Thursday, May 31, 2007

Bush flailing to assert leadership on climate change

Shluffing it off to the end of his administration, a year and a half from now...meanwhile the world has moved on. The big question is...will Mini Bush fall in line with Bush? It certainly appears, based on his bridge language of the last week, to be the likely scenario...Here's Bush desperately seeking relevance on the issue with the big plan:
“My proposal is this,” he said. “By the end of next year, America and other nations will set a long-term global goal for reducing greenhouse gases.

“In addition to this long-term global goal, each country would establish midterm national targets and programs that reflect their own mix of energy sources and future energy needs.”

Mr. Bush appeared to be belatedly seeking to take leadership of a cause that other countries, international organizations, American states and even cities have adopted as their own, and one that finds strong support from Americans and others around the world in opinion surveys.
Stunning mediocrity on the world stage...what we can expect Harper to sign on with...

A capital idea

"NDP asks Mounties to probe handling of Afghan torture report."

Kenneth Starr, why so much hate?

Still with the Clinton vendetta. Being an important law school dean, you'd think you'd have something better to do than continue to wallow in mud, re-living your heyday as special Whitewater persecutor and whispering in people's ears about the Clintons. You'd think. But then again, these are the days of the Alberto Gonzales Justice Department where politics reigns supreme. So here's what Ken's been up to of late:
Ken Starr says he could have "dumped on" Hillary Rodham Clinton for her dealings with Vince Foster but chose not to - provoking sharp new questions about the conduct of the controversial Whitewater independent counsel.

In "My Way," a biography of the former first lady written by two New York Times reporters, Starr hints he uncovered new details about her interactions with Foster, who was helping with her response to the Whitewater probe in 1993.

"I could have dumped on her," said Starr, who found no evidence of wrongdoing in connection with Foster's July 20, 1993 suicide. Starr's predecessor, Robert Fiske, reached the same conclusion. Starr didn't reveal any new information about Foster to the authors.

"Two independent counsels investigated this and completely cleared both Clintons," said Lanny Davis, who led White House damage control during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. "For Ken Starr to talk to reporters after announcing he cleared them [the Clintons], with the innuendo that he could have done something else, is a reckless abuse of prosecutorial power."
It's over, man, move on with your life...:)

News I'm watching...

(REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

Harper milking - or is it jinxing - the Sens?

Another Canadian dies in Afghanistan...

Letters to the editor of the New York Times expressing unanimous contempt for David Brooks' mocking of Al Gore's book earlier this week....

A terribly unfair decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on pay discrimination. The Roberts court is thus far living up to Republicans' wildest dreams...and causing Justice Ginsburg to read her dissents to the court. You go, girl!

Newt Gingrich, in a wonderfully memorable turn of phrase, refers to Karl Rove's election strategy in 2004 as "maniacally dumb" in a must-read New Yorker article on the Republican implosion this week...check out the New Yorker cover this week too for its tribute to the Sopranos...



Are Americans irresponsible enough, in the wake of the dimmest bulb possible occupying the highest office in their nation, to elect an actor in 2008? Well, some of them might be, judging from the hype...

Legal consequences need to be applied to the TB guy...

The spectre of an election in Quebec continues to loom as the PQ and Liberals fight it out over the budget numbers, leaving the ADQ on the sidelines as bystanders...mama Marois' polling higher than the other leaders in popularity...

The U.S. Justice Department is expanding its own internal investigation into improper politically motivated hiring that went on, under Monica Goodling's watch and others...in the civil rights division and in the summer intern programs...meanwhile, Alberto Gonzales' continues to walk the halls in Washington with a smug smile on his face and does not have the decency to even be embarrassed about his many failings...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Funny



Put me down with the humour camp any time...:) I particularly enjoyed this cross-dressing ad...something about it reminded me, in a very subtle way, of the Harper psychic dresser brouhaha. The two actors are also to be congratulated, especially the Conservative guy, he's hilarious.

The buzz from these ads has certainly equalled the Conservatives' splash of yesterday. Nice going.

2006 benchmark levels are for girly-men

Straighten out that Harper guy when you meet tonight:
In a luncheon speech in Toronto, Mr. Schwarzenegger talked about the legislation he signed into law last fall that will force the state's leading industries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The standards are the most ambitious in North America and typically require car makers to improve the fuel efficiency of their vehicles.

We call him Mini Bush for good reason

Bingo:
The federal party simultaneously posted a digital PowerPoint presentation on its website, making the case that Harper has "plagiarized" U.S. President George W. Bush's tactics and policies.

The presentation suggests the Harper government even shares the Bush administration's taste in interior design - a photo taken through a window in the prime minister's office building shows a 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign poster hanging on a Harper aide's wall.
Say it ain't so...

Al Gore on running



Your semi-daily Olbermann, featuring Gore from last night. Gore is getting the question, time and again. Check out his answer to Olbermann.

God he'd be lightyears of an improvement...bring on the Vulcan.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Welcome back boys



I know you can't stay away...and yes, I did say you were politically bankrupt, glad to see the message got through!

Hello, we're politically bankrupt

Tories launch new round of attack ads...attacking Dion on on term limits for senators? Are you freakin' kidding me?

That sounds like a real winner there boys...:) Maybe in Alberta...:)

Leadership is...saying the other guy is not a leader...:)

Mini Bush cleaning house in the Information Commissioner's office

Wouldn't have anything to do with that censored Foreign Affairs report blacking out torture allegations would it now? Or is Mini Bush shutting up a critic? Take your pick. The article suggests it's the latter. Given the Harper crowd's obsession with information management and control, the optics of this move are terrible.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Speaking of puking

Warren Kinsella writes today, in a most enlightened fashion, that a Lawrence Martin recent column "makes me want to puke." Right back at ya, Warren. As Kinsella admits, he does indeed sound most "hackneyed and cliched" today, what with his screaming "we are a nation at war" rhetoric. Really? Nobody doubts that proposition. Nobody doubts that Afghanistan needs help to fend off the Taliban and Al Qaeda who seek to use it as a base for their terrorist plotting. We get it. We all get it, okay? We all saw the suspects arrested last summer in Mississauga for their own domestic plotting (but as a result of police and intelligence work, not any presence in Afghanistan). What people doubt and object to is the demonizing of any criticism of the mission and its execution. It is perfectly legitimate, as Lawrence Martin did, to criticize Harper's over the top rhetoric about terrorism and Afghanistan and to put it in context. Here's some context on the threat of terrorism from a better writer than me:
The total number of Americans killed by Islamic terrorists in the last 5 years -- or 10 years -- or 20 years -- or ever -- is roughly 3,500, the same number of deaths by suicide which occur in this country every month. This is the overarching threat around which we are constructing our entire foreign policy, changing the basic principles of our government, and fundamentally altering both our behavior in the world and the way in which we are perceived.

And yet, one almost never hears anyone arguing that the terrorism threat, like any other threat, should be viewed in perspective and subjected to rational risk-benefit assessments. That's because opinions about terrorism are the new form of political correctness, and even hinting that this threat is not the all-consuming, existential danger to our Republic which the Bush followers, fear-mongerers and hysterics among us have relentlessly and shrilly insisted that it is, will subject one to all sorts of accusations concerning one's patriotism and even mental health.
The fact that Harper has adopted this line of thinking, the same rhetoric we see from Republican presidential candidates who are doling it out these days as red meat chum to the far right of the Republican base is so alien to see from a Canadian Prime Minister. Yet the Lawrence Martins who put terrorism in perspective to answer such over the top "they're going to follow us home" rhetoric makes Kinsella want to puke?

What's perhaps worse is Kinsella adopting this false equivalency - that Harper's unprecedented attacks on the opposition's patriotism equate with the positions taken by the opposition. Everybody goes to Afghanistan for photo ops, suggests Kinsella, everybody politicizes, it's all on the same plane.
Have cabinet ministers fled to Afghanistan for photo-ops, when the political going gets tough back home? Perhaps. But they wouldn’t be the first, and they won’t be the last.

