Monday, January 31, 2011

Tuesday Morning

UPPERDATE: North Vancouver woman packs bags for Cairo in midst of political upheaval
"While state television has been accused of exaggerating accounts of looting and chaos, her family told her the protests are peaceful, Ramses noted.

“Whenever I speak to family and friends there, [it seems] the morale is pretty high,” she said. “My dad went to the Tahrir Square protest the other day and he said there are so many girls, so many women, and they’re treating it like a picnic. They’re sitting around in groups and singing.”"
By the way, that woman is almost the spittin' image of my daughter. And doesn't she also evoke an image of Queen Hapshetsup? Once again, Godspeed to the land of the pharaohs.
UPDATE: Okay, so I lied. I'm still up. I just wanted to say, three cheers for the former British Empire: Aussies escape Egypt on Canadian planes

Note that the opposition party in Australia is using the occasion to score brownie points by blasting the ruling party. Politics is the same everywhere.
It's 5:15 AM on February 1st in Cairo. Today is the day the protesters were promising a massive gathering.

Damn time zones!! I will be hitting the sack soon, so once again, I'll have to wait until the day is almost over in Cairo to see what actually happens. Any North American night owls who may want to keep tabs over night, I would suggest following either (or both) of these two Twitter accounts:

Sandmonkey and #Jan25

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Islamist or Secularist? The Choice Should Be Egypt's

Many, many people are freaking out about the Muslim Brotherhood and its role in the turmoil in the Middle East. The Muslim Brotherhood is reaping the fruits of its history of extremist ideology. Nobody in the West trusts them or believes them. This has lead, IMHO, to a lot of wacko, illogical conspiracy theorizing coming from folks in the West. Sheesh, people. Leave that to the conspiracy theorizing specialist themselves, the Arabs.

I'm not a conspiracy theorist. Conspiracies certainly exist, but most tumultuous situations are far too fluid and unpredictable for anyone to have total control, to the point of moving it in precisely the direction they want it to go, especially when we're talking about relationships that span a multitude of nations and hundreds of thousands of people.

From what I've seen and read, the MB is being reactive rather than proactive. They've been handed an opportunity and they've leapt to take advantage of it. I think Tony Blair has it right:

What's happening right now in the Middle East and North Africa is a genuine uprising of "people power". Therefore, the West should tread carefully. The "people" should not be betrayed and what should happen, and don't ask me how, is the Muslim Brotherhood should be discredited and their power and influence diminished, without betraying the aspirations of the people on the streets who want to rid their countries of a half century or more of oppression.

Any reading of all the tweets being published over the last couple of days from Egyptian rebels should eliminate the notion that there is a yearning for a Sharia based theocracy rather than a genuine democracy.

To be sure, the security of Israel may be at risk, but if one more boot comes stomping down on the Arab street from the West, then the Muslim Brotherhood gains an enormous amount of street cred. Believe me, we don't want that to happen.

Need I remind you, the Egyptian peace treaty with Israel survived the assassination of its Egyptian signatory, Anwar Sadat, by the Muslim Brotherhood. Anyone who has been following the comments in Sandmonkey's blog, and others from Egypt, will know that ordinary Israelis and Egyptians have been talking to one another and actually being very amiable with each other for some time. Never forget the immortal words of the Sandmonkey's Seven Rules of the Arab Parallel Universe. He is a young, Western educated man. He and his compatriots are the future. Don't betray them by swallowing conspiracy theories.

The same could be said about Iraq. There, as was obvious to me anyway, there was a three way struggle between Islamists, the old-guard, hardline Arab Nationalists (in this case, the Ba'athist Party and their head goon, Saddam Hussein) and regular, westernized Iraqis. Between the three, it should be no contest which the West should support.

History is full of great turning points, from which the subsequent passage of time reveals a new path has been taken. From here on in, the West needs to send a clear and consistent message to Arab countries: "We support your legitimate struggle against tyranny, whether religious or nationalist." Don't betray the people on the street simply because the Islamists seek to exploit them.

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Don't Sell Him

Stuff him and put him in your museum.

Meanwhile, Egypt's Opposition Unites Behind Elbaradei
"Egypt's opposition groups lined up behind a moderate leader comfortable on the world stage as their best chance to oust President Hosni Mubarak Sunday, while the nation's military closed ranks with the government leadership but allowed protests to continue raging in the streets."
Moving along. Just keep the Islamists down to size, please.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ramifications Blow Both Ways

Syrian Strongman: Time for 'Reform'

Iran Sees Rise of Islamic Hard-Liners

Or maybe Iran is trying to direct Baby Assad's "Reforms".

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An Islamist Revolution?

I don't think so. Which is not to say that Islamists can't hi-jack it any time.

But how many times have I read tweets like these:
"Everybody must know that "this was not an Islamist revolution"
"In last 5 days haven't seen any major expressions of political Islam. It's not there, armchair "terrorism" experts. Move on."
"God, I've heard so much scaremongering about the Muslim Brotherhood today..."
""This is not an Islamist revolution, it's a secular democratic everyday's people revolution" @MaajidNawaz minutes ago in Al Jazeera"

This is interesting:
"BBC Arabia: Gun shots are heard from the presidential guard command center"
Not sure what that means. Is there a coup underway? Someone just tweeted:
"Mubarak gives army shoot-to-kill order"
Could that have been a "last straw"?

The crackdown continues:

"Ayman Nour: #Egyptian opposition pol,jailed by #Mubarak after he contested presidency."

"Reports that the police will retake Cairo tomorrow. Things could get ugly"

Needless to say, other nearby countries are watching closely: Syria, Yemen, Jordan and Algeria.

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Protests Continue

I'll be updating throughout the day (scroll down for latest).

Protesters stand their ground

Sandmonkey is tweeting again:

"army everywhere. Wonder what they will do abt police. We'll see whose side they're on today"

"army tanks everywhere, stability nominally returned"

"army was saluting volunteer protection groups on the street, saying proud of them"

"if ppl see a police officer on the street they'll probably beat him up"

"no police seen anywhere"

"in tahrir now, everyone here, ppl of ALL classes, army letting us in, v peaceful"

"word is army has permission to shoot live ammunition at protesters" 
"we just had an air show of military planes flying at low altitudes tryin 2 scare ppl"

It's interesting that people from all over the world are tweeting at the Jan25th site - in several languages and scripts! The world is with you, Egypt.

ElBaradei says has mandate to agree Egypt unity govt

That hatchet-job of a headline means: "he had a popular and political mandate to negotiate the creation of a national unity government."

Profile of Omar Suleiman (Mubarak's hand picked successor) A fairly impressive bio, even if he wasn't chosen by the people. Enough to give me some hope, considering the news about Elbaradei. More about Suleiman here.

Some not so good news from Tunisia: As Tunisians cheer Egypt Islamist leader returns

...but I guess it depends on who you ask.

US, Turkey evacuating Citizens from Egypt I would imagine anyone who is not an Egyptian citizen is scrambling to get out, asap.

Al Jazeera silenced.

Rumours (on twitter) that Mubarak will announce shortly that he is stepping down. Hope it's true.

Cairo prison break prompts fear of fundamentalism

"Escape of Muslim Brotherhood leaders from jail in Cairo leads to fears that hardline Islamists could gain influence"
One has to admit, jail is the best place for 'em.

Some interesting tweets from Jan25th:

"protesters at Tahrir Sq spelled “Down w/ Mubarak” w/ their bodies. Bringing down govt remains main demand of the ppl’s mvmt"

"The neighborhood protection committees are all absolute badas

"Remarkable story of two Israeli human rights activists who joined the protests in #Egypt earlier this week"

"People are wondering if Egypt will go the way of Iran 2009 or Tunisia 2011. I'm hoping more for France 1792." (That's from a woman named Iqbal, which is as Arabic as they come.)

