Thursday, April 30, 2009

Don Martin shows his creepy side

I have been in a bit of a malaise brought on by another first round failure by the Flames and the need to deal with comments by Oiler fans who inexplicably, to me at least, feel that not making the playoffs for 3 of the last 4 years is somehow better than losing in the playoffs.

And so it is today when I read through another set of Dead Prime Minister Walking editorials. 

The Don Martin piece is curious for a couple of reasons.  It is at least as much a review of the angst Mr. Martin faced when he reached the half century mark himself.
Happy 50th birthday Stephen Harper. Welcome to your mid-life crisis.

Hitting the half-century mark can trigger a profound and irrational attitudinal shift in people -- and I speak from personal experience.

Mine manifested itself through the spontaneous purchase of a classic Goldwing motorcycle of the same vintage (1975) as the year of my high school graduation. How pathetic. Then came the new Miata sports car which, I've since been told by friends, is a woman's car. Sigh. Only the recession and my spouse's rather non-negotiable objection has delayed plans to buy a speedboat, but that temptation can only be suppressed for another year or two.

Now that was a waste of electrons, wasn't it?

He also compounds that embarrassing bit of dreck by adding this inappropriate sentence (My emphasis in bold).
His wife Laureen remains grounded in reality -- the last time we chatted, she was flooding a skating rink in the backyard of 24 Sussex Drive -- and still has youthful good looks that had international media drooling during the recent G-20 summit.
I don't think of myself as a prude and I am no friend of Stephen Harper but what business does that have being in an article on the future plans of the Prime Minister?

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Because this dogma worked so well with meat inspection

On October 6, 2008 we learned the root cause of the Listeriosis outbreak (s/t Impolitical - my emphasis in bold): 
Four months before the Maple Leaf outbreak started claiming lives, Canada's food safety agency quietly dropped its rule requiring meat-processing companies to alert the agency about listeria-tainted meat, a Toronto Star/CBC investigation has found.

Twenty people died as a result of the outbreak this past summer, and federal meat inspectors and their union say this rule change likely made the country's listeria outbreak far worse than it had to be.

Before April 1, if a company preparing meat for sale to the public had a positive test showing listeria it "would have had to have been, not only brought to the (federal) inspector's attention, but the inspector would have been involved in overseeing the cleanup," says Bob Kingston, head of the union that represents Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspectors.

Kingston and four veteran inspectors interviewed for this story fear the change, part of the deregulation of Canada's food safety net, continues to pose a public health threat.

The inspection agency confirmed to the Star/CBC that there is currently no onus on companies to alert inspectors about positive bacterial results. The change came as part of a federal decision to allow companies to write their own food safety plans, with federal approval.

Inspectors and their union say the rule changes, part of the new Compliance Verification System at the safety agency, have reduced their role to paper auditors, checking the results of company tests when they visit the plant. Under current rules, the inspectors only review bacterial test results twice a month.
But, being Conservatives, this government is incapable of learning from it's mistakes.  Twenty people dies during the Listeriosis outbreak.  How many are at risk from this?

Transport Canada pilots charged with inspecting the safety practices of airline operators said Wednesday that Canada was no longer meeting international aviation standards because the government had transferred responsibility for safety oversight to airlines.

Greg Holbrook, chairman of the federal pilots association, made the assessment when he got behind a call from New Democrats for an investigation into Transport Canada's implementation of its new inspection model called Safety Management System (SMS).

An international first in civil aviation, SMS requires airlines to develop and oversee its own system of safety checks.

Holbrook said Transport Canada inspectors are no longer conducting traditional audits and inspections to make sure airlines are meeting all regulatory requirements, putting Canada offside with the requirements of the United Nation's International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), to which Canada has agreed to conform as a contracting state.

Why did they even bother changing the name of the "System"  This is all about ignoring the lessons from the tragedy last summer.  This abrogates our international obligations.  THis puts thousands of air travellers at risk.  All for the sake of pursuing their failed dogma.
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Monday, April 20, 2009

The Stone of Destiny, eh?

Eternal and I took the Vigilant-wees to see The Stone Of Destiny last night so that Extreme and Occasional can maintain their roots to The Old Sod.  My Scots immigrant parents recommended the movie as a good recap of the events that were going on as they were preparing to come over here.  It is a fun movie relating an episode in the ongoing struggle of a small country north of a large hegemon to maintain its unique identity. 

