Wednesday, November 30, 2005

OK, I'm back.

Did I miss anything? Whoops ... apparently, nothing's changed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

And I am SO outta here ...

Some last-minute cramming but, for the most part, ready to hit the road for the real Great White North. Effectively, no Internet for a week -- I'm sure I'll survive.

And, for better or worse, I'm turning off all comments on the blog; otherwise, I suspect I'd come back to an ongoing dialogue between Pete Rempel and Anonalogue talking about how much they like sandwiches. And pineapples.

If I was sane, the irony would drive me nuts.

An exciting new development in international military relations:

"If the provisional government asks us to leave, we will leave," Bremer said, referring to an Iraqi administration due to take power June 30. "I don't think that will happen, but obviously we don't stay in countries where we're not welcome."

Apparently, 2,000+ dead soldiers doesn't qualify as a subtle hint.

Pajamas Media: All the news that's fit to rip off from other online sites.

Well, Pajama Wankers is certainly living up to its hype by "reporting" news that consists of, well, linking to other people who are doing the reporting. Apparently, $3.5 million in venture capital can get you a lot, but it doesn't actually get you, you know, the ability to report, like, news. Of your own.

One amusing aspect of PJ's coverage is that, while it reports correctly that the White House dismisses the bombing story as "outlandish," it doesn't point out that the WH hasn't actually, technically, per se, denied the story.

It also doesn't mention the kind of relevant fact that a Cabinet Office civil servant is being accused under the Official Secrets Act of passing the memo to someone else, which would generally suggest that there really is something to this story.

I guess that's what linking to other blogs is for -- so they can do the heavy lifting that is real journalism.

About that "Murtha resolution." Another funny story ...

It's not like I imagine this is going to change any minds (such as they are) in the Canadian wankersphere, but what the hell (all emphasis added):

Fox's Gibson and Hannity, NY Post falsely claimed that House voted on Murtha's resolution

On November 21, Fox News host John Gibson falsely claimed that the House of Representatives voted down a measure offered by Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) calling for the withdrawal of U.S. soldiers from Iraq; the New York Post made the same claim in a November 22 editorial. In fact, the House voted on a counter-resolution sponsored by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) in response to Murtha's that bore little resemblance to the original. Murtha's resolution asked that U.S. forces be redeployed "at the earliest practicable date," while Hunter's resolution asked that "the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately." Fox News host Sean Hannity also repeated the claim during the November 21 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, the third time he has done so

It's a good thing none of our wankers are as despicably dishonest and sleazy as any of their wankers. Oh, wait ...

BY THE WAY, you remember Rep. Hunter, don't you?

Dirty bomb? WHAT dirty bomb?

You know, it's almost impossible to fully catalogue the screwups, mistakes, miscues, flip-flops and fuckups of the Bush White House but, what the hell, might as well just add this to the list:

White House reverses field on "dirty bomb' suspect

Jose Padilla -- the terror suspect and "enemy combatant" locked up for years by order of President George W. Bush because he was suspected of plotting to detonate a "dirty bomb" to contaminate a U.S. city with radioactivity -- will finally face charges unconnected with any attack on the United States.

Yes, read that last part carefully. The charges will have nothing to do with any alleged attack on any alleged American city. Apparently, a man who was so dangerous that he could not be allowed to even meet with a lawyer for the longest time will now not even be charged based on what he's been accused of all this time.

You Americans might want to take a quick photo of your civil rights, just so you have something to stare wistfully at in the years to come.

: From that same article:

Mr. Bush has sent Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld a note, asking him to hand Mr. Padilla over to the U.S. criminal-justice system.

That George ... always with the notes, that guy.

Hey, guess what, folks ... he really DID lie.

Oooooooh ... this has to be kind of embarrassing for at least a couple of Bush-groupie, Canadian wankers (Hi, Aaron!):

Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda, according to government records and current and former officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter.

I guess it's time to start redefining the word "lie" all over again.

GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE. Or is it fools seldom differ? I always get those two confused. (Note how blogger H&O gives a good boot to the nads of that whole "Hey, everyone saw the same intelligence, right?" nonsense. Good girl.)

Um ... about that "timetable" thing? Funny story ...

Nov 19:

Bush vows to 'stay in the fight' in Iraq

U.S. President George W. Bush vowed on Saturday "we will stay in the fight" until victory in Iraq, rejected critics' calls for a troop pullout timetable and insisted progress is being made in Baghdad.

Nov. 20:

Bush rejects timetable on Iraq pullout

President George Bush vowed yesterday to keep American troops in Iraq despite growing calls for a timetable for withdrawal that have prompted a bitter political fight in Washington.

Nov. 23:

3 Brigades May Be Cut in Iraq Early in 2006

Barring any major surprises in Iraq, the Pentagon tentatively plans to reduce the number of U.S. forces there early next year by as many as three combat brigades, from 18 now, but to keep at least one brigade "on call" in Kuwait in case more troops are needed quickly, several senior military officers said.

Pentagon authorities also have set a series of "decision points" during 2006 to consider further force cuts that, under a "moderately optimistic" scenario, would drop the total number of troops from more than 150,000 now to fewer than 100,000, including 10 combat brigades, by the end of the year, the officers said.

Yesterday's statements are inoperative. Carry on.

Oh. THAT mission.

Remember how some of us were still curious about what the "mission" was? Well, apparently, it's this:

Despite an intensified congressional debate about a withdrawal timetable after last week's call by Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) for a quick pullout, administration officials say that military and political factors heavily constrain how fast U.S. forces should leave. They cite a continuing need to assist Iraq's fledgling security forces, ensure establishment of a permanent government, suppress the insurgency and reduce the potential for civil war.

Got all that? You might want to write it down in case there's a pop quiz.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The hypocrite's defense.

There's some interesting right-wing hypocrisy going around related to batshit-crazy loon Jean Schmidt and her personal attack on Rep. John Murtha on the floor of the House of Representatives. As almost everyone knows, Schmidt quickly backtracked and apologized for her appalling behaviour, as you can read here:

She immediately took back her remarks. It's against House rules to refer to a fellow lawmaker by name or to criticize them.

Schmidt, a Republican from Clermont County's Miami Township, then wrote to Murtha to explain that she has a lot to learn and did not mean to disparage his service.

So it's clear that Schmidt realized she fucked up, and she apologized. Her chief of staff, one Barry Bennett, was also obviously trying to distance Schmidt from the controversy:

Schmidt's chief of staff, Barry Bennett, said the congresswoman may have mentioned Murtha by name but she was referring to Murtha's call to bring U.S. troops home - not Murtha himself.

All right, so both Schmidt and her chief of staff acknowledge that she screwed the pooch on this one. So far, so good. So what's the problem? It's this, from later in that same article:

But some Republicans are praising Schmidt.

"We stand behind her sentiments," said Brad Greenberg, executive director of the Hamilton County Republican Party. "I don't believe that Jean Schmidt intended to attack (Murtha) personally. I understand that people felt that she was attacking him, but I don't believe that, in her heart, she meant to."

Rep. Steve Chabot, a Westwood Republican, also defended Schmidt.

"It's easy when you're new to do or say things that in retro you wish you didn't say or had said differently," he said.

Schmidt's phone lines have been clogged since Saturday, and the office has received about 3,000 e-mails on the topic, Bennett said. The office reads mail only from constituents, however, and Bennett said the reaction from people in the 2nd District has been 75 percent positive.

Calls to Schmidt's Ohio office were 65 percent positive, Bennett said. He declined to say how many e-mails or calls were from constituents.

Excuse me, but if Bennett has already admitted Schmidt's error, why is he talking up the support she's getting? If he's sincere that Schmidt screwed the pooch on this occasion, what's the rationale behind explaining how much people approve of her behaviour?

If what she did was wrong, then all those people who claim to support her are also misguided and both Schmidt and Bennett should be saying so publicly. It's ridiculously hypocritical to apologize and ask for forgiveness while, in the next sentence, you point at all the encouragement you're getting as if that somehow justifies what you did.

