2009-09-29

They Swore They'd Be Blood Brothers Until The End


'Cause we made a promise we swore we'd always remember
No retreat, baby, no surrender
Blood brothers in the stormy night
With a vow to defend
No retreat, baby, no surrender

Bruce Springsteen, No Surrender, 1984.

Brothers in arms. Doing right by the sword of freedom, democracy and justice.

Puke, vomit, pass the Maalox.

Seriously, what's up with the Col's rickety appearance? He looks like a villain right out of Scooby-Doo.

This has 'South Park' parody written all over it.

The Man Who Could See Beyond His Times: John Grierson


Though born in Scotland and still considered a British documentary film maker, John Grierson also has a strong Canadian connection. His influence, often ahead of his time (which explains why he was frustrated with bureaucratic red tape on both the intellectual and administrative level and died basically poor) on Canadian film making can't be under estimated. He certainly had an influence on Italian director Roberto Rosselini - the founding father of neo-realism.

From filmreference:

[...]The National Film Board of Canada stands as the largest and most impressive monument to Grierson's concepts and actions relating to the use of film by governments in communicating with their citizens. During his Canadian years he moved beyond national concerns to global ones. The Film Board's The World in Action, a monthly series for the theaters along March of Time lines, expressed some of these concerns. His ideas regarding the education of citizens required in a world at war, and a new world to follow, were expressed in major essays that have inspired many who have read them. "The Challenge of Peace," reprinted in Grierson on Documentary, is one of them [...]

[...]It is for his many-faceted, innovative leadership in film and in education that Grierson is most to be valued. As a theoretician he articulated the basis of the documentary film, its form and function, its aesthetic and its ethic. As a teacher he trained and, through his writing and speaking, influenced many documentary filmmakers, not only in Britain and Canada but throughout the world. As a producer he was responsible to one extent or another for thousands of films, and he played a decisive creative role in some of the most important of them. In addition, he was an adroit political figure and dedicated civil servant for most of his life. Whether in the employ of a government or not, his central concern was always with communicating to people (of a nation and of the world) the information and attitudes that he thought would help them to lead more useful, productive, satisfying, and rewarding lives [...]


Canada's Troubled Teens

Scary.

It happens enough here.

France Growing Tired Of Obama's Weak Approach Strategy; Le Monde Discusses Social Models; Richard Cohen Has Obama Comments Of His Own

A strange thing has happened. France is beginning to think President Obama is a little nutty naive and indecisive. France! Mind you, Sarkozy is conservative. And with Germany heading right under Angela Merkel, this may prove to be quite the connununundrum for the President.

First the world hates Bush, and now they're annoyed with Obama. See why you can't spend your time trying to please everyone?

A little of Jimmy Carter and a little of Woodrow Wilson and voila! Annoyance!

Speaking of Carter and (and Clinton and Obama for that matter); what's the deal with them constantly on television? When you're on so often it makes you wonder about what they're trying to hide - or prove.

Le Monde originally reported the story and The Telegraph picked it up:

"President Sarkozy in particular pushed hard. He had been “frustrated” for months about Mr. Obama’s reluctance to confront Iran, a senior French government official told us, and saw an opportunity to change momentum. But the Administration told the French that it didn’t want to “spoil the image of success” for Mr. Obama’s debut at the U.N. and his homily calling for a world without nuclear weapons, according to the Paris daily Le Monde. So the Iran bombshell was pushed back a day to Pittsburgh, where the G-20 were meeting to discuss economic policy.”

“Le Monde’s diplomatic correspondent, Natalie Nougayrède, reports that a draft of Mr. Sarkozy’s speech to the Security Council Thursday included a section on Iran’s latest deception. Forced to scrap that bit, the French President let his frustration show with undiplomatic gusto in his formal remarks, laying into what he called the “dream” of disarmament.”

Sarkozy was so annoyed with Obama’s weak-kneed approach that he reportedly told Le Monde that “we live in the real world, not in a virtual one”, a cutting and mocking reference to the US president’s drive for a new arms control treaty.

***

Incidentally Le Monde (that's French for The World), wrote this article about France's (and Europe at large) flawed social model.

"France and the United States offer two divergent systems, but both suffer the same social anxiety."

Still prefer the American way.

***

You know times aren't great when some of your biggest fans begin to question you. Richard Cohen (of the Washington Post) wonders if Obama is acting presidential.

Still. As much as it's tempting to go medieval on Iran's ass (but I don't want to give the Middle Ages a bad rap and rep), the fact remains caution should be the way to go. I don't see this as a sign of weakness - yet. I understand we should deter Iranian actions with a show of symbolic (or otherwise) force but for now let's watch the douchetard in power in Iran closely before acting hastily. I agree with moderate liberals on this one.

Sounds like people are piling on the President. Will he be as chastised as Bush - ironically speaking of course. Stay tuned.

***

Speaking of being hard on Presidents. There's nothing new in this in American politics. For example, during the political campaigns in 1828 Andrew Jackson and his wife had to endure vicious (and unjust) slander. And check this blurb out:

"John Tyler (America's tenth President), the poor, miserable, despised, imbecile, who now goes from the presidential chair scorned of all parties, but for his profligate and disgraceful, though impotent efforts for a reelection, would have passed decently through his official course." Albany, NY, Evening Journal.

Ouch.

There, there Barry, there, there. So'kay. So'kay.




The Limbaugh Paradox

Rush Limbaugh is one of the biggest radio political personality on the continent. Bill O'Reilly has one of the most watched political programs on television. Both are scorned by the left.

Yet, has anyone bothered to examine why they've become so big?

Limbaugh in particular intrigues me. He's a bit of a paradox. Here's a guy representing conservatism with a humorous and blistering tone. He speaks of conservative issues with anything but a conservative sensibility.

Therein, I think, partly explains his success.

And it's entertaining as sin. He even makes a few valid points along the way.

But in discussing the GOP leadership should he really be considered?

2009-09-28

Don't Feel Bad For Roman Polanski

The story surrounding Roman Polanski annoys me. Here's a creep who committed a vicious crime 30 years ago, plead guilty, escaped, never served jail time and now the Europeans are trying to make the American look like the bad guys?

Don't let the "it's been 30 years" bit fool you.

Extradite and make him face justice.

I can't believe this is even an issue.

Ignatieff Tables Non-Confidence Motion

The Liberals are something else.

There's no other way to put it. Well, I could but I won't.

William Safire Dies

Conservative columnist William Safire passed away recently at the age of 79 of pancreatic cancer.

