Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Dan Gardner, the Media Party, and the Disintegration of Modern Journalism

Some Nexus readers may recall a Byline segment from early October wherein Brian Lilley commented on a segment of Canadian journalism he refers to as "the media party".

In the segment, Lilley actually names a few journalists he considers to be members of the media party. Chief among them is "author, journalist and lecturer" Dan Gardner.

Last night, Gardner witnessed Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney refer to unreported crime in explaining and defending the Conservative government's omnibus crime bill. Garner couldn't hold back his objection -- nor, necessarily, should he -- and took to Twitter to voice his objection.

Gardner, who Tweets under @DGardner decided to respond to Kenney's comments by first selectively citing data from the study, then by dismissing unreported crime as "trivial":
Your not-so-humble scribe couldn't resist the opportunity to ask Gardner a few questions about the assumptions he was making. Gardner's ultimate response was that he ultimately would not consider any other data points:
In other words, Gardner refused to talk about any weaknesses in the assumptions he was offering, or even any other information. If it was going to be discussed, it would have to be discussed with other people, because he won't.

There's good reason for this. The survey as a whole says far more than Gardner says it does, and the data points he himself is offering don't necessarily support his claims about it.
There are obvious problems with a response that begins and ends with "not important enough", and it has to do with the respondent's perception of the meaning of that phrase. The question of who the incident in question is perceived to be "not important enough to" is a very real question.

To blithely assume that this means that the victim of the crime in general didn't consider it important enough to report is to also assume that all respondents perceived the meaning of that phrase in a uniform manner. This would be a mistake.

When a response begins and ends with "not important enough", it's every bit as likely that the respondent could conclude that the crime in question was not important enough to the police as not important enough to them personally. In lieu of a better-defined response, either conclusion is equally likely, and it's much more reasonable -- and responsible -- to allow for the probability that those who submitted that response had either of these in mind. Some likely concluded the former, and some likely concluded the latter.

Yet to ask Dan Gardner if the conclusion he reached -- that this response indicates that most of Canada's unreported crime is trivial -- is reasonable considering the ambiguous nature of this data is apparently to precipitate a meltdown on his behalf. If last night's events are any indication, he simply can't cope with that idea.

To ask him about the second-ranked response -- "police could not do anything about it" -- is apparently to make it worse. Gardner's response was that this was a worthy point to be discussed, but that he personally wouldn't. (That the second-ranked response trailed the first-ranked response by less than ten percentage points apparently did nothing to boost the worthiness of this data point in Gardner's eyes.)

It becomes difficult to avoid reaching the conclusion that, in the canon of the far-left media, these are forbidden questions. "Does the data actually indicate what you're saying it does?" That question is forbidden. "Isn't the second-ranked response also worthy of consideration?" That question is also forbidden.

What seems to emerge, in Dan Gardner's case, is that of a man who has not embraced journalism as a means with which to provide people with information or even ideas. Rather, he's embraced the journalistic enterprise purely as a means of political advocacy. Nothing else.

It's hard to escape the conclusion that Gardner is simply a card-carrying member of the media party. The media party has an agenda, and in this case it's in preserving the soft-on-crime, hug-a-thug policies that they claim have reduced crime in Canada, but in reality have not. The Stats Can study itself states that in no uncertain terms -- victimization in Canada has remained stable.

In support of that agenda, Gardner sets out to turn public attention away from specific data points that do not support that agenda, and toward data points that seem to support it only if they go unexamined.

It's one thing to insist that Canadians aren't reporting specific crimes because they're "not important enough", whatever that might mean to the individuals who offered that response.

To insist that the unreported crimes are trivial is remarkably obtuse when one considers what those unreported crimes are:
Of the crimes unreported in Canada, the number one is break and enter. That is not a trivial crime. The second is motor vehicle or parts theft. That is not a trivial crime. The third is robbery. That is not a trivial crime. The fifth is physical assault. That is not a trivial crime.

The fourth was vandalism. That could be a trivial crime, but not necessarily. The sixth and seventh were theft, or personal property and household property respectively. That, too, could be a trivial crime, but not necessarily.

It's not up to Dan Gardner to decide if the unreported victimization of Canadians is trivial. It's up to each individual victim to decide that for themselves and admittedly, many of them might reach that conclusion. Many might not.

But this is how the media party operates: they assume that they speak for Canadians as a whole, then they pretend to.

In the end, Dan Gardner's impotent response to the questions he was asked was to label your not-so-humble scribe a "troll". Basically it amounts to an accusation that the questions over whether or not Gardner has given ample consideration to the meaning of the data points he offers is "inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic", as Wikipedia would have it.

The questions over whether or not Gardner is accurately interpreting the data offered by this survey are very clearly on-topic. It's simply a question that he considers forbidden: it's entirely reasonable to ask in the face of ambiguous data with a wide berth of potential meanings, but it seems to be Gardner's belief that no one is allowed to ask that question.

To this end, Dan Gardner is wrong. People have the right to ask these questions, and if Gardner, demanding merit in the public eye, refuses to discuss them, then it's he who has abandoned the lofty aspirations of journalism.

It's not what one would expect from a journalist. But it's precisely what one would expect from a member of the media party.

Monday, November 07, 2011

The Scandal Machine Backfires: Sask NDP Admits to Electioneering on Voting Day

When the NDP issued this press release, one can imagine the reaction they hoped to elicit was one of outrage.

Instead, they've drawn attention to what seems like a potential violation of Elections law. The press release, which claims that Saskatchewan Party staffers, including Deputy Chief of Staff to Premier Brad Wall Terri Harris, was issued on November 7, 2011. It claimed that the staffers had been spotted removing NDP door-hangers mere moments after they had been placed:
"The Sask Party operatives were removing NDP literature which helped the senior renters know where and when to vote, and offering rides to voters in the bad weather.

'I think she’s seen me,' said Rogochewsky upon being spotted by NDP team members, who had already noticed that literature seemed to be disappearing from doorknobs minutes after it was placed there.
The problem for the NDP is obvious. It's illegal to campaign on election day, and if they're in a seniors' apartment complex anywhere in the province hanging partisan material on door knobs, they're in violation of the elections act.

Certainly, it's awfully nice of them to offer rides to seniors. They can quite easily do that without leaving partisan material behind.

Any Saskatchewan Party staffers encountering the NDP leaving such material behind are certainly not obligated to allow the NDP to break the rules to the Saskatchewan Party's disadvantage. This is, of course, presuming that what the NDP claims is happening at all.

Considering that the NDP were already lying to the people of Saskatchewan before the writ was even dropped, they'll need some evidence. There's no reason to simply take their word for it.

When Does a Single Interview Cancellation Constitute a Ban?

The attention-hungry continue to falsely martyr themselves

There's no martyr like a self-made martyr. Over the last year, Canadians have seen far more self-made martyrs than anyone really needs.

Now Margie Gillis, Franke James and Brigette DePape have some strange company among them: Fog of War author Mark Bourrie.

According to Bourrie, he'd been scheduled to appear on Michael Coren's show on the Sun News Network. Later on, that interview was cancelled.

Quickly following the cancellation of his interview, Bourrie wrote a blog post for Ottawa magazine claiming he had been banned.

"Well, that’s it. I’m banned," Bourrie claimed. "I am lower than low, mere scrapings from the bottom of the dog walker’s boot. Yes, I’m not fit to be on the Sun News Network."

"My publicist booked me on Michael Coren’s show a couple of weeks ago. Last Wednesday, I got an e-mail saying the interview had been cancelled by Sun TV," Bourrie continued. "It wasn’t Coren or Coren’s producer who made the decision. Someone higher up had killed the booking and banned me from Sun TV."

The evidence Bourrie offers? Precisely none.

This author hasn't yet had access to Bourrie's book to give it a fair consideration of its merits. So your not-so-humble scribe won't automatically lump Mr Bourrie with mediocre self-made-martyrs like DePape, James or Gillis.

But Bourrie's martyrdom seems no less self-made.

Simply put, one interview cancellation does not a ban make. Bourrie's planned interview on Sun News could have been cancelled for any number of good reasons. Here's a very good one, and a very plausible one: perhaps the topic of episode on which Bourrie was scheduled to appear was changed.

This author doesn't know this to be the case. Nor does this author have any evidence to support it. However, under the evidence already offered -- Bourrie's complaint that his interview was cancelled -- this explanation is no more and no less plausible than Bourrie's.

