Wednesday, May 31, 2006

New Gay Marriage Vote dead in the water?


Monday, May 29, 2006

Liberal Internationalism

An absolutely fantastic post by "Go on and Bleed" defends the votes of Michael Ignatieff and Scott Brison, and condemns the anti-war leanings of the other nine candidates.

The money quote:

"A Liberal government sent Canadian forces to Afghanistan. These forces helped remove the Taliban – described rightly as one of the “foulest regimes on earth.” Canadians and Liberals could be proud of this achievement. With one vote all that success was ceded to Stephan Harper."

I myself am personally skeptical of the international liberalism espoused by Ignatieff, though it is useful in demonstrating that Ignatieff's ideology is liberal internationalism, which is completely different from the neo-conservatism he is so often lumped in with. Liberal internationalism has as its goal the spreading of liberal values throughout the world, the liberation of people from oppressive regimes, and the propagation of human rights for everyone regardless of national borders. That's a far cry from neo-conservatism, which preaches many of these things, but really cares far more about military dominance and imperialism. When neo-conservatives like David Frum and Dick Cheney talk about "spreading freedom," what they really mean is "spreading American dominance," which is hardly the same thing. A liberal internationalist is someone in the vein as John F. Kennedy, a liberal Democrat, who truly believed in liberal nations using military force for the sake of liberal values.

As I mentioned, I'm skeptical of this ideology, especially with regard to the Muslims. It is based on the flawed assumption that since the Germans and the Japanese took to liberal democracy so well, other conquered nations will do so as well. I used to be a proponent of this theory, that since the natural state of man was freedom, man would naturally gravitate towards it; that if given the choice of oppression or liberty, any rational human being would take liberty. I made the mistake of thinking everybody valued freedom; to be more precise, I made the mistake of believing that the majority of people are rational. I have since become far more cynical about the state of human beings, and now hold some very classically conservative views about the ability of liberal nations to share liberalism with nations that don't want it. To put it bluntly, the Middle Eastern Muslims en masse and writ large do not want to be free, and while I admire both Michael Ignatieff and Scott Brison's determination to continue with the mission of liberating the Afgani people from the Taliban, the fact of the matter is, they don't want to be free - the fact that they were a hair's breadth away from executing a man for converting to Christianity just a few months ago shows how far they have to go.

But - perhaps the skeptic could think of it this way. With the Taliban in place, that man WOULD have been executed for converting to Christianity, and probably tortured first. The desired change can't possibly happen all at once. The odds of the Afghani people, say, democratically legalizing gay unions, or granting women complete equality within the next decade are absolutely nil. But within the next five decades? Who knows. There will be people living there, though, in five decades who will either damn us for the blood we spilled, or praising the names of our soldiers in gratitude for granting them the free society in which they live. Given that a lot of them currently damn us, along with the rest of the west anyway, is that a gamble worth taking?

Brison and Ignatieff both seem to think so, and it's completely unfair to vilify them as co-conspirators in a global neo-conservative plan because of it.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Despite my belief that Harper is a very smart and calculating guy, and that almost everything he does is strategic in nature, I think that he has seriously misstepped by virtually declaring war on the press gallery. It may bring him some short-term success (maybe; I don't really see how, but maybe he does) but it can lead to nothing but long term pain for the Conservatives in general and Harper in particular.

The last thing you want is for the media to hate you. He had them eating out of the palm of his hand in the last campaign, and that's no small reason why he won. If this isn't a strategic misstep, then it is just his own petulance and childishness - for which he has a striking reputation - acting in a much less deliberate way.

Either way, it hurts him. Not now, but come campaign time, the media is not going to forget what Harper thinks of them. He will pay dearly for slighting them in such an insulting way.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

How did I miss this?

Apparently, being anti-gay is enough to cost you a Conservative nomination.

This comes as quite a shock to me. Why is someone like Stockwell Day, who has in the past referred to homosexuality as a disorder, allowed to sit in cabinet? Why was Grant Hill - in his capacity as a doctor no less! - able to cite all kinds of bogus science claiming that homosexuality was a health risk? Come to think of it, why is half the Conservative caucus allowed to sit there in the first place? Just asking...

