Thursday, July 31, 2008

Harper's Agenda In Plain Sight

There is no hidden agenda, it is all there for people to see. Harper's vision for Canada can be summarized as:
1. A strict provincialist interpretation of sections 91 and 92 (a very, very, narrow interpretation of the reserved power provision of section 91) of the 1867 Constitution Act.

2. A federal government concerned mainly with foreign policy, the military, the economic union and law enforcement (for the most part the criminal code).

3. The creation of an even more lose confederation of 13 semi-independent states in charge of all aspects of social policy (except when the federal government interprets that policy as being in conflict with law enforcement as in "safe injection sites") and economic policy (except when it crosses a provincial border).
So, anyone who is looking for a "national" policy on something such as daycare, for example is not going to get one in the Harper vision of Canada. If Prince Edward Island wants to raise the money for a provincial daycare scheme, that's fine. But under Harper's vision, there will be no "national" scheme, because according to Harper, that falls outside of his realm of responsibility.

This vision stands on its head, Canada as it has been governed since at least the end of World War II. I am sure it will sell among Albertans who like Section 92a (1) of the 1867 Constitution Act and want 92a (3) ignored and Bleus in Quebec who like the money rolling in from Ottawa, but otherwise.... Those are the easy sells. How Harper's vision of a "small Canada" internally and a "big Canada" militarily plays in places like Ontario, non-bleu Quebecois, BC and the Maritime Provinces, will determine whether the Canada we grew up with still exists in ten years. No matter what happens, no one can say that Harper is hiding anything, it is all laid out for everyone. All you have to do is listen to the man and his ministers.
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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thus Sayeth The Pundit

Dan Leger in the Halifax Chronicle wrote today:
We all have to take some individual responsibility. Don’t like politicians? Go vote. Got a better idea about running the country? Let’s hear it. Know better than the business and media leaders? Then show up at last to help fix it yourself.
In a first past the post system, voting (unless you live in a swing riding)is a waste of time. Yes, we had a better idea, it was called electoral reform. Your friends at the Toronto Star (as well as many, many other of our media betters) moved heaven and earth to crush it. So pardon me if I am cynical about the system.
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My Fearless Predictions

There are going to be three by-elections in September. The seats are now held by the Liberals and the Bloc. If the status quo holds, the Liberals will crow and say that the NDP is dead. The Conservatives will say it is no big deal since the seats were never theirs and the NDP will declare it a moral victory. The Bloc will say they are back, baby.

If the status quo doesn't hold and the Liberals manage to lose one seat (or God help them, two), they will blame the NDP (but not the Greens) for splitting the vote and claim it is a dark conspiracy to prop up the Tories. The Tories will crow (especially if they manage a miracle in Guelph) and will egg on the Iggynauts to overthrow Dion. The NDP will crow (if they manage a miracle in either Guelph or Westmount) and will claim that the NDP is now the only alternative to Harper. The Bloc will say they are back, baby. The electoral results are unpredictable, but the reactions to the results are as predictable as the sun rising in the morning.
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So It Turns Out

That corporations are just like everyone else. They want government services, but they want someone else to pay for them. Big surprise.
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Friday, July 25, 2008

Credit Card Conservatives...

Strike again! The modern conservative movement, with its "no taxes, but spend anyway" agenda should never be allowed to run anything bigger than a lemonade stand (because when it goes out of business, who would care?). The only question now is, how many disastrous conservative governments worldwide will it take to get the corporate press to change its consensus view that conservatives are "good fiscal managers"?

Update: (Pat Myself On The Back Edition): My entry from October last year looks almost prophetic.

Saturday Update: Declan raises a good point in the comments. This was not hard to predict, so why are conservatives allowed to get away with slagging the money handling skills of other parties?
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Which Way To Tirana?

