A great man once said, "Politics is inherently stupid." That great man was me.

Friday, June 27, 2008

BREAKING NEWS!!!

An Uncommon Truths exclusive!

Recent cancer survivor takes employment hiatus and gets pilloried in the media for doing her job.


"...the Prime Minister's sometimes contentious director of communications"
"...who was not popular with the national media..."
"...was known for her stinginess with information..."
"...and for sometimes bullying MPs..."
"...Ms. Buckler was not well-liked..."
"...She also controlled who could speak on certain issues to the media..."

Oh, and towards the bottom of the article we are also informed:


"...Another factor in her decision-making, perhaps, is that she recently underwent surgery for thyroid cancer"

Thanks for that, Ms. Taber.

Ms. Buckler, we wish you a speedy recovery and a restful hiatus.

**update**
Read the comments if you wish to be further disgusted.

Additionally, the comments seem to indicate that the story had several re-writes, and that information about Ms. Buckler's struggle with thyroid cancer was not added until much later. Classy.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sometimes, Comments are Amusing

"John Baird, Character Assassin" - why does that sound so cool?

Writers and cartoonists, take note - your characters are in peril should John Baird tangle with them.

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If the Media Criticizes Harper for This

...will they do the same with Obama?


At a rally for Senator Barack Obama in Detroit on Monday, two Muslim women said they were prohibited from sitting behind the candidate because they were wearing head scarves and campaign volunteers did not want them to appear with him in news photographs or live television coverage.

The Obama campaign said it quickly called the women to apologize after learning of the incident. "It doesn't reflect the orientation of the campaign," said Anita Dunn, a senior adviser to Obama. "I do not believe that mistake will be made again."

But the incident, first reported Wednesday by Politico.com, pointed to pitfalls the campaign faces as it moves into the general election and seeks to maintain control of Obama's image by tightly managing his public appearances.

The press has of course been using kid gloves on Obama for quite some time now, but it's never wise to annoy the press. I guess it's time for the press to decide whether or not giving favorable coverage to Obama is worth more to them than getting played by his handlers.

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Canadians Kick Taliban Out of Arghandab


Canadian troops and their allies have cleared out Taliban militants from the outskirts of Kandahar City, killing or injuring hundreds of insurgents, the provincial governor said Thursday.

Kandahar Governor Asadullah Khalid made the announcement at a news conference with Canadian military officials.

"The Taliban have been cleared totally from Arghandab district," Khalid said.

"They have suffered hundreds of dead and wounded and many of their casualties are Pakistanis," he said.

Khalid also told media that local residents who were forced to leave their homes amid the fighting may be able to return over the next three days.

Surprise! The Taliban cannot hope to possibly defeat NATO militarily, and every time they try they lose. So much for the Globe's "Taliban Controlled Area."

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Green Shift or Green Shaft?

"Dion's 'green shift' to reduce taxes by $15 billion"

Correct me if I am wrong, but if Dion's 'Green Shift' (read: Carbon Tax) raises taxes by 15.5 billion, and then (supposedly) cuts them by the same amount, then isn't this headline misleading, or just plain incorrect? And here I was under the impression that it would be 'revenue neutral'. Is it too much to ask for an accurate headline (Also notice the lack of a comments section and a comprehensive review of opposition critique)?

On a separate note, if I were a Tory strategist, I would be focusing less on kitschy 'shift' puns and more on the following little doozy:


"The proposed green tax will hit electricity and home heating fuel but exempt gasoline. The Liberals have acknowledged that oil companies may pass the cost of the tax on to consumers."

Translation: if you're a on a fixed income and already facing high home heating costs (hello, seniors and single parents), you're going to be hit by Dion's green shift. Hard. If the Tories are smart they will sell that message to voters, big time.

