1/12/2002

More news on the Asper's pigheaded determination to shoot themselves in the foot. Another column has been killed and this one was rejected by both Southam papers in Saskatchewan - the Saskatoon Star Phoenix and the Regina Leader-Post. This time no one is talking.

Murdoch Davis, editor-in-chief of Southam News, said it was a local decision to cut Cutland's column.

Star Phoenix editor Steve Gibb declined to comment when reached at his Saskatoon office yesterday. Leader-Post editor Janice Dockham didn't return repeated calls to her office.


David Asper and Leonard Asper did not respond to phone calls yesterday.

The column was reportedly sympathetic to Palestinians living in refugee camps.
Frank Magazine has a teaser for it's TOP 100 WANKERS TO WATCH IN 2002 posted. I'm proud to report that the top four picks have been roasted here at least once or twice already. Not bad when you consider that the Hellhole is just over a month old. Pretty good marketing scheme, I'll be picking up a hard-copy tomorrow.
You have to get up pretty early in the morning to scoop Damian Penny. He lives in Newfoundland, the time difference is 2 hours and 43 minutes or something similar. Today Damian points out a fantastic bit o' dreck from Heather Mallick of the Globe & Mail.

Damian writes;

Admittedly, the President of the United States has a responsibility to choose his words very carefully. But considering that "Pakis" is not a racial slur used in his own country, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and agree that he meant no harm. He has apologized, and you can be sure he'll never use it again.

But no, that's not enough for the Heather Mallicks of the world. It's never enough. It doesn't matter that you didn't know the word was offensive - just by using it, well, you're going to hell! (Strange...it was just a few weeks ago Mallick declared religion "a blight on mankind", but now she's giving her criteria for what will get you eternal damnation.) The mere fact that you did not know it was an offensive word means nothing. Get this man some sensitivity training!


The thing that I love is irony. Mallick's entire article is an argument for an absolute standard on racism;

Racism is a rebarbative sin, one of those for which you go straight to the bonfire eternal, no waiting.

What matters is that people who refer to "ugly Jews" or "Pakis" are hateful. I detach from you, I really do.

Let's compare these sentiments with Ms. Mallick writing on Oct. 6, 2001 on George W. Bush and 'crusades';

If there's one thing Christian fundamentalists, the Republican party, the Taliban, other Islamic extremists, Ann Coulter, Sunera Thobani, George W. Bush, Joe McCarthy, media commentators who demand we all speak "with one voice" and medieval popes can agree on, it's this: The world is a ravishingly simple place, as in Rudolph Giuliani's "We are right and they are wrong." Which means it's a Crusade.

How the distressed and the foolish love simplicity.

Thanks for the pointer Damien, these things make my day.

These rigidly correct 'intolerance haters' remind me of that theory of homophobia which states that the worst offenders are simply in denial of their own homosexual feelings. 'Racism', 'bigotry', 'intolerance' - however you name it - it exists in all of us. There is nothing served by screaming out denials. Either face it and refute it honestly (it can be done, Heather) or accept it as a human failing; but don't claim that you are better than the rest of the world. No one believes it and you look a fool for making the claim.

"I detach from you." What an asinine statement.
A surprising idea from the Vancouver Sun, Martin should Resign.

The latest federal scandal -- the alleged interference of Public Works Minister Alfonso Gagliano and his staff in the affairs of a Crown corporation -- represents yet another black mark on the integrity of the federal Liberals.

Our prescription? Well, our dream solution -- idealistic, but not very probable -- is that Finance Minister Paul Martin would resign.

The argument, as made by the Sun, is that Martin has only a slim and diminishing hope at the big prize anyway. Perhaps it's time for a bold and open challenge of Chretien's corrupt leadership while Martin's own reputation is, comparatively, quite good. It makes sense on a lot of levels as far as I am concerned. The Sun makes the practical case that it just might work and that's always got to be the strongest case. But a principled stand can also be it's own reward. How anyone can sit on that Liberal front bench and still sleep at night is a mystery to me. I don't think that there is much disagreement anymore; Jean Chretien is the most unprincipled thug who ever occupied the Prime Minister's seat. What a coup it would be for Mr. Martin to actually gain the power he seeks by taking a principled stand against the corruption and rot that is held out as the one true path by Liberal Scumbags.

Martins odds grow better with each new revelation. There has to come a point (hopefully soon) when the long-shot payoff - the leadership and the adulation of a grateful nation - is worth the low opportunity cost. After all, the worst thing that could happen is that Martin retires with his Father's good name intact, a respectable record as Finance Minister, and a life of pampered leisure. Not such a bad outcome on a losing gamble - It's the same outcome that doing nothing will get him - less the good name part, of course.