Has the discussion and debate around Afghanistan become far too politicized, on all sides? Without a doubt. But that, too, is what politicians do. They politicize things.
The difference is the Conservatives are the first Canadian politicians, in my peanut brain's recollection at least, to blatantly accuse the opposition of being unpatriotic for their temerity to debate such issues as detainee rights in our House of Commons. That's objectively craven and below what some of us personally expect from our Prime Minister and his Ministers. And they should be called out as such. Kinsella's everybody does it argument reminds one of the media's laziness in the U.S., how they've categorized the Bush administration's unprecedented attacks on the constitution, rule of law, political gamesmanship as aw shucks, Democrats-do-it-too-equivalency. Well, it's not all equivalent and I'm not the first to point out the many inappropriate uses of this devious political device.

Let's look back on the past month or so, shall we? This Prime Minister has gone out of his way to use the troops as political props, as weapons against the opposition. Inappropriately conflating his party with the military and getting helpful assists along the way from Rick "my prime minister" Hillier. Here are just two gems from our Prime Minister himself to remind us of how base and gratuitous Harper's attacks are. Here:
"Why has the story gone on? I'm not sure we've heard any new information beyond the unsubstantiated allegations from a handful of former Taliban prisoners," he told reporters. "Apparently the opposition has little else to do these days than attack the good work that the Canadian troops are doing."
And here:
I can understand the passion that the Leader of the Opposition and members of his party feel for Taliban prisoners. I just wish occasionally they would show the same passion for Canadian soldiers.
I suppose all politicians indulge in this sort of labelling of their opponents as terrorist sympathizers, hey?

Substitute Harper's name for Lawrence Martin's in this Kinsella point, and you quickly get the absurdity of Kinsella's attack:
The one thing on which every politician finds common ground, I hope, is this: cynicism like Lawrence Martin’s is appalling, and outrageous, and has no place when Canadians are giving their lives for something that they (and we, at one time) consider so important.
With that small adjustment, I would say amen, brother Warren, amen.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Spectre of Al Qaeda expansion throughout Middle East being raised

"Al-Qaeda chief urges Iraqis to export jihad." A letter from Zawahiri is "intercepted by a Middle Eastern intelligence service" and an American source says he is "aware" of the letter. Such letter from Zawahiri urging Middle Eastern expansion as an agenda for the empowered Al Qaeda out of its base in Iraq.
THE deputy leader of Al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has urged supporters in Iraq to extend their “holy war” to other Middle Eastern countries.

In a letter sent to the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq in the past few weeks, Zawahiri claims that it is defeating US forces and urges followers to expand their campaign of terror.

He conjures a vision of an Islamic state comprising Lebanon, Palestine and Syria, where Al-Qaeda has already gained its first footholds.
Hmmm...whom does such a letter help at this moment in time? Why I'd venture to say it'd be Bush et al. and their desperate bid to hang on in Iraq and possibly enter Iran. Fearmongering about a destabilized and Al Qaeda beset Middle East can only shore up their positioning.
“Al-Qaeda is trying very hard to seize a foothold in Syria,” the American source added.
Thanks for that genius insight...that's just great.

And by the way...why is this f*%#er Zawahiri still at large? Oh yes, that's right, Iraq...

Way to send a message to the former Bush Chief of Staff

"Hundreds boo former Bush chief of staff at University of Massachusetts commencement ceremony." Check out the video, the protest was massive. I've never seen anything like that at a university convocation. Talk about a visceral reaction! The recent publicity surrounding Card's late night appearance at that Washington hospital along with Alberto Gonzales to procure a comatose John Ashcroft's sign off of Bush's illegal eavesdropping program may have launched this protest into overdrive.
Andrew Card, President George W. Bush's former Chief of Staff, was showered with a chorus of boos and catcalls from students and faculty of the University of Massachusetts while receiving an honorary degree Friday. Protesters, who caught the embarrassing scene on video, attached anti-Card signs to their robes and drowned out Provost Charlena Seymour's remarks about Card's "public service." Even faculty sitting on stage joined in on the action, screaming their disapproval while holding signs that read "Card: No Honor, No Degree."
Who sits on that Honorary Degree Committee at U Mass anyway? They sure as heck mucked this one up!

The Bushies know not what is coming to them after their years of trampling upon fellow citizens...:)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Wtf? The ex-spy and the ugly girls

"Former top spy breaks silence" and he's a weird, twisted sort'a fella:
Today, he uses a Jackism to answer perhaps the most pressing, and unresolved question facing CSIS in the wake of the Maher Arar affair: How does the Canadian spy service deal with countries that have a record of human rights abuses?

"Here's the deal. Everybody would like to believe that we have an array of choices that are good choices and bad choices. But we're going to a dance where every girl is ugly, okay," he said this week.

"They're all ugly. And all we can do is get the least ugly girl to dance with. But you know, when you bring her home your dad is going to tell you, `That is one ugly woman'. And you're going to say, `Yeah dad, but she was the best looking of that lot'. Does that make you smart? Not in the eyes of your father."
And he repeats this trash later in the article...I mean, wtf? Frankly, there's not a whole lot of learnin' to be gained from this supposed dish...other than a bunch of macho bravado, that is...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Awesome



Holy moly, new Chemical Brothers...:)

Some things just can't be said on American television

And people thought things had changed from the days post 9/11 when the White House Press Secretary warned that people should "watch what they say?" Seems to me there's still a ton of that going around...

John Edwards, sleeper candidate

Leading Democrats in Florida now as well. In addition to Iowa, that is. Just a minor lead over Hillary, however, but still as telling as any of these numbers can be at this early stage...

Good going, birdie

Dripping with symbolism:
Is there no safe haven for President Bush?

It happened midway through his news conference in the Rose Garden yesterday morning, in between his 10th and 11th mentions of al-Qaeda: A bird flew over the president and deposited a wet, white dropping on the upper left sleeve of his jacket. Bush wiped the mess off with his bare hand.

There was no evidence that Osama bin Laden was responsible for this particular attack, and -- who knows? -- maybe the terrorist leader believes the superstition that bird poop is good luck. But just about everything else that came up during the hour-long news conference was traced to bin Laden's terrorist network.
That's a shame...:)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A must see Olbermann special comment



Keith calls out the Democrats for their capitulation to Bush on Iraq funding and blasts Bush for his shameless use of the troops as political props in his play for history. Using the troops for political advantage. (Remind you of anyone else?)

And posing the killer question at the end: "Who among us will stop this war, this war of lies? To he or she fall the figurative keys of the nation..."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dastardly

Look at what Karl Rove's up to: "Rove Seeks Challenger to Landrieu." Making a little trip recently to Louisiana to line up a GOP challenger to Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu. Seems Karl thinks Louisiana, with New Orleans and its Democratic stronghold voting base decimated, is ripe for the GOP's pickings. Picking over the carcass, that's Rove for you.

Bush library met with disdain, even in Texas

The George W. Bush library not welcome on the campus of Southern Methodist University:
"In mid-April, the S.M.U. faculty senate overwhelmingly passed two resolutions affirming the independence of any proposed Bush Institute from the university proper. And earlier this month the Daily Campus named Professors McElvaney and Johnson "S.M.U. Persons of the Year"- a vote of support for their efforts."
You see, Bush and his library gang are insisting that a right wing think tank thingy called a "Bush Institute" be created on the campus to, well, essentially repair his reputation for the historical long run. Talk about a herculean task! In any event, the majority on campus was none too pleased about it and faced with no real power to stop the record-setting $500 million library behemoth from coming, the two profs referenced above led the charge to formally disassociate S.M.U. from the so-called "Bush Institute." How's that for a kick in the pants?

