Monday, January 01, 2007

Awakening as a Cockroach

It seems never to end. Nothing is learned. Old GOP scandals are covered up or spun while new ones are spawned. There is a body of evidence to indicate that Bush and Blair deliberately schemed to make legal -after the fact -the aggressive war against Iraq. The following link -Ministers were told of need for Gulf war ‘excuse’ -is just the latest smoking gun, confirming the much earlier Downing Street Memos. An excerpt:

MINISTERS were warned in July 2002 that Britain was committed to taking part in an American-led invasion of Iraq and they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal."

The warning, in a leaked Cabinet Office briefing paper, said Tony Blair had already agreed to back military action to get rid of Saddam Hussein at a summit at the Texas ranch of President George W Bush three months earlier."

The briefing paper, for participants at a meeting of Blair’s inner circle on July 23, 2002, said that since regime change was illegal it was “necessary to create the conditions” which would make it legal.

In other words, Bush and Blair are war criminals. These violations of the Nuremberg Principles are prohibited by US Codes, Section 2441 which prescribes the death penalty for war crimes resulting in death.

Nobel prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter is vindicated. In 2005, in a 5,000-word speech, Pinter excoriated "...the US government over Guantánamo Bay and its attempts to destabilise Nicaragua in the 1980s."

He also savaged the Blair government for its "pathetic and supine" support of George W. Bush. He likened Blair`s government to a "bleating little lamb" for its support of Bush's criminal war against Iraq. Indeed, the ICC at Belgium has already received numerous cases against Bush, Blair, Rumsfeld and a host of other senior U.S. officials. The charges include crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan.

...among the other named defendants we also have General Ricardo Sanchez, who was in charge of the Iraq war at the outset and authorized these torture techniques. There's also George Tenet, who was head of the CIA, and that of course involves the CIA's secret detention sites around the world, where waterboarding and other kinds of torture went on. Those are three of the people at the top who we've named as defendants. Then we have the lawyers, former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo in particular, who basically set up the legal framework. There was a case during the Nuremburg trials in Germany after World War 2 in which German lawyers were gone after because they implemented the Nazi program of murder.

-US Codes, Section 2441Lawyers File War Crimes Charges Against Rumsfeld and Others in German Court

Bush meanwhile will compound his idiocy having learned nothing. Chaos will worsen for two reasons among others: the vengence execution of Saddam and Bush's planned "surge". Bush failure is evident on all but forgotten fronts. Afghanistan, under-reported for years, has been lost. Hamid Karzai is literally confined to Kabul.

​​One is reminded of Winston Churchill who wrote that the statesman "...who yields to war no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events." At last, what does "staying the course" and "getting the job done" mean? There is, in fact, no course to stay but mere "war fever" itself.

Bush, moreover, has never defined what is meant by winning. Some 600,000 Iraqis are now dead as a result of the US invasion and the wave of civil war that spewed up in its wake. That figure is comparable to the 618,000 Americans who died in the Civil War. Is there yet another standard by which the magnitude of this catatastrophe might be made clear?

Now Bush wants to send more troops to Iraq to achieve a "goal" that he cannot articulate. A "surge" it is called when, in fact, it is idiocy compounded, the criminal repetition of a failed policy. Bush will raise the stakes on a losing bet —and he dares call himself a "Texan"! Bush has made of us mere slaves to uncontrollable events, victims of evil unleashed. We might as well have awakened as cockroaches.

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damien said...

nyah, nyah! I'm first. Welcome back Len.

Fuzzflash said...

"Bush has made of us mere slaves to uncontrollable events, victims of evil unleashed. We might as well have awakened as cockroaches."

Roach Squadron standing by awaiting mission to launch "exceeding smart bombs" upon The Imbecile and Outfit. With DeLay out of play, our extermination is no longer an option. Neocons, PNACs, WHIGs, their boosters and enablers are now compelled to confront the ugly truth:
In cyberspace, no one can hear you swarm.

Great to have you back in the saddle, Cowboy. Let's kick some Imbecile arse in 2007, and heaps more. Posse'll be along shortly.

I hate you,Damian.

Len Hart said...

Thanks, Damien...I had to resort to a bit of "hacking". It worked.