It seems to me that Gagliano's intransigence has the potential to bring this government down. Gagliano has made it clear that he is not going to go quietly. Indeed, it is plain that he believes in his right to the trough for himself and his friends. When this story first broke I thought for sure that Chretien would move him in the upcoming shuffle but now, after Gagliano's television appearances, it gets much more interesting;

Gagliano has made open threats against the opposition but the subtext is the implied threat against the Liberal party and Chretien himself. Chretien's stubbornness is being cited as the Gagliano's protection but I think it's just as likely that Gagliano is willing and able to protect himself. Put simply, "If I go down, you're going down with me." Many who watched Gagliano on his television interviews remarked on his composure, even complacency in the face of serious allegations. To my mind he looks like a man with an Ace up his sleeve.

Also, as some in the Opposition have pointed out, Chretien can not been seen to condemn Gagliano for interfering with a Crown Corporation because, lo and behold, he's admitted to doing the same in the Grand-Mere affair. Unfortunately for Mr. Chretien, the general public understands the Gagliano problem instinctively, everyone has known a corrupt bully in their own lives. The Grand Mere business was far more complex (far too complex for us plebes to understand, according to the intelligentsia) and, at least initially, hinged on fuzzy economic concepts like 'complementary use' and 'externalities'. It was far too easy for the Liberals to conceal the devilry in the details. Of course, things have evolved in that case but I'll leave that for another day...

The point is that Gagliano's transgressions are much easier for the public to understand and condemn. But Chretien can not be seen to condemn them himself because, in the complex story he has offered about Grand Mere, he has presented his interference in a Crown Corporation as a normal and harmless circumstance. He counted on people not being able to connect the dots and, judging by the public response, he gambled well. But the dots that Gagliano has put up are much simpler. "Hire my friends." He doesn't have to say "... or else," because everyone who ever worked for any boss understands "... or else." There are only two dots there, they are both well-defined, they are only inches apart and the only possible misunderstanding is a deliberate one.
Grant did would he could under the circumstances, he went to the Ethics Commissioner, the one person who might be able to intervene on his behalf and quickly found out the foolishness of that strategy. You 'misunderstood' said Mr. Wilson.

Another aside; Mr. Wilson has stated that he will not investigate Gagliano's interference which, in a strange way, is kind of encouraging. While Wilson is refusing to condemn Gagliano, it appears that he is refusing to issue another whitewash as well. In a small way, it's a revolt on the part of Mr. Wilson. "I've made my recommendations to the PM and I'm washing my hands of Ministerial matters," is the message that could be read into Mr. Wilson's recent statements. I wonder if those recommendations will be revised or simply buried? I guess, four months out, you have to figure they've been buried.

This post has rambled somewhat from it's original purpose which was to lay out the rationale for Martin's resignation in these circumstances. The point of it all is that Gagliano appears to present a true crisis for Mr. Chretien. As those wise old Chinese Calligraphers tell us, a crisis is also an opportunity.

In this case, an opportunity for Mr. Martin.

Why not roll the dice, Mr. Martin?

P.S. I realize that I'm being slightly naive, it's entirely possible (even likely) that Jean Chretien has Mr. Martin by the short and curlies with one thing or another. Still, it would be something to celebrate in this dreary country. A politician who took a principled stand, just imagine it.





1/11/2002

Damn! I've tried to post about the Sens Deal a couple times now and have lost both posts through sheer clumsiness.

The consensus seems to be that Bryden is a business God and I, for one, am damned glad to hear it. I was pretty skeptical on first hearing of the deal but, if things work out as promised, Bryden has actually made a gold-filled purse out of this sow's ear.

Personally, I'm thinking of quitting my job and starting a cult along the line of the Deadheads. We'll follow Rod Bryden around from press conference to press conference selling souvenirs (pie charts, annual reports, prospectus's (prospectii?)) and trading bootleg tapes of his greatest hits. We'll all wear tailored, pin-stripe suits to express our conformity to the Bryden Business model. We'll mob him (discreetly) as he disembarks from his corporate jet and we'll sell him all our possessions at enormous discounts just for bragging rights and his autograph on a purchase agreement. Join us... NO WAIT! Partner with us.

All kidding aside, there are some grumblings about the taxpayer getting screwed already. As one of those screwed taxpayers, and a Sens fan, I'm completely onside with Bryden. Good job. People administering the partnership agreement are reporting very high interest in the shares and are already promising more of the same. Perhaps it's a solution for all small-market teams.

