I LOVE IT!!!!
My favourite excerpt is below…
Surely by now Ontarians should know that the big guy doesn’t like it when his orders are ignored. And his contempt for Ontarians’ electoral decisions, when the voters of that province have the gall not to vote Harper’s way, is a matter of long record: witness his childish rant in the aftermath of Stockwell Day’s 2000 election defeat. (And understand this: if anyone ever manages to beat Stephen Harper fair and square in a general election, we will see a display of gracelessness in defeat without precedent in the history of Confederation. This is simply guaranteed. It is what he does.)
There are two things going on here. One is the baselessness of Flaherty/Poilièvre/Harper’s attack on Ontario’s budgeting. Oil is at historic highs, the dollar is up a quarter in the last years, the U.S. real-estate industry is essentially imploding, five central banks pumped hundreds of billions of liquidity into the market in a co-ordinated push — and the problem is Dwight Duncan’s business-tax rates? Come on.
The other is the impudence of Harper’s control-freakery. We know he likes to run everything, but here’s the deal: if somebody signs up to be a Conservative staffer, you can tell them what to do, OK? You don’t get to run the Senate. You don’t get to push bureaucrats around for kicks. You don’t get to muzzle public servants, tell reporters how to cover you, pick the next US president or write Ontario budgets. There’s a Canadian constitution that says so, and just because you boycotted the 25th-anniversary celebrations of the Charter of Rights doesn’t mean the separation of powers, which isn’t even in the Charter, goes away by fiat.
Stephen Harper is such a clever tactician that his little games can be so fascinating we overlook their significance. The significance of this one is, well, significant: he’s badmouthing his own country’s industrial heartland and running roughshod over the prerogatives of a legitimately-elected government for the sake of cheap political points and to prop up his serial loser of a finance minister. It’s not funny.
Have you ever noticed that there is no grey in American politics? Everything is in stark contrast. Everything is defined within strict parameters. As President Bush so famously said: “You’re either for us or against us.”
This unfortunate dichotomy has once again taken center stage with the publication of racially-charged statements by Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s pastor.
Rex Murphy had a very good column in The Globe and Mail this past Saturday about this week’s events, including Obama’s incredible speech on racial politics in the United States. You owe it to yourself to read his speech. I posted a small section of it a couple of days ago, but you have to read it in its entirety. It’s a significant speech that will probably become more significant as time passes – hopefully.
Basically Murphy contends that for the past year or so, Obama has been able to ‘transcend’ race. He was able to gather support from all corners of America, creating a movement united for change. But that has completely changed in the past couple of weeks. Now the politics of race has taken center stage; or as Murphy says, “so must for postracial politics.”
Previously, Obama’s biggest racial criticism were whether or not he was ‘black’ enough because his mother is white. Now he is considered black, but one who must once again prove he is ‘good enough’ to win the White House. What an incredible about-face considering his past momentum.
Racism continues to deeply divide America, even in the 21st century. And we are foolish to think that Canada is not the same.
I just hope Murphy’s last sentence does not come true:
If Barack Obama can honestly turn this moment not to his own, but to his country’s advantage, he will deserve the presidency.
If he can not, this once so promising campaign will leave scars on American politics on the matter of race not seen since the turbulent days of the civil rights movement.
1. It’s the same story day after day after day.
2. It’s just so damn depressing because of reason #1.
But seeing as the fifth anniversary of the war occurred this week, I feel I need to address it. And is it really an anniversary? To me the word ‘anniversary’ implies that the occassion is joyful, something worth celebrating. This event is clearly not.
I remember when the war broke out. I was in my fourth year of university in Regina, and I was sitting in the lounge at Luther with a bunch of the girls from my floor. We were watching President Bush declare war and announce that his troops were now on the ground, Operation Iraqi Freedom commencing as he spoke. The mother of one of the girls was with us, having just dropped off her daughter. Before the live coverage ended, she looked at all of us and said, “You girls remember where you were on this night. This is history.”
It sure as hell is history. Bad history. Even the White House is trying to rewrite what has happened so that it shows the Bush administration in a more positive light. I was watching ‘The Fifth Estate’ tonight (I know, I know – what a way to spend a Friday night) and the documentary was about various things having to do with the Iraq War, from investigating its causes to analyzing media coverage. They showed numerous video clips of President Bush speaking on the war, including the infamous speech on the destroyer where he claimed victory. ‘The Fifth Estate’ pointed out that on the White House’s archive footage of that speech, the ‘MISSION ACCOMPLISHED’ banner has mysteriously disappeared…
What does that tell you? It tells you that even the White House, despite its continued optimistic statements about how success is being achieved in Iraq day after day, knows it made a mistake – though it would NEVER admit such a thing (Americans don’t make mistakes, you know).