At this point, I'm tempted to describe Schmidt as "pathetic" but that would be an insult to pathetic people everywhere.

UPDATE: Uh oh ... now Schmidt is playing the "Woe is me" poor little martyr card. Note to Jean: It's kinda late to be trying that when you've already publicly grovelled for forgiveness.

Right-wing blowhard Bill O'Reilly wants to cut and run.

Why does Bill O'Reilly hate America?

Uh oh ... Republicans starting to trip over their own message.

Ooooooh ... this is delightful. The Republicans are now starting to trip over their own semantic distortions in trying to claim they never "lied" about WMDs in Iraq. From earlier this month, we have this semantic nit-picking from Pat Buchanan on an episode of the McLaughlin Group (emphasis added):

MR. BUCHANAN: What the president did, John, was he made a prosecutor's case for war. Things that contradicted his case, they ignored.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Cherry-picking.

MR. BUCHANAN: Things that strengthened it -- they cherry-picked it. They hyped. But I personally do not believe the president of the United States deliberately lied about anything.

OK, did you catch the distinction? According to neo-con Buchanan himself, Bush and his cronies "hyped" but they didn't "lie." So, again, according to Buchanan, it is perfectly valid to accuse the Bush administration of "hyping" but not "lying," simply because "hyping" is not equivalent to "lying." With me so far?

How then to explain Dick Cheney's recent defense of the integrity of his administration:

"Any suggestion that prewar information was distorted, hyped, fabricated by the leader of the nation is utterly false," Cheney said, decrying what he called the "self-defeating pessimism" of Democrats.

Uh ... sorry, Dick, but everyone has already acknowledged the "hyped" part. It's a bit late to put that horse back in the barn, isn't it?

From the "Will you, fer Chrissake, please just GET OVER IT ALREADY!?!?" department.

There's dogged and determined, and then there's just plain moronic (free reg. required):

Unlikely bedfellows form anti-gay marriage lobby

OTTAWA (CP) — A former Liberal MP has started a group that will spend the coming election campaign taking on candidates who support same-sex marriage.

Ontario MP Pat O'Brien — who resigned as a Liberal this year because of the marriage issue — has founded Defend Marriage Canada with a Conservative ally.

He and ex-Tory MP Grant Hill, who is a doctor, say the group will raise money, publish letters, and lobby voters to elect candidates who oppose same-sex marriage.

The Liberal government passed Bill C-38 redefining marriage earlier this year, following court rulings that the traditional definition was unconstitutional.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper says that if elected, he would allow a free vote on whether to overturn the new law.

Critics note that to change the law, the federal government would need to invoke the Constitution's notwithstanding clause for the first time ever.

And if you rush right over to that web site, you can still sign the "National Marriage Petition" to preserve the traditional definition of one man-one woman marriage here in Canada.

Oops. Too late.

"Mission?" There was a "mission?"

One last shot of snark before I go shopping for cold-weather gear. From the Lizard Queen herself:

Q TO follow up on that, what Congressman Murtha also said is that the war in Iraq, as you described it, he said is not as advertised, and he said, your policy is flawed and wrapped in illusion. And you know he's very close with the military. So what do you make of that, the fact that he thinks --

SECRETARY RICE: Well, Dana, I've been with our military in Iraq, I've been with our military in Afghanistan, we were with our military in South Korea yesterday. I've never seen greater commitment and energy and dedication to a mission that they respect and believe in.

Now, here's the question that is open to everyone, sentient beings and Blogging Tories alike. What is the "mission?" Be concise and specific. Give examples where appropriate.

Is the mission the location of all WMDs? I think we've already established that that's a farce.

Is the mission regime change? Been there, done that.

Is the mission bringing democracy to Iraq? I dont recall that on the original TO DO list.

So ... what's the "mission?" And how exactly will one know when it's been accomplished?

And the madness just continues ...

Can there be any further doubt that George W. Bush is a total lunatic?

PRESIDENT Bush planned to bomb Arab TV station al-Jazeera in friendly Qatar, a "Top Secret" No 10 memo reveals.

But he was talked out of it at a White House summit by Tony Blair, who said it would provoke a worldwide backlash.

A source said: "There's no doubt what Bush wanted, and no doubt Blair didn't want him to do it." Al-Jazeera is accused by the US of fuelling the Iraqi insurgency.

The attack would have led to a massacre of innocents on the territory of a key ally, enraged the Middle East and almost certainly have sparked bloody retaliation.

The man wanted to bomb a TV station in an ally country! For God's sake, George, if you feel the need to lay a smackdown on a friendly's media outlets, start with these guys. Please.

The joy of watching wankers backpedal furiously.

Have you heard the one about the Democratic congressman who proposed a gradual drawdown of troops from Iraq?

Seriously, though, this story really is the gift that keeps on giving. Part of the story was one certifiable, crazed, right-wing loon, Jean Schmidt, who, on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, directly insulted Rep. John Murtha thusly (emphasis added):

A few minutes ago I received a call from Colonel Danny Bubp, Ohio Representative from the 88th district in the House of Representatives. He asked me to send Congress a message: Stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message, that cowards cut and run, Marines never do. Danny and the rest of America and the world want the assurance from this body – that we will see this through.

Today, though, said Colonel Bubp isn't being quite so kick-ass:

A colonel in the Marine reserves has taken issue with how his views were represented in a Republican attack last week on Representative Murtha.

Speaking on the House floor on Friday, Representative Jean Schmidt, Republican of Ohio, asserted that the colonel had "asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message: that cowards cut and run, marines never do."

But a spokeswoman for the colonel, Danny R. Bubp, said Ms. Schmidt had misconstrued their conversation.

While Mr. Bubp, a Republican member of the Ohio House of Representatives, opposes a quick withdrawal for forces, "he did not mention Congressman Murtha by name nor did he mean to disparage Congressman Murtha," said Karen Tabor, his spokeswoman. "He feels as though the words that Congresswoman Schmidt chose did not represent their conversation."

Everyone run away from the crazy lady! Run away! Run away! It's pretty funny when even the neo-cons think some of their own are just too freakin' nuts to deal with anymore.

OH, YES, this story has legs.

Does Progressive Bloggers need an ombudsman?

Thinking about this since yesterday and finally provoked into writing about it by this piece by Maritime Liberal, who complains about the failure of the modern media. ML writes:

The media in our country is slowly drifting towards that of the US and in neither case, it does not bode well for the future of public discourse. Newspapers, television networks, etc. are in the business of selling news, not telling the news. As a result, we see the rise of sensationalism, mass popular culture, and a decline of the sophistication of discourse. In other words, in order to sell the news, the media has resorted to dumbing down the news and sensationalizing it in order to increase its viewership/readership.

And there's no doubt that the modern mainstream media sucks. We can make fun of the National Post, while ignoring the fact that the Globe and Mail is not a whole lot better. Americans can slag the Moonie-run Washington Times while refusing to admit that the Washington Post and the New York Times are now, for the most part, crap (notable exceptions being folks like Frank Rich and Paul Krugman, who deserve so much better than to share the op-ed page with fuckwads like David Brooks). So where does one get one's news?

For most of us, the obvious answer is, "blogs." It's no surprise that most of us have given up on the mainstream media as little more than propaganda and have started relying heavily on blogs to figure out what's going on. But who's to say if blog content is any better? How does one know that what they're reading on someone's blog isn't similarly wretched nonsense?

To which PBer Simon Pole made a suggestion back here:

Should the blogosphere elect an ombudsman a la the Washington Post? Or perhaps a speaker?

Should we have a board of the blogosphere? Then we can start making jokes about bored of the blogosophere. HA HA HA...

And why not? But with a slight twist.

There's no way anyone's going to agree on a universal, ideology-independent ombudsman to cover, say, all of Canada's political blogging. So fine. Don't worry about the other folks, let's just talk about what can do to establish itself as a source of reliable news. should get its own ombudsman to which readers can complain if they feel any PBer has been dishonest or misleading. This person should not, of course, be a member of, but someone who has no rabid leanings either way and is willing to arbitrate complaints. Readers could submit complaints -- in public -- and those complaints could be resolved -- again, in public -- so everyone sees what's going on and there's full transparency.

To keep things manageable, complaints would have to involve accusations of actual dishonesty or bias, and not something as whiny as, "He called me an ignorant fucktard, and I want an apology," to which the appropriate response would be, naturally, "Grow up and piss off, Pete."

Judgment against a PBer would require some appropriate form of retraction or apology, at which point, that would be the end of it. Ongoing violations would result in the offender being turfed out of

Yes, yes, it sounds like overkill but, if you think about it, it's a solid gesture to convince readers that someone is looking out for their best interests and is willing to entertain complaints and do something about it. I don't know offhand if there are any other loosely-affiliated collections of bloggers who are doing this, so who's to say can't be the first?

If we want to be taken seriously, might as well walk the walk. Thoughts?

Geekily speaking, a good cause for all those spare machine cycles.

Remember SETI@Home? Well, if you have some CPU cycles to spare, here's another good cause:

PCs Get with the AIDS Program

In a major initiative, companies and scientists are harnessing thousands of volunteers' computers to speed the search for a cure

When tech mavens first set out to harness the power of thousands of linked computers for a grassroots community project, their target was a strange one: ET. That 1999 effort, the Search for Extra-Terrestrials@Home, roped together a so-called grid of home computers scattered around the world to analyze radio signals from outer space, looking for evidence of life. Now comes a new grid project with a much more down-to-earth goal: fighting AIDS.

FightAIDS@Home taps an already-existing organization, the World Community Grid, to help scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., discover new treatments for AIDS. The project, announced Nov. 21, puts more than 100,000 computers at Scripps' command. Community grids take massive number-crunching jobs that would normally be done on a frightfully expensive supercomputer and parcel them out to volunteers so the work can practically be done for free.

The only reservation I have is that it's not clear if it runs on Linux. In any event, a big hug to my old friend Mary Lou for passing this on.

UPDATE: Just been informed that this works on Winders and Linux, but not Macs.

An eye-opening experience.

If I might step back from the current smackdown for just a few minutes, I'd like to wax philosophical for just a bit about what's happened over the last couple of days, and how I'm suddenly seeing the Canadian blogosphere in a whole new light.

As long-time readers will know, since I started this blog, my focus has been primarily on things American, and that's been for a couple of reasons. First, I lived in the U.S. for seven years until somewhat recently and, while I was there, I got immersed in the culture and politics, so it was kind of natural to stay on that topic, even after I moved back to Canada. You go with what you know.

Also, to be honest, there was a bit of selfishness in my blog topics -- I happen to enjoy holding conservative idiocy up to scorn and derision and, if there's anywhere in the world you can find incomparable right-wing idiocy, it's the U.S. In a sense, then, I was just being lazy -- it's not like you even have to work at slapping around American wankers, given their mind-numbing stupidity.

I did realize that, as a Canadian, I should focus far more on local issues but, truth be told, there were a lot of other folks already doing that at least as well as I could and, feeling just a little smug and sanctimonious, I always thought that there was no way I could find comparable stupidity or dishonesty this side of the border. I'm quite serious about that -- I always thought that, even if Canada's wankers and I had ideological differences, they were at least remotely human and capable of some level of intellectual discourse.

I was wrong.

I admit it, I was just flat-out wrong, and it took this latest shouting match to make me realize that. I always thought that I could do the most good by taking the fight to where the stupidity was most concentrated and that was down south. Obviously, I had no idea what was happening up here, where it's suddenly clear that Canada's right-wing wankers are just as wretchedly dishonest, ignorant and evil as their American counterparts.

You might think I'm being facetious here. Far from it. I really did assume that Canada was, in some way, a more courteous place, where even those who had ideological differences could still engage in civil discourse, and where I could reserve my snark for those, and only those, who set themselves apart and so thoroughly deserved it.

Silly me. Given this latest war of words, and the fact that (as far as I can tell) not a single Blogging Tory has stepped forward to defend the notion of honesty or integrity, I don't think it's unreasonable to conclude that the whole pack of them are a bunch of lying swine. If they think that's an overly harsh judgment, then any one of them certainly has the right to convince me otherwise.

Mr. Bill Strong has already demonstrated his complete lack of integrity. And his Blogging Tory colleagues have demonstrated theirs by their silent complicity in his lies. And I don't plan on making the mistake of giving Canada's wankers the benefit of the doubt. Ever again.

Oh, man ... this thread just isn't going to die, is it?

And over here, we still have Mr. Strong, desperately avoiding fessing up to his lies. Let's follow the bouncing falsehoods, shall we? (All emphasis added from now on.)

Honesty is a concept lost on some people.

Yeah, that's just the lesson in morality I need from a pathological liar. Onward.

Take for instance one so-called "progressive blogger", Canadian Cynic who continues his campaign to brand me as a "serial liar".

Fine, let's split the difference and go with "pathological." Happy now? Now, here's where it gets entertaining:

Today CC writes this [emphasis added]:

Mr. Strong has repeatedly referred to (and continues to refer to) a "Democratic resolution for immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq." There is no such resolution, as you can read here.

Technically, he's right that no Democratic resolution was put to a vote, ...

Good boy, Bill. See? You really can admit you were wrong if you work at it. But ... oh oh ... that little flirtation with integrity was short-lived:

... but there was one which he even quotes on his blog.

Please, Bill, let's not start playing word games. There was, as you have already admitted, no Democratic resolution by any Democrat that called for an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq. None. At all. That was the Republican resolution. For God's sake, can you just stop lying for once? Just this once? Please?

I mean, are you seriously trying to defend your dishonesty by simply stating, "There was a Democratic resolution, therefore I was right." Is that what you're saying? Anyway, Mr. Strong now makes a valid point:

Now this is interesting because CC is caught here in his own lie. He deliberately put the above words inside quotation marks, meaning that he is representing this as an exact quote from myself. I invite you to search this page for that exact phrase. You won't find it anywhere except in the above quotation taken from his blog.

And he's absolutely right -- you won't find that exact quote anywhere on his blog because it isn't there, and that was my screwup. I was trying to emphasize the core of the issue and what Mr. Strong was saying and, stupidly, I put that phrase in quotes instead of, say, in bold or italics which I should have.

So, having admitted to that, I can simply say, fine, take the quotes away and we're back to my original point -- Mr. Strong is still a liar and he is still misrepresenting what went down in the House of Representatives. Now, is he going to admit to that? Or is he going to hang his entire defense on my erroneous quotes which, I should point out, don't change the fundamentals of this debate even a little bit.

Now, here's the fun part, as Mr. Strong writes:

I said it was an "issue" raised by Democrat John Murtha, which it clearly was. At no time did I ever refer to vote on a "Democratic resolution", which it was not. I stated that it was the Republicans who "forced a vote" on this issue, which they did, although I didn't mention that they introduced their own resolution in order to do so.

That's right, Mr. Strong, you dishonestly didn't mention that, did you? In fact, this is what you wrote:

Republicans in the US House of Representatives finally had enough of the Democrats' tactics of false claims that "Bush lied" and forced a vote on an issue raised by Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha calling for an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq.

Obviously fed up with the lies, deception and hypocracy of the Democrats, Republicans described Murtha's proposal as as a "strategy of surrender" and forced the vote. The debate got pretty heated, but in the end the Dummocrats really had no choice.

I challenge anyone to read that original phrasing and claim that they knew what actually happened based on that. (This keeps coming back to what it means to "lie," doesn't it? "Hey, I never technically lied -- I just left out crucial information and let you draw your own completely incorrect conclusions. But, come on, that's not really a lie.")

[ADDENDUM: Sorry, I forgot to mention this the first time. Mr. Strong does in fact lie above when he refers to "an issue raised by Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha calling for an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq." As we all know by now, Murtha's resolution said nothing about an "immediate" withdrawal. Strong is flat-out lying here and there's no way he can spin that away.]