THE LEAFS AND THE TORONTO MEDIA MUST BE FREAKING OUT!!!

I predict lots of subtle bitching about it from the usual suspects.

1/10/2002

I also got some mail about my Larry Zolf post. Tom Roberts, who refers to Zolf as 'Goff', writes another excellent message which includes a little Goff bashing and a little military speculation as well.

Diefenbaker was supposed by Goff to have made the mistake of stalling in
allowing the US to base nuclear weapons on Canadian soil during the Cuban
missile crisis. Actually, the issue went further than that as the RCNavy
also took over ASW patrols off US territorial waters which allowed for US
ships to blockade Cuba. Essentially Canada was going into a US war at any
moment without thoroughly thinking through the consequences. There were huge
implications here regarding Canadian security and sovereignty which later
came home to roost when the Soviets developed a large ICBM force and de
facto started targeting Canada as well as the US. Diefenbaker was right to
be cautious, but would have been better off if he had thought about the
implications of the Bomarcs being on Canadian soil in the first instance.
This is the source of the contradiction which undermines Goff's article: he
presumes that Diefenbaker and Chretien actually considered the implications
of their alliances with the US and the specific imports of their wartime
plans. I have seen no evidence of this at all in either case. In
Diefenbaker's case he paid for such negligence in losing to Pearson, and in
Chretien's case he is willy nilly dispatching troops to Afghanistan when he
frankly cannot afford to on the current military budget.


Now if Chretien's move is a sly prelude to pulling out of the Balkans, as
I suspect the US will do also shortly, then that is fine. But I see no
evidence for this at all, and neither does much of the Canadian press. But
Goff doesn't seem to mind at all putting Canada in the all or none category
of military operations, being that this all or none seems to be determined
either by Divine Providence or by Imperial Dictat from the Washington
Beltway. In this sense, Goff puts poor Canada as a policy-idiot case, never
considering its next move until a crisis foists itself upon the unsuspecting
Canadian body politic. Goff is merely making excuses for this lack of
preparation for matters which should be the normal consideration of any
modern democratically elected government.


I suspect that 'seat of the pants' is exactly what we are seeing here. It may turn out that throwing in with the Americans turns out to be the wiser course in the long run but, as you say, I don't think we can put it down as the realization of a long-term goal.

Goff makes several other snide comments about surrendering sovereignty
at the "on borders, on the military, on currency" without giving his readers
any clue about how the latter two phenomena are surrenders at all or even to
what he is referring. The border issue is an issue which is pregnant like
the nuclear Bomarcs, and deserves better than a partial phrase in a bad
paragraph. But Goff seems content to shovel innuendo about without remorse
about making no particular point at all, besides the fact that he can
actually imply in Stephanie Salteresque fashion that pacifism is next to
Godliness. David Warren has a good response to that
at:http://www.davidwarrenonline.com/ under "Christian Pacifism."


Thanks for the link, Tom. That's an interesting article. A reminder that the doctrine of Separation between Church and State was first proposed by the Church. It's kind of ironic that the doctrine is so often attacked by the Church today and so often defended by the State, at least in the West.
As promised, here is some of the email I got about the military;

Charles Tupper corrected me about my perception of strong public support for the military.

It was February, 1989, Japan's Emperor Hirohito died. It was a big occasion attended by many luminaries. Canada sent John Crosbie as its representative. He refused to visit the Yokohama British Commonwealth War Cemetery in Japan where Canadian POWs from HongKong were buried. It was about the same time the Mulroney gang were working out a compensation package for Japanese-Canadians displaced during WW2. The same old beaver in the same old pond. To his credit the only one with balls enough to visit the grave sites was the Duke of Edinburgh. A lot of good Brits buried in that hole.

Canadian vets of Hong Kong have never seen a red nickel, in compensation, from the Japs; not even a whisper of an apology. Worse thing is that when things was over, our visionary PM, Mackenzie King, sat in Ottawa rubbing his orb and talkin' to his ol' Mom, never gave a good goddamn. The Yanks sent the ship that picked up our boys. God bless 'em.


I guess you got me there, Chuck. The only defence I can offer is that the Canadian people have always seemed to support the military, the fact that governments so often don't reflect that support is a knock against governments. Still, my horrid level of historical knowledge is revealed again. Damien Penny pointed out an excellent analysis of the recent moves by DND on Bruce Rolston's site. After reading it, I've decided to swear off military punditry for a while.



