Thursday, December 20, 2012

Come and sing a Simple Song of Freedumb

The land of the free home of the brave, etc is locked-down in some national mourning after its latest shooting outrage. There isn't a week goes by without some remarkable shooting happening somewhere in America, but last week's blasting of some 27 six-year-olds and their teachers was a little outside the mundane 'domestics' or aggravated mall shoot-ups.

So now the nation is engaged, again, in the "debate" about the right to bear arms, or what kind of arms are appropriate for bearing. The Liberals are calling for bans ranging from guns, period, to extended magazines on military-style assault weapons. The 'sensible' Americans are claiming that if everybody, everywhere was armed, none of these killings would be happening as evil-doers with guns would be overwhelmed by the righteous fusillade of defensive fire should they have the temerity to even look like they were getting ready to 'unload'.

Even the mourning has taken on national characteristic - flowers and stuffed toys piled into future garbage heaps, sorrowful pols and first responders, fire tracks and police cars, protected funeral corteges and armed guards providing 'security'. There is also the concomittant 'beating the news to death' in every organ of media and punditry. And the steady stream of mis-, dis- and un- information that often lives in reverse proportion to its lack of accuracy. All building to a crescendo of .... nothing.

Switch to the next story.

"Mayan Cosmology for Dummeez" - or bleeding Syria - or the menace that is Iran.

And after the funerals and memorials and weeping 'heads' on TV, the nation will retire to the Mall, or the 'secure room', to await the next bullet-riddled onslaught - brought courtesy of the greatest gun culture on earth. Thank goodness it isn't as bad as Central America or the Caribbean, though. 'Those people' are real killers.

As an update to this story which now looks like it 'belongs to the ages', come the tale of how world class South African athlete Oscar Pistorius got a little paranoid and blew away his model girlfriend.

Yeah he was devastated by what he'd done - it being an accident and everything. But he's suffering from something most Americans could buy into and that a fear of crime. Seems virtually all South Africans - or at least the 'real' South Africans who can afford weapons live in a bunker-state, worse than Israel - in fear of the horror that stalks by night. They all know that the criminal South Aftricans who come to get them come armed with murder as the end game. And so it was last Valentine's Dy Eve when Pistorius arose to close a door and heard a noise in his 'rape-door' equipped bathroom. Terrified enough to not notice he was sleeping alone all-if-a-sudden (those king-sized beds will do that if you're not slumbering up alonside a 'hippo'), he claims to have shouted a warning and then - even more frightened opened-up with a fusillade of shots through that unopenable door. He was a good shot nailing his bff four time including a 'good 'un'' to the head. Later on, on discovering her 'missing' from bed, he realized it might have been her who failed to respond to his pre-shoot warnings. He then best down the impregnable door with a cricket bat and applied first, and in her case, last aid.

Aren't we glad we don't live in South Africa either?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Jack the Blessed

Coming soon to the home 'edutainment' unit nearest you is a video paean to the most recent, greatest Canadian politician who failed to launch. And that would be the late Jack Layton of sainted memory.

Yeppers, Jack the urban shoehorn  is the subject of a 'biopic'!  The saga of his lifestyle, from at least the time he hit the national stage or married Olympia Chow - heiress to a dogfood fortune. Jack was a lifelong pol, rising from granola-eating bicycle-riding metrosexuality  as a member of the Toronto city council to standing for political office with his 'partner' Ms Chow and gaining a Toronto seat in Ottawa for the New Democratic Party. From there it was only a waiting game until the leader - Ms McDonough from down east  - tired of the frustration and Jack ascended to the throne.

His management of the party was un-outstanding until the Liberal party self-immolated and Jack became the only english-speaking politician who could make himself understood in French as well. Things were looking very good as Jack led the party into the official opposition slot, a sea change on the national stage, when the Liberals failed to qualify for election funding. But things were not all well. For Jack got sick and then died - leaving the dream unfulfilled in the minds of most people, but not in the hearts of true believers.

 And hence we have the passion of the Mao transliterated to the Canadian screen.

Jack is portrayed by those vouchsafed to hold his memory, and political inheritance, as a 'renaissance' man. An academic. A self-taught linguist who mastered not only French but Cantonese as well. A self-taught guitarist and musician. A physical health and science buff dedicated to the pursuit of physical health and beauty. A good, but yet thoroughly modern lapsed united Church man,  who could sire the tribal off-spring and then divorce his 'Sarah' to become more racially 'eclectic'. Jack was a walking poster-child for all that is human, humane and wholesome. And that's why the semi-canonization. If he'd only been a Catholic.

Jack was in full favour of advancing society and that's why he stood up for gay rights, and a woman's untrammelled right to choose - and the freedom of everybody else to fund them. He was a real 'mensch'.

What won't show up is the fact that Jack never really 'worked' at anything. He went from the high school student council, to elected office as a Toronto alderman. And from there his 'work' was politics.But that doesn't detract from the fact that for a Canadian 'pol', he wasn't cut from the standard cloth. He wasn't crooked and what you saw was what you were going to get. He might have made the place better.

Slow Learning

Whoo-hoo! My second-favorite p'leece force is doing it again!

My first favourite Justice Minister Vic 'movember man' Toews has commanded  the  stick-bearer general of the RCMP/GRcC to prepare, for his ocular orbs, a detailed 'gender audit' of the force. In a knee-jerk reaction the Commandant has stated that the RCMP is 'no more prone to gender bias and harassment of females than any other government bodies'. I guess Canada Post and the Coast Guard have a bumper crop of females suing the ass off them too.

Is there a 'donney' a-brooking?

                                                      The Chief and his Stick of State

 You see, since he took command, other than getting a new set of uniforms made and re-inventing the RCMP totem pole, the new 'Commissaire' has done little more for females than marry his second one.  He appeared to be one of those reflective types who would observe, study and then  take action. In actuality that was an act. After forcibly retiring all his 'peers', the 'Sultan of the Skagway'  has felt safe enough to regress to the state of honour so well-enjoyed by others who have gone before him. He's really done SFA as  far as we've been able to glean, but there haven't been new lawsuits - just unsettled old lawsuits.

And then there's the marriage. 'Constable Bob' took a second wife earlier this year. It was an 'all force' affair, planned, we are told, by a couple of duty Sargeants from his Office and attended by 'volunteers' ordered up from the Musical Ride's 'trainee' program. It was, from the look of the picture below, a red letter day. Until Bob found out the trainees were 'on duty' and had been assigned to provide the honour guard/cum ushers/cum valet parking roles at the hitching.  It was then, too, he found out he was 'honour-bound' to cough-up some $912 semollianos Canadenses to pay for them. On the cheque he wrote the annotation - "Honour Gaurd fiasco".

                                            The Chief, the bride and the Musical bambini

 It seems to me that somebody thought he might have been 'entitled' to something here. Or those kids turned into a bunch of bumbling putzes and accidentally 'lanced' some of the wedding guests. Just what part of it all was the 'fiasco' part.

The two sargeants who 'planned' the manueuvre were present - off duty-  to do a sword salute at the door (above). Like all policemen's pals they were doing this out of 'pal-ship'. But they were probably 'at work' when they were drawing-up the operational plans.

                                               Sorry they pulled-it, so it wasn't flattering

It looks like the Mounties are staying true-to-form when it comes to 'promoting' boneheads from the inside. It's a cultural thing, ya know?

Maybe Vic Toews doesn't like getting 'unrespected' by the hired help. The Commandant certainly wouldn't. And Toews is only an elected official. I do believe the CO's days are numbered, now that Toews has him in the sights.

Operation Cast Dirt

Another little Israeli 'pacification' exercise  has come to a sudden stop. After  7 days of bombing , shelling and retaliatory rocketing, Bibi Netanyahu has, for some strange reason, opted for  a 'ceasefire' and negotiations. The ceasefire part is obvious, but other than the Egyptians, Turks, Americans or somebody else pulling strings, he's still in the same position he was last week -  having to not negotiate with terrorists.

This is all very strange,  for the Israelis, by a sizable majority, are in favour of much more hurt for  HAMAS. At least the 75 000 reservists 'called up' to do the ground operation are going to be disappointed about not 'getting any'.  These lads a case in point.

Their body language spells out, "Bibi Loser"

The Gazans are treating this as a 'win', or at least they were until this morning. A group of the inmates made the mistake of taking that 'freedom of movement' part of the ceasefire seriously enough to enter the no-go zone and approach the Gaza fence. That got one of them killed and 17 wounded by the ensuing 'warning' fire from Israeli military on the 'green' side of the wire.

It was widely thought by the 'world' media that the gunfire would 'have no effect' on the ceasefire, while the same media blatted that calls for jihad from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt were jeopardizing the whole deal. Somebody has completely forgotten that until Israel 'whacked' a HAMAS 'military chief' - the one who was tasked to keep other groups from firing rockets into Israel - the rocket-firing had almost stopped. I guess, as the Israelis will tell you, being a target all the time takes some getting-used to - in Gaza too, do you think?

Israelis, even some of the dumb ones, have the ability to understand where the Gazans and other Arabs are 'coming from', they know what life is like for them. But, and this makes them different from the Germans  who could always claim they 'didn't know' -  they still don't give a sh*t, or, worse still, think the Arabs 'deserve it'. An Israeli group put up this interesting little piece - done by the 'targets'  in Sderot.
Palestinian video

The ceasefire touts a 'new' freedom of movement for people in Gaza, but I'm inclined to think that, unless they guarantee the future existence of the Jewish state and give up any right to reparations for stolen property, they're going to have exactly the same 'freedom' they had in Gaza last week - the 'freedom' to be surveilled while not leaving the zone except under rigorous scrutiny, and the freedom to stay out of the IDF's self-defence 'free fire zone'. The goldfish bowl might have some new rubble in it, but it's still just as restricted, visible and vulnerable.