Even in the heart of Texas, the honour of a presidential library isn't enough to overcome the taint that W will bring to your institution....it's just so sad to see such payback.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Arrests for leaking travel plans

About that surprise visit to Afghanistan by the PM...and this warning levelled at journalists:
Reporters were warned they could be arrested for breathing a word about the prime minister's travel plans.
What is the exact law and provision the PMO is relying upon for making such a threat? Inquiring minds would like to know that our PMO is following the law by issuing such threats. And I assume that journalists who were threatened with such measures would have asked about the authority for such an arrest. If it is the Security of Information Act, for example, exactly which provision applies to journalists here? If certain provisions do apply, were they followed in this instance? If the PMO is going to be threatening reporters with arrest, I hope that they're providing the statutory authority and applicable notices to reporters underlining that they are indeed able to make such threats.

My point is not that reporters should feel free to give notice to the world that the PM is on his way to Afghanistan. It is that the heavy-handed nature of the warning cries out for scrutiny. The amateurish nature of execution of all things governmental of late by the Conservatives doesn't leave me in the position of taking their word on anything. It's certainly a matter of security for the PM's trip to a war zone not to be tipped off to local terrorist organizations in Afghanistan. But I'd like to know what authority they have, and that it was followed, to be threatening journalists with arrest for disclosure of what appears to be not only a security issue, but principally a p.r. junket for the PM.

Have you seen the otters holding hands?



Over 6 million people have seen this clip...you should too. A nice way to start your week...:)

FDA fell down on the job?

This is a huge story today. The heart attack risk posed by the diabetes drug, Avandia as a result of a study conducted by one of America's top cardiologists on the drug's side effects. Making very big news. And there are questions as to why a study from August of last year which also pointed out similar risks for increased heart attacks for those on Avandia was not made known to patients and doctors by the FDA and Glaxo at that time. Is this the Bush administration's incompetence shining through again? Thankfully, Henry Waxman is about to exercise some long overdue oversight over the controversial Bush FDA commissioner, Andrew von Eschenbach.
"An article in a leading medical journal yesterday raised serious safety questions about the widely used diabetes pill Avandia and renewed skepticism about the vigilance of federal drug regulators.

The analysis, based on a review of more than 40 existing clinical studies involving nearly 28,000 patients, showed that Avandia significantly increased the risk of heart attacks, compared with other diabetes drugs or a placebo.

Both the study’s lead author and the editors of The New England Journal of Medicine, in which the article appeared, cautioned that the research method used left the findings open to interpretation. But they said the study nevertheless raised important concerns.

And the publication of the study on the journal’s Web site prompted the Food and Drug Administration to issue a public safety alert and advise users of the drug — an estimated million people in this country and two million worldwide — to consult their doctors about the potential cardiovascular risks."
...
While the analysis took Wall Street and many doctors by surprise, Glaxo and the F.D.A. disclosed yesterday that they had known about the signs of potential cardiovascular risk since last August, when the company, on its own initiative, submitted a similar analysis to the agency. That disclosure prompted questions on Capitol Hill about why patients and doctors had not been informed earlier.
...
In an interview, Dr. Nissen said that the average diabetic has a 20.2 percent risk of a heart attack over a seven-year period. A diabetic taking Avandia has a 28.9 percent risk during that same seven-year period, according to his analysis.

“It’s a huge risk,” he said, estimating that “tens of thousands of people” had heart attacks as a result of taking the drug.

An editorial that accompanied the article questioned why doctors would continue to prescribe Avandia, which is known generically as rosiglitazone. But the editorial cautioned patients not to stop taking the medication without discussing it with their doctors.
Anyone on this drug should clearly see their doctors. And you know what else is coming...three words: class action lawsuit.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Hilarious video

Samantha Bee's NILF...:)

Al Gore still on the comeback trail

And a welcome comeback it is...! Looks like a must-read this summer, Al Gore's The Assault on Reason...currently sitting on the Impolitical husband's desk and about to be handed over...:)

Rove in a landslide win

"A Rove Farewell Fares Well in Doonesbury.com Poll." The Impolitical preferred exit, as always:

Progressives winning online in the U.S.

Online, GOP Is Playing Catch-Up. That's a shame...:)

Poor beleaguered Conservatives

Poor guys. Outnumbered by the opposition who have been frightfully ganging up on the inexperienced little tykes. You see, they have no choice but to cancel meetings and filibuster the work of the committees: "Tory whip defends manual on disrupting committee meetings." And now there's talk of cutting their losses, getting out of dodge early and recharging over the summer. What a monumental letdown in governance.

I mean, really, what should we expect of them? To live up to their promises of good government and accountability?

Silly us.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

About that Harper visit to Waterloo/RIM this week...

Can't recall whether anyone pointed out that Harper's visit to the RIM sponsored Perimeter Institute this week and standing shoulder to shoulder with Mike Laziridis to tout a science & technology agenda might have been a little inappropriate given RIM being under investigation by the OSC, SEC and Manhattan U.S. attorney's office having to do with their questionable stock option backdating issues...that's a little different twist on a PM's visit, this time around. I'm sure all that talk about tapping into the "creative genius" of Canada's entrepreneurs in no way was meant to include the option backdating creativity RIM's alleged to have undertaken...:)

The long haul

Interesting polling results in Iowa today, site of the early and influential presidential caucuses. Edwards continues to lead on the Democratic side.

A disturbing development, however, Mitt Romney, one of the slickest, say-anything, chameleon candidates in recent memory, is way up in Iowa. Could be important for Romney who's been trailing otherwise.

Are we that boring?

This article in the NY Times today, "Immigrants Reject Quebec’s Separatists," is virtually identical to the same article they published on May 13th, here. While I appreciate their emphasis on the topic, it's a little strange. Maybe they think no one will notice? It's just Canada, after all...:)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Thank you for putting your contempt for democracy in writing, Steve

"Opposition demands release of alleged Tory 'dirty tricks' manual."

I think that's a fine record to have on file.

Exactly

Washington Post editorial today standing up for the rule of law and against this lawless President who knows no bounds:
IT DOESN'T much matter whether President Bush was the one who phoned Attorney General John D. Ashcroft's hospital room before the Wednesday Night Ambush in 2004. It matters enormously, however, whether the president was willing to have his White House aides try to strong-arm the gravely ill attorney general into overruling the Justice Department's legal views. It matters enormously whether the president, once that mission failed, was willing nonetheless to proceed with a program whose legality had been called into question by the Justice Department. That is why Mr. Bush's response to questions about the program yesterday was so inadequate.

"I'm not going to talk about it," Mr. Bush told reporters at a news conference with departing British Prime Minister Tony Blair. "It's a very sensitive program. I will tell you that, one, the program is necessary to protect the American people, and it's still necessary because there's still an enemy that wants to do us harm."

No one is asking Mr. Bush to talk about classified information, and no one is discounting the terrorist threat. But there is a serious question here about how far Mr. Bush went to pressure his lawyers to implement his view of the law. There is an even more serious question about the president's willingness, that effort having failed, to go beyond the bounds of what his own Justice Department found permissible.

Yes, Mr. Bush backed down in the face of the threat of mass resignations, Mr. Ashcroft's included, and he apparently agreed to whatever more limited program the department was willing to approve. In the interim, however, the president authorized the program the Justice lawyers had refused to certify as legally permissible, and it continued for a few weeks more, according to former deputy attorney general James B. Comey's careful testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Under the Constitution, the president has the final authority in the executive branch to say what the law is. But as a matter of presidential practice, this is breathtaking.

These are important topics for public discussion, and if anyone doubts that they can safely be discussed in public, they need look no further than Mr. Comey's testimony. Instead of doing so, Mr. Bush wants to short-circuit that discussion by invoking the continuing danger of al-Qaeda.

