Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thank God For Global Research (Thank God For Comedy)

As discussion of the riots at the G20 Summit continue to dominate Canadian discourse, one has to take some time out from the sobering realities -- such as the reality that Toronto Chief of Police Bill Blair almost single-handedly appropriated additional police powers via deceit -- for a little comic relief.

To that, one should say "thank god for the Centre for Research on Globalization. Amidst all the genuine causes for concern surrounding the G20 Summit -- such as unwarranted police crackdowns on peaceful protesters -- the G20 riots have managed to narrowly focus the mania that has infected that organization, and should remind a great many people why they aren't to be taken seriously.

That the CRG isn't widely viewed as a haven for 9/11 truthers should be attributed strictly to the fact that they largely have no public profile. In reality, their website is a dark corner of the internet where little light tends to be cast.

9/11 truthers -- who, far more than climate change skeptics could be deemed to be akin to Holocaust deniers -- such as Christopher Bollyn, Michel Chossudovsky and David Ray Griffin, among many, many others, have disseminated their filth through the Global Research website.

Following the G20 riots, the site's 9/11 narrative seems to have infected recent events, as numerous conspiracy theories are being peddled through that website, with little to no evidence being offered in support.

For example, Rady Ananda suggests that the infamous black bloc may actually be a police psyops group. She offers no evidence whatsoever to back this suggestion, other than suggesting that the individual in this video (pictured left) is a "a clean-cut man with a military style haircut".

Apparently, the idea that any black bloc anarchist could have their hair cut short under their military-style caps is utterly unthinkable to Ananda.

There's little question that police indeed used undercover officers at the G20 summit in order to monitor protests, and to better counter organizations such as the black bloc. But when one compares the video Ananda offers to actual video of police getting their UCs out from under cover, it becomes clear that changing clothes huddled in a doorway is not the means by which such officers evade detection.

Ananda is very clearly fishing with no bait. Her colleages from Global Research would be doing the same, if they weren't fishing with scant bait.

Terry Burrows is a little more direct in his accusations.

He falls back once again to the "same shoes" argument, and uses numerous dark and grainy photographs to try to make the case. For example, he insists this photograph (pictured right) "clearly" demonstrates that the police were wearing the same shoes at the black bloc protester pictured below at left.

The self-serving hilarity of it all is undeniable.

Unfortunately for Burrows, that picture doesn't establish anything. The tread on the officer's boot -- the means by which these individuals have been establishing such claims -- are effectively entirely obscured from view.

There's nothing clear about this at all.

Burrows at one point even attempts to offer the belt and the mismatched socks of a black bloc anarchist as evidence that he's an agent provocateur. (The idea that an anarchist miscreant would flaunt fashion by mismatching his socks, or could purchase a black leather belt at the local five and dime is apparently unthinkable to Burrows.)

It's remarkable to find that individuals such as Terry Burrows and Rady Anand can't simply admit, in the wake of these riots, that they and their compatriots tolerated a terrorist element amongst their protests at the G20 Summit.

While the burning of police cars has emerged as the defining image of the G20 Summit (no matter how badly the elft wants that image to be riot cops), another image deserves consideration: it's the sight of a CUPE protester, pink CUPE flag flying high, calmly following the black bloc up a Toronto street while they smash windows and destroy property. This spectacle was captured by a CTV camera on site at the riot.

While a great many protesters eventually did stand up to the black bloc -- chanting "shame on you" at the miscreants who disrupted their peaceful and democratic protest with their violent and anti-democratic tactics -- it seems that the correspondants for Global Research were not among those principled individuals.

Rather, they set out thinking about how they could evade responsibility for their collusion with the black bloc, and smear the police in the process.

It would be shameful if their efforts weren't so utterly laughable.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Terrorist Apologists of the Far Left

Rioting "not violence" but "freedom of expression". Who knew?

According to a Montreal-based anti-capitalist group, the black bloc anarchists who indulged their revolutionary fantasies in downtown Toronto this past week were not violent.

Ani-Capitalist Convergance, a group whose name speaks for itself, made a variety of absurd statements that the Toronto Star obligingly reported. Those statements ranged from blatant apologism for the terrorist thugs who rampaged in downtown Toronto to making some absurd accusations.

“For us it’s not violence,” mused Mahieu Francoeur, a spokesman for the group. “It’s a means of expression and doesn’t compare to the economic and state violence we’re subjected to.”

"We respect a diversity of tactics. People are angry, particularly in the context of an event like that," Francoeur continued. "For us it's vandalism against certain institutions . . . it's symbolic and doesn't compare with violence in general in society."

In other words: the black bloc terrorists destroying storefronts in downtown Toronto weren't violent because the ACC approves of their actions. Meanwhile, the economy is violent because the ACC disapproves of capitalism.

Consider it something of a Marxist slip.

“I think the message is clear,” explained Danie Royer. “If people take back the streets, if people attack symbols of capitalism, I think this is the message."

Among the more absurd comments made by the group was an accusation that riot police in Toronto indiscriminately arrested all francophones in downtown Toronto.

“Everybody that was in the streets that talked French or even cars that had Quebec plates were arrested," Royer insisted.

The best evidence they have to offer for this is that one of their members, arrested during the riots, was held in a 20-person holding cell with 18 other francophone Quebeckers. They also note that 300 of 450 people they took to Toronto didn't return with them.

Many of them were likely arrested.

Foyer also complained that the police moved quickly to deal with the ACC.

"When we arrived by bus the police were waiting for us. They took our flags, our [signs]," she said.

Of course, there's more to the matter than Francoeur or Foryer admit. As it turns out, Anti-Capitalist Convergence, as a broader movement, peddles in various forms of support for protest movements. There's nothing inherently wrong with this.

But among those forms of support is agitprop, most simply propaganda designed for agitation.

Which explains why so many members of ACC may have been arrested in Toronto. While the black bloc riots were clearly premeditated and not provoked by the ACC, the ACC was almost certainly attempting to agitate protesters at the G20 Summit into some kind of action -- and it's already been shown that they aren't the slightest bit taken aback by violence.

Thinking more deeply about the group and its goals, it becomes clear that the group's attempts to stir up ethnic/lingual tensions in a country rendered sensitive to such matters -- due to the fact that it has been tragically prone to such tensions -- is itself an article of agitprop.

As far as being one-trick ponies goes, groups such as Anti-Capitalist Convergence not only take the cake, but they baked it too.


Attn G20 Vandals: No, The World Really Doesn't Get You



Monday, June 28, 2010

Rick Barber's Giant Ego Trip Continues



Rick Barber, a candidate for the Republican Party's nomination in Alabama's 2nd district (the fightin' second!), has managed to set the bar high for political narcissism with his now-infamous "gather your armies" ad.

He clearly took the well-deserved criticism he received for that ad as encouragement to continue stroking his ego. Little else really explains his most recent ad.

Entitled "slavery", Barber continues his conversation with George Washington. He counters arguments that Washington would have supported Obama's health care bill by pointing out that Washington's taxation record was largely relegated to key and basic government functions -- for example, the retiring of federal debt from the Revolutionary War.

He then turns to a rather scary-looking actor playing Abraham Lincoln. "Hey Abe," he addresses Lincoln, "when someone's forced to work for months to pay taxes so that a total stranger can get a free meal, medical procedure or a bail-out, what's that called?"

After further similar questioning from Barber, and some deliberation, Lincoln responds:

"Slavery."

Barber then goes on to point out that the United States suffered greatly to rid itself of slavery, then accuses the government of enslaving the American people.

