On Friday the Ottawa Citizen published a great column by editor Andrew Potter on what it was, exactly, that Stephen Harper was trying to do. Potter’s conclusion in a nutshell: the former prime minister wanted to permanently cripple the federal government, preventing it from attempting any Big Socialist Plans. Potter argues that Harper developed this plan after his 2001 “Hey you guys! Let’s build a firewall around Alberta” letter:
Harper also probably realized, even as he was drafting the letter, how little the province could do using its own powers to protect itself from the sorts of things that Liberal Ottawa was inclined to do. Because here’s the thing: To someone with Harper’s ideological convictions, what is truly offensive about Liberal-run Ottawa is not that it controls the Mounties or the CPP or collects Alberta’s income tax. It is that it is inclined to use its capacities to engage in large-scale, centralized social planning (or social engineering, to use the invidious terminology).
And so Stephen Harper probably realized that to properly protect Alberta from an “aggressive and hostile” – that is, socialist – federal government, he would have to go to Ottawa. There, pulling directly upon the levers of federal power, he could build a firewall from the other side. And it could be a far stronger and more effective firewall than you could ever build from Alberta, while having the virtue of being pitched as a principled and patriotic vision of Confederation.
Makes sense to me. Brew a coffee or tea, pull a chair up to the Internet and have a good Sunday read.
ALLERGY-SAFE KENNEDY CONSPIRACIES
Salon founding editor David Talbot is a smart, diligent, and credible writer whose new book, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government, was published last month. Salon has published a lonnnng excerpt. Talbot, like, well, probably everyone, believes the assassination was an inside job — probably by the CIA hit — so if you want to snack on conspiracy theories but are allergic to nuts, you could do worse than this piece:
Those resolute voices in American public life that continue to deny the existence of a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy argue that “someone would have talked.” This line of reasoning is often used by journalists who have made no effort themselves to closely inspect the growing body of evidence and have not undertaken any of their own investigative reporting. The argument betrays a touchingly naïve media bias—a belief that the American press establishment itself, that great slumbering watchdog, could be counted on to solve such a monumental crime, one that sprung from the very system of governance of which corporate media is an essential part. The official version of the Kennedy assassination—despite its myriad improbabilities, which have only grown more inconceivable with time—remains firmly embedded in the media consciousness, as unquestioned as the law of gravity.
In fact, many people have talked during the past half of a century—including some directly connected to the plot against Kennedy. But the media simply refused to listen. One of the most intriguing examples of someone talking occurred in 2003, when an old and ailing Howard Hunt began unburdening himself to his eldest son, Saint John.
There you go. I have to edit things now, byeee.