Public Advertising

You know, for people who rail against the government using public money for partisan purposes, they're really quite good at it themselves. It doesn't really surprise me, of course. Anyone who remembers the Mike Harris years in Ontario (oh, and look who's in that picture - none other than John "uncle Tom" Baird and Jim Flaherty, two Harris ministers!) remembers publicly-funded television ad campaigns praising the work of the government, and billboards everywhere with slogans like, "This road brought to you by Mike Harris." One of McGuinty's most popular promises was that he would cease all partisan advertising by the government of Ontario.

Gay parenting

Two pairs of storks - one gay, one lesbian - have each successfully raised a family in the Netherlands, adding yet more proof that there's nothing inherently wrong with gay parenting.

In fact it is unsurprising; the storks were just carrying out their biological function. That is to say, given how common it is and how long it has existed, homosexuality has to have a biological function, and since it's obviously not reproduction, it has to be something else. I've heard that it's population control, but what makes more sense is kin selection - namely, the raising of young of the same species which are abandoned or otherwise without a parent. Remember, evolution isn't about the propagation of a single animal's genes, but about the survival of the species as a whole. And in that respect, kin selection plays a part in evolution, keeping otherwise healthy young alive to go on and have families of their own.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


A reader alerted me to this earlier:

On Wednesday, March 1st, 2006, in Annapolis at a hearing on the proposed Constitutional Amendment to prohibit gay marriage, Jamie Raskin, professor of law at AU, was requested to testify. At the end of his testimony, Republican Senator Nancy Jacobs said:

"Mr. Raskin, my Bible says marriage is only between a man and a woman. What do you have to say about that?"

Raskin replied:

"Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

The room erupted into applause.

Here's the source.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Brison calls for tax overhaul

From the Brison campaign's newsletter:

Scott Brison is calling for a complete overhaul of Canada’s tax, regulatory and economic support systems with the goal of making Canada’s international competitiveness a key national objective

His speech about his vision for a more prosperous and innovative future was his first major policy address of the campaign.

Scott says a smarter tax system would make Canada a magnet for talent and capital and would also better respect the hard-earned dollars of working men and women in Canada.

He was addressing a room packed with business people in Toronto who enthusiastically applauded his bold ideas."

Good stuff. Among his proposals are allowing young people to earn $25,000 a year tax free for the first 12 years of their careers. Also, setting up individual EI accounts, allowing people who do not draw on their EI for a decade to tap the unused money for further training and education.

The full speech is available on the official website for the Brison campaign.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Why did the Liberal Party even consent to having that ridiculous sham of a vote to happen, anyway?

"There had to be unanimous consent for the debate and the vote to happen. And I don't know why the Liberal Party provided unanimous consent for Stephen Harper's political maneuver, which is what it effectively was."
- David Herle, making sense on Politics earlier

Kennedy resigns

Gerard Kennedy has resigned as Member of Provincial Parliament for Parkdale--High Park.

If he doesn't win the leadership, I wonder if he's going to run in the 2007 federal, or provincial election? Either way he's a lock to win, it's just a question of which cabinet/shadow cabinet he wants to be in... he's certainly guaranteed a juicy spot in the federal cabinet if the Libs get in, but could it possibly be better than being one of the most powerful of McGuinty's inner circle?

Intuitively, one suspects that he'd run federally in hopes of making another leadership run in the future. However, if he doesn't win the federal leadership, he could always plan on going for the provincial leadership once McGuinty resigns, and given his increased profile and his near-win last time, he'd have a pretty good chance of becoming Premier of Ontario.

Hmm... that would be a nice decision to have to make, eh?

Here we go again...

Isn't it funny how this gay marriage ban keeps coming up every two years in the United States? I'm telling you, like clockwork. I wonder if those redneck morons will be fooled into voting against their own economic interests again?

Pedophilia? "Human nature." Homosexuality? Not so much

So sayeth this blowhard. Keep in mind this is one of the most homophobic men in America, and he is someone to whom that term most definitely implies in its most literal sense. His tirades about "buggery" are not to be missed by anyone looking to laugh and cringe at the same time.

Idaho, Utah, Wyoming

Those are the only three states left in which George Bush still pulls in a higher approval than disapproval rating. His best numbers - in the 40's and 30's - come from states that voted for him in 2004.