A Prose Poem by Howard Wilson


"We knew nothing about the basis under which ..."

"... we were completely unaware."

"We run into this quite frequently."

"We talk to constituency offices all the time,"

"watching this matter with great interest,"

"I'm still reading the material,"

"I'm not sure the degree in which it fits with respect to the conflict-of-interest code."

"would be premature,"

"I didn't have the expectation that this was going to be top-of-mind stuff."

"Quite frankly, in the intervening period, I didn't press."

"... we were completely unaware."
Here's another, more balanced story about Canada's suspicion of the U.S. Immigration Office.

The document is proof, U.S. officials say, that Canada was wrong to allege U.S. Immigration agents violated the Vienna Convention by failing to offer Mr. Baloch his right to contact Canadian officials.

"This is documentary evidence that the assertions of the Canadian government are incorrect," Christopher Lamora, a U.S. State Department spokesman, said.


A Canadian Foreign Affairs spokesman says...

"We are satisfied by the response, and we are satisfied by the fact that the whole matter is settled, and that the judicial process is going its own way in the United States," Mr. Doiron said.

"I would surmise and guess that the next time [Mr. Baloch] is visited [by Canadian consular officials], that he would be asked to explain about the contradiction, and his statement" that U.S. officials denied him consular access.


How about an apology from Foreign Affairs on behalf of the Canadian people? You had no problem in publicly questioning the truthfulness of the American officials. You did so in the name of the Canadian people. Where is your equally public apology?

Privately, however, U.S. officials have expressed frustration at Canada's decision to make the matter public before giving U.S. officials a chance to formally respond to Foreign Affairs' questions about Mr. Baloch.

Mr. Baloch's case has been shrouded in mystery since news of his detention surfaced on Jan. 2. U.S. officials say Mr. Baloch was deported from the country on one other occasion after being arrested for living there illegally. He was charged last Friday with using fraudulent documents and illegally re-entering the United States.


Of course, even when the Foreign Affairs department backs down, we have freelance idiots who still are certain that Mr. Baloch is the victim here...

But Stefanie Gude, an immigration case worker with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, said the United States should have contacted Canada regardless of Mr. Baloch's waiving of his right to consular access. "Just because he signed it doesn't mean that they no longer have the responsibility" to notify Canadian officials, she said.

How condescending can you get? Mr. Baloch can not be trusted with something so important as his own rights apparently.

1/09/2002

I linked this story yesterday but I got distracted. U.S. out to prove Canadian legally held. Now I forget exactly what I had intended to say about it. Probably something about the standard of proof we require from our Prime Minister (a 'sales agreement' presented on a scrap of toilet paper) contrasted to the standard we demand of our very best friend, the American government, when they are accused of wrongdoing by an illegal immigrant. This writer, showing an incredible standard of objectivity, is grudgingly willing to concede that the Americans did not deny this guy his right to consular access. But that's no reason to refrain from a little America-bashing and a little more stroking of the 'victim'.

President George W. Bush had a similar run-in with Canada over consular access when he was governor of Texas. In that case, Canada tried the same argument in a failed bid to save the life of convicted killer Stanley Faulder. Faulder was executed in Texas in June 1999 after Bush suggested the failure to provide the onetime Alberta mechanic with consular help did not have an impact on his guilt or innocence.

"That mean old George Bush killed our onetime Alberta mechanic."

Baloch was studying to obtain a taxi-driver's licence when he was arrested Sept. 20 on suspicion of being illegally in the United States.

A suspicion that turned out to be true, as it turns out.

Baloch is the son of a prominent Pakistani politician. He worked in Pakistan as a doctor, providing care in communities where patients were usually too poor to pay.

Why the man is practically a saint!

He and wife, Fahera, moved to Canada in 1987 and their daughter was born a year later. When their child was diagnosed with diabetes, Baloch decided he could earn more money for her care by becoming an ultrasound technician.

A saint with a sick child!

He moved to the United States to improve his medical skills at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City.

Baloch apparently travelled frequently between Canada and the United States. But when he passed through the United States on his way to Canada after a trip to England in March, he was stopped by U.S. immigration officials who determined he was living and working illegally in that country.

They barred his re-entry to the country. Baroch said he knew nothing about the ban. He later entered the United States through Niagara Falls, N.Y., without incident.


Oh well, it's hardly even illegal if you've got away with it in the past, is it?

This is the kind of crap that that infuriates and embarrasses me as a Canadian. We're so anxious to believe the worst of the Americans and so willing to apply the lowest of standards to ourselves and our leaders. Why? Because they are the Americans and we are the Canadians and everyone knows that 'Canadian' is equivalent to 'virtuous' and 'American' is equivalent to 'evil'. When will this country grow out of this sullen, immature, resentment of America?

