Monthly Archives: January 2007

Catch Up

Time to catch up on what has happened with some stories in the past few months:

Maher Arar:  He was the Canadian whom the US decided to extradite off to Syria, because his Canadian passport said he was born in Syria.  After a year of torture and confinement, Maher Arar was eventually released back to Canada. 

An inquiry into the RCMP and the reasons Maher Arar got shipped to hell by a foreign government, turned out to be a tissue of lies, innuendo and unmitigated cattle manure.  The Commissioner of the RCMP, Guiliano Zaccardeli lost his job over it.  Even US Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) carved US A-G Alberto Gonzales a spare hole in open committee session over the piss-poor way Maher Arar got treated by the US and Canada.

Today, the PM, Stephen "Steve" Harper actually said the words:  "We’re sorry" and cut Maher Arar a cheque for $10.5 million.  Damn straight.  That’s a fair use of my tax dollars and I’m not being ironic.  Maher Arar got screwed and I hope he enjoys every cent. He still can’t fly to the US, but with ten and a half extra large I could live with that.

Alexander Litvinenko:  The British Cops have found a radioactively hot teapot at the Millennium Hotel in London.  Sources say the cops are going to bring charges against Andrei Lugovoi an ex-spook who had tea with Litvinenko on November 1st last year. 

The teapot reading was "off the charts" for Polonium-210.  Of course the interview was in Russia and the FSB (KGB-Lite) is adamantly denying anything to do with murdering Litvinenko with a radioactive isotope. 

George Bush:  This clip from Associated Press, datelined today:   President Bush, on a collision course with Congress over Iraq, said Friday "I’m the decision-maker" about sending more troops to the war. He challenged skeptical lawmakers not to prematurely condemn his buildup.

"I’ve picked the plan that I think is most likely to succeed," Bush said in an Oval Office meeting with senior military advisers.

He’s become the Decider again, which means his attempts at getting along with the elected representatives has lasted, oh, 48 hours.  Cowboy Diplomacy gets back in the saddle. 

I can’t wait until the same ghouls who keep Cheney and Rove alive, decide to resurrect General Curtis LeMay to handle the Iran, Iraq, India, Pakistan and North Korea situations.  Perhaps the Global Nuclear Winter will be offset by the Global Warming.

Kousin Karl:   This from MSNBC today:  White House anxiety is mounting over the prospect that top officials—including deputy chief of staff Karl Rove and counselor Dan Bartlett-may be forced to provide potentially awkward testimony in the perjury and obstruction trial of Lewis (Scooter) Libby.

Both Rove and Bartlett have already received trial subpoenas from Libby’s defense lawyers, according to lawyers close to the case who asked not to be identified talking about sensitive matters.

Awkward testimony?  Not a chance.  Even if the prosecutors produce live video and sound of Irving Scooter Libby being told by Karl and Shotgun Dick, to "fuck Plame over until Joe plays ball with the yellowcake and Saddam" the potential for awkwardness is slim to none. 

At that level of power, perjury is common coin of the realm.  Jo Jo The Idiot Boy would probably give them either immunity, or a big, fat pardon.  After all, anyone who doesn’t believe every single word that Karl says is from the Right Hand of God, is a terrorist, in league with Osama and the Axis of Evil Evildoers of the Axis of Evil. 

Thanks to John Ashcroft and now Alberto Gonzales, the government can do whatever the hell they want to, as long as you are suspicious.  Not believing Karl, or Dick, is obviously suspicious.  Do make sure you get the right size of orange jumpsuit for your trip to GitMo.

If Irving Scooter Libby had a lick of sense, he’d do a John Dean.  Ari Fleischer has already cut an immunity deal with the prosecutors, so why can’t Irving?  Perhaps Federal subpoenas for any and all recordings from Karl’s office and Shotgun Dick’s office?  That would exonerate Scooter, as just the messenger boy. 

Let’s start another Watergate-style fight over the tapes now, if only so that we can have something to watch on TV this summer, rather than reruns of American Idol. 

Sheep:  WELLINGTON, N.Z. (AP) – New Zealanders’ love affair with sheep gained official recognition Friday when the agriculture minister declared Feb. 15 "National Lamb Day."

New Zealand has four million human inhabitants and 60 million sheep. Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton suggested New Zealanders have no reason to be embarrassed about their sheep population and said Lamb Day would mark the 125th anniversary of the first shipment of frozen meat from New Zealand to London.

"We hope all New Zealanders will recognize this meat industry milestone and mark it by enjoying lamb for dinner on Feb. 15, to celebrate 125 years of meat exports," Anderton said.

Oh, come on.  You know you want to.  I know I’m tasting blood from biting my tongue.  Do remember that bestiality is illegal, even in Washington State now. 

Kids, Bestiality with Sheep is Baaaaad. 

Sorry, I had to. 



Scooter's Unheard Testimony

There’s just too many fake documents around these days, but I wish this one was true.

DA: Your name for the record is?

SL: I. Lewis Libby, Junior…

DA:  No, I’m not asking you to take an oath, I just want to enter your name in the record Mister Libby

SL: Its is I. Lewis Libby Junior, that’s my name, Aye

DA: I as in in the initial I?

