Friday, March 30, 2007
She and the Harper government have signaled their intention to bring Canadian copyright law into line with the fondest wishes of the American entertainment industry.
As friendly, even sycophantic, as she's been with the industry and corporate leaders she's shunned actual artists and arts groups. Yesterday at a Canadian Museums Association luncheon where she was the speaker, the President of the Association tried to present her with a boomerang to represent how promises will always come back to you. It was a pointed reminder of the promise of a comprehensive museum plan and funding guarantee the Conservatives made in the last election and have ignored ever since.
Oda stiffly refused the Boomerang and fled the room.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
"Maybe [Pakistani cricket fans] should focus less on cricket and a little more on hygiene," opined Rachel Marsden on a recent episode of Fox News' middle-of-the-night talk oddity "Red Eye." Marsden was adding her two cents to a discussion of murdered Pakistani cricket coach Bob Woolmer, and seemed unaware that she had said anything offensive. But her co-hosts, Greg Gutfeld and Bill Schulz, looked appropriately aghast; Gutfeld was quick to assure viewers that "Red Eye," the Fox-for-frat-boys show he's been hosting with gross-out gusto since Feb. 6, did not endorse Marsden's views on Pakistani hygiene.She's also making comments about cases of false rape allegations and legal consequences for predatory slander. No conflict there...
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
RCMP Chief Supt. Fraser MacAulay added: "For the past few years, the RCMP has had a small group of managers who, through their actions and inactions, are responsible for serious breeches in our core values, the RCMP code of conduct and even the Criminal Code."
The officers alleged that Zaccardelli and others blocked investigations and removed some who were asking uncomfortable questions.
In blaming the leadership, Lewis said, "A culture was created by several senior executives where it was a danger for employees to report wrongdoings."
Roll that one around in your head for a bit, really adjust yourself to the statement that within the highest echelons of the RCMP "A culture was created by several senior executives where it was a danger for employees to report wrongdoings."
There's been serious problems in the RCMP for years. Go back twenty years or so and the RCMP were the elite. More money, better equipment and more prestige than the various city police forces - that's completely switched around now and a city cop becoming a Mountie would probably be taking a pay-cut.
Morale, professionalism and management culture all appear from the outside to have taken a steep dive. A proliferation of tragic and and appalling incidents has rocked Canadian confidence in our national police force.
I still don't understand how you can shoot someone in the back of the head in self defense.
This isn't something that can be left to politicians and back rooms anymore. This can't be put off because it's inconvenient to the minority government. This needs a public enquiry, that's not even open to question now.
"A culture was created by several senior executives where it was a danger for employees to report wrongdoings."
Hat-tip to Bene Diction Blogs On
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
QUEBEC — Parti Quebecois Leader Andre Boisclair is staying on as party leader and said Tuesday it’s much too early to write off Quebec independence.Hate to break it to you Andre, but you have about as much chance of still being in the same job in two months as Alberto Gonzales has.
I'm sure the knives are already out.
ALBERTA/630 CHED - Calgary's police chief says he was blindsided by the crime-fighting Guardian Angels hitting the city's streets before sharing details of their operations with him.The red beret wearing vigilante gang claims to have been in touch with Calgary Police Liaison officers as recently as two weeks ago but have publicly launched a showy media campaign without answering vital questions from the Calgary police services about training and operational methods.
I blogged about the Guardian Angels when they first started nosing around Calgary last spring. Paramilitary vigilante gangs have no place on Canadian streets.
Of course the righteous rhetoric about the will of the people was always a bit of a sham as we discovered in my riding of Calgary Centre. Social moderate Jim Silye, a little out of place in the rabid pirhana pool that was the Alberta Reform Party polled his riding. He found out we were overwhelmingly socially moderate to progressive on issues like choice and gay rights. Accordingly he broke with the party and voted for Liberal Government gay rights legislation. He was quickly booted out and replaced by far right social reactionary Eric Lowther who was then beaten three years later by Joe Clark when progressives and gays held their noses and supported him against the then Alliance candidate. Ironically Silye would probably fit in fine now with the mutant center right thing Harper has out of expediency carved the Reform/Alliance/Conservatives into.
