Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Will Intergenerational Warfare be Next on Harper's List?

There was a piece in the Globe and Mail recently, written by two young members of the Religious Right: Not their parents’ conservatism

It may have been in response to several earlier articles, including one by Don Newman, reminding Canadians that our current conservative government is not affiliated with the party of Sir John A, but is in fact the Reform-Alliance, a neoconservative party.

The piece by the two young fundamentalists starts out:
"If the past month has proven anything to a baby boom about to turn 65, it’s this: Millennials are sending a firm message that it’s time for you to move on and, just maybe, take your institutions with you."
There is a new sheriff in town, and apparently Baby Boomers are to get out of Dodge. We no longer matter.

This is not really a new concept in the neoconservative movement. After Conrad Black took over Saturday Night, and turned it into a vehicle for the far right, the magazine ran a story (1995): "Grandma! Grandpa! Get Back to Work!"

It was horrible. They attacked seniors like they were the same "welfare bums" they had been squealing about in previous articles.

"Retirement isn't a birthright, those who enjoy it haven't earned it."

The author suggested that retirees were enjoying themselves at the expense of their kids and grandchildren. These "leeches were relaxing on the golf course in Florida, sucking off resources from the people who needed them — the productive workers of today and tomorrow." The implication, of course, was that the elderly weren't productive.

It went on to suggest a higher retirement age, means tests for eligibility to pension plans and part-time work for the elderly.

"....an intergenerational fight for public funding has begun in Canada".

The response was immediate with many seniors angrily reminding Black's hack that they had earned their pensions by wartime service and contributions to society, as well as with payroll deductions.

But this has been the theme of neocons, as we see with the Tea Party in the U.S. Pit the sick against the elderly, the working poor against families on welfare. So why not encourage students to go after grandma and grandpa, blaming them for the high tuitions and lack of decent jobs?

The Harper government refuses to raise taxes to pay for their financial mess, despite the fact that many of us Boomers are encouraging it. And yet they are going through with more tax cuts, for the "corporate welfare bums", who are "sucking off resources from the people who need them".

But if they can handle the PR as cleverly as they handle all other propaganda, we will turn on each other and not them.

And if we do turn on them, they've got riot police and they know how to use them. And when it comes to beating on Canadians, age is not a factor. They just "whack 'em and stack 'em". It's up to us to claim the victims.

This may not be their parents' conservatism, but it isn't their parents' Canada either.

Oh, oh! Another Meltdown as WikiLeaks Strolls Down Wall Street.

According to the Wall Street Journal, they Can Start Panicking About WikiLeaks Now

After sending shudders through the diplomatic community and the military with its release of troves of documents in recent months, WikiLeaks’ has turned its sights to Wall Street. Julian Assange, the secretive founder of WikiLeaks, told Forbes that he’s planning a leak early next year related to “a big U.S. bank.”

This is probably creating more of a panic for the Republicans than the foreign policy leaks. This is their gravy train.

If WikiLeaks is Classed as a Terrorist Organization Will it Give the Media an Excuse for Not Doing Their Job?

While Sarah Palin is headed to North Korea to stand with her allies, Republican congressman Peter King is suggesting that WikiLeaks should be designated a terrorist organization.

What will this mean for media reporting?

The Dallas News believes that they should do their job, but with a "but".
.. once such information becomes available, newspapers cannot simply ignore it. Instead, newspapers are charged with ensuring that there is true news value in what gets published.
So what will they consider to be news worthy? In a country where every fart of Paris Hilton's includes photos, videos and lively commentary, how can they not find news in the release of these documents?

Unless the U.S. revives some form of the Patriot Act, they have no excuse for keeping silent.

Meanwhile, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, believes that a smear campaign has already begun.

It's quite possible. Isn't that what usually happens when troubling news is uncovered? Case in point in Canada, Richard Colvin.

Fred Kaplan believes that the leaks will actually show Obama in a better light, where he has attempted to use diplomacy in American foreign policy. That could be a good thing.

But I think what the leaks will show best, is top down Imperialism.

And on that note, enjoy this fun little video. I think it cleverly says it all.

Fantino's Victory Moves us Closer to a Police State

Political philosopher Hannah Arendt, in her book Totalitarianism, describes how both the Nazis and the Bolsheviks used the military and the police, combining the two to create their authoritative regimes.

I've posted a video below. At about the 5:30 mark, you'll notice on the budget projections, that the RCMP are referred to as the Royal Canadian Military Police. Did they undergo a name change or is there a new policing body?