He's considered a linguist but that may be a tad misguided as Trumbull Stickney explains on his blog. I hope Mr. Trumbull Stickney, who worked with Safire, doesn't read this blog. He scares me.

Sarkozy Wants More Realism From The President; Guantanamo To Stay Open For Now

French President Sarkozy not impressed with Obama's naive visions.

It reminds me of how Woodrow Wilson was scorned and mocked by European leaders for his "Wilsonian principles?"

Obama did look a little like a leader with his head in the sand at the UN. Seriously. Iran is way past dialog although I still wouldn't get tough with them just yet. Most of it is blustering from a blathering idiot. It's interesting they've conducted bomb tests on a Jewish holiday.

***

Obama won't be closing Guantanamo on self-imposed prescribed date. This should come as no surprise to anyone with a moderate, practical and sensible way of looking at things. Obama wants to distinguish himself so badly from the previous administration it may very well be confusing him. You get the feeling his check list hasn't been scratched off and he's surprised by it.

We've seen enough of President Obama to form a decent opinion of what type of foreign policy he's looking for. It's less, at least it's my perception, an original one and more defined as not being the same as the previous administration. His tone is the correct one but are his visions realistic? I'm personally ok with it but there's something to be said about how your enemies perceive it.

One of his most passionate promises - in an effort to "repair" America's image - was to close down Guantanamo Bay. Why do I keep saying this to the tune of Guantanemera? Digression aside, this is not likely going to happen.

Each time I would hear the Guantanmo closing promise during his campaign days, it brought me back to my high school days and to a chap named Hans who was running for student council president. No one cared about fricken school politics but Hans sought to change all that. One day on the campaign trail, he visited our class to sell his platform. An intelligent and eloquent speaker - he stood about as high as James Madison - he made several promises. One in particular left us in stitches. So much so, we still talk about 20 years later. Hans, being the creative if not desperate soul, wanted to, well, raise the ceilings in the school. Something about poor air ventilation or whatever.

How in the world was he going to pull that off we wondered? Did he not grasp the work involved? Where were students going to go in the meantime? Where were the funds going to come from for such a huge project? Among many unanswered questions. Raised eyebrow remains.

Turns out, nations don't want to help out by taking some of these people, that there really are some bad people there and above all, given the number of detainees (220 in total) the review process and paper work involved dictated that it would be impossible to close it by the end of the year.

Health reform is not going well. Guantanamo is not going to close. Procrastinating on making a military decision on Afghanistan. Old "no world with weapons" speeches. Obama has to find something - fast.

What's Good For The Goose...

...Fill in the blank.

Lloyd Marcus is angry!

I didn't know a blogger depicted Michael Steele that way. Amazing the silence.

As far as his anger about the left "setting the agenda" they feel it's the right who control the country and media.

But I agree - this racism thing is crazy.

So is Bill Clinton.

No matter how badly they screw up, it's ok. They have an alibi - the elusive and mysterious vast right-wing (and racist) conspiracy is out to destroy them all. Obama's health reform bill will collapse not because the Democrats themselves couldn't agree on what it should be - which explains why they couldn't sell it - but, well, because Americans are a bunch of brain-dead, racist sheep!

Curious, when he and his wife were trying to ruin Obama (and probably will do so when given a chance), was that the right-wingers forcing them to do it?

I'm surprised he hasn't blamed them for his dick sucking incident you know with who.

2009-09-27

The Origins Of The Word "OK"


Ok.

This is how the story goes.

America's 8th President and key player in the founding of the Democratic party, Martin Van Buren was nicknamed "Old Kinderhook."* Whenever it came to signing forms and documents he would sign them with the "OK" initials.

The rest is, as the skinny lady once wrote, heestirry.

Ok? Happy now?

Ok. Maybe not. His name was also referenced in Seinfeld when a gang calling themselves the 'Van Buren's' were seeking revenge against. George Costanza.

Ok?

*Van Buren was born in Kinderhook, New York.

2009-09-24

Immigration And The Founding Fathers

I have to admit, I don't get this "give amnesty to illegal immigrants" business. What more, the temerity to claim it's their (Mexican) "homeland" is quite befuddling.

A link to what the "originals" thought about immigration. It's certainly not a mainstream view.

Libya Likes Obama - Whoopeedoo

It's quite interesting (and disconcerting) to see Libya (calling Obama a "native son"), Russia (anti-missile defense) and Cuba (climate change initiatives) have all recently praised the United States.

I'm not sure if I would be all that proud about it. Russia I would tolerate (up to a point) but the others?

A person would be ok with this if they were inclined to think and believe:

A) That Obama is a transfomative and transcendent figure. Having allies and enemies alike praise you is proof of this.

B) That all cultures are equal regardless of reputation, history and beliefs. Libya's opinion is equal to, say, New Zealand's opinion.

C) That America (and Israel for that matter) is the root of all evil and the apex of hypocrisy.

Plus Ca Change

Well, it's a point (the one about Obama's change is politics by other means) I've been trying to hammer home here. But nobody reads this shitty blog.

However, lotsa and lotsa pipple read, Glen Greenwald at Salon:

[...]when it comes to uprooting ("changing") the Bush/Cheney approach to Terrorism and civil liberties -- the issue which generated as much opposition to the last presidency as anything else -- the Obama administration has proven rather conclusively that tiny and cosmetic adjustments are the most it is willing to do. They love announcing new policies that cast the appearance of change but which have no effect whatsoever on presidential powers.

With great fanfare, they announced the closing of CIA black sites -- at a time when none was operating. They trumpeted the President's order that no interrogation tactics outside of the Army Field Manual could be used -- at a time when approval for such tactics had been withdrawn. They repudiated the most extreme elements of the Bush/Addington/Yoo "inherent power" theories -- while maintaining alternative justifications to enable the same exact policies to proceed exactly as is. They flamboyantly touted the closing of Guantanamo -- while aggressively defending the right to abduct people from around the world and then imprison them with no due process at Bagram. Their "changes" exist solely in theory -- which isn't to say that they are all irrelevant, but it is to say that they change nothing in practice: i.e., in reality.

That's why I called yesterday's announced changes to the state secrets policy a "farce" (here's a Washington Times article today reporting on reactions, including mine). Yes, the changes they announced sound better in theory than what existed previously. It's nice that the DOJ claims it will voluntarily impose a higher burden on itself before asserting the privilege, will require the approval of the Attorney General, will avoid asserting the privilege only to avoid embarrassment over government wrongdoing, etc. But none of that would have altered the Obama administration's controversial, Bush-replicating assertions of the privilege. Not only the Attorney General, but the President himself, explicitly endorsed the specific assertions of the privilege that triggered the controversies in the first place: to block, in advance, lawsuits brought by victims of Bush's torture, rendition and illegal eavesdropping programs. This "new policy" would plainly allow the continuation of that conduct because the decision-makers now -- the DOJ -- are the same ones who asserted the privilege in the first place. So how, in practice, would this change anything?

