Nine Things We Learnt This Week

1. George Bush, explained.

The devil made him

” ‘Evil exists in politics, quite often in fact,’ Father Amorth said.  ‘The devil loves to take over business leaders and those who hold political office.  Hitler and Stalin were possessed.  How do I know? Because they killed millions of people.  The Gospel says: ‘By their fruits you will know them.’  Unfortunately, an exorcism on them would not have been enough, since they were convinced of what they were doing.  We can’t say it was a possession in the strict sense of the word, but rather a total and voluntary acceptance of the suggestions of the devil.’ ”

2. Ships of the Damned.

“The analysis, due to be published this year by the human rights organisation Reprieve, also claims there have been more than 200 new cases of rendition since 2006, when President George Bush declared that the practice had stopped.

It is the use of ships to detain prisoners, however, that is raising fresh concern and demands for inquiries in Britain and the US.

According to research carried out by Reprieve, the US may have used as many as 17 ships as ‘floating prisons’ since 2001. Detainees are interrogated aboard the vessels and then rendered to other, often undisclosed, locations, it is claimed.

Ships that are understood to have held prisoners include the USS Bataan and USS Peleliu. A further 15 ships are suspected of having operated around the British territory of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, which has been used as a military base by the UK and the Americans.”

3. And so it begins. (1)

“His wife going off on a rant about how evil “whitey” is, and conspiracies that he is a covert Muslim trying to infiltrate our democracy are nothing more than rumors…at least at this point. However, there are plenty of things the media don’t put enough focus on that are true about the Obamas. Instead they would rather focus on things like his playful fist-bump. They have to keep their priorities on the important issues.”

4. And so it begins. (2)

The victim of a plagiarized lie

“Despite the tenuousness of this rumor, Obama was actually asked about this non-existent video in front of the national press by a reporter the other day. Understandably, he pushed back hard on the notion that he should have to answer such a question.

Now Jim Geraghty of National Review has claimed that the rumor may be based on…fiction. A political thriller called The Power Broker, published in 2006 by Stephen Frey, features the presidential campaign of Dem candidate Jesse Wood, who’s aspiring to be the country’s first African-American president.

We went out and got the book. And sure enough, in the novel, Wood’s opponents discover video of the candidate himself — not his wife — discussing with a radical black minister how he will ‘f— whitey’ when he gets into office, despite all his public rhetoric about racial reconciliation.”

5. We’re shocked. Really.  (1)

“The space agency’s internal watchdog, the inspector general, reports that from autumn 2004 until early 2006 Nasa’s central public affairs office handled global warming in a way that ‘reduced, marginalised, or mischaracterised climate change science made available to the general public’.

The confirmation of political interference is vindication for James Hansen, Nasa’s chief climate scientist and one of the first to sound the alarm over global warming. Claims of political dallying surfaced when Hansen said he had been blocked from taking part in a National Public Radio interview in December 2005.”

6. We’re shocked. Really. (2)

” ‘In making the case for war, the administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when it was unsubstantiated, contradicted or even nonexistent,’ Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), the committee chairman, said at a news conference. ‘As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed.’

The report, the last and most contentious of a series of Senate reviews of prewar intelligence, sought to compare the administration’s public claims about Iraq with the intelligence reports available to them at the time. While many of the White House’s statements — such as Bush’s warnings about a secret Iraqi nuclear program — were amply supported by intelligence files at the time, the report said, others were not.”

7. Still dead.

Miracle of the embalmer’s art

8. Must-read essay of the week.

“I am not blind to the imperfections of this America, or the failures to always meet these ideals at home and abroad. I spent 20 years of my life in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans as a foreign correspondent reporting in countries where crimes and injustices were committed in our name, whether during the Contra war in Nicaragua or the brutalization of the Palestinians by Israeli occupation forces. But there was much that was good and decent and honorable in our country. And there was hope.