According to Robopundit, Canada is about to become the Albania of American Republicanism. From his lips to God's ears, eh?
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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Time For Our Annual Scrap The RCMP Post

This is getting to be a habit. Go read the Dawg.
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Bring Khadr Home

Needless to say, I agree with the Globe editorial. Yes, the Liberals were craven, cowardly and incompetent. Yes, they did nothing to help Khadr. Yes, they deserve all the scorn in the world. But, they are no longer the government and the Tories are no longer powerless. The ball is in Harper's court and he seems content to play the "I'm just the PM, what can I do?", card. People should remember this when he puffs out his chest and brags about his "leadership", in the upcoming election.
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Keep Moving Those Goalposts, Steve

As Bush has proved in Iraq, if you keep changing the definition of "victory", then anything, including "Let's get the Hell out of Dodge", becomes glorious. My favorite spin from the government? It has to be the bit about how 2007 was so long ago that new goals had to be defined. I am sure it must seem like a long time ago, when things aren't going as expected.
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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Gerald Caplan Speaks

The NDP would be wise to listen. I especially like the last few paragraphs:
Ever since the Regina Manifesto, many CCF/NDPers have cherished the fantasy that it was only a matter of time until we formed a government. But since our share of the national vote has varied from 8 per cent to 20 per cent, that hope has always been a delusion. For me, being an influential opposition party has justified our existence. Having moral authority, as during the War Measures Act, sufficed. Can we truly say this is the case today?

In 1933, serious socialists created the CCF and issued the Regina Manifesto. In 2008, serious socialists need to re-examine the raison d'être of the "New" Democratic Party. Instead of playing arcane parliamentary games and manoeuvring to replace the Liberals, the NDP needs to restore the "New" in its name and its ideas. We need to prove that being a perennial minority party is not a wasted exercise.

We honour our predecessors by seeking a renewed socialism, borrowing from successful left-wing parties in Europe and Latin America. Norwegians accept an egalitarian social contract involving high taxes, superb services and unparalleled productivity. Canadians yearn for such services but refuse to countenance the costs or take steps to improve our productivity. It is time to make the risky political move of telling them they can't have it all. There are no utopias.
Stop trying to replace the Liberals. Come up with true socialist policies and use the bully pulpit of Parliament to move the yard sticks in our direction. The party should seek to educate Canadians that there is indeed no free lunch and if they want services they damn well have to pay for them. That is the direction the NDP should be going. Yelling me too after the Liberals is a dead end.
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Interesting Coincidence In Timing

Harper promises the premiers that he will hold a summit in the fall, on "Native Issues". That is a coincidence, I thought we might have an election in the fall. Could it be our PM is using natives as a human shield against those slimy bastards in the Liberal Party? Nah, that couldn't be. He would never stoop to the level of pointing a finger at the Liberals and shouting "Kelowna? You killed native issues for years by bringing on this fall election." Our PM has too much class to do that. Besides, the Liberals have spines of steel and would never give in to that kind of pressure, would they?
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Michael Coren Proves

Once again that his Christianity ends before the Gospel of Matthew. My "favorite" section of his column was his "Well the Americans are better than the Islamists and Castro". If the bar was set any lower, it would be underground.

As with all of the tiny Tories, Coren's main concern is with using Omar Khadr as a way to punish the Khadr family. Obviously, Mr. Coren has missed this little teaching from his Messiah (not surprising really since it is in Matthew 5:38-40 and 43-48):
38"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'[a] 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor[b] and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[c] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Coren also missed this little gem from Matthew 18: 21-22:
21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"

22Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
Ideas like "Love your enemy" and "Forgiveness" are too girly for Coren's religion, I guess. Coren is all about the "smiting" and the "sins of the fathers". I am not sure what religion that is, but it sure doesn't have anything to do with Jesus Christ.
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Doctor Horrible Is Terrific

Serious, if you haven't watched this yet, run now. You only have today and tomorrow to see the episodes online for free. I just finished watching act 3 and it just absolutely rocks. I won't spoil it, but let's just say lessons are learned, by all (especially Billy). This is a possible new series by Joss Whedon and I would gladly pay to see new episodes. Kudo's to all involved.

P.S. Seriously, run and see this thing before it is gone. You will thank me. Go.

