06.07.2010 06:44 AM

Monday morning bits and pieces from the NYT – and an extra!

  • Are gadgets rewiring our brains? This fascinating news features from the NYT says maybe so.  Personally, I know that my abundance of gadgets – iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, mini Sony Vaio laptop and loads of other stuff – have simultaneously made my life more complicated, and less so.  My staff, meanwhile, consider it a rich source of satire.  What’s your view?
  • Don’t get Obama mad, get him mad, please. Stateside, the punditocracy have been chattering about whether The Best President Since Clinton™is capable of passion – and, if not, why not.  Personally, I winced when I heard his people trying to explain his emotional state to the media.  Yikes.  Politics is like joke-telling (in more ways than one): when you have to start explaining what you meant, you’re toast.  Am I wrong?
  • Israel destabilizing U.S. interests? Fascinating article about how the Israeli government – particularly the one led by Bibi, whom I have always considered to be the least-able Israeli PM – may be making life more complicated for the United States.  When pieces like this start to appear in the only paper that matters, Israel-lovers (like me) need to worry, no?
  • That was then, this is now. Who wrote this?  “First things first: take him out. After all, Stephen Harper is the most dangerous animal lurking in the jungles of Parliament. He is a threat to the future viability of the Liberals. A blood simple opponent of the NDP …Without him, his party is an unlikely combination of Reform Party leftovers, Harris refugees and Red Tory desperates. They don’t matter or even exist without Mr. Harper. So before you think a moment longer, opposition leaders, think on that…Do not, whatever you do, provide him with an opportunity to extend his hold on power. Because you can be damn certain he will never again be so reckless as to give you a chance to finish him off.” Oh, how richly rich in irony that is!  The designated spokesperson of The Powers That Be!™I love it!


  1. Catherine says:

    You’re right Warren, Reid’s column is not just ironic but you could substitute “Dion” in the piece with “Ignatieff” and the irony gets even richer.

    Re: gadgets rewiring our brains? – I have a love hate relationship with new electronic gadgets…..mostly hate when I realize how much of a slave to them I’ve become when I could be doing other things with my time, then the phone rings and the next diversion begins anew. I’ve started not taking my cellphone with me in the car because I found that I used to love to drive and use it to get away from being on-call or on-demand. I’ve decided that I don’t always have to be available or connected. It’s oddly liberating – try it.

  2. Riff says:

    Scott Reid knows all-too-well from where he speaks. As communications director for former PM Paul Martin he experienced first hand Harper’s ability to savage and then eventually kill off all his political opponents, starting of course with Reid’s own boss, Paul Martin, Mr. Dithers personified.
    As a result, Reid was absolutely on the money in his 29 November 2008 G& M article (updated 31 March 2009) when he predicted that the coalition had better be able to finish Harper off or the coalitions’ leaders would be savaged by Harper. They failed to do so and Harper is in a much stronger position than ever.
    More than any PM since John A. Macdonald and W.L.M. King, Harper understands power, and he loves to use it without remorse. He has shown that he is capable of wielding inordinate power against his political opponents, recalcitrant bureaucrats, as well as against his very own people, witness the Jaffer/Guergis duo, when he deems it necessary for his own political survival and promotion.
    Indeed, Harper used the trumped-up charge that the Dion/Layton coalition would be ruled behind the scenes by the dreaded secessionist, Gilles Duceppe, and therefore the nation’s security was at risk. Second, Harper made the highly undemocratic claim (Canada is after all a Parliamentary democracy not a Republican democracy) that any and all coalitions are fundamentally undemocratic. (Harper repeated this stupidity for domestic consumption during his press conference with the Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who heads up a coalition government!) Using both these highly specious claims, Harper then compelled a weak and inexperienced GG to grant his government a questionable prorogation. Harper used the prorogation to kill off Dion (helped by the Ignatieff gang) and then to put into place a very, very expensive vote buying $60 B Stimulus budget.
    When the Liberals panicked and crowned an inexperienced Ignatieff their new leader, Harper Gang savaged Ignatieff mercilessly as an elitist foreigner, someone not to be trusted. Perhaps Ignatieff does not really understand power! Perhaps, more to the point, a reserved traditionalist, Ignatieff is very reluctant to fight Harper on Harper’s terrain, that is the terrain of radical Evangelical Christian morality. Harper’s most effective political weapons – the certainty of always being right and the end justifies the means no matter how fundamentally immoral the means might be, are based on his radical Evangelical Christian ‘values’. Harper sees issues in clear black and white terms – no chance of ever being labeled a Mr. Dithers.
    Michael Ignatieff will also be replaced, as Dion was, by panicky Liberals. Most Liberal MPs and advisors don’t really understand Harper’s modus operandi or, if they do, they don’t know how to deal with Harper’s uncanny ability to wield all the powers of state at his disposal in a very merciless fashion.
    It is highly unlikely that there will be an informal or formal coalition of the hapless Liberal and NDP MPs, militants and party organizations before the next election. Only a Harper majority government will force the centre-left political forces in Canada to work out a merger over a two or three year period. In the interim, an all powerful Harper will use the full powers of the Canadian state to transform the federal government and the very fabric of Canadian politics and society for a long time to come. The Harper revolution in federal governance will take decades to overturn.
    Perhaps this is why very ‘nervous nellie’ — as Chr

