Tag Archives: John McCain

A Canadian in New York

I am not an ideologue, a Democrat, nor even an American. But I am in New York today. I came here from Toronto just to be here when history is made and America turns a corner on an eight year blight that that has done damage it will take 3 times that long to undo… if ever.

And brought my two and a half year old son.

I will be telling him about this day years hence and how he was there when:
A) reason triumphed over the basest of instinct
B) An election was truly stolen in broad daylight in multiple States by more than a little local malfeasance and the people rose up in their righteous fury and hunted down the CEO of Diebold Inc.

Seven years ago, at a point when everyone was shaken and the ground was still burning, I flew down to New York and Texas to spend some dollars and time with my American brothers at an hour of need and uncertainty. It was a time when the entire civilized world felt pain and empathy, and picked sides in a war against ignorance, saying “I am an American”.

Then George W Bush and his reckless cronies did everything possible to squander that goodwill, bankrupt America, debase it’s international standing and violate her most sacred rights.

Today we start to turn it around.


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McCain Counters Powell Endorsement With Soap Opera Actress

Hey she did a guest shot on “Beverley Hills Buntz”.


Try and match that credibility , Mr Former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

More on Celebs Talk Politics
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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117-111 Obama

I am a huge if improbable fan of the sport of boxing. I say that because I kinda believe that a sport based on two men try to hit each other so hard that their brains rattle into unconsciousness ought to be banned, but as long as it is legal I will enjoy it.

I also score fights as I watch them. Boxing is scored round by round and often the subjective impression is not reflected in the scores. You can win a few rounds convincingly but lose more rounds narrowly and lose the fight.

Obviously a debate is a lot more subjective. but i think if this were a 12 round championship fight the scores would be something like 117-111 for Obama. A convincing and clear win. Not a blowout, not a knockout, but a clear and dominant win. There were four or five decent sound bites for Obama (Iraq, Spain etc) and none for McCain. I think you would be hard pressed to describe this as an ass kicking victory for either.

But I cannot see how anyone could think that McCain won, except the true believers. Although it is sick to hear the pundits who just hope for the horse race to continue pumping the McCain performance.

Which is why i am kind of disappointed in ABC’s Jake Tapper who seemed to note the few lame McCain successes without noting the many more Obama hits

Jake, the you like Mccain “seal” sideshow without noting the Obama “spain” hit to which it was a lame – and canned – retort.

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McCain’s Ibogaine?

Back in early September in searching for a rationale for why McCain would abandon his senses, pick Palin, repeat lie after lie, hide in plain sight, appear to honestly mis-remember his own record, look confused and disoriented, I suggested that he may have had a stroke in Mid August, allowing the Rovians to swoop in and take control of a vulnerable candidate.

This was a few days before I started this blog, so I didn’t post it, but I did express it in email to my friends – all three of them. I don’t know if i would have posted it anyhow given that it was pure speculation.

However seeing McCain’s droopy eye in the the last week has re-awakened the issue.

Now I don’t mean this in the sense that Hunter S Thompson famously implied that 1972 Democratic front runner Ed Muskie’s erratic behaviour was caused by the presence of an African witch Doctor on the campaign bus administering the hallucinogenic ibogaine to the senator – or maybe I do. I mean the whole issue is that there is no evidence, but the stroke hypothesis would explain the McCain behaviour in the same way that the Thompson believed the pharmacological  literature on Ibogaine would map to the constellation of symptoms displayed by Muskie.

Wait a minute, isn’t the McCain-Palin Campaign the one with actual ties to African Witch Doctors? Hunter Thompson must be rolling in his, umm… well… cloud

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Why we fight

Because George W Bush, despite his initial appearance as a mediocrity on about the same level as Al Gore, is undeniably the worst President in American History.

The last 7 years have been the steepest cumulative decline in American power, prestige and prospects for the future in its history.

And John McCain, who has spent most of his life being the maverick he claims to be, has clearly decided in recent weeks to be the standard bearer of the Bush era’s most crucial and harmful errors.

You can give GWB Year 1 the benefit of the doubt. An ineffectual first 9 months, followed by a surprising and inspiring month after Sept 11 as the world united around the horror and outrage presented a mixed bag under increasingly difficult circumstances.