They would also be wise to play up the fact that, by the Liberal Party's own admission, Canadians will almost surely be hit in the pocketbook as oil companies pass on the cost of a 'revenue-neutral' carbon tax to consumers. With Canadians facing already skyrocketing energy costs, this is guaranteed to be a major source of opposition to any proposed carbon tax. And unlike Dion's plan for counterbalancing tax cuts, the auditor general can't look at Big Oil's books to ensure Canadians aren't getting the shaft.

A further issue is the lack of transparency involved in offering a series of complex tax cuts to Canadians in an attempt to maintain revenue neutrality. Dion says he will ask the Auditor General to report each year on the carbon tax to ensure that it is revenue neutral. But with such a plethora of adjustments to be made to the Canadian tax code, this may prove in the end to be quite difficult to accomplish. It is indeed possible that, over time, taxpayer dollars may vanish into the murky depths of budgetary updates and spring financial reviews. Canadians will likely be concerned about the transparency of such a series of complex tax cuts and the Tories would do well to exploit that.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Irony

It might actually not be scientifically silly to suggest this, but if this is accurate it would be pretty ironic if global warming saved us from another Little Ice Age.

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Uh - Bad Idea?

If this is true, it's monumentally stupid:


CBC News has learned that 16 Canadian lakes are slated to be officially but quietly "reclassified" as toxic dump sites for mines. The lakes include prime wilderness fishing lakes from B.C. to Newfoundland.

Environmentalists say the process amounts to a "hidden subsidy" to mining companies, allowing them to get around laws against the destruction of fish habitat.

Under the Fisheries Act, it's illegal to put harmful substances into fish-bearing waters. But, under a little-known subsection known as Schedule Two of the mining effluent regulations, federal bureaucrats can redefine lakes as "tailings impoundment areas."

That means mining companies don't need to build containment ponds for toxic mine tailings.


Dumping mine waste into the water-table is a bad idea. Period.

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Dion's New Tax Plan: Slightly Less Taxing, Completely Ineffective

Dion's new tax plan looks to be even more foolish than before:


OTTAWA - The Liberals are poised to propose a "green shift" in taxation policy this week, saying Canadians are ready for bold moves to save the environment. Their proposed national carbon tax, to be phased in gradually over several years, would hit home heating fuel and electricity, but not gas at the pumps.

Now that Dion has released the specifics of his new tax plan, it looks to be even worse than before. Not only will this adversely affect poor elderly pensioners who have to pay for the rising costs of home heating fuel on a fixed income, it will also raise the price of most goods due to resultant high energy and electricity costs. This plan will also do nothing for the environment, since the vast majority of carbon dioxide emitted in this country comes from running our cars - and this plan won't tax gasoline.

In summary - Stéphane Dion created an ineffective and costly new environmental plan? Will wonders never cease!

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If You Can't Find a Scandal...

Create one:


When Defence Minister Peter MacKay flew to British Columbia in January, he split his time between government business and two Tory fundraising gigs. Taxpayers footed the bill.

When then-Indian affairs minister Jim Prentice flew to Nova Scotia to meet with provincial chiefs, he headlined a Conservative fundraising dinner in Prince Edward Island. Taxpayers paid for the trip.

And when Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn jetted off from a Quebec fisheries forum to attend a government meeting in Manitoba, he also guest-starred at a local Tory fundraising banquet.

The federal Conservatives – elected on promises to be squeaky clean – are using government resources to help fill their election war chest.

The Star easily found 25 examples of Tory ministers mixing fundraising and department business, each trip typically costing taxpayers several thousand dollars, though complete costs are not disclosed.

The fundraising events are usually advertised a month in advance, but ministers maintain key government business was the reason for each journey. None provided proof of this, but some said the political events were just a happy coincidence. Besides, spokespeople say, this is the way it has always been done and the Liberals did it too.