We could ask the prime minister, but our media won't allow it.

We could ask our media but they would not be allowed to answer the question even if they knew what it was, for fear of being beaten up by the RCMP, one or two.

So we can only speculate.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair claims that one of the videos being used to show unheard of police brutality was doctored. If that's the case, why were there no convictions?

And what about the hundreds and hundreds of other videos? Were they all doctored?

A little conspiracy theory going on in your head Blair? A little tinfoil police helmet?

James Laxer tells us to Wake up: Arbitrary rule is all around us

The recent election of Julian Fantino in Rob Ford's Toronto, should be our wake up call.

If the left does not unite to bring down this regime, they might as well be holding the gun.

Hannah Arendt, once questioned whether Nazi Germany was in fact a full totalitarian dictatorship, since it depended so heavily on a "certain societal consensus". Good question.
"The force possessed by totalitarian propaganda - before the movements have the power to drop iron curtains to prevent any one's disturbing, by the slightest reality, the gruesome quiet of an entirely imaginary world - lies in its ability to shut the masses off from the real world." - Hannah Arendt
The G-20 was a test for martial law, which may be required when the Harper government releases it's austerity budget.

And we passed it.

We will now allow this government to get away with anything.

Our Young Men and Women are Giving Their Lives For This?

When Maxime Bernier was foreign minister he told his former girlfriend, Julie Couillard, that “the war in Afghanistan has nothing to do with building democracy in that country but has to do with the global control of the opium trade. It’s a drug war.”

Now he may have just been trying to impress her, but it would certainly appear that oil is not our only interest in the area.

The U.S. State Department admitted that heroin was a problem but suggested that only the "terrorists" were profiting:
"Opium is a source of literally billions of dollars to extremist and criminal groups... Cutting down the opium supply is central to establishing a secure and stable democracy, as well as winning the global war on terrorism," (Statement of Assistant Secretary of State Robert Charles. Congressional Hearing, 1 April 2004)
In 2006, the Associated Press reported: Opium cultivation out of control, U.N. says Afghan crops total 92 percent of world’s supply, exceed global consumption
Afghanistan’s world-leading opium cultivation rose a “staggering” 60 percent this year, the U.N. anti-drugs chief announced Saturday in urging the government to crack down on big traffickers and remove corrupt officials and police. The record crop yielded 6,100 tons of opium, or enough to make 610 tons of heroin — outstripping the demand of the world’s heroin users by a third, according to U.N. figures.
In 2008, Arthur Kent, formerly with NBC but now a freelance journalist covering the War in Afghanistan, reported that the Canadian government was well aware of the rampant corruption and drug trade, but exerted enormous message control to keep it from the public:
... most other foreign governments were distancing themselves from Karzai’s teetering regime. Western diplomats, including Canadians, were advising their political masters to discipline Karzai and his ministers, or risk seeing the government's tenuous legitimacy collapse completely. But Arif Lalani [our ambassador] and his superiors in Canada’s Conservative government were staunch in their support for Karzai - and busy staunching unflattering facts about his ministries and security services ...

“Lalani’s secrecy and censorship led to misunderstandings and poor decisions,” one high-ranking Canadian diplomat has told Skyreporter. He has asked that his name be withheld out of concern that his words will provoke the same harsh denunciation meted out last week by Harper government officials over the prisoner abuse revelations. “Lalani and David Mulroney were able to enforce a very narrow agenda, with no links leading back to them. It created a culture of non-accountability. Canadians really have no idea why the overall Afghan mission is doing so poorly, or who’s responsible.
And our ambassador was briefed on the drug trade and corruption:
I told him about the heroin trafficking scandal at Kabul Airport, just down the road. And was he aware that the Pentagon was filling the pockets of Hamid Wardak, the son of the regime’s defence minister, with contracts for his father’s Afghan National Army?
Arthur Kent is the brother of Harper's junior minister, the devious Peter Kent.

And speaking of brothers (great segue, huh?), Hamid Karzai's brother Ahmed Wali, appears to be in the thick of the Canadian government sanctioned criminal activity. According to the New York Times:
Ahmed Wali Karzai is the younger bother of Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan. He is a prominent political figure in the southern region of the country and leads the provincial council of Kandahar Province, the governing body for the region that includes Afghanistan's second largest city. He is also a suspected player in the country's booming illegal opium trade.
And now with the latest WikiLeak documents, it seems that our government may have been giving this alleged criminal, security contracts, at a time when the rest of the world tried to distance themselves from the man.