Fuzzflash, your wrote: "Let's kick some Imbecile arse in 2007"

I share your sentiments, as you well know. Having been dissapointed so many times, it is hard to be optimistic. But, having said that, there is no denying the growing world wide revulsion. I have an intuition that the Democrats will investigate and the GOP will abandon Bush. It could all happen within six months. Bush may very well be forced out of office by his own party. It happened to Nixon. The GOP -sniveling, opportunistic bastards all -will eventually scurry to save their own sorry backsides. When that happens Bush is toast.

Anonymous said...

Hyderabad, Dec 30 (IANS) The execution of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein Saturday evoked strong public protests in Andhra Pradesh.

Protesters took out rallies and burnt effigies of US President George W. Bush. Holding posters of Saddam, they Shouting slogans of 'Down with American imperialism'.Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), which has a strong presence in this state capital In Hyderabad, MIM activists held protests in different places in the Muslim majority old city parts and held a demonstration in Mehdipatnam.
MIM president and former MP Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi said if Saddam had committed crimes he should have been punished by the people of Iraq or their elected government. "He was tried and punished the way the US wanted. The trial was big charade," he said.

"We are not saying that he should not have been punished but the question is who has the right to punish him. Certainly not a country which invaded Iraq," Owaisi told IANS."This is a murder of justice. Bush has proved that he is the Hitler of the 21st century," "It is Bush who should be hanged for killing thousands of people in Iraq and Afghanistan," and added: "If Saddam committed crimes against humanity, the crimes committed by Bush across the world are equally heinous. If Saddam has been hanged for his crimes why Bush should go scot-free?"

Len Hart said...

Indeed, why does Bush get off scot free? Iraq was better off under Saddam. Sad but true!

SadButTrue said...

Somebody called?

Anonymous asks, "If Saddam has been hanged for his crimes why Bush should go scot-free?"

Personally I like the precedent that has been set. Why indeed should Bush face any lesser fate when he has indeed committed more heinous war crimes than the admittedly monstrous Saddam. And don't forget, Saddam's monstrosity was at the urging of previous Republicans under Reagan and Poppy Bush. To allow Bush a walk on this one would do irreparable damage to the future of the country.

Good to see you're back in the saddle Len! I really liked your guest posts at Les Enragé, and hope to return the favour soon. ;-)

damien said...

Mary Riddell says: Tomorrow, a new UN Secretary-General takes up his post. A process so haphazard that it might have been devised to elect a parish council treasurer produced Ban Ki-moon, a South Korean diplomat of unimpeachable obscurity.

I thought so too but I couldn't help wondering why Ban Ki-moon would get a glowing endorsement from the USA's UN ambassador John Bolton. Now I know why. Ban appears to be connected to Michael Landau, a "Manhattan-based Orthodox Jewish businessman who is connected to Republican Religious Right icon and former GOP presidential candidate Gary Bauer....More alarming is the fact that Landau is involved in African mining, which presents Ban with a clear conflict-of-interests as the UN continues to try and stem the flow of conflict blood diamonds."

Interestingly, the American Jewish Committee and B’nai B’rith International have exercised caution in their meetings with Ban Ki-moon. It looks like Ban has highly specific Jewish connections to the upper echelons of the US administration. There's more here and here.

Fuzzflash said...

Len, Saw Harold Pinter(on the telly) give that speech just before his death. Gettysburg inspirational, content and delivery. Am in accord with all your main points but your Churchill quote got me musing.
"One is reminded of Winston Churchill who wrote that the statesman "...who yields to war no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events."

Just so. But apparantly, some "war fevers" run hotter than others. Here's a smidge from Bob Fisk's "The Great War For Civization: The Conquest of the Middle East" , which has recently kept me tomebound.

"Churchill urged the use of mustard gas, which had already been employed against Shia rebels in 1920. He wrote to Air Marshall Sir Hugh Trenchard, Chief of the Air Staff, that, 'you should proceed with the experimental work on gas bombs, especially mustard gas, which would inflict punishment upon recalcitrant natives without inflicting grave injury upon them.' " (page 178)

Such a humanitarian, Winnie. Beats me why the Nobel people never tapped him for a Peace Prize.

Damien, sorry I spelt your name incorrectly in my feigned flabbergast over three lousy minutes after the lengthy fresh blog drought. Great detective work on Ban Ki-moon's rising. You’re still a bastard though.

