Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bravo, Canadian Arts Community

Way to justify all that public arts funding

When Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced his attention to cut arts funding from Canada's budget during the 2008 election, his Conservative Party took what was actually a well-deserved dip in the polls.

Frequently a target of conservative thinkers, public arts funding provides a vital life line to cultural works that help develop and promote Canadian culture and identity.

But to say that governments of varying levels have a role in financially supporting arts isn't to say that arts and culture should be funded indiscriminately. The funding being indirectly extended to Homegrown, a terrorist-sympathizing play about Toronto 18 terrorist Shareef Abdelhaleem stands as a stark example of something that should not have been funded.

According to Catherine Frid, the producer of the play, Homegrown isn't actually a terrorist-sympathizing work.

Homegrown does not promote, sanction or excuse terrorism," Frid insists. "It looks at one of the men convicted of terrorism and points out some of the many irregularities in the Canadian criminal justice system that led to his conviction"

"He wasn't planning to blow up Bay and Front Street with a truck bomb," Frid continues. "People don't know the whole story behind Shareef's conviction. I'm not speaking for all the Toronto 18, I'm just focusing on the one person I met and whose case I followed and I'm telling that story."

The problem for Frid is that her assessment doesn't hold up under scrutiny.

When Abdelhaleem was convicted, his defence counsel called no evidence regarding his guilt or innocence, and instead merely tried to argue that he was entrapped. in a subsequent ruling, it was ruled that Abdelhaleem was not entrapped.

The only means by which funding of a particular project can be justified is that it embodies Canadian culture, or promotes Canadian values.

All too often, "Canadian values" are passed off by the far left as a canard. In fact, there are very few values -- conservative or left-wing -- that could be definitively described as Canadian.

But there are some values that definitively are not, and sympathy for terrorism is one of those.

Even as the controversy builds surrounding this play, politicians are already beginning to demonstrate who gets it, and who just doesn't.

In the category of those who don't get it is Toronto City Councillor Adam Vaughn, who insists that government has no place deciding what art is or isn't exhibited.

Which isn't at all what this story is about. Very few people are suggesting that play such as the one Frid is producing shouldn't be exhibited publicly at all. (Some individuals are, and these notions actually are misguided.)

The issue is about what kinds of productions public funds should support.

Toronto City Councillor -- and member of the Toronto Arts Council -- Norm Kelly does get it.

"There is freedom of expression but there is nothing that says there should be freedom of investment," Kelly insists. "Art plays a number of roles in society... but [this play] would be going too far. If the court was correct in its assessment of their intent, I don't see much artistic merit in that portrayal."

Likewise -- as is so often the case -- the Canadian Taxpayers Federation's Kevin Gaudet gets it as well.

“You want to put on a play? Fine. Hang up your shingle and ask people to pay for it," Gaudet said. "If it has to do with sympathetic portraits of terrorists who want to destroy my country, I won’t go."

A great many Canadians won't bother to go see such a play. A steep financial loss incurred by an empty theatre would serve as a stark lesson for individuals such as Frid about how far Canadians are prepared to sympathize with terrorists, home-grown or otherwise.

The Canadian Taxpayers' Federation opposes any and all funding of cultural festivals. In this, they are in error. But in opposing any form of public funding whatsoever for Homegrown, they are right on the money.

Homegrown should not receive a red cent of public funding in support of it. If Catherine Frid cannot provide or secure the money to produce it, it simply doesn't deserve to be made.


Other bloggers writing about this topic:

Blazing Cat Fur - "Your Taxes Really are 'Play Money'"

Alan Adamson - "Arts Subsidies"


Barack Obama's Greatest Shame



One of the most controversial decisions made to date by the administration of Barack Obama has been a plan to scale back manned space flight -- even musing about cancelling the Constellation Program, which would be key to sending astronauts back to the moon, or possibly even to Mars.

While a great deal can be accomplished through mechanized space flight, nothing perfectly substitutes human presence in scientific endeavours.

Challenger: Go For Launch chronicles another misstep in the history of the US Space program -- the decision to launch the Challenger despite a lingering O-ring program. The results speak for themselves -- Challenger exploded in mid-air, killing all the astronauts on board.

The legacy of those killed on board the Challenger is a noble one -- that of men and women whose lives were cut short while reaching for the kinds of knowledge one can only attain through spaceflight.

The legacy of Barack Obama's administration may well be that of abandoning this noble quest in favour of dubious ideological pseudo-diplomacy.

It will be to Obama's shame if he chooses to cut NASA off at its knees.




Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Comedy of the Revolution



If one happened to wander into a screening of Black Dynamte uninitiated to the vaguaries of this particular film, one could easily mistake it for a 70s-era blacksploitation film.

Loaded with black revolutionary ideology, Kung Fu fighting, and sexual innuendo so thick one could cut it with a chainsaw, Black Dynamte resembles blacksploitation cinema right down to its cheap 70s-era film stock.

This is actually intentional, as Black Dynamite is a parody of such films.

As a send-up of blacksploitation cinema, Black Dynamite can't help but address the bizarre racial/political fantasy underlying it all. When Black Dynamite finally moves to confront the progenitor of a conspiracy to use malt liquor to shrink the penises of black men, it turns out to be none other than Richard Nixon himself.

The sad thing about this is that, when one examines the most virulent and extreme examples of black revolutionary ideology, this is actually only barely hyperbole. It's only barly parody.

Interestingly, it's movements like the New Black Panther Party that are spreading the kind of vile racist rhetoric that today one doesn't even hear from the Ku Klux Klan.

Cetainly, the New Black Panther Party will never rival the KKK in terms of the kind of social and civil devastation it can inflict upon its targets. But the rhetoric offered by individuals such as King Samir Shabazz -- a high-profile leader within the New Black Panther Party -- is striking.

"If you want freedom, you're gonna have to kill some crackers," he seeths in a now-popular documentary segment. "You're gonna have to kill some of their babies."

"I hate white people," Shabazz earlier thunders. "All of them. Every last iota of a cracker, I hate him. Because we're still in this condition."

It would be foolish to pretend that institutionalized racism has played no role in the plight of black Americans. Tragically, many of them continue to live in neighbourhoods beseiged by drugs, poverty and crime.

The folly of the New Black Panther Party is that they pretend that racial separation will magically eliminate these problems. It won't, because as unpopular as it is to give voice to this fact (it can quickly attract accusations of racism, some of which are politically-motivated), many black people themselves are part of the problem.

Simply put, there are predators among the black community that prey on their neighbours for their own benefit. This is no different than the predators that exist within any other community -- racial, ethnic or civic. The difference is that individuals like Shabazz seem to all but deny the existence of such predators.

Ironically, as Black Dynamite points out, the prevalence of socially and civically debilitating drugs in black communities is not the result of a white conspiracy, but rather the result of black-on-black crime. When Black Dynamite (Michael Jai White) goes to a "state of the game" meeting of pimps to declare his war on drug trafficking and recruit help in his crusade, most of the pimps present are prepared to go right on enriching themselves at the expense of their community.

Contrary to the claims of black revolutionaries who insist that the advent of crack cocaine was the result of a CIA conspiracy, it was, in fact, black people who invented crack cocaine. They did so as a manner of making cocaine sales more economical -- allowing them to make far more money off of raw cocaine than they had previously been able to.

