Tuesday, July 31, 2007
This isn't earth shattering, but it is just one more example that the current government is quick to announce programs, but they never seem to have what's needed to implement them.
They make a lot of noise, put together nifty websites, then they don't deliver.
Oh and in case you're wondering about the levy on the fuel inefficient vehicles...that program is working just fine.
It would seem that Senator Campbell has had enough of the partisan sniping coming from the Harper government. Most recently, Rob Nicholson and Stockwell Day, used the death of 11 yr. old Efraim Brown to push their propaganda.
Senator Campbell isn't standing for it. I wonder if more Senators will start speaking out?
Monday, July 30, 2007
Aside from the fact that the Conservatives refuse to follow through on ANY Liberal initiative, it's difficult to understand how this plan makes any sense.
Is reinforcing the dike going to guarantee no more flooding? I don't see that written anywhere. If not, why on earth would we spend all of that money, only to have the community experience floods again?
A consultant who recently interviewed Kashechewan residents found that a majority of the people in the village favoured a relocation to higher ground still within their territory, because they feared they were prone to more flooding in the future.
For a government who screamed that they care about Human Rights for Aboriginals, this seems counter-intuitive or are the two events linked? What I mean by that is, they may have planned to buttress this announcement with their victory in committee.
All of that said, I think it's good to see some movement on this file, but it seems wrong headed to me.
Update: Chief Solomon was on the radio, CBC, and he said "This is the best deal he could get right now". He'd prefer this this to status quo. It sounds to me that he has pressure in his community and from the government, to do something, anything. It would appear as if the gov't gave him no option.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Here is a vid of part the congressional hearing they got and his brother Kevin speaking. (poor quality)
After this of course, Bush invoked executive privilege, which of course tells us there is more to hide. Okay, all of that is history, now we have this.
The lies we know about by this administration, the ones that have been exposed, are almost beyond comprehension. Imagine what we will learn of as time goes on? Sadly, it may seem unbelievable, but it can get worse.
h/t to Woman at Mile 0 for the recent video.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
This quick reaction from the Edward's campaign clearly illustrates how the GOP and their followers are distracting from the real issues.
Lesson to be learned by the Lib's?
Friday, July 27, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
From staying as long as it takes, to no arbitrary deadline, to staying until our current mission expires in '09, to now pulling back in 6 months? Is there actually any planning going on here? If there is, it seems to change with the wind, (or the polls) and the new position is never substantiated by fact.
When the conservatives weren't accusing everyone who asked a question about the mission of being a Taliban supporter, they were big on saying you can't discuss a deadline because it's confusing to the troops. That was rubbish of course, because by accepting the current mission, we had accepted a deadline. Then of course Harper said we'd likely change our mission in 2009 and now O'Connor is saying by the end of the Van Doos rotation, (6 months), Canada will be in a back up role and focus on training. Even Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie, their biggest cheerleader, is saying this is folly.
Who is confusing the troops? As someone who has never been in the military, I'm honestly perplexed by O'Connor, or is it Hillier, or is it Harper?
Scott Taylor has a more realistic look at this new announcement.
Surely O'Connor's rotation is up? Wouldn't you like to sit in on the next NATO meeting? I'm thinking the agenda would be entitled, "What the Hell is Going on with Canada?"
Some 75% say Tories should drop the 'Canada's New Government' title: poll
Innovative Research Group poll also found 56% think the PM is a micro-manager and 26% like his take-charge style
A number of conservative bloggers and commenters, continue to insist that this government was right to use the term "New". It's good to know that they are in the minority and that most Canadians see it as foolish. In fact, 38% saw it as never having been appropriate, because of course, the Government of this country is a permanent institution.
In spite of polls such as these, some Conservatives will continue to defend this silly move, with twisted logic.
But Tim Powers, a Tory strategist disagreed. "The government is still new, thus the term, because the previous government was in place for 13 years and this one's only been there for 18 months so relatively that is new,"
Of course, Mr. Powers is paid to hold such opinion, so you can't really fault him, but I'm sure we'll see his logic used again.
The article also goes on to speak to Mr. Harper's style.