"Dear Mubarak: The protests are getting bigger, not smaller. Flee or face trial, you cannot win"

"Great pic from @RamyRaoof: Small Girl on tank in Tahrir Square chanting, "Freedom... Freedom"

Again proof the army is with the people!

Simple, direct message.

More tweets:

"Today, the tone of protesters hardens even further: demands of putting Mubarak on trial"

" Mass protests in #Syria on Saturday, February 5, 2011 & Mass protests in #Algeria on Wednesday, February 12, 2011"

"Cairo protesters embark on hunger strike"

"expat in FL:nephew shot w 3 plastic bullets,refuses 2 leave Tahrir square ,decided only death will or #Mubarak 's departure "

"Egyptian activists in US & supporters should demonstrate at White House 2 get Obama/Clinton 2 deliver right message"
(At least Clinton is speaking frankly to Mubarak. Obama, on the other hand, is too busy with....??? God knows what.)

"It's NOT TRUE the only people in #Egypt committed to #peace with Israel are in #Mubarak's inner circle"
Sandmonkey tweets: "curfew tomoro 3pm to 8 am. They're trying to lock ppl in &drive them insane" LOL! That's our Sandmonkey. Always joking.

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Down With Mubarak

According to Omar (of Iraq the Model), who posted this on Facebook, the words on the side of the tank mean.....Are you ready for it?.....(drumroll)....."Down with Mubarak!!"

Yes, folks. The army is on the side of the people!!

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Live Updates (Scroll down for latest)

...from BBC, which is confirming that Mubarak's two sons are in London (1601 Hosni Mubarak's two sons, Alaa and Gamal, have arrived in London, the BBC Arabic Service learns).

"Israel's Foreign Ministry has evacuated Israeli citizens and the families of Israeli diplomatic staff from Egypt. A flight carrying the spouses and children of Israeli envoys, as well as 40 Israeli citizens who were staying in Cairo on private business, landed a short while ago at Ben Gurion airport, the ministry said in a statement."

I wonder what's happening in Libya and Iran?

PS: Sandmonkey's tweeting again. His latest: "my aunt lives next to presidential palace, she says she's hearing repeated gun battles"

Other tweets: "Egyptian television reports that the country's cabinet has formally submitted its resignation."

"Police no longer functioning as law enforcement force. Army doing little to actually enforce order."

It's hard to see how the old guard can pull itself out of this one.

A young Egyptian speaks to BBC:

A human wall protecting the Cairo Museum.

More tweets:"Egyptian Christians said they will guard the Muslims from the police while they on Friday Pray." Amazing solidarity."

Live coverage from Aljazeera (Audio-video)

From Al Jazeera, police have not been seen for 24 hours. Talk of police and army having to make a decision. Whose side will they come down on?

Very interesting picture: The army, protesters with a small baby - soldiers smiling at baby - the future?

Interview with ElBaradei currently on Aljazeera. He seems to be emerging as a leader of the revolution. He's calling on the government to step down and the army to protect the people. Predicts Egypt will collapse today!

Defiance on Cairo streets as protesters 'lose fear'

There are now 16,963 stories on Google News! The whole world is on the edge of its "seat".

Death toll rises to over a hundred. Still a very low number.

From Sandmonkey a few moments ago: "women carry sticks &join volunteer protection committees on the streets of Heliopolis. Ppl saluting army. It's great."

From Sandmonkey again:
# rumors that govt thugs will start vandalizing electricity boxes #jan25 12 minutes ago via Mobile Web

# great moment for egypt, ppl completely governing themselves #jan25 13 minutes ago via Mobile Web

# ppl in neighborhoods wearing white bands to identify each other

And: "5 yrs ago my beliefs made me a minority opposition, today i am the people #jan25"

Other tweets
"#jan25 is probably the world's first revolution led by middle class and geeks on behalf of the masses, lets not lose it looting thugs"

"Neighborhood protection groups wearing white arm bands in Cairo. People getting organised to end chaos and looting."

"Thousands of Egyptians form human-chain around Egypt Museum to protect it from looting"

"Stop & search now implemented on the streets of #Cairo - looks dually run by military with civilian support"

"The phrase "Walk like an Egyptian" will take on new meaning after all of this"
From the BBC:
"Protesters have set fire to the Egyptian Tax Authority headquarters, an office tower in central Cairo near the interior ministry"
Hmmmmm. Brilliant idea.

Ruling National Democratic Party office building on fire. The Egyptian Museum, one of the world's greatest repository of antiquities, is close by.

More tweets:
"a middle class revolution RT @hyperlocavore: Most of the people in the streets of Egypt - are educated with at least a BA"

"Revolution is spreading! Protests in Sudan tomorrow!"
On Aljazeera, man interviewed says they have heard the Minister in charge of the police has left the country.

A photo montage from the New York Times.

Death toll could be much higher.

Rumours of 19 "businessmen" arriving in Dubai from Egypt, perhaps members of the ruling party

From the BBC: "2358 Amid reports of numerous leading Egyptian businessmen fleeing the country on private jets, Mariah Westwind tweets:
"GAME OVER Hosni #Mubarack! Shuffling Your Cabinet Is Like Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic! You had 30 yrs at this-GET OUT!"

Muslims, Christians, we are all Egyptians (This is a good one. Be sure to read it.)
"My friend Yousry is in his late twenties. He and his wife would be considered affluent because they live in Zamalek. But like so many others, because all barriers of class have fallen away—he has been on the streets for the last 48 hours. He just returned home in Zamalek after patrolling the streets of the neighborhood with his prized Syrian sword that used to just hang up as souvenir in their living room. He had never thought he would have to take it off the wall and actually try to use it to defend his neighbors and his family. He did like to show it off at our late night parties in his apartment.

I have spent the last half an hour with him talking from his landline at home. This is his powerful account un-edited..."
"To me what he describes is more powerful than anything I have heard on television with the endless parade of pundits..."

AlJazeera is showing clips from the Iranian revolt of two years ago, including the powerful images of Neda, as she lay on the streets bleeding out. That, my friends, is what this chaos in Cairo (hey, I like the alliteration!) is all about. I highly doubt Iran is behind this, as some are suggesting, nor are the Egyptians on the street Islamists or people wanting to set up a theocracy. Go, Egypt!!!

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Well, This Morning's Twitter

...has this to say:
"Thousands are on the streets of #Egypt, #Mubarak is the only one respecting his #curfew! #jan25 #Egypt The revolution continues."
"Doctor at Sayyed Galal Hospital, Cairo tells BBC live bullets have been fired on protesters"
"We keep saying that Arab youth have no good role models. Now they have thousands of them"
And from Sandmonkey:
"yesterday chants "not baradei, not Ikhwan (brotherhood), we're Egypt's tired people"
"people are NOT done"
And from regular news outlets, right now there are 16,258 articles on the uprising in Egypt. From the Globe and Mail:
"Thousands of Egyptian protesters gathered peacefully in Tahrir Square in central Cairo Saturday, demanding President Hosni Mubarak step down and cheering as though it were a World Cup victory.

Members of the military, riding in tanks and armoured personnel carriers, guarded important government buildings, but largely avoided clashing with protesters.

The ruling party's headquarters, next to the square, were still smoldering after being lit on fire during massive and violent protests the night before.

But on Saturday, with a shift to a more joyous and respectful tone among the crowds, people were picking up litter off the streets and throwing it in refuse bins."
"In scenes that haven’t been witnessed in this capital since the overthrow of the Egyptian monarchy in 1952, tens of thousands of people protested in the streets on Friday, battling thousands of riot police that tried, and failed, to prevent the protesters from overrunning the city’s core."
The same article puts the death toll so far at only 48.