Now the Conservatives face a plethora of scandals from the Rob Anders debacle to the Jim Hart Fax and skulduggery in Ontario civic politics that all stem from a single source: Top down control over local riding politics that mirrors a top down dictatorship of the PM's office that makes the famously centralized Paul Martin Liberal government look like an anarchist debate club.
The Pay Day scandal and it's echoes in the Ottawa Mayor's office are the inevitable manifestation of the deep strains of authoritarianism that underlay the thin pseudo-intellectual veneer of faux libertarianism in the Canadian Conservative Party.
There are really only vestiges left of any kind of grass-roots control over what is now called the Conservative Party. Harper doesn't trust his supporters, his staff or his MPs. He certainly doesn't trust his grass-roots. His control is too overt though. As Andrew Sullivan recently said of Karl Rove, if people think of you as a Machivillian schemer that just means you aren't one.
By December 2004, Mr Blair was confident the DUP and Sinn Fein were about to go into business together.
But Mr Paisley said the republicans would have "to wear sackcloth and ashes" to atone for their terrorist record, and the IRA robbed pound stg. 26.5 million ($64.5million) from the Northern Bank.
Mr Blair then struck on the novel idea of sending Peter Hain to Northern Ireland to stir things up.
The new carrot-and-stick strategy required the new Secretary of State to become the most unpopular viceroy since direct British rule was imposed on Northern Ireland in 1972.
"Hain the Pain", as he came to be known, oversaw big cuts in local administration and public spending, threatening water charges for the first time in the province. And he warned of the abolition of its grammar schools.
Both measures, Mr Hain promised, could only be averted if the parties agreed on a plan to restore devolution. Mr Adams and his deputy, Martin McGuinness, were ready to go along.
By signing up to the St Andrew's Agreement in October, Mr Paisley claimed he had removed the threat to the province's selective secondary education - but that left the water charges.
That issue was contentious enough among the locals to act as a catalyst for the DUP and Sinn Fein to give serious thought to reaching a deal.
You know politics have normalized when bitter, blood enemies are forced by the voters to work hand in hand over pocketbook issues like water bills. Blair makes up for a lot - by no means all - by how far he moved the Irish peace process.When people say 'you can't negotiate with terrorists' it's worth noting that one of the most intractable and bloody generational guerrilla campaigns in history was settled by negotiating with current and former terrorists.
The Palestinians may not be ready for a Gandhi but they could use a Gerry Adams. And Israel could use a John Major, a leader who was willing to turn his back on his party's traditional hostility to the IRA and Sinn Fein to secretly accelerate the peace process.
This particular coalition government may spectacularly flame out and sooner rather than later. But they have an incentive to make it work and just the act of coming together of the Sinn Fein and the DUP eliminates a score of political red lines. Even if this government collapsed, the next one would be easier to establish, more stable and easier to maintain.
Even if this coalition collapses tomorrow or in six months it's very existence has advanced civil society in Northern Ireland tremendously.
And all because nobody wanted to pay their water bills.
Until Sunday, Mr Hain was declaring that the water bills were ready to be sent out to homes across Northern Ireland. But yesterday, he announced they would remain unposted.
Monday, March 26, 2007
OTTAWA (CP) - The Ontario Provincial Police have launched an investigation into a sworn affidavit that claims a senior Tory close to Prime Minister Stephen Harper was involved in an alleged bid to buy off an Ottawa mayoralty candidate.
"It's an ongoing investigation at this point," Sgt. Christine Rae of the OPP's east region headquarters in Smiths Falls, Ont., said Monday.
The affidavit, sworn out by former mayoralty candidate Terry Kilrea, names John Reynolds, the co-chairman of the 2006 Conservative election campaign, as the federal contact in a purported Parole Board appointment offer by eventual winner Larry O'Brien. In return, Kilrea was to drop out of Ottawa's 2006 municipal race.
