Bush Lite and First Impressions

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, but I’m going to try and update this thing more often. I feel like I’ve been silent for too long and that some things have gone down recently that just cannot get brushed aside.

Today I want to talk about the terrorist plot on our nations capital. I have to say that the thought of armed men storming the parliament building, taking hostages and beheading Stephen Harper is beyond belief. Shock would hardly cover the emotion that would surely rise up in myself. Yet, something seems off with this story.

Some commentators have already pointed out how this is turning into a spectacular show-trial and quite possibly will reduce the chance of these men getting a fair trial. Are they guilty? I don’t know and I think it’s up to the court to decide that. But by parading these guys around with SWAT team and snipers at every turn as if at any moment a full battalion of insurgents were going to show up gives the impression that these are more than just a bunch of deranged young adults and instead an organized and credible threat against our nation. Let’s remember that they were caught before the execution of their plan by tracking a large purchase of fertilizer. If intelligent people were in charge of this operation, you would think that they would have bought in smaller quantities from unconnected sources… I also found it funny that the picture the press has used in the story on CNN shows nothing more than a gun, a multi-meter, and a soldering iron. Wow. So every registered firearm owning electrical engineer in Canada is potentially a terrorist? Yikes. This is a strange new world we live in. You’d think that if this was a fully planned and imminent threat they would have some scarier stuff to show in that picture… like… a bomb?

But I digress. My point is that there seems to be a new playbook being used with the media as of late and it reeks of Karl Rove. I’m not saying he’s the puppet-master of the Harper government (but it wouldn’t surprise me), I’m just saying that the conservatives may have picked up a few tips from their brethren south of the border.

For one, Harper stated that “we are a target, because of who we are and how we live, our society, our diversity and our values — values such as freedom, democracy and the rule of law.” This sounded so familiar that I had to go look up where I had last heard this. Bush said it back in 2001: “They hate our freedoms — our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.” That always rang hallow with me then and it does so today as well. You know, maybe they hate us because we are bombing them, blowing up their cities, and killing innocent civilians? No, it’s just cause we can choose to go to MicDick’s and have cheeseburgers and watch MTV. That REALLY gets them all burned up inside.

But is that little, insignificant quote just an over reaction on my part? Maybe. But yet, something still seems different about how our Canadian officials are acting lately. Not many people noticed (or cared) but the National Post ran a story last month about Iran and how the country was planning to force Jews and other religious minorities to wear distinctive clothing to distinguish themselves from Muslims. The story ran with a picture from 1944 which showed a Hungarian couple wearing yellow stars that the Nazis forced Jews to sew onto their clothes. They even had an online poll with the question, “Is Iran turning into the new Nazi Germany?”

The problem with this assertion is that the original focus of the story turned out to not be true which was admitted by the editor-in-chief, Douglas Kelly, quickly after it was published. He said that, “[the paper apologizes] for the mistake and for the consternation it has caused not just National Post readers, but the broader public who read the story.”

But the funny thing was how this story was used later in the day (before the retraction) by Mr. Harper when he said that Iran “is very capable of this kind of action,” adding, “It boggles the mind that any regime on the face of the Earth would want to do anything that could remind people of Nazi Germany.”

It seems that the Harper government is trying to get Canadians on board with a potential military action against Iran… just like our friends to the south are doing already to their population. Of course, a spokesman for Mr. Harper added later that his statement was prefaced by, “If this is true…” but we all know that public opinion doesn’t care about whether it’s true or not.

It’s all about first impressions.