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January 29, 2007

Counter Reaches 666

Comments? Anyone? Satan?
January 27, 2007

Arar Recieves Overdue Apology, Logic Contorts

It's long overdue, but finally happened. Stephen Harper, Canada's version of Bushy the Chimp, has issued a formal apology to Maher Arar for the role the government and the RCMP played in his being 'rendered' to Syria and then tortured there.

From the CBC:
"On behalf of the government of Canada, I wish to apologize to you…and your family for any role Canadian officials may have played in the terrible ordeal that all of you experienced in 2002 and 2003," Harper said.

I, and the rest of Canadians however, are still waiting for our apology. The one where Harper says: 'And to the Canadian People, I would ask their forgiveness for our inept handling of public institutions, the flagrant disregard of Canadian Sovereignty, human rights and international law, and for wasting a hell of a lot of your money. Now I'd like to resign in shame.'

The Harper government also offered a $10 million compensation package, plus an additional $1 million for legal fees, obviously to try and derail any possible legal action.

One million in legal fees? WTF? What kind of absurd criminal justice system do we have where one has to have a million dollars to effectively defend ones name from false accusations of being a terrorist?

Maybe it's like a make-work program for lawyers. Guy gets falsely accused, kidnapped, shipped off, tortured, then set free. He then seeks justice and tries to clear his name, racking up a huge legal bill. Government that shipped him off knew it was wrong in the first place, is humiliated, apologizes, and pays for the guys legal fees.

Once again, logic becomes a wreck on the side of the highway.

FYI: Here's Maher Arar's full story.

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January 25, 2007

Some Thinking Involved

Or "So this is a very thought-out plan."

Well thought out? Poorly thought out? Whatever. These are the words of US Senator Joseph Lieberman, summarizing his explanation of Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq. (if you laugh, you'll feel guilty about it). I doubt Joe gave it much thought.

Via the Online Newshour:

GWEN IFILL: Let me ask Senator Lieberman actually to defend the policy that he supports, which is the decision to send these additional troops.

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: It has military, 22,000 extra troops, but it also has economic and political components and clear demands on the Iraqis, benchmarks of what they've got to do, to basically deserve our continued involvement to protect them.

Why is that a good idea? Why do I think it will work? And, again, I'm listening to General Petraeus. There is a cycle of sectarian violence in Baghdad. It's not armies of Shia and the Sunni clashing in open civil war.

But until that stops in the capital city, there's not a chance either to create the economic growth that will tell the average Iraqi in Baghdad that they've got a chance to live a better life, nor is there the stability that will allow the Iraqi government to do what they want them to do, to begin to govern.

You know, there's a number of Iraqi government officials that just aren't in Baghdad anymore, and that's just unacceptable. You're not going to be able to build a government if that happens.

There's a second front in Anbar province, to the west of Baghdad. I visited there, as I did in Baghdad, in December. There we're in a different kind of battle. It's not sectarian violence. It is us and the Sunni leadership of that province against al-Qaida in Iraq, which has said that it wants to create the capital of a new Islamic extremist caliphate there in Anbar province.

We're making progress there. An additional 4,000 troops, which is part of the 21,000 that the president is sending, I think will turn that conflict in Anbar in the right direction, and actually it has the potential to achieve a victory for us.

So this is a very thought-out plan.

What a slimy bastard. Self serving, self righteous, self important asshole. "...deserve our continued involvement to protect them."

Fuck right off.

Once you get past his white supremacy, I challenge you to find even the slightest explanation of a plan in his statement, except the 4,000 troops thing. But, if you accept the premise that the US is actually fighting a war on terrorism (which I do not), and the principle enemy group involved is al-Qaida, then wouldn't you send all, or at least most of your troops to fight them? You know, the enemy? Who you're fighting? I'm no Alexander, but...

The best bit is "You know, there's a number of Iraqi government officials that just aren't in Baghdad anymore, and that's just unacceptable. You're not going to be able to build a government if that happens."

Man, that just cracks me up.

I am assuming here that PBS's Newshour attracts viewers, on average, above the age of 3.

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January 18, 2007

Stephen Harper, Are You Watching?

This is my vote for best picture so far this year:
A US senator investigating the Maher Arar fiasco and holding Alberto Gonzales responsible. YEAH!

Stephen Harper, isn't it about time you officially begged Mr. Arar for his forgiveness? And then please issue an apology to me for what was done to him in my name.


Congressional Doublethink

So finally, finally there is congressional pressure against the tyrant's insane war policy. Bipartisan pressure, with elephants and donkeys both stepping up to criticize Bush's newest death dealing non sequitur, or "augmentation" as they'd have you think of it. (click for video)

After watching the video, you may ask yourself - yeah, but, see, isn't the US ultimately responsible for ALL of the fucking violence happening in Iraq right now? Was Iraq engaged in a bloody civil war before the US invaded? Was their water and power infrastructure a crumbling ruin? Had an occupying force been torturing, murdering, raping and imprisoning (sometimes all at once) it's citizens? Were gangs of unaccountable mercenaries roaming the streets with impunity, murdering, torturing, raping?