The obvious difference is that Bourrie's explanation simultaneously lionizes himself while portraying himself as a victim. Bourrie's explanation unfortunately precludes any other possibility that doesn't require Sun News to be the bad guy of the story.

If Mark Bourrie wants to know what a real media ban looks like, this author has a story for him. Unfortunately for Bourrie, it doesn't make him out to be the martyr he seemingly wants to be so desperately, so he may not be interested.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

LGR Advocates, You Have Some 'Splainin' To Do

Long gun registry not the life-saver they claim it is

With Canada's far-left scrambling to save the long gun registry by any means necessary, it seems the facts just aren't lining up to support their arguments.

When the Globe and Mail put crime data recently released by Stats Canada into a chart, the conclusions became unavoidable. Those who claim the long gun registry saves lives -- as former Liberal MP Mark Holland used to delight in doing -- have some serious explaining to do.

The chart reveals that the last time more long guns than hand guns were used in homicides was waaaaaay back in 1990. (The L'Ecole Polytechnique massacre happened the previous year.) The bill authorizing the long gun registry was passed in Parliament in 1995, and the registry itself was established in 1996.

There's good reason for this. As the numbers have it, murders involving long guns have been steadily declining in Canada since 1984 -- twelve years before the LGR ever existed. There were occasional spikes in homicides involving long guns, but the general trend has been a decline since 1984.

During the same period of time, murders involving handguns -- which the law has required to be registered since World War Two -- have remained stable.

This is very clearly a difficult question the champions of the LGR desperately need to answer. They have relentlessly attributed the reduction in homicides involving long guns to the registry. Yet not only does the decline pre-date the registry, the handgun registry has no noticeable effect.

It's clear that registration has not had the magical properties LGR advocates have attributed to it. They have some serious questions to answer, some serious explaining to do -- although previous experience with these individuals suggests they will simply decline.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

There Is Something Deeply Wrong With Some of These People...

If you were to ask any of them to their face, the far-left in Canada are the champions of rainbows and puppydogs. Their leaders are all "inspirational", and their causes in the best interests of "99%".

But scratch the surface of some of these individuals, and what is left underneath is a complete lunatic. Stark, raving, mad. And brutish to the core.

For evidence one needs look no further than the individual who identifies himself as @HarrisAJackson. The "A" apparently stands for "Ace".

Okay then.

As it turns out, Ace is an advocate for the long gun registry. There's very little wrong with that, in and of itself. But how Ace deals with political defeat leaves a lot to be desired. He tweeted:
"Wonder how many hard core Cons will think deregulation of the long gun is a good idea, when they're [sic] son or daughter ends up dead? We can only hope its a conservative victim, since those with brains and national pride are fighting to keep it alive."
Ace subsequently insisted he didn't wish gun violence on anyone, but screencaps have the final say:
(Following several Tweets of this image directly to him, Ace still couldn't figure it out.)

Even while objecting that he hadn't wished gun violence on anyone, he literally couldn't stop. Couldn't help himself.
This issue has keenly focused the mania of individuals like our dear Ace. Irrational rage that would otherwise have thrashed helplessly across the Twitterverse is now brought to bear on this singular issue. For the first time, we can see just how disturbed these people are.

And Harris Ace Jackson is very disturbed indeed. The civilized approach to the issue of the long gun registry is -- whether one supports it or opposes it -- to wish for no gun violence. Ace has adopted a very different approach: he simply wishes the gun violence to be aimed at a very specific group of people.

It's sick. It's evil. It's reflective of someone crying out for help.

His LinkedIn profile identifies him as "Senior Analyst at UFO Investigator Citizen Reporter". He lives in the Vancouver area.

If you, or anyone you know, knows Harris Ace Jackson, reach out. Let him know about any mental health resources in his area, and urge him to seek help before he does something he may not be mentally healthy enough to regret.

Fuck It. Let Greece Burn

Greek leftism becoming a global parasite

Imagine, if you will, a close cousin or younger brother who just can't seem to live within his means.

Once a year, every year, he comes with his hand out, begging for a not-insubstantial amount of money to sustain his grandiose lifestyle.

After several years of indulging them, hoping they'll get their shit together, you finally decide enough is enough. You tell him that you'll only help him if he stops going to the pub every night, and drinking himself into a stupor while his bills go unpaid.

Stunned by the ultimatum, he instead tells you that he'll have to take a referendum of his barfly buddies before he's willing to make that kind of a commitment. Bankrolled by your generosity, he frequently buys rounds for the bar. They like that. One thing firmly in his favour is that he has a guarantor for all his bills, and that someone else will ultimately be on the hook if they go unpaid. From his point of view, his worst case scenario is that you and his other creditors go unpaid.

Substitute Greece for the bum in question and you have precisely what happened in Greece today. After the European Union worked tirelessly to come up with a bail out package and a stabilization plan for the Greek economy, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou told the EU that he and the people of Greece will have to think about it.

The Socialist Party has already declared the deal "dead".

So it's time for the EU to take a different approach: kick Greece out of the Eurozone and the European Union, direct their bailout package toward cutting the losses of Greece's creditors while they foreclose on every debt-backed piece of property or capital in Greece.

Enough is enough. It's time to let the far-left parasites in Greece burn in the economic fire they started. Far-left socialism, as it's manifested itself in Greek politics, has become a cancer on the global economy. It's time to excise the tumour.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Don't Circle the Wagons Now, Jimmy... Redux

The longer the Occupy movement -- spawned by Occupy Wall Street, and imitated and co-opted by now-countless others -- goes on, the more necessary the comparisons between it and the Tea Party become.

It's on this note that the Occupy movement has now reached two key milestones that were used by far-left antagonists to condemn the Tea Party.

The first is the participation in an Arizona Occupation rally of JT Ready, an infamous Arizona neo-Nazi. He brought his militia, the Arizona Border Guard, to Occupy Phoenix rally. More frighteningly, they came armed with AR-15 assault rifles.

Desperate to mitigate the damage, some contemporaries of the Occupy movement attempted to describe Ready's participation as a "counter-protest". Ready himself, as well as the Arizona Border Guard made themselves clear: they were there to -- in their words -- "use their second-amendment rights to protect the first-amendment rights of Occupy Phoenix".

Once one has it directly from the horse's mouth, one quickly becomes relieved that most of the participants at the Occupy Phoenix rally asked Ready and his militia to leave. Some, however, attempted to "reach out" to Ready, feeling a sense of socialist-to-socialist solidarity with Ready.

One elderly woman present was reported to have remarked "I kind of like socialism."

Okay then.

The other incident also involves an armed individual, but fortunately does not involve Nazis. A man was spotted at Occupy Atlanta with an AK-47 assault rifle, which prompted the city to order to crowd to disperse.

Some may remember the infamy of racebaitgate, in which MSNBC selectively edited footage from a Phoenix Tea Party event in order to portray a black man with an AR-15 assault rifle as a white man bent on assassinating the President for racial reasons.

(Contessa Brewer has since been dismissed from MSNBC. Dylan Ratigan, sadly, remains.)

Some may also remember a ThinkProgress video which fabricated evidence of Tea Party racism. Among them was a man proudly extolling his devotion to Nazism.

When the source video was identified, it was revealed that the video was actually of this man being chased out of a Tea Party rally. Think Progress shamelessly stood by the video despite the extent to which it was discredited.

Now, no one should expect Occupy Phoenix to physically chase armed militiamen away from their rally. The reasons are obvious.

But the mixture of armed individuals and a movement that promises to occupy public space over the long-term -- permanently, if need be -- is an alarming development, and should be alarming even to the most devoted Occupation enthusiasts.

Simply put, what started out as a laudably-peaceful protest is now taking on the vestiges of an actual armed occupation.

This is where the input of the aforementioned Occupation enthusiasts becomes so necessary.

Jim Parrot -- who by now needs no further introduction around these parts -- is as dedicated an Occupation enthusiast as they come. He even renamed his blog "Occupy Let Freedom Rain" at one point, likely until he finally realized he had always occupied that space.

He also previously promised that he won't circle the wagons to protect his own when they are wrong.

Having so deeply embraced the Occupation movement, he has made it his own. Perhaps he'll have something to say about this.

His previous forays into not circling the wagons were less than successful. But perhaps he'll do better this time.

