Read This Now: Bob Rae on Ignatieff’s Attempt To Become Liberal Leader Via Caucus Vote

by matttbastard

Must-read post from Liberal leadership candidate (and staunch coalition supporter) Bob Rae: Don’t Let Your Right to Vote be taken Away.

Go.

h/t rgendron via tweet

Related: CP report on Iggy’s attempts to grab the reins of power, a development that might possibly scuttle any chance of the Grits forming a coalition to oust the Harpercons.

Update: Another must-read via rgendron – John Laforet: Closed Door Caucus Decision? – An Affront to Democracy and the Grassroots

Go.

Update 2: From Laforet’s post, an excerpt of a mass email sent to Liberal Party members that outlines the consequences of Ignatieff’s plan:

Riding presidents would have zero votes and only
one third of ridings in Ontario will have even a Caucus member vote.

This means:

No votes for the aboriginal community.

No votes for students.

No votes for Womens’ Clubs.

1 vote for francophones.

1 vote in the Guelph-Windsor corridor.

1 vote for Northern Ontario.

This is anti-democratic, and does not represent the many voices and values of our party!”

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Canwest News: Stephane Dion to Step Down This Week

by matttbastard

Just saw the following on the National Post’s Twitter feed:

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion will step down before Wednesday, possibly Monday, Canwest News Service has learned

Much more to come, I’m sure.

Update 12.08: Dion confirms his early exit via statement:

“I have decided to step aside as leader of the Liberal party effective as soon as my successor is duly chosen,” Dion said in a press release. He did not specify a date.

[…]

Dion said he agrees with party members that a new leader must be in place before Parliament resumes.

“There is a sense in the party, and certainly in the caucus, that given these new circumstances the new leader needs to be in place before the House resumes. I agree. I recommend this course to my party and caucus,” he wrote.

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Hey 62% Majority

by matttbastard

See you next year.

Go read Alison.  Now.

(image courtesy Impolitical)

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Shorter Washington Post

by matttbastard

“Some people are worried that Obama’s cabinet may be too competent and overqualified.”

Yes, because the last thing anyone would want in Washington is people with expertise, ability and actual know-how (to say nothing of ACADEMIC COOTIES!!!1). Government should be more like contemporary Beltway journalism: all hat, no cattle. That way the inherent inadequacies of the Villagers are far less apparent.

Moo.

h/t Jay Rosen via tweet

Update: Rosen again:

I’m just saying… Obama’s team has no yet one from the Arabian Horse Association or Regent University or the Waco Rotary Club…could hurt.

Oh, snap!

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Got Somethin’ Stickin’ In My Eye

by matttbastard

The Washington Post reports today that (forcedly) retired General Eric Shinseki has been tapped by President-elect Obama to lead Veterans Affairs:

Shinseki, a 38-year veteran, is best known for his four years as Army chief of staff, and in particular his response to congressional questioning in February 2003 about troop levels necessary to protect a presumed military victory in Iraq.

Shinseki told the Senate Armed Services Committee that “something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers” could be necessary, an assessment that was at odds with the announced determination of Pentagon leaders.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld reacted by telling reporters that Shinseki’s estimate “will prove to be high,” and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz called the assessment “way off the mark.”

Three years later, Gen. John P. Abizaid, commander of U.S. Central Command and the chief architect of U.S. military strategy in Iraq, told the same Senate committee, “General Shinseki was right.”

James Fallows calls the pick “karmic justice”, while Booman says that after frustrating Democratic partisans with his conciliatory gestures to the outgoing presidency, “Obama has finally delivered a finger-in-the-eye moment to the Bush administration.”  Regardless, Shinseki is an excellent choice.  As Jonathan Singer puts it:

If Shinseki brings the type of focus and willingness to speak truth to power to the Veterans Affairs that he did to the military, he is going to make a real positive difference in the lives of those who greatly deserve better treatment from our government and be a very solid addition to Barack Obama’s cabinet.

Indeed.  Plus, it’s nice to finally see someone in Washington getting rewarded for being, um, right about something–especially after getting forced out of his position as Army chief of staff for choosing integrity over short-term self interest.  And, as Fallows (who wrote about Shinseki extensively for both the article and subsequent book Blind into Baghdad) reveals, “[d]espite being unfairly treated, despite being 100% vindicated by subsequent events, Shinseki kept his grievances entirely to himself.”

A finger in the eye?

Maybe.

Karmic justice?

You betcha.

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