Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Running In Circles Around Climate Change

Fighting Global Climate Change is not just about saving the planet. It is first and foremost about saving ourselves.

But the way things have been going with regards to the Kyoto Protocols and Environmental summits over the last year or so, it looks like we keep running in circles around the matter of fighting Global Climate Change - while we keep on screwing up the planet's climate cycle.


The Kyoto Protocol, originally agreed upon in December 1997, was effectively interred after the G8 summit of June 2007 - thanks in large part to the continued (neo)con games and double-talk of the Bush (a.k.a. The Leader) administration and the Harper (a.k.a. The Mini Leader) minority government - grand tall-tales which I previously wrote about often enough (one example here).

How did this come about, you ask?

To begin with, it is noteworthy that the Kyoto Accords constituted at the time a uniquely historical engagement of utmost significance by industrialized countries to fight Global Warming - provided, of course, that the signing countries actually implemented the Accords ... something the U.S.A. and Canada never did.

Indeed, Kyoto was never ratified by the U.S.A., in large part due to Climate Change denialism and economic scare tactic-driven arguments. Furthermore, President Bush - like a good neocon - double-talked the nation into confusion: his "global warming is real but not man-made" proclamation has become infamous to this effect. Likewise, his so-called initiatives with regards to the environment have typically proven to constitute nothing more than shams, the usual (neo)con games forte we have become used to. For instance, his Clear Skies Act of 2003 was an obvious fraud - albeit very much approved by Big Oil and Big Corporation interests, not surprisingly - and its "improved", somewhat less laughable 2005 version has remained in legislative limbo. In an obvious attempt at rendering the Kyoto process moot, Bush and his Bushies promoted the downward redefinition of the ways to reduce climate change outside of Kyoto, without any reinforcement measures but with much "voluntary measures" - winkwink. On top of all of this, the Bush administration established and enacted a policy of systematic censorship, re-writing, controlling, falsifying, fund cutting, hiding, lying and spinning the de facto science underlying the reality of Climate Change.

In this respect, the Bush environmental circus has kept on going and going, to this very day.

Meanwhile in Canada, things have not been that much better. Although Canada actually ratified Kyoto in 2002, and after implementing several initiatives and investing billions of federal monies to work toward achieving Kyoto targets, everything was scuttled by Canadian neoconservatives - namely, by Prime Minister Harper and his Harpies, when they came to power in 2006. Indeed, and just as in the U.S.A., typical neocon pro-Big Oil and pro-Big Business scare tactic-driven, false and hypothetical arguments were used to belittle Kyoto, including outright disinformation and the promotion of climate change denialism. Not counting simple lack of concern. Furthermore, actually going outside of the Kyoto process was floated, in an obvious attempt at following in the footsteps of The Leader. Even environmental funding designed to meet the Kyoto standards was cut, including programs aimed at monitoring industries. In addition, outright scaling back of funding for climate science and adaptation programs was enacted by The Mini Leader's government - again, obviously in order to follow the "lead" of The Leader. The last nail in the coffin of Canada's commitment to Kyoto was hammered in whenthe Harper government flat out announced that Canada would not meet its targets under the Kyoto accords. In the end, Harper and his Harpies came up with what I have come to call Kyoto-Ultra Light - which was such a fraud that it prompted opposition parties in the House of Commons to put forth legislation (bill C-288) in order to force the Harper government in meeting Kyoto targets by 2012. However, Harper and his Harpies resorted to the usual economic scare tactics (same ones they used against Kyoto) to debunk the bill which, since then, has remained essentially lettre morte and unlawfully ignored by the Harper government.

Hence, what we have been treated to in the U.S.A. and Canada is nothing more than stalling and disassembling, the new neocon tactics to avoid dealing with climate change - in other words, they chose to "ignore it and hope it will go away", at best coming up with token measures (light bulbs and laws, anyone?), while using hypocritical double-talk like their Big-Oil and Big Corporation masters (another example here).

The problem is that GHG's emissions drastically increased nonetheless in both the U.S.A. and Canada (see also here for both countries and others) - with no regression in sight.

And of course, the Earth has been warming further as a consequence. With potential disastrous results down the line.

Which brings me back to the momentous G8 summit of June 2007.

First came the frenzied posturings of the neocon Bushies and Harpies prior to the summit in Germany - just as both Canada and the U.S.A. deservedly ranked last among the G8 nations in tackling climate change.

On the one hand, The Leader rejected draft proposals for the official G8 communiqué on climate change, which stated that G8 members agreed on tough measures in GHG's. This went as far as to strike out entire sentences and significantly reduce the certainty with which the communiqué addressed climate change. Then, Bush attempted to throw into confusion international efforts to control world climate change, with a proposal which would work outside of a planned UN process - and again, he peddled his cherished "voluntary measures" and "no enforcement measures". Last, but not least, The Leader outright rejected the pre-G8 proposal of committing to cutting emissions by 50% by 2050, to increase fuel efficiency by 20% and to limit the world's temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius.

Not surprisingly, world experts were not impressed by The Leader/Commander Guy.

On the other hand, and at the same time, The Mini Leader continued to lie his way into blaming his predecessors for Canada's failure to meet Kyoto's targets, while touting the example-making leadership quality of his Kyoto-Ultra Light Plan. Still gripped by the same extensive fit of self-delusion, he went as far as to claim that his plan was tougher than the pre-G8 proposal! Harper also, of course, double-talked aplenty:
"Canada won't meet its Kyoto targets to lower greenhouse gas emissions, but can be a world leader in battling climate change".
He and his Harpies even went further by positioning Canada as a "consensus builder" between the EU and the U.S.A. - thus once again playing stoogie/apologist for Bush. And just to be on the safe side, Harper started playing the excuse card of developing countries by advancing the idea that each country is unique and that "there's no one set solution for everybody" - thus effectively aligning himself with Bush's proposal of individualized voluntary measures for each country and without reinforcement mechanisms. In the meantime, Harper and his Harpies raised the limits on pesticide residues for better harmonization with those of the U.S.A. (making me wonder again who exactly is the Harper government serving: Canadians or Americans?).

Suffice it to say that, in turn, the world's experts rolled their eyes with incredulity and disbelief at The Mini Leader.

Thus the table was set for the June 2007 G8 summit - and thanks to all the confusing hypocritical double-talk and sleight-of-hand posturing of our Canadian and American neocons, this was the result (emphasis added):
(Excerpt from the official G8 communiqué, June 2007 - link for pdf full version here)

We face serious challenges in tackling climate change and achieving sustainable development globally. We reaffirm our commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and to its objective through both mitigation and adaptation in accordance with our common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. On this basis and taking into account the scientific knowledge as represented in the recent IPCC reports, we remain committed to contribute our fair share to tackle climate change in order to stabilize green house gas concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. To this end we need a flexible, fair and effective global framework and concerted international action. We underline the crucial role of economic incentives, in particular by carbon markets, for the necessary investments in climate friendly technologies at large scale. The adaptation to climate change will be a major challenge for all countries, in particular for developing countries , and means for adaptation need to be included in a future agreement along with enhanced technology cooperation and financing. We call on all parties to actively and constructively participate in the negotiations on a comprehensive agreement at the UNFCCC Conference in Indonesia in December 2007.
Meaning: no more Kyoto protocols, no commitments to any targets, let's move the goalpost further ahead, and let's agree to disagree but promise to talk more about actually doing something in the years to come.

Which effectively interred the Kyoto Accords.

But this specific G8 summit of June 2007 was furthermore very significant in shaping the way any subsequent international Climate Change summit to come would likely end up.

The following UNFCCC summit of December 2007? Same old crap from the Bushies and Harpies, resulting in the Bali Road Map (emphasis added):
"The Bali Roadmap that has been agreed is a pivotal first step toward an agreement that can address the threat of climate change, the defining challenge of our time."
Meaning: we are now right back where we started when before we finally agreed on the Kyoto Protocols!

