Author: Kate

GST Petition

Via Sean at Pol:Spy a worthwhile petition for Canadians to consider.

Mr. Martin,

In accordance with your statement of May 26,2004 as reported in the Ottawa Citizen:
�I�ve got a record of doing what I say I�m going to do and I�m telling you in this case, I�m going to do exactly what we�re saying we�re going to do.�
…we, your constituents, are formally calling upon you to honour a past commitment you made to Canadians and that was reported in the Montreal Gazette on April 4, 1990:
�I would abolish the GST.�
As you are now our Prime Minister, the authority needed to keep this promise — abolishing the Goods and Services Tax — is yours.
You said it, and we’re holding you to it.
The Undersigned.


I’m going to be off line for a few days, as of tomorrow. So, while I’m gone, make a point of checking out the Iraqi bloggers on the sidebar. It’s difficult for some of these people to get net access, and its expensive. The least we can do is read what they have to say, as an reminder to us all that there are those among us who would gladly send them back in time, and return them to Saddam Hussein.
I suggest you begin with this; Omar translates comments from ordinary Iraqis.
For a long time I’ve been listening to the apologists and critics of the war in Iraq. They generally begin “Of course it’s a good thing that Saddam is gone…” and then with a simple three letter word, leap forward with their criticism, accusations, conspiracies, and dire predictions – to tell us what they really think.
To these people: Drop the hypocrisy. Stop trying to hide in that clever and convenient alternate Universe of What If – for it does not exist. You have no third choice to pluck from a world of your imagination. Indulge your negativity and partisan agenda, if you must, but stop insulting the people of Iraq with the word “but”.
Try some intellectual integrity – stop prefacing your statements with approving nods to the removal Saddam Hussein. You don’t mean it, and we know you don’t mean it. If you believe that the “war was a mistake”, then stand up and own it – all of it. Reclaim ownership of Saddam. Take him to your breast and hold him tight.
Don’t protest that this is absurd, that it’s not at all what you mean, for it is. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. You cannot declare the war in Iraq was a mistake without propelling the Butcher of Baghdad back into his opulent palaces, without flinging thousands of innocents back into prisons, without pulling the Omars from their beds in the night, amputating their hands for the crime of writing, cutting out their tongues because they dared to speak.
If you believe the price has been too high, fine. Say so. But you must bring Saddam back. Take to the streets if you must. Demand the return of Iraqi women to the depravity of the rape rooms and their children to the silence of mass graves.
You know how to use a shovel, don’t you? Get digging.
Take your pick. Either A or B. Omar or Saddam.
You cannot have them both. Omar cannot exist in the world of Saddam Hussein. Omar is alive and speaking to the world today as a free Iraqi is because the decision was made to remove Saddam by force.
Too black and white you say? You prefer to layer your world view in varying shades of rippling grey? I’m afraid that the truth is not available in that colour. There is no halfway point between life and death, freedom and slavery, so take your greys, take your alternate universes, set them aside and make your decision.
Omar or Saddam?

Political Flacktivistism

Martin A. Grove at the Hollywood Reporter chronicles the manipulation of events that led to Michael Moore’s film making it onto the pages of the New York Times, and from there through the world press, and to Cannes.

The “Fahrenheit” fracas first broke on the front page of The New York Times in a story with a Washington, D.C. dateline. Typically, stories about movies are covered from Los Angeles or New York, so the fact that this one was being reported on from Washington immediately suggested its origin was atypical. Its headline packed a powerful take-no-prisoners punch: “Disney Is Blocking Distribution of Film That Criticizes Bush.” Whoever planted the story with the Times’ Washington bureau had a political agenda in mind beyond wanting to secure a movie distribution deal.

You think they might have checked their facts before running with a story supplied by the agent of a well known political flacktivist. But some stories are too juicy to pass up, and fact checking might deflate the balloon of enthusiasm. Instead, the Times followed this up with an editorial titled Disney’s Craven Behavior”.