"And so we will put in place programs to protect the American people that honor the civil liberties of our people, and programs that we constantly brief to Congress," Mr. Bush assured the country yesterday, as he brushed off requests for a more detailed account. But this is exactly the point of contention. The administration, it appears from Mr. Comey's testimony, was willing to go forward, against legal advice, with a program that the Justice Department had concluded did not "honor the civil liberties of our people." Nor is it clear that Congress was adequately informed. The president would like to make this unpleasant controversy disappear behind the national security curtain. That cannot be allowed to happen.

McGuinty's right

Tory bill unfair to Ontario, McGuinty charges:
"Ontario will be shortchanged in House of Commons seats by federal legislation introduced last week to bring fast-growing provinces up to par, Premier Dalton McGuinty said yesterday."
Mini Bush should be treating all provinces equally or don't do it at all...

Hillary's funny



Check it out.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

More filibustering

I stand by my former post, despite this update, of course: Tories hold up committee delving into Afghan human rights:
"The Tory filibuster finally broke after five hours and the witnesses were allowed to speak around 2 p.m.

The meeting of the House of Commons access to information and ethics committee was the second in a row to feature Tory MPs talking at length about procedural minutia to avoid delving into the committee's scheduled work."
Their instincts are anti-democratic and routinely on display these days.

Freaky Toronto story

Talk about risk management!

This story gives me chills every time I read something about it...

Quote of the day

Novakula quotes an anonymous Republican congressman:
"'We're not hostile to the administration,' one prominent conservative House member, who did not want his name used, told me. 'We just want it to be over.'"
Don't we all...:)

A clear impeachable offense

Olbermann tonight had law professor Jonathan Turley on who stated that Bush's repeated decisions to authorize his warrantless NSA surveillance program, without Justice Department approval, is one of the clearest examples of an impeachable offense being committed by a modern day President. Video here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Michaelle Jean an effective contrast to the Conservatives' priorities today

"End family violence, Michaelle Jean says."

Steve don't like strippers

Flailing about for something important to do. So what do the brainiacs in the PMO come up with? "Tories to tighten rules for foreign strippers." I agree with the post by Accidental Deliberations on the substantive questions this poses. I'm just going to do a brief examination of the hypocrisy at play here.

Let's first listen to the brilliant behind the scenes commentary by one of our government's finest advisers:
“The Liberals gave blanket exemptions to foreign strippers to work in Canada,” said a senior government source.

“We're putting an end to the Liberal Strippergate in order to prevent the exploitation of women.”
They've just been dying to wheel this one out so they can use those words, "Liberal Strippergate." The partisan wonder boys are all atwitter at this initiative, make no mistake about it. Primo opportunity to work their partisan mojo. For what? A day long focus on an issue that is peripheral at best? Is there nothing more important they can find to do than this? And here's another quote, maybe from the same genius, here:
"Canadians are justifiably proud of our reputation for fairness around the world," said a Conservative staffer.

"It's unacceptable to allow situations of exploitation that existed under the Liberals to continue."
Reputation for fairness around the world? Where was this concern from Conservatives the last few weeks when you had to be dragged kicking and screaming to do your jobs and ensure the Geneva Conventions would be followed in Afghanistan with Afghan detainees? Huh? It takes foreign strippers to motivate these numnuts.

And a propos of the stripper context...is this the same Conservative government that has exterminated the Court Challenges Programme which allowed women's groups, among many others, to pursue "fairness" for women before the courts? Is this the same Conservative government that has slashed the office of the Status of Women?
Since the Conservatives took office in 2006, Status of Women Canada, the agency mandated to work towards women’s equality in Canada, has come under attack. Five million dollars were cut from its budget, 12 of 16 regional offices were closed, and the word ‘equality’ was removed from its funding mandate.
Oh yeah, it's the same government. Suddenly concerned with the plight of women when their political agenda bottoms out. Maybe if they were truly concerned with women's issues, they might, oh, I don't know...support a legitimate day care policy that truly helps working women instead of this farcical $1200 a year taxable pittance that they symbolically hang their hats on. But no, the Conservatives idea of fairness for women is a preoccupation instead with immigrant strippers.

The women of Canada and the world heartily thank you for your concern, Mini Bush...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Harper finally cuts bait over Wolfowitz

Looks like the latest report detailing Wolfowitz's girfriend debacle and four-letter tirades were a bridge too far, even for sycophant Harper: "U.S. fails to win backing of G7 over Wolfowitz: source."
The United States failed to win the support of key allies in the Group of Seven over World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz's leadership, with only Japan standing by Washington, a bank board source said on Tuesday.

"Japan was aligned with the United States, but others, including Canada, were against Wolfowitz continuing," the European source told Reuters, following a conference call of G7 officials. The G7 comprises the United States, Japan, Canada, Italy, France, Germany and Britain.
There's always next time to prove your mettle, Mini Bush...:)

Conservative whip says who cares if the official languages committee doesn't meet

Priorities, priorities, hey boys? So you've got some problems on the official languages committee of the House of Commons? The Conservatives answer: shut it down.

Displaying a tin ear on the symbolism here, Mini Bush. On the day that your Official Languages commissioner reports that your government is undermining the Official Languages Act too...can't be good for your growth plans in Quebec.

The Conservatives' bumbling, unprofessional administration of the government of late has me recalling that saying by the wise Yogi Berra...doesn't anybody here know how to play this game?

Yay

"Spielberg, Jackson team up for Tintin trilogy." Read them all. Love this.

Are the Conservatives going to stop supporting Paul Wolfowitz now?

Now that the World Bank's panel investigating Paul Wolfowitz has weighed in: "World Bank panel finds Wolfowitz broke rules," will our government finally get on side with the rest of the world and seek his removal? Or are we yet again going to stick with Cheney and Paulson and the Bush administration who are fighting for their disgraced hypocrite?

This was the exchange in the House of Commons last week demonstrating the Conservatives' stalling on the Paul Wolfowitz situation:
Mr. Thierry St-Cyr (Jeanne-Le Ber, BQ):
Mr. Speaker, Paul Wolfowitz gave a big raise to his girlfriend, and now all countries belonging to the World Bank want him fired. All but three: Japan, the United States and Canada.

Can the Minister of Finance tell us why he still supports Paul Wolfowitz, whom the World Bank inquiry found guilty of nepotism?

Ms. Diane Ablonczy (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, I do not know how on earth my friend opposite can come to that conclusion. In fact, our government's position is that we cannot make a conclusion on this matter until the process that has been put into place by the World Bank itself has been followed. It is now being undertaken. Examination of all the facts have been made by the World Bank and by its panel.

As soon as the facts come out and are published, then we will take a position. That is the fair thing to do.
So what say you today, Mini Bush?

Bill O'Reilly threatening his radio listeners



Listen to Bill O'Reilly threatening his callers that if they mention Keith Olbermann's name on the air...Bill will turn over their phone numbers to Fox security who will contact the local authorities! Yes, he actually said that, captured here. And apparently some of his callers have been contacted by Fox security. Why am I not surprised?

This is a true public service Olbermann has provided...his puncturing of the ugly balloon that is Bill O'Reilly, who, most unfortunately, continues to have tremendous influence on public opinion in the U.S. due to his prominence on Faux and the radio air waves.

Telling exchange of the day

From Question Period yesterday. Here's a statesman:
"The consistent approach" of Harper and the government is "to stifle legitimate debate about this mission (and) impugn the motives of members of this House who are every bit as patriotic as the Prime Minister and every person sitting over there" on the government side, Liberal MP Bill Graham, a former defence minister, said in the Commons.
...
In yesterday's Commons question period, Graham (Toronto Centre) said: "I call on the Prime Minister to change his approach before it is too late. His attacks are undermining the foundation of our democracy ... Our troops know that. They are fighting in Afghanistan for those principles."
And here's a Conservative hatchet man:
Conservative House Leader Peter Van Loan, speaking for the government, brushed aside the question. "When it comes to consistency, the people of Canada know where this government stands," he said. "We stand firmly, clearly behind our troops and behind their mission."
Keep it up, Van Loan...:) Every time one of you utters this contemptible hooey, Canadians indeed know exactly where you stand.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Another Conservative promise bites the dust

Global warming kicking in? Or just plain old Conservative flip flopping? Tories may scrap plan for new icebreakers:
The six smaller boats proposed by the military appear to be less ice-capable, but much less expensive, as well.

