Friday, September 26, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
And that got me thinking: Where are those great national projects now? With $700 billion going to bail out some investment banks, and $1 billion being spent every day on the war in Iraq (I grabbed that number today from the NYT's Thomas Friedman)--think of what we could do with that money! Meanwhile, our bridges fall down, our cities get smited, health care sucks, social security is in trouble. Anyone who's recently been to JFK or LaGuardia or LAX and then flown to, say, Hong Kong's new airport, or even Pearson's beautiful new terminal 1 will know how little we're paying attention to infrastructure here.
With $700 billion, could we cure AIDS?
With $700 billion, could we find a real cure or treatment for cancer?
With $700 billion, could we not create the finest school system in the world, instead of falling further and further behind?
Isn't the point of taxes that they get spent on things to make the country as a whole better? Aren't they the price of living in a modern state?
But no, if we weren't bailing out Wall St. and fighting the war in Iraq, all we'd hear would be tax cuts tax cuts.
And our bridges would continue to fall.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Most notably, the Québec Act allowed the free practice of Catholicism in Québec, and modified the oath of allegiance in order to allow Catholics to hold office in the government. It was another 50 years before Catholics in England would be granted the full freedom provided under the Québec Act.This pragmatic approach turned out to be effective in Québec, but it was definitely contentious elsewhere. The Québec Act was among the provocations that led to the revolution in the Thirteen Colonies to the south. It was denounced both by the First Continental Congress, and in the text of the Declaration of Independence itself. But the challenges of governing a New World territory such as Québec simply could not be ignored, and the Colonial administration wisely chose the controversial but pragmatic solution that included religious tolerance and minority accommodation. In a sense, this policy was vindicated to the extent that the colonies that would later join the Canadian confederation declined to participate in the revolution that broke out in the American colonies.
Note that the Yankees denounced the Quebec Act--which allowed the free practice of religion in Canada.
Fuck you, Yankee savages, when you talk about American freedom. Whether it was religion in the 1770s or torture now, you're wrong. And you have always been. You aren't more free than we are; you just persuade yourself that you are. And fuck you too, Yankee barbarians, that the idea of religion or creation is even an issue in schools now.
And remember we stopped slavery almost a hundred years before you killed each other to try to save it. Barbarians. You're the only serious country that actually debates abortion and health care. And nominates some idiot to be your VP.
But then, you also re-elected Bush.
Dissing American barbarians aside, this is a more affirmative point:
Somewhere among the examples of France, with its civil law heritage, Britain with its common law and unwritten constitution and the United States, with its melting pot and its near-absolute framework of rights, Canada forged its own unique constitutional settlement. In doing so, it honoured a proud New World tradition of pragmatism and accommodation. Moreover, these initiatives went beyond lofty pronouncements in constitutional documents. Commissions and tribunals were established to ensure that citizens whose constitutional rights had been violated could obtain a meaningful remedy.
And isn't that the point. American law is lofty in sentiment, but the little dude ends up fucked. We actually make it happen. Examples (aside: anyone advocating "this is our national language and all golf players and school kids must only speak it" would be laughed at as a lunatic):
I am thinking of the extent to which our parliamentary institutions have strived to ensure the accommodation of persons with disabilities – both for members of the public and members of the assembly. We see the use of sign language in television broadcasts of parliamentary proceedings, level access to public areas and to the Chamber alike. In the Senate, I recall the example of Senator Gauthier, whose full participation in debate in the Chamber and in committees was accommodated by the provision of real-time transcription, which allowed him to overcome his severe hearing impairment. I think of my colleague in the House of Commons, Steven Fletcher, the first quadriplegic Member of Parliament in our history. He has been elected, and re-elected, in Winnipeg. The House of Commons took steps to ensure that he is able to participate fully as a member in the Commons and in its committees, and as a Parliamentary Secretary to a Minister. Making this possible required pragmatic accommodation on a “micro” level. This included modifying the rule that excludes “strangers” in order to allow an assistant to sit with Mr. Fletcher on the floor of the House. These are specific cases, but they are not merely anecdotes. They are illustrations of the extent to which the impulse to accommodate has entered our collective consciousness – not just on an abstract and theoretical plane, but in every day real-world situations.
Fuck you, rest of the world. You got it wrong. You've slaughtered each other and locked each other out of your schools and courts and water fountains, all because you can't handle someone with a different language or colour or religion or slaves. I'm looking at you, Africa, Yugoslavia, the US, continental Europe. Oh ya and everywhere else too. I'm not saying Canada got it all right. But let no one lecture us about tolerance. And the next time some idiot says "We (speak different languages)(practice different faiths)(are different ethnic groups) (come from different tribes) (etc)" I'll point out that the most advanced, just, kind, progressive country that has ever existed manages all of that. Without killing each other.
Some of you backwards foreigners could bomb our cities to the stone age. You could never rebuild them.
You think you win on the strength of your arms; we will win with the strength of our ideas, the breadth of our minds, and the size of our hearts.
And one day Canadians will wake up and realize we are the most privileged and blessed 33 million people that have ever existed, and the only people that will have it better are our children.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
She didn’t say “no thanks” to the “Bridge to Nowhere” until after Congress had already abandoned it but given Alaska a blank check for $223 million in taxpayers’ money anyway. Far from rejecting federal pork, she hired lobbyists to secure her town a disproportionate share of earmarks ($1,000 per resident in 2002, 20 times the per capita average in other states). Though McCain claimed “she has had national security as one of her primary responsibilities,” she has never issued a single command as head of the Alaska National Guard. As for her “executive experience” as mayor, she told her hometown paper in Wasilla, Alaska, in 1996, the year of her election: “It’s not rocket science. It’s $6 million and 53 employees.” Her much-advertised crusade against officials abusing their office is now compromised by a bipartisan ethics investigation into charges that she did the same.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Rudy, who built his career on being Mayor of NYC during 9/11, thinks the Mayor of Wasilla is equal to the task:In an interview Wednesday on ABC's "Good Morning America," Giuliani was asked, "If she were the president on 9/11, you would have been confident?"Inside, it must make Rudy seethe to compare himself to the Mayor of Wasilla. NYC has neighbhorhoods and housing complexes with more people than Wasilla.
Giuliani responded: "I'd be confident that she'd be able to handle it. She's been a governor of a state, she's been mayor of a city."
She's good on defence because Alaska is close to Russia. She'll be a good commander in chief because she commanded the national guard of Alaska (which has been refuted--she never made a single decision). And now, because she was mayor of a town of what, 20 people? she could handle a major terrorist attack on the biggest city in the country.
The worst part is people buy this shit.
First, for Fred Thompson to call out Barak Obama for being inexperienced is a touch ironic.
But more importantly, for him to talk about deficits, about America's standing in the world is nonsense. Who was President when there was a surplus?
And to call out the Congress for being dysfunctional was funny too, since Republicans have basically made it clear that they'll filibuster anything they don't like. It's like Tories in Canada complaining that Parliament doesn't work when they are the ones with a 200 page book on how to disrupt committees.
The problem is Americans and Republicans believe this nonsense.