SL: Aye

DA: You mean I as in yes, or I as in I

SL: Aye, I…

DA: Judge will you instruct this witness so we can at least find out what his name is please?

DEF: I Object!

Judge: Over ruled, The Witness will give his full name

SL: I. Lewis Libby Junior

Judge: Do you not have a first name sir?

SL: Aye, no, I do

DA: Will you tell us what it is then?

SL: Aye I will…

DEF: I Object, badgering the witness

Judge:  Over ruled, he’s not a witness yet, as we’re trying to get to the point where we can enter his name in the record first, then, swear him in, then you can object all you want, is that OK?

DEF: Aye! Thank you

Judge:  I’m going to do this slowly Mister Libby.  What is your first name, the one that appears on your driver’s license?  You understand me?

SL: Aye, I do. Aye

DA:  Your Honor, will you tell the witness, er, soon-to-be witness that even though he’s dressed like a Scotsman, it is a bit disturbing to see him with his, um, kilt, um, er, misadjusted

Judge:  What?  Oh Holy Hannah!  Mister Libby!

SL: Aye?

Judge:  I know that Knowlton versus the Supreme Court upholds the right of defendants to wear elements of dress that are important to their cultural heritage and religion.  This means that you can wear a full dress kilt to court, but Mister Libby, please remember that you are wearing a garment that may allow members of the jury or the court to inadvertently see parts of your anatomy that you should not have on display

SL: Aye?  I can? 

Judge:  Yes you can.  Do you not feel a breeze Mister Libby?

SL: Aye, Noooo.

DEF:  I Object

Judge: Over ruled.  Mister Prosecutor, help me here.

DA:  Mister Libby, you are wearing a kilt, correct?

SL: Aye

DA: Judge, I’m…just not…I’m, um, errr…

Judge:  Clerk of the Court, please

Clerk:  You’re Regimental you great pillock! Close your friggin’ legs.  We can see your hairy balls clear back to your arsehole!

SL:  OH!  Aye, I am Regimental.  Sorry.

Judge:  Thank you Clerk.  I appreciate you promptness in this matter.  Now, where were we.  Ah yes.  Mister Libby, what is your first name, the full name as it appears on your driver’s license

SL: It’s I, Aye it is I.

Judge:  Mister Libby, I’m going to go out on a limb here. 

DEF:  I Object!

Judge: You what?!?!

DEF: Oh, um…I…never mind.

Judge: Mister Libby, I’m going to ask you a direct question that I require a direct answer for, do you understand me?

SL: Aye, I do

Judge:  Are you Scottish?

SL: Aye, well, nooo, I’m not…

Judge:  Where were you born then?

SL:  New Haven, Connecticut

Judge:  So you’re not Scottish at all then?

SL: Not technically, no, Aye

Judge:  Not even a little bit Scottish?

SL: Nooo

Judge: But your dressed in a tartan kilt, high stockings, a flouncy shirt and wearing a tam?

SL: Well, yes. I am.  Aye.

Judge:  May I ask why?

SL:  It is, well, it is Robbie Burns’ Day.

Judge: Oh Aye it is! Well then, now were getting somewhere.  Mister Libby, what is your first name?

SL: (unintelligible)

Judge:  Could you speak up sir? 

SL:  Irving

Judge: So your full name is Irving Lewis Libby Junior.

SL: Aye

Judge:  Cut that out, you’re not Scottish!

SL: Yes… its Irving, goddamn it!  IRVING!  Are you happy now!

Judge:  Mister District Attorney, are you happy?

DA: Aye!

Judge: Defense Counsel, are you happy?

DEF: Aye, but I Obj….Aye…

Judge: Clerk of the Court?  Are you happy?

Clerk: Nooo.  What kind of an idiot mother names a Scottish child Irving.  His name should be Gordon or Kieran.  Bloody Hell, Aye I am not happy your Honor!  But as long as he keeps his bloody legs together, I have no objection Aye.

Judge:  Aye! Heard and noted Clerk.  The Court will adjourn until after Robbie Burns’ Day and reconvene tomorrow at Nine a.m, when Mister Libby will not be talking with a fake Scottish accent and we will all swear the defendant in, under his full name of Irving Lewis Libby Junior. Aye?

Clerk:  All rise!


Lame Duck

I watched the State O’ Da Union Address with President Jo Jo The Idiot Boy last night, having read the text of his blather earlier. Let’s look at the challenges:

He’s deeply screwed when it comes to the war in Iraq.  The game is lost.  There were no WMD’s.  There were no linkages between Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.  The CIA provided that which has been discovered to be manufactured or well-shined ‘evidence’ that has resulted in more than 3,000 soldiers being killed for no sound reason, except the Boss wanted to be The War President. 

New Orleans is still a festering mess of a third-world disaster area.  Everyone remembers the "Brownie, you’re doin a hell of a job" clip, about three days before Brownie got his ass handed to him for a hat.

