Friday, February 26, 2010

Conservatives Behaving Badly

Helena Guergis - airport tantrum:

According to the account, Guergis and aide Emily Goucher arrived a few minutes before the scheduled takeoff of an Air Canada flight from Charlottetown to Montreal.

In the pre-boarding area, Guergis refused to remove her boots despite being informed that they might set off the security alarm in the metal detector, according to the letter received by Easter. When the alarm sounded, she was asked to sit down and remove her footwear.

Guergis "slammed her boots into the bin" provided by security personnel and then, according to the account, said to one of the airport staff: "Happy f---ing birthday to me. I guess I'm stuck on this hellhole."

Guergis, the MP for Simcoe-Grey, turned 41 on Feb. 19.

After her boots cleared the X-ray conveyor, Guergis, according to the account, yelled at Goucher: "Get those for me. I'm not walking around here in sock feet."

Guergis then allegedly tried to force open the locked door that separates the pre-board screening room from the area where the aircraft was waiting.

When a few moments later the minister was reminded that most passengers are asked to arrive at the airport two hours before boarding time, Guergis shouted back, according to the account: "I don't need to be lectured about flight time by you. I've been down here working my ass off for you people."
"Entitled twit" comes to mind.

Meanwhile, there's been some sort of plea bargain reached in the case of Rahim Jaffer [Guergis' husband] which will be revealed in court on March 9.

Maxime Bernier - climate change denier.

In a letter to La Presse newspaper, Bernier argued there is no scientific consensus on the matter and he applauded the Harper government for taking a go-slow approach.

"The debate over climate change, stifled for years by political correctness, has finally broken out in the media," he wrote in a letter published Wednesday.

"The numerous recent revelations on errors by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have supplemented the alternative theories put forward for many years.

"We can now see that it's possible to be a 'skeptic,' or in any case to keep an open mind, on just about all the main aspects of warming theory."
"alternative theories" = pollute with reckless abandon!


Edmonton PC MP Goldring slams Louis Riel

Goldring posted the letter in response to a request from the federal New Democrats who wanted Louis Riel to be recognized as a father of confederation and wanted a conviction that saw him hanged for treason overturned.

In his letter Goldring wrote, "Riel didn't father confederation; He fought those who did."

Riel, a politician who fought for Metis rights in the late 1800s and also helped found the province of Manitoba, led two violent rebellions against the Canadian government and was hanged for treason.

The letter went on to say, "To un-hang Louis Riel and to mount a statue to him on Parliament Hill would elevate anarchy and civil disobedience to that of democratic statesmanship."
Somebody needs to take a remedial grade school history lesson.

And, in yet another example of Con hypocrisy, take a look at the fat cat government pensions Harper and his ex-Reform cronies are in line for.

It looks like Steve will have a lot of splainin' to do when he finally gets back to work next week after his months-long prorogation holiday.

Meanwhile, Half of Canadians unhappy with PM, Ignatieff: poll - so it looks like we're stuck in this political wasteland for some time to come.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Assassination Politics

That Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was assassinated in a possible Mossad operation in a Dubai hotel in January seems to be secondary to the diplomatic flap that has arisen as a result of the 11 suspected murderers using fake passports.

INTERPOL has issued Red Notices for assistance in identifying the suspects whom, one would think, someone somewhere by now would have recognized. Yet, there is silence.

While governments fight over who knew what when, the fact that this person was murdered - that he was accused of crimes for which he will now never be brought to actual justice through civilized means i.e. in a court of law - seems to have fallen by the wayside.

But "justice", as a concept to be held sacrosanct, has been rendered impotent by the powerful. Just look at the most recent proclamation by the Obama administration that assassinations of US citizens abroad remain official government policy.

The Obama administration has acknowledged it’s [sic] continuing a Bush-era policy authorizing the killing of US citizens abroad. The confirmation came from Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair in congressional testimony last week. Blair said, “Being a US citizen will not spare an American from getting assassinated by military or intelligence operatives overseas if the individual is working with terrorists and planning to attack fellow Americans.”
That a president who is a former constitutional law professor would support extrajudicial killings is absolutely appalling. Yet this news barely made a blip on the radar screen of your average citizen - no doubt because so many Americans believe that their rights ought to be happily surrendered because, after all, if they're not doing anything wrong, they have nothing to worry about. Even Democrats and so-called progressives (who are busy these days relabeling themselves as "pragmatists" as they realize the "liberal" president they elected is, in fact, a conservative in progressives' clothing) who oft repeated Ben Franklin's quote about those who sacrifice liberty for a little security deserving neither during the Bush years as they watched in horror while their system of laws was being stripped to its bare bones - even those so-called "leftists" continue to support a president who has granted himself the power of a king: the right to determine who shall live and who shall die without even giving that person access to the most basic right - a fair trial.

How did it come to this? That the issue is not about whether murder by government is acceptable but that, in the case of al-Mabhouh and those who will be killed by US government fiat (that we'll most likely never hear about), the politics are the prime consideration?

Murder is murder - isn't it?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Congratulations Alexandre Bilodeau!

How awesome is this?!

Alexandre Bilodeau, moguls skier, has won Canada's first gold medal ever on our home soil.



Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Extreme Makeover: Blog Edition

I'll be formatting a new template for my blog today and will be reverting to Blogger comments since Haloscan is now switching over to Echo and I really can't be bothered to join them at this point. Unfortunately, all previous comments made via Haloscan here will be lost.

Apologies in advance if you experience any glitches while I'm working on this. Please wait until the new template is up to comment. Thanks.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

US Boots on the Ground In Pakistan

Obama: March, 2009:

Asked if he meant he would put U.S. troops on the ground in Pakistan, Obama said: "No."
February, 2010: Troop Deaths Draw Focus to U.S. Presence in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The deaths of three American soldiers in a Taliban suicide attack Wednesday lifted the veil on United States military assistance to Pakistan that the authorities here would like to keep quiet and the Americans, as the donors, chafe at not receiving credit for.
They "chafe", do they? And how about Obama? Does he "chafe" too after telling the American people that there wouldn't be any American boots on the ground last year? If he does, it's probably because he's broken yet another very public promise and now has to face the music - along with even more ire from the Pakistani people who overwhelmingly reject a US military presence there.


Obama ups Pakistan drone strikes in assassination campaign

U.S. terror suspects in Pakistan allege FBI torture

Question Time for Americans?

So, I see that several Americans from across the political spectrum have launched a site and petition to demand a British-style 'Question Time' for their politicians.

This, of course, was spurred on by Obama's appearance at a GOP meeting last week in which (with the cameras rolling throughout) he answered their questions/talking points and scolded them for not being bipartisan.

I have to say that I felt a bit sorry for my American cousins after seeing their glowing responses to that bit of theatre: so desperate for their president to actually fight for them after a year of capitulating to and rolling over and playing dead for the Republicans and the nefarious, apparently all-powerful Blue Dog Democrats (and Scary Joe Lieberman, of course).

I should add that Obama actually did fight for something last year:

Despite deals cut late Thursday to wrap up the fiscal 2009 war supplemental, some House Democrats say they do not yet have enough support to pass the final bill.
Rep. Lynn Woolsey of California, a leader of the antiwar Democrats, said the White House is threatening to withdraw support from freshmen who oppose the bill, saying “you’ll never hear from us again.”
So, yes, there was that.

Anyway, now that Americans have gotten a taste of the back and forth that can occur between the parties in a public Q&A session, it seems they think that more of this can actually be a useful thing.

From the petition site:

We live in a world that increasingly demands more dialogue than monologue. President Obama’s January 29th question-and-answer session with Republican leaders gave the public a remarkable window into the state of our union and governing process. It was riveting and educational. The exchanges were substantive, civil and candid. And in a rare break from our modern politics, sharp differences between elected leaders were on full public display without rancor or ridicule.
It's cute that they think regular 'Question Time' (or 'Question Period' a la Canada) sessions would be devoid of "rancor or ridicule'. I wonder how many of those signatories have ever actually watched our partisan grandstanding popcornfests. If what they're looking for is something 'substantive, civil and candid', they're barking up the wrong tree - no matter what kind of political dogs they might be.

I enjoy our parliament's Answer the Damn Question period because the entertainment value is priceless for a political junkie. But let's not pretend that it's anything other than one gigantic food fight, sans the actual food, or that it encompasses anything more substantial than the opportunity for political foes to take verbal jabs at each other for an hour a day all the while hoping that one of their pathetic gotcha performances makes it on the evening news.

Those who are pushing for this in the US would do well to simply look at the history of our parliament's experiences with this kabuki and the disdain many Canadians have for the lack of decorum and disrespect for the house that we have witnessed for decades.

Question Time/Question Period is not the answer.

Be careful what you wish for.