Keep doing what you're doing, George! Crash and burn. I hope the Dems, if they take back Congress, don't even bother impeaching this guy. Don't make him a martyr - let him take himself down in a glorious fireball of unimaginably hubristic brilliance.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Drug Reform

Proof that we need, more than ever, a realistic drug policy in this country.

It seems that, for his own good of course, this teen whose only crime was smoking a joint, is going to have his life ruined by a criminal record. Where is the justice in this?

There is none. There are currently hundreds, thousands even, of non-violent people in prison for doing nothing more than using or selling drugs that aren't made by a corporation. Is it really necessary to punish people for this? Is it necessary to legislate taste?

It's time to end this BS. Drug law reform, especially with regards to marijuana, but also touching on other drugs, should absolutely be a part of the next Liberal platform. It's time we stopped pretending, as a party, as a country, as rational human beings, that the proper approach to drugs is a black and white, "They're evil" policy.

In the case of marijuana, there is quite literally no reason that it ought to remain illegal, especially considering something along the lines of 40% of Canadians have used it at some point in their lives. Ought we charge 40% of the population for this so-called "crime?" Paul Martin and Chris Stockwell both admit to using it - should we go take out those evildoers? Moreover, a majority of people think it should be legal anyway.

In the case of other drugs, their ideal regulatory status is certainly debatable, but one thing that is absolutely undeniable is that our current approach does not succeed in accomplishing its goals, and that "get tough" approaches only make the problem worse. If this "drug war" were an actual war, all of the generals would have been demoted and then some for rank incompetence by now, because they've been losing it horribly for the past century.

Our current drug policy is intolerable, unconscionable, and utterly totalitarian. What is it about "my body, my choice" that is so difficult to understand? Why must we legislate taste? Lots of people do things that I would not do myself. I, for one, have no desire to become a cigarette smoker, but I don't think we should make it illegal.

We're so selective about what we let kill you. Alcohol is okay. Cigarettes are fine. Extreme sports? Go right ahead. Driving around in a circle at over 120 kilometres and hour at extreme risk of crashing and going up in flames? Hey, it's your choice. Only with drugs do we say, "We can't allow that, because if we do... what will we tell the children?"

How about this: "Children, there are some things that you are too young to do. You are not allowed to enjoy adult pleasures yet because you cannot fully comprehend the consequences of your choices." There, it's very simple. Why can't we say that?

I am not a child. As an adult citizen of a free country, I ought to be able to do whatever I please to my own body, whether I want to pierce it, tattoo it, or inhale things into it. It is the pinnacle of injustice, and so patronizingly paternalistic and condescending, to suggest that adult Canadians are not competent enough to make decisions about what they do to their own bodies.

The government does not own our bodies - we do. It's time our laws started reflecting that.

The Gun Registry

This issue really baffles me. I cannot for the life of me understand why any reasonable person would oppose registering guns.

And it's not as if the people who oppose it simply act as if they have an honest disagreement. No, the average gun registry-opponent practically lives for having this thing scrapped. Many of them consider it the single worst thing the Liberals ever did.

Nevermind that the police use it 5000 times a day and don't want it scrapped. Nevermind that the Conservative Party claims to be the "law and order" party, yet scrapping the registry would only make police officers' jobs more dangerous. Are you aware that they check the registry every time they go to a house to determine whether or not they should be on the lookout for long guns being fired at them?

So it's expensive? So what? Safety isn't cheap.

So it doesn't stop every single murder in Canada. It was never meant to, and quite frankly, every time an opponent points to a shooting death and says, "the gun registry failed to prevent that," the obvious response is, "duh." It's not a catch-all. Nothing is or ever will be.

What is the big deal, I don't understand it? Is registering something designed for killing such a huge indignity in a society which generally frowns on killing?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

He was entitled to his entitlements

Apparently the Tories are refusing to release the details of David Dingwall's now infamous severance package. They are censoring hundreds of pages of government documents with regards to David Dingwall. For those with short memories, Dingwall was harassed mercilessly by self-serving Tory blowhards like Brian Pallister when he resigned as head of the Canadian Mint, and used a technically correct but poor choice of words, "I'm entitled to my entitlements." Of course he was; one is technically entitled to one's entitlements. Normally a simple tautology wouldn't be so harangued, but the Tories smelt opportunity (or opportunism) and gleefully proceeded to destroy a good man's reputation, turning him into a poster-child for "Liberal corruption" and forcing his disgraced resignation. Of course, it was all a contrived show, as Dingwall did nothing wrong.

