Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Regarding dates, I was thinking not before Christmas this year but by summer 2005 for sure. When I asked her what she though about a date, she suggested in 18 months.
I am all for waiting to be sure and all of that, but its not like I am 22 and jumping into marriage just to see what it is like. I am 34 and I think I have dated enough to know what I want. She is no spring chicken either (sorry honey) and is firmly over 30. No need to wait, in my view, and that biological clock ain't ticking backwards.
However, the date is not the real problem. The real problem is the format. I am big on family and friends, and would like to have a small ceremony in Edmonton with the people we value the most attending. She agrees that would be best, but wants to elope as she thinks her parents (who are divorced) are going to make trouble.
I cannot quite understand this reasoning. They are a thousand kilometers away and would not be involved in the day to day planning, we do not need any money so either parents cannot use money as an excuse to try to force our wedding their way, and I am not exactly a pushover, and have no qualms about standing up to her, or my own, parents. My family wants to visit Alberta next Christmas, so I thought a Christmas 2005 wedding would be nice. I bit farther away then planned, but it seemed to work out.
Let's just say she is not keen on that idea. After a few rounds on this, I have given up. We have reached a compromise. We do what she wants and I get to shut up about it.
In all, it may work out for the best. She likes to travel, so we are planning a month long trip somewhere, perhaps Asia, that will include a cruise. We plan to get married aboard ship and in every country we visit. Next Christmas we will have some type of reception where the families can meet.
Of course, for all these concessions I have made, I get to make every major decision for the rest of our lives, the most important one being children.
I think a soccer team would be nice with one extra sub in case of injury.
If anyone has suggestions regarding where to go, good deals, etc, I would appraciate feedback.
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
I have been at a bit of a loss for things to post about lately.
When I started this blog, I wanted to ensure it was more about the Gf and I, and not simply a "the government sucks" rant blog. Not that there is anything wrong with that type of blog. The government does suck, and they provide more than enough stuff to write about.
However, many other people are doing "the government sucks" thing and doing it better than I can, so I made a decision to focus on the Gf.
Unfortunately, we just completed 1 year of living together and we are starting to get used to each other's habits. We are fighting less (good for the relationship, bad for blogging) so I am stuck with nothing to write about.
So, I have started a plan to piss her off more and give me something to write about. This plan has been operating for a few weeks, and has borne some fruit, which I will start to post.
Sorry for the absence.
I am back.
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
The trip was disappointing to say the least.
Since I already have a degree in History, I would be looking at an after degree program. This program is 2 years long. Other programs, such as in Ontario, are only one year. I spoke to some teachers in the Edmonton system to ask about this, and the consensus answer seems to be that the U of A wants to squeeze more money out of its students. Bah.
I was hoping to lower this time by getting some credit for past courses. It is unlikely that any of my past degree can count, since it was used towards another degree. This is not really surprising and makes sense, However, the U of A program is not about teaching you to teach. Fully half of the credits in the 2 year after degree program are electives which are similar to courses taken by any arts student, and are not related to teaching. Do I really want to take 1st year psychology again?
In addition, credit is very rarely given for past teaching experience. I have taught on numerous courses in the army, and spent about 2 weeks in April teaching on a course where I got about 40 hours of experience. Is this a lot? Not really, but it is something. I find it incredible that I am told that receiving credit for past experience is so rare that it is safe to say it does not happen. The woman at the Faculty of Education even gave me the example of a person who finished a practicum at the University of Calgary and transferred to Edmonton where they did not get credit for the work because "the programs are so different".
Teaching is teaching. There are only so many ways you can impart knowledge to others. I recently spent some time in an Edmonton high school and I did not see any lasers, Direct Knowledge Transfer Devices (DKTD's) or any other sci-fi type stuff.
Here is another good one. The U of A requires you to take 3 credits in a computer course if you have not taken one in the last 3 years. Well, I consider myself very computer literate and I cannot imagine what a course would be able to teach someone who has been using and interested in computers since he was 15 years old. Heck, I had a 300 baud modem for my Commodore 64.
The Faculty of Education at the U of A seems to be in the business of making money off of people and not graduating teachers. This wouldn't be so bad if there was some competition in the industry.I am seriously reconsidering my desire to be a teacher. The U of A seems absolutely unwilling to even consider special cases. I am not keen to spend half of 2 years taking a bunch of courses I took 10 years ago.
There are other drawbacks as well. Part of the reason I got out of the army was I could not take the bureaucratic nature of the system. The education system seems very similar, except in the army a war comes around every once in a while, clearing out all the bureaucratic types. Education is not blessed with a similar "housecleaning".
Also, you have to join the union. I am not a fan of unions. There may have been a time, 100 years ago, when 5 year old children were working 18 hours a day in the coal mine with not even time off to watch Sesame Street, but those days are long gone. I would rather opt out and sell my teaching skill to the highest bidder.
I hear that some schools in the US are so desperate for teachers that they will take anyone with a degree, no teaching certificate required. Unfortunately the pay is not so good.
If anyone knows of a good job for an ex-army officer with 10 years experience, particularly in management, personnel administration and some budget management, let me know.
I am off to search Monster.
Friday, November 26, 2004
The Diplomad has a good post on the French and how they operate on the national stage. This is the same point I make, but they say it better and have the right experience to give their thoughts legitimacy.
Thursday, November 25, 2004
This post by Captain Flynn at Against All Flags entitled "The 7 Hates of Stephen Harper" add more ammunition to my personal belief that the left cannot put together a coherent argument to support their own policies or refute those of the right. All they have is lies, misrepresentation and personal attacks.
In the army, we would study our enemy's tactics to be better able to defeat him. I have tried to take this to the political blogging world and have failed. The other side seems to have sent out their retarded children to fight against men. If anyone can point me towards and intelligent, well considered blog dealing with left wing ideas, it would be much appreciated.
A blog fitting this description would be the exact opposite of Robert at My Blagh.
We are adults and we want to play our game against a team that can give us a run for our money.
Update: Maybe this is a vast conspiracy of the left to put up the most incoherent people to lull the right wing into a false sense of security and dull our intellect. On the battlefield, the enemy is your teacher. If he is a poor teacher, you will not reach your potential as a student.
Maybe they are smarter than I thought.
Further update: Perhaps I was a bit hard on Captain Flynn. I was originally put onto his post by Mike at Brock:On The Attack through this post. Reading of the comments of this post, Flynn comes off as much more coherent. I share Damian's frustration and wish that Flynn would put more of that in his blog.
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Bet you wish you voted, instead of sitting at home because the election was "a sure thing" for Ralph and Company.
Monday, November 22, 2004
A Conservative cannot vote for the Liberals or NDP. If either of these parties were the majority party over the last ten years, Alberta would not be the only province out of debt and leading in most indicators of economic performance.