Sad, the last time I witnessed an entrance that cool was in a James Dean film.

Come on Dante Lee, you’re draggin’ the bloody chain again, son.

whaleshaman said...

buzzflash wrote: Len, Saw Harold Pinter(on the telly) give that speech just before his death.

pinter's death? i'm hoping he's still alive.

len: this is an amazing post. thank you.

Len Hart said...

Thanks, Sadbuttrue...indeed, I look forward to creating a forum here for the talented and witty "posters" who have kept the comments section alive. Stay tuned...I still have some technical problems on this end and I am still without my own computer.

Damien wrote: "Manhattan-based Orthodox Jewish businessman who is connected to Republican Religious Right icon and former GOP presidential candidate Gary Bauer..." This cannot be good news.

Fuzzflash wrote: "Such a humanitarian, Winnie. Beats me why the Nobel people never tapped him for a Peace Prize."

Winnie was a mixed bag as is his legacy. On many points, he was absolutely correct. For example, had the US consented to his plan to retake Europe through the "soft underbelly" of Europe, eastern Europe might never have fallen to Stalin's blatant territory grab. Clearly, Stalin's interests lay in the expansion of the Soviet Union and it is somewhat surprising in retrospect that World War III did not begin immediately upon the heels of number two. And, if it did not, it was not because Patton didn't want to start it. But, a cold war might have been prevented if Chruchill's plan had been implemented and, more importantly -had it worked! On the other hand, the "southern strategy" (if we may call it that) would have exacted a high price for keeping the commies out. It might also have been a recipe for a protracted stuggle and a longer war. Churchill's biggest strength was his command of the English language and his History of the Second World War must be included in any WWII liberary.

If one is interested in playing "what if" with history, I recommend "What If" which includes a great essay by historian John Keegan who theorizes that Hitler might have won World War II if he had kept Rommel supplied and taken the oil fields of the Middle East. (See: "How Hitler Could Have Won the War: The Drive for the Middle East") There is merit to the speculation; Poland, after all, was rich in coal from which synthetic fuels might be derived to power the Panzers. But, like Bush today, Hitler was incapable of rational focus and for whatever reason insisted upon trying to succeed where Napoleon had failed.

Whaleshaman...thanks and come back. The cowboy in back in the saddle.

Re: Pinter. If he is dead, I was not informed. I did a quick Wiki and a *Dead or Alive". There is no mention of his demise; perhaps it was exaggerated. Let`s hope he is still waging the good fight.

Sebastien Parmentier said...

Welcome back capitaine, ô capitaine ! Glad to read you again. And sorry for taking so long, in my house we believe in hang-overs….

First, I love Len’s Kafkaian analogy: By allowing to be ruled by such cockroaches for so long, we must indeed have become cockroaches ourselves. However, Len’s analogy is not quite together still, because it implies that we, Americans, must have wakened up with the conscientious thought of being bugs. And, as you all already know, the majority of us are still asleep.

Sebastien Parmentier said...

2006 was fucked up indeed: Not only we’ve reached the 300th American casualty in December 31th – some strange coincidence – but it counted also a total of 167 journalists and support staff who have died trying to cover the news in 37 countries in 2006. Data showed also that civilian deaths in Iraq hit a new record in December and were over 12,000 in 2006. This must be global warming…

Len Hart said... my house we believe in hang-overs….

Good one, Dante! Happy New Year ...and it will be when Bush is impeached, tried, and imprisoned.

the majority of us are still asleep..

You hit the nail on the head. By the way, Dante. My French is improving. And I don't mean by that what passes for French in Texas.

BTW -the 3,000 figure is low. I am told that fatalities that occur later in hospitals are not counted. Orwellian. It would seem that the American people have no idea how many Americans have died of Bush's Iraq war.

damien said...

Dante Lee, your number of 12,000 Iraq deaths in 2006 is bound to be way below the actual figure, as I'm sure you suspect. I've been looking at the Lancet study figures of 650,000 again, and the debate. As one Iraq resident put it:

"We literally do not know a single Iraqi family that has not seen the violent death of a first or second-degree relative these last three years. Abductions, militias, sectarian violence, revenge killings, assassinations, car-bombs, suicide bombers, American military strikes, Iraqi military raids, death squads, extremists, armed robberies, executions, detentions, secret prisons, torture, mysterious weapons – with so many different ways to die, is the number so far fetched?"