So is anyone really surprised that the Tories don't want to release the facts about this case?

Monday, May 15, 2006

In Iggy's Defence

An Ignatieff supporter posted an editorial of his, along with the response from the American right, of which he is so frequently accused of being a shill. It's pretty illuminating stuff. Actually, it's quite stunning how little this pompous "anti-idiotarian" knows about the concept of a social contract, the common philosophical idea Ignatieff was talking about in his article.

I've heard a lot of talk about Michael Ignatieff not being a real Canadian because he's lived outside the country for so long. I don't really see what this has to do with anything. You can live outside of your country and still retain citizenship; many people do it. Make no mistake that he's one of us - I mean the American right-wingers hate him just as much as they hate Canadians in general!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Fundamentalism and Sex

A great post revealing the true connection between fundamentalism and sex. Religious dogma doesn't defeat sex - it just drives it underground. Like so many other fun things, you can't stamp it out, merely make it a part of a dark underworld. So where is the word "sex" googled the most? Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Arabic is the most popular language used to search for "sex."

Hardly surprising. Muslim repression is a reality in these countries. There are reports of Iraqi soldiers and even terrorists and others soliciting American and European men for sex, saying "Girls are for making babies, boys are for fun." There is a desperation for sex - hetero or homosexual - that simply can't be obliterated, no matter how much religious fanatics will tell you otherwise.

And of course, the Christian country where "sex" is the most popular - Poland. Surprise, surprise.

Some other fun trends:

"Imperialism" is most popular among English-speakers, followed by Swedish, and then Dutch, German and French waaaaay behind.

The most popular language used to search for "homosexual" or "gay" is Spanish, mostly from South America.

Most popular search for "Canada" comes from Canada, followed way behind by India, then the United States.

"Drugs" are apparently popular amongst English and Dutch speakers. In regional terms, it's the Philippines, India, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.

And finally, "freedom" is most popular in New Zealand, then Australia, India, the US, the UK, and Canada.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Victory... but for what?

As you can probably tell by the previous post, I'm not a huge fan of Maurice Vellacott. I can't say that I'm particularly bothered by the decision of the opposition majority to remove him as chair of the Indian Affairs committee. Frankly, his general unsuitability for that role given his less-than-stellar reputation among native communities should have been enough for them to do so.

This is the first victory for the Liberal party since losing the election. But that's not saying much. That we can destroy what remained of a loose-lipped Conservative MP's reputation is not only a given, it almost feels like bullying to be picking on such a small fry.

But even more troubling is that Stephen Harper actually made a good point:

"The prime minister, however, has been pointing out in the House the hypocrisy of the Liberal complaints and to a degree media coverage of Vellacott's comments, when similar statements have been made by Liberal MPs in the recent past without great fanfare."

I couldn't agree more. Sure, this is a victory for the Liberals, but we won in the wrong way. We've won through hypocrisy and with a double-standard, and to someone who hates both of those things, that's a lousy way to win. For the Liberal party to be truly consistent on this, it should be censuring Dan McTeague and Tom Wappel etc. every time they say something outrageous or ridiculous, and there's plenty of things they've said, and done, which meet that definition. Frankly, it might expedite the process by which we can rid ourselves of those Liberal poseurs, but more to the point, it would be the non-hypocritical thing to do.

(Cross-posted at Centrerion)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Wisdom from an elder

Every so often, one of my less politically aware friends or family will say something that will make me go, "Couldn't have said it better myself." Over dinner tonight, my father gave me his assessment of Maurice Vellacott's stupidity.

In short, he basically marvelled at the foolishness of a pissant little government backbencher picking a fight with probably the most powerful woman in the country, Beverly McLachlin, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. That's a big title, and I assure you Mr. Vellacott, it's bigger than "The Honourable Member for Saskatoon--Wanuskewin." Oh maybe not by letter, but in terms of raw political power, you're outclassed, not just because she outranks you, but also because Canadians have vastly more respect for judges than they do for politicians.