There are also rumours that both of Hosni Mubarak's sons have high-tailed it to London.
And the thing about Egypt, as with Iraq, Islam is not the only source of identity:
"Early Saturday, reports from the scene indicated that the Egyptian army had secured Cairo's famed antiquities museum, arresting looters and protecting thousands of priceless artifacts, including the gold mask of King Tutankhamen.

Some young men — armed with truncheons taken from the police — formed a human chain outside the main entrance in an attempt to protect the collection inside from the looters before the military arrived.

Ahmed Ibrahim, 26, said it was important to guard the museum because it “has 5,000 years of our history. If they steal it, we'll never find it again.”"
Indeed, 3,700 years of it.

I don't know about you and I've said before, I tend to be Pollyannish. But I'm getting more and more hopeful that this is not going to be one of those coups or counter coups or coups to counter the counter coups or counter coups to counter the counter coups that has characterized the Arab (and Muslim) world for so very long, those that simply replace one creaking old dictatorship with a new one, just as rotten, nor is the old guard going to survive. I think a new day is dawning.

Latest from Aljazeera, relations between the army and the people is warm and friendly, but police are doing the looting in some places.

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Late Night News From the Land of the Pharaohs

Private planes leave Cairo under heavy guard h/t Pat Dollard

Speculation abounds. Blackberry and cell service is back on.

Also, ElBaradei said to be under house arrest.

Cairo falls into near anarchy (Emphasis mine)
"By the end of the day-long battle, the protesters were still standing and the police were nowhere to be seen. Mubarak - who had not spoken publicly since the protests began Tuesday - made a televised speech after midnight, announcing that he had asked his cabinet to resign. The move fell far short of protesters' demands and seemed likely to ensure that the anti-government demonstrations that have erupted here would continue."
"It remained unclear late Friday what role the Egyptian military might play. Mubarak, a former air force officer, draws much of his strength from the military, and any decision by the armed forces to withdraw support would mean the certain end of his rule.

But unlike the police, which unleashed an arsenal of weapons against the demonstrators, the military did not take any immediate action, and protesters gleefully welcomed the soldiers' arrival in a thundering of personnel carriers."
"Protesters were honking their horns in celebration and roaming freely through central parts of the city late in the evening, in defiance of a strict curfew. The night air was thick with black smoke, and the sounds of explosions, gunshots, sirens, cries and occasional cheers echoed through the darkness.

The protests, which were launched in cities nationwide but were largest in Cairo, were the most serious in Egypt's modern history. Protesters have called for Mubarak, who at 82 has ruled this country with an iron fist for 30 years, to give up his position, leave the country and allow fresh elections."
"Before this week, few thought a mass anti-government movement was possible in Egypt, a country that has little experience with democracy. But after Friday's protests, the campaign to oust Mubarak only seems to be gathering strength.

Egyptian demonstrators are hoping to replicate the success of pro-democracy advocates in Tunisia, who this month ousted their autocratic president and sparked a wave of imitators across the region. Because Egypt has long been seen as the political center of the Arab world, the end of Mubarak's rule would reverberate particularly deeply."
"The protests were launched after midday prayers. They started small, with police moving in immediately to try to suppress them. But the gatherings soon swelled, and the police tactics escalated. Throughout the afternoon and evening, security services fired hundreds of tear gas shells, shot unarmed protesters and beat them with clubs. Despite those efforts, the protesters continued to surge toward downtown Cairo and, after dark, began setting fire to police vehicles and government buildings, as well as the headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party."
"Despite calls by Egypt's main opposition party, the Muslim Brotherhood, for members to join the movement, this week's protests have been decidedly secular. Demonstrators, most of whom appear to be members of the nation's middle class, said their campaign has little to do with religion."
What will the world look like tomorrow when I wake up? Sure hope we can believe that last bit about the role of religion.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

While Cairo Burns

...Ottawa churns:

Canada moves to extradite, freeze assets of exiled Tunisian billionaire
"The federal government says it will move as fast as it can to extradite the wealthy relative of Tunisia’s former president who fled to Montreal, and is seeking to freeze his assets."
"Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon says Ottawa is looking for a legal avenue to return him to Tunisia, where the new government is seeking to prosecute him.

“We will find – obviously within existing Canadian law – the means that will ensure that we can comply with the Tunisian government’s request as quickly as possible, so this individual is no longer on Canadian territory,” Mr. Cannon said. He also said that the federal government would make every effort to find and freeze Mr. Trabelsi’s assets.

The question now is whether Ottawa’s legal powers match its rhetoric – or whether Mr. Trabelsi will be able to fight his expulsion for years.

The RCMP say they have yet to receive a warrant for Mr. Trabelsi’s arrest. Tunisia’s request for his arrest has no legal impact until Canadian authorities determine there is grounds for arrest, and issue a warrant here.

Ottawa is now working on two avenues to remove him: by deporting under immigration laws and by extraditing him for criminal prosecution. But both can be challenged in time-consuming legal procedures."
This is going to be one long, complicated, drawn-out mess. By the time it's finished, I sure hope Tunisia has a good solid foundation upon which to build its new polity.

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Stupid Question

Is there a road Bloc in way of Tory majority dream?

Not so easy answer. But don't be surprised if this idea heats up again. Lord knows. We could use a little heat right now. It's bloody cold here right now.

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Here In My Warm, Cushy Living Room,

...I can only laugh. Hardened old dictators are so adept at making fools of themselves:

Mubarak fires ministers, vows to stay, appeals for calm

Ya, that'll work. It was those damned ministers you appointed.

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And Now for Something Completely Different

If your name is Derek Woods, you might want to change it. Your secret is out.

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Egypt on the "Brink"...

UPDATE: It will be close to 4:30 PM in Cairo now. By most accounts, the large numbers just haven't been there but, nonetheless, Cairo erupted in demonstrations once again, and there is a global effort by dedicated techies working to overcome the communications ban Arrests and brutal crackdowns by police continue.  In other words, they have not turned.  Most accounts say "thousands" came out after Friday prayers, but this one says tens of thousands. From this report:
"A middle-aged woman in a Cairo crowd who had never participated in a demonstration before summed up the mood of a populace that, at least for today, has reached a breaking point.
“We didn’t just come here because of inflation or rising food prices. We came because we want freedom, because we’re tired of oppression, and because we hate the regime,” she says."

...of revolution.
"Police warned the president they could soon lose control of the demonstrators demanding his overthrow...(while) organisers said they planned to make today's marches the biggest yet."
According to Sandmonkey's twitter site, all communications lines have been shut off.

Don't let that stop you people. The police seem almost ready to join you. There are conflicting reports regarding the police. Some speak of police disappearing from the streets while others say there is a heavy presence. Key members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been arrested. Godspeed, the Egyptian people!

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Iranian Students... in France express solidarity with Tunisian people.
"The fall of Tunisia's pharaoh was an incredible event that filled us with joy and delight. Emancipation from the yoke of tyranny was not only a victory for the people of Tunisia but was also an inspiring achievement for all nations under oppression.

We congratulate our Tunisian brothers and sisters on this triumph and caution that the gift of freedom is hard to come by but easy to lose."

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The Irony is Thick

Harper is visiting Morocco, which is still a monarchy, while back home the Tunisian dictator's relatives are being stripped of their residency permits.  And there are demonstrations in Jordan against King Abdullah.  The trip to Morocco centred on free trade between Canada and that North African country. I guess the trip had already been arranged before any of the uprisings began, but I wonder how stable the monarchy in Morocco is, and what impact that question might have with businesses wanting to do trade with Morocco.

