A Black History Moment

Henry Louis Gates Jr. Redacted Police Report -

I loved reading the officer's report on the conduct of Henry Louis Gates. So, this officer responds to a call of a possible break-in. His priority is securing the property of Henry Louis Gates. Gates responds by villifying the officer, refusing to cooperate, threatening the officer, and by uttering a dated 'yo mama' epithet.

He shut his sanctimonious trap after he was cuffed. Coincidence? I think not.

Gates needs to eat some humble pie, and the President was premature in his commentary.

By the way, I love docstoc.


Harper Fails To Defend Arab Canadians

In a blistering column by Middle East pundit Adel Safty, Harper and his diplomats are roundly criticized for enabling or being indifferent to the mistreatment of Arab Canadians caught in the dragnet of Bush's overzealous War on Terror.

In fairness, a couple of these cases arose under the previous Liberal government, and the fault is not all the Conservative Party's.

Abousfian Abdelrazik finally returns to Canada


Rumours of the Liberal Party's Death Are Greatly Exaggerated

Another voice in the chorus of Ignatieff naysayers, James Travers in the Toronto Star continued to perpetuate disinformation about the Opposition Leader's current fortunes.

According to Travers, Ignatieff has made key "rookie mistakes" that now have his party "down in the dumps." That's an interesting interpretation of the most recent polling data from EKOS, July 9, 2009.
For Ignatieff's catastrophic blunders of "taking a position that can't be abandoned without severe damage or high risk," and threatening to bring the neoConservatives down without being prepared to follow-through on an election, Ignatieff has been punished by...continuing to enjoy a narrow lead.

The latest polling shows the Conservatives and Liberals in essentially a dead heat (31.8 to 32%, respectively) with the other parties trailing far behind. Thanks to those millions spent on the attack ads, Canadians now feel Harper is almost as fit to lead the country as Ignatieff.

Zakaria on Zelaya: Opposed To This Radical Demagogue

I learned a couple of things from Fareed Zakaria's rant on Manuel Zelaya's recently blocked attempt to return to his country:
You will remember Zelaya was overthrown two weeks ago today by the Honduran military. Since then, support for him has been rolling in. The Organization of American States has suspended Honduras’ membership. President Obama came out on Tuesday in favor of the democratically elected president of Honduras.

Let me register a modest dissent. While Zelaya is indeed the democratically elected leader of the nation, what he was trying to do was decidedly undemocratic. You see, the timing of the coup wasn’t random. It was to stop a referendum Zelaya had called for the next day, an illiegal referendum that would have trashed one of the eight unalterable pillars of the Honduran Constitution.

Zelaya was trying to abolish term limits to allow himself to stay in office indefinitely. The nation’s Supreme Court and Attorney General had already declared Zelaya’s plan unconstitutional, and Congress had begun impeachment proceedings. Still intent on going forward with the referendum, Zelaya was arrested on orders of the Honduran Supreme Court.

Zelaya is a radical who declared himself a socialist in 2007, and has been destroying his country’s prospects for growth. Hugo Chavez is one of his closest political allies and his role model. Indeed, Zelaya probably got the idea for his referendum from Chavez, who did the same thing in his country, as did fellow leftist Rafael Correa of Ecuador and Evo Morales of Bolivia. The difference is all of them succeeded.

So while we should support democracy, and we should be against political change by military coup, we should also be opposed to unconstitutional power grabs by radical demagogues.


Biden Allows For Israeli Strike On Iran

The New York Times reported on Biden's comments from earlier today regarding the possibility of Israeli military action against Iran for developing a nuclear program.
The United States, Mr. Biden said in an interview broadcast on ABC’s “This Week,” “cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do.”
"Israel can determine for itself — it’s a sovereign nation — what’s in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else," he said, in an interview taped in Baghdad at the end of a visit there.
Biden overstates Israel's sovereignty here. It is a country created by diplomatic fiat that relies heavily on the protection and aid of the US. The weapons, and the money to buy them and pay the soldiers firing them, in any strike on Iran will come in large part from the US. See Must There Be Foreign Aid To Israel? from 2004.

Biden also neglects Iran's status as a sovereign nation, and its right to self-determination. I'm not saying Iran is right, I am merely pointing out the contradiction of the Administration's attitudes toward Israel and Iran.

Biden and the President need to take responsibility for enabling Israel's military power and choosing not to restrain Israel should it elect to take action against Iran.

To be fair, Biden has also said, addressing the AIPAC, that "Israel has to work toward a two-state solution. You're not going to like my saying this but not build more settlements, dismantle existing outposts and allow Palestinians freedom of movement."