It's the severe disconnect from reality that renders the most extreme strains of black revolutionary politics so laughable that moderate blacks can't even begin to take it seriously -- as Black Dynamite makes perfectly evident.




Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Journolist, Andrew Sullivam & Karma

"Corrupt" journolist members had more sense regarding Trig Palin "story" than Sullivan

Sometimes Andrew Sullivan gets things right.

In his book, The Conservative Soul, Sullivan was absolutely right when he posited that a healthy level of uncertainty should be considered central to conservatism -- a socratic breed of uncertainy that leads conservatives to question themselves on what they know and what they do not. This breeds a sense of humility seldom found in the ideological opponents of conservatism. (It's also too seldom found in conservative ideologues.)

Sullivan has very seldom been right outside the pages of his book.

He was right about something far more recently when described participants in Ezra Klein's Journolist message board as "corrupt".

"What's depressing is the way in which liberal journalists are not responding to events in order to find out the truth, but playing strategic games to cover or not cover events and controversies in order to win a media/political war," Sullivan wrote.

But the story has since turned even on Sullivan, as it can't help but rub his nose in the most devestating self-humiliation of his career.

The matter pertains to the story that Sullivan bought hook, line and sinker -- to the extent that he continues to occasionally harp on it even today. That story, is the bizarre conspiracy theory suggesting that Sarah Palin is not the real mother of Trig Palin.

The story was brought to the attention of Journolist by Business Week's Ryan Donmoyer.

Dylan Matthews -- the blogger known as Minipundit -- quickly responded to the story by declaring it to be non grata in terms of political strategy:
"Obama absolutely cannot touch this. Even if it’s true.

I think the press would justify covering it on the issue of trust, but for me it’s offensive that she would refuse to allow her daughter the choice. She has no business deciding what to make of that pregnancy. If her daughter wanted an abortion, it speaks very ill of Palin’s character to deny her the option.
"
Matthews gave the matter just enough consideration to consider that it may actually be true. Some Journolisters seemed prepared to believe the story. But Donmoyer himself was not. He later wrote:
"This is one hell of a whacky conspiracy theory and I too agree it’s probably best left alone. I do wonder, however, whether at least one authoritative piece ought to be done to try to put the issue to rest — not as a hit job on Palin so much as to counter something that has already rapidly and viciously spread on the Internet and will only go more viral. As long as it’s in the rumor stage it rivals the disinformation disseminated about Obama — and neither is useful for the
public discourse.
"
This healthy skepticism on Donmoyer's part unfortunately seems not to have lasted. He would continue in the thread to compile a list of reasons he thought it was more likely that Trig Palin was actually Bristol's son -- resting his case on his belief that it's more likely that a 17-year-old girl would give birth to a child with Down's syndrome than a 43-year-old woman conceiving without medical help.

Much more eager to embrace the conspiracy theory was Health Beat's Maggie Mahar. Dylan Matthews also seemed to have bought the sorry tale.

Perhaps the most disgusting response came from Mark Kleiman, of the website Reality-Based Community. "I see no upside for our side here," he wrote. "There’s plenty of other stuff to work on that won’t get her any sympathy at all and won’t risk damage to her innocent children/grandchild."

To Kleiman, the only reason not to report on the conspiracy theory was that it would provoke sympathy for Palin. One can easily posit that Kleiman's use of "children/grandchild" suggested that he may have believed the story -- or was at least prepared to.

These examples -- with the exception of Donmoyer's initial skepticism -- are actually outliers amongst the Journolist cabal. The bast majority of them either expressed outright disbelief in the story, or simply ignored it.

With the exception of the noted outliers -- as well as a few others -- the "corrupt" Journolist crowd, who even when addressing this issue seemed far more interested in harming Sarah Palin than in reporting a factual story, were able to figure out very quickly that promoting the Trig Palin conspiracy theory was a fool's errand.

But not Andrew Sullivan. Still not Andrew Sullivan. Scarcely a week passes on his Daily Dish blog where Sullivan doesn't dredge it up again.

One should consider it the karmic end of the Journolist scandal: that even as Andrew Sullivan scorns the Journolist participants, they demonstrate judgement far superior to his own.


God Hates... Terrible Music? Redux

Justin Bieber WBC's most recent random target

If there was any doubt that the hate-worshippers at the Westboro Baptist Church were picking the targets of their protests at random, the announcement of their most recent target has pretty much confirmed it.

When Justin Bieber fans turn up to his concert in Kansas City, they can expect to be confronted by Fred Phelps and his congregation.

While the WBC's recent attempts to picket at the San Diego Comic-Con and at Lady Gaga Concerts met with a humiliating response, it seems that this church has resorted back to its original, cowardly tactics:

Pick on those unlikely to fight back.

After all, it's unlikely that the pre-pubescent teenage girls attending Bieber's concerts even know who the WBC are, let alone are they likely to be prepared to meet the church's bigotry with the response it deserves: contempt and ridicule.

Sadly, it seems Bieber fans are about to get a crash course in precisely how deep and dark the malice of a bigot truly runs.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Worth Reiterating: Peter MacKay Made the Right Decision

Canadian Alliance-Progressive Conservative merger good for parties, good for Canada

In a letter written to the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, Marjaleena Repo reminds Canadians that, although the 2004 merger of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party -- forming the modern Conservative Party of Canada -- has long been old news, there are still those who remain preoccupied with it.

Apparently resenting the description of the Liberal Party/NDP attempt to form a coalition government -- also worth reiterating: a government that would have been irresponsibly mortgaged to the separatist Bloc Quebecois -- as a coup d'etat, Repo instead describes the CA-PC merger as the same:
"In discussing the possibility of a Liberal-New Democrats merger, frequent reference is made to the Alliance-PC Party 'merger' as the natural and logical one, unlike the projected one of the two opposition parties.

Those who participated in the 2003 Progressive Conservative Party leadership campaign and its aftermath know well the so-called merger was simply a
coup d'├ętat."
Repo goes on to describe MacKay's decision to explore merging the two parties in conspiratorial terms:
"Leader-elect Peter MacKay ran as a 'non-merger candidate' and signed an agreement with David Orchard pledging not to pursue a merger with the Alliance and to respect the party's constitution that explicitly forbade a merger.

He did the very opposite and opened PC membership to a flood of Alliance members. These dual Alliance-PC members were able to overtake the much smaller PC membership and, in a manipulated teleconference vote, get the merger approved
"
Repo may object too much. After all, Orchard and his anti-merger cabal only accounted for 25% of PC membership. A significant minority perhaps, but still a minority.

Conversely, when a vote was held on whether or not to accept the merger as proposed in 2003, the result was a landslide.
"Had MacKay abided by the agreement he signed, far from leaving the 2003 leadership convention with no choice but to cave in to the Alliance, the PC party would have carried on the rejuvenation and revitalization process that saw its caucus grow with byelection wins.

The thousands of Orchard supporters and those who had supported MacKay as a no-merger candidate, would have contributed to the regrowth.

Indeed, it is quite possible the PC party would have done well in the 2004 election, when Canadians were eagerly looking for an alternative to the Adscam-stained Liberals.
"
As it turned out, both Orchard and Repo -- who, herself could never be mistaken as an impartial observer, as she served as senior political advisor to Orchard -- instead joined the Adscam-stained Liberals.