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Tunisian Rebels Get What They Want...


Tunisian PM names independents to key gov't posts
"Tunisia's prime minister appointed independents to three key posts in the country's new interim Cabinet on Thursday, removing ministers from the former ruling party in a major concession to demonstrators."
"The new interim Cabinet, Tunisia's second in 10 days, is a caretaker government intended to prepare for elections in six to seven months. Ghannouchi said the elections will be organized by an independent national commission and overseen by international observers to ensure the vote is "honest and transparent." He did not offer a date for the ballot."
Things are moving right along. So far, it looks like the Tunisian revolution could very well be a success. These election plans sound very much like the process used in Iraq. I'm not sure if Tunisians on the streets were inspired by what happened in Iraq, but there is certainly a case to be made that the experience in Iraq, or some aspects of it, at least, have provided a template. Now, if all those other places where throngs are on the streets are equally successful we will see the Middle East become a very different place by this time next year.

And who knows what the next decade will bring? Perhaps, twenty years from now, as with Eastern Europe, the young folk in the region will have no memory of their own of the repressive regimes that held power for half a century. I've always measured the beginning of that era by the overthrow of Egypt's King Farouk, and the British, in 1952, an event that inspired so many coups that followed, and that also ushered in the long era of dictatorship, military and otherwise, that are just now being rattled to the core. Makes me feel like an old fart to be able to say I lived long enough to observe it all.

And since so many on the streets seem to be carrying loaves of French bread, maybe it should be called the French Bread Revolution.   I seem to recall the French Revolution having something to do with bread, too, or was it cake?  Bread and roses jasmine.  And in case you're wondering why it's been called the jasmine revolution, I suppose it's named after the sweetest smelling flowering shrub in the Middle East.  Take a look.  That's why we gave our daughter that name, too. But I'm rambling. Like an old fart.

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I found him!! Sandmonkey is part of the uprising in Egypt. Follow his tweets:!/Sandmonkey

Stay safe, young man. The future is yours!

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Oh, This Story Conjurs Up...

...some raaaaaacist thoughts. But it's just jokes. Sheesh, you people!
"A cache of stone tools found on the east coast of the Arabian peninsula has reopened the critical question of when and how modern humans escaped from their ancestral homeland in eastern Africa."
Let me see now. Mecca is on the east coast, isn't it.

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Waiting for the Tunisian Example to Hit...


Can you imagine being a world leader at some grand summit and having to stand beside Berlusconi during the photo-ops? What would be going through your mind? Hehehehehe.

Italy has some freaky approach to politics. I remember waaaaaaay back in the 1970s their governments fell every six months, practically. They had elections more often than Berlusconi has sex with under-aged tarts.

Oh, and at the risk of revealing how uncool and out of touch I am, what the heck is a "bunga bunga" party? I'm not sure I'd want to go to one - assuming I'd be let in.

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I'm Sorry, But...

...this is just too hilarious to pass up.

Smugglers with medieval catapult nabbed at border

"In a brazen attempt reminiscent of a medieval siege, Mexican smugglers tried to use a hefty catapult to hurl drugs north over the U.S. Border, authorities said."
Right out of a Monty Python skit.

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Now It's Yemen!!

Yemeni Protesters Demand End to Saleh Rule

Remember the fall of the Berlin Wall? The collapse of communism? The end of apartheid? It's amazing how long-standing structures of oppression can collapse so suddenly. I wonder if Saudi Arabia and Iran will be swept up into this? So much depends on the police and the army. If they side with the people then their regimes are done. If not, it's all just senseless bloodshed and brutality. Godspeed to the people of these ancient lands.

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Great Moments in Journalism

Or, "Who're you gonna believe?"

Muslim birthrate expected to fall over next two decades

Global Muslim population expected to grow in next 20 years

Bottom line:
"According to the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life, the Muslim population will increase globally by 35 percent in the next 20 years, from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030.

If the trend holds up, Muslims will make up over 26 percent of the world's total projected population of 8.3 billion in two decades."
Oh well, I guess when the custom is to produce litters, a reduction in the size of those litters constitutes a slowdown in growth, not an overall decline in numbers. But still. How much of our aid dollars go to Muslim countries?

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Amen, Brother!

The Noose Tightens

...And that's a good thing.


Ooooh!! Look What Was Happening in Canada...

...while I wasn't watching:

Give Quebec $5 billion or we vote against the budget

Au revoir La Belle Provence. Au revoir.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011


In the Meantime...

...Canada takes a stand:
"So the Canadian government put out a statement Wednesday urging all factions in Lebanon to work together, but also warning it won’t work with the new government if Hezbollah – also a banned terror group – is on top."
"With the turmoil in Egypt and Tunisia, the power shift in Lebanon has attracted less attention, though it has also seen angry street protests. Some fear it will have dramatic impact, bringing Lebanon under direct control of Hezbollah, and indirectly, Iran. Because it’s Lebanon, it’s a murky question: some think it’s a much more minor shift. Canada is still gauging whether the new government is a little Hezbollah, or a lot.

The Foreign Affairs Department issued a statement noting that Hezbollah is banned in Canada, and said the government will have “full contact” with non-Hezbollah members of the cabinet, but none with Hezbollah officials. “It will be difficult for Canada to work with a new government if Hezbollah plays a leading role,” it said." a swamp full of alligators. RTWT

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Well, I Guess Following... better than nothing:

As Arabs protest, Obama administration offers assertive support
""The most the U.S. can do in the short run is reorient their rhetoric," said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Institution's Doha Center. "People want moral support; they want to hear words of encouragement. Right now, they don't have that. They feel the world doesn't care and the world is working against them.""

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Is It Armed?

Can it tell the difference between cows and humans?

I must say, it looks like a toy my son might have played with.

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What She Said...

...I think. She has a way with words, you might say.

PS: You might want to read a couple of the docs she links to, as well:

Blair's address to a Joint Session of Congress and Anatomy of an Autocracy

If you want to listen to Blair's speech, rather than read it, go here.

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Holy Crap!!

This is starting to look like a house of cards....everything is tumbling down.  Mubarak's wife and son, Gamal, the heir apparent, have fled to Britain, with 97 suitcases.  Funny how the former empire is fall back position # 1.  And how come we common folk only get two suitcases, or whatever it is now?  I guess the trick is to get yourself a private jet.

h/t Blazing Cat Fur

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Tunisia: Day Whatever, Depending on ....

...whatever event you think started it all.

So far this morning, there are these little tidbits that indicated things are moving forward:
"political sources say talks are under way over moves to replace the interim government which has held power since longtime President Zine al-Abdine Ben Ali left the country on Jan. 14 following popular protests."
This is good.
"Tunisia's interior, defense and foreign affairs ministers will be replaced as part of a cabinet reshuffle to be announced on Wednesday, political sources said -- a move that could appease anti-government protesters."
Moving right along, Tunisia issues warrant for ousted leader, family members
"...the warrant is based on several charges, including carrying weapons and ammunition in Tunisia without licenses, maintaining and exporting foreign currency illegally, and inciting armed violence between Tunisians."
"Meanwhile, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay announced Wednesday that "a team of top-level specialists" from her office is assembling in Tunisia, and they will officially start a week-long assessment of human rights priorities on Thursday.

"Human rights abuses were at the heart of the problems faced by the people of Tunisia. Therefore, human rights must be at the forefront of the solutions to those problems," Pillay said."
Good thing, but please tell me Libya isn't in charge of that agency any more.

And apparently, those "family members" include members of the group that is currently luxuriating in a Montreal hotel. Go get 'em, Canada!!