By the way, Biden's sentiment is not new, and perhaps is not news. He made similar remarks during last year's campaign, reported at the Jerusalem Post on September 3, 2008:

Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden said Wednesday that Israel should be able to take whatever action it feels necessary to defend itself from Iran [...]

"Israel has an absolute right to defend itself. It doesn't have to ask us."

Must You Promise To Lower Taxes To Get Elected?

I find it troubling that politicians pledge to lower taxes when times are good or bad, when the government runs surpluses or deficits. The only election in recent memory electing a party that pledged to increase taxes was the 2009 BC election. But the Liberal Party platform included lower income taxes and corporate taxes. In fact, the text had this grim warning:

http://media.canada.com/f0a33a90-eb4b-4f3b-9fa9-91cf4d82d6fa/1022campbell.jpg"During these turbulent economic times, our economy can ill afford higher taxes, higher costs and more uncertainty under an inexperienced NDP government. The Opposition’s reckless and irresponsible policies and promises will kill confidence and will put our province in an even weaker position than it was in the 1990’s."

The Government intended to raise its carbon tax as part of a multi-year plan to do so at its inception in 2008. Interestingly, you know the only time the carbon tax was mentioned in the Liberal Party Platform? In a quote attributed to Vancouver Mayor, and former NDP MLA, Gregor Robertson. Certainly no accident there. Minimally lower income and corporate tax, and tout the fact in inch-high letters, then attribute praise for a modest tax increase to the enemy camp.

http://newsaura.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/paul-krugman.jpgMaybe the answer to the question posed in this post's title can be found in the response of Paul Krugman to Fareed Zakaria in a recent episode of Global Public Square (at 6:28):

FZ: What's wrong with the argument that, if what you're trying to do is produce a rapid increase in purchasing power, that a tax cut--a permanent tax cut--would actually deliver it faster?
PK: Uh, gee, so we do a permanent tax cut every time the economy is weakening, and now what do we do when the economy is strengthening? Have a permanent tax increase? But, then, in that case, it's not...--There's a logical problem here. You can't have a ratchet where you always cut taxes and never raise them. Eventually we end up with no government at all, which is, I guess, some people's goal, but you can't do that.

It certainly appears to be the objective of the Stephen Harper's neoConservative Party to slash the government along with taxes and revenues. Now Harper wants to have his cake and eat it too. He will cut taxes, cut revenues, cut the government's levers for inluencing the economy, for the sake of his ideology. He will spend on a stimulus package, spend on an auto bailout, spend to expand his Cabinet, spend Canada into the largest deficit of its history, all the while blaming the Liberals for making him spend, and collecting accolades from those he spent the money on.


A footnote: Which party was in power when Canada's last record deficit was posted? The Progressive Conservative Party in 1992/93, with a deficit of $39b. Flaherty, Harper, and his neoCons shatter the previous record with a deficit now projected for $50b.


Sarah Palin Resigns as Governor

AP is reporting that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will resign at the end of the month. There is naturally speculation that she will make a run for the White House in 2012, a contest whose campaign probably begins in earnest in 2010.

I was thinking about this the other day, kind of a What Would Barack Do? gedanken experiment. I imagined fielding the obvious question, "Are you pleased that Sarah Palin is considering a run for the Presidency in 2012?"

At first, I imagined Obama quipping, "I would love nothing more than to compete against Palin in 2012." Then I understood the answer to WWBD? He would say, "I am only six months into a four-year mandate. I am focused on meeting America's complex and challenging objectives at home and abroad. I will not worry about the intentions of Governor Palin in 2012. But I will say this, the American people deserve the best candidates for the Presidency in 2012, and in every election. If the Republican Party nominates Governor Palin for that role, it will be up to the American people to decide whether she is the superior candidate."

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, shown here struggling to wink,
contemplates becoming the Leader of the Free World

Colbert Bump

A little over a week ago, I posted a short transcript of Stephen Colbert's Fisting Statue of Liberty bit. When I checked the traffic to the blog the next day, I was stunned by the hits my humble blog attracted. It was about three orders of magnitude higher than usual. My post had somehow become the number one hit at google for "fisting statue of liberty."

This is all the more surprising considering that the expression was already out there. I only discovered its risque meaning after Stephen Colbert ordered his Nation to type the search terms into google.

Like his guests--authors, politicians, musicians--I, too, enjoyed a Colbert Bump, a momentary surge in popularity by association. The evidence: