Death of the Straight Talk Express

Posted October 22, 2008 on 5:02 pm | In the category Election 2008, McCain, Obama, Palin, Politics | by Jeff

“Here is a Communist Daily Worker of March 9, containing seven articles and a principal editorial, all attacking McCarthy. And the same issue lists Mr. Murrow’s program as — listen to this! — “One of tonight’s best bets on TV.”…. Now, this is a question which can be resolved with very little difficulty. What do the Communists think of me? And what do the Communists think of Mr. Murrow? One of us is on the side of the Communists; the other is against the Communists, against Communist slavery.”
–Senator Joe McCarthy on Edward R. Murrow 1954

Our opponent … is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country,”… “This is not a man who sees America like you and I see America, We see America as a force of good in this world.”
—Governor Sarah Palin on Senator Barack Obama – 2008

I suppose it was inevitable that the McCain/Palin campaign would sink to new lows as their poll numbers went south. While it is difficult to find a silver lining in the way they have run their campaign of smears and lies perhaps there will be one if American voters provide a strong enough signal that they will not be dragged, scared or bullied into the sewer.

There are two weeks left for McCain/Palin to flood the country with mindless personal attacks on Senator Obama and it appears that, having nothing useful and substantive to say, they will do just that. Two years is a long time – too long for many – to have to put up with a presidential campaign. But ironically, it is that extended campaign that has allowed the country to watch the decomposition of the old McCain and his party’s morphing into a reincarnation of the Know Nothing party of the 19th century. Sarah Palin is a near-perfect example of that with her witheringly ignorant rants on issues foreign and domestic and McCain’s selection of her places him at the helm of what has become the Strait Jacket Express.

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Snowbound trip to the Polls

Posted October 16, 2008 on 1:59 am | In the category Canada, Election, Uncategorized | by Mackenzie Brothers

Canucks got out of their igloos yesterday, rounded up the sled dogs and snow shoes and headed off to the polls to make sure that they got their money’s worth out of the $300,000,000 spent on what most thought was an unnecessary election. Well, less than 60% actually did that, an all-time low turnout that proved that the skeptics were right. At the end of the day very little had changed. As predicted, the Conservatives will once again lead a minority government with 1 per cent more of the popular vote and 17 new seats, mostly at the expense of the opposition Liberals, but still well short of the majority it was looking for. But while the Tories swept rural BC and Alberta, where a rubber duck would have easily carried most ridings, they failed to make any gains in Quebec, despite endless aggressive courting, and had no seats at all in Newfoundland or the three major cities Vancouver, Montreál and Toronto. It also could be a victory, that they may soon come to regret as the liberal kings-in-waiting, Michael Ignatief, Bob Rae, and yes young Justin Trudeau, expectantly observe Prime Minister Harper making hash of the economic crisis.

About the only thing the election did prove was how spectacularly stupid the British first past the post vote-counting system is. In Canada there is no reward for getting 49% of the vote in your riding if someone else gets 51%, which makes voting a useless gesture in vast areas of the country where it is clear from the start who will get the most votes in a particular riding. The result is mocking disinterest from the young folks (among others) as they see their green party get 7% of the vote and no seats while the Bloc Quebecois, running only in Quebec, gets 10% of the national vote and 50 seats. What the hell is the point of rounding up the dogs for the long cold trip to the polling booth? Only true satirists could come up with a system like that.

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A Tale of Two Elections

Posted October 11, 2008 on 2:42 am | In the category Canada, Election 2008, McCain, Obama, U.S. Domestic Policy, Uncategorized | by Mackenzie Brothers

The Canadian election was called 6 weeks before the vote on Oct. 14. the day after Thanksgiving, and has provided journalists and media types with plenty of largely vacuous material to keep them employed for the period. Among the specialties of the Canadian six-weeks are the two debates among the now 5 major party leaders, one of whose parties has never had anyone elected, first in French and one night later in English. The spectacle of 3 native English-speakers attempting to use their various levels of high-school French (from pretty primitive to B plus) to outargue two very smart native French speakers provides a certain amount of sadistic humour, but wears thin after 15 grueling minutes. And then vice versa on the next evening, since amazingly none of these five leaders is as bilingual as thousands of kids attending French schools in Vancouver, not to mention many scores of thousand bilingual Chinese speakers. In the long run, it seems clear that this election, despite all its energy and windbag rhetoric, will not change the makeup of parliament very much at all, and there will be another minority government.

