Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Democrats continue to show spines

International coverage on the gay marriage law

Once again, the front page of the New York Times. Clifford Krauss is having an unusually busy year on the Canada beat.

Just in time for Canada Day

Something to celebrate this weekend, the same-sex marriage law passed in the House of Commons last night. The majority of Canadians support this policy and should be proud that the government did the right thing by acting on this now. Once again Canada is demonstrating to the world its commitment to tolerance and the protection of minority rights. A great way for this parliamentary session to end, on a high note.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The energy problem

McGuinty and his energy minister better hope that a major blackout does not occur while the energy workers are on strike. The daily threat of electrical shutdowns is a potentially huge political issue developing here. If John Tory and his advisers are a smart crew, they will come up with a bold plan on energy production in Ontario, one that does not include daily threats to power usage. If anything hits home with voters, it's surely sitting in the dark for extended periods of time.

When it rains...

It pours.

Monday, June 27, 2005

The world is passing him by

So Stephen Harper stopped in to Toronto on Sunday. Gotta wonder why he would do this on the day of the huge gay pride parade. Isn't the question of why he's not attending a story that comes out of his visit? And if so, how is that good for him right now? Isn't he trying to appeal to "centrist" Canadians who might be OK with gay marriage and gay issues? I'm not saying he should have attended, as he likely would have been poorly received, but just maybe he shouldn't have shown up in Toronto and made a point of how he would not be attending. Any events elsewhere in Canada today that he could have attended? I'm afraid he has a political tin ear, this one.

Good article to read today

Interesting article about how the Bush administration is steering in the wrong direction. A number of Republicans are starting to speak out, albeit anonymously here, about the Bush White House pandering to their right wing base yet accomplishing precious little else. The House Republicans sure sound concerned about the 2006 elections.

And the suggestion made in the article is that Democrat strategy is finally starting to pay off...let Bush twist in the wind on his own two feet, don't give him an opponent that he can campaign against. That way, all people have to look at and hear about is Bush and his misguided policies on Social Security reform, Iraq, energy and stem cell research to name a few. Whenever people have a good extended look at him, on his own and without a foil, they disapprove, as noted in many polls of late. And Bush isn't likely to be getting much cooperation from Democrats in the weeks to come. Karl Rove's vitriol saw to that.

Worth taking a look

An appropriate blog, well worth a look, in response to Karl Rove's asinine comments about liberals in the wake of the 9/11 attacks wanting "to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding" to the attackers. The site is a venting spot for military vets who are also liberal/and/or democrats who resent the heck out of such comments. This could also be filed under my heading, why I am glad to be Canadian...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Flag-burning ban

With everything going on in the world, i.e., Iraq, and most Americans believing their nation is on the wrong track, the U.S. House of Represenatives passes a constitutional amendment to allow states to ban flag burning. Can you say irrelevant Congress?

Separation of church and state in the U.S.

Very influential op-ed piece that John Danforth wrote for the New York Times this past week, which should be read by anyone interested in the growing power of Christian conservatives in the U.S. Danforth, former U.S. Senator and an Episcopal minister, points out all of the policy areas where these conservatives are harmfully affecting public policy such as stem cell research. Reassuring to see such an influential Republican speak out in favour of the separation of church and state and hope to see more of this.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Bush-in-the-tank-watch

That's a shame.

Impeachment talk

John Conyers, the veteran Democratic congressman from Michigan, is getting a lot of attention lately for his persistent questioning of the Bush administration, particularly on the Downing Street Memo ("DSM"). Conyers has been writing letter after letter on issues of late, requesting information from the administration on such matters as Jeff Gannon's access to the White House Press room, etc. Many of these inquiries have failed to gain any traction but with this DSM, things may be changing.

That memo, as many are aware at this point, indicates that British intelligence officials, after returning from a visit in Washington in 2002, reported that Bush was determined to go to war to topple Saddam Hussein and that "The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

So is this something new? Richard Clarke, the former anti-terrorism official from the administration, claims that Bush told him & others in the days after 9/11 to look into Saddam, to find the connection between 9/11 & Saddam. Sounded like Bush was certainly headed in Iraq's direction at that time. Now, this instruction from Bush was explained away as being a common sense approach, we have to look into all possibilities to explain 9/11, including a state that might have sponsored the terrorists.

That's partly why I'm not sure this DSM focus at this time will produce much in terms of getting any accountability from Bush et al. People generally feel in hindsight that the WMD rationale was either a lie or negligence on the Bush administration's part. The question now surrounding the DSM is whether it will make any difference if there is evidence that proves the administration lied. It likely won't, unless the Democrats take back control of the House (more likely) or Senate (less likely) in the 2006 elections.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I agree

As a sometime "excessive shopper" at the border, this Senate report makes a good point about increasing the tariff exemption on minor cross-border shopping. It is absurd that there is so much concern as you return from the U.S. about how much was spent rather than who is entering the country. It's about time they increase the ridiculously low amounts!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Duceppe not running

So Gilles Duceppe will stay in Ottawa, where he has no hope of ever forming a government. Lucien Bouchard saw that and left to go back to lead the PQ. And Duceppe can see how that turned out. Even a most charismatic leader was ultimately unsuccessful at his kick at the can. So why would Duceppe feel he could fare any better? Guess Lucien told him what a morass he'd be getting himself into. While apparently the PQ is having trouble attracting stars, I'm sure they'll soldier on with their misguided cause under someone's leadership. The low expectations certainly won't hurt their new leader.