That said, Ralph seem to be taking us a bit for granted. A quick look at the PC website gives us some gems as a "sustainable" health care system and "an economic climate that fosters innovation, growth and investment".
A platform of mush worthy of a left wing party. It seems to me that Ralph has lost his fight.
What is the plan? The debt dragon has be slain, certainly due to Ralph, but I do not elect people as a reward for good work in the past, but rather on where they are going to take us in the future.
It seems likely the PC's will win a majority in this election, the question is by how much. Expect Ralph to take a hit.
For me, the debt has been slain, but I want more.
Today I will be sending Ralph a message by voting Alberta Alliance. The only real Conservative party left in Alberta.
Sunday, November 21, 2004
The French government care nothing for these things. The French will do what they think is in their best interest, and they do not care one bit what anyone else thinks.
I remember in the run up to Iraq, the French were insisting any war had to be approved by the Security Council. Then there was a little reported "incident" where France invaded an African country, I believe it was Ivory Coast, with no resolution, hint or anything of that nature. I had some great fun pointing out to my lefty friends the hypocracy of the French.
Here we go again. For all the talk about a US Marine shooting unarmed Iraqi insurgents/terrorists, check out these videos of French soldier shooting unarmed Ivory Coast civilians. Part 1 Part 2. Part 2 has the shooting.
Never listen to the French when they talk about human rights or the rule of law. Their only belief is in doing what is in their own best interests.
Navy forced to use private helicopters
ABOARD HMCS ATHABASKAN - Canada's navy has hired a private contractor to fly civilian helicopters out to its ships at sea, as a way of reducing the flying pressures on the military's aging Sea Kings.
Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog is aware of my disgust at the way our military has been led and funded over the last ten years. I bring you this as another example. More ammunition for the truth.
What more can I say? It's been said already.
Friday, November 19, 2004
Now, not being involved in the high levels of military leadership, I do not know the General personally. I have never met him or spoke to anyone who has. I am sure he is a nice guy, loves babies and puppies, excetera. Unfortunately, I can only judge him by his actions as CDS, and those have been less than impressive.
My military career began in the late Mulroney years. From that time until the present (and likely further into the future) I am sure future Canadian military historians will refer to as the "dark ages in Canadian Military history". Throughout this period there has been a serious decline in the size of the force, the quality of equipment, and a general failure to adapt to changes in the way war is fought. This is a direct result of Liberal government cutbacks to military spending.
Military officers are supposed to be above politics, but let's face the truth. At a certain level, definitely at the rank General Henault holds, it is all political. In my estimation, the rank of politician comes much sooner in the Canadian military, as we lack any large fighting formations. The last real leadership rank in the CF is Lieutenant Colonel, the rank at which one commands a Battalion or Battle Group. No viable fighting force exists above this level, so further ranks above it are really about politics, not warefare (a Battalion is about 800 men, a Battle Group is usually based on a Battalion with the attachment of other arms (ie. tanks and artillery), and will be slightly larger).
My point being is that General Henault is a politician, and has been for some time. I am not sure when he was promoted past the rank of LCol, but it is probably safe to say it was later than 10 years ago. Therefore, I think it is fair to say he has been a politician as least the last third of his career.
I say this to make the point that General Henault is a military politician and he should be judged as Chief of the Defence Staff as a politician, not a military officer. If I judge his as a military officer, I cannot hold him accountable for the state of funding in the military, as that is a political decision. However, since he has no fighting troops to command at his level, his job is all about politics. Therefore, he has failed miserably as the CDS.
To be fair, it is not all his fault. There were people before him who failed as well. However, he was in charge for the last three years and has done nothing that I can see to change the downward slide of the CF. In fact, here is my comment on something General Henault wrote in a letter to the editor of the National Post recently.
General Henault has done nothing to solve the problems in the Canadian Military.
Why would anyone think he can solve NATO's problems?
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Past Liberal Governments have been the worst at this, particularly on this issue, but usually on any issue that has the potential to lose too many votes. This has led to the primacy of the courts in Canadian politics. What you can't get a majority of people to vote for, get the courts to do for you. We have seen this type of "political action" on gay marriage from the left, and now the right is getting into the spirit.
The Ontario version of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation wants to sue the Ontario Premier, Dalton McGuinty, for breach of contract for his health care tax hike and wants the courts to rule on whether he has broken the Taxpayer Protection Act. If he is found guilty, what happens? Does he just pay a fine and go on governing? Is there jail time? Does the government fall?Is this really in our best interest?
From an Ontario taxpayer's (which I am not) standpoint it may be, but for democracy, it isn't. The people should have primacy in a democracy, and this "stunt" further erodes the power of the people, especially if it works.
I believe that people should have to learn from their mistakes, and take a bit of perverse pleasure of all my left leaning relatives suffering in Ontario, particularly a certain loud, left leaning uncle of mine. Of course, he will probably blame the McGuinty promise breaking on the previous conservative government. Some people don't like to leave their comfort bubble.
I will be watching this story with interest. It is about a lot more than taxes.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
And that is the problem. One day each year we remember. And the other 364 days we are more than happy to forget.
For the rest of the year we ignore the freedom for which so many Canadians died. We allow our government to waste our tax dollars and ignore its duty to protect our citizens. We fund our military at such a low level that 40 year old helicopters fall out of the sky, soldiers go to the desert to fight wearing green uniforms, and second hand submarines catch fire.
I hate Remembrance Day because it fills me with shame. Shame for how my country treats those that risk life and limb to defend our freedom.
Today, there will be Remembrance Day ceremonies all over this country, some with federal Members of Parliament from the government in attendance. How can they look the old vets in the eye? Or face presently serving members of our Armed Forces?
Perhaps I am judging them too harshly, for politicians are picked by the people, only doing their will. The present government has faced the people four times, has never changed its policy towards our defence, and has won the most number of seats every time.
The same people who complain about the “Damn Americans” are more than happy to let them defend our country. Freedom is not cheap. Ask any veteran. Unfortunately, Canadians are unwilling to pay even the least expensive part of that price, the portion paid in money, not blood.
When the next war comes, and it will, there will a price to be paid for our lack of preparation, and it will be paid in blood.
Actions speak louder than words. The speeches by our politicians every Remembrance Day purporting to honour the service of those in the military ring hollow. These are just words. It is their actions, the decisions they take with regard to preparing to defend freedom that speak to me. It is the true measure of how they view the sacrifice of those that fought. And it is an indicator of how they will view the future sacrifice of those who will fight and die for this country.
When the Prime Ministers’ plan to increase the Regular and Reserve Force fails to meet its targets perhaps it is because many Canadians already sense that their government does not value their sacrifice.
Soldiers fight for the man beside them, but they join for higher purpose. They join to defend their country, to defend those who cannot defend themselves, and to defend freedom.
