Monday, April 30, 2007

And now we know where everybody really stands.

Ottawa — The House of Commons has overwhelmingly rejected an NDP motion calling for an immediate end to Canada's combat mission in Afghanistan.

Conservative, Liberal and Bloc Québécois MPs joined forces Monday to defeat the motion by a vote of 225 to 28.

So the Conservatives think that the American style 'tough' counter-insurgency combat mission is the right mission for Canada, that the whole business is going swimmingly and that it should be an open-ended commitment - winking at the 2009 deadline they hope a majority will allow them to ignore.

Oh and we have no responsibility to prisoners once we hand them over to the Afghans and caring about their human rights makes you a Taliban sympathizer, a racist for applying Canada's cultural beliefs about torture to the Afghans and probably a fag.

The Liberals and Bloc on the other hand, judging by their statements and their serious (?) attempt to make the 2009 end-date quasi-firm, think the combat mission in Afghanistan is now the wrong mission for Canada and that it's going badly, but that we should still leave our troops in this meat grinder for two more years.

Upon reflection, at least the Cons believe something, repugnant though it may be. Their position doesn't seem to be entirely a product of triangulation. They're vicious, stupid, lizard brain eatfuckkill level beliefs but at least they seem to form policy based on something other than political calculation.

This was your gut check, we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Hat tip to Accidental Deliberations


Urns for cremated loved ones in the shape of cuddly teddy bears. Uniformed ones for dead service members.
One person's morbid and creepy is another person's sentimental keepsake.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Cops planted drugs on elderly woman after shooting her

ATLANTA — Two police officers pleaded guilty Thursday to manslaughter in the shooting death of a 92-year-old woman during a botched drug raid last fall. A third officer still faces charges.
When the plainclothes officers burst in without notice, police said, Johnston fired at them, and they fired back.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Yonette Sam-Buchanan said Thursday that although the officers found no drugs in Johnston's home, Smith planted three bags of marijuana in the home as part of a cover story.

Well at least Americans are safe from middle aged therapists who once tried LSD.

Sunday Linkblast - April 29

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Dave Foley explains Canada to Americans

James Laxer on the Afghanistan vote

Hat-tip to Rambling Socialist

Like Josh I approached Laxer's posting on the Afghanistan vote with some trepidation - his big theme of late has seemed to be urging a more junior partner to the Liberals role for the NDP - see his Walrus piece.

Thankfully I underestimated him. He points out quite rightly that the Canadian public is far out ahead of the other parties on Afghanistan and that the NDPs vote was the only principled option.

Swiss reporters uncover CIA European torture network

Three Swiss journalists were acquitted Tuesday on charges of revealing military secrets for publishing this fax. The document is purportedly a fax from an Egyptian minister of foreign affairs which was intercepted by Swiss intelligence. The journalists say they found the document on a train.

The fax contains both statements from the Egyptian minister and internal intel commentary on the interception.

The fax states that an ambassador has learned "from his own sources" that the US detained 23 Iraqis and Afghans at a base in Romania in September 2005.

Bush AIDS Czar and the not so happy ending

Hat tip to: Unrepentant Old Hippy
Deputy Secretary of State Randall L. Tobias submitted his resignation Friday, one day after confirming to ABC News that he had been a customer of a Washington, D.C. escort service whose owner has been charged by federal prosecutors with running a prostitution operation.
On Thursday, Tobias told ABC News he had several times called the "Pamela Martin and Associates" escort service "to have gals come over to the condo to give me a massage."
Tobias went on to say that he no longer used the same service for his, um, massages. He calls one that sends over some Central American gals now.

Al Gore calls bullshit on Conservative environment plan

TORONTO — The Conservatives’ new environmental platform is a “complete and total fraud” that is “designed to mislead the Canadian people,” former U.S. vice-president Al Gore said Saturday.
The former Vice President called the plan a shocking abdication of Canada's moral responsibility at a consumer environmental show in Toronto today. Suzuki button-holed John Baird fleeing the same show, and scolded him like a rather dim student who has turned in a half-assed effort before the Minister for the Environment managed to slip away in the crowd.

