4/12/2002

Globe & Mail Truth Watch

Two quick observations this morning.

The Globe headlines a story like this; Alliance MP defends antigay remark

I watched the interview that this story is based on... the headline is simply untrue. John Reynolds did not defend any antigay remarks, he said that he hadn't heard any anti-gay remarks and that there had been no complaint about anti-gay remarks in the House of Commons. The Globe's own story does not back up the headline;
Canadian Alliance interim leader John Reynolds defended fellow Alliance MP Cheryl Gallant for antigay comments she made in the House of Commons this week, saying they were "not an issue."

"I didn't hear it. If the Speaker doesn't hear it, and nobody complains about it, it doesn't happen. There's no issue in this," Mr. Reynolds told reporters Thursday outside the House of Commons.


The remark that Gallant allegedly made was " Ask your boyfriend." The comment was reportedly directed at Bill Graham. There is nothing in Hansard and Mr. Graham has not mentioned it. Svend Robinson, of course, is blowing a gasket (he had one gasket left after his visit to the Middle East.) So what's the story? How does a denial of the remarks (which is what Reynolds offered) morph into a defence of the remarks? The rest of the story is a boilerplate smear of the intolerant Alliance and then it changes into a puff piece for Alan Rock. Apparently a sense of focus is no longer required to write for Canada's national newspaper. Either that or they were trying to cover all the bases on the Homosexuality front in a single piece. Tip to the Globe; if you have to choose between efficiency and coherence - go with coherence. Newsprint can't be that expensive.

You have to wonder what editorial decisions went into this story. "Hey Allison! Gimme 12 inches on the Boyfriend thing. Oh! and stick in this other thing about the Prom Queen. It'll be a sort-of 'queer catchall piece.' Oh! Don't forget to mention any other confirmed or alleged homosexuals on Parliament Hill. Just stick that in at the end under some pretence or another. And for god sakes don't forget to stress how homophobic the Alliance is. Don't be shy about a misleading headline if you think it'll help our readers feel superior."

Okay so that was not quite as quick a hit as I had intended...

This one will be brief.

In a story about Chretiens vanity planes is the following line;

The four Challengers now in use are 19 years old and have reportedly experienced serious problems in the past year.

My question, what problems? where are the reports? who is claiming that there have been serious problems?

This is the kind of assertion that simply screams out for some support but none is offered. Why?





Where will Jean Carle turn up next?

Here's a fun little recap of the career of Jean Carle up to this point. Seems like Mr. Carle is not exactly a million laughs. I'm going to head over to Frank magazine and see if there is any vicious gossip being disseminated.


4/11/2002

Does anybody else miss Richard Nixon?

Here's a nostalgic little quiz for you.

Pennywise and Poundstupid



A Canadian delegation, on an official tour of Africa, went to the village of Garamoye yesterday to draw the first drops of water from one of the new pumps.

Canadian and Ethiopian officials had prepared a colourful inauguration, featuring village children, elders and dignitaries. Dozens of little paper Canadian flags were given to children to wave for the cameras.

Everything was in place when the Canadian delegation of MPs and other senior federal officials arrived. The children had formed two ceremonial rows leading to the main stage, singing and waving their Maple Leaves.

But an hour later, after the well was unveiled and the dignitaries were gone, Canadian embassy officials took back the flags, one by one. They were needed for another event with Prime Minister Jean Chrétien today in Addis Ababa.


Apparently Jean has been stung by recent criticisms of his free-spending ways. Think of the amount of callousness involved here; you give these children, some of the most impoverished in the world, some small, colourful souvenir of an event that is very likely the most exotic thing they have ever experienced. You line them all up in a ceremony that smacks of exploitation and racism, snap a few photos for Chretien's retirement stroke-book, and then pluck back the worthless trinkets from the rubes so that you can use them again for your next hit.

It's a small thing, a pathetically small thing, but it says so much about the attitude of Chretien and his culture. Everyone and everything is just a prop, nothing exists except for your convenience, right and wrong do not exist - there's only good optics and bad optics.

Scum - they are scum.

When the Laughter Ends...

Jean Carle, a former aide to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, is leaving his job as executive vice-president of the Just For Laughs entertainment company in Montreal. A news release from the company said Mr. Carle, a former director of operations for Mr. Chrétien and onetime senior vice-president of the Business Development Bank of Canada, was leaving for personal reasons.