And, in one last spasm of wretched dishonesty, Mr. Strong redefines and quotes out of context, ignoring Rep. Murtha's actual wording in his resolution and, instead, seizing on Murtha's phrasing at a press conference thusly when he quotes Murtha as saying:

The United States will immediately redeploy -- immediately redeploy.

Strong highlights that phrase a couple more times, thereby concluding that what Murtha was proposing was an immediate yanking of every American soldier back from Iraq. Is that what Strong is implying that Murtha is suggesting here? Because a more careful reading of Murtha shows how dishonest Strong is yet again. We have Murtha in context, where I emphasize that Murtha is still making it clear that this is to be a gradual and not absolutely complete process:

"I believe with the U.S. troop redeployment the Iraqi security forces will be incentivized to take control. A poll recently conducted -- this is a British poll reported in The Washington Times -- over 80 percent of Iraqis are strongly opposed to the presence of coalition forces, and about 45 percent of Iraqi population believe attacks against American troops are justified. I believe we need to turn Iraq over to the Iraqis. I believe before the Iraqi elections, scheduled for mid-December, the Iraqi people and the emerging government must be put on notice. The United States will immediately redeploy -- immediately redeploy. No schedule which can be changed, nothing that's controlled by the Iraqis, this is an immediate redeployment of our American forces because they have become the target."


"My plan calls for immediate redeployment of U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces, to create a quick reaction force in the region, to create an over-the-horizon presence of Marines, and to diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq."

See what happens when you actually read what someone says? Note how Murtha talks, not about yanking every single soldier out of Iraq on a moment's notice, but about putting the Iraqi people on notice "before the Iraqi elections," about redeploying "consistent with the safety of U.S. forces," and about leaving in place both a quick reaction force and a Marine presence. Gosh, isn't it exciting what you can learn when you aren't a lying sack of crap like Mr. Strong?

I could eviscerate the rest of Mr. Strong's swill but what's the point? What can one say about dishonest rubbish like this:

Actually, it always was a Democrat proposal as I have maintained from the start. It took a Republican resolution to bring it to a vote, but it was a Democtatic [sic] proposal. No change of story on my part here and another lie by CC exposed.

No, it wasn't always a Democrat proposal. It was initially a Democratic proposal that was ignored by the Republicans, who replaced it with a completely different proposal that even they voted against. But I'm guessing, at this point, that it's a waste of time trying to explain this to Bill anymore.

[SECOND ADDENDUM: Just in case you didn't parse Strong's bullshit above, let me emphasize what he wrote, emphasizing a single word: "it always was a Democrat proposal as I have maintained from the start. It took a Republican resolution to bring it to a vote..." Now, what exactly does the word "it" in italics above refer to?

To the original Democratic proposal? If so, then it's simply false to claim that the Republican resolution brought "it" to a vote since, as Mr. Strong has already admitted, that was not the resolution that was voted on, was it?

If, however, the word "it" refers to the Republican resolution, then it's dishonest to write that "it" was always a Democratic proposal since, again, Mr. Strong has already admitted that that's not what happened. Do I really need to explain this in any more detail? I mean, for anyone besides the Blogging Tories?]

I've had enough of this. Mr. Strong is welcome to return to posting dishonest shit on his site; I have better things to do. Anyone who reads Mr. Strong's prose and takes it seriously frankly deserves to remain terminally stupid. He's all yours. And you're welcome to him. What a thoroughly delightful public representative for the Blogging Tories.

BY WAY OF ANALOGY: It occurs to me that I can nicely explain Mr. Strong's dishonesty by way of a simple analogy. Strong continually tries to muddy the difference between the Democrats' and the Republicans' proposals by claiming that the GOP was only forcing a vote on an issue that was originally raised by the Dems, without admitting that the two proposals were stunningly different in content. How best to analogize this?

Say Mr. Strong and I are both at a town council meeting at which there is an open discussion on how to support the orphans at the local orphanage. Mr. Strong tables a motion for a 1/2 cent increase in the local sales tax to fund improvements to the orphanage.

I, on the other hand, reject his motion and table one of my own, proposing that all of the orphans be fed through a wood-chipper and used to grit the sidewalks after a heavy snowfall.

When the room explodes in outrage over my suggestion, I say simply that I was just forcing a vote on an issue that Mr. Strong raised in the first place. And, according to Mr. Strong's logic, I would be perfectly accurate. Using Mr. Strong's own words and with a simple substitution, I could get away with saying:

"It always was Mr. Strong's proposal as I have maintained from the start. It took my resolution to bring it to a vote, but it was Mr. Strong's proposal."

Leaving out, of course, the overwhelming difference in those proposals, which is exactly and precisely what Mr. Strong has been doing all this time.

Now do you get it?

Oh, Jesus. And wouldn't you know who crawls out from under his barrel to lend Mr. Strong his moral support. Words fail me.

How badly can the "Globe and Mail" fuck up a story?

Let me count the ways.

This morning, we have Paul Koring's piece on the whole John Murtha dust-up, in which Koring proves he desperately needs a good copy editor. Toward the end of the article, Koring writes (all emphasis added from here on):

Salvos of nasty accusations -- cowardice, lying, hypocrisy -- have been flying in Washington for nearly a week after an opening shot from the widely respected, decorated former marine and combat veteran Democratic Representative John Murtha, who called for a pullout of all 160,000 U.S. troops from Iraq within six months.

Wrong. As far as I can tell, Murtha proposed no six month limit. As the functionally literate can read here, Murtha's proposal was to get the troops out "at the earliest practicable date;" there was no time limit suggested anywhere in that resolution. Bad journalist. No biscuit. But (and I'm sure you saw this coming) it gets worse:

Mr. Cheney, who sought and won a remarkable five deferments that excused him from being drafted during the Vietnam War, was careful to pull his punches at Mr. Murtha, a combat hero with medals for bravery and 37 years of uniformed service with the Marines and the reserves. "He's a good man, a marine, a patriot and he's taking a clear stand on an entirely legitimate discussion," Mr. Cheney said of the 73-year-old Mr. Murtha.

Why, yes, Cheney was careful to pull his punches, only after the neck-snapping backlash from earlier offensive comments from White House Press Fuckwad Scott McClellan, who accused Murtha of supporting "the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party." It would have been nice if Koring had mentioned that little flip-flop.

Koring continues to screw the pooch:

Support for the war and the President has sagged to record lows in recent weeks. Saying that U.S. troops have become the prime targets and a catalyst for the insurgency, Mr. Murtha said last week, "It's time to bring them home."

But he has so far won few supporters, even among Democrats

And that would explain why a Google search on the phrases "John Murtha," "support" and "resolution" produces only 148,000 hits (some of which, naturally, are not relevant, but the sheer number should give you an idea that Murtha isn't exactly standing on his own here, particularly with support for the Iraqi invasion going down faster than a cheap hooker at a Republican convention).

And, just for effect, Koring closes with this gem:

"The hard truth is that our large military presence in Iraq is both necessary and increasingly counterproductive," said Senator Joseph Biden, a leading Democrat who has become increasingly critical of the war. "A premature pullout would doom any chance" of achieving basic U.S. goals in Iraq, he said yesterday.

And, as we all know, if you need a well-known Democrat to speak badly of other Democrats, you need look no further than that annoying quisling Joe Biden, who can always be counted on to say whatever comforts the Republicans the most. Well, with Zell Miller gone, I guess somebody had to step up and take over.

Yes, there's a reason I rarely read newspapers anymore. At least the Globe still has a decent sports section.

Stephen Harper WINS ELECTION!!!

Canadian conservatives celebrate!

(Credit to daveberta.)

James Wolcott takes a quick whack at Canadian wankery.