The poll results also show that 56 per cent of the respondents view Prime Minister Harper (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) as "a micro-manager who controls all communications from the government by keeping a lid on his ministers, sticking to a tight script and not having any spontaneity in interaction with the media" and 26 per cent see him as a "take-charge leader who insists on all his ministers communicating the same message by controlling what is said and by sticking to a tight script."
As a result, few cabinet ministers were known to the public. When asked who was the best Minister, 49% didn't know, 6% thought it was Flaherty. When asked who was the worst, 40% didn't know, 10% said Baird.
The last bit of information provided by the survey concerned the byelections. 43% said it was extremely or very important that they be run simultaneously. 21% said somewhat, 19% said not very important, 9% said not at all.
All in all, it would seem that the Conservatives, (as it relates to the issues contained in this survey), are playing well to their base and that's it.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
We sometimes talk about the injured and often speak of those who have lost their lives, but how often do we think about the mental stress that these young women and men are under?
I confess to not even being able to read some of the horror stories coming out of that region. Imagine what it must be like to witness them and then upon returning home, be expected to go back to life as usual?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as other disorders are to be expected. That we now have a name for this condition and recognise that some soldiers will suffer from it, is a step in the right direction. It seems, among the military, there is still a stigma attached to it though.
This comes as no surprise, really. I would presume, being able to "deal" with what ever comes your way is a part of basic training. I wonder if we do enough however, to prepare them for the reality of the horror and how they may be affected? It must be a difficult balance.
Surely Romeo Dallaire's courage on this issue should have broken down some barriers? It seems though, that we still have some problems. I've read quite a bit on the subject as it relates to the US military, but it's rare to see anything in the Canadian media.
This is an insightful piece and one that has me hoping that the Canadian Military is moving on this, now.
It's beyond me how anyone would think it acceptable to put Obama and bin Laden in the same sentence to begin with, but how stupid are you as a candidate to pose with the idiot?
No one disputed that the military required more attention and in fact, the Liberals committed to 12.8 billion over 5 years. The Conservatives said they'd add 5.3 billion to that amount, which to me adds up to 18.1 billion, over 5 years.
According to this article however:
The total cost so far is more than $22 billion, which doesn't include the billions more for operations and maintenance.
It's the biggest build-up since the Second World War.
Am I missing something here?
What are we gearing up for? O'Connor is on the record today saying that we are planning to begin backing down from the mission in 6 months, (a comment that contradicts the recent report issued by the UK, btw). So, what are we planning for? Much of the equipment being announced won't even be ready until after 2009.
It seems to me that the conservatives are making up for lost time and spending as much as they can in the shortest amount of time possible, or perhaps they are planning for something we're unaware of.
Rebuilding the military is all well and good, but something seems off here.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
I think we've also had enough of pundits and pollsters telling our leaders what they must do to manipulate our thinking.
The poll, conducted by the Strategic Counsel for The Globe and Mail/CTV News, suggests that the best way for Mr. Harper to obtain that consensus would be to argue that Canada has a duty to safeguard the humanitarian gains of Afghan women and children.
The expression, "won't anyone think of the children?" comes to mind. I'm not being callous. To be honest, I'm insulted by the comment. Pull at Canadians heart strings and they'll follow you anywhere. No! We know what is at stake, what we want to know is why the strategy isn't working.
There can be no question that this government has utterly failed to gain support for this mission. In March of 2006, support for sending troops was at 55%. As of this week, it's at 36%.
I'm sure there are many reasons driving this number, but most significant to me, is the fact that this government is loathe to be honest about what is going on. They have turned it into such a political football, that they are unable to articulate anything about the mission, outside of a carefully crafted narrative, that really tells us nothing.
Enough already. It's time for some truth. Obviously the mission is not going well. The Taliban is on the rise and not just Taliban, but Al Qaeda seems to have been successful in re-establishing their capability. The opium eradication plan is a complete failure, that should never have been undertaken in the first place and we have not been able to secure the south, nor do I think we ever will.