Most of the criticisms I've seen of the Proportional Representation voting model center around the fact that too much power would rest with the party apparatus. There would be a transfer of power from the voting public to the backrooms of the political parties is the argument made and it seems a valid one to me. One possible solution would be to organize the system so that the 'proportional' members elected must be those candidates who, while losing their FPTP contest, received the best margin of support among all second place (or even third place) finishers. This would serve two purposes; it would eliminate the problem of party bosses choosing MPs and it would encourage fuller participation by voters in all ridings, even those ridings where one candidate is considered a 'lock' in the FPTP system. Voters would still have an incentive to participate because they can still exert some influence on the proportional component. Every vote would count 'in practice' as well as in theory.
More thoughts about Blogging.

I think the thing that is exciting about Blogging is that it is an actual realization of the 'hivemind' concept. It's widely-dispersed, fast-flowing, and extremely (even brutally) efficient at self-correction. It's like a computer simulation of evolution brought to life - people who are interested in Memes and Evolutionary Theory could hardly conceive of a better experiment. In fact, it's not even an experiment, it is memetic evolution made visible. More later...
Glenn Reynolds, the Godfather of Blog, writes about Blogging and Media at TechCentral. Reynolds warns the big media...

Beware the people who are having fun competing with you! Nonetheless, weblogs are not likely to mark the end of traditional media, any more than Martin Luther marked the end of the Popes. Yet the Reformation did mark an end to the notion of unchallenged papal authority, and it seems likely that the weblog phenomenon marks the beginning of the end to the tremendous power wielded by Big Media in recent years. Tens of thousands of Americans who were once in awe of the punditocracy now realize that anyone can do this stuff – and that many unknowns can do it better than the lords of the profession.

With all due respect to the Don, I think there's a danger that Bloggers may start taking themselves a little too seriously. All of these Blogs may be very exciting and influential among the participants, but I doubt that we've got any big-time Pundits shaking in their boots just yet. I'd love to be proven wrong, though.
It's past time to actually tackle the issue of military readiness. I've had quite a bit of e-mail on the topic and I do appreciate the information. Charles Tupper sent me a link to this report from the Conference of Defence Associations Institute. (You might want to right-click and save that link - it's another bulky PDF document) While this report is the most directly applicable to the question, it's also open to charges of bias. I suspect that this report may have been a large part of the "Lobbyists" accusation made by PM in his year-end interviews. Not that I'm excusing Chretien for that ridiculous statement or anything, just that even reasonable people could conclude that the CDA-CDAI folks have an ax to grind. Having said that; even this report concludes that the shortfall is more in personnel rather than equipment. Even then, quite valid warnings are given about the looming 'rust-out' problem which requires new planning and new spending today to forestall a serious problem in the future.

That basic conclusion - shortage of properly trained people rather than a shortage of material + expectation of material shortages in the near term (5 - 10 years) - seems to be the bottom line in both the AG's report and in the excellent Bercusson Report .

The most serious difficulty that the Canadian Forces must overcome, however, has attracted little public attention. It is that the Canadian army is far from ready to be committed to a combat mission. This was pointed out by former CDS General Jean Boyle and is indicated in the May 1996 Report of the Auditor General to the House of Commons, Chapter 7 (National Defence) which points to major training deficiencies in the army.

It's not a pretty picture by any means, and the Liberal complacency is alarming, but neither is it quite as bleak a picture as some critics would have us believe. I'll post some of the comments I received in e-mail in a subsequent entry.


Looks like Gagliano is in the juice but good this time.

Ottawa — Public Works Minister Alfonso Gagliano and members of his staff repeatedly tried to obtain jobs for friends and sway the commercial dealings of Canada Lands Co., the former chairman of the agency has told The Globe and Mail.

Jon Grant, a veteran of private-sector boardrooms and the current chairman of Laurentian Bank of Canada, said he was appalled by the political interference he witnessed during his six years at the Crown corporation.

While allegations of patronage have been swirling around Mr. Gagliano for years, Mr. Grant is the first person from the inside to denounce publicly the practices at Public Works.


Ouch! - That one's gonna leave a mark.

A cynic might question the timing of this revelation though. The cabinet shuffle is all but officially announced and Hugh Winsor, the Globe's political heavyweight, has had a chance to pull the knife from Gagliano's back, sharpen it up, and plunge it back in again. Is this a case of the weakest link being cannibalized by the Liberals? Gagliano seems to think so.

