Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Where our Mr. Welsh went

The term 'blogfather' has mostly fallen out of disuse these days, probably because most of today's bloggers don't have a single person to point to and say: "that guy, he's the one who got me to start blogging." This blog has only one father, though, and it's Ian Welsh (formerly of Tilting at Windmills, occasionally of the pogge collective). Back in 2004, it was our skirmishes in his comments section about everything from proportional representation to polygamy that convinced me I needed to get my own soapbox.

These days he's mostly writing for an American audience over at the Agonist, which is of course the Canadian blogosphere's loss. But once I got over my annoyance with him for abandoning us (SOB!!!), I started actually reading what he was writing, and it blew me away. He's simply a better blogger for them than he ever was for us. Overall, his mission seems to be to provide a kind of no-holds-barred but always impeccably well-grounded critique of the U.S.'s role in the world, which, like a slap in the face to a bully, is sometimes exactly what is needed. And interestingly, I almost never disagree with him about American issues, which is a whole new experience for me.

Anyway, in part this post is meant to tell everyone who's not already reading Ian at his new home at the Agonist to give it a shot. But mostly I want to pimp his guest post over at firedoglake, "A Mile In My Enemy's Shoes." Here's the thesis:

What is so infuriating about America, to outsiders, is the inability of Americans to look at the world through other people's eyes. Michael Scheur, the ex-CIA analyst who wrote “Imperial Hubris” first wrote a book called “Through Our Enemies' Eyes”. Interesting that a (good) analyst would first seek to understand how his enemies saw the world, don't you think? It's not because Scheur is some pansy leftist, either, in his books Scheur has suggested that winning against Islam may require killing many many millions of Muslims and he doesn't have much of a problem with that. It's because if you don't understand your enemies it is much harder to either defeat them, or make peace with them.
...and here's the money quote:
When America stops doing the Muslim=bad short circuit, peace may be possible. When America stops saying one thing (we believe in democracy) and then doing another (but not when you vote for the wrong people), foreigners may stop hating America. In the meantime, if the US insists that every Islamic militia is its enemy – then every Islamic militia will be its enemy.
Yes, it's All About the U.S., which is probably irritating to those of you who think there's already plenty of political commentary out there about the U.S., thankyouverymuch. But it's viewed with a Canadian eye, and besides, this thing may be the best blog post I've ever read. So seriously, what are you still reading this one for?

Friday, May 25, 2007

What do YOU think when you hear 'Blue Grit'?

So, I read a couple of American blogs, right? And today, it turns out that a bunch of them are talking about a new political book called Blue Grit. "Huh," I thought to myself. "Why on earth would U.S. bloggers be talking about a book about the Liberal Party's conservative streak?" So I clicked.

It turns out to be a book about the U.S. Democratic Party. How freaking confusing! Perhaps it's time to revive the SNARC?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Big tent caterpillars, take three

Another link post, because I haven't seen this mentioned elsewhere (Though I promise, this hasn't turned into a "links-only" blog! There will be actual content again eventually.).

Posted without comment:
Disgruntled Tories consider refounding Reform Party.

Okay, maybe the title counts as a comment.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Two electoral reform pieces you should read

I'm still pretty checked-out from politics for the moment, but these pieces are worth reading:

Greg Morrow explains what Ontarians can expect from electoral reform by systematically recounting what happened in New Zealand after they switched in 1996 to the very same system that Ontario has on the table now. I actually meant to write some version of this post myself some time ago, but never got around to it. This one's great, though--and certainly much more concise than mine would have been.

Over at the Tyee, Mitchell Anderson argues pretty convincingly that Dion could win an awful lot of votes to the Liberals by making some bold statements and some bold promises about electoral reform. As a New Democrat, I cringe at the prospect, because I think it would work. But as an electoral reformer, I can't help but say yes, yes, YES!

Friday, May 04, 2007

In absentia

I seem to have entered one of my longer fallow periods. My apologies. (By now you know I always come back from those, though, right?)

While I recharge my batteries, I suggest you have a look at James Bow's post about why the polls are all over the place. I've been thinking similar thoughts lately. (Which probably accounts for the fallow period, come to think of it.)

Anyway, catch you all sooner or later, and be sure to get out and enjoy the springtime!