Most important of all, the central abuse is rooted in the ability of the Executive Branch to assert the secrecy privilege without any binding limitations imposed by Congress and enforced by courts. We're not supposed to have a system of government where we rely on the good faith of the Executive Branch to monitor itself. Without a law in place that limits the President's ability to have entire lawsuits dismissed on secrecy grounds, abuse is inevitable.

The last administration proved that, and so has the current one. The institutional bias of the Justice Department is that it sees the world from the perspective of the Executive Branch and wants to win cases on its behalf, and the state secrets privilege is far too potent and tempting a weapon to leave in their hands in unfettered form, hoping upon hope that they will exercise it responsibly. The abuses were coming from the DOJ in the first place; how can the solution possibly be to trust that the DOJ will police itself responsibly in the future? Why shouldn't these abuses be curbed by an act of Congress and enforceable by courts? Yet again, the policy the Obama administration announced -- clearly designed to undermine the perceived need for a law to limit the privilege -- has pretty words in it, but it enacts no real changes.

"Mr. President That Is Not True"

"There is no disagreement that we
need action by our government,
a recovery plan that will help to
jumpstart the economy."

— PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA, JANUARY 9 , 2009

Link to economists responding to Obama's assertion.

Wonder what Paul Krugman thinks of this.

Into Bankruptcy? Relish A Credit Fetish?

Credit Slips is a blog discussing, well, credit and bankruptcy. Nothing could be more relevant these days. Lotsa Canadian content and perspective too.

Here's one examining the 1930s and today's economic climate.

[...]Banks didn't want to sell preferred to the RFC. It took RFC chair Jesse Jones telling the American Bankers Association that if they didn't get with the program and start lending again, the government would go into the direct loan business itself. The banks sold preferred to the RFC. I can only imagine what Secretary Paulson told the 9 bank CEOs would happen if they didn't sell to Treasury[...]

Obama is not an exception after all. Sounds like the government has been involved giving the private sector orders for quite some time.

Check this catchy one: The deviant Canadian debtor.

How Stressed Is Your Region?

I have no idea how to rationalize this but I was like a eight month old baby mutant with a rattle:

It's an Economic Stress Index for the United States.

Looks like they can use a lot of 222's to treat that migraine. A lot.

Mortgage Crisis In The United States Runs Deep

Wow. The extent of the mortgage crisis down south is shocking. It's almost impossible to comprehend.

To get an idea of what I mean just visit Produce The Note.

Crazy, eh?

Seems to me is in both Canada and the United States, citizens need to demand TRANSPARENCY. Gone are the days of letting the government collect taxes and trusting them with it. Corporations are a different issue but they too, if they get bail outs, must be straightforward with citizens about how they plan to use it.

Er, Yeah Right

I used to vote Liberal. Then they became a bunch of nyeh, nyeh, nyeh's. By the end of Chretien's de Medici impressionism, I had grown tired of them.

And it hasn't gotten better. It's worse in my estimation. When you look at it, they really don't have any policies. Just grand ideas predicated on capitalizing on anti-Harper sentiment.

But this is my opinion. I'm sure many would disagree.

Nevernonetheless, I've no idea how anyone can take the Liberals seriously when its leader, one Michael Ignatieff, says they will deal with the deficit by not raising taxes and cutting spending for programs.

That's not policy. That's gibberishinism.

2009-09-23

When Men Descend Into Madness

Ever hear of the Killdozer story? Read it here at Damn Interesting.

It reminds me of the movie 'Falling Down' starring that whore Michael Douglas. My friend summarized the movie this way, "the guy just wanted a hamburger..." And society wouldn't let him.

I'm about to start a business and let me tell you, it's scary how much power the government has. It's nuts. It doesn't take a genius how they can break people.

Spending On A Graph


From Open Source Teddy Bears.

What Once Went Up Now Goes Sideways

I mentioned the Bizarro world in a previous post.

Go figure. Here's a site neatly summarizing things.

Death Of Nothing

Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.

I forget who said that but it applies here.

Am I the only one who is utterly bored with titles like "the death of...?"

"The death of conservatism" is the latest book pontificating how extremism has killed conservatism. Nah, none of that happened on the left. It's my contention, in fact, that liberalism has lost its soul and path way before the alleged destruction of conservatism.

But that's a "he said, she said" can of earth worms.

Here's a review of the book. I personally can't comment on the book and probably never will since I don't intend to read it. I have waaayyy too many books (Like 'The Life and Times of Heathcliff." The cat, not the character from 'Wuthering Heights') to get to before that.

Oh, the author of the book is from the NYT. NYT is not liberal. Sure. S'okay , honey. I understand.

***

Conservatism can't die. As long as we have a "conservative" ethic and moral code, how can this hard to describe belief system face death? Will people not always dress, eat, invest and by extension think conservatively? Conservatism just is...

The possible truth is that liberalism and conservatism need one another.

One can't live without the other.

Which reminds me of this quote by Norm Peterson from 'Cheers.'

Bar: "Norm!"

Coach: "What do you say, Norm?"

Norm: "Women...pass the beer nuts."

Che Guevera: A Myth That Endures

From The Real Cuba here's a page to Che Guevera - Crazy Ernie.

When I visited Cuba in 1995, after a couple of days observing the beautiful island I thought to myself, "Castro you son of a bitch. The Inferno awaits you."

But what seemed so blatant and evident to me just isn't to others.

It's amazing how these people (Hollywood of course), could be so incredibly gullible and pathetic. No sense of true critical thought. What I would have given to be a fly on those walls.

It's an affront to the intellectual and moral senses to read their obtuse quotes. To think these people have become obscenely rich in...America.

Classic circular reasoning:

Ed Asner on MSNBC being interviewed by Pat Buchanan:


Buchanan: “Mr. Asner, thanks for coming on and Ed, let me ask you about Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte who have co-signed this statement basically supporting Fidel Castro after he put 75 dissidents in prison for up to 28 years and executed the three who tried to sort of hijack a ferry boat and come to Cuba [meant U.S.]. What is it about these, Harry Belafonte, frankly, and Danny Glover that they can attack the American government and defend a guy who would basically put him in prison for doing what they do here in the United States?”