Scooter Libby started his hearings yesterday.  If Libby had a lick of sense, he’d pull a John Dean and spill his guts.  Cheney and Rove don’t want to see Libby anywhere near a court, as the stories he could tell would surely curdle the coffee of half of the Republican party

Tom DeLay, Randy "Duke" Cunningham and Jack Abramoff.  Nuff’ said about the other half of the Republican party.  By the way, Randy Cunningham’s website is still up, the last posting being 11-18-05.  Cunningham is also known as Inmate 94405-198 in Tucson, AZ, while Jack Abramoff is either "mah beeyotch" or Inmate 27593-112 in Cumberland, MD, depending on whom you talk to.

The Military Industrial Complex has sucked so hard on the public tax tit that the wallet in Washington is flatter than a woodchuck under the wheels of a a five-ton truck full of undocumented workers.  The money is going to run out soon, so the boys have the milking machine turned up to 11.

Internationally, the US is looked upon like the village syphilitic:  Doomed, diseased and undesirable.   

China has shot one of its own satellites out of the sky to prove they can play with the big boys in space.  North Korea, is, well, it still is.  India has landed one of their own satellites without it turning into a gob of molten metal.  This gives Pakistan a case of the Fear.  A great combination that, a military junta that can’t find their own borders or stop anyone from getting in or out, even if they stop at the customs shack and list their occupation as "terrorist".  Then give both sides nukes.

Russia is playing The Clapper (Clap On – Clap Off) with oil in Europe and cranking up the KGB again just to bring a sense of fun to international politics.  Britain is turned inward as the Blair government lurches toward a leadership convention to figure out who is going to lead Labour into the toilet in the next UK Election.  Right now, the UK Conservatives could run a Weimeraner in a necktie and win a majority.

Hugo Chavez delights in telling Bush to eat shit and die, while shipping tankers of furnace oil to the US, gratis, to keep the citizens from freezing to death.  Iran’s Prime Minister keeps yelling "You suck!" at the US. 

Then there is the original sinner, Osama Bin Laden, who still drives a cab in Pittsburgh and has his own myspace site where his buddies post videos.  The technological might of the US military and security services still can’t find a six foot six Arab man with a dialysis machine strapped to his back.  

At least Castro is sick and will probably die soon, so Rove can claim, using the Presidential Meat Puppet, that"Commie-nizm Is Dead and the Axis of Evil is losing" while standing under a banner of "Mission Accomplished" in front of a Cuban sandwich shop in Miami.   

As you can see, up front, Jo Jo The Idiot Boy is behind on points. 

Into the middle of this mess comes The Decider Who Decides the Deciding.  He skulks into the Congress to deliver a State of the Union Address.  No more glorious high-fives and screaming Senators begging to kiss the hem of His garment.  Dubya looked like he wasn’t entirely convinced he should be there, but was going to put the squeeze on the widow to buy the deluxe aluminum siding, rather than the standard.  Maybe he’d win the set of steak-knives for Second place in the sales contest. 

President Jo Jo The Idiot Boy couldn’t order a Happy Meal without Karl Rove writing it down for him.  We got to hear what Karl and Dick have come up with to ensure the Legacy of The President who is actually rated lower than Richard Nixon just before Nixon did his own Saigon in 1974. 

So what did those two punks come up with?  A tax break for health care that adds up to jack squat, as the existing private insurers are already making sure their basic premiums will almost exactly match the dollars given back with the tax cut for the nine people who actually can get the tax break.  Of course, there must be medical liability tort reform, to save those poor doctors and hospitals from frivolous lawsuits.

When it comes to the Migra, he’s going to toss more bodies and technology at it but also do a temporary foreign worker program designed to keep out ‘drug smugglers and terrorists’.  Plus, he wants to create a new, documented, slave class, rather than the undocumented slave class he’s currently working with. 

Jo Jo The Idiot Boy called for even more technology to be thrown at conservation and reducing the dependence on foreign oil that them terrorists could turn off.  By 2017, he wants to see 35 million barrels in renewable energy, meaning ten years from now. But, at the same time, he wants to see the Strategic Petroleum Reserves to double ASAP, which means more drilling, preferably through the head of a polar bear in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, starting next Thursday.

Then came the shocker:  He said the word Global Climate Change out loud.  Then he said America is Addicted to Oil.  To quote Raoul Duke, "Kazart!"

Now this is not really news.  President Jo Jo The Idiot Boy has moved his lips to conservation before, starting back in 2001.  Same with tort reform, immigration reform, health care reform and all the rest of his pusillanimous applause lines.  At least this time he didn’t demand the right to nuke North Korea and Iran to get the right-wing nabobs up on their hind feet clapping like apes in a shock cage.  It means nothing:  He doesn’t know what he’s saying.

Meanwhile up in the cheap seats, meaning where the Vice-President and the Speaker of the House sit, you could butter the tension on your toast.  Pelosi was at least striving to be gracious, wearing a pasted-on smile that could only be accomplished with epoxy and a bent coat-hanger inside her mouth.  Fortunately she was sitting far enough away from the Vice-President to not be at risk of having to perform CPR on the Undead. 

