Never having been much of a supporter in the first place, I can't say I mind this week's demolition of NAFTA, aka the US/Canada softwood lumber "compromise." But if I were a "sober realist" about free trade, I might be composing a mea culpa of my own to those hippie NAFTA skeptics right about now:
The federal government defended its softwood deal with the United States Friday, dismissing suggestions the pact favours American interests and arguing that it took action where past efforts had failed.
This (and the earlier post linked to) has to be one of the classiest mea culpas I have ever read. Belle has my admiration and respect. Now if only she had been a conservative supporter of the war instead of a liberal, because, you know, conservatives believe in taking responsibility and shit. Oh, well: one down, about 30 million to go. Read more about A Small Step
Proving that you don't have to waterboard people to get them to renounce everything they know, arrested Vietnam-era deserter Allen Abney now says refusing to fight was a "mistake." And all it took was a couple of nights in a brig and the prospect of 5 more years in prison:
Read more about A Few Good Men
By now readers are probably aware that Christian activist Tom Fox's body was found, shot and showing signs of torture, in a Baghdad suburb. Tom's group, Christian Peacemaker Teams, was abducted several months ago by an insurgent group and held hostage in exchange for the release of Iraqi prisoners held by coalition forces. Tom was the only American in the group. He leaves behind two children. A video aired recently on al-Jezeera showed the other hostages still alive. Read more about Tom Fox (1951-2006)
What do the Washington Post, the New York Times, the LA Times, the Seattle Times, the Miami Herald, the Chicago Sun-Times, and for all I know every other paper in the US all have in common today? Today is International Women's Day, and not one of the papers covers it--unless you count as "coverage" a story on page A17 of the Washington Post about Bush "celebrating" IWD, with Afghan and Iraqi women as props. From W we learn that democracies flourish when women can vote, preferably under US tutelage, and vice versa. We need look no further than the great state of South Dakota to see this deep truth at work. So, I suppose, there really isn't a "local angle" for the US press on this, and I shouldn't be too critical. Read more about Invisible Women's Day
Here's a nice big stinkbomb for Stephen Harper from the voters who recently gave him a minority government:
Majority opposed to Afghan mission
A robust majority of Canadians say they would opt against sending troops to Afghanistan and would like to see parliamentarians have the opportunity to vote on the issue.
I know it's hard to keep track of all the things wingnuts are outraged about, so most corrente readers may have forgotten about this one if it ever crossed their radars in the first place. But back in 2004, this was briefly a very big deal: a bunch of peaceniks in Nelson, BC actually had the unmitigated gall to announce plans for a "draft resister memorial" honoring the Americans who took refuge in Canada rather than kill for LBJ and Nixon in Vietnam. O'Reilly called for a boycott of this sleepy (some would say stoned) little ski town of 10,000 inhabitants, and the 101st Fighting Keyboarders did their patriotic duty by carpet bombing the town's website with angry emails pledging never to visit this place they'd never heard of before. More seriously, some veterans groups took offense and pledged to protest the gathering if it ever survived the Keyboarders' fearsome firepower. I blogged about it at the time here. Read more about Our Way Home
I'm not naive enough to believe that Canada's courts are going to hand Stephen Harper a political IED by granting American soldiers asylum here, but any publicity about soldiers who are refusing to fight in Iraq helps bring this depraved war closer to an end. It should be abundantly clear by now that everything that's happening in Iraq right now is about protecting Bush and the Republicans politically--it cetainly isn't about saving Iraq--so even if once upon a time it was possible to imagine one was fighting for a freedom and democracy, that fairy tale is now standing crucified on a box in Abu Ghraib, and the soldiers fighting and dying aren't doing so for a mistake, they are doing so for a squalid band of thieves and liars. The only question is whether they admit it to themselves. If they do, their course of action is pretty clear. Read more about Support the Troops
RUSSERT: No, they will say it is a primarily a Democratic scandal because the Madison Guaranty money was siphoned off by Jim McDougal to cover his losses in Whitewater. But Matt, the issue is broad and wide. Republicans also understand that their policies created the Savings and Loan debacle, the Bush family--Jeb, Neil, the former President--is up to its eyeballs in failed S&Ls and so forth, and thatâ€™s why in order to reform all this, it has to be a bipartisan approach. But Republicans get raging mad when you suggest Whitewater is a bipartisan scandal.
In the wake of the Hamas victory in the Occupied Territories, Israel loudly announced that it would have nothing to do with the resulting government. That's interesting, because Hamas owes its very survival in large part to Israel. As Richard Sale accurately reported for UPI (no doubt when the usual media filters were unaccountably offline):
Read more about Sowing Dragon's Teeth
The Toronto Globe and Mail tells the Liberals that they'd like to try dating other people for a while:
Three Reasons Why It's Time for Change
Canada has been well served by 12-plus years of Liberal rule. Despite what the opposition parties would have us believe, it has not been all scandal and nest-feathering.
With the likelihood of a Conservative (possibly majority) government coming to power here in Canada shortly, it makes sense to get a few things out before the US press spins it in its usual braindead fashion. Read more about Prepared for the Worst