Friday, March 21, 2008

Rambling thoughts from the Detroit airport

My semi-blogging hiatus is coming to an end in the next few days...I'm presently sitting in the Detroit airport in flight delay mode on the way home to Toronto from my southern sojourn that I was blessed to have these past ten or so days. Back to the northern climate with a bang...it looked like we would be snow bound in Detroit but no, just a flight delay, as of now. So here I sit, paying $4.95 an hour, bless the Detroit wi-fi network. Blogging makes the time much more bearable.

Some miscellaneous thoughts that have been on my mind these past few days:

1. The Democratic nomination for President is messed up, big time. Can someone please explain to me how the putative nominee is now running behind his opponent by 6 points in the latest Gallup? How exactly is that supposed to work? Kind of puts a damper on the Obama love-in. Despite the massive anti-Hillary climate out there - other than the voters of many states, of course - this is not yet over. There are a number of delegates required to win that nomination, 2025 I believe, and neither of them will have that number when all is said and done. So why Clinton is supposed to fold up her tent and politely bow to Obama is still beyond me. It is a contested process, after all...isn't it? I'm going to be very interested to watch this over the next month or so and see how the upcoming states go and what the final numbers in the popular vote are. If Obama implodes any more than he has in the last month, I'm thinking there will be a lot of people glad that she's stuck around. And sorry to all you Obamans out there, I'm not playing, for now.

2. I think Obama's handled the issue of his pastor's statements reasonably well given his speech. But the haters are still out there in force. Karl Rove issued some kind of veiled threat about it on one of the Faux propaganda shows last night. About how it'll be back, no matter if it dies down now, and it'll be in the general election when it returns. And Obama didn't do himself any favours by waiting for the issue to blow up in his face. They knew about some of the most controversial statements dating from his announcement. Could have been more proactive, that's for sure.

3. Whatever happens, at least they've got John McCain to run against. Watching him plod around the world this week hasn't exactly left the word "presidential" ruminating in my mind. But heck, I'm massively biased, heh...:)

4. I find the American political scene, in terms of accountability for the Bush administration's law-breaking to be eminently frustrating these days. I was reading an entry in a recent New Republic (March 12) on the earlier flight to the effect that it was good for Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in not rolling over and passing Bush's desired amendments to FISA. And the editorialist wrote this:
"When Bush leaves office in eleven months, the radical theory of untrammeled executive power propounded by his administration will leave, too."
How angry that made me to read that line. It concedes that the American democracy is, and has been, essentially vulnerable to one man's massive power grab and that he has to be out-waited, out-lasted in order for any semblance of checks and balances to be restored. What about his staff, Josh Bolten and his former counsel, Harriet Miers, who are currently in contempt of congress and who likely hold informational keys to the partisan firing of the U.S. attorneys? Well, the congress has sued for their appearance in civil court. But that's likely to reach beyond Bush's term. What about the Abramoff corruption that has been quietly swept away and suppressed? It's an utter outrage that a President has such contempt for the democracy in which he lives.

It reaffirms my gratefulness that we live in a nation where, for example, the government's policy on Afghan detainees can be challenged in court, relatively quickly, and a decision can be rendered within a few months, in the life of that government. (Although admittedly, the Harper government is doing its best to trample such activities, de-funding legal advocacy groups as they have done.) And further, that we have majority opposition populated parliamentary committees that can theoretically put the issues of concern to Canadians on those agendas, despite government obstruction manuals. The Cadman affair, that in the U.S. would be denied, not investigated, and swept under the rug by an administration's complicit Justice Department is in Canada brought to the Justice Committee for scrutiny. And the RCMP undertakes an investigation at the request of the opposition.

We're still OK. Although I fear that the longer the Harper government has to say about that, the less well off our democracy will be.

5. On a completely unrelated topic...why do Americans not recycle? It's the most exasperating thing! The bottles that are just tossed in the garbage cans, everywhere, at hotels, malls, restaurants that should be recycled is just criminal. The most consuming nation on earth and they have no sense of the right thing to do. Maybe it's just where I travel lately, but I don't see it happening. There's got to be some way for Americans to make a buck by doing it (face it, that's the only reason they will).

Now let's see if I get out of snowy Detroit tonight...:)