Monday, May 07, 2007

Random News & View Roundup

- Following up on last week's stunning testimony about a warning given to a senior RCMP officer prior to the Air India disaster, which James Bartleman has kept under his hat for 22 years, the inquiry judge said on Monday that the government is now trying to "discredit" him.

Ottawa — The head of the Air-India inquiry is accusing the federal government of trying to undercut James Bartleman's startling testimony about what transpired in the days leading up to the deadly 1985 bombing.

John Major, in a pointed intervention at the hearings Monday, observed that there seems to be an “effort by government to discredit Mr. Bartleman.”

The former Supreme Court justice went on to express concern that Gordon Smith, Mr. Bartleman's former boss at the Foreign Affairs Department, appeared to have aligned himself with that effort.

“You're just falling into line with the others,” Mr. Major interjected as Mr. Smith was fielding questions from lawyers.

“I'm not questioning your sincerity, but it's obvious that they don't like that testimony (by Mr. Bartleman). You are one of several who seem upset by that evidence.”

This is all quite bizarre. So many questions...

- Euegene over at Le Reve Gauche has a great roundup of reactions to the Alberta PC party's decision to reject rent controls. I wonder how many of their members live in rentals where the cost has increased $1000/month lately.

- Oh come on already: just give Wolfowitz his walking papers and be done with it. Why do the Europeans feel they have to make a deal with the Americans to let them pick the next World Bank sockpuppet? Wolfowitz broke the rules. Send him packing. End of story.

- FYI: May 8 is World Red Cross Red Crescent Day.

- Remaking the Peace Movement -
The Democrats Don't Own the Antiwar Movement

The New York Times ran a story May 6 called With New Clout, Antiwar Groups Push Democrats. In the first sentence of the story the Times reports that, "Every morning, representatives from a cluster of antiwar groups gather for a conference call with Democratic leadership staff members in the House and the Senate."

The "anti-war" groups the article refers to are not your standard, every-day peace group, that have long been working to end the war. They are talking about more recently formed groups, funded with more than $7.1 million since January, to go out and take control of the anti-war message and to capture the bulk of mainstream media coverage about the anti-war movement. Thus groups like Win Without War, Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, National Security Network, MoveOn, and others are being heavily funded by foundations close to the Democratic Party and are being largely directed by Democratic Party strategists.

The Times reports, Rodell Mollineau, a spokesman for Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid's office, "said the coalition amplifies what Democrats are trying to do in Washington to end the war." "It helps us reverberate a unified message outside the Beltway." "These groups give voice to a message we're trying to get outside."

The unified message that the Democrat leaders are talking about is that the mess in Iraq is all the fault of George W. Bush and the Republicans in Congress. This theme is now dominating the work coming out of these Democratic Party front groups and their job is to make sure that no one points any fingers of responsibility at the Democrats in Congress who continue to fund the occupation. We are not supposed to talk about that unsettling fact.

To their credit the Times did mention that there is currently some controversy surrounding this Democratic led effort. They write, "There's a dividing line between those groups who feel the most important thing is to be clear on bringing the troops home as soon as possible, and the groups that feel that unity within the Democratic Party is most important and the most important thing is for the Democrats to win the White House," said Medea Benjamin, a co-founder of Code Pink, an antiwar group that is not part of the alliance. "So the groups who feel the most important thing is to win the White House would naturally be more inclined to listening to Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she says the only way we can get a vote through is if we water it down."

- Uvi Avnery: The Real Question Isn't Why Olmert Started the War in Haste, But Why He Started It At All.

Yes, Olmert must indeed go home. We need a new leadership, one that understands that Israel will know tranquility only if we make peace with the Palestinians, even when the price is the dismantling of settlements. Is this being discussed seriously? Would this demand draw hundreds of thousands to the square? Of course not.

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