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Bush is Coming to Town!!!

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President George W. Bush is coming to visit Canada tomorrow for his first official visit (ever), to one of America's closest friends and allies. The reasons for his not visiting Canada in his first term were well known, he basically hated our previous Prime Minister (Jean Chretien)and after Canada did not support Bush on the Iraq war, it was all downhill from there.


We now have a new Prime Minister (Paul Martin) who is much more business oriented than his predecessor and who would normally be more chummy with "W" except for the fact 80 percent of Canadians supported Kerry and Bush is basically reviled north of the 49th parallel.


For those of us who take a longer view of politics, this is nothing new and should not harm the overall cordial relationship between Americans and Canadians. If you go back to JFK, he despised our Prime Minister of the day, John Diefenbaker, mainly because Diefenbaker opposed him on nuclear deterrants, always mispronounced his name, and generally avoided Canada (in his one visit he hurt his back planting a tree, which probably didn't improve his humour).


LBJ did not get along with Diefenbaker's successor, Mike Pearson, who openly dispproved of the Vietnam War. Unfortunately, he expressed his opposition in a speech at an American University, for which LBJ personally assaulted poor ole Mike, picking him up by the lapels like he did to his dogs by their ears.


Nixon hated Pierre Elliott Trudeau, (Pearson's successor)who he considered a communist. Trudeau also had an more eloquent way with words and had better looking female companions so any hope for a buddy relationship with Nixon was doomed to failure (thank goodness in light of Nixon's fate!).


Reagan was the first US President in living memory to have a good relationship with a Canadian Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, Trudeau's successor. Together with Margaret Thatcher, they were all on the same wave length (remember the eighties when the neo-cons were everywhere!).


Clinton seemed to get along with Chretien, they liked to golf and fish together, but then I can't imagine Clinton not getting along with anyone, politics aside, as he is just such a warm human being.


Which brings us back to Bush. Well, he's only going to be in Ottawa for less than a day and then hightail it to Nova Scotia where he is going to give a speech to thank the people of Halifax for their role in offering assistance to Americans who were diverted to Halifax on September 11th. For some reason, he didn't bother to thank them when he was thanking everyone else in his State of the Union Speech in 2002.


I think this will be such a non-event that it will not even register on the news in the US media. So I thought I would let you know what was happening up north tomorrow, just in case you needed to know!

;) ;)

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It could happen! I remember when Reagan came to Ottawa in 1980, I believe, and I went to the end of my street at the canal and watched as his limo took the corner at around 80 miles an hour. Boy, those guys were moving! Now if only we had a little ice on the road tomorrow...:o

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>May God have mercy on your soul so full of hate for other



Actually, I consider my soul full of love for the hundreds of millions of people who are suffering because of the Four (or more) Horses' Asses of the Republican Apocalypse. And all four of them have on their hands and heads the blood of thousands of innocent people.


BTW, I'm willing to guess that you believe in three strikes for people who steal a videotape, and think capital punishment is the neatest thing since WonderBread. If so, it's time to apply some Windex to the walls of your glass house. . .

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Hello Tri'

Your crystal ball is half right about my personal opinions:

I do approve of the capital punishment laws in the US for the most terrible of crimes.

However I do not agree with the "three strikes you're out laws" if you are referring to the package of laws that were proposed, strongly support, and signed by President Clinton in 1995 so he could look "tough on crime" for his upcoming 1996 re-election campaign. If you remember the 3 parts of this bill included (1)mandatory life imprisonment for a person convicted of three crimes

(2) Mandatory jail sentences for persons convicted of taking or distributing controlled drugs (3) hiring of an additional 1800 Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents to hunt down and prosecute those "terrible criminals" who use or distribute drugs.

Due to my political beliefs I strongly disagree with this government intrusion into citizens' lives.


Before you crystal ball speculates again about me, let me say I am a Libertarian politically with strong beliefs about the Rights and Responsibilities of the individual. We Libertarians believe as Thomas Jefferson said - the government that governs least, governs best.

I am no fan of Mr Bush, Mr Kerry or Mr Clinton.


What I can't understand is why you have such hate for people who

simply disagree with you politically. I don't agree with the three politicians mentioned above, but I certainly have no hate for them.


On another subject, I truly appreciate your informative and helpful posts on travel in Brazil and other areas in South America. I have copied many of your posts for reference as my partner and I are planning a trip to Rio this Spring. My Spanish is getting better if they just habla despacio . Maybe it will be of some use in Portuguese Brazil.


