Monday, July 31, 2006

Snubbing Ontario Could Be Costly

Flipping Ontario The Bird Could Cost Harper

Remember those early days of the Conservative government when Harper met Charest numerous times, yet could find just precious small time for the premier of Canada's most populous province, while attending a Tory fundraiser? Harper Snubs Ontario, read most headlines across the province.

Now it looks like Ontario could be important again.
"Harper has staked much of his political fortunes on gains in Quebec and on his promise to make federalism work there.

If he fails to satisfy Quebec Premier Jean Charest, it will allow nationalists to crow about the failure of federalism, and fuel the separatist cause, a nightmare scenario for Harper and Charest, both of whom will likely face the electorate in the next year or so.

Quebec's strong Lebanese and Arab community condemns Harper's recent support for Israel in the Mideast crisis, and warns he cannot count on their support.

Quebecers are also the least supportive of Canadian involvement in Afghanistan.

So most observers think the Tories will need to win more ridings in Ontario, where they now hold 40 of 106 seats.

Premier Dalton McGuinty hints that Harper could pay a political price in Ontario if he meets only Quebec's demands on the fiscal imbalance.

What should McGuinty do if Harper suddenly wants to 'be nice'?

Down in Quebec

According to the latest polls, Harper's chances of majority government have taken a huge hit by low polls from Quebec, stemming from his support of Israel. The interesting fact for me is that while the Tories are reported to be down to 23%, the BQ has surged to 43%.

Why did the votes not go to the Liberals? I interpret it as soft federalists going to the BQ because they see the Liberals not likely to win the next election. I predict that if, by midway through the next election campaign, the Liberals look favourites to win, the Conservative support in Quebec will bleed further (as federalists look to back the winner and abandon a sinking Tory ship) while those voters flirting with the BQ will return to the Liberal fold.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Liberals Standing Up For Canada

Graham blasts PM

There you go.

Also, does any one know who David Orchard is endorsing /has endorsed for the Liberal party's leadership convention? I heard a rumour he was endorsing Dion (don't know how true it is). I don't know too much about Orchard, though I recently posted one of his writings. His latest article deals with Stephen Harper and 'Stand Up For Canada'.

Orchard's latest article:

Standing up for Canada?

[also posted at Global Research]

Here are a few excerpts:

A million tourists, expats and "snowbirds," including roughly 50,000 Canadians, were trapped in the country.


The current Canadian government was recently elected promising to "stand up for Canada."


With 50,000 Canadians in harm's way what has been our government's response? Canada's new UN ambassador, John McNee, told the Security Council that Israel's action in Lebanon "was an exercise in its right to self-defence." The minister of foreign affairs, Peter MacKay, refused point blank to endorse the secretary general's call for a ceasefire. Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated: "Israel's response, under the circumstances, has been measured." He announced that it was "too early" to call for a ceasefire.


Eight visiting Canadians, including four children, were killed by Israeli bombs. The Canadian government made no protest. Is this Mr. Harper's idea of "standing up for Canada?"


The Harper government's abject response to the murder of Canadians and its refusal to demand an end to the bombing constitutes an abandonment of its duty to protect Canadians and to defend the rule of law on behalf of all humanity.


Gideon Levy, writing in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, said, "In Gaza, a soldier is abducted from the army of a state that frequently abducts civilians from their homes and locks them up for years without a trial but only we're allowed to do that. And only we're allowed to bomb civilian population centres."

Our government in Ottawa has, whether for reasons of religion or ideology, sided uncritically with a foreign government, in this case Israel's, at the expense of our own national interests as Canadians and law abiding members of the world community.

Perhaps Harper should review the change he made to his Five Priorities.

" ... strengthening our country at home and around the world".

I thought it was a sad day for Canada when our nationals (particularly operating under the UN badge) are killed by a foreign army and our Prime Minister questions the actions of those killed.

I have said all along that regardless of who you support (Israel/Palestine) this is a foreign conflict.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ottawa to Review Help For Non-resident Citizens

Following on from my discussion of "Convenient Canadians", I find this article from the Globe and Mail (emphasis mine).

Ottawa to review help for non-resident citizens

Canada will re-examine the practice of paying to rescue its citizens who have made lives in other countries, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said yesterday as the evacuation in Lebanon winds down.