Paul Martin, while insisting that there is no conflict of interest, is returning a $25,000 cheque to Trans-Alta.
Howard Wilson, the Prime Minister's ethics counsellor, said Wednesday that Mr. Martin's fundraiser, Jim Palmer, had called to advise him that he is in the process of returning the cheque to Calgary-based TransAlta Corp.

Tip to Paul Martin. If you want to be the grand pooh-bah you have to learn the lessons of your master Jean Chretien.

Jean Chretien: "You never, ever, ever, admit there is a problem. Never back down, never apologize, never explain. The Canadian people are sheep who will gladly eat mud but only as long as you never waver in your insistence that the mud is chocolate. It's obvious that Martin still doesn't understand the nature of sheep. It's not that sheep can't think it's just that they would rather not if they can help it. That's why it is always a mistake to make a concession to appearances, you are forcing the sheep to think.

You can lie to sheep until your very teeth rot from exposure to the toxins you spew and they will lap it up quietly and ask you for more. But if you change your story then you are forcing the sheep to think, they really hate that. They may not stampede and trample you (they are sheep after all) but they may decide to follow some other Shepard and then you'll be a leader without a flock. Kinda like Joe Clark. BWAAHHAAHHAAHA!!!"


4/10/2002

I'm listening to talk radio while I work this afternoon. It's a bad habit that I've fallen into... This item won't mean much to anyone outside of the Ottawa area but I have to write it down before I bite my own tongue. Michael Harris, the afternoon host on CFRA, is an apologist for terrorists and a fool to boot. The other day I heard him quote approvingly from an opinion piece by Pat Buchanan saying, 'this man is no anti-Semite.' Excuse me Michael? Are you talking about the same Pat Buchanan who called Capitol Hill "Israeli-occupied territory?" The Pat Buchanan who has expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and questioned the veracity of the Holocaust?

Anyway, that's not what's got me ticked off today. Every time that people make a point in favour of Israel's actions in the current conflict Harris starts in with his fuzzifying, obfuscating crap about how it is 'unproductive' to talk about historical grievances, how we should 'forget sequencing' and 'turn the page.' He claims that death threats against Lowell Green, another talk-show host, are the product of 'frustration,' and '... not just hatred.' Over and over and over again he harps on the injustices inflicted on the Palestinians (no interest in turning that page, eh Michael?) and excuses suicide bombings with cries of 'desperation, hopelessness and despair.' All Israeli violence is evil and abhorrent, all Palestinian violence is 'evil but...'

I swear this guy is pissing me off.
David Artemiw writes about the NDP's skewed worldview. David Janes & Damian have also commented on this item. The article that sparked this gang-debunking reports that Alexa McDonough wants to impose sanctions against Israel and calls Israeli military action 'terrorism'
NDP Leader Alexa McDonough equated Israeli military policy with terrorism Tuesday, while foreign affairs critic Svend Robinson went even further, accusing Israeli troops of torture and murder in their operations in Palestinian territory.


Poor Bill Blaikie. You have to wonder how the guy manages to contain his embarrassment sometimes. It' must be tough for a principled leftist to be smeared by association with the likes of McDonough and Robinson. Blaikie's comments during the emergency debate last night were a small gem of common sense in a sea of utter foolishness. It is hard to excerpt from it because it is all so sensible.
Israelis have a right to ask that this history of trying to eliminate them be repudiated. If they are going to give up land which they acquired in wars of self-defence, the land in the West Bank and Gaza that we refer to as the occupied territories and much of which was already ceded in recent years from various aspects of the peace process, then they have a right to ask that there be zero tolerance for rejection of Israel's right to exist and zero tolerance for the promotion of hatred against Israel and against Jews.

It cannot be a question of land for false peace or tactical or temporary peace. It has to be a question of real peace being offered for the return of land by a people who have a right to fear the consequences of returning to pre-1967 boundaries without a peace in which they can have confidence.

The Palestinian people are victims also. They are victims of the original miscalculation by the Arab world when Israel was created, especially those who left what was Israel on the basis that they would soon return after the elimination of Israel. Those who are refugees because of what happened at that time and who have lived as refugees for generations now have a right to be depressed, distraught and distressed about the situation. I can try to understand their feelings toward Israel which appears to be the immediate cause of their miserable historical fate.


