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Monday, March 21, 2005

I too want a martini named after me

Welcome, friends. How was your weekend? Good? Mine too. Caught up on some sleep, had a few beers with friends, caught up, that sort of thing. But enough of the pleasantries. "How far to Club Super Sexe?" So a bunch of Tories walk into a bar... Or at least I assume they did. You wonder why they held their convention in Montreal? To reach out to alienated Quebecois? Anyway, I didn't have the stomach to read each and every columnist's masturbatory praise for the well-catered buffets, but I read enough of the "news" reports to provide megalomedia readers with this concise story. This is, in a nutshell, what every report on the convention said. MONTREAL - OMG, did you see Belinda Stronach and Peter MacKay together? They're SOO going to get married some day. Speaking of MacKay, he must have really pissed off Harper, did you see him kick that chair? Did you get to Belinda's party? She booked an entire bar and served martinis named after MPs, it was really cool. Far cooler than Harper's party, thus proving that he hasn't got the party's support. Oh yea, and there was some policy decisions on defence, abortion, same-sex marriage and trade. And some Young Liberal got jumped. I know it's a lot to ask, but could we go back to the time when journalists didn't party with MPs? When you could walk into a convention and be able to tell who was attending and who was covering? When the coverage focuses more on the parties and who's mad at who, what's the point? Granted, policy convention resolutions are so far from actual party policy that it would be foolish to dedicate to much coverage to them (see Liberal Convention: coverage of), but why then must there be so much coverage at all? Why not report on... I don't know, UN peacekeepers killed in Haiti? Just a thought. George Jonas makes me weep George Jonas hurt my head today. Check out this argument. The Air India ruling was good beacuse it reaffirmed Canada's faith in the rule of law. So far, so good. The rule of law is what separates us from the re-education camps in China and the Taliban training grounds. Erm. . . That would work, if it wasn't for Canada's complacent nature regarding Guantanamo or use of national security certificates. But wait, Jonas addresses those very concerns: "In the borderland between [the rule of law] and [outside the rule of law], there's a region reserved for national security, social engineering, public hygiene and special or emergency legislation, such as America's Patriot Act or Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act." So there you have it, it's okay to live outside the rule of law, so long as it is for national security. So, Mr. Jonas, who then decides what falls where? You? Bush? If Jonas was the only one who thought this way, that would be one thing, but this inherent belief that basic human rights (such as the rule of law) can be compromised in the name of national security has essentially become the basis of modern Western democracies. And rather than challenge that, rather than use their soapbox to question this bullshit, columnists like Jonas do the government's work for them. Remember how enraged CanWest was when the RCMP raided Juliet O'Neill's house and office? How the fuck is that any different than raiding a mosque? Where does the line fall between that and locking up a Muslim because he once talked to someone who once talked to Osama Bin Laden? Jonas' column is dangerous because it makes people complacent. It justifies the violation of basic human rights and makes a mockery of the rule of law that he so proudly lauds. Search and ye shall find Check out this headline: "Al-Qaeda link sought in blast." Or this lead: "Investigators hunted for clues yesterday to any possible al-Qaeda involvement in the suicide bomb attack by an Egyptian on a Qatar theatre that killed a Briton, the first such attack in the U.S.-allied Gulf Arab state." So investigators are looking for an al-Qaeda link? Does this not bother anyone else? Shouldn't they be objectively (as much as anything can be objective) investigating the blast, rather than looking to pin it on al-Qaeda? And, more to the point, shouldn't someone question this? Can't a reporter stand up and say "Excuse me, but can you really carry out a fair investigation if you've already assumed it's an al-Qaeda act?" The sad truth is no, a reporter can't do that. Because they'll be blacklisted. They won't get access to sources anymore. We live in a world where questions are screened and reporters are worried more about maintaining their place in the inner circle than asking real questions. Yes, it's the way the world works, but the media only gives this circus show legitimacy by bowing to it. They had their chance to say no, to refuse to be pre-screened, and they passed on it. Now they reap what they sew. Wolfowitz-a-palooza I guess it wasn't enough that the Globe and Mail had to lie to prop up ol' Wolfie, the Post's Matthew Fisher had to add to the love-fest by explaining that Wolfie's not so bad. See, once upon a time, Fisher was embedded with a U.S. batallion in Iraq, and one poor chap he got to know eventually ruptured an ear drum, lost his left arm, his right hand and suffered severe wounds to his left leg fighting Wolfie's war. But then, as the soldier was being fitted with new limbs in a U.S. hospital, Wolfie came by to say hello. The two struck up a convo and eventually became best of friends. Wolfie even got the kid into Regan's funeral. So by Fisher's logic, Wolfie = "conservative with a sentimental heart" = good choice for World Bank. First of all, I don't think anyone questioned Wolfowitz's compassion for good ol' American boys. It's his feelings towards other countries' poor that is a worry. Secondly, Fisher does nothing to address the fact that Wolfowitz has no financial or accounting experience of any kind. Wolfowitz has plenty of backers in influential positions, don't worry. It should be up to the media - the watchdogs of democracy - to provide sober second thought. Offer some scrutiny. Put this guy through the wringer and see if he comes out clean on the other side. Instead, Fisher and the Globe decide to look for any justification for his appointment, no matter how insignificant (Fisher) or erroneous (Globe) it may be. Oh man, the Ottawa Sun's swimsuit edition comes out tomorrow. How stoked am I?

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