In other words, at the end of the day, there was little to no difference between Orchard and the Liberals at all. There was, however, strong similarities and common conservative causes between the Progressive Conservative Party and the Canadian Alliance.

MacKay wisely recognized this, and recognized the folly of keeping the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties divided, despite the common philosophical bonds between the two parties -- all in the name of David Orchard's political vanity.

There was not one logical reason to do this. In fact, it would have actually run counter to Peter MacKay's responsibilities as the leader of the PCs: that is, to do what is best for his party.

Perhaps Repo considers her speculation on what could have happened to be pertinent cause to re-think the merger. But the results of what actually happened -- with the Conservative Party of Canada forming the government within two years of the merger -- speaks for itself.

Certainly, some former Progressive Conservative stalwarts abandoned the party after the merger -- but they did this by choice. Some did it out of sheer opportunism (Belinda Stronach, who crossed the floor to become a cabinet minister). Others did it out of being unable to set aside their differences with the former Canadian Alliance and work with who they deemed to be the "wrong" conservatives -- whom many of them contemptuously deemed "Hats and Horses" conservatives.

Marjaleena Repo, for her own part, has gone on to be a contributor to Global Research -- a haven for far left conspiracy theorists, including 9/11 truthers. Orchard himself has also contributed to this dubious think tank.

It's just as fair to speculate that the Liberal Party would have continued to govern Canada had the CPC merger never taken place. And while the Liberals wish they could treat the Sponsorship Scandal as an isolated incident, it's worth mentioning that when a decision regarding the taxation of income trusts was leaked to investors in 2005, the Liberals simply declined to investigate.

In the end, the Minister of Finance, Ralph Goodaale, was cleared of any wrongdoing. A civil servant working in the Finance Department was eventually charged and convicted. Wrongdoing had taken place, and the Liberals simply declined to investigate. Their approach to matters of corruption was, as such, wholly unacceptable from a party expecting to continue governing.

In other words, the stakes for Canada were very high. Peter MacKay recognized this very early, and did not only what was best for his party, but was best for his country. He did what David Orchard simply would not.

At the end of the story, history will speak very favourably about Peter MacKay's decision -- and less-than-favourably of David Orchard and his ideological vanity, if it speaks about Orchard at all.


Monday, July 26, 2010

"HItler in Context" Already Done



In an interview with the London Times -- kept behind a paywall by the publication, but partially reproduced by other sources -- Oliver Stone declares his intention to put Adolph Hilter "in context" in the course of a series of documentaries he's currently producing.

As part of that context, Stone seems intent on blaming industrialists, the US and Britain for Hitler.

The problem for Stone is that the film that places Hitler in his proper context has already been produced.

Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, Downfall puts Adolph Hitler within the only context ever really needed: as a madman, ferried into power amidst political and social instability, and then enabled by the simpering weaklings who surrounded him.

Downfall features what is almost certainly the most brilliant portrayal of Joseph Goebbels ever portrayed. In the hands of actor Ulrich Matthes, Goebbels comes to life as the kowtowing wimp who could barely function -- let alone take over as supreme commander of the Third Reich -- without Hitler's constant guidance and approval.

Goebbels was so beholden to Hitler that, following Hitler's suicide, he killed himself in a fashion as close to the method of Hitler's suicide as he could manage.

Hitler himself -- played by Bruno Ganz -- spends the duration of the film brooding, ranting, and ordering executions largely at random.

Stone, for his own part, can't truly be trusted to put Adolph Hitler -- or any other tyrant -- into proper context. As it pertains to Venezualan President Hugo Chavez, Stone long ago demonstrated that he cannot recognize tyranny when he sees it.

"There's no pattern of censorship in [Venezuela]." Stone comically claims.

He may want to tell that the producers and listeners of radio stations Chavez ordered shut down after they criticized him and his government.

Which is, perhaps, all that really needs to be said about this once-talented film maker.


Who Weaponized Racism? Part IV

It is still worth repeating, and will remain worth repeating until the culprits come clean. The far left weaponized racism.

And MSNBC has been at the very forefront of it.

Consider this particular episode from earlier this year when Dylan Ratigan exploded on Tea Party Express spokesman Mark Williams, demanding that Williams answer a question about whether or not the Tea Party accepts "racist and Nazis".



Not getting the kind of answer he wanted -- instead being challenged about NBC's record with anti-Semitism -- Ratigan screamed himself hoarse while Williams tried, in vain, to give the following answer:

"We don't embrace racism."

Ratigan then entitled himself to a comically self-righteous flourish after cutting off Williams' microphone so that he couldn't answer the question.

But Ratigan must have simply forgotten himself.



After all, Dylan Ratigan was on MSNBC's Morning Meeting when the network aired selectively-edited footage of a man with an AR-15 assault rifle at an Arizona town hall meeting at which President Barack Obama was present.

The suggestion was that a racially-motivated assassination attempt on Obama was imminent.

The problem was that the man pictured on screen is actually a black man. In fact, he was interviewed by CNN on the very same day.



When Spencer Ackerman suggested, via the Journolist news group, that liberals arbitrarily accuse conservatives of racism in order to deter them from criticizing Barack Obama and his policies, it was one thing. Ackerman was at the time employed by the Washington Independent, and would later go on to be employed by Wired, where he continues to enjoy employment despite his obvious contempt for journalistic ethics.

But it's clear that MSNBC has been following Ackerman's play book and they aren't, by any means, alone.

The weaponization of racism has, in fact, been pervasive and well orchestrated across a variety of forums across a variety of media. Those complicit -- as evidenced by Dylan Ratigan, Janeane Garofalo, Spencer Ackerman and others -- have been utterly shameless about the socially irresponsible and ideologically selfish things they have done in the name of politics.

It's time for those who aspire to being responsible voices among the left to start denouncing the weaponization of racism. Given the stakes, they cannot afford to wait indefinitely.


Nightmare Scenario: Michael Byers, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Michael Byers perpetually doesn't get it -- regardless of the issue

When Michael Byers ran for election in the riding of Vancouver Centre, it's tough to believe that the fantasy scenario of an NDP government wasn't percolating in the back of his mind.

As an alleged "top expert" on global affairs, Byers certainly must have imagined himself to be a contender to be Minister of Foreign Affairs in such a government.

Few scenarios could even possibly be more nightmarish for Canadians. If Canada ever needed a Jimmy Carter of its very own to screw up foreign policy to the detriment of the safety of Canadian citizens, Byers would fit the bill.

Byers' recent objection to the Conservative government's decision to spend $16 billion purchasing F-35 Lightning II fighter jets -- a brilliant peace of equipment that is actually far more like the Harrier jump jet than the A-10 Lightning which is its namesake -- is indicative of why Byers would be such an utter disaster for Canada.

Not all of his objections are entirely unreasonable. Some of them centre around the idea that another jet -- perhaps the Eurofighter Typhoon, which has outperformed the F-22 Raptor in head-to-head war games -- may have been a better selection.

There's some merit to this. The F-35 is optimized as a ground-support platform capable of holding its own in the air -- but the Canadian air force could stand to also have a dedicated air-to-air platform as well. The Typhoon would fit that need splendidly.