Numbers suggest that most of the 8,700 people evacuated through the port of Beirut on ships chartered by Canada were tourists. Many Lebanese-Canadians have strong ties to their homeland and holiday there with relatives and friends.


Canadians travelling abroad who are placed in a situation of danger and need to be evacuated are generally expected to cover the costs. But those fees are occasionally waived in the case of large-scale operations that involve extraordinary circumstances, Foreign Affairs officials have explained.

The article does not detail the cost and logistics required to vacate the 8700 or so Canadians who wanted to get out of Lebanon.

I don't know what to say about this. I think Canada has a duty to help her citizens (any citizen, regardless of hyphens) get out of a warzone. However asking them to pay for it may not be so bad. Those who went there on vacation will get a refund from their unused portion of the air ticket but Canadians who live there may be unable to access their bank accounts in a war zone. However, it shouldn't have costed too much to evacuate 8700 people that a G8 country cannot handle. There are many countries where many citizens live elsewhere (such as Ireland, Sri Lanka) but the home country does not question their citizenship. Is there any reason Canada be different? I hope the review is only about the cost of the evacuation and who will bear it.

The article had this interesting excerpt:
But Mr. Harper's suggestion that the government will review the policy of helping to evacuate Canadians who have relocated to their countries of origin is unlikely to sit well with the immigrant communities he has been courting in his bid to win a majority government. His remarks represent another example of his willingness to take a strong and occasionally controversial stand on issues of principal or that appeal to his core constituency.


In either case, no distinction has been made between Canadians who make their home in Canada and those who have homes in other parts of the world. And no distinction is made between Canadians who are citizens of more than one country and those who belong to this country alone.

The Citizenship Act of 1977 permitted people to be citizens of Canada and another country. And, for decades, Canada has taken pride in the fact that it takes in people born in other parts of the world and embraces them as its own. Former prime minister John Diefenbaker pledged to bring in a Canadian citizenship that "knew no hyphenated consideration."

Mr. Harper's remarks drew some harsh criticism from opposition members yesterday.

There was no complaint last year when Canada tried to rescue hundreds of its nationals from Louisiana after hurricane Katrina, said Dan McTeague, the Liberal who was responsible for the protection of Canadians overseas during the previous government.

"Why is it an issue today when it wasn't at this time last year?" he asked. "There is no such thing as degrees of citizenship or classes of citizenship. And what does it say about Canadians who are going around the world imparting their expertise and making Canada a world player? . . . [That] the Prime Minister might review whether or not it's worth the effort of trying to get them out?"

Bill Siksay, the NDP citizenship and immigration critic, said there is no distinction in Canadian citizenship for people who are resident in Canada and those who live elsewhere.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

"Fisking" Peter Worthington

I should start a "Toronto Sun Stupid Column Watch (As I See It)" on this blog. I am sure with Michael Coren and Peter Worthington on their staff, that section would never be short of new material.

Worthington's latest article is "Convenient Canadians".

First, he makes the ridiculous statement that "there are twice as many Canadians [50,000] in Lebanon as there are Canadians in the army". As far as I know, the strength of the Canadian Armed Forces is 62,000 [Wikipedia]. Moreover, only 40,000 Canadians have requested evacuation.

Worthington, half of 40,000 is 20,000, not 62,000. Please get your facts straight.

He writes "most are dual-citizenship Canadians who've chosen to return to the motherland to live as Lebanese -- until trouble strikes and then they want the Canadian government to rescue them, not the Lebanese government". We have no way of knowing how Worthington came to this conclusion. Does he know the average age, wealth or status of Lebanese-Canadians? Some have lived for decades in Canada before choosing to retire there. Lots of snowbirds do that. They live for 6 months in Florida. It doesn't make them any less Canadian.

Others, after spending considerable amount of time here, have returned to start a business or venture there. They may still have family, property here.

The venom continues: "frankly, any dual-citizenship Canadian who chooses to live in one of the danger areas of the world should not expect Canada to rush to his aid and rescue him and relatives when danger threatens."

So I guess we should also not rescue any mountain climber, skier who gets stuck on the 'Danger' terrain, spelunker or a hiker. And if you choose to live in a desolate part of the world (like Northern Canada) you should not expect a rescue when danger hits either. Remember, two weeks ago, Beirut was a peaceful capital city of a thriving multicultural country recovering well from a civil war.