As with Barber's previous ad, the result is actually rather comical. This is a man with the temerity to brand himself as the last, best defender of the legacy of the civil war, and counter-brands Barack Obama and the Democratic Party as its betrayers.

What Barber seems to fail to understand is that no one man won the civil war. The American civil war was won by the sacrifices of an entire nation, and is thus the legacy of that war is common property of all the citizens of the United States. Its legacy could never be defended by one man alone, nor is it meant to be.

That Rick Barber could effectively annoint himself the one to defend that legacy is, once again, deeply revelatory of what his run for congress is really about: his own ego.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Left's Playbook On Avoiding Responsibility for G20 Riots...

...Is to blame everyone else but themselves.

In the days following a riot in Toronto which has eventually spawned 600 arrests, Canada's left has emerged with a rather predictable playbook on avoiding their share of the responsibility.

Cast the fingers of blame everywhere but where they actually belong.

Blame the police. Blame Stephen Harper. Blame anyone but the anarchists themselves, and the left-wingers who share their agenda.

In particular, some of the claims -- that the riots were actually started by agents provocateurs -- simply don't hold water. For example, one left-wing blogger insists that the rioters and riot police were wearing the same shoe.

This is a claim that can be swept aside with a cursory examination of the photographs in question. In one case, not only is one of the rioters wearing sneakers, but the shoes are actually rather different:
By examing the photo, one can determine that the shoes worn by the rioters have a matte finish. One can also identify what appears to be laces on the shoe.

By examining the other photo offered as evidence, the importance of these details becomes evident:
The shoe worn by Toronto riot police have no laces. Moreoever, they have an entirely different finish.

They clearly are not the same shoe. It doesn't even require an enlargement of either shoe to glean this detail (although it helps).

It can't help this blogger's case that the only one of these three photographed in the act of an offense -- the one spray-painting the police cruiser -- is the one wearing the aforementioned sneakers.

But the agents provocateurs angle is simply a recycled page out of the left-wing playbook. While there were almost undoubtedly uncover officers amongst the protesters in Toronto, there is absolutely no evidence that any of them have acted in this manner.

Not that there aren't a few left-wingers who aren't interested in waiting to see any evidence:
It certainly must help to declare the police officers -- the ones who are actually trying to turn back the tide of lunacy in the midst of these riots -- guilty until they are proven innocent.

It's a martginally more advanced tactic than simply blaming Stephen Harper on account of the choice of venues, as some left-wingers have done. The detail that black bloc anarchists showed up at rural areas such as Gleneagles, Scotland, must simply evade them.

But this is, frankly, the reaction that one should expect when it becomes publicly evident that the far left shares a common agenda with lawless terrorist thugs like the anarchist black bloc.

It's so much easier to evade responsibility than to own up to it.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Reflections on the Prelude To the Toronto Riots



On May 18, 2010, self-dexcribed anarchists firebombed a Royal Bank of Canada branch in downtown Toronto.

In a YouTube video taken of the attack, the perpetrators cited RBC's sponsorship of the 2010 Olympics, homelessness, and the bank's financing of oil sands developments in Fort MacMurray.

The group also promised to be present at the G8 and G20 summits.

In other words, their May 18 attack was actually a prelude of what this particular group was planning at the G8 and G20 summits.

Examining a number of different postings of that video, one thing quickly becomes an apparent: those who sympathize with anarchist terrorists are nearly as much a part of the problem as are the terrorists themselves.

These videos managed to draw a number of sympathizers to defend the actions of those who perpetrated the bombing. Some of them are more lucid than others.

They tend to base their support of this attack on an economic worldview that the far left seems to share with anarchists:
They tend to be particularly candid on how they see actions such as the May 18 attack, or the riots currently tearing through Toronto. It isn't a joke. These people are deadly serious:
They defend these kinds of actions based on necessity. Unable to voice their agenda in a manner that would win the support of logical, rational Canadians, violence is the last resort of these individuals. They actually lionize this kind of intellectual sloth:
Moreover, they attempt to excuse themselves by pointing out that "no one got hurt". (Yet are rather resentful of the detail that a bank firebombing in Greece killed three people, including a pregnant woman.)
Moreover, they attempt to justify their violence by pointing out the violence that police use against them -- omitting the detail that the violence is in response to the violence used by anarchists themselves.

Moreover, they forecast further violence:
However bad the violence in downtown Toronto has been today, the RBC firebombing reminds us that it could have been much worse, especially if police hadn't arrested the perpetrators of that bombing before the summit.

When police arrested the three known perpetrators of the May 18 bombing, they were found to be in possession of hundreds of 7.62 mm rounds, as well as incendiary materials and explosives.

Whatever RBC bomb perps Roger Clement, Matthew Morgan-Brown and Claude Handge had in store for the G8 and G20 summits, it becomes clear that the May 18 bombing may have paled in comparison.

Not all anarchists are terrorists by any means. But international summits have demonsrated that terrorists walk among anarchist circles. Well-meaning anarchists would do well to identify such individuals and expel them from their movement.

But one thing they cannot do is justify the violence. Terrorism is terrorism, and it should always be dealt with appropriately.


Let's Talk About the "Culture of Fear"

The far left simply doesn't get it -- they didn't get it before, and they won't get it now

Writing mere hours before the outbreak of violent protests in downtown Toronto surrounding the set-to-begin G20 summit, Rabble.ca's Darren Puscas published an article entitled "Harper's aggressive plants: Canada at the G8 and G20 Summits".

Among the plans Puscas treats as "aggressive" are the promotion of budgetary austerity amidst the European economy walking a tightrope between tenuous stability and total collapse, opposition to a global bank tax, opposition to Iran's nuclear program, climate realism, and the child & maternal health program.

And one other thing: Puscas insists that Stephen Harper is propagating a "culture of fear" around the G8 and G20 summits:
For the far-left, Puscas' article is a potent and somehow welcoming fantasy, built upon a heap of other ideological fictions.

Yet as Canadians confront the reality unfolding in downtown Toronto, Puscas will likely be disappointed to learn that his propaganda cannot obscure the truth: it isn't Stephen Harper that has propogated a culture of fear around these summits, it's the far left.

After all, it isn't Stephen Harper currently smashing windows and torching police cruisers in downtown Toronto. It's the extreme anarchist denizens of the black bloc -- not an organized group, per se, but rather a pseudo-spontaneous mass intended to provide cover by allowing violent, black-clad protesters to nearly vanish within it.

When one considers Puscas' denunciation of "the insider and outsider reality that marks the global economy", it becomes clear that the violent thugs at work today share Puscas' perspective on the matter.

The goal of the black bloc is to spread fear amongst leaders and their supporters, so as to breed acquiesence to their agenda.

In other words, it's the black bloc, sharing Puscas' agenda, that are seeking to create a culture of fear.

In fact, it quickly becomes apparent that the security perimeter built around around the summit site is entirely justified in order to contain and control these violent outbursts -- Puscas' description of it clearly is not.

Not that one should expect Darren Puscas to understand this. He clearly didn't understand it when he wrote his Rabble article, and he almost certainly doesn't understand it now.


Who Is The Tank Man?



When the western world thinks about the Tienanmen Square massacre of 1989, one image springs to mind: it is one of the the most iconic images of the 20th century.

British journalist Alfred Lee identified the man as Wang Weilin -- an account that no other journalist has ever been able to verify.

To many, it's frustrating that we cannot identify the man who provided one of the most iconic images of not only the 20th century, but in time of all time.