Karzai’s brother lobbied for role in Canada’s major aid project
The brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai lobbied aggressively for the contract to provide private security for Canada’s major aid project to rebuild the Dahla Dam in the country’s south, despite his “reputation for shady dealings,” according to leaked U.S. diplomatic cables.
It's time to rethink Afghanistan and say NO to three more years.

The Harper government is involved in enough corruption at home. We don't need to export it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

More Than Half of Canadians Believe That Pot Should be Legalized

A recent poll reveals that Canadians would like to legalize marijuana, which means that they do not support Harper's tough on crime laws, that increase penalties for those nabbed with a plant or two.
"Half of Canadians (50%) support the legalization of marijuana, while 44 per cent are opposed," Angus Reid reported on Monday. "Respondents in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (61%), British Columbia (54%) and Ontario (51%) are all in favour of legalizing marijuana, while the lowest level of support is seen in Alberta (45%)."

However, support for legalizing other drugs is remarkably low, with Angus Reid reporting that "nine-in-ten Canadians disagree with legalizing other drugs, such as ecstasy, heroin, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, and methamphetamine or "crystal meth".
Of course we don't want to legalize harder drugs, but a drug strategy must hit at the root of drug addiction, including alcoholism. Not just punishment.

Sarah Palin Says That America Must Stand With North Korea

Sarah Palin told Glenn Beck recently that the U.S. must stand with their North Korean allies. Yes the woman who wants to be the next president of the United States (Heaven help us), needs GPS to find the enemy.

And as Mitchell Bard says in the Huffington Post:

If she hasn't already, I'm sure Palin will say that the "elitist," "lamestream" media is doing her wrong, and that she is once again a victim of "gotcha journalism." And Palin's small but passionate group of supporters will undoubtedly argue that Palin made an honest slip of the tongue, something that could happen to any of us. Her supporters are right. Saying "North" instead of "South" is something that any of us could easily do.

But here's the thing: Any of us did not stand up two years ago and claim we were qualified to fill a job that is a heartbeat away from the American presidency. We haven't written books, made speeches, endorsed candidates and spoken to the (mostly right-wing) media as if we were policy experts. And we haven't been scouting office space in Iowa for a 2012 presidential run.

In short, more should be expected of Sarah Palin than any of us, based on how she has portrayed herself, and how she is treated by the media. The real story, though, isn't that Palin said "North" instead of "South." Let's be honest: Vice President Joe Biden could have just as easily blown a line like that. No, the real story is that Palin was discussing a complex, precarious, highly dangerous issue as if she were an expert, even though she clearly isn't.

Inexcusable. I don't know what they are putting in their tea south of the border, but I think they've gone nuts if they actually think that this woman is smart enough to run their country.

WikiLeaks Reveal a Media That is Gutless and Culpable

The latest WikiLeaks are proving to be not only an embarrassment and diplomatic nightmare, but they show that our media has fallen down on the job.

These are important revelations that should have been made public, but instead we have been fed lie upon lie.

Iran Dismisses Hostile WikiLeaks Documents

According to the documents released by online whistleblower WikiLeaks, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia repeatedly urged the US to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear programme and stop Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon. Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said in a news conference: "We don't give any value to these documents. "It's without legal value. Iran and regional states are friends. Such acts of mischief have no impact on relations between nations."

Feds open criminal investigation into WikiLeaks disclosures

Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday that the Justice Department is conducting an "active, ongoing criminal investigation" into the WikiLeaks disclosure of classified U.S. diplomatic documents whose impact was still being assessed in embassies worldwide. "It is not saber-rattling," Holder told reporters in response to a question. "To the extent that we can find anybody who was involved in the breaking of American law, they will be held responsible."

Wikileaks: Another revolt against the "elites"

This week is bound to be dominated by the news of the massive leaks of U.S. diplomatic cables, with Thursday set as the big day for Canada and its alleged "inferiority complex." (Whatever can they mean? Are they talking about our tendency to see everything in the United States as better than what we have here? Tea Parties, Fox News, etc.?) In the Star's own story on this "diplomatic 9-11" today, Washington bureau chief Mitch Potter puts his finger on something interesting. What's at stake here, he writes, is the U.S. struggling to keep its authority in the world, amid popular uprisings against anything that smacks of authority.

Clinton: Wikileaks an attack on international community, those responsible will be prosecuted

"This disclosure is not just an attack on America's foreign-policy interests," Clinton said at the State Department. "It is