Lest We Forget
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Yesterday I had to go to a funeral at a United church. I have become more interested in the United Church, since I am sure she will not convert and I want our children to have some sort of religious upbringing (there is another fight).
So at this funeral, the priest (not sure what they call them), kept talking about the Great Spirit of Life. I kept thinking, "Is she talking about God or did I just walk into a animist cult?"
I had an english teacher in University who taught a course on the bible as literature. An excellent course, but this guy was a bit off. A few years before, he missed a few weeks of classes, went crazy and bought 7 luxury cars, none of which he could afford. This is what the head of the department told us anyway.
One day during this Bible as Literature course, we were talking about Christianity and different religions and he told us that his church had recently split from their main church. Someone wanted to put up a statue or something, he and about 10% of the congregation thought it was worshipping false idols, so they split. He was very matter-of-fact about it. I was a bit taken aback, since my religion burned people or excommunicated entire countries for such things.
United seems a bit too laid back and wound too tight. Not enough control if people can just split anytime they want, but a bit too worked up if they split over a statue. Principle is important, but it's not like the people were going to bow down before it or anything.
Which leads me back to the Great Spirit thing. I assumed she was talking about God, so why not say God? Is it no longer politically correct to call the omnipotent being in the sky that the vast majority of people on Earth believe in "God"? I did not hear the word God come from her mouth once.
A lot more people are marrying outside their religion in Canada than in the past.
The GF told me a good Catholic joke when we were talking about this:
Little Johnny was having trouble in a number of subjects, particularly math, so his mother decided to send him to Catholic school even though they were not Catholic. She thought the discipline might do him some good.
A month later Johnny got his first report card and his D's had become straight A's.
Surprised and delighted, Johnny's mother went to Little Johnny and asked, "Johnny, you did so much better at your new school. Why are your grades so much higher?
Little Johnny replied "They don't fool around there, Mom. Every day you walk through the front door and there is some guy, nailed to a plus sign!"
Friday, November 05, 2004
When I first saw South Park I could not believe how warped Stone and Parker are. Seeing Saddam and Satan as gay lovers with Satan as the sensitive one, that is something that stays with you for a while. Being a Canadian, I really enjoyed "Blame Canada". So seeing TA:WP I thought these guys could not really shock me again. I was right, sort of.
There is nothing in the movie as shocking as Saddam and Satan, but there is enough to keep you on your toes. It is funny, especially if you are right wing. the Team America heroes are the stereotypical ignorant Americans, so lefties will like it, but the best stuff is saved for the left leaning celebrity socialist, represented by the Film Actors Guild (or F.A.G. for short).
Best parts of the movie: The Team America theme song (especially the slow version), XXX rated puppet sex, and the top half of Janeane Garofalo's head being shot off.
My biggest complaints: I am not 15 years old anymore, so gratuitous use of the f-word gets a bit tired. Also, I think Stone and Parker has some unresolved homosexual issues, what with all the gay oral sex.
Overall: Good movie, funny, worth the price of admission.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Hidden Assumption/Bias from the Talking Heads
Watching CNN during the speeches, I came across another stupid assumption by the MSM. The comment was regarding how, in this election, many US citizens were voting against their best economic interests, and along social issues. The theory being that the rich, by voting Democrat, were voting against their economic interests (Bush tax cuts) and for social policy (gay marriage). The poor, rural types, by voting Republican, were voting against their economic interests (tax cuts for the rich) and for social policy (traditional marriage).
Interesting theory, but Bush tax cuts are for everyone, although the Dems make it seem that the rich are the only ones benefiting. If you make $500k and get a 10% tax cut and I make $20k and get a 10% tax cut, we both get a 10% tax cut. Sure, you get $50k and I get $2k, but ten percent is ten percent. Why shouldn't you get more money back in absolute terms, since you pay more?
More evidence of Big Media swallowing whole the Dems talking points. However, based on the election results, maybe "the prols" are not as dumb as they think.
I feel much safer. I am confident the US will continue to aggressively fight the War on Terror. If only we could get the Canadian government to pull its weight.
There was a lot of conspiracy theories on the left wing blogs about why the exit polls did not match the official results. This was also mentioned on the MSM, with various theories.
I have a theory for you.
People are pissed at always being bothered by pollsters, so they lie.
This is a policy that a friend of mine has taken to the extreme, particularly with telephone surveys. He tells the most outrageous lies to these people. Stuff like saying he is unemployed and makes $200+k a year. He claims to belong to the smallest minority group possible, such as being a Black, Satanist, lesbian, double amputee single mother who considers her defining election issue to be what the government is doing about illegal aliens. The ones from space.
This is the verbal version of taking all your junk mail and stuffing it into the envelopes of other junk mail and sending it.
As Occam's Carbuncle says "Resist much, obey little".
UPDATE: Sean at PolSpy has the same idea regarding polls.
Her reply to this was "I do not want to fight right now".
After assuring her that I was just curious and not looking to start an argument, she said " I cannot make an informed decision, because I have not been following the issues and I am getting all my information about the US election from you, and all you do is read right wing blogs all day."
I guess I should tone it down a bit.
When pressed a little more, she finally told she would probably vote for Nader.
Just to piss me off, I am sure.
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
The primary issue of the US campaign is security. This issue should be especially of interest to Canadians, as we log ago gave up even the pretense of being able to defend ourselves. I have seen first hand ten years of military decline in Canada, and, even if the government had the will to fix the Canadian military, which it does not, it would be at least five years, and more likely ten before we would have a functioning military again.
With that in mind, let us look at the candidates for US President:
There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind regarding George Bush’s resolve to fight the war on terror. He has not wavered or even showed the slightest flinch since 9/11, even under the most severe criticism. Another term, with no election at the end of it, will allow the Bush Administration to let loose the dogs of war. With a Republican victory on Nov 2, Bush will quickly move to intensify the war on terror and no amount of Mooresque bleating will move him.
Kerry’s statements on his resolve to defeat the terrorists notwithstanding, a Kerry victory will be seen as a victory by Bin Laden throughout the Arab world. Kerry’s statement of wrong war, wrong place, wrong time can only be interpreted as a pull out of Iraq as quickly as possible, repudiating the pre-emptive attack policy of the Bush Doctrine. If you have doubt, simply look at the supporters of Kerry. A Kerry Administration has to think about another election in four years and the big name celebrities and billionaires that bankroll his campaign would never allow an increase or even sustainment of the war on terror. If Kerry wins, bet on a retreat in the war on terror, something sure to embolden our terrorist enemies.
The prime advantage to Canada of the Bush Doctrine is its unilateral approach. Bush allows us to continue to ignore our own security, especially our military, because we know he will do it for us. Bush takes the fight to the terrorists, making it less likely we will be attacked in Canada, and he doesn’t even insist that we help to secure ourselves. Kerry’s retreat makes attacks more likely and his statements about getting more support from other countries means more pressure on Canada to provide troops for the inevitable US return to Iraq or Afghanistan after Kerry’s retreat. This means more military spending and more Canadians fighting and dying overseas. Expect many more of our soldiers coming home in body bags.