The Chinese government has certainly expended a great deal of time and effort in destroying this image. No sooner had the photo been taken then Chinese security services attempted to sieze the film, Fortunately, the photographer was enterprising enough to successfully hide it.

Today, just as many Chinese students never been told about the Tienanmen Square massacre (the further within China's borders one lives from Beijing the less likely one is to know about it), they don't know the Tank Man image.

The Chinese state has built an elaborate infrastructure to the suppression of such information. In such, they have successfully stunted the growth of the democracy movement.

It may not be inconceivable to think that the rest of the world will not see democracy and freedom in China until as many Chinese people as possible know the iconic image of the Tank Man, even if they may never know his name.




Friday, June 25, 2010

The Futility of John Baglow

One almost has to feel sorry for John "Dr Dawg" Baglow.

For years, Baglow has built himself an ill-deserved reputation by digging into issues that other people simply don't have the time or patience to dig into. In the absence of people with said time or patience, he managed to build quite a niche within the Canadian blogosphere.

Now that niche is clearly under threat as his favourite pet issue, the controversy surrounding Rights and Democracy, has been addressed by another individual with the time and patience to explore the matter more thoroughly.

None other than Terry Glavin, who points out the extent to which Rights and Democracy had been mismanaged prior to the tenure of current R&D board chairman Aurel Braun.

Evidently, the best response Baglow can offer up is this:
It's a remarkably dishonest response to Glavin's article. While Glavin mentions a belief in a Zionist conspiracy that Baglow himself alleges...
...Glavin never once mentions the word "anti-semite", nor any other variation of the word.

It reminds one of what John Baglow really embraced when he embraced Chickenwankerism: he not only embraced intellectual cowardice, but also embraced intellectual futility.

After all, refusing to debate honestly is how they prove they're smarter, isn't it?


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Global Leftism Wears Its Mania on Its Sleeve

Frances Russell lays her cards on the table...

...And they're all jokers.

How else to explain the embarrassing (if only Russell had the sense to be ebmarrassed) op/ed, entitled "Banking, Smoke and Mirrors", published in the Winnipeg Free Press?

If any doubt remained that Russell is, in fact, an extreme leftist, this op/ed piece ought to dispell any such doubt.

In the article, Russell counter-factually insists that the Canadian government did, indeed, bailout its banks, and so should support the global banking tax being pushed by various Eurpean left-wing governments.

In order to make this case, Russell channels economics Jim Stanford and Michel Choussudovsky.

These are, of course, no ordinary economists. Stanford is currently in the employ of the Canadian Auto Workers union -- essentially a labour front for the NDP. The other individual, Choussudovsky, is currently involved with the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Describing itself as an "independent research and media group of progressive writers, scholars and activists committed to curbing the tide of 'globalisation' and 'disarming' the New World Order", the organization's website is an eye-opener on how seriously the organization should be taken.

Among other things, the organization has been a haven for 9/11 truthers ranging from the University of Lethbridge's Anthony J Hall to Louis Farrakhan.

A global bank tax would be a rather odd initiative for a group opposing the so-called "New World Order" to support. After all, attempting to impose such a measure is actually a globalizing influence. Clearly, the difference is that this is their globalization (which they believe to be good). It shockingly resembles measures proposed by left-wing globalist George Monbiot, who has embraced the climate change cause simply because it will aid his efforts to push for a global parliament.

In fact, a global tax on bank transactions was the means by which Monbiot has insisted that such a Parliament would be funded.

Based on something like this, it's nearly impossible for a rational person to see the global bank tax for what it really is: as a tool of imposing global leftism on the rest of the world. Which, apparently, is the good kind of globalization.

Russell concludes her op/ed by suggesting that Canadians should judge Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party by what she says they have done -- supporting de-regulation of banking -- and not by what they have actually done -- introducing a federal securities regulator.

Just as it's impossible to take the Centre for Research on Globalization seriously, it's becoming very difficult to take Frances Russell seriously.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Palin-esque Absurdity of it All

It's not about an ugly fence -- it's about an over-obsessive stalker

Some writers manage to demonstrate an incredible gift for missing anything even resembling the point.

Cue Washington Post columnist Adrian Higgins, whose most recent offering is an insipid op/ed entitled "Sarah Palin's fence didn't have to be so ugly".

Right. Because that's what the entire affair is about: an ugly fence.

Apparently, it isn't about an over-obsessive author-turned-stalker who lacked the judgement to recognize that moving in next door to the subject of his most recent book so he could spy on her private life was an unethical idea, even if the neighbour offered to rent him the property.

No. Apparently, the entire matter is about an ugly fence.

This is apparently the absurdity that the American left-wing media has sunk to in this ongoing TMZ moment: suggesting that Palin simply could have planted some really tall hedges if she wanted to protect her family's privacy from the prying eyes of McGinniss.

As it turns out, there very much is something about Sarah Palin that drives the American left into these absurd corners. It seems they need to make this entire affair about the fence, and Higgins has gone to Andrew Sullivan-esque lengths of reputation self-destruction in order to justify it.

If these were rational people, they would recognize that McGinniss' invasion of Palin's privacy is beneath contempt, and would recognize that their lame defenses of it are likewise.

But there's something about Palin that renders these people utterly incapable of rationality. Their defenses of the entire affair would be better not justified with response if it weren't for the fact that rubbing the noses of such individuals in their own stupidity wasn't actually a public service (Andrew Sullivan, a whole lot of people are looking your way right about now -- and not just Bill Maher).

Of course, the American left can do what they will. It won't salvage Joe McGinniss' reputation -- which has been reduced to just a few notches above the level of Herbert from Family Guy.

They would be doing themselves a service if they stopped allowing their own reputations to be dragged under right alongside it -- but this is something that the mania Sarah Palin inspires in them will not allow them to do.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ed Miliband: The All-Or-Nothing Labour Leader

Younger Miliband monkeywrenches future coalitions in advance

With some recent comments concerning Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, Labour leadership candidate Ed Miliband has staked out some key real estate in the Labour leadership conest.

He's defined himself as the all-or-nothing candidate.

Miliband has accused Clegg of being a sell-out and a "crypto-Tory".

"He has totally sold out to the Tories - he's revealed himself to be a crypto-Tory." Miliband insisted.

Some may recall that the Conservative Party of Britain had campaigned on up to six billion pounds of budget cuts in their first budget. Many believed that the coalition with the Lib Dems would result in this number being reduced -- something that clearly has not been the case.

Miliband attributes this to a "macho" attitude toward the deficit on Clegg's part -- one that he suggests made a Labour-Lib Dem coalition untenable.

To make his point -- and perhaps there is one to be made -- Miliband has invoked the spectre of the 1980s and former Pime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

"This is exactly what happened in the 1980s under Mrs Thatcher, but this time you have a Liberal Democrat party and a Liberal Democrat leadership which is frankly in cahoots with this agenda," Miliband added.

These comments point toward Miliband's expectations for Labour in a future election. Not only does he expect that a Labour victory would be possible in the next election -- indicating that he plans a fast rebuild of the party -- but it also indicates that Clegg has no real interest in forming a coalition of his own with the Liberal Democrats.

In other words, it would be all or nothing for the Labour Party under Ed Miliband. Whether this is admirably ambitious or unfortunately brash has yet to be seen.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Crass: How Subversive Was it?



When one measures the influence of bands from the late 1970s-early 80s punk rock, many presume that The Clash were the most influential.