Asner: “Well, they may well be put in prison here for those, for the support they’re giving to Castro, the way things are going in this country. I am opposed to capital punishment by any country, by any persons. I disapprove of Mr. Castro’s executing. I understand that the trial was very fair, that the death penalty is exercised in Cuba and therefore, by Cuban standards, the trial was fair and judicious even though I abhor the death penalty.”


Buchanan: “I want you to name individuals in this country who have made political statements criticizing President Bush who have been put into a penitentiary for five, ten, or twenty-five years like these dissidents who criticized Castro were put into prison. And is this not a real slander on your own country to suggest that it behaves in the same manner as Fidel Castro?”

Asner: “Uh, my country is much more fortunate so it can’t, it doesn’t have to afford the excesses that Fidel Castro has to resort to by constantly being embargoed by the United States.”

Buchanan: “Why does he have to do this? Why does he have to do it?”


Asner: “Why does he have to do it? Because he feels the imminent threat of the Bush administration. I don’t regard the Bush administration as being representative of my country.”

Asner blamed the U.S. for driving Castro to communism: “What is the, because when Castro first took over, we all celebrated enormously. Cuba, which was never supposed to be under the hegemony of the United States had finally found its freedom. Within a year, because of pressure by the United States, Fidel demonstrated his independence of the United States. The United States could not tolerate a little country, a little Hispanic country 90 miles off the United States declaring its independence of the United States so immediately embargoes, everything began to take place, forcing him into the sphere of Soviet influence.”


Sweet.


More like pisstarded.


"What do the Italians think of us?"

For obvious reasons, in the battlefields of Afghanistan we hear much about Canada and the United States. However, other countries are involved in the mission, including Italy.

Excerpts from an article of a reporter embedded with Italian troops:

[...]They all asked me the same question: "What do the Italians think of us?". The soldiers are afraid people think they are only serving in Afghanistan for the money.

But while financial compensation can be one reason for going there, it is not the only reason: people go because they are passionate about what they do and because they love their job [...]

[...]The Italian mission in Afghanistan is committed to restoring security in a turbulent country where dangers exist in every corner - under a suspect pile of stones, in a white Toyota car, in a motorbike that has apparently been abandoned by the roadside and even in a drainage ditch [..]

[...]The Italian military's objective is always to help create a secure and stable environment to legitimize the Afghan government and build a better life for the Afghan people.

Canada Leads By Example

I am proud of my country today.

We plan to walk out on Iran's leader - Aggawhasshisname - if denies the Holocaust.

WE plan to stand for something.

We can showcase to the world where our values and beliefs lie.

The world should once and for all stand with us in the face of tyrannical regime in Iran.

Mayor Tremblay Needs To Show He's Boss; Louise Harel's Linguistic Deficiency

Thank God some newspapers - La Presse and The Gazette specifically - cared enough to follow up on the water meter scandal. Mayor Gerald Tremblay is, rightfully, set to cancel this contract lest it be a direct assault on the citizens regarding finances and taxes. I wished someone would examine Laval major Gilles Vaillancourt to make sure Quebec's answer to the de Medici's is on the up and up.

How does it go from a an already ridiculous $335 or $350 million price tag to over $600? These are the same people (bureaucrats in general) who run public health folks. Sure, America, your government will "control costs" with a public option. Sure.

I think this sort of corruption on a grand scale (provincially or municipally) is happening a little too often here in Quebec for my taste.

Just how rotten is Montreal? Is Tremblay, who seems like a decent and honest fellow, competent enough to keep his undelings honest and why is he passing the buck?

Ask any construction worker/owner about what they think off the record about how things work at city hall. Ga'hed.

Last, maybe it's time to give independents a shot. Maybe, just maybe it's time to scrap the party system and let non-affiliated members of the society who truly care and come without baggage enter the fray.

***
Speaking of municipal politics, Montrealers will be heading to the polls and lemme tell ya there aren't too many choices. You get to choose from Mr. Magoo (or Alfred E. Neuman I can't decide which) and a scheming separatist with a phobia against the English language.

And what about the language of John Locke? That there won't be an English-language debate doesn't surprise me. We didn't have one at the provincial level so why would the municipees do it? It's par for the course in this joint. I will admit I won't be watching for two reasons: I live in Laval and I'd rather watch Inuit porn.

But I will say this about Louise Harel's claim she's not "comfortable enough" to debate in English. If it were anybody else I would sympathize but let's face it, this coming from a person who holds the language in clear contempt hardly makes me shed a tear. Rather, it points to her character I suggest. It says a lot about who she is. I will always respect Green party leader Elizabeth May for not only demanding and fighting for her right to be at the table but doing it in French as well. Her French was far from stellar yet she faced the people with honor.

Ah yes, FACING THE PEOPLE.

A lost concept in Quebec and Canada.

Regrowing The Amazon

In an earlier post, I wrote that we're burning the Amazon at an alarming rate. While true, I neglected to do further research. In doing so, I discovered there's in fact a regrowth of the Amazon.

The Commentator doesn't regret the oversight because I'm one guy running this poorly run ship.

Can I get a "poor lad?"

Anyone?

Links On Climate Issue

Climate Depot. Now here's a website filled with a lot of 'denier" information on climate change.

Save your "it's funded by Exxon" nonsense. It's always good to keep an eye on both sides.

***

Here's something remarkably bizarre. Al Gore praises China for its work on climate.

I swear I think we live in the bizarro world. "Me, stop Superman!"

Thanks to Tom Nelson for the link. He takes minimalism to new heights.

***
Green groups have sites on war room.

No one disputes the nobility in green parties and the importance of thinking about the environment and making it a part of the political process. It's just that the solutions tabled may be misguided. Being anti-nuclear and ramming through cap and trade and other assortment of "tax to discourage consumption" may not be as sound as first thought.

Whenever the government and special interest groups come out and say "X will be capped at this Y price per family" you should ALWAYS raise an eyebrow. ALWAYS.

***
The more I hear Obama the more he reminds me of Bush on some issues. Take climate change. Basically, Obama said all the right things and used the proper tone but he's sticking with Bush's position of not signing a damn thing.

2009-09-22

Madame Blavatsky: The Group Of Seven And Emily Carr Connection

I own two portraits by A.Y. Jackson and J.E.H. MacDonald in my house. I like it a lot even though someone once told me the Group of Seven are a "figment of our nationalism." Whatever that means. I don't know much about art. All I know is I know what I like. Sometimes. It's sort of like how you like a song but can't articulate it. It just resonates deep within you. That's all you need.