And in slapping around the new Open Source Media venture in ways only James Wolcott can, Wolcott pokes fun at OSM's blogroll and spares a second or two to smack Canada's own Angry in the Great White North:

One wingnut blowhard who goes by the handle Confederate Yankee put up a post about Iraq, Democrats, and the diabolical genius. No doubt I'm too sensitive (I'm wired that way), but there's something a bit iffy tastewise about a blogger calling himself Confederate Yankee running a picture of a hangman's noose above the tagline... "Remember: it isn't the fall, but the sudden stop at the end." I think that if my handle were Confederate Yankee, I might steer clear of allusions to lynching, but perhaps this is the sort of edgy blogging they're looking for at OSM, which touts another blog on its honor roll for "Taking sloppy liberal thinking and tearing it a new one--but always with a touch of class."

You have to admit, Angry's tagline is the funniest thing since Pete Rempel's "Ambassador of Conservative Maturity." That would be "funny" in a "creep you out totally" kind of funny. But you knew that.

P.S. $3.5 million in venture capital and this is what you get for it. I'd be happy to be that pathetically incompetent for half the price.

P.P.S.: If you click through from Wolcott to TBogg and further to OSM's "blogjam," you get a glimpse of the sheer, jaw-dropping ignorance of those who would feed you the news.

The question is whether Karl Rove should be indicted. One of the panelists is one La Shawn Barber who establishes herself instantly as one of the stupidest human beings on the planet when she writes:

Marc, can you give me a 100-word recap on Plame. It's a spy thing, right? Somebody blew somebody's cover, or something?

Um ... yes, La Shawn, it's some kind of "spy thing." Or something. Jesus fucking Christ.

Monday, November 21, 2005

CIA plane landed at Canadian airport?

Oh, this just gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling all over:

Canada is investigating reports that a plane used by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to transport prisoners for interrogation landed at a Canadian airport last week, the foreign ministry said on Monday.

The French-language La Presse newspaper said the plane had taken off from Iceland heading for St. John's in Newfoundland, on Canada's east coast. The Canadian Press said the 40-seat turboprop landed in St. John's on Friday before returning to its base in North Carolina.

"We are looking into it," said foreign ministry spokeswoman Pamela Greenwell, who declined to give further details. The U.S. embassy in Ottawa said it had no comment.

So much for that smug, sanctimonious feeling of moral superiority.

: Here's another take on this story, with an interesting twist.

Oh, yawn ... more lies from Mr. Strong.

It's not like there's a whole lot of entertainment value left in slapping the crap out of pathological liar Bill Strong but ... what the hell, I'm here so let's do it.

Over here, Strong quotes approvingly from a piece of swill from right-wing media mouthpiece National Ledger about the Robb-Silberman Commission:

The Silberman-Robb [sic] panel also concluded, after a detailed investigation, that in no instance did Bush administration authorities pressure intelligence officials to alter their findings.

Um ... no. No, the Robb-Silberman Commission most emphatically did not exonerate the Bush administration on that score for a very simple reason -- they were never tasked to even investigate that particular issue.

As MediaMatters notes here:

On the November 14 edition of CNN's Paula Zahn Now, Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund falsely claimed that former "Democratic Senator Chuck Robb [VA] headed a commission which looked into whether or not the president misled and manipulated the intelligence data" relating to Iraq. According to Fund, the commission concluded that "it didn't happen."...

Fund's assertion that the Robb-Silberman Commission found that the Bush administration had not "misled" is false. In its March report to President Bush, the commission noted: "[W]e were not authorized to investigate how policymakers used the intelligence assessments they received from the Intelligence Community." Indeed, Bush's February 6, 2004, executive order establishing the commission limited the scope of its investigation to the production of intelligence:

[T]he Commission shall specifically examine the Intelligence Community's intelligence prior to the initiation of Operation Iraqi Freedom and compare it with the findings of the Iraq Survey Group and other relevant agencies or organizations concerning the capabilities, intentions, and activities of Iraq relating to the design, development, manufacture, acquisition, possession, proliferation, transfer, testing, potential or threatened use, or use of Weapons of Mass Destruction and related means of delivery.

Ergo, since the commission was not even authorized to examine the issue of whether intelligence was manipulated, it could not possibly have concluded that it wasn't. Now, is there any part of that that confuses any one of you?

I'm starting to figure that Bill Strong and the Blogging Tories really deserve one another.

A question for my American readers.

Regarding the "Rempelhensible" behaviour (inside joke there :-) of one Jean Schmidt on the floor of the House of Representatives, we have the following:

Even Jean Schmidt eventually figured our her smear wasn’t worth defending and asked for her remarks to be struck from the record.

I'm intrigued by the fact that Schmidt couldn't simply withdraw her remarks, she had to ask that they be struck from the record. I'm sure I read somewhere that the House Speaker then asked for unanimous consent to allow this to happen.

Did that actually require unanimous consent from all House members? Because if I was a Dem and I was in a pissy mood that day, I might be tempted to disallow it just so those remarks were part of the permanent record.

Could a single dissenter have done that? And what would the consequences have been, since I recall that impugning the integrity or character of another House member is grounds for censure.

White House Flip-Flops on Murtha.

Oh, man, can't you just smell the fear wafting out of the White House these days?

NOW I'm getting annoyed with my ideological colleagues.

Well, it seems like everyone's got an opinion on this recent blogging integrity dust-up, and how to (or how not to) resolve it. For example, we have one Werner Patels who writes thusly (emphasis added):

The Canadian blogosphere is about to face yet another war - one that will see bloggers from the left slug it out with bloggers on the right...

There's more, and it similarly off-the-mark. There is no "blogging war" here. What there is, quite simply, is an outstanding issue that is sitting in the middle of the table that the Blogging Tories seem to want to avoid discussing, and that's what to do when one of their own is caught fibbing.

There is no impending war; there is no looming smackdown; there is no imminent battle. What there is is a simple unresolved question that deserves an answer: How do the Blogging Tories plan on policing other peoples' integrity if they're singularly incapable of looking after their own?

That's the only question on the floor at the moment, and it deserves addressing. All this talk of "war" is simply worthless chatter.

The Murtha resolution fallout south of the border.

And while we're engaging in some delightful banter up here, there is real fallout in the U.S. from Rep. John Murtha's (D-Pa.) call for a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, including from some newspapers who got the story as wrong as some of the local wankers did.

You can read some of the subsequent editorials here, which include some that are laughably inaccurate. Consider this one from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette -- can readers spot the howling idiocies?

To be sure, Rep. Murtha's call for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq plays better as a heartfelt expression of frustration than as sound practical advice. The United States has to get out -- but the timing is important. His call for immediate action is simply what happens when the president refuses to give a timetable for withdrawal.

The United States needs to stay long enough for elections to place an Iraqi government in power. But the U.S. presence needs to end shortly thereafter. It is the only sane course.

Wow. What stellar advice. Someone should mention this idea to Rep. Murtha right away.

USA Today's contribution to the discourse is simiilarly asinine:

Murtha's call for withdrawal is as understandable as it is misguided. The nation has spent more than $200 billion pressing the war. More than 2,000 troops have died. More than 15,000 have been wounded. Murtha has visited them frequently at military hospitals and witnessed the appalling carnage. Support for the war is plummeting...

Withdrawal from Iraq now, as Murtha wants, would be a wrong and dangerous course...

So what is USA Today's advice? You'll never guess:

The best chance of salvaging an acceptable outcome is for the United States to stay long enough to see a stable government and strong Iraqi military force in place.

Genius. Sheer genius. If only Rep. Murtha were that clever and fore-sighted. Damn.

P.S. I love the thought that USA Today seems primarily concerned with salvaging an acceptable outcome "for the United States." At least they understand who's at the top of the food chain.

Heading for the Great White (further) North.

It's not like any of you care but, starting this Wednesday, I'll be spending a week north of here. Considerably further north, as in North Pole, Alaska. I'll bring back pictures.

Dude, you are SO premature with that suggestion.

Although I'm sure he (she?) means well, blogger Green Alliance's suggestions for a few discussion "ground rules" is hopelessly premature for one simple reason -- the Blogging Tories have not established that they have the right to participate in a civilized discussion. On any topic.