Moore’s reference to the Times’ article on his Web site wound up being cited later on by AFP (and, presumably, by other media outlets around the world) without mentioning that Moore’s own agent was the person the Times had quoted about those claimed Florida tax breaks for Disney that would be supposedly be endangered if Disney dared to let Miramax release “Fahrenheit.”
After the Times’ article appeared, Florida officials denied that Disney was receiving any tax breaks from the state. In an Associated Press story May 5 Gov. Bush was quoted as saying, “What tax break? We don’t give tax breaks that I’m aware of to Disney. I appreciate the fact that Disney creates thousands and thousands of jobs in our state.” In another AP story the same day Eisner was quoted as stating, “None of that (Florida tax breaks) was ever discussed. It is totally not true.”
Nonetheless, in stories written over the course of the past few weeks journalists have continued to refer to those so-called Florida tax breaks as if there’s no question at all about them being reality. Indeed, without the tax breaks issue the whole argument falls apart as to why Disney didn’t, in Moore’s view, want to let Miramax release his movie. The importance of this issue was hammered home in a Times’ May 6 editorial attacking Disney. Under the headline “Disney’s Craven Behavior,” the Times said the company deserved “a gold medal for cowardice for blocking” the film’s distribution by Miramax. It then went on to say: “Mr. Moore’s agent said that Michael Eisner, Disney’s chief executive, had expressed concern that the film might jeopardize tax breaks granted to Disney for its theme park, hotels and other ventures in Florida, where Jeb Bush is governor. If that is the reason for Disney’s move, it would underscore the dangers of allowing huge conglomerates to gobble up diverse media companies.”

Perhaps the NYT should just start a “Mea Culpa” page to compliment their corrections column. “Correction” isn’t really the right word for what they’ve been up to lately – the word implies an honest error, and these aren’t honest errors.
“Agenda-mongering” seems more appropriate.

Clinton, The Gorelick Memos And “Chinagate”

Via Rush Limbaugh, Front Page Magazine uncovers the connections between the intelligence wall erected between the CIA and FBI – and the investigation that was going on by those agencies into criminal Chinese involvement in Democratic campaign funding.

When Gorelick took office in 1994, the CIA was reeling from the news that a Russian spy had been found in CIA ranks, and Congress was hungry for a quick fix. A month after Gorelick was sworn in, Bill Clinton issued Presidential Decision Directive 24. PDD 24 put intelligence gathering under the direct control of the president’s National Security Council, and ultimately the White House, through a four-level, top-down chain of command set up to govern (that is, stifle) intelligence sharing and cooperation between intelligence agencies. From the moment the directive was implemented, intelligence sharing became a bureaucratic nightmare that required negotiating a befuddling bureaucracy that stopped directly at the President’s office.

The result was a massive bureaucratic roadblock for the CIA – which at the time had a vast lead on the FBI in foreign intelligence – and for the FBI itself, which was also forced to report to the NCOB. This hampered cooperation between the two entities. All this occurred at a time when both agencies were working separate ends of investigations that would eventually implicate China in technology transfers and the Democratic Party in a Chinese campaign cash grab.
A year after PDD 24, with the new bureaucratic structure loaded with administration appointees, Gorelick drafted the 1995 memo Attorney General John Ashcroft mentioned while testifying before the 9/11 Commission. The Gorelick memo, and other supporting memos released in recent weeks, not only created walls within the intelligence agencies that prevented information sharing among their own agents, but effectively walled these agencies off from each other and from outside contact with the U.S. prosecutors instrumental in helping them gather the evidence needed to make the case for criminal charges.

It is no coincidence that this occurred at the same time both the FBI and the CIA were churning up evidence damaging to the Democratic Party, its fundraisers, the Chinese and ultimately the Clinton administration itself. Between 1994 and the 1996 election, as Chinese dollars poured into Democratic coffers, Clinton struggled to reopen high-tech trade to China. Had agents confirmed Chinese theft of weapons technology or its transfer of weapons technology to nations like Pakistan, Iran and Syria, Clinton would have been forced by law and international treaty to react.

