Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturday Musical Interlude

Because they don't make tv like this anymore. Dick Martin and Tiny Tim

Recommend this Post

Another "Because We Say It Is" Success In Afghanistan

This sums up our current government's approach to everything. A military operation no one knew existed, has been deemed a complete success (although the military people on the ground at least are honest enough to admit it was ultimately a futile exercise).

One other thing. Globe reporter Katherine O'Neill does such a good job describing the battle, one would almost think she had observed it with her own eyes. She never does claim to have been there, but one can infer she was from her detailed descriptions of the action. So, was she present during the battle, or not? Is Ms. O'Neill the Ernie Pyle of her generation, or is the Globe publishing military press releases as first person accounts?

Update: If she did observe the battle, she took time away from it to watch a hockey game, on Thursday.

Upperdate: Ms. O'Neill was there. She has courage.
Recommend this Post

Friday, May 30, 2008

Harvey Korman What A Guy

I read that Harvey Korman died last night. God, I loved that guy. I think I loved him because he was so human. He just never could keep a straight face when confronted by the force of nature that is Tim Conway. Who could? God bless, Harvey.

Recommend this Post

The Sensenbrenner Affair

Read this exchange between Paul Dewar and Peter Van Loan last night. Van Loan is doing his best to not answer any questions about Sensenbrenner at all. The government's line seems to be "If we feign ignorance, maybe this will all go away." (or in Van Loan's case, "If I act like an ignorant prick, maybe they will stop asking me questions.") I hope they are wrong, but I am not holding my breath. There is something here. Something big. All that seems to be missing is the will to follow the trail, by the MSM (with exception of Travers) .
Mr. Paul Dewar: Mr. Chair, I thank him for that.

I would like to move now to questions around what has been called NAFTA-gate. Very simply, was Frank Sensenbrenner was hired by the embassy?

Hon. Peter Van Loan: Mr. Chair, I believe the issue he is talking about is the investigation that was done by the Clerk of the Privy Council. The Clerk of the Privy Council addressed the questions of the leak of the memo relating to the American presidential campaign to NAFTA. His conclusion was that there was an unduly broad distribution to 232 email addresses of it, of which a number were outside the Government of Canada. That made it difficult to assess what the problem was, but we know the problem was not, as they cleared, the chief of staff to the Prime Minister.

Mr. Paul Dewar: Mr. Chair, I appreciate the answer, but I asked a different question. I asked whether someone had been hired by the American embassy. The gentleman's name was Frank Sensenbrenner. Was he hired by the American embassy, yes or no?

Hon. Peter Van Loan: Mr. Chair, the question about the American embassy I guess would have to be directed to the American government.

Mr. Paul Dewar: Mr. Chair, I stand corrected. I misspoke because I know he was a rather active member of the Republican Party, so I apologize. Was he hired by the Canadian embassy?

Hon. Peter Van Loan: Mr. Chair, I do not know that this is a day for a discussion of the personnel throughout. I do not see the relationship to the issue he raised of the investigation into the leak of the NAFTA memo. The chief Clerk of the Privy Council did a very extensive investigation into that, and its findings are quite conclusive.
next intervention previous intervention [Table of Contents]

Mr. Paul Dewar: Mr. Chair, we now established that the government is not aware of who has been hired at the American embassy.
Recommend this Post

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Today's Question

Is David Asper secretly a Blogging Tory? He certainly has the "but, but, the Liberals" style of whining down pat. And paranoia? Baby, didn't you know that the Bernier thing was just a Liberal plot to stop the Tories from sweeping Quebec in the next election? I am totally, super, serial.
Recommend this Post

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bernier Is Still Small Cheese

I know the whole country is seized with Bumbling Bernier, but the bigger story is still NAFTAgate. If what James Travers wrote yesterday is true, this government deliberately leaked a memo to the son of a Republican congressman, with the aim of interfering in the internal politics of a U.S. election. That is way bigger than leaving briefing notes on a ex-girlfriend's coffee table. We are into Watergate territory here. If I was Psycho Steve, I would be looking for a nice country property in France. He would be better off living offshore for a while.