The plan, that I dismissed as a fraud here a few days ago, may be as dead on arrival as the original Green Plan. Once again the Conservatives have under-estimated where the Canadian people are on the issue of the environment. Their already static poll numbers are about to find a new cellar.

Update: Impolitical points out that Al may have just been trying to be preemptive, Baird has a history of falsely claiming Al Gore's support for the Cons environment plans.

Update 2: Baird responds. Sort of.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Apologizing to Bush

In the buildup to the second round of France's presidential election, Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal has accused right wing candidate Nicholas Sarkozy of apologizing to Bush for France's refusal to join in the Iraq invasion. Sarkozy denies it, but even unproven the allegation is damaging.

Stephen Harper's apology on behalf of Canada for not joining the US in Iraq, is in writing.

Read it and consider that had Harper been in power we would have been among the 'coalition of the willing'.

Bush's vision for Iraq is perpetual occupation - or at least until he's scurried out of the Oval Office and the Republicans can safely start calling the Democrats cut and run when the toxic cup has been passed. Harper's war in Afghanistan is similarly open-ended. In both cases the wars are likely to soon be in the hands of opposition parties with barely more credibility.

Prepare yourself to be disappointed by both Liberals and Democrats when the control is back in their hands and for some reason it just never becomes prudent to bring home the troops.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Why does anyone even try to make a TV show for Fox?

Fox strikes again killing intriguing new show Drive after only four episodes.

Edmonton's Nathan Fillion was the star and this is the second time Fox has killed a show he starred in, the more discerning readers will recall Firefly. Like Firefly, Drive quickly acquired a cult following and a small but loyal audience. Like Firefly, Drive was strangled in its infancy.

A smarter network would think long-term, think about DVD sales and spin-offs and actually putting an effort into building an audience. This is Fox though, remember Arrested Development? Futurama? Firefly? I could keep going, listing off the great shows Fox has criminally mistreated and abandoned for quite a while, suffice it to say Fox has a long, grim history of starting interesting new shows and then killing them before they have a chance to even get off the ground.

So again, why would any creator who cares about his creations even think of doing a show for a network so famous for jerking around audiences and creators?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Intensity based targets mean greenhouse gasses get worse.

It's really that simple. If your big reduction is simply to make the oil companies reduce the emissions per barrel but not restrict their absolute emissions the emissions will go up. Baird admits it openly, the Conservative plan does nothing until 'greenhouse gases have stopped rising'.

Intensity targets created in collaboration with oil companies who helped index them to already planned production efficiencies cannot, in any meaningful way, be considered getting tough with the big polluters and big Conservative donors of the Oil Patch. We're giving them credit for wringing every penny out of every ton of new emissions that they pump into the atmosphere. We're promoting a development strategy based on cancer cell growth by promising not to restrict their excesses until they've reached their most obscene summit possible.

These are non-existent cuts. This plan from the 'New Government of Canada' is nothing more nor less than a con where the Conservatives Alberta oil money supporters set our nation's policy to their benefit and are given carte blanche to continue to increase their greenhouse emissions, hell they are encouraged to.

This plan and the government suggestion that it is in some way a balanced, moderate solution to a controversial debate is a deliberate abuse of the fallacy of The Golden Mean, the logical fallacy that proposes that some theoretical rhetorical 'middle-ground' between two 'extremes' must intrinsically be the best alternative. Considering that the very suggestion that there is any controversy about the science of global warming is the result of deliberate scientific distortion paid for by the same oil companies, the dichotomy is even more false.

This government's breathtaking irresponsibility on this, the most important issue of our time, is only exceeded by their contempt for the intelligence of the Canadian people for thinking we'll fall for this piece of crap.

Please folks, don't make a liar out of me.

Don't fall for this piece of crap.

