Saturday, March 29, 2008

Don't Talk Principles To Me, The Game Is On

The pundit party of Canada has a problem. The media is confused by the NDP's attitude toward and election. They just can't understand why a party with no hope of forming a government and not great poll numbers would want an election. I watched Newman's show this week and two exchanges illustrate this narrative being played out.

The first was on Wednesday, in this conversation between Newman and Peggy Nash (start at 17:45). Nash explains that the NDP is not overly anxious for an election but is voting in the House according to party principles and if that brings an election, so be it. Newman sweeps by this assertion pretty quickly, but at least he sort of acknowledges it.

Fine thinks I, that pretty much clear clears that up, but on Friday, on the round table discussion, comes this display of group think at its finest (start at 46:21). Not once did you hear them discussing Nash's stated reason for the NDP voting the way they are (in fact, Newman begins the segment by completely misrepresenting what Nash actually said). Gone was Nash's argument for principled voting and with it missing, the media talking heads fell back on the "Why are the NDP acting so strangely?" narrative.

The pundits in this country have their minds made up about what politics are supposed to be. It is a sporting event where the players are constantly jockeying for advantage and the polls act as the final arbiters of the team standings. That is the dominant narrative of our political chatting class. Any counter narrative, like the one Nash tried to introduce, hasn't a hope of penetrating the psychic armor brandished by our media betters. What a sad state of affairs.
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Monday, March 24, 2008

I Bet TheyWere Serving Churros

How does one explain why Helena Guergis would choose to go to a cocktail party rather than visit a citizen in jail? The answer is, we will never know. This government is not for explaining. So, why don't we speculate? My guess is, Guergis is a secret foodie and she found out they were serving "Churros to die for", and she just couldn't help herself. Feel free to put in your own pet theory in the comment section.
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Friday, March 21, 2008

Speaking About Videos

Here are a couple that Republicans should talk about.


Here is John McCain giving a nuanced and dare we say it, reasonable explanation of his ambivalence toward the evangelical wing of the Republican Party. To me, this sounds an awful lot like Obama's reasoning for not abandoning his minister. Evangelicals are part of the Republican Party and to denounce them would be denouncing a big chunk of America. The question for Republicans is, is it now time for your party to break its association with the religious right, since you are demanding the same course of action from Obama toward his minister?
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Vivre Ontario Libre!

As I wrote a little while ago, equalization is a simmering issue here in Ontario. Now the simmering seems to be turning into a gentle boil. Readers from outside the province should take note. This is going to be a big issue.
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Thursday, March 20, 2008

My Wish For America

After reading the reaction to Obama's speech the other day, my wish for America is for Obama drop out of the race and for McCain to win the presidency. I wish this not because is anything inherently better or worse about McCain, but only because that way all of the Republican infrastructure that has served America so well these last eight years, remains in place. From what I have been reading, America hungers for that kind of continuity.
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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama's I Have A Dream Speech

Yes it was that good. If the Republicans aren't scared of him, they should be. The man is as cool under political fire as a mountain lake and man can he give a speech. I still think he is a blue Liberal, but he is about the best America could hope for.

Update: Republicans are scared of him all right. Scared to the point of insanity.
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Voter Turnout

The voter turnout numbers look very, very, grim. The highest turnout was in Quadra with 33.9% and the lowest was Willowdale, with 24.4%. So that means that Bob Rae got the support of about 16% of the electorate and Martha Hall Findlay got about 14%. Even in Quadra, the winner had the backing of roughly 12% of the total electorate. Pitiful.
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Well, That Went About As Expected

You will not see a better analysis of last night's by-elections, than at IP's place. I was waiting to see whether and where parties would be stealing votes from. As IP shows, it all depended on the location of the riding. I think the biggest story to come out of last night is the continuing polarization between rural and urban Canada. To me that trend is very troublesome and it will have consequences for the country as we move along.
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Monday, March 17, 2008

Black Monday

This has an October 1929 feel to it. (Begin sarcasm)It sure a good thing that we have two major parties running the country who know that spending billions of dollars to run around the countryside in Afghanistan, while cutting taxes at home (and bringing our treasury to its knees as a result), is a proven plan to help Canadians weather the economic storm on the horizon (end sarcasm) .

Update: The fact that the oil states are even talking about decoupling their currencies from the U.S. dollar, sends a chill up my spine.
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Saturday, March 15, 2008

If You Want To Know What The Conservative Plan Is....

Just look south, where the combination of a ruinous war and tax cuts have combined to cripple the government's ability to maintain national services.
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Mission Accomplished

The vote to extend the "mission" has had one success. It has liberal pundits writing "serious" pieces about how the "mission" is moving away from a combat focus. The fact that that is complete nonsense is secondary. The victory is in the propaganda value of such pieces. Inertia will guarantee the Tories (and their little Liberal poodles) at least two to three years of such glowing treatment, until reality, finally reasserts itself. So kudos to the Tories for at least one victory in the Afghan war.
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Friday, March 14, 2008

For God's Sake Don't Talk About The War!