But Byers seems to have an ideologically-skewed sense of what Canada's needs are in the first place. With Canada's fleet of CF-18 Hornets -- which have met Canada's needs admirably -- meeting the end of their operational lifetime, Byers' peacenick roots, and accompanying lack of priorities, can't help but shine through:
"it's not clear that fighter jets should be at the top of Canada's procurement list. The CF-18s were acquired to intercept Soviet bombers during the Cold War; today, Russia is a member of the G8, the Arctic Council, and a soon-to-be member of the WTO. It's largest trading partner is the European Union, which is made up mostly of NATO states.

Canada's most desperate procurement need is for fixed-wing search-and-rescue aircraft that could be built in Canada by Bombardier.
"
Canada could always put some fixed-wing search-and-rescue aircraft to good use at nearly any time.

However, at a time when CF-18s are very literally falling out of the sky at an increasing rate, Byers' suggestion can't help but paint him to be like the Chretien government, cancelling contracts for desperately-needed helicopters to replace Canada's fleet of Sea Kings, which continued to fall out of the sky for several years afterward.

Not to mention this is the same Michael Byers who became indignant after Canada disrupted diplomatic relations with Iran over the handling of the Zahra Kazemi case -- sending a message to Canadians that, if a Canadian citizen being beaten and raped to death in an Iranian prison doesn't warrant a hiccup in diplomatic relations, that a Canadian passport wouldn't mean a hell of a lot in the most corrupt and tyrannical corners of the world.

Fortunately, with the NDP unlikely to get anywhere near Canada's halls of power -- even if they attempt another coalition -- the prospects of Michael Byers becoming Minister of Foreign Affairs are remote enough that Canadians can sleep without the slighest hint of discomfort at the idea.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Who Weaponized Racism? Thredux

It's still worth repeating: the far left did.

And they aren't even ashamed of it.

Worth revisiting is the sad, sad story of Janeane Garofalo. Following the smoking gun provided by Spencer Ackerman -- who has yet to stand up and account for his ruthless and ideologically selfish exploitation of the subject of racism -- it becomes clear what it was Garofalo was doing when she appeared on Keith Olbermann's MSNBC program in 2009.

She was deploying weaponized racism. Like Ackerman, not only has she yet to show any remorse for her actions, but she was rather shameless about them when later confronted.



"Let's be very honest about what this is about," Garofalo began -- a rather ironic remark coming from someone who was being as dishonest as she was at the time, and has continued to be. "This is not about bashing Democrats. It's not about taxes, they have no idea what the Boston Tea Party was about. They don't know their history at all."

"This is about hating a black man in the White House," she asserted. "This is racism straight-up."

"That is nothing but a bunch of tea bagging rednecks and there is no way around it," she added, before going on to wax incoherently about the limbic brain.

The fact that the Tea Party's central message has nothing to do with race, and has never had anything to do with race, seems to mean nothing at all to Garofalo.

When later confronted about her comments, and called upon to defend them, the best Garofalo could offer up was the example of a sign featuring a pop culture reference, and would simply refuse to defend herself any further:



Perversely, Garofalo, being unable to produce any evidence for her claims, simply chose to question the motivation of Tea Party protesters, and self-indulgently allowed her suspicions to stand as evidence.

As Griff Jenkins -- the individual who confronted her -- noted, Garofalo does indeed seem bitter to be asked to defend her remarks. This is largely because they were never meant to be questioned. Aired on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Garofalo made her accusations in a forum where they were most likely to be found to be ideologically soothing.

Olbermann -- who never offered anything more than an agreeing nod -- clearly found Garofalo's remarks to be rather soothing.

People like Olbermann and Garofalo have taken a certain amount of delight in calling for the Tea Party to account for any racism -- whatsoever, on any scale -- that one may find within its ranks.

But given the consequences of sewing cynicism on the topic of racism, perhaps it's time for the far left -- from the race-baiting demagogues at MSNBC to the NAACP -- to account for the weaponization of racism.

It's time for individuals like Keith Olbermanns and Ben Jelous to start denouncing the disingenous, irresponsible and ideologically selfish weaponization of racism wherever they may find it. Olbermann can feel free to begin with Janeane Garofalo's comments on the April 16, 2009 edition of his program -- then follow that up with a denunciation of Spencer Ackerman.

Of course, no one familiar with the brand of invective typically spewed on Olbermann's program should really expect Olbermann to do the responsible thing -- although one can always hold out hope.




Nerds 1. Westboro Baptist Church Can Still Go Fuck Itself

Nerds welcome WBC to San Diego Comic-con
'Nuff said. Excelsior!


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Who Weaponized Racism? Redux

It's worth repeating: the far left did.

In its most virulent forms, weaponized racism relies on rhetorical self-indulgences by the far left wherein they entitle themselves to various sophistic means by which they never need provide any actual evidence.



Instead of offering actual evidence of racism, Dyson instead proposes that he can identify "code words" -- coded racism.

Moreover, when Breitbart points out that Limbaugh was a staunch defender of Justice Clarence Thomas, Maher insists that Thomas doesn't represtent "95%" of black people. Dyson objects to Breitbart envoking the "black studies crowd" by referring to it as coded racism.

Dyson seems rather desperate to cut off Breitbart's point at the knees, and with reason: in order to make his argument, Dyson relies on a collectivized notion of race, with a political agenda attached to it.

Dyson further suggests that white supremacy can inhabit black skin -- further inferring that Thomas is such a case.

In other words, because Thomas doesn't share the political agenda championed by the far left -- including, frankly, many X-studies professors of various sorts (black studies, women's studies, etc) -- it's inferred that he, as a black man, is a white supremacist.

Of course, what Dyson is all but outwardly accusing Thomas of is perhaps the most damaging breed of racism -- racism against one's own race. And, just as with his "coded racism", Dyson need not offer any actual evidence outside of Thomas' disagreement with a specific political agenda.

Which, conveniently, will always be their political agenda.

In fact, Dyson's allegations of "coded racism" actually allows him to take any statement he believes he can twist into inferring a racist statement and use it as de facto evidence of racism.

For example, Dyson has entitled himself to the privilege to twist any criticism of President Barack Obama -- an individual black man -- into a broader racist meme in which one criticizes Obama not because there's anything wrong with his policies, but rather because they can't stand to see a black man in charge.

Where Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas -- clearly "running things" as a black male -- falls into this is anyone's guess.

Then, quite comically, as Breitbart gets set to rebut, it's Michael Eric Dyson -- a guest on the show, not a producer, or even its host -- who says "we're out of time".

Naturally, there's a few things that Dyson and Maher wouldn't want Breitbart to bring up -- that Limbaugh's McNabb comments were used out-of-context on numerous occasions, that former black NFL player Eugene “Mercury” Morris would defend Limbaugh on another such occasion, and that Limbaugh's infamous "slavery" comments were wholly fabricated.

There's a reasonw why Dyson wouldn't want such facts to see the light of day: as a black man with a specific far-left-wing political agenda, Dyson has learned as well as anyone that racism is an extremely convenient political accusation. As such, it's individuals like Dyson who have participated in the weaponization of racism -- all in the name of advancing said specific agenda.

The cynicism people like Dyson are breeding on the topic of racism is dangerous and socially irresponsible.

It's to the great credit of western society that we have come to understand the civic threat posed by racism, even if we have yet to fully conquer it. It's to the great discredit of people like Bill Maher, Michael Eric Dyson and Spencer Ackerman that they have decided to risk undermining the western public's understanding of racism by sewing such cynicism.