Let me get this straight: Tory MP's travelled in order to get to legitimate government business that was elsewhere in the country. Note that every single MP listed by the Star in those first three paragraphs is a government minister, with national concerns that require constant travel. The primary aim is only getting government work done. If the local Tory MP wants to hang out with a minister in front of their constituents after the work is done and raise some funds while they're at it, what's the problem? They're already there and their work is finished, so why the hell not? If there's anything you can accuse the Tories of here, it's being efficient and well-organized

Yet this is the Star's claim:


The federal Conservatives – elected on promises to be squeaky clean – are using government resources to help fill their election war chest.

It's a ridiculous claim, to say the least. One wonders if the star are trying to insinuate to the headline skimmer that this is another adscam. 

Hardly.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Actually, I Think It Proves the Opposite

While media pundits gloat over the recent prison break in Afghanistan, saying it proves the Taliban are too powerful to beat and crowing that it was only a short while ago that military commanders told us the Taliban was losing the war, they are forgetting one thing: the attack was an act of desperation by the Taliban. The attack proves the exact opposite of what they're telling us.

Think about it for a second. The Taliban know full well that they cannot face NATO in a conventional military campaign - the last time they tried, they lost almost 2,000 fighters. An assault on a (presumably) fortified prison would be quite a gamble. But why take such a risk? As we have seen, the propaganda victory (as reported by compliant western media) is a coup, but a propaganda victory alone will not help kill NATO soldiers.

No, what the Taliban needs in manpower, and this risky prison break gives us a hint into the problems the Taliban are facing. Specifically, they need fighters and this prison break shows us that they are running low on cannon fodder for NATO's guns. They wouldn't risk it otherwise.

Was this prison break a daring, successful propaganda coup? Yes. Does it mean NATO will have a rougher time of it in the short term? Yes. But to suggest one prison break is going to lose NATO the war is pure fantasy. NATO is going to pay the price for their lack of security at that prison, but if the Taliban are resorting to desperation attacks like this, it is a clear sign that they are losing the war.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert Dies


WASHINGTON - Tim Russert, NBC News’ Washington bureau chief and the moderator of “Meet the Press,” died Friday after a sudden heart attack at the bureau, NBC News said Friday. He was 58.

Russert was recording voiceovers for Sunday’s “Meet the Press” program when he collapsed, the network said. He and his family had recently returned from Italy, where they celebrated the graduation of Russert’s son, Luke, from Boston College. **

Rest in Peace, Tim.

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E-Mail To Libby Davies

So disgusted was I at the fact that Libby Davies had the gall to read a September 11th conspiracy theory petition in the House of Commons, that I wrote to her office about it. The following is the letter I wrote, and you can view the original video of her presenting the petition here.


Ms. Davies should be ashamed of herself for wasting the time of the house by presenting a petition that alleges the 9/11 attacks were some sort of government conspiracy. The business of the house should not be wasted on the frivolous pipe-dreams of conspiracy theorists! To get up in the house and speak such disgusting lies demeans the memories of all the innocent people who perished on that day, including 24 Canadians, at the hands of determined Islamist terrorists who took advantage of the weaknesses of North American airport security to accomplish devastating results.

Regardless of Ms. Davies obligations to present petitions received in the house, she should have made a value judgement to simply say that the petition was a statement by 500 people that they believe the events of 9/11 happened differently than they actually did. Better yet, she should have courageously not presented the petition at all in memory of those who suffered and died that day. The house is not a pulpit for ludicrous conspiracy theories, and reading that petition simply emboldened those who do not have the good sense to believe the history they lived through.

There is a saying: "Conspiracy theories are history for the stupid." We now know of at least 500 Canadians who fit that bill.

Shame!

She may be obliged to present these petitions, but I wonder what she would have done had she received a petition from 500 people alleging that the Holocaust never happened?

(And also, I eagerly await the replies of Stephen Eli Harris, this blog's pet 'troofer.' Will he show?) 

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And Then He Brought a Baby Back To Life

What a glowing review of Richard 'Lucy' Warman, courtesy of Don Butler and the Ottawa Citizen! Curiously absent however, is any of the controversy over Canada's HRC's or shocking allegations that he might have lied under oath before a human rights tribunal

I guess someone didn't want to get sued?