If one were to judge the matter according to influence on popular music as a whole, they would be correct. But in terms of inluence on punk rock more specifically, many punks would argue that the Crass is more important.

While many punks respect the Clash, they idolize the Crass.

If the success of a punk band is to be decided by how politically subversive their music is, the Crass were incredibly succesful. As related in There is no Authority But Yourself, the Crass managed to become a Parliamentary controversy during the Falklands War, when the band received -- and disseinated -- information alleging that the British ships struck by Exocet anti-ship missiles were ordered not to deploy chaff (an anti-missile countermeasure) in order to divert attack from a naval ship carrying a member of the Royal Family.

Margaret Thatcher responded to these reports by declaring the Crass to be persona non grata within the British Conservative Party. This decree led to Labour Party MPs teasing the Conservatives about who had or hadn't listened to the most recent Crass record.

That is a feat that the Sex Pistols, even at the height of their fury, was never able to match.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

John McDonnell: Disconnected

McDonnell sours grapes over his own withdrawal from Labour leadership race

Would-be Labour leader John McDonnell made a splash recently when he suggested that he would like to travel back to the 1980s and assassinate former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

McDonnell later issued a half-hearted apology. The next day he withdrew from the Labour leadership contest.

McDonnell -- who realized that he couldn't get the support of 33 MPs -- has since spoken out about his withdrawal. Oddly, he blames the Labour Party.

"What this has demonstrated is the disconnection of the parliamentary Labour Party -— not just with the Labour and trade union movement—but with the wider working class community," McDonnell fumed.

More particularly, McDonnell blames Labour's newest MPs.

"The parliamentary Labour Party is of a different make up than even ten years ago. Many of the left MPs have stood down," McDonnell complained. "The new MPs are career MPs—very few have come through the traditional roots, through the working class movement."

"Real politics will take place outside of parliament," McDonnell predicted. "I think it will be in the struggles, defending public services, community struggles and trade union fights."

"That extra parliamentary struggle will mean that the parliamentary party will have to respond," he continued. "It will be a test for the new MPs, to see if they rise to the occasion."

But the problem with McDonnell's leadership bid wasn't with Labour's newest MPs. It was with McDonnell himself.

It shouldn't be surprising that McDonnell withdrew from the Labour leadership race only days after musing about assassinating a sitting Prime Minister. (Thatcher is not Prime Minister today, but McDonnell suggested he'd like to time travel in order to kill her during the 1980s.)

Perhaps it doesn't behoove John McDonnell to expect him to understand why sitting MPs wouldn't want a party leader who would muse about assassinating the Prime Minister -- but it should.


Rick Barber Should Not Have Approved This Ad



A campaign ad produced by Republican hopeful Rick Barber -- a Tea Party activist running in a run-off election to become the GOP nominee for the Congressional seat for Alabama's Second District -- is an illustration of why it's unwise to allow one's rhetoric to run away with them.

In the ad, Barber sits himself at a table with George Washington and Samuel Adams. What is imagined to be the original copy of the Constitution of the United States sits atop an American flag draped across the table. Washington's hand pats a single-fire flint lock pistol while he listens to Barber plead his case.

He begins by expressing his desire to impeach US President Barack Obama and then cotninuing by railing against progressive income taxes and the IRS. In the end, he compares Obama's health care reform package to the Tea Tax that helped spark the American Revolution. Clearly believing Obama's health care package to be much worse.

In the end, he asks "are you with me?"

At which point a very bad actor playing George Washington utters, in a nearly Adam West-like scattao, instructs him to "gather your armies".

The ad is being pushed around the internet as evidence that a potentially violent strain may be dominant within the Tea Party movement. This narrative conveniently ignores the detail that Barber is a candidate for office -- if anything, he's planning a revolution in which the weapons used will be ballots in elections, not muskets and bayonettes.

If anything, the ad reinforces the extent of the ego trip that Barber is on -- it isn't a pretty sight.

The ad contains two distinct branding messages. One brands him as a friend of small business, and counter-brands Barack Obama as the enemy of small business. The other brands Barber himself as an heir apparent to the founding fathers of the United States -- as someone who would have stood amongst them if he hadn't been born more than 200 years too late.

Rick Barber never should have approved this ad because, frankly, it is embarrassing. Whatever Rick Barber may imagine he could accomplish as a Congressman, he won't measure up to Washington or Adams. It's unlikely that anyone ever will.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Libby-Sized Bump in the Coalition Road

NDP House leader questions Israel's right to exist

Regardless of however the Liberal Party and NDP want to play it, talk of a Liberal/NDP coalition is very much alive in Canada again.

If the Liberals were ever seriously considering such an option, a serious bump has just appeared in the road to such a coalition: notably, NDP House Leader Libby Davies and her stance on Israel.

Davies was asked whether she believed that Israel's "occupation" of Palestine began in 1948 or 1967.

"I'm not going to argue numbers, it's too long," Davies replied. "This is the longest occupation in the world. People are suffering."

Which would be a surprise to, say, the Kurds. In the 16th century, Kurdistan was divided between the Safavid and Ottoman Empires. Today, historical Kurdistan is split up amongst Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria.

NDP Leader Jack Layton and Deputy Leader Thomas Mulcair have both attempted to distance themselves from Davies' remarks. But their potential coalition partners -- the Liberal Party -- are having none of it.

Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic Bob Rae has called for Davies' resignation as Deputy Leader of the NDP.

"These are not the off-the-cuff ramblings of any ill-informed or biased person," Rae fumed. "Ms Davies is the deputy leader of a political party that aspires to reflect and represent the views of Canada on the international stage. In this role, fully cognizant of her responsibilities, she stated that Israel has been occupying territories since 1948, the year of its independence. The logical implication of these comments is that Israel has no right to exist."

"This is a position that is more than just 'unacceptable,'" Rae continued. "This rhetoric is responsible for more than 'confusion,' and an 'inadvertent error,' as Ms Davies now suggests. The appropriate decision, given her stature and responsibilities with the NDP, is for Mr Layton to ask for her resignation as deputy leader and for Ms Davies to issue an apology to all Canadians. Nothing short of that will do."

Her stance on Israel isn't the only position of Davies that is unacceptable. Her stance on human trafficking is also an atrocity, and a humiliation of her party and constituents.

It's unlikely that coalition or merget talks between the Liberals and NDP will progress very far with the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party calling for the resignation of a deputy leader of the NDP.

Particularly when the best that Bob Rae could offer such a coalition is a tie with the Conservative Party.

Then again, considering that this coalition would need to mortgage the Canadian government to separatists, Canadians should be rather thankful for that.




Other bloggers writing about this topic:

"Gay and Right - Stephen Harper on Libby Davies"

Marginalized Action Dinosaur - "Someone Send Libby Davies a History Book! The Longest Occupation Ever?"


Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Hysterics of the Far-Left Anti-Gun Lobby

It's useless to speak logic to those who will not reciprocate

Following news that NDP leader Jack Layton will not whip his MPs to oppose a private member's bill that would abolish the long gun registry, Canada's far-left anti-gun lobby is ratcheting up the pressure on Layton.

As usual, they don't bother to offer any logical arguments -- instead, they insist on appealing to the emotions of Canadians.

At a recent event, Dawson College shooting victim Hayder Khadim, among others, spoke out in frustration.

"It makes me feel like he is playing a political game," Khadim complained. "I mean, in front of us, he is a completely strong advocate of gun control — someone who you feel would be one of the strongest to impose a party line or anything like that, to make sure the gun registry would be saved."