Other than Militant Liberal, there is a deathly silence over at Liblogs about last nights Afghanistan vote travesty. In their silence lives shame, I guess.
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2011? Did We Say 2011?

Cuz, we meant 2013 and that's at the earliest. Hands up, those of you who think that if Bush NATO asks Canada to sign on, Harper will refuse? And what will the Liberals do? Rub their chins, look serious, complain about how cruel fate is and then vote to extend, again.

Update: Don Martin at least, does not play the fool (unlike the Liberal Party):
Yet thanks to the unification of the governing Conservatives and the opposition Liberals yesterday, Chief of Defence Staff Rick Hillier can claim to have received a parliamentary morale boost for the troops.

Far from pulling out of combat and leaving Canadian troops armed with shovels and good intentions, the decision essentially endorses the status quo with a preferred emphasis on training and humanitarian work. (emphasis mine)
In other words, the decision means whatever the government and the military want it to mean. It is a blank cheque and believe me, the Tories will cash it. Our troops and the the taxpayers of this country will pay the price. Thanks Liberal Party.
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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Everybody Say It Together

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Warning, Liberals! Danger! Danger!

The government won't give accurate figures for the cost of the war in Afghanistan and it won't cooperate with the body tasked with the investigation of abuse of detainees. Still, that won't stop the Liberals from handing them a blank cheque today when the votes are counted on the extension of this travesty. You can almost hear the excuses coming down the pipe from the Liberal Party. "But we didn't know!" Well here, I am warning you. Liberals you are voting to support a disastrous war being prosecuted by a thug government. Don't you dare come back two years from now claiming to be victims. When you vote with the government today, you will be willing, complicit partners.

Update: The deed is done. Now the watch begins for the first Liberal to claim that the party was stabbed in the back, when the Conservatives act like nothing has changed and ignore the Liberals for the next three years. P.T. Barnum was right, there is a sucker born every minute, but the Liberals aren't suckers. They wanted to be fooled.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Billion Reasons For Change

It's the old economics 101 chestnut guns versus butter, in the real world. Funny how the Tories think nothing of dropping a billion in Afghanistan, but scream bloody murder about spending the same amount to educate our kids. If an election is called, this contrast in priorities should be held up as a prime example of why we need a new government. Tip o' the hat to the Jurist.
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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Crying Game

I guess the Liberals don't think the Conservatives' environmental record is so terrible after all. I can hear Dion now, "Do you think it is easy fighting for the environment in an election?"
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Friday, March 07, 2008

You Say You Want A Resolution?

Since the Liberal Party is turning the House of Commons into one big Festivus celebration, I thought I would contribute to the airing of old grievances:

I condemn outright, the Fox Network for canceling Firefly. Fox wouldn't know a good show if it came up and bit it.

I condemn Peter Pocklington for trading away Wayne Gretzky. Dude what were you thinking?

I condemn my grade 5 teacher for taking away my giant novelty eraser because it caused a commotion in class. I loved that eraser.

Man, now I know why the Liberals are doing what they are doing. I feel cleansed.
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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Liberals Getting Set To Move A Motion Of Non-Confidence

Unfortunately, it is aimed at the NDP and Bloc, rather than the government. Meanwhile, Stephane Dion allowed his Scarborough Gang to vote with the government on a private member's bill that will outlaw abortion, by stealth. Just when I thought the Liberals might, just might, get their act together.

As a side note, take notice of the tone of the CP report on the Liberal motion. The contempt for these clowns is getting harder and harder to hide.
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Political Genius? Ha

The MSM is starting to notice that Steve looks anything but a political genius when he is dealing with anything other than destroying the Liberal Party. The Cadman Affair and Naftagate expose Harper and his henchmen as completely unable to handle theirs jobs with anything approaching competence. If all there was to politics and government was exploiting divisions in a political opponent, Steve would be my guy. However, politics and especially government require more than a guy who knows how to set people against each other. They require someone who actually knows how to run an organization and get along with others, when it is in the interest of the nation (rather than his party) to so. Sadly, Steve possesses neither of those qualities.
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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I Knew Harper Was An Economist

But who knew he was so economical with the truth? Paul Wells points us in the direction of Greg Weston, who provides us with another example of Mr. Harper denying the existence of a deal -- until reality (and the courts) forced the issue.
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One Smart Thing

The one smart thing the Liberals did yesterday was to let Ken Dryden go after Psycho Steve over the Cadman affair. Dryden had this exchange with the increasingly sweaty James Moore, in the House.
Hon. Ken Dryden (York Centre, Lib.): next intervention
Mr. Speaker, we know in a TV interview that Mr. Cadman said that he had received certain offers but did not mention a life insurance policy. We know he told his wife that he was offered a $1 million policy and told his daughter and son-in-law the same thing.

