Tuesday, September 21, 2010

John Le Carré's Essay On Bush, Blair and the Iraq War

From the great people at Democracy Now: John LeCarré reading an exerpt from his much quoted 2003 essay on the then looming Iraq war:


Tuesday Mad Links Blogging

The leaves are starting to turn, the kids are back at school and the sound of caterwauling can be heard coming from Canada's Parliament so it must be autumn in the Great White North. This session of Parliament seems to be weighted with importance as there is a growing sense that within a year an election will be called either by the opposition or the minority government depending on who gets the upper hand in the polls the quickest.

 There have been suggestions from some quarters that the Tories are looking for an excuse to call a snap election -- they behave and sound like a party getting ready to go into campaign mode invoking the choices soon to be made between a majority for themselves or (eeeek!) a coalition of Liberals and Socialists and Separatists... oh my!

Michael Ignatieff is off the bus and on center stage in Parliament  now where he can continue his job of selling both himself and the Liberal Party to Canadians. He has begun earnestly and well if somewhat uninspiringly. Those in a nutshell reflect his strengths and weaknesses and he'll have to find a way to overcome that last bit. If I were amongst his handlers and preparing him for questions about the criticism that he's uninspiring or without a lot of passion, I'd be telling him to fire back, "Compared to who?"" Because our current PM is no more passionate or inspiring than Iggy and so as long as he can keep the conversation focused on Harper he should be fine. You can watch the first part of this interview with Peter Mansbridge and see him starting to fire on all cylinders as far as issues go. The PM has given him a nice big target and it's good to see he has the ability to hit it.

Mr. Layton's troubles on the other hand are harder to understand. He has the advantage of being the country's most trusted and likable leader but has as of yet been able to get the NDP Party's numbers above the 20% mark in the polls. I feel he doesn't give impression of someone who expects to win or govern -- that he's satisfied with being in opposition and so he's viewed just that way by the electorate and not as a viable alternative to the other two major parties. Of course opinions are like noses and all that -- I'd be happy to be proved wrong.

The National Energy Board (NEB) is moving ahead with its review of Arctic offshore drilling rules and has drawn responses from people concerned about the risk of a big oil spill similar to the one in the Gulf of Mexico occurring in northern Canadian waters. The deadline for public comment on the federal board's review is this Friday, and they will look at safety, environmental regulations and safeguards for Arctic offshore drilling.

There is no way to stress enough that should a spill occur in Arctic waters the difficulties that would ensue for cleanup would be far greater than they were in the Gulf and the possible affects on the environment are incalculable. As far as that goes, in spite of what's being said and not being covered in the MSM the books are not yet closed on the consequences of the Gulf spill.

A story that comes without explanation or any speculation -- renewable water resources have declined in Southern Canada over the past three decades . The annual loss is equivalent to 1.4 million Olympic-sized swimming pools, and almost as much water as was supplied to Canada's entire residential population in 2005. This represents an overall loss of 8.5 per cent of the water yield in Southern Canada over 34 years. A story about a climate change study published in the journal Eos, that indicates that the water levels in the Great Lake system is highly sensitive to climate changes.

And something for the Climate Change deniers, "Global warming's unstoppable 1500 year cycle."

Monday's Radio Show Links

Going to do this as fast as possible without a narrative if you don't mind.

 Beginning with Harper's dreams of one day scrapping the long-gun registry -- it really doesn't take much to make a con happy. All you have to do is support, believe and act on his ideology and all is well. They're hoping to keep playing this divisive political card and so are on a last minute blitz to get people in rural areas worked up over this issue -- divide and conquer is definitely the plan.

From the war that no one wants to talk about and the elections that are supposed to help move the country forward there's been reports of ballot stuffing, poll workers being found dead, light turnout and hundreds of polling stations being closed or under attack throughout the country that will likely discredit the results and a call for President Hamid Karzai's government to allow an independent investigation into reports of widespread fraud, including intimidation of voters and interference by powerful warlords.

In Iraq where American combat operations have ended, on Sunday there were 56 killed and 171 wounded. And because the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been so fabulously successful, Senator Lindsey Graham wants to have one in Iran.

When in doubt invoke Hitler seems to be the new rule for public discourse. Recently it was the pope calling atheists Nazi sympathizers, and now here's a GOP dude saying that the idea for the separation of church and state came from Hitler -- not Thomas Jefferson at all. Of course he's wrong.

Here's a great look from the people at Wired at a map of the Arctic Ocean sea floor and why settling the Arctic territorial disputes is not going to be easy or come without controversy.

And finally, since this is kickoff week for Canada's Parliament, an interesting piece from John Ibbitson of the Globe and his opinion that the party leader that tells the best story will get to lead Canada in the near future. My opinion is somewhat different -- the person who who can articulate his ideas and define himself in a manner in keeping with what Canadians believe and hold dear will win. Really, this shouldn''t be a difficult task as the Tories seem ready to discredit themselves at every turn -- as I was putting this together word came of the Conservatives spending $49 million dollars to promote their stimulus plans and $130 million in all for advertising. This is not what fiscal conservatism looks like.

My advice to Iggy and Layton would be to emulate that country song, 'Come From the Heart:' "You gotta' sing like you don't need the money. Love like you'll never get hurt. You gotta' dance, dance, dance like nobody's watching -- it's gotta' come from the heart if you want it to work."



Too Pollyannish? Stop being such a cynic!