Then it was "onward" to the UNFCCC summit of March 2008 - which gave us more of the same thing as before while not doing much except, to say "see you again at the April 2008 summit in China", and which was essentially ignored by the traditional media.

Why? In good part because, from the G8 summit of June 2007 and the death of Kyoto, such meetings have concluded the same way, thanks to the Bushies and the Harpies: "we agree to disagree and see you again at the next meeting".

Equally in good part, because of typical tripe and vapidity on the part of the media - one example (emphasis added):
Imagine, there is a UN climate conference, and hardly anybody seems to note or care. This is what appears to have happened with the latest round of post-Kyoto negotiations that ended in Bangkok last Friday. While delegates from more than 160 nations met at yet another United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change confab in the Thai capital, much of the media seemed indifferent to its deliberations or did not bother to report about it.

What used to be major environmental gatherings that would trigger global media hype and front-page headlines has turned into routine diplomatic meetings that wrap up, these days, on more or less the same note: Let's meet again. Eight more such meetings are planned for the next 18 months to negotiate a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol, which runs out in 2012.

Instead of the passionately celebrated "breakthroughs" that used to be the hallmark of international climate conferences, today they often end in deadlock and disappointment.

At the heart of the solidifying standoff lies a growing realization that the entire Kyoto process has been an abject failure. Not only did it fail to slow (never mind reduce) carbon-dioxide emissions over the last 15 years or so, climate hysteria is pitting rich and poor nations against each other, dividing the world into opposing camps that embrace incompatible strategies and competing demands.
"Kyoto failed". "Climate hysteria". "These meetings are now booooooring". "Blahblahyaaaawnblah".

There is the media for you.

Never mind that the Kyoto Accords did not fail - it was rather countries like Canada and the U.S.A. which have failed them.

And thus, "Kyoto has failed" has become the new meme, while economic scare tactics against fighting Global Climate Change have become "common sense" (just three examples here, here and here).

In the meantime, governments are pushing for biofuels (this is very much the case in both the U.S.A. and Canada) - regardless of the fact that they will contribute equally in GHG's emissions as fossil fuels.

The growing world-wide food crisis notwidthstanding, that is.

But wait - I fear that I must correct myself here, for it is indeed the food crisis, the price of oil and the current turmoil of global markets which are now used as further justifications to claim that fighting Global Warming will destroy our (now shaky) economies.

How convenient.

Meanwile, Humanity keeps on screwing up the Global Climate Cycle as the planet's ice caps keep on melting.

Therefore, here we are now - pretty much all governments of the world (including the Bushies and Harpies) recognize that Humanity's contribution to Climate Change constitutes a clear and present danger, and yet no one is actually doing anything substantial and significant about it - except deciding when to meet to talk about it more while moving the goalposts on reducing GHG emissions further and further ahead (1997, 2012, 2025, 2035, 2050, 2055 ... and still counting).

In short: we are swimming in circles while we are slowly drowning - because there is no leadership on this matter.

And without leadership, you have laissez faire.

And with laissez faire, you have what we have today.

Yes, the planet will do fine in the long run, regardless of what we do to its climate cycle. After all, Earth and life on it did so after an extinction-level event some 65 million years ago - although the dinosaurs didn't do so well.

Consequently, fighting Global Climate Change is not so much about saving the planet, but rather about saving ourselves and our future generations.

So, the final question is: fighting Global Warming - can Humanity afford not to?

And so it goes ...


(Cross-posted at DKos and The Wild Wild Left)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Justice LaForme: You Will Be Held At Your Own Words

From CBC news:
An aboriginal judge with Ontario's Court of Appeal has been appointed to head the Truth and Reconciliation Commission examining the legacy of decades of abuse at Indian residential schools.

Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl announced Monday in Ottawa that Justice Harry LaForme, a member of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation in southern Ontario, will chair the commission that the federal government promised as part of an out-of-court settlement with former students of residential schools.

The commission, which will formally be established on June 1 following the appointment of two panel members to work with LaForme, will move all Canadians closer to the "shared goal of healing and reconciliation," Strahl said.

"Ultimately, we all want to make sure we achieve a fair and lasting resolution to the sad legacy of residential schools," he said.
Added Justice LaForme (emphasis mine):
"The commission prepares to hear and to understand the multiple voices of the past with eyes, ears, minds and hearts that are open and compassionate, that will not ignore or mask the truth of that past."
This better include the recent revelation of mass graves, our blackest stain on our Canadian history.

Justice LaForme: you will be held at your own words.

When the existence of these mass graves will be not only acknowledged but also entered into the records of your commission, then will APOV end its "code grey" display of our Canadian flag.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

APOV's Weekly Revue (04/27/2008)

If it's Sunday - then it is time yet again for APOV's Weekly Revue.


To start things off, we have more toughts and analyses on the fast-deteriorating crisis of food shortages due to rising transport costs (i.e. because of oil prices): Red Tory @ Red Tory discusses champagne wishes and caviar dreams, and PoliShifter @ Pissed On Politics wonders when food rationing will come at a store near you, while Ken Anderson @ Shockfront analyses the roles of the IMF and World Bank (incompetent) policies in the current food crisis.

Speaking of oil - Carl @ Simply Left Behind discusses the need to focus on Africa on this matter, or the Chinese will win out again. And speaking of Africa, Chris Floyd @ Empire Burlesque keeps us appraised on the recent Bush Terror War atrocities in Somalia.

These in turn (and of course) bring us yet again to the "heck of a job" being done by the Bush administration. On the one hand, Omnipotent Poobah @ Bring It On! drips with sarcasm and cynicism in a discussion about how much President Bush supports the troops. On the other, Diane G @ The Wild Wild Left ponders on the Bush administration's post 9/11 rush to war terrorism. In between, Cernig @ Newshoggers keeps us up to date on the beating war drums against Iran, Jeremy Young @ Progressive Historians explains the difference between deterrence and massive retaliation, Steve Benen @ The Carpetbagger Report informs us that the Bushies are re-writing the script on terrorism foes (because, it's all about the language and the perception of it, see? But I disgress ...), and TomCat @ Politics Plus pushes for the Fair Pay Act to be passed already.

On a related note, MissLaura @ Daily Kos discusses the blindness and stereotyping of the traditional media vis à vis women bloggers.

And considering the Christian Right's love of free-thinking, independent women, let us to look closer again at the Christian Right's parochial beliefs and "values": Kyle E. Moore @ Comments From Left Field discusses the posterity of the religious right, and Bobs Telecaster @ Daily Kos talks about that poor-excuse of a documentary on intelligent design, "Expelled".

Back In Canada, things are not that much better. Sir Francis @ Dred Tory exposes the intellectual sloth affliction of Prime Minister Harper by using his own past quotations, Dave @ The Galloping Beaver gives Harper and his Harpies the much needed suggestion to look at themselves in the mirror, and 900 ft Jesus @ In the House and Senate exposes further not only the media silence on our blackest stain, but also some attempts at actually diminishing its impact and significance.

Overall, the current state of affairs throughout the world has left Steven D @ Booman Tribune feeling pretty much like burnt toast.

And to finish things off, a little self-promotion: if you good folks haven't done so already, I invite you to read my three-part series "Of Arrogance, Mendacity and Incompetence" which illustrate why President George W. Bush, of the whole of his administration, as well as allies, enablers and supporters of said administration, represent absolute paragons of incompetence (and it goes without saying that this applies as well to the Harper Government in so many ways?). Part I can be read here, Part II here, and Part III here. Thank you for your patronage. ;-)

Thus concludes APOV's Weekly Revue for April 27, 2008.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

C-484, C-537: Legislative Christian Right Trash Bin Fodder

The Canadian Republican/Christian Right franchise is not only alive and well in our government, but is quite busy at rewriting our laws in order to impose their parochial views and so-called (hypocritical) "moral values" upon us all - yet again.