A Bush win means more of the same, with Canada quietly sitting on the sidelines. A Kerry win means an initial retreat and period of quiet, with terror attacks soon increasing in number and intensity, resulting in more US overseas military action and more pressure on Canada to participate.
Following this line of reasoning, the converse must be true and conservatives in Canada should support the Democrats. A Kerry win means Canada is forced closer to the United States, the probable result being an improved military. One would think so, but a longer, less intense war on terror simply means more casualties, something I am sure neither side would support. In addition, based on the past actions of our Liberal government, I would expect the absolute minimum required to get the military ready for future conflicts, the result being more casualties as soldiers are sent to fight with less than the best. I would question if we can even be ready in time, seeing that the real effectiveness of the Canadian Forces is so unknown to the public. The political cost of not deploying our military would be too high, so expect our soldier to go, ready or not.
Whatever your political stripe, left or right, pray for a Bush victory on Tuesday.
Cross posted at www.billymag.com
Monday, November 01, 2004
Sunday, October 31, 2004
First, I want to thank millersam and everyone who comments on this page. I am still naïve enough to believe that debate can change a persons mind and I, like Jon Stewart, abhor the partisan screaming seen in the United States, exemplified by shows like Crossfire. All those who comment intelligently add to the debate, and it warms me to think that not everyone is a partisan, screaming automaton for their respective ideologies.
However, I must strongly disagree with millersam regarding the war on terror.
Bin Laden is a dialysis patient, and, at first glance, it should be easy to get the guy. However, there are many logical reasons for why the US has been unable to get him so far. Just because many Arabs are poor and live in less developed countries does not mean they are stupid. We tend to see the US as all powerful and can do anything they want at any time. Is it so hard to believe that Bin Laden can outsmart US intelligence services? This depends on your cultural bias. Also, the GF reminded me that Bin Laden is a very rich guy and that he can afford to purchase any type of electronic device, scrambler, encryption, etc. He likely is using communications devices that even the US military cannot crack. He may be a more sophisticated enemy then we think.
In addition, there may be reasons not to catch the guy. In WWII, the Allies cracked the German code machine and often did not act on intelligence they received because to do so would tip the Germans off that their code was compromised. Perhaps we have something similar. Maybe we have broken one of Bin Laden’s bodyguards and are getting great intelligence from him and killing/capturing Bin Laden would stop us from getting good intelligence on future attacks. Personally, I do not believe this to be true, but I just use it to make the point that there may be other reasons not to get Bin Laden. We just do not have enough information on this.
For these reasons, I am not ready to condemn Bush for not getting Bin Laden. I am reserving judgment.
However, I will not reserve judgment on the order of the war on terror. I think the order Bush has approached it is correct. This is not to say that the war in Iraq is being run perfectly. Mistakes are being made. Specifically, it is clear that there were not enough troops to secure Iraq, and keeping many of the Ba’ath party types in the army may have prevented them from going over to the insurgents. However, this is typical Monday morning quarterbacking. War is chaotic, the Bush Administration made mistakes. The best thing to do is analize those mistakes and not to make them again.
Now we get to the crux of the matter: the order of the war. Some say we should have gone after the biggest fish first and worked our way down, dealing with Saddam last. There are several reasons that this is not the way to go and I will use an analogy to demonstrate this.
Let’s say there are 3 bullies in the playground that are bugging you. You think you can take number 3, but not sure you can take number 1 or 2. Why not take out the one you are sure you can? Maybe the other two will be deterred by your willingness to fight and stop bugging you. As well, you may learn something about fighting bullies which may help when you have to take on the rest. Maybe you will gain some allies or find out some weakness about them you did not know.
These are all valid reasons for going after the weakest member of the axis of evil. Notice that John Kerry and his supporters’ best make the argument for going after Saddam first. Kerry talks a lot about how many mistakes the Bush Administration is making in Iraq. Better to make your mistakes on your weakest opponent, where the mistake will be less costly, then on the guy you are not sure you can take.
This leads me to North Korea. Those on the left seem to hate war and constantly moan about the casualties. The approach to the war taken by Bush seeks to keep these causalities at their lowest. Take out the weak bully and maybe the rest will fall into line. No need for war with the rest. Does anyone think a war with North Korea would be less bloody than the present war in Iraq? Remember that North Korea has nuclear weapons and I doubt crazy Kim lacks the will to use them.
Which leads me to my last point: this war is about the will to fight it. Bin Laden knows he cannot beat the US militarily. He is conducting the classic North Vietnam Tet Offensive and trying to destroy the enemy’s will to fight. The US will to fight the war on terror is waning, as evidenced by the tight US presidential race. If the people of the US are losing their will after 1,000 causalities in Iraq, imagine what would have happened if a US beachhead in North Korea was nuked and they lost 50,000 soldiers in a split second?
If Kerry wins the US presidency it will signal a lack of will in the US to continue this war. This means the rest of us will no longer be able ride on Uncle Sam’s coattails. Without the US to defend us and our own government's lack of will to do the same, this should make every Canadian very worried.
Friday, October 29, 2004
This is a subject the GF and I disagree on. She subscribes to the usual lefty moonbat conspiracy theories that Bin Laden is in Musharraf's basement and will likely be trotted out just before the US election.
I tend to agree with Mark Steyn and believe that he is already dead. Here is my reasoning: Bin Laden was putting out regular tapes after 9/11 and then, all of a sudden, it stopped and we have not heard of him since. Why not a tape from him? The GF says he is sick, so maybe they do not want him to be seen. Good point, but they could do an audio tape, which they have done in the past. The counter to this is, if he was dead, why not proclaim him a martyr and carry on. Another good point. But they may have political reasons for this, as someone may judge it better to keep the idea of Bin Laden alive and demonstrate US weakness by showing Bush cannot even find/capture an old man. If Bin Laden is DNA smeared on a cave wall in Afganistan, we may never prove he is dead.
The GF point about him having the support of Musharraf is a good one. Bin Laden needs regular kidney dialysis and since you cannot run a dialysis machine from a cave, Musharraf, or someone in Pakistan, must be helping him. My counter to this is that Musharraf gains little from protecting Bin Laden. Islamists in Pakistan are already trying to kill him for cozying up to Bush, so he gains nothing from protecting Bin Laden and can gain more US support by further helping Bush. This also further supports the theory that Bin Laden is dead, as if Musharraf is not helping him, how would he get a hold of a dialysis machine.
I find the theory of Bin Laden's whereabouts very interesting, and would appreciate any comments on where he might be, etc.