Then Worthington gets to his point of view that deserves its own blog entry - "The view that "a Canadian is a Canadian" and all should be treated equally may need revising".

A Canadian is a Canadian. Period. Across all political aisles, there should be no dispute. We should not have categories of Canadians.

The Lebanese-Canadians who were living in Lebanon are no less Canadian than the thousands of Canadians who live and work in the USA. You know, like Worthington's daughter and son-in-law, a certain Mr David Frum.

Mr Frum and his wife, Danielle Crittenden, have both emigrated to USA. They are now US citizens. They live and work there [Wikipedia]. And so, Worthington concludes, in his bid to deny dual citizens full Canadian status, "If someone wants to be a Canadian, that person should give up citizenship in his birth country.An exception should be made with the U.S. on grounds that we are geographically, traditionally and culturally close.

Ofcourse. You cannot serve two masters. Unless it's the US. Then it's OK.

One other statement from the column caught my eye.

"Although Lebanese have settled in Canada for well over a century and are productive citizens, Canada's current policies risk clogging the country with people who shouldn't be here and whom we don't want."

Who do you not want to come to Canada, Worthington? And why?

PS. I actually submitted a Letter to the Editor, that got published today, however it's a truncated and edited version.


Monday, July 24, 2006

Saturday Protest Pictures

The Saturday protest started on time, weaving it's way past ROM and the Israeli consulate and stopping at the US consulate. What was surprising was that given how angry some of the protestors were (they after all had family members still being bombed and killed) the protest managed to pass off quite peacefully. The Druze, Christians and Muslims (Sunni and Shite) of the Lebanese community were there, protesting, as were some Christian and Jewish (!) marchers. In the Middle East these groups would be fighting each other. Here in Canada they march together peacefully, get angry at the government and then go for work. That's the beauty of 'freedom of speech'.

There was a strong NDP presence at the rally (and these are communities that traditionally vote Liberal). After Warren Kinsella managed to obtain from some of the Liberal candidates statements unilaterally supporting Israel (kudos to Martha Hall Findlay for not falling into the trap) many people were angry at Joe Volpe. I remember Volpe coming to our mosque and issuing blunt statements that he was 'with us'. That kind of ethnical politics can backfire spectacularly, as he no doubt will find out. I don't have a problem with candidates such as Bob Rae supporting Israel. He has been very clear on this issue and we can disagree on some things, but what really irks me is when politicians try to play both sides and be hypocritical.

Sign saying 'bombing Canadians is NOT a measured response'.

What surprised me was the presence of a large number of Jewish protestors.

The NDP had a strong presence at the rally, here represented by MP Peggy Nash.

More Jewish protestors.

What's a Bantustan? But the map was interesting.

A Jewish rabbi and a Shite Imam speak. The placard to the left had an interesting drawing of a 'BBC' missile.

The vibrant (and angry) Lebanese community of Toronto were loudly present.

Some of the pictures were heart wrenching, especially those of babies bombed that the media won't carry.

(Photos courtesy: L.C.)


Friday, July 21, 2006

Attention! You Should Be Offended!


Courtesy Red Tory, I came across this article. It mentions that the patron saint of England, St. George, may be changed as he may be considered offensive to Muslims. Red Tory writes, "this is cultural sensitivity gone mad".

I don't think this is a case of cultural insensitivity at all. What I don't get is who decided this image is offensive to Muslims. From the article, it appears that the Church of England is worried that his image is too warlike. And it is the Church of England that appeared to have decided this could be offensive. I am sure they got a few crackpots who wrote letters but it looks like this is the Church's initiative.

I had a hearty laugh about that one. What is offensive to me is now going to be decided by someone else, be it the Church of England or the mullahs of Iran. The British also had a history of fighting India. All Indians (and Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and so on) have a bad memory of the Union Jack. Should that now be changed as well? I am sure if you ask any Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan living in Britain (and are British) about it, they would go hmph! They don't care! What matters is bread and butter issues like discrimination, jobs, taxes, education, health care and so on.

What offends me is if a politician preaches hatred against a particular sect. A person tries to shove his particular beliefs on me. If a legislator decides to ignore hate crimes. If a leader breaks his promises. If people are blind to abuses by their elected representatives, and so on. A flag, a symbol, a piece of ancient history, that's irrelevant. I am sure the Church of England has better things to do.