P.P.S. I was absolutely surprised by the identity of "Bad Horse".
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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Line Of The Day

Goes to Paul Wells:
Harper campaigned on a promise that under him, Canada would have a foreign policy that would actually get noticed, and that’s certainly what he’s achieving with Khadr: Under this prime minister, Canada’s foreign policy is uniquely supine, a state of affairs that’s winning our country positively glowing coverage in Vietnam and Germany, just to name two.
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Let's Give A Big Round Of Applause

To the Liberal Party of Canada, for giving the Tories all the material they need to construct a defense against the indefensible.
However, a spokesman for Harper said scenes of Khadr sobbing for his mother as he was interrogated by Canadian officials in 2003, would not sway the government's position.

"These videos were in possession of the previous government when they decided to pursue the judicial process for Mr Khadr to have his day in court in Guantánamo," Harper's chief spokesman, Kory Teneycke, said.

"The information is not new. We can't ignore the serious charges Mr Khadr is facing. The proper forum for determining his guilt or innocence is a judicial process not a political process. We're not affected by what's on the cover of newspapers."(emphasis mine)
There is a reason the Tories keep using the "But, but, but the Liberals did it too" defense. They use it, because it is true. Does the defense make any sense? Only to a five year old and the Tory base (which is all that matters). The point is, the Liberal are now calling on the Tories to do what they themselves failed to do. No wonder the Tories are laughing at them.
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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

This Is A Witness?

I wish the press would stop bothering Layne Morris. It's not as if he actually witnessed anything. He wasn't even around when the grenade was thrown. He has no first hand account to tell. Leave him alone. He is obviously in enough pain.

Update:Here is a transcript of an interview Mr. Morris did with the CBC. Read it and tell me he is a reliable witness:

LM: After there was no more fire from the compound, and it was just destroyed, the rest of the team went into the compound to clear it, just to get the intel, see who was in there. Just your normal exploitation of a seized compound.
And Omar was still alive in one of the corners and waiting with a pistol and a hand grenade. And when they got close enough, he popped up and threw the hand grenade, shot the pistol and Chris didn’t see him, didn’t see the hand grenade.
So when he hit the ground, he just, he was too close to the hand grenade, so the shrapnel from that hand grenade got him in the head and mortally wounded him.


LM: No. I was gone before the guys went into the compound. I think they were going into the compound as the Medivac helicopter was lifting off.


LM: With me inside. So I watched the 500 pounders hit, and soon after that, the guys went inside. So no, we thought it was over. So when I was at Bagram and got the word that it was another casualty coming in, I – I didn’t understand that. But we’ve cleared everybody off that was wounded, even the bad guys.
So there shouldn’t be any casualties, any more casualties. So it was, you know, took me another 4 or 5 hours before I finally heard the rest of the story about what happened in the compound.


LM: The rest of my team stayed there. One of the medics that was there came with Chris and he’s the one that told me the story.


LM: He did - he did not go in the compound.


LM: You know, I’ve heard a couple of guys say that they, the direction that the grenade came from was the direction that Omar was hiding. But him being the only one alive left in the compound, I think everybody just – you almost have to assume – I mean there’s nobody else in there. Who else is going to throw the hand grenade?
So it was pretty obvious that Omar threw the hand grenade, shot the pistol and that’s why he got shot at that point. No one else was in, was – no one else in there was alive. (emphasis mine)
Did he see anything? No. Did someone tell him about it? Yes. Did the guys who told him about it see Khadr throw the grenade? No. He assumes it was Khadr. It's not like there was anyone else could have done it, right? Or someone would have told him that too? Right? It's not like the Pentagon would ever cover up a friendly fire death, right? Khadr is going to get a fair trial with such a stellar witness, right? Right.
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Before It Is Flushed Down The Memory Hole

Stephen Harper isn't the only one screwing around with food safety in the country. Dalton "I feel your pain, but what can you do?" McGuinty must have his own food stash hidden somewhere. Also, what is he thinking cutting environmental enforcement. Can you say WALKERTON?
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The Inner Life Of A Tory Supporter

The press can write any number of editorials calling for Omar Khadr's release. Who cares? The press are full of leftists who only know how to look down on good, hard-working, folks who play by the rules. Only Stephen Harper understands the pain of the people who didn't have the connections or family money to pave their way. Only Stephen Harper can speak to the feelings we have, every time we see an immigrant driving a better car than we have. Stephen Harper helps us to embrace our resentments and channel them in the best way possible, supporting Stephen Harper. Stephen Harper does a service to the nation by helping us to get our revenge on everyone who has done better than us in life. Omar Khadr, the person is irrelevant. Khadr is a symbol for all of our hurt. And he is going to pay. Stephen Harper will keep faith with us. Stephen Harper is us.