Update: The Sensenbrenner story has hit the Daily Kos. Gee, I wonder if any Democrats read that thing? Harper had better be sure his partner works overtime on behalf of McCain this fall. I suspect Obama will hold a grudge.

Update 2: I guess the Dems have noticed. Question: Why is Harper still in Europe?
Recommend this Post

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Credibility Gap

It would easier to believe Mr. Harper's denial if he hadn't been so categorical that there was never a "Mad Max" problem in first place. In fact, now that he says that there were no "bugs", I am inclined to believe there were in fact, "bugs".
Recommend this Post

Friday, May 23, 2008

Cue Pierre P.

The Supreme Court is forcing the government to supply the Khadr defense with documents. Watch for Pierre Poilievre to jump up during Members' Statements next week to denounce "preferential treatment" for terrorists. His psychotic overlord is probably red-faced with rage this morning.

Instant Update: Take note fascists everywhere. The vote was 9-0.

Instant Instant Update: I find the use of the letter "K" being used instead of "Khadr", fitting somehow.
Recommend this Post

Layton Talks Carbon Tax

Jack Layton outlined his ideas about tackling GHGs yesterday:
Canadians believe that it’s high time we place a price on carbon.

While many, like me believe that the most effective way to price carbon is through a cap-and-trade system where the big profitable polluters begin to pay their fair share, others suggest a carbon tax.

Advocates of a carbon tax suggest that by making the costs for certain things more expensive, people will make different choices.

But Canada is a cold place.

Heating your home is not a choice.

Already, far too many seniors on fixed incomes, single-parents, renters, people who live in the far north – are forced to choose between putting food on the table or heating their home

I don’t want to make that decision even more difficult.

Instead of making it more expensive to heat your home while consuming the same amount of energy and emitting the same amount of pollution, I want to help make it more affordable to heat your home – by helping to make it more energy efficient and pollute less.

We can do it through a national energy weatherizing program. The costs can be absorbed by ensuring the big polluters start paying their fair share.
This is a decent start for Layton. He needs to explain the NDP position on the carbon tax, because people like me see it as necessary. I agree that home heating is problematic. A blanket carbon tax on home heating might be a step too far, at least in the short run. Also, I like his idea of retrofitting homes to make them more energy efficient.

However, I have a problem with Layton's complete dismissal of a carbon tax. I think it is part of the mix. Yes, we need cap and trade. Yes we need to stop subsidizing the oil industry with billions of tax dollars and yes we need a carbon tax (at least on gasoline to start). It seems to me that none of these approaches should be mutually exclusive.

We should have a carbon tax on gasoline because consumers of gasoline are contributing to GHG production. We need to change consumption patterns and a carbon tax on gasoline should be considered as a way to accomplish this change. We should combine that with a cap and trade system where the big polluters pay for their pollution. Finally, the revenue from these programs should go into a fund to pay for improvements to public transit and initiatives like the national housing retrofit program. The idea of "revenue neutrality" is really a non-starter for me because as Layton says, that is really just moving expenses from one pocket to another (and if the government is not getting any more revenue then it can't fund things like mass transit and home retrofit programs).

I understand that the NDP does not want the Liberal Party to get any traction out of its carbon tax proposal, but there are plenty of legitimate problems with the Liberals' proposal to pick on, without dismissing the whole idea. A carbon tax is an idea whose time has come.
Recommend this Post

Thursday, May 22, 2008


The transformation of the Harper government into a national Harris government is almost complete. All that is left to complete the process is for people to start dying from bad water. Given the way things are going in the oilsands, that prospect may soon be checked off the list.
Recommend this Post

Monday, May 19, 2008

Obama Is Toast

Only 75,000 showed up in Portland to hear him. What a loser.

Recommend this Post

Like The Pope Denoucing You In St. Peter's Square

That's how the NDP should feel after hearing David Suzuki lambasting them over the carbon tax yesterday. I said their stance was a joke, but it is much more serious than that. Suzuki's denunciation has just cost the NDP a huge block of votes. Does anyone in the party understand that, or even care?
Recommend this Post

Friday, May 16, 2008

In Search Of The Perfect Pop Song

Because it is Friday and question period is so damn dismal. Here is Moe Berg singing what I think is a top contender for the "perfect pop song". It has everything, love, kissing and a Todd Rundgren-like sound.