Honest questions must be asked and answered. Questions to NATO and to our government. Hillier shutting down access to what we can see, was really the last straw. I see too much similarity here to what crept into the US. I know Conservatives hate that comparison, but it's tough to deny the facts.
No one wants to admit failure, but until we have some factual basis on which we can claim success, it's time to be honest.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
You would think that by now, they would have gained a little clarity. I presume if you never venture outside of your comfort zone as it relates to media intake, personal friends and family, you only hear one view. So sad that so many seem to think that's the right thing to do.
Monday, July 16, 2007
The balance in the internal White House debate over Iran has shifted back in favour of military action before President George Bush leaves office in 18 months, the Guardian has learned.
While this has been in and out of the press for the past few months, Bush had been reported to have resisted Cheney's overtures. According to this article, that seems to have changed.
I recall the first time I read the Project for the New American Century, my blood ran cold. As time went on, I thought surely the American people would never let any of this happen. Sadly, I was wrong. I didn't count on Americans not knowing or caring about the direction their government intended to go in. Nor do I think I realised just how deeply entrenched it's author's and proponent's actually were in DC.
So here we are again, with Cheney running the show and Bush happily panting behind him. While I cannot fathom how they could pull off a military mission, I'm no longer naive enough to think it impossible.
One of the most ironic statements out of the White House:
The White House claims that Iran, whose influence in the Middle East has increased significantly over the last six years....
Hmmm, I wonder what changed 6 years ago? Unbelievable.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
The measure also states that Bush should focus more on his capture. That of course makes some sense, or would have years ago.
Shortly after the September 11 attacks, Bush said he wanted bin Laden caught, dead or alive. But a year before the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, Bush's emphasis shifted, saying he did not know bin Laden's whereabouts and "I truly am not that concerned about him."
If that, in a sentence, does not sum up the mess we now see, I'm not sure what does.
It is stunning to me that the conversation south of us, goes on as it does. It's truly as if they are stuck in time. The same circular discussions, the same inane arguments and yet, Bush just plods along his merry way without consequence. Breaking laws, breaking rules, without no one calling him to account.
The planet is paying a price for this Alice in Wonderland mood in the US, and no one is doing a thing to stop it.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Of course, he also purchased the Royal Alex, which was slated for demolition and went on to revive the theatre district and industry in TO.
All of this simply sounds like a nice eulogy, but it's really much more. He filled a niche that no one else was prepared to fill. He made a difference for those who find it tough to get ahead, no matter how much they work. He brought revenue to a city that needed it, by thinking outside of conventional wisdom. He did much more than this of course, but suffice it to say, he lived a life that really made a difference.
I think of the people who made Toronto their home and I'd say we've been pretty privileged. Jane Jacobs, June Callwood, Ed Mirvish, to name just a few. We are poorer for their loss.
I know it's fashionable to bash TO, but I've lived here a long time. All cities have problems, TO, no exception, but there is an awful lot to like too, not the least of which, are the people who care about it.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
She argues that NATO is not the problem in Afghanistan, but that the real problems, are the US troops and the US Government, then and now.
While I still think we do have some problems with NATO, namely troop commitment, this does provide some perspective. It also perhaps explains why Martin agreed to the mission.
But not until 2005, when it was clear that the United States was bogged down in Iraq and lacked sufficient resources to fight on two fronts, did Washington belatedly turn to NATO to take the Afghan south off its hands. And then it misrepresented the situation our allies would find there. NATO was basically sold a beefed-up peacekeeping mission.
It does not however explain why Harper extended the mission after we knew it was going badly.
This is not a banner created by the government, but apparently it could be.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Tuesday his government has no plans to prolong Canada's combat role in Afghanistan beyond its February 2009 commitment, arguing any extension would be for a new mission and contingent upon beefed up NATO support.
But when asked whether he has any desire to prolong the combat mission in southern Afghanistan beyond 2009, Harper said: "No."
Yet more "policy by polls", from this PM.
It's hilarious to consider, that for months, he's accused the Lib's of not having a policy, being all over the map, etc., etc. (which was a lie of course) , then he proceeds to adopt their policy. Not the first one he's taken and I'm sure it will not be the last.