Khadim naturally failed to mention that the weapon Kimveer Gil used to shoot him was a registered firearm. He declined to mention this for an important reason:

Regardless of what Khadim has to say about it, the gun registry didn't prevent Kimveer Gil from planning his assault on Dawson College. It didn't prevent him from clicking the safety off, or pulling the trigger. Nor did help police prevent the shooting, because the shooting was not prevented.

One certainly remembers that the left-wing anti-gun lobby insists that the long gun registry has saved lives. Yet neither they, nor the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, can name a single incident in which the long gun registry prevented a gun crime.

Not one single, solitary case.

Front-line police officers -- who actually respond to and investigate violent crimes -- know this.

The troubling thing is that it should be surprising to find that Hayder Khadim doesn't know this either. After all, the bullet that struck him in the neck -- fired from the barrel of a registered firearm -- should have been a massive reality check for him.

Somehow, it wasn't.

Nor do these facts seemt to sink far into the head of NDP MP Thomas Mulcair.

"I know, as does Mr Layton, that to destroy the gun registry is to destroy lives, so we don't need to be convinced on this," Mulcair announced.

But the tipping point for Mulcair's argument -- and sadly, it tips away from reality -- is that if the long gun registry has never saved a life (although some other measures introduced at the same time as the registry have clearly prevented some gun crimes), then the abolition of the registry cannot be found to destroy lives.

It's merely another emotion-based argument from someone who clearly has little interest in considering this issue logically.

Much like the L'Ecole Polytechnique victims and families, who insist that the long gun registry is a monument to them and their loved ones. Canadians who are interested in discussing gun control logically, however, will offer them a deal.

Build another real monument to the L'Ecole Polytechnique victims, as well as to the Dawson College victims. It will be a real gun control that actually controls guns.

Maybe then these people will finally shut up about their precious long gun registry.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Welcome to Europe: The Land of the Peer-Reviewed Budget

Peer reviewed budgets a threat to fiscal sovereignty

As British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne prepares to deliver his first budget, a pecular process has gotten underway.

Osborne is preparing to send his budget to Brussels, Belgium, to be peer-reviewed by the European Commission and other European Union Finance Ministers.

The purported goal is to ensure that EU countries are fiscally responsible. The current cause celibre for this process is to pressure EU countries to cut government expenditures and eliminate deficits. The raison d'etre for this is at least partially the economic crisis engulfing Greece, and threatening to spread to other EU countries like Spain, Italy, Ireland and Portugal.

The peer review process is controversial in Britain, and rightfully so.

While the current puprose underlying this peer review process should be pleasing to fiscal conservatives, there is an underlying danger in this process that no conservative government -- the one in which George Osborne currently serves as Chancellor included -- should tolerate.

Today, the mission is to fight deficits and enforce conservative fiscal responsibility across Europe. This is much easier with conservative governments in power in Britain, France and Germany.

However, a shift in this state of affairs -- should left-wing governance return to France and Germany -- would change this process drastically. Rather than pressuring governments to follow a course of fiscal conservatism, the admonitions issued by EU Finance Ministers could instead become fodder for left-wing forces within any government that pursued such a course.

Today, the budget peer review process favours conservatism. But it could quite easily be used to coerce governments into the spendthrift policies so often imagined by the far left.

It's as much a threat to individual sovereignty as is crushing levels of public debt, and should not be acquiesced to.


Hell Hath No Fury Like a Hero's Scorn



It's said that no country is as troubled as a country in need of heroes.

But if no country is as troubled as one that is in need of heroes, few countries could be as troubled as those who spurn their heroes when they become unpopular or inconvenient.

The concluding installment of The Spartans presents the tale of Alcibiades, an Athenian hero who, although he led successful military campaigns on Athens' behalf, was banished from the city for being too ostentacious and self-glorifying.

When banished by Athens Alcibiades turned to the Spartans. Enjoying a Spartan heritage of his own -- his family had often served as the representative of Sparta in Athens -- Alcibades was able to earn the trust of the Spartans.

He eventually led the Spartans to intervene in Sicily, at the time under Athenian invasion. The campaign was disastrous for Athens. That, coupled with the fortification of a northern Spartan outpost, eventually led to the fading and failing of Athens' power.

As Lucy Hughes-Hallett points out, the culture of hero worship leads to an elitism in which certain individuals are held up above reproach and, in turn, above their own community.

Alcibiades is effectively betrayed by the city he worked in support of. Henceforth, he works only for his own benefit, and his own glory.

Whether Alcibiades ever worked for the benefit and glorification of Athens is another matter altogether.

If the bonds of loyalty between a hero and those who adulate them are truly so thin, one could make the argument that no society should tempt fate by spurning its heroes.

Then again, an equally strong argument exists for questioning whether such bonds are worth anything in the first place.




Thursday, June 10, 2010

Somewhere on the Internet...

Former members of the Clowncar Brigade are missing this:
So sad.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Marci The Victim

Marci McDonald complains about "right wing attacks"

Writing a column in the Ottawa Citizen, Marci McDonald -- of The Armageddon Factor fame -- complains that she's been treated rather unjustly by Canada's conservative media.

Citing sources of attack such as Ezra Levant, David Frum and Blazing Cat Fur, McDonald decries the injustice of it all, and insists that she had no malignant intent in mind.

She writes:
"I've found myself in a firestorm of controversy, the object of distinctly un-Christian invective and the unbridled wrath of the right-wing blogosphere. Charting the uneasy minuet of religion and politics in Stephen Harper's Ottawa appears to have given me a level of notoriety summed up in a current title on the best-seller list: I am, as one friend quipped, the girl who kicked the hornet's nest."
Others would argue rather differently: they would argue that McDonald invented the hornet's nest out of nearly whole cloth, then deliberately punted at conservative and Evangelical Christian Canadians.

If she didn't do so herself, she's clearly been content to decline to speak out against the numerous Canadian ideologues using her book as a tool of cultural warfare against conservatives.

She in particular identifies Ezra Levant as the alleged source of her woes. But within her complaints about Levant's admittedly-vociferous criticism of her comes an interesting admission:
"We clearly missed four errors among the litany he alleged and will correct them at the earliest chance.

But his zeal does raise an obvious question: Do four errors in 400 pages constitute what he calls an 'error-riddled' book?
"
If ony there were only four errors in McDonald's book. But as many experts have pointed out, McDonald's work is indeed laden with errors -- factual, interpretive and conceptual.

One must turn again to the review of McDonald's book by Yale PhD candidate Molly Worthen, who points out the numerous follies of McDonald's book.

To start with, Worthen points out that McDonald has polarized Evangelical Chrisitians into two camps:
"She reduces their diverse beliefs to two extreme nodes: Christian Reconstructionism, a theocratic vision that seeks 'dominion' over society by reinstating Mosaic law; and dispensationalist premillennialism, a view of the end times in which human history tumbles into chaos until Christ sweeps up believers in the Rapture and fights the final battle of Armageddon."
Moreover, McDonald's source notes reveal an effort to simply transplant politically-motivated fear mongering from south of the border north of the 49th parallel:
"Her source notes reveal that her account relies heavily on a handful of books by American journalists who over-simplified evangelical thought in an effort to galvanize liberals during the George W Bush era."
Moreover, as it turns out, McDonald doesn't even have the most damaging insinuation of her book -- the suggestion of a theocratic bent amongst Canadian Evangelical Christians -- right:
"Some of her subjects may indeed dream of ruling Canada by divine mandate, but she paints all – from Dutch Reformed to Lutheran to Mennonite – with the same theocratic brush, despite the fact that many of these churches have either rejected or severely qualified their views of Christian 'dominion' and the Rapture-centred vision of end times. Although most evangelicals still believe that prophecy has something to do with current events, premillennialism has mellowed significantly in recent years."
In other words, McDonald suggests that the idea of premillienialism is becoming more dangerous at a time when it is, in fact, becoming less dangerous -- if there was ever any significant danger at all.