"Much of the ice is starting to melt and the shipping season in the Arctic is getting longer and longer," said Pierre LeBlanc, the former commander of Canadian Forces in the North. "But nevertheless we should have a capability to operate in our Arctic waters all year round."
Canada's over-promising, under-delivering newish government...:)

He really should give his psychic dresser a key

Bag of "hygiene products" tossed over the fence at 24 Sussex...:)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Frankenstein stalking the GOP

Frank Rich skewers the Republican candidates and party in the wake of their preposterous debate of last week in his column today, "Earth to G.O.P.: The Gipper Is Dead." Here's Rich, doing his thing on the GOP:

The candidates mentioned Reagan’s name 19 times, the current White House occupant’s once. Much as the Republicans hope that the Gipper can still be a panacea for all their political ills, so they want to believe that if only President Bush would just go away and take his rock-bottom approval rating and equally unpopular war with him, all of their problems would be solved. But it could be argued that the Iraq fiasco, disastrous to American interests as it is, actually masks the magnitude of the destruction this presidency has visited both on the country in general and the G.O.P. in particular.

By my rough, conservative calculation — feel free to add — there have been corruption, incompetence, and contracting or cronyism scandals in these cabinet departments: Defense, Education, Justice, Interior, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development. I am not counting State, whose deputy secretary, a champion of abstinence-based international AIDS funding, resigned last month in a prostitution scandal, or the General Services Administration, now being investigated for possibly steering federal favors to Republican Congressional candidates in 2006. Or the Office of Management and Budget, whose chief procurement officer was sentenced to prison in the Abramoff fallout. I will, however, toss in a figure that reveals the sheer depth of the overall malfeasance: no fewer than four inspectors general, the official watchdogs charged with investigating improprieties in each department, are themselves under investigation simultaneously — an all-time record.

Wrongdoing of this magnitude does not happen by accident, but it is not necessarily instigated by a Watergate-style criminal conspiracy. When corruption is this pervasive, it can also be a byproduct of a governing philosophy. That’s the case here. That Bush-Rove style of governance, the common denominator of all the administration scandals, is the Frankenstein creature that stalks the G.O.P. as it faces 2008. It has become the Republican brand and will remain so, even after this president goes, until courageous Republicans disown it and eradicate it.
...
But it isn’t just the divisive Bush-Rove partisanship that led to scandal. The corruption grew out of the White House’s insistence that partisanship — the maintenance of that 51 percent — dictate every governmental action no matter what the effect on the common good. And so the first M.B.A. president ignored every rule of sound management. Loyal ideologues or flunkies were put in crucial positions regardless of their ethics or competence. Government business was outsourced to campaign contributors regardless of their ethics or competence. Even orthodox Republican fiscal prudence was tossed aside so Congressional allies could be bought off with bridges to nowhere. (emphasis added)
Love that Frankenstein line...:) Rich nails the Bushies once again.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Oops, Duceppe's in no man's land

Duceppe decides against PQ leadership bid...wow. The PQ has rallied around Pauline Marois. This has flown completely under the radar of everyone. Including the PMO...Harper's presumption appeared to be that Duceppe could waltz in to take over from Boisclair, which is why, I'm convinced, Harper went out of his way to assure Duceppe there'd be no spring election. Planting seeds in a receptive mind. Now how the worm has turned. Duceppe might have been a bit too hasty with his decision-making here, operating under the same presumption.

If Duceppe stays on, yes, as the Globe report suggests, he'll be a little weakened, but that's likely to pass and he'll remain an obstacle to growth in Quebec for the federalist parties. But that's assuming his caucus sticks with him, of course.
While he has been one of the most popular politicians in Quebec, Duceppe will likely have a difficult meeting with his BQ caucus on Monday, Joel-Denis Bellavance, Ottawa bureau chief for La Presse, told Newsnet. He predicted Duceppe would have to "come crawling back."
Maybe a few Bloc MP's have put the wheels in motion already. Life will remain interesting on Parliament Hill for the Bloc heads...

Refoooooooorrrrrrmmmmm!

Have a good weekend, Mini Bush: "Disgruntled Tories consider refounding Reform Party."

Friday, May 11, 2007

Cheney in a Mission Accomplished photo op today

"On Carrier in Gulf, Cheney Warns Iran." The sheer chutzpah of these people to do this again. With seamen arranged by colour coordinated shirts once more, this time though to poke Iran's eye.
Vice President Dick Cheney used the deck of an American aircraft carrier just 150 miles off Iran’s coast as the backdrop today to warn the country that the United States was prepared to use its naval power to keep Tehran from disrupting off oil routes or “gaining nuclear weapons and dominating this region.”
I take it that the next four months in Iraq are being viewed as crucial, given GOP congressional vulnerables increasingly naming September as a crucial sizing up date and Cheney is sending a message that Iran best not be dreaming of regional domination.

This picture today is disturbing and makes me ill about what we're likely to witness as Iraq shakes out while W and Cheney are winding down their term.

Harper still playing politics with the soldiers

Attacking the opposition as unsupportive of the troops in front of military families.
Attending a Support the Troops rally at this military community about two hours north of Ottawa, Harper aimed a shot at political opponents who have been hammering the government for weeks on the detainee issue.

"Last month, nine soldiers from Petawawa were honoured for their work in Afghanistan, but sadly the attention has not been on them," he said. "Those soldiers did not receive the attention they deserved because their story has been eclipsed by quarrels in the House of Commons with respect to allegations about detainees.
Harper demonstrates time and time again his devotion to the Karl Rove and George W. Bush school of politics. Divide and conquer. Adopts Bush's divisive rhetoric at every turn. It's completely unacceptable what he did today.

Let's be clear, Mini Bush, you can support the troops and insist that international law be respected at the same time. Those who stand up for respect of the Geneva Conventions are supporting the troops and I'm sure these families understand that. Don't you think they would want the Geneva Conventions respected if one of their loved ones were captured overseas?

Harper apparently is of the view that political debate on the Afghan mission is unpatriotic. That any issues that arise are to go unaddressed because the military is in Afghanistan. I'm glad he's going on the record so clearly. It's the first time I can recall a sitting Prime Minister saying that his political opponents are unpatriotic.

The attempt to stifle debate by holding up the troops for cover, the same way we've seen this thing played in the U.S., is remarkable. As I've said before, however, we've seen this movie, and we know how it ends. People don't like being told by their leader what is permitted to be said or done, thank you very much.

Bush coming to Ottawa this summer to meet Mini Bush


In a reunion of the three amigos: "U.S. plans charm offensive on border issues for leaders' summit in Quebec." August 21st. Although someone's a little coy about this being made public:
Mexican officials also confirmed the meeting. Only the Canadian government refused to comment.
Lol...:)

After Bush's right wing base has gone nuclear over illegal immigration for years now, and after upping the border requirements for us and screwing us on softwood lumber, W has the nerve to launch some kind of neighbourhood love-in. Too late, W, we are impervious to your "charm."

But we do, however, welcome your embrace of Mini Bush. In fact, it would be great to see lots of pictures of this event with you guys in your nifty vacation outfits. And some video footage of awkwardly unscripted moments between you and Steve might just do the trick in consigning him to electoral purgatory.

Mark your calendars, people!

Tell us more, Mr. Civics

Conservative blowhard Mike Wallace filibusters at a committee for 3 hours.

The rookie MP from Burlington, Ontario is apparently doing his constituents proud. Trying (unsuccessfully) to prevent an investigation into his own government's blacking out of torture allegations in their Foreign Affairs documents. Nice. How did you, rookie MP, get snookered into taking on this vile task? Trying to impress the masters in the PMO, I take it? The life of a back bench MP is tough. Can't get your questions asked in the House. Got to get noticed, somehow.