Bill Moyers Buying the War Special

Its just wrapping up as I type this. I blogged about the build up to it here. Knight Ridder's Washington Bureau reporters, who come out of this report looking like the few decent journalists covering the build up to the war, are answering questions from viewers at the shows page here. Along with the special's thesis in text, there are videos and an interactive time line of media coverage of the buildup to the invasion.

It was 90 minutes of careful, devastating analysis, fact checking and insightful media criticism. Anyone serious about journalism and media criticism should watch this. If you didn't see it tonight, find it online.

Rocket Man Redux

Oh yeah, that's the good stuff.

Liberals play politics while Kandahar burns

So the Lieberal blogosphere is having the fits the shits and the blind staggers over the failure of their party's faux Afghan withdrawal motion, claiming the NDP have joined the Tories to keep us in Afghanistan forever.

The truth, not surprisingly, turns out to be quite different. Military analyst Stephen Staples acted as a go-between between the Libs and the NDP to try to work out a bill the NDP could support. (Hat tip to Blogging a Dead Horse) The Libs were more interested in a grandstand ploy to score points off the NDP - in fact they even had a backup plan if the NDP had chosen to support the bill at the last minute; If they were so serious about this motion why wasn't it a whipped vote and why were more than a dozen Lib MPs missing?

The real vote will be debated tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Abortion/Breast Cancer Link non-existent

Hat tip to Birth Pangs

One of the pro-lifer's (Or as Birth Pangs delightfully describe them 'fetus fetishists') favorite myths is that abortion leads to breast cancer. It was always a tenuous and highly debatable link - now its not even that.
WASHINGTON, April 23 (Reuters) - Abortions and miscarriages do not raise the risk of breast cancer, despite claims by some groups and some studies that suggest they do, researchers said on Monday. A study of more than 100,000 U.S. nurses found that those who had an abortion or miscarriage were no more likely to have breast cancer than any other woman in the study. The findings fit with a 2003 report from an international expert panel put together by the U.S. National Cancer Institute. "If you look at the high-quality evidence, it does not support an association between induced abortions and breast cancer," said Karin Michels of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. But her team set out to create the most reliable type of research that is possible -- a prospective study, starting with women before they ever had cancer, and following them for years.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunday Linkblast - April 22

Friday, April 20, 2007

Mea Culpa from American Media

A 'devastating' 90 minute PBS probe of the media's complicity in the rush to invade Iraq airs on Wednesday. Bill Moyers interviews the major figures of American journalism and gets sheepish confessions from most.

Drudge links to the story with a quote from Dan Rather that he 'blew it', of course the rest of the sentiment boils down to '-by letting the Bush Administration get away with murder.' Probably not the interpretation that most of the ditto-heads reading Drudge will put on it.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The debate isn't over, it just should be

Health care just as good, half as much as in U.S.,
report says Ex-CMAJ editors feature study in new web journal
James Gordon, The Ottawa Citizen

Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Canada's health system is as good or better than that of the United States and is delivered at half the cost, new research suggests.

So our system costs half as much per person, covers everybody, and has better outcomes then the American system which costs twice as much and leaves millions, including millions of children with no coverage at all.

That's the punchline. The joke is right-wing politicians, corporate shill PR firms with delusions of credibility putting on airs by calling themselves an 'institute' and the reliably neo-liberal echo chamber of the Canadian media earnestly telling us that we'd be better off with cash and carry healthcare, that privatization experiments are a step forward rather than back and that our current system is irredemably broken.

Are you laughing yet?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Self Fulfilling Prophecies

From the Minnesota Monitor by way of Crooks and Liars:

In an supplemental budget request, Ramsey County Sheriff Bill Fletcher is expected to ask for considerable funding to pay for security during the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

Fletcher, who narrowly won re-election in 2006, expects to arrest between three and five thousand protesters during the GOP's presidential nominating convention in September 2008. According to a source close to the policy-making process in St. Paul, the unconfirmed amount of $4,432,804 includes more than $80,000 for chain link fence to build outdoor holding areas for protesters. According Dave Verhasselt, spokesman for Ramsey County Manager David Twa, the Saint Paul Police generally have jurisdiction over arrests, and the Sheriff over jailing once arrests are made.