Now we know why the Jim Hart fax surfaced when it did.This is what the Conservatives will be talking about for the next twenty or thirty news cycles. Not the shiny new budget, not 'settling the fiscal balance', not the environment (small favours) they certainly don't want to campaign with this hanging over their heads.
You have to kind of admire how carefully constructed the timing of this looks. Its never a wise idea to forget how good the Liberal organization is at the lead pipe school of politics.
Hat-tip to Impolitical
Sunday, March 25, 2007
- America's Next Top Dead Model -
The latest round of the TV reality show requires the women to still look attractive after being shot, electrocuted or beaten. No, I'm not kidding.
- Tonkin Gulf part two -
The current Whoops! Apocalypse! moment in the Persian Gulf has the neo-cons, both south and north of the border salivating hopefully at the prospect of widening the war to Iran.
- Homeowner holdouts -
A cavalcade of photos of homeowners who refused to buckle under to big developers.
- Saturday Cartoons -
The weekly roundup of US editorial cartoons from Bob Geiger.
- NYPD spied on activists in Canada -
Did our government approve agents of another power spying on Canadians?
- Pakistan on the brink -
The unstable house of cards that is Pakistan trembles in the high wind of public discontent.
- Decriminalize Prostitution -
In Canada selling sex is legal. Saying the words 'Would you like to pay me for sex?' is illegal. Eugene and Wendy point out that supporting the status quo means throwing vulnerable women to pimps and serial killers.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
He had reason to be; as a system Keynesianism had a stunning run of success and surging standards of living for most of the industrialized world. When the chugging economic engine began to sputter in the stagflationary 70's McLeod reluctantly agreed that some retrenchment was necessary but was appalled when the elites took the opportunity to roll back and denigrate all attempts to alleviate capitalism for decades.
Now all that's left of Keynesian economics in the US is Military Keynesianism. Bullets just seemed more fun than butter.
The pendulum had started to swing back - among the public if not among the elites - before 9/11 warped the public discourse away from bread and butter issues on a global level and to a facile us and them 'Look, it's terrorists who hate our freedom!' paradigm that certain political figures still wish we could be distracted with.
But politically the 9/11 distraction appears to have begun to lose it's power. For that we may have the stunning level of grotesque incompetence in the Bush White House to thank. Recent polls in the US show a dramatic sea change in a huge drop in support for the Republican Party and the neo-conservative agenda. In 2000 Ralph Nader got a lot of flack for suggesting that a Bush administration might be a good thing because it would 'heighten the contradictions' it's beginning to appear he may have been 100% right. It's a shame of course so many thousands of Iraqis and Americans had to die before the American people could begin to adjust their thinking.
Here in Canada we've watched a far right neo-conservative party lurch into the mushy middle, publicly of course, much as Schwarzenegger in California and the Moderates in Sweden have. Harper, in accord with the better strategic minds of the conservative movement worldwide has concluded that the next few years will not be kind to the extremes of right wing thought.
The pendulum is swinging, strategically the most important job for progressives in the next few years is to define the center as far to the left as possible, both politically and more importantly economically. The reflexive hostility to the shibboleths of interventionism and activist government will stalk the debate of the media and political elites for some time to come. For the rest of the population we need to be ready to argue the real economic and social benefits of the macro-economic view.
There will be more real receptivity in the next few years to changing the basic terms of the debate than there has been in decades. The fight has just started.
Friday, March 23, 2007
I'm having real trouble interpreting that to mean anything other than 'C'monnnn... Everybody else does it...'
He says the documents in question can be taken out of context or spun in any direction.
Hart says all parties should examine their own track records on members' resignations for their leaders and patronage appointments.
If that's really their defense, that and the farcical argument that the fax can be read as anything other than Hart presenting a bill for services rendered, then they are conceding the document is genuine which means Stockwell is in genuine trouble.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Liberal MP Mark Holland said documents the party discovered last week raise new questions about whether Day's office negotiated payment to a sitting MP in exchange for his stepping aside in a B.C. riding, something prohibited in the Criminal Code.
The RCMP made some initial inquiries into the issue six years ago but said then that it would not launch a full investigation.
