Sunday, August 1, 2010

And We're Back!

Just a little commercial break so I could recharge a bit. Have to admit that the nature of the news stories I've been talking and writing about this summer have taken a weird toll. If you've also checked out the other blog, you'll know that the news from south of the border has been fueled by hatred and race-baiting and stupidity. Yet the MSM seems oblivious, reporting on stories without context, ignoring the incendiary speech from the right only mentioning it in when they try to draw false parallels to speech on the left. Thing is, there are no equivalencies on the left. There are none on the left who call for the bludgeoning or poisoning of the people they disagree with. Glenn Beck and his ilk do it regularly.

Here in Canada the rhetoric has been unusually nasty for a House in summer recess, but nothing that compares to what the Americans are up to. Iggy's on a bus tour learning what Canadians care about and Harper's in hiding while his ministers take heat for all kinds of idiot decisions. Well, the Tories in the face of virtual unanimous consensus among business groups, academics, policy analysts and statisticians can claim that there is someone who supports scrapping the census - the far right Fraser Institute who also want to redefine poverty. (See previous post)

The Afghanistan war has been in the news slightly more since the WikiLeaks release of 90,000 or so documents and the White House has implored them to stop publishing war secrets. The leaked secret military reports show the terrible depths of mistrust among allies in Afghanistan. The classified records released on the WikiLeaks website don't contain any stunning revelations about the war, but page after page chronicles the behind-the-scenes bitterness that often gets hidden under a patina of diplomacy - and that may be what the White House doesn't want the world to see. Assange says there's evidence of 'war crimes' in the leaks - Gates is accusing him of having blood on his hands and in the meantime no hearts or minds are being won on the ground, so who really has blood on their hands?
Today the Dutch officially ended their mission without public ceremony or even any announcement from ISAF on Sunday. There is evidence that as the 2011 US drawdown date nears the strategy for fighting in Afghanistan has changed to one of targeted killings of insurgents from Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Frank Rich of the NYT's thinks we can kiss this war goodbye. He writes: Victory is undefined outside of slogans, America's "ally" in Kabul is incorrigible and incompetent, America's "ally" in Pakistan is funding and advising the enemy, America's allies in NATO with the exception of Britain have plans for their own withdrawals, and the war is corrosive both domestically and abroad.

That 3 million litre oil spill in the midwest that is threatening wildlife in and around Lake Michigan is the fault of a Canadian company, Enbridge, that received repeated warning about the state of the pipeline. Now they must submit a revised version of their clean-up plan by Monday.