Maybe. Just maybe.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

No Explanation Required... Unless You've Confused the Issue

Religious belief that homosexuality is sinful not at odds with notion homosexuals shouldn't be bullied

The Toronto Star is reporting that Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale MP David Sweet is refusing to explain his participation in a recent "it gets better" YouTube video produced by John Baird.

This is as it should be. No explanation is required.

But for those obsessed with headhunting for Conservative MPs, Sweet's participation is as infuriating as Baird's. For a time, Baird was criticized for making the video while not being publicly fabulous enough. Baird refused to take the bait, so now the headhunters are on to their next target: David Sweet.

“For them to stand up and say, ‘It gets better, just hang in there kids,’ is so disrespectful and disingenuous and shows they’re out of touch with the community,” complained EGALE Canada executive director Helen Kennedy, who also complained the Tories aren't doing enough to satisfy the legislative demands of the LGBT community. “They actually have the power and authority and the responsibility to make it better. We’re talking about politicians who enact legislation, who bring in bills to the legislature, into the House of Commons to make a difference in everyone’s life and in particular in the case of our LGBT youth and the community in general and they’re not doing that.”

Of particular complaint has been Sweet's 2002 remarks that he believed homosexuality is a sin.

“Yes, absolutely,” Sweet agreed at the time. “We take the Scriptures as the word of God. We look at homosexual behaviour and say that’s not what’s prescribed in the Scripture.”

Some look at these comments, then look at Sweet's participation in an anti-bullying video, and suggest he has something to explain. They're absolutely wrong, on the most fundamental of logical pretenses.

Simply put, a religious belief that homosexuality is sinful -- a notion with which this author actually vociferously disagrees -- is not tantamount to a belief that homosexuals should be bullied. Nor is it at odds with a belief that homosexuals should not be bullied, because no one should be bullied.

The attitude adopted by those who believe Sweet has anything to explain seem to presume that Christians have some kind of moral duty to condemn anyone who sins on an existential basis. While some extreme religious sects seem to believe this to be the case, for the average Christian it isn't so.

Rather, Jesus Christ mandated that sinners are to be treated with compassion. So if one believes that homosexuality is sinful -- again, this author vehemently does not -- one's moral duty as a Christian is to offer them compassion and guidance.

Your not-so-humble scribe would posit that David Sweet is wrong about homosexuality. It doesn't disqualify him from speaking out against homophobic bullying, just as John Baird isn't disqualified for not being "out" enough.

If Helen Kennedy and her compatriots can't wrap their heads around that idea, that's their problem, not David Sweet's. Vis a vis his participation in the "it gets better" video, Sweet has nothing to explain, and so should explain nothing.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Canadian White Board: Still Making Up the Rules As They Go Along

CWB determined to maintain its own power, no matter what

The farce perpetually surrounding the Canadian Wheat Board has reached an impressive new high in

"This Harper government has acted illegally and unethically in its attacks on the Canadian Wheat Board and it must be stopped," declared Canadian Wheat Board chairman Allen Oberg. "We have no choice but to take this stand on behalf of farmers. We will not be intimidated by bullying tactics."

A Wheat Board chairman lecturing anyone on bullying is itself a spectacle in unintentional comedy. It was, after all, the Wheat Board that had farmers jailed for daring to demand the right to market their own grain. But what's most remarkable about this most recent episode is the extent to which the CWB is willing to go in order to make up the rules as it goes along.

In 2007, the Wheat Board won a challenge against an attempt by the federal government to remove the Board's monopoly on barley marketing by claiming that any change to the board had to made through an act of Parliament.

Now, the board is claiming that the changes can only be made following a plebiscite among grain farmers. A plebiscite not unlike, say, the one held in 2007 when farmers voted to eliminate the CWB's barley monopoly.

The CWB itself has already shown that it's opinion is that the results of any plebiscite don't matter, and that it could act however it pleased. Now that the government is poised to ignore the results of a plebiscite the CWB set up to support the maintenance its own tyrannical powers, it suddenly insists that the will of farmers must be respected.

In order to do this, they're willing to go back on the legal arguments they've already offered, and insist that it really should be left up to farmers. Unless farmers want something the board doesn't want. In which case, the will of farmers should be ignored.

The Wheat Board has already cast its die on this matter: they cast it in 2007. It's time for a Canadian court to stand up and finally make the CWB play by the rules as they are, not the rules it desperately wants to make up as it goes along.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

If You Want to Do Better, Mr Lingenfelter, Apologize

Lingenfelter pretends to shy away from negative campaigning

During the Saskatchewan leaders' debate last night, many people noted that there was a noticeable lack of some of the staples of political debates. The leaders seemed to entirely decline the talk over each other, and mostly stuck to promoting their own policy ideas to the people of Saskatchewan.

NDP leader Dwain Lingenfelter insisted that, for his part, it's been a deliberate campaign tactic.

"I watched the Ontario election and less than 50 per cent of the people came out to vote," Lingenfelter said. "I think part of it was because of all the negativity — negative ads, personal attack ads. Maybe I can change that. I'm going to try."

Good. If Lingenfelter is going to try to be the politician who disavows negative campaigning, he can start by apologizing for the dishonest ad in which the NDP fabricated a quote by Premier Brad Wall.

His party eventually replaced the ad, but they've never apologized for it. They've accused the Saskatchewan Party of being "childish" in objecting to the ad, but they've never apologized.

So now Dwain Lingenfelter knows what he must do: apologize for his party producing a campaign ad that was a blatant lie, and promise to never do it again.

Occupy Toronto: Gross

The Best Thing About Being Stubborn, Mary Walsh, Is That You Always Know What You'll Be Thinking Tomorrow

Mary Walsh pretending she did nothing wrong

Apparently, the shock that she isn't funny -- or talented -- is too much for This Hour Has 22 Minutes "comedian" Mary Walsh.

In the wake of her invasion of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's privacy, frightening his six-year-old daughter, Walsh is refusing to admit that she's done anything wrong.

The best thing about being stubborn is that you know what you'll be thinking tomorrow. Apparently, what Walsh is thinking today is that she was trying to give Ford advice.

“He obviously was not going to listen to any advice I had ... or have anything to do with us whatsoever,” Walsh complained. (The detail that no one in their right mind would the advice of a tragically unfunny comedian is clearly one that has entirely evaded her.) “I’m a 60-year-old woman with a plastic sword. I was just going to give him a bit of friendly advice.”

If Walsh was really trying to offer him some friendly advice -- everyone who isn't entirely numb between the ears knows full well she wasn't -- she might have attempted to get in touch with him at City Hall. As she told Sun News' Joe Warmington, she didn't even try.

This Hour Has 22 Minutes producers explain that they asked Ford to appear on the program in August. He declined. So their decision was to ambush him at his home. Now they're stubbornly refusing to admit that they crossed the line.

When Walsh and the producers of 22 Minutes have become so disjointed that they can't keep their behaviour firmly on the rails, it's time to go. If they won't resign, it's time for CBC to fire them.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jason Unruhe on Muammar al-Gadhafi's "Black Migrant Workers"

From the man who brought you "the Cultural Revolution was just a big debate", comes this stupidity:

For the record, Unruhe is also cheering on Saif-Gadhafi, as he promises to win one back for the bad guys and bring his own unique brand of tyranny to Libya.

The CBC, Unhinged

No laughs to be found when comedy comes second to politics

The CBC has a problem with its comedy. Or, rather, a new problem.

For a very long time, the biggest problem with CBC's comedy was that -- unless it was airing Just For Laughs -- the comedy mostly just wasn't funny. Rick Mercer would have the occasional moment, but the political sanctimony of what was passed off as comedy overwhelmed any sense of humour.

This Hour Has 22 Minutes has long been exhibit A in the sheer unfunniness of CBC's comedy offerings. The cast of 22 Minutes has long been made up of untalented hacks more interested in grinding their own political axes than in making the audience laugh. They could elicit the occasional giggle from left-wingers who found their offerings ideologically soothing, but very little from anyone whose political opinions veer even slightly to the right of a Phish concert.

(BTW, Phish sucks.)

Mary Walsh has pretty much set the bar for unfunny comedy on 22 Minutes, but in recent years she's had some competition from Geri Hall. Consider a Sun News Network parody featuring Margaret Atwood in which Hall and Atwood take token potshots at the fledgling news network and generally take turns at being incredibly unfunny.

