Bush admits bin Laden helped him win in 2004

February 28, 2006

In a new book by Bill Sammon, George Bush admits that Osama bin Laden’s 15 minute commentary on Bush as president the weekend before the election helped him win. That is probably true, but not likely for the reason he cites. Just to prove how shallow his thinking is, Bush says:

I thought it would help remind people that if bin Laden doesn’t want Bush to be the president, something must be right with Bush.

Surely someone with any brains realizes that if bin Laden is good at anything it is manipulation of the press.

Among other things, bin Laden actually said (emphasis and parenthesis added):

As for it’s (911’s) results, they have been, by the grace of Allah, positive and enormous, and have, by all standards, exceeded all expectations. This is due to many factors, chief among them, that we have found it difficult to deal with the Bush administration in light of the resemblance it bears to the regimes in our countries, half of which are ruled by the military and the other half which are ruled by the sons of kings and presidents.

and after listing some of the events after 911, he says:

All that we have mentioned has made it easy for us to provoke and bait this administration.

Does this sound like someone who doesn’t want Bush to be president?

Really?


Update on the Halifax Regional School Board…

February 28, 2006

Just read the linked article about the Halifax school board fiasco and it provides a lot of details that I didn’t know. To state more fully, it provides a lot of details that I didn’t know before I shot my mouth off in previous scribbles on the topic. Oh yes, there is indeed childishness at work here, but if Stephen Kimber is right, and I respect his journalism greatly, then the guilty parties are not those that have been making the headlines.

This school board is badly, badly broken, and to my eyes the only way to fix it is to get rid of everyone currently sitting and run new elections. Oh yeah, and don’t let anyone re-offer, either. And put the goddamn chairs back where they were.

Go read the article.


Harper announces Senate elections…

February 28, 2006

… through his spokesman Ralph Klein. Does anyone else find this strange? Perhaps Haprer’s new communications director has performed another communications “coup”.

Odd announcement aside, I wonder if Michael Fortier will give up his Senate seat and run in the election?


Please, please, please…

February 28, 2006

So David “Unprincipled Bastard” Emerson thinks that he can win an election as a Tory?

I’m sure he can.

C’mon David, go for it. Seriously, you can win, I know you can. What’s more important, you know you can. You know everything, that’s why the Tories wanted you so bad, so how can you be wrong? Harper has faith in you; what more can you ask for?

Those “little people” that have been protesting your, uh, evolution don’t know anything; certainly not like you. I know, they helped you get into office and might well actively campaign against you, but they don’t know anything.

While I don’t condone vandalism, I think that it might be really hard for you to keep a sign on a lawn, if you know what I mean, but you have the means, the knowledge to put them higher. You can do it, I know you can.

Go for it.

Please?


Sometimes you bite the dog…

February 28, 2006

Again on the local Halifax front, it looks like Nova Scotia grocery behemoth Sobeys might be getting the “WalMart” treatment. Sobeys, whose parent company owns Downsview Mall in suburban Lower Sackville, has for some time leased space to WalMart. However all is not well, as WalMart is unable within the “confines” of its lease to expand to sell grocery items in the mall, so it appears to be looking into building a new site in the Sackville Business Park.

I have no sympathy for Sobeys, it’s killed it’s share of mom-and-pop shops around the Maritimes through the years, so I watch this with a mixture of bemusement and sadness.

But I have to ask why on earth do we allow this to happen? I mean, from a purely local standpoint – why do we allow these monster block stores to move into low-tax districts, force municipalities to play catch up with roads, bus routes, sewage, etc., kill local business, and then pay minimum wage to employees that on average will not be able to get full-time hours and the corresponding benefits?

[Update: graven has shown me the joys of the website http://www.smarteconomist.com, which I have linked to the left in "Things we should know". It contains an interesting article that graven posted as a comment to this article. I'm going to put together an article on this issue later on, but if you want to see the SmartEconomist article, go to graven's comments to this one.]


Ultimatum for Halifax School Board

February 28, 2006

It looks like the provincial Department of Education is determined to force maturity on the Halifax Regional School Board. Jamie Muir, the education minister is sending a letter today to the Board telling them that “if the board itself has not been able to improve its process and get back to supporting teaching, learning in the public schools, then we’re prepared to take it over”.

Meanwhile, it appears the childish simpering continues from a vocal (and periodically absent) minority that walked out after losing a vote last meeting. Gin Yee, who I voted for, maintains that walking out is

one of the few ways a minority group of board members can say something and it has worked somewhat…

to which I am forced to reply, “GROW UP!” Perhaps, next municiple election my vote might “walk out”, too. If everyone reacted this way a democracy in any real sense would be entirely impossible. Things like this are what make people afraid of proportional representation, I fear. As for its efficacity, if you mean, “this has managed to make us look like a whinging bunch of fools nationally”, then yes, it has worked remarkably well.

He goes on, capping it off with the pre-pubescent argument (I shit you not):

…we weren’t the first group of people doing it.

I wish I was making this up. I really, really do.


What underlies Bush’s port fiasco?

February 27, 2006

George Bush appears to have opened a can of worms with this potential sale of 6 US port facilities to DP World of the UAE. The way that this whole affair has been handled reeks of the Harriet Myers appointment last fall, which means it is Bush’s (not Cheney’s) baby. From the quiet trimming of the mandatory 45-day review to 5 to the delightful “This deal wouldn’t go forward if we were concerned about the security for the United States of America ” quote to his blustery threat to block any legislation with a veto (which would be his first veto in his time in office) to the very public extension of the 5-day review to 45 days, this has “Bush-masterminded gaggle-fuck” written all over it.

The question is, what’s behind it?

The first thing that sprang to my mind is that there might be some monetary ties between the Bush family and DP World. If this was true, which I doubt, I don’t think it would produce the either the heated backlash against the purchase or the vicious wagon-circling within the Whitehouse that it has. In fact, if Scott Maclellan is to be believed (yeah, why believe him this time?), Bush was not even in the loop as this deal was being clinched. It’s just that small scale usury doesn’t seem to be the sine qua non of this administration. These guys aren’t about money – they’re about power, so this just doesn’t fit.

So what on earth is going on?

Last night’s episode of 60 Minutes presented a feature on how poor security is at most US port facilities. If that is to be believed, most port security is being handled not by police forces nor the Coast Guard, but by rent-a-cops hired by port management. What this deal does is expose a huge weakness in the “Fortress Amerika” mentality that Bush and Co. have tried to propagate for the past five years. Selling the ports to a foreign company is therefore effectively selling the security of those very ports (and more) to a foreign company.

And what has been Bush’s stock-and-trade since 9/11? Security? Nope – the illusion of security. Bush, with great bravado created the Department of Homeland Defense in order to bolster and then promptly rolled back its funding and many of the trumpeted initiatives with it. Remember all the talk of “highly trained government-paid” airport security? That went by the wayside quickly and quietly when security contractors caused the government to balked. Just about the only public manifestation of the “improved security regime” that remained three years after 9/11 is taking your shoes off in the airport (Jesus Christ!) and the farcical Terror Alert Level, which seems also to have quietly gone the way of all things.

However, at every opportunity Bush and Fox News have beaten the opposition over the head on security issues and it still remains the only issue on which Americans trust the Republicans. This deal is about more than money, or “friends of America in the War on Terror”; it exposes the bullshit that lies at the heart of Bush’s promse of security.

Only the Democrats could possibly lose an election to these clowns. It’s going to take some work, but I’m sure they’ll manage to do it again.

[Edit - the terror alerts still exist! I guess it's just that the media have realized they are totally bogus and have stopped talking about them.]


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