1/08/2002

The Hill Times, not to be outdone by PunditMag, has released it's Greatest Grits: 2001 Collection. This poll surveyed MPs only and it's kind of interesting to compare the Hill Times results with PunditMag's survey of regular folks.

First of all, PunditMag wins the presentation battle hands down.

The HT (Hill Times) has an MVP (Most Valuable Politician) Category - Good Idea. The MVP, with 21% of the vote, is John Manley who did not appear in the PM (PunditMag) 'Pol of the Year' Category. Manley dominated the PM 'Liberal of the Year' category though, taking 45% of the vote to Martin's 26% and Chretien's 13%. So Manley is looking pretty strong among both the Pols and the Public and I'd better learn the proper spelling of Manley if I want to continue in this gig. (You have no idea how many corrections I do)

The thing about the HT poll is that partisanship played a big role. Even though names appear to have been protected many respondents were pretty judicious in their replies. The breakdown of respondents: 42 Liberal, 23 Canadian Alliance, nine Tory, seven NDP, five Bloc, and four Democratic Representative Caucus MPs participated.

The Liberals, as usual, were too cowed and/or instinctively sycophantic to break ranks even for a moment. Wouldn't be prudent, I guess.

No fewer than 20 different Liberal MPs got votes. [In the HT Up & Comer category] One Liberal commenting on his caucus, who could not settle on an answer after a long pause, summed it up best: "There are a number of up and comers and all are worthy of being recognized." { Insert loo-oong sucking sound here }

This whole category was pretty much a vote on party lines - probably not worth repeating unless you can get all the respondents drunk next year.

Stockwell took both the PM "Most Disappointing" Category and the HT "Least Valuable" Category - Stock got 50% of the PM vote but only 22% of the HT vote - reflecting again the tendency of politicians to act like politicians.

Hedy Fry topped the list as "Most Disappointing" in both polls but Rob Anders beat her handily in the PM 'Ugliest Moment" Category.

Both polls were fun to read but the Hill Times had more catty comments so I have to give it the edge in the Political Poll category. But there are no losers here... you both win the same, priceless endorsement from THE HELLHOLE.

I have been looking for info on the Canadian Forces state of readiness but it's hard to get a firm grasp on the truth of the matter. There is certainly a perception that the troops are ill-equipped but the basis of that perception is hard to find. I will do a proper post on this topic soon. There is actually an excess of information out there. It's the job of sorting it all that's kept me bogged down.
What the hell is the deal with Larry Zolf ? This guy is really whacked as far as I can see. I didn't even know who he was until a couple of weeks ago and now he's got me waxing nostalgic for that blissful ignorance.

Zolf starts out - as he always starts out - four or five generations back. In this instance it's stories about Arthur Meighen and his horrid Anglo bigotry.

In 1925 Arthur Meighen, a Western businessman, had won more seats than Mackenzie King. Meighen was Anglo and pro-British to the core and delighted Bay Street with his labour-, ethnic- and Quebec-bashing.

What a subtle and slimy smear; pick a lesser-known historical figure, accuse him of all manner of grievous sins and then wrap your newly muddied ghost around the real target, Stockwell Day.

These days Stockwell Day is running again for the Alliance leadership. Day has behind him the same pro-life forces that enabled him to defeat Preston Manning, the Alliance founder. This time Day also has homeland politics going for him. Day is ferociously 100% pro-American and sees the Liberals as weak jellyfish in the new game of homeland politics.

You see how it's done? Zolf implies (but doesn't state) that Stockwell Day is anti-labour, anti-ethnic- and Anti-Quebec. Any of those charges, if made against Day, would have to be justified. But make them against Day's long-dead predecessor and you don't even have to make that token effort. It's the lazy man's way to smear.

Day and the Canadian Right are gleefully noting our planes were missing key parts in Kosovo. Helicopters were barely able to get off the ground and our troops seemed never to be placed in dangerous combat zones.

Here's another technique of dishonesty; Zolf's first two items are undisputed facts and his complaint is that Day is 'gleeful' in remarking on them. But the third complaint - that Day is complaining about our troops not being endangered - is simply an insulting opinion, backed by nothing (no quotes, no facts) and is simply appended to the previous facts as if all three statements are equally valid. Oh Duplicity!

Now comes the real gist of the piece - four consecutive paragraphs of Day- bashing. Count em.