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SOTU Address

Didn't watch it. Wasn't particularly interested. But I have found the blog punditry rather interesting. For example:

What Obama didn't mention in his speech
- Climate change: The signature environmental issue of this administration evaporated into thin air. The UN conference in Copenhagen didn’t really exist. No reference to cap and trade. Not a word. (Ed. Hallelujah, Praise the Lord)
- The housing crisis: If you had tuned into planet Earth from outer space, you would not know there was a housing crisis in America. Not a word about the near bankruptcy of government mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Nor did he mention the rising number of foreclosures.It was the president who unveiled his HELP program to keep people in their homes. Most evidence is that it has been a failure. Tonight, not a word about it. (Ed. hehehehehe! I would say the SOTU is one of denial)
- Jobs: Yes, there was the feeling of pain. But you would not know the country is still in a jobs emergency. There were words like “competition,” “innovation,” and “Sputnik,” but not a road map to explain how he will spur jobs in the private sector. (Ed. Sputnik???? That was fifty freakin' years ago, and it was the Soviet's baby. Guess I'd have to hear the speech to put this one into context.)
- States facing bankruptcies: Our biggest state governments are in a debt crisis, most of them led by Democrats. Does he recognize this is a looming problem? Does he wish to bail them out? Tonight there was no word. (Ed. Yup. States of denial.)
- Closing down Guantanamo Bay and trying terrorists in civil court: Gitmo still functions and holds enemy combatants. This was a sterling commitment of his administration — to shut down Gitmo. He also failed to mention any willingness to abandon his attorney general’s effort to try terrorists in civilian courts. It’s a huge issue in New York City where the prospect of trials has been denounced by nearly every political office holder. (Ed. But does the mere absence of mention mean he has abandoned this bit of lunacy? Does it mean he's too chicken-shit to admit it was a stupid idea? Or is it just that it's not possible to blame this one on Bush? Could it be Obama has a hidden agenda, too? Can we blame that on Harper?)
- War on Terror: On the basis of this speech, there is no War on Terror. There is community-building in Afghanistan and defeating the Taliban. But nothing about the worldwide terror network that is waged from Malaysia to London subways to Times Square. (Ed. Deny, deny, deny. Yawn. What about "man caused disaster"? You'd think he could have mentioned that.)
- Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the UK: They are all flirting with economic catastrophe. (Ed. But of course not. We're in denial, after all. There's no point in acknowledging where our policies will lead, is there.)
- Overseas human rights: A Chinese Nobel Prize-winner tonight sits in a prison cell. Nothing about human rights in Egypt or Iran or anywhere else in the world. (Ed. Well, The One already has his Nobel Prize. So why worry?)
- Israel: Supposedly America’s most important ally in the Middle East. Nothing about Jerusalem or one of his stated highest goals of his first term: ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Ed. Deny. Deny. Deny.)
- Reaching out to the Muslim world: His next trips take him to South America. (Ed. Well, when the Muslim world is collapsing all around him, maybe it's not such a good idea to actually stand up for democracy rather than dictatorship. That would be so, you know, Islamophobic.)
- Osama bin Laden: He’s still at large. John Kerry and the Democrats campaigned that this was the litmus test for winning the war on terror. (Ed. Ssshh. Don't tell anybody.)
- George W. Bush: There was no Bush-bashing tonight. His advisers probably suggested blaming Bush no longer had currency. (Ed. Ya think?)
Gateway Pundit has a pretty good round up of the reaction from Americans. And it ain't pretty.

PS: If you're like me and you didn't listen to it, American Power has it up. Better grab a cup of very strong java, though. It's booooooorrrrrrrring.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Last Call of the Day for Tunisia

Canada willing to cooperate on Ben Ali asset freeze
"The Canadian government is willing to enact a freeze of the assets belonging to ousted Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his family in Canada.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade indicated Tuesday there are several ways that assets could be frozen, including through the United Nations or at the request of a foreign government.

“Our government is prepared to work with the UN or the government of Tunisia to apply such a freeze,” said Pierre Floréa, spokesperson for the department, in an email. “We will use all tools at our disposal to address this situation, in cooperation with the international community.”

Floréa reiterated that the Canadian government is “troubled” by reports that Ben Ali and other former government members may be weighing coming to Canada.

“Members of the Ben Ali family and elements of the former government who may be responsible for corruption or other criminal acts are not welcome in Canada,” he said."
"Skander Ben Abdallah, a Montreal university professor and environmental consultant, has launched a petition demanding Imed Sassi, the Tunisian consul in Montreal, resign.

Though the Canadian government hasn’t been notified of the end of function of Tunisian diplomats since the fall of the regime, Ben Abdallah said Sassi should do it of his own volition.

Sassi has been a longstanding member of Ben Ali’s RCD party, Ben Abdallah said, and has praised and defended Ben Ali ever since his appointment here in 2006.

“He is a symbol of RCD, of an authoritarian regime,” Ben Abdallah declared. “So he must leave. We don’t want any more RCD (members) to represent us here in Montreal.”"
"Tunisian authorities have already arrested several dozen Ben Ali family members who didn’t flee the country.

Canada’s Department of Justice, citing the confidential nature of state-to-state communications, would not confirm or deny an extradition request for the Ben Ali relatives who landed in Montreal."
"Canada doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Tunisia, but both countries are parties to the UN Convention Against Corruption, which has extradition provisions."
Tunisia is a party to the UN Convention Against Corruption. Say wot!! There are just so many errors and internal contradictions in that statement.

Tens of thousands protest in Lebanon as Hezbollah ally asked to form gov't
"In Lebanon, masses took to the streets to protest the decision to have a Hezbollah-backed politician form a new Lebanese government."
"The thousands who took to the streets burned pictures of Mikati, threw stones at army and police officers and attacked Al Jazeera crews, as they consider the TV station a proxy of Hezbollah."
"...tens of thousands of March 14 alliance supporters taking to the streets of Beirut and Tripoli to protest what they described as the Iranian and Syrian takeover of Lebanon.

Protesters clashed with the Lebanese army forces and nearly 30 people reportedly suffered injuries. The demonstrators called on the international tribunal investigating the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, father of the outgoing premier, to remain steadfast in its task until the truth emerges.

The Hague-based panel's investigation provided the spark for the latest political drama in Lebanon, with Hezbollah fearing the tribunal would finger senior members of its organization for being behind the February 2005 blast that killed Rafik Hariri. The group demanded that Saad Hariri reject the panel's conclusions and end government funding for its work.

The outgoing prime minister refused and mediation efforts launched by Syria and Saudi Arabia failed as well, resulting in the resignation of 11 Hezbollah-backed ministers from the cabinet and bringing the Lebanese government down."
Wow! The Middle East is on fire. I hope that ashes will be all that is left, and from this will arise a Phoenix heralding a better future. In any case, the old guard must be shaking in their boots, all the way to Tehran.

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IPPC is Investigating the Sun... a driver of climate change ....FOR THE FIRST TIME!!!!!!

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They're Running Scared

Twitter blocked in Egypt

I keep waiting for Sandmonkey to check in, but nothing so far. Maybe they've blocked bloggers too.

And from the "I miss Dubya" file:
"TENS OF thousands of Egyptians took to the streets of Cairo and other cities Tuesday in an unprecedented outburst of protest against the regime of Hosni Mubarak. Inspired by Tunisia's popular uprising, they demanded political concessions that Mr. Mubarak's rotting government should have made long ago: an end to emergency laws, freedom for political activity and a limit on the president's tenure in office. The United States has said that it favors such reforms. But when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was asked about the demonstrations, she foolishly threw the administration's weight behind the 82-year-old Mr. Mubarak.

"Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people," Ms. Clinton said.

