Sunday, August 16, 2009

Summer in Kabool

A summer idyll of sorts came to an end to-day when the Taliban (scratch that - it had to be AlQaeda) - slipped a suicide truck through morning traffic in the 'western' zone to detonate in front of ISAF headquarters.

In a country where the Taliban are regularly whupped and 'on the run' in the face of Canadian, Brit of American fighting men, the goat-herding mercenaries who are, we are told, on a rent-to-fight basis and issued bullets one at a time, have an interesting propensity to show up and do some spectacular and, as in this case, none-too-damaging crap.

Last year it was a massive prison break-out in Kandahar City, followed by a parade disruption in the capital. Then there were on-going attacks on UN supply convoys in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, that had the Taliban parading around in new Humvees before they were stripped and torched. After seven years of fairly steady fighting the Taliban south is as volatile as ever and now the Taliban are extending their work into thew formerly tranquil Northern half of the country. They had actually shut down four of the five new highways into Kabul at one period this winter.

Afghanistan is anything but tranquil and the Americans can only think of beefing-up an already considerable military presence.

But the photo that came out of to-day's attacks, I think says it all. Here is a distraught American soldier - perhaps flabbergasted by sudden carnage and destruction somewhere he never expected it to happen. I'd love to know what he's telling these two Afghans, but I'd bet, whatever it is, it's in English and whatever good he intends to do is lost in translation. As it is, he seems like a nutter in uniform - and that language is universal. Look at the Afghans - they think he's lost it. Maybe he has. Maybe they have.

A Peanut Buster Parfait, Over Here!

The sagebrush sachem and generalissmo of all that conservatives love, is just coming off a pasting at the NAFTA group talks and is actually taking flak for bringing a sick little lady home from Kenya. You'd think a nice muffin could catch a break!

Actually Little Stevie Wunder has been sowing the seeds of his own lack of success. Back in late spring he decided that the myriads who show up each summer for Canadian welfare by uttering the abracadabra word, "refugee", were just too much. So he put the kibosh on the biggest offenders - Mexicans? That earned him no respect from the Mexican President in the recent tripartite talks with President Obama. The Mexicans wouldn't back him up when Stevie started whinging about the Yanks 'Buying American', so Steve wound up coming home with a statement that it wasn't 'national policy' and a commitment to keep on pumping American oil out of Canada at cut rate prices so that ordinary Americans wouldn't get too much of a jolt in the moneybag as they 'turn green'. The Yanks will continue to buy what they want cheap, and sell us lots of food in return - so Steve can go ahead and gut what agricultural 'sector' we have left.

Funny how the Yanks can beat us around the head and ears in a NAFTA tribunal when they object to Canadian interests, but Steve doesn't know that there are tribunals when they're busy stopping Canadians from bidding on US contracts or living up to the agreed part of free trade. Maybe that's because there are no NAFTA tribunals in Canada, we (apparently) don't need them.

Meanwhile to show that he's really world-class, Steve allows the Swedes to buy off the best part of Nortel's cutting edge communications software. No prob, the Chinese arm of Nortel will be making a knock-off. But nobody's saying boo about all the R&D funding provided by Canadians, or about Nortel's tax deferrals that won't be forthcoming now that the ship's gone belly up. Maybe the Conservatives will demonstrate their 'humanity' by picking up Nortel's pension plan obligations to ensure a bigger PC 'rooting section' in Kanata.

Speaking of humanity, the Wiz decided to make the plight of the little Somali lady stranded in Kenya "priority one". She was back in Canada within hours. It's a pity that nobody informed the head honcho that the story has been on the front page of a least on liberal rag (the blue ribands too) for more than two months.

The 'bailout' money will be getting the same treatment. The pustules of stimulus will have to have big green heads on them, verging on septicaemia, before the magic antibiotic rides to the rescue with a cheque. I'd bet if they weren't blowing the budget money on some snappy partisan advertisements, and overpriced military supplies from the arsenal of democracy down south, the thrifty lot in Ottawa would be close to running a balanced budget. ( Har de har! The 'frugal Minister of public probity was shocked (Shocked, I tell you!) to find that, somehow, his little yearly deficit was going to top a hundred billion.)

Back to that little Somali lady. About eight weeks ago the lady in question tried flying 'home' from a visit to Kenya. Despite what some of our boneheaded brethren might say about 'good' Canadians not going to Kenya, there's not much strange in that when, to-day, most Canadians can claim an affiliation with somewhere else on earth. Anyway, some airline clerk - apparently looking for a little baksheesh, claimed her passport photo looked wonky. This sentiment was echoed by Kenyan security - who must be, praise the lord, really averse to putting people on planes to Canada any more with wonky documents so they have to say 'refugee' when they arrive in Canada without them. The lady was held and missed her flight.

The next week she was taken to the Canadian High Commission to have her identification verified. Some 'diplomat' thought that her passport looked wonky enough to trump her other photo ID - an Ontario Health Card and a Driver's license - as well as her credit card, etc and she was declared an "imposter". Her Canadian relatives, wondering why, perhaps, she never showed up in the arrivals doorway at Pearson Airport, started making inquiries here. The first responses were naturally the 'imposter' ones. That was followed by a deafening round of ministerial non-comments, or involvements, as the identification process headed toward DNA matching. Even at that, the two cabinet ministers, somebody Van Loon and another Jean Guy anonymity, didn't bestir themselves, or their departments, to actually do anything. It took a court order and the work of a newspaper to arouse 'the gentle giant' from his summer slumbers to get her home. Now, we're told, she's deathly ill and fixing to sue our collective asses.

I think 'his gentleness', or the Tories, should be picking up her tab. They effed-it up - it wasn't political, it was purely stupid. Given their 'good luck' with money they might consider cutting the cost of a passport since it , and $1.47 will get you a medium double-double at Tim's.

Meanwhile over the distaff side of the House of Commons, the wandering Jew is thinking deep thoughts and the NDP are considering plastic surgery to re-brand themselves. But they're standing on guard for Canadians.

As 'the Cashman' says on his TV ads , 'O-hhh Yeah-hhhhhh!'