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wake Up Dead Man


The case of a man whose heart stopped beating for 1-1/2 hours only to revive just as doctors were preparing to remove his organs for transplants is fuelling ethical debates in France about when a person is dead.

The 45-year-old man suffered a massive heart attack and rescuers used cardiac massage to try and revive him without success before transferring him to a nearby hospital.

Due to a series of complex circumstances, revival efforts continued for longer than usual for a patient whose heart was not responding to treatment, until doctors started preparations to remove organs.

It was at that point that the astonished surgeons noticed the man was beginning to breathe unaided again, his pupils were active, he was giving signs that he could feel pain - and finally, his heart started beating again.

Several weeks later, the man can walk and talk.
**

Although the story doesn't state it, it's likely the man was kept on a respirator during this time. Irreversible brain damage occurs within 4 and a half minutes without oxygen,  and tissue damage would most certainly result after 1.5 hours. The heart possesses automaticity (if you put a single myocyte in a petri dish, it is possible to watch it contract of its own volition), so this is not as miraculous a story as it first appears. Couple that with the possibility that there may have been some electrical activity in his brain, and this story is downright plausible.

The human body is a wonderful thing.

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Stéphane Dion: Then and Now

May I suggest he gets his story straight before he releases this nebulous 'plan' of his?


Stephane Dion — 2006: A carbon tax is less effective than a carbon market at reducing emissions. Some of my opponents for the Liberal leadership have suggested that a carbon tax would be the most effective measure to curb climate pollution. This is simply bad policy, for the following reasons:

A carbon tax is almost always implemented as a direct tax on fossil fuels. Given the current price of these fuels, however, it is difficult to argue that a further price signal will dampen consumption or shift demand.

A carbon tax is a flat tax – it costs each polluter a fixed amount per tonne of emissions. Such a tax will not inflate with a bull market or recede in times of difficulty. In the energy market, in particular, soaring prices make anything but a prohibitively high tax a mere nuisance for large producers.

Finally, and most significantly, valuing reductions in emissions equally across all sectors and industries eliminates the potential benefits to be had by maximizing reductions where the cost is lowest. In a carbon market, those areas that produce the least expensive real reductions will experience the highest level of interest and investment, maximizing the level of reductions per dollar spent.
2008: Dion says Canadians willing to accept carbon tax **


H/t National Newswatch

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

'I May Disagree With What You Say...'

For many this phrase is only symbolic, but General Rick Hillier has actually put these words into action. Take note, Human Rights Commissions:


"HALIFAX - Canada's top soldier is defending the right of a father whose son died in Afghanistan last weekend to criticize the overseas mission.

Gen. Rick Hillier says David Snyder should speak his mind on the war even if the comments are difficult to hear. Snyder called the war in Afghanistan "stupid" and said he was concerned about his son deploying to the region...

...Hillier, who was speaking in Halifax today, says the Canadian Forces are in Afghanistan to foster democracy and win the right for people to express their opinions."

It takes someone who has fought for freedom to truly understand its value. Here at home, the employees of Canada's Human Rights Tribunals are attempting to stifle our ancient right to speak freely. They have never seen a battlefield. General Rick Hillier has, and has fought for the very freedoms they want to take away - and it is because of this that he openly understands how vital it is for someone like Mr. Snyder to be able to freely express his grief and his views on the mission in Afghanistan.

My deepest sympathy is with Mr. Snyder, and I am grateful for the selfless service of his son, who gave his life so that people in another part of the world could enjoy the basic human rights that we take for granted.

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Hey Hans Rollman and Katie Hyslop!


ST. JOHN'S -- A mother of two whose dismembered body was found inside a suitcase in a St. John's backyard was nine months pregnant at the time of her death, carrying the child of the man accused in her slaying, her father said yesterday.

"She was almost due," Peter Power, father of 29-year-old Amanda Power, told The Canadian Press.

