Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Saturday, February 24, 2007
U. S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
and Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay
share a lighter moment at yesterday’s
security and prosperity summit
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in Ottawa yesterday for security and prosperity meetings with eight other ministers from Canada, Mexico and the U. S. The ministers, which included Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day and Industry Minister Maxime Bernier, also received a broad 51- recommendation report from a panel of business leaders from all three countries that focused on enhancing energy security and production, harmonizing trade regulations and speeding goods and people across their borders in the post 9/ 11 environment.
Somehow the statements in bold (emphasis mine) don't give me a warm, fuzzy feeling. You? ? ? ?
Friday, February 23, 2007
This from today's CanWest News Service.
'Bout time . . . .
UPDATE: Here's a link to the Timeline of the Progress Toward a North American Union compliments of Vive le Canada. It is an excellent chronology of events leading towards the current situation.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FEBRUARY 22, 2007
NDP CONDEMNS HARPER'S PUSH TO SELL OUT CANADA
OTTAWA - The Harper government must pull out of further talks on continental integration with the United States and Mexico or risk our national sovereignty, says NDP Trade Critic Peter Julian (Burnaby-New Westminster). Julian commented in advance of the February 23 meeting to be held in Ottawa where American and Mexican officials will join Canadian cabinet ministers to push forward the so-called "Security and Prosperity Partnership" (SPP) agenda. Julian was joined by NDP Energy Critic, Dennis Bevington (WesternArctic).
Julian denounced the sellout of Canada.
"The previous Liberal government engaged Canada in a slow merger process with the United States and Stephen Harper is accelerating the agenda," said Julian. "The NDP demands a full debate in Parliament on this issue. Everyday Canadians have the right to know what is being negotiated."
Changes to some 300 policy and program areas are being promoted as benign "efficiency" measures. The ongoing extensive consultations in the SPP process will lead to an unacceptable level of regulatory harmonization with the surrender of Canadian energy, immigration, health care, food safety, and environmental policies and to complete military integration with the US.
"Canada is not the gas tank of the United States. NAFTA already locks us into supplying energy to the United States even if ordinary Canadians go without; a North American Union would only make this worse," said Bevington.
"Canadians should know that the SPP process supports a North American Union (NAU). The NDP rejects the secretive process surrounding these ongoing discussions. Canadians will never support a political ideology which aims at turning North America into a fortress for corporate interests and neglects the interests of ordinary Canadians. Canadian sovereignty is not for sale to the highest bidder and the federal government has no authority to push for a NAU without a mandate from Canadians," said Julian.
Julian reiterated the NDP's full support for civil society demands that North American leaders discuss issues vital to the public interest: the growing prosperity gap in Canada, Mexico, and the US; the need for guarantees of universal access to public health services; and for immediate joint efforts to combat global warming rather than North American Integration.
For more information, please contact:
Office of Peter Julian, 613-992-4214
Ian Capstick, Press Secretary, 613-720-6400
We hope Canadian citizens contact their elected officials to oppose any further advances of the "Security and Prosperity Partnership" . . . .
Justin Trudeau will seek the federal Liberal party nomination in Montreal's Papineau riding, according to Radio-Canada.
The eldest son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, the late Liberal prime minister, will attempt to jump into politics in a riding currently held by Bloc Québécois MP Vivian Barbot.
The riding was once a Liberal stronghold, where former foreign affairs minister Pierre Pettigrew was elected three times.
(Dave Chidley/ Canadian Press)
Oh, and BTW, as of this posting the current PM during Question Period is still refusing to apologize for or retract yesterday's comments about the Liberal MP from Ontario and the 1985 Air India bombing.
It appears "shrub" has learned well from "bush" about how to ignore rational thought and ignite his opponents . . . .
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
The Feb. 9-11, 2007, poll asked Americans whether they would vote for "a generally well-qualified" presidential candidate nominated by their party with each of the following characteristics: Jewish, Catholic, Mormon, an atheist, a woman, black, Hispanic, homosexual, 72 years of age, and someone married for the third time.
Between now and the 2008 political conventions, there will be discussion about the qualifications of presidential candidates -- their education, age, religion, race, and so on. If your party nominated a generally well-qualified person for president who happened to be …, would you vote for that person?
No, would not
Married for the third time
72 years of age
Since I fall into the two last categories, my chances of being elected US president are not good.
Oh well, onward to Canada. Perhaps there's a better opportunity there . . . . :)
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Needless to say, when my Palm Pilot beeped to remind me of the 90 days passing, I fired off an email to our immigration attorney's office requesting them to find out what's going on.
According to eCAS not much:
| We started processing your application on November 7, 2005. |
|We transferred your application to the New York office on November 15, 2006. The New York office may contact you.|
Our processor sent a fax to the consulate to inquire if they needed further information, etc. Hopefully this will spur them to at least take a look at the file.
Can you tell I'm getting a little anxious for some news? ? ? ?
Monday, February 19, 2007
Mea culpa to Bush on Presidents Day
Plain Talk by Al Neuharth, USA TODAY founder
Our great country has had 43 presidents. Many very good. A few pretty bad. On Presidents Day next Monday, it's appropriate to commemorate them all.