We look forward to having this debate again on cultural sensitivity come Christmas/Holiday time. Meanwhile, come Euro 2008, I will be waving my England flag on my car again.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Few Questions On The Evacuation

Before I begin I would like to say we shouldn't criticize the evacuation procedure too much - Canadians never had to deal with anything of such a magnitude before, and so quickly. I think they are doing the best they can under trying circumstances. I can proudly say our government was there for Canadians. We should all follow Sam Eid of Toronto's example - who volunteered to work as a baggage handler at the port because, as he said, "The Canadian government gave us an escort. It was my way of paying them back". Having said that, I have a few questions:

  1. Why did Israel blockade one ship carrying Canadians to Cyprus for more than 3 hours, before sending them to Turkey? Many people got sea-sick, deprived of medical attention and water, or got sunstroke. This is a ship carrying helpless civilians!
  2. Why is the "security window" provided to Canadian ships so narrow? And why should there be even a need for security windows? Noone should bomb ships carrying innocent civilians, period. You would think that for all the blind support our Prime Minister gave to Israel (even after our citizens were killed), the Israelis would be nice enough not to threaten our ships, no?
  3. Six ships carrying passengers were not able to fully load before they had to leave port. Why? I heard the captain of one ship refused to go to Beirut until the Israelis gave him a security guarantee, which took its time coming.
  4. France offered to help with the evacuation effort, Quebec Premier Jean Charest, who met with French President Jacques Chirac. Why? I mean, thanks France, but please make the offer to the leader of our nation, Mr Harper, will you? Charest is just the premier of a province, not a nation, get it?
  5. Why are some bloggers (especially Cons) questioning the Canadian-ness of some evacuees? They are Canadians. Period.
  6. Nine days ago some bloggers wrote they were glad the Israeli Prime Minister didn't pussyfoot around the Hezbollah attack, having the guts to say this was an act of war by Lebanon. Therefore it was Israel vs. Lebanon - a war where civilians could be killed. Now, as Israeli atrocities mount (considerable enough so that Louise Arbour could speculate them as war crimes) suddenly it's back to Israel vs. Hezbollah, or a democratic nation vs. a bunch of terrorists. What happened to Israel vs. Lebanon? 'Cos that would mean it will be democratic nation favouring one religion vs. democratic multicultural country. Oh...


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Belinda Stronach's Ideas Reviewed

I have just finished reading through Ms Belinda Stronach's ideas for the renewal of the Liberal Party (h/t Clear Grit). I have said before that I am glad Ms Stronach is a Liberal and a smart one at that. Let me go through some of her ideas.

  1. The need for a grassroots strategy.
    This cannot be denied. For too long it seemed an elite crew had the keys to the party machinery. Liberals must feel they can influence the party's direction, and thus will become more involved with the party (important in the ground war during elections). In here when Ms Stronach mentions grassroots financing she is correct - if more money came from individuals than corporations, the party would be more reflective of its members than corporations. However we need to get a lot more contributions from a lot more people to remain financially in the black.
  2. One Member One Vote.
    While I recognize this is as grassroots as it gets, there is one problem with this. Let's say Ontario has a larger number of Liberals than Alberta. That would mean Ontario has a larger influence in the party than Alberta. I would like some sort of equal representation of ridings, and one-member-one-vote within each riding itself.
  3. A Convention on party renewal in advance of the leadership selection.
    Certainly. This should be a must. If we are serious about renewal we need to hear from the Liberal leadership candidates their ideas on such issues.
  4. Caucus Election of Ministers and Critics.
    I still think the cabinet should be the privilege of the PM/leader. However if a system was proposed where the cabinet was appointed by the PM/leader and then approved by the caucus that would be a suitable compromise and check to the power of the PM/leader.
  5. No parachute candidates.
    I don't have a problem with a person from one riding deciding to run for nomination in another riding and gathering suitable support to win the nomination. However the process adopted when Michael Ignatieff was crowned, as well as when Raymond Cho was not allowed to run for the provincial Liberal nomination in a by-election in Scarborough Rouge-River, left a bad taste in my mouth. To be truly democratic, anyone wishing to run for the Liberal nomination should be allowed to do so, as long as the person has been a bonafide member of the party for some time. Let the local party members decide on their representative. Now, the leader can appoint someone, or the riding association can decide so-and-so will be on the ticket as someone else has no chance of winning the nomination.
  6. More women in the party.
    While I support more women in politics I don't think a party should make special affirmative action to that end. Like any male-dominated field, women will be rare.
  7. $1 Memberships.
    To join the Party or to renew one's membership should be recognized as an expression of political faith, not a fund-raising opportunity.
    I agree 100%. The present membership fee of $16.50 in my riding (for a year only) is quite steep, in my opinion. Also, Ms Stronach's other ideas in this section, such as party auctions, shares etc. are quite innovative.