Vellacott is so outclassed, in fact, that all she needed to do was issue a simple press release to, as Dad put it, "crush him under her heel. She took one look at this bug and squashed him."

Going into damage control, Vellacott was quick to point out that he speaks only for himself, not for the government as a whole. Yeah, where have we heard that before? And is it just me, or has ANYONE seen or heard from Cheryl Gallant in the past year? I've missed her.

Honestly, what was this man thinking?

Well, the problem is obvious - he wasn't. Vellacott is, how to put this, not the brightest shade of blue the Tories have to offer. To put it simply, he's a homophobic racist.

He has a history of picking fights with powerful women - in 2001 he said that Adrienne Clarkson had abused her office by sending a "best wishes" card to a gay couple. He introduced a motion to censure her. Wishing gay people well is apparently an unforgivable offence to Vellacott. He was the only MP to speak against a parliamentary motion recognizing the Armenian genocide. (Kind of reminds you of that lovely time when Conservative MP Rob Anders was the only MP denying unanimous consent for recognizing Nelson Mandella's heroism.) He has defended the indefensible, taking the side of two Saskatoon police officers who drove an intoxicated native man to the outskirts of the city and left him there to fend for himself.

And that's just the tip of the iceburg. Do a little research on this guy, he's quite the piece of work. You can really see why the Rt. Hon. Beverly McLachlin wasn't going to stand for being slandered him.

Assessing caucus support

Thus far it seems as if most of the Liberal caucus is holding off from endorsing anyone, but a few candidates do seem to have the advantage when it comes to support within caucus. Of the candidates who have caucus support, this is what it looks like:

(UPDATE: Apparently Coderre is for Ignatieff.)

Ignatieff has a clear advantage with (currently) 17 MPs behind him: Rodger Cuzner, Denis Coderre, Raymonde Folco, Susan Kadis, Derek Lee, John McCallum, John McKay, Stephen Owen, Jim Peterson, Marcel Proulx, Geoff Regan, Pablo Rodriguez, Raymond Simard, Paul Szabo, Robert Thibault, Roger Valley, and Paul Zed.

Kennedy is his closest rival, with 12 MPs supporting him: Omar Alghabra, Navdeep Bains, Raymond Chan, Joe Fontana, Mark Holland, Gurbax Mahli, Bernard Patry, Mario Silva, Scott Simms, Brent St. Denis, Andrew Telegdi, and Borys Wrzesnewskyj.

Coming in next is Volpe, with 7 MPs: Joe Comuzzi, Sukh Dhaliwal, Massimo Pacetti, Jim Karygiannis, Wajid Khan, Yasmin Ratansi, and Lui Temelkovski. (Seems his appeal to the "ethnic vote" wasn't just talk.)

Meanwhile, Dion has 3 MPs: Colleen Beaumier, Marlene Jennings and Byron Wilfert.

Brison and Bevilacqua have 2 each: Mark Eyking and Michael Savage for the former, and Gerry Burne and Roy Cullen for the latter.

Rae and Dryden have one each: Brian Murphy for the former and Anita Neville for the latter.

In total, 45 MPs have declared allegiences, leaving a full 57 undecided or undeclared.

Confounding Harper's Plan, Part II

A very helpful poster in my comments section (thank you to "curiositykilledthecat") pointed this out to me. I've read this before, and I think I may have even posted it here, and am frankly surprised that I was so quick to forget about it. It's a transcript of his remarks to a Civitas meeting in Toronto in 2003. (Hmm... Civitas... doesn't that sound familiar...)

What we can glean from this is very helpful information on Harper's agenda, his way of thinking, his long-term goals, etc. I mentioned before that I think it will be essential in defeating him to understand these things. So what makes Harper tick?

I'll let you read through the transcript yourself (it's immensely interesting) but here's something interesting. Harper seems to have a hatred of modern liberalism that is almost pathological. This is according to those close to him. "Mr. Harper is dead set on getting rid of the Liberals as a viable political party in this country." In Harper's own words:

"The real challenge is therefore not economic, but the social agenda of the modern Left. Its system of moral relativism, moral neutrality and moral equivalency is beginning to dominate its intellectual debate and public-policy objectives.

