DNC: Obama Acceptance Speech

I missed most of it “live” but was impressed by what little I did manage to catch.

I’d have to say this was the most powerful part of the entire speech:

But what I will not do is suggest that the Senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other’s character and patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America — they have served the United States of America.

So I’ve got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

Nicely done. We’ll see if Kevin Drum is right that this “put a serious dent in McCain’s ability to continue campaigning with dumb soundbites and too-cute-by-half innuendo.” If past is prologue, as they say, I wouldn’t bet any money on it. To the contrary, I suspect this bilious screed will be entirely typical of the reaction from the invidious mole-men of the right.

Seems to have gotten high marks from CNN’s resident GOP consultant Alex Castellanos, however. Although it has to be said that he’s generally one of the more fair-minded right-wing commenters. A rare thing indeed!

The New York Times has the transcript of the speech here.

Update: I liked this line from the Rude Pundit — “Now, mainstream politically speaking, that’s how you beat down an old man.”

More Mind Games

If security sweeps are the giveaway to these things (as was the case with Biden), it looks like Karl Rove’s hand-picked choice and the guy James Wolcott described as a “smiling cobra” and an “empty suit that walks like a man” (I think I recall that last epithet correctly, although I may be wrong), is going to be McCain’s pick for Vice-President. Drudge is pushing a rumor that McCain will leak his VP choice just before Barack Obama’s big speech at Invesco Field tonight. The Boston Globe seems to be strongly suggesting the same with Romney fingered as the most likely pick.

Obama campaign communications chief Dan Pfeiffer “pre-responding” to this said: “It’s one more piece of evidence that the McCain campaign is a war room masquerading as a presidential campaign” and further called McCain’s bluff. “If they do it, I will pay all of McCain’s mortgages next month,” he quipped. McCain, of course, as Pfeiffer well knows, has no mortgages on the numerous properties that he and his wife own.

Should be interesting. I wonder how long it will take before the Obama campaign dredges the political swamp to retrieve some of Romney’s sleazy, inaccurate, demagogic ads from the primary that were directed against John McCain over illegal immigration and Social Security.

First Tory Ad Released

Presented without comment, here’s the gist of the first so-called “pre-writ” advertisement for the Conservatives:

Rather than attacking Liberal Leader Stephan Dion, the commercial features Canadians describing what they like about Prime Minister Stephen Harper. It seems designed to portray a kinder, gentler side of the prime minister.

“Stephen Harper’s the kind of person who knows where he stands. He’s a straight up guy,” says one man.

“He’s doing a good job,” another says. “He’s the steady hand we need when the world’s economy is so uncertain.”

“I like the idea that he’s a family man with young children,” a woman says. Another says she feels Harper has toughened the justice system.

A younger woman also joins the chorus: “I’ll be voting for the first time, and I’ll be voting for Stephen Harper,” she says.

The commercial ends with what may well become Harper’s election slogan: “Stephen Harper. Strong leadership on your side,” a voice says over a picture of a relaxed-looking Harper smiling at the camera.

Heh. Oops. I guess that’s a comment, isn’t it?

Update: Maybe one of our conservative friends could let me know when this hits YouTube so we can all soak at length in the warm glow of the “nice family guy” and comforting “Daddy knows best” vibe. (Meanwhile, the one described above featuring “real Canadians” can be viewed here.)

Update2: Zing! In addition to highlighting the laughability factor involved in portraying the Conservatives as a “kinder, gentler party” in view of Tony Clement’s recent callous hijinks, KNB makes a good point about these ads having been produced some time ago, although that in itself isn’t necessarily indicative of anything given it sounds as though because they’re the quintessence of what one might call “generic branding” of the Dear Leader.

Update3: Danielle Takacs laces into the underlying premise of the ads, mercilessly ripping it to shreds while excoriating our “liberal media” for getting sucked in. Yikes! Also, there’s a great article by Prof. Errol P. Mendes reprinted in the comments here that’s definitely worth a read.

Attention Lou Dobbs

Time to fire up the “North American Superhighway” conspiracy theories. From an AP report in the Boston Herald today:

President Felipe Calderon was opening bidding today for construction of a huge new seaport that could eventually rival the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the largest port complex in the United States.

Mexico’s US$4 billion Punta Colonet project would transform a wind-swept Mexican bay 150 miles (240 kilometers) south of the U.S. border into a booming city, drawing freighters from Asia and funneling manufactured goods north.

A planned railroad would link the port to the United States, allowing freight to skip Southern California traffic and head directly to points across the Midwestern U.S., including Chicago. Port designers have yet to determine where the tracks would cross the border.

