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Saturday, October 30, 2004

Press Review

From today's edition of NORMAN'S SPECTATOR (where the articles are hotlinked).

Ossama bin Laden leads around the world today.

US papers, in addition to the October surprise no one expected, front other aspects of the presidential campaign.

In the UK and France, aside from Yasser Arafat, the new EU constitution commands front page treatment. (Here's my take on Arafat in yesterday's Vancouver Sun.)

The New York Times’ editorial board looks at the cost of the Iraq war and California’s three-strikes law. Nicholas Kristof finds George Bush statements he can support.

David Brooks weighs in on Osama and Kerry. Peter Rost, a drug company executive, favours re-importation of drugs from Canada.

The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board looks at Guantanamo and our Hobbit cousins.

At home, Ralph says sorry (disabled groups aren’t buying it), and Osama says you know what.

At least I thought I understood the message until I heard Eric Margolis tell CBC viewers last night that bin Laden is now a moderate and that he had to attack New York to inflict financial pain on Americans because both Democrats and Republicans “are completely in thrall of various interest groups.”

Shame on Peter Mansbridge for allowing this garbage to go unchallenged. And, though Mansbridge might have forgotten the Washington attack, you’d think our national broadcaster’s anchor would have been quick-witted enough to ask how Canada ended up on Ossama’s list--#5, as the Prime Minister’s security adviser recently reminded us.

The Toronto Star editorial board reflects on Canada’s international role today. The paper fronts Osama, abused nannies and patient patients—and advises readers that the price of the paper is going up.

Inside, Jim Travers considers the implications for Canada of a Kerry victory. Tom Walkom says that, no matter who wins, it’s bad news for us. Graham Fraser serves up a fine piece on Canada-US relations.

Stephen Lewis, a UN employee, is plumping for Kerry. Robert Benzie says that could be bad news for Ontario garbage.

Daniel Girard reports on the Alberta campaign. Ian Urquhart weighs in on the fiscal imbalance, which was big news yesterday.

Olivia Ward is onto beheadings. From Paris, Sandro Contenta reports on Yasser Arafat.

The Globe and Mail fronts some good and some bad news for Ralph Klein, Osama’s message and its impact on the presidential campaign and the sub story.

Inside, Matthew Kalman reports on the scene in Ramallah, and Khaled Abu Toameh reports on Suha Arafat’s return and swift departure back to Pari .

Christie Blatchford viewed the tape and skewers Mohammed Elmasry:

“Mr. Coren brought up a bombing last fall at a café in Haifa, pointing out that some of the dead were Israeli Arabs, others students who often aren't in the Israeli army. Mr. Elmasry replied with a mention of the more recent bombing of the Taba Hilton and said that this was a terrorist act, but only because “they [the bombers] were targeting people they don't know, the composition of people they don't know . . . they don't know if they're 100 per cent Israeli.”

This, he said, was very different from the suicide bomber who goes to a bus stop “where Israelis in uniform and in civilian clothes” are waiting. For Mr. Elmasry, “the composition of the situation is much different.”

So, he was plenty articulate. He was damned clear. He was forceful in the extreme. He was invited to elaborate on his remarks by Mr. Coren, and he did.

His supposed core belief, that all civilian life is sacred? Nowhere to be seen. Will the real Mohamed Elmasry please stand up? Oh, he has, and it was the guy on the tube last week.”

Jeff Simpson weighs in on the Mideast (you'll have my take in Monday's Globe and Mail):

“Just about everybody, except the ideologues and combatants themselves, knows the outlines of peace. They were there in the dying embers of the Clinton administration. There is no heat left in them, and no leaders with the will to make them glow again, unless a new man in the White House wants to make the effort.”

Jane Taber informs us that Belinda Stronach played matchmaker to Justin and Sophie. Margaret Wente found the next generation of China’s leaders at the Beijing Starbucks.

Editor-in-Chief Edward Greenspon says the Globe’s China edition last Saturday was eaten up in Vancouver and heard around the world.

Ken Wiwa hopes George Bush will win, as this will accelerate the decline of the US empire. Doug Saunders says there’s a better way to fight terrorism than Bush’s way.

The editorial board supports John Kerry but was dismayed by his reaction to Osama’s latest tape:

“Whatever you may say about Mr. Bush — and this newspaper prefers Mr. Kerry for president — it is silly to accuse him of not trying hard enough to catch Mr. bin Laden. The U.S. has diverted vast military and intelligence resources to the hunt. Every breathing American wants him put out of action so he can no longer threaten the country as he did yesterday.

As Mr. Kerry himself said yesterday, Americans are united in that. Why, then, make cheap political points out of this tape?”

A second editorialist looks at the Supreme Court’s decision on Newfoundland pay equity:

“Having forced governments to spend great sums of money on refugee tribunals (in 1985) and smaller amounts on sign-language interpreters for deaf patients in hospitals (in 1997), the Supreme Court now feels free to say: The Charter is not a blank cheque. And thank goodness for that.”

A third editorialist looks at the Ukraine election:

“There is even a chance that the Kuchma-Yanukovich forces may steal the election from Mr. Yushchenko, who was leading in pre-election polls. He has already suffered an apparent attempt on his life, succumbing to a grave illness, which he blames on poisoning, that took him away from campaigning for weeks. His supporters are so worried about election skulduggery that they have organized a mass rally for Monday morning to protest against what they fear will be a tainted outcome.