The Israeli media is weeping. tears of sadness, in keeping with President Shimon Peres 'weeping' over the deaths of Palestinian babies - an 'accident' that the Palestinians 'made' happen ( "You made us kill you, we didn't want to do it,  etc") . And tears of joy to match a crocodile grin that goes with the boast that Israel is 'no longer alone'. The 'seamless support' for Israel's "right to defense" is claimed, not only due to Obama's non-presence, but also in every 'right-thinking' nation on earth. That's why, if the Palestinians ask for UN observer status next week, they're probably going to get it. Because of some weird blowback 'conscience thing' about rootin' Israel on to vic'try this week. Get it?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

All Leads Lead to TelAviv

The media is awash in stories relating to Iran. Everything from the old standard 'nukuler' glow in  the east stuff,  to the recent repetitions of Achmedinjad being 'on the ropes' as he comes before the UN General Assembly for a 5th and final, we are told, time. Meanwhile back in Iran, the 'news' runs the gamut from an incipient uprising of the people, to republican guard commanders threatening a 'preemptive strike' on gallant little Israel and more mullah-mouthing about the destruction of the land of 'malik 'n hunny'. The IAEA is privy to all sorts of new 'evidence' that the Iranian nuclear program is clearly running away with itself and 'discussion' among western leaders is limited now to how much time is left before the mullahs can recreate Mohammed's 'ascension' for all the poor jews.

And where does  90 percent of this 'news' originate?  It comes from Tel Aviv and is  featured in the 'Jerusalem Post', 'Haaretz', 'YNet' or Sheldon Adelson's little fascist rag 'Maariv'. It's picked up in minutes by 'news' services and blatted abroad by the Jewish-owned  media in most of the rest of the world.

Iran can never catch a break from the first world for, whatever she says, or does, the 'stepford wives' are there, with their howling accusations, backed-up by an infinite number of 'concerned' jews; blogging and commenting 'the line'.  What's remarkable is that in all the column kilometers and the Gallilees of ink, there is yet to be found a cogent and credible account of the actual 'problem' that is Iran - thousands of 'points' have been made, but nowhere is there a complete, unbiased story. All is rhetoric and ravings.

Little Joe Goebbels coined the phrase about repeating the lie until it becomes truth. The Israelis have refined that, as they do with all such 'good' things, so that now, the lie has only to be told once - after that, the hallelujah chorus starts to sing the refrain as if it is truth. And no one dare question it or, obviously, they have no love for Israel and would be oven-stuffing, again, given the chance.

One of the reasons that Iran isn't yet a blasted example of humanitarian aggression is that there is too much of this 'good stuff'. For once the smart guys who once controlled the Israeli propaganda machine have been usurped by those who think that creative writing, and lots of it, is the way to go.  Gone are the days of 'the Sphinx' - commenting little and only after the fact -  and replacing it Chicken Little and Claghorn G. Leghorn - neither too smart, or too quiet. Not if you want somebody to start a war for you.

Now that the 'Obamanation' is back in office, things are looking grim for Amerika to start the cotillion,  so a little divertissement is in order before Little Benny gets the atomic vapours again. And what do we have to befuddle the masses.

 Stepping right up to the plate we have the Sultan of Surge - Dave Petraeus copping a guilty plea - Eagle Scout style - and resigning his Directorship at the CIA after being accused of some 'flagrante delicto' with a Lara Croft look-alike. The tea hats have started  describing the incident as a deliberate provocation on the part of the President to shut up a possibly unfriendly witness to administrative shenanigans that led to the 'gassing' of the US ambassador to Libya. And there we would have happily left it had not the plot - in true 'Holly-Bolly' style begun to 'thicken' and turned into real 'ennertainment'.

Seems like his nibs who for most of his 38 year military career was a professed shaolin warrior-monk of the intra-marital variety, until he ran across the strappingly-buffed Mrs. Doctor Lorelei Schmaltz  or Longbottom or something , some six years ago. He mentored and directed her into some studies and thing-ama-jigs and eventually she took up the  Gin'ral as the subject of her PhD dissertation on 'leadership'. That led to her co-writing the official Petraeus bio - appropriately, or not, titled "In ... All the Way". The 'research' required said 'sireen' to tail the General through his postings to Iraq and into Afghanistan. And then into the office at Langley where we're are led to believe 'love' bloomed and the dragon stirred from its torpor.  After a quickie in the office - we're told - the relationship was ended: by her with a raft of plaintive emails from him sent to woo her, or by him after which her longing was only matched by the 'watch' she kept on 'her man'. And here's where it all went to hell.

A breakdown of discipline can be a total asshole and that's what happened. Catching wind the Dave was being 'socialized' by some volunteer  military groupie. The, by now Lt. Col,  let it be known that she needed her man avoided.  However she did that,  put the wind up female two, who, probably visualizing crazy NASA astronauts in Depends, promptly contacted a 'friend' in the FBI to get help with the 'threats and harassment'.  Somebody approved an FBI investigation (or perhaps they were already investigating something else) and Lorelei became the object of more than the General's desires. Some public speaking she had been doing led her audiences to believe she 'knew things' outside her pay grade. A photo showed up taken inside Petraeus' Langley office when he met Angelina Jolie, that wasn't released by the CIA PR department. Everybody knew, as well, that Lorelei was the General's 'ghost writer', or something. Tongues began to wag. As did that FBI agent  who turned himself into a 'whistle blower'. To ensure the word got out he contacted his local Republican representative. Word was that email messages indicated some 'stinky-finger' stuff at the least and, possibly, a full screw.  She was questioned, he was questioned and we know where that went. - he's available for lectures. She's still in hiding.

A 'peckerdillio' that cost a genius his position on the ramparts. Perhaps.

 Some people think it was a honeypot trap engineered by the Mossad to 'eliminate' an increasingly 'unfriendly' Petraeus.  See his CIA was one of the stumbling blocks to Operation Tora Tora Torah and he raised some points about how having Israel as an ally wasn't such a strategically smart or beneficial deal for America. Aside from her obvious assets the Lorelei in question is affiliated with a number of 'Israeli-Americans' through her think-tanks and study groups. She may not have a military career left, but she won't be out of work. If she was mad at Petraeus at all, or even if she only wanted to 'protect him' from bad influences, she could have 'turned' to helping other friends.

To distract from  any 'taint' here, another brouhaha distraction  has developed involving the ISAF commander in Afghanistan, Marine General John Allen and a couple of  thousand emails - some "flirtatious"- with the same dusky Florida social lioness threatened by Lorelei..

The result though?  Petraeus has made way for someone a little more 'serious'  to head the CIA. But America remains secure - after all they're all 'the elite' - just accidentally carried away by a zest for life. All's good, we're safe, no terror here!

But remember,  'eyes on Iran'!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What's Mitt Having? Gimme the Same!

The US  quadrennial presidential circus is in full swing. And the head bozo seems to be 'open-mouth insert leg' Mitt Romney. It seems that barely a speaking opportunity passes when Romney says something inane, or insulting, and being the 'guy' he is -  qualifies what he said while backing-it-up.

To-day he claimed that the 47 percent of Americans whom he thinks will be voting for Obama, are all "victims" (in their own minds) and dependent on 'entitlements' from the state.  They are, by the way, the Americans who 'don't pay taxes'. That would, I imagine, leave Obama  running an administration that represents the 'have-nots'. You wouldn't a thunk that looking at the 'record'. Which brings up Mitt's real complaint - that Obama has run an administration that dealt with the 'problems' of everybody but the have-nots - but not as well as a true believer. He has cut entitlements like a  trooper. He has maintained Bushco's entitlements for the wealthy, like Romney - who apparently does pay some taxes  but at a rate that would make 'Joe Sixpack" envious and the welfare cases could only dream about. The only thing that Obama has done for that 'have not' constituency that 'unfairly' elected him, is unfairly lumbered them with a 'private enterprise solution  to health insurance'. Them as hasn't, still don't get.

All Obama has to do on domestic issues is encourage Mitt to keep on yapping, and say as little as possible in return. Barring a panty raid at Brigham Young U, he could win.

Walking softly and carrying a cudgel should work for Obama in international relations as well. Romney seems fairly committed to a world view that's made in Israel. When it comes to the middle east he acts like the temple Elders docked his tallywhacker when the 'Mormonized' him. He'd look good sitting on Netanyahu's lap -  woodenhead and the Mitt off the old block. To-day he declared that the palestinians aren't "interested in peace" and that Obama had 'thrown Israel under the bus' when he declared he was for the UN's pre-1967 borders for a Palestinian state. That bus belongs to Egged and it's bringing settlers to those pre-1967 areas that  Netanyahu & Co. have no intention of 'giving back' in return for peace. If  Israel gets hit by that bus, it's because they've decided to lie down in the road and wait for it.

Mitt Romney appears to be one of the most stupid candidates to come down the pike since VP Dan Quayle, only this time they'd like another idiot, like Bushco,  in the Oval Office. At least he had a personality. It's too bad that stupidity in a politician isn't considered to be a handicap. Maybe they'd like some of ours, in Canada we're blessed with an abundance of them.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

La Belle Province - L'Aout de Discontent

As was foretold Jean Charest 'wunderkind'  of 'Qaybek' politics and channeller of the later, greater Maurice Duplessis (without the milk of human kindness), has 'come a cropper' on his 'law and order' smack-down of, what should have been a page 10 student protest.  His Liberal party placed second in this week's provincial elections and he was unseated in his own riding.

A long, long, overly long, political career has come to an end. He can now receive a 'due reward' from his business pals. That he got smoked by a 'mere bagatelle' is both the result of bad timing and bad management. Those students were 'out to get him' after he had them beaten, and, apparently, they got the majority of Quebecois on-side with them.

 Both his causal 'tuition increases' and his anti-demonstration laws are being struck-down by the new party in power. I'll bet even some 'winning' Liberals vote for that. So much for political 'will' from the stupid. Whoever advised him to follow those approaches should be 'enshrined'.  I would hope the PQ goes after the idiots at Surete Quebec who blindly 'followed orders' - of such were concentration camp guards made.  A Bas the riot squad - and no pension for any of them.

The papers, to-day, are fulsome with tributes to Charest - leaving with 'his head held high' after accomplishing so much for Canada, and Quebec. That might well be the case to-day, but the final chapter of his book isn't written yet. It's hard to see how the leopard could change his spots, or how Charest - an apparent political opportunist who could morph from a Conservative to a Liberal to get ahead could have been as perfect as some media sources claim. That he would have approved the actions of the police riot squad after that first 'confrontation' and pegged the student leaders as beyond rational discussion, is an indicator that he could get things very badly wrong.

We'll have to wait and see about M. Charest.

They're Scaling the Whats??!!!

The news footage, augmented by  ubiquitous cell phone images, were all too familiar, the east had risen again. This with the boring regularity of Arab Springs and previous protests.

Somebody had had the temerity to make a low-budget nothing film, apparently with no other purpose than to post excerpts on U-Tube and wait to see what happened. If it had been conceived with the notion of 'causing trouble' it certainly got some bang for its buck.

 The film, called 'The Innocence of Muslims',  is a portrayal of the life of Mohammed in less-than-flattering terms. He's portrayed in the piece as a sex-addicted, pederastic simpleton with a very large blood thirst. The people who acted in it, and who put it together, are busily distancing and disassociating themselves from it. The first to do so were the cast, who claimed that the film, originally titled 'Desert Warrior', contained modified voice tracks that bore little resemblance to the script they had used. The 'producer', who gave it out that he was an Israeli using $5 million in Jewish investment funds to make the film, was identified as one 'Sam Bacile'. Since then sources have directed to a "Coptic Christian' from Egypt, called "Nakoula Basseley Nakoula", as the man who represented himself as Sam Bacile (Bassil) to a number of people.  The director of the film, one Alan Roberts, has a number of previous soft-porn credits to his name. He's in hiding. The 'producer' has been brought in for questioning in regard to possibly violating a previous parole.

                                                                Nakoula with a 'Star'

Whoever made the film, arranged for an unsuccessful screening at a theatre in LA in July and perhaps then posted 'trailers' on UTube. Some of these were translated into Egyptian Arabic and at least one was shown on Egyptian TV. Then the trouble started.

At least one US Embassy was aware of the film and issued a statement decrying the derogation of anyone's religious beliefs. The next day - the anniversary  of 9/11 as mob 'scaled the embassy wall', destroyed the US flag and hoisted a black "Al Qaeda banner" in its place. Security forces removed the protestors,  but a low level demonstration has been maintained near the US embassy. It wasn't long before US sources were intimating the film, given the 9/11 timing was an expected  'Al Qaeda plot' and  planned  'provocation'.

Meanwhile in Libya, the US ambassador to that country, on a visit to the eastern city of Benghazi, was caught up when an angry mob 'stormed' the US consulate, followed by 'armed gunmen' who set the building alight and destroyed a number of vehicles. The ambassador was 'separated' from his security guard when the building was evacuated. His body and that of a staffer were later found in the consular building. The remaining staff and security personnel removed to a nearby safe house from which they were rescued, some two hours later, by a relief column of Libyan military and US Marines. In the course of this rescue, the 'safe house' was attacked by a 'heavily armed force', in the consequence of which 2 more Americans and a number of Libyans were killed. The survivors made it to the airport at Benghazi from where they were transported to safety.

American embassies were 'attacked' in Tunisia and Yemen. German and British embassies in Khartoum were attacked in lieu of the absent American one. The Swiss embassy in Iran, representing American interests, had protestors present, as did US installations in Britain, Israel. Jordan and Indonesia. Needless to say the immediate focus of America is on Benghazi, where Marines and naval forces have been assigned to help track down the 'militants' involved.

The attacks and protests have turned into a campaign issue after Republican candidate Mitt Romney took up the Fox News position that the State Department and the President 'sympathized with the killers' by not repudiating the press release made by the Egyptian Embassy before the trouble started. The Secretary of State was quick to point out that the Libyan government wasn't involved and that the killing was the work of a very small radical group.  A spontaneous pro-American demonstration seemed to back that up. But the statement led to a hearty round of 'we're so nice, poor us' malarkey in the US media.

An attack on the ISAF base Bastion/Leathernck in Helmand province, Afghanistan, that killed two Marines and destroyed a number of aircraft, was reportedly claimed by the Taliban as a 'revenge' for the film. It could have equally been an attempt to kill Prince Harry, as was threatened by the Taliban last week. Or it could just have been another 'breakthrough' for the Taliban who succeeded in penetrating the massive base defenses for the first time ever - destroying 200 million dollars worth of  mostly-irreplaceable aircraft..

An inside job 'attack' by a base employee in a flaming truck, last year, occurred the same day SecDef Panetta arrived at the base. One British soldier was hurt in that incident. The base is the main support for  British and American forces deployed in Helmand. The rest of Afghanistan has remained quiet, as has Iraq and Syria, where the moslems are too busy killing each other to protest about movies. Lebanon was fairly quiet - somebody torched the KFC store in Tripoli before trhe Holy Father arrived with his message of peace. After he left Hezbolleh started warming to the occasion.

The standard US reactions - tempest in a teapot - no excuse for violence- regrettable occurrence of free- speech, etc  ignore the possibility that, rather than being the cause, the film was the trigger for reactions to an on-going US foreign policy that interferes regularly, forcefully and militarily in all too many parts of the Muslim world - often with little attention to, or regard for, Muslim sensitivities.

The 'change' Obama promised in Egypt his first year out, has been suborned by the tea-baggers name-calling about a first 'war-losing president'. Essentially the aggressive Bush Doctrine - increased with further surges and military deployments to new 'arenas' , Presidential assassination powers and even more reticence about 'engaging' with 'evil' powers -  has been maintained by the Obama administration.

America should consider itself lucky  that it has gotten away so relatively unscathed.

PS It was announced that the Egyptian government has issued warrants for some of its citizens, resident in America who were involved with the film. I'd bet the number of countries allowed to arrest 'criminals' anytime, anywhere, is severely restricted to those allowed to kill them on sight.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Canada slams the door shut on Iran.

Actually it was more like Canada put a 'fatwa' on Iran. We pulled our embassy staff out early yesterday morning. That was probably a good thing considering Johnny Baird had rinsed his dentures in preparation for announcing the Iranians were welcome to leave Ottawa. No timeline involved since their leaving probably was more of a surprise than ours - at least for the 'good guys'.

But why now? The Iranians, according to Harperment, are now recognized as THE singular threat to the universe - but then they were just as threatening last year, or the year before, or at any time since Ambassador Ken won the 'plum post' on the Potomac by freeing some of the slaves, er , hostages, back in the yellow ribbon days. The National post published a clarification - repeated in the Saturday Star - which outlines what 'they've' been doing to bug 'us' since 1979 5 key Points in Dispute  When you look down the list, the Iranians have done a lot less to us than we've done to them over those 25-odd years. So I'm wondering why this,  and why now.

Harper's off on a jaunt to an APEC meeting in Russia so, although it will have been no surprise, he's bound to get an earful from Putin. Much like the one Putin got in Peking when the world found out the Russian Army was  were 'sticking-up' for the invaded Ossetians and kicking the tar out of gallant little Georgia. I'm pretty sure the Steverino can handle himself when facing down 'Putin's glooms'. Some sources say the Iranians are going to "retaliate" for this, but aside from boycotting 'maple surple' - like a funny 'politicartoon' noted the other day -  or stopping our supply of  'real' pistachios, I don't think they can do much. They aren't even affecting the record high oil prices - as their ex-customers are now buying Saudi.. Oil production in Iran has fallen, and the prices are up, so they have to be hurting too  much to hurt us. Unless as Bigmouth Baird intoned, they've developed an Iranian 5th column already. Maybe the MinDef's newly pregnant 'laydee' is a sleeper cell in 'freedom-fighter' disguise!!!

We're told the resident Iranians in Canada are taking the news like a Turkish-Armenian festival - some are joyful, and others aren't.  The good thing is that, like all the rest of us Canadians who leave our hatreds and animosities outside the door when we come in, they're not fighting their regime change here. Like the rest of us Canucks, some think Harpergovermint is snog-worthy, and others think they're chimps in suits.

Some nasty gits are writing this one off as getting the diplomats to safety before Benny Netanyahoo commits America to another little war. Something near Teheran would have to get bombed to 'take out' those Iranian 'nukuler' sites and well, as we all know airborne 'accidents' have a nasty habit of happening to any Canadians in the vicinity.  Best safe, than repatriating coffins, eh?

So if the balloon goes up will be called upon to stand up for freedom again? I would imagine that we wouldn't be found wanting. We have HMCS Provideur over there in the Gulf supporting a couple of our city-class whatevers as targets for the initial rowboat attacks. We might even have a platoon of the secret JP5 waiting to go 'downtown' on the Revolutionary Guard . But it's virtual cert we won't be putting much up into the air, as the CF18 fleet is pretty-well attritted and Harpergovermint is still waffling on the CF-35. Even if this crisis stimulates them into action, we're well down the customer list for the revolutionary freedom bird. And construction of those 'deliveries' haven't even been started.

So the overall effect? A great big 'ho-hum'. Unless you're one of the three Canadians Harpergovermint hasn't been able to get out of Iranian slammers. We weren't 'talking' to them before, ya know? And we certainly won't be 'talking' to them now, either.  CSIS be getting our 'intel' from the Bulgarians, or somebody who still has an embassy in Teheran, or from the Israelis who 'know all' anyway.

A Codicil: Everybody's looking tres sharp on this one, ladies.
 "Prescient" the Star called Harperino. Getting the diplomats out of Iran's looking like a masterstroke given the attack on the Benghazi consulate and the other embassy demos and burnings.
But what about getting our diplomats out of Libya?

"Well what about it?", asks the Premeer.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Mind that Muzzle Maliq!

The spate of 'green on blue' or, as they've recently been renamed, ' insider' killings of US (particularly) and other ISAF personnel, are causing no small perturbations in the wind-down of the latest Afghan War. In fact they've upset the total 'training' applecart on which the future war is propounded. For, not being able to 'trust' the trainees' to not shoot them, makes westerners leery about training them, or arming them at all. In fact, until a 'solution' - in the form of 're-vetting' every member of the Afghan armed forces and police is under way the training is stuck on 'marching' and 'saluting' the nice soldier effendi..

