Arrrrgh! I spent an hour writing an enormous blog post, then Firefox crashed and I lost all the edits! Grrrr! Serenity now…serenity now… Must think of happy things, like this weekend’s 4th birthday party with the uber-cute Madelyn Wong, pictured here betwixt moi and big-headed Sean M.
We begin today with a quote from that old curmudgeon Charley Reese, who echoes what I’ve been saying in this space for 5 years now:
"We are, I believe, living in the twilight of Euro-American domination. We are like a former world champion gone to seed from luxurious living."
A sure sign of a civilization’s decline is when it devolves from its commitments to the values it claims to espouse. There are few better examples of this than the situation in Guantanamo Bay, where so-called “enemy combatants” are held without trial, charge, and protection from the Geneva Conventions, presumably for either the duration of their lives or the until the end of an undeclared and bottomless “war on terror.” It is thus not surprising that Gitmo is experiencing a spate of suicides. If any other nation had perpetrated such acts, the “free” world would have rightly branded them as war criminals.
Meanwhile, here in Canada our new PM continues to mistake a minority government for a true mandate, and is dragging our nation toward the neocon pole. Unsurprisingly, Stephen “Bush Lite” Harper continues to wage war against the media, Rove-style, in an attempt to muzzle debate on his increasingly controversial policies. Mischa sends us this article on a boycott by parliamentary press who rightly resent the PM’s attempt to manage their messages. Antonia Zerbiasis has a report on the accelerating war between our barely-elected leader and the press. What the Harperians need to realize is that Canada is not the USA; our media is very different. Our journalists don’t look forward to millionaire salaries and celebrity status, so they can’t be easily cowed into keeping silent.
The Harperians have deepend Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan, much to the detriment of our moral certitude and our ability to intervene elsewhere in the future. Most Canadians don’t realize that “our” mission there has changed. We are no longer engaged in somewhat autonomous nation-building actvities, but rather are out Taliban-hunting, often under direct command of US forces as part of so-called “Operation Enduring Freedom”. Is this really what Canadians want our soldiers to be doing in our name? I suspect that most would say no.
The recent “coalition forces” killing of villagers in a raid admittedly intended to target Taliban hold-outs complicates the Canadian mission. By being complicit in this action, Canadian troops have compromised decades of good will accrued through peacemaking and peacekeeping. Like BushCo, the Harperians will leave nothing behind except waste and a legacy of lessened international prestige and trust.
Domestically, they have already made a lasting negative impact. Duncan Cameron summarizes the things Canadians have already lost in less than 6 months of Conservative rule:
- We no longer have a child-care plan.
- The Kelowna accord on Aboriginal rights is dead, despite the support of every province.
- The government has foregone about $5 billion in tax revenue through its GST cut.
- The military expedition to Afghanistan has been renewed without adequate discussion or debate.
- The Canadian delegation to the meetings on climate change was instructed to derail an internationally agreed timetable for progress on reducing harmful emissions.
In fact, my contacts tell me that the Conservatives are busily dismantling many, if not all, of the few efficient and cost-saving federal projects built by the previous Liberal governments, including pretty much all of the climate change stuff. As one friend in government put it, the Conservatives will be in power just long enough to do irreparable damage to programmes that cost us decades of work and hundreds of millions of dollars to set up …and all for no good reason other than sheer ideology.