If you agree that politics needs a rest, use the comments to suggest other candidates for "perfect pop song".
Recommend this Post

Confusion To Our Enemies

And by enemies, the Tories obviously mean the Canadian people. Why else would they apparently mislead the public about the cost of their defence rebuild? The hope seems to be (and they may be right, which really ticks me off) that if the government tosses several numbers into the air, the public will just throw up its hands and say "We can't follow this. It is way to confusing." and change the channel. This may be a good way to spend $100 billion without public oversight, but is is a pretty poor way to run a democracy.
Recommend this Post

More Elections Canada Baiting

By that old master baiter Pierre Poilievre yesterday during member's statement time:
Mr. Speaker, the Canada Elections Act says that all loans for leadership contestants must be repaid within 18 months and failure to do so is a violation of the act.

The Liberal leader is said to have almost a million dollars in outstanding leadership debts, owed to wealthy elites and powerful insiders. If he does not repay these debts by the June 3 deadline, they become illegal donations over the donation limit.

The only escape is if Elections Canada steps in to protect the Liberal leader with preferential treatment and an extension.

Canadians will watch closely. Will the Liberal leader break the law by accepting illegal donations and, if so, will Elections Canada protect the Liberal leader with preferential treatment?
I saw the utterance on the tube and the written word captures neither the petulance nor the faux victimized tone of the performance. I still find it extraordinary that a government member would be attacking a part of the government. That he would do so before that body has ruled on a matter, might be considered "working the refs" at best and an attempted intimidation of a quasi-judicial body by the government, at worst.
Recommend this Post

Thursday, May 15, 2008

We Are Being Governed By Thugs

What can one say about a government that has so little of substance on offer that it can spend most of its time smearing decorated retired generals and other assorted enemies? I am at a loss for words really. This is truly the worst government in the history of the country. Coincidentally, key people surrounding the previous "winner" of the worst government in the history of the country are prominent members of our latest "winner".

Update: Meanwhile, as the government amused itself by attacking yet another enemy, the real world moves on. It turns out that Steve's estimate for military spending was only off by $20 billion (and I think that $20 billion will turn into $30 or $40 billion over time). A question for any MSM readers of this blog. How is it that the Tories have a free ride when it comes to "managerial skill"? In my opinion these guys couldn't run a two hole shitter, let alone a government.
Recommend this Post

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Security Council: Tripping On The Starting Line

If you read between the lines, the Tory position on its run (or non run) for a seat on the UN security council has a certain internal logic. The Tories know that its foreign policy is not a winner with the vast majority of UN members -- even though it is popular among the old imperial powers. They also know that to lose such a race, for those reasons is a loser in Canada. The Harperites have spent the last two and a half years telling Canadians that "Canada is back". How can they square the message that Canada is now a big deal on the world stage, when it can't even get on to the Security Council of an organization widely respected in this country? The answer is they can't.

So, the Tories are left with two choices. They can pull out of the race (probably late on a Friday around a long weekend) or they can stay in and probably lose. I am betting that given the size of Steve's ego, Canadians will be reading (or not reading)a press release from Foreign Affairs some long weekend in the near future.
Recommend this Post

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Other Half Of Jason Kenney's Job Description

Jason Kenney is not only the chief apologizer for the government, he is also the chief insulter. Today Jason had his insulter hat on as he accused one of Canada's greatest heroes, former General and now Senator, Romeo Dallaire, of only being interested in child soldiers since the Tories took power.

Update: What a surprise, the Liberal leadership is heading for the hills. Dion is even hinting that Dallaire will be disciplined for telling the truth. I should have seen this coming. As usual the Liberal leadership is being serious, very serious.