Day is also convinced that he can play homeland politics and still be able to play useful ethnic games as well. Day's championing of Israel and the Canadian Jewish vote is interesting. So is Day's belief that when homeland politics is pro-American politics then it's also pro-Quebec politics, for Quebec loves the Americans.

Unsupported and absurd.

Day is a veritable America firster. No other Canadian politician ever has been as eager to say "ready aye ready" to the American homeland. Even before September 11, Day became the first Canadian politician to prostrate himself upon Bush's national missile defence shield.

Another specious comparison to Arthur Meighen.

Day wants anti-terrorism legislation that is tougher than George Bush's and certainly tougher than Jean Chrétien's. Day wants refugees to become an extinct species in Canada. Day wants one army and one people in one common Canadian-American homeland.

The comment about refugees is an outrageous accusation and the rest of the paragraph is simply hysterical blatting.

Day senses that his "the Yanks are coming" brand of politics will resonate in Western Canada and in all rural parts of the country. Day also notes that September 11 made all Canadians aware that only one homeland, the U.S.A., could seriously defend Westerners, Quebecers and rural Canadians from the September 11 terror playing itself out in our backyard.

Of course that's true. I guess even an obvious truth is suspect if it comes from the mouth of Stockwell Day. The more interesting question is what Zolf is recommending for the defence of urban Ontario? Since he is so certain that Day is pandering to all those idiots who don't live in southern Ontario, what position is he taking on the Canadian military response on behalf of his socio-economic class? What a fraud this guy is...

And don't forget - you're paying him very well for this excrement.

There's more:

On the surface, Day is looking good, Chrétien a bit feeble. Chrétien has refused to call Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat a terrorist. Chrétien has refused the "ready aye ready" cry of Canadian media warriors and armchair military critics to plunge Canadian troops into Afghanistan combat.

Gee Larry, events seem to have overtaken you. The Chretien Liberals just passed on the chance at a limited role in the peacekeeping force (too little visibility) for a much more prestigious (and dangerous) role KILLING FOLKS shoulder-to-shoulder with their good buddy, America.
Of course, you'd simply respond that Chretien was making concessions to the criticism of those armchair critics and I'd even agree with you. But where you believe (isn't it fun to have people tell you what you believe) that the pressure is forcing Chretien's hand, I say that his culpability is increased if he's buckling under political pressure. Day would send the military into harms way based on his (wrong-headed?) beliefs. Your man sends them into harm's way for political expedience.

Zolf then draws more parallels between Diefenbaker/Chretien and Pearson/Day...

Pearson was the forerunner of Stockwell Day and the Alliance playing of the American card. Pearson won his gamble. Stockwell Day could win his too. Still, Chrétien has one card left to play. That card is Stockwell Day.

The fear and loathing of Day in the land is deep and widespread.


Well, even a blind pig finds an acorn now and again. Day is a spent force in Canada as far as I can tell, but it was dishonest and dishonourable behaviour by the 'media elites', as represented here by Larry Zolf, that started the sabotage far in advance of Day's self-destruction. I think Zolf ought to be hung out to dry but I'm not holding my breath. He's a complete hack, boring and self-involved at his least offensive, pointless on his better days, and a model propagandist when he can occasionally rouse himself. Check out his collected works sometime if you're so inclined - I really liked the column about big noses.

Your tax dollars at work, people.

There is more to the column but I'll leave it alone... It's obvious that Zolf wrote it before Chretien committed the Forces to the American mission. I like pounding on this guy but I do have a conscience after all.

SHIT! Rod Bryden has sold the Senators to a Consortium of limited Partners...

The team will remain in Ottawa under the ownership of a new group of investors. Bryden said the new limited partnership would be done via a private placement via Triax Capital Holdings Ltd., a mutual fund investment group, and Norfolk Capital partners. Both are based in Toronto.

Each of the new shares are worth $150,000. Bryden said he thought there were about 1,300 available.

"It's a sound financial transaction for the buyer," Bryden told a news conference.

"This is very reassuring news," he said, saying the move will mean stability for the franchise.


Apparently Bryden will stay on to run the team and will retain an option to buy it back in the future. He's making all the right noises about the team staying in Ottawa but I'm still pretty concerned about the long-term outlook. What happens if the partnerships don't sell or if they can only be sold at a discount?
PunditMag has the results of it's SECOND ANNUAL PUNDITMAG.COM YEAR-END READERS' SURVEY posted. Some interesting results, Chretien's Shawinigan (Begin agin) follies was the number two political story of the year behind the Alliance defections. Chretien came second to Joe Clark as Politician of the year but he came third as Liberal Politician of the year. That's okay, Stockwell Day came in third as Alliance/DRC Politician of the year as well. And poor Alexa McDonough came fourth in her category. Lot's of other interesting results (including my favourite thing - Tobin bashing) over there.