This is a long way of coming to a bet I made with the GF. There has been talk in the US press that Bush caught Bin Laden long ago and is waiting to trot him out just before the election. Four days to go and we will see if this moonbat theory holds any water.
So I bet the GF that if Bin Laden does not show before the US election, I get I night of wild "cuddling".
I see this as a win-win, since if he does show, I get to watch the lefty moonbats froth at the mouth about conspiracy theories and trying to influence the US election (as if the MSM hasn't been doing this for Kerry for months). Oh, and I also have to provide her with a night of wild "cuddling".
"I am so smart. S-M-R-T. I mean S-M-A-R-T."
Update: Great timing. I few hours after I post this, FOX has this story on their site about a new Bin Laden tape. Unless they catch him in the next few days, I guess I win. Mark Steyn and I are wrong about Bin Laden being dead though.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
In a profile in the Ottawa Citizen this week, Liberal MP Yasmin Ratansi, who is Canada's first female, Muslim MP, said the U.S. government's actions have fuelled anti-Americanism and terrorism."Who wrought this terrorism?" she asked in the Citizen interview. "Where did they come from? They are the result of the policies of the United States. They have been interfering in the world."
Ratansi said in the interview that she is not anti-American and would say the same thing about "any imperialistic power that tries to influence another country and creates chaos in that country."
It's deja vu all over again.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Boy, have I got a lot to learn about politics and Ottawa.
This story in Tuesday's National Post mentions that Ray is the leading candidate for the top job in NATO.
Says Scott Reid, the PM's Communications Director "He is definitely a candidate for the chairman of the NATO Military Committee" and "We're offering him every support required".
Update: Why would you want a guy who cannot sort his own military out telling NATO members what to do?
I, however, am a big believer in family and would like to have our families meet each other at least once during our lives. When we were in Jamaica at a resort, there were 3 to 4 weddings per day and those weddings seemed a bit impersonal. I would like to have a few people we know there to share the occasion with us.
The GF really likes to travel, so she wants to go somewhere exotic like Africa and get married. I don't mind travel and have already agreed that she gets to choose the honeymoon location. I expect I will be marching up mountains or looking at old rocks instead of lying on a beach.
So far, it looks like a compromise. We may get married in fall of 2005 and have some sort of reception at Christmas.
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
I got the idea to blog from the GF. She has this ex-boyfriend, "Todd", who lives in San Fran and is a rabid lefty. (The quotes around his name represent the derision with which I say his name to her). Even though "Todd" has been an ex for around 10 years, he still sends out these spam emails, of which the GF is one recipient. These are the usual collection of jokes, etc, all from a lefty perspective.
"Todd" is not really a threat, but it is fun to make fun of the GF's exes, and pretend to be jealous. (ya, pretend). I won't give you "Todd's" site, as I do not want to increase his traffic.
Anyway, this is a long way of saying the following is one of these anti-Bush, left wing jokes I am constantly subjected to. Unfortunately, I think it is funny, so read it below:
The Politics of a Light Bulb
Q: How many members of the Bush Administration are needed to change a light bulb?
The answer is: 10
1. One to deny that a light bulb needs to be changed.
2. One to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the light bulb needs to be changed.
3. One to blame Clinton for burning out the light bulb.
4. One to tell the nations of the world that they are either "for" changing the light bulb or "for" darkness.
5. One to give a billion dollar no-bid contract to Haliburton for the new light bulb.
6. One to arrange a photograph of Bush, dressed as a janitor, standing on a step ladder under the banner: "Lightbulb Change Accomplished".
7. One administration insider to resign and write a book documenting in detail how Bush was literally in the dark.
8. One to viciously smear #7.
9. One surrogate to campaign on TV and at rallies on how George Bush has had a strong light-bulb-changing policy all along.
10. And finally, one to confuse Americans about the difference between screwing a light bulb and screwing the country.
If you can't laugh at yourself....
Update: ...then laugh at the other guy.
Thanks to Anonymous for this reply. I had to put it on the main page
How many members of the John Kerry team does it take to change a lightbulb? 14
1. One to write about how John Kerry bravely changed light bulbs in the face of the enemy in Vietnam.
2. One to write good copy for journalists about how important light bulb changing is for the future of the country.
3. One to say that the Bush Administration has screwed every lightbulb that ever came along.
4. One to go out a look for a light bulb as ordered by John Kerry.
5. One to go out and cancel the guy looking for a light bulb because John Kerry realizes that what is really needed is a study on light bulbs and the environment.
6. One to go out and poll black voters on how the light bulb being out affects their lives.
7. One to go out and cancel the black vote poll because John Kerry realizes that Hispanics are more likely to be put out by the lack of a working light bulb.
8. One to begin the study of the light bulb and the environment.
9. One to go out and cancel the environmental assessment study because it might conflict with the version of Vietnam history purported by #1.
10. One to tell the media how garbage from Canada is the reason why the lightbulb burnt out. 11. One to run out and cancel the press conference by #10 and hold another press conference outlining the problems with light bulb replacement in the wake of the war in Iraq.
12. One to organize a Global test for the accomplishment of the light bulb screwing, according to other nations.
13. One to write a speech for John Kerry attempting to clear up his voting records in the Senate for and against light bulbs.
14. One to tell John Kerry which way he should jump on this whole sordid light bulb issue.
The difference is that while you can criticize actions taken, at least something is done about the light bulb.
Michael Moore asks some good questions about the Bush Administration and the war, but ruins it with every propaganda trick in the book. David Koppel does an excellent job here debunking F9/11 . I read his site long before I saw the movie so I could not see it in the theater for two reasons: I did not want to pay full price for crap, and I would have spent the entire time yelling "bullshit" and "lies" at the screen, likely getting thrown out. So I did it at home (what do they say about people who yell at the TV screen?). I was not too bad, the GF only have to tell me to shut up a few times.
My favourite lies are deceits 53-56 and involve the children of members of Congress and the war. Moore states that, of 535 members of Congress, only one has an enlisted son in Iraq. Note the very precise phrase. In fact, Republican Duncan Hunter's son was a 2Lt and served in Iraq. He quit his job to join the Marines after 9/11. Of course, he is technically not an enlisted man, being an officer. At the time 7 members of Congress had children who were in the US military. If you look at the ratio of people serving in Iraq in the general population you get 349:1. Compare this with Congress, which had 2 of 535 which is 268:1.
I also like the segment with Representative Kennedy (R-MN) where Moore asks him about sending his son to Iraq. The film is cut there with a dumb look on Kennedy's face. Here is the conversation:
"Congressman, I'm trying to get members of Congress to get their kids to enlist in the Army and go over to Iraq."
Moore: Is there any way you could help me with that?
Kennedy: How would I help you?
Moore: Pass it out to other members of Congress.