Granted, with how gigantic a realignment has taken place in the American electorate, particularly in voters under thirty, he's probably right about how many protesters will be there. Protesters against the President, his war and his party.

However the civic fathers of St Paul should carefully consider the kind of approach they want to take. Particularly in the light of the expensive consequences the City of Seattle now faces for it's acts of over-reaction and repression in 1999.

Protest is a right and there was a time in America when the whole country was a free speech zone.

The whole world really will be watching.

Premier Stelmach sides with big landlords against working Albertans

His own Housing Task Force says the situation is untenable as all over the province Albertans lose their homes to predatory landlords abusing the rules to drive out renters so they can go condo, but steady Eddie says let them eat cake - and stay at the Super 8. After all, are there no prisons? No workhouses?

Better to remain politically correct than suggest the free market is ever less than perfect. Better to let Albertans suffer for the sake of pristine free market uber alles ideology.

Not as many people being driven out of their homes in Vegereville as in Calgary, hey Ed? It's just degenerate city slickers suffering right? Not good Tory, and Steady Eddie for leader voting country folk.

Two words Ed.

Harry Strom.

Don't you have to actually be left wing to claim to represent the left wing?

As Dion competes with Harper over who can suck up to big business more, it's worth remembering that the Liberal Party's name was never about social policy - it was and is all about their economic philosophy.

Meanwhile Elizabeth May looks on adoringly, after Dion promises her a free run at Peter McKay's seat and members of both parties spit like angry wet cats at the NDP. Apparently it's a grievous sin to give Central Nova's left wing voters an actual left wing alternative to a hapless Conservative Minister, a proven liar who acts like a spoiled sulky jackass around his ex, and a Green Party leader with a slightly hipper rap on the environment but with fiscal and social policies and attitudes that are comfortably center right.

There's still only one federal party in parliament that has actually tried to get good environmental legislation out of this government while Liberals stalled. One federalist party that unanimously supported the anti-scab law while the Liberals sabotaged it.

Only one party that has voted against the Conservative government on every. single. confidence. vote.

Central Nova voters should consider who the real alternative to politics as usual is, and vote for Louise Lorefice.

Monday, April 16, 2007


The bodies are still cooling and the most important thing the White House and the Republican presidential candidates need to get off their chests? That they still support the right of Americans to bear arms.

That's absolutely what's important right now folks. Good call.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sunday Link Blast - April 15

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Heh. It's funny 'cause it's true.

Don't Be Afraid

Sweatshop Union

Homelessness and mean spirited Calgary

The sloppy group of absolutely polluted street people pile up outside a downtown restaurant making themselves at home leaning against tires of cars owned by patrons who dine on lobster tails inside.
This is the lead paragraph of a Calgary Sun news story two weeks ago, not an opinion piece, a news story. The rest of the piece is a cringe-inducing, worshipful puff piece on the Guardian Angels. It reads like a Volkischer Beobachter propaganda piece for vigilante mobs dressed in brown shirts, not red berets.

This ties in with a mean-spirited campaign by downtown businesses that implies that all homeless are drug addicts and tells the public not to help them. In tune with the chamber of commerce vote, City Hall passed anti-homeless legislation designed to make being poor illegal.

With this kind of mean-spirited contempt and dehumanization coming from Calgary's journalists, business people and politicians, is it any surprise that some people would assume that they've been given the go-ahead to view the homeless as expendable - or even targets? What happens when you label an entire group 'polluted'?

Attacks on the homeless are becoming a sadly regular occurrence in Calgary. In July of 2003 a pack of young men gleefully filmed themselves kicking, beating and urinating on a helpless homeless man. They laughed as they tortured him. Sadly this is not an unusual event. Only the fact that the vile attack was filmed got it the attention it did. At night those on the street who are unwilling or unable to get a spot in the overstressed city shelters find an easily defensible spot to sleep or band together for protection.

