Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday notes

1. Krugman today with his contribution to the call for accountability of the Bush regime:
And to protect and defend the Constitution, a president must do more than obey the Constitution himself; he must hold those who violate the Constitution accountable. So Mr. Obama should reconsider his apparent decision to let the previous administration get away with crime. Consequences aside, that’s not a decision he has the right to make.
Start an investigation, let the facts build over time, as will a public consensus with ongoing media coverage, then press on with charges. IMHO, of course...

2. The world is righting itself:
Mr. Holder said the practice of waterboarding terrorism suspects, used by the Central Intelligence Agency on three prisoners after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, represented torture. He said other aggressive interrogation techniques risked violating the Geneva Conventions as well and would not be authorized by his Justice Department.

3. How embarrassing:
Canada's youngest incoming senator stands to reap more than $9 million in taxpayer-funded salary if he remains in the post until he's forced to retire at age 75.

According to figures calculated by the NDP's policy and research unit, 34-year-old Patrick Brazeau would earn $9.265 million if he sits in the red chamber -- as allowed under current rules -- for the next 41 years.
4. John Ivison's interview with Harper is worth a read. As they say, document the atrocities for yourself.

I'll just add a few brief things here...first, how amazing it seems that Mr. Ignatieff is suddenly the center of Mr. Harper's universe. Keeps trying to deploy Ignatieff as a shield. That must rile the PM to no end, to be so in need of Ignatieff's support.
"I hope to sit down with Mr. Ignatieff to hear a little bit more of his views before we make any final decisions."
"I think if we could get together and agree that a narrow range of things would be confidence — that would be useful to the functioning of this Parliament. I haven’t had that kind of discussion with Mr. Ignatieff and that would be a judgment he would have to make."
A judgment he would have to make? That's hilarious. Oh to shirk like the PM. Ignatieff is giving him fits, it seems.

Still doing himself no favours on Quebec. Terrible answer on the Bloc, still fear mongering.

And downplaying the type of relationship he'll have with Obama. What???
I’ll just say that I’ve had two conversations with President Obama. He seems to me to be a very easy guy to talk to. But look, I don’t think the role of the Prime Minister of Canada is ever to be a buddy of the President of the United States. The role is to be a friend, neighbour and a reliable ally, while protecting and articulating our own unique interests. This goes beyond Liberal or Conservative, Democrat or Republican. We have the closest and most important relationship in the world, and we’ll be building on that. Obviously I’m delighted that President Obama is coming here as his first foreign trip. This was a tradition that had existed for many, many years in the past that had kind of gradually disappeared under the previous Liberal government. So I think it’s a great first step by the President-elect and another step in the rebuilding of the relationship that our government has been doing since we came into office. (emphasis added)
Just can't help himself, of course, with that last dig. I think he's one of the very few people in Canada who isn't excited about Obama's inauguration, making him a big exception. He's talking as if this is just another ordinary moment in Canada-U.S. relations. Clueless. Way to miss the moment.

5. Speaking of Ignatieff giving Harper fits, had to laugh at this clever framing, on the issue of the PCO employee, Kevin Chan, who wants to leave to work with Ignatieff:
Mr. Chan "was one of the best Canadian students I ever taught at Harvard," Mr. Ignatieff told reporters Thursday, noting that it was Mr. Chan who approached him about a job.

"It was at Kevin's initiative that he sought employment with me," the Liberal Leader said.

"I hope the Prime Minister and the Clerk of the Privy Council will expedite Mr. Chan's transfer to my office," he told a news conference. "If they put obstacles in his way that would be a shame."
"But I want to make a point of principle," he said. "At no time did we ask Mr. Chan to violate the confidentiality requirements of a responsible public servant. At no time did we ask him inappropriate questions about budget preparation. I'd never think about doing so and at no time did Mr. Chan offer inappropriate information. Mr. Chan is a very responsible public servant with a strong sense of public duty. I respect that. That's one of the reasons I admire him."
How can Harper stand in the way of that? They're trying to put some "cooling off" period into the mix, but if Chan's contract doesn't provide for do they insist upon it? And note how Ignatieff is kind of shrugging his shoulders, as in, they come to me, it's not my fault you're unable to retain quality people. It's a subtle thing, but these little twists and turns every day add up. It's been educational to be watching this dynamic between the two shape up these days.