Go read it all.
Beltway Traffic Jam

Revision Requested

I do believe that, at this very moment, the Democratic party is wrestling with an important script rewrite. From: “BUSH STOLE THE ELECTION !!!!!”

“Bullet, dodged.”

Now, for today’s bonus feature: an insight as to why Canadians are generally misinformed about US politics:
Today, the RNC responded :

“Al Gore served as Vice President of this country for eight years. During that time, Osama Bin Laden declared war on the United States five times and terrorists killed US citizens on at least four different occasions including the first bombing of the World Trade Center, the attacks on Khobar Towers, our embassies in East Africa, and the USS Cole.
“Al Gore’s attacks on the President today demonstrate that he either does not understand the threat of global terror, or he has amnesia.”

Now understanding that should be pretty easy. It’s short. To the point. Not a lot of big words. Devoid of nuance. A no-brainer.
Antonia Zerbisias simple.
But, failing that – in the unlikely event that there was a reporter on the planet with the intellectual incapacity to misread that news release, you’d think the fact that it’s quotable would save them. Surely, laziness accompanies stupidity in the way that gravy accompanies mashed potatoes? Laziness is a defense mechanism that has evolved to keep the stupid alive. Being lazy keeps the stupid out of dangerous situations. Being lazy means not getting noticed by predators. (Newborn fawns are stupid and lazy.)
So, it should follow that a person too stupid to understand the content, would be inclined to take the lazy way out and quote it directly. Shouldn’t it?
On local radio, just now….

[begin audio of Gore] …”The unpleasant truth is that President Bush’s utter incompetence has made the world a far more dangerous place and dramatically increased the threat of terrorism against the United States.”

The news announcer continues;

“Today the Republican party responded, saying that Gore should watch what he says, since the 911 attacks happened while he was vice-president.

I despair.

When A Correction Isn’t A Correction

I was planning to write on the recent New York Times faux “correction”, but Paul has done a fine job.

The Times, like many in the media, made numerous mistakes in its coverage of Iraq. Perhaps the most (in)famous of all was the series of “Strategic Pause” stories. The stories, which ran only a few days after the start of the war, claimed that American forces were bogged down in Iraq and were forced to pause for a few weeks to regroup. “The war plan had failed” was a favorite quote of the day. Apparently the Pentagon missed the stories because just 2 weeks later, Iraqis were dancing in the streets and pulling down statues of Saddam as American tanks rolled thru Baghdad. The Times never did explain how it blew that story.
The fall of Baghdad lead to perhaps the second biggest gaff of the Iraq war reporting- that the Baghdad museum had been looted. The Times breathlessly reported that the museum had 170,000 items looted or destroyed. They also reported that the administration failed to put guards at the museum but had placed guards at the Oil Ministry’s office. None of those stories were true.

Nope. What the Times decided to “correct” was its reporting on evidence of weapons of mass destruction – information provided by Iraqi defectors and the Bush Administration. In fact, it’s not a correction at all, but an transparent attempt to focus blame – “They lied to us, and we fell for it. We won’t let that happen again!”
In keeping with the tone and quality of the piece, they can’t even get the facts straight now. Look at this;

The informant also claimed that Iraq had sent unconventional weapons to Syria and had been cooperating with al-Qaida — two claims that were then, and remain, highly controversial. But the tone of the article suggested that this Iraqi “scientist” — who in a later article described himself as an official of military intelligence — had provided the justification the Americans had been seeking for the invasion.

A full year and a half into this exercise, and the editors at the New York Times still haven’t heard of UN Resolution 1441, which mandated Iraq to prove it had destroyed known weapons stocks. No proof that they existed was necessary. Not a single defector, not a single spy plane photograph was required to “justify” anything. The “justification” was contained in the wording of the resolution.
That some member countries of the UN Security Council, now found to have been profiting from illegal kickback schemes in the Oil-For-Food program, refused to participate in military action, and efforts were made to demonstrate that Iraq was not only not complying, but continuing a clandestine operation, was merely tangential to that resolution.
The resolution is here.
But, hey – let’s take the Times at their word. Write the ombudsman, Daniel Orkent – demand they put their money where their correction is, and fire those editors responsible.