The secretary's words suggested that the administration remains dangerously behind the pace of events in the Middle East. It failed to anticipate Tunisia's revolution; days before President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was driven from the country Ms. Clinton said the United States was "not taking sides" between the dictator and his protesting people."
...and Reagan.

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Holey Smoley

On the Single Occasion....

...that I agree with the Palestinian "leadership", I must say that Obama and his loons are crazy. Why, on God's green earth, would you want to settle Palestinian refugees in Argentina and Chile when you can't control your southern border?

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Monday, January 24, 2011

The General's In Charge..

...and he's making sense, but it still makes me nervous.
"The general credited with orchestrating the departure of Tunisia’s former president, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, told a crowd of protesters on Monday that he would uphold “the revolution” that brought down the government, and he promised that the military would guarantee stability until the interim government held elections, witnesses said.

They were the first public statements by the general, Rachid Ammar, since Mr. Ben Ali fled the country 10 days ago. General Ammar and Tunisia’s military — an unusually apolitical and professional force compared with others in the region — paved the way for Mr. Ben Ali’s ouster by refusing to fire on civilian protestors and then restored order by restraining both civilian rioters and Mr. Ben Ali’s brutal police force.

As a result, many political leaders here consider him the unofficial power behind Tunisia’s fragile interim government. But whether he was directing that government from behind the scenes or taking order from it had been impossible to determine.

But after a week of silence he appeared Monday evening on the pavement outside the Defense Ministry to address a crowd of several hundred protestors using a bullhorn. They had gathered to demand the dissolution of the interim government because it is dominated by former members of Mr. Ben Ali’s ruling party.

Our revolution, your revolution, the revolution of the young risks being lost,” General Amarr said, according to Agence France-Presse. “There are forces that are calling for a void, a power vacuum. The void brings terror, which brings dictatorship.”"
Could there not be a role for "the international community", whoever they are, to organize the elections and keep the peace in the interim? Maybe La Francophonie or the UN. As much as I hate that organization, they might as well do something right, once in a while.

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Who Are You?

Someone working in the House of Commons visits my blog about once a week. He or she was here again earlier today. Who are you? An MP? An MP's staffer? A HoC official? Have you been instructed to check in once in a while? Is the government keeping an eye on opinions in the blogosphere, or do you just like my blog?

I still get someone from the Department of Defense, too, every once in a while. Very interesting.

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Back to Tunisia

Tunisia Shuts down Popular TV Channel
"The state news agency said the government had arrested the network’s owner and stopped its broadcast for “grand treason,” charging that the network was trying “to abort the youth’s revolution, spread confusion, incite strife and broadcast false information likely to create a constitutional vacuum and destabilize the country in order to take it into a spiral of violence that aims to restore the dictatorship of the former president,” according to a government statement."
"“The owner was with the revolution, giving voice to all the people,” he said, speaking to a small gaggle of reporters in a dimly lighted doorway outside the darkened studio. Mr. Sallemi called the shutdown a flagrant violation of freedom of the press, arguing that any charges against the owner could be adjudicated without suddenly taking a major network off the air.

Reacting to the news on Sunday night, several Tunisians said the move seriously damaged the credibility of the interim government, which is facing mounting protests against its continued dominance by former members of the old ruling party, including a prime minister who was Mr. Ben Ali’s right-hand man. The fate of the network is widely seen here as a crucial test of the new government’s commitment to civil liberties."
A bit of a rocky road.

France steps up to the plate. Meanwhile, there is some progress on the formation of a new government.

Whether the mobs on the street will accept that, is another matter. They seem to be leaderless. It would be nice if someone stepped up to the plate and read a list of demands, at the very least, or proposed a method of transition, rather than just opposing every attempt so far to bring order and stability. If they reject this "committee of wise men", then they really need to propose an alternative. If they don't they may just get a military dictatorship or an Islamist one. Take your pick, Tunisia. It wouldn't be the first time a revolution goes off the rails, especially in the Arab world, and you know there will be a lot of neighbourhood dictators working double time to orchestrate the derailment.

In the meantime, Canada, I want to hear from you on the investigation file. Will you follow Sarkozy's lead? There's a family living in a posh hotel in Montreal whose financial doings and assets deserve some careful scrutiny.

Also in the meantime, things are heating up in Egypt.

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Speaking of Planet Earth

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Ben Ali's family allowed in Canada: Feds
""There are, I gather, a couple members of his family who are already Canadian permanent residents, which gives them a legal right to be here," Jason Kenney, minister of citizenship and immigration, said Sunday.

The minister added that he was following the situation closely."
What sort of double-speak was this, then?

And the story seems to have several different versions.

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Imagine That!

Evidence in Canadian Arctic points to volcanoes as cause of massive extinction

Emphasis mine.
"A mass extinction 250 million years ago was caused by massive volcanic causing run away global warming to impact the temperature and acidity of the world’s oceans, Canadian researchers found in new research announced Sunday."
"The Permian extinction happened about 250 million years (ago) when 95 per cent of life was wiped out in the sea and 70 per cent on land.

Unlike the demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, where there is widespread belief that a meteorite was at least the partial cause, it is unclear what caused the Permian mass extinction.

Research had suggested volcanic eruptions through coal beds in Siberia may have generated significant greenhouse gases causing run away global warming, but little proof had existed.

Grasby and his colleagues discovered layers of coal ash in rocks from the extinction boundary in Canada’s High Arctic that gives the first direct proof to support the belief that eruptions in what is known as the Siberian Traps, now found in Northern Russia, produced ash clouds that had a broad impact on global oceans."
"At the time of the extinction, the Earth contained one big land mass, a supercontinent known as Pangaea. The environment ranged from desert to lush forest, and the planet was already populated with four-limbed vertebrates. Among them were primitive amphibians, early reptiles and synapsids: the group that would, one day, include mammals."
Gee. No humans yet?
"The volcanoes, centred around the current-day Siberian city of Tura, covered an area just under two million square kilometres, a size larger than Europe. The ash plumes from the volcanoes travelled to regions now in Canada’s Arctic where the coal-ash layers where found."
Hmmmm. Were these researchers looking for a way to tie in coal, or some other form of fossil fuel? Who paid them? (Hey, deniers can play that game, too.)
"The Earth was already heating up at the time, suffocating its oceans because of decreasing oxygen levels, the researchers suggest. And the ash may have contributed to that effect, they found.