The Walrus explores how Madame Blavatsky influenced Canadian artists. A few excerpts:

The Group were, were [...]students of Theosophy. Concerned with the recovery of secret wisdom and “underground mysteries,” the Theosophical Society was established in 1875 by a mysterious Russian prophetess named Madame Blavatsky, who claimed to receive mental transmissions from dead Tibetan mahatmas[...]

[...] (Author) Housser, for his part, was convinced that the Rockies were a northern Atlantis whose peaks hid troves of lost wisdom; he pored over the creation myths of Canada’s First Nations in search of secret teachings, believing they held the key to the country’s spiritual destiny. Even the group’s name was a nod to Blavatskyan numerology[...]

[...]The beliefs of the Group of Seven seem strange to us in part because the artists straddled the ages of Victorian Christendom and modern multiculturalism. They spoke in a spiritual creole, a mishmash of East and West, old and new. The vocabulary was Vedic — nirvana instead of heaven, karma rather than sin — but the plot remained roughly Biblical. The millennial kingdom that Jonathan Edwards dreamed would descend upon the New World had simply retreated north, where it still twinkled like a shining beacon on a hill, inviting stronger souls to pursue their errand in what Housser called “that infinite unfathomable thing — the wilderness.” North was the new West. And artists like Lawren Harris and Emily Carr were Canada’s answer to Emerson — homegrown prophets who glimpsed in the country’s vast landscapes a faint evocation of Nature’s nation[...]

The McChrystal Leak; Afghanistan Mission; Romeo Dallaire

Three articles and interviews from Foreign Policy:

-Bob Woodward strikes yet again. The McChrystal leak is serious. Why was it leaked and why did the White House not react to the initial request?

-Interview with former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad. He talks about, among other things, how leaving Afghanistan is not a solution and the Obama administration's handling of Karzai.

-Interview with Canadian Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire - always a fascinating figure. The man stared straight into the eyes of Satan. It must be incredibly infuriating to warn of a pending evil only to be ignored.

The piece begins:

[...]Now more than ever, Dallaire tells Foreign Policy's Elizabeth Dickinson, such distant conflicts should strike world leaders as imminently close. Where unrest simmers, so does the possibility for terrorist havens, global pandemics, and massive human suffering. Preventing and abating those conflicts is not a matter of humanitarianism alone; it's a matter of realpolitik. In a world where no contagion stays local for long, Dallaire challenges leaders to weigh the consequences of conflict accordingly. That calls for a new kind of military force -- one that blurs the distinctions between traditional military efforts, counterinsurgency, and even peacekeeping. In short, there is no fine line between Rwanda and Afghanistan, only a plethora of civilian lives.[...]

Some excerpts:

Foreign Policy:
You're releasing a report today about galvanizing political will toward intervention in crisis situations. What's the secret to getting real action?

Roméo Dallaire: In this era, which began in the 1990s but is much more acute now, we are now significantly at risk -- in terms of our health and security -- from catastrophes that happen in foreign lands. We simply can't use the parameters of whether there is a moral reason for intervention; [this] has not worked. [Politicians] can bring [the reasons for intervention] a lot closer to home. The influence of catastrophic failure in these [troubled] states can reach your borders and your national security. In fact, the well-being of your nation is now linked to places that seemed far away before, [because] now, they are just next door. [The goal is to determine] how we can make the leaders much more aware of the fact that they are going to be held accountable [for responding to conflicts elsewhere], because there are people in their own countries who are going to ultimately suffer.

FP: What kind of response have you received from governments? Do you think that the administration of Barack Obama, in particular, is poised to step up in tough cases?

RD: Obama sees a global scenario in which all of humanity is interfacing. He acknowledges that some regions are putting the rest of humanity at risk. So we think that there's going to be a more interested reading, at least, of looking at intervention -- not only in a reactive way but in a preventative way. That's the "soft power" side -- international development, focusing on preventing failing states from actually going south.

It is my personal position that the NGO community, if it gets rid of some of the fringe gang and coalesces more and more, instead of being so interfighting at times, will become the voice of humanity with a massive impact on foreign policy and public opinion.

He closes with this interesting story:

[...]I recently was able to put a couple dollars aside to buy a diamond ring for my wife, which I never did. My work with child soldiers was such that I categorically insisted on a Canadian diamond, because I don't trust DeBeers. No matter with the Kimberly Process [to prevent conflict diamonds], there's just a smell out there. Well those things, more of our younger people are conscious of them. They read it, they see it, they know all about it. Politicians will be held accountable for allowing [atrocities] to happen.[...]

I'll make a note of that.

This blog thanks, as it has before, Mr. Dallaire's efforts and service for Canada and the international community.

Thoughts On Rechargeable Batteries

Len Penzo dot com has this interesting bit on the the (alleged) cost-efficiency of rechargeable batteries.

Network Statistics: Fox Audience Most Balanced

This may come as a shock to people (especially Canadians who rely on second hand information) who have been told Fox is pure evil. According to Pew Research Foundation, FNC's audience is the most balanced of any network. I don't know what to make of these figures exactly, but they're interesting that's for sure. It can also beg the question if FNC has 22% of independents watching, then why wouldn't Obama take the heat and go on FNC? It seems to me, FNC viewers are the ones Obama needs on board for his health care plan. Not Letterman or his audience.

CNN: 51% Democrats, 18% Republicans, 23% independents

MSNBC: 45% Democrats, 18% Republicans, 27% independents

Fox News: 33% Democrats, 39% Republicans, 22% independents

They must be doing something right.

Here's the PDF to the Pew survey. Pages 15-20 are of notable interest.

Pork-Barreling Done In; Iran; Environmentalism

Like Bush before, behind all the yelling, Obama is doing some good things. I'm no fan of his waffling-passing-as-patience foreign policy style but domestically he seems to be ready to really change pork-barreling - much to Nancy Pelosi's dismay. Still no clue how she made it all the way to Speaker of the House.

***

Can someone please tell me why in the world the West still doesn't take that maniac in Iran at face value? Do people really believe, after all the violent and crazy rhetoric he has spewed, he won't try and "erase Israel" once he gets the bomb?

I wonder how he views Obama's recent anti-defense missile move. War is not the solution but the West must keep a very close eye on him and act accordingly if need be if we get a whiff he's on his way to having nuclear capabilities.

***

So far, it looks as though Paul Erhlich is wrong. His supporters, of course, say on a big picture level he's not. Whatever. While there's no doubt in my mind we're not exactly kind to the earth, just look at what's happening in the Amazon (that saddens me to no end), I do feel men like Erhlich take a far too pessimistic view of humanity. Less scientific, more emotional?