During a lull n the movie I was thinking to myself that this could almost be seen as a metaphor for Canada and its relationship with the US.  But that is pushing things a bit far.  And then the credits rolled.  And I noticed that it is a Scotland-Canada co-production.  Funded by Telefim et al., it has a strong Canadian input.  I can hardly wait to tell my Conservative father that it couldn't have been made without (Canadian ) tax-payer support.  It was probably Liberal appointees who decided to fund it.

May be I wasn't reaching to far with the metaphor.

BTW, I have it on good authority*, that the real Stone was hidden from the English invaders by the monks of Scone Abbey.  The true Stone will be revealed when Scotland regains it's Independence.

*My Mum.
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Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Sun is working hard for the bailout

How is this for a misleading opening sentence?
The controversial RCMP investigation into the Liberal government's income trust decision cost taxpayers more than $445,000, documents released under Access to Information show.
Kind of makes it look like the Liberals were at fault and initiated the taxing of trusts.

As to the cost of a real scandal, you have to read to the end to find that:
The RCMP role in the Elections Canada review of the Conservative "in-and-out" scheme couldn't be accurately tallied because of the joint operation, but estimates put the overtime bill for Mounties at $8,963 and some related computer work at $2,000.
Step 6 is paying dividends for the Cons.
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Friday, April 17, 2009

Count Floydagan's Monster Coalition Horror Theatre

The Reformer's Eminence Grease, Tom Flanagan has an op-ed so lame that I probably wouldn't have touched it if I didn't love the SCTV reference so much.
The Liberals are feeling frisky. Last week, a "close adviser" of Michael Ignatieff told Le Devoir the chances were greater than 90 per cent that the Liberals would force an election this fall.
There is, however, a big obstacle in the way: Mr. Ignatieff can't force an election by himself. He needs the votes of the New Democrats and the Bloc Québécois to defeat the Conservatives on a vote of no-confidence. In other words, he has to reactivate the coalition with the socialists and separatists against which Canadians reacted so strongly last fall.
Mr. Withers, my Australian born and raised Social Studies teacher way back in Grade 5 taught me something this American born and educated Political Science professor can't seem to grasp.  Losing the confidence of the house means the Conservative government falls.  It does not mean the Coalition is automatically called upon.  As a matter of fact, it is more likely that the GG would accede to an election request, given the length the previous Parliament had sat by that time.

Once more, the PoliSci department and it's Calgary School embarrasses the University of Calgary and justifies the U of C reputation as a second tier institution.

But it is almost the weekend and the weather is very spring-like here.  And the Flames played well last night and might even have a chance.  So I will give Flanagan the benefit of the doubt and accuse him of being disingenuous rather than just dim.

We are due for another of the bi-weekly efforts to activate the "Base" and keep the donations flowing in.  Given that this op-ed was posted at midnight, it still quasi-qualifies as a Thursday piece.  This is the only way I can ascribe a coherent purpose to this article.  By railing against the imminent fall of the Conservative government, Flanagan deflects the GRR (Gun Registry Rage) the base directed at the Cons two weeks ago.  As all good evangelicals know, sometimes you need to distract the flock to keep them mollified and the collection plates full.  Perhaps this was Flanagan's purpose.  Keep the herd together so they are receptive to the anti-tax message due in 2 weeks.  Who knows?  Maybe it will be pushed forward to next Thursday.

But if the schedule holds, I will use the off-week to outline the parallels between the Conservative Party and Televangelists.
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Canada's Gone

"The news is spreading throughout the world: Canada's back," Harper told the crowd of about 35,000 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Sunday.

Canada's Back was an early boast of the Conservatives as they flexed their minority muscles back in 2006.  Those capable of critical thinking knew this was not the case.  Add this to the compendium vindicating those prone to thinking:
Glen Pearson talks to Jeffrey Sachs.