Apparently "the home of real news spoken by fake blondes" is Hall's idea of a rolling-on-the-floor laugher. And while some cretins delighted in it, most rational people quickly tire of watching something that makes it clear that it's a malicious hit-piece cobbled together by far-lefty "comedians" who were outraged by a challenging interview that wasn't nearly as outrageous as they want to pretend it is.

That the CBC had previously employed Krista Erickson, the target of the comedy sketch-cum-smear, only further reveals just how unhinged the cast of 22 Minutes has become. In dumping so eagerly on a former CBC journalist -- one who served the CBC, although not without controversy, until she chose to go elsewhere -- is making an undeniable statement about the quality of journalism at the CBC.

They're evidently unafraid of dumping all over their own colleagues in order to direct their rage at a former colleague, now turned adversary by way of her employment at a rival network, one one which differing viewpoints have proliferated.

But just how unhinged has the cast and crew of 22 Minutes become? Just ask Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

Cue the terminally-unfunny Mary Walsh once more. In staging an "ambush interview" for the show, Walsh wasn't interested in waiting for Ford at Toronto City Hall. No, instead she decided to ambush him in his driveway, as he was taking his 6 year-old daughter to school.

Walsh apparently frightened Ford's daughter, and to be frank: who wouldn't be? To behold Walsh, in the pitch of her demagogic fury, raving at the top of her lungs would frighten a lot of adults. Adults, fortunately, are well-equipped to deal with the appearance of a crazy lady on their drive way. Children, not so much.

What's become the most remarkable thing about the confrontation is just how much the 22 Minutes cast and crew just don't get it.

“We were actually surprised at how humourless his response was,” remarked 22 Minutes producer Michael Donovan.

Perhaps if Ezra Levant were to turn up on Donovan's driveway, waving around a plastic sword and shoving a microphone in Donovan's face while his children are present, Donovan would better understand.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Does It Get Better?

Maybe not... if you're John Baird

Following the suicide of yet another bullied gay teen -- it's been happening with heartbreaking frequency lately -- one would expect that LGBT activists in Canada would welcome Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird taking a stand to stop homophobic bullying.

Think again.

Baird responded to the suicide of Jamie Hubley in both a statement in the House of Commons and in a YouTube video produced as part of the "It Gets Better" campaign. In both cases, speaking out against homophobic bullying.

Many hardline LGBT activists haven't welcomed Baird's stand against this scourge of the LGBT community. Instead, they're angry that Baird would dare denounce homophobic bullying.

To various LGBT activists, Baird has a dirty little secret.

Except that it's not really dirty, and not really a secret. Really, they're just determined to denounce him no matter what. No matter what.

So in the wake of Baird's statement and video, self-described LGBT activists took to Twitter to denounce him as allegedly hypocritical for being an allegedly closeted gay man.

"Okay, I'm still livid," fumed Ariel Troster. "John Baird isn't even brave enough to come out and he's telling youth #itgetsbetter?"


"If Min John Baird really wants to set a good example for Gay teens he should finally come out of the closet himself," declared @RustyBoyRobot.

It's a confusing response to such a laudable act by Baird, one that belies an odd autocratic attitude by some LGBT activists towards their own: simply, that they demand the right to dictate to John Baird how he will live his life.

To claim that Baird is "closeted" would overlook the fact that Baird's sexuality is common knowledge to many of those who follow Canadian politics. But although Baird has never been secretive about his sexuality, he has been quiet about it. There's a difference.

Baird prefers to live his private life in dignity as he sees it. That's not enough for some militant LGBT activists, who demand that he live his life as they see fit: as some kind of human billboard for the Canadian LGBT community.

Not only is it shameful, but it threatens the simple moral principle that motivates any conservative who supports equal rights -- equal meaning precisely that: equal -- that people have the right to live their lives in any law-abiding manner they choose.

Homosexuality, as serious-minded Canadians know, is not a choice. But how someone chooses to live as a homosexual is. Not every Canadian LGBT should be herded onto a gay pride float once a year if that isn't how they want to live their life.

If John Baird prefers to live his private life, well... privately, that's his right. It isn't for militant LGBT activists -- or anyone else -- to dictate to him that he should do otherwise.

The numerous individuals trying to politicize this issue and deny John Baird the credit he has earned for his laudable stand against homophobic bullying should all be absolutely ashamed of themselves.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lizzie May: Not in Favour of a Fair Distribution?

Green Party leader pretends to be a target

With the NDP already pledged to oppose legislation to grant additional Parliamentary seats to Canada's fastest-growing provinces -- namely, Alberta, BC and Ontario -- it was only a matter of time before the rest of the opposition found a way to justify opposing the bill as well.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May seems to have found her pretext: as with so many things, the self-absorbed May considers the bill to be an attack on her, directly.

Waving around a Conservative Party newsletter in which Saanich-Gulf Islands Tory Bruce Hallsor notes that the re-distrubtion may make it easier for them to beat May in the next election.

May seems to think the newsletter is incriminating, but all she's offered is what is currently just idle speculation.

Of course, the detail that the Globe and Mail's projections are not based on any proposed re-districting -- no such proposals exist until independent commissions have done their work -- but only on votes cast in the past election will almost certainly be ignored by May.

In the end, it's purely intuitive: the party with the largest share of the vote in each of these provinces will reap the biggest reward. The Tories dominate in Alberta, are strong in BC, and swept Ontario in the 2011 election.

When one considers where the additional ridings need to be added to account for population growth -- in Northern Alberta, central BC, and suburban GTA -- it's not at all surprising that the strength of the Conservative vote in these areas would yield victories for Conservatives.

It's the just the way things are right now. If the work of these independent commissions concludes that the boundaries of Saanich-Gulf Islands should be redrawn, it's just the way it will be. To tailor the process just to suit May would be a dereliction of the commission's responsibilities: namely, to produce a re-distribution that is fair to all constituents, not just to May.

If Elizabeth May and the Green Party don't like it, perhaps they should campaign harder in those areas, and propose policy that will appeal to, as opposed to repulse, those voters.

NDP Response to Saskatchewan Party Ad "Childish"?

Prior to the beginning of the 2011 Saskatchewan election, the NDP released an ad that featured a fabricated quote, portrayed as from Saskatchewan Party leader (and Premier) Brad Wall.

When challenged over the blatantly deceitful ad, NDP House Leader Kevin Yates dismissed the Saskatchewan Party's complaints over the ad as "childish".

Now, the Saskatchewan Party is running an ad the NDP insists is untrue.

The ad notes that Nexen, the oil company NDP leader Dwain Lingenfelter worked for, moved its head office to Calgary, and insists Lingenfelter did it.

Then-Nexen CEO Charlie Fischer insists that Lingenfelter didn't make the decision to move Nexen's head office to Calgary. But as it turns out, Lingenfelter was still involved.

To move the Nexen head office to Calgary required repeal of the Wascana Act, which stipulated that the head office of the company had to remain located in Saskatchewan. Wascana Energy had formerly been known as SaskOil.

Lingenfelter lobbied Kindersley MLA Bill Boyd to support the repeal of the Wascana Act. (Boyd isn't clear on whether or not ne actually supported the repeal.)

Dwain Lingenfelter's involvement in the reloaction of Nexen's head office, however, is undeniable. The NDP's response to this ad is childish and over the top. After all, unlike the NDP, they didn't lie.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

But We Mustn't Call it a Coalition...

Nathan Cullen proposes "coalition lite"

With Nathan Cullen contesting the leadership of the NDP, it's as fair a question to answer as for any other candidate:

What, precisely, does Cullen have to offer?

As it turns out, the answer is "very little". To date, Cullen's offering in the leadership campaign is "beat Harper", and not much else. To whit, Cullen is recommending that the NDP run "joint candidates" to defeat Conservative candidates.0

Is it coalition lite? Or merger lite?

It doesn't seem to matter to Cullen. To him, it's the prefect way to pander to a wider variety of left-wing voters.

"I believe now is the time to respond to the call from people of all walks of life, who hate that Stephen Harper can change our country for the worse with support of less than four in 10 voters," Cullen declared. "For me, the greater cause is that the wedge politics of the Stephen Harper government are killing us. ... We need to find a way to speak past the narrow political interests of parties from time to time."

A very real question must persist over whether or not those same people liked it when Jean Chretien was able to govern Canada with the support of less than four in ten voters. It also seems necessary to remember that it was that same Chretien government that slashed healthcare and education funding.

