Monday, November 22, 2010

Canadians Get Burned While Ignatieff Fiddles- North And South Korea Have Artillery Exchange

Looks like we have an opposition after all, Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe will be calling for a vote in the house of commons concerning the extension of the mission in Afghanistan. (One good thing about being in Afghanistan for so long I can spell it now no problem. Now we just have to invade Kasikstan.)

I found a copy of President Karzai's speech from Lisbon,(wicki leaks don't got nothing on me) this is my fave part,


In this regard, we look forward to our international partners fulfilling their commitments of the London and Kabul Conferences to channel 50% of resources through the Afghan government and to aligning the use of all resources around Afghan priorities.

Constitutionally, our State is unitary, so we ask that the resources your governments contribute to our common effort be provided in a manner that strengthens Afghan government, reinforces our sovereignty, and advances the success of our State.
We appreciate NATO’s comprehensive approach in Afghanistan, where the campaign against terrorism goes hand in hand with development assistance. However, parallel aid systems raise significant issues of accountability and efficiency, whereas national programs can build institutions and allow for public participation. We therefore ask our partners to join us in expanding existing national programs and in designing new ones. We must particularly work together to ensure that provincial transitions are guided by a coherent national approach. Our security institutions are still modestly equipped. Ensuring enablers and trainers for our police and armed forces is therefore essential to the success of transition.

We have long been concerned about the unintended adverse consequences of international contracts on our economy, politics and society. We welcome the review of NATO contracts and commitment to the policy of “Afghan First”. Giving preference to the Afghan private sector will have major positive effect in
harnessing the market as a force of stability. Providing Afghanistan with market access to ISAF/NATO countries can also boost peace and prosperity. As the transition succeeds, reinvesting the dividend into the creation of opportunity for Afghan citizens will be welcome.

I believe thats government talk for, "just deposit the aid money directly in our Swiss Bank Accounts."
A link to the whole speech: 



I was thinking about all the hassles of flying lately and I discovered an alternate mode of air travel, enjoy the ride



STOP THE PRESSES: NEWS ALERT : HIDE UNDER THE DESK TIME; Just got Tweeted by the  NY Times and they are telling me that North and South Korea have exchanged dozens of artillery shells. Local news(South Korean I assume but cannot confirm) says more than 80 rounds. Updates to follow.

Around the Blogosphere

By the time Monday shows up there's usually a whole raft of important stories being ignored by the various media in favour of the more sensationalist or celebrity related news (caution!). That doesn't even count news about the hypocritical Palin and the rest of her clan which is now a whole separate industry. Barbara Bush for one, wishes she would just go away.

 Still, occasionally an important story breaks through the vapidity as is the case with the story about the thawing of the permafrost that is under way in Siberia and the negative affect the resulting release in methane could have on the speed with which global warming takes hold of the planet. Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse forcing gas 25 or so more times more powerful than CO2 and there are 1.5 trillion tons of carbon locked inside the frozen earth. Most of the greenhouse modeling done to date does not even include this major warming factor.

There's a story getting some play in the media about the Republicans obstructing the NEW START treaty with Russia that is critical to securing loose nukes and monitoring Russian nuclear weapons. In short it's important to the overall security concerns of the US but that seemingly is not as important to Republicans as their hatred for Obama.

For a little bit of fun, here's some Keith Olbermann back doing his worst Person In The World Segment featuring the vicious madman who runs fox news and some other idjits and he also has a few words for John Stewart:




A couple of people who are no doubt likely to be featured on Keith's show in the near future are the insane Michelle Bachman, who was recently busy calling Obama anti-American in an interview with the BBC,  newly elected wingnut Allen West who has a bizarre and violent past and his most recent media enabler David Gregory of Meet the Press. The media sinks to new lows every weekend!

And in a 'dog bites man' kind of story, the polluters at BP still evil and couldn't give a crap about the environment -- seems they've done some of their best work in the pristine wilderness of Alaska.

Monday Morning Links

Monday's at the radio show are named mayhem because of the importance of alliteration in radio and because of the wide array of stories that present themselves after two days away from the mike. Starting with a story from The Mark, a story we've talked at some length about on New Media and Politics, the Tories mad desire to imprison more Canadians, build new prisons at a time when crime rates are historically low (Tories plan to build 13 new prisons to accommodate more prisoners and harsher sentences) and imitate our American cousins by instituting mandatory minimums for crimes like possession of marijuana.