If you are Canadian, then the subject of the present post is known all too well already. If you are American, then you will definitely have a sense of déjà vu - even if we're talking about Canadian issues today.

The minority government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been very much the busy little bee, putting forward two bills to the House of Commons:
C-537: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (protection of conscience rights in the health care profession). This enactment protects the right of health care practitioners and other persons to refuse, without fear of reprisal or other discriminatory coercion, to participate in medical procedures that offend a tenet of their religion, or their belief that human life is inviolable. This bill passed a first reading on April 16, 2007.

C-484: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (injuring or causing the death of an unborn child while committing an offence). This enactment amends the Criminal Code by making it an offence to injure, cause the death of or attempt to cause the death of a child before or during its birth while committing or attempting to commit an offence against the mother. This Act may be cited as the Unborn Victims of Crime Act. This bill passed a first reading on November 21, 2007, and a second reading on March 5, 2008.
The first bill recalls to mind what has been going on in the U.S.A., whereby nurses and physicians refuse to perform/participate in abortion procedures, because such procedures go against their "moral values". Even pharmacists refuse to sell contraceptives if their "moral values" prevent them from encouraging contraception. Such "Protection of Conscience" laws have been passed already (one example here). "Protecting" such professionals in doing so not only takes away every right of their own professional organizations to discipline them for such petty incompetence, but furthermore takes away the right of patients to sue for gross negligence. And that is not even taking into account the damning question the enactment of such a bill into law posits: "Why then stop at only religious reasons to refuse to treat someone?"

The second bill is very much reminiscent of laws enacted by too many states south of the border, and which constitute underhanded means to restrict - if not actually criminalize - abortion. The real effect of such laws is not to protect women, but to give fetuses legal personhood. Such laws create legal contradictions and confusion, by pitting "fetal rights" against women's rights, consequently creating a conflict with abortion rights. And that is not even taking into account that this bill conflicts with the existing Criminal Code provision which states clearly that fetuses are not "human beings" until they exit from the birth canal alive (Section 223[1]):
223. (1) A child becomes a human being within the meaning of this Act when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother, whether or not

(a) it has breathed;

(b) it has an independent circulation; or

(c) the navel string is severed.
Of course, the Christian right and those elected politicos who follow its parochial tenets know that they can't directly criminalize abortion, or even contraception - such bills would most certainly fail upon being proposed. Instead, like the hypocrites that they are, they seek time and again to legislate such things in a shameful underhanded manner.

I call this backdoor legislating (and you may take the metaphor to wherever you will).

Hence, like the true little Christian Right soldiers that they are, as well like the true little Bushie emulators that they are, Harper and his Harpies are attempting to impose their parochial "moral values" through legislation in an underhanded manner, thinking themselves all clever.

Unfortunately for them, the obvious hidden agendas behind these two pieces of legislation have been seen for what they are - and consequently, the Harpies (as well as their fellow primitive minded supporters) are finding themselves in a tailspin while trying to defend the "righteousness" of these two bills, undertaking pathetic exercizes in disassembling and double-speaking in the process.

The latest one? These bills are not about abortion (have fun also with this Google search).

Here's my own little take on this: if these two bills are really "not about abortion", then they constitute superfluous pieces of legislation which are not needed. Period.

If these two bills are in fact "about abortion" (which, of course, they are), then they seek to rewrite our current laws through backdoor legislating - in which case, these two bills are not wanted by the majority of Canadians. Period. For indeed, the last independent poll conducted among Canadians with regards to "moral values" (such as abortion) was the April 2006 Leger Marketing poll, which revealed that only 34% of Canadians considered abortion to be immoral. This trend follows ones previously reported by other independent polling agencies in 2005 and 2003, when only 24% of Canadians wanted stricter abortion laws and 54% of Canadians considered abortion morally acceptable, respectively.

Conclusion: either way, C-484 and C-537 both constitute junk legislation which deserve only to be sent to the trash bin. Once and for all.

In the meantime, I'll be waiting for Harper and his Harpies to propose legislation against flag burning or, better yet, to re-re-open the "same-sex marriage" settled question.

Because such things, like bills C-484 and C-537, are of primordial importance to little Christian Right soldiers - as here in Canada as in the U.S.A. ...

The Conservative Party of Canada American Republican Franchise of Canada: one more thing that deserves to be sent to the trash bin - once and for all.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Late Friday Night Ode To ... Mendacity

For tonight, I offer you a triple-play of hard-hitting songs which have in mind right-wingers, neocons, liers, hypocrites, religious nuts, exploiters, deceivers, et al. - Canadian and American ones, at that.

First up, we have Silverchair with Tomorrow:



Next in queue, we have Judas Priest with Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown):



And for the close - we have Iron Maiden with No More Lies:



As always - keep on rockin'!


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Petraeus Promotion Frees Cheney to Threaten Iran

punditman says... The Bush/Cheney administration will push anyone aside who challenges their agenda. According to this article, Admiral William Fallon's frustration about General Petraeus' de facto power over Middle East policy was the main reason he was ready to step down--an ominous development if you happen to live in Iran.

by Gareth Porter

The nomination of Gen. David Petraeus to be the new head of the Central Command not only ensures that he will be available to defend the George W. Bush administration's policies toward Iran and Iraq at least through the end of Bush's term and possibly even beyond.

It also gives Vice President Dick Cheney greater freedom of action to exploit the option of an air attack against Iran during the administration's final months.

Petraeus will take up the CENTCOM post in late summer or early fall, according to Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The ability of the administration to threaten Iran with an attack both publicly and behind the scenes had been dramatically reduced in 2007 by opposition from the former CENTCOM commander, Adm. William Fallon, until he stepped down from the post under pressure from Gates and the White House last month.


Keep Reading...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Of Arrogance, Mendacity And Incompetence (Part III)

This three-parts series aims to illustrate why President George W. Bush, of the whole of his administration, as well as allies, enablers and supporters of said administration, represent absolute paragons of incompetence.

In Part I, the fear and arrogance inherent to incompetents were exposed - using President Bush's torture memo as a main example.

In Part II, the compulsive lying, hypocrisy and mendacity typically displayed by the Bush administration in order to hide or conceal their incompetence were discussed.

Herein in Part III, we discuss the need for absolute control and inevitable abuse of power by incompetents - using as prime example one Richard B. Cheney, Vice-President of the U.S.A.


One last time in this series, I offer you the Eight Principles of Incompetence:
Zeroth Principle: Incompetence is driven by intellectual sloth.

First Principle: Incompetence surrounds itself with incompetence.

Second Principle: Incompetence is ethics-impaired.

Third Principle: Incompetence abhors transparency and accountability.

Fourth Principle: Incompetence does or says anything to defend itself.

Fifth Principle: Incompetence always supports incompetence.

Sixth Principle: Violence is the last refuge of incompetence.

Seventh Principle: Incompetence is nothing but consistent with itself.
Incompetents are ruled by expediency - driven by intellectual sloth, they seek the easiest routes to achieve whatever objectives they have set out to accomplish. To them, the end justifies the means - which include (of course) lying, cheating, or simply bending/twisting/ignoring the rules (or the law), all the while making perfectly quaint rationalizations, as well as giving themselves a deluded moral high ground (or authority), to justify their wrongdoings.

Furthermore, everything is about spin and truthiness, but never about facts and truth, where incompetents are concerned. It matters more for them to appear competent and "on top of things" (Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, anyone?) than actually doing something to correct/remedy their incompetence.

Even worse: when caught with their lies and wrongdoings, incompetents will simply deny their lies and further disassemble - in an obvious attempt at mudding the issue, at sowing confusion and thus fostering uncertainty. Aided and abetted by an equally intellectual sloth-driven incompetent media (more on this here), the politics of ignorance, fear, violence (war) and expediency rule the day.

For it is the incompetents among us who consistently promulgate violence as a solution for anything, to everything - especially when they themselves are gripped by fear.

And when such people constitute key government policy-makers, secretaries/ministers and executive Presidents/Prime Ministers, then a democratic society is doomed to slide slowly but surely into authoritarianism.

Why? Because only incompetents abuse power.

Which, of course, brings me to the matter of Richard (Dick) B. Cheney, Vice-President of the United States of America.

The man who established a de facto co-Presidency or, as I prefer to call it, the Office of the Unitary Regency.

For the last seven years are indeed the grand canvas of Dick B. Cheney, concealing himself all the while behind his Puppet President, George W. Bush.

Here are some salient items to support this point:
Right from the beginning, Cheney and Bush reached a "special understanding" with regards to the responsibilities and roles of the "Vice-Presidency";

Cheney not only chose himself as Bush's running mate, but he likewise gathered his own Cabal in addition to have had a heavy hand in picking the President's Men;

Cheney had his own spies, his modus operandi always being "never leave tracks";

Cheney has ever been completely involved in the formulation and execution of policy - in fact, Cheney held the true executive power in the shaping of policies or in the making of decisions, whether openly or through duplicity, and with the "approval" of Bush;

On the tragic day of September 11, 2001, Cheney was swiftly rushed to the White House bunker, advising Bush from there while the President did the runaround in Air Force One - Cheney even gave authorizations to shoot down "hostile aircrafts" while the President was "away";

After the 9/11 dust settled, it was Cheney - not Bush - who ended up being secured in an "undisclosed location", in order to remain so for long periods of time, out of public view;

Cheney always gets the last word before Bush made any "decision";

Cheney shaped foreign policy (Iraq, Iran), anti-terrorism policy, homeland security (the Patriot Act, the Military Commission's Act, the Catastrophic Emergency Presidential Executive Order, the Protect America Act, as obvious examples), domestic initiatives, energy policy, environment policy and economic policy;

Cheney literally ran National Security;

Cheney has been, all along, the driving force behind the White House policy of global warming denialism;

Cheney was the chief promulgator and instigator of the policies of torture and indefinite detentions;

When the 9-11 Commission received testimony from Bush: A) Bush and Cheney testified together; B) the Bush-Cheney testimony was not under oath; C) there were no records kept of their testimony; and D) said testimony occurred behind closed doors;

During the run-up to the Iraq War, who else but Cheney made that infamous speech to the Nashville convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, thus marking at the time the first major statement from the White House regarding the Bush-Cheney administration’s Iraq policy (including the WMDs hype - which he orchestrated);

Cheney was the chief promulgator of the (non-existent) linkage between Saddam Hussein, al Qaeda and 9-11 - in fact, he has kept on harping this lie over and over again (how often has he gone on Meet The Press to pass on his talking points in favor/support for the Iraq occupation?) - even to this very day;

Cheney has been approving secret intelligence operations against Iran;

Cheney shaped SCOTUS by vetting nominees;

Etc., etc., etc.
It is well known that Dick B. Cheney is an ardent proponent of the Unitary Executive Theory. This is quite understandable, considering his own demonstrated authoritarian streak. But what really let loose Regent Cheney as we have come to know him in the last seven years was the primal fear he has been living under since that fateful day of September 11, 2001. In his own words (emphasis mine):
"In a sense, 9/11 changed everything for us. 9/11 forced us to think in new ways about threats to the United States, about our vulnerabilities, about who our enemies were, about what kind of military strategy we needed in order to defend ourselves." - 12/22/2003;

"I believe in a strong, robust executive authority and I think that the world we (now) live in demands it." - 12/20/2005;

"I do believe that especially in the day and age we live in, the nature of the threats we face, the President of the United States needs to have his constitutional powers unimpaired, if you will, in terms of the conduct of national security policy." - 12/20/2005;

"Either we're serious about fighting the war on terror or we're not. Either we believe that there are individuals out there doing everything they can to try to launch more attacks, try to get ever deadlier weapons to use against us or we don't. The President and I believe very deeply that there is a hell of a threat." - 12/20/2005;

"Given modern technology, given the development of the extremist Islamic movement, if you will, given their desire to get their hands on ever deadlier technology to use against us and their willingness to strike virtually any place in the world, it's foolish for people to think we can walk away from a situation like Afghanistan or Iraq and be secure in own homes. We've learned on 9/11 in the United States that that's really not the case." - 02/23/2007;

"Clearly, our administration has been dominated by the events of 9/11 and the aftermath. That has clearly become front and center in terms of our concerns and we spend our time, how we spend our resources." - 02/23/2007;

"(The terrorists are) still out there trying hard, but it has been over five years now. And we have disrupted attempts to launch further attacks against the United States. And that's not been an accident -- a whole raft of strategies and policies behind that in terms of being aggressive, going overseas, going after the terrorists and terror-sponsored states; the measures we've taken at home to improve our security arrangements, to reorganize our intelligence capabilities, to establish our Terrorist Surveillance Program and financial tracking programs, other things that we've been able to do that have helped us (...)" - 02/23/2007;

"I think the thing that some people mistake for, or categorize as "Cheney's changed" sort of analysis, is 9/11. And 9/11 did have, I think, a remarkable impact on the threat to the United States on what we were required to deal with as an administration. I deal with it every day. I look at the intelligence reports every day." - 04/14/2007.
Dick Cheney did change profoundly after 9/11 - those who knew him came to hardly recognize him anymore. However, 9/11 was merely an excuse for him to fully unleash his incompetence:
We all know the saying: 'Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely'. However, how many among us actually realize that this adage is nothing more than an excuse for incompetence in wielding, or exercising, power?

For it is a fact that those individuals who are 'corrupted' by power are inevitably revealed at their core to be selfish, greedy, covetous, paranoid or fearful. Consequently, these use power expediently as a tool for the wasteful satisfaction of their every whim, want and need, or as a weapon to aim recklessly at their outwardly-projected inner demons.

In short: only incompetents abuse power.

Why is this so? Because, their petty minds are blind to the principle that factual power constitutes that which serves not only to better our own personal lives, but to improve those of others as well. We are indeed the keepers of our brothers, our sisters, our families, our relatives and our neighbors: this is a plain and simple verity, which also happens to define the very essence of Humanity.

It is not coincidence that incompetents invariably forget - or deny - such a fundamental truth.
Combine this to the inherent petty arrogance and vanity of incompetents (i.e. they are right because they think so, and they confirm it to themselves), as well as their primal fear of being exposed for what they are, one understands why incompetents surround themselves with like-minded incompetents.

All of this put together also explains four other observations with regards to the behavior of incompetents:
1) discussions among incompetents invariably constitute echo chambers of self-gratifying reinforcements of opinions, reasonings and/or justifications (regardless of however much factless and paranoid fantasy-based such opinions might be based upon to begin with);

2) any "consensus" achieved among incompetents constitute the opinion(s) of those who argue the most forcefully/loudly - and not of those who offer the most valid and fact-based arguments;

3) incompetents prefer to do whatever they do under the cover of concealment and/or secrecy, abhorring transparency and accountability;

and, directly à propos to the subject at hand herein, 4) incompetents not only need to have absolute control over everything, but greatly admire such authoritarian behavior in others (which they view as "true" leaders).
Hence, thanks in large part to his forceful personality, coupled with the veritable nexus of incompetence that was the White House, begining with George W. Bush, Cheney acted like a bona fides authoritarian Regent, imposing an atmosphere of intimidation in the White House whereby dissenting opinions means dismissal, experts are routinely dismissed as not credible and "inconvenient" facts are dismissed - if only because Cheney convinced himself that he is right.

And the weaker-willed incompetents surrounding him - from Bush to Rumsfeld to Rice to Powell, et al. - acted as echo chambers and followed suit.