I urge people to read the whole speech, there are points that can be argued but it seems a pretty fair encapsulation of the situation.

In stark contrast we have Svend Robinson, Misery Leech, and his considered opinions
I have been accused of taking sides in this tragic dispute. I want to say yes, I plead guilty. I have taken sides. I take the side of life over death. I take the side of peace over war. I take the side of the oppressed over the oppressor. I take the side of justice over dehumanization and tyranny.


A couple of other speechs that stood out from the crowd;

Stock Day did pretty well in his new role as Foreign Affairs Critic.
From the comfort of North America we can criticize the Israeli response and wish that it had been more restrained or that Israel had waited longer for diplomatic and political solutions, but we must consider the incredible pressure that the nation of Israel is under from these brutal, suicidal terrorist attacks on innocent civilians.

It is interesting to note that at this very moment Canadian soldiers are in the field helping to root out the terrorist cells of al-Qaeda in the mountains of Afghanistan. We are present in that conflict thousands of miles from here in response to other terrorist suicide bombings, in response to the deliberate crashing of airplanes into the world trade towers and into the Pentagon, attacks in which thousands of civilians, including Canadians, were murdered.

Therefore some are asking a difficult question. They are asking the following. If the events of September 11 justify Canadian, American, British and other allied nations invading a country thousands of miles away to root out terrorists, how are the Israelis supposed to respond to these ongoing murderous terrorist threats right on their borders, a few scant miles from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem?


Reading over the debates I have to admit that I am often impressed with the honesty and thoughtfulness of many of our MP's (glaring exceptions noted.)
What a bloody shame that the PMO won't allow them to govern the country.

4/09/2002

Acceptable Losses

My Sens tried to stage a rally in the third period tonight but the fell to the Canadiens. That's okay. Saku Koivu, cancer survivor and team captain, made his amazing comeback tonight and Montreal's win clinched them a play-off spot. The timing could not be better.

Hey 10,000 Hits!!!

I was so busy getting together the prize package that I forgot to announce the contest. Sometime around 10 a.m. EST today, this Fresh Hell had it's 10,000th visit. Thanks very much for dropping in, whoever you were. I'm very, very sorry about the prize package, I really have to get more organized.

I had arranged a weekend getaway prize package for my 10,000th visitor but the event just kind of snuck up on me. It was a great package too. An All-expenses trip to the Renfrew Quality Inn from anywhere in Canada or the U.S. Two nights in the Mayor's suite with free continental breakfast in the Tiki Taki Hawaiian Luau Lounge. One liter of this year's vintage maple syrup. His n' Hers matching Rooots Brand O'lympik** Souvenir Track Suits. A selection of edible undergarments from Rude Rudy's Shack o' Love. A $30.00 gift certificate from the Cobden Bowling & Country Club and (C$)112.00 in spending money.

** Not affiliated with Roots Canada Inc. under penalty of law.

I guess I'll have to arrange something for my 20,000th visit. I promise to get my shit together and organize the thing properly next time.

Thanks to everyone who's been dropping in. I do appreciate the traffic and the mail.


Not surprised but saddened a little...

Put those pipedreams away. The right will stay divided.

Most of the pundits seem to agree that the dissidents will jump the fence back to Team Harper and poor old Joe (why can I not help but sympathize with that sad old goat?) is standing in the parking lot at 2 a.m. watching his prom date drive off in a flashy sportscar. He sighs in his long-suffering way, turns to his reliable old Rambler, and finds he's locked himself out again.

4/08/2002

An amusing little story from the Hill Times.
So, just how hated is Brian Tobin in his native province?

Very much so, judging from the results of a contest put on by St. John's CBC Radio One which asked listeners last month to come up with possible titles for Captain Canada's upcoming memoirs.

Causing the radio's switchboard to light up like the First of July, up to 160 irate Newfs called in to give their two-cents. All painted the former industry minister as a self-centred, egomaniac who never did much of anything good for his home province.

"Not one of [the responses] was complimentary," said one of the producers of The Morning Show, the program which aired the results on March 21. "It was amazing. We've never had a response like that. Not one of them wasn't some kind of backhanded... well, backhand."

The big winner proved to be Sleazy Come, Sleazy Go, a sly reference to Tobin's decision to abandon his post as premier of Newfoundland half way through his second mandate so that he could pursue leadership aspirations in Ottawa.