Please do go over to her site and read her ideas. As we head into another election in a year's time (likely), we should have atleast implemented a few of those suggestions.


Monday, July 17, 2006

More on Harper's Position

I find it perplexing that Canadian PM Harper would not criticize Israel for Canadian deaths. Regardless of whatever position you hold on the Israel-Palestine conflict, we are Canadians first. And Canadians are now dead in this war.

When the US made it a policy to pull over Arab-Canadians at the border, Canada's Liberal government protested. They even posted a travel advisory on their website warning about travel to the US, our best friend, business partner and ally. The US then disregarded that policy. Similarly Canada's Liberals have frequently petitioned for Canadian activists held by Israel. When it mattered, the Liberals stood up for Canada.

I don't think Israel purposely targetted the Canadians. However, they purposely targetted civilian infrastructure in Lebanon. They are destroying airports, bridges, houses, buses, ports, offices and hospitals [BBC]. Harper should first condemn Israel for targetting civilian infrastructure that has nothing to do with the radicals in the south of the country. Then he should say Israel's response is now no longer measured. And finally, he should ask Israel to stop attacking ports [this is how we are going to remove our stranded nationals].

Many bloggers said since a radical force over which the Lebanon government has no control kidnapped soldiers near the border, they hold Lebanon responsible for an act of war. Now Israeli warplanes have killed Canadians under direct order of the government. Is Israel's response still measured, Prime Minister? What about the thousands of Lebanese/Palestinians the Israelis hold in their prisons? Who begs for their release?

On Harper's Misguided Position And Quebec:
It seems Harper's ill-thought out strategy and position on the Middle East crisis may backfire in terms of votes towards the Conservatives. First, thousands of Lebanese Canadians in Montreal have protested against the government's position. These are Quebec suburbs where many voted Conservatives last time around, being sick of the Liberals. Reuters reports that many may now rethink their vote next time around. It looks like Peter's comments from my previous post is a bit optimistic. I am glad. It is time politicians realize their actions have consequences at the ballot box.

The flip side of this position is that many of these votes may now go to the BQ rather than the Liberals.

Did Harper modify his position, as asked by the Star? Even though he dodged questions, It would appear no.

Meanwhile the Canadian Arab Federation has criticized Harper and accused him directly of being responsible for the death of Canadians. This is ofcourse stupid of them. It's like Jack Layton blaming Paul Martin for the death of the homeless. Arab lobbyists still have to learn a lot.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Canada Needlessly Involved

Canada is getting involved in the new Middle East crisis with no parliamentary debate whatsoever [Star], courtesy Bush's new lapdog "Steve". As far as I can remember Canada has always had a balanced view in the conflict, tending to reflect a position in between US and France. Many Liberals such as Jason Cherniak and Shoshana have different point of views than mine. However, this position of Canada on the crisis needs to be debated in Parliament, a fact that seems to be lost on the Conservatives, who debate next to nothing or usually give 6 hours notice. And where is the Opposition when you need them? Even the NDP? If Canada gets needlessly involved, who knows whose apple-cart we could rattle?

Update: US blogger Abu Sinan picks some illuminating Israeli quotes.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Liberals Need To Be More Left Than Right

Jason Cherniak commented sometime ago, regarding his statements about Omar Alghabra, that Muslim Canadians are unlikely to vote Conservative because of vitriolic statements by some Tories. While this generalization has its flaws, one part of it is basically true. Let me get to the flaw first.