If they legitimately cared about the topic of racism at all, they would be ashamed of themselves. Of course, that brings one back to a very, very big "if" -- and all the available evidence demonstrates that they really don't care about it at all: they only care about racism so far as they can ideoligically benefit from it.


That's Right, Michael, We Don't Need to Replace the CF-18

Thank you for regaling Canadians with nearly the exact line of thinking that led to a swarth of Sea King helicopter crashes post-1993.

(That, by the way, came from the producer of "we didn't need to disrupt diplomatic relations with Iran over Zahra Kazemi". Just imagine what a Canadian Passport would be good for if Michael Byers ever became Minister of Foreign Affairs.)


The Irrationality of Rationality



In Religulous, Bill Maher seeks to highlight the irrationality of religious belief. In many cases, he successfully highlights the irrationality of irrational people.

Maher clearly thinks himself to be wise when he declares that he simply doesn't know. He employs the Socratic method to his questioning of the religious believers featured in the film -- from the relatively mundane and benign men in the truck stop chapel or Judaism-to-Christianity convert Steve Burg to crazies like Ken Ham (who ironically resembles the missing link between man and ape) or outright philistines like Rabbi David Weiss.

Yet Maher applies the Socratic method to sophist ends -- something that Socrates actually would have despised. Maher has decided on the message of his film -- that all religion is ridiculous, irrational and dangerous -- from the very beginning, and is merely using the Socratic method to make that argument.

That Maher actually profited from the production of Religious -- not in itself unthinkable -- further demonstrates Maher's sophism.

The greatest irrationality of people who think themselves to be rational is the suspicious eye they cast at anyone who doesn't share their sense of rationality.

Maher successfully demonstrates the irrationality of many of his subjects. However, Maher tends to cherry-pick some of the most extreme examples of religious believers. He magnifies a comparatively marginal sub-strata of religious believers in order to treat them as mainstream.

It's a feat he replicated from individuals such as Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers.

There is value in Religulous. While it's hyperbolic, bombastic, and in fact irrational, it's also thought-provoking. As CS Lewis would insist, anything that provokes thought about religion is actually of service to religious believers.




Friday, July 23, 2010

Who Weaponized Racism?

Use of racism as a political tactic breeds cynicism

Simple answer: the far left did.

Savvy political observers have known this for years. With the revelations emerging out of the "Journolist" story in the United States, in which a number of journalists colluded with one another to shape an ideological media narrative with the goal of electing Barack Obama as President, many more people are waking up to the weaponization of racism by ideologically-motivated individuals.

Hopefully, more people will wake up to the peril of this, and be prepared to confront them.

The smoking gun of the matter is an email by Wired blogger Spencer Ackerman, who at one point writes the following:
"If the right forces us all to either defend [Reverend Jeremiah] Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists. Ask: why do they have such a deep-seated problem with a black politician who unites the country? What lurks behind those problems? This makes them sputter with rage, which in turn leads to overreaction and self-destruction."
Why did Ackerman want this to become a generial meme amongst the media? The answer is actually rather simple:
"What is necessary is to raise the cost on the right of going after the left. In other words, find a rightwinger’s [presumably, face] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear. Obviously I mean this rhetorically."
Meaning this rhetorically, of course, doesn't really excuse absolve Ackerman from the notion underpinning this particular comment.

Ackerman declares, simply, that in order to create an opportunity for the left to impose its agenda unopposed, it needs to make it hurt to stand up to them. The opposition is to be utterly destroyed -- and in order to do that, Ackerman recommended that he and his fellow Journolist members utilize the one issue that nearly everyone finds so repulsive that it virtually guarantees a social ostracism: that of racism.

Those observing the culture war raging in the United States -- one that Canadian pollster Frank Graves so desperately wants to bring to Canada -- have long noticed this, and have noticed the extent to which the left-wing media has twisted the narrative in order to meet their goals.

Various left-wing media commentators were more than content to lob vapid accusations of racism at the Tea Party. The New York Times took it a little further. They lobbed such accusations based on the notion that not many visible minorities were participating. Then they tailored a poll to confirm that after already reporting it as if it were fact.

The detail that their poll drastically diverged from various other polls on the racial and ethnic make-up of the Tea Party was also conveniently overlooked by many of the other organizations that reported on it.

That was, by no means, the most blatant attempt to link the Tea Party -- whose message, interestingly enough, has never had anything to do with race -- to racism. Perhaps that prize goes to the MSNBC producers who heavily edited (read: doctored) footage of a black man with an AR-15 assault rifle at an Arizona Tea Party rally in order to conceal his race. Footage of the man -- edited so that no skin would appear in the shot -- was coupled with commentary alleging that a racially-motivated assassination attempt on President Obama was imminent.

These are people who know exactly what they're doing, and they know exactly why they're doing it. And they seem to believe that no one else is smart enough to figure it out.

But the greatest danger of the tactics these individuals are emloying doesn't actually lie in false accusations of racism themselves.

Rather, it lies in the risk that cynicism on the topic of racism will proliferate -- that whenever an accusation of racism is made, people will simply dismiss it out-of-hand. Even when that the accused is actually racist.

The Ackerman tactic -- as it should henceforth be known anywhere and everywhere the topic of race is discussed -- risks providing cover for actual racists. Using racism as a political accusation allows racism to be dismissed as such.

That is the extent of the social irresponsibility of individuals like Spencer Ackerman, who couldn't honestly give a flying fuck about racism. Not really. They are more than willing to risk the breeding of widespread cynicism on the topic of racism for short-term ideological gain.

Moreover, Ackerman seems to have very little to say for himself to date. He seems rather unashamed of his actions, even in the wake of such a public revelation.

This is a point that, quite naturally, will be lost on the ideologues most eager to use accusations of racism as a weapon.

But it's time to hold the far left accountable for their blatant and shameful exploitation, for selfishly ideological ends, of what is actually a lingering social illness that still infects western society.

Who weaponized racism? The far left did.

It's time to make them wear it.




Speaking of Douchebags... Let's Slug Some Douchebags

In the wake of an announcment that a number of suspects have been arrested in relation to the G20 riots -- some of them for the vandalism and arson of police cruisers -- the time seems about right to trot out a few of the douchebags who fell all over themselves trying to accuse police of having provoked the riots and give them the rhetorical punch in the face they so richly deserve.

Among them is a an individual who attempted to identify rioters as Agents Provocateurs based on wearing the same shoe. They weren't wearing the same shoes. One of the vandals pictured was even wearing sneakers.

Even more comical was Terry Burrows, who offered dark and grainy photographs of car-smashing Black Bloc hooligans and declared them to be "clearly" the same boot as worn by riot officers. the dark and grainy photos he offered as evidence actually made nothing clear.

Also rather comical is Rady Ananda, who declared one Black Bloc rioter to be an provocateur based on his hairstyle. His hairstyle!

Even more remarkable was the efforts of our aforementioned shoe-sleuth to attempt to identify one of the men who smashed and torched a police cruiser as an undercover officer at the 2008 Montebello Summit.

That individual has since been identified as 23-year-old Andrew Loughrin and arrested.

Another "enterprising" blogger singled this individual out as a police provocateur based on -- get this -- he was wearing an expensive jacket. (Apparently, anarchists must never go skiing.)