Seems to me that's a long time Liberal seat you took over, Mr. Civics. I'll have to spread the word to anyone I might know in Burlington to keep your anti-democratic tactics in mind next time they're facing the ballot boxes out that way...:)

P.S. Also tucked in to this Globe report is this item:
The delay tactics at the committee yesterday follow the cancellation of the Commons official languages committee Wednesday where the topic of debate was to have been the Conservative government's cuts to a program that helped fund challenges to discrimination.
Delay tactics...cancelling meetings...those Conservatives sure are having a tough time keeping the Democratic in Democratic Reform Week, aren't they?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Oops, another Conservative breach during Democratic Reform Week

Conservative amateur hour continues on day 4 of Democratic Reform Week: "Key organizer for Defence Minister quits over ethics dispute." See, when you come into office all high and mighty on the ethics front, touting how you're going to do things differently, sliming your opponents over how corrupt and criminal they are...you better watch yourself and make sure you're dotting your "i's" and crossing your "t's." Because as we've seen this week, the Conservatives just aren't up to meeting their holier-than-thou standards.

Today we have a report, courtesy of the most helpful Jennifer Ditchburn, on Gordon O'Connor's office staff using government property for political work. Not allowed. And something the report notes that the Cons have criticized the Liberals for, mightily. I'll let the ethical whistleblower guy speak for himself on this:
"We went after Mr. Dingwall on a 97-cent pack of gum," Dorion said of the former Royal Canadian Mint president criticized by the Tories over his expenses. "If it starts here how far will it go?"
Yes, indeed, how far will it go. While this incident might seem at first glance to be trivial, Dorion puts it in the proper perspective for us. And unfortunately, he's resigned. An ethical Conservative bites the dust. Like oil to water in the current Conservative bunch.

So we know who to thank

Former PM Mulroney gets award for helping Quebec gain nation status.

Boycott Mexican travel

"Alta. man brain dead after alleged beating at Mexican resort en route home."

After the repeated incidents of extreme violence against Canadians and our exposure to a judicial system that handles these incidents in such a suspect manner, Mexico deserves to be re-considered as a vacation destination of choice by Canadians for the foreseeable future. The risk that's now apparent and the treatment of Canadians in such desperate straits by the Mexican authorities is enough for me.

Hatorade gems from the Conservatives yesterday

Let's review a few of them, shall we?

All from yesterday's Hansard, let's start with Gordon O'Connor, freed from the shackles of his seat for a response:
Hon. Gordon O'Connor (Minister of National Defence, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, in a recent national poll I obtained twice the level of support of the Leader of the Opposition. The reason I obtained that support is that he continues to show poor judgment. Recently he suggested that we would bring the Taliban back to Canada, maybe on a Taliban sponsorship program, but the worst example of his judgment is picking a buffoon as the defence critic.
We then witnessed smear artist John Baird, childishly debasing himself:
Hon. John Baird (Minister of the Environment, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, it is very common to name hurricanes and tornadoes so we are going to call today smog day Dion.
You know, the partisan wonder boys embarrass us on what seems to be a daily basis now.

Let's throw in one more to get a better sense of the sheer scope of the immaturity:
Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, CPC): ...What I can tell the member as well is that we have seen consistent inconsistency from the NDP on this issue with respect to the NDP's outlook on this mission. What we know very well is when it comes to the mission in Afghanistan, the members of the NDP are sheep in sheep's clothing.
Animal name calling. I mean, this is just juvenile.

And in answer after answer yesterday, the Conservatives repeatedly cited their own support of the troops, interjecting it in answers to questions where it was completely beside the point and going out of their way to continue to portray the opposition as unsupportive. Someone really needs to craft a political ad intersplicing Harper's "support the troops" and "cut and run" shtick with Bush's. It'd be very instructive. Any takers out there?

There seems to be a palpable qualitative difference in the calibre of representation we're getting from the Ministers in the Harper New-ish like government. It's quite a marked departure from previous governments. It must be due to a lack of experience and heft on the front bench that makes them resort to such tactics. The last refuge of the tentative, if you will. It may also be due to the noticeable lack of substantive women standing up on a daily basis in Question Period on behalf of this government. It's a glaring, jarring deficit. Question after question, it's Harper, Junior MacKay, petty Van Loan, pugnacious Baird, Solberg, Clement...the lone exception being the occasional stand-in effort by Diane Ablonczy, to which I say, come on. They really have to do better than that. There's no check or balance on this out of control, hyper-competitive testosterone filled boys locker room.

The public face of this government, in tone and substance, is utterly pathetic. They've certainly done us proud during this Democratic Reform Week, haven't they?

The cakewalk is not on

"Duceppe feels backlash in attempt to woo PQ." So a bevy of PQ members are giving Duceppe a cold shoulder. That's a shame, a real shame.

The Hollywood ending for all those with self-interested baited breath may not be in the cards after all...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Have a laugh



A Conservative attack ad...:)

Six morons



Olbermann keeping it in perspective...:)

Accountability like kryptonite to Conservatives

Another Minister playing fast and loose with air travel expenses: "Transport minister hid travel expenses: documents."
Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon made regular use of an executive government jet last year while keeping the trips off his travel expenses, documents show.

He's the second Conservative minister this week to have his travel habits exposed using government documents obtained by the NDP through an Access to Information request.

It's an embarrassing lapse of transparency for a government in the midst of trumpeting new accountability legislation in the Commons.

Transport Canada's aircraft flight log shows at least six trips taken by Cannon in 2006 aboard a sleek Citation C-550 executive jet that do not appear anywhere in his posted ministerial expenses, as mandated by the federal Treasury Board.
Trying to hide their travel on "executive jets" given Harper's rhetoric during the last election campaign where he slammed Liberals for air travel, I take it. Now it seems they're finding out that the air expenses that they rode to power lambasting are legitimate after all. But you know, you need to follow the rules and disclose your expenses, boys. Straighten up and fly right, as the video says:



All in all, another troubling disclosure for the Harper gang just in time for Democratic Reform Week...:)

What might be good for the Conservatives is not good for Canada

The speculation about Duceppe stepping away from the Bloc to possibly jump to the PQ thus far has focussed on who it might electorally benefit, should it occur. The Conservatives, say most pundits. Not to mention the Conservatives themselves, apparently:
Federal Conservative officials were plainly exulting in the PQ's travails. A decision by Duceppe to leave would mean the Bloc would avoid helping defeat the minority government until he is replaced.

But Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered a somewhat muted public response.

"We'll look at it with interest ... we have a federalist government in Quebec City and an official opposition that doesn't want a referendum," he said.
I think Mini Bush is right to be muted. In private he may have visions of dancing in the end zone should Duceppe leave and a bunch of other factors fall into place to allow him the possibility of a majority. But he knows that a talented leader now being shipped off to the provincial separatists is a real threat for Canada and is something no one should really be rooting for, right? Least of all a Canadian Prime Minister. After all, that's a minority government situation in Quebec, not an assuredly federalist situation for the next four years. Could be an election on the horizon within a few years. And as Travers puts it today:
What's worrying about all this is that the Bloc's anticipated loss is more than a potential gain for the PQ and for Conservatives. While hardly perfect and edging past his federal prime, Duceppe might well be just what Quebec separatists need.

That's maybe the last thing Canada wants.
It's worth asking again...why did Harper go out of his way to assure Duceppe, but no other leader in Ottawa, personally, that there would be no spring election? Why do I get the feeling that these machiavellians in the PMO are playing with fire...

About those terrorist geniuses...

Is this what we're dealing with?
They began investigating the men after a clerk at a Mount Laurel video store tipped off local police in January 2006. The clerk said one of the men had asked him to transfer a video to DVD. In a court filing, authorities said the tape showed 10 men shooting weapons at a firing range, calling for jihad and shouting "Allah Akbar," or Arabic for "God is Great."
Gee, that was a big tip-off.