Update 2:
Aaron Wherry provides some other witnesses from other forums who said pretty much what Dallaire said yesterday. The idea that countries that ignore and stomp on international law are no better than the terrorists they fight, is only controversial to neo-con thugs and emasculated Liberal Party officials.
Recommend this Post

Me Next

I see that Jason Kenney is going to apologize on my behalf again. I think it is great that the Tories will apologize to any group it thinks it can get votes from, but I think they are thinking too small. I think the Tories need to come to Ontario and issue an apology to Catholics for the persecution and exclusion practiced by government at all levels until the 1960's. Catholics still remember that you couldn't be mayor of Toronto without being an Orangeman, right up to the 1950's. Come on Jason, Catholics make up almost half the province. Get on your knees and beg our forgiveness. It will only hurt for a minute.
Recommend this Post

And Speaking Of Jokes

Can someone explain the NDP position on gas taxes? I mean, even if they slap taxes on the oil companies (the whole polluter pays thingy), the price at the pump is going to rise anyway, so why pretend otherwise? It just makes the party look like a bunch of goofs.
Recommend this Post

Harper's Paperless Future

Honest to God, I thought this was a mistake (or maybe an excerpt from the Onion) when I read it:
Canada's defence strategy for the next 20 years will be based on speeches by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Defence Minister Peter Mac-Kay given yesterday in Halifax.

In a highly unusual move, the Conservative government will base its entire future rebuilding of the Canadian military on Mr. Harper's 10-minute speech and Mr. MacKay's 700-word address. No actual strategy document has been produced, or will be produced, according to government and defence officials. Neither speech went into any specific details about equipment purchases, costs or timelines or how the future strategy will unfold. Both speeches presented more broad-brush approaches to defence.

Asked about when the actual Canada First Defence Strategy was going to be released, Jay Paxton, Mr. MacKay's press secretary, replied: "It is a strategy that you heard enunciated by the prime minister and Minister MacKay."

"It is not a 'document' like a white paper -- it is the vision delivered today for long-term planning for the CF," he added. "As such, the speeches are the strategy."
It is almost as if the politicians, press and defense bureaucrats were all trying to keep a straight face while engaging in a huge joke, and not quite succeeding. This is how our government works now? Whenever Harper feels the need not to be in the House to answer questions, he flies to the nearest military facility and announces a new policy? Really? Very funny.
Recommend this Post

Monday, May 12, 2008

If Dion Was James T. Kirk

Well, he would be a lot more popular with the ladies, but I digress. Here is a great speech by Kirk that should serve as an inspiration for Dion. Risk is what politics is all about. If you are going to avoid risk, you might as well just pack your things and go home.

Update: BTW, it would be cool if Dion hired some musicians to play softly, behind him, as he gives the speech.
Recommend this Post

Goose-Stepping All Over Godwin's Law

As I watched this NSFW video, I was struck by a couple of things. First, it is funny, in a three-stooges-hammer-to-the-forehead kind of way. Second, if Democrats are comparing each other to Hitler, then the Republicans are going to laugh their way to a third Bush term. This makes Martin/Chretien look like a church picnic.

Recommend this Post

Looking Ahead

The Toronto Star is reporting that the Liberals will not vote to bring down the Tories today, even though the NDP motion is Liberal friendly:
That the House recognize the harmful effects on working and middle-income Canadians of the growing income gap fostered by this government's unbalanced economic agenda, including it's failure to reform employment insurance to ensure that people who lose their jobs during economic downturns are protected and trained, and therefore the House has lost confidence in this government.
The Star is also reporting that the Liberals are making every indication that they will not sink the government on either its immigration bill or its film censorship law.

I expect several "progressives" will post many "I am so mad at the Liberals right now...I guess I will have to wait another six months to vote for them", entries on blogs across the progressosphere, as these things come to pass (or not). The Liberals know its membership. Hell, its membership's infinite forgiveness is reason for the Liberal Party's, shall we say, flexible take on all issues. Give Dion credit for knowing there is virtually nothing he can't abandon that will make his members abandon him.
Recommend this Post

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Thought For Sunday

I wonder. Is the intervention of the Israeli Ambassador into Canadian politics and the Prime Minister's subsequent condemnation of criticism of Israel as "Antisemitism", preparing public opinion in Canada for an Israeli preemptive strike against Iran? I am not running for my tinfoil hat yet, but I see similar signals coming out of Washington.
Recommend this Post

Saturday, May 10, 2008

When Evasion Becomes Pathology

One of the things that drives me nuts about this government is its reflexive "Fuck you, that's why!" response to any question directed at it. I said yesterday that I think this whole Bernier "issue" was small cheese and I still mean it. The problem is, this government is completely incapable of even pretending to act like a government. The following exchange between Bob Rae (who it shames me to admit, actually comes off looking good) and Peter Van Loan demonstrates the Conservatives approach to crisis management.
Hon. Bob Rae (Toronto Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the government House leader.