Very amusingly, one progressive blogger managed to conveniently forget the "Black Bloc" meme the anarchists utilitized at the G20. A the 2:35 mark of the video this individual posted, an undercover officer is identified as being dressed as an anarchist. One presumes that he was dressed to instead pass as a member of the little-read-of "Blue Bloc" (not to be mistaken with your blue box).

Even more comically in this video, if a Black Bloc anarchist happened to be wearing a black boot, it was treated as the same black boot as worn by any other Black Bloc anarchist.

It's an amusing case of the famed confirmation bias -- in which individuals look only for details that confirm their conspiracy theories, and discard all others -- at work. It's also another black eye for individuals who "speculated" about the presence of police instigators at the G20 summit.


A Little Something For the Douchebags to Remember

Liberals are the ones with the record of brutalizing protestors

Pictured left is a scene from 1996, when then-Prime Minister Jean Chretien assaulted anti-poverty activist Bill Clennett.

Chretien recently reprised his famed "Shawinigan handshake" with both Michael Ignatieff and Justin Trudeau.

Yet this couldn't have come at a less opportune time for the Liberal Party, as some of its douchier members and supporters still try in vain to paint now-Prime Minister Stephen Harper with responsibility for the treatment of protesters at the G20 summit -- and, more comically, for the Black Bloc riots themselves.

But in reprising his famed assault on Clennett, Chretien has sent a stark reminder to Canadians:

If any governing party in Canada has a history of brutalizing protestors, it's actually the Liberal Party, not the Conservatives. That Chretien regards his unprovoked assault on Clennett as funny simply underscores how very little they care.

For his own part, Clennett is not amused.

"He's a buffoon," Clennett remarked. "It was just outrageous and it was something that never happened before."

"He plays this persona," Clennett continued. "He's not an idiot, but he doesn't act always intelligently from my perspective. And he thinks this is something funny."

Judging from their reactions, Ignatieff and Trudeau thought the joke was rather amusing as well.

If only the Clennett affair was an isolated incident, that could be written off to jitters following Chretien's experience with a violent home invasion.

But during the following year, in 1997, Chretien would be complicit in the unjustified pepper-spraying of protesters at the APEC summit in Vancouver. Through the Prime Minister's Office, Chretien ordered the RCMP to get rid of protestors.

And for whom did he do this? None other than then-Indonesian President Muhammad Suharto -- under whom Indonesia was a mass-human rights violator.

While Canadians have not taken the aforementioned partisan Liberal douchebags seriously in their desperate efforts to blame Stephen Harper for the unacceptable behaviour of police officers at the G20 summit, the time is ripe to recognize the Liberal Party's history of brutalizing protestors while in government.

The aforementioned douchebags won't like it. But fuck 'em.


By the way, speaking of douchebags -- Nice one, John. But the last thing the internet needed was another reminder that John "Dr Dawg" Baglow has absolutely no credibility.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lady Gaga 1. Westboro Baptist Church Can Go Fuck Itself

Singer of terrible pop music finds something she can do right

If God's love were apportioned according to the distribution of musical talent, the Westboro Baptist Church would have had something right when they declared that God hates Lady Gaga.

But few proper-thinking Christians could have ever made that error.

For a group that has long convinced many that they basically choose their targets at random, singling out Lady Gaga seemed to confirm those suspicions. For her own part, Lady Gaga seems to have figured out the appropriate response.

In a message to her fans ahead of a show in St Louis, Missouri at which the WBC had promised to show up and protest, Gaga told her fans to simply ignore the group, whom she aptly described as "hate criminals":
"I would like to make my little monster fans aware of a protest being held outside the Monsterball in St Louis tonight. Although we have had protesters before, as well as fundamentalists at the show, this group of protesters are hate criminals and preach using lewd and violent language and imagery that I wish I protect you all from. Their message is of hatred and divisiveness, but inside at the Monsterball we preach love and unity.

My request to all little monsters and public authorites is to pay these hate criminals no mind. Do not interact with them, or try to fight, Do not respond to any of their provocation. Don’t waste your words, or feelings, no matter what you hear or see you are more fortunate and blessed than they are, and in your heart just pray for them. Although I respect and do not judge anyone for their personal views on any politics or religion, this group in particular to me, is violent and dangerous I wanted to make my fans aware of my views on how to approach, or rather not approach, these kinds of hate activists.

Be inspired to ignore their ignorant message, and feel gratitude in your heart that you are not burdened or addicted to hate, as they are.
"
Although the WBC demands attention -- and occasionally even warrants it -- the appropriate response to these hell-bound scumbags is really nothing more than sheer contempt. Nothing more, and nothing less.

While Lady Gaga couldn't write a decent song to save her career, at least dealing with the Westboro Baptist Church is one thing she can get right.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lizzie May Facing Dissident Takeover of Green Party

Ottawa Group of Four preparing leadership challenge

As Elizabeth May continues to seek ways to break her own party's rules on an upcoming mandatory leadership review, the strife within the Green Party over the matter is becoming more and more public.

Some of those eager for their opportunity to supplant May as the leader of the party are beginning to come out of the woodwork. Among them is Sylvie Lemieux, a member of the Ottawa Group of Four.

“This is not about running against Elizabeth May," Lemieux said in a statement. "This is about creating a better option for Canadians by building the party into a true contender that's more attuned to Canadians from coast to coast.”

Indeed, in the series of policy resolutions the Group of Four -- also including Qais Ghanem, Paul Maillet and Akbar Manoussi -- submitted for the 2008 Green Party annual general meeting (never held due to an election), Lemieux has previously called for the Green Party to reach out to mainstream Canadians by offering a full slate of policies, as opposed to a narrow focus on environmental issues.

(One would also presume this should exceed Elizabeth May's narrow focus of simply defeating Stephen Harper.)

“Right now, our appeal is primarily with those people most concerned with the environment," Lemieux continues. "And, while that's important, it’s a limited group. If the Green Party is to realize its full potential it needs a leader who can appeal to a broader audience –- to mainstream Canadians."

Moreover, Lemieux insists that the Party must honour is constitution, and not allow May to circumvent the rules for her own benefit.

"The Green Party constitution calls for a leadership contest to happen this year and it’s important that we respect our constitution,” Lemieux continued. “The real issue is not about the timing of the leadership contest but rather whether or not the Green Party should follow its constitution and hold mandatory leadership contest.”

But, predictably, for Lemieux it seems that the leadership may not necessarily be about her party's ideas, but rather her own ideas and those of her compatriots in the Group of Four.

“My team and I have some great ideas about how to bring about positive change in Canada that will get us going in the right direction so that we can be a global leader in the 21st Century," Lemieux insisted. "We believe this message will resonate with Canadians on a much larger scale than the Green Party's current message.”

This clearly pertains to the proposed 2008 AGM resolutions that the group proposed -- some of which would actually require Green Party candidates to seek permission from party leadership before they could publicly dissent from party policy on any matter of conscience.

In other words, a Sylvie Lemieux-led Green Party would centralize some of the most basic freedoms to the party leadership -- a disturbing notion when one realizes that one of the matters the Group of Four themselves wanted to set official party policy on was the issue of euthanasia.

The Green Party clearly faces some challenging and potentially dark times ahead. While it cannot allow Elizabeth May to shamelessly circumvent party rules for nothing more or less than her own personal benefit, it would also be remiss to allow itself to fall into the hands of Lemieux and her compatriots (among them, in Qais Ghanem, is a 9/11 truther).