The epidemiological methodology of the Lancet study has been unequivocally supported by practitioners of the technique. (link)

The chief criticism of the Lancet paper has been in its very use of "active data acquisition" methods - in other words, the whole experimental basis itself. Mark Chu-Carroll at Scienceblogs has this to say:

"As the authors of the paper point out, there is a huge gap in *real* situations between the numbers that you'd get from passive data acquisition (gathering casualty figures reported to the press by police, morgues, etc.) and active data acquisition (population cluster sampling, as done in the Lancet paper). The statistics that they quote are that in military conflicts, the active methods generated figures more than 5x the size of the passive ones in every conflict where both were used with the exception of Bosnia. And after the conflict was over, and it was possible to try to go in and validate the numbers, the active methods were much closer to the facts than the passive."

It's difficult, I know, to get a handle on the death figures in Iraq last year. But, sadly, it is likely to be far higher than 12,000. More here and here.

damien said...

Sorry, Mark Chu-Carroll link is here

Fuzzflash said...

Whaleshaman and Len, fank Christ our 'Arold 'asn't carked it yet. I'm such a duffer wif defs 'n' dates. Decent of yer ta set me straight. 'Ere's a luvly pome wot 'e wrote quite recent-like;

God Bless America

Here they go again,
The Yanks in their armoured parade
Chanting their ballads of joy
As they gallop across the big world
Praising America's God.

The gutters are clogged with the dead
The ones who couldn't join in
The others refusing to sing
The ones who are losing their voice
The ones who've forgotten the tune.

The riders have whips which cut.
Your head rolls onto the sand
Your head is a pool in the dirt
Your head is a stain in the dust
Your eyes have gone out and your nose
Sniffs only the pong of the dead
And all the dead air is alive
With the smell of America's God.

Harold Pinter January 2003

The "choir invisibule" will 'ave ta wait. An' a jolly good fing too.

Damien, the Lancet/Johns Hopkins stats on Iraqi civilian deaths reek credibility. Despite several Walter Cronkite-type "enough is enough" moments on TV from Olbermann, Murtha and precious few others, nothing seems to break the symbiosis between the the MSM and their paymasters the MIC.

Sebastien Parmentier said...

To tell you the truth, Damien, the whole semantic about the right numbers in casualties is way over my head. That’s why I did not bother with a precise or some kind of updated count. The number of casualties doesn’t mean anything in term of living a hell that is the situation in Iraq. For instance, if a woman dies from complexities in birthing a child because the closest hospital hasn’t been rebuilt since the shock’n’awe episode, mustn’t this count as a war casualty? And Len was right on the point earlier to remind us that American death occurring in American Military hospital in Germany goes under the rug…

Counting casualties during our times of total war is just bogus. America lost the Vietnam War despite punishing the Vietnamese with a 1.5 million death, while taking a mere 58 000. Sure, this number seems impressive for a modern technological super-power, but put in historical perspective, 58 000 death, that’s a single day at Gettysburg!

Casualty count allows keeping the news machines oiled when no new strategies are implemented to unlock a quagmire situation. They are carried around as political tools as well: haven’t the Democrats used the high counts on both side of the war to spice up the campaign trail in 2006 as well?

damien said...

Dante Lee, I haven't followed the Dems use of the Iraq civilian death statistics but I suspect the leading pollies are sticking pretty close to the lower estimates - the alternative figures would be too confronting for them. For a population of 24 million and a normal annual death rate of 5 per 1000 we would expect to see 120,000 natural deaths in Iraq anyway. That number would be increased by the sorts of indirect civilian casualties you talk about. If we just guess at 25,000 extra civilian casualties this way (500 per week nationwide, infants, elderly etc) and a similar number actually dying from military action of one sort or another, then an overall figure of 50,000 war casualties per year does not seem too far off the mark at all. I only throw that number in because the US leadership would like the media to keep quoting Bush's bullshit figure of 30,000 total ("since the war started"). There is no criticism, by the way, of your numbers analysis. I agree the figures are hard to estimate. I just think 40 - 50,000 a year civilian casualties overall is not unreasonable and worth citing to the public as more likely. I'd also like to see us start counting war criminals behind bars. Cheers.

damien said... mustn't mind me Dante Lee. I've been posting in the Aussie press blogs and you would not believe the number of idiots who describe the Lancet survey as "thoroughly discredited". Since most of these blogs are "fact free zones" I've been using my time to post mini essays on every topic under the sun about the war in Iraq. It's been fun, but the general public awareness of the background issues, the failure and criminality of Iraq is very low. There's just a general feeling that whatever continuing unrest exists in Iraq it can't be due to us, it must be due to some cultural failure by the Iraqis ("they can't handle freedom" etc). There is still no clear public recognition that Iraq is a colonial war of aggression.