Since he travels to 40-50 countries a year, I naturally asked him how Canada was viewed from an international perspective. His comments were insightful … and troubling:

  • your country has lost its distinctive voice
  • Canada should be the conscience of the continent, but instead we’re just a business partner
  • his discussions with many world leaders revealed that Canada had lost its presence - the legacy of Lester Pearson is no more
  • Canada has lost its brand
  • leaders in Canada have become so enamored with financial markets that they have denied this country’s own historical DNA that saw it as a beacon of peace to the world

There is more.  As Canadians we observed the lamentable diminishment of American stature caused by the Bush Mal-administration.  Now it is our turn:
An inter-national consensus is emerging that we have severed ourselves from our own past, a history that was powerful enough to define us in the world.
His angst was fully revealed when marvelling how CIDA made the decision to pull out of 8 African countries. He found it unfathomable that when people like Obama and the EU are calling for heightened commitment to that continent, that Canada quietly moved to another part of the world. “Just as Africa is getting better, much of that due to Canada’s help, we are telling the world we’ve lost our moral, our spiritual, compass.”
Lost our moral compass.  Where have I heard that lately?

Whether it is a spiritual or moral compass, the azimuth is clear.  Harper is definitely reducing Canada from one of the World's leading countries to an irrelevant back-water with hitherto unimaginable speed.
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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sometimes a single paragraph says it all

In the closing paragraph of his post on the PM's new branch plant press office, Paul Wells nails it down in one sentence (my emphasis in bold):
One presumes the first half-dozen or so of the Prime Minister’s southern interlocutors will ignore the breathtaking turnabout that Harper’s sunshiny new line will represent. Eventually one will have a slow morning and an industrious research staff, and the PM will find himself facing the same sort of embarrassing questions in his new setting that he has laboured so industriously to avoid at home. On that day, his flirtation with the U.S. press will end, because this Prime Minister has never learned to take a punch. Until then, though, his new press strategy will probably do both him and the rest of us some good. And if the fates require that he hire Bill Clinton’s press secretary so he can peddle Jean Chrétien’s legacy, well, the triumph of Canadian conservatism sometimes works in mysterious ways.
Whether or not this boondoggle has anything to do with pumping up Canada in the States or it is all about 
putting lipstick Harper's pig of a resume, They haven't thought this one through.

I can hardly wait till Fleischer gets Harper on the Daily Show.  Should make for some good Liberal campaign commercials.
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What we need is a Grit-Girl signal

It seems to me that when the Conservatives perpetrate something egregiously wrong, such as the new Harper media consultants, we need a way to try and prompt the Grit-Girl to come up with one of her fabulous videos.

Maybe a Grit-Girl signal would be the answer.  You know.  Sort of like the Bat Signal only Liberal.  Something kind of like this:
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The tortured logic of a Conservative smear.

Very interesting to see the theme of the smear on MI by Van Loan (my emphasis in bold):
In defending the government when Opposition MPs challenged him and his CSIS director, Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan suggested that Ignatieff's writings show he is the one who would tolerate coerced statements.

Van Loan told a committee two weeks ago that Ignatieff wrote "that sometimes you have to be willing to rely on lesser evils. That was his whole point."

When Liberals objected that the minister was misrepresenting Ignatieff's position, he pressed on.

"I believe he said that to defend democracy sometimes you have to resort to things like coercive interrogation," said Van Loan, "and even violations of civil rights was one of his phrases. I think another phrase is to defend democracies you can't rely on herbivores. We need carnivores. Those are some of the things in his hypothetical discussion. We aren't into those hypothetical discussions in the government. We have a clear policy. Our clear policy is that we don't condone the use of torture."

As I pointed out in February, while MI might be guilty of a logical fallacy, it is very evident that he does not support torture.

The Conservatives are following the playbook written by their master:
The attacks on John Kerry's war record fit like a mass production mold with Rove's political campaigning. While great armies probe an enemy's defenses for weaknesses, "Bush's Brain" has always tried to batter his opponents where they are strongest. Kerry's profile as a combat-tested officer ready to assume the role of commander in chief was a problem for the Bush campaign. So Rove went after it. "Look, I don't attack people on their weaknesses," he once told reporters in Texas during a campaign. "That usually doesn't get the job done. Voters already perceive weaknesses. You've got to go after the other guy's strengths. That's how you win."
One of MI's claims to fame is his reputation as a Human Rights expert.  By attacking this strength you lessen the chasm between MI and Harper.  It is a tall order for a government that has abandoned Canadians to human rights abuses around the world.  But they are going to try it.