After the exchanges yesterday, a number of security experts, including Professor Wark, the National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, have indicated that there are some legitimate questions that need to be answered with respect to the situation facing the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

If the government House leader would simply respond in the affirmative that the government has every intention of ensuring that there is no security problem or security issue with respect to the situation facing the Minister of Foreign Affairs, I am sure that would go a long way to satisfying members of the House that the appropriate steps have been taken.

Hon. Peter Van Loan (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform, CPC): Mr. Speaker, this government takes very seriously national security issues. We do not see that asking questions about the private lives of ministers in the fashion that the opposition has fits that bill.

We are surprised that the hon. member for Toronto Centre, after we thought he was too classy to ask these questions, would.

However, we would point out that if that party were at all concerned about national security in a serious way, its members would not have stood in this House on Wednesday asking us to fly back, at taxpayer expense, someone suspected of terrorist links, against the United Nations rules, who happens to be on a no-fly list. That is hardly a party that is concerned about national security.
Van Loan could have stood up and said "Yes Mr. Speaker the government does take security seriously and I want to assure the House that we have taken steps to bring this matter to a close". Such an answer would have probably brought the matter to a close. Instead Van Loan essentially tells Rae to go to Hell. Why? It is a complete mystery to me why, when given an opportunity to end a minor problem, the government chose to toss a verbal grenade instead. Such a response from Mr. Van Loan will add a couple of days to an otherwise one day problem and makes it look like there might be some good reason to suspect them of hiding something.
Recommend this Post

Friday, May 09, 2008

Why Are We Talking About Biker Chicks?

The answer is quite simple. We can't talk about the budget, Afghanistan, climate change, immigration, the faltering Ontario economy, or any issue that might lead to an election, because the Liberal Party hasn't got the guts to bring down the Harper government. So, all we are left with is the burning issue of who Maxime Bernier is squiring around Ottawa. Yes, Bernier is an idiot. I get it. But, in the bigger scheme of things, it is small cheese. However, when you have mice running the official opposition, small cheese looks like a big deal.
Recommend this Post

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Harperites Threaten Librarians

Who's next, guide dog trainers? Imagine a party so insecure and paranoid that they begin a whisper campaign against a new library, merely on the rumor that a partisan from another party will be attending a fundraising event for the building. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Canada's modern Conservative Party. There was a time when conservatives believed in libraries as institutions for the preservation of human knowledge. Those were the days when conservatives believed in, you know, conserving things. Now, conservatives are just warmed over libertarian Republicans, who hate conserving anything except tax cuts for their wealthy friends.
Recommend this Post

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Hillary Reaps The Whirlwind

In the end, after it is all done, Hillary stands alone shouting, "I'm still here. I matter!" Sad, sad, sad.
Recommend this Post

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Another Enemy For Steve's List

Meanwhile, the Office of the Information Commissioner has come out against Psycho Steve's latest assault on democracy. You can now expect the Tories to denounce the office as a nest of Liberal spies and traitors. It's what they do.
Recommend this Post


The latest cow flap the Tories have stepped in, is the result of what happens when you are known to be less than truthful. If you have a reputation for saying things that don't represent any kind of reality, people tend to check everything you say for its veracity. So it is in the case of Professor Alasdair Roberts and the murder of CAIRS, by the government. This is an exchange between Iggy and Vic Toews in the House, yesterday:
Mr. Michael Ignatieff (Etobicoke—Lakeshore, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has not explained why Canadians cannot see a registry that contains requests for information by citizens of government. There is no answer at all on that side, and its record on information is terrible.

Information complaints are at an all time high, numbers not seen since the last Conservative government. Departments are receiving failing grades from the information commissioner. Now the government wants to do away with a key database that provides information to Canadians.

