Friday, August 11, 2006

Slow news day again.

Not a lot going on lately that's really worth commenting on. A few items in here, though.

First, I'm going to ignore the Lieberman-Lamont thing. Basically because it's happening as everyone was pretty confident it would -- Lamont got the nomination, but Lieberman is an entitled crybaby and won't back out with dignity. Until we see some polling data about who's likely to win in a three-way race, it's not worth much commentary.

Second, according to this, PM Stevie has tapped a Liberal MP to help advise him on Middle East issues. I actually have no particular objection to this per se -- after all, that's how minority governments are supposed to work, by tapping the resources of multiple parties. What's disturbing about this particular instance, though, is it signals the continuing willingness of the federal Liberals to prop up this government rather than serve as an effective Opposition. If the Liberals want to advise the Prime Minister, they could just as easily do it in public and in Parliament. Instead, it's happening in a back-channel, covert way -- the MP in question, Mr. Wajid Khan, will be reporting directly to the PMO. So, instead of openness and accountability, we get collusion between the two major federal parties. Nice.

Third, the whole London terror plot thing. I'm very suspicious about this. There's been too many terror arrests that are hopelessly overblown: the Canadian terror plot recently, for example, or the Brazilian shot entering the London Underground. It's not that terrorists don't exist -- they do, and they have for years. It's also not that terrorists wouldn't attack Canada -- if an attack on Canada might further their political agenda, they would plan and attempt to execute one (of this I have no doubt). But, whenever someone is arrested or suspected of planning a terrorist attack, there's a huge wave of fear-mongering that is entirely disproportionate to the reality of the situation. This is a case in point.

There was allegedly a plot to bring liquid explosives onto planes. Let's take it as given that this is, in fact, true (although it still has to be proven in court -- another point that tends to get overlooked). But, the people planning this attack were arrested. In other words, the current system seems to be working. And yet, now anyone flying is barred from bringing liquids on board, with a handful of exceptions. (It's worth noting how easy it would be to exploit these exceptions. Get a bottle of prescription medication, empty the medication, and replace it with explosive. While security officials could insist that the contents of a juice container or baby bottle be sampled in front of them, I fail to see how they could insist that prescription medication -- or even insulin -- be subject to the same restriction.) Why this additional restriction is supposed to help prevent further attacks, when the current restrictions successfully did just that, is completely opaque. Perhaps the thought is that not all the conspirators have been arrested? If that's the case, though, then isn't holding a big press conference announcing that some, but not all, of the suspected terrorists have been arrested a stupendously bad idea? If the idea is to actually catch the terrorists, that is.

But, by all means, let's all hide under the bed from the big scary terrorists that hate our freedoms. It's easier than thinking, I suppose. Yes, Bush is making that claim:

In the US, President George Bush said the plot was "a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom".
The man's never met a talking point he couldn't recite.


Cidney said...

You linked to a subscription-required article! Isn't that unfair?

I flew from Chicago on Friday (and back today). The -one- advantage of the situation that I could see was that it was very easy to empty the plane, since almost no one had carry-on luggage. Actually, by that point it wasn't too bad at all, although Thursday sounds absolutely insane (and wasteful.)

ADHR said...

Yes, but The Independent is the one requiring subscriptions, not me. ;) Actually, it's subscription-free if you read it on the day -- it only goes behind the wall after a couple days.

Short hops won't be so bad (unless you're travelling for business, in which case you're almost better off driving), but long flights are going to be a nightmare. Toronto-Heathrow is about eight hours -- can you imagine going through that without any carry-on? (To say nothing of the prices the airlines charge for something to eat or drink.)