With any luck, the Green Party will be up to the challenge of plotting its course forward and finding relevance in the eyes of Canadians, as opposed to the course it's currently following, and may yet travel along even faster -- the path to irrelevance.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Another Case For Uniting Ontario's Right

Ontario PCs and Reform Party dupilicating efforts

Led by Brad Harness, the Reform Party of Ontario has declared its intent to revive the Reform Party as a provincial force in the province of Ontario.

Whenever Ontario holds its next election, Harness and the Reform Party want to run candidates in half of Ontario's ridings, and be a major player in a handful.

“We want to make a real impact in 15 to 20 ridings,” Harness insists.

But the problem for Harness is that the Progressive Conservative Party Ontario is already championing many of the definitive causes of the Reform Party.

Under the guidance of MPP Steve Clark, the Tim Hudak-led Ontario Tories will explore options such as electoral recall and veto referendum legislation, to be enacted upon winning government in a future election.

“Clearly, we need to have stronger tools to put in the hands of Ontario families,” Hudak said. “I do like the notion of citizen-initiated referendum... It is an essential check on governments who often grow too arrogant and out of touch while in office.”

Clark plans to begin by exploring the kinds of options already available in BC and the US. He said his constituents are particularly aware of the options offered in BC, where a provincial legislator can be recalled after 18 months in office.

“A number of them have talked to me and emailed me since talking about what’s happening in BC and why can’t we have some citizen-led process in Ontario,” Clark explained.

In BC, petitions to remove an MLA are subject to approval by the Chief Electoral Officer. Any canvassers must be registered with Elections BC.

If Brad Harness and the Reform Party of Ontario are really serious about advancing the old Reform Party agenda, one would suggest they would be much better off by joining the efforts of the party best situated to advance that agenda -- and, indeed, has already embraced it.

Until they do, they'll simply be splitting the vote between PC and Reform candidates, for a best case scneario in which the Progressive Conservatives and a small caucus of Reform MPPs effectively duplicate each other's efforts.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

(Don't) Blame Reagan



1983: The Brink of Apocalypse chronicles the story of what is considered to have nearly become a full-out nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States. It lays the blame for the near-war at the feet of Ronald Reagan, the Strategic Defense Initiative and NATO's operation Able Archer (a war game exercise involving signal squads in West Germany).

The time has long come for contemporary liberals to stop letting the Soviet Union off of the hook for incidents such as the one chronicled in the film.

First off, if the Soviet Union really had enjoyed the kind of advantage described in the film -- it didn't, as the Soviet defense sector quickly proved to be unsustainable -- then the development of the SDI was actually entirely justified.

Soviet fears about a decapitation attack be damned. The United States had -- and still has -- every right to take any means necessary to protect themselves from nuclear weapons.

The nuclear threat once posed by the Soviet Union no longer exists, and so SDI is no longer justified -- which is why George W Bush's decision to resume development of the missile shield was actually unjustified.

Moreover, one should remember that while the United States maintained a policy of first use of nuclear weapons, they did not maintain a policy of first strike. Conversely, the Soviet Union maintained a policy of first strike, if not first use of nuclear weapons.

Moreover, the ancient complaint about Reagan's "evil empire" speech has become entirely passe. 80s-era Soviet officials may be as outraged about the speeches as they like, but they should have long ago been called to account for the oppressive nature of the USSR, and they'd have difficulty convincing anyone from then-Czechoslovakia or Hungary that the Soviet Union's foreign policy was not aggressive.

Moreover, the Soviet gunning down of a Korean airliner (ironically, flight 007) demonstrated a certain recklessness in Soviet defense policy.

It's time for the soft-on-communism portion of the left to stop offering the same old weak excuses for Soviet Communism, and stop casting the figer of blame at Ronald Reagan for cold war near-misses.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Those Mean, Mean... Conservatives?



Certainly, one the most-anticipated summer films of 2010 is going to be Christopher Nolan's Inception.

Following 2008's The Dark Knight and continuing Nolan's collaboration with Michael Caine -- who appeared in both of Nolan's Batman films as well as The Prestige -- the film promises to deliver the kind of mind-bending sensory bonanza, coupled with deep storytelling, that Nolan has become famous for.

In advance of the film's release, however, some of the film's stars have taken the film's premise -- the prospect of implanting ideas in other peoples' minds -- as an opportunity to air their political views.

In reality, there's nothing particularly deeply provocative in it. Leonardo DiCaprio suggests that BP CEO Tony Hayward should be implanted with some sense of the responsibility he carries following the disastrous gulf oil spill. DiCaprio is entirely correct that Hayward carries a lot of responsibility -- although Hayward is likely as aware of it as he is of the rapidly-climbing bill his company will have to pay in order to clean up the mess.

Unlike DiCaprio, however, Ellen Page (whose last role of significance was in 2007's Juno) seems to approach the question from the perspective of someone who's just been waiting for a high-profile enough role to voice her opinions.

She accuses former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin of needing "a little seed of compassion or some holistic intelligence, and maybe a little expansion of mind".

So to Page, Cheney -- who was Vice President in the administration that delivered billions of dollars in aid to HIV sufferers in Africa -- is uncompassionate. Yet Page delivers her remarks with an affect that would would describe as little more than chilly. There's clearly some degree of malice in Page's words, yet it's Cheney and Palin who are in need of a "seed of compassion".

As she delivers her remarks -- going on to suggest she'd like to "get rid of some of that fear that seems to be creating a lot of ignorance, and thus passing on that fear to a lot of people. And causing a lot of problems" -- Page comes across almost as a junior Janeane Garofalo, whose comments about Tea Party activists were well-received by race-baiting opponents of that movement, and could certainly be said to promote fear of the limbic-brain-addled racists who allegedly dominate that movement.

(Apparently, it isn't the malicious Janeane Garofalo who could use that "seed of compassion" Page rambles on about.)

The political views of Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page certainly won't make Inception any better or worse as a film. But Page's comments just serve as a reminder of the sanctimoniousness of Hollywood liberalism -- where their comments can be as malicious as they deem pleasing, but it's always the other side who are mean.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Oh, Sweet Irony


Sometimes it becomes glaringly difficult to ignore the hilarity of far-left figures who lack any sense of self-knowledge. When it comes to an individual as curmudgeony as David Climenhaga, this effect only seems amplified.

In an article entitled "David Johnson: Certifiably Old, White, Male and Reliable", Climenhaga works himself into an anti-Conservative rage so intense he leaves himself incoherently frothing at the mouth.

His objections to the appointment of David Johnston as Governor General barely seem to exceed the "old, white, male" portion of the article's title (a description that, ironically, Climenhaga himself clearly fits).

The objections that exceed that basically amount to an incoherent accusation of stoogery on behalf of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Aside from not allowing the Oliphant Inquiry to turn into an unrestrained inquiry into the Airbus Scandal -- although the terms of reference clearly allowed the inquiry to explore allegations by Karlheinz Schreiber that he had been asked to transfer funds to a Swiss bank account for use by former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

Moreover, in his rush to denounce Johnston, Climenhaga actually manages to forget himself:
"Notwithstanding the endless squalling of the mainstream media about how Johnston is a fine fellow, a servant of both Liberal and Conservative governments who doesn't have a partisan bone in his body, we can take it for granted that if called upon to prorogue Parliament again, establish a rump Parliament or engage in some similar undemocratic maneuver, Johnston would prove to be up to the task. Otherwise, obviously, he wouldn't have gotten the job.