A lot of fingers and toes were lost this bitter winter and at least one death as the shelters turned away record numbers of people.

A year ago a conservative one night count of Calgary's homeless population was over three thousand. It's increased since then. Despair and neglect have led to a vicious cycle of drug abuse and dependency. Instead of compassion, the response from the right wing utopia of go go Calgary has been contempt and hateful, arguably eliminationist rhetoric.

These are hard, cold streets.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Hypocritical scumbag watch

So Greg Kandra a writer and producer at CBS and Editor of Katie Couric's blog has posted a piece today on the new blogger code of conduct that the MSM is so hot and heavy for (Warren Ellis has the best takes on it here and here.), mostly Kandra just quotes the Sieberg piece on the subject, concentrating on a quote of a viciously racist attack on Barack Obama by some anonymous troll.

Purely coincidentally I'm sure, this is the same day that Drudge, crediting it to Couric herself, linked to a sensational entry that Kandra wrote two days ago rehashing the already conclusively proven false smear that Obama was raised a Muslim and attended a radical Madrassa school. The video of Couric riffing on the piece is still here. To CBS's delayed credit they smack Katie for it here.

Clearly since the piece was written, lawyers have been involved and somebody has massively corrected the entry noting that all changes are in bold.

So for example
Is America ready for a President who grew up praying in a mosque?
which at the moment is still the link text at Drudge, was turned into
Is America ready to elect a President whose connections with Islam were the subject of rumor and innuendo?
Another correction admits flatly that
...the rumors [were] later disproved .
Since the entry as it currently appears is a clear testament to a slanderous and irresponsible perversion of journalism, the final sentences that remain unchanged are now even more mind-bogglingly lame:
It's too soon to know what America will decide about Barack Obama or his background.

But it's not too soon to wonder if America will see that background as an asset...or a liability.
What background is that exactly? Being the target of clumsy slanders and slurs by intolerant partisan hacks masquerading as journalists?

And these are the people telling us that we're the ones who need a code of conduct.

Uh, oh.

Turkish army demands incursion into Iraq

Turkey's military chief asked the government yesterday to approve an incursion into Iraq, increasing pressure on the US and Iraq to fight Kurdish guerrillas.

The staunchly secular Turkish military distrust the current Turkish government because of it's alliances with Islamist parties. This was the military putting pressure on the government leading into the Turkish election season. The regions already unsteady house of cards is now wobbling in a fierce wind.

Meanwhile Bush seems to be hoping that he can provoke the Iranians into doing something stupid. Back when Eisenhower was President he wouldn't put his fleet into the strait between Taiwan and mainland China because all it would take is one edgy Chinese soldier firing his pistol at a passing American destroyer to start World War III. Currently the Bush administration is conducting highly provocative maneuvers right off the Iranian coast, multiple carrier groups, seemingly because they hope the Iranians will start something. See Sy Hersh's interview in this week's Rolling stone:

A lot of people interpreted your last article in "The New Yorker" as a prediction that we're going into Iran. But you also make clear that the Saudis have reasons to keep us from attacking Iran.
I've never said we're going to go -- just that the planning is under way. Planning is planning, of course. But in the last couple of weeks, it has become nonstop. They're in a position right now where the president could wake up and scratch his, uh --

His what?
His nose, and say, "Let's go." And they'd go. That's new. We've made it closer. We've got carrier groups there. It's not about going in on the ground. Although if we went in we'd have to send Marines into the coastal areas of Iran to knock out their Silkworm missile sites.

So the notion that it would just be a bombing campaign isn't true at all?
Oh, no. Don't forget, you'd have to take out a very sophisticated radar system, and a guidance system for their missiles. You'd have to knock out the ability of the Iranians to get our ships.