The force said Thursday it had received the documents and is reviewing the matter.
Holland says he believes the RCMP would not have seen the documents in question, which were found among old files in the opposition leader's office.
Thought A: The Liberals have been sitting on this document for a while waiting for a special occasion, and yesterday Harper called Dion a Taliban sympathizer. 'Fuck me? No, Fuck you.'
Thought B: What kind of learning difficulties do you need to have to leave a 'yes I did it' document in an office that you know will be taken over by your bitterest political enemies?Hat-tip to my friend Ian who puts this in the maybe something, maybe nothing category. Accurately I think.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Uncorrected Proofs beat me to listing the breakdown of voting:
How did prominent Liberals vote on Bill C-257?For the detailed vote count and parliamentary record go here.
What about the Conservatives?
Only one Conservative MP supported the bill, Jeff Watson from Essex.
The NDP and Bloc unanimously supported the legislation.
Essex workers have a Conservative MP who clearly cares about their issues, maybe that means he deserves their support. However even in Essex a vote for the Conservatives is unambiguously a vote for a party inimically hostile to labour. They may want to think about that.
And workers in Liberal ridings need to remember this out and out act of betrayal based on a contemptuous condescending lie the next time someone tells them Liberals are so much better for their interests than the Conservatives.
These Liberal MPs just lied to our faces because they know that essential services were not threatened by this law.
They just made it clear that they think trade unionists are irresponsible maniacs who would risk the healths and lives of our fellow Canadians, and that we're too stupid to know when we're being lied to.
Update: Erin at Relentlessly Progressive Economics looks on the bright side.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
It is in fact a watered down version of the last Martin budget with the serial numbers filed off. We went through an election and a year of the Conservatives learning the hard lessons of surviving in a minority to get essentially the same government we would have gotten had Martin won.
The exceptions are a mangled insufficient patchwork of incentives that have failed everywhere they've been tried instead of a real childcare plan and nothing even remotely comparable to the Kelowna Accord.
This budget is, you'll forgive the crudity, a big 'fuck you' to Canada's natives.
This is at a time that the living standards of Canada's natives are a matter of international concern and shame. Whole communities are falling victim to decay, non-existent infrastructure, gruesome school drop out rates and an escalating crisis of drugs, gangs, soaring prison population and despair. This the backdrop to inaction, because the Conservative budget doesn't even attempt to address Canada's First Nations.
Can Canada survive as the kind of country we want it to be with a calcified permanent racial underclass?
What little proposals the Conservatives have made on native issues seem to indicate an intense hostility for actual natives. An agenda of dismantling native communities and absorbing them into larger towns and cities has already been established. The bitter Conservative hostility to traditional communal values among natives can be seen in a home ownership program that seems designed to undermine native communities rather than support them, and no funding for desperately needed social housing.
There are serious problems in some communities, but destabalizing all of them based on ideological aversion to traditional communal structures, in the most condescendingly paternalistic manner possible no less, is not a solution.
The almost tears in Phil Fontaine's eyes told the story. Our government has just fatally undermined the current leadership in Canada's First Nations.
We have patiently waited a long time for action. This budget only allows for enough money to continue the management of misery."When this summer gets hot - and it's going to get very hot on barricades all over Canada - this budget and its breathtaking and irresponsible disdain for any real effort on the First Nations file will be the spark that lit the fuse.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Afghan civilians are increasingly turning against Canadian troops and their country's government and toward support of the Taliban, according to a large-scale survey conducted in southern Afghanistan this month.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
- FAIR on Canwest -
"You can fit everyone who controls significant Canadian media in my office,"
- The Saturday Cartoons -
The weekly American editorial cartoon roundup from Bob Geiger.
- Six weeks of subpoena power -
Imagine what the Democrats will have found out in six months.
- Richard Dawkins reads Darwin's "Origin of Species" -
The audio book for the creationist on your gift list.
- Bill Blakie reveals that this will be his last Parliament -
Longest sitting MP and candidate in 2003 NDP leadership race wants to focus on studying and reconciling religion and the political left. Something that deserves attention south of the border as well.