It's not that one of their own, Bill Strong, is a proven pathetic liar (see numerous recent posts on this blog) who refuses to 'fess up when he's caught red-handed. Rather, it's the fact that, as far as I can tell, not one member of the Blogging Tories has shown the integrity to call him on it. Apparently, as far as the BTs go, ideology is more important than integrity. And as long as the lot of them sit quietly knowing that Mr. Strong is a liar, none of them has earned the right to get into the dialogue.

The fact that not one of them has had the honesty to admit the obvious tells me and everyone else all we need to know about the integrity on the other side of the aisle. And the continuing silence just pounds that point in more.

: Pogge has just contributed to the discussion here and I think he's missing the larger picture. This is no longer about just one hopelessly dishonest Blogging Tory member. If that's all it was, sure, we could all just move on. But there's more at stake here now.

Now the question is how the BTs propose to become some sort of ethical watchdog over left-wing blogs when they can't even look after their own members. How do they propose to evaluate the honesty of our stuff when they won't do anything about dishonesty in their own ranks, even after we rub their collective noses in it?

It's not just about one blogger anymore, Pogge, dear boy. It's bigger than that now.

Now THERE'S irony.

And over at Bill Strong's site, where his most recent post on this topic continues to promote a ridiculous lie, we have a single commenter, "TonyGuitar", who writes (and I am not making this up, go see for yourself):

It is the very effective ploy of the left to keep repeating a lie until that lie begins to gain followers and gets accepted as true by the meek and the weak.

That same ploy of repetion is used to good effect here in Canada. Look at how effective the daily drip by drip CBC propaganda is working at instilling fear of Harper and the CPC among the meek and weak here in Canada. TG

Insert your own punchline here. And, not surprisingly, no Tories in sight to correct one of their own.

That 23-5 meme thing.

Oh, man ... so Timmy the G tags me with the "23rd post, 5th sentence" thing. I guess I can dig back through the archives and figure that out but, if memory serves, I think it had something to do with describing Pete Rempel as a total dickwad. But if you really insist, I'll go back and check.

Man, you people are needy sometimes...

OK, here you go, with full context and the fifth sentence highlighted in bold:

Is anyone else just plain tired of the number of times members of the White House administration address an issue or answer a question with a totally (by definition) content-free tautology? The latest example is from Maureen Dowd's recent column, in which SecDef Donald Rumsfeld (Dr. Strangefeld), describes the deteriorating situation in Iraq with:

"We're trying to explain how things are going, and they are going as they are going,"

They are going as they are going. He said what he said. I mean what I mean. Does it get any more vacuous than that? Particularly in Rumsfeld's case, where he seems to think that nonsensical statements like this are somehow incredibly profound. Note to The Donald: there's a real difference between profound and inane.

"I mean what I mean." Somehow, when dealing with the Bush administration, that sentence seems so right, doesn't it?

Dear wankers: Try cleaning your own house first.

Inspired by the recent dust-up involving the rancid dishonesty of one Bill Strong, PB moderator Scott Tribe suggests here that we on the progressive side of the aisle aren't going to let this sort of crap go unchallenged anymore.

This appears to have provoked the following response from a Blogging Tory:

Fair game, but mind the sign.

suggesting that the right-wingers are ready to play that game, too. Which is exactly the way it should be.

If the Tories want to call the Progressives on their bullshit, more power to them, I say. Go nuts. If a Progressive starts spewing crap, you have every right to hang them out to dry for it. But I'd take this idea one step further.

There's nothing that says all of us can't police our own side of the aisle. If someone from, say,, starts posting rubbish, I have absolutely no problem pointing it out and tearing them a new orifice if that's what the situation calls for. No one should be immune from criticism, and I'm going to challenge my fellow progressives to be just as critical and snarky of other progressives and left-wingers as they are of the official opposition. Are those on the right prepared to do the same?

It sure as fuck doesn't look like it.

Consider the recent incident involving serial liar Bill Strong who, in the space of less than two days, has changed his story on the recent U.S. HoR vote twice. First, according to him, it was a Democratic proposal (which it wasn't). Then he actually knew what was going on all the time. After which, it was back to being a Democratic proposal. (Advice to Mr. Strong: If you're going to lie, leave a few days between the lies so people have a chance to forget the last one. It works better that way.)

But who exactly was it that hung Mr. Strong out to dry? Why, it was us progressives, wasn't it? Admittedly, I haven't looked very hard but, to the best of my knowledge, not a single Tory has criticized Mr. Strong for his blatant dishonesty.

So, if you wankers want to start holding us up to scrutiny, you're more than welcome. And if you find actual dishonesty, I guarantee that I'll be right there, backing you up.

But if you can't find the intestinal fortitude or integrity to lay into one of your own when he is so clearly and obviously spewing nonsense all over the blogosphere, you really don't have the moral authority to be lecturing us, do you?

Clean up the shit going down on your side of the aisle first. Then we can talk, OK?

JUST TO MAKE THIS PAINFULLY CLEAR: I realize this has been explained several times but I'm going to do it just once more, since some folks over there are still having trouble understanding the problem.

Mr. Strong has repeatedly referred to (and continues to refer to) a "Democratic resolution for immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq." There is no such resolution, as you can read here. The Democratic proposal was for a troop withdrawal "at the earliest practicable date." It was the Republicans who countered with the knee-jerk "immediate withdrawal" response that almost everyone rejected, leaving the GOP members of the House looking like total dumbfucks. Is this clear? Have I explained this adequately to everyone's satisfaction? Good.

Despite the actual facts and now being corrected publicly several times, Mr. Strong, even in his most recent post on this topic, continues to refer to "the Democrat's proposal for an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq." At this point, given that he must know the facts by now, Mr. Strong is simply a lying sack of shit.

More importantly, Mr. Strong is also a member of the Blogging Tories and yet, to my knowledge (although I'm willing to be corrected on this), not a single Blogging Tory has upbraided Mr. Strong, even a little bit, for his blatant dishonesty. Until that happens, I suggest that the Blogging Tories are the last people who have the right to be lecturing anyone else about honesty or integrity.

If the Blogging Tories want to start holding the progressives to a high standard of ethics and integrity, cool. I'm all for that. But if they let one of their own members spew bullshit all over the Internets and let him get away with it, they really don't have the moral authority to be lecturing anyone else on the subject.

BONUS TRACK: If any of you really want to know why were on the "Left" are so pissed off these days, here's an example somewhat related to this whole Congressman Murtha episode. Note carefully how U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld flat-out lies about what happened.

Are you finally starting to understand why we just don't feel like playing nice anymore?

Mr. Strong continues to get his comeuppance.

Ah ... apparently, I can now lean back and enjoy the fruits of my labour as others start to pound on Mr. Strong for his overwhelming dishonesty. Note specifically this comment, in which "Lord Kitchener's Own" notices the same odd discrepancy I pointed out earlier:

Bill, I thought this point of yours was a little shocking:

"Lost on Mr. Cynic is the fact that I was exactly aware of what was being voted on, having watched it live on television."

To me Bill, that says that you KNEW that this was all B.S. political gamesmanship by the Republicans, and yet you STILL twisted it into some sort of vote supporting the administration's position on Iraq.

I had assumed, reading your original post, that you had simply assumed that the Republicans had soundly defeated Murtha's resolution, and that you didn't actually know that the Republicans had introduced their own, more extreme motion, in a silly (and ultimately counter-productive) political game intended to make the Dems look bad. But you actually KNEW what had really happened? And you still posted a comment calling the DEMOCRATS liers, and accusing THEM of deception and hypocricy?

Wow. That's rich.

Yes, yes, it is, isn't it?

Note also, with the shitstorm now swirling around him, still not a hint of retraction or apology from Mr. Strong. I'm shocked ... oh, hell, no, I'm not. Not even a little bit.

And Mr. Strong has the nerve to suggest that I owe him an apology. That'll be the day.