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Building a Cult Of Personality - with our tax dollars

It is hard to believe we are living through times such as these.  Our tiny insecure PM is hiring two former White House spokesmen to secure Harper more face time with U. S. media.
The Conservative government has hired two former White House communications strategists as part of a "sustained" effort to raise Canada's profile in the U.S. media - with Prime Minister Stephen Harper acting as salesman-in-chief, Canwest News Service has learned.

The Prime Minister's Office on Wednesday said it had retained Mike McCurry, a former press secretary to Bill Clinton, and Ari Fleischer, who held the same job during George W. Bush's first term, on temporary contracts to help Harper land interviews with leading American television networks and newspapers.

This is just cover for a transparent attempt to equate Harper with Canada.  Both at home and internationally.  They were trying to do something similar by equating the Conservative Party with the government and the nation through the Canada's New Government campaign.  During the Cold War, Sovietologists described this as  engendering a Cult of Personality.

Given that he is such a doofus, I doubt this will get very far.  But the fact he would try this is very unsettling.

It is hard to see how this can help Harper avoid a thrashing at the polls once more people realize his agenda does not include Canada or Canadians.  Just the fluffing up of an insecure wee man. And the ongoing embarrassment of Canada.  Hearing this makes me wish Don Martin's theory that Harper is polishing his resume is not as risible as it first seems.  Having ex-PM Hapless Harper spouting off on 2 a. m. Fox News shows would be better than this.
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Geology can explain anything

You, like a lot of other unfortunate people, might not be aware that Geology is the synthesis of all of man's knowledge.  The study of this elegant science allows you to describe almost any phenomenon.

If you are amongst the poorly informed, allow me to illustrate trait of geology by highlighting the following post from the excellent geology blog "All of my faults are stress related":

It even has photos of cookies.

It is hard to believe that geologists  get paid to think about stuff like this, isn't it?  Please forgive me if this post has caused you to regret your education and career choices.
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Hawks in 5

As a hockey loving Canadian who has read many books (but never written one) on the subject it is incumbent on me to make a prediction for the opening round.  So here it is.  Keep in mind, I am a Flames fan.  I put the car flag on.

Hawks in 5.  Regardless of the injuries, whenever the chips are down the Flames fold.  They are built for the playoffs.  They have the talent but not the jelly.  Teams that win in the playoff don't lay eggs against probable first round opponents (e.g.: 5-0 loss to Columbus).  When first place is on the line they don't produce a no-show against a non-playoff team (e. g.: 5-1 loss to Edmonton).

I hope I am wrong.  And all predictions are retracted if they win Game 1
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What to do, what to do

I was wondering if MI's musing about the eventual need to consider tax hikes to fight the deficits would alter the Conservative fund-raising contrivances due this Thursday.

I think I have my answer.
The Conservative Party quickly jumped on Mr. Ignatieff's comments, highlighting them at the top of their website.
Not that any party would ignore this opportunity to spin a quite reasonable and honest answer to a question as an attack on their opponent.  Maybe they will keep their planned attack in reserve.  Or maybe they will set this tax musing up as a two-fer with the gambit already in the can.
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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Another step to Step 6

So the Conservatives have put forward a new "plan" to save the broadcasters.
Ottawa has a new option on the table for helping local TV stations make it through the recession: buy more government ads.
A nugget of truth as to the real reason is laid out in the article.
 At least the government could benefit from the ads.
No s**t, Sherlock.  By running more ads, a lot more ads, the private broadcasters will not only have a similar mindset to the Cons, they will be beholden to them.  Try and find balanced news from CTV, Canwest et al. when a significant portion of their income stream has to be approved by James Moore.

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Since he decided to cheat...

he  must have been choked that he didn't do better.

In her new book; Losing Confidence: Power, Politics and the Crisis in Canadian Democracy, Elizabeth May alleges that Stephen Harper cheated in the Leaders debates during the last election
Elizabeth May felt like a schoolgirl when she glanced over at the powerful man sitting beside her and noticed he had broken the rules.

The Green party leader had fought hard to be included in the national televised debates during the campaign for last October's election, and remembers participants were told they would be provided with blank index cards for taking notes, but they were forbidden to bring their own background material.