- Bong hits for Jesus -
And the religious right for freedom of speech. Really.
- British Tory Party defends public health care? -
Substantive policy change or cynical attempt to stake out the political center?
- Zimbabwe on the brink -
Bloodshed and terror as Mugabe's oppressive rule totters.
JERUSALEM (AP) - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday peace talks with the Palestinian coalition government would be impossible as long as it refuses to renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist.
The coalition platform, however, appears to implicitly recognize Israel by calling for a Palestinian state on lands the Israelis captured in 1967, in contrast with Hamas' past calls to eliminate Israel altogether.
It also pledges to ``respect'' previous agreements with Israel and authorizes Abbas to conduct future peace talks. Any future deal would be submitted to a national referendum, apparently taking away veto power from Hamas.
As recently as last march Israeli leader Ehud Olmert reaffirmed his belief in the concept of Greater Israel including the occupied territories, in a speech to the US Congress no less:To be clear this means that the leader of Israel denies the right of Palestine to exist. Government Minister Avigdor Lieberman has in the recent past, gone so far as to advocate ethnic cleansing to achieve Greater Israel.
Are the government of Israel or it's Ministers required to renounce such views and affirm the State of Palestine's right to exist? Should they be?
Update: Jacob's Super Patented Brain comes up with the same question and others.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
After the crap Robert was put through over one thoughtless remark, Cherniak still thirsts for blood and Liblogs are now turning inward and chewing at their own vitals. For someone who has the shits, the fits and the blind staggers at any chance to tar an ideological foe as an anti-Semite, he sure acts like Adolph losing his shit in the bunker.
From now on the only fair assumption when reading any blog branded with the Liblogs banner is that it has received the official Cherniak seal of ideological approval.
Personally, if Dippers was run the same way I wouldn't be a member; I run this blog, and there are no seals of approval here.
If nothing else, this certainly indicates some real worry about the NDPs slick new ads under the reflexive scorn from professional Liberals.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Unlike previous reports, the one released yesterday depicted some aspects of the Iraq conflict as a civil war.
"Some elements of the situation in Iraq are properly descriptive of a 'civil war,' including the hardening of ethno-sectarian identities and mobilization, the changing character of the violence, and population displacements," it said, echoing the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq released in January.
"Illegally armed groups are engaged in a self-sustaining cycle of politically motivated violence, using tactics that include indiscriminate bombing, murder, and indirect fire to intimidate people and stoke sectarian conflict," the Pentagon report said.
After supporting the private members bill brought by a Bloc MP all the way up to winning second reading in the House Stephane Dion and the Liberal leadership ginned up a phony threat to essential services and sandbagged Canadian Labour.
The fundamental unambiguous lie at the center of the Liberals cop out bespeaks of a disrespect bordering on out-right contempt for Canadian workers. Essential services were not and are not threatened by this law. The contrived amendments that Dion seized on were irrelevant frills that merely repeated existing legislation.
Essential services have existing iron-clad protection in the Federal Labour Code. The Canadian Industrial Relations board can and does order rolling provisioning, back to work legislation and binding arbitration. And in fact in the last seven disputes over six years that were covered by federal labour law the parties, union and company, independently negotiated maintenance of service agreements without the CIRB having to make them do so.
So, the technical term for Dion's Essential Services argument is a bullshit excuse. It's a scornful lie that the Liberals knew they could count on Canada's reliably neo-liberal mass media not to expose.
Labour are getting royally screwed by the Canadian Liberal Party without a kiss or even a twenty on the dresser.
That this was completely predictable makes it no less infuriating. I fully understand that the Liberals diverge from the Tories in little but degree. It's just disappointing to see it confirmed.
When I was lobbying on the Hill for my union, I met with MPs individually from two of the parties. Tories were mostly distantly polite - except for one wing nut MP from the BC interior who shall remain nameless, mostly because I don't remember his name, who flipped out and ranted about 'union mischief' until the spittle flew, and one staffer who seemed stunned that a union lobbyist had a Hill pass and didn't need to be signed into the building.