But the key moments in late 2001/early 2002 where the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld incompetence let Al Qaeda principals escape from Afghanistan into the Pakistani tribal areas, and the later revelations that they had dusted off the gratuitous and dangerously distracting Iraq agenda as early as the afternoon of that tragic day, marked the clear beginning of a ruinous folly.

The failure to prosecute the War in Afghanistan.

The unprovoked war of aggression on Iraq, certainly an appalling regime, but one of maybe 40 such monsters around the world. And not a clear threat, let alone an aggressor.

The lies about the foundation for that war. Weapons of Mass Destruction, visions of democracy flowering, the shameless lies linking Iraq and Al Qaeda and the terrifying gullibility of those who facilitated.

The complete lack of any preparation for Iraq after the month of war.

The suppression of American’s rights through the Patriot Act(s) and the shameful abdication of moral leadership through a formal protocol of torture.

Turning the horror of most of the world at an atrocity committed against Americans into a broad contempt and increased hatred for America.

Funding the Iraq folly through deficits financed by China, and feeding off the blood of America’s courageous volunteers and – most shamefully – the feeding of the Reserves into the maw of combat.

The abdication of responsibility for repairing America’s infrastructure or taking care of the basic needs of all of its citizens in efforts deemed “too expensive” that would have cost less than this unnecessary war.

Now the very economic foundation appears to crumble, the military is worn out, America’s enemies abroad are emboldened and her friends besmirched.

Osama bin Laden in his wildest dreams could not have inflicted the damage on the United States that George Bush has.

Which is why we fight.

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Slate fears for Canada. Don’t get distracted.

Christopher Flavelle writes in Slate of his fears for the outcome of our election in Canada.


This is nuts. It is wrong in almost every respect, except for:

  • the Conservative Party’s decrease in financial subsidies for commercial artistic projects like television programs
  • the Liberal Party’s chronic corruption and recent disorder.

And frankly the former is a side issue and the latter is a fundamental disqualification.

I was born during the Johnson administration and I think that the choice of Obama over McCain is the most clear cut and important electoral decision of my lifetime. I used to respect McCain but am appalled by the abdication of everything that is right. I would vote for Obama 100 times if I could. And I will be voting for whatever Conservative candidate is put up in my parliamentary riding. She will lose to the local candidate for the even more left wing New Democratic Party (ignored in the Slate piece) who along with the Quebec separatist Bloc Quebecois and the possibility of Green Party parliamentarians could well hold the balance of power.

This is not like the United States where the contest is between two Establishment Parties, each representing very conventional orthodox policies with the extremes on either end driving a disproportionate slice of the agenda with social issues that serve to distract from the continued entrechment of the ruling oligarchy.

Admittedly Canadian Politics is less interesting. Go figure, this is Canada. In the dictionary entry for “less interesting” there is a line drawing of Canada. But Canadian politics always has been and always will be much more about consensus and moderation. That has its ups and downs. But it generally means little reason for panic about a change of government.

I used to work in the production end of TV/Film/Radio. I have had to fill out Canadian Content logs, and have worked on productions that would not have existed without multiple levels of Government subsidies, tax breaks, or quotas. They may have been a good employment mechanism for media people but they rarely resulted in quality product. Worse, the whole system became a bureaucratic gravy train. It is all about the deal, the package, not the content nor the art. And once you are in the club you get money to make whatever schlock you want. At the expense of better artists with better ideas. I won’t shed any tears about seeing those funds cut.  The biggest losers in this are the producers who make made for cable time filler that occupies time on your Lifetime or USA networks with shows featuring and American star, a Canadian crew and Toronto and Vancouver posing as New York or Chicago.

The “not sponsoring ideas they disagree with” is kind of a sideshow. There are still plenty of arms length sources of Government funding where the decisions are well abstracted from the politicians. And I have a lot more confidence that the left wing types who run institutions like the National Film Board of Canada will continue to produce meaningful films of dissent.

I don’t agree with cutting foreign aid but again it is not an issue like fightig an unnessary and ruinous war, or stripping reproductive rights from women, or lying lying lying.