Patterson Victim Of Political Prejudice

Heard this great line on the Dennis Miller Show by a caller:

If you're anti-David Patterson, you're anti-blind.

Life Isn't Fair: Monroe And Lafayette

By the time Thomas Jefferson, America's third president, retired from the presidency he was in debt. Lucky for him, his supporters got together and raised over $100 000 to allow Jefferson to live out his days in peace at Monticello.

James Monroe, the nation's 5th president and the man behind the Missouri Compromise and Monroe Doctrine, wasn't so lucky. Despite being a great president for two terms between 1817-1825, no one stepped up for Monroe. In fact, John Jacob Astor, the richest man in America at the time, demanded repayment of a debt owed.

Meanwhile, Major General Lafayette, a French citizen who assisted and served America brilliantly during the revolutionary war (and the French revolution), was gifted $200 000 plus land by Congress.

Life. She just ain't fair, eh?

2009-09-21

"Toronto 18" Plead Guilty

I remember when this story broke out, some people were depicting them as misguided teenagers.

So much for that.

They were planning to blow up buildings and kill innocent people.

The mind boggles.

Terrorism has reached Canada, folks. You don't have to have an actual attack to admit this.

Cloud Computing Goes Federal

U.S. government getting involved in Cloud Computing.

"Holy technological travesty Bat-Man! I got a bad feeling about this!"

You know that little Masonic eye on the U.S. dollar bill?

Yeah, well, it's getting vision...

Life Isn't A Zero Sum Game

Excerpts from "Illiberal Beliefs" segment at Le Quebecois Libre:

[...]And yet, many continue to believe that in a (relatively) free and open marketplace, if a company gets rich, it is surely because it has ripped off its customers. The grain of truth that makes this flawed interpretation seem plausible is that some companies curry favour with governments, hence circumventing the need to compete fairly for consumers' dollars.

Along a similar vein, some people imagine that today's rich nations got rich at the expense of those nations that remain poor to this day. Again, there is a grain of truth that gives this argument its force. The governments of some powerful nations and their cronies have exploited and continue to exploit people in poorer, weaker nations, and in the past, this was indeed the primary way some predatory nations got rich. Still, it doesn't take a libertarian to see the flaw in this line of thinking. No less an advocate of redistribution on a planetary scale than Jeffrey Sachs skewers the notion that today's rich got rich by stealing from the poor. In The End of Poverty, he writes, "This interpretation of events would be plausible if gross world product had remained roughly constant, with a rising share going to the powerful regions and a declining share going to the poorer regions. However, this is not at all what happened." Instead, Sachs tells us, in the last two hundred years, "Gross world product rose nearly fiftyfold." If it were only, or even primarily, a matter of exploitation, where would all of that extra wealth have come from? Sachs concludes, "The key fact of modern times is not the transfer of income from one region to another, by force or otherwise, but rather the overall increase in world income, but at a different rate in different regions.[...]

As I've said before, it's all the rage to bash capitalism. Now we're presented with the notion it must be "reigned" in and the government is the right entity to do that.

Of course.

The concept of liberty is so alien to people it's considered "radical." Or we actually believe ourselves to be free. We're not.

There's a difference between government growing in proportion to population growth (which is normal and acceptable) and it stretching its powers into areas it need not to (which is not acceptable).

Taking Al-Queda Out; Missile Defense Shift; 2010 Elections; Insurance And Health

Americans are making serious inroads against Al-Queda and the Taliban.

BUT, while the leadership is slowly physically getting whacked, what about the ideology?

***

Man, foreign policy is hard! Obama's latest move regarding missile defense is good and bad.

The ball is in Russia's court. And that's not necessarily a good thing.

I like Clinton's effort to assuage Eastern European allies.

One day after 9/11 I wrote in an email to my friends, a collection of educated individuals, the end of the Treaty of Westphalia. After much debate I upped it to "the Geneva conventions no longer apply."

We'll see if Obama's move ushers in a new pragmatism.

***

The White House is running scared. To be honest, I called it and it wasn't that hard to make. The Democrats will lose the House in 2010. And you know what? They'll have no one but themselves to blame.

***

Are health insurance really the problem?

I don't know a whole lot, as most readers know by now (I just pretend real good), but whenever I hear ONE culprit cited to a complex problem, I always say to myself, "Hmm. Now that don't seem too Euclidean to me. It just don't add up."

***

And this goes out to a commenter who goes by the name of T-Steel. He left this message here and I liked it enough to post it.

Not all blogs are opinions. There are some that do much fact-checking and investigation. But there are a sizable number of blogs who's fact-checking and investigation is serious colored along partisan lines. They preach to the choir under the guise of investigation when really they are cherry picking information and wrapping it around opinion. But the MSM does that as well (and even worse at times).

So this is just about a general culture of news where mutual understanding is few and far between. In most of our daily lives, we live in an environment of mutual understanding (i.e. interacting with with cashiers, ordering food, dealing with contractors, etc). Sad that we can't carry it over many times.

Health Reform: Stephanopoulos Versus Obama

Check out this exchange about health between George Stephanopoulos and President Obama.

Excerpt from Stephanopoulos's blog:

OBAMA: Well, hold on a second, George. Here -- here's what's happening. You and I are both paying $900, on average -- our families -- in higher premiums because of uncompensated care. Now what I've said is that if you can't afford health insurance, you certainly shouldn't be punished for that. That's just piling on. If, on the other hand, we're giving tax credits, we've set up an exchange, you are now part of a big pool, we've driven down the costs, we've done everything we can and you actually can afford health insurance, but you've just decided, you know what, I want to take my chances. And then you get hit by a bus and you and I have to pay for the emergency room care, that's...

STEPHANOPOULOS: That may be, but it's still a tax increase.

Yes Georgey, in Canada we call it skating.

OBAMA: No. That's not true, George. The -- for us to say that you've got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. (By getting the government involved? Please. To me, personal responsibility and government are not the best of friends) What it's saying is, is that we're not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore than the fact that right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase. People say to themselves, that is a fair way to make sure that if you hit my car, that I'm not covering all the costs.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it may be fair, it may be good public policy...

OBAMA: No, but -- but, George, you -- you can't just make up that language and decide that that's called a tax increase. Any...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Here’s the...

OBAMA: What -- what -- if I -- if I say that right now your premiums are going to be going up by 5 or 8 or 10 percent next year and you say well, that's not a tax increase; but, on the other hand, if I say that I don't want to have to pay for you not carrying coverage even after I give you tax credits that make it affordable, then...

STEPHANOPOULOS: I -- I don't think I'm making it up. Merriam Webster's Dictionary: Tax -- "a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes."