Liberal MPs were polite ranging to effusive - they were also the most bitterly caustic about the government in those dwindling last days in the bunker with Paul Martin. They promised nothing, offered nothing in their careful smiles and empty handshakes.
The NDP had our entire lobbying team come in and speak to their whole caucus meeting, and gave us a round of applause and some energetic 'Shames!' at some of our descriptions of the company's behaviour - their support was a given. Nobody on either side had any doubt that they'd be in our corner in the coming dispute. I got to shake hands with Ed Broadbent and he gave me a visitor gallery pass from his office which is still on my fridge. I give them crap and I worry about creeping Blairism but the NDP are still the only dependably worker friendly party federally.
We can count on them. We can count on the Bloc which sponsored the bill in the first place and are a leftist party too. We can count on perhaps three or four Tories who represent heavily unionized ridings. We can count on a few Liberals, but probably a lot less than people are expecting. The fight goes on but I have a sinking feeling that the fix is in.
I will be posting the vote tally and names when they are out. Special attention and emphasis will be paid to Liberal MPs who vote against the legislation, abstain or even more despicably are too cowardly to even show up to vote.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
This is a dark chapter in our history. Whatever else happens, our country's international standing has been frittered away by people who don't have the foggiest understanding of how the hell the world works. America has been conducting an experiment for the past six years, trying to validate the proposition that it really doesn't make any difference who you elect president. Now we know the result of that experiment [laughs]. If a guy is stupid, it makes a big difference.
Broad wrote that "scientists are sensitive to [the film's] details and claims" and that Gore has received criticism not "only from conservative groups and prominent skeptics of catastrophic warming, but also from rank-and-file scientists." But of the sources cited in the article, at least four have records of misinformation on the issue. Though three of these were identified as skeptics or as having expressed skepticism, in all four cases, their past statements or studies questioning global warming theory have been debunked or discredited by the scientific community -- which Broad did not report.More
Update: David Roberts rips the NYT a new one.
Monday, March 12, 2007
The Inuit—the little semi-nation of Nunavut—is going to become significantly more valuable in a warming world. Right now Nunavut’s a frozen wasteland. I would love to be the guy with the Nunavut promotion account twenty years from now because I’m going to rechristen the place “the gateway to the hemispheres” and invite celebrities, and cruise ships will be stopping by, and the sign on the dock will say, “Welcome to Nunavut, Gateway to the Hemispheres!” We’ll see all kinds of wild economic activity up there. There will be change, yes. The traditional way of life will fade and be replaced with something else, maybe something zany, but change seems an inevitability of human experience. Really no society on earth, maybe the ones in the Amazon basin are the only exception, has been able to insulate itself from change. We can’t insulate ourselves from it and I doubt the Inuit will ever be able to do that, either.
- A: Nothing's happening. You're a fool and a communist if you think something is.
- B: OK, somethings happening but it has nothing to do with us, it's sunspots or something.
- C: OK, maybe it's got something to do with us, but we can't try to do anything about it. That might be bad for business. Trust in the market to find a solution.
- D: Heyyyyyy....Maybe we can make some money off of this...
Sunday, March 11, 2007
- The Essential Services Lie -
Ken Georgetti responds to the continuing disinformation that the anti-scab legislation would have endangered essential services.
- The NDP wish list -
Expect more Liberal hack squeals about how working for the real needs of Canadians is somehow more of a betrayal than the Libs sabotage of the anti-scab legislation.
- The Saturday Cartoons -
A sampling of American editorial cartoons of the week.
- Blackwater -
America's hired killers.
- Democrats pull out of Fox News Debate -
Have they finally figured out that they won't get a fair shake from the broadcast arm of the Republican Party?
- The real face of the American Right -
Bush isn't the exception, he's the rule.
- The BC Rail Scandal -
Potential government killing stuff?
- Skynet launches today -
Doesn't this end with robot skeletons crushing our skulls?
- Krugman on the shrinking middle class -
The Right's argument against trying to do anything: Nothing's happening that needs fixing. Fallback argument: OK, it's happening but of course we can't do anything about it. More.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
No, neither of them are candidates right now and Rice is currently the Secretary of State, but follow along for a moment...
Al Gore lets the other Democrats flail away at each other for the next six months, waits until fall to announce and then drops into the race at the last minute instantly eclipsing all the other candidates. He begins his campaign with an Academy Award, picks up a Nobel Prize to go with it just weeks before the primary and sails to victory on Super Tuesday.
On the Republican side, Cheney resigns in the spring due to his carefully established pattern of health problems, defusing the complications from the Libby conviction and taking a fat target away from the Democrats. He's replaced by Condoleezza Rice, allowing the Republicans to brag about having the first black female Vice President and instantly overpowering the other potential nominees.
McCain isn't ever able to placate the base still angry over his independant stands of the distant past, Giulliani's demons surface and he spectacularly flames out in the summer and the Christian Right just can't get past the whole Mormonism thing with Romney. Rice wins the nomination almost by default.
However on election day the African American surge for Rice the Republicans were hoping for fails to materialize due to lingering resentment over the Hurricane Katrina debacle and Rice's association with the Administration's Iraq policy, even less popular in two years than it is now - meanwhile Republican turnout is poor as dyed in the wool conservatives nation-wide all have something better to do on election day than vote for a black woman...
And Al Gore finally gets the job he should have seven years ago.
Come election night we may have one of the contests everybody expects right now - Clinton VS Giulliani or Obama VS Romney - or similar variations, but it's actually pretty rare that the favorites in March end up being the candidates in November.
Shorter Andrew Sullivan: Only Hillary can save the Republicans now.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Patricia Best's droolingly sycophantic hagiography in the Globe last week illustrates how the Canadian media doesn't care if you're arrogant, cynical, rapacious and evil as long as you've got style. Expect a similar barrage of 'magnificent bastard' backhanded admiration from Canada's journalists as the trial commences. After all, if you shoot at the king, don't miss. They're all a little worried he still might be their boss some day.
My friend Ian, an auto-didactic expert on 20th century political history tells me Lord Connie's historical biographies are actually surprisingly good.
A lot of good books have been written in prison...
What did Harper's New! Government! of Canada! run on again? Oh yeah. Ethics.
Monday, March 05, 2007
Columnist John Ibbotson's favorite rhetorical trick is the false alternative - the only alternative to state of affairs A is straw man alternative B with questionable predicted results C presented as certainties. Gazeteer has more.
Jeffrey Simpson's favorite trick is the unexamined postulate presented as blandly pompous certainty: 'Of course as any sensible person knows, we can't possibly even try to achieve Kyoto without disastrous consequences...' and so on and so forth without ever examining the underlying 'of course'. This despite the oil company CEOs - who can see the writing on the wall, and have to reassure investors - saying that yes, they actually could meet Kyoto targets with minimal adjustment.
Liberal, conservative, it's irrelevant really. Generally speaking the Globe orbits around the center, ranging inconsistently center left on social issues - but on the fiscal front rigidly adhering to neo-liberal certainties and outmoded corporatist modeling already beginning to wither in the harsh light of the 21st century.
It isn't just in the US that the public are out in front and significantly to the left of the elites in government and media.
Where is the money going? I'm not even talking about the surplus now, I'm talking about the money. Oil is higher than it's ever been. This is everybody gets laid time among the power tie crowd in Calgary's boardrooms.
Down at street level though the homeless count one night last year was 3,436. This was a conservative count and the numbers have swelled since then. Many suffered severe frostbite this winter as the swamped drop-in center had to turn people away at the door.
Our hospitals are turning away patients and our politicians are pushing dubious flirtations with private delivery on us because with huge surpluses, it's apparently more important to give cash to huge oil companies than spend on public health care.
Meanwhile tiny Arab sheikdoms are building hundred story vanity towers and air-conditioning every inch of sand. Venezuela is getting huge boosts in literacy rates and infant survival from massive social expenditures, less sustainably it is charging it's own people pennies for gasoline, but it is doing all of this with a similar level of wealth.
