Wednesday, May 2, 2007


I found this gem on another site, I had to share, though I know it's a month old...

I find it simple, hilariously sarcastic and elegantly to the point...

I haven't weighed in about the Iranian hostage crisis, but it's about time that I did. I'm shocked, shocked, to say the least, that a country would dare to unilaterally detain citizens of another sovereign country without trial, and subject them to questioning. Why, I'm sure it's only the massive media attention that kept them from dressing them up in orange jumpsuits, keeping them in humiliating conditions, and torturing them.

Iran has released them, but we cannot soon forgive this unpardonable violation of sovereignty and rights. Especially given that the British may have been in Iraqi waters. No foreign country has any right to enter those waters without Iraq's permission.

And on it goes.

by dru - The Dominion

Friday, April 27, 2007

Who Cares About Global Warming?

Much noise has been made over the last few years about the dangers we face, as fast-paced global warming threatens to dramatically change the environment. Many people claim that global warming is somehow related to human activity, while others deny the clear, scientifically-proven existence of such a link.

While the movement supporting some kind of action has gained momentum within activist circles (à la Al Gore) and the international public opinion, I for one am not hopeful of any significant change over the near future.

In the international relations arena, the divide between those that favour action to curb climate change and those who deny the pertinence of such action is a very clear one: on one side, you have the Bush administration, Australia and Canada (whose previous administration failed to implement the Kyoto Protocol and whose current one has no intention of upholding it); on the other the "rest of the world", including world leaders, NGOs, international bodies, public opinion, etc... Kyoto, without the participation of the United States (25% of world emissions) and of China and India (who ratified but are exempt from emission cuts for the time being) is truly dead.

No change can come from the top on climate change: those who can enforce change will not betray the industries that pollute the most, because they are direct or indirect beneficiaries of industry. Most declarations of politicians concerning curbing emissions is mere lip service, as what really drives the world is the bottom line: profit, re-election, consumerism, comfort, all of which can be neatly tucked into that most American (indeed, Western or globalized) of ideals - the pursuit of happiness, which means that not enough consumers care enough to demand a change in attitude from their elites, or from themselves.

What I am getting at is that the whole discussion on whether or not climate change is man-made is deeply flawed. Rather, it sidesteps the issue. If you deny human activity as a catalyst for climate change, then clearly there is no issue. If, on the other hand, you agree that the current fast-paced climate change is related to human activity, then you wallow in self-pity, blaming the lack of will of those who are in the position of actually bringing the mass scale change that is necessary to revert the trend.

But, as I said, both sides have missed the real issue: human misuse of the world. Whether or not our activity is causing global warming does not matter. What matters is that it is NOT sustainable. Changing from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy makes us feel warm and fuzzy. Recycling is a great thing, although very little of it is done on a global scale. Organic food? Great, if you can afford it.

Clearly, though, those solutions (including carbon emission reduction) are but band-aids, typical of the Western-turned-global mindset: we treat the symptoms without addressing the disease. Have a problem? Pop a pill and keep moving! What we need is a paradigm shift. We need to change as a society, as individuals even. I could go first, but what's the point - are you gonna follow???

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Mercury Rising in the Middle East

(en français)

In Beirut, as we welcomed the New Year, the air was permeated with a certain uneasiness. 2007 was sure to be eventful, for better or for worse. Today, as Easter approaches, the opposition sit-in continues to choke the downtown core, as the parliamentary majority, kept afloat by US and French lip service, prays for a miracle. Lebanese know that their future lies in the hands of foreigners: their fate will be decided somewhere between Damascus, Tehran, Washington and Paris.

Suddenly, the Middle East is bustling with activity. So many things are happening, it is hard to tell exactly what it all means (unless you are part of the in-crowd).

These past months have seen a lot of activity: as Ms. Rice collects her miles between DC and the Middle East, so has Putin visited the region, in a clear signal to Washington that Russia intends to be a player in the region.

Yet since last week, events seem to be snowballing: Rice is back in the Middle East. Angela Merkel, whose country holds the EU presidency is in Israel, probably talking to Olmert about the Arab Leagues comprehensive peace proposal and the besieged Palestinian administration. And Tehran has captured British soldiers it says ventured into its waters.

Then this week, Russian media reported that a US attack on Iran was imminent, due to start around Easter. Why Russian inteligence would have leaked that information remains unknown. Ground-based antiaircraft missile defence systems, military command structure and nuclear facilities are reportedly among the alleged targets of this operation. The USs main weapon would be tactical nukes (a euphemism) which are capable of reaching underground facilities. These mini-nukes have a load of 13 kilotons (the bomb used in Hiroshima, had one of 20 kilotons).

Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat leader of Congress is in Israel and intends to visit Damascus, ostensibly to deliver a Bushesque message to Mr. Assad: either you’re with us or you’re against us. If Assad does not bend, he risks a ground invasion via South Lebanon.

Of course, it is a distinctly possibility that all this is pure rhetorics, shouldered by warships in the Persian Gulf and a build-up of troops near the Iran-Iraq border. In the Israeli daily Haaretz, Israeli officials deny such a US-Israeli offensive is under works. Hezbollah, Syria and Iran, however, feel an attack is a real possibility and are gearing up their defences for a summer war they will not trigger.

One thing is certain, SOMEthing is about to happen in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Lebanon watches attentively.