So why then is there no talk of responsibility other than that required of Iraq to solve "it's own problems"? The USA created this entire mess. It's the US's responsibility. In an honest and moral debate this would be a fundamental point, upon which you build a a strategy to amend your ways and make things right.

Quick and easy Iraq exit strategy:
  • Get the US armed forces out.
  • Abandon all military bases.
  • Take your weapons with you

Long, painful and absolutely necessary strategy for fixing the horrible disaster Iraq has become beacause of you:
  • Apologize. Sincerely. Humbly. Ask the Iraqi's and the rest of the world what you can best do immediately to alleviate the situation, and then do it, because honestly you seem to have no idea. Money, engineers, police, construction, anything except military unless under Iraqi/UN control. Load up a thousand fucking cargo planes with everything from toothpaste to IT professionals, whatever.
  • Take Halliburton to court, find them guilty of a hundred different things, and sentence them to reconstruct Iraq's utility infrastructure to western standards, pro bono.
  • Place all assistance under Iraqi control.
  • Impeach Bush and Cheney.
  • Hand Rumsfeld over the the ICC, and allow Bush and Cheney and others to stand trial for war crimes.
I don't mean to be flippant, but if there is one lesson from Iraq that should be painfully obvious to all - the US military presence is the root of the violence happening there now. I realize that there are other factors, but the fact remains that 5 years ago, Iraq was a country at peace.
January 14, 2007

The Mangling of Logic pt. 10

Alright, so US Senator Barbara Boxer points out to Condoleeza Rice during a Senate committee that neither of them have any immediate family in the armed forces, saying
"Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young, ...You're not going to pay a price, as I understand it, within immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families."

Really, she's just stating the obvious. There's no insult contained in the phrase. If anything she could be accused of wasting time. But in the fairy tale that is all Rupert Murdoch owned media it is transformed into a ghastly affront, with the New York Post telling us, without a trace of any sense of irony, that her comments are indicative of Democrat's having a propensity toward "vapidity ... mindlessness ... bitterness ... pettiness of spirit ... political self-indulgence".

Anyway, illogical though this may be, where it really gets mangled is, surprise, on FOX. Here we go:
"I think it was more than cheap -- it was degrading," said Fox News commentator Karen Hanretty "There's nothing more vicious than feminine politics, and Boxer proved herself a shrill harpy.''

From a woman yet! ...and then:
White House Fox contributor, Tony Snow said, Boxer's comments were "outrageous" and "a great leap backward for feminism.''

And just for good measure Rush Limbaugh, champion of women and minorities, educates us:
"Here you have a rich white chick with a huge, big mouth, trying to lynch this -- an African American woman -- right before Martin Luther King Day, hitting below the ovaries here."

You have to hand it to FOX for their unwavering belief in feminism.

Meanwhile, in the real world, Bush and Condi are sending 22,000 more troops to Iraq. When Boxer questions Rice about expected deaths amongst the 22,000 she responds "No, uh, Senator...I don't think there's any way to give you such an estimate."

Which is a lie. According to Jon Solz, an Iraq War vet who is co-founder and chairman of VoteVets.org:
"The Pentagon knows how many casualties they estimate for any of the actions the additional troops will be taking part of. It’s basic war planning. Depending on what happens, that number could go up or go down, but they know what they expect."

Of course, not a word about this from Murdoch media.


January 12, 2007

iPods Kill

Greenpeace is calling for submissions to their campaign to pressure Apple into adopting environmentally responsible manufacturing methods, and I thought I'd have a go at it:

American Samoa, Where An American Isn't

The US Congress, newly populated with people who seem to have souls, has voted to raise the minimum wage nationwide to the princely sum of $7.25 per hour of one's life.

Currently, the absolute lowest value that an hour of an American's life is worth is $5.15. Interestingly, if you go to any big city, you can find a small, inanimate rectangle of concrete and pay somewhere around $5.15 per hour to rent it. You could come out even!

Except for in Samoa (not sure about the parking). American Samoa, that is. Didn't even know it existed. I mean, I knew Samoa existed. I've even met some Samoans at the Harbourfront Center here in TO. Wouldn't have ever guessed to call them American.

Apparently Americans don't really call them that either. There are various minimum wages there depending on what type of work you do. If you're a stevedore, you're living large at $4 an hour. But if you stitch t-shirts or jeans an hour of your life is worth $2.64. Just be thankful you're not engaged in miscellaneous activities or you'd have to settle for $2.63. Oh wait, make that $2.70. It was raised 7 fucking cents in 2003. (Gee. Great. I'd thank you but the stench of your colonial racism is overwhelmingly motivating. I must go now and work doubly hard in order to further enrich you.)

The different minimums confuse me. Why is a someone cleaning hotel rooms worth almost $1 less than a guy unloading fish?

Anyway, this video of a Congressman (annoying voice though he may have) telling the lacky fronting for the criminals operating their almost-slavery ring in Samoa that no, Samoa won't be exempt from the minimum wage law and to please shut the fuck up is really quite heartening.

Just to be thorough, here's a link to the relevant US CODE: Title 29, Chapter 8, section 206, which basically says that the minimum wage in American Samoa is to be set by an administration committee and isn't answerable to the people of American Samoa.