A year ago I criticized Hillary Clinton for saying "this (Bush) administration will go down in history as one of the worst."
"She's wrong," I wrote. Then I rated these five presidents, in this order, as the worst: Andrew Jackson, James Buchanan, Ulysses Grant, Hoover and Richard Nixon. "It's very unlikely Bush can crack that list," I added.
I was wrong. This is my mea culpa. Not only has Bush cracked that list, but he is planted firmly at the top.
The Iraq war, of course, has become Bush's albatross. He and his buddies are great at coining words or slogans. "Bushisms" that will haunt him historically:
- "Shock and Awe," early 2003.
- "Mission Accomplished," May 1, 2003.
- "Stay the Course," June 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006.
- "New Strategy," 2007.
Another term historians may weigh critically is "Decider."
Is he just a self-touted decider doing what he thinks right? Or is he an arrogant ruler who doesn't care or consider what the public or Congress believes best for the country?
Despite his play on words and slogans, Bush didn't learn the value or meaning of mea culpa (acknowledgement of an error) during his years at Yale.
Bush admitting his many mistakes on Iraq and ending that fiasco might make many of us forgive, even though we can never forget the terrible toll in lives and dollars.
Feedback: Other views on Bush presidency
"Just as we don't stop football games after three quarters, we shouldn't judge the historical place of presidents when they've still got nearly two years in office."
— John J. Miller, political reporter, National Review
"Unless there is some great reversal, Bush will be seen as one of the country's poorest presidents. Iraq will stand at the top of the list, but the administration's failed responses to Katrina and global warming will stand with its abuse of civil liberties to mark Bush out as a man with poor judgment and a failed leader."
— Robert Dallek, historian; his new book, Nixon and Kissinger: Powers in Power, will be published in April.
At least "w" is at the top of a list for something . . . .
Today marks 700 days left of the bush administration . . . . That is, unless he declares martial law and remains in power, of course.
I wonder how much more damage he can do to the US before he leaves office?
Makes one shudder . . . .
Sunday, February 18, 2007
His comments this morning regarding Representative Jack Murtha go way too far. (Thanks to the gang at Crooks & Liars for the video.)
Between him and his buddy Bill Kristol, their track record on predictions and expertise on the Iraq issue are basically nil. It would make my day if just once another commentator or moderator would ask them to offer something in their biographies that make anything they say germane to the conversation. (Actually, Juan Williams of NPR did get in a good dig at Brit near the end of the clip - Good job, Juan!)
Why don't the Fox "experts" just shut the #!?& up?
This year celebrates the year of the Boar. According to Wikipedia:
In China, the Boar ( 豬 ) is associated with fertility and virility. To bear children in the year of the pig is considered very fortunate, for they will be happy and honest.
GUNG HAY FAT CHOI
This in contrast to the traditional January 1st New Year's celebration in Vancouver - The Polar Bear plunge into English Bay . . . .
Definitely different strokes for different folks . . . .
Ain't life grand?!?!?
Saturday, February 17, 2007
(Thanks to "drf" for pointing this out.)
From bush's speech to the American Enterprise Institute ("Boo, Hiss, Yuck!!") on February 16, 2007:
"For NATO to succeed, member nations must provide commanders on the ground with the troops and the equipment they need to do their jobs. Many allies have made commitments of additional forces and support -- and I appreciate those commitments, but * nearly as much as the people in Afghanistan appreciate them. Norway, Lithuania and the Czech Republic have all agreed to send special operation forces to Afghanistan. Britain, Poland, Turkey and Bulgaria have agreed to additional troops. Italy has agreed to send aircraft. Romania will contribute to the EU police mission. Denmark, Greece, Norway and Slovakia will provide funding for Afghan security forces. Iceland will provide airlift. The people of Afghanistan need to know that they've got a lot of friends in this world who want them to succeed."
*(The second sentence error omitting the "not" after "but" is verbatim from the White House web page at this address: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/02/20070215-1.html
Perhaps the decider's grammar is rubbing off on the speech writers?? - But I digress . . . . )
We have not seen in any Canadian media reports a mention of the fact that mr. bush is apparently not impressed enough with Canada's actions and additional troop support in the Afghanistan mission to mention them in the same paragraph as other US allies. The only reference to Canada in the entire speech devoted to actions and plans for Afghanistan is in the following paragraph:
"And in the past year, nations including Denmark, Italy, France, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Turkey, Canada, and Britain have broken up terrorist cells. The enemy is active, and so are those of us who love freedom. It's in the interests of the United States to encourage other nations not to relent and not to give in, but to keep the pressure on those who try to have their way by murdering the innocent. And that's exactly what we'll continue to do."
Do any Canadian political leaders - mr. harper, particularly - feel a bit taken for granted by the bushies?
Just wondering . . . .