"Stephen Harper's staff took care to print out background notes on index cards, but they picked the wrong-sized cards. And no one writes in printer font. Looking over from my seat, I remember the shock of realizing he was cheating," May writes in her new book. "I felt like I was back in grade school. Do you 'tattle' on a cheater? Now, all I can think is 'What were his staff thinking?' It is clear they thought he wouldn't be caught."

Why did he cheat?  I don't know.  Perhaps his handlers were worried that if he read up during a bathroom break they might never get him out of there.

But let me take you back to the debate outcomes.  As always, Steve V is the go-to-guy for poll data: Debate Bounce? 

I was really looking for the leadership scores. Let me just say, whoa! Dion's overall score up an incredible 130% from yesterday, a mere 8 points behind Harper (64 points yesterday), not to mention well ahead of Layton, who was double Dion in the previous sample.
 Now then, how about the French debate?: Lapierre: "Dion Won The Debate"

Sifting through the spin, a poll of Quebecers post-debate feelings gives it to DION. Lapierre citing a Quebec television sampling of views, says that Dion won hands down, Harper was "asleep at the switch". I haven't heard Lapierre say a good thing about Dion since he took the leadership, if he was generally excited about his performance, the best he's been in front of the Quebec people, then its objectively noted.
So Harper cheated and still floundered in the debates.  I recommend that next time they call for a "stick measurement".  It will be very interesting to see how the brain of the conservative movement does against an experienced debater and extemporaneous speaker.

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I'll see your Bollywood leak and raise you a renovation flood

While I was doing my catch-up reading after a long Easter long weekend, I perused this Impolitical post: "A little too neat".  The money quote is:
Absent that information, it all seems a little too neatly packaged up for anyone in the skeptical camp about information distribution from government departments under present management. And this information about the Heritage grant comes relatively quickly given that this movie controversy came to light just about a month ago. After all, information typically comes from this government at a snail's pace.

A cynic would say that this information is designed to embarrass Dhalla and released for that purpose with a view to 
providing additional help to a certain opponent's electoral fortunes. After all, they do spend quite a bit of time playing with information and doling it out for political advantage. It's natural to wonder, then, when you hear reports like this one.
I agree.  This appears to be a fairly obvious ploy by the Heritage Minister (or his staff) to deflect attention from Conservative ineptitude by pointing to a long retired Liberal Minister and a rising Liberal star.

That isn't what interests me.  This is: "140 000 $ pour rénover le bureau de Fortier".  The translated version is here.

Here is some concrete evidence that the Iron Fist of the Harperites has suffered some serious metal fatigue.  A message that if you want to leak allegations about mis-spending by former Ministers, there are lots of more recent examples with an order of magnitude higher tag at the bureaucracy's disposal.  It overwhelms the possible damage to Copps, Dhalla and the NGP. 

A smart party would be chastened by this revelation.  A smart party would take the hint to settle down and stop this sort of politicization of the government.

A party led by Harper and the rest of the Calgary Cretins?  I think we can expect more of this tit for tat exposure. (Calgary Cretins - I like that one.  I will have to use it in the future).
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Friday, April 10, 2009

More proof Harper knows diddly about Canadians, hockey and The Code

Hockey has a Code.  It is unwritten and complex.  It may be right.  It may be wrong.  But there is a Code.  And hockey players, real hockey players, know it and practice it.  For example.  If you want to fight someone you challenge them.  You don't jump them.  Once the player is on the ice and you have won; you stop.  Even if you are in mid-punch.  At the end, if the other player fought within the code, you congratulate him.  It is all about respect for the other players and the game.  You don't embarrass the officials.  You don't intentionally land one on a linesman.

Canadians know and understand the code.  It is central to the Canadian mystique.  The key to Don Cherry's, otherwise inexplicable, appeal is his invocation of the code.  And a  player that egregiously breaks the code, even one you like, is never looked at the same again.  Even if he does it to a player you detest.

Canadians viscerally know this Code applies to life.  And politics.  Politics is much more vicious than hockey.  But there is a Code.  You can savage the Opposition all you want but you show them respect.  Trudeau may have fought Clark savagely but he made sure there was a mention of him in his eulogy.  Trudeau praised Diefenbaker for the Bill Of Rights.  Trudeau made a place for Tommy Douglas in the House after he retired.  Respect.  Canadians understood this.