Worthen also points out that McDonald rushes to find any hint of Christian Reconstructionism so she ignores key elements of the philosophy of politically-engaged Christians:
"The Evangelicals that McDonald meets occasionally declare their 'biblical worldview' or denounce the myth of neutrality in the public sphere. What she takes for the language of Christian Reconstructionism is actually a feature of Reformed cultural theology, a broad tradition that urges Christians to engage in all spheres of life through a unified worldview. To miss this point is fundamentally to misunderstand the intellectual position of many evangelicals. They have critiqued secular ideas of objectivity and the exclusion of religion from the public square by suggesting that in this postmodern age – when even atheist philosophers doubt there is just one true understanding of reality – Christian presuppositions are no less valid grounds for a worldview than those of secular rationalism. McDonald does not take on this argument, nor give the reader any hint of this broader context."
Based on all of this -- the assessment of an actual expert on Evangelical Christianity -- it's clear that McDonald's book is troubled by far more than simply four of the errors cited by Ezra Levant. Yet just as McDonald has yet to intercede against the Murray Dobbins and Dennis Gruendings of Canada who are intent on using her book as a weapon in a culture war that they are gleefully eager to fight, McDonald seems to have yet to respond to this criticism.

Better for McDonald to tackle the Levants and Frums of the world -- whom McDonald's target demographic already despise -- than the criticisms offered by experts. All while McDonald tries to pretend she's playing nice with the real experts on Canadian Evangelical Christianity -- individuals like Lloyd Mackey, who knows the subject far better than she does -- and insisting that she's a moderate.

Apparently, people are supposed to simply overlook passages such as this, in which she suggests that Canadian Evangelicals would transform Canada into a:
"Christian nation [in which] non-believers ... have no place, and those in violation of biblical law, notably homosexuals and adulterers, would merit severe punishment and the sort of shunning that once characterized a society where suspected witches were burned."
This, despite the fact that McDonald simply has it wrong. The extreme fringes of the far left, who so desperately want McDonald's conclusions to be true, will ignore simply ignore this. It's always been their modus operandi.

McDonald, in the meantime, will continue to aid them by playing the victim card.

It's a sad, sad gambit from someone whose work has been judged, tested, and found wanting.


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

A Politics Without Reason

Liberal, NDP have no reason for a coalition

Wiriting for the National Post's Full Comment blog, Brian lee Crowley throws a bucket of cold water on the most recent version of coalition fantasies held by the Liberal Party and the NDP.

Crowley simply points out that in order to justify imposing a Liberal/NDP coalition -- a coalition likely beholden to the Bloc Quebecois -- these two parties would need a reason.

Right now, they don't have one.

Crowley writes:
"the question for Canadians is not “is a coalition possible,” but rather, “what important public purpose would it serve today?” Proponents of coalition have signally failed to give a satisfactory answer. “Because we hate the Tories” hardly qualifies.

The attempts at justification to date have been pretty feeble.
"
Some of them, as Crowley points out, is predicated on the fantasy that all the Canadians who voted for the Liberal Party, NDP or Bloc Quebecois voted for a unified rigidly anti-Conservative ticket.

As Crowley points out, this cynical suggestion is not the case:
"A majority of Canadians oppose the Tories, but a much larger majority oppose the Grits, to say nothing of the NDP. And it is not at all clear that the support levels for each party can simply be added together as if one were mixing red and orange paint to produce a lovely tangerine. It can instead resemble mixing half a cup of coffee with an equal amount of tea to get a drink unpalatable to lovers of either."
Not only does no such ideological and political unity exist between the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois, but no such ideological unity exists within the Liberal Party itself -- although a tenuous political unity does.

Attempting a hastily-concocted coalition with the NDP would likely drive a significant number of small-c conservatives out of the party, and for good reason:
"The Liberal Party alone is riven with internal disputes, and is home to many different political views that co-exist uneasily in the absence of the glue of power and patronage. Remember that it is the Liberal Party of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin that helped shrink the size of the state from 53% of GDP in 1993 to barely 40% 15 years later. Liberals might well have denounced this move to smaller smarter government as the work of the devil if it had been accomplished by the Tories. But a large minority within the party is proud of the achievement and has no interest in handing over the keys to 24 Sussex to a newly merged party dominated by left-wing Liberals and NDPers who want to turn back the clock — especially since their coalition could take power in the current parliament only by being entirely beholden to Gilles Duceppe and the Bloc Québécois for every winning parliamentary vote, a position that would cause Pierre Trudeau to whirl so fast in his grave that he would stand a good chance of tearing a hole in the space-time continuum"
Moreover, even the Canadian Alliance/Progressive Conservative Party merger often cited as justification for a left-wing coalition or union does not truly apply:
"When the Canadian Alliance and the PCs merged, it was merely two halves of a previously existing party remarrying. But the NDP is no fragment of the Liberal Party. It has long opposed both the allegedly indistinguishable 'old line' parties, and is a unique mixture of prairie populism, American progressivism, social gospelers, trade union apparatchiks and British Fabians. What has that to do with the Bay Street bankers, Roman Catholics, slick patronage dispensers and consumers, welfare-state clients and the dizzying array of disparate immigrant groups that constitute the Liberal base?"
With all the arguments in favour a left-wing coalition laid so utterly threadbare, Crowley makes it clear that the case for a Liberal/NDP coalition was poor from the very get go.

Their pretext was the prosposal of the abolition of federal subsidies for political parties -- making it clear that some of these parties have distanced themselves so much from private enterprise that they cannot bear the idea of raising their own funds, and believe that any threat to their entitlements justifies ramming through an irresponsible and inevitably-destructive coalition government (with said government mortgaged to the separatist Bloc Quebecois).

The Liberals and NDP clearly have no reason for a coalition. If a coalition is what they plan to centre their politics around for any significant period of time, it's clear that these parties will be moving toward a politics without reason.


Monday, June 07, 2010

Remember Kids, It's Conservatives Who Are Thuggish and Violent ;)

John McDonnell muses about assassinating Iron Lady

One of the more interesting ways to assess one's character is to ask them what they would do with a time machine.

If they could go anywhere in history, and change anything they liked, what would they do?

Labour leadership hopeful John McDonnell has his answer. He says that he'd like to "go back to the 1980s and assassinate Thatcher".

As in Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher -- one of the famed "big conservative three" of the 1980s, alongside then-US President Ronald Reagan and then-Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

McDonnell made the remarks to a leadership candidate forum for labour unions. His remarks reportedly drew applause.

McDonnell has yet to get on the ballot for the Labour leadership -- party rules dictate that candidates must collect 33 nominations from sitting MPs in order to be formally nominated. However, if fellow candidate David Miliband -- who, along with his brother Ed Miliband and Ed Balls, has received his 33 nominations -- has his way, all six declared candidates will appear on the leadership ballot regardless.

In McDonnell, it appears that the Labour Party has a problem. McDonnell, along with Diane Abbott, are clearly the candidates of left within this race.