"It was a really bad time on Earth. In addition to these volcanoes causing fires through coal, the ash it spewed was highly toxic and was released in the land and water, potentially contributing to the worst extinction event in earth history," said Grasby.""
If you want to learn more about the impact of volcanoes on global temperatures and ocean acidification read pages 206 to 229 of Ian Plimer's Heaven and Earth: Global Warming, the Missing Science, from which the following passages are taken:
"There are two main types of volcanoes. Those in mid-ocean rifts are unseen and by far the most abundant volcanoes. Some 85% of the world's volcanoes are unseen, unmeasured, quietly erupting deep in the ocean floor along the global 64,000 km of oceanic ridge systems and pose little in the way of volcanic hazards. These mid-oceanic ridge systems quietly play their own game while the rest of the world goes by without noticing. They are characterized by basalt lava flows and emission of very large volumes of the main volcanic gases (H2O vapour, CO2, methane, hydrogen sulphide, sulphur dioxide, hydrogen and nitrogen.)" P. 207
"Submarine volcanoes are poorly understood because of the lack of continuous observation and measurement. They emit huge amounts of very hot gases. Exchange of heat and mass between ocean waters and submarine volcanic rocks is concentrated at mid-ocean ridges and ridge flanks where seawater circulation releases heat and fluids into the ocean. This affects global heat and geochemical budgets of the oceans. Seamounts away from mid ocean ridges also act as pathways for the exchange of heat. The CO2 from tens of thousands of submarine hot springs associated with these submarine basalt volcanoes quietly dissolves in the cold high-pressure deep ocean water and does not bubble to the surface. Water at the bottom of the oceans is undersaturated in dissolved CO2, hence very large volumes of CO2 can dissolve. One hot spring can release far more CO2 than a 1000 mW coal-fired power station, yet they are neither seen nor measured. Submarine volcanic gas does not even figure in calculations of the sources and sinks of atmospheric CO2 in the IPCC climate models." P. 208
"As oceans contain 22 times more heat than the atmosphere, ocean heat contributes greatly to driving climate and the unseen submarine volcanism can have a profound effect on the surface heat of the Earth." P. 209
"We need to get basalt volcanicity into perspective. Some basalt eruptions have an enormous rate of discharge, up to 10,000 cubic metres per seconds. Fragmentation of the molten rock occurs by volatile degassing. As the molten rock rises to the surface, gas comes out of solution and coexists with melt, the proportion of gas increases as bubbles grow larger. The expanding gas squirts lava out at the surface as fountains. The quicker the gas is released and the faster the molten rock rises, the higher the lava foundation. Lava fountains are in the order of 1 km high. As the main gas is H2O, a degassing of only 1-5% of H2O is sufficient to produce lava exit velocities of 100 to 500 metres per second." P. 210
"Over 1500 subaerial volcanoes have been active over the last 10,000 years and more than one third of these have erupted or one or more times in recorded history. These constitute 1% of the world's surface area but only 15% of the world's volcanism and 80% of the documented historic eruptions. Some 57% of the world's visible 600 active volcanoes are islands or are in coastal settings and 38% are within 250 km of continental landmasses. Some 500 million people live within proximity of active or potentially active volcanoes. This was the entire global population of the 17th Century. Most of these people live in the Pacific region. If explosive volcanism occurs, it can produce tsunamis and choking ash clouds which have a profound effect on islands and adjacent continental landmasses. We currently live in a time of volcanic quiescence.

If you really want a bad hair day, then a supervolcano can do it for you." P. 211
"Widespread volcanic events or a single supervolcano can change climate. Large volcanic eruptions emit the same amount of energy as an asteroidal impact and are more frequent. Deep sea sediments from the North Pacific Ocean show that sediment changed from non-glacial to glacial at about 2.67 Ma over a period of 2000 years."  P. 211
"The number and thickness of volcanic ash layers in this deep sea sediment ten-fold at this same time, suggesting a widespread volcanic, possibly from many volcanoes. The rapid intensification of glaciation was likely to be associated wit this widespread volcanic episode which began 2.67 Ma. At this time, volcanoes closed the Central American seaway between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean, there was an exchange of vertebrates between the Americas and the changed circulation of ocean water accelerated Northern Hemisphere cooling. At 2.67 Ma, there was also a starburst that flooded Earth with cosmic rays, hence a combination of events probably drove climate change." P. 211-212"
"Supervolcanoes are a threat to civilization on Earth as they occur at twice the frequency of impacting asteroids and comets larger than 1 km diameter. Asteroid and comet impacts can have similar effects on climate as a supervolcano. Current climate models do not even consider the possibility of another supervolcano eruption. They sleep restlessly in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific region. And these are the small supervolcanoes that we can see. The ones we don't see are a greater threat." P. 213-214
"The greatest mass extinction of all time occurred when basalt supervolcanoes were at their peak." P. 214

"A supervolcano beneath the sea heats the ocean, adds CO2 to ocean water (which is later released to the atmosphere), temporarily turns ocean water from alkaline to acid, deoxygenates ocean water and creates a local, minor or mass extinctionMost supervolcanoes are submarine, we do not see them, they are not factored into climate models, and they emit monstrous volumes of CO2."  P. 216
So, the impact of sub-marine volcanoes, especially super-volcanoes, is completely ignored in the computer models used by AGW pseudo-science. This new discovery by Canadian researchers is sure to heat up the debate in the so-called "settled" science of global warming.

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UPDATE: These weenies don't know what cold is.
"It's going to be like living in a giant freezer for the next few days across most of Ontario.

With the wind chill in Toronto already making it feel like –29 C — and an extreme cold alert in effect — the city is facing at least another couple of days in the deep freeze.

That goes for Windsor and Ottawa too — as well as all communities in between."
"Environment Canada says that by Tuesday the temperatures in Toronto will climb back above freezing."
Harmuph!! Try -30C without a wind chill and add a windchill on to that, you wimps. And huddle down cause it normally lasts two to three weeks. Oh, and the "above freezing" part doesn't come along until March, normally. Even then, it's sporadic.
Extreme cold snap hits North America

In Quebec, the temp ranges in the -18C range with wind chills as cold as -30C, but here in Sunny Saskatchewan it's hovering around the 0C mark, some places a teeny bit below and some a teeny bit above. Now that's the sort of climate change I wanna see.

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Canada in the News

Got this via email this morning. I'm glad our government stood up for something this time. We've been getting a lot of bad press due to our overweening obedience to political correctness. It's time to turn that around.

Speaking of Iranium, go here and sign up for a screening via the web. It doesn't say, but I'm hoping it shows up in Canada's portion of the cyberspace. After all, not all of us live within commuting distance of Ottawa (praise the Lord!)

In any case, just drop your email addy in the bar, push the send button and you will receive a message about it.

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The Most Raaaaaacist Tea Party Group

...forms in Houston. (Must be Bush's fault.)

First Black Tea Party Forms in Houston
"Named after the first person to die in the Revolutionary War, the Crispus Attucks Tea Party was founded January 18th, 2011..."
"With the typical politesse and considerate attitude of conservatives — always left unreported by the press (do ya think?) – Rep. Lee was extended an invitation to the event. And with typical leftist rudeness, Lee snubbed it. Wonder why? These are her constituents, after all."
"Surprisingly, the local Fox News channel reporting on the event hastened to observe that many attendees at this founding meeting were white. Simply unbelievable. Is it not even possible to attend an event in support of the group without the information being somehow skewed by the media to suggest that it wasn’t “authentic” because white people were there???"
Guess who didn't attend. This Democrat is their representative in Washington. Why would she want to hear from them? I mean really!

Speaking of raaaacism....

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I'd Probably Lose At This Game, Too!

I suck at the game of Monopoly. But this game seems to offer even more frustration:

Poles design world's most boring game
"The Polish have designed a new Monopoly-style game in which contestants have to queue to buy ten mundane items including lavatory paper, coffee and a guide to Bulgaria.

But they face lengthy queues, competition from queue jumpers and the prospect of the shop running out before they are served.

The game, called Queue, has been designed by Poland's Institute of National Remembrance, the body charged with investigating communist-era crimes to remind people of the hardships of everyday life under communism."
Sounds interesting.

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Well, Hallelujah!!

The most surprising thing about this story is that the Libs and the Dippers are on the side of the citizen who made the arrest.

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They're Not Welcome...


Canadian government says members of ousted Tunisian regime not welcome
"“Visas are only issued by our officers when they are satisfied that the individual will leave Canada once the visa expires,” Kellam said.

“Given that members of the regime cannot return to Tunisia, that would be a challenge.”

Kellam added that if someone who isn’t welcome in Canada manages to make it across the border, they will face “appropriate action.”"
But a local group of Tunisian Canadians is not convinced.


Anyway, it's -22C tonight in Montreal. I hope they're enjoying it. It's a balmy +6C right now in Tunis.


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Well, Well, Well

UPDATED AND BUMPED: Listen to the Ron Breakenridge interview with Andrew Coyne (1/21/2011 10:01:00 PM) for more about this.
Further to the "faggot" kerfuffle I wrote about here, I guess complaining gets results - sorta.