And what does 're-vetting' entail? Well when the standard western soldier-citizen presents himself at the recruitment office, he's asked to sign a declaration that he has no criminal record he's not divulging and later that he's not affiliated with any groups 'disloyal' to the nation - viz the military. Sometimes he has to produce references to his good/character/patriotism/ martial ardor etc  - ofttimes from a friend or relative who has served in the military,a friendly school teacher, administrator, boss or boy scout leader. In ultimo he swears a public oath of allegiance and commits him/herself in writing to the 'military code of justis' which governs his/her life in uniform.

Most Afghans can't read, or write - the material presenting themselves for paid work as soldiers, or police, aren't the sort who would go to high school, even if they could. The vetting is often done by a village chief - if it's done at all - or by a relative with some local clout. Local soldiers or police are usually from somewhere else and have no affiliation, unless the subject has been a 'tea wallah' or after hours 'entertainer' - neither occupation scoring high on NATO's 'warrior ethos' chart.

Apparently, it has been decided that 'improper vetting of Afghan 'good guys' has resulted in some of them either  'going rogue'  or 'being rogues in pals clothing' and blasting their 'from away' buddies - generally when they're off guard, not looking, returning to base or just generally without pants. And this is 'dastardly' because, first, it tends to be quite mortal up-close and, second, it's not 'manly' like standing out in the street to be gunned down by an Apache crew, or a Marine sniper. And, thirdly, most of the time the 'shooter', somehow, manages to escape to join the Taliban, so it's un-traditionally un-suicidal  - which was bad enough - virgin-wise. So now the 'vettor' is gong to be 'held personally responsible' for the 'vettee'.  Whether the Americans are prepared to take this to Germanic extreme, eg holding a number of hostages to be shot if a soldier is harmed, or whether an incident will result in a 'fine', or removal of  poppy-growing licenses, Ding-Dong ration, etc, remains to be seem. If the Germanic experience is anything to compare, however, it may have been locally successful at times, but it resulted in a lot of, perhaps unnecessary, follow-on German deaths and a good number of war crimes trials for the survivors.

In taking this tack, the US, in particular, is ignoring a sociological study done for the Army last year which came to the conclusion that neither the Afghan forces, or the US forces liked or respected each other. Each thought of the other in consistently negative and derogatory terms. Trust, or lack thereof, was a fundamental issue a year ago before the shootings 'ballooned'. The other ISAF participants, suffering similar attacks are simply expediting the 'removal' of their targets by shortening-up their future commitments in Afghanistan.

This is the essential 'nub' of the problem. The US is planning to 'Afghanize' the war - which will continue to be fought under the direction of a number of US troops left behind for that purpose. The US will provide the money, targets, the training and equipment and the Afghans are to go out and kill their cousins. Something they've been very reluctant, in most cases,  in helping the Americans to do so far. Some ISAF allies have foolishly agreed to continue to 'rent out' forces for that purpose, but those who have been paying their own way are seeing the mission as 'impossible' as it is. Even warfighters like the ANZACs who revere the fallen and honour the warrior are making tracks for the antipodes. The lesser lights of NATO:  the French, Spanish, Dutch and Canadians are gone and the Germans, Italians and Brits are on their way. Which leaves only the 'greatest force for good on erth' to 'bear the white man's burden' and  continue 'civilize he brown man' with a JDam strike and an M14 on full auto.

Or, to cut the losses and declare another phony 'victory', (stabbed in the back by lily-livered pols who refused to 'undo the laces on the sparring gloves' and broaden the terms of engagement beyond the star wars category it has already reached). Given the performance so far, what should NEVER happen us that the US start fighting the Taliban, like Taliban - for green-on-blue would then take on the aspect of  the 'schoolyard disagreement' with  a 'few malcontent's it's being cracked up to be.

Monday, August 13, 2012

We OWN the Podium

The games of London are half over and the 'Own the Podium' sports training plan is placing Canada in the solid middle of the pack with such other Olympic mediocrities as Botswana and Tuvalu. The essential difference is that one doesn't hear the Botswanians, or Tuvalese, crowing about how good they are before the actual competition. For a nation that has long prided itself on a quiet can-do spirit, the Great White North has taken to trying to outcrow 'Claghorn Leghorn'. He,  at least, has something to crow about.

We have three media networks 'covering' the games and all indulge, along with our losing athletes,  in various degrees of excuse-making, (or extolling that 'Olympic spirit' that says being there is just as good as winning  - it's participation that counts. If that were the case, why not just have ordinary Joes show up to compete for Canada and screw the contrived 'official' olympic athlete-generating system we have here? I mean, if there are althletes who can show up and take part on their own dime, isn't that better than supporting an athlete to 'train like a bunny' when the best they're capable of  is well-down the records of the world leaders?

Some announcer was talking about how he hoped a 'new generation of Canadian women' would be inspired by  some of our vaunted track stars who, somehow, failed to place anywhere near the medals. Why couldn't a generation of Canadian women be inspired by the Australian runner who placed first? It may be all about the 'glory of the sport',  but there should be a better-than-even expectation of winning,  given the time and resources put into training, keeping and transporting an Olympic team.

Obviously in Canada we're still not doing it right.

I think the first mistake is the 'Own the Podium' idiocy. It first appeared at the last winter games and - even though cold weather sports should be winterland's forte - it proved to be spectacularly emabrassing in some "sure win" events like downhill skiing. Summer Olympics is even spottier for Canadians and going to any place else, with 'owning' anything as a team motto, is just asking for it. Canada's performance has been so abysmal that the national hubris hasn't been talked about since it was used an an excuse for the men's eight being forced into repassage. That they ended up with silver should be more a tribute to the team, than to the 'advisers' who reconstructed the rowing crew and the practice rouitine in order to 'own the podium'. If it ain't busted, etc should work for Olympics, too. Hell, there so much other stuff they've left alone - like an equestrian who's appearing (again) in his Nth olympics and is well past his 'best before' date. Mind you equestrians don't grow on trees, but if you're betting that 'bunty' will be able to coax another gold medal out of a different horse, well you could be ignoring an up-and-comer to keep a 'prestige seat' on the team - filled with an aging bum. What Mark Tewksberry was doing, leading the team, is beyond me. He did, after all, hie off to Australia for some bread-buttering and swim program development that he hasn't been able to repeat here. I guess you take your gold medallists where they may be found.

So far we have one - in women's trampoline - and that came as a shock. For  I don't even think our 'networks' were planning to cover trampoline, as our badminton aces had accidentally been seeded into medal competition when the 'best' were disqualified. A gong - especially a golden one  - was a very pleasant surprise. Let's hope it's an ice-breaker.

Update: Canada's "Own the Podium" committee was proudly announcing that Canada had achieved its collective 'Olympic Dream' by finishing a solid 15th in the number of medals awarded.  They must have been computing total medals like the 12 for the rowing team and the 23 for the soccer side - coaches, etc. What they weren't counting, this time, was gold - for their remained, after all the good times', just the one.

The committee - or Tewksberry - wouldn't 'center her out' by letting her carry the flag at closing. That honor was reserved for the captain of the bronze-winning soccer side - who hasn't just 'lucked into' it.

Auschwitz East

When you read about the trials and sufferings of western military personnel hurt in our wars, it can't help but make you wonder what happens to the other guys?

 We know that military deaths from combat are at an all-time low in proportion to the numbers serving, compared to previous wars. This is due to quick and effective medical treatment in response to the injury. The 'golden hour' is a reality for most injured western soldiers. They are treated for shock, pain and bleeding and if circumstances are favorable, can be under a surgeon's care within 40 minutes. The result is that the ratio of wounded to dead  has grown from 6 to one to something on the order of 15 to one. For every soldier who comes home dead,  13 or more come home with various stages of severe physical  injury. An unknown number, estimated now at up to 20 percent, suffer emotional or psychological injury - again to varying degrees of severity.

To manage these wounded warriors most western countries have organized a system of military care. Medical resources are available.  Counseling and transition resources are available. Pensions and assistance for retraining or home conversion, etc are available. There are some levels of support, beyond the wounded him (or her)self and their immediate family. But even at this,  the changes in life are tough, long term and significant.

But what about the other side? In comparison, the 'insurgents' facing western forces are fighting, and living, a very primitive form of war. We're told that many wounded and dead are removed from the battlefield by their comrades. This because it is a rare battle where the evidence of corpses could indicate the degree of loss. OK, so removed to where and how? We know the Taliban, or Iraqi insurgents, have no access to helicopters, that most of their fighting took place in areas where a search of built-up areas could rapidly be done and where hospitals might, to some extent, report treating suspicious injuries. Or they happen in inaccessible areas where assistance is not a ready option due to constraints of topography alone. Either these people die of their injuries at much higher ratios due to the lack of immediate basic medical attention, or there are large numbers of them recuperating in fairly primitive conditions at any given time.It seems that, charitable payouts to martyrs aside, there would be little for them in the way of restorative programs or retraining to overcome injury. It would appear that, for them, as in primitive times, the war-wounded are objects of charity as opposed to mandated beneficiaries of the public purse.

Then there's the worst of both worlds.  In another glaring example of the adage about 'good intentions', comes the news of 'Auschwitz East',  the Dawood Afghan Military Hospital in Kabul. Designed and built  to work on the US VA model - a 'showcase' of  'modern' military medicine has been allowed to degenerate into a putrefying embarrassment  for ISAF and a disgrace to Afghanistan. To add insult to injury, the US military commander responsible for the mess tried deferring any investigation, which was first flagged two years ago, until after the November elections in the States.

It's All Over Now

The Stones didn't appear, but at least we were all spared a reprise of octogenarian Sir Paul doing 'Live and Let Die' again. And so ended the games of the 40th Olympiad in London.

The games themselves were fairly unremarkable - which is probably a good thing given all the security measures that went into that. A couple of new records set - one of them remarkably so. The glory of sport was duly celebrated and the world was at times thrilled. In the western part of the world at least, the games were largely a media event. Even for those attending, the media had to be relied-upon given the disparate venues and an awesome number of daily events and competitions. There were gold medals awarded from the early morning of the first day, until an hour and a half before the closing ceremonies. And the media did it's standard hack job on everything.