This is why the Mulroney Membership Mess (M^3 (tm)) is going to bite Harper hard.  Zacardelli threw the election to Harper by causing the electorate to lose faith in Goodale and by association Martin.  Most voters aren't going to pay attention to day to day stuff.  They will pay attention to this:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, from overseas, was aware of and agreed with plans to leak stories that would distance him and the current party leadership from former prime minister Brian Mulroney, the Star has learned.
They kind of suspected he wasn't man enough to play by the code.  Now they know.  He jumped the one of the most successful Conservative Prime Ministers ever from behind.  This the electorate can understand.

If Harper was a hockey fan he would know this.  If Harper was in touch with average Canadians he would understand this.  He doesn't live by the Code.  As this permeates the consciousness he will pay.

What did Tiger Williams say?  It relates to Harper.  Oh yeah.  "Done like dinner."
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Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Harper Doomsday Machine

During this weekly series, I have been making the point that the current version of the Conservative Party has transmogrified from a political movement that utilized small scale donations from grassroots supporters to finance it's activities into what is now primarily a fundraising machine that manipulates the grassroots to solicit donations to offset the "Burn Rate" of the Conservative Party bureaucracy.

I have been timing these posts for Thursdays to coincide with the bi-weekly cycle of the fundraising machine.  This is an "off-week" in the cycle; in that I do not expect any action by the Conservatives to rile up their base and the concomitant appeal for funds.  This thesis might seem a bit of a stretch so I will spend off weeks building the case that the potential for a man-made "organism" to subvert the original goals of it's creators to serve it's own aims is well documented in the fictional, sociological, religious and political spheres.

Fictional representations are fairly common.  Particularly in science fiction.  Whether it is Hal 9000 from 2001, A Space Odyssey way back in 1968 or last year's Eagle Eye, it is a common theme to see man's creations wreak havoc once they develop a sense of self-preservation.

It was definitely a common theme for Star Trek plots.  Consider the first and fourth movies, in which early ventures into space engendered blow-back against humankind.

And the original series worked this over several times.  Scripts such as "The Ultimate Computer" or "The Doomsday Machine" are obvious examples.

While you may or may not agree with my thesis, please enjoy the following video as a foreshadowing of the eventual destruction the Harper Doomsday machine and the devastation it is causing Canadians.

And have a great Easter weekend.

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When the neighbours are fighting

You don't particularly like them.  As a matter of fact, you think they are more than a bit dim.  But common human decency causes you to wince when you hear the shouting matches from inside their house.

When the unhappy couple, who should never have been married in the first place, take their scrap into the street you can't help but stare.  Especially when the aggrieved party claims that:
"At some point, he may feel he has to say something publicly. That's something I hope that those who are thinking about launching another attack think carefully about before they do."
You might have a suspicion as to what type of indiscretion that half of the unhappy couple is threatening to disclose.  But that doesn't matter.  It is bad karma for the neighbourhood to have this type of discord.  I propose we petition for them to go their separate ways.
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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Word of the day - with an example


  [khoot-spuh, hoot-]
–noun Slang.
1.unmitigated effrontery or impudence; gall.
2.audacity; nerve.
An example.  Steven Harper displayed an astounding amount of chutzpah when he said:
this government has behaved responsibly and the other party, the other leader, has absolutely no moral compass.
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Harprorogue in a nutshell

Canada's new solitudes

"Stephen Harper demonstrated that there was no bridge he would not burn, no low road he would not take, to stay in power. Beyond the deceit and the intentional obfuscation, what could not be forgiven was the prime minister's willingness to conjure up our national-unity demons...

"Successive prime ministers have seen it as their duty to manage the national unity file with prudence and care; to light a match near a can of gasoline -- to set east against west... simply for the sake of personal political survival was to scatter this primordial leadership obligation to the four winds."


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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Some days it is easier to blog than others

Today is one of those days.

Harper's "authoritarian" streak does not serve him well

“You have an extremely strong leader right now that keeps it all underground.”

The dispute “plays on a potential faultline that is there,” Mr. Flanagan said. “It shows that given the right issue, the right circumstances, that people can start to draw apart and take up sides based on the old division between Reformers and PCs.”

Because that grip is starting to slip. Some on the right of his party were ready to dump Harper when he almost lost government last fall. His conversion to Keynesian stimulus economics alarmed still more, as has his reversal of fortunes in Quebec and his clumsy feud with former prime minister Brian Mulroney.

