Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dirty Gary to Advise Conservatives on Guns

In a less-than-surprising story, Susan Delacourt reported a couple of days ago in the Star that the Conservative government's firearms advisory committee is stacked (or should I say loaded) with gun nuts like 'Dirty' Gary Mauser.

That the guy pictured above is advising our government about anything at all is profoundly disturbing. Then again, who am I to argue with a man shoving the barrel of a gun in my face while grinning maniacally?

Mauser has published several articles chronicling his pro-gun stance, and his picture was once featured on the National Firearms Association website. I could go on at length about his obvious bias, but Tim Lambert has taken the time to do so already at his weblog. It's an excellent post, and well worth the read.

In case you're wondering about the other members of the "fair and balanced" committee:

Mike Ackerman, physician and gun advocate
Tony Bernardo, Canadian Institute of Legislative Action.
Linda Thom, Olympic gold medallist in pistol shooting.
Alain Cossette, Quebec Wildlife Federation.
Greg Farrant, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.
Linda Baggaley, firearms expert and dealer from Alberta.
Stephen Torino, Quebec firearms expert and dealer.
Louis D'amour, New Brunswick firearms expert.
Gerry Gamble, Sporting Clubs of Niagara.
Robert Head, former RCMP assistant commissioner.
John Gayder, Niagara police.
Murray Grismer, Saskatoon police

According to the article in the Star, Mauser conceded the committee doesn't always agree on everything. Anyone care to guess how these guys settle their disputes?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Seeing the World Through Bush-Coloured Lenses

Reading the sad news today that 5 Brits were abducted in Baghdad, 10 more U.S. soldiers were killed and 33 Iraqi civilians died in two bombings, I couldn't help but think about what a deplorable nightmare Iraq has become.
May 2007 has been the bloodiest month of the year for Iraqis, and the worst month for American troop deaths since November of 2004. The numbers have been widely reported, and the facts are not in dispute. But as usual, the devil is in the interpretation of said facts. Far be it from me to suggest that the facts surrounding Iraq speak for themselves. For if they are speaking, George W. Bush seems blithely unaware of their message. But then again, facts have never stood in Dubbya's way before, so....why start now?

The Facts:

From a recent CBS/New York Times poll:
72% disapprove of Bush's handling of the war in Iraq
61% feel the US should have stayed out of Iraq
20% feel the troop surge will make things better in Iraq
63% support a timetable for troop withdrawal in 2008

From a recent USAToday/Gallup poll:
61% oppose US troop surge in Iraq
72% feel GWB does not have a clear plan for handling the situation in Iraq

Bush's Interpretation:

"I recognize there are a handful there, or some, who just say, `Get out, you know, it's just not worth it. Let's just leave.' I strongly disagree with that attitude. Most Americans do as well."

Bush clearly has a lot invested in this war, both financially and politically. So his defensive attitude isn't entirely surpising. But the way in which he casually dismisses the 63% of Americans who support withdrawal as "a handful" is truly astonishing. Either he is willfully attempting to deceive the public, or he is clinically delusional. The latter option is only partially in jest. If not for delusion, how else does one explain the fact that the US is in the process of building a $592 million dollar new US Embassy in Baghdad? At two thirds the size of Washington's National Mall, it will be the world's largest and most expensive foreign mission. Nevermind the fact that it is being built in the middle of a warzone, and will likely be a target for extremists for years to come.
"What you have is a situation in which they are building an embassy without really thinking about what its functions are," said Edward Peck, a former top U.S. diplomat in Iraq. "What kind of embassy is it when everybody lives inside and it's blast-proof, and people are running around with helmets and crouching behind sandbags?"

And finally, a thought for those who, despite all the facts, still support the Iraq war as part of Bush's fairy-tale "Global War on Terror". Earlier this month, NYU professor and foreign policy analyst Marilyn B Young made this astute observation:
"[I]n Iraq, it's not the terrorists - I mean, terrorists - anyhow, who are they? Terrorism is a tactic. It's not an ideology. It's not a person. It's a tactic that groups use."
When one views the GWOT from this perspective, its futility becomes apparent. Wars are fought against people and nations. But how do you wage a war against a tactic? The war in Iraq was Bush's attempt to fit a square peg into a round hole - to turn an inherently unwinnable war againt "terror" into a much more palatable war against Saddam Hussein. The ongoing kidnappings, bombings, and murders are sad testimony to the shortsightedness of Bush's plans.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Are You Pro-Choice?

If so, you should pity New Jerseyans. The incomparable Ed Helms explains.

Oddly however, residents of the Garden State are currently enjoying some relatively low gas prices, despite their "lack of choice". Go figure.