More ingenuity at work:
Q: Why did they target Fort Dix?

A: One of the suspects, Serdar Tatar, had delivered pizza on the base and said he knew it like the back of his hand, Christie said.
Oh well then.

It doesn't help when Chris Christie, former Bush fundraiser and now U.S. attorney with a partisan bent, is the guy in front blowing the horn publicizing this set of arrests yesterday. Makes you wonder about the timing and how big this actually was:
“This is a new brand of terrorism where a small cell of people can bring enormous devastation,” Christopher J. Christie, the United States attorney for New Jersey, said at an afternoon news conference at the courthouse here.
These arrests are also a further reminder that sending militaries overseas and buying tanks to fight in the Bush administration's war on terror does not put a stop to such plots over here. At all.

Clever headline found in Toronto Star

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

John Edwards' heartfelt campaign

Bob Herbert is giving Edwards some air time today in his column, "More Than Just Talk." Edwards was in New Orleans recently reminding people of the ongoing tragedy of that city's destruction.
The former senator was there for a photo-op and the chat wouldn’t last long. But the people, most of them young, were excited to see him. They listened thoughtfully and asked a number of questions.

The scene was immensely more appealing than the overly scripted televised “debates” that feature sleep-inducing nonanswers from an army of candidates browbeaten by moderators wielding stopwatches.

New Orleans has not been a hot topic at those upscale gatherings. Much of the city is still in ruins, still in “terrible shape,” as Mr. Edwards noted. During a lengthy interview that followed his talk with the local residents, he told me that what had been allowed to happen to New Orleans was “an embarrassment for America” and that as president he would put the power of the federal government squarely behind its revival.

He said he would appoint a high-level official to take charge of the rebuilding, and he would have that person “report to me” every day. He said he would create 50,000 “steppingstone jobs,” in parks, recreation facilities and a variety of community projects, for New Orleans residents who have been unable to find any other work. And he said, “We’re also going to have to rebuild these levees.”
There seems to be a genuine quality to such moments that could just as easily be written off as stage managed photo ops. Perhaps it's because you don't hear many other candidates talking about New Orleans at all and so his focus on it and what it says about America that a city could be left behind like this sets him apart. His prescriptions, set out by Herbert, show a real commitment to the issue that you don't really hear from anyone else, least of all the President of the United States who has utterly failed his country on this. It's refreshing to see Edwards take the time to deviate from the typical candidate tours around the country and show what it is he really cares about.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Tenet interviews spliced with Bush footage



Quite the contrast, isn't it?

Harper's nudge to Duceppe

Recall Harper pulling aside Duceppe in the wake of the Quebec election, reported here on March 28th:
"Harper insists that it isn't his plan to hold an election and he even reportedly pulled aside Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe this week to offer that reassurance privately."
Just wondering whether Harper's plan all along has been to wait on an election, despite all the hoopla and speculation we've been through about a spring election, and instead, to nudge the leading Quebec politician out of the federal arena and back on to his home turf. To give Duceppe the comfort that there would not be a federal election and enable Duceppe to know he could go ahead and consider his options. Then, once Duceppe commits to exiting and with the Bloc leadership up for grabs, move in with an election call, say in the fall. Primo opportunity to grow those Conservative seats in Quebec.

Just wondering...

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Income trust ad



They're mad as hell and not going to let Harper get away with his broken promise...:)

The politics of climate change in Australia

A reader from Australia sends along this link to a book review of economist Clive Hamilton's new book, "Scorcher: The Dirty Politics of Climate Change," which excoriates the John Howard government for its inaction on climate change.

Scorcher could have easily been titled A Staggeringly Large Amount of Very Inconvenient Truths. But that would misrepresent its focus. It would also suggest a rehashing of what is known. The book’s core message is not that climate change is happening, or even how Australia still lags the world in accepting and responding to it.

The message, and the detail, is that Australians have been methodically and deliberately misled, that our government has purposefully sabotaged global action in the name of private interests, and that even now we are being blatantly lied to. Citizens of the world’s largest coal exporter, the highest per capita greenhouse emitters in the world, the developed country slowest to act on global warming - the best excuse for developing countries like India and China not to act and the only US ally in potentially catastrophic delay on real measures that could prevent catastrophe.
...
Hamilton names names, systematically disembowels Howard and Costello’s ‘selective management of truth‘, and leaves no doubt as to the extent and nature of ongoing greenhouse deceit in this country. The cancer of inaction emerges as an unassailable relationship between US and Australian private interests, a handful of overly-connected corporate lobbyists, and governments only interested in generating and promoting ‘data’ that will maintain the lie.
From the book: “It is painful to be a citizen of a nation that could behave in such an immoral way, but the evidence suggests that the Australian Government has deliberately harmed the only real prospect the world has of heading off the catastrophes that climate change is expected to visit on the Earth.”
Crucial’ is a word sometimes too readily applied, but in this year for Australia and at this time in the world, it is one which Scorcher vividly deserves.
Sounds like useful background reading for our own internal debate as well.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Friday, May 04, 2007

Government's own evidence documents beating in Afghanistan

Maybe if our PM read this sworn affidavit by a Canadian soldier reported on here, including evidence of Afghans beating a prisoner turned over by the Canadian Forces, he might be a little less baffled about why the detainee situation is so important. And a little less flippant...

Harper in the environmental skeptic camp



Tom Friedman highlights today the rapid rise of global warming to the top of the Australian political agenda: The Aussie "Big Dry". You see, they've got no rain in Australia and it's affecting their way of life. So the need for action on climate change has become a sudden, urgent requirement, much to the chagrin of the conservative in charge. Except for the no rain part, sounds a tad familiar to our own domestic scenario doesn't it? Friedman explains what's happened in Australia:
“What was considered left a year ago is now center, and in six months it will be conservative — that is how quickly the debate about climate change is moving here,” said Michael Roux, chairman of RI Capital, a Melbourne investment firm. “It is being led by young people around the dinner table with their parents, and the C.E.O.’s and politicians are all playing catch-up.”

I asked Mr. Howard how it had happened. “It was a perfect storm,” he said. First came a warning from Nicholas Stern of Britain, who said climate change was not only real but could be economically devastating for Australia. Then the prolonged drought forced Mr. Howard to declare last month that “if it doesn’t rain in sufficient volume over the next six to eight weeks, there will be no water allocations for irrigation purposes” until May 2008 for crops and cattle in the Murray-Darling river basin, which accounts for 41 percent of Australian agriculture.

It was as if the pharaoh had banned irrigation from the Nile. Australians were shocked. Then the traditional Australian bush fires, which usually come in January, started in October because everything was so dry. Finally, in the middle of all this, Al Gore came to Australia and showed his film, “An Inconvenient Truth.”

“The coincidence of all those things ... shifted the whole debate,” Mr. Howard said.
And there's this interesting characterization of conservative leaders around the world and how they're dealing with the issue:
When you look at the climate debate around the world, remarked Peter Garrett, the former lead singer for the Australian band Midnight Oil, who now heads the Labor Party’s climate efforts, there are two kinds of conservatives. The ones like George Bush and John Howard, he said, deep down remain very skeptical about environmentalism and climate change “because they have been someone else’s agenda for so long,” but they also know they must now offer policies to at least defuse this issue politically.

And then there are conservatives like Arnold Schwarzenegger and David Cameron, the Tory Party leader in London, who understand that climate is becoming a huge defining issue and actually want to take it away from liberals by being more forward-leaning than they are.
I think we all know where Mini Bush stands, don't we? It's a big problem for our Conservatives. As I've said, it's just not their thing, baby, and they can't even fake it. This column puts into perspective how sadly off the Harper government's fear mongering on the environment has been when you consider the immediate Australian climate challenge, for example. Harper and John Baird are clearly "defusers" when we need "forward-leaning" leaders in charge of the Canadian effort.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Get ready for a big letdown

ABC's Friday 'DC madam' report now said to include the release of only 2 names. Instead, a report on another woman involved emerges. Sounds like the lawyers have managed to protect the biggies.