Yet the NDP -- whose bread-and-butter issue is healthcare -- never pulled out all the stops to team with their fellow opposition parties to put a stop to that in 1997. Very curious.

Non-ironies aside, this is an idea that only could have come from the NDP at a time when they're ahead of the Liberal Party, both in seat count and in popular support. In this sense, Cullen is very opportunistic with an idea he very clearly hasn't thought through.

For example, with whose caucus would a joint candidate sit? The Liberal Caucus? The Green Party Caucus? The NDP caucus? As an independent?

The only way an idea like this can be said to even remotely work would be within a formal coalition -- and Canadians have already shown what they think of that. Even if Cullen hasn't learned his lesson in this regard, his fellow leadership candidates seem to -- they've all given the idea their staunch disapproval.

This, along with the detail that joint candidates would require participation from another party. The Liberal Party is practically guaranteed to refuse.

Cullen will almost certainly remain undeterred.

"I have no problem going up against Stephen Harper one on one," Cullen declared. "This just makes it a slam dunk."

Not many Conservatives would worry much about a Stephen Harper/Nathan Cullen match-up in a federal election. Cullen's half-baked ideas are nothing to worry about.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Desperation is Not the Answer

NDP running on rent control in Saskatchewan

With his leadership already a disaster and an election already in progress, there's nothing Saskatchewan NDP leader Dwain Lingenfelter can do but try to put an optimistic face on it.

Although he tried to fire his supporters up by forecasting an NDP victory in the 2011 election, Lingenfelter and the NDP are simply desperate.

They were desperate when they produced a campaign advertisement that fabricated an anti-labour quote by Premier Brad Wall. And they're desperate when they turn to rent control as a key campaign plank.

The party has pledged to throw $320 million at a housing strategy in Saskatchewan which will basically combine government-funded housing developments with rent control.

This is remarkable, when all they really have to do is leave the market alone to work; which is something that, for all its occasional frustration, is something that has always worked far better than government intervention.

As a policy, rent control has been destructive everywhere it's been implemented. It discourages property owners from offering housing units for rent, and discourages the construction of additional units. It produces a social loss.

Of course, with the levels of support in Saskatchewan being what they are, this isn't a policy the NDP has a prayer of ever being able to implement. It's simply desperate pandering to its own base, to the crowd who turned out for events such as Occupy Saskatoon.

By offering up a policy such as rent control, Lingenfelter has certainly boosted his chances of getting those people out to vote. But the average citizen of Saskatchewan, who are quite pleased with the job Wall has done as Premier, is the vote that Lingenfelter needs. He's just guaranteed he won't be able to get that vote.

If Dwain Lingenfelter really wanted to lead the NDP to victory in Saskatchewan, he would have dispensed with this policy as quickly as it was dreamed up. But Lingenfelter must, by now, know that he can't win this election.

He's simply embraced the politics of desperation, clearly did so long before this election, and should have resigned as NDP leader the second he did.

Herman Cain's AFP Association Sure to Set Off Koch-Obsessed Loonies

Far-left lunatics certain to target Cain over Americans For Prosperity

Quite often, politics is a game of non-revelations as much as it is a game of revelations.

Such is the case with the recent non-revelation that Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain has had a long association with Americans For Prosperity, a political advocacy group that has enjoyed generous financial support from Charles and David Koch.

For the far-left the Koch brothers are the favourite political bogeymen, supporting various conservative political causes. That they are also billionaires makes them easy targets for those willing to overlook the extent to which George Soros -- also a billionaire -- generously financing various left-wing causes.

It's no great secret that Cain's candidacy as a Republican was sure to trigger the deepest racial ethos of the far-left. No lesser a far-left whacko luminary than Janeane Garofalo would publicly surmise that Cain was being paid to run for President. Perhaps now she'll be emboldened to suggest that maybe, just maybe, it's the Koch brothers allegedly paying him.

Certainly, it's a hilariously stupid suggestion on its face. But Garofalo has been both a reliable and shameless source of this kind of commentary.

This is the kind of thing that one can expect to see now that the Koch brothers cat is out of the bag.

Of course, Cain's long association with AFP has never been a secret. In 2005-06, Cain was involved in the AFP's Prosperity Expansion Project, travelling the United States to speak to fledgling AFP chapters.

Any suggestion that the AFP was simply a front for corporate greed, or a stidently pro-Republican organization would be quickly swept aside that AFP opposed the automaker bailout administered by George W Bush.

Details, details.

For those among the American far-left who draw every breath obsessed with the Koch brothers, nothing so mundane as facts will be enough to allay their hysteria.

But in the end, that will likely be as much an asset to Herman Cain. Cain's fundamentally rational approach to economics will only appear more rational next to the crazed fantasy-based ideas set forth by those who will rave incessantly about Cain's remote connection to the Koch brothers via Americans For Prosperity.

In an era where politics is quickly becoming about sorting out rational people from the crazies, the reaction by the anti-Koch left will only solidify Herman Cain's standing in the former camp, and the anti-Koch left's standing in the latter.

Don't Circle the Wagons Now, Jimmy

In terms of online stupidity, Jim Parrot is the gift that just keeps on giving.

Apparently, Jymn has become so obsessed with the Occupation movement, that he renamed his blog Occupy Let Freedom Rain. (The detail that he already occupies it seems entirely lost on him.)

But in one of the most recent bouts between Jymn and unintentional hilarity, he's apparently taken deep umbrage with the efforts of a few conservative bloggers to draw attention to some anti-semitic behaviour among participants in the Occupation movement.

Some of that behaviour was captured on film by National Review Online.

If such undeniable evidence didn't exist, one could certainly assume that Jymn would simply claim there was no anti-semitism and move on. After all, he seems to be perfectly content to cling to his claims that "no violence was had" at the Dick Cheney protest in Vancouver, despite an assault on an employee of the venue at which Cheney was hosted.

Yet in a long and rambling post trying to explain the anti-Semitism away, Jymn simply recycles old discredited claims about the Tea Party, and even recycles the Tea Party's explanation for any racist behaviour at their rallies: that the racism came from a marginal minority. (Although he does indulge himself in pretending that the proportion of Tea Partiers indulging themselves in racism was much, much larger than it actually was.)

Midway through his incoherent ramblings, he seems to sense that he cannot actually explain the anti-semitism away, so he seems to decide to not even try:
"Should we be worried that anti-Semitism has popped up its ugly head amongst our message? Of course. It's deeply worrisome. That it would happen is not the problem - individual wackos turn up at every gathering, whether it is right or left.

The problem is that, and we don't know this, if we have not argued these exceptions to take down the signs, to take their hatred elsewhere. Perhaps that is what happened - we don't know. We just have right-wing publications - not the hallmark of honesty and fair play - to tell us their version. The bigger problem is that the media will sense blood and come prowling. This is going to get ugly.
Did the rest of the Occupy Wall Street movement ask the anti-Semites to leave, as Tea Partiers have with racists who turned up at their rallies? He admits he doesn't actually know. But apparently that isn't even a salient concern for Jim Parrot, as he seems to think the bigger concern is that the media might actually pay closer attention to the anti-Semitism at many of these Occupy rallies.

That is rather remarkable, when one considers this previous bit of sanctimonious tripe from pre-Occupy Let Freedom Rain:
"I will not circle the wagons to protect my own when they are wrong. I am a blogger. I am not a journalist."
Jim Parrot has very clearly taken the Occupation movement as his own. He's so enthralled with it that he's renamed his blog after it. (It's actually quite natural that someone with a tendency to repeat whatever he's told to say would take so keenly to a movement founded on repeating what other people say.)

Yet when other adherents to the Occupation movement are caught publicly voicing their anti-Semitism, what does Jim Parrot do? Precisely what he claimed he would not: he circled the wagons.

No one should be particularly surprised: it's precisely what Jim Parrot and his cohorts have always done. There's no reason to expect that they would have done any differently, or that they ever will.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

This Is Sure to Infuriate the Pro-Abortion Lobby

Rabble contributor admits abortion debate is alive, if not necessarily well

Rabble contributor Mercedes Allen is officially off the reservation.

Pro-abortion activists in Canada have long insisted that there is no debate on abortion in Canada -- your not-so-humble scribe was once threatened with gun violence for merely pointing out that there is. Many pro-abortion activists have long operated under a mistaken belief that, if they simply refused to discuss the abortion topic as an issue of ideas, that there was no debate.