WHAT THE FUCK? And still refusing to admit to the extent of his dumbfuckitude, Mr. Strong lashes back with this and this, and continues to lie about the proposal for an immediate withdrawal being a Democratic proposal:

Some readers have questioned how I could possibly speak out in favour of the Republicans "stunt" to force a vote in Congress Friday on the Democrat's proposal for an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq. It's because the Democrats have been playing politics with the war - and it's time they got called on it.

So ... no retraction, no correction, no apology ... just repeating the same lie over and over. This is getting depressingly predictable.

Still working on that meme, I see.

Hmmm ... an interesting new development:

After fiercely defending his Iraq policy across Asia, President Bush abruptly toned down his attack on war critics Sunday and said there was nothing unpatriotic about opposing his strategy.

Wow. What an interesting change of course. So it's all right to be anti-war, then, is it?

"People should feel comfortable about expressing their opinions about Iraq," Bush said, three days after agreeing with Vice President Dick Cheney that the critics were "reprehensible."

OK, apparently, we're still working on the consistency of that message. Might take a few days.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Open thread.

Just because I'm sure you have something to say by now.

Did I call it, or did I call it?

You want an apology? Apparently, here's your apology. So, let's recap here, shall we?

Mr. Strong, back here, completely mis-characterized the recent brouhaha in the U.S. House of Representatives, describing it as affirming a "U.S. commitment to Iraq" when, as almost everyone else on the planet noted, it was a case of the House GOP members embarrassing themselves thoroughly.

In case you need it spelled out for you, the Dems put forth a motion for an eventual withdrawal of troops from Iraq, whereas the Republicans, lashing out with the sober judgment of a cornered wolverine, substituted for that a completely ridiculous motion to withdraw all troops immediately, a motion that was absolutely guaranteed to fail and succeeded only in making the GOP House members look like total dimbulbs. And how did Mr. Strong portray what happened?

Why, as you can read, by writing (totally inaccurately as you now realize) that:

Republicans in the US House of Representatives finally had enough of the Democrats' tactics of false claims that "Bush lied" and forced a vote on an issue raised by Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha calling for an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq.

I called him on this back here and here, and openly challenged him to retract his claim and correct the record. And his response? Try to believe that he actually wrote the following (emphasis added):

Lost on Mr. Cynic is the fact that I was exactly aware of what was being voted on, having watched it live on television.

Ah. So Mr. Strong knew what was happening, he simply chose to misrepresent it totally, is that what he's saying? So, rather than just being dense, he's openly admitting to being dishonest? This is his defense? Weird.

Mr. Strong further takes exception to my tone of snark, writing:

Because someone else posted a comment here, a critical comment about the same post, but a very civilized comment (note to CC - this is the way to discuss differences of opinion).

Ah, that would be the kind of "civilized comment" that allows Mr. Strong to lie about what actually happened, then go on to refer to "the lies, deception and hypocracy [sic] of the Democrats" as well as describing the party as the "Dummocrats." Civilized, indeed, Mr. Strong. I bow before your superior table manners.

I'm not going to bother with the rest of Mr. Strong's diatribe, except to suggest that, if he doesn't want others to suggest he's a dishonest dumbfuck, perhaps he might stop blogging like one.

Oh, and the bit about my "calling it"? Note carefully in Mr. Strong's entire followup article -- not a hint of correction, retraction or apology for his earlier overwhelming dishonesty. Quelle surprise.

We're not done here.

AFTERSNARK: It is amusing to see Mr. Strong suggest that it might be more productive if I were to be more civilized in my discourse, when he writes:

Because someone else posted a comment here, a critical comment about the same post, but a very civilized comment (note to CC - this is the way to discuss differences of opinion).

Ah, so we might have resolved this if I had been more genteel, is that it? That's easy enough to test, isn't it? Let's return to Mr. Strong's original dishonest posting here, where we can read (at the moment) two comments, both of which are relatively low-key but still calling out Mr. Strong on his inaccuracy. And what reaction does this get from Mr. Strong?

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Sweet fuck all.

So, apparently, being polite and civilized really doesn't accomplish anything when dealing with Mr. Strong, does it? So we won't be using that strategy any time soon. I'm sure you understand why.

BY THE WAY: If you got seriously grossed out about the kidneys and pissing blood reference, you clearly aren't Hunter S. Thompson fans:

They would place me under arrest, then routinely search the car - and when that happened all kinds of savage hell would break loose. They would never believe all these drugs were necessary to my work; that in truth I was a professional journalist on my way to Las Vegas to cover the National District Attorneys� Conference on Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

Just samples, officer. I got this stuff off a road man for the Neo - American Church back in Barstow. He started acting funny, so I worked him over.

Would they buy this?

No. They would lock me in some hellhole of a jail and beat me on the kidneys with big branches - causing me to piss blood for years to come.

I really do have to explain everything to some of you folks, don't I? I could apologize for it, or I could just invoke the Bill O'Reilly defense -- "Hey, it was just a 'satirical riff', I didn't really mean it, ya know?"

Apparently, in the right-wing wankersphere, you never really have to apologize for anything. Just say you were joking, and that fixes everything. Or so I've heard.

THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING: It's not like I need to beat up on Mr. Strong any more than I already have but there's one more point worth making. In his latest piece, Mr. Strong writes:

Odd. Mr. Cynic made these two posts about me, demanded an apology and then stated that in a day or two he will know whether or not I am man enough to come clean. You think that Mr. Cynic might have contacted me directly about this, but no. Just a couple of posts on his obscure little blog. Maybe he's hoping I won't notice.

Hoping he won't notice? No, I was pretty sure he'd notice, given that most bloggers check their referral lists regularly so I'm not sure what he's getting at. But let's be clear -- getting some sort of correction or retraction from Mr. Strong had nothing whatsoever to do with him eventually noticing what I had written.

At the time of my first post, he already had the first comment from PB's Scott Tribe, which read as follows:

This is as disingenuous a post as I've read on the Blogosphere anywhere on this topic Bill.. you should be ashamed of yourself for posting it.

The House didnt vote on the actual Murtha Resolution.. they voted on a GOP rewrite of the resolution designed for nothing more then political grandstanding... and they got slammed for it all over the place.

So Mr. Strong already knew he screwed the pooch before I wrote anything about it. Whether he 'fesses up to his dishonesty had nothing to do with whether he ever read my "obscure little blog" (which, I might point out, gets three times the daily traffic his does, but it's not like I'm bragging or anything).

In any event, Mr. Strong's honesty doesn't depend on me in any way. He'd been told he fucked up before I came along; now let's see if he does anything about it. So far, he's had time to read those original comments, read what I wrote and write a lengthy rebuttal to me. All without admitting any error on his part.

Like I wrote before ... I called it, didn't I?

Bloggers' rights in Canada?

Via this post over at Pharyngula, we have the U.S.-based EFF taking some pretty serious positions on bloggers' rights. And shouldn't we be doing something similar in Canada?

Why Bill Strong deserved a good, swift one to the nads.

Sigh. I just got e-mail from a longtime friend, chiding me for this piece, wondering why I have to be so mean to dimwits like Bill Strong. Asked she, "Why do you have to be so vicious? Why can't you just point out that he's wrong and leave it at that?" A good question, and one that deserves an answer just so you all understand why I think that a depressing number of right-wing wankers need to be, not only corrected publicly, but hauled out to the sidewalk and beaten on the kidneys until they piss blood. Because, quite simply, they deserve it.

Let's take Mr. Strong as an example, shall we? (And all of the following applies just as well to one Aaron Lee Wudrick, but I probably didn't need to point that out, did I?)

Mr. Strong wrote this piece which, as I explained earlier, was absolute swill. So did he really deserve a king-sized smackdown because of it?

If Mr. Strong had just expressed that sentiment in passing during a conversation, probably not. It would have been an off-the-cuff remark, perhaps based on a misunderstanding of something he read, and it would have been sufficient to just point out that he was full of shit and leave it at that. But that's not what happened, is it?