Update: I should have added that Omar Khadr also stands for every punk kid who got off, using our lefty Youth Justice Act. Damn kids.
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Hawking To Waterloo?

Wow, I sure hope this happens. It would be cool to have Stephen Hawking at the next Star Trek convention (and I hear he is quite a physicist too).
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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Need An Escape

From all the political BS? Let Dr. Horrible take away the pain.
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Khadr Through The Looking Glass

Of all of the disturbing things on this video, the worst is the sense that the CSIS guys were not working for Canadians. At best, you get the sense that they are from some neutral country, powerless to do anything. At worst, they act as if they are Junior G-Men, actively working for Uncle Sam. Never, did I get the sense that they either knew, or cared that they were dealing with a child soldier and a Canadian citizen (at one point one of the interrogators tells Khadr that he can't help him to get back to Canada, but maybe Khadr could help him stay in Cuba. I almost lost my breakfast.) To them, Khadr was just another job, another interview. They may as well have been talking to a piece of meat. Behold your government's agents at work and remember, this all happened when the Liberals were in power, all you "progressives" who think defeating Harper will make a difference.

Update: I would really like to have a liblogger take a sober look at their party's role in this whole fiasco. The video, plus the fact that the Liberal government knew (knew!) that Khadr was being mistreated by the Americans and still did nothing, should be a wake up call. Your party was responsible for Khadr's welfare and calling for his release now that it is in opposition does not get it off the hook. I don't want to hear how Dion is a different kind of cat than Martin or Chretien. That is all bullshit. Dion was a member of both governments at a senior level. Your party doesn't get to sweep this under the carpet, just because it has a "new" leader.

Update 2: Meanwhile, the Blogging Tories remind us what this is really about: revenge against the odious Khadr family.

Update 3:
Even Jonathan Kay is calling for Khadr to be sent home. Only Harper and his Junior League Republicans are saying no. Time for those rat bastards to go.
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Monday, July 14, 2008

Young City Rising

I got my Dundurn catalogue in the delivery today. Guess which prominent blogger's book was in it? I am so looking forward to the fall.
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Of Drugs And Trust And Money

Margaret Wente has a heart wrenching piece on the failure of harm reduction sites like Insite in Vancouver. Her main thesis is that harm reduction alone is useless, that governments should instead be treating addicts. My question is, what is stopping them? I always thought that places like Insite were just one pillar in a drug strategy, involving enforcement and treatment too. As far as I am aware, there is absolutely nothing stopping governments from properly funding treatment programs, now.

Her side of the aisle would have a lot more credibility for their argument if we on this side didn't have the sneaking suspicion that they want to close Insite for ideological reasons and have absolutely no intention of spending the money on treatment. Rather, as she herself alludes to in her article, I believe that she and her ideological cousins in the Conservative Party would close Insite and then declare a "drug war" on Vancouver. This war would be declared on street addicts since they are the easiest arrests and most visible symbols of the problem. The war would involve throwing them in jail without treatment. Given this government's lock'em up attitude, it is hard for anyone on the outside to envision another scenario.