Logical people would know better. And even if one disagrees with Allen on any number of different issues, one at least has to respect her acknowledgement of the ongoing debate.

It doesn't necessarily mean that she's happy about it.

Allen is apparently frustrated with parents who oppose the institution of extreme and provocative anti-discrimination education curriculum -- similar to that administered by the Toronto District School Board -- while some Catholic schools in Canada are giving students course credit for protesting against abortion, as is happening at Christ the King school in Winnipeg.

"According to the Winnipeg Free Press, students are being given full credits for doing so, and principal David Hood is considering making it an official school activity," Allen fumes. "Christ the King School is a private Catholic school in St. Vital, Manitoba providing instruction to students ranging from kindergarten to Grade 8. It's a funded independent school, which means that it receives 50 per cent of student tuition from the province."

"In Canada, there have been renewed efforts to eliminate all funding for International Planned Parenthood, even for women's health initiatives in countries where abortion is banned," she continues. "The United Way similarly came under fire for women's health support and some Canadian hairstylists reportedly participated in a campaign to discuss pro-life beliefs with customers. The Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform has been picketing schools of all levels across southern and central Alberta and BC with graphic signs."

"Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated during the election that he wasn't interested in reopening the debate about abortion," she concludes. "But he doesn't have to, and Canadians no longer have that luxury."

Precisely. There is still a debate on abortion, no matter how badly pro-abortion activists would prefer there isn't, no matter how vociferously they demand that it not take place.

This is increasingly going to be a problem for a movement that has convinced itself that it enjoys near-uniform support among Canadians, even as they applaud the jailing of their adversaries, as was the case when longtime anti-abortion activist Mary Wagner was jailed for counseling women against abortion too close to an abortion clinic.

“Despite numerous warnings from judges to stop breaking the law, she continues to do so,” remarked Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada coordinator Joyce Arthur. “Judges have little choice but to send people to jail when they do that. Wagner is apparently willing to pay the price, and so she should. Wagner needs to take responsibility for her actions and the harms she inflicts on women.”

Apparently, for Arthur, being confronted with the idea that the life they are about to terminate is human "inflicts harm on women."

If this were merely about keeping anti-abortion activists away from abortion clinics, it would be one thing. But Arthur's applause of the jailing of Wagner is unsurprising when one considers her long history of advocacy in favour of denying on-campus anti-abortion groups the same access to student resources as their pro-abortion adversaries.

In the sad history of pro-aboriton authoritarianism, Arthur has been its leading figure. If Mercedes Allen's admission that the abortion debate is active is going to provoke an angry outburst from the pro-abortion lobby, Joyce Arthur should be considered the leading candidate to freak out.

There's plenty of room to debate whether or not Catholic school students should be given course credit for anti-abortion protest (in this author's view, they absolutely should not).

But Mercedes Allen is entirely right: there is a debate on abortion taking place, regardless of how loudly pro-abortion authoritarians like Joyce Arthur demand that it not.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Right On CUPW, Fight On

CUPW right to challenge Tories over back-to-work law

Having a majority government shouldn't mean the right to always have your way, even when you're wrong.

It's something that the Jean Chretien government never learned -- especially with its Hepatitis C shenanigans -- but it's something that the Harper government clearly needs to learn.

Many conservatives would likely be shocked to be told that they should actually support the Canadian Union of Postal Workers in their bid to challenge the Tories' back-to-work legislation in court. They should take it as far as the Supreme Court if they have to.

"This back-to-work legislation was unjust," declared CUPW President Denis Lemelin. "It was the democratic rights of workers that were attacked. There is a fundamental principle here -- the freedom of association."

CUPW isn't right about many things, and certainly not very often. The political activities of the union executive and far-left hardliners -- so often taken in the name of the entire union -- are certainly a big problem for the responsible governance of that union. But that isn't what was at stake with the back-to-work legislation, and anyone who thinks it is has confused the issue entirely.

Many conservatives have mistaken labour unions for their natural enemy. This isn't actually the case.

The labour rights that have made it possible for blue-collar, working-class people in Canada to succeed on their own terms were the result of agitation by labour unions.

Admittedly this was a long time ago, when labour unions were focused entirely on improving the workplace conditions of their workers. Now, many labour unions -- including CUPW -- are more focused on advancing the personal political agendas of their leaders.

Perhaps some Conservatives have concluded that the solution to this is to simply crush the unions outright. This is a mistake.

In cases such as the CUPW back-to-work legislation, it's difficult to escape the conclusion that this is precisely what the Tories have set out to do. It's important to remember that CUPW was not under a general strike when the legislation was introduced, they were locked out by Canada Post.

There is something very wrong with a government that has the power to direct the executives of a crown corporation to end the lockout they imposed instead imposing back-to-work legislation to send postal workers back to the job.

When union leaders note that the government's actions undermine the position of all labour unions in Canada to bargain collectively, they are entirely right. That the government seems so eager to intervene in the Air Canada flight attendants' strike is even more alarming. Air Canada may have been founded as a crown corporation, but it was privatized in 1988.

It seems that there's no limit to how itchy the Harper government's trigger finger has become, and no limit on when and where it's prepared to legislate workers back to work.

CUPW needs to win this court challenge for the benefit of all Canadian workers who have reaped the benefit of responsible collective bargaining. And frankly, this is one time that the Harper government needs to be taught a lesson.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mirror, Mirror

Occupy Wall Street not a perfect facsimile of the Tea Party, but something of a warped reflection

In many ways, Occupy Wall Street is starting to look more -- and less -- like the Tea Party. And apparently, the Tea Party doesn't like it.

According to Tea Party Patriots founders Jenny Beth Martin and Mark Meckler, the two movements couldn't possibly be less alike.

"Tea Partiers don’t believe corporations are inherently evil, nor should bankers be beheaded," they wrote in a statement. "They do not believe this country should be divided by class, but united in a return to the principles that undergird our nation’s success. In fact, they want more of what made America great: more Constitutional restraint on government so that the people have more freedom to achieve the good things the country offers."

“By contrast, those occupying Wall Street and other cities, when they are intelligible, want less of what made America great and more of what is damaging to America: a bigger, more powerful government to come in and take care of them so they don’t have to work like the rest of us who pay our bills,” they continue.

There are a lot of differences between the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street. There's no questioning that.

For example, more than 2/3 of Occupiers are non-voters. Comparatively, Tea Partiers are overwhelmingly voters.

Considering that one of the common grievances each movement shares is that the political system doesn't work for them, at least one thing can be said for the Tea Party: they, at least, try.

Another obvious key difference is that the Tea Party is overwhelmingly law-abiding. Occupy Wall Street has had some trouble staying on that side of the law, and may have further trouble yet, as they plan to march on the homes of Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers.

Yet each has draped themselves in the garb of a revolutionary movement. The Tea Party traced its animus back to the American Revolution. Occupy Wall Street seems to be inspired by the labour unrest of the Great Depression era.

Both movements demand that American politics shift away from its soul-crushing status quo toward what they consider the founding principles of the United States. In the case of the Tea Party, they look to the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. In the case of Occupy Wall Street, they very clearly look to the New Deal, and hope to expand it far beyond the imagination of all but the most fervent tax-and-spend Democrat.

It's certain that many Occupiers feel just as strongly as Jenny Beth Martin and Mark Meckler about the comparisons between Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party.

Just as with so many rivals, the real reason Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party dislike each other is because they are so much alike.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chauncey DeVega Triples Down on Stupid

Race-obsessed writer obsesses over... who else? Herman Cain

There's something unique about the racism issue in the minds of the far-left. It's especially unique when one considers the case of far-leftists who are also minorities.

Simply put: racism never applies to them. They cannot be racist, even when they are being racist, when the target of that racism is someone who disagrees with them politically.

Ergo, the unique place Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain occupies in the mind of the far left. Even though he is an African American, he is also a conservative. Ergo, he cannot be a victim of racism because he isn't "really" an African-American. Ergo, they can direct all their racial hostilities at him to their heart's delight.

Case in point: Alternet writer Chauncey DeVega. Earlier in 2011, DeVega dabbled in black-on-black racism when he suggested Cain was simply a "ministrel act" for CPAC. And while an intellectually honest writer -- at least one being intellectually honest with himself -- might stop to question his own motivations after a feat like that, DeVega instead appealed his sense of entitlement to the political loyalties of everyone whose skin is so much as a shade darker than beige. (People like DeVega also believe they're entitled to the political loyalties of women and the LGBT community.)