The country I live in today uses the same words to describe itself, the same patriotic symbols and iconography, the same national myths, but only the shell remains. America, the country of my birth, the country that formed and shaped me, the country of my father, my father’s father and his father’s father, stretching back to the generations of my family that were here for the country’s founding, is so diminished as to be nearly unrecognizable. I do not know if this America will return, even as I pray and work and strive for its return. The “consent of the governed” has become an empty phrase. Our textbooks on political science are obsolete. Our state, our nation, has been hijacked by oligarchs, corporations and a narrow, selfish political elite, a small and privileged group which governs on behalf of moneyed interests. We are undergoing, as John Ralston Saul wrote, ‘a coup d’etat in slow motion.’ We are being impoverished — legally, economically, spiritually and politically. And unless we soon reverse this tide, unless we wrest the state away from corporate hands, we will be sucked into the dark and turbulent world of globalization where there are only masters and serfs, where the American dream will be no more than that — a dream, where those who work hard for a living can no longer earn a decent wage to sustain themselves or their families, whether in sweatshops in China or the decaying rust belt of Ohio, where democratic dissent is condemned as treason and ruthlessly silenced.”

9. Because they can.

Nine Things We Learnt This Week

1. Too much coffee, we think.

Jihadi donuts

“The apparently inoffensive magazine ad shows Rachael Ray, purveyor of quick and easy recipes to millions of Food Channel viewers, in a black and white paisley scarf, clutching her iced latte in front of a row of cherry trees.

The offending item, though, is the scarf, which reminded one blogger of the keffiyeh head-dress worn by Arab men, an item which a second blogger – picking up the theme and running several miles with it – dubbed ‘jihadi chic’. The Little Green Footballs blog, a conservative favourite, accused Dunkin’ Donuts of ‘casually promoting the symbol of Palestinian terrorism and the intifada’.”

2. What recession?

“Two reports released on Tuesday captured the bleak picture. One showed that home prices nationally fell 14.1 percent in March from a year earlier. The other showed sales of new homes, although up slightly in April, remained mired near their lowest levels since 1991.”

3. Me ne frego.

“True to his Fascist roots, the newly elected Mayor of Rome Gianni Alemanno has said he intends naming a street in the city after Giorgio Almirante, the first leader of the Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI), the party that took up Fascism in 1946 where Mussolini had left off.”

4. At last, something useful on Ebay.

“A seven-month-old baby has been taken into care in Germany after his parents offered to sell him for one Euro (80 pence) on an internet auction site.

The couple, from the south German town of Memmingen, posted the advertisement to sell their son Merlin on eBay last week after he became ‘too loud’.”

5. At last, something useful on Craigslist. “A Vancouver couple have been arrested but will not be charged after posting an Internet ad on Craigslist, offering their seven-day-old baby for $10,000, police said Tuesday.”

6. No freedom, please, we’re British.

“A masters student researching terrorist tactics who was arrested and detained for six days after his university informed police about al-Qaida-related material he downloaded has spoken of the ‘psychological torture’ he endured in custody. Despite his Nottingham University supervisors insisting the materials were directly relevant to his research, Rizwaan Sabir, 22, was held for nearly a week under the Terrorism Act, accused of downloading the materials for illegal use. The student had obtained a copy of the al-Qaida training manual from a US government website for his research into terrorist tactics.”

7. Good thing she’s not une maudite anglaise.

“In an article published Wednesday in the independent monthly magazine, Victor-Levy Beaulieu said Ms. Jean was appointed to the governor general’s post because she was ‘black, young, pretty, ambitious, and because of her husband, certainly a nationalist as well.’ In an interview with La Presse, the author defended his text, saying he had not intended to be racist. However, his eight references to the ‘negre reine’ caught the attention of Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe and Bloc MP Vivian Barbot.”

8. Dolly duel.

 

Out for blood

9. Fat Chance.

I’m Joining the Tin Foil Hat Brigade

My friends say I’m taking a holiday from reality. But I had an inspiration. I decided the Conservative Party and the right in general are out to destroy the country. This is how it happened: I was outside last night, looking at the stars.  There was a slight wind, from the northeast, and just the hint of cloudiness on the southern horizon.  A dog was barking in the lonely distance.  Suddenly and without warning,  this feeling came over me,  like someone was watching.  Then a big booming voice said, “Crap! Goddamn it all to hell.”  This was actually my neighbour, who was trying to load a recalcitrant 500 lb. sow onto his truck.  It was then I knew the Conservatives were up to no good.