For indeed, every single "talking point" (i.e. enacted policy) we've ever heard out of the White House, especially with regards to Iraq, Iran, torture, FISA, and so on, has originated from Regent Cheney and his office. Even after said talking points were shot down and left for dust, only one person has ever continued to keep them alive: Dick. B. Cheney.

Again, a few examples:
The good old (and proven false) "al Qaeda-Saddam Hussein-Iraq" link (see Part II of this series) - guess who still claims this to be true?

Bush accuses Democrats of allowing FISA to expire (02/16/2008) - guess who keeps on pushing the same fallacy?

Bush advances a new justification for staying in Iraq: preventing al Qaeda from acquiring control of Iraqi oil (03/18/2008) - one guess who came up with this?

Bush advances a newer new justification for the Iraq war: Iran (04/14/2008) - care to guess who had already laid this one out and has kept at it all along?
(By the way: George W. Bush never professed any belief in, let alone displayed knowledge of, the concept of the Unitary Executive prior prior to 2001 (to my knowledge), until he got "educated" on this concept only after he became Regent Cheney's mouthpiece and Puppet - but I disgress)

Hence, Cheney reasons, decides and decrees - and thus all must obey and follow suit, because he is right damn it, regardless what reality says otherwise.

And recognized as a "true leader" by his fellow incompetents , follow suit Bush and the rest of the White House did.

Why, to this day he is still admired for his authoritarianism ... by other incompetents, that is (two examples here and here).

In this respect, Cheney's arrogance and vanity know no bounds - typical of incompetents - and which are quite eloquently crystallized by this simple, dismissive interrogative of his: "So?"

Or, let us hear it from his own words:
"At times, you must feel like you’re at the center of events, but no one’s really paying attention to you. You understand the world better than anybody, but no one wants to hear it. Now you know exactly what it’s like to be Vice President."
Alternately, let us remember also the justifications which were first parotted out of the White House (but came from him) concerning the accountability of his office:
It "is a unique office that is neither a part of the executive branch nor a part of the legislative branch", and thus is not obligated to account for anything, to anyone.
The same kind of echo chamber legalese gymnastics as used to justify torture, the gutting of habeas corpus, illegal electronic surveillance, gutting of the 4th amendment, the Patriot Act, the Military Comissions Act and the Protect America Act - among numerous "accomplishments".

All because incompetents strive to operate in secrecy, are morally and ethics impaired, and abhor transparency and accountability.

Above all, they need to be in complete control not only of their fellow incompetents surrounding them, but especially of everyone else - those that are susceptible to question them. In other words:
Incompetents do not realize their own incompetence (intellectual vanity, remember?) and rarely recognize de facto competence in others. In addition, the incompetent distrusts anyone who shows signs of actual competence, should he/she somehow recognize it, because competents not only make the incompetent look bad, but are most likely to question him/her. Furthermore, incompetents find security and comfort in echo chambers - consequently, loyalty to self, as well as to same ideology/beliefs/party, overrides all considerations in the incompetent's petty mind (i.e. cronyism rules). To this effect, incompetents will seek to bring all those around them to their level. Therefore, incompetents are always surrounded by like-minded, and likewise, incompetents. In addition, in this context, incompetence always rewards incompetence. Some call this "functionning inside the bubble". I call it "herd mentality".
Fear.
Need for expediency.
Lack of morals and ethics.
Vanity and arrogance.
Lack of responsibility.
Denial of mistakes.
Duplicity.
Mendacity.
Denial of reality.
Rejection of accountability.
Authoritarianism.
Abuse of Power.

Incompetence.

Thus I give you Dick Cheney and his incompetent followers in the White House - including his own Puppet President, George W. Bush -, resulting in the last seven years of disastrous wars, legalized torture, gutting of the constitution, secret military tribunals, legalized (illegal) electronic surveillance, Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, etc. - including a potential war with Iran.

But I also give you the Congress of 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006, as well as all those in the traditional media who have cheered on or played the conspicuous "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" monkeys, along with all those other supporters, allies and enablers of the Cheney-Bush regime.

One can only expect that such confluence of incompetence elected to office again and again constitute an anomaly which will be recognized as such by historians of tomorrow.

One can only expect that the American people have learned, once and for all, to recognize incompetence and that, from now on, will never hesitate to act swiflty to dismiss out of office said incompetence.

But when one observes the current "free ride" given to the Joe Liebermans and John McCains of the land, one wonders with dread whether the lessons have been truly learned indeed.

For in the end, the real buck stops with We The People.

Mea culpa, mea culpa vox populi - as I have come to say all too often over the last seven years ...


(Cross-posted at DKos, Progressive Historians, and The Wild Wild Left)


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

In Honor Of Earth Day

The bottom line is: are the risks associated with fighting Global Climate Change higher or lower than doing absolutely nothing? Listen to/watch this very interesting video for the answer:




So - do you feel lucky?

Well, do you?

Spread the word ...


Sunday, April 20, 2008

APOV's Weekly Revue (04/20/2008)

If it's Sunday, then it is time again for APOV's Weekly Revue!


To start things off, MarkH @ Denialism Blog exposes the inconsistency of cranks. Speaking of cranks, especially those currently holding offices and positions in the U.S. government, mattbastard @ Comments From Left Field discusses Jack Bauer and U.S. interrogation policy. In turn, this brings up Ken Anderson @ Shockfront's the Secretary of State of torture, as well as Chris Floyd @ Empire Burlesque's Too much of nothing: Crime without punishment and war without end.

Of course, these lead to tristero @ Hullabaloo's Iraq: a major debacle, and to dday @ Daily Kos's total failure in the War on Terror. In between, Jeff Huber @ The Wild Wild Left exposes the sham of the Global War on Terror(TM) as defined by enemies foreign, enemies domestic. Yet, there is indeed "some" progress in Iraq, as Ken Anderson @ Shockfront (yes, again) illustrates how Iraqi defense contracting is as corrupt and inefficient as that of the Pentagon. Overall, the Iraq FUBAR inspires a sarcastic The Station Agent @ Les Enragés/Unruly Mob to ask: why not give statehood to Iraq and be done with this? All in all, clammyc @ Booman Tribune concludes that impeachment remains the only way for the U.S. to come truly clean on the war crimes of the Bush administration.

But as usual, the question is: where has been the traditional media on these stories? Nowhere, of course. To this effect, Glenn Greenwald @ Salon exposes the harmony between the Right and the media, while David Neiwert @ Firedoglake discusses the sock puppets which rule the media. So, where is the outrage over the media's consistent incompetence? Kyle E. Moore @ Comments From Left Field has a little outrage for ya'll - and rightly so.

Of course, when we have FUBAR left and right, nothing is spared. Case in point: ascap_scab @ Reconstitution discusses the housing bubble bust and what lies beyond - need I say: nothing good at all?

Interestingly, Canadian Prime Minister Harper and his Harpies demonstrate once again how much they emulate the Bush administration's hypocrisy, mendacity and incompetence, as illustrated by Impolitical @ Impolitical's deconstruction of the scandal-mired Harper government.

In the meantime, all that matters to right-wing Christian fundamentalists is to impose their parochial beliefs and values onto everyone - which is well illustrated by Cernig @ Newshoggers's piece titled Defending Darwin.

Through it all, a veritable black stain on our Canadian history has been revealed. Bruce McDonald @ Canuck Attitude speaks more eloquently on this, our untold shame.

On a completely unrelated note: today marks the first anniversary of APOV's existence. Let's hope Year Two will be even better!

Thus concludes today's Weekly Revue. As always: keep on rockin'!



Our Blackest Stain

(Update: refreshed the link to the traditional media article I originally linked to - thanks to Stageleft for reporting this. I also added a Yahoo news video below and a new links to online news reports)

I have never been proud of my country in the way it has treated our Canada co-founding First Nations aboriginal people.