It's that time now, off to the gym( Gold's Venice). Gotta try to look good for the trip.

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It's not exactly hate. It's more like deciding that the lesser of two evils would be being rid of the cabal running the U.S. It's difficult not to feel strongly about people who are not only ruining my country and making it despised around the world, but who I truly believe are evil. Obviously, a slim majority of my fellow citizens didn't feel the same way on November 2nd, but then I'm not sure that most Germans who voted for the Nazis in 1933 understood that they were putting a bunch of sociopaths into power, either. Once in power, the Nazis began wrecking all the democratic institutions in Germany and stripping away people's rights (and not just the rights of Jews). They didn't do it all at once, they spent most of a decade grinding the populace into submission. I'm convinced the crowd now in power in Washington has similar plans. Just like the Nazis, they truly believe they know what's best for the people, and that everything they're doing is for some greater good. And just like the Nazis, and other totalitarians like Stalin, they believe their end justifies any means. (They've already demonstrated that convincingly with their Patriot Act, their crazy concentration camp in Guantanamo, their war in Iraq based on the most bald-faced lies, their open contempt for the rule of law. . .)


Anyway, it all seems a lot less grim thousands of miles away, sitting on the beachfront in Copacabana, sipping the water from a freshly-opened ice-cold green coconut while watching the setting sun gild the arc of buildings lining the perfect curve of the beach. Not to mention admiring the endless parade of perfect, gorgeous guys jogging or walking or biking or exercising along the beach. Of course, Brazil has its own problems, like the regular gun battles in the favela across from the Sheraton and the general breakdown of law and order that has Cariocas tearing their hair out. But the bigger picture is that Brazil's economy is recovering, Rio is slowly but surely snapping out of the decades-long slump after the capital moved to Brasilia, and as things get better economically the crime will drop because there will be more jobs. Also, in spite of common political rhetoric (it's everywhere, it's everywhere!) Brazilians are, at heart, a remarkably pragmatic people. Ideology is for Cubans. Brazilians are willing to try things that will make life better, even if they go against long-established customs. Somehow, Brazil still feels like the hopeful "Country of the Future" that has long been its somewhat ironic label. And that's encouraging!


Keep up the Spanish! It'll get you quite a long way in Brazil, and will make learning some Portuguese MUCH easier! The muscles won't hurt, either! ;) It's always nice to get admiring looks on a beach populated by throngs of minor demi-gods! Not that I'd know about that personally, but another of the blessings of Brazil is that in spite of the cult of youth and beauty (and plastic surgery) people still seem able to see the whole person and not just their exterior. More than anything else, that's what makes Brazil magical!

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I have been busy over the last couple of days and have not had much opportunity to follow Bush's visit to Canada. However, I saw a clip yesterday in which he thanked the people who had lined the parade route in from the airport for waving at him "with all five fingers". That got a big laugh from the press gallery. It's this kind of self-deprecating gesture which does make Bush seem personally likeable.


My problem is with his policies, which I "hate". The man himself, is another matter. I don't "hate" him. I just think he's an unfortunate choice as a leader of the so-called "free world".

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This will give President Bush a chance to start mending fences with America's allies. Prime Minister Martin himself is looking to create closer ties to Washington. Mr Bush will have a somewhat not too friendly reception when he meets politicians in France, Germany and Great Britain in the upcoming weeks.


By making these official visits, he's trying to extend the olive branch while he's got the chance to do so. As a totality I'm not terribly impressed with the Bush Presidency a whole. Still only time will tell, how much the Diplomat Bush can accomplish over the next few weeks. His main aim is to get countries to contribute financially to rebuild Iraq. Let's see how he does over the next fortnight or so.



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I don't think you meant to include Great Britain in your list of countries where Bush is likely to get a chilly reception from the politicians (since Tony Blair has consistently backed Bush on Iraq). But even there, the people are mostly opposed to Bush and his policies, as in Canada. On the continent, it's even worse. I imagine Bush will travel around in a hermetically sealed bubble, as he did in Canada.