So this is the "fail forward" plan?
I think Bush wants to resolve the Iranian crisis. It may not be a crisis, but he wants to resolve it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Pte. Robert Costall and the waiting game

Pte. Robert Costall 22, died in a pitched firefight with Taleban forces on the night of March 29, 2006. Since then, how he died has been a closely guarded secret, which I blogged about here back in August. The Pentagon retains veto power over the results of first a Canadian and now an American Friendly Fire inquiry. The Pentagon observer even had the authority to keep Pte. Costall's family out of the Canadian inquiry.

The American friendly fire inquiry is finally done, more than a year since the incident occurred and the details are still secret. Was Pte. Costall killed by an insurgent? An American Special Forces member? Someone else?

Should the mannner of death for a Canadian soldier be information that is subject to the veto of a foriegn power?

Monday, April 09, 2007

Bush Whitehouse: Threatening to have someone's mother raped isn't torture.

On Aug. 2, an interrogation chief visited the prisoner posing as a White House representative named "Navy Capt. Collins," the report said. He gave the prisoner a forged memorandum indicating that Mr. Slahi's mother was being shipped to Guantanamo, and that officials had concerns about her safety as the only woman amid hundreds of male prisoners, according a person familiar with the matter.
The military lawyer assigned refused to prosecute the alleged al-Qaeda member, based on a confession elicited by such methods. Revulsion against this toxic administration from people like this on the front lines may be the only thing that will save America's soul.

Bush nearly blows himself up - Oh the humanity!

At a demonstration of an Electric/Hydrogen hybrid car, Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally had to act fast to keep bright-eyed mischief maker George W Bush from toddling his way into third degree burns or death. Georgie figured the cool big hot wheels just needed some electricity in order to make it go vroom vroom and, well...

Ford wanted to give the Commander-in-Chief an actual demonstration of the innovative vehicle, so the automaker arranged for an electrical outlet to be installed on the South Lawn and ran a charging cord to the hybrid. However, as Mulally followed Bush out to the car, he noticed someone had left the cord lying at the rear of the vehicle, near the fuel tank.

"I just thought, 'Oh my goodness!' So, I started walking faster, and the President walked faster and he got to the cord before I did. I violated all the protocols. I touched the President. I grabbed his arm and I moved him up to the front," Mulally said. "I wanted the president to make sure he plugged into the electricity, not into the hydrogen This is all off the record, right?"

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Sunday Linkblast - April 8

And finally Geraldo Rivera redeems a couple years worth of suckiness at least by making Bill O'Reilly completely lose his mind:

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Bush Isolated

The influential Right-wing commentator Robert Novak wrote last week: "Bush is alone. In half a century, I have not seen a president so isolated from his own party in Congress - not even Richard Nixon as he faced impeachment."
Even Frummie has turned on his neo-con man crush and has begun sniping at the embattled White House:
David Frum, a former White House speech writer, and Jim Nuzzo, a West Wing aide to Mr Bush's father, have both told The Sunday Telegraph that the president cannot achieve anything more in domestic politics and is now a captive of international events.
The Supreme Court has repudiated his Global Warming denial policy and Speaker of the House Pelosi has exercised the proper powers of her role as leader of a co-equal branch of government in her visit to Syria. That she was also acting on the recommendations of the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group made Vice President Cheney's shrill denunciation even more of a turn off to the American people.

Tony Blair politely told Bush to fuck off when the President tried to insert himself in the British prisoners crisis.

The Press have lost their fear of the Administration and actually chased the Attorney General from the room three minutes into a fifteen minute press conference.

The money is flowing to the Democratic Presidential contenders and Republican strategists are gloomy. Bush faces two more years of investigation and legislative impotence.

Now he just has to be kept from trying anything crazy for 653 more days.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Bob Clark 1941-2007

Bob Clark, Canada's most influential film-maker and his son were killed by a drunk driver yesterday.