Shotgun Dick Cheney looked like he’d rather be performing testicular surgery on himself with a pair of rusty linesman’s pliers.  You know Cheney is trying to find a way to invite Donald Rumsfeld out for an afternoon of duck hunting. 

Speaking of Rummy, one of the original four of the Terror Trust, he’s now being compared to Robert McNamara, the micromanaging, meddling, money man who pored over individual bombing targets with LBJ in the 60’s.  Rumour has it, if Rummy had his way, he would have outsourced the whole Iraqi war to Blackwater Security:  Most of the rest of it was already in the hands of KBR, Halliburton, DynCorp and Triple Canopy.

At the end of the dog and pony show, what did we really see, learn or hear that was new, or showed some kind of accommodation for the can of WhoopAss the voters unleashed on the Republicans?  Nothing.  No points scored. On the ten-point must, with three judges:  World 30, Dubya 0.  He’s still ruling like the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and even the Magna Carta don’t apply to him, after all he’s Dubya and he’s been to college!  

Jo Jo The Idiot Boy is still all noblesse and no obliege.  More correctly, Karl and Dick are all noblesse and no obliege, as Dubya is too dumb to string the American people along with this many sound-bites in any coherent order.  It almost makes me long for the old days of Ari Fleisher.




Norovirus is an Economic Virus

There’s been more than a few outbreaks of the Norwalk Virus this winter.  Sometimes called the Cruise Ship Shits, the Norwalk Virus is a nasty little bug(ger) that was first detected in 1968 in an elementary school in Norwalk, Ohio.  Known now as Norovirus, this little beastie is transmitted by the fecal-oral route. 

Cruise ships, hospitals and schools are the places where Norovirus shows up most often, usually with headlines along the lines of "Cruise Ship Passengers Sick", "Hospital Floor Closed" and "Students Sick".  Most Norovirus outbreaks are hard to link back to one causative act, but the general propagation routes, bad hygiene and bad housekeeping, look like the best suspect. 

Along the same lines as E.Coli contaminated fruits and vegetables, Nororvirus has the same economic factors.  Here’s why:  Cleaning staff at a hospital, hotel or cruise ship are the low persons on the financial totem pole. 

As invisible persons, those who clean the rooms, floors and walls, are hired from the pool of unskilled and underpaid.  Look around the next time you’re at a hotel.  You’re looking at new immigrants, or illegals, who are willing to work for the smallest wage possible.  Why?  Maintenance is a ‘cost’ to an organization or business, so the route to profitability is to cut costs:  Get someone cheaper.

For instance, of all the hospital cuts that went on in Ontario’s Health Care system, how many administrators and senior manager positions were cut?  If your answer is Zero, then you win a case of C. Difficile the next time you wind up in hospital. 

Who was cut then?  Cleaning staff, nursing staff, custodians and support staff.  Without regular, thorough disinfection and continuous housekeeping, the guck accumulates.  One reason is hospitals are full of sick people, of course.  This is not to say that Operating Rooms or Treatment areas are not very clean, but the overall level of cleanliness has declined because the number of staff who actually do the cleaning, has been decreased. 

Hotels are notorious for working their housekeeping staff like Roman orchard slaves, as the time it takes to clean a room for a new guest, directly impacts the number of housekeeping people they have to hire.  If you can save 90 seconds, then, over 20 rooms, you’ve saved 30 minutes, which means your staff can do another one or two rooms and you don’t have to hire that extra person or two. 

If the staff doesn’t like it, well, fire them all and hire a new bunch of ignorant peasants.  Naturally, woe betide any support staff who mentions such words as "union" or "unsafe work conditions" or "I’d like a raise because they raised the minimum wage."  Bloody troublemakers.  I am being ironic here.

Which leads to a fascinating study as to what parts of a hotel room are the filthiest.  One would think the toilet, shower and sink would be.  Nope.  Those get cleaned every day; they’re probably cleaner than your own bathroom at home, that you clean once or twice a week. 

The big culprits are the TV remote and the telephone handset.  Let’s put it this way, when was the last time you cleaned your TV remote or telephone handset at home?  Never?  Fair enough, I don’t clean it either, but in a hotel room, you have people of various levels of hygiene in and out every couple of nights. 

Ask to have the remote and the phone cleaned in your hotel room and you get looked at like you’ve just sprouted a spare head out of your right shoulder.  Don’t ask about what lives on the comforter on your hotel bed.  Those things might be washed once a week.  At least the sheets get changed daily. ABC News’ 20/20 once shined a blue bio light on a hotel comforter and found things you don’t want to know about.

Schools?  Same deal.  Put a bunch of kids in a room for seven hours a day for a week and children, being children, will have been exposed to all kinds of bacteria, viruses and illness-causing yuk.  Parents, being parents, as soon as precious Melinda or William come down with a sniffle, rush them to the doctor for antibiotics.  Which helps create a whole legion of antibiotic-resistant strains of Norovirus, Heliobacter, or C. Difficile.  By the way, Rhinovirus, the cold virus, will run its’ course in five to eight days.  With all kinds of anti-viral medication, it should take about a week, give or take a couple of days. 