Canada had an 'Olympic Consortium", viz CTV et al, running things in London. The featured talking heads - one Brian Williams and the bountiful Lisa LaFlamme (I'm not making that name up) came across as a graduate of the Ted Baxter school of broadcast journalism and the High School Guidance councillor we all wish we'd had once, or even twice. Williams was ridiculous from day one when he pontificated how 'correct' US presidential candidate Mitt Romney had been, to 'call' the Brits on their game preparations. He concluded his final broadcast 'for the last time' wth equal fatuity. He won't be back, thank providence, as his former employer, CBC, has locked-up the next two Olympics and he had 'deserted' their ship to go with CTV.

LaFlamme was simply gushing but there's a significant cleavage there going unused.

Despite the gas, CTV couldn't outdo somebody in the Irish media covering a dinghy sailing competition, although I'm sure they tried; here's the Irish effort (which has gone viral - a good thing for comedian Chris Tordoff, who could replace Williams anyday.)

Irish coverage of Olympic sailing event.

And another Irish take on the Olympics - given the significance, in Irish history, of August 12th.

Overall the Canadian coverage yo-yoed between 'tragedy striking' (again and again and again - as the song says), 'deep disappointment' on many occasions and the unexpected triumph a gold medal in an event CTV had decided was too unimportant to cover. The surprise winner became a sudden non-icon given the rest of the team who weren't. We settled for adoration of the Bolt - even remarking on his 'triumph' over  members of the Swedish Womens handball team who visited him 'in chambers' for 'photos' - and who, apparently, were gone when he flashed the 'three for victory' sign as he sat on his rumpled bed later.

And so let the recriminations begin.

I'd start with firing Mark ("I'll discipline you later") Tewksberry, the 'chef de mission' who has a career plotted out in foreign affairs anyway. I'd also fire Merklinger who oversaw the $230 million spent over the past 4 years to develop a 'team of winners' to 'own the podium'. Somebody has to take responsibility for all the balderdash about our 'slam-dunk' athleticism and the consequent 20/20 hindsight and excuse-making that follow a failure to win. Back to the 'drawring board'  it may have to be, but the last set of 'draftsartists' shouldn't be designing the next effort.

And so to the show itself. I only saw the worst bit of the three hour extravaganza. The tail end of some realian and his phantom choir - a future concert for a close relative's punitive concert series. That was followed by a 'digital appearance' by the late Freddy Mercury getting the crowd worked-up with a Kodaly voice exercise and then the remains of Queen, with a rather fetching brunette, to sing the national hockey arena anthem 'We Will Rock You". After that the Brazilians embarrassed themselves with a preview of what may be  to come in Rio. The samba dancers and rainforst denizens, military snipers and a moveable array of  mysterious golden columns were topped-off with some slick willie dance instruction and a portuguese-speaking comedian, rap artist in a pimp outfit. That's all I could take.

Whaddi miss? Russell Brand in his unwashed glory. Annie Lennox on a pirate ship. Ray Davies of the former Kinks doing 'Waterloo Sunset' - a big hit of which most people who aren't Kinksters would never have heard. The Who closed out the evening with 'M-M-M-My  G-Generation' and of course the Spice Girls reunited in all their feminine puchritude to outdo a parade of supermodels and the world-class bathroom boy,  George Michaels. It was reportedly glorious. I did miss the fireworks.

I'll bet the Russkis can stretch their ceremonies to four hours and the Brazilians can go all night. So much to look forward to.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Fionn McCool's: Phookin' McNasty

"Fionn McCools" is a chain of  pseudo-Irish pub 'experiences' spread across North America. I'd never been in one until last weekend. If they're all like that, I'll never be in one again.

OK, I know it was a busy weekend competing for the FIFA traffic with Spain vs Italy and a Blue Jay's game just down the street, but I'd imagine the location was a large consideration in the decision to put that 'pub' there for game patrons to interrupt their peregrenation to Union Station. That being said, one would think that extra staff would have been hired to keep up appearances, as well as prepare and serve 'fud' (mit umlaut)  and bevvies. That wasn't happening.

The front door looked like Oliver Twist and company had been on hand to stare in at the revellers. There was probably snot somewhere on that door, but I didn't check. The opacity probably explains why some bozo trying to get in, didn't see the people, inside, waiting at the greeter's kiosk and bashed somebody with that heavy glass door. But there wasn't much room allowed for a foyer-full of 'waiters'.

Speaking of waiters, the wait staff seemed to be predominantly young women of high school age, clad in some Manga wet dream outfits, or a travesty of the Catholic school girl's kilt. When we were seated, we received the ministrations of one of the few male staff evident. He was an affable sort, ("Great Choice!"), but he looked like he'd been wearing his 'outfit' for some time. At least it wasn't one of those kilts.

The service was OK.

In the classic Irish pub tradition - the live music night - the sound system was cranked to shouting range and blasted out a stream of Irish ditties that made the 'good craic' potential of the pub a tonsil-toning exercise. With everybody trying to talk over 'Brennan on the Moor',  it sounded like a bazaar in Kabool, rather than a pub in Ireland, or most anywhere else. Most Irish pubs tend to be quiet - even during the singing when the respectable 'craic' stops. Fionn McCool's wasn't.

The food was, as in many pubs, indifferent. When I got my fish and chips they'd already been cooling for some time as being too hot was no issue. In fact I had to send mine back as the crispy battered coating was underlain by what appeared to be a layer of semi-cooked wallpaper paste. So much for 'lightly battered', it doesn't get much thicker than pancake density. The returning piece of fish - 1.5 miracled into only 1 - was better-cooked but, again,  indifferent.

Somebody's creative notion  of a 'garden slaw' was interesting. The dish of julienned veggies in mayo which included, from what I could detect,  eggplant and zucchini was different. But it was no pleasant change from a standard cole slaw, or even the pub standard squshy peas. It's nice to be creative, even in a darkened eating emporium.

 Why is it those places are dark? OK there is area lighting at the table so you can see what you're putting in your mouth. But the inner darkness is used, as it seemed to be here, to hide a multitude of sins. At least I didn't skid on anything, but there was lots on the floor. Including, later it turned out, my wife's collectible ball cap, which she apparently missed after dropping on the floor. Obviously the bus staff missed it too, for it must have walked away with another more apperceptive diner.

The 'highlight' of the experince was the 'loo'. I've been in the best and worst pubs loo-wise, in a number of places. This one took pride of place for sheer filth. It looked like it hadn't been cleaned since the easter risin'. In fact it looked like it was in some countdown to complete bathroom reno mode. (No sense cleaning it the land lord wants to redo it.) It should be redone, for I have a  larger bathroom in my rec room. This was entirely inadeqaute for the  numbers of clientele. My wife complained to the waiter about the ladies, too. Did I mention it was almost 'trainspotting' filthy?

As goes the bathroom, why not the kitchen? They're both 'dirty jobs' nobody 'likes' to do.

Well, nobody who can be ringing-in sales and toting up their tips, that is. For the bevy of young beauties seemed to be encouraging each other to use the charge terminal all the time we were there, There never seemed to be less than 4 or 5 waiting and watching as one of them keyed the touch screen. Perhaps thst's why the bogs were fouled and a nearby hutch crowded with dirty dishes. Too many chiefs and not enough clanspersons.

Philthy McNasty's  (another Sports bar  'concept') was a cut above, cleanliness-wise. But the 'McFud' in both gives lie to the necessity of serving 'fud' (mit umlaut)  at all. Fionn McCools was, for me, a big flop.

Post Script:  I emailed ny sentiments to the manager and was rewarded by a speedy response. I was assured that my complaints were taken to heart and invited to return to meet his nibs in person. Added to that  - a $100 gift card for the reprise.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Thanks an Effin Lot, Eh?

In a new book by  Rajiv Chandrasekaran ("Little America: the War within the War in Afghanistan") Canada's noble contribution to the little girls of Afghanistan is being panned by some of the warrior elite of America. Canada's lack of 'performance', or failure to do what it took, or lack of caring about Kandahar, or just not getting out of the way so the guys who knew better could do it right, is being blamed, as a causal factor, in  ISAF's notable  failure-to-thrive.

The Canadian 'lack' has been apparent from the very beginning. When the Martin government signed on to the UN 'mission' to rebuild a devastated Afghanistan, it only took a couple of weeks before Canada's military approach was being criticized as not being military enough. Engineers were less needed than infantry. Even when Canadian soldiers, undergoing 'security training' were mistakenly bombed by a USAF  jabo and the shortcomings of our light-skinned patrol vehicles were made apparent in a couple of  mine incidents, Canada was criticized for its 'peacekeeper' mentality. The criticism came from within the Canadian Forces too. There was a shooting war going on as America had engendered an Afghan insurgency across the formerly-pacified southern provinces. America wanted a more 'robust' Canadian presence. And so 'they' gave 'us' Kandahar.

Canada's 'warfighters' took up their bunker HQs  at the airport facility and extablished a FOB in downtown Kandahar to protect the 'government area'. In typical fashion, however, and in hindsight, what was thought to be 'enough',  wasn't. Out of a deployment rotation of 2500 troops, only 800, or less, qualified as 'fighting forces' - the rest were administrative, or training types,  assigned to base area duties or logistics. The fighters were expected to maintain security in the Kanadahar area. That was soon extended to the Panjwaii and other areas south and west of the city. A massive jail break in Kandahar resulted in a temporary shift of focus to the Arghandab river valley north-west of the city in an unsuccessful joint ISAF operation to bring the escapees back to  prison, or kill them. 

Canada's main war-fighting efforts were centered on the Panjwaii. The first introduction - 'Operation Medusa' - the pacification of the Panjwaii area - led to Canada's first battle deaths and the first criticism from US commanders that Canadians were a bit 'diffident' about getting shot, lacking in the 'warrior ethos' that makes a frontal assault the thrill it is. That lack of 'robustness' would become a chorus in the ballad of how Canadians 'helped', or didn't. Canada went on to pacify the area and build a couple of  'model villages' that were held up as examples of what ISAF intended to do.  When Canadians combat units  were pulled out in 2011, the US moved in and quickly returned the area to 'Dodge City 'status, with their night raids and destruction of  'abandoned' compounds. and marketplaces. It was in the Panjwaii area that the notorious 'one-man massacre' was to take place in early 2012.