Sebastien Parmentier said...

There is still no clear public recognition that Iraq is a colonial war of aggression.

… In the US indeed. But trust me on this, the whole world is watching, and they all have a pretty darn different idea of what is going on over there: The Italian premier, Prodi, for instance, in order to walk the walk following the general European profound disgust regarding the whole Saddam execution, is appealing the UN with a – wonderful – proposition to ban death penalty in all the 134 nations under the UN umbrella.

Unfortunately, the new US puppet at the UN, ban Ki-Moon, has already declared today where he will stand on this issue. He has declared, and I must paraphrase for not having found the very quote, that capital punishment should be a decision of individual countries. Great. Yet one week at the head of the UN, and I am already missing Kofi Annan…

I am not having any beef with you, Damien, concerning numbers. I write like I speak, very directly. It is not the first time that some of us on this glorious blog found me a bit reactive on some issues. Remember, English is my second language which I barely mastered five or six years ago…

From Fuzz:

The Yanks in their armoured parade
Chanting their ballads of joy
As they gallop across the big world
Praising America's God.

Gee. That reminds me of the great parade they gave in honor to the Master of Micromanagement, the great war poet, the noble-Army-that-you-have-my-goodness, king of the green zone whom Colorado is begging to hire as master in snow flakes making to combat global warming in order to bring back tourists before this shity winter ends.

Ave Rummy! Moritu te salutan!

Sebastien Parmentier said...

Bush's new plan for our young recruits...

daveawayfromhome said...

Good to have you back, Len.

Len Hart said...

Thanks is good to be back and good to see your posts here.

Sebastien Parmentier said...

Keith Olbermann on Fire...

Len Hart said...

Dante, great post. Thanks for the links and the Olbermann.

Sebastien Parmentier said...

From reuters: U.S. on Saddam, "Would have done it differently"

Sure they would: Here's how...

Sebastien Parmentier said...

Oh, and Bush is submitting a plan to balance the budget in five years.

damien said...

Dante Lee, your English is way better than my French, mon ami. I'm always happy to learn from you.

Fuzzflash said...

Lovely to feel the campfire's warm glow again. Gets a man in a mood for musin'. We've been here before, but as you write, Len, Bush is about to up the ante on a losing hand. Tres dangereuse, indeed.
Hardcore Neocons,The White House Iraq Group and the Project for a New American Century weren’t forged to win Nobels. Known known, right? All the miserable bloody warmongers ever wanted, was to shoot-the-works with other peoples' kids in the line of fire, and engorge themselves with other peoples' money. The no-bid bits tasting best.

The USS Enterprise is soon for the scrapyard. Be terrible if Sea Terrorists, USS Cole-style malfeasants, punched a hole in the carrier’s side, or worse. Not so great a Gulf really, from Tonkin to Persia, all things considered.

Noting Bush’s current hellbento stance, let’s speculate furthur. The Enterprise is “attacked” at night, because in the dark, money-shots of “The Moment” would have a much greater impact on the folks at home. Lots of contrasting colours on their MSM-fed screens. It’s a perfect set up for The Rendon Group, BushCo’s perception managers of choice. (A Navy chopper on a ROUTINE PATROL FLIGHT was filming perimeter-wise. Happens all the time). No pesky en passant marine paparazzi either, to sully the message.

Et Voila! Bush’s Cheney-enhanced jock-logic would dictate that the only way for American honor to be upheld, would be by massive retaliation against the “perpetrators”. War puppies go bow-wow. Simultaneous expressions of the ongoing and never-ending Global-War-On-Terror, against Iraq and Iran(surgical air strikes) would put a handbrake on world trade, but what the heck. Everyone’s SACRIFICIN’ a little here!
Naturally, these sacrifices would only be a temporary thing. To protect our Freedom. Bush could then strap on a bigger codpiece, cementing his legacy in his own mind as a greater War President than Poppy, then slip the M.E., like 10,000 broken baseball teams, to the next Decider-In-Chief. Meantime, Lockheed, Halliburton and the usual MIC suspects, remain unencumbered in making their customary killings.

And so it goes.

Yes Dante, Olbermann’s a national treasure.
Great ideas, beautifully crafted words, spoken from the heart. Balm for desperados like us, whose ranks, thanks to the K.O. Kid, are swelling.

Not a living soul was killed, but Keith Olbermann sure knocked ‘em dead.

damien said...

Well I must say I've been having fun. By posting under two names (Damien aka Kenj) and having some facts at my disposal I was able to set the agenda in a letters column of our major paper here, The Australian. It was a discussion about David Hicks and I was pleasantly able to publish a whole lot of stuff about Bush's crimes, The Military Commissions Act, the war on terror, Ali Mohammed, Saudi terrorist financiers, Bosnia etc. It's nice because none of this stuff gets before most people in our country. So here's how I've been wasting my time today. Of course, the David Hicks saga will continue to be a millstone around our PM's neck politically. And so it should! Hopefully the little war criminal will get his justice too.

Fuzzflash said...

Ah, Damien, that was a brilliant exhibition of sock-it-to-em, "tag-team" blogging. Of the 99 comments, 9 of which were you and your trusty side-kick kenj, nobody bested you and several came away bloodied. Armed with the facts you are formidable, dead-set Painesian. You hurt Marcus of Bondi, damien, you hurt him real bad. His dummy-spit on p5 had me in stitches. On the fields upon which we play, your performance today was the equivalent of a test ton. Congratulations.

Popped in earlier for a romp on in the discussion: The scourge of the surge. Reckon you’ll pick my handle in a jiffy. What do you think about their overall grasp of SepPol?

damien said...

Actually, I didn't expect anybody to read them Fuzzflash. Just to note that inroads are being made into public awareness. Thanks for the positive review! I must say I like marcusbondi's comment:"What surprises me is the viciousness of the so-called peace-lovers- they would make great resistance fighters in the streets of Aust when the savage hordes attack." Yeah, those 'savage hordes' are a real problem.

....if that was you Katz then you've definitely got it in for Chimpo (but tell me if I got it wrong.)

Len Hart said...

Fuzzflash wrote: Keith Olbermann sure knocked ‘em dead.

A quick comment on the Olbermann was his best and most passionate to date. Again, thanks.

Sebastien Parmentier said...

Gotta love this title: 2007 predicted to be world's warmest year...

like..DUH!!... And guess what, you guys at the Cowboy are lucky because you all have the chance to know me, me the Nostradamus of Global warming; who says that 2008 will be hotter than '07... And, wait: '09 will be even hotter than '08... And I'm not talking of 2010...

Len Hart said...

Check out the new article....The Greeks had a word for Bush: IDIOT!

Fuzzflash said...

Damien, there were two similarly named posts on LarvatusProdeo. The most recent was,"Surging the scourge" where I didn't comment. Furthur down the homepage is an earlier post, "The scourge of the surge". Had a lash as Enemy Combatant. Australia only has one officially signing statemented "enemy combatant",David Hicks, and you went into bat against the abominable circumstances of his incarceration and torture, in our country's most widely read and distributed(paws on papyrus) daily broadsheet, albeit the online version.

By giving the nod to the way David Hicks has been treated, our peanut-tickered PM has shown, for those whose vision has adjusted to the Darkness at Noon, that under other circumstances, John Winston Howard would betray us all in a heartbeat.

So there was no way I couln't have a squizz at your dialectical craftsmanship.

damien said...

I'm on to it Fuzzflash. I think Enemy Combatant has it - it's about Rendon and the money. Well said, only they deserve more of your wisdom. Go harder!

SadButTrue said...

Dante Lee - It went up to 11ºC here in Ontario, Canada today - that's over 50ºF. Normal highs for this time of year are around -5ºC (23ºF.) Environment Canada (the federal weather service) isn't even predicting a LOW temperature below freezing for at least another week.

I think I'll get in on the ground floor and plant Canada's first orange grove next summer - maybe branch out into Coconut palms, figs, and dates. Or an olive grove would be nice.