Blind Faith in the Face of Facts

George W. Bush

George W. Bush continues to maintain that there were numerous connections between Saddam Hussein and the orchestrators of the September 11 terrorist attacks, despite overwhelming evidence that this is not the case. He went so far as to say that a congressional commission, evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, spending months combing through volumes of evidence, was “wrong” to conclude that no credible evidence of such links existed. He did not provide evidence to back up his claim.

I’ve written a lot on politics on this blog; moreso than I think is proper for an aspiring writer of young adult fiction. However, despite writing 822 posts since I started this blog back in February 2002, despite watching the drumbeat to invade Iraq start slow and rise to a cresendo, despite seeing the assertions that Iraq was an immediate threat to the United States give way to the revelation that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, in only three posts do I use the words “Bush” and “lied” in the same sentence (here, here [I said it was “arguable”] and here [I said the Administration didn’t actively lie]). I have not once said the phrase “Bush lied”.

And it’s becoming clear to me that Bush didn’t lie about the threat Iraq posed to the United States. He’s not even lying about the connections between Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. You have to know that you are lying in order to actually lie (as opposed to participating in a lie). It’s clear that George W. Bush honestly believes that Saddam Hussein conspired with Osama Bin Laden to attack the United States on September 11. It’s clear that George W. Bush honestly believes that the invasion of Iraq was justified on the grounds of preserving the United States immediate security.

And it’s also clear that if George W. Bush believed that the world was flat, he would cling to this belief, even if we put him into a spacesuit, strapped him into a rocket ship, and sent him into high orbit. For George W. Bush, neither facts nor congress nor the people of the United States can get in the way of the Divine Right of the Bush Presidency.

If the United States is looking for capable leadership in the War on Terror, Bush is not their man.

Former PC President Departs Conservatives for the Liberals

Read the CBC Story (link courtesy Michael Wilson).

Hmm… I always thought that rats left sinking ships. Then again, rats are wiley and intelligent creatures. Maybe they know something we don’t.

No prejorative use of the word “rat” intended, here.

The Conservatives Have Just Lost Kitchener Centre

A number of polls suggest that Conservative Leader Stephen Harper won the debates. Personally, I don’t agree, but it is true that he gave a good effort and kept his temper (barely). However, although polls suggested that as many as a third of the electorate were ready to change their minds, the polls coming from CPAC-SES suggest that nobody has changed their mind. As of the time of this writing, the Liberals and the Conservatives remain tied at 32%. The NDP are up to 21%, the BQ are at 12% and the Greens are at 4% (which equals 101%, I know. Either we’ve given birth to more voters during the course of this campaign, or the numbers don’t equal 100% due to rounding).

Surely with a debate performance that suggested (although not definitively) that Stephen Harper wasn’t the frightening leader that Paul Martin was painting him to be, Stephen Harper could have expected a bounce. But no. The Conservative numbers are down from a week ago. Why is that?

I have a theory. It’s tenuous, but perhaps Stephen Harper’s performance is being cancelled out somewhere. Much of the strength of Harper’s campaign relies on him muzzling the more controversial of his local candidates, but there is one place where the leader can’t muzzle his candidates, and that’s at the local riding all candidates meetings.

Conservative candidate Thomas Ichim is not only being starved for cash by his own riding association, at the Kitchener Centre all candidates meeting on Wednesday night, he shoved his foot in his mouth, and swallowed.

Late in the meeting, Thomas Ichim was asked a question about women’s rights. The questioner noted that of the four major political parties, the Conservatives had the lowest percentage of female candidates on their slate. He was asked why. His reply was quoted in the next day’s K-W Record:

“Women think differently than me.”

This earned him boos and shouts from the audience, to which he hastily added:

“Domestically, not politically.”

He then went on to say that any woman is welcome to come down to his campaign headquarters to help out.

This was followed up by an attack by NDP candidate Walsh-Bowers (who now has to be considered the candidate best able to defeat Liberal incumbent Karen Redman) noting that on average, women still earn 70% of what men are paid for the same work.