The 'girls' club' at US headquarters in Kandahar also managed to remove the Canadian 'hotshot' - Brigadier Danny Menard, when they made sure gossip and war reporter Mike 'Yawn' got to find out he was 'having it off' with a female corporal. That was only the last nail in his coffin, as the 'warfighters' had criticized his 'security performance' on an IED attack on the main road bridge between Kandahar and the airport, and he had been fined for almost shooting the Canadian CinC,  smilin' Walt Natanczuk, in an weapons discharge accident.

We all know that, as Canada was getting ready to leave, President Obama was preparing to 'kick the cat' one last time. Meeting with his military advisors, the 'surge' doctrine was adapted to Afghanistan. The Petraeus part of the strategy - the "I can do that with less troops, Mr President", saw a change of command as 'new boys' moved up to the plate.  Command deals were made, the Marines were tasked with the greatest part of the labour,. timelines were set, success guaranteed and the cavalry rode off to eliminate the savages. 

It failed.

The new boys have been replaced, the old boys have been promoted and other than much more damage than had previously been done to southern Afghanistan, little more than some photo ops has been changed. The insurgency, while diminished perhaps - significant populations being killed, interned or refugeed out of Kandahar and Helmand provinces - is as nasty and as ubiquitous as ever. In fact it has moved from the hinterlands of the south and now occurs, as viciously and regularly, everywhere else. 

And now as things 'wind down' to the vict'ry stage of the Petraeus model, Canada remains, for the time being, engaged in a fairly useless training role and a probably  more useful SF role. Canada's famed SF 'killers' who won glowing accolades from American killers will, no doubt, be part of that 'presence' that will be remaining behind to assist the Afghan 'killers' to eliminate  the insurgency.  Unless, of course, the Afghan 'killers'  continue to kill their allies, as they've increasingly taken to doing.

Whatever happens the Canadians' sub-par performance will be a part of the myth of how America was cheated out of another moral victory (like Vietnam) - to go along with the, obvious, battlefield wins.

It's a Nutty Old World

The Canadian News was monopolized by a story that began with somebody's foot being mailed to a political office in Ottawa. The next day the postal department headed-off what turned out to be a hand, in the mail to a different political office. Then the headless, limbless torso of a body turned-up in a suitcase put out for garbage pick-up. Since then, the story has morphed into the world-wide (Europe at least) manhunt for a fugitive porn-star cum (no pun intended) artist, who allegedly video-taped himself murdering and dismembering a 'pal' in his apartment. The victim was to-day identified as a nice-guy university student of Chinese extraction who was looking 'for a friend'. His friend, the killer, is being described as someone very closely related to the great lord Beelzebub. He's also managed to make himself go 'poof', allegedly leaving Canada by air shortly after the murder and disappearing from the radar screen due, we are told, to the possibility that he has created multiple identities for himself and can change his appearance with some facility. That he doesn't have a proverbial pot to piss in, is, apparently, no impediment to his ability to get around and get away.

As an update: the killer was arrested while using the facilities of an internet cafe in Germany to keep up with his facebook following.  The latter, we learn, are a growing number  who see the gender-confused 'prawduct' of modern society as a 'troll model'. The cafe manager 'saw through' his disguise - ie recognized him from news posts, and called the police. The police were, it is reported, taken in by his denials - (keine deutsche spreche?)- but he finally 'fessed-up'. He was flown back to Canada on a military aircraft and is now undergoing intensive counselling. In sidebar, a teacher was fired for showing the u-tube vodeo of the murder/dissection to his civics class in a lesson about how to treat, or not treat, other people.

Bizarre as that might be,  is an even better story coming out of Miami this week where an apparently 'decent human being' (according to his family) reportedly got 'hepped-up' on some new style 'acid' and, after stripping naked while making his way home, assaulted and ate the face of a homeless individual he encountered, who was sleeping on a bridge. Numerous passers-by witnessed the attack and eventually police showed up. They ordered the man to stop feeding but after he refused and 'growled' at them, they shot him, and then shot him again whan he resumed eating. The assailant died, the assailed is reported to be a candidate for facial replacement surgery - having lost most of the skin on his forehead, his nose, his eyelids and lips. It was only the apparent  lack of a decent shave that saved the lower part of his face.

More mundane was the reported massacre of more than 100 people including a large number of women and children in a place called Houla in Syria.  Within  minutes of the occurrence the world press was laying the killings at the door of Bashir Assad, describing how the army had been shelling the area. It later turned out that the majority of the dead had been killed up close by gunshot. The notion of the Syrian army shooting civilians while under a barrage of friendly artillery fire seemed a little out of whack. Then the killings were laid at the door of 'government militia' who can, apparently, better stand the shelling whilst killing the innocent. An eyewitness, a little lad who drenched himself in his dead brother's  blood and avoided detection by the killers, when asked who did it, he responded, 'Why are you asking me that? Everybody knows who did it."

Since the intial reports,  at least three 'dissonent' ones are reporting the dead weren't shiite Arabs, but rather Armenian Christians and others aligned with the Assad government and  the killers now might well be the anti-government 'free Syria' forces. The UNHRC is calling for an investigation.

FARC,  the almost-defunct 'terrorist' organization in Colombia, recently released the French reporter they had taken 'hostage' when they ambushed a group of Colombian military engaged in a "peaceful" drug lab take-down operation a month ago. The release was accomplished in a village where the people seemed to be happy and  supportive of FARC - or all looped-up on the local 'medication'. A Colombian ex-senator and the IRC were on hand to take the 'victim' under protection. Notable in its absence was the Colombian military, which has stage-managed so many other such 'rescues'  and 'releases'. It will be interesting to find out if the 'hostage' bad mouths  his captors now that he's free, as has been the 'de rigeur' exercise on such similiar cases. Colombia is well on its way to having one of the world's premier fighting forces that American money can buy, it's certainly of a quality to-day to be able to make FARC permanently defunct. Then all the 'illegal' drug trade can stop. Unless those FARC are like the Taliban.

We were told this week that President Obama, as part of his duties has assumed the mantle of  'killer-in-chief' of the United States of America. In his duty as chief protector of America, we are told, he meets with his advisory staff and vets all those, world-wide, who are targeted for extinction due to their 'threat to  ___________'  (fill in the blank). What we weren't told was how somebody gets on the list, and how many times these targets have been acquired and attacked. Taking it on faith -  it's 'all good', clean, kills and totally necessary - otherwise it wouldn't be done, see? 'Legs Diamond' running 'Murder Inc' was  a crime, the President's-class world-wide version is a 'necessity'.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

La Belle Province - French Spring

This week's news of Queen Victoria's journal being opened to the public reveals that Canada's 'distaste' for the uniqueness of it's french province  was shared by her Imperial Majesty some 180 years ago. At the time of Lord Durham's report into the then recent rebellions in the two Canadas, the Queen queried her ministers on why the Quebecois had been allowed to retain their particularly un-english institutions. "Where there no Englishmen in the province" when this was done? The answer was, "None."  And as for the reason why, her then Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, responded, "Because it was the proper thing to do."

There are many Canadians, particularly west of the Ottawa River, who would still like to see the 'proper thing' undone. Ever more so in the light of the recent student protests. in 'la belle province'.  The daily news has stirred the hearts of 'real' Canadians to thoughts that some other 'Canadiens' - being 'spoiled' by an overly generous rest of the country.- are living high on the proverbial hog amd making the rest of 'us' foot the bill. As well as 'holding the nation to ransome', being intrinsically 'disloyal' and refusing to speak english like the other nine provinces and three territories. Students, particularly, come under the harsh light of accused ingratitude by those who either failed to get a decent education or, even worse, did get one - on that same old desiccated public tit. Indignation seems to increase with west longitude and it's getting worse.

One hundred days, or so, ago, a small crowd (200 +/-) of students gathered  of a Saturday afternoon on the Montreal campus of their college to protest an announced hike in tuition fees. There to meet them were Montreal's finest - in particular its riot squad. The meeting ended with more that a hundred arrests and the student 'mob' maced and batoned into submission. Or so it seemed.

 That same day the eyes of the world were on Moscow where a 'showdown' between 'Putin's goons' and  peaceful, pro-democracy protestors was imminent. A 'bloodbath' was expected. Instead of reported Russian mayhem, the 'goons' quietly steered a crowd of some 25 000 out of the square ith 43 arrerests.. Needless to say the 'goon show' in Montreal took pride of place in the Sunday papers in Canada. And there the story has remained with increasing numbers involved and increasing numbers arrested. It has become such a problem that special legislation has been passed by the Quebec Assembly to deal with 'protests' and the Federal government has a 'masked rioter' Act ready to go in Parliament.

Most Canadians are non-plussed to figure out why students who 'already pay the lowest tuition fees in Canada' would be screwing things up nightly over a measly $2 500 bucks spread over three years of their education. The reaction is everything from some jejeune name-calling to demands that the army, or a force of vigilante citizenry, be turned loose on them. But as I've often said - and am now only starting to see in the media -  the protests lave long since moved beyond tuition fees. Those first beatings the riot squad 'laid on' are really what this trouble is all about. The response of the public, and especially politicians, to the bully tactics - 'give it to em boys with lots more of the same' - is now being replaced with the panicked look of  deer in the headlights,  For it's no longer students on the street, its turning into everybody with a gripe about the Charest government (he's been in power long enough to have annoyed lots of people) , and support is spreading to those students in other provinces who, until now, we were told, were happy to be paying more for an education. Charest has a problem. If it's not careful Harpergovernment could have one too.

At root of the matter is the fact that the Canadian economy has slowed down. Typically the conservative government's reaction is to 'free up' taxes for the movers and shakers while cutting back on the 'entitlements' of the poor, the old, the 'dependent on government' - including students and 'have not' provinces.

