Thursday, July 27, 2006

Embarassed as Hell

I don't think I've ever been as embarassed, as ashamed, of one of our political leaders as I am today with our Prime Minister.

Up front, I've only voted Tory once in my life (for Mulroney's first tenure), and it was a very unsatisfying experience. But I was willing to give Stephen Harper the bennefit of the doubt; I mean, the man is a bit of a wonk and struck me as (overly) detail-oriented, and willing to follow through on many of his promises, even if I didn't agree with all of them.

But then the war in Lebanon started. Hezbollah was the initial agressor in this case: they kidnapped one soldier, then two more, at the same time killing eight others. Israel reacted with anger and swiftly moved to undercut Hezbollah, which I certainly understand.

But to quote Fred Clark at Slacktivist: You're not allowed to kill civilians.

Bad enough that hundreds of Lebanese civilians have been killed and that Harper has parroted the Bush administration's line on this fight, but his reaction (or perhaps inaction is a better word) to the deaths of seven Canadians on vacation in Lebanon was quite disturbing. From the Hill Times:

Before the Canadians were killed on July 16, Mr. Harper told the media that Israeli air strikes in Lebanon were a "measured" response to a Hezbollah attack on Israel that killed eight soldiers and captured two.

But when asked about the comments again last week, after the death of the Montreal family of seven, Mr. Harper did not retract or soften his comments, saying "our evaluation of the situation is accurate."

Yeah, he thinks that Israel should attempt to minimize civilian deaths, but that sure sounds like mouthing words you expect the unthinking hordes want to hear, especially when compared to his own "measured response" regarding the deaths of Canadian civilians.

And now we have the horrible deaths of UN peacekeepers, including, it appears, a Canadian. Some have taken it on themselves to question why the peacekeepers were at their station when a hot war had broken out all around them, but it has since been pointed out that, well, they were just doing their jobs. And hell, even if they wanted to get out, who wants to make a dash for it when bombs are dropping all around? Why not stay hidden in a bunker, a bunker that the UN has occupied for the last 30 freaking years, a bunker that Israel knows damn well exists?

Harper's reaction
? He wants to know why the UN post was attacked, and also why "it remained manned during what is now, more or less, a war."

Jesus. This man is the Prime Minister of Canada, has now seen multiple deaths of Canadians due to an absurd and tragic war in which neither side intends to back down, and the first thing he does with this latest death is look for any other fault he can find. Not the guys who dropped the bomb, of course (and let me state right now that I don't believe it was intentional), but rather the UN and, by extension, Major Paeta Derek Hess-von Kruedener and his fellow soldiers. Can there be a better way to work for the rights of your citizens, including their rights not to be killed by one of the sides they are supposed to be monitoring?

I suppose not. Instead, we have a politician who has shown himself to be the complete opposite of the equivocating namby-pambies of previous parliaments, a man who will toe his own partisan line as rigidly as his friends south of the 49th.

I suspect he'll be every bit as useful offering support to the Canadian-Israeli citizen currently detained for spying. The man is running roughshod over Canada's reputation, a reputation that in the past has even convinced Americans to wear our flag on their backpacks as they've hiked through foreign lands.

Check out this editorial for a little more input. And then start thinking about ways to reclaim our rep, which can only start with these idiots getting the boot.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Modern Medicine

Today, after a couple of delays, my father went into the hospital for a procedure called an atrial ablation. A friend recently had this done, and after 3 weeks he was back playing soccer with us. But Dad wasn't so lucky, and after the procedure his heart rate couldn't get up above 30 beats per minute. So they gave him a pacemaker.

Now, I don't know about you, but I picture installing a pacemaker as, you know, surgery. But no, Dad phoned from the speaker phone at about 6pm his time, home and resting. He can't lift his left arm above his head for 4 weeks, can't ride his bike or drive for the same period of time, but he was awake (if a bit drugged up) for the whole time. From scary to amazing in just a few hours.

Happy Canada Day (Belated)

I hope they catch these idiots and string them up by their balls. But only for long enough so we can get some good pictures.

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