The problem is that the Bush administration is delusional. I don’t know how else to describe it. Or comprehend its complete and utter lack of understanding of what’s actually happening over there. For example, look at these statements pulled from this week’s speech by President Bush commemorating the fifth anniversary of the war’s beginning stages:
1. “A little over a year ago, the fight in Iraq was faltering.”
2. “The successes we are seeing in Iraq are undeniable.”
3. “In recent months we’ve heard exaggerated estimates of the costs of this
4. “There’s still hard work to be done in Iraq. The gains we have made are fragile and reversible. But on this anniversary, the American people should know that since the surge began, the level of violence is significantly down, civilian deaths are down, sectarian killings are down, attacks on American forces are down.”
5. “To allow [a sudden troop withdrawal] to happen would be to ignore the lessons of September the 11th and make it more likely that America would suffer another attack like the one we experienced that day — a day in which 19 armed men with box cutters killed nearly 3,000 people in our — on our soil; a day after which in the following of that attack more than one million Americans lost work, lost their jobs.”
6. “A free Iraq will fight terrorists instead of harboring them. A free Iraq will be an example for others of the power of liberty to change the societies and to displace despair with hope. By spreading the hope of liberty in the Middle East, we will help free societies take root — and when they do, freedom will yield the peace that we all desire. “
1. The battle is still faltering. Despite the considerable surge of troops, Iraq isn’t a whole hell of a lot safer. More on that later.
2. What successes? And for whom? Iraqi women and children are not seeing any benefits of US occupation.
3. Exaggerated costs, huh? Last I heard, the DAILY cost of the Iraq War was $1 BILLION dollars. A BILLION DOLLARS A DAY. And for what? If I was an American right now, I’d be more than a little ticked. My country’s economy is in recession mode, infrastructure is in serious need of repair, and millions don’t have health insurance. I have no problem with foreign aid; I actually believe rich countries have an obligation to help the developing world. But money to finance a war doesn’t count as foreign aid. Sorry.
4. Really? Violence is down? Consider this list of just one day’s violent incidents compiled on March 18 by The Globe and Mail’s Middle East correspondent, Mark MacKinnon:
1) Just after 7 a.m. a roadside bomb detonated near a police patrol in the Baghdad neighbourhood of Mansour, killing one policeman and injuring another.
2) Around 9 a.m., just before Mr. Cheney arrived, a Katyusha rocket hit the fortified “Green Zone” in the centre of the city. No casualties were reported.
3) Around 11 a.m., a mortar shell was lobbed into the green zone.
4) Later in the day, a roadside bomb targeting a U.S. convoy exploded in the Zayouna neighbourhood of northeastern Baghdad (a place I visited just last week…), injuring four civilians. Other reports said three people had been killed.
5) Again in Mansour, another roadside bomb targeted a police patrol, but apparently missed its target, injuring a civilian.
6) Around 1 p.m., eight people were killed and 11 others were injured when a boobytrapped minibus exploded in the upscale Karada neighbourhood.
7) Two U.S. soldiers were killed when their Humvee hit a roadside bomb. The soldiers were clearing a road in northern Baghdad when they were killed, the military announced.
8) Around 2 p.m., a roadside bomb targeted an American patrol in east Baghdad. Iraqi police reported no casualties.
9) Around 5 p.m., Iraqi army and police found four dead bodies buried in a garden of a deserted house south of Baghdad.
10) Around 6:30 p.m., two mortar shells hit a soccer field near a school in east Baghdad. Five soccer players were killed and 7 were injured.
11) A mortar round killed six children when it landed on their home in the Sawmar
district of northern Baghdad, the Iraqi military said.
12) Iraqi police patrols found seven unknown bodies on Monday that had been dumped in different parts of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, a police source said.
The rest of the country:
1) U.S. forces killed two al-Qaeda militants and detained four others on Sunday during operations in central Iraq, the U.S. military said.
2) 52 people are killed and 75 others are injured when a female suicide bomber blows herself up in the southern city of Kerbala, near the shrine of Imam Hussein, one of the holiest sites in Shia Islam.
3) The U.S. consulate in the south-central area of Babel came was targeted by three
Katyusha rockets. No injuries or damage were reported.
4) A policeman was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in central Basra on Monday morning.
5) The Basra morgue received the bullet-riddled body of a woman.
6) Three bodies of fighters belonging to the U.S.-backed neighbourhood police were found two days after they were kidnapped in the town of Udhaim, 100 km north of
Baghdad, police said.
7) Two civilians were wounded when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded near a convoy of trucks carrying construction materials.
8) A parked car bomb wounded five people, including a policeman, when it blew up near a police patrol in the northern city of Mosul, police said. Gunmen and police had reportedly clashed shortly before the explosion.