The clearest recent evidence of this phenomenon is seen in international affairs in the emerging post-Cold-War world - most obviously in the response of modern liberals to the war on terrorism. There is no doubt about the technical capacity of our society to fight this war. What is evident is the lack of desire of the modern liberals to fight, and even more, the striking hope on the Left that we actually lose.

You can see this if you pay close attention to the response to the war in Iraq from our own federal Liberals and their cheerleaders in the media and the universities. They argue one day that there are no weapons of mass destruction, yet warn that such weapons might be used. They tell us the war was immoral, then moral but impractical, then practical but unjustified. They argue simultaneously that the war can't be won, that it is too easy for the coalition to win and that victory cannot be sustained anyway."

Well, there's a good deal wrong with that, for example assuming in that last paragraph that "the left" is a homogenous entity. It's a favourite tactic of people more interested in scoring debating points than actually debating ideas; take conflicting ideas from two separate people who share a similar ideology, act as if they come from the same person, and accuse the adherents to the ideology as a whole of inconsistency. You see it all the time, especially in relation to the war, especially in the United States; left-leaning Democrats who oppose the war are reminded by sanctimonious Republicans that the Democrats initially supported it, as if the votes of some politicians ought to bind the opinions of an entire population. But I digress...

Notice the disdain; he actually believes that liberals want the west to lose what is often called the "war against terrorism." He actually believes that liberals do not have morals. He's like Ann Coulter, but with less testosterone. (And I imagine with a bigger brain.)

There's more:

Conservatives need to reassess our understanding of the modern Left. It has moved beyond old socialistic morality or even moral relativism to something much darker. It has become a moral nihilism - the rejection of any tradition or convention of morality, a post-Marxism with deep resentments, even hatreds of the norms of free and democratic western civilization."

This stuff could be written by the bombastic, belligerent and obtuse hacks who make up the American right-wing cabal. Coulter or Hannity or O'Reilly or Limbaugh or Ponnuru. But it's coming from our very own prime minister. Sweeping accusations of moral nihilism and baby-eating are common from those hacks ("Treason," "The Party of Death," et. al.) but coming from our own prime minister, it's just beyond disturbing.

So what is it? Does Stephen Harper have a pathological hatred of liberalism and liberals which is motivating his recent actions; are these actions missteps and blunders caused by this hatred, or a careful calculation resulting from it? Or is what he said to Civitas just political rhetoric - but then why would he bother with rhetoric at a low-key "think" tank meeting?

I'll probably write more on this later, and I hope other Liberals will join me in this discussion, because I feel it's important.

I hate polls

Two separate polls, one from Strategic, one from Decima.

Strategic: Conservative support declining.
Decima: Conservative support growing.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Confounding Harper's Plan

In response to Pedro the Politico, is Stephen Harper an asshole or an idiot? Well sir, he's not an idiot. I think this much is clear.

Make absolutely no mistake, Stephen Harper and his political advisors, now running one of the most divisively partisan governments in Canadian history, have a plan. The Liberal machine made the enormous mistake of underestimating Harper's Conservatives before and during the election, and that is why we lost.

The Conservatives would tell you that we lost because of sponsorship (untrue; we still won in 2004) or because Canadians disagreed with Liberal policies (also untrue; most people did vote for a centre-left party). The real reason is quite simple - we lost because they out-campaigned us. The Liberal braintrust simply assumed that Harper and his team would repeat the same fatal mistakes they made in 2004, which given Harper's well-documented reputation as a strategist, was itself a fatal mistake. It was just assumed that the Tories would blow it, and the Liberals could coast to another victory.

But they came out of the gates blazing, with daily policy announcements designed to fool people into thinking they were a moderate party. The Liberals had nothing to counter with except (shoddy) negative campaigning. What we absolutely can't afford to do is make another error like that.

Harper and his team have a plan, and frankly it's been in the works for some time. After they lost in 2004, they immediately started working on a plan to win. This much is pretty obvious. What's also obvious is what this plan, chronologically up to this point, has consisted of. Recast the party as more centrist, run a flawless election campaign, win a minority, fool people into thinking the party is moderate by proposing moderate legislation... somewhere down the line, win a majority government. And, according to this guy, render the Liberals as an unelectable brand. That last part is a bit of a stretch - it would take a lot to make the Liberals unelectable, and the Conservatives couldn't do much one way or the other to do so - but their plan to win a majority certainly isn't.

