Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Morning Links

Monday's at the radio show are named mayhem because of the importance of alliteration in radio and because of the wide array of stories that present themselves after two days away from the mike. Starting with a story from The Mark, a story we've talked at some length about on New Media and Politics, the Tories mad desire to imprison more Canadians, build new prisons at a time when crime rates are historically low (Tories plan to build 13 new prisons to accommodate more prisoners and harsher sentences) and imitate our American cousins by instituting mandatory minimums for crimes like possession of marijuana.

 A story about the ambiguous announcements (surprise!) coming out of the NATO get-together in Lisbon discussing the future of the war there and how all NATO alliance troops will be leaving Afghanistan in 2014 no matter what, except the ones that don't.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen officials said the date was not a deadline. Combat operations could continue beyond 2014, he warned, and the pace of the transition will have to be determined by conditions on the ground in each town, district and province.
In an Afghanistan war related story and how the war took a turn for the worse when the Americans took their eye off the ball and began the fiasco in Iraq, George Bush jr. engaged on his book-selling/making excuses tour, has shamefully tried to lay the blame on the NATO allies for not wanting to fight -- no doubt like he didn't want to serve in Vietnam -- but his version of the story differs wildly with  Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen — whom Bush appointed to in 2007:



Whatever happened to the Afghanistan detainee issue and the multi-party panel created to sift through the documents you ask? Near as anyone can report, nothing!

Bruce Anderson of the Globe and Mail says the Liberal Party may be suffering from an enthusiasm gap as 64% of Canadians believe they should change their leadership. That's got to be pretty tough for Iggy to swallow with his morning cup of java. My caveat here would be that Mr. Ignatieff suffers from a lack of faith in the Canadian voter gap. He's been given innumerable issues that he could have taken to the Canadian voter and perhaps rallied them to the side of the Liberal Party but seems not to trust them with issues and policy and instead sits on the sidelines being marginalized while waiting for the polls to tell him he's suddenly popular and should force an election.

In the interim Harper has abused prorogation, muzzled several watchdog agencies, stonewalled on the Afghan detainee issue, used executive spending powers to eliminate things he does not like, with no public debate, continued his party`s assault on women's rights, diminished the role of science in the economy, engaged in attacks on the cultural sector and eliminated the funding for advocacy organizations which criticize the government. Oh, and Bill C-9 gave the Tories the power to waive off environmental assessment and unilaterally approve projects like drilling in Canada`s Arctic or tar sands expansion. Do you think that somewhere in there Iggy could find a winning issue or two?

A great example of a valuable institution that Harper and his band of ideologues have decided to neuter is Statistics Canada. By eliminating the long-form census they have reduced its' effectiveness and deprived numerous organizations of important data.
Statistics Canada says more than 700 different clients bought reports or data based on the 2006 census, including 297 government bodies from all levels, 232 businesses, 66 non-profit organizations, 54 health and social service agencies and 62 educational institutions.

This effectively marginalizes the poor and those already on the fringes. No doubt that was its purpose. Again, an issue with which an effective opposition could make headway with the Canadian public. Mr. Layton has been equally ineffective at messaging and it is leaving the playing field to the Tories.

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