You have to admit that there’s some merit to the argument contending that construction of massive new container ports in Mexico will enable companies like Wal-Mart to leverage the liberalized trade provisions of the SPP and NAFTA to effectively bypass labour unions at American shipping ports by driving intermodal freight directly to the distribution centres in the USA, meaning lower fees to bring in Asian products.

It never seemed like all that much of a harebrained idea to me.

Good News for Lucky Jim

According to the Canadian Press, a new analysis by the Conference Board of Canada indicates that the Harper government “will easily manage to avoid slipping into a deficit position despite the slumping economy and will almost certainly record higher surpluses than forecast.”

The Conference Board says that higher-than-projected inflation, along with other factors, have boosted government revenues and almost completely offset the impact of slower growth and tax cuts that went into effect in January.

“Federal revenues should have been down nearly $20 billion in the first quarter, given the measures set out in last fall’s economic statement,” said chief economist Glen Hodgson. “Instead, only a ($1.1 billion) reduction is showing up in the national accounts” for the first three months of the fiscal year.

The Board’s report concludes that this “will create scope to pay down debt, reduce taxes, and/or introduce targeted increases in spending.”

Needless to say, while this highly optimistic outlook is an absolute godsend for the Conservatives, it’s a hellish kick in the nuts for poor old Stéphane Dion. Should be fun watching Liberal bloggers try to spin this one.

The Tony Clement Show

Pictured: “I’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to try the veal.”

Having conclusively declared the deaths of six people and possibly nine others under investigation as a result of contaminated meat in the food supply a terrific “success,” it should come as little wonder that our sanguine Health Minister Tony Clement would be busying himself this week partying with powerful movers and shakers in the petroleum industry at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, promoting the limitless bounty of our secure, not-at-all-environmentally-harmful “foreign oil.” And why not? After all, it’s not like we have ministers in charge of briefs like Foreign Affairs & International Trade or Natural Resources to handle this tough assignment. Why poor little Gary Lunn would probably get trampled to death in that crowd! Besides, who wants to hang around crummy old Toronto being endlessly pestered by the media, disgruntled CFIA union representatives and millions of concerned citizens over some icky tainted meat recall?

And so, while grieving families in Ontario are planning the funerals of their loved ones like 89-year old Frances from Madoc, Ont., who died of listeria earlier in the week, Tony Clement is blithely schmoozing with political lobbyists and Washington celebs at swish receptions such as the luncheon sponsored by the Harper government at the Canadian consul-general’s Denver residence, where it’s reported that the food included bite-sized bits of beef, shrimp, tortellini and potatoes gratin. Seeking to assuage his patriciate guests of any apprehensions they may have had about tainted meat, Clement introduced himself with this bit of deathless hilarity: “I’m Health Minister Tony Clement, and I have to say I approved this food.” Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! What a comedian.

h/t: Jeff and Pogge


Aaron Ginsberg nails it.

The right wing blogosphere is up in arms because they think Barack Obama is giving his speech in front of a mock-up of a Greek temple. That isn’t quite the imagery he’s going for. If you were, you know, thinking and not just angrily reacting you would realize that Barack Obama is delivering his speech on the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. Logically, they aren’t a constructing a temple to their new god, they are reconstructing a temple to a REPUBLICAN president, namely Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln Memorial, of course, being the site of Dr. King’s famous speech.

Everyone has been playing “Gotcha!” pointing to the kitchy neo-classical stage used by George Bush when he accepted the GOP nomination in 2004 as an example of the right-wing’s collective hypocrisy and highly selective memory, but missed the more compelling symbolic reference Aaron suggests.

“Fixed” Election All But Declared

As reported in the Globe & Mail this morning, the Tories have already booked TV ads as part of their wind-up to the forthcoming election — an approach that allows the “Conservatives” to effectively extend the period of the campaign and thereby legally circumvent those pesky Elections Canada spending limits that have caused them so much bother since their fraudulent money laundering scheme in the last election was publicly exposed.

Sheesh! Next thing you know, they’ll be flooding selected ridings with taxpayer-funded advertising and then Harper and his cabinet ministers will be fanning out all over the country distributing billions of dollars to buy people’s votes with their own money… Oh, hang on. They’ve already done that over the last couple of months. Never mind.

Oil Sands: A Look from Down Under

An interesting profile of the Alberta tar sands by journalist Liam Bartlett from the Australian version of the 60 Minutes news program.

The relevance from the perspective down under is the possible exploitation of Australia’s extensive shale oil deposits once their offshore reserves (mainly in the Bass Strait between the mainland and Tasmania) are exhausted — around 2030 according to most estimates. As part of weighing up the costs associated with mining shale oil as an energy source, the environmental impacts of the oil sands are pointed to as something of a cautionary tale.