What we're seeing here is one step in his carefully crafted plan to get a majority. His buddying up to Charest, his ignoring the government of Ontario, and his own personal "fuck you" to McGuinty, make absolutely no mistake, are a part of this plan. The question Liberals, from the rank-and-file up to the strategists, should be trying to figure out is, "How?" How does all of this figure into Harper's plan, and how can we best confound it? Let's not make the mistake of giving him a free ride again. Harper may be, as Mr. Pedro put it, "an asshole," but he is a smart guy - beating him is going to require a bit of thinking.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Why do tolerant people ally with bigots?

What I'm struck by in this piece by Andrew Sullivan is the contrast struck between Bush/Cheney and their party. You can read the piece for yourself and see what I mean, but here is an exchange of some interest:

In Ronald Kessler’s new book on Laura Bush he recounts another incident when Bush invited his Yale classmates to their college reunion at the White House. One of his classmates was formerly Peter Akwai, a man who later had a sex change operation and became Leilani. When Akwai shook hands with the president, she said: “Hello, George, I guess the last time we spoke to each other, I was still living as a man.” Akwai described Bush’s response: “He grasped my hand firmly and said, ‘And now you’re you!’ ”

Nevermind being accepting of gay people, that's part and parcel of being a decent human being by the standards of today. It is actually more difficult to find people who don't regard transgenderism with skepticism or outright hostility, even among allegedly open-minded people - and let's remember, this is George Bush we're talking about.

"And now you're you"? There are a plethora of responses I would have expected to a statement like that, but I would only expect a response of that nature from a genuinely accepting person. (Most people I've encountered don't even believe transgendered people are genuine about what they describe as their inner selves.) I was actually quite taken aback by it. And don't be so quick to discount it, either - that's a lot coming from a Torontonian, let alone a Texan.

And of course there's Dick Cheney and his daughter Mary. What I don't understand is why... actually, not so much why, but how these men could ally themselves with the racists and homophobes and bigots that make up their base.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Strategic strikes out again?

I'm not sure what methods the Strategic Counsel uses in gathering its polling data, but as I've mentioned before, they consistently have the Green Party several points up from what other polls say, and I really can't think of a reason why.

Take this poll, for example.
Conservatives - 35
Liberals - 31
NDP - 16
Bloc - 10
Green - 9

Now, it's a more encouraging poll for the Liberals than many have been recently, so I'm inclined to hype it, but the skeptic in me looks at the Green support and raises an eyebrow. These are the kinds of numbers the SC was putting out during the election, when the Greens pulled in barely above 4%. If more polls came out showing the Greens at that level of support (particularly a poll done by SES, which predicted the election results within 1% accuracy) then I'd buy it. But for now, I think this poll has to be viewed with some skepticism.

Friday, May 05, 2006

A vote for Hillary = a vote for Hamas/Hezbollah

Sean Hannity thinks so. Yet another indication of just how unhinged the right, especially in the US, really is. Apparently, a vote for Hillary Clinton is the same as a vote for a terrorist organization.

Hannity also calls 9/11, "The worst attack in history." Oh my. I can think of a few worse ones... the most obvious one that jumps out at me was perpetrated by the US military in 1945, in fact.

Should this even be an issue?

Apparently, according to the Supreme Court, if someone consumes alcohol at my house, and then leaves and does something stupid, I can't be sued.

Good to know!

It's hard for me to blame the car-crash victim; someone who's been through that much can't really be faulted so easily for lashing out. But what's most irksome in that article is the representative of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), who said that he (yeah, "he" is apparently a mother) is "a little disappointed" by the Supreme Court ruling.

Really? Now, is it just me, or is it a little disturbing that there are people, besides those who stood to benefit monetarily, who would be disappointed by a ruling whose justice and rationality ought to be self-evident?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Moving Sucks

I'd just like to say, as someone who has moved far too many times, someone who has just moved, and someone who will be doing so again in about three months, that moving is bollocks.

This also explains my absence over the past few days. But yeah, don't move, it's just not worth the effort. If you are moving, just make a run at the Liberal leadership and try to get into Stornoway. I hear tell they'll move your things in there for you.