I have a modest proposal for Ms. Wente and friends. Show us the money for treatment first. Work out deals with the provinces to set up expanded and comprehensive treatment programs first and let's see how it goes. Gather research that proves your way is working. Then we can talk about closing Insite. Don't ask us to trust you, you haven't earned it, yet.
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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Manning As The New Face Of Science In Canada

What do I think of Preston Manning's appointment? I think it is another example of what Wells was talking about the other day. I think Harper expects to be criticized by "eggheads" and "Toronto types", so he can send out yet another letter to the base about how the "elites" hate Conservatives.
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Sorry, I Don't Get It

Scott Tribe points us to Reid Scott's defection from the NDP to the Liberals, today. Quite frankly I just don't get it. I can understand someone coming to the conclusion that they can't support the NDP because they are disappointed that the party seems to be moving away from social democratic principles in a bid to supplant the Liberals. That is an honorable and if I may say, reasonable observation. What I can't understand is the leap from "I can't support the NDP because it is abandoning its principles." to "I am therefore going to join the Liberal Party." Is the thinking here that since the NDP is selling out its principles, one might as well beat them at their own game and join the congress of whores known as the Liberal Party of Canada? That takes selling out to a whole new level. One I never wish to visit.
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In For A Dollar

Chris Selley takes great umbrage at Rick Salutin's comparison of George Bush to Robert Mugabe:
In the Globe, Rick Salutin complains that Stephen Harper at the G8 summit “joined in piling onto Zimbabwe … for its ‘fraudulent election’ and ‘illegitimacy’” but “showed no sense of perspective: that the U.S. held a fraudulent election in 2000.” This is precisely why we don’t generally inflict him on Megapundit readers. For God’s sake, Mr. Salutin, you’re a grown man!
I don't know why, but Selley's remarks remind me of an old (and politically incorrect) joke, about a guy who is chatting up a woman he meets in a bar. He asks: "Would you sleep with me for a million dollars?" "Sure.", says the woman. "How about for twenty bucks?" "No, way. What kind of woman do you think I am?" "We have established that, my dear. Now we are just negotiating the price." I also know what kind of men Mr. Bush and Mr. Mugabe are and I find it touching that Selley would fight for George Bush's non-existent virtue.
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Thursday, July 10, 2008


Mike has called me to task for classifying Harper as a libertarian. I think that is fair game. In fact, there doesn't seem to be a classification out there for Harper and the new "conservatism". Neo-con is not descriptive enough for me, so I have come up with a new word, Individuatarianism. Individuatarianism is the marriage of a libertarian world view and an authoritarian style of governing. Individuatarians reject collectivism in any form. Collectivism is bad and is to be avoided at all costs. When in power, Individuatarians do not use state mechanisms to achieve collective goals. Instead Individuatarians see the state and its mechanisms as expressions and tools of an individual will -- the will of the leader, be it George Bush or Stephen Harper. The state gains its validity only in so far as it is seen as an instrument of the Individuatarian leader's vision. Any action taken by state apparatus perceived contrary to the leader's will is seen as collectivist retrenchment and therefore illegitimate in the eyes of Individuatarians.
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Harper To Khadr: Drop Dead

Really, is anyone surprised by the news that Harper thinks that the military tribunal system is just okidokie? Rule of law really doesn't mean that much to the modern conservative radical libertarian (Ayn Rand Division) movment, because we all know that laws are for losers and suckers. The base will be thrilled (which is all that matters). Everyone else will be horrified. Another day in the life of the Harper "government" permanent revolutionary council.

Update:This quote from John Hutson (taken from the Washington Post link), the former Judge Advocate General of the United States sums up the Bush Administration's (and thus the Harper government's) attitude toward the idea of fair trials.
"We know you're guilty. We can't tell you why, but there's a guy, we can't tell you who, who told us something. We can't tell you what, but you're guilty."
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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Hang On, Just One Second

I read Lynn McDonald's condemnation of Jack Layton's stand on carbon taxes and I agree with her critique. Can you sense a but? But, I think she totally cops out with this sentence:
The particulars of Stéphane Dion's carbon tax plan are beyond the scope of this short comment.
I agree with your reasons behind the slap at Jack Layton. He is doing Canadians a disservice by condemning carbon taxes out of hand, but I really, really want a knowledgeable left-wing analysis of the Liberal proposal. It is what is on the table and while I am sure the Star has no problem printing a condemnation of Layton's attack on it, I would be more interested in getting your take on it. As it is, the article makes it look like you are tossing in your chips with the NDP and encouraging others to abandon them for the toxic embrace of the Liberal Party. If by any, tiny, chance You see this, send me an email. I would be glad to put up any essay you care to write about Stephane Dion's plan. Don't leave us all thinking that the Liberals have suddenly found virtue. That is just too laughable a conclusion to believe.
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Sunday, July 06, 2008

