This ethic came under attack in the 20th century when Frans Boaz and Bertrand Russell introduced moral and cultural relativism. Boaz wrote there were no inferior or superior cultures, that all were equal and couldn't be ordered in an evolutionary scale. Russell believed the survival of democracy required tolerance and understanding of others.
Whether or not one favors Mr. Obama's energy policy, there's one thing very clear about it: Canada's oil is not something that factors into Mr. Obama's calculations other than in the negative: it's not "American" energy, it's in the basket of "imported oil" that the U.S. wishes to curtail, and to Mr. Obama it's the wrong sort of energy.
Harper should be commended for speaking truthfully to Obama and the US, that Canada's oil and gas industry is critical to Canada's future prosperity. And that Harper will continue to fight to transport Alberta oil to the US regardless whether Obama rejects Keystone. In a few years, Harper will still be prime minister. Obama will have faded into history.
The thuggish Putin thinks that Obama and the U.S. are so weakened, that he had the chutzpah to pen a highly critical Op Ed Piece in the New York Times, criticizing, among other things, America's view of itself as exceptional and unique. And criticizing hypocritically the U.S. for contemplating a military action, when Russia has been supplying arms to Assad to assist his regime in killing and gassing 100,000 of his own people. According to liberal CNN on Wednesday night, all the panellists agreed that Putin's Op Ed piece in the New York Times, was Putin's way of flipping the bird to Obama and the American people. This is what happens to the U.S. when its President leads from behind, or worse.
The inadmissibility of chemical weapons on the battlefield was as early as 1899 an international principle of war. As is often pointed out, even Hitler -- himself the victim of a gas attack -- recoiled from their use in battle. The First World War scrubbed battle of its supposed virtues and in the place of heroism instituted the practical diplomacy of a League of Nations.
Obama and political strategist David Axelrod are confident that the Congressional Republicans will put aside their personal disdain for Obama and domestic partisan concerns and support Obama's limited military strike against Syria. I predict Obama will not obtain Congressional support and will suffer a humiliating personal and political defeat.
If there is no outside intervention in Syria, the prospect of a stable Syria coming out of this conflict seems increasingly remote. What may well be the eventual outcome is a fractured country with different Sunni, Alawite, Christian, and Shiite forces creating their own safe havens within the country's borders. We have seen this before, and it rarely ends well.
Approving or rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline is one of the critical decisions that will test whether the President is serious about his legacy to protect our shared climate. While the President has stated he will not approve the pipeline if it damages our climate (spoiler alert: it will), it's time to turn up the pressure to encourage President Obama to make the right decision for our future and reject the pipeline.
On Tuesday, President Obama made it clear that a safe future for our children and climate comes first. While Canada used to be able to duck and hide behind the United States when it came to failing to act on climate change, with the U.S. stepping forward, Canada is now alone in its refusal to take climate change seriously.
We think of the religious right as fundamentalists, viewing the world through a narrow prism of religious doctrine. We think of people who refer to themselves as Conservatives as fundamentalists -- Stephen Harper and his party. But we rarely, if ever, consider the left-wing progressives as fundamentalists.
Millions of dollars have been channeled into framing climate change messages by intentional misuse of language so as to mislead the masses. Unfortunately misleading language is precisely what the fossil fuel industry continues to thrive on; surely "ethical oil" sounds more appealing than tar-sands oil.
This week, in his fifth State of the Union address, Obama showed every sign of no longer believing in his words. He was Hamlet, unable to make up his mind, over-trained and over-rehearsed. This Obama speech was so flat, so monotonous, so uninteresting. But Florida Senator Marco Rubio had been carefully chosen by the Republican Party bigwigs to offer the party's answer to Obama. The Republicans must be insane.
I planned to write about Christmas today. Specifically, what I want for Christmas. But it doesn't seem right when that's not at all what caught my attention this week. What's in my head and my heart, on my Facebook feed and Twitter stream, in my inbox and in so many conversations I have had is the horrors and devastation from the Newtown, Connecticut shootings of last Friday.
As an old friend who wishes nothing but the best for your country, I am worried about what one election night commentator described as the ongoing "ideological civil war" in America. In the past, after this initial polarization, there is a seeking for common ground and a coming together in order to "get things done." In recent years, however, this has not occurred. Continued polarization and conflict over the economic crisis is also of great concern to us in Canada, since our economic prosperity is very much tied to that of our largest trading partner.