Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

It's getting embarrassing to watch Stephen Harper flail at the opposition just before Parliament gets ready to go back to work. Strangely he's in campaign mode even though Canadians seem content to sit tight for a little while longer as things currently stand. Witness his second attack in as many days on the very idea of the opposition parties uniting to gang up on the Tories and maybe govern. Something he pretty much invented this time around out of whole cloth, but it's not as if that's the biggest lie that came from his party this summer.

 Perhaps he sees it as a way to revive his lagging poll numbers which were never as high as when he first demagogued the idea of a coalition between what he called, "Liberals and Socialist and Seperatists," oh my! The fodder for this attack was provided by Bloc MP Carole Lavallée, who represents the constituency of Saint Bruno-Saint Hubert. She got her undies in a twist over a mail sent to kids all over Canada last May, including kids in Quebec that encouraged students to visit national parks in the coming year, and were offered a free pass valid for a year to do so. “It’s propaganda for the federal government to send a letter into schools addressed to students as future leaders of Canada,” she is reported by La Presse to have said.

 As most would agree, her objectionable snit over encouraging students to go visit Canada's national parks, mountains, historical sites and see for themselves our shared history comes off as being petty to say the least. But PM Harper concludes that is why he needs a majority: So Canada will never be governed by the Bloc, the Liberals and the Socialists, oh my! When you've got nothing, play the fear card and make stuff up I guess is the thinking behind this.

The thing is, Iggy's cross country tour was all about trying to win over enough Canadians so he could form a majority. Not so he could politically jump in bed with anyone, not even the NDP, of whom he has been very critical of late. I myself was witness to his declaring he didn't want to form a government with members of the Bloc in a visit to Concordia University this past winter. Still, what has the truth got to do with politics?

 Michael Ignatieff, twenty months into his tenure as Liberal leader, finally has a slight breeze for a tailwind has said he has been listening to Canadians across the country and although he heard complaints about the tone and even the direction of the current government there was no cry for an election. Since he is in a dead heat at 29% in the polls, and that hardly qualifies as siting in the catbird seat, it's difficult not to take him at his word. So what is this latest Tory fear-mongering all about?

The answer is in the final paragraph of the Globe and Mail article on Harper's manufactured complaint that the opposition parties are threatening to take down his minority Conservative government: Tom Flanagan, a political scientist at the University of Calgary, and a prominent Conservative who was instrumental in getting Harper elected, says he is framing the ballot question for the next election. "You've got to persuade people that you can't take the Liberals at face value." Mr. Flanagan said in a recent interview with Postmedia News. "There's a big payoff there. Of course, if you're going to do that, it's smart to start early."

The trick is to hope that the electorate is really gullible and will swallow this tripe yet again. What's that expression about fool me three times and shove your policies down our collective throats?

Operation Enduring Presence

Obama declared the end of "Operation Iraqi Freedom," Tuesday night and the beginning of "Operation New Dawn." It is exactly the kind of Orwellian hooey that it reads like. There are as noted everywhere even the MSM 50,000 combat ready troops being left behind, but not being reported as often are the bases that still remain occupied by American forces in the desert and the 7,000 independent contractors ( re: modern-day mercenaries) they are hiring to leave behind at five different bases . Here's a report from Democracy Now on those bases:


Seven years later there's still lots to say about this war of choice that devastated Iraq. The war killed untold numbers of civilians and made refugees out of millions and it's all being ignored except in small corners of the media and blogosphere. Some like Chris Mathews are trying to pretend they were against the war back in 2003 and that they weren't cheerleaders and enablers -- it's a bit nauseating. There are so many in the media that displayed a remarkable lack of courage that one hardly knows where to start but that link includes an interview with Jim Lehrer of PBS who as much as admits to the cowardice of the press which of course includes himself.

Glenzilla does a great job of taking apart the claims that "everyone" thought Iraq had WMD's here. Rachel expresses her anger over Obama's absolving of GWB jr. and his recklessness here. You can read the complete list of who the architects of the Iraq war were at ThinkP and please note that they are now out in the media trying to claim for themselves credit for the "success" of the Iraq war. Possibly the greatest blunder in US military history and the right-wing neo-cons who argued for this war want a victory parade with themselves in the lead float.


(cross-posted at New Media and Politics)

Who Could Have Predicted?

So the Tories long hot summer of acting out on all their worst ideological impulses has them in a dead heat with the Liberals in the latest EKOS poll. Who could have predicted... that calling for austerity while spending like Sarah Palin at Saks 5th Avenue with a GOP gift credit card, would hurt you in the polls. Who would have thought that having his surrogates lie about valued Canadian institutions would make voters think less of you? And who could have forecast that two long months of remaining "on message" by hardly speaking to Canadians on any issue at all other than to fear-monger about the opposition's nefarious plans to try and get elected would turn an eleven point lead into a dead heat?

Who could have predicted? Well, other than myself and Zoltar, I'm guessing the more than 70% of the people who didn't vote for Harper in the last election. Stephen Harper's actions have done what the opposition parties could not do all spring long in the last session of Parliament -- he's gotten the voters to start paying attention and they're not happy with what they see. Scrutiny is Harper's enemy in every way. He is on the opposite side of where most Canadians are ideologically on most issues and his insistence on following through on pet conservative issues like scrapping the long-form census is costing him now but not as much as it will in the coming months.

If Iggy has learned anything over the summer months this could be an interesting and fun to watch session of Parliament. Here's hoping!

Prime Minister Buying Votes In Quebec- Things That Conflict With Yom Kippur

Our beloved Prime Minister Steven Harper was in Montreal today buying votes and spreading the gospel according to Oswald Mosley. (with him in charge sovereignty is sounding better and better)  I was going to check on line what he had to say but I don't care and I don't believe a word he says. Something about an
F-16 contract  aimed to keep Canada safe from attacking Soviets and help in the killing of Afghan civilians. (Can you tell how proud I am to be a Canadian) Then he gave a pretentious smile and said more BS.


 The Category is Things That Conflict With Yom Kippur

A War Between Egypt and Israel
1965 World Series
Progressive Bloggers BBQ








Cognitive Dissonance - Feature, Not A Bug

I thought this would be a good time to post the TED video of Lisa Margonelli talking about the politics of oil. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has slipped too far away from our collective consciousness too fast. And there's no excuse for that here in Canada, where Chevron is drilling an even deeper well than the failed Deepwater Horizon off the east coast and a recent ruling from a Senate committee says there’s no need to prevent companies from drilling for oil in Canadian coastal waters. On top of that, soon there will likely be four nations including Canada drilling for oil and gas in Arctic waters. That's what the current gold rush is all about. So what are the hazards and why aren't we talking about them? Lisa makes the case that there is a collective cognitive dissonance on all our parts that allows us to get distracted from the real issues and prevents us from taking real action that might change the dynamics of the problem.