If they are right, and the election is rigged in Mr. Yanukovich's favour, the world's democracies should let out an almighty shout. After all the disappointment and brutality of the Kuchma years, Ukrainians deserve the benefits of democracy and modernity. No one should be allowed to thwart them.”

Rex Murphy, a son of the Rock, defends his premier:

“Members of the Atlantic region are weary almost to numbness of being the distant cousins of the federation, the second-tier participants in any grand national debates. A minority administration in Ottawa , one that seems to like playing with fundamental issues of the Confederation, is an open invitation to change that dynamic, and Danny Williams's performance this week may be the start of a deeper, less flamboyant campaign.”

In the National Post, Andrew Coyne poops on Danny Williams and others Preems and pans Paul Martin’s performance:

“Premiers are like union leaders: What's important to them is not how much their province actually receives, but what they are seen to obtain, by dint of their superior negotiating tactics and iron will. Had the Prime Minister yielded the same terms, with the greatest reluctance, at the conference's conclusion, the premiers might have gone away happy, at least for a couple of days.

But as it is, though both Quebec and Newfoundland are in line for massive increases in transfers over the next few years -- and so half of next year's equalization transfer will be allocated on a per capita basis, as Quebec has demanded -- both governments are making a great show of how ill-used they have been. The Finance Minister of Quebec complains of the Prime Minister's "macho" tactics, and of a "Quebec-bashing" conspiracy among the other provinces. The Premier of Newfoundland's comments are scarcely printable.”

Publisher David Asper weighs in on Truscott and Ontario ’s AG: “Unfortunately, Bryant seems more likely to play out his department's weak hand rather than admit what everyone knows. Steven Truscott will have to wait.”

Robert Fulford unloads on Noam Chomsky, who’s discomfited true-believers by endorsing John Kerry:

“He's developed a huge international following, perhaps especially in Canada , the only place where a government agency has put out an adoring film about him (Manufacturing Consent, produced in 1992, largely the work of the National Film Board). Still, he insists on having it both ways, convincing the innocent that the media have marginalized him.

Chomsky's support of Kerry could bring more criticism from the cultists, particularly if Kerry becomes president and reinforces the troops in Iraq . But true-believing Chomskyites will get over it. They've already tolerated much worse.”

The editorial board opposes cuts to the budgets of security agencies:

“Since securing the safety of the nation and its citizens is (or at least should be) the first responsibility of any government, it is staggering that Ottawa is contemplating reduction to these public safety agencies, in favour of more subsidized daycare spots and added spending on our sclerotic public health monopoly.”

John Ivison falls for Conservative spin on Stephen Harper’s Belgium-blathering (I’ll explain why the proposal is dumb in Monday’s Globe and Mail):

“But the Conservative leader has been unrepentant, indicating he believes the party is on the right track. Party sources say the idea has been well received in Quebec and that there has not been a backlash from across the rest of the country.

"We will stick with it, refine it, take feedback. There is nothing written in stone but we're breaking new ground and we'll get credit because there is a void. No-one else is suggesting anything useful," said one official.

The party acknowledges it not only needs to win seats in Quebec, it needs to become a competitive force in the province. The Belgian suggestion, combined with Harper's support for Martin's concept of "asymmetric federalism" is designed to put the party on the map in the province in short order. Harper has been insistent at pointing out that this is not a wholesale transfer of power to Quebec alone and allows other provinces to strike separate deals with Ottawa.

The "open federalism" idea will have the additional benefit, party officials hope, of massaging internecine tensions between old Reformers and former members of the Progressive Conservative party in their approach to Quebec. Insiders say the Belgian model has links to the equality of the provinces ideas put forward by the Reformers and the distinct society stance of the PCs. "This will give them something new to fight about," said one source.”

The Post fronts Osama and the presidential campaign, open skies and a Grade 5 class that’s being asked to help Omar Khadr.

Elsewhere in CanWest land, the Calgary Herald editorial board poops on Ralph; the Edmonton Journal does likewise on the front page.

The Vancouver Sun asks whether humans once hibernated; the editorial board is onto Halloween.

The Ottawa Citizen fronts Osama, the US election, Ontario wait-times and a scary Ottawa detention center.

Charles Gordon says anyone’s better than Bush, even Dan Quayle. The editorial board opposes prison needle-exchanges. On the democratic deficit, it writes,

“Paul Martin's move this week to protect sitting Liberal MPs from internal party challenges, in the disguise of protecting his minority government, is the prime minister's most cynical power play since he took office last fall.”

The Montréal Gazette stuffs Yasser and Osama and fronts the US campaign, Americans getting flu shots in Canada and the Mirabel white-elephant.

The editorial board says Palestinians will be better off without Yasser.

Another editorialist supports the court ruling on grey-market satellite TV, which “brings Canada into the world of 21st-century TV. Now our lawmakers, and citizens, have to figure out what the rules should be in this new territory.” Wait til they read this one at CanWest headquarters.

Don MacPherson goes after Québec’s finance minister for his equalization explosion:

“Friction between levels of government is inevitable in the Canadian federal system, and criticism of that system is legitimate. But when Quebec federalists resort to hyperbole and appeal to emotion, as Séguin did this week, they do the sovereignists' work for them. Can they have forgotten the lesson of Meech Lake so soon?”

In the Toronto Sun, Peter Worthington is onto Cuba, Eric Margolis looks at Ukraine. In Calgary, Rick Bell boots Ralph.

In Winnipeg, Tom Brodbeck writes about health care. In Ottawa, Earl McRae reports that the Mideast dispute has come to City Hall.

Posted by Norman Spector on October 30, 2004 | Permalink


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