You've got to be kidding me...

Bush administration following the Democrats' lead

Rice Meets Syrian Foreign Minister:
In April, the White House sharply criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat of California, for visiting Damascus and meeting with President Bashar al-Assad, even going so far as to call the trip “bad behavior,” in the words of Vice President Dick Cheney.

But less than a month later Ms. Rice walked through the cavernous hallways of a conference center in this desert resort town today and into the Sun Room to sit down with Mr. Moallem. An excited buzz went through the throngs of diplomats milling around. After the meeting, Mr. Moallem was mobbed by reporters and camera crews, while Ms. Rice quickly escaped back to her hotel.

“This is a marked improvement in the administration’s ostrich policy approach, and a tacit admission of how wrong it was last month in criticizing the Speaker of the House and congressional colleagues, including myself, for going to Damascus,” Representative Tom Lantos, Democrat of California, said in a statement. “As a lifelong internationalist, Secretary Rice knows better than most the great value of face-to-face discussion, even with those with whom we strongly disagree.”
Another step in the right direction, courtesy of the Democrats' assumption of control in congress.

Never mind the Republicans, the French had a real debate last night

And there's lots of reporting on Segolene Royal supposedly losing her "temper." The stereotypical judgment about women the media can't wait to apply. She is the challenger so it's not surprising she would take an aggressive approach. Unknown yet whether this was the impression of the voters and how or if this becomes a factor now.

Here's a brief clip that gives you a sense of the format and the interaction. Wish we could see that kind of interaction here.

Quote of the day

From veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas, currently visiting Ottawa:
"'It's déjà vu all over again,' Thomas said of the Conservatives' attacks on their critics, explaining that it's a standard Bush technique to question the patriotism or values of his detractors. 'I wouldn't think that would happen in Canada,' she said in an interview yesterday."
That one goes out to you, Mini Bush...:)

Rove the dirty trickster: a look back

This item in the NY Times yesterday sure explains a lot about Karl Rove:
It’s been widely reported, for example, that Rove’s mentors in the College Republicans during the Nixon years included dirty-tricks maestros Lee Atwater and Donald Segretti. Newspapers have also reported that in 1970 Rove sneaked into the campaign headquarters of a Democratic candidate for state office in Illinois, filched campaign letterhead, and sent out fake fliers aiming to discredit the Democrat. In my own research on Nixon, I discovered that during Watergate itself, Rove used a phony grassroots organization to try to rally Americans to the president’s defense against what he called “the lynch-mob atmosphere created” by “the Nixon-hating media.” And according to Nixon’s former counsel John Dean, the Watergate prosecutor’s office took an interest in Rove’s underhanded activities before deciding “they had bigger fish to fry.”
Now there was a missed opportunity if I've ever heard it. Now over 30 years later, the Senate Judiciary Committee is still trying to pin this rogue down for his role in the firings of U.S. attorneys...

And check out this video for golden-oldie footage of Rove (at approximately the 4:00 minute mark), in a Dan Rather report on the Nixon campaign, circa 1972:

What is that saying...a leopard doesn't change its spots...:)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

May explains herself

This article gives you a pretty good sense of the uproar and lets Elizabeth May explain herself: "Uproar erupts over May's 'appeasement' remarks." Dion has expressed his discomfort with the analogy she used as have others. I'm sure the Conservatives will nevertheless refuse to let it go, as they're, well, politically and morally bankrupt on the environmental issue themselves and will grasp at any bone thrown their way.

The proliferation of Nazi/Hitler analogies in political debate is a sign of the combative times we live in. When one can't make their point reasonably, on the facts, emotion creeps in and people naturally up the ante and go for the ultimate emotional flashpoint. Consider these individuals who are big into Hitler/Nazi comparisons: Glenn Beck of CNN about Al Gore, Tom DeLay on the Democrats, conservative radio host Michael Savage on a Hillary Clinton speech and let's throw in Sean Hannity as he bone-headedly equated swearing on the Quran to swearing on a copy of the "Nazi bible," Mein Kampf. Not exactly the company you want to find yourself in.

May feels strongly, desperately so about the issue. And many others do too. She should have confidence, however, that the wisdom of the Canadian people will prevail, eventually, despite the clowns in charge of the file right now.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Olbermann on Bush's veto and the anniversary of "mission accomplished"



With a critical look back at Bush's shifting rationales for the Iraq war, Keith cuts through the propaganda. Bonus footage of Bush in his flight suit walking across the deck of the aircraft carrier...:)

We're just not that into you, numero trois

Mini Bush and the partisan wonder boys sinking like stones:
A new poll suggests the federal Conservatives have squandered their sizeable lead and are now tied with the Liberals after a month of bad press.

The Decima poll, provided exclusively to The Canadian Press, indicates the Tories slipped to 30 per cent - putting them in a statistical tie with the Liberals who rose to 31 per cent. Just a month ago, the Tories were edging close to 40 per cent, the threshold needed to win a majority.

But they've since been hit by a controversies over their climate-change plan, the treatment of Afghan detainees, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper's taxpayer-funded image adviser.
James Travers, in his column today, explains how the Afghanistan and environment issues have helped crystallize a negative perception of the Conservatives:
A ruling party with minority attitudes and contrarian objectives is now struggling to explain itself to the majority. Its determination to restore past military glories and manage rather than fix the environment puts it at odds with Canadians more inclined to peacemaking than combat and who believe protecting the planet is this generation's great project.
Hits the nail on the head. These issues demand a response that is in tune with Canadian values. And Mini Bush and the boys just can't muster it. They're just not capable because they don't believe the same things most Canadians do. We see them struggling in the prism of their own instinctual conservative rhetoric that all too often finds them aligned with the fatally wounded Bush administration.

Sure they can muddle along when they're plodding on at the more mechanistic aspects of governing that are really not that controversial. Hammering away at a previous government's weakness, i.e., the sponsorship scandal. An easy reduction of the GST by a point. Doing their "law and order" thing.

But when issues arise that are significant, nation-challenging gut-checks? They're exposed. And for a lot of us, it ain't pretty.

The graceless Mini Bush

The distinguished, respected former Supreme Court Justice Bertha Wilson dies and there's nary a word from our Prime Minister. Don't see any report of his condolences in any of the media coverage or even a statement on his website expressing sympathy on the occasion of the death of the first female justice to serve on the Supreme Court. Didn't see it.

By contrast, Stephane Dion, of the human species, recognized the significance of this moment.

Expecting Mini Bush to do the decent thing? Too much to ask, I suppose.

Fact-checking the White House



Josh Marshall's "Veracifier" series on YouTube is just brilliant. This episode is from Monday, zeroing in on Condoleezza Rice's repeated argument that the Niger forgeries have been "investigated and investigated." Marshall explains that the investigations she relies upon were Republican-controlled and argues that their conclusions will not withstand forthcoming Democratic scrutiny. The Niger forgeries are about the misuse of intelligence by the Bush administration and as Marshall says, their origin is yet to be fully and properly investigated - including allegations like this one, made yesterday by a former CIA analyst.

Go away


Dear George Tenet:

While we find some of your comments on your role in some of the most massive intelligence failures known to western civilization to be mildly interesting, you largely come off as a pompous, overly-aggressive, egomaniacal, know-it-all, arrogant, condescending sycophant.

It's clearly an irritant for you to be exposed to the questions of peon reporters, so please do us all a favour and keep your feigned outrage at the very legitimate questions to a minimum while we are subjected to your book tour. After all, you've been paid your millions for the gig and you do live in a democracy. You'd think you could bear it with a little more effort, you poor, hard done-by bastard.

The bs-fatigued viewing public