OBAMA: George, the fact that you looked up Merriam's Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you're stretching a little bit right now. Otherwise, you wouldn't have gone to the dictionary to check on the definition. I mean what...

Editor's - that's me - lousy note: I don't understand Obama's logic here. What I get from this is it's indicative of the times we live in when you're forced to go to a dictionary to describe anything since classic definitions are often challenged. It reminds me of a scene in The Simpsons when Chief Wiggum busts in on Fat Tony's bar/social club and shouts "We got you for murder, Fat Tony!" to which he replies, "What's a moider?" Soooo, Obama could have said to George, "What's a tax?" and smirk at the camera.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, no, but...

I don't know. I have a hard believing this won't be a tax increase. I totallyget Obama's take on things but he's having a hard time selling it. He keeps saying we need to have "a legitimate" debate to everyone. I'm left wondering, at this point, what's "legit" to him? I see healthy debate - excuse the pun.

Obama Now Wants To Bail Out Newspapers

Ok. Let's get it over and done with. Get President Obama a Superman outfit!

Ta-dah! I'm Professo!

"Get me my Victorian red boots, Gobbi! Print needs our help!"

"Y-yes. Professo."

"And get me a cranberry, ginger basil oatmeal kamut granola bar. I need to set a good example. Check my breath."

"All good sir, shall I warn parents about your pending arrival into their homes?"

"Nah. That won't be necessary. I gots me a nice gig on Letterman. I'll preach there. I hope people won't make fun of my ears. Kids can be so cru-elle!"

"Yes, they can, Professo."

"Good day my midget friend. Dash and off I go! Oh and tell Mich how much I love her truly madly."

"Yes, now git."

Here's an excerpt about Obama being open to help newspapers. Nothing like trying to fight the ebb and flow of change and technology with good old taxpayer dollars:


"I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding," he said.

Why does he feel the need to comment on everything?

Prior to the aforementioned passage, White House Press Secretary had this to say:

In early May, Gibbs said that while he hadn't asked the president specifically about bailout options for newspapers, "I don't know what, in all honesty, government can do about it."

Y-y-you mean, there limits to what government can do? Noooooooooooooooooo!!! Is, can, can it mean the scope of the government's long, unwelcoming arms have reached its apex?

Anyway. If Bush was inattentive to the people's will, then what the heck is Obama doing with the bail out? Is he not gauging just how upset people are about this?

Call me a conspiracy nut here but let's see: First, the banks, then the automobile industry, he's after health (one-sixth of the economy) and now newspapers?

I think we have a four-of-a-kind here, folks. Government holds the right cards. And the people?

Aw, but come on! All he's doing is "cleaning up a mess!"

If you believe that, then, well, mebbe you should just go lie down for a long while. Sleeping Beauty long.












2009-09-20

Quebec Comparisons To Scotland And Catalonia Not Cutting It

Personally, it always left me a tad uneasy when Quebec nationalists use Scotland and Catalonia (even more so with Scandinavia) as prime examples for their independence aspirations. On the surface there may be similarities but dig deeper and the differences become more and more apparent.

Professor Giuseppe Turi tackles this here at cyberpresse (the online version of Montreal's French language daily La Presse.)

Quebec has it good in Canada. Real good.

It's in French so if you can translate (if you care about Quebec cultural matters enough) it all the richer you shall be.

Institute of World Politics

I wished Canada had more of these schools and institutes.

Excerpt from the NRO article about how IWP is "rebooting" American foreign policy:

[...]But whereas a lot of schools merely pay lip service to the question of ethics, at IWP, exploring the moral underpinnings of national security is part of the curriculum. “We’re a nonsectarian school, so we do a sort of Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian approach to the study of moral philosophy,” says Lenczowski. This means exposing students to the tradition of natural law, the Christian conception of just war, and the ancient Roman notion of tranquillitas ordinis (“the tranquility of order”).

Most important, “We’re probably the only school of international affairs in the country that places a very high premium on the study of American founding principles. We don’t think that you can defend a country and a civilization that you neither understand nor particularly appreciate,” Lenczowski says[...]

GOP Did Table Its Own Health Care Provisions

I keep hearing, from liberals of course, that the Republicans attack the health care reform but fail to offer a proposal of their own.

I've been meaning to post about this but other topics keep coming up but I did research this. The accusation seemed a tad unfair to me and lo and behold - it is.

The GOP DID offer a proposal. It was called the HR-2520 The Patient's Choice Act and it was presented way back in May. Which begs the question: Why wasn't it reported? Moreover, why do people who claim to follow politics let this slip past them?

From what I see, the most abstract weapon in the liberal camp about health is morality. Liberals argue this issue from a point of "morality" (as if this should over ride every other point including costs) but their conception of morality is different from conservatives. That conservatives don't support their plan doesn't follow they're not moral anymore than liberals hate being fiscally responsible.

2009-09-19

Terrorist Plot Pegged For NYC Stopped

Scary story. More here.

One must admit, even though Homeland Security rolled out by the Bush administration curbs civil liberties and was constitutionally challenged, they've uncovered and foiled quite a few plots.

Still.

You can't help but get the feeling one will slip through.

Just to give you an idea how the imagination takes over sometimes. Whenever I watch a big sporting event the thought that maybe I may witness a terrorist attack on television does enter my mind. Remember when the earthquake hit San Francisco during the World Series in 1989?

Something similar, only more sinister.

Obama Refutes Carter

President Obama and the White House respectfully tell former President Carter to let it go.

Obama made this lucid comment on CNN: "Are there people who dislike me because of race? I'm sure. But this is not the overriding issue. I think there are people who are against the government."

Amen.

He missed on the Gates affair, but he more than made up for it here.

People Take Writing For Granted

Entertaining post by Josh Olson about "Why he won't read your fucking script."

I enjoyed this line:

Like the cad who asks the professional for a free read, the guy simply didn't have enough respect for the artist to think about what he was asking for.

I've taken to telling people, after years of summoning to courage to do so, I am a writer. Sure, I don't make a whole lot of money off it but it's what I do. I say it knowing full well the person in front of me may on the surface say "Hey, cool" but it may comes with a clause that goes something like "another dreamer or unemployed artist."

Writers aren't fully, truly respected by society at large. I've done some web copy for websites and they simply don't have the patience to truly consider how important communication through writing really is. There seems to be this undercurrent of belief that the owner of a company is tolerating the writer. If the writer leaves it's not a loss because he or she can do it on their own.

Some can. Most can't.

I know it's not scriptwriting but it's all in the same tea pot.

C'est la vie.