Honourable mention went to Shameless and Lipservice, which placed second and third respectively.

I wonder if anyone submitted The Family Man ?

A good editorial in the National Post today. I know I said I was going to get back to Canadian politics but the mind wanders where it will...

The Post apparently surveyed the Canadian political parties about their stand on the Israeli conflict and got some interesting responses.
The most perplexing and troubling answer on civilian deaths, though, may have been come from the ruling Liberals. Civilian deaths of any kind, the PMO replied, were "not justifiable." This answer impugns the morality of our own Armed Forces' involvement in the war against al Qaeda in Afghanistan -- where, as in every conflict in modern history, a great many civilians have been accidentally killed. The answer is also naive as a matter of law: According to international conventions, attackers who hide among civilians, as Palestinian gunmen do, are generally responsible should civilians be killed when their enemies counterattack.

It seems to me that far too many people simply support the underdog unthinkingly. They see the Palestinians throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails against Israel with it's tanks and gunships and they automatically conclude that Israel is in the wrong and the Palestinians are in the right. How could it be otherwise? Strength = corruption and weakness = virtue, doesn't it? The fact is that Israel is both stronger and more justified and that simply doesn't mesh with the worldview of those who 'fight the power' as some kind of fashion statement.



Rick Glasel sent some comments on the Alliance and my call for the return of the DRC dissidents...

Of all the scenarios I can think of, the best for Chuck and Deb is to play this coalition gig right up to the next election. It gives the two rebels more impact and more publicity if they don't consummate the courtship until the very end. If the Alliance dies in the meantime, Chuck and Deb are off the hook with any diehard Alliance supporters in their constituencies, since they stayed out of the PC bed until there was no alternative. If Harper leads the Alliance to the Promised Land, then the two former stars will be able to rejoin the flock. If the Alliance party refuses to take them back, it's because the party still has its head stuck in its butt and they will really look like idiots if they run candidates against Strahl and Gray. Both of them have strong support in their ridings, and today's Alliance party would never be able to defeat them. Actually, if I was Deb Gray, I would be more concerned about losing to a Liberal candidate. If the Liberals take a run at any of the DRC, the individual MP's need to keep their options open, and only pick a side when it becomes obvious where the votes are.


That kind of pragmatism could get you labelled as a Liberal, Rick. Just kidding. You make a good point but I think that sitting on the fence waiting to see which way the wind is going to blow is not the kind of leadership that people expect from people like Gray and Strahl. There's a time to sit in the bush and there's a time to use your influence - I think that Gray and Strahl (and isn't it funny that I can hardly remember the names of the other dissidents?) need to commit. I thought Strahl's 'Dear Joe' letter was a silly move but an indication that he was going back to the Alliance. Apparently not. At least not yet, anyway.

The public is bored with the whole thing, right across the country. If you ignore the Alliance faithful, who are still fighting among themselves even after the leadership vote, no one is getting worked up about what's happening in the Alliance party. It's a long time until the next election, so why would anyone put their money on a horse that might not be in the race in 2004? When in doubt, wait. I'm waiting for Clark to gently push a few of Harper's hot buttons in the upcoming unite-the-right meetings, and then sit back and see how much damage Harper does to the Alliance party. Don't expect a lot of dramatic activity in the meantime. I think it's already a given that the Tories are going to concede their rule about running 301 candidates, after all, it was Joe Clark who insisted on it anyway, and the Alliance are still trying to remember what it was like when they were taken seriously by voters in the West. Hopefully we will see some opposition members grab the spotlight and do something useful with it, but if the opposition can't generate any heat, maybe the implosion of the Liberal party will set off a few fireworks.


That's a cheery thought. I'll be posting a few items about the woes of the Liberals in a couple of minutes. You sure know how to cheer a guy up. Liberal-bashing, is there anything more satisfying?


I've done very limited posting in recent weeks because my main concern, Canadian political happenings, have looked pretty small and unimportant compared to what is going on in the Middle East. I've been doing a lot of reading and a little debating about the topic but I think a person could study the issue for years and still not feel qualified to comment. Besides, there are more than enough people pontificating on that topic, so I've been pretty quiet. Having said all that, it's time for me to shake off this slump and get busy...