Kennedy: I'd be happy to - especially those who voted for the war. I have a nephew on his way to Afghanistan.
My biggest complaint about the film: Don't claim to be showing a documentary and give only one side and ignore facts that do not fit your hypothesis.
Go to Dave Koppel's site for more detailed analysis.
My prediction: Bush by 2%, with a few weeks of lawsuits flying back and forth. Bush confirmed as prez, legal stuff solved on November 23.
Post your own predictions in comments.
Being I guy, I tend to suffer through any problems. I usually do not take anything for headaches.
The GF, always thinking about me, decided to subtly make a comment to encourage me to get checked.
There is nothing like coming downstairs first thing in the morning, still rubbing the sleep out of your eyes to sit down to check email and seeing two pamphlets staring you in the face with the titles:
Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome affecting your health?
Parasites are a Serious Health Concern
My apologies to anyone who has not eaten breakfast yet.
Monday, October 25, 2004
Part of the reason I did not get the computer problems fixed sooner (in addition to frustration) is the fact the the GF bought a new computer game which has been taking up a lot of my attention. It is called Evil Genius and a demo can be found at www.howevilareyou.com
You are 60's evil genius (a la Dr. Evil) and have to build your base, send your minions on missions and set nefarious traps for the forces of justice.
If you have ever wanted to take over the world (what right winger hasn't?) go and give the demo a try.
Saturday, October 23, 2004
True. I guess I am still a long way from being paid for what is now really a hobby.
It is amazing how quickly some of us in the “new media” desire the recognition of those in the mainstream.
I feel like the short, chubby, ugly girl at the dance who swoons when the school quarterback looks in her general direction.
Update: You can find the letter here (needs subscription)
Friday, October 22, 2004
He's a witch! Burn him! Burn him!
These are the headlines and lead-ins I expected to read today when I heard last night the Shelia Copps' new book was going to mention that Paul Martin wanted to scrap the CHA.
Let's ignore the old saying about Hell having no fury like a woman scorned, and pretend that Paul Martin, Ms. Copps' most hated enemy, the guy who took away her job, really did say that. One of Canada's greatest myths is the sacrosanct Canada Health Act, and, if what Copps says is true, he will likely pay a political price for it. But what does the CHA really give us? Without getting into a long, detailed analysis, the main points of the CHA supposedly guarantee that the provinces comply with the following 5 principles: Public Administration, Comprehensiveness, Universality, Portability and Accessibility. Find a more detailed overview of the Act here.
It's like babies and puppies: Who can be against that?
But really, what has the Act ever done for us? A Fraser Institute report that hit the papers this week talked about how wait times have increased even with the increase in health care funding. Quebec ignores the Portability principle and what do the feds do about it? Nothing. In addition, the Provinces are responsible for delivering health care to the people and, let’s say one or all of these 5 principles are really important to you but the province does not deliver. Could the citizens of that province do something about it? Of course. Vote the bums out. Just like every other area of public policy in this country.
The way I see it, the Act is already dead and good riddance. All it does is prevent the provinces from experimenting in certain areas, notably private delivery/administration, to improve our heath care outcomes.
If only Paul Martin would stand up and admit it. I just might vote for him.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
A report in the National Post states that the CDS, General Ray Henault, defended the purchase of the used British subs to a parliamentary hearing. The lead of the Post story is "The used subsmarines Canada bought from Britain are still a good buy and there is nothing to indicate the military would do it differently if it had to do it over again, says Canada's top officer."
Now, I am not saying the sub purchase was bad, but knowing what will know now, would you really do the same thing again? I mean, if you bought a used car, which perhaps was not a lemon, but had more wrong with it than you thought and cost more to get running than you anticipated, would not that be enough to consider buying something new next time?
Now, I know nothing about the reasons for this particular purchase, but I cannot believe that the Navy would not have prefered brand new subs, if the budget was there for it. I challenge anyone involved in the project to look me in the eye and say "We would rather have the used subs than new ones".
And Ray, you do nothing for your credibility in the eyes of your subordinates by claiming otherwise. Instead of always saying what the government wants you to say, how about saying what is true and strengthening the faith of the lower ranks in their senior leadership?
Gotta add my two cents. Was Warren really serious that he was going to sue someone over that? I have heard much nastier things said about much higher profile people in much bigger publications. (no offense to Ian)
I guess I feel a bit left out. All the cool right wing bloggers got to be threatened by WARREN KINSELLA, and I am still back in high school, sitting at the geek table while the popular, good looking kids argue about who gets to be prom queen.
Maybe I will send some nasty email to Warren so I can be at the cool table too.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Usually we expect our first snowfall by about Halloween, so this is a bit of a surprise. Last year we made it until mid November before the first snow.
Luckily, I raked up the leaves last weekend. However, the patio furniture did not do as well. I will have to dig it out sometime.
If we were not ready for the snow, the GF's cats certainly were not. We let them out about once a day for a few hours, but they are a bit reluctant now. It is interesting to see them scratch at the door to go out and when I open it, to see a large shiver go down their spine and quickly turn around with a look of cat disgust on their face. The female will then go immediately to the front door, somehow expecting it leads to another dimension where it is always 25 degrees C.
If only that were true.
Thursday, October 14, 2004
For those of you who do not know me, I hate putting clothes away. There are piles of clean clothes all around our place. I am not sure why I hate putting them away, but I think it has something to do with not having anywhere to put them. I have a huge closet which was mostly empty. That closet is full to overflowing since she moved in.
By the time we were getting ready for bed, I had completely forgot about the conditions she mentioned earier. Of course, just as I was jumping into bed, she asks "Did you put some clothes away?" I quickly jumped up, grabbed two pairs of underwear from the pile and threw them in the first drawer I could find in the dark.
Now the GF is very smart. She sees all the angles. Fortunately for me, so do I. Her problem is she can't wait to gloat to me when she puts one over on me. This is one of those occasions. She immediately says to me "You are going to regret this. You just set a precedent." To which I mumble something about how I have made a big mistake.
She thinks she has me, because the precedent being set that I have to put away clothes to get some loving. However, the way I see it, no more hour of begging. All I have to do is put two pair of underwear away and I am home free.
Isn't perception wonderful?
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
The GF was making dinner and was having a bit of trouble. She was trying to fry up some perogies and, of course, decided to blame me for it. Of course, I was reading the newspaper in the kitchen, completely oblivious as to what was going on.
She starts getting mad because the things were frozen. She had them on too high, she was getting splattered with hot margarine, and the perogies were getting burned on the outside while still frozen on the inside. She makes some nasty comments about the margarine being no good ( I bought it), slams down the cooking utensil, and storms off saying, "That's it, I've had enough, YOU cook dinner" leaving me wondering what happened.