Events are starting to spin out of control.

Conservatives feuding in eastern Alberta?

"Perhaps the conservatives in this area are mad about the Harper government flip flops. Perhaps they are mad about being lied to regarding fixed election dates. Perhaps they mad about this government's broken promise never to run a deficit. Perhaps they mad about the government decision to cut and run in Afghanistan in 2011. Perhaps they mad about an MP who is on record in the beginning that MP's should have limited terms wanting to keep on having his term extended."
But to worthy of a post, these quotes must identify a consequence.  A connection must be made between these Tory Torments and the Political Phuture.  So here it is:
The federal Liberal party is scooping up donations like a turbo-charged back-hoe and its national director says it will soon clear its $2-million debt.
"I think if the (Barack) Obama experience taught us anything, it's that people are looking for hope. People are not looking for games and I think it's particularly heightened by the economic crisis."

Spring is coming.  You can tell by the retreat of the dark days.
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Monday, April 6, 2009

Radwanski: Mulroney is a symptom not a cause

Adam Radwanski correctly points out that the fussing about Lyin' Brian is not at the root of the Conservative division but a branch on the rotting tree.Recommend this Post

Corroboration, only in reverse

On Thursday, I laid bare my belief that the latest play to scrap the long gun registry was motivated by fundraising concerns more so than policy convictions.  I blegged for copies of the fundraising letters I could publish to confirm this.

While I cannot report any such letters, I can link to this post at Bowie's Blog.  It definitely ties into the theme that scrapping the registry is tied, at least in part, to fundraising concerns.
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Thursday, April 2, 2009

You can't push a barge away if you are tied to it

“Tell me what company you keep and I'll tell you what you are.”
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Don Martin states (my emphasis in bold):
In what sources say was an authorized leak from the top, Harper's office revealed Mulroney had terminated his membership in the Conservative party he led under its earlier incarnation.

Nonsense, Mulroney fired back through his various fronts. He's still a member and will stay that way until the day he dies. He told friends he merely declined to give bagman Senator Irving Gerstein a top-tier party donation, noting that was a bit much given he'd been declared a pariah by Harper two years ago. But the current PMO insists "the Dark Lord" hasn't been a paid-up member since 2006 and recently demanded to have his name removed from all party activity and fundraising lists.

The PMO objective is obvious: They want Mulroney safely barge-poled away from Harper as the nasty inquiry into his business dealings with arms dealer Karlheinz Schreiber fires up.

Mr. Martin seems to forget what finally forced Harper's hand into creating the Oliphant probe:

In an abrupt about-face, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a review of Brian Mulroney's dealings with a controversial businessman and cut off contact with the man he valued as a political adviser.

Friday's reversal came just a day after new allegations from Karlheinz Schreiber threatened to draw Harper himself into the tangled Mulroney-Schreiber-Airbus affair.

For days Harper had repeatedly dismissed Liberal demands for a probe into allegations involving $300,000 in cash payments to Mulroney by Schreiber.

But the same prime minister who had responded with taunts and threats to counter-investigate former Liberal prime ministers delivered a bolt out of the blue on Friday afternoon.

Not even Mulroney got an advance phone call from Harper.

The announcement was prompted by a 20-page affidavit filed the previous day in Ontario Superior Court with fresh claims against Mulroney – and, for the first time, a mention of Harper in connection with the affair.

Schreiber's affidavit alleges that Mulroney was still serving as prime minister in June 1993 when he agreed to enter into a business arrangement.

It says a Mulroney adviser once asked him to transfer funds, in connection with Air Canada's 1988 purchase of Airbus planes, to Mulroney's lawyer in Switzerland.

As for Harper, the affidavit claims that Mulroney told Schreiber about an upcoming visit to the current prime minister's country estate in July 2006. It alleges that Mulroney promised to discuss Airbus with the prime minister at his retreat in Harrington Lake, Que.

Hapless Harper is going to find himself

  1. Tied to the one of the least popular former Prime Ministers in Canadian history,
  2. Unable to point to Liberal transgressions and
  3. Unable to claim economic leadership.
The only question now is: "Should he take the position with the National Citizens Coalition or The Fraser Institute after he loses the election?".

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