Oh! One more thing.

The person chosen as most deserving of promotion was John McCallum- the latest Liberal ringer and former big bank Economist. Can anyone explain why this guy is deserving of promotion without making reference to the calibre of the stiffs he might conceivably replace? Does he really have anything to recommend him other than the fact that he hasn't been a Liberal MP for long?

My First Ever & Last Ever "Royals" Item


Prince William's 'four-letter fury'

The thing about the Royals is that I just don't care about them. I only included this item this morning because Prince William's shaky grasp of profane syntax - Fucking Piss Off? - reminded me of some long ago National Lampoon primer on proper swearing. One of the 'incorrect' examples given was ' Eat a bowl of fuck!'

They do call it 'the King's English' but I think the young Prince could stand a little remedial cursing instruction.

1/07/2002

Sens beat Leafs 4-3


In other news; Stockwell Day announces his bid for the Alliance leadership - no one in Ontario sees it.
If you're in the Ottawa area you can listen to Stephen Kimber on CFRA 580 AM right now on the Michael Harris show. Here's a link for those with the capability to listen online. He's just reported that a second Halifax reporter has resigned after having a column 'spiked'.
If you're in the Ottawa area you can listen to Stephen Kimber on CFRA 580 AM right now on the Michael Harris show. Here's a link for those with the capability to listen online. He's just reported that a second Halifax reporter has resigned after having a column 'spiked'.
I'm just getting started on a bit of research on the actual state of the Canadian Military in an attempt to give some factual answer to Tom Roberts. Almost immediately, I came across this article by Scott Taylor who is probably the lead Military commentator in Canada today and the driving force behind esprit de corps magazine. This piece addresses some of the causes of confusion among the Canadian people as amply demonstrated by yours truly.
Paul Wells looks forward to 2002 and beyond...

The big political debates of the next decade start here: Just as the looming debt occupied the Prime Minister, left, in 1995, the struggle to make our sovereignty meaningful should animate Jean Chrétien's last years in office. And the gaffes of Immigration Minister Elinor Caplan, centre, and Transport Minister David Collenette this year indicate some reshuffling is needed.

The unofficial official announcement of that cabinet shuffle has been made today by Joan Bryden.

Lots of good commentary in the Wells piece though I'd take issue with the obligatory call for capital-gains tax cuts if I had more time. Impressive note-taking in the piece by Bryden.

When Bad Things Happen to Good Liberals



Apparently an Australian shipping union has come up with a concrete proposal to settle a dispute with Paul Martin's Canada Steamship Lines.

The cement cargo of a ship owned by Paul Martin, the Finance Minister, is rapidly solidifying after water leaked into the hold in what may be part of a nasty labour dispute with an Australian shipping union.

No link has yet been established between the union fight and the opening of a hydrant that allowed sea water to flood into a hold of the Yarra as it carried 700 tonnes of cement between Brisbane and Adelaide. But CSL's Australian management has called in federal police over the incident.

The ship is "turning into a nice big concrete block," Chris Sorenson, CSL managing director for Australia, was quoted in a local newspaper as saying. He would not elaborate on the amount of damage, but the ship was nowhere near cargo capacity when the incident happened.


It seems that the ship is in no danger of sinking but there's going to be a whole lot of jackhammering going on come offloading time.

The Organization for Economic Development and Co-operation estimated in a 1996 report that owners of the world's more than 16,000 flags-of-convenience ships save about US$700,000 per year per vessel by avoiding the taxes, health and safety regulations and higher wages they would be forced to pay their crews under the rules of their own countries.

Bad karma, man.






The Globe and Mail has an edited version of that final column by Stephen Kimber. It's easier to read than what I linked the other day.

1/06/2002

Added a few new links to the left; Warren Kinsella responded to my recent bashing with far more good humour than I would have expected. If you'll recall, I was expecting the writs to be flying ( Warren has been described as the Jackie Chan of litigation, just now, by me) so I feel that I've gotten off pretty lightly with only the link as punishment. The circ.ca site is an example of big-government waste but, what the hell, it's already there and we're all paying for it, and it is a pretty good source for news. I still don't approve, you understand, I'm just practicing that 'serenity' thing. Happy Fun Pundit is a new blog that seems pretty good. I was already well-disposed towards the name but quoting Tom Waits spells instant credibility to me.
Offered without comment...

Angry Relatives question priorities of health officials.