Friday, June 20, 2008

Mr. McCain goes to Ottawa

So John McCain, the Republican nominee for president of the United States, came to Ottawa and gave a speech to a group of business-minded people at the Economic Club of Ottawa.

After some back-patting, he gets down to the meat of his discussion, things like "the flows of our energy" which must be a reference to the fact that NAFTA prevents us from holding back the flow of our energy south of our border.

And you can't be a Republican without talking about 9/11, although he managed not to talk about the "spectre" or "wake" of 9/11, he did have this to say:

Our governments have made real progress in keeping our borders closed to terrorists and open to trade.
I could equally well argue that this rock keeps tigers away. I'll sell it to you for five dollars (American money accepted at par).

Already, we cooperate in preparing for emergencies-- exchanging information and manpower to coordinate our response to danger.
Yeah. We're not very happy about that. You see, we think (in our strange democratic way) that the people should be aware what sort of agreements their governments are making - especially if they involve certain kinds of military "manpower" from other countries "helping out". That's why the whole SPP thing has everybody nervous. It was bad enough when NAFTA let American companies sue the Canadian government for demanding that a certain carcinogen be removed from gasoline. Now you bring "manpower" in to our country?

At the same time, Canada and America are joined in other vital causes around the world-- from the fight against nuclear proliferation to the fight against global warming, from the fight for justice in Haiti to the fight for democracy in Afghanistan.
Nuclear proliferation? Are we talking the nonexistant WMDs in Iraq or the nonexistant WMDs in Iran? Or should we talking the new ones that have been added to the arsenals of India and Pakistan? Or maybe the ones Israel has or the new ones the U.S. military is designing?

And global warming? Give it a rest. The last I heard from the Bush Administration was that there was nothing we could do about it so everyone should just learn to live with it.

Lastly, Afghanistan is nothing like a democracy. The place is run by a "loya jirga" of rich warlords embezzling funds out of the reconstruction money.

Canada and America are still fighting in defense of Afghanistan-- in the honorable cause of freedom for that long suffering country, and greater security for ourselves.
Defense. What a word. We imposed a government on the country and put a guy who consulted for an American oil company at its head. And why was Afghanistan long-suffering? Because the Americans intentionally drew the Soviets in to Afghanistan and used it to bleed them dry with Osama bin Laden's fanatics. "Lesser of Two Evils" was the argument, I believe.

It happens that I also regard the prison at Guantanamo as a liability in the cause against violent radical extremism,
That's pretty bland for a guy who was actually tortured in a prison camp. His chief complaint about the prison camp seems to be that it isn't effective. One supposes that if he could find a way to make an illegal, immoral, war crime useful he might not oppose it.

Under U.S. and Canadian leadership, the Montreal Protocol began the process of phasing out gases that were destroying our planet's ozone layer. That cap-and-trade system removed the threat of acid rain.
Are you sure? Can you back up that bit about acid rain? Isn't it also true that most of North America's manufacturing actually moved to East Asia? Wouldn't that have more to do with the pollution reduction?

And now McCain (or at least his speech writer) manages to get subtle.
As you all know, Canada is America's largest energy supplier ... We stand much to gain by harmonizing our energy policies, just as have gained by cooperating in trade through NAFTA ... We have established North America as the world's largest economic market
Do you see how that works? Do you feel the glue on your shoes? The quicksand swallowing your country whole? Yes Canada, little pet, you have all that energy and you're so, very, very important. Let's harmonize, hum a little song together. Look how you get to be a part of this big "North America" when you join us. Yes, so powerful, my little pet, with your quaint "humanitarianism" and your "reconstruction". Yes, rest your eyes and listen to the lullaby. Ignore how your military has stopped doing all that "peacekeeping" of which you were so rightfully proud. The operation won't hurt a bit and when you wake up, everything will be all better.

Doesn't he seem to be pushing NAFTA a little hard, especially to the business community? What's he so afraid of? To whom is he really speaking?

If a treaty allows a foreign corporation to sue a government for protecting the health of the nation, it's a bad treaty. If a treaty is used to prevent a country from safeguarding its natural resources, then it's a bad treaty.

If a treaty needs to be filled out in secret and signed against the will of population with hoards of misinformation in the press, then it's definitely a bad treaty.

NAFTA is a bad treaty. But then, I'm only saying that because I believe in democracy (the will of people) as opposed to "democracy" (supporting the Bush Adminstration and its financial backers in bombing and victimizing whomever they want).

Thanks for coming out, Mr. McCain, but we'll all be very glad to see the back of your part come January.

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