All Italian-Canadians do not vote one way, neither will all Muslim Canadians, many of whom come from various cultures and backgrounds. Indeed many South Asians vote for Liberal simply because they have more role models in the Liberal caucus (such as Ruby Dhalla) but that does not stop a lot of them for also voting for Conservatives in the West. Harper's strategy of focusing on same sex marriage in the GTA has not borne fruit, however his actions on jobs, credential recognition and tax cuts have.

The Liberals have always played a delicate balancing act (on their position on the Middle East) well. This meant both Jewish voters and Muslim voters simultaneously voted for the Liberals. However, Paul Martin lost a lot of support within the Muslim community when he declared "Israel's values are Canadian values". Looking at recent actions by Israel where they seem to be killing civilians for fun it is clear Canada's values are very different. Paul Martin was probably pandering to some vote bank. However, the second part of Jason's statement is true. The lost votes did not go to the Conservatives but to the NDP.

It is for this reason that I believe the Liberal's next leader must be more left-leaning than right. We must emphasize our social programs, our environmental policies and our progressive society to steal back those NDP Liberals that we lost.

Another thing that struck me recently is how rabid the right wing has become. In previous eras, to be right leaning you wanted less government, lower taxes, less involvement in foreign affairs, more spending at home, increasing personal freedoms and protecting rights. Today, the right subscribes to strict interpretations of a religious code that they seek to impose on others, restrict personal liberties, increase spending (military, GST cut), do not care about deficit, treat environment as a dirty word and so on. The Toronto Sun has recently called even for standing together with Israel, as if that is something Canadians should do, when we have no stake in that country and should NOT be involved. The way to fight the Conservatives is NOT to be more right (look where it got the Democrats) but by re-stating progressive Liberal values.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Even More Gruesome Than Haditha

(Remember, from what I understand, Michael Ignatieff supported this Iraq war, while Mr. Harper bemoaned that our solders are not there with our allies.)

This is what we need to guard against as Mr. Harper puts us in a US-style insurgency fight in Afghanistan. It has been said that soldiers placed in unfamiliar situations often react in unpredictable ways, actions they would condemn in 'normal' life they would not hesitate to undertake in a warzone.

Conversely here you don't hear calls from Bill O' Reilly and the like for all Americans to condemn this incident, rather most Americans will hardly know about it, thanks to their impotent media. However when a single allegation is made on a muslim, they hold all 1 billion muslims responsible for this situation.

"After the decision was made to rape the woman, according to the FBI affidavit, three of the soldiers changed out of their uniforms and into dark clothes. One soldier told investigators that Green covered his face with a brown T-shirt. One of the soldiers told investigators he changed clothes so he "wouldn't be seen." The affidavit said that four of the soldiers then grabbed three rifles and a shotgun and headed to the house. The fifth soldier was said to have stayed behind at the checkpoint.

According to the accounts of the two who stood guard, Green went to a back bedroom, closed the door and shot three family members. An Army official said the three were believed to be the woman's mother, father and sister, approximately age 5. "Green came to the bedroom door and told everyone: `I just killed them, all are dead,' " the FBI affidavit said.

Around the same time, the soldier identified as the "known participant" grabbed the young woman -- whose age is believed to have been about 20 -- and threw her to the floor, according to the affidavit. The two soldiers acting as guards told investigators that both Green and the other soldier raped the woman before Green picked up an AK-47 assault rifle he had found at the house and killed her."

[Full Article] it is as disgusting as it sounds

To those that say Canadian soldiers are well trained and 'better' than our American counterparts, I say while that may be true, we cannot prevent such incidents from taking place. Remember Somalia? It may be one bad apple, but it's a stain on our uniform.

The Army should ensure soldiers not be posted in Afghanistan for more than 4-5 months, get regular and long leaves for home, and psychiatric assessment is performed on soldiers on a regular and mandatory basis.

(h/t: blevkog)

PM Incensed by 'Fouling' of Memorial

Is this really national security matter that it's top news on our newspapers and even the Prime Minister is compelled to comment about it on radio?

A man urinated on a statue (or even a graveyard). Charge the man with public mischief. End of story. I am sure the guy peeing did not care about 'fouling' a national monument. He just needed somewhere to go and made the unwise decision to do it in a public place and not go to a washroom.

The right wing picks pseudo battles and wars on which there is only one position, they claim that position, and then ignore the real issues of the day.

I am not saying the issue is not important. However it's not a priority.