Dear Ms. McMillan,
Thank you for your message.
Mr. Okrent will be writing about The Times’s coverage of weapons of mass destruction in his column on Sunday.
Arthur Bovino
Office of the Public Editor

Super Proteinism Nursery Rhymes

In the long blogosphere tradition of stealing Jeff Goldstein’s best stuff;

Hickery, dickery, dock!
The mouse ran up the clock:
The clock struck one,
the mouse ran down…
Hickery, dickery, John Kerry is an opportunistic scumfingerer.

Mary had a little lamb,
little lamb, little lamb.
Mary had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as the guest list at a John Kerry cocktail party. And snow.

… and considering the current election campaign atmosphere, I think we should launch the Canadian version of “Super Partisan Nursery Rhymes”.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the king’s horses, And all the king’s men,
Couldn’t undo the royal screwing-over he got from that little prickstain from Shawinigan

Feel free to use the comments section to express your creativity. The Americans won’t get it, but that’s even funner. In a sad, self-important Rick Mercer-ish sort of way.

Just Making Ends Meet

Who best to grease the skids in your business dealings with totalitarian regimes? Why, the guy with the proven track record!

“Oil, I don’t know what for you talk for. Oil – I put that in my car.”

(The CEO of PETROKAZ has an interesting resume.)
Of course, this isn’t a full time gig. The dance card started filling a few months ago.

Mr. Chr�tien is expected to hold meetings with CITIC’s top executives, who plan to visit Canada this year. Chinese sources say he also has tentative plans to meet next week with top executives of Unicom, one of China’s two main cellphone companies.
He’ll be accompanied by his son-in-law, Andr� Desmarais, the president of Power Corp., who is a director of CITIC Pacific Ltd., the Hong Kong affiliate of the CITIC group.
The subject of their meetings is unknown. But Power Corp. has extensive business interests in China, including property development in Shanghai’s booming Pudong district and a joint venture with Bombardier to manufacture railway cars in the coastal city of Qingdao.

All in the family. (This is the Desmarais family with major holdings in PetroFinaElf .. the French oil company who had billions in contracts at stake in Saddam’s Iraq.)
Right after Chr�tien retired from the PM’s office, Warren Kinsella appeared on local talk radio. When a caller brought up the family connection between Chr�tien and Desmarais – he interrupted, threatened to sue the station, and the caller was cut off.
Nice touch and such a loving reminder of the old man.
Hey, maybe while he’s there, he can have someone dig up Zahra Kazemi and ship her home. It’s not like she has to stick around for the trial.
Crossposted at the Shotgun

BellGlobe Media: The UnNews Network

Stephen Den Beste examines some recent examples of biased reporting by the AP. More here on “reconstructed” quotes being used by the Globe and Mail (BellGlobe), NYT, Reuters, The Guardian…
To those, I add this. CTV’s National News trailers of last night mentioned the Bush speech. About halfway down the newscast, they got around to footage of Bush approaching the podium…. a few shots of the crowd.. and then … a clip of a single sentence.
Begin voiceover:
Cut to photos of naked prisoner in Abu Graihb.
Cut to Alan Freyer in Washington and his “analysis”.
Cut to interview with someone from the Brookings Institute
Cut to Janis Mackey Frayer in Baghdad. Is that Baghdad? Same backdrop every day.
Cut to film footage of “wedding party”. No coverage of the contradictory evidence.
Cut to interviews with unnamed Iraqis.
Cut to footage of burning car in Baghdad.