Further evidence came this morning.  I was on my laptop writing this very post, when the cat we used to call the Evil Kitty walked across the keyboard. (He was called the Evil Kitty because he was evil and would bite and howl, sometimes even without provocation.  He is actually a lot better and significantly less evil. Now we call him Stockwell.) When the Kitty-Formerly-Known-as-Evil was distracting me, the dog simultaneously began to drink my coffee right out of my cup! This is not a coincidence. Obviously, they are Conservative Party operatives. I shall have to keep my eye on these two.

Prophylaxis

Also, I do not want to alarm you but Ottawa, our beloved capital, has been infiltrated by Conservatives. I have suspected this for a long time, but finally got evidence today. Furthermore, it is a well-known fact that Parliament, our most sacred institution, is filled to the rafters with Conservatives.  This has been documented by bloggers, etc. Alarmingly, there are so many of them they have taken over the government!

What is worse, they are plotting against us even as I write. And why won’t the mainstream media cover this important scandal?  There is obvious conservative media bias.  Studies have shown the media have a 99% bias against the left 39.3 times out of 80.  When will the Canadian people wake up?

I have started a massive research project to expose this dastardly conspiracy.  After the experience of the stars, the wind, the pig and so on I stayed up all night working on it.  I will publish the fruits of my labours shortly, in a series of thirty-nine posts. In the meantime, I can perhaps share the first line or two of my exposé: “To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born.  Sometime later I realized the Conservative Party in association with the National Hockey League and Celine Dion was out to destroy Canada.”  I think this line of inquiry holds promise.

I am thinking too of changing the name of this blog to “Dispatches from the Conservative Police State.”  This is a more accurate representation of life in this intern camp we call Canada, labouring under right-wing rule. I have also resolved to examine every aspect of my existence, using the premise “the Conservative Party is out to get me” as my watchword and guide.  My revelation suddenly makes everything clear.  There is conspiracy everywhere.  This includes politics, religion, VIA Rail, the rain, the snow, the wind, intestinal complaints, teabags — especially teabags, the letter J, foot fungus, the National Post, and the House of Windsor.  I call it Metero-myco-politico-religio-ferro-monarcho-camillio-gastro-alphabetico-canwestglobalism. It’s all of a piece, you see.

I have to go now to the dentist.  They are using my fillings to monitor my movements and thoughts.  They have to come out.

When the Pope Comes Calling

Some etiquette tips in case you meet the Bishop of Rome in the flesh.

  • Dress: Semi-formal. “For men, that means a jacket and tie and polished shoes. For women, a nice dress or suit works best — preferably one that covers the arms and has a hemline below the knees.” Baseball caps are okay at papal masses. Tube tops, sadly, no.
  • Honours: Lavish.  “In a small room, people often clap quietly, as if they were at a golf tournament. But in a big venue, such as a stadium, the crowd frequently greets the pope with loud cheers and a thunderous ovation.”
  • Face-to-face: Genuflect, genuflect, genuflect.

Kowtowing is optional
  • Address: “Your Holiness or Holy Father.”  Terms such as Popey, Benny, The Rat Rocker, 16, Hey You, and so on, while endearing, are actively discouraged.
  • Kissing the Ring:  Yes, “If  you are Catholic and the pope offers his hand. If you’re not Catholic, you can opt to shake his hand.”  Also, don’t slobber. Air kisses are optimal.
  • When he leaves: “When the pope gets up to leave, you should also stand up. Wait for him to leave the room before turning your attention to anything else.”  I.e. no rushing the door, no heading for the buffet, cellphones and Blackberrys off.

We thought you’d like to know.

 

Into the Void

The discovery last August of a largish hole in the universe has left me awake at nights. This void, a billion light years in diameter, is situated in the constellation Eridanus some 6 to 10 billion light years away. Some have proposed it’s actually the interface of our universe with another, possibly weirder parallel universe. Continue reading