  3. Paul R. Martin says:

    The Liberal Party obsession with Harper is facinating. Liberals seem to spend more intellectual capital on Harper than they do on their own party. Either you will have to wait until he retires, or you will have to come up with a viable alternative.

    • Michael Watkins says:

      I have to agree with you there Paul.

      When I write about Harper I write about under-estimating him, usually in context and in response to comments that insinuate that a return to power is in the cards for Liberals because Harper has been unable to win a majority.

      I don’t write about Harper being some extra-ordinarily gifted strategist or ultra-cunning politician. He is competent to be sure, and has taken some risks that have paid off handsomely. But his real gift, the one that matters most, is the gift the Liberals have given him — a free ride starting with Paul Martin (not you, that other guy).

      Harper can win a majority in the next election because he hasn’t yet or today met a challenger that looks like a winner to enough Canadians, and Liberal support is fractured while Conservative support continues to gel. If the opposition won’t step up to the plate, Canadians are likely to just hand him the keys and be done with elections for 4 more years.

      Liberals have been in a big downhill slide not because of their past (sponsorship debacle) but because their present day leaders, three in a row now, have looked and acted weak or have been unable to articulate to Canadians why they are a better choice than the Harper led alternative. Chasing their own tails leaps to mind.

      Doing more of the same isn’t going to work folks.

      • Michael Watkins says:

        PS: Loved the Scott Reid piece, noted someone posted that yesterday. Way cool. Way funny in today’s context. I hope that one makes the rounds big time and gives Liberals pause to think about who they are being asked to take advice from.

        • Catherine says:

          “Liberals have been in a big downhill slide not because of their past (sponsorship debacle) but because their present day leaders, three in a row now, have looked and acted weak or have been unable to articulate to Canadians why they are a better choice than the Harper led alternative. Chasing their own tails leaps to mind.”

          BINGO MICHAEL WATKINS! If Warren gave away prizes that is definitely a worthy line of at least a bowl of KD and a commemorative Bart the Political Fish coffee mug.
          May he RIP.

  4. Riff says:

    For some reason the last sentence was truncated!

    Perhaps this is why very ‘nervous nellie’ — as Chrétien labels them — Liberals and Dippers are now in full panic mode!

  5. allegra fortissima says:

    “…and lingered in the bathroom playing video games on an iPhone.”

    When you have to start explaining what you did, you’re toast. Am I right?

  6. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Yeah, the second part was a “whopper” — and it ate her up…

    Now, if only she would join Dimitri in Ottawa!!! Please Lord, make it happen.

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