Turns out, the speech “coverage” really wasn’t coverage at all – just another excuse to recycle past negative events and political criticism. We heard reporter analysis of Bush’s poll fortunes, assertions that Iraqis are ovewhelming opposed to “the occupation”, were informed of the unstable security situation. Who knew? The razing of Abu Graihb was mentioned in passing.
It’s like this, night after night, and has been since the first days of the war. – and this is the network we turn to in order to escape CBC bias?
Well, this to Lloyd Robertson, Alan Freyer and Janis Makey Frayer: if this is the best you can do, if this is indicative of the level of respect you hold for the intelligence of your viewers, if you can think of nothing better than to replace the content of a speech made yesterday in Pennsylvania with the opinions of your Washington bureau chief, and 6 month old photos from a prison in Iraq, then thanks – but no thanks. You promised you would cover the speech, and when I gave you the chance to follow through on that, you didn’t. You wasted the opportunity code-talking to Canadians about what you think about Iraq.
So, I shall simply go read it for myself. I do not require your opinions about what it says, or what you think it says. I will form those on my own.
But unlike years past, I do not need you, Lloyd Robertson, Alan Freyer or Bell Globe Media. In fact, following is more information about the speech, and about the future plan for Iraq than you have provided in the past month. And I have provided it to my readers.

There are five steps in our plan to help Iraq achieve democracy and freedom: We will hand over authority to a sovereign Iraqi government; help establish security; continue rebuilding Iraq’s infrastructure; encourage more international support; and move toward a national election that will bring forward new leaders empowered by the Iraqi people.
The first of these steps will occur next month, when our coalition will transfer full sovereignty to a government of Iraqi citizens who will prepare the way for national elections.
On June 30th, the Coalition Provisional Authority will cease to exist and will not be replaced. The occupation will end and Iraqis will govern their own affairs.
America’s ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte, will present his credentials to the new president of Iraq. Our embassy in Baghdad will have the same purpose as any other American embassy: to assure good relations with a sovereign nation.
America and other countries will continue to provide technical experts to help Iraq’s ministries of government, but these ministries will report to Iraq’s new prime minister.
The United Nations special envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, is now consulting with a broad spectrum of Iraqis to determine the composition of this interim government. The special envoy intends to put forward the names of interim government officials this week.
In addition to a president, two vice presidents and a prime minister, 26 Iraqi ministers will oversee government departments from health to justice to defense. This new government will be advised by a national council which will be chosen in July by Iraqis representing their country’s diversity.
This interim government will exercise full sovereignty until national elections are held.

Now, did you read my opinion? Did I rewrite it for you? See any prison photos or burning cars?
No? Is that so hard?
Outside The Beltway has aroundup of links about the speech and reactions.

Safety In The Garden

Over the past couple of days I’ve been preparing my garden and tending to some badly needed yard work. In so doing I’ve had a epiphany or two.
Have you ever wondered what special kind of idiot loses a finger to a lawnmower?

mower.JPG Well, spend three goddamn days trying to start the thing. By “thing”, I mean an ancient, 40 lb gas mower with a pull cord and a throttle spring that’s so worn that it requires a flat end screwdriver stuck between the air filter and the motor to keep the fuel flowing. Then, wait until the moment arrives that you are faced with the decision to turn it off – and restart it – to fix something down there…
I also learned that a Black & Decker electric whippersnipper works just as well with the rear plastic guard removed. Indeed, customized in this manner, Whippersnippers are capable of 360 degree weed whacking.
Just wear your boots.

De-Suffrage Me

Via James Joyner;

Elizabeth Eve never thought of herself as an exhibitionist. But these days, the 33-year-old history professor with the gold nose ring can barely contain the urge to lift her skirt and flash her skivvies.

Elizabeth never thought of herself as an exhibitionist, because she isn’t one. “Exhibitionist” would be dignified in comparison. Exhibitionists have the good sense to run away before they’re caught.
No, Elizabeth is no exhibitionist – she’s a walking twat joke.

“There is something so liberating and exciting about it, you’ve got to try it out,” she said recently as she fidgeted, fully clothed, on the couch in her friend Tasha’s Manhattan apartment. “I was teaching a class on imperialism, ” she continued, “and I was delivering all this material that was kind of new and upsetting, and everyone was getting all worked up and upset, and I was getting all worked up and upset, and all of a sudden, all I wanted to do was flash my underwear! It was crazy,” she said with a throaty giggle.

There’s a better solution. It’s called Monistat.