What Frank Rich Said

I am becoming more and more convinced that the political cultures of both the U.S. and Canada are riding on a parallel track to a dead end. Frank Rich expresses what is going on in the U.S., in today's column:
Let oil soar above $140 a barrel. Let layoffs and foreclosures proliferate like California’s fires. Let someone else worry about the stock market’s steepest June drop since the Great Depression. In our political culture, only one question mattered: What was Wesley Clark saying about John McCain and how loudly would every politician and bloviator in the land react?
Just substitute "Alberta" for "California" and "Garth Turner" and "Albertans" for "Wesley Clark" and "John McCain", then Rich's statement would fit perfectly, the political dynamic here in Canada. Both politics have been reduced to the level of schoolyard psychodramas, where gossip is currency and "Who's in and who's out?" is the only question anyone cares about.

Update: Nik Nanos points a finger at the Internet. He has a point, but I think it is a chicken and egg situation. Is the blogosphere a reflection of the greater political culture or the other way round? Myself, I think we have been heading in this direction for a long time. Paddy Chayefsky predicted it in the 1970's. Neil Postman wrote about it in the 1980's. We are a culture of of amusement and our media, including our news media, caters to this culture. Gotcha politics does not exist because of the existence of the blogosphere, it exists because it is entertaining and easy to understand and convey. It exists because it sells and it sells because we buy it.

Update 2: If you watch nothing else, watch the 14 minutes or so of Paddy Chayefsky (the two Chayefsky related links above) on the Dinah Shore Show (the Dinah Shore Show!). It is an interesting artifact. I doubt, very much, that a discussion on the state of the culture would dominate 14 minutes of a talk show in 2008.
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Friday, July 04, 2008


Antonia Zerbisias has written a pretty good piece on C-484 this morning, but I have to take exception to one statement she makes:
The problem is, with the current governments in Washington and Ottawa, which have demonstrably anti-choice elements, the pro-life side now has hope.
I have no argument with Antonia's contention that this government has a large number of anti-abortion fire breathers, but I do have a bone to pick with her because she fails to mention that these guys (and they are mostly guys) would be getting nowhere, if they didn't have a lot of support from the back bench of the Liberal Party. To read Antonia's column, you would think that the Conservatives have a majority government. They don't. This government only has the legislative power that the other parties are willing to give them.

While shaking one's fist at the Conservatives feels damn good, it is a waste of time. Those guys haven't changed their minds since the wheel was invented (a bad idea, by the way, since it gave women more free time). Antonia should be directing her fire at the Liberal caucus, (especially those members from the Duchy of Scarborough) and at the leader of her paper's preferred party.

Finally, lest anyone think I am letting the NDP off lightly, I would tell Jack Layton that he needs to have a talk with Peter Stoffer and make it clear that a he can vote to support a woman's right to choose or he can sit as an independent.
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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

I Smell The Scent Of Manure Wafting In The Breeze (With Just A Hint Of Holier Than Thou Hypocrisy)

You know, I wasn't going to comment on the Morgentaler thing, but screw it. All I will say is if Emmett Carter could be a member, why not Henry Morgantaler? This all just more bullshit from a government caucus full of bovine extruders.
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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Two For Canada Day

Happy Canada Day all. Here are two of my favorite Canadian songs. Northwest Passage by Stan Rogers (forgive the Due South screen shots, unless you like Due South) and The Canadian Railroad Trilogy by Gordon Lightfoot. Both share a love for this vast country and capture its long history in just a few minutes. Enjoy and don't eat too much today.

Update: Btw. I have heard the Canadian Railroad Trilogy hundreds of times over the past 40 years and every time Lightfoot sings this passage :
Oh the song of the future has been sung
All the battles have been won
On the mountain tops we stand
All the world at our command
We have opened up her soil
With our teardrops and our toil
I weep like a baby. Must be some deep psychological reason for that, but it just pushes all my buttons.
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