The response from one attendee to Ichim’s gaffe was quoted in the paper:

“I didn’t like that sexist comment. It was not appropriate. It’s the kind of thing that would change my vote.”

Similarly, a chartered accountant, going into the meeting swinging between the Liberals and the Conservatives emerged saying “it’s clear to me that (Liberal) Karen Redman is the only credible candidate.”

But that’s not all. In the neighbouring riding of Kitchener-Conestoga, I know of an individual who took down his Conservative sign, and went down to the campaign office of candidate Frank Luella in order to castigate him for his recent comments on homosexuality. This individual has voted Reform and Alliance since 1993, but won’t be voting this time around.

Finally, Andrew Spicer notes that Conservative candidate Barry Cline earned himself the emnity of the crowd in an all candidates’ meeting in the Toronto riding of St. Paul, mostly for his strident attitude and making claims that were at odds with the facts.

These may be isolated incidents, but it’s no cliche to say that this election is going to be won on the ground, and local riding all candidates meetings are very close to the ground.

With the Liberals and the Conservatives remaining in a statistical tie for the better part of a week, with the Conservatives still polling well below the combined vote total of the PCs and the Alliance in 2000, it’s clear that the leadership of both parties has failed to resonate with the electorate. Paul Martin seems bent on losing this election, but Stephen Harper seems unable to win it.

With the leadership of both parties failing to charge the electorate, many voters turn to their local races to see just who would be representing them in parliament. And in some cases, voters might not like what they see. In the local races, the deficiencies of the Liberals, Conservatives and the NDP seem exaggerated, since by and large the candidates are not used to national attention and are not groomed and focus-grouped. Many individual Conservative candidates probably seem more frightening than their leadership, just as many individual Liberal candidates probably seem more smug and complacent, and many individual NDP candidates seem more out of touch with fiscal reality.

And here is where we find the parties’ achilles heels.

Huh. Yeah. Right.

I saw an interesting ad for cellphones a couple of days ago. It goes like this: a freckle-faced, curly haired teenage boy is standing next to a dark-haired teenage girl. They both look nervous. Teenage boy opens up his cellphone and dials a number. His mother answers.

(Paraphrased): “Jimmy? How did your date with Sarah go?” asks Mom.

“Great,” Jimmy answers. “Look, it’s late. I’m going to stay overnight with Fred. Sarah’s going to head home to her parents.” He casts a nervous look at Sarah who gives him a nervous smile.

“That’s okay,” says Mom. “We’ll see you tomorrow. Have fun at Fred’s!”

Jimmy hangs up and grins nervously at Sarah.

Jimmy’s mom sits down at the dinner table next to her husband. Her husband asks, “You talked to Jimmy? How’d it go?”

And Mom looks knowingly at her husband and says, “Do you remember our first date?”

To which the husband nods sagely and turns to his meal.

The father’s reaction is what I find hard to believe. Jimmy and Sarah are seventeen if they are a day. So, if the father actually remembered what did happen on that first date of his, the commercial should have ended with his chair flying back against the wall and a Dad-shaped hole (carrying a shotgun) in the wood of the front door.

I appreciate the fact that the parents know exactly what their children are up to, even as the children try to deceive, but call me a prude: I still don’t think much is gained by advertising teenage promiscuity and parental deception.

Mind you: maybe Jimmy’s cellphone has a GPS locator that his parents can tap into and intervene before things get totally out of hand. But that raises a whole different set of issues, don’t you think?

Writing Progress

The rewrite of Rosemary and Time is now done, and I’ve fixed up the synopsis. I’ll be uploading a revised version of the synopsis in the next couple of days.

Also, I’m back into the :Trenchcoat Farewell Project:, with some minor layout work to do. Martin Proctor has finished proofreading and revising his stories The Graveyard of Time and Sentinel, and I look forward to receiving those revisions in the next few days.

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