Now, I have to admit, I did not help the situation. However, it is not my fault. I am a man and I pride myself on being logical. When someone has a problem and is complaining that they are having some difficulty with some task, my default is to make helpful suggestions. Unfortunately, this is not what the other person wants. Just like some of the lefties in our society, they do not want to know how to solve their problem they just want "the man" to take all their troubles away.
I had to be The Man.
Note: Please no comments about how I should have offered to cook for her. I cannot count the number of times I have tried to do so and been cut off at the knees with some comment about how I must not think she can do some easy task. I don't make that mistake anymore.
Saturday, October 09, 2004
Sheila must be in the tequila again
This is military related, but it also has to do with a little thing called logic. In yesterday’s National Post, Sheila Copps wrote (ed. need to register) regarding the purchase of the four subs, one being the HMCS Chicoutimi, the scene of a fire which caused the dead of Lieutenant Chris Saunders. She stated that over four years, three successive defence ministers tried to convince Cabinet to purchase the subs. Tequila Sheila comes to the conclusion that, since the military “begged” the government to buy the subs, the military, not the government should be blamed for their disrepair.
Let me take you through the thinking of the military mind, dear reader. The military thinks about the tasks given to it by the government and then pitches the government for the equipment to complete those tasks. In most countries, these tasks are something like defend the country from foreign enemies, and do any other tasks the government asks. The second part is where the peacekeeping and disaster relief are covered.
The military determined that having the capability to deploy submarines was important. In other countries, the governments would likely accept that advice and ask what subs we should buy to meet the need. Usually the military suggests a piece of equipment that is very fancy and does a lot of cool stuff and is the best piece of equipment for the job money can buy. Face it, if it is your life on the line, you want the best piece of kit there is. In Canada, the government is so cheap that the military is reduced to trying to get the equipment any way they can. They know the government will never buy the best subs, but something is better than nothing, so they came up with something like this used sub deal. At $800 million, less than the cost of a useless gun registry, Cabinet rejected the plan twice, until the military came up with a deal to trade the subs for free use of CFB Suffield (and, I think, CFB Wainwright) by the Brits. This is touted as “getting them for free”. Now, any kid who gets an allowance knows this is not really free, since the Brits were going to pay use to use those bases. As well, they have been mothballed for four years, so there will be a cost just to get them running again. However, in Sheila’s world this is free, just like health care is free. If you don’t actually have to give someone the money, it’s free.
Note to Ms Copps: Wake up! Based on experience, the military knew you would never approve the “Cadillac” of subs (remember what your buddy Jean said about the helicopters?), so they started by pitching the used Chevy. Four years after the Chevy has been rusting in sea water it gets approved and any problems are not the governments fault? Knowing the Liberal government's pattern of under funding the military, I would also be interested to know how much the repair costs for these subs were under funded and how that contributed to this accident.
Court Martial of Public Opinion
Global Sunday is going to hold a mock trial (article: need to register) where the government will be accused of failing to adequately equip the Canadian Forces. Ask any military member what they think of this question, and I am sure most will have already found them guilty. The only problem is the public keeps commuting the sentence.
This sounds like a bit of a publicity stunt, but maybe it will help to prevent some of my friends from getting killed. God knows nothing else has helped.
Focus on the Big Picture
Yesterday’s National Post published a letter by the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Ray Henault, about an editorial cartoon which depicted a Canadian Forces (CF) submarine as a coffin with his comments that it was “tremendously offensive” to all members of the CF.
What is really offensive to me is the shabby treatment of successive Liberal governments towards the military.
Note to General Henault: Less time spent complaining (my job); more time spent fixing the military’s problems (your job). It’s not like you don’t have enough to do. If you are not sure where to start, email me here and I will be happy to respond. As a former member of the military, I have some thoughts as well as first hand experience. Or you could get yours ass out of the puzzle palace (National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa) and ask just about anyone else in uniform. Oh, it also helps if you listen to them.
I hate when that happens.
Monday, October 04, 2004
However, all was not lost, as this gave me the perfect opportunity to take her to task for all those little things around the house that piss me off. Like not taking the recycling out to the garage when the box is full. Heck, she is the lefty, she is supposed to care about the environment, not me. Why do I end up taking it out all the time? She also makes sure to get it nice and full. She recycles everything, so when I take it out to the garage it is always overflowing with tiny bus passes and little pieces of paper.
Another thing that gets me is the bathroom. Lipstick, eye pencils and I bunch of other stuff that I do not recognize is always on the counter. Put it in the drawer, where it is supposed to go. Is that so hard? I made extra room for this stuff, there is no excuse. Unfortunately, while I am ripping into her on this stuff, building to a good head of steam, she mentions that my electric razor is always on the counter.
Don't you hate when people throw your words back at you?
Friday, October 01, 2004
This is the man who, in my opinion, has done more to stifle the health care debate in Canada by slavishly abiding to his narrow, left wing ideology.
Note to Roy: Shut your pie hole, you have done enough damage already.
Thursday, September 30, 2004
No clear winner. My impression of Kerry improved seeing him in this context, but it was low before. I heard that Bush was an expert at staying on message and I really saw that. Bush had several points he wanted to get across and was relentless in pushing them. Kerry survived the attack pretty well, but I do not think his message will be as well received as Bush. Bush appeared more Presidential. Kerry seemed to be presenting his policy on Iraq as similar to Bush but he would have done "more" or "better". I think Bush effectively highlighted the weak areas in this plan and neutralized it.
I think we will see an increase in the Bush poll numbers over the next week, but likely only a very small one.
A few days ago, the GF got home from work and we were going to go out and get a few things from the grocery store and rent a movie before making supper. So I said to her "I am going to put on some pants" and I changed out of my blogwear (pajamas) and put on a pair of jeans.
Later that night she gets mad at me about something and start going on about how pathetic I am and I am always asking her for help, and saying things like "Where are my pants? I can't find my pants. Honey, help me find my pants." This, of course, really bugged me because I said nothing of the sort. I specifically told her that I was going to put them on. I had no trouble finding them. However, somehow in her mind this entire exchanged happened that no one in this dimension experienced.
This exchange reminded me of what is going on in the blogosphere, particularly between the left and the right in the U.S.
This is probably just my own opinion, but it seems the left are more likely to put words into others mouths, such as the Bush said Mission accomplished speech in May 2003. He never said those words, although the big sign did say that.
Accuracy is important to me, so I was sure to call her on the pants thing.
However, this got me to wondering: Is the misquoting thing due to her politics and if it is, maybe if my plan to convert her is successful I can put an end to it.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
I have some experience in the recruitment of Reserve soldiers into the CF, and I have never noticed a classic case of discrimination (based on gender, race, religion, etc).
However, it is no secret that the reserve recruiting process is incredibly slow. It would boggle your mind to know how slow. Just imagine you were an 18 yr old high school student and you wanted to join the Army Reserve for the summer to earn some extra money. It would take you, on the average of at least 3 months, likely more.