"I don't think there's a worse hurt in the world that can compare with this." *


I hope you two aren't busy, because I'm picking you up and dropping you off at Mr. Power's house so you can explain to him the importance of how Bill C-484 violates his daughter's rights. 

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Diane Francis: Make Arianna Huffington VP??!!

Right after Michael Moore is made head of the ATF, no doubt.

EDIT: Actually, I could get on board with this - it'd essentially guarantee McCain the white house.

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China

Monday, June 09, 2008

Susan Delacourt: Bias in Action


"I'm with Paul Wells on this one, actually, in that we in the media should be a little bit vigilant about watching where the new Conservative ad campaign is paid or "earned" media, as they call it in the PR biz."*

Goodness! She's right! My God, she'd be helping her sworn enemies then! Question: why should Susan Delacourt be taken seriously as a journalist after publicly musing that she thinks reporting the news is bad if it might help a political party she doesn't like?

Of course, the environment being all the rage and those Tories being such earth-haters:


"It's not the most environmentally friendly campaign — an hour into it and I saw the little cards littered all over the ground like cigarette butts."*

My, my, those Tories - they're simply awful! Part of me wishes I was out there handing out those cards, just so I could have the satisfaction of having ruined Susan Delacourt's day. After all, I did it to Noreen Golfman.

EDIT: She knows paper biodegrades, right?

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Woohoo!

The Hockey Night In Canada Theme Song Lives (albeit under new management)!

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Oh-Boy-Oh-Boycott

It seems some (some being the appropriate word) liberal bloggers feel that a boycott of the new tory 'fuel-cast' ads is a gargantuan David Vs. Goliath Stone to the collective Tory head. Right now there's some confusion in the blogosphere as to whether or not the ads will actually be running, but regardless, the boycott plan is silly at best: four or five liberal bloggers out of the entire gas-guzzling population of the GTA is, let's face it, not only monumentally insignificant in scale but completely irrelevant given that the ads are aimed at ordinary Canadians with no stated political preference and not, say, four or so hyper-partisan bloggers.

Even if the ads don't run at the pumps, the radio versions will continue to be broadcast - something that should worry the already 'image-challenged' Stéphane Dion as he scrambles to actually come up with a plan details for his new gas tax. 

Good luck - it's pretty difficult to sell, "Hey Canadians! Want another tax?"

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

New Tory Ads = Ouch For Dion

After reviewing the new Tory ads that slam Dion's carbon tax scheme, I've got a few thoughts:

  1. The Conservatives have continued with the tried and proven strategy of reaching out to regular, middle class Canadians (The so called "Tim Horton's Cohort"). This worked well for them in 2006, and will no doubt continue to be effective. The ads themselves play to these sensibilities, right down to the radio talk-show theme. This says to ordinary Canadians: we get you. Gas prices are too high. (Now, if only the government would actually take action on gas tax relief...)
  2. Ouch for Dion. The Conservatives seem to have mastered the art of running an attack ad that doesn't play like a standard political attack ad. They're a lot more believable because the message is framed as coming from regular Canadians. This makes it easier for people to accept the message, as cynicism towards anything overtly political throws up barriers in people's minds when they hear attack ads. These ads slip past those barriers. Nice work.
  3. Finally: I loved the "Invade Pakistan" dig at Dion in radio ad three. 

Make sure you check out the load message when you visit the web-site - you'll get a kick for sure.

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Friday, June 06, 2008

They Can't Even Spell His Name Right

What a loaded article this is, by anonymous "ctv.ca news staff." Aside from attempting to cast Mark Steyn as a bigot through selective quoting, they even spell his name wrong in paragraph 8

No matter. The tribunal will rule against Steyn and he'll win in a real court, ending the sham of these "human rights tribunals" that literally run on the premise that "truth is not a defense." 

How Orwellian can you get?

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Day of Days

Bless those who, on this glorious day, fought for peace and suffered pain and death for it. 

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