Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Random News & Views Roundup

Note: It seems I can post to my blog tonite but I can't view it. &%@%$$ Blogger. Update: they seem to have fixed the problem.

- So I was sitting on the step yesterday when I saw a Calgary Police Service car drive by with a "Support the Troops" ribbon and thought I should update last week's post about city council debating the issue of whether to allow those ribbons to be displayed on municipal vehicles. It turns out that the council did the right thing, imho, and refused to allow such a policy. I wonder if those cops got that memo.

- And, speaking of city council, I'd sure like to know what the big hold up is with approving secondary suites. Don't they know we have a housing crisis in this city?

On to international affairs:

- According to The Independent, Pakistan's Foreign Minister says the US military will not be allowed to go after al Qaeda in his country.

This response definitely echoes neocon sentiments about silly little things like sovereignty:

"You cannot stop the stream. You have to shut the camps, which are all in Pakistan," said Barnett Rubin, a senior fellow at New York University's Centre on International Co-operation. "If they were in Afghanistan they would have been bombed by now."

He added: "Up until now, the government of Pakistan has not authorised this except for some very small, deniable covert operations. Either Musharraf changes his policy, or the US carries out operations in Pakistan without the consent of the government."

Just send in the CIA "snatch or kill" teams, a NYT editorial asserts.

And, if you believe this, I have some nice swamp land to sell you:

The agency’s history of ill-conceived covert political operations from the 1950s through the 1970s may cause some to worry. That agency, however, no longer exists. Congressional hearings and legislation, as well as fear of casualties, have given the clandestine service its own case of risk aversion, though it seems less severe than the Pentagon’s.

Right. That's why CIA agents have immunity from prosecution for torture. Risk averse, my ass.

- US ambassador Ryan Crocker met with Iraq's al-Maliki and Iran's ambassador to Baghdad Hassan Kazemi Qomi on Tuesday in a lengthy meeting that was variously described in media reports as "heated" and "difficult".

Qomi maintained that Iran has no connection to insurgent groups, Crocker said, adding that the U.S. government "has no question" about the connection between the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Shiite militias. Critics have pressed Crocker and other American officials for conclusive evidence of such ties, a request the ambassador dismissed Tuesday.

"This is not something we're trying to or we need to prove in a court of law," Crocker said, adding that insurgents captured by American troops have told investigators they are backed by Iran.

Get with the program, Qomi. Whatever the Bush administration says is true. They don't need no stinkin' evidence. You should know that by now.

- Meanwhile, the NYT reports what those of us (who aren't in denial) already knew: U.S. Is Seen in Iraq Until at Least ’09

The classified plan, which represents the coordinated strategy of the top American commander and the American ambassador, calls for restoring security in local areas, including Baghdad, by the summer of 2008. “Sustainable security” is to be established on a nationwide basis by the summer of 2009, according to American officials familiar with the document.

The detailed document, known as the Joint Campaign Plan, is an elaboration of the new strategy President Bush signaled in January when he decided to send five additional American combat brigades and other units to Iraq.

So tell me again why the Democrats are waiting for Petraeus' September report as if it's going to say anything other than "we need more time"?

- Bush sucks (and blows), but we already knew that.

The historic depth of Bush's public standing has whipsawed his White House, sapped his clout, drained his advisers, encouraged his enemies and jeopardized his legacy. Around the White House, aides make gallows-humor jokes about how they can alienate their remaining supporters -- at least those aides not heading for the door. Outside the White House, many former aides privately express anger and bitterness at their erstwhile colleagues, Bush and the fate of his presidency.

Bush has been so down for so long that some advisers maintain it no longer bothers them much. It can even, they say, be liberating.

Well, at least freedom is on the march for somebody.

Oh, and in case you didn't know, the intertubes are evul:

"A lot of the commentary that comes out of the Internet world is very harsh," said Frank J. Donatelli, White House political director for Ronald Reagan. "That has a tendency to reinforce people's opinions and harden people's opinions."

So there you go, the truth sucks too.

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