Our prime minister, pretty clearly, does not have much fondness for our Constitution, especially its inconvenient requirements for regular elections and democratic rights. Who better, then, than a 'legal scholar' like Johnston -- a trained slicer and dicer of fine legal points -- to find the necessary justification for whatever it is this government has in mind next.
"
Climenhaga, after all, ardently supported the ill-conceived, ill-advised and (thankfully) ill-fated 2008 proposed Liberal/NDP coalition.

That was the bid in which the Liberals and NDP -- with the Bloc Quebecois acting as an only slightly-removed partner -- attempted to seize government without an election.

Climenhaga and his ilk raised many arguments in favour of this coalition. Chief amongst them was the claim that the coalition was perfectly democratic because it was constitutional. So was the proroguement of Parliament.

Moreover, in the four years he has been Prime Minister, Stephen Harper has already called one election. Recent rumblings by his party have suggested the possibility of another one this fall.

There's clearly no justification for this comment by Climenhaga. It's really little more than pseudo-slander -- commentary that, for Climenhaga's purpose, by no means needs to contain any truth because it isn't meant to resemble a factual comment.

By that isn't, by any means, even the most fallacious comment Climenhaga offers in his op/ed:
"In the end, of course, any hope [Michaelle] Jean might have entertained of holding a second five-year term must have abruptly ended back in December 2008 when she made Harper wait longer than he wanted to before allowing him to circumvent the will of a newly elected Parliament."
Those paying attention to the continuing ascension of Jean will quickly recognize this to be baseless comment as well. After all, Jean seemed to have little interest in another five-year term as Governor General, as she has been appointed UN special envoy to Haiti.

Whoops. Interesting detail, that. And more interesting still that Climenhaga chose to omit it from his article.

Then again, this article was published on Rabble.ca -- a fascinating left-wing fantasy land where Murray Dobbin joins individuals such as Murray Dobbin and Judy Rebick in peddling left-wing fairy tales to ensure the left-wing masses remain good and agitated, and seethe hatefully at anyone who doesn't share their agenda.

In other words, there is no reasonable test for veracity that anything David Climenhaga publishes at Rabble needs to pass. The baseless comment in his smear job on David Johnston is clearly evidence of that.


Drawn Together

Tories, Liberal Democrats may be stuck together

Any British conservatives looking forward to the next general election as an opportunity to ride themselves of their Liberal Democrat coalition partners may be disappointed at some recent comments by Prime Minister David Cameron -- he suggests the coalition may continue after the next election.

"That will depend on how things feel at the time, but I'm enthusiastic about what we're doing because I think we are delivering good government at a difficult time," Cameron announced. "I think if we can succeed we can demonstrate that these two parties can work well together for the good of the country –- that I think does reshape politics."

Cameron steadfastly insists that the coalition has been good for conservatives, and that his government is poised to deliver 80% of its election manifesto.

"This is a government that wants to roll up its sleeves and get on with the job and deal with the big challenges we face," Cameron remarked. "I think this government is delivering. I know people worry, isn't a coalition government going to be a lowest-commondenominator government? I think we have demonstrated we are not."

"It's important that the Lib Dems feel and are seen to feel that some of the things they care about are being delivered on and they are making a real contribution," he continued. "I don't hide that, I celebrate it."

Based on this, it seems that Cameron is willing to consider the possibility of continuing the coalition partnership after the next British election -- which will be set via fixed election date legislation.

While this prospect may seem troubling both for Tories and for Liberal Democrats, it shouldn't be considered all that surprising.

After all, if the Conservatives and Lib Dems didn't intend to be successful with their coalition, there would have been no point in establishing it at all. If the Tories and Lib Dem coalition is successful, the two parties will have a common record to run on. Neither party could criticize the other without effectively criticizing themselves at the same time.

This shouldn't be mistaken for suggesting that the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition is an untroubled relationship. Cameron recognizes the challenges of maintaining it.

"The coalition is a relationship that has to be worked on," Cameron admitted. "It's a bit like a seesaw – there will be some times it feels the Conservatives are making the running, there will be some times it feels like the Lib Dems are making the running."

The prospect of continuing the Tory/Lib Dem coalition after the next electio shouldn't be confused for a merger between the two parties -- far from it.

"Of course I expect Conservatives and Liberals will fight elections separately," Cameron said. "We have different underlying philosophies and differences in approach and policy. But obviously if we are fighting a separate election after a successful five-year government, I hope we will be relatively polite about each other."

If Britons judge the Conservative/Liberal Democrat government to be a successful one, there may be a strong prospect that they may be compelled to continue after the next election (the other possibility being a Conservative majority).

The Conservatie Party and the Liberal Democrats have been drawn together. Depending on the judgement of the British citizenry, they may be stuck together for a while yet.


Lock n Load, Motherfuckers

The incomparable Denis Leary on numerous topics, including coffee:



...Marv Albert:



...Beer:



...Fat people:



...Kids:



...Home theatre:



...His Toyota Landcruiser:



...Religion:



...Among other things.




Friday, July 09, 2010

The Conservative Senate Caucus Isn't Big Enough For Richard Neufield

Richard Neufield breaks Senate election promises

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has waited a long time to establish a Conservative majority in the Senate. He may have to wait a little bit longer, as Richard Neufield has pretty much written himself a ticket to be kicked out of the Conservative Party caucus.

Appointed by Harper on condition of supporting the Conservative Party's Senate reform agenda, Neufield has gone partially back on the deal, reneging on his promised support for Senate elections.

"Before I came here, I only thought about it when it was brought up in newspaper articles, or someone was ranting and raving about the Senate when they talked about elections," Neufield explained while speaking in the Senate chamber. "But I thought we should have an elected Senate."

If Neufield had principled reasons to change his mind about Senate elections, that would be one thing. Instead, what Neufield offered is a collection of the same lame excuses offered by individuals like Jack Layton and Stephane Dion.

Among them: suggesting that all the Conservatives do is disparage the Senate. (Not a credible argument against electing the Senate.)

"It is time to quit kicking the Senate. It is time to start talking about the good things we do," he insisted. "I do not think you can just continue to rant about how terrible the Senate is without telling people what the Senate does, what is has done and the good work that it does."

Moreover, Neufield attempted to espouse the benfits of the appointment process, but did so very unconvincingly.

Aside from arguing that he could not get elected to sit in the Senate -- an argument previously offered by the late Sister Peggy Butts (a Chretien appointee).

"The appointment process is quick and cheap," Neufield explained. "You can have regional representation and do all kinds of things. You can get a cross-section of the people that you want in this place."

The problem with this being that the appointment process allows the appointment of whatever cross-section of people any individual Prime Minister wanted in the Senate -- but not necessarily the cross-section the Canadian people want.

While Neufield has announced he's still in support of term limits, it isn't enough. The motivation for Neufield's change of position isn't clear, forcing one to resort to the default position in such cases: suspecting that Neufield's change is mere opportunism.

Richard Neufield isn't playing with the rest of the team, so it's time for him to sit in the bleachers. Stephen Harper has waited four years for a narrow pluarlity in the Senate. He can wait a few more months.