Since the foundation of Canada it was realized that, to make a more perfect union, the smaller, less-wealthy provinces could not be made subservient, or their citizens treated differently, than in  the wealthier, more productive ones. Political accommodations were made to protect rights or ensure a fairly representative voice.  After a while, transfers of wealth from 'have' to 'have not' provinces was effected through Federal government taxation income.   Since the days of the Quebec 'crisis' and the constitutional debate - Quebec has been treated as a special case, a have-not province. When things were good, Quebec  used this largesse to augment the social programs inproving the lives of Quebecois. Student tuition - along with a host of other schemes - from childcare, to pensions - was addressed by the province. The Federal Government has announced cutbacks - affecting these Quebec programs. Rather than raising taxes - Premier Charest is firmly in the 'austerity' mode - except, of course, when it comes to the movers and shakers for which his government seems to have a bottomless till. He wants students to take the first hit and is adamant in seeing that they do. He has promised 'No Surrender!"

The students don't believe him, or they don't care. They want a regime change.

So the students continue to hit the streets - with varying degrees of disorder. But if arrests are any indicator it must be worse than the black bloc at the G20,  for the Surite is 'kettling like krazy'.  It remains to be seen if Quebec courts can keep up. Whatever happens, the money that would have been saved in increased tuitions is now already long blown in increased security costs, and more increases will be needed to pay for  the potential expenditures on 'justice'.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Coriolus Effect in the Porta-San

Things have been decidedly nosing south since Obama's Afghan 'Surge' petered-out. Not that it's gone away by any stretch - there are still more US boots on that ground than there were when it was only a glisten in Stan McChrystal's steely gaze. But for all the 'attriting' and 'clearing and holding' that's gone on, there are now more Taliban on the ground, too.

'Success',  now, is getting them to come in and surrender their weapons, pose for a photo-op before having a nice lunch and their biometrics recorded. After that, it's off to the nearest future 'overwatch' position for some mine-clearing. Or some are re-equipped with  an old gun and two rounds of ammo to go out and find the rest of the 'bad' guys. They are NOT allowed to go 'swimming in the ocean' they formerly swam in. From looking at some of them, that IS, primarily, THEIR idea, they don't want to be around other Afghans, for they're not 'proud and happy' survivors. And the rate of recidivism, among them, appears to be on the rise, too.

If you were to listen to NATO/ISAF you'd get the impression Afghanistan is all over but the cake and ice cream. The Taliban are 'on the run' and the government is stronger that ever. The Taliban are being 'forced' into peace negotiations by Pakistanis who are, now, on-side (even though the supply 'wagons' are atill coming across central Asia in an operation that will make 'Over the Hump' in great great-grampa's war look like a picnic))  This is what President Obama wants to hear, for he's planning to be 'all gone' for the most part, in 2014. But there's something else decidedly 'stinky' in the Pamirs.

It's little 'embarassments' that make you wonder if all's right with the campaign, and the campaigners. One thing that has always bothered the Afghans is 'night raids'. Yes, they're great for security, ISAF can see in the dark what others can't. The Taliban have to rest-up sometime and catching therm at night is probably better than trying to catch them during the daytime. But the insult to Afghan's homes, disrespect for their families and a marginal propensity to fill Afghan jails by not liking to come back 'empty-handed', has this "valuable" COIN 'tactic' being used at all-time high rates. Naturally this tactic is prone to errors. But a good ISAF/NATO/UN spin department keeps the score of dead Afghans listed on the Taliban/insurgent ledger, as much as humanly possible.

All that 'night raiding' must be having some effect,  for profound stupidity seems to have replaced basic ignorance as a S.O.P. In recent months, along with a stready flow of 'errors' - killing women and children-  troops have been 'outed' on their own 'memento videos'- pissing-on Afghans they killed, gathered around an SS banner.. They've been caught burning Korans in a waste depot and, for the first time, having some frontier scout go 'bug dirt, postal' on Afghan civilians. He's become the poster boy for Afghan 'baby-killers', like the gang of Marines became poster boys for PETA when they publicly, and on video, beat a sheep to death. These guys are actively working at losing.

Sure Afghans have been killed before, lots of them, and not all I'd bet 'by accident'. But the circumstances this time couldn't be 'massaged' into the Afghans' fault, so there's a real mass murderer on somebody's hands.

Oh, to be sure, he has his rights, so his name isn't being released while the investigation is being done. Like Brad Manning's wasn't released before somebody had decided 'he'd done it',  almost two years before the charges were read. Like Brad Manning, the excuse machine is working overtime,  but in the latter case he's no 'fag' with problems related to military life and discipline. He's a veteran of numerous deployments, a daddy, who hurt his head in Iraq. A soldier who could very well be suffering from PTSD! If it wasn't for the trauma of having to leave his family again, for the nth time, it was the trauma of being posted to Joint Base McCord the 'sickest base' in America. It's obvious to everybody, even the Afghans, the man had to be off his rocker, but that could have been due to his drinking problem, too.

The villages he shot up were among those the Canadians 'pacified' and set-up as 'models', at no little expense,  in a more positive day. But they were left to the 'Surge boots', and obviously somebody didn't hear that part, or couldn't give a shit. They certainly don't seem to have 'briefed' their replacements.For the 'models' have reverted to  examples of what Americans expect - a surly bunch of Afghan 'traitors' who've been 'spoiled' by being 'given' too much of everything -  except hot lead and explosives. Canadians, for all the faint praise, weren't the 'energetic' allies America wanted, or expected. Pretty soon the good guys 'had to guard' them, too.

Canadians started-off badly, complaining about getting bombed by a 'speeding' USAF warrior. In Panjwaii, US commanders complained that Canadians were 'shy' to 'get into it' with the Afghans.  When we did 'get into it', US A10's made a 'mistake' and  shot up a Canadian unit. That resulted in more complaining and the US 'left us alone' to do our own thing.  That didn't stop them from 'keeping an eye' on Canadians. It was US commanders who raised the issue of 'fitness' about our little Danny Menard. They accused him of 'fumbling' a suicide attack, and they knew he was boffing an underling. They gave the story to their pet 'embed', Mike Yon, and she blabbed it all over the place. I hope they like the middle management they got to replace him, fat Walter wasn't the kind of ascetic warrior monk they like these days, and as the CO goes, so go his minions.

It's a good thing Canadians are out of Panjwaii and Afghanistan, but I'd like to think one of our guys would have 'bagged' this toad when he left his first target, in defense of the Afghans of course. But we weren't there and America wears the turd all by herself.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The Gem in Canada's Crown

One of the best things Canadians have ever done, was to follow the lead of a former 'commie' preacher from the west and set-up a national medicare system. Tommy Douglas was the leader of the Canadian Commonwealth Federation - a cover for 'the communists' - during the 50's and 60's.  He had the notion that one of the things every Canadian should be able to afford was to look after their health. For a long time that wasn't the case, doctors and medicine were private enterprises to which those who could afford subscribed and the rest borrowed when it was absolutely necessary. Doctors 'built' their own patient lists and sold their practices to new-comers as sort of a retirement gratuity. Doctor Fred Banting, the discoverer of insulin, failed in business as a GP and was only saved from a different career by a lab assistant's job at the University of Toronto. Doctors and their patients, both had it rough.

The Government of Canada passed legislation to set up the national medicare plan in the early sixties. But the government left the administration of the plan to each province. Each province set up its own bureaucracy to administer the plan. Hospitals were socialized.  Doctors joined the plan as private corporations contracted  at fixed rates for service, or opted out, as they wished. Each individual was registered with the plan and issued a membership card and could be assigned a doctor if they didn't have one. Individuals paid for the plan at one of two rates, through their employers. Those unable to pay were registered for free. As time passed, many employers subsumed all, or part of the insurance costs  as fringe benefits. Provincial governments allocated other funds to healthcare as well. There were disparities between some provinces, but essentially most common medical and surgical services were 'covered'. Dentists, and some specialists like specialized clinics and opthalmologists exempted themselves and required private arrangements.

As time went on, drug benefit plans were added to insurance coverage paid by individuals, or as fringe benefits. Public coverage of some medications was extended to the unemployed, aged and needy. Some drug abuse treatment and mental health programs became part of the medical establishment. Hospitals and clinics were built in many areas where there had previously been none. Doctors were educated, or imported, often at public expense, to meet needs. Canada has perhaps one of the most wide-spread medical care in the world.  Regional Health Centres to address high-tech treatments, or unique services e.g. oncology, were developed in the 80's  and 'families' of hospitals refer patients for specialized or intensive treatment. Costs were beginning to be concerning in the 80's and 90's and cost savings, as well as increased payments, were instituted.  Some aspects became payable e.g. testing, disposable materials, prosthetics and appliances, private rooms, and there were cutbacks in others e.g. nursing staff reductions. Multi-doctor clinics and nurse-practitioners are becoming more common, to ease pressure on  medical facilities and deal with trivial complaints. Prescription by pharmacists is also being considered to ease the cost of doctor visits.

So where does this leave us all to-day? We're still in good shape.

If you become ill and call an ambulance, there is a paid public service that will have EMS personnel pick you up, treat you as necessary and transport you to an ER. You will be seen by a nurse and physician in order depending on the severity of your problem,  eg chest pains are seen at once and monitoring started. Should you require emergency surgery, that will be done within 24 hours either 'on site' or, if necessary, after transfer to a regional center by land or air ambulance. Other surgery will be done within 26 to 48 hours if required, non-essential procedures will be scheduled at anything from two weeks to three months. Such might involve screening, or evaluatory visits to specialists. Stays in hospital are covered at 'ward rates', private rooms are available at an extra daily cost. All meals and most in hospital treaments, drugs and materials are covered. You will be released when full body function is restored, provided there is safe care for you. Some people are placed in nursing facilities for recovery, at their own cost. Some visiting nurse activity can be arranged at low or no cost. What we only rarely find out in all this is the cost of such treatment. From time to time the plan auditors will send out reports of treatments received and costs involved for corroboration by patients. It is at that time Canadians can appreciate what a gift we have in our healthcare system. For whatever the cost, it could only be increased if there were somebody's 'profit margin'. A payment out of pocket, for a visit to a top-rate opthalmologist, say, is a real 'eye opener', when one gets a glimpse of what 'quality private care' costs.

When  somebody says most Americans are one disease away from bankruptcy,  that's not hard to believe.

