The Bush administration may be inept at everything else but it has shown itself the ultimate master of fearmongering. At their peak, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice even Powell had the American people and their Congress so terrified that the administration was able to write its own ticket utterly liberated from America's vaunted system of "checks and balances."
While all this was going on, our own Harpo watched his American Idols in utter fascination. He absorbed every lesson about spin and deception, the tricks of sleight of hand, and, above all, the power and political advantage to be had from fearmongering.
Harpo has even learned the language of George Bush, right down to "cut and run" and "stay the course" and "support the troops."
In the recent battle to extend extraordinary police powers to fight terrorism, our Furious Leader didn't hesitate to resort to the ultimate scumbag tactic of smearing the opposition as soft on terrorism for insisting these measures lapse. You have to be a bit of a degenerate to stoop that low.
What about these extraordinary police powers? Have the Libs now left Canadians exposed to terrorism, their police stripped of an essential weapon in the fight against Islamist extremism?
That certainly is the pitch of the fearmonger Harpo but Jeff Sallot, writing in today's Globe and Mail, shows the prime monster was merely blowing smoke:
"What's changed in five years? Even immediately after the 9/11 attacks, many MPs were never convinced that authorities needed the extraordinary powers of preventive arrest and investigative hearings.
"Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, a law professor and civil-liberties crusader, says he swung back and forth on the issue. It was one of those questions on which people of good will could honestly disagree.
"'It's a judgment call,' he said.
"He and many other MPs insisted on building procedural safeguards into the Anti-Terrorism Act. The extraordinary powers, for example, could be used only with the explicit approval of a federal or provincial attorney-general. Police and judges couldn't go off willy-nilly on their own, holding people and interrogating them.
"Even with these safeguards, many MPs worried that once the powers were on the books, it might be impossible to get rid of them even if experience showed that they were never needed. Thus, a five-year sunset provision was included in the legislation, specifying that the powers would lapse unless the House and the Senate renewed them with a parliamentary resolution.
"As it turns out, the powers were never invoked in the past five years. The RCMP report they have quietly disrupted several terrorism plots in that time without ever arresting anyone.
"However, two other terrorism cases have attracted attention. An Ottawa man, Momin Khawaja, was arrested here and charged with conspiracy in a plot that was being hatched in Britain. He is alleged to have offered to build a bomb trigger for the British conspirators.
"The other high-profile terrorism allegations -- also still before the Ontario courts -- involve 18 men. Last year, police rounded them up in the Toronto area and charged them.
"If the police and security agencies are correct, they've successfully foiled more than a dozen plots without ever resorting to the extraordinary arrest and investigative powers."
I'm sure Harpo and his far-right government would love to turn Canada into a police state but now that's not going to happen. Unlike the Democrats in the US, the Liberals took a stand and held their ground against Harpo's smear campaign to label them soft on terrorism and unwilling to protect Canadians.
If you're not sure what kind of a lifeform Harper is, this little episode speaks volumes. He's a fearmongerer, completely uninhibited when it comes to manipulating his own people and preying on their vulnerabilities.