However, there was some interaction to report between the Bush entourage and the Canadian public during his visit here, in case you didn't hear. According to reports, many on the delegation took advantage of the Canadian public health system to receive flu shots, which were not available to them in the US. Of course, once these journalists get back to the US, they will probably continue to hold up the Canadian health system as inferior to the US one. But at least, they may avoid getting sick this winter. ;-)

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>I don't think you meant to include Great Britain in your list

>of countries where Bush is likely to get a chilly reception

>from the politicians (since Tony Blair has consistently backed

>Bush on Iraq). But even there, the people are mostly opposed

>to Bush


Actually I did mean to include Britain and I shall try to elaborate as much as I can. You are absolutely right in the sense that Prime Minister Tony Blair has been consistent in support for the Bush Administration's policy in Iraq. There is a reason to that and this goes back to his election in 1997. When Tony Blair first entered in # 10 Downing, he realised that John Majors who was his predecessor had not done a good job in rebuilding political relations with the United States. Especially the days after Mrs Thatcher, who had a tremendous rapport with Ronald Reagan. When Former Prime Minister John Majors took over as leader of Britain, for most part of his years in # 10. He had to deal with then then President Clinton. Neither of these two gentlemen really liked eachother.


So when Blair came to office, he like Clinton felt that he represented a different form of liberalism in the world. Both gentlemen instanly got along very well, both on a professional basis and they also became personal friends. The United States has the man power and the military might to act alone in dealing with any country. Mr Blair always argued that the US should not feel alone in the world when dealing in crisis, therefore he always put Britain in such a position that morally and militaristically, Britain would be a closer to the US than any period of time since WW II. The good examples have been in Kosovo, Bosnia and now Iraq.


However with Bosnia it was about genocide and nobody could really deny that such attrocities were not taking place. However with Iraq, it wasn't as though Mr Blair instantly supported Mr Bush, there some convincing done and it was his old friend Mr Clinton, who convinced him that America would look really bad, if she acted alone. He decided to play the world diplomat, a role that Mr Bush could not do. Mr Blair's job was to try to convince as many countries as possible to join the coalition of the willing in Iraq. He did and still continues to stick with the script as presented to the world. Now with all this in mind, you mention quite rightly that the British people have been very much against the policies of the Bush Administration in Iraq.


Now there is aspect that has somewhat been overlooked. Mr Blair is in a governing position, let's not forget that he belongs to a political party called New Labour. For the most part, most Labour MP's in the House of Commons have been openly critical of Tony Blair and his support for Bush when it comes to Iraq. If one were to give it some thought, if Iraq were taken out of the equation, both gentlemen virtually disagree on every other foreign policy topic. Ranging from Israel to Nuclear proliferation. So it really boils down to Iraq both gentlemen find common ground. When I stated that Great Britian would be hostile in my original post, I believe I'm correct in that assessment. Here's why I believe this to be true. When President Bush makes his second official visit to Britain in the coming weeks. No doubt when # 10 Downing hosts the official dinner in welcoming the US president, Blair and the household staff will welcome Mr Bush with open praise. However dont expect Members Of Parliament to welcome Mr Bush and his entourage with open arms. Mr Bush will never be invited to make a speech in both chambers of Parliament. As I recall the last sitting US president to have done was Mr Bill Clinton. To be blunt, it's interesting that Mr Bush is building up a freindship with the Tory Leader of the Opposition, Mr Michael Howard. Just like the Labour Party, there are a lot of Conservative MP's who just cant stand Mr Bush and his use of foreign policy upon the world at large.


Basically this is how I've come to my conclusion as to why the Brits, not just the people, but also the politicians in Britian who will really stick their noses to Mr Bush and his entourage as they prepare to make an official state visit to the United Kingdom in the coming weeks.



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Rohale, You've given a very cogent overview of the Bush/Blair relationship which I found excellent. The situation in the UK regarding the politicians in both Blair's party and the opposition ranks is somewhat similar to Canada's with perhaps the difference that the opposition members of the Conservative Party in Canada are more suportive of Bush's policy on Iraq. Howver many members of the governing Liberal Party are opposed to the war, as in Blair's Government, and one recently was kicked out for her vocal opposition.


In our Parliament we have 5 main parties, so the analogy between Canada and the old "mother country" breaks down somewhat, but the NDP (social democratic party) and Bloc Quebecois (separatist party) both oppose the war. That is why when Bush visited Ottawa, he was not invited to address Parliament as all his predecessors have done in living memory, even Nixon, during the Vietnam War. In a very real sense, Bush is a pariah, which cannot be a very comfortable situation for Americans who have this inborn urge to be liked by other peoples. Still, a majority of Americans support Bush on the war so there you have it!

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"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."


H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

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