Cruise Ships, essentially 4,000 room hotels that float, have the same problem.  Housekeeping costs money and the turnaround time between passenger loads is so short that there is no time to thoroughly clean the ship from top to bottom.  Fast turnaround means more profit.

Commercial Aircraft are the same deal, as an aircraft on the ground, being cleaned, is not generating revenue.  I’ve flown on too many commercial flights that smell like a Legion urinal in the past few years.  Aircraft groomers (that’s what you call a cleaner on the ground crew) get a tiny window of time to make the cabin vaguely orderly.  Actual cleaning?  As likely as getting a hot meal on a five-hour domestic flight. 

I’m not a germophobe or suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but I do meet a lot of people in my job.  A dozen years ago I started frequently washing my hands with soap and water after meeting a group of folks and being a little more circumspect about environmental cleanliness.  It has cut down on the number of colds and flu I get.  It is is purely a feeling, not a concrete numerical improvement.  Where I can, I swab down the phone and TV remote with either an alcohol prep wipe or some Purell on a tissue.  I also remove the bedspread in any hotel room I stay in.  Has it helped?  Well, it doesn’t hurt. 

I’ve had a C. Difficile infection and suffered with post-operative Pneumonia.  I don’t want to ever have them again.  Both leave you feeling like you’ve been pulled face-first through a one-inch knot-hole by a tow truck.  It takes about two months to feel normal again.

What is answer then?  The answer is economic.  All it will take is one broad epidemic outbreak for the smart folks to put two and two together.  Realize that a lack of cleanliness in a public environment is directly proportional to the number of cleaning staff.  More cleaning staff doing the day to day housekeeping means the environment is less likely to support an epidemic of a common virus. 

This costs money, either in hiring back the folks you let go, or in lost time from work, closed hospitals, bad publicity for the hotel or cruise line and folks like you and me stuck in bed for a week.  Choose which way you want to pay.


A Phone Call

Somehow this desk has received a transcript of an international telephone call between Nori al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister and George W. Bush.  I never know how this stuff shows up, but I have copied it over, warts and all:

NaM:  Good evening Mister President

GWB: Well, howdy Norrie, how’s things going over there.  Didja have any problems gettin a dial tone?

NaM: No, Mister President, the telephone system works well from the Prime Minister’s residence, as your contractors have done a fine job in hanging the wires.

GWB: Glad to hear it Norrie, now what can I hep you with tonight?

NaM:  It is the surge, as you call it, of troops to our country.  We have several issues with the number and strength of the escalation…

GWB:  Surge Norrie, surge, It ain’t no escalatoring…

NaM:  Yes, Mister President, the surge of troops that you have spoke so well of.  It is, well it is causing difficulties for us in our relations with the various groups in Iraq

GWB:  I ain’t followin Norrie.  Y’all tellin’ me somethin and I ain’t hearin you

NaM:  Yes Mister President.  Let me be frank for a moment….

GWB:  Good idear!  Put Frank on the phone.  He’ll explain what y’all lookin for

NaM:  No Mister President,  there is no one named Frank here.   I mean that I am going to speak with unclouded honesty and forthrightfulness…

GWB:  Oh?  (To someone else in the room:  Fucked if I know Dick, (unintelligible) carpet-jockey)

NaM:  It is the number of the troops Mister President.  It would seem to be insufficient.

GWB: Now what do y’all mean by insufficient Norrie?  Hell, we’re sendin 21,500 of the finest troops we’ve got in the Fight for Freedom for the Freedom Loving Peoples of Iraq for Freedom!

Nam:  Mister President, there are not enough troops being sent to the areas that are requiring the use of armored patrols to bestill the insurgents.  We require more troops to Anbar province and to the southern provinces, where the insurgents are most bold. 

GWB:  Ahh I’m not quite gettin that Norrie.  You’re tellin me you want more troops to be sent to a province?  Hold on a darn minute there…we’re not fightin in Canada are we? (To someone else in the room Jesus Dick, you didn’t tell me they were goin to Canada did you?  (unintelligible) They got oilsands?  How many barrels a day?  (unintelligible)  Well, that’s different then… (unintelligible) Yeah, Yeah, I will)  

NaM:  Mister President?  Are you there? 

GWB:  Uh…Yeppers Norrie.  I’m here.  So y’all want to send them troops somewheres else is what you tellin me right?

NaM:  It is not my intention to tell you how to deploy your forces Mister President, but I feel that I should ensure that you are comprehending the importance of the urgency.

GWB:  I surely do Norrie.  The Freedom Loving Peoples of Iraq want to Enjoy the Freedom that only Freedom can bring without the interference of the Axis of Evil and the Evildoers of the Axis of Evil.

NaM:  Mister President, it is of the utmost importance that the Iraqi Police be sufficiently armed to counter these insurgent forces.  Which is why I would respectfully request your military representatives provide us with the weapons to allow us to defend ourselves.

GWB:  You tellin me you ain’t got enough guns Norrie?  (To someone else in the room:  He sez he ain’t got enough guns Dick.  Can we sell him some? (unintelligible) Yeah, through Haliburton if you want to, but spread it around this time.)