But this (here , here, here, here, and here also) - this is simply horrible (via Stageleft):
Location of Mass Graves of Residential School Children Revealed; Independent Tribunal Established

Squamish Nation Territory (”Vancouver, Canada”) - At a public ceremony and press conference held today outside the colonial “Indian Affairs” building in downtown Vancouver, the Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared (FRD) released a list of twenty eight mass graves across Canada holding the remains of untold numbers of aboriginal children who died in Indian Residential Schools.

The list was distributed today to the world media and to United Nations agencies, as the first act of the newly-formed International Human Rights Tribunal into Genocide in Canada (IHRTGC), a non-governmental body established by indigenous elders.

In a statement read by FRD spokesperson Eagle Strong Voice, it was declared that the IHRTGC would commence its investigations on April 15, 2008, the fourth Annual Aboriginal Holocaust Memorial Day. This inquiry will involve international human rights observers from Guatemala and Cyprus , and will convene aboriginal courts of justice where those persons and institutions responsible for the death and suffering of residential school children will be tried and sentenced. (The complete Statement and List of Mass Graves is reproduced below).

Eagle Strong Voice and IHRTGC elders will present the Mass Graves List at the United Nations on April 19, and will ask United Nations agencies to protect and monitor the mass graves as part of a genuine inquiry and judicial prosecution of those responsible for this Canadian Genocide.

Eyewitness Sylvester Greene spoke to the media at today’s event, and described how he helped bury a young Inuit boy at the United Church’s Edmonton residential school in 1953.

“We were told never to tell anyone by Jim Ludford, the Principal, who got me and three other boys to bury him. But a lot more kids got buried all the time in that big grave next to the school.”


The damning list is as follows (again, via Stageleft):
British Columbia:

1. Port Alberni: Presbyterian-United Church school (1895-1973), now occupied by the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council (NTC) office, Kitskuksis Road . Grave site is a series of sinkhole rows in hills 100 metres due west of the NTC building, in thick foliage, past an unused water pipeline. Children also interred at Tseshaht reserve cemetery, and in wooded gully east of Catholic cemetery on River Road .

2. Alert Bay : St. Michael’s Anglican school (1878-1975), situated on Cormorant Island offshore from Port McNeill. Presently building is used by Namgis First Nation. Site is an overgrown field adjacent to the building, and also under the foundations of the present new building, constructed during the 1960’s. Skeletons seen “between the walls”.

3. Kuper Island: Catholic school (1890-1975), offshore from Chemainus. Land occupied by Penelakut Band. Former building is destroyed except for a staircase. Two grave sites: one immediately south of the former building, in a field containing a conventional cemetery; another at the west shoreline in a lagoon near the main dock.

4. Nanaimo Indian Hospital: Indian Affairs and United Church experimental facility (1942-1970) on Department of National Defense land. Buildings now destroyed. Grave sites are immediately east of former buildings on Fifth avenue , adjacent to and south of Malaspina College .

5. Mission: St. Mary’s Catholic school (1861-1984), adjacent to and north of Lougheed Highway and Fraser River Heritage Park . Original school buildings are destroyed, but many foundations are visible on the grounds of the Park.
In this area there are two grave sites: a) immediately adjacent to former girls’ dormitory and present cemetery for priests, and a larger mass grave in an artificial earthen mound, north of the cemetery among overgrown foliage and blackberry bushes, and b) east of the old school grounds, on the hilly slopes next to the field leading to the newer school building which is presently used by the Sto:lo First Nation. Hill site is 150 metres west of building.

6. North Vancouver: Squamish (1898-1959) and Sechelt (1912-1975) Catholic schools, buildings destroyed. Graves of children who died in these schools interred in the Squamish Band Cemetery , North Vancouver .

7. Sardis: Coqualeetza Methodist-United Church school (1889-1940), then experimental hospital run by federal government (1940-1969). Native burial site next to Sto:lo reserve and Little Mountain school, also possibly adjacent to former school-hospital building.

8. Cranbrook: St. Eugene Catholic school (1898-1970), recently converted into a tourist “resort” with federal funding, resulting in the covering-over of a mass burial site by a golf course in front of the building. Numerous grave sites are around and under this golf course.

9. Williams Lake : Catholic school (1890-1981), buildings destroyed but foundations intact, five miles south of city. Grave sites reported north of school grounds and under foundations of tunnel-like structure.

10. Meares Island (Tofino): Kakawis-Christie Catholic school (1898-1974). Buildings incorporated into Kakawis Healing Centre. Body storage room reported in basement, adjacent to burial grounds south of school.

11. Kamloops : Catholic school (1890-1978). Buildings intact. Mass grave south of school, adjacent to and amidst orchard. Numerous burials witnessed there.

12. Lytton: St. George’s Anglican school (1901-1979). Graves of students flogged to death, and others, reported under floorboards and next to playground.

13. Fraser Lake : Lejac Catholic school (1910-1976), buildings destroyed. Graves reported under old foundations and between the walls.


Alberta:

1. Edmonton : United Church school (1919-1960), presently site of the Poundmaker Lodge in St. Albert . Graves of children reported south of former school site, under thick hedge that runs north-south, adjacent to memorial marker.

2. Edmonton : Charles Camsell Hospital (1945-1967), building intact, experimental hospital run by Indian Affairs and United Church . Mass graves of children from hospital reported south of building, near staff garden.

3. Saddle Lake : Bluequills Catholic school (1898-1970), building intact, skeletons and skulls observed in basement furnace. Mass grave reported adjacent to school.

4. Hobbema: Ermineskin Catholic school (1916-1973), five intact skeletons observed in school furnace. Graves under former building foundations.


Manitoba:

1. Brandon : Methodist-United Church school (1895-1972). Building intact. Burials reported west of school building.

2. Portage La Prairie: Presbyterian-United Church school (1895-1950). Children buried at nearby Hillside Cemetery .

3. Norway House: Methodist-United Church school (1900-1974). “Very old” grave site next to former school building, demolished by United Church in 2004.


Ontario:

1. Thunder Bay : Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital , still in operation. Experimental centre. Women and children reported buried adjacent to hospital grounds.

2. Sioux Lookout: Pelican Lake Catholic school (1911-1973). Burials of children in mound near to school.

3. Kenora: Cecilia Jeffrey school, Presbyterian-United Church (1900-1966). Large burial mound east of former school.

4. Fort Albany : St. Anne’s Catholic school (1936-1964). Children killed in electric chair buried next to school.

5. Spanish: Catholic school (1883-1965). Numerous graves.

6. Brantford : Mohawk Institute, Anglican church (1850-1969), building intact. Series of graves in orchard behind school building, under rows of trees.

7. Sault Ste. Marie: Shingwauk Anglican school (1873-1969), some intact buildings. Several graves of children reported on grounds of old school.


Quebec:

1. Montreal : Allan Memorial Institute, McGill University , still in operation since opening in 1940. MKULTRA experimental centre. Mass grave of children killed there north of building, on southern slopes of Mount Royal behind stone wall.


This is our blackest stain yet on our history, my fellow Canadians. Hence why I am showing our flag in grey here.

We can not - we must not - remain silent on this. We must have an inquiry, we must confront this and make amends. That is the only way we will have the right to look in the eye our First Nations friends and neighbors ever again.

What especially galls me to no end is our so-called traditional media which has remained virtually oblivious to the revelations of this genocide.

I am appalled. I am angry. I am ashamed to be Canadian.

I have already sent letters and emails to my MPs (provincial and federal), as well as to my Prime Ministers (federal and provincial). I have also sent emails to editors of various MSM outlets (especially CBC and CTV).

In the meantime, APOV will remain in "code grey" with the country's flag until something substantial (like a public inquiry) is actually done about this.

We can't change the past and we can't be guilty for the sins of our forebearers. But we can damn well make amends nonetheless.

We are supposed to know better, to be better - so we should. We must.