On the GST tax cut, yes it was stupid. But we are runnig a surplus, and as a sales tax the GST could be seen as regressive, and certainly was railed against as such by the LIBERAL party when the Progressive Conservative Party (sic, R.I.P.) introduced it in the early 1990s. BTW the GST replaced a complex and costly system of hundreds of different taxes applied at a manufacturing and wholesale level and had the immediate result of making canadian companies more efficient and goods manufactured in Canada significantly cheaper to the retail customer. So while it’s regressive nature as a sales tax was mitigated initially by its positive effect on consumer prices when introduced by the Conservatives, and reinforced by the cuts by the current Conservatives.

And Kyoto? Don’t get me started. Kyoto is a sham. It will not do a damned thing about climate change but it would cost tens of billions of dollars to the Canadian economy. And the current Liberal platform on climate change is beyond ruinous. It carries on the nonsense of destroying the economy by paying unspecified entities for Carbon Credits. An IOU for oxygen I guess, often vouched for by self appointed groups controlled by the same people who sell you the credits.

If the government (any government) wants to held the climate and enrgy policy and the fate of the environment they can fund research or provide tax incentives  into  cheaper or more efficient solar cells, or wind power, or wave power or high capacity battery technology or biological sources of energy and consumers of carbon (algae that eats C)2 and produces biodiesel, anyone?)

The Liberals would be a disaster. The Conservatives have demonstrated at least basic competence and even if there is now a contingent of freakazoid social conservatives in disturbingly high positions of power, there is not the quorum, nor power, nor consensus for them to impose the type of Palin/Hagee/Scalia culture war you folks face.

Please for the love of God, keep your eye on the ball. Elect Obama. We will be fine up here. Better if the Conservatives win a slim majority, actually.

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American Dualism

Just as the Obama campaign begins to rebut the obvious bare faced lies repeatedly trotted out by the McCampaign (TM) the debate on the media role as the uncritical echo chamber of lies begins to get specific. The debate between Marc Arbinder and Yglesias takes shape:



and both sides make good points.

Ah ha! Caught you nodding your head, didn’t I?  The old “two sides to every story” banality of binary equality. The curse of American political journalism.

And a lot more.

Americans – more strongly and distinct  from most similar cultures – have a dualistic notion of how everything is organized that is so deeply ingrained as to be a perverse blinder to the truth. It is pervasive.

“There are two sides to every story”

Right and Left

Rural and Urban

North and South

Religious and Heathen

Rich and Poor

Good and Evil

Black and White

Democrat and Republican

“There are two sides to every story”

Equal Time.


He said, she said.

On the other hand…

“There are two sides to every story”

Maybe not. Maybe there are 400 sides to a particular story. Maybe there is only one – objective reality. Maybe picking out a subset of “two sides” from the available data is arbitrary and unhelpful. But it always happens.

The American mindset is so fundamentally dualistic that it facilitates this lazy binary sorting. It affects -or rather infects – everything. And is has been getting worse for 50 years, as the political institutions reinforce the existing cultural tendencies. Look at impediments to the creation of political third parties (voter registration, the primary system). They all favour the entrenched established two party system to the point where most Americans interpret democracy – rule by the people – as a scheduled choice between Democrat and Republican.

So when journalists play this game, I understand the cultural forces behind it.  I understand it, but I don’t excuse it. I can forgive Entertainment Tonight using the “two sides” crutch to make it easier to report a pointless story about Jennifer Aniston. But we deserve better from real journalists. Its not that hard.

I cringe every time I use the term mainstream media. I cannot bring myself to use the contraction “MSM”, which seems tainted by the chip-on-the-shoulder blogosphere ideologue crowd. I think i first saw the term on Matt Drudge more than 10 years ago. Yeah.

But if the establishment professional class of journalists who heap such scorn on the work af “amateurs” cannot even remove the blinkers of cultural dualism to look behind the horse race inside baseball mixed metaphor of coverage, can they be surprised at the scorn returned in heaps by the public?

And regarding the inside baseball metaphor.  Political discourse is not a game between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, an American League East Division rivalry in which mention of the Los Angeles Dodgers and SanFrancisco Giants and Washington Nationals and St Louis Cardinals and and and… could be dismissed as extraneous. Different league. Different Divisions. Not applicable.

What is so odd is how specific this is to America. You get a profound sense of this spending your entire life 20 miles away from the United States, sharing a common Geography, economy, language, culture, value system.  A common life, really.

But “Two sides to every story?” That is just weird.

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