Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy T-Day, everyone

A few sides, and then I must prepare for the feast in my mead-hall:

Hors d'oeuvres
  • The Liberals' Maximum Leader--all intellectual hat, no cattle--is plummeting in the polls. Well, that's not news, and hasn't been for weeks. But L. Ian MacDonald sums up (emphasis added) my own feelings of frustration, which, in pectore, have to be amplified considerably amongst the Liberal rank and file:

    Complaining that he has been "framed" by the Conservatives as "just visiting," just as Stéphane Dion was defined as "not a leader," Ignatieff declared: "I've got to lift that big frame off and let Canadians see who I really am, and we will be doing that."

    He added: "If there are certain things I need to do better, I am certainly going to be ready to try, because I want to listen to Canadians and improve my performance any way I can."

    Oh, for heaven's sake. Stop talking about it, and just do it.

  • Baby steps towards the recognition of the Armenian genocide. It's the complexity of these developments that, for me, casts Obama's Nobel in a kinder light. There is something to be said for setting wheels in motion towards alternatives, which is what Turkey and Armenia, and Barack Obama, have achieved so far.

    Getting there is something else, of course, but decisively setting out on the journey is laudable and worthy of recognition. In Obama's case one can caricature this as "not being George Bush," which of course is true, and also point to his current dithering about Afghanistan. But when the President speaks he is speaking for America, and he has signaled a significant change in that superpower's course, on the Middle East, on nuclear disarmament, on multilateralism, on climate change. Given the current political turbulence in the US, such bold moves are fraught with risk.
    Taking them, I believe, is quite an accomplishment all by itself.
  • She put a quick end to hopes last year for a coalition, described by Conservative supporters as a "coup." Now our Governor-General seems to be staging one of her own.

    The kerfuffle is leaving me cold, I'll admit: I'm a small-r republican, and would like us to shed the last of our feudal, imperial shackles, lightly-worn though they be. The fact that we have something called a Monarchist League tells me we haven't yet grown up.

    An elected Senate? Twist my arm. But if so, why not have an elected Head of State into the bargain?

  • And speaking of coups: two weights, two measures. The Right celebrated the recent Honduras coup against the elected President, Manuel Zelaya, as a blow struck for democracy and the constitution. Then the latter was inconveniently suspended by the golpistas as pro-Zelaya forces became more vocal. An agreement is being worked out between Zelaya and the coup leaders, but meanwhile the latter have decided to establish control of the media by decree:

    A government decree published in the official Gazette Saturday gave authorities the right to "revoke and cancel" licenses of radio and television stations considered to be a threat to "national security" and accused of spreading "hatred."

    Last month, the government of Roberto Micheletti, which came to power as the result of a June 28 military coup, already shut down Radio Globo and Channel 36 television seen as close to Zelaya and restricted freedom of assembly and movement.

    The new decree gives the coup leaders legal grounds for future similar measures, according to analysts.

    Oddly, when Hugo Chávez brought in somewhat milder measures in Venezuela, the conservatives were all over him, but for some reason the clampdown in Honduras seems to have escaped their notice.

  • The corporate media outdo themselves with scare-quotes today:

    'Exploited' workers rally for better rights

    'Abandoned' foreign workers rally for better rights

    And then the actual content:

    Joe Delena left a good job as a chef in Dubai for the promise of work, and a new life, in Edmonton.

    What he got was an employer who treated him "like a slave." When he worked overtime, there was no extra pay. Some weeks, he was given only 25 hours instead of the agreed-upon 40.


    Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, said the temporary foreign worker program has become "a massive tool for bringing in unskilled workers to work for wages that no Canadian would accept.

    "Now that the economy has slowed, the Tories have turned off the tap and are leaving these workers high and dry."

    Exploited? Abandoned? Sure sounds that way. But leave it up to "editors" of "newspapers" to be "fair and balanced," as usual.

Have a fine Thanksgiving, everyone. Now, as noted, I need to go and make it happen.

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