9) Five mortar bombs landed, wounding two people in central Mosul.
10) A policeman was killed when unidentified gunmen attacked an Iraqi police checkpoint in central Haditha city, 170 km west of Ramadi.
If this has been a successful endeavour, I’m terrified – for Iraq’s sake –
of what a failure looks like.
5. Possibly my favourite statement of them all. For what I’m sure won’t be the last time, let me repeat: the majority of the September 11th hijackers were SAUDI ARABIAN. Basing the Iraq invasion on ‘war on terror’ auspices is asinine. I continue to ask: why aren’t we invading Saudi Arabia? Oh yeah. They’re American allies. And we don’t invade our allies (like *cough* Pakistan *cough* – even though Pakistan’s refusal to crackdown on terrorist organizations is part of the reason Canadian casualties in southern Afghanistan continue to climb. Oh well.). I continue to be stupefied by this logic, or rather, lack thereof. Iraq ain’t the problem, folks. Oh, and I forgot about the fear-mongering. They’re still trying to scare Americans into supporting the war.
6. For a very short period of time, I believed the Iraq War was based on oil and nothing more. Thankfully I got my sanity back and realized that while oil is a nice side benefit, the reasons behind invading Iraq are a whole hell of a lot more complicated. Does it have something to do with avenging the 1991 Gulf War? Sure. Does it have to do with asserting American power and influence in the Middle East? Of course. But a huge part of the reasoning has to do with this weird right-wing conservative belief that making Iraq a democracy will inevitably cause the people of Iran, Syria and company to rise up and create democracies of their own. It’s a nice thought. It really is. And I appreciate it. But it just shows how little Americans understand the Middle East. Their governmental systems are deeply interlinked with religion and culture, which makes a democratic system pretty freaking hard to implement. Is it impossible? No. But it will take generations to embed the type of values that are implicit in democracy into a people whose personal belief systems run completely counter. And invading countries illegally under international law doesn’t exactly give democracy a good name.
So there you have it. Five years later and the rhetoric hasn’t changed. The White House continues to frame the Iraq War as “necessary, noble and just” when it is clearly none of those things.
And President Bush continues to be President, despite lying to those who elected him about his reasons for invading Iraq and directly causing the deaths of almost 4000 American soliders and tens of thousands of Iraqis. How is he still president? How is it that a president can directly lie to the American people about a war that was misguided at best, completely selfish at worst, and not be impeached, while another president has sex with an intern, which really has no real effect on the day-to-day affairs of a country except that it sells papers, and is almost turfed from the Oval Office. I just don’t understand.
Iraq continues to be a quagmire. A joke. A f*cking disaster.
Heaven help us all.
I like Barack Obama.
Despite my reservations as to whether he is equipped to be the President of the United States at this time, I truly believe he is one of the few genuine politicians that exists today. His words are full of emotion and you can’t help but believe what he says; it hits you right in the heart.
Yesterday he made a momentous speech on race relations in the United States. Read this and tell me you are not moved:
For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina – or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.
We can do that.
But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.
That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time. This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.
This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it
overseas for nothing more than a profit.
This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.
I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.
THIS is what politics is about: inspiring each other to work together and form ‘a more perfect union.’
THIS is what Canadian politics needs an infusion of.
The word ‘HYPROCRITE’ screamed through my head when I read this (and kudos to Brad Wall for not sucking up to ‘Steve’):
PRIME MINISTER WANTS LAWSUIT DROPPED
The Government will not scrap the equalization lawsuit started by the
former NDP administration.
This, even though our Premier has been asked to directly by the Prime
Brad Wall isn’t dropping the lawsuit altogether saying right now, with a
new appraoch to provincial-federal relations, it isn’t needed.
The NDP motion to debate the equalization issue in the Legislature Monday
was defeated. Wall maintains such a debate isn’t necessary.
Sooooooo, let me get this straight. The Saskatchewan government sued the federal government for breaking an election promise that everyone knows they had no intention of keeping. The federal government continues to demand the lawsuit be dropped, though it has merit.
THEN, the Prime Minister decides to SUE the Liberals for libel over a released passage from a book that, A) wasn’t released by the Liberals, but by the Globe and Mail, B) contains TRUE information corroborated by a tape that exists and C) that he simply wants to go away.
I smell a hypocrite. He doesn’t want people suing him, but he can sue others. Hmmm…
I really have no time for people like Stephen Harper. The more he’s in the power, the more I believe he thinks he’s above the rest of us. I can just hear him saying, “I am THE PRIME MINISTER! Bow down to me, you insipid, feebleminded, poor excuses for people!”
He’s an asinine hypocritical, poor excuse for a Prime Minister.