NaM:  We feel that our police forces could control the situation better than your offer of a surge of troops Mister President.

GWB:  Now you’re not plannin on using them guns on Shiites or Sooners or whatever the hell tribe you ain’t in, are you Norrie?

Nam:  Never Mister President, that would never be our intention to establish a theocracy based on the membership of a particular religious branch.  You have my word.

GWB:  Jes as long as we’re clear on that Norrie, as I wouldn’t want to see nothin like that happening on my watch, after all I am the Decider and I’m the President Who Decides.

NaM:  Of course Mister President. 

GWB:  (To someone else in the room  By Tuesday?  Hell, that’s good service.  (unintelligible)  Y’all tell them that Blackwater has to do the training though.  Karl said so. (unintelligible) Them Iraqi cops don’t know which end of a rifle to look down.  Give the boys some of them 50 cals too, but they gotta pay retail for the training.)  Hey, Norrie, do y’all want ammunition with them guns?

NaM:  I think it would be prudent Mister President, as a gun without ammunition is like a camel without legs, as the saying goes in my village.

GWB:  Jeeze Norrie, you guys crack me up.  We’ll git er done for you right smartly and send you the bill. 

NaM:  Mister President, regarding the surge of troops, then…

GWB:  Yeah?  They’re the cream of the crop Norrie…

NaM:  With the weapons and our existing police infrastructure Mister President, we believe we could handle the bold insurrectionists on our own.

GWB:  You mean you won’t need them?  Is that true Norrie? (To someone else in the room  He says he don’t need em Dick  (unintelligible) Iraq, Iran, I can’t keep em straight anymore.  (unintelligible) They’re already there?  Fuck.  (unintelligible) Could redeploy ’em to Niagra Falls you know (unintelligible) They’re a bunch of sneaky shitheels speakin French too.  They didn’t tell us nothin about no oilsands either! (unintelligible)  Good fishin up there (unintelligible) OK I will)

NaM:  Mister President?

GWB:  Right here Norrie.  OK, we’ll pull em back and ship the guns by FedEx.  That hold you over?

NaM:  It has been a pleasure dealing with you Mister President

GWB:  And a real pleasure here too.  I sure did like that joke about the camel too.

NaM:  And give my regards to your family Mister President.  Thank you for taking my call.

GWB:  I’ll tell Laura you said howdy.  Bye now!

NaM:  Thank You Mister President



There have been a few news items in the past few days that have made me call "boolshiite" on them:  Here they are, in no particular order

By LARA JAKES JORDAN WASHINGTON (AP) – The Bush administration has agreed to shift course and let a secret but independent panel of federal judges oversee the government’s controversial domestic spying program.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court will have final say in approving wiretaps on communications involving people with suspected terror links, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Wednesday in a letter to the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Since Jan. 10, when the court began overseeing the program, at least one request has been approved to monitor communications of a person believed to be linked to al-Qaida or an associated terror group.

In his letter to Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Arlen Specter, R-Pa., Gonzales wrote that "any electronic surveillance that was occurring as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program will now be conducted subject to the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court."

The Bush administration secretly launched the Terrorist Surveillance Program in 2001 to monitor international phone calls and e-mails to or from the United States involving people suspected by the government of having terrorist links. Gonzales said Bush would not reauthorize the program.

This is like getting a hand-written thank-you note, after you’ve been gang-raped by bikers.  Nice to know that The Terror Troika (now that Runsfeld has gone civilian) of Cheney, Rove and Jo Jo The Idiot Boy have finally figured out where The U.S. Constitution is kept.

(CBC. CA)Royal Bank has changed its U.S. dollar account policy and will now let dual nationality Canadian customers open the accounts as long as they meet standard residency and other requirements.  Canada’s biggest bank issued what it called a clarification of its policies "due to confusion" surrounding the issue.

A brief statement from the bank said it asks for proof of citizenship and residency for any individual client wanting to open a U.S. dollar account. "With some exceptions, RBC will provide a U.S. dollar account to dual citizens of sanctioned countries as long as they meet our ‘know your client’ and ‘anti-money laundering’ requirements, which include proof of residency in Canada," the bank said.

An RBC spokesman in Montreal said the bank "just nuanced our position to a certain extent."

"So we have now a policy that states that we can open U.S. dollar accounts for our clients who are Canadian citizens and are not residing in their country of origin," Raymond Chouinard told CBC News.

He said the "change … will allow us to keep a larger number of accounts open."

On Tuesday, the Royal Bank caused a stir when it confirmed a Radio-Canada story that said it was denying U.S. dollar accounts to all Canadian customers who are also nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Cuba, North Korea or Myanmar.

Royal Bank vice-president David Moorcroft cited U.S. Treasury Department rules that he said had been tightened after the Sept. 11 attacks.

But spokespeople at several other Canadian banks were soon being quoted as saying their banks were not going as far as the Royal Bank and would not deny a U.S. dollar account to someone just because they had dual nationality with countries the U.S. has placed sanctions against.

The Royal Bank said it will apologize to anyone whose account was mistakenly closed.

Always nice to know that all American laws are immediately applied here in Canada, regardless to those pesky border, right Steve?  By the way, is the reverse true, dear Prime Minister?  Does Ohio have to recogize Quebec and write all their laws in English and French?  When do I get to deduct mortgage interest from my income and have to suffer by with a 23 percent decrease in Federal Income Tax.  As for RBC, well, they’re just looking out for their US business and customers can take the hindmost. 


By Liza Porteus  (Fox) Two Texas Border Patrol agents convicted of shooting a Mexican drug runner in the backside while on duty turned themselves in to U.S. Marshals Wednesday, and there’s still no word on whether President Bush will grant them a pardon.  Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean began serving 11- and 12-year prison sentences, respectively, for the February 2005 non-fatal shooting of Osvaldo Aldrete Davila.

Several groups, including Friends of the Border Patrol, The Minutemen and, have been trying through petitions to keep the agents out of prison — either by a motion to allow them to remain free on bond during an appeal or through a presidential pardon.  U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone denied a motion for the two ex-agents to remain free on bond until their appeals on Tuesday.

"This ruling by Judge Cardone is the most disgraceful act that I have ever heard of in the history of our great nation and both she and the prosecutors should be ashamed of themselves for taking the word of a drug smuggler, caught in the act, while ignoring the facts," Friends of the Border Patrol Chairman Andy Ramirez wrote in a statement. "Evidence that would have severely damaged the credibility of the known drug smuggler, and exonerated Compean & Ramos was sealed and suppressed and the attorneys were prevented from mounting a proper defense."  Ramirez said El Paso Border Patrol chiefs Robert Gilbert and Luis Barker and Robert Gilbert have hung their agents out to dry.

"I must remind the public that narcotic traffickers and human smugglers laugh at law enforcement as they know that the Johnny Sutton’s of DOJ will not prosecute them, and instead will prosecute officers who do their job and keep that poison off our streets and out of our schools, parks, and neighborhoods," Ramirez wrote.

I don’t know all the details of the case, but the smuggler, Davila, cut a helluva deal, for immunity so he could go back to smuggling and the two Border Patrol agents have been hung out to dry.  Even if the
two officers acted poorly and without reasonable cause, the worst they should get is dismissed.

The funny thing is, I’m not suprised.  If the US was serious about stopping the border incursions, then they could close it tight in a week.  Just like the Department of Homeland Paranoia isn’t interested in Security, the DOJ isn’t really interested in Justice.

So, to sum up:  The Spies now have Judicial Oversight for four years of uncontrolled invasion of your privacy of person. 

The Royal Bank of Canada wants your money, as long as you aren’t going to make things difficult for them in the US. 

All Border Patrol Officers should consider applying for a gig with Brown and Root, as I bet you a nickle and a Coke that the Border Patrol gets outsourced to private industry in the next two years.

All together now:  Boooool Shiiiiiite!

Masters of Understatement

I like it when politicians speak, on the record with journalists.  Invariably, their mouths open and you get to see exactly how mentally malnouished the leaders actually are. 

President JoJo The Idiot Boy, in an interview with Scott Pelley from CBS’s "60 Minutes" said, "My decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the correct decision in my judgment. We didn’t find the weapons we thought we would find or the weapons everybody thought he had. But he was a significant source of instability," 

Regarding the hanging of Saddam Hussein:  "I thought it was discouraging… It’s important that that chapter of Iraqi history be closed. [But] They could have handled it a lot better."

Then there is the Vice-President, Dick Cheney, who is quoted on MSNBC, “They’re convinced that the United States will pack it in and go home if they just kill enough of us,” Cheney said. “They can’t beat us in a standup fight, but they think they can break our will.”  

Cheney added this gem:  “This is an existential conflict,” Cheney said. “It is the kind of conflict that’s going to drive our policy and our government for the next 20 or 30 or 40 years. We have to prevail and we have to have the stomach for the fight long term.”

Then, there is the quote from Perrin Beatty, ex-Canadian Cabinet Minister, now head of the Canadian Exporters and Manufacturers trade group, talking about the new eCustoms system on the Canada – US border:   "If al-Qaida can damage us, either physically or economically, they win," Beatty told the news conference, referring to Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization. "It would be foolish for us to assume that there will not be any further incidents along the border."

The key message in all these quotes, is that we have to be afraid and everything that is being done is absolutely critical to our continued well-being.  In each quote, the subtext is that if you don’t agree, then you’re part of the problem.

However, my favourite is this one:  "Voice or no voice, the people can always be grought to the biddiing of the leaders.  That is easy.  All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.  It works the same in any country." 

That last quote was from Hermann. W. Goering, (1912 – 1945) Luftwaffe Reichsmarschall.






Little Mosque on the Prairie

I like the idea of Americans and Canadians being different, as it is fun to watch from a savage point of view.  The interesting part is how are cultures seem to be the same right up to a certain point, then Zang! Canada goes off in another direction.

A television show or two should suffice to illustrate the obvious differences.  In the 1970’s a television station in Hull, Quebec started running soft-core porn on Friday nights after midnight.  A few people were mildly outraged as there weren’t quite enough warnings to satisfy their sense of indecency.  Most of the viewing audience was from the English side of the border.  It was no big deal. 

If a television station in Baltimore tried running soft-core porn today, the fines from the FCC would be more than the Israeli Arms budget.  There’s one difference:  Canadians have, generally, a more European attitude regarding that which I call material of an erotic nature.  It exists if you want it, just be discreet about it.

Another television show up here is "Little Mosque on the Prairie", that debuted last night on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.  The plot is easy enough to get:  A young Muslim man leaves the big city (Toronto) and his career as a lawyer to become an Imam in a mosque in the fictional small town of Mercy, Saskatchewan.  The congregation is small, the mosque is broke and the cast of characters is as strange as you might guess.  

"Little Mosque on the Prairie" is a fish-out-of-water type of sitcom.  The debut was funny and in another three or four weeks, it will find its’ legs as a series that should have a good run.  One promo that is running is a curling team from the Mosque competing against the other locals and it still makes me chuckle. 

Now, can you imagine what would happen if ABC proposed a remake of Mayberry RFD and had a Muslim Imam as part of the slightly odd citizens of Mayberry along with Aunt Bea and Floyd the Barber?  There would be a Congressional Investigation before the first roll of film was shot.  Again, another difference between Canada and the US is the simple fact that we accept that our country is full of all kinds of folks of different hues, cultures and styles.  We muddle along with it, doing at least a half-assed job of being inclusive.

Some of the reaction south of the border has been puzzling.  One blog, that shall remain nameless is absolutely positive that "Little Mosque on the Prairie" is the thin edge of the wedge by Hollywood (huh?) to lull Americans into relaxing their vigilance.  CNN’s Paula Zahn was simply perplexed that the series would even happen. 

Other posts, notably on a Muslim blog, lamented that only one of the cast members was actually a practicing Muslim.  At least nobody complained that Derek McGrath, who plays a vicar in the series, is not a real vicar. 

So, if you live near the border, or get a satellite signal from Canada, watch "Little Mosque on the Prairie" if only to see that you can be inclusive and still be funny.

Vive Le Difference






Tonight, if you believe the media, President Jo Jo the Idiot Boy will call on the US Military to ship another 20,000 soldiers over to Iraq.  It will be called a ‘surge’.  Surge is much prettier and less threatening than the more accurate Viet Nam era term:  Escalation.

Some perspective here:  In Gulf War I, the one that Daddy Bush and Norman Schwartzkopf did in 1990, put 660,000 pairs of boots into battle to reopen Kuwait and free the innocent, imprisoned oil.  The Secretary of Defense was some mook from Wyoming called Dick Cheney and the Secretary of State was James Baker.  General Colin Powell was in the Pentagon and Paul Wolfowitz was Undersecretary of Defense.  Do these names sound familiar?  By the way, Donald Rumsfeld was working with ABB at the time, selling a nuclear reactor to North Korea, but before that, Rummy was Regan’s Special Envoy in the early 80’s, dealing with Iraq.

Fast forward to Gulf War II.  To free the innocent, imprisoned oil in Iraq, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Jo Jo The Idiot Boy decided that they could do the job with less than half the boots over a land mass that more than 10 times the size of Kuwait.  Or, to paraphrase Rumsfeld, you fight with the army you have, not the army you want.  The first couple of weeks went very well and Iraq lost.

Then the wheels fell off.  President JoJo The Idiot Boy got to swan around in a flight suit under the Mission Accomplished banner on the deck of the Teddy Roosevelt on May 1st, 2003.  Rummy, Cheney and Rove patted each other on the back until their tennis elbow acted up.

Suffice to say Iraq has become a meat grinder that has gone on longer than the US involvement in World War II.  We’ve already plowed the ground in previous posts about what went wrong two weeks after the invasion. 

Now President Jo Jo The Idiot Boy wants to ship over a token force to bring victory to the Forces of Democracy.  He’s short a zero and a multiplier of three.  The US needs close to 750,000 troops as long as the Generals are willing to get down and fight dirty.

There’s the catch.  I’m not quite a pacifist, but I know that talking is less expensive and less destructive than going to war.  Talk works best 99 times out of 100, but a nation must be prepared for that one time out of one hundred when the Affairs of Men and Nations call for the application of significant amounts of violent, deadly force.

I have all the respect possible for the soldiers, who have the courage to serve, but I have nothing but contempt for the leaders who seem intent on not winning regardless of how many soldiers they maim and kill while not getting the thing done.  I’ll live with that inconsistency, thanks for asking.

What will the ‘surge’ do?  Nothing tangible regarding Iraq and bringing stability to the region, as there are not enough troops in-theatre to get the job done.  It is a press release that gives JoJo The Idiot Boy something to talk about for a half-hour of prime time TV. 

Daddy has already bought and paid for the Iraqi Study Group (James Baker, come on down!) to get his dumber son out of the quagmire of Iraq.