Friday, February 16, 2007
State Dept. may hire gays fired by Defense
Arabic linguists were axed under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
By ELIZABETH A. PERRY Friday, February 16, 2007
An official from the U.S. State Department called Rep. Gary Ackerman’s (D-N.Y.) office Feb. 7 to tell him they were considering his suggestion to rehire some of the gay linguists discharged from the military under the Defense Department’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
Ackerman, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice discussed the issue during the State Department’s 2008 budget hearing on Feb. 7. During her testimony, Rice expressed concern about the lack of qualified linguists in the armed forces. Ackerman, a longtime opponent of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” suggested having the State Department hire back gay linguists, because unlike the Defense Department, it doesn’t have such a policy.
“It seems that the military has gone around and fired a whole bunch of people who speak foreign languages such as Farsi, Arabic, etc., after they trained them in their foreign language school for 63 weeks,” Ackerman said. “Presumably they all passed all kinds of security clearances. Many of them told on themselves and were fired.”
Rice told Ackerman she would look into it. She said
the military has quadrupled the number of employees in the critical languages area, but that they would like to train them to higher levels of competence.
Ackerman used the hearing to humorously address homophobia in the military.
“For some reason, the military seems more afraid of gay people than they are of terrorists,” he said. “They’re very brave with the terrorists. If the terrorists ever got a hold of this information they could get a
platoon of lesbians to chase us out of Baghdad.”
Should those homosexuals terminated because of their lifestyle be expected to "forgive and forget" and come running back to save the administration that canned them??
That would be a decision requiring a lot of thoughtful contemplation . . . .
Thursday, February 15, 2007
'His words pollute the atmosphere'
Amaechi responds to Hardaway's anti-gay comments
Thursday February 15, 2007 1:27PM
It never ceases to amaze me what thoughts are rumbling through some people's minds . . . .
Monday, February 12, 2007
Dixie Chicks 'ready to make nice' after five Grammys
Last Updated: Monday, February 12, 2007 | 6:59 AM ET
The Dixie Chicks swept up five Grammy Awards, including record of the year and album of the year at Sunday night's music industry gala in Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The Dixie Chicks swept up five Grammy Awards, including record of the year and album of the year at Sunday night's music industry gala in Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The Dixie Chicks, from left, Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines and Emily Robison accept their award for best country album. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
It was an ironic twist for the singers, who were shunned by country stations and dropped by many of their fans after lead singer Natalie Maines criticized U.S. President George W. Bush during a London concert three years ago.
Maines quipped, "I'm ready to make nice!" when the group went up on stage to accept the album of the year award for Taking the Long Way.
But she added: "I think people are using their freedom of speech with all these awards." The political heat the group took from country fans, even after Maines apologized for the remarks, was the subject of a documentary, Shut Up and Sing.
But they appear to have bounced back from political purgatory into the warm embrace of the music industry with their Grammy haul, which included best country album for Taking the Long Way and song of the year and record of the year for Not Ready to Make Nice.
Not Ready to Make Nice also won the country trio a Grammy for best country performance.
"Thank you for helping us to get all this out and into a song," Emily Robison of the Dixie Chicks said in thanking songwriter Dan Wilson for his work on the song.
"Our core fans have always stayed true to us. We have no regrets," Robison said.
You can view their Grammy appearance here - Courtesy of Crooks and Liars - complete with an introduction by Joan Baez. Sweet . . . .
Sometimes nice girls do finish first!!
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Countries met secretly to plan ‘stealth’ moves
Don't like it. Don't like it one bit . . . .
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Friday, February 02, 2007
These excerpts from an AlterNet article today are sobering:
By Joshua Holland, AlterNet. Posted February 2, 2007.
Also this week, we learned that General George Casey, the former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, had requested half the number of troops Bush ultimately requested (Casey originally opposed any increase in troops). At the same time, we learn that the "surge" was a bait-and-switch; a new report by the Congressional Budget Office found that Bush's request for just over 20,000 combat troops would require a deployment of as many as 28,000 additional personnel, including support and logistics troops and contractors. According to the Washington Post, "That could mean the plan would involve up to 48,000 troops and contractors, at a cost of between $9 billion and $13 billion for the first four months and up to $27 billion for the first year." The report contradicts testimony given Congress just last week by the army Chief of Staff.
So when Bush asks America to give his plan to send 21,000 troops to fortify Baghdad and help train Iraqi security forces "a chance," what he's really saying is, 'regardless of what Congress, the American people and the Iraq Study Group want to see happen, I will send 50,000 under-equipped troops into the meat-grinder so that they can more effectively arm and train Shiite militias.' This, while the administration steadfastly refuses to engage in a parallel diplomatic push with Iraq's neighbors -- one that might give the plan some small chance of success -- choosing instead to rattle its saber towards Iran.
Senator Chris Dodd responded to all this by saying: "This is the United States Senate. This is not some city council somewhere…It seems to me sending something down that engages the president, that forces the administration to pay attention is something we ought to be considering."
Russ Feingold added, "A political victory is not more important than ending this war," and he's right. With an attack against Iran seeming ever more probable, this is the time to lay down hard constraints, to cut funding for Bush's escalation, demand he seek Congressional authorization to spread his conflict beyond Iraq and move towards ending the occupation. Anything less at this point is too little, too late.
Personally, I've got to agree with the very last sentence. Our elected "leaders" need to actually "lead" us out of this mess . . . .