It's a key demographic that the party needs to keep in touch with. But candidates like McDonnell musing about assassinating a former Prime Minister -- while hiding behind the notion of victimhood because he was employed by a union, not working in the industry the union represented -- will only drive much-needed moderates away from that demographic, and possibly out of the party altogether.

There's clearly a moral reason why McDonnell cannot be allowed to simply write the remark off as "a joke". But there are practical political reasons as well.

The Labour Party cannot afford to let John McDonnell simply walk with that particular remark. It may be better off if McDonnell never manages to reach the 33-nomination threshhold.


Sunday, June 06, 2010

David Cameron Takes Hands-Off Approach to British Democracy

PM to stay out of electoral reform referendum

No sooner has British Prime Minister David Cameron given responsibility for a referendum on electoral reform to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg than Cameron has announced he'll be keeping his hands out of the matter.

While he will likely work with Clegg to decide the date of said referendum, Cameron has already stated that he won't lead the "no" campaign.

He merely wishes the matter to be debated promptly and constructively.

“I see the case for getting on with this in relatively reasonable order,” Cameron announced. “This is one of the issues where we are going to have a healthy debate.”

Cameron is on record as being a supporter of the current first-past-the-post voting system.

“I will not change my view that the alternative vote is not an improvement to first-past- the-post, so I will make that clear at the time,” he announced.

Underlying all the discussion of this referendum is a disagreement within Britain's two coalition parties over when the coalition should be held. The Liberal Democrats seem to feel that their best opportunity for a "yes" vote would be May 2011. The Conservatives, who seem for the most part to oppose changing the system prefer that the vote would be held later than that.

Many Tories believe that changing the voting system will cost them seats. Others think that the party will be just fine, so long as electoral boundaries are changed accordingly.

Unfortuantely for the latter, Clegg is also in charge of reviewing electoral boundaries.

So Cameron understands fully that he's taking a risk in giving so much power to decide this issue to Clegg -- who has yet to announce whether or not he'll be involved in the "yes" campaign. (It's probably safe to assume he will.)

“This was one of the very important planks of the coalition. It is something the Liberal Democrats are passionately in favour of," Cameron explained. "The Conservatives are more sceptical about it."

But Cameron recognizes that this is just part of the price of keeping his coalition government alive.

“You have to understand things from your coalition partner’s point of view to understand the pressures from the party," Cameron explained. “I try to explain these to him. He tries to explain them to me. Soon we will be able to write essays about these things."

It will be up to David Cameron and his party to decide if the price of keeping Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats happy has been too steep. If Clegg is successful in sculpting political reforms to benefit his party, they may wind up paying through the nose.


This is What They Think of the Majority of Canadians

The time when it was fun to pick on the perrenially-deranged CK of Sister Sage's Musings has long passed. If it weren't for her insistence on a state of war, your not-so-humble-scribe wouldn't bother any longer.

But CK has a gift for sometimes producing blogposts that are so outrageously and feverishly insane that it just can't be ignored. Such is the case with a recent post in which CK denigrates the majority of Canadians as sheep, merely because they are mostly centrists who don't share her extreme views:
So CK clearly recognizes that the Canadian centre is shifting toward conservative ideas and conservative values. But instead of considering the possibility that Canadians have recognized that this is because conservative ideas and conservative values are actually applicable to the real lives of the majority of Canadians than progressive values are, CK simply insists it's because the majority of Canadians allegedly don't think for themselves.

CK, like so many progessives, won't take responsibility for the lack of appeal of their inferior ideas. Rather, they simply insist that Canadians are cattle, and move on unabated.

Yet progressives likely will not stop attempting to impliment their ideas. They simply recognize that they'll have to do so in one of two ways: either by sneaking them under the civic radar -- as they did for so many years via appealing to courts in place of citizens, and by corrupting institutions such as Canada's Human Rights Commissions -- or by forcing them on Canadians through a coalition government.

CK seems to reject the notion of a Coalition, but not because she recognizes it as un-democratic. Rather, she continues to labour under the delusion that the coalition was democratic:
What CK clearly fails to understand about democracy is that it is not merely the rules that determine what is democratic. Nor do MPs decide what is democratic. Rather, citizens decide what is and is not democratic -- the Canadian people (those unthinking, Kool-Aid drinking cattle, in CK's opinion) decide what is democratic.

The Canadian people decided that the coalition was undemocratic.

The majority of the Canadian people also decided that Stephen Harper's 2010 proroguement of Parliament was undemocratic. The proroguement was well within the rules established by the Constitution -- both by written and unwritten portions of the Constitution -- while the 2008 coalition was arguably at odds with constitutional convention.

Therefore we know that the rules alone are not enough to establish a particular practice as democratic.

Yet in CK's mind, when the so-called progressive political parties get together to engineer a blatant power-grab against the will of the Canadian people, that's entirely democratic despite the aforementiojned will of the Canadian people.

It's certainly fair to wonder what else CK would like to push into place against the will of the Canadian people.

That's the insidious implications of CK's self-serving rhetorical trick. When the majority of Canadians are deemed to be unthinking and uncritical, their will loses any and all meaning. Once the will of the Canadian citizenry loses meaning, progressives could justify ramming anything they like through, regardless of the objections of others.

That's the irony of CK -- clearly not being able to recognize totalitarianism -- insisting that Stephen Harper is a totalitarian who would abolish elections if he ever won a majority government. CK's own vision for the country is a vision of totalitarian tyranny -- with her and her cohorts as the tyrants.

This is why people like CK can never be allowed anywhere near the levers of power, and must be isolated from them at every opportunity. After all, she belongs to an ideological cabal to whom human life only has value so long as it helps them advance their extrene ideological agenda.

We can already see the contempt CK holds for the will of the majority of Canadian citizens if that will won't help her advance her aforementioned extreme ideological agenda.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

The Transformation That Never Happened

Manning experiencing predicted rehabilitation of his reputation

In The New Canada -- a book that was a combination of autobiography and political manifesto -- Preston Manning spoke of the rehabilitation of his father's, Ernest Manning's, reputation.

The public perception of the elder Manning was once that of an Evangelical fundamentalist who steered Alberta's political affairs as a theocracy. In more recent years, the elder Manning has been recognized as The Good Steward of Albertan politics -- leading the province in a more constructive and less reactionary decision than "Bible" Bill Aberhart, the man whom he replaced as Premier.

Manning -- who at the time was the target of one of the most pervasive campaigns of character assassination ever mounted by Canada's political left -- predicted that his own reputation would one day need to be rehabilitated.

When Manning received an honourary doctorate of law from the University of Toronto -- and from a former Liberal Premier of Ontario, no less -- it's become clear that Manning's teputation has received a well-deserved rehabilitation.

Oddly, writers like Joseph Brean seem to think that Manning has undergone some kind of a transformation.

But no such transformation has ever occurred. The Preston Manning of today is the same Preston Manning of 20 years ago -- even if 20 years older and 20 years wiser.

Sheila Copps did indeed once compare Manning to David Duke. But the comparison has always been ill-fitting. It was merely part of the character assassination campaign being waged against Manning because Copps, like so many other Liberals, recognized that Manning's ideas could in time become extremely influential in Canada:

Free market policies that would impart additional power (and responsibility) into the hands of ordinary Canadians. Fiscal responsibility that would preserve Canadian democracy from the vaguaries of financial insolvency. Language policy that would recognize all of Canada's lingual communities as equals.

Careful, deliberate stewardship of Canada predicated on an ethics of care and responsibility.

This is the real Preston Manning. Not the theocratic bogeyman Canada's left painted him as, and as the margins of Canada's far left continues to paint him as today.