Mr. Strong's opinion did not just happen on the spur of the moment, did it? Rather, it required him to actually do some reading, followed by composing a post for his own blog, which makes his fuck-up somewhat less forgivable. If you're going to post something that publicly, I feel that you have somewhat more of a responsibility to get your facts straight, something Mr. Strong totally failed to do. Still, this probably wouldn't have merited anything more than, "Bill, you ignorant slut." So what was Mr. Strong's real crime?

It was the patronizing snark. Not only did he screw up the facts completely, he then used his complete misunderstanding to start insulting the entire Democratic party. As in, "... Democrats' tactics of false claims ... lies, deception and hypocracy of the Democrats ... the Dummocrats [sic] ... this insanity ..." And that's why Mr. Strong deserved to get the crap kicked out of him. But it doesn't even end there.

The most irritating thing about so many residents of Wankerville is not that they fuck up their facts so often, but that they absolutely refuse to correct or recant later when they're called on it. Even after they're caught disseminating rubbish, you rarely see an actual apology. And when the screw-up is this blatant and this hideous, I'm not talking about an apology in the sense of, "Oh, sorry, I misread."

No, I'm talking about an apology in the sense of, "Jesus Christ, did I fuck that one up! I'm sorry, I take it all back and let me grovel a little bit while I'm here to beg my readers for forgiveness for having laid so much unspeakable rubbish on them!" That's the kind of apology I'm talking about.

And you know how often that happens, don't you? Try "never." Instead, when you lay into arbitrary wanker for his or her lies, what you generally get in response is, "Hey, dude, chill. What's your problem? Man, you folks on the Left sure take things personally. You should try to get a grip on that temper and mellow out." Or something to that effect. Followed, of course, by no apology, no retraction, no correction and a quick change of subject.

So what should we expect from Mr. Strong? There are a couple of possibilities. He can acknowledge how badly he screwed the pooch with that post and publish a clear and unambiguous retraction of his idiocy, along with an apology to the Democratic Party. That would go a long way to rehabilitating his image as a non-doofus.

Or, following the lead of so many of his right-wing wanker colleagues, he can dodge, weave and tap dance and get all bent out of shape about how mean I am about smacking him around and never admit that he was full of crap from the start and just move on and hope everyone forgets about this little incident.

I figure a day or two should be enough to see if Mr. Strong is man enough to come clean. We'll be checking back in later. And if he tries to weasel his way out of this, then he has no grounds for complaining later when someone else takes him out to the woodshed, does he?

The Battle Hymn of the Republicans.

From the comments section over here, we have the updated lyrics.

Mine Eyes have seen the bungling of that stumbling moron Bush;
He has blathered all the drivel that the neo-cons can push;
He has lost sight of all reason 'cause his head is up his tush;
The Doofus marches on.

I have heard him butcher syntax like a kindergarten fool;
There is warranted suspicion that he never went to school;
Should we fault him for the policies -- or is he just their tool?
The lies keep piling on.

Glory! Glory! How he'll Screw Ya'!
Glory! Glory! How he'll Screw Ya'!
Glory! Glory! How he'll Screw Ya'!
His wreckage will live on.

I have seen him cut the taxes of the billionaires' lone heir;
As he spends another zillion on an aircraft carrier;
Let the smokestacks keep polluting -- do we really need clean air?
The surplus is now gone.

Glory! Glory! How he'll Screw Ya'!
Glory! Glory! How he'll Screw Ya'!
Glory! Glory! How he'll Screw Ya'!
Your safety net is gone!

Now he's got a mighty hankerin' to bomb a prostrate state;
Though the whole world knows its crazy -- and the U.N. says to wait;
When he doesn't have the evidence, "We must prevaricate."
Diplomacy is done!

Oh, a trumped-up war is excellent; we have no moral bounds;
Should the reasons be disputed, we'll just make up other grounds;
Enraging several billions -- to his brainlessness redounds;
The Doofus marches on!

Glory! Glory! How he'll Screw Ya'!
Glory! Glory! How he'll Screw Ya'!
Glory! Glory! How he'll Screw Ya'!

There's dense. And then there's Bill Strong.

In the give-and-take, back-and-forth world of the blogosphere, sometimes you have real differences of opinion based on interpretation, context and so on. And then there are times when someone writes something so hopelessly, gloriously, spectacularly inane that all you can do is sit back with your mouth open and gaze in awe.

I give you one Bill Strong of Dunnville, Ontario, who writes the following about a recent dust-up in the U.S. House of Representatives:

403 to 3 vote affirms US commitment to Iraq

US troops won't be leaving Iraq "immediately".

Republicans in the US House of Representatives finally had enough of the Democrats' tactics of false claims that "Bush lied" and forced a vote on an issue raised by Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha calling for an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq.

Obviously fed up with the lies, deception and hypocracy [sic] of the Democrats, Republicans described Murtha's proposal as as a "strategy of surrender" and forced the vote. The debate got pretty heated, but in the end the Dummocrats [sic?] really had no choice.

What I want to know is - who were the three that voted in favour of this insanity?

Update: In case I wasn't clear, the vote was defeated 403 to 3. Those voting for it were Democrats Cynthia A. McKinney of Georgia, Robert Wexler of Florida and Jose E. Serrano of New York.

Poor Bill -- apparently completely unaware that the House was not voting on the original Murtha resolution, but on a bastardized, ridiculous version presented by the GOP that they tried to use to embarrass the Democrats, only to have that resulting vote blow up in their face.

Yes, the 403-3 defeat of that resolution means that even the GOP were voting against their own resolution! Apparently, nuance like this is lost on Mr. Strong.

DETAILS, DETAILS: Just in case you're as dim-witted as Mr. Strong, let me emphasize for you the differences between the original Murtha resolution and the pathetic joke that the GOP replaced it with. First, here's just an excerpt of Murtha's original resolution, in which you can clearly read that he's pressing for a U.S. troop withdrawal "at the earliest practicable date":

Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of American in Congress assembled, That:

Section 1. The deployment of United States Forces in Iraq, by direction of Congress, is hereby terminated and forces involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable date.

And what was the House actually voting on? Why, this unrealistic piece of nonsense, reproduced in its entirety:

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately.

1 Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately.

I suspect everyone but Mr. Strong can appreciate the difference, no? (Kos has the same story happening over here.)

AFTERSNARK: As a number of pundits have pointed out, this vote backfired spectacularly against the GOP. As you can see, almost every Democrat voted against the idiotic GOP resolution, simply because demanding that U.S. troops pull out immediately would have been an incredibly stupid thing to support.

The obvious backlash is that the GOP can no longer accuse the Dems of wanting to "cut and run" since the Dems can now point out that they voted against that very resolution of immediate withdrawal. Yes, the GOP, trying to be clever, well and truly screwed themselves here.

One gets the feeling that this GOP clusterfuck is due primarily to chaotic leadership in the House. Now that Tom DeLay isn't running things with his typical iron fist, there are others who have been pressed into leadership roles who just aren't up to the job. DeLay might have seen this fuck-up coming from a long way away, but no one else did. Poor babies.

OTHER VIEWPOINTS: stageleft gets it, too. So does Cathie.

Don Cherry: Canada's most esteemed public intellectual.

I've yet to confirm it myself (is it just me, or is the National Post's web site possibly the most badly-designed web site in the history of man?) but I have it on good authority that, yes, Don Cherry won the Post's online poll as Canada's "Most Esteemed Public Intellectual."

Frankly, it should have been cause for embarrassment that he was even on the list of nominees. The thought that he actually won leaves me, quite simply, speechless.

What sort of lesson do we draw from this? Seriously. Does this say something about us as a country? Or does it say something more specifically about the readership of the Post? And how did it come to pass that Cherry ended up winning? Do we imagine the average Post reader, scanning slowly down the list of potentials, muttering, "Uhhh ... huh ... yeah ... whoa! At least I recognize that name!"

Can someone supply an online link to coverage of this? I still feel like I have to read it for myself to truly believe it.