The US election with a set date, on the other hand, has gone on seemingly forever and cost scores (hundreds?) of millions of dollars, something which does not seem to have been mentioned in the current financial crisis, where that money might have been used for something more useful, like hiring more inspectors and controllers of financial institutions. But for all its own brand of windbagging rhetoric, a huckstering media performance, and sideshow shenanigans like a vice-presidential debate, the US system does allow the main candidates to give some indication of what they are really made of, something hard to argue for the Canadian system. It is an exhausting process and a youngster like Obama should have a real advantage over an old warrior like McCain, but the old soldier seems to be hanging in there quite admirably and ultimately the vote should come down to which of the two convinces more people of the superiority of their view of the world, assuming they put functioning ballot boxes in states like Ohio and Florida, and that the Palin fiasco doesn’t lead to comicall voting patterns. You’d have to be gambler to bet against Obama but at least the game seems to have been played on a level field.

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Another Province Heard From on Palin

Posted October 6, 2008 on 5:48 pm | In the category Canada, Election 2008, Palin, Press | by Jeff

Our leading source for innuendo, Fox News, is reporting that one Heather Mallick, analyst and columnist for the CBC has morphed into Canada’s left wing Ann Coulter. Writing about Senator McCain’s VP nominee Sarah Palin, Ms. Mallick has said in recent columns for the CBC and The Guardian the following nasty bits:

“A Mighty Wind blows through Republican convention…” noting that Republican VP nominee Sarah “…”added nothing to the ticket that the Republicans didn’t already have sewn up, the white trash vote, the demographic that sullies America’s name inside and outside its borders yet has such a curious appeal for the right.”

“The semiotics are pure Palin: a sturdy body, clothes that are clinging yet boxy and a voice that could peel the plastic seal off your new microwave.”

“…red states vote Republican on social issues to give themselves the only self-esteem available to their broken, economically abused existence.”

“We share a 1,500-mile border with a frontier state full of drunks and crazy people, of the blight that cheap-built structures bring to a glorious landscape. … Alaska is our redneck cousin, our Yukon Territory forms a blessed buffer zone, and thank God he never visits. Alaska is the end of the line.”

And, et cetera. It is easy to dismiss Ms. Palin as not up to the job of Vice President without stooping to a level that diminishes the impact of the argument and anything that gives Fox News an opportunity to cry “foul” is a disservice to the real debate. Ms. Mallick provides a great example of smugness gone awry.

We leave it to our intrepid Canadian correspondents Bob and Doug MacKenzie to determine if Ms. Mallick is really Canadian?

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Emergency Call for Palinectomy

Posted October 4, 2008 on 4:47 pm | In the category Election 2008, McCain, Palin, Politics, Press | by Jeff

“Take Sarah Palin…… please.”
Henny Youngman (paraphrased)

On a fairly regular basis the American press loses its collective mind over some nonsense. The current nonsense is named Sarah Palin and it is time to put it where it belongs – in the comics page or the news of the absurd section. From the moment she was put on the GOP ticket it was obvious that she lacked any semblance of the intelligence, background and skill set needed to be Vice President, the proverbial heartbeat from the Presidency. Nothing that has happened since her nomination acceptance speech has changed that reality and yet we are now being pummeled with all kinds of analysis about whether Palin cleared a hurdle in the debate – a debate in which she distinguished herself by not answering the questions asked of her, by mimicking Senator McCain’s vacuous sarcasm, by making countless factual errors (lies?), by re-enacting her days as beauty queen contestant and by playing to whoever the hell is Joe Six-pack. She is Tracy Flick, the Reese Witherspoon character in “Election”.

I could go on, but it would be counter to my point. We have seen and heard more than enough of Palin –put us out of our misery; take her away. Please.

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