I was hospitalized for 5 days due to an aneurism. It was my first real trip to 'the shop'. I signed in, under my own steam, after a day spent with the lab people, the anaesthiologist, heart eval. monitor, x ray, Cat Scan, etc. I was tagged and gowned and swabbed for C Diff. etc. I walked up the hall to the surgical suite, was checked, taken into a theatre, introduced to the 'gang'  present, greeted by my doctors - the surgeon and my GP, there to assist. I was sedated and awoke some 3 hours later in the ICU where I spent the next two full days as there was no room for me on the ward. I had been given a spinal analgesic,  had my abdomen opened and my aorta opened and patched with dacron, the incision had been stapled closed and dressed.

The spinal analgesia was miraculous until I displaced the shunt flopping around in bed. I had the 'trots' due to a preexisting condition that caused almost-constant use of the bedpan and, later, the commode. My nurses deserve a service medal for putting up with my foul output.

Hospital food is crap. I think it a total waste of time and money. Most of it, I would bet, goes into the garbage. That is an area of potential cost saving. Either make a deal with a mass-manufacturer for something like TV dinners, or leave it for the family to provide. Nobody is in hospital long enough to get sick, or well,  from the food. Nutrition should not be a problem, or a hospital department, unless someone is starving.

I noticed that the folks who had come in with me - for some equally-serious surgery - and who had been placed in a ward  (4 to 6 beds) were discharged a full day before I was from my 'private ' room. I found out later that my insurance didn't cover a private room. That was when I got the bill for $600.00. I had a few squawks about that private room, as, the first day I was there, they put somebody in the next room to die. They 'closed' my side of the bathroom door with a paper notice saying that I couldn't use it. Whatever he had required biohazard dress from the staff, one of whom stayed with him every night. She coughed constantly and I could hear her through my side of the common bathroom to which she kept her door open. He also seemed to be visited by members of the staff, with their  kids, well after visiting hours. I know tough times are often lightened by levity, but at one point I had to ask them to take their 'laffs' down the hall to the lounge rather than outside my door. That was close to midnight.  The moribund chap was still in residence when I left.

When I called the hospital business office about my tab, I was told I was getting a "one-time amnesty" on the bill and my insurance coverage was being changed to note 'no private coverage'.

On some floors there are no wards, in that case there is no charge for a private room. Likewise if you get 'bumped up'.  I have feeling, however, that,  if you have insurance coverage, your insurer gets billed. A little 'money-maker' for the hospital, like the parking lot.

 Since then,  it's been back to see the surgeon once, to have the staples out. To see my GP on a number of occasions related to the surgery. All at no cost to dear old retired me. Except for a medicare surcharge on my annual taxable income ($400) . Since I turned 65, my prescriptions cost me $6.88 each, in co-payments, covered by my  family medical insurance.

 Canadian medicare is great.

 Changes may be in the wind but I'd bet Canadians would give up their military and politicians before they'll give up 'socialized' medicine.


What would Jeff have Thought?

Jeff Huber - Commander, USN (ret) died on the 27th of February, past. His death was more widely announced on internet sources to-day, March 7th. He is noted and commemorated on a very wide number of 'alternative' news and opinion sites. That could be because his irreverent wit didn't go over too well with those who ascribe some degree of 'holiness' or 'sacredness' to military service. He'd done that, apparently very well, but it didn't seem to impress him much.

For a long while, 3 or 4 years,  he was a regular contributor to - a site that claims to work for the "benefit of the US Army, Navy, AirForce, Marine Corps and Coast guard". Then somebody might actually have read what they were posting of his and realized that their idea of the 'benefit', and his, were a few galaxies apart. Needless to say, he was, unceremoniously and without comment, dumped. His blog was carried by AntiWar .com - perhaps that's what really 'hung the target' on him, for AntiWar naturally has little good to say about the military-minded.. He wrote for alternate news and opinion sources; Daily Kos, Monsters and Critics, etc and, while he had a special place for anything Navy, he didn't spare fat-headedness in any branch of the service or government. And he had a wonderful vocabulary, and some interesting turns of phrase to describe such people and what they do.

So thinking about last weekend's little love/hate show between Obama and Netanyahu, Obama and AIPAC and Netanyahu coming home to his 'peeps' in America. His 'nukuler duck' routine and the consequent 'duck soup' parody on UTube. I'm thinking that Jeff would have been at his best had he been able to write one last blog about these "processed horses' lunch" products.

Benny's Nuclear Duck Video

The topic of all this was Iran. Gallant little Israel, feeling cornered by the existential threat that Iran might pose, wants to bomb them. Actually she wants America to bomb them, but she is willing to 'go it alone', even though that would probably be ineffective. Obama claims to be needing to be careful, to be waiting for the sanctions to bite, to be working for a diplomatic solution although he has no intention of actually talking to the Iranians. But most of all he needs to mollify a large constituency of hebrews who could try hard to make Milt Romney the next president. Right off the bat Obama was losing this one because he agreed to Netanyahu's agenda.

When they first met,  Iran was a minor issue. The 'change' President was focused on a 'palestine solution'. Since then Netanyahu has done to that policy, what the tea-baggers have done to Obama's domestic policies and so, though things are actually far worse from a palestinian perspective than they were three years ago,  Mr. Netanyahu gets to 'call the shots' on what he thinks is important, and that is an increasing Iranian 'threat'- as opposed to a diminishing Palestinian 'homeland'.

Since the warriors began complaining of a growing 'Iranian threat' back in the late 70's, Israel has become more consistent and more strident about it. Yes, sure there were other threats - in the neighborhood, in the middle east, even at home, but gallant little Israel weathered them all. The PLO, Fatah, intifadah, Lebanon, Gaza, Peace for Galilee, the Rise of Hamas, the resettlement of Gaza, the resettlement of the settlers, the West Bank PA fiasco,  rockettings, 'Operation Iron Filings', the aid flotillas, came and they went and even some F15 parts to Iran in return for contra funding didn't 'sweeten the pot'. When the ayetollehs announced they were rejuvenating a nuclear industry planned by the Shah n'Shah, and kiboshed by the Revolution,  Israel sat up and took notice. Anybody with a nuclear reactor could possibly  make a bomb with it. And they knew the wily Mede was all about making a bomb with it. The bomb, combined with an inaffinity for pushy Zionism on the part of the mad mullahs -  there was a disaster recipe a-cookin',  a real existential threat.. As time went on, the Iranians actually got the old Russian-designed reactor off the ground. Through the good offices of IAEA, Israel was able to 'express its concerns' and interfere, but it couldn't get things stopped.

One of Israel's  efforts was to make sure nobody would sell enriched uranium to the Persians. No uranium?  No fuel. No Fuel? No Reactor. No Reactor? No Bomb. Seems like logic, nu? But the wily Mede has some 800 pounds of yellowcake bought back in the days of the Shah - he bought it from America. The Russians sold them some fuel rods, they bought some centrifuges and set up a cascade, the purification of the Uranium was begun. Sure, there were some bugs, the Stuxnet virus - which allowed the Siemens-made centrifuges to spin their way out of existence, was one.  But the Iranians did a work-around and rebuilt with home-designed centrifuges that are more efficient than the old ones (a  new and recent IAEA complaint). Even a few scientific assassinations and economic sanctions to slow things down didn't seem to work

 The IAEA is struggling, without much success, to have the Iranians 'prove' they're not working on a bomb, that they don't have hidden stores of uranium and that they're not secretly refining what uranium they do have to 90 percent weapons grade. With all their visits and meetings, inspections and investigations, the IAEA hasn't been able to 'prove' that the 'secret'  files on  a laptop, purportedly stolen in Iran and decrypted in America, aren't true. Or false. The IAEA can't tell if the Iranians are going nuts nuclear-wise and already have an arsenal, or whether they're telling the truth about electrical power and medical isotopes. Israel prefers to think they're looking at some nuclear suicide-bombers - Netanyahu's "nuclear duck" no doubt. The US is all 'over the place' with some agencies, including Israeli ones, claiming there is no evidence of threatening action and that Iran is years from having a bomb. Which doesn't beg the age-old dog and car question, what would they do with it if they got it? Israel claims they would drop it on her, even though Israel has never yet felt the need to nuke any of her enemies with bombs she has and they don't. Most nuclear states are aware of MAD and it stops them from using their nuclear weapons haphazardly. Why would Iran be any exception? She hasn't started a war in 300 years, which is something you can't say about Israel, or America.

But back to the weekend - Obama says the USA will ' have Israel's back'. Benny Netanyahu told his Jewish audience about patience, and how Israel has the right to attack,  and time running out, etc. The IAEA is meeting a third time with Iran. Iran will be 'required to prove' the negatives she has as yet been unable to prove. Even if she opens all doors wide and lets the IAEA move in for a year of inspection,  where 's the 'proof' that something else hasn't been hidden? The next report, like the last two, will again provide 'evidence' of  'failure' - Iran's failure.  The UN Security Council has been invited by the 5+1 to 'consult' on the next report and that could lead to another resolution to approve the bombing that will replace the sanctions. Problems are China and Russia sit there, too and I don't think they see the Iranian 'threat to the international community' as clearly as Benny bar Likud. They went along, or abstained, on sanctions to Iran, not knowing what Obama had in mind.  I don't think they'll handsit on bombing. 

Does that  mean Iran's safe? Not by a bombsight! What America got to see and read about last weekend was a disinformation exercise. It may not be a game, but Iran's bombing  is in play - Obama's been quietly deploying men and materiel into the Gulf states for the past three months. Israel will start it and America will make the way safe for her. Probably pony-up the super-bunkerbusters and the B1s and B2s to carry them. And add in a little 'invasion' to make a 'security zone' for Gulf shipping through the Straits of Hormuz. I think this will be a reality before June. What happens after depends on the mullahs and how hard they fight back.

America's military and her hebrews are primed for a 'cakewalk and vict'ry parade'. If it plays like Hollywood,  they'll get it.  If it plays like recent reality, they'll still be bombing Iran in 10 years time,  if something 'bad', viz unforeseen,  hasn't happened and Iran wins.

I wish I had Huber's gift of making stupid really read that way. For the cast of characters involved in this travesty of international relations are burdened with some of the biggest character flaws and hubris imaginable. They shouldn't be making decisions about war, they should be 'in the trenches' for an 'eye-opener'. And there are still lots of those without starting a new set.