman.

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that Canada's New Democratic Party is looking more and more like the U.S. Democratic Party's Joe Lieberman -- an alleged democrat who never seems to pass up a chance to knife the Leftosphere in the back at every opportunity?

Over at The Star, we read that the Liberal's Ralph Goodale has been cleared in the income trust scandal -- too late to make any difference, but better late than never, I guess.

One would think that this would be a delicious opportunity for Canada's progressives/leftists to stick it to Harper's CPoC, but not the NDP's Judy Wasylycia-Leis, who hands Stephen Harper yet another stick with which to beat the Liberals:

“The Liberals insisted nothing was amiss with Income Trusts, we now know that the RCMP have a different view. Mr. Goodale owes me and everyday Canadians an apology. He repeatedly claimed there was no reason for an investigation. He was wrong. He claimed that I and the NDP were motivated merely by politics. He was wrong. We were motivated by public interest, as the minister should have been. I am proud of the role I and my party played in this investigation.

Mr. Goodale failed the test of ministerial responsibility upon which our system of government is based. He refused to initiate the RCMP investigation. This was irresponsible. He must apologize to all Canadians for his failure to protect the capital markets and the integrity of the Department of Finance.”

Thanks, Judy. No, really -- when everyone on this side of the aisle should be putting pressure on Harper to back off on his now-baseless accusations about the income trust scandal, you can't help but give him moral support.

Good girl. Keep it up. Every time I start even thinking of feeling sympathetic towards the NDP, there's always an irresponsible, opportunistic hack like Judy to set me straight.

... I figured I was going to take some abuse for this post, but what Judy W-L has done just pisses me off. Understand something -- at this point, I'm getting less and less interested in which "leftie" party wins the next election, so much as I just want these right-wing maniacs out before they do any further damage to this country.

What that means is that, as much as the Liberals and the NDP might dislike each other, there are times when the proper thing to do is swallow hard and hold your tongue, lest you offer comfort to the enemy. Which is just what Judy has done, since it now allows the CPoC to crow, "Hey, even the NDP don't buy Goodale's innocence!"

I don't give a rat's ass if Judy was involved in that dust-up originally, and if her feelings are hurt. Too fucking bad. I'm not interested in whether she feels the need for a moral victory or a little "I told you so" dance. I'm interested in whether she's putting all her efforts into getting those CPoC hacks out of Ottawa. And if that's not her focus, then she's just a waste of my time, plain and simple.