 A story about the ambiguous announcements (surprise!) coming out of the NATO get-together in Lisbon discussing the future of the war there and how all NATO alliance troops will be leaving Afghanistan in 2014 no matter what, except the ones that don't.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen officials said the date was not a deadline. Combat operations could continue beyond 2014, he warned, and the pace of the transition will have to be determined by conditions on the ground in each town, district and province.
In an Afghanistan war related story and how the war took a turn for the worse when the Americans took their eye off the ball and began the fiasco in Iraq, George Bush jr. engaged on his book-selling/making excuses tour, has shamefully tried to lay the blame on the NATO allies for not wanting to fight -- no doubt like he didn't want to serve in Vietnam -- but his version of the story differs wildly with  Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen — whom Bush appointed to in 2007:



Whatever happened to the Afghanistan detainee issue and the multi-party panel created to sift through the documents you ask? Near as anyone can report, nothing!

Bruce Anderson of the Globe and Mail says the Liberal Party may be suffering from an enthusiasm gap as 64% of Canadians believe they should change their leadership. That's got to be pretty tough for Iggy to swallow with his morning cup of java. My caveat here would be that Mr. Ignatieff suffers from a lack of faith in the Canadian voter gap. He's been given innumerable issues that he could have taken to the Canadian voter and perhaps rallied them to the side of the Liberal Party but seems not to trust them with issues and policy and instead sits on the sidelines being marginalized while waiting for the polls to tell him he's suddenly popular and should force an election.

In the interim Harper has abused prorogation, muzzled several watchdog agencies, stonewalled on the Afghan detainee issue, used executive spending powers to eliminate things he does not like, with no public debate, continued his party`s assault on women's rights, diminished the role of science in the economy, engaged in attacks on the cultural sector and eliminated the funding for advocacy organizations which criticize the government. Oh, and Bill C-9 gave the Tories the power to waive off environmental assessment and unilaterally approve projects like drilling in Canada`s Arctic or tar sands expansion. Do you think that somewhere in there Iggy could find a winning issue or two?

A great example of a valuable institution that Harper and his band of ideologues have decided to neuter is Statistics Canada. By eliminating the long-form census they have reduced its' effectiveness and deprived numerous organizations of important data.
Statistics Canada says more than 700 different clients bought reports or data based on the 2006 census, including 297 government bodies from all levels, 232 businesses, 66 non-profit organizations, 54 health and social service agencies and 62 educational institutions.

This effectively marginalizes the poor and those already on the fringes. No doubt that was its purpose. Again, an issue with which an effective opposition could make headway with the Canadian public. Mr. Layton has been equally ineffective at messaging and it is leaving the playing field to the Tories.

My Local Fishwrap Prints An Op-Ed

On Friday morning I'm rushing off to work and take a quick peek at the Montreal Gazette and see an editorial entitled, "The Senate was right to kill the climate-change bill," by Tom Harris. At the bottom it reads that he is the executive director of an organization called the International Climate Science Coalition.

 Sounds official. They even sound like they might be an environmentally concerned group of people. But if that's so, then why would they be happy about Stephen Harper and his undemocratic machinations to kill the climate bill? And why would there be the usual threats that are so commonplace now every time industry and corporations see a bill or regulations they don't like, "It'll cost thousands of jobs!"

So when I got to work I quickly did a google search and sure enough Tom Harris is the head of an organization that spends their time lying about global warming, its' possible impacts while ignoring the actual science altogether. Don't believe me? Go have a look at their official sight. The information that Al Gore has tried to get people to sit up and notice? Indoctrination! According to one editorial the sight is promoting, Global Warming has been made up! Never mind that 97% of scientists who are members of the National Academy of Science agree that Global Warming is real and it has a human footprint. Tom Harris and his organization don't deal in facts. They deal in obfuscation and corporate propaganda.

And this is tripe is published in a major media outlet with no mention as to what it is his organization is about, who they represent, the shadowy organizations they are aligned with,  nor are there any scientific facts for anyone to hang their hats on. They have aligned themselves with the discredited conspiracist Alex Jones the very thoroughly debunked Lord Monkton. They have also trumpeted the so-called "climategate" affair which has been repeatedly proven to be no scandal whatsoever.

Without overstating the obvious, the very least the newspaper has an obligation to do is inform its readers of who the author is and what his or her potential conflicts of interest might be. An op-ed on the science of Global Warming without any science is absurd but this is what passes for journalism in the 21st century. It's shameful and ultimately works against all our interests to have a debate about science between scientists and the propagators of opinion journalism. In a better world, this wouldn't be a fair fight.