So on the heels of Janeane Garofalo's self-humilation in first claiming that the conservative movement was paying Cain to run for President, and later claiming that they only supported him as a "racism shield", DeVega has taken it upon himself to investigate these issues a little further.

In a recent Alternet blogpost, DeVega explores some white supremacist websites, all the while asking himself: "what are the white supremacists saying about Herman Cain?"

Literally. It's the title of his blogpost.

Of course, rational people know the answer to that question. The answer, of course, being "who cares?"

Apparently, DeVega cares. He cares more than he actually cares about what Cain thnks, or why.

Think the irony of this over for just a few seconds. That's all it takes. Consider it: a far-left, race-obsessed, race-baiting crusader for black people who cares more about what a white supremacist thinks than what an actual, living, breathing, black man thinks -- so long as the aforementioned black man is a conservative.

It's the only thing remarkable about DeVega's screed. That, and the unique patience to actually read what a white supremacist thinks, giving a shit all the while.

Of course, it isn't that DeVega is at all disinterested in what Herman Cain thinks, or why. The problem is that DeVega cares what Cain thinks only enough to be outraged about it, outraged at the utter gall of another black man to have a differing opinion.

If Chauncey DeVega wrote for a publication that deserves to be taken seriously, it would be one thing. Alas, DeVega has shown, through AlterNet's bizarre patience for his bizarre screeds, that AlterNet has abandoned the unique reporting that put it on the journalistic map, and abandoned the journalistic standards that would otherwise keep black-on-black racism off of its webpages.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Taking Something Away From the Man

Real Steel is the tale of Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman), a washed-up boxer in over his head in the world of robot boxing.

Fuelled by the demand to watch two participants entirely obliterate each other to the death, robot boxing has seen automatons replace human fighters. Think of it as Bloodsport as waged by droids.

Kenton's life is that of mounting defeats and ever-increasing debt until he swings a shady deal for custody of his son Max (Dakota Goyo) with the boy's wealthy uncle. Max eventually helps Charlie stage a whirlwind comeback to a championship match with the robot boxing world champion, a robot by the name of Zeus.

In the world of Real Steel, human boxers no longer compete. Outpaced by the rise of Mixed Martial Arts and eventually cast aside entirely in favour of robots, the risk once accepted by human fighters is now shunted onto these robots.

In a perfect world, something like that would be great... for everyone but the fighters themselves.

People who frequently watch science fiction films have probably seen Star Trek: Insurrection, wherein the crew of the USS Enterprise travel to a planet populated by the Ba'Ku. They are believed to be a primitive society who has never developed the technology necessary to travel through space, but in actuality are an advanced society that has chosen to live in nearly Ahmish fashion.

One of the Ba'Ku, Sojef (Daniel Hugh Kelly), tells the crew that "we believe that when you make a machine to do the work of a man, you take something away from the man."

There is something to be said for this. But when applied to basic, day-to-day, menial tasks, that is one thing. When applied to longer-term pursuits, it's entirely another.

In Real Steel, robot boxers such as Atom, Zeus and Midas are controlled by humans, but the operators are reduced to the level of software. They operate the fighter, but never themselves fight. Theoretically, they experience all the thrill of fighting without ever actually having to take a punch.

But unlike with human righters, the operator is entirely interchangable. The operator may be able to pilot their fighter to victory, but never really win themselves. They may pilot their fighter to a championship, but never really become the champion.

The operators are at very little risk. As the film shows -- although it doesn't depict a Robot Jox-esque disaster (or, for that matter, a Reno Airraces-esque disaster) -- the operators and their spectators do face the risk of being injured by flying debris.

But they aren't at risk of being harmed by another fighter. They never have to take the punch, they never have to be knocked out. They'll never experience a concussion, never be afflicted by post-concussion syndrome.

Which is nice. But is it worth surrendering the opportunity to enjoy their successes for themselves, in their own name?

Those who would gleefully ban boxing, MMA fighting, air racing, or any other hazardous sport in favour of some kind of remote-controlled alternative would almost certainly believe it is.

As the example of Charlie Kenton suggests, the competitors themselves probably wouldn't be so keen. And while the film predictably concludes with Kenton celebrating having led his robot to a triumph of sorts, it's fair to speculate on whether his satisfaction would last, or if it would be eclipsed by the opportunity to step into the ring and win a championship with his own fists.

If humanity starts building machines to pursue human excellence, people like Charlie Kenton would be denied the opportunity to achieve it for themselves.

Humans denied the opportunity to pursue human excellence: it's as chilling an idea in a fictional world as it is in the real world.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

The NDP Gives Democracy a A Great Big Orange Middle Finger

NDP's stance on extra seats for growing provinces anti-democratic

The NDP must think that Canadians in Alberta, Ontario and BC aren't just aren't paying attention.

That's the only explanation for their position opposing the addition of new Parliamentary seats for Alberta, BC and Ontario. These provinces have long been underrepresented in Parliament, and the rapid growth of the population of these provinces only ensures that it will get worse if it isn't addressed.

Fortunately, Democratic Reform Minister Tim Uppal is prepared to move to alleviate this issue.

"Currently, Canadians in the fastest-growing provinces are severely underrepresented," Uppal explained. "We believe that every Canadian vote, to the greatest extent possible, should carry equal weight."

David Christopherson, the NDP's Democratic Renewal critic, has vowed that the NDP will fight the re-distribution tooth and nail. And therein lies the evidence that the NDP thinks Canadians aren't paying attention.

In August, NDP interim leader Nycole Turmel even had the nerve to describe the proposed new seats as "divisive".

"The approach of the Harper government is really divisive right now. It's not constructive, it's not nation-building," Turmel insisted.

Of course any Canadian with even the remotest grip on reality know precisely what this statement is:

A lie.

It's the NDP who are trying to divide Canadians over the addition of more seats to Parliament, and it's unfortunate they don't respect Canadians enough to tell the truth about it.

It's the NDP who are looking to voters in BC, Alberta and Ontario and telling them they aren't good enough to have the same electoral weight as voters in Quebec. It's the NDP who are looking to these voters and telling them they must remain second-class citizens in Canada.

Fortunately, voters in Alberta, BC and Ontario are paying attention to this issue. And what do they see? They see the Conservative Party sanding up for their right to equal representation, and they see the NDP opposing it.

It's not a hard conclusion to reach: if you live in Ontario, BC or Alberta, the NDP is not on your side. They are against you.

Occupy Wall Street? More Like Resistance is Futile

Sheer weirdness is a quality that has long permeated many far-left protest movements. But Occupy Atlanta takes the cake.

While the entire occupation movement has prided itself on claiming to be free-thinking individuals standing against a system that does not work for them -- although the detail that most of them are non-voters indicates that, in typical lazy-leftist fashion, they haven't even tried -- the groupthink aspect of the movement has become unignorable.

The case in point is an attempt by Congressman John Lewis (Democrat) to speak before the Occupy Atlanta General Assembly.

Lewis is widely known as a civil rights hero, and with good reason. But apparently that doesn't impress the weirdos at Occupy Atlanta, who instead of listening to Lewis speak, instead insisted on repeating after every single word spoken.

The emerging elements of Stalinism emerging from under the riptides of the occupation movement only becomes more frightening when one considers that the alleged free-thinking members of the occupation movement, at the very least in Atlanta, are proving to be nothing more than sheeple.

They've become their very own real-life Borg Collective. Almost quite literally.

Of course, those familiar with the Sci-Fi-Mythical Borg know full well that there is absolutely no freedom within such a collective, and whether one surrenders their freedom willingly or if it is taken from them by force seems entirely irrelevant.

It's becoming crystal clear: the "new America" Occupy Wall Street imagines is one in which people think in an increasingly uniform fashion, literally dictated them to the vanguard-esque demagogues who are more interested in obstructing the speech of people like John Lewis than in what they actually have to say.

Occupy Wall Street seems to be coming to think that resistance is futile. But they're in for a shock. despite their self-aggrandizing claims to represent "the 99%", Occupy Wall Street would be lucky to represent as much as 9% of American society, and the other at least 91% aren't going to put up with this kind of stupidity if they decide to try to impose it by force.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Ontario's Left & the Bully Pulpit of Unlimited Spending

Campaign finance law needs to reign in labour unions

Canada's elections law essentially allow ganging-up by anyone willing to establish a third-party campaign.