Saturday, April 19, 2008

Of Arrogance, Mendacity And Incompetence (Part II)

Over the last seven years, the words and actions of President George W. Bush, of the whole of his administration, as well as those of allies, enablers and supporters of said administration, constitute a veritable litany of lies, hypocrisy, arrogance, mendacity and outright incompetence.

This three-parts series aims to illustrate why the whole lot of them are absolute paragons of incompetence.

In Part I, the fear and arrogance inherent to incompetents were exposed - using President Bush's torture memo as a main example.

Herein in Part II, the compulsive lying, hypocrisy and mendacity typically displayed by the Bush administration in order to hide or conceal their incompetence are discussed.


Once again, the Eight Principles of Incompetence:
Zeroth Principle: Incompetence is driven by intellectual sloth.

First Principle: Incompetence surrounds itself with incompetence.

Second Principle: Incompetence is ethics-impaired.

Third Principle: Incompetence abhors transparency and accountability.

Fourth Principle: Incompetence does or says anything to defend itself.

Fifth Principle: Incompetence always supports incompetence.

Sixth Principle: Violence is the last refuge of incompetence.

Seventh Principle: Incompetence is nothing but consistent with itself.
Incompetents are intellectual sloth- and fear-driven, in addition to being morally hypocritical and ethics challenged, as well as hopeless slaves of expediency. That is why incompetents will cheat, lie, misuse, "back stab" and abuse anything and everything in order to get their way - all the while making perfectly quaint rationalizations, as well as giving themselves a deluded moral high ground (or authority), to justify their wrongdoings. In other words:
Incompetents will do and say anything to defend themselves and other incompetents, including disassembling, obfuscating, lying and blaming others (...).

They lie, they misrepresent, they use decoy arguments and make ad hominem attacks. For them, the use of duplicity, of secrecy, of arguments of (non-existent) conspiracy, of fact (and non-fact) selectivity/cherry-picking, of quacks/fake experts, as well as putting forth logical fallacies, are simply means to an end.

For incompetents, everything is about spin and truthiness - never about facts and truth. Even when they are blatantly caught, incompetents continue to react and reason with their intellectual sloth-driven infantile/adolescent immaturity - they will deny that they did anything wrong or that they have lied, then they will blame/attack (read: character assassinate) their "accusers". I call this: "Lie and Cry".
Let us now take another look at the justifications put forth by the Bush administration for the Afghanistan war, as laid out by President Bush's address on October 7, 2001 (emphasis mine):
"On my orders, the United States military has begun strikes against Al Qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

These carefully targeted actions are designed to disrupt the use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operations and to attack the military capability of the Taliban regime (...).

I gave Taliban leaders a series of clear and specific demands: Close terrorist training camps. Hand over leaders of the Al Qaeda network, and return all foreign nationals, including American citizens unjustly detained in our country.

None of these demands were met
. And now, the Taliban will pay a price
."
Hence why the war in Afghanistan is deemed to this day a "just" war, meant to capture/destroy al Qaeda (especially their leader Osama bin Laden), the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks.

Putting aside the fact that the Taliban was never a terrorist organization to begin with, here are some interesting, seldom known, truths concerning the Taliban's "refusal" to hand over bin Laden:
a) From September 28 to October 4, 2001, the Taliban negotiated and agreed to extradite bin Laden to Pakistan in order to place him before an international tribunal, with the court free to decide whether to try him on the spot or hand him over to America - but Pakistan President Musharraf killed the deal in the end;

b) In the morning of October 7, 2001 (a few hours before Bush's address and the beginning of the war), the Taliban offered to try bin Laden themselves - but the White House rejected the offer;

c) On October 14, 2001, the Taliban offered to hand bin Laden over to the U.S., provided that proof was shown that he was responsible for 9/11 - but this offer was likewise flatly rejected by the White House.
Ergo: in its (incompetent) desire to rush into war, the White House effectively lied about the Taliban's refusal to hand over bin Laden in order to cover up ... their desire to rush into war.

As for the hunt/capture/killing of Osama bin Laden? As we know all too well, such primary purpose - the very raison d'être for the Afghanistan war launched seven years and a half ago - has ever remained an "on and off" affair meant to be "turned on" for nothing more than keeping political support for the Global War on Terror(TM)when said support is perceived as wavering. A few quotes as cases in point:
Hunt is "on":
"The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him." - Pres. G.W. Bush; 09/12/2001;

"We made it very clear we want Osama bin Laden (...)" - Vice-Pres. R.B. Cheney; 12/09/2001;

"We are going to continue the hunt for Osama bin Laden (...) I'm quite certain that we will get Osama bin Laden." - Sec. State C. Rice; 03/17/2005;

"We have got US forces on the hunt for not only Bin Laden but anybody who plots and plans with Bin Laden." - Pres. G.W. Bush; 03/01/2006;

"We've been looking for (bin Laden) for some time." - Vice-Pres. R.B. Cheney; 01/24/2007.


Hunt is "off":
"(...) He’s not the issue." - Pres. G.W. Bush; 02/05/2002;

"I truly am not that concerned about him." - Pres. G.W. Bush; 03/13/2002;

"The goal has never been to get bin Laden." - Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. R. Myers; 04/06/2002;

"bin Laden doesn’t fit with the administration’s strategy for combating terrorism." - Pres. G.W. Bush; 09/14/2006;

"He’s not the only source of the problem, obviously(...)" - Vice-Pres. R.B. Cheney; 09/10/2006.
In essence, bin Laden is a de facto bogey man who's existence is reminded only when deemed politically convenient. Why? Because these people need to cover-up their utter incompetence and therefore rely on hype, fearmongering, cherry-picked facts (and non-facts) and outright lies in order to get, and keep, everybody else "on board" with them. I even suspect that in their intellectual sloth- and fear-driven petty minds, they actually come to believe their own tall tales - because, in their self-deluded vanity and arrogance, they are right.

Case in point with this excerpt of Donald Rumsfeld appearing at Meet The Press on December 02, 2001 (links and emphasis mine):
Russert: The search for Osama bin Laden. There is constant discussion about him hiding out in caves, and I think many times the American people have a perception that it's a little hole dug out of a side of a mountain.

Rumsfeld: Oh, no.

Russert: The Times of London did a graphic, which I want to put on the screen for you and our viewers. This is it. This is a fortress. This is a very much a complex, multi-tiered, bedrooms and offices on the top, as you can see, secret exits on the side and on the bottom, cut deep to avoid thermal detection so when our planes fly to try to determine if any human beings are in there, it's built so deeply down and embedded in the mountain and the rock it's hard to detect. And over here, valleys guarded, as you can see, by some Taliban soldiers. A ventilation system to allow people to breathe and to carry on. An arms and ammunition depot. And you can see here the exits leading into it and the entrances large enough to drive trucks and cars and even tanks. And it's own hydroelectric power to help keep lights on, even computer systems and telephone systems. It's a very sophisticated operation.

Rumsfeld: Oh, you bet. This is serious business. And there's not one of those. There are many of those. And they have been used very effectively. And I might add, Afghanistan is not the only country that has gone underground. Any number of countries have gone underground. The tunneling equipment that exists today is very powerful. It's dual use. It's available across the globe. And people have recognized the advantages of using underground protection for themselves.
I still remember to this day this interview because, as I watched it, I kept thinking that somehow someone had slipped hallucinogenics in my coffee, making me experience an alternate reality whereby pure fiction is not only discussed as reality, but that high officials of the White House actually confirm such paranoid fantasies as reality.

That was when I had begun to understand that I was witnessing utter incompetence in action: all that mattered was that people support the war in Afghanistan (a war to cover-up their incompetence in not heeding the alarm bells signaling for an al Quaeda strike on U.S. soil, thus likely preventing 9/11) and, consequently, any lie, obfuscation, conflation, fearmongering or outright fantasy constituted acceptable means to A) make the "deciders" appear serious, competent and deserving of trust; and B) keep the hype going to sustain a frenzied support for the "deciders" (some George Orwell, anyone?).