And nice to see a glimpse of a spark from Charest, taking on the sovereignty issue. He did very well in the last referendum by taking on that issue. And Stephane Dion will tell you that the issue seems to lose its appeal if federalists stand up and debate it head on. Maybe this could prove to be a fortuitous turn of events in the end.

Another Faux News suck-up job

Here.

More on White House "disassembling" about Koran abuse

More on the uncovered Koran abuse admitted by the military, including four or five incidents by military personnel. A detainee's attempt to flush the Koran down the toilet is also mentioned. So Newsweek was not far off in their report, it was just the flusher they got wrong. Important details, such things.

Given the Koran abuse that was uncovered, Scott McLellan still looks pretty bad at this point.

Complete suck-up job courtesy of Faux News

Faux News knows no shame...read the transcript of this Sean Hannity "interview" with Dick Cheney. Completely obsequious.

Just to pick out one vomit-inducing part of the "interview"....Hannity recyles the Newsweek apology for saying the Koran was flushed down the toilet and in doing so gives Cheney another chance to tell people they have to be careful of what they say (do I hear echoes of Ari Fleischer?), that Newsweek was responsible for the rioting in Afghanistan, etc. Never mind his own Joint Chiefs of Staff denied Newsweek had any role in those demonstrations! And never mind that the military came out on a recent Friday evening and admitted that yes, indeed, in effect Newsweek was on to something, the Koran has indeed been mistreated by American military personnel on more than one occasion. But no questioning about that from Hannity.

How about asking him why the administration's press secretary browbeat Newsweek into apologizing and tried his best to editorialize what kinds of stories it should be running about the military's treatment of the Koran, only to have the administration itself admit within days that there had indeed been mistreatment of the Koran? Was this information known at the time that the administration was criticizing Newsweek so vehemently? When did that investigation of Koran abuse begin? Surely not on the heels of the Newsweek story...I'm sure there wouldn't have been enough time to uncover the Koran abuse so quickly, it must have been information the administration had at the time it was castigating Newsweek. This is a good example of what the Bush administration is able to get away with given their majority power in the Congress...there are no congressional investigations possible as the Republicans are in control. And what media does investigate these kinds of issues is largely drowned out in all the mega-multi-media noise. Especially the noise of one major cable news channel...

No wonder that Cheney & Bush will only appear on Faux for these "interviews"...it is the official Republican News Channel after all.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The 43 percent President

The incredible shrinking President, here.
Can you say, lame duck?

Grewal saga, Part 2

If all of this is true, about Nina Grewal as an MP, clearly she shouldn't be re-elected. I'd like to hear from her in an interview, if any outlet could get it. Otherwise, we'll have to get information from others and it is pretty damning at that. Referring constituent requests to her husband, the MP from the neighbouring riding? She appears not to be doing her most basic job requirements. Looks like the Secret Agent Man has gotten himself into more than he bargained for and has instead shone a bright light upon the Grewal family. What's that saying about people who live in glass houses?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Pat who?

I say, let him bring down the government over same-sex legislation. Sure, bring it on! If I were a federal Liberal, I'd love that scenario. Let the yahoos try to defend discrimination in a national campaign!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Parliament, please go away for a few months

What a mess this Grewal affair has become.

First of all, why is an MP walking around surreptitiously taping another MP and the PM's chief of staff after initiating the meetings? This is a suspicious practice and can only serve to reinforce the distrust and heightened partisanship on Parliament Hill in the wake of a turbulent few weeks. After the week that Stronach crossed the floor, you'd have thought (or hoped) things would have died down a bit. But the intensity is not subsiding, mostly due to this Grewal affair.

There is nothing illegal about Grewal taping this meeting (and apparently he has done this before, in 1995) but it is a very short-sighted move on his part. Politicians need to engender trust, they are supposed to protect and inspire public trust, in an ideal world in which we all live (right?). I wonder how Grewal will now be viewed by his electorate and fellow MP's. Not many of us would appreciate being taped at the best of times.

And now the keystone cops-like incident just gets better and better as there are allegations the tapes have been altered. Can't these Conservatives do anything right? How can they expect people to trust them with running the government when they can't even release the dang tapes without mucking it up!

Having said that, let's let the RCMP investigate and if there is indeed a criminal offence that occurred, then the wrongdoers should be prosecuted.

But the feigned moral indignation just goes nowhere with cynics like myself...didn't Stronach end up with a Grewal-like deal, just without the public record being created? And so why is this so much different? The difference between a Cabinet post and a Senate seat is that much different?

We have been "scandalled" out with Gomery, "politicked" out with the budget vote and Stronach's move and are moving on for the summer....I am for letting the RCMP do its job and dialling it down about 110%...!