So the saying goes.

I guess.

Exploring The Comic Genre


I just watched a documentary on comics directed by Canadian Rob Mann called, 'Comic Book Confidential."

As a casual fan of comic books, the documentary took me places I've been to and seen. But for someone who knows little of this art form it's a great introductory - the only problem is it was made in 1988. Nonetheless, it takes you on a wonderful historical journey right up to contemporary times.

Comic books very much reflect the youth of a particular era and by extension, the surrounding political climate and culture.

It also reveals how the concept of freedom of expression and liberty has always been under severe stress or even attack. Consider the negative impact the censorship of the Comics Code Authority, established in 1954, had on the industry. Thankfully, its influenced has waned over the years and has been pushed aside.

One part that stuck with me was the interview with Frank Miller - the man who saved Bat-Man. He brought back Bat-Man to its original roots as a merciless super hero seeking vigilante justice through violent and vicious means. Miller is a giant and a gem in the art of comics.

Miller, discussing the political climate in the 1980s, described it as "silly and scary." What's interesting about this comment is, aside from its obvious attack on Reagan, is how in every decade we hear something similar be uttered by people froAdd Imagem all walks of life. People opposed to Obama say the exact same thing.

Americans, so it goes, live in "silly and scary"times all the time in the post-war era.

Yet.

There she stands.

Of course.

2009-09-18

Easy There, Mr. This Magazine

Let's go for a walk with this article.

It was written by Graham F. Scott and published at 'This Magazine.'

Let me get this straight: The United States finally elects a credible President; moves to enact more humane health care policies; attempts to rein in its legions of lunatic financiers; and gets a clue on climate change.

Credible President? According to what and whose standards? Is he taking a cheap shot at George W. Bush? This is a questionable opening line that can't possibly be proven. It's smells of circular reasoning. "Why is Bush not credible? Because he wasn't."

More humane health care policies? What makes it more humane? What figures suggest America is an inhumane society? Because Obama said so? Do, for example, U.S. Census Bureau, OECD and WHO statistics point to a cruel society? Are there not laws against refusal of care? Or does he mean about the insurance companies dictating terms? If so, are this the problem really restricted to one industry? This suggests there aren't other contributing factors.

In case he hasn't noticed, Americans are sharply divided if not against Obama's unpopular plan. There has to be a reason for this - aside from the race and scare-tactic reasons given.


Rein in its legions of lunatic financiers? Not only is this stereotypical and misleading, it's a meaningless ad hominen. Yes, the banks have been bad little corporate citizens but the author is making the fallacious claim that all financiers are bad. That it is incapable of rehabilitation. It also disregards the government's own dubious role on Wall St.

I'm surprised he didn't go farther and say Obama is out to save the free-market system with sound nationalization policies that will make the markets more efficient, honest and competitive.

His view of what is straight is crooked to me.

Meanwhile, Canada chugs along with its boring-but-stable banks and an imperfect but respected single-payer healthcare system. And we’re the ones who’ve “grown up,” according to National Post comment editor Jonathan Kay, in a preposterous on Newsweek’s website:

Suddenly Canadian attitudes have matured at a breakneck pace—and not just because Americans elected Barack Obama (though of course that’s a part of it). As Prime Minister Stephen Harper prepares to visit the Oval Office on Wednesday, Canada’s chronic anti-Americanism has entered a period of remission. [...]

Canadian anti-Americanism is fueled, fundamentally, by envy and fear. But over the past year, the United States has been laid low by a devastating financial collapse, a crash in home prices, and a worsening jobs crisis. Canada’s economy, on the other hand, has escaped relatively unscathed. … [The] healing trend comes primarily as an unintended effect of recent developments in Washington and on Wall Street. But it’s also a sign that Canada has grown up.

The drippy, patronizing tone of the piece is entertaining but wildly at odds with the facts: For the last decade or so, Canadians have gazed south with bemusement, horror, even—to quote Kay himself—”eye-rolling disapproval,” of American politics, economics, social policy, and military conduct. And why wouldn’t we? Kay says it himself (repeatedly): the U.S. is a basket case. This isn’t about Canada “maturing” enough to be nice to the U.S., as if it even had anything to do with Canada; it’s about the U.S. finally starting to dig itself out of the nightmare farce of the Bush years and attempting to be a reasonable partner in international diplomacy again.

Kay made a claim that anti-Americanism is fueled by envy and fear - itself a debatable, but not crazy, claim. While the U.S. struggles, Canada remains, for the most part, on a stable footing and this has helped to quell anti-American rhetoric. Then he asserts Canada has "grown-up." Our good situation plus some maturity - coincidental of course - was just what the doctor ordered. The problem with Kay's assessment is it infers Canada will never engage in anti-American rhetoric again.

So how does Mr. Scott answer the claim? With a few bits of specious logic while assuming ownership of some facts. Interestingly, he opened up his own article with statements that aren't rooted in facts but are really partisan opinions.

He suggests Canadians are right to, eyes-rolling and all, look down on Americans because they're a "basket case" on economics (without offering proof opting instead for it being self-evident), social policy (exactly how?) and military conduct (again, what's self-evident to him and those who support his position does not mean it's factual. It needs to be substantiated). Isn't this patronizing in itself? Let me answer that in a word: Yes.

Let's reverse this. Americans can take the exact same position. They can roll their eyes at our utterly dependent semi-diversified economy, kooky, expensive and misguided social policies and non-existent and poorly maintained military.

How can one version be truer than the other? It can't. Both are filled not with facts but perceptions, stereotypes and opinions.

And the dubious of all his claims: The United States is pulling itself out of the farcical Bush foreign policy nightmare. Again, how exactly? In relation to what? Iraq? Afghanistan? The Middle East? France? Banana Cantaloupe inc.? Wasn't the Millenium Fund for Africa a success? Weren't relations with India strengthened? To call what amounts to unpopular foreign policies a nightmare or farce is an exaggeration.

Again, this is not a factual statement, to the exten he'd like to believe, but one rooted in opinion. It's a tired one at that. It takes the position that Obama has come, cape and all, to clean up Washington and the mess left behind. However, one could just as easily counter by claiming Obama's own foreign policy (has he noticed Obama's team has many elements from the previous administration still around?) is digging the U.S. deeper into a problem. What makes his approach so much more better and effective? His tone? What are the concrete measures?

If he's going to claim one article of thought is preposterous, I suggest he and This Magazine do a little more thinking lest it leaves them, ironically, in a preposterous position of mistaking opinions for facts.

In the end, this piece inspired by Jonathan Kay suffers from false common sense and selective facts.