Because - once again - everything is about spin and truthiness, never about facts and truth, where incompetents are concerned. It matters more for them to appear competent and "on top of things" than actually doing something to correct/remedy their incompetence.

So, what of Osama bin Laden, nowadays? Well, without any competent strategy to this effect, let's just say that the hunt for bin Laden will be a long one and leave it at that.

Or, as President George W. Bush proclaimed recently: "He'll be gotten by a president".

Thus, after seven and a half years in Afghanistan, all we ended up with is a quagmire with no end in sight - all the while having ignored the real problem: Pakistan.

Nevertheless, Afghanistan has been a big success in the minds of the incompetents in the White House.

But, and again as we know all too well, things worsened with regards to the so-called Global War on Terror(TM) - for shortly after the onset of the Afghanistan war quickly came the justifications of the Bush administration to go to war with Iraq. And there, the lies, obfuscations, disassembling and truthiness were offered profusely - just a few examples (emphasis mine):
On Iraq's WMDs:
Vice-President Dick B. Cheney (August 26, 2002): "Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons."

President George W. Bush (October 7, 2002): "The threat comes from Iraq. It arises directly from the Iraqi regime's own actions -- its history of aggression, and its drive toward an arsenal of terror (...) (The Iraqi regime) has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons. It is rebuilding the facilities used to make those weapons (...) Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program (...) (Saddam) is seeking nuclear weapons (...) he is moving ever closer to developing a nuclear weapon."

Vice-President Dick B. Cheney (March 17, 2002): "But we do know, with absolute certainty, that (Saddam) is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon."

Condoleeza Rice (September 8, 2002): "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (November 14, 2002): "Well, we know that Saddam Hussein has chemical and biological weapons. And we know he has an active program for the development of nuclear weapons."

Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (January 29, 2003): "(Saddam's) regime has the design for a nuclear weapon; it was working on several different methods of enriching uranium, and recently was discovered seeking significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

State Secretary Colin Powell (February 6, 2003): "(Iraq's programs to create WMDs) are a real and present danger to the region and to the world."

Vice-President Dick B. Cheney (March 16, 2003): "(Saddam's) had years to get good at it and we know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons."

President George W. Bush (March 17, 2003): "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."


On al Qaeda, 9/11, Saddam Hussein/Iraq links:
Vice-President Dick B. Cheney (August 26, 2002): "It is a certainty that the al Qaeda network is pursuing such (weapons of mass destruction), and has succeeded in acquiring at least a crude capability to use them. We found evidence of their efforts in the ruins of al Qaeda hideouts in Afghanistan (...) containment is not possible when dictators obtain weapons of mass destruction, and are prepared to share them with terrorists who intend to inflict catastrophic casualties on the United States (...) Deliverable weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terror network, or a murderous dictator (Saddam Hussein), or the two working together, constitutes as grave a threat as can be imagined."

National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice (September 26, 2002): "There clearly are contacts between al Qaeda and Iraq that can be documented; there clearly is testimony that some of the contacts have been important contacts and that there's a relationship here."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (November 14, 2002): "Now, transport yourself forward a year, two years, or a week, or a month, and if Saddam Hussein were to take his weapons of mass destruction and transfer them, either use them himself, or transfer them to the al Qaeda, and somehow the al Qaeda were to engage in an attack on the United States, or an attack on U.S. forces overseas, with a weapon of mass destruction you're not talking about 300, or 3,000 people potentially being killed, but 30,000, or 100,000 of human beings."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (January 29, 2003): "The (Iraq) regime plays host to terrorists, including al Qaeda (...)"

State Secretary Colin Powell (February 6, 2003): "Al Qaeda continues to have a deep interest in acquiring weapons of mass destruction (...) I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these weapons to Al Qaeda."

President George W. Bush (March 18, 2003): "(...) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations (Iraq), organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001."

President George W. Bush (May 1st, 2003): "The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11, 2001 (...) The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror. We've removed an ally of al Qaeda, and cut off a source of terrorist funding. And this much is certain: No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because the regime is no more."
(More "on the record" quotes can be found here, here, here and here)

Hence, what we got was the exact same modus operandi, but incredibly worse.

Of course, every single one - think about it: every single one! - of those claims were proven as empty of substance and reality as they were completely false.

That is why the justifications for the Iraq war were changed retroactively - from regime change to bringing democracy and freedom to the Middle East (domino theory, anyone?) to preventing al Qaeda from acquiring control of oil resources.

(And in the end, it does not matter if the true justification was oil, and only oil - because this further underlies the Principles of Incompetence!).

Thus we got the Iraq war, the second/concurrent quagmire with no end in sight.

And as in the case of Afghanistan, the Iraq venture has been a big success in the minds of the incompetents in the White House.

What are incompetents to do when they are revealed for the incompetents that they are, when they are confronted with their very own mendacious words?

First, they deny their exagerations, their cherry-picking of facts, their fearmongering, their hype and their lies. A few examples:
Bush rejects Saddam 9/11 link;

Rumsfeld denies making claims Iraq had WMDs (see above);

President George W. Bush denies he'd ever said he wasn't worried about Osama bin Laden (see above);

Dick Cheney Denies "Last Throes" comment (see this);

Rice heatedly defends her integrity on Iraq claims (see above);

Bush denies torture claims at CIA-run facilities (see Part I on this series);

Bush: "We’ve never been 'Stay The Course'" (see here);

Etc., etc., etc.
Second, they blame others for misquoting them, or for taking their words out of context, or for seeking to make cheap political attacks. Better yet: they simply blame others for their own failures - I could provide here examples of these, but they are far too numerous where this administration, as well its allies, supporters and enablers, are concerned - as we have come to know all too well.

And in the end, incompetents deny reality because they are too busy creating their own in their petty, deluded minds.

Unfortunately, reality does not care one bit about the delusions of incompetents and has this nasty knack of biting them in the arse - sooner or later.

But what terrible, wasteful damage incompetents do nevertheless.

In the meantime, the drums of war keep on beating the exact same way as for Afghanistan and Iraq - this time with Iran as the target, in what I have come to dub Operation Enduring Propaganda.

All of which once again illustrate clearly what incompetence is all about:
(They) are often deluded by intellectual vanity and invariably become slaves of expediency. Furthermore, everything is about image and appearance, instead of substance. Truthiness, instead of truth. All of these characteristics underlie incompetence - whether as nations, as communities, as citizens, as blue-collar/white-collar workers, as parents, and/or as thinking, reasoning human beings. In short, intellectual sloth transforms any adult person who is guilty of it into an irresponsible and reactionary child or adolescent, who lives only in the “now” while remaining blind to “yesterday” and “tomorrow". Such a person thus becomes incompetent - in dealing/composing with reality, or in at least trying to understand it (...).

As long as incompetents do not acknowledge their affliction with intellectual sloth, they will stubbornly refuse to change. Some people call this hubris. To this effect, incompetents are known to repeat the same mistakes again and again, because of their arrogance and utter fright at being exposed for what they truly are - and thus, they find themselves unknowingly enacting Franklin's, and/or Einstein's, very definition of insanity, which is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Fear.
Need for expediency.
Lack of morals and ethics.
Vanity and arrogance.
Lack of responsibility.
Denial of mistakes.
Duplicity.
Mendacity.
Denial of reality.

Incompetence.

Thus again I give you President George W. Bush and the whole of his administration, resulting in countless thousands of deaths, increased instability in the Middle East and terrorism ever on the rise.

That, and three trillion dollars wasted (see what you can buy with that insane amount of money here).


(In Part III: "control, control, control" - or be questioned, exposed and held accountable)


(Cross-posted at DKos, The Wild Wild Left, and Progressive Historians)