It seems the CRTC (Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission) has received 250 letters complaining about the CBSC (Canadian Broadcast Standards Council) decision.
"Artists were among those who questioned the song's ban, including well-known gay Canadians such as Scott Thompson from comedy troupe Kids in the Hall.

“Shakespeare would be rolling over in his g-word,” Thompson told QMI Agency. Rick Mercer, host of CBC’s Rick Mercer Report, said, “The song doesn’t offend me, because it’s all about context, and it’s a character line spoken by an ignorant person who is jealous of a glam rock 'n' roll star.”"

The really precious part of it is many of the letter writers confused the CRTC with the CBSC. The CRTC is a government created agency charged with regulating the broadcasting and telecommunications industry. The CBSC, the body that made the decision to ban the Dire Straits song Money for Nothing, is a voluntary organization, consisting of private broadcasters which sets standards for its members.

It's good to see the CRTC was perceived to be the agency that censors and that they were forced to read a massive pile of letters complaining about censorship, because the CRTC is indeed in the business of making decisions about what Canadians can and cannot be allowed to consume. In any case, the CRTC wants the CBSC to review its decision!!! There is hope yet!

By golly, one more notch in the conservatives' cane, this one. Sooner or later, the Liberals and Dippers will understand a) what censorship is and b) what conservatives are really all about - freedom and getting government out of our faces.

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Julian Assange: A Dictator's Gift

Louise's Advice

Mulroney's advice to Harper: Do something big

Mulroney suggests going after health care.
"At that time, Mr. Mulroney and his policies were not universally popular.

“I think the important thing I have learned – it is important that as prime minister, for your policies, you think not in terms of easy headlines in 10 days but a better Canada in 10 years. That should be the test,” he says."
My advice is to go after our public broadcaster. This would probably have ripples far beyond North America, like, say, Britain, for example:

Left-wing bias? It's written through the BBC's very DNA, says Peter Sissons

And then do the Section 13 thing and anything else that is guaranteed to put the Liberals and the Dippers in a very tight spot. Just see what sort of arguments they'll put up to have the thought police protected or to avoid being seen as thought police advocates. I would also suggest that funding for post-secondary institutions should be targeted to those programs that produce graduates able to find jobs in industry or research and development in science and technology.

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Rex Murphy for PM

Speaking of Tunisia

Here is an excellent summary article with several videos about the current situation in Tunisia and neighbouring countries.

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Why are we letting them in?!?!?!?!

Family members of ousted Tunisian president Ben Ali reach Montreal
"One of Ben Ali’s many brothers-in-law arrived in Montreal Friday morning aboard a private jet accompanied by his wife, their children and a governess, the official said, confirming a report by the website of Le Journal de Quebec.

Ben Ali’s wife Leila Trabelsi has several brothers, and neither source specified which one had arrived in Canada.

The family had reportedly checked into a hotel in Montreal."
"The protests were in part fueled by widespread allegations of corruption and reports that Ben Ali’s family, particularly his wife’s relatives, had gorged itself on state funds at a time of economic hardship.

The deposed president’s daughter Nesrine Ben Ali and her husband, businessman Sakher El Materi, purchased a USD2.5-million villa in the upscale Westmount neighborhood of Montreal two years ago."
"On Thursday Tunisian authorities arrested 33 members of Ben Ali’s family who were under investigation for plundering the nation’s resources.

The European Union has agreed in principle to freeze the assets of Ben Ali and his family, a source in Brussels told AFP earlier this week, though the final details were still to be worked out.

The EU was awaiting a list from the new Tunisian authorities of those to be targeted by the sanctions, the diplomat said, and the decision would have to be formally approved by EU ambassadors and foreign ministers.

The Swiss government had earlier ordered a freeze on any funds held by Ben Ali in a move aimed at helping the country’s new authorities to retrieve public assets illicitly taken from the country."
So, Canada. Are we going to let these sleaze-bags live a life of luxury here in Canada, perhaps moving Tunisian treasure to some place where it's safe from the marauding great unwashed hoards in Tunis? Or are we going to follow the EU's example? We just slapped Iran in the face. Let's do the same thing to this family.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Sharia Law and the Muslim Brotherhood

From the Venus Mars File

What the Hell??? wrong with the Ottawa RCMP?????

Fred Litwin, the man responsible for organizing the showing of Iranium at the National Library and Archives, writes in The Propagandist:
"At 4 PM, I received a call from a senior manager at the LAC that there were protestors inside and outside the building; that they had called the RCMP; who had then informed them that security could not be assured; and that they had no choice but to cancel the film."
"I immediately got into my car and drove to the Archives, arriving about 4:50 PM. The building had been closed and employees were leaving the building. Few people knew what was happening - and I didn't see any protesters anywhere. I was then informed that there were no protests - just the 'threat of protests.'"
"Were there actually threats on Tuesday? From whom? Was there just the 'threat of protest'? Why can't people protest a film? And, why couldn't the building be secured?

And, finally, why can the building now be secure on February 6th for the 'new' screening? I applaud the Minister of National Heritage, James Moore, for his determination in standing up for freedom of speech - but it should never have had to go to his office."
Is our National Librarian an Islamist sympathizer or a dhimini? I hope we get to the bottom of this. Ottawa, you suck. Big time. This is the result of years and years of Liberal Party rule. It must end!

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Secret Agendas

I bought John Gormley's book, Left Out: Saskatchewan's NDP and the Relentless Pursuit of Mediocrity. I read the first 35 pages last night and on page 30 there's this beaut (# 6 of the Seven Rules for Getting and Keeping Power in Saskatchewan): 
"Always put a positive face on your own accomplishments and promises while swearing to all that is holy that your opponent has a hidden agenda - about which you'll be witheringly negative - and which will terrorize old folks, the vulnerable and upset people who fear change."
Sound familiar? If not, just read the comments in any story the CBC publishes on their website about the eeeeeevil "Harper Conservatives" and their "hidden agenda".

Dippers and Liberals. They never change. And they can always rely on a vast gaggle of mind-numbingly stupid followers ready and willing to swallow the swill.

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It Sucks to be Evan Solomon

Go here and watch the videoed interview of Vic Toews by CBCs Evan Solomon on human smuggling, the one titled Human Smuggling.

Journalists are supposed to hold politicians accountable. CBC takes this to absurd heights (or should that be depths?). The series of questions that Solomon asks Vic Toews are ludicrous and serve only to turn people off to our public broadcaster.  The questions he asks basically say that any investigation of human smuggling rings is a violation of human rights. Or, to put it another way, investigating human rights violations is a violation of human rights. The mind boggles.

Oh, and don't bother reading the comments under the associated article. They'll make you hurl. Privatize the CBC!! Now!!

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Which One Will Go First?

The Next Tunisias: Five Arab states that are ripe for revolution

Just to rub it in the jackass's face, I'm hoping it's Libya.

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More Nasty Words

Joe Hicks weighs in on the proposal to scrub Mark Twain's works of their politically incorrect words and gives us two more words that we could agitate about, like good little lefties.

Well, I'm not a good little leftie. So, ready? Set! GO!!!

nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger,
nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger,
nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger,
nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger,
nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger,
nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger,
nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger,
nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger,
nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger,
nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger,
nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger,
nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger,
nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger,
nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger,
nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger,
nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger,
nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger,
nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger,

Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun,
Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun,
Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun,
Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun,
Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun,
Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun,
Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun,
Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun,
Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun,
Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun,
Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun,
Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun,
Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun,
Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun,
Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun,
Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun,
Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun,
Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun,
Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun,
Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun, Injun,

Are there any others?

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