Why is a government that ran on accountability running away from it?

Hon. Vic Toews (President of the Treasury Board, CPC): Mr. Speaker, we know all about the opposite party, when it was in government, wanting to control the access to information.

Here is what a leading expert on access to information law said about CAIRS in 2003. Alasdair Roberts said:

No other country maintains a government-wide database like CAIRS. CAIRS is the product of a political system in which centralized control is an obsession.

That is what the opposite party wished to do.
Zing. Vic sure put it to Izzy. It makes you almost forget that the Tories make the Liberals look positively chatty, when it comes to government information. Too bad this is just another example of this government's "up is down" philosophy. Too bad for them no one believes them anymore.

The consequence of no one believing them is pretty obvious. The press ran to talk to professor Roberts. It turns out that professor Roberts was in fact a critic of CAIRS. However, Professor Roberts wanted CAIRS improved, not killed and he sure doesn't seem to be pleased to be the poster boy for this government's campaign to hide information (since he has spent his whole career advocating for more transparent government information handling.

Now that this government has dug itself into a hole and Pierre Poilievre already has a file to spin, I wonder which lucky backbencher will be granted the honor of downplaying this latest untruth from the government, for the greater glory of our gracious lord, Stephen.
Recommend this Post

Monday, May 05, 2008

Note To Ezra Levant

Dear Ezra,

I saw your latest, "humorous" offering in today's Post. Congratulations for completely missing the point. Let me spell it out for you, since you seem to need some help. The dead ducks are tragic, but that's not why people are upset with what is going on in Northern Alberta. People are nervous because they believe that neither the oil sands developers nor the Alberta government care about the human beings who share the environment with the ducks. I believe that people are right to believe this. You can joke all you want about turducken, but no one, (excluding readers of small dead animals and the western stardard) is laughing with you.
Recommend this Post

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Expect To Hear This A Lot

Bob Rae In the House on Thursday.
Mr. Speaker, the UN representative also confirmed that there would be elections in Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010. As we know, Elections Canada played an important role in the 2004 Afghan elections.

Could the minister tell me whether Elections Canada still has the confidence of the government and the minister to do the necessary work in Afghanistan?
I think, if we ever have an election again, every reporter on the campaign trail with the Tories (provided they are allowed within 300 metres of Psycho Steve), should ask whether the PM has confidence in Election Canada's ability to run a free and fair election, in Canada? They should ask him this every day, until he answers the question, yes or no. H/T to Aaron Wherry.
Recommend this Post

We Supported The Troops, Until We Didn't

Aaron Wherry asks quite a good question today. Why doesn't Peter MacKay support the troops?
Recommend this Post

Friday, May 02, 2008

Why We Fight

Let's see how the "Four Freedoms" are doing in Afghanistan, these days. Freedom of speech and expression. Freedom to Worship God in his own way. Freedom from want. Freedom from fear. We have been in Afghanistan for years and things are going sideways if not backwards. It is long past time for a rethink, no?

Update:Although it isn't one of the four freedoms, we are also supposedly fighting to establish good governance, on behalf of the Afghan people. The theory is, if the government is good and decent, the people won't turn to the Taliban. How's that working out?
Recommend this Post

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Irony, Oh Irony

Now that the Harper government is now negotiating with the Taliban, will the Blogging Tories issue a formal apology to Jack Layton for smearing him for years? Hint, I am not holding my breath.
Recommend this Post

And What Of Dion?

Well, Dion's talents are wasted in Ottawa. He should apply for a post with Dick Cheney's interrogation squads. The man has a talent for torture. His plan is a straightforward one, for someone who practices torture. He will make his victims (the Canadian people) suffer so much under this government, that they when they break (just give it a few more turns of the screw), they will come to identify their torturer as their only savior. I tell you it's classic.
Recommend this Post

Maybe I Misjudged Him

Maybe Stephen Harper is really a teacher. Maybe he is being true to his libertarian roots, by teaching Canadians what a fascist dictatorship would look like, in an effort to get them to reject the "idea" of government altogether. Or, maybe he is just a control freak who hates anyone who disagrees with him. At this point, who really cares?
Recommend this Post