As Brean points out, Marci McDonald -- whose book The Armageddon Factor has become the toast of Canada's far left (mostly because they want so badly for it to be true; the far left is not well-known for sound virtue epistemology) -- mischaracterizes Manning in her book.

She treats Manning as someone who is teaching Evangelicals who are politically active to be secretive about their religious beliefs. This despite the fact that Manning has never been secretive about his religious beliefs, or about the fact that his religious beliefs influence his political beliefs.

She treats Manning's religious beliefs as a malignant influence on Canadian politics. Yet the manner in which Manning has applied his religious beliefs to his politics has always been entirely benign.

It's his religious beliefs -- his belief that Christians are responsible to take care of the world, God's creation -- that turned him toward applying conservative ideals to environmentalism.

It's his religious beliefs -- his belief that human intelligence is a gift from God, and that science represents the divine mandate to explore the world and universe humanity inhabits -- that turned him toward his devotion to science.

The Canadian left demonized Manning because they were terrified of him -- not because they believed he would lead Canada to theocracy (they knew better) -- but because they knew so many Canadians would prefer his ideas to their own.

But it's clear that the days of this character assassination finding favour in the public eye has decisively ended. Preston Manning has finally assumed his rightful place as an elder statesman in Canadian politics.

It came 20 years too late for the second best Prime Minister Canada never had -- but it happened just as he predicted it would.




A Conservative Government With a Poverty Tsar

David Cameron appoints Labour MP to combat poverty

When one considers that the British Conservative Party holds the lion's share of the seats occupied by the current government of Britain -- 306 seats to 57 for their partner Liberal Democrats -- one would expect that the coalition government would behave more like a conservative government and less like a socialist government.

Many conservatives would question whether or not this has actually been the case. One Prime Minister David Cameron's most recent announcements is that he has recruited Labour MP Frank Field to chair a committee examining poverty in Great Britain and making recommendations on how to fight it.

A particular focus will be paid to child poverty.

In political terms, Field is actually a natural choice to work with Cameron's coalition government. Field briefly served as Minister responsible for welfare reform under Tony Blair before subsequently resigning from Gordon Brown's government over policy issues.

Field was told to "think the unthinkable" by then-Prime Minister Tony Blair. According to now-Prime Minister David Cameron, there is much more to Field than merely that.

"For a long time Frank has been willing to say the unsayable," Cameron remarked, noting that Field's approach to poverty is one that carries distinct conservative overtones. "He has argued that the welfare state should be more than a money-redistribution system but rather 'openly reward good behaviour and ...be used to enhance those roles which the country values'."

"He has drawn the link between family breakdown and more instability, more crime, greater pressure on housing and social benefits, arguing that a fundamental principle of the welfare state should be to support families and children," Cameron continued. "Understanding the real causes of poverty - both financial and non financial, including the importance of families and the pre-school years - is vital if we are going to make Britain a fairer society in which opportunity is more equal."

Many conservatives would think that Cameron has appointed a poverty tsar at all is discouraging, regardless of how palatable that individual's ideas should be to them.

But that isn't all. Cameron has also appointed left-wing media pundit Will Hutton to serve as his "fair pay tsar".

Hutton will lead Cameron's promised inquiry into pay inequities in the private sector. It should be unthinkable to conservatives that they would legislate how highly corporate executives should be paid, instead of adopting a superior conservative approach: empowering shareholders to claw back extraneous executive salaries through internal measures within such companies, and lawsuits outside the companies when executives have not acted in the best interests of the shareholders.

Yet under Hutton's influence it seems that something more like the former may happen.

And while the notion of fighting child poverty is something that any proper conservative should find emotionally appealing, it should be remembered that impoverished children are members of impoverished families. The key to eliminating child poverty is not single-minded government action, but economic growth that will provide well-paying jobs for said families.

David Cameron clearly has a difficult task before him -- trying to keep his own Tory caucus satisfied, while satisfying enough of his partners' demands to keep the coalition government alive.

But this should by no means be treated as a good enough reason to give the store away. Some conservatives may be concerned that this is precisely what David Cameron is doing.


Measuring Women's Equality



In a political era in which many insist that left-wing feminist groups must be funded because equality must be promoted, it may be a fair question to ask:

How, precisely, does one measure women's equality.

Part two of The Spartans may provide a clue.

Comparing the treatment of women in Athens to the treatment of women in Sparta with the treatment of women in comparatively liberal and democratic Athens, the film reveals that women in Sparta were fed the same food as men, were educated, allowed to participate in sports and politics, and own property. In Athens, women were expected to remain largely invisible.

This transformed Spartan women into highly-desired sex objects among other Greek men. Athenean women didn't seem to compare to Spartan women.

But at the very heart of the superior treatment was a notion that seems intuitive, but retrograde in its implications: healthy women produce healthy children, something that a warrior society like Sparta would continually be in desperate need of.

One detects similar arguments today in the thinking of individuals like Mark Steyn, who portrays Islam -- not merely militant Islam, but all Islam -- as a threat to western (Christian) society, one that will bury it by way of demographics.

It would take centuries for demographic realities to turn against the Spartans. When it finally did, it wasn't because of the comparatively liberal freedoms enjoyed by women (as some would insist about demographic downturns today), but rather it was because of the restrictions placed upon men, who were not allowed to formally marry until they were 28 or 30.

When Sparta became threatened by its inability to produce enough young men to be warriors, one must have imagined there were many such as Steyn sounding the alarm.

When s plague descended upon Athens and left nearly one third of the Athenian population dead, a risk of mistreating women became evident: just as healthy women are necessary to produce healthy children, unhealthy women will be more suseptible to disease, and more likely to aid in its spread.

As retrograde as the Spartan approach to women seems -- granted citizenship only so they'd be willing to sacrifice their children for the good of the state -- there is a fundamental and undeniable truth in the notion:

The future of any society lies with its women. And while women shouldn't be empowered with citizenship only so they can produce children, any society (Saudi Arabia, Iran) that oppresses its women compresses its societal potential.




Friday, June 04, 2010

Where Nick Clegg Fits in the Coalition Puzzle

Political reforms on the agenda for Deputy PM

A coalition drawn from as disparate partners as the British Conservative Party and the Liberal Democratic Party was certain to be quite the puzzle.

Sometimes, it's difficult to know where all the pieces fit -- particularly when a piece like chief Treasury Secretary David Laws disappears from the picture. Laws, a committed Liberal Democrat, had long been sought by the Tories. It must be disappointing to see him resign over an expenses scandal.

David Cameron likely had Laws' office pegged from the very beginning of the coalition. Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg must have been another matter entirely.

For those who were wondering where Clegg would fit into into the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition, they recently found out.

Clegg's primary task as Deputy Prime Minister will be electoral reform. He will be responsible for introducing legislation to fix the term of Parliament, further reforms of party funding, the establishment of a lobbyist registry, and to hold a referendum on reform of the electoral system.

He will also consider introducing a primary election system for the selection of candidates.

Clegg will also be handed responsibility for the Electoral Commission, Boundaries Commission, and Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. Not only will Clegg wield tremendous power over the establishment of new electoral boundaries, but he will also be responsible for helping establish the expenses rules that will prevent the disgracing of MPs such as David Laws.

The road ahead for David Cameron's and Nick Clegg's coalition will not be an easy one. But with Clegg himself in charge of satisfying some of the Liberal Democrats' premier demands, the road should be made a little easier -- provided that Clegg remains satisfied if his referendum fails.