That’s because she wasn’t wearing just any panties. Elizabeth is part of Axis of Eve, a fledgling group of rabble-rousing feminists and anti-war activists who have taken to flashing their undies as a form of political dissent. The Eves, as they call themselves, are on a mission to sex up protest. They take to the streets wearing “protest panties” which come emblazoned with anti-Dubya double-entendres like “Expose Bush,” “Lick Bush,” “Give Bush the Finger” and “Drill Bush Not Oil.” When the Eves flash them at rallies, the effect is somewhere between a 1970s’ love-in and George Bush’s worst, frat- addled nightmare of a panty raid gone awry.

No, it’s somewhere between complete idiocy and total embarrassment.
If this is considered newsworthy political speech, carried out in the name of my gender, please, make it stop. Revisit this women’s suffrage thing. It’s not working. I know that some perfectly reasonable, sensible women will be hurt, but there’s a greater good to consider – I’ll gladly sacrifice my vote to save others.

UN Condemns Demolitions

Hot on the heels of UN condemnation of Israel for the destruction of homes of these refugees …
Bob Tarantino on the Sunday Toronto Star;

Anyways, on to my main man, Haroon Siddiqui. Haroon was very angry yesterday. He’s very grumpy about Israel destroying Palestinian homes. Now, personally, I think that imposing collective punishment on a group for the actions of individuals is, in most circumstances, grotesque. That being said, taking Hamas and Hizb’Allah at their word, Israel is in a state of war, so where the lines are drawn on these sorts of things gets moved around a bit. Besides which, I prefer to take the Naomi Kleinian view of the destruction of private property: it’s just legitimate resistance against globalization. What’s that? You don’t see the connection between Israeli destruction of Palestinian homes and opposition to corporate globalization? Funny, I don’t see the connection between a bunch of upper- middle-class white kids breaking McDonald’s windows while wearing their Nikes and opposition to corporate globalization, so I guess we’re about even.
Anyhoo, Haroon declares that Bush is supporting Israel in an effort “to win as many Jewish votes and donations away from Democrats as he can”. You know I can never keep this stuff straight: I thought the Jews ran the US government. If so, why does Bush need to win their votes? I’m so confused.

Go read the rest, he’s stringing them up, left and left – even the “Ombud”. That’s right – in the interests of stretching political correctness well past the point of absurdity, the Toronto Star has dropped the “man”.

The Trust Meme

A year or so ago, I was talking provincial politics with a friend in the Saskatchewan government. She made what I thought was a strange statement – that women in Saskatchewan didn’t “trust” the conservative SaskParty leader Elwin Hermanson. There was no further attempt to explain what this meant – just a blanket statement that he wasn’t “trusted”.
I wondered, trust as in “trust to do”? Trust not to do? Trust with your wallet? Trust in a dark alley? I didn’t ask at the time, and I should have – how do you even know this? Polling? And what prompted the governing NDP to ask such a undefined question in the first place?
The NDP had been push polling, of course – seeding a meme into the voting public, to draw upon later during a campaign. When the election was called, the local media fell in line, making the never defined “trust” question part of their own coverage of the election.
Well, the trust meme has already surfaced in the federal election, and on cue, it’s being pushed by the media.
It’s astonishingly counterintuitive – in view of the arrests and premature shutdown of the ADSCAM hearings, the biggest scandal in Canadian government history. Yet it doesn’t stop CTV’s Lloyd Roberston and Tom Clark from raising the “do Canadians trust” question when referring to Conservative Stephen Harper, in the guise of political analysis.
Harper is going to have to find a way to respond to this without defensiveness, that throws attention back on the question itself – to draw a white hot circle around the bigotry of a media and Liberal default position that suggests that “Western Canadians can’t be trusted”.
He went part way yesterday with his response to the media questions after the election call, and is being widely quoted;

“You know, in this country, you can be a Canadian without being a Liberal. The government seems to forget that. That’s why they need to be defeated. “It’s that kind of arrogance that leads to the waste, mismanagement and corruption we’ve seen.”

Not a bad start. We’ll need more of this.