What Price Democracy Pt. II

If you need a reminder of how corrupt American politics can be, check out this Harper's magazine article about a sting that editor Ken Silverstein conducted against Beltway lobbyists last year where he posed as a representative of a company with business interests in Turkmenistan, a Stalinist-type former Soviet republic with a horrendous human rights record but plenty of natural gas that the company was interested in doing some image-polishing for in Washington. Junkets for members of Congress? Sit-downs with think-tanks where Silverstein a.k.a. Kenneth Case* would control the agenda? Bullshit op-ed pieces that "respected" academics would sign their name to and publish in major newspapers? It makes for compelling reading.

* Silverstein said in a CBC radio interview that he took Case as his alias, by the way, because of his fondness for singer Neko Case.

"Separatists, Botanists And Snowboarders"

Not surprisingly I get more e-mails than I can open. Just going through yesterday's unread batch and I found this link to a great Lawrence Martin article on Harper's undeserved victory in the coalition wars of aught-eight.

The column's called "Our Robert Mugabe Moment, And Other Unpleasant Memories" and it appeared in Monday's Globe And Mail.

Here's a taste:

"...read the headlines in The New York Times, on CNN, in papers across the globe: "Canadian leader suspends Parliament to stay in power." Would Robert M. approve? A prime minister promises the Opposition a confidence vote. A prime minister sees he will lose that vote. A prime minister moves to shut down the House of Commons, lock the doors of Parliament."

"Canadians democratically elect MPs to their federal Parliament. Whether they be separatists, botanists, or snow boarders, they have a perfect right and responsibility to partake in our governing process."

"But so what if the bullshine meter goes off the charts? We're so used to politicians putting the truth to death that it doesn't matter any more."

Read the whole marvellous piece here.

Iggy It Is

Is it just me or does the coronation of Ignatieff feel like a really bad move optics-wise? I mean, if the coalition survives and tries to offer itself up as an alternative government, we know there'll be more attempts to paint it as a coup d'etat. And all Harper will have to say is, "Even the leader of this coalition wasn't democratically elected by his party" and it'll be game, set and match Conservatives.

Would an internet poll of party membership really have been that difficult? Here we are living in the 21st century ----- it's the freaking future already! ----- and the Liberal brass reckon if they can't get everyone together in a room for a show of hands it's just not on? I suppose technically this process was just to pick their interim leader but wouldn't the smart move after being charged with acting undemocratically be to move forward super-democratically by encouraging Rae to stay in the race then letting every Liberal and their Liberal dog vote for leader? Odds were pretty good Iggy still would've had it in the bag. But no, let's cling to all our antique customs because clearly the canadian public is so well informed about the way the parliamentary system works.

I wonder if Paul Martin is starting to regret all that provincial transfer money he cut that would've gone into social studies education.