Here in Calgary we have a roads and public transit infra-structure that would be at the breaking point with half of our population. Try taking a train in Calgary at rush hour if you don't believe me. Similar strains exist throughout the roads and highways of the whole province. The Tories created a fiscal debt, then converted it to an infrastructure debt and now tell us it's us who have to tighten our belts as Alberta racks up surpluses in the billions and oil prices hover at the $60 a barrel mark.
So again, all questions of ideology, sustainability and governing philosophy aside, where is the money going?
Someday the oil will be gone. The sticky tarry muck of the oil sands will be sucked dry, the natural gas reservoirs will be tapped, the ancient old growth forests will have all been turned into toilet paper, the fresh water will have been blasted into the ground to force up the last bubbling drips of fossil fuels or sold in bulk across the border, all the fragile natural wealth of Alberta will have been exhausted.
And we'll still be wondering where the money from all that rapacious exploitation went and why our leaders golf vacations someplace warm keep getting longer and longer.
For we are Albertans.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
- James Laxer on Afghanistan -
I don't always agree with him, but he's always worth reading.
- The Vancouver Olympics claim the words 'winter', 'games' and 'medals' -
They also want the number 2010, the poems of Rimbaud and the emotional state of ennui.
- Blogosphere, meet my friend Matthew, I'm sure you'll get along like a house on fire -
Flames, screams, destruction...
- Imagine all the crap the Bushies have done we don't even know about -
Interview with terrorism expert Ron Susskind.
- Signposts -
Sudden little reminders that we are constantly being invaded by the future.
- The Governor and the Merck lobbyist -
Drug Companies, even when they do right they do it wrong.
- Malalai Joya interviewed by PBS -
"The U.S. is not concerned with the main cause behind terrorism in Afghanistan. That is why our people don't consider the U.S. as the "liberator" of our country. Even they have killed thousands of our innocent civilians during its so-called "war on terror" and continue to target civilians."
- A terrible thing to waste -
Autistic genius brutalized in prison for terrorism against SUVs.
Saturday, March 03, 2007
"But he will run on torture - that much we already know. The religious right base actually seems to believe in torture. Along with making lots and lots of money, and losing weight, torture is now apparently one of Jesus' core teachings."
Friday, March 02, 2007
UPDATE: Erin Weir at Relentlessly Progressive Economics points out that essential services are already guaranteed by the Federal Labour Board making Dion's justification merely an excuse to claim he supports the idea in principal.
First past the post remember folks? If the Tories have gotten a big boost in support in Alberta or Saskatchewan, it means essentially dick. Two feet past the post or two-hundred feet past the post means exactly the same thing.
In Ontario, the three February surveys average out to marginal 37-35 lead for the Liberals over the Conservatives, with the NDP at 16 per cent and the Greens at 11.
And in Quebec, the rolling averages put Bloc support at 38 per cent, followed by the Liberals at 23, the Tories at 16, the Greens at 10 and seven per cent for the NDP.
These polls are bad news for the Tories, no matter how much wistful establishment journos massage the numbers. Stasis or decline in Ontario and Quebec for the Tories numbers does not bode well for holding onto their minority - much less getting a majority.
Any Tory supporters who take deceptive national poll numbers seriously without taking into account provincial breakdowns is in for an unpleasant surprise come election day in... shall we say May? June? Depends if the Tories think the Canadian people are dumb enough to fall for intensity per barrel targets that allow the oil fields to increase rather than reduce their assault on the environment.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
The United States Supreme Court has ruled twice in favor of Guantánamo detainees on statutory grounds, but it has yet to address the profound constitutional issues presented by American practices, including the abuses Congress authorized when it passed the Military Commissions Act. Such a showdown does not seem far off, but Congress also has a duty to revoke or rewrite the laws that have been abused in the name of national security, starting with the 2006 tribunals law.
Lawmakers have only to look to the Canadian court for easy-to-follow directions back to the high ground on basic human rights and civil liberties.
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