When the government claims they want to increase the size of the Reserves, I just laugh. How can you increase the size when it takes so long to get in that any sane person would quit from the frustration of waiting?
"Should the federal government introduce a short-term 'windfall tax' that redistributes some of Alberta's oil wealth to provinces in need?"
With a provincial election expected in Alberta in Nov, what is this all about? Is this a trial balloon?
This would not go over well in Wild Rose Country.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
What will it take for our political leaders to reform the system instead of just throw money at it?
Monday, September 27, 2004
I am of two minds on this. As a Canadian, I want a strong federation, where everyone is equal. I am against special status for Quebec on principle. Is not every part of Canada different from the rest?
However, as an Albertan, I am sick of the feds impinging on provincial territory and do not trust them not to trample over the rights of Alberta by putting up some sort of NEP II, or something similar. I am also tired of transfer payments. What incentive is there for "poor" provinces to sort out their economies with transfer payments? As long as more of the tax money from the rich provinces go to support the poor, the more they can continue to follow tired, failed economic policies. I am not against some type of transfer, as we have, in principle, a requirement to help the less fortunate. However, there is no reason for Quebec to be one of these provinces. It is a large province with abundant natural resources, and should be a net contributor to Canada.
Therefore, any time Quebec gets some type of special status, my Canadian side worries, as this makes out country less united, but my Alberta side is happy, as this erodes the ability of the feds to interfere with the jurisdiction of all provinces.
Does anyone have any comments on this?
Update: I was unable to link to Andrew Coyne's site and the article (http://www.andrewcoyne.com/) which appeared in the the 25 Sept 2004 edition of the National Post. His site has some sort of page error and I cannot find the article.
Saturday, September 25, 2004
I think that maybe, just maybe, the threat of these incidents going on the net is giving me an edge. I will have to experiment a bit to test the theory.
I will keep you posted.
Friday, September 24, 2004
Firstly, there is a considerable difference between a media company and the government. The main job of government is to protect its citizens. And while a government should not lie to the people, even in a democracy it invariably keeps information from its citizens for security purposes. We accept that this is required.
The news media developed as a way of getting information to the people, about the actions of their government as well as other things going on. The media in the west has always questioned the statements of the government and their reputation rests on being fair and impartial, reporting the facts. There are, of course, the opinion pages, but it is usually clear where news (facts) end and Opinion begins. This is mostly true, but we all know that newspapers, for example, have a certain editorial slant, such as the Toronto Star, which has a leftward lean to it. Everyone accepts an editorial slant, but this should not carry over to news.
As for the Iraq WMD question, I would agree that the media did not dig enough and do its job. However, I am not sure how much you can blame them, as they lack certain resources that are available to the security organs of the state to determine the hostile capabilities of foreign countries. I am not convinced that the US President lied about WMD in Iraq. It seems obvious the US was wrong about Iraq having WMD, but not finding something does not mean it is not there. However, I will admit that it is unlikely WMD's are in the country and the US is unable to find them. As for making a mistake, believing there were weapons when there were none, here are a few points that support that conclusion:
Saddam kicked out the inspectors. Why would he do this if he had nothing to hide?
He clearly did not cooperate fully with the inspectors, and he tried to hinder them. (See above)
He had used WMD on Iraqis in the past (the Kurds) and during the Iran-Iraq war. It was not far fetched to think he might have some of those squirreled away.
The countries which were against the war, such as France, Germany and Russia, did not question that he had these weapons, likely because they had sold him the technology to build them ( to be fair, so did the US, to a lesser extent). They could have directly questioned Powell's assertions, but did not.
Most of the above would be considered circumstansial evidence in a court of law, but this is not court. We now know that the US was wrong, or at least cannot prove it was right, which is different. However, I personally believe that Saddam should have been take out anyway, and it was a mistake for the Bush Administration to use the WMD reason, when there were many others. Since the 1991 Gulf War did not really end, the US could have attacked again simply because Saddam did not comply with the terms of the cease fire (ie inspectors, etc).
We in the west did not understand Saddam well enough. It is my opinion that he sent signals that he had WMD to maintain his credibility in the Arab world, even though he could have stopped the US invasion cold by opening up to inspectors in a timely fashion. However, he could not do this, for then he would have been seen as weak. Maintaining the "tough guy" image was more important than the risk of losing his position.
Back to the media. There are two types of sins: Sins of Omission and Sins of Commission. A sin of omission is when you failed to do something you were supposed to do. This is the type of mistake the media made regarding Iraq, but it has to be willful, which we have no proof of. As Ron mentioned, the US media is notoriously liberal, so it is hard to believe they would not hold Bush's feet to the fire if they had any info on WMD. Anything is possible, but that scenario is just not probable to me. I hesitate to blame the media on Iraq, as it is difficult to get this kind of information by the way they are set up. The media is not the CIA. Also, it is difficult to prove a negative.
As for a sin of commission, this is when you do something you were not supposed to do. This is what Rather did. He knew the documents were forged, but used them anyway. "But Marcel" you say, "Dan says he was fooled, tricked, its not his fault. His only crime is being duped". Let's examine the facts:
The documents which purport to prove Bush did not satisfactorily complete his National Guard service were supplied by Burkett, who is well know to have an axe to grind with the Bush family. This should be enough to subject his assertions to extra scrutiny.
CBS made initial claims that they were happy with the chain of evidence, yet they never saw the original documents.
They "authentication shopped", showing different documents to different experts. Why not show all the docs to your experts, so they could compare and you could get the most accurate information?
Their experts told them the docs were probably false and they should not use them in their story. Yet they did. Why?
They did not present any contrary evidence, such as the fact that both the wife and son of Killian, who supposedly wrote the documents, believed them to be false. News should show both sides of the story. Why was this not in the report?
Anyone with any military background would be suspicious of the writing style of the memos. The military does write memos to cover its ass (CYA) but we don't call them that.
CBS went with 4 of the 6 documents, because the other 2 did not pass the smell test. Yet they made no mention of this in their report. If their piece on Bush was news and not opinion, they should have presented contrary evidence, in the interest of fairness.
Within a few hours of the docs being released to the public, some guy in his pajamas (well done lgf) made uncanny reproductions of the documents by simply typing them out on the default setting of Microsoft Word. How could CBS not see that the docs were false with all their money and resources?
Therefore, it seems clear to me that this story did not meet journalistic standards. Yet CBS still went with it. Considering the fact that this story made potentially damaging allegations about a sitting President during and election year, you would think Rather and Co would want to be extra careful to get the story correct. Yet they seemed to be extra sloppy. I can only conclude that Dan Rather willfully ignored serious questions about this story. He crossed the line and reported his opinion as news. For this he deserves the tarnish his reputation is getting, and, in my opinion, should be fired.