December 01, 2004

Bush visit wrap-up

President Bush left Ottawa this morning for Halifax, where he delivered what was being billed as a major foreign policy speech at the historic Pier 21. He spoke for half an hour. It was a good speech, but there were no surprises to anyone who follows U.S. foreign policy news. The war on terror continues; the hope for prosperity in the Middle East is democracy; the peace process in Israel/Palestine will require that Palestine embrace democracy.

All in all, the president's first trip to Canada didn't accomplish anything productive, nor was it meant to; it was a goodwill visit intended to begin repairing the damage done to Canada/U.S. relations by Paul Martin's predecessor.

Best picture of the day (courtesy of the CBC):

But the clear runner-up is (props to whitehouse.gov):

Personal disappointment #1

Having been aware that there was a pro-Bush rally scheduled away from downtown Ottawa, I had intended to go, but missed out. Too bad; it turns out that in return for not causing problems with the unwashed masses downtown, the authorities let the pro-Bush people inside the security area to cheer on the motorcade. I could have been one of the 0.001% of the world's population that has been within 20 feet of an American president.

Personal disappointment #2

I also wanted to go downtown and check out the demonstrations, maybe have some chitchat with a few of the moonbats. It didn't happen. As I was getting ready to leave, that was about the time that the most serious confrontations between them and the police began to happen, and I didn't want to get caught in the middle of a riot I had nothing to do with. Tear gas, as a rule, is something I tend to avoid. (None was used.)

But that's OK, because later I happened to be on a bus that served one of the local universities, and I was sitting amidst a small cadre of students who had done just that (and some of them apparently had gone to greet the president, as well). So I eavesdropped . . .

How moonbats think #1

Apparently, according to one of the students (this is pure, unashamed hearsay), one of the protestors was wielding a placard that depicted George Bush with a star of David. Asked what the significance of the symbol was, she apparently replied that she was saying Bush was a Nazi.

You gotta think about that for a few minutes.

Apparently the contradiction never dawned on her. Nor, apparently, did it dawn on the authors of this sign, posted on a Wellington Street pole. (The picture was originally snapped by Ottawa student blogger Paul Denton, who provided an excellent photo-record of the day's events yonder. I have cropped this image for use here.)

How moonbats think #2

This picture (again courtesy of Paul Denton) sums up the day:

It's got it all: the usual lame Bush-is-Hitler motif, the poorly drawn backwards swastika, an unflattering picture of Condoleezza Rice (conspicuously out of place, as a black woman, in a Nazi cabinet). Mind you, considering the number of placards sporting the name "Socialist Worker" that I saw in television coverage of the demonstrations, it seems that not a few of the demonstrators probably wore certain ideological blinders as far as who else they could compare Bush to. (Stalin, after all, was just misunderstood; all those Ukranian farmers just starved themselves to death to make him look bad.)

Of course, if Bush is Hitler, then Hitler is Bush; and oddly enough, from what I have seen of Bush so far I would be tempted to conclude that Hitler was a pretty decent guy.

Finally, as I write this, I'm listening to a late-night R&B program on a local university radio station. The DJ keeps cutting in to compliment the protestors on an effective demonstration. Conspicuously absent is any mention of what they were supposed to be protesting. That about says it all, really.