It's no secret. The 2011 federal election was a splendid example of an attempt to do this, as dozens of far-left campaigns sprung up, eager to defeat the governing Conservative Party through the organization of strategic voting and, in some cases, outright lies.

So long as registered third-party campaigns are willing to stick the truth, they for the most part present no great dilemma for campaign finance law. At least not at the federal level.

At the provincial level, however, particularly in Ontario, it seems that there is a problem. A big one.

In Ontario, it seems that third-party campaigns face no spending limits, allowing some third-party campaigns to essentially gang up and bully the provincial Progressive Conservative Party, who are subject to spending limits and cannot effectively defend themselves.

The Working Families Coalition is the most publicly-known example. It claims to be independent of the Liberal Party, but was in fact directly organized by the Liberals. Another example that comes to mind is the "No Gun, No Funeral" campaign organized and operated out of then-Attorney General Michael Bryant's campaign offices.

In each case, Elections Ontario opted to ignore the undeniable connections between these organizations and the Ontario Liberal Party and treat them as an independent third-party. What had actually happened is that these groups allowed the Liberal Party of Ontario to breach campaign spending limits.

It's evidence that Elections Ontario is just as ill as Elections Canada, and needs the same overhaul of the people running the institution.

“The rule is too loose. We need the teeth of the federal rules if we’re to keep elections from being swayed,” remarked York University political science professor Robert MacDermid. He recently produced a report that demonstrates just how badly organizations like Labour Unions have abused the system in their bids to help out their partisan allies. (In the case of public service unions, this amounted to picking their own bosses.)

“The possibility of corruption is so much less,” MacDermid says of the federal campaign finance laws.

It's worth noting that the Coaliton for a Better Ontario came out on the side of the then-Mike Harris led Tories in 1999. Any connection between that organization and the Ontario Tories is unknown to this author, but just as troublesome if they existed.

MacDermid suggests the provincial Tories wouldn't complain if such a group were helping them, and he's likely right.

For Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty's part, however, he's naturally pleased with the current status quo.

“We’ve got a great system here,” McGuinty remarked. “There are so many different avenues for people to give expression to their opinion. I believe in a strong collision of ideas.”

Unfortunately for McGuinty, that isn't what's happening right now, and he knows it full well. What is currently taking place is that his party has organized an environment in which they and the third-party campaigns they themselves organized can gang up on the PCs, whose own hands are tied.

Under the watch of the Dalton McGuinty Liberals, Ontario's lax rules on third-party campaigning have become a bully pulpit from which they can unfairly dominate their opponents. It needs to be stopped at the earliest opportunity.

What Is Occupy Wall Street? Exactly?

Occupy Wall Street more left-wing Tea Party than Arab Spring

Writing in an op/ed for National Review Online, Jonah Goldberg turns his attention to a persistent movement that cannot be ignored: the self-styled Occupy Wall Street movement.

Goldberg seems to enjoy the naive precociousness of the movement. There's little question about that.

But Goldberg seems to nearly overlook what, at this point, is the most important question of all: what, precisely, is Occupy Wall Street? It's not as ridiculous a question as it may seem. They haven't really been clear.
"I don’t think this thing has nearly the legs its boosters do. For starters, for all the talk about this being the US version of the Arab Spring (a disgusting, and idiotic, anti-American slander by the way), at least the Arabs were smart enough to start the Arab Spring in the Spring! These bozos chose the fall which means it’s only going to get colder. No doubt some will hold out in their urban yurts for as long as it takes, but that self-anointed avant garde of the campus proletariat is going to get lonely when it starts to snow (of course they could all migrate south for the winter)."
The "Arab Spring" notion is a vain idea shared by many far-left protesters with delusions of persecution. Canadian human bobblehead Brigette DePape has taken a certain pleasure in being compared to Arab Spring activists, neglecting to consider the fact that she was at no threat of violence, unlike Libyan activists who were at risk of airstrikes.

Likewise with the Occupy Wall Street activists. They are at positively no risk of even a sideways glance from law enforcement until they do something stupid like attempt to block the Brooklyn Bridge.

So, no. Occupy Wall Street is not the Arab Spring. Nor do they truly represent 99% of anyone, let alone Americans. As Goldberg muses -- and he is absolutely correct -- the very notion is utterly comical.

If anything, Occupy Wall Street is the left-wing Tea Party.

They'll certainly refuse to admit it. They'll even feign indignant outrage at the very suggestion. But it's true, and the conclusion is unavoidable.

Like the Tea Party movement, Occupy Wall Street will learn how difficult it is to produce a coherent message from so many divergent ideas. They'll learn how easy it is to be typecast by the most extreme among them; although many would likely find that the average extremism index -- if there were such a thing -- would be sky-high in the Wall Street Occupation movement compared to the average member of the Tea Party.

And while the mainstream media won't be as willingly complicit in the demonization of Occupy Wall Street, they will eventually learn what it is to be demonized. Some of them will deserve it; many of them will not. Unfortunately, that demonization has become an occupational hazard for grassroots movements in the US.

Just ask the Tea Party.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

TDSB on Parents: Screw You. Does the Ontario Liberal Party Agree?

TDSB refuses to hear concerns of parents on anti-discrimination curriculum

As the Ontario election showly plods toward its conclusion, it seems that the Liberal Party has become increasingly frustrated with its inability to take a lead and put this election away.

Now, they're resorting to their typical tactic of last resort: accusing their opponents of bigotry.

The Ontario Progressive Conservative Party has taken up the issue of the Toronto District School Board's anti-discrimination curriculum, placing it at the centre of the election. And rightfully so.

The Liberal Party and various far-left groups have predictably declared a new flier being distributed by the Tories to be "homophobic". It's typical far-left bully language, trying to intimidate their opponents into silence.

It was tried once before. When a controversial sex education program was proposed by the McGuinty government, any who objected to the education of Grade 6 students in matters such as anal sex were declared to be homophobic. Contrary to the intention of activist groups to intimidate religious groups, and ordinary parents, out of the debate, public pressure instead built until McGuinty's government was forced to postpone the changes for further consideration.

The TDSB apparently had no appetite for "further consideration", or even for public consideration at all. As reported by Michael Coren, the Equity Advisory Committee of the TDSB decided that public consultation was unnecessary.

One member of the committee who attempted to raise objections to the curriculum was shouted down and declared a homophobe by other members of the committee. The committee, when contacted by producers of Coren's show, were told that this woman was "only a parent." They also accused her of being "singularly destructive."

Nothing could make the attitude of these people toward parents any more clear: the concerns of parents are not to be heard, are not to be considered, are not even to be taken seriously.

They believe they have all the power, and it's their clear intention to deny any modicum of power to parents; at least to those who don't blindly support their extreme agenda.

It isn't that fighting bullying in schools through education is an extreme agenda. However, subjecting children to demagogic (not pedagogic) far-left reeducation programs over the objections of parents very clearly is.

Not everything within the TDSB anti-discrimination curriculum is extreme and outrageous. For example, teaching kids about different family structures is entirely reasonable; many of these children are already growing up in non-conventional family units, so this is very much a live issue for them.

The question of whether or not they're a boy or a girl, however, and the curriculum's teachings on transgendered persons, is not a live issue for these kids. And the recent case of Thomas Lobel, a California child who has apparently decided, on a whim, that he would rather be a girl than a boy.

His adoptive parents have decided to indulge this whim by putting him on hormone blockers, hoping that he can decide by puberty whether or not he wants to be a boy or a girl.

Anyone who imagines a child, even at age 14, is psychologically qualified to make that kind of life-defining decision, is simply out of their minds.

This case underscores precisely what is so irresponsible and reckless about what the TDSB wants to teach young children; planting the question in their heads about whether they are a boy or a girl long before they can be expected to make such a decision while understanding the gravity of the choice.

Contrary to claims by the Ontario Liberal Party, there is nothing inaccurate about the flier. It accurately reflects how eager the TDSB is to trample parental rights in their well-intentioned desire to stop the bullying of gay, lesbian and transgendered people in society.

It's not their intentions that are misguided; it's their actions.

The Toronto District School Board is apparently more than content to thumb its nose at the rights of parents. In jumping all over this issue, the Liberal Party seems to be sending a message to the parents of Ontario that it's willing to do the same.

They should not be rewarded at the polls for this. Quite the contrary: they should be punished with the loss of their government until such a time that they are willing to approach these issues responsibly.