That he was our most influential film-maker is really almost beyond debate; he was responsible for jump starting the slasher genre (the original Black Christmas) and the modern horror film on a budget in general, the r-rated teen sex comedy (Porky's) and the child-hood remembrance film narrated by the adult version of the protagonist (A Christmas Story). If you haven't all seen multiple versions of each of these movies since he set the molds - it must have taken effort.

He was working on new films and a remake of one his older ones, Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things, when he died.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Business mentality in a nutshell

Neil Reynolds in the Globe and Mail today:
In manufacturing, you measure success by the number of jobs you eliminate, not the number of jobs you create. No country has eliminated more jobs (proportionately) than the United States. Canada hasn't done nearly as well, especially in the past decade; indeed, and alas, it (for a few years) added jobs...
Update: Relentlessly Progressive Economics and Relentlessly Progressive Political Economy (No Relation) helpfully explain all the many and sundry reasons why Reynolds is a boob.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

UK to Bush: 'Shutupshutupshutup....!'

You know those unpleasant guys at the bar who drink just enough to get belligerent but not enough to get over their essential cowardice? "Are you going to take that from him?" They leer as they prod those even drunker into sweaty scuffles for their amusement. "Let's you and him fight!"

But Britain's delicate diplomatic efforts were set back by U.S. President George W. Bush, who made a statement Saturday in which he characterized the imprisoned sailors as “hostages” — a phrase that Britain has been carefully avoiding to prevent the crisis from becoming a broader political or military conflict.

“The British hostages issue is a serious issue because the Iranians took these people out of Iraqi waters, and it's inexcusable behaviour,” Mr. Bush said in response to a reporter's question during a press conference at the Camp David retreat.

He had reportedly promised not to raise the issue of the sailors, as British officials worry that the entry of the United States into this crisis could cause it to escalate into an irreconcilable confrontation.
Britain's government is carefully and with some success trying to deal with a melange of competing interests in the Iranian state, some like the Revolutionary Guards who seemingly would like to spark a conflict over this mess, others including the supreme religious hierarchy seemingly trying to avoid one.

Bush is on the edge of this huge crowd of government ministers, diplomats and negotiators shouting "Kick his Ass! Kick his ASS!"

Monday, April 02, 2007

Universal Blood

Scientists from Denmark have reported a breakthrough discovery that might solve the problem of incompatibility between blood groups (A, B, AB and O) and might save millions of people annually.
This is another one of those seemingly little things that changes everything. If this method proves safe, relatively cheap and easily reproducible, than the average human life-span is likely to take another jump.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Secret plan? What secret plan?

In a holiday interview with Haaretz, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also commented on the assessments of a possible "war in the summer."

"The Syrians, according to their statements and those of others recently," Olmert said, "appear to be saying that there is an American plan to attack Iran in the summer, and at the same time, and in coordination with Israel, to also attack Syria and Lebanon."

"I can tell you that there is no such plan that we know about, and in any case, there is no reason for the Syrians to prepare for such an eventuality. There is always concern that when one side prepares for war, and the other side is preparing to counter the other side's preparations, then the first side interprets the preparations of the other side as if it is the manifestation of its fears, and the situation goes into a spin, and control is lost.

Too bad, so sad for all the Gitmo prisoners whose release isn't politically expedient.

So Cheney goes to Australia and meets with John Howard who tells him that the Hicks case is killing him in Australia, and he may lose the next election because of it. Hicks's case is then railroaded to the front of the Gitmo kangaro court line, and put through a "legal" process almost ludicrously inept, with two of Hicks' three lawyers thrown out on one day, then an abrupt plea-bargain, with a transparently insincere confession. Hicks is then given a mere nine months in jail in Australia, before being set free. Who negotiated the plea-bargain? Hicks' lawyer. Who did he negotiate with? Not the prosecutors, as would be normal, but Susan J. Crawford, the top military commission official. Who is Susan J. Crawford? She served as Dick Cheney's Inspector General while he was Defense Secretary.

Sunday Link Blast - April 1

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