We know the Prime Minister was aware that certain offers were being made to Mr. Cadman by people, as he put it, “legitimately representing” the Conservative Party.

Would the Prime Minister not agree, from his own life experiences, that under those circumstances it is far more likely one would decide to be less clear in a TV interview than with one's own wife, daughter and son-in-law?
next intervention previous intervention [Table of Contents]

Mr. James Moore (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics, CPC): previous intervention next intervention
Mr. Speaker, the member for York Centre may want to call Chuck Cadman a liar in what he said on TV but we will not call Chuck Cadman a liar. He was clear. He was on the record. He was concise.

Chuck Cadman had a record in public life, both as a member of Parliament and, prior to that, as an advocate for victims of crime. He had an unblemished record of being a person who shot straight, who was honest and who was straightforward. He spoke the truth in those television interviews. He spoke the truth on the record when he said that no such offer was made.

We trust Chuck Cadman. We do not trust the Liberals who sat on this story for a year. They do not believe it. They are talking about all this righteous indignation but they do not believe what they are saying. We believe Chuck Cadman. We believe that he told the truth.
next intervention previous intervention [Table of Contents]

Hon. Ken Dryden (York Centre, Lib.): previous intervention
Mr. Speaker, through all the government's noise and spin, we know that if what Mr. Cadman's widow, daughter and son-in-law are saying is true, this was about offering money for a vote to bring down a government. Buying a vote to bring down a government is unimaginable and unthinkable in Canada. This is as serious as it gets.

I am sure the Prime Minister would agree that if this is true he must resign.
next intervention previous intervention [Table of Contents]

Mr. James Moore (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics, CPC): previous intervention
Mr. Speaker, it is one thing for a member of Parliament to get up in this place and accuse somebody of a crime under parliamentary privilege but if that member has the guts and he believes in what he is saying he should say it outside the House of Commons where people can defend themselves.
Moore challenged him to repeat his words outside of the House, thinking it would shut him up. Dryden took up the challenge and, in effect, told Steve to sue him too. Now this is about the smartest thing the Liberals have done in about 3 years. Can you imagine the reaction if Psycho Steve actually sued the greatest goalie of his generation? Steve would never be able to enter the city limits of Montreal again.
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Is It Raining Toads Yet?

As much as Canadians like him, they had better pray Obama does not become president. Our Prime Minister and the geniuses in his office have so poisoned the well there that we will be lucky to escape invasion should Obama win. Another nice job by the strategic wiz kids in Ottawa.
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Monday, March 03, 2008

Pounding The Table

There is an old axiom among legalistas that goes:
“If the law is on your side, pound on the law. If the facts are on your side, pound on the facts. If neither is on your side, pound on the table.”
I guess this is Stephen Harper, pounding the table.
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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Note To Conservative Election Planners

You might want to through a bag over Jim Flaherty. Here is some free advice. Ontario voters might take are starting to take offense at the Finance Minister of their own country telling businesses to steer clear of the province, just because he is in a pissing match with the Premier. One might get the sense that the Conservative Party thinks it can do very well with no seats in this province at all. If they keep it up, they might get their wish.

Update: Could this be a ploy to so anger Ontarians that we start to question equalization? Obviously, Harper doesn't give a shit about Ontario, but ending equalization would suit Alberta quite nicely (and satisfy his own ideological hatred for the program) and Ontario would be the villain.
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Harperites' Story Changes Again

For those following along, the line is now: "Yes it happened. So what? It was all legal anyway" (which is much closer to my original question of "Is it a crime?"). From the always reliable Jonathan Kay:
The Cadman affair will prove to be the scandal that never was: All it will come down to is that the Harper Tories, in a sensible and humane gesture, offered Chuck Cadman a legally valid arrangement to ensure his financial affairs wouldn't be compromised by Parliament's tumult. It is the Liberals who will look stupid for being sucked in by a journalist doing his best impersonation of Dr. Evil ("One MEEEEELLL-yun dollars.") That $1-million figure must have looked so good to Stephane Dion and the Grits -- such a nice round number to hang a would-be scandal around.
All of those denials last week, that no offer was ever made? Forget about those. They are no longer operative.
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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Argumentum Ad Verecundiam

Jonathan Kay sounds like a desperate man, today. So desperate in fact, that he commits the logical fallacy of "appeal to authority" by proxy, in his defense of the Harperites. Forget about the testimony of Cadman's family, says Kay, because Tom Flanagan's resume is long and he is "too smart" to do such a thing. Does Mr. Kay offer any evidence to back up this astounding logical flight of fancy? No, he merely appeals to the emotion of his readers by offering, in essence, the tautological "This can't be true, it just can't be", again and again. As the circle closes on the Harperites, watch for more and more nonsense being generated by their minions both in the MSM and the blogosphere.
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