I confess I am at a complete loss to see any reason for anyone to support this man. He misleads, he backs out of commitments, he lies, he spends more than any Liberal and he changes his positions whenever the polls tell him he should.
That said, I'm glad to see that he's backed off his previous position.
Now, how will all the hawk supporters defend this latest shift? If they still agree with Harper, they also agree with Dion. Imagine that?
Monday, July 09, 2007
Each small, but decidedly damaging, measure this government takes seems to fly under the radar. I find that disturbing. Is that because Canadians are apathetic, or is it because this government has mastered the art of implementing change by stealth? I tend to think it's a combination of both, in that the government is taking advantage of the apathy.
This move by Hillier is being sold as being in the best interest of the troops. BS! It's in the best interest of the government, full stop. The headline here says it all.
The irony of all of this of course, is the fact that this would not have happened had questions not been raised in the first place. Those questions were justified. If we are to support our troops, are we not entitled to information about what they are being directed to do? We the people, are entitled to oversight from afar and frankly, they the troops deserve that.
Apparently, the US makes public the numbers of, names, etc., of all detainees at Guantanamo on the Pentagon website. (I didn't dig through it, but anyone notice any similarity to this site and our government's ever changing site?)
Here's the kicker to me. They will release the number of Taliban they kill, to us at home and in local media, but not who they detain. Yeah sure, it's all about protecting the troops.
This is all about saving Harper's butt, nothing more.
What our government has done is wrong. Slowly but surely we are being denied information and sadly I'm not sure that Canadians have noticed.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
It is not enough to tell Canadians that we are there because the Afghan's want us there. It is not enough to say that girls now go to school. I have yet to hear one compelling argument as to what our goal is and how we plan to achieve it.
Oh, I know that we are there to "get the Taleban", but the various groups attacking us are going to be there forever. When they lose a man, he is replaced by two more and their recruitment appears to be gaining in strength, not weakening. The attacks are growing in number and strength and, as we have all read, everytime we change our tactics or strategy, they simply adapt.
A new study referred to in this article lays it out pretty clearly.
It turns out that a major power is much more likely to fail when its war aim requires some sort of co-operation on the part of the adversary or the citizens on the ground, in order to change a despised foreign or domestic policy, for example, or quell sectarian violence, or prop up a regime that's on shaky ground.
Of course the military don't seem to be in favour of studies.
"I look at this and see it has a formula, and I'm immediately turned off," says Lt.-Col. Doug Delaney, chair of the war studies program at the Royal Military College in Kingston.
While he makes good points about every situation being different, it seems to me that the criteria used by the study are still valid, in fact they are common sense.
However, Lt.-Col. Delaney then goes on to say this,
The challenge for the government is maintaining support for a conflict when people don't perceive a threat – of a failed state falling into the hands of extremists, for instance – particularly as Canadian deaths are rising, says Delaney.
It may well be that the key to bolstering Western resolve is another terrorist attack like 9/11 or the London transit bombings of two years ago, he says.
Fantastic! Keep 'em scared and they'll buy the mission. Brilliant.
Call me crazy, but that is not what I want to hear from the military. This isn't new information to many of us, but it's interesting to actually see it expressed for a change.
More on the Senlis comments here.
Friday, July 06, 2007
Toward the end of the interview though, while explaining why we are in Afghanistan, he suddenly said, "remember, the terrorists that blew up the twin towers, came out of Afghanistan". (video)
Now I'm quite sure that this man knows that is incorrect, but the question is why would he say that? Is it just easier to explain our NATO role in Afghanistan by simplifying it in this ridiculous way or is it meant to mislead and bolster support?
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Monday, July 02, 2007
"I respect the jury's verdict," Bush said in a statement. "But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison."
Perhaps we should buy the man a dictionary, respect and excessive, seem to require further definition.
A spokeswoman for Cheney said simply, "The vice president supports the president's decision."
I think we can replace the word, "supports" to forced, don't you?
It is quite remarkable what this man, Bush, has gotten away with. This being minor in the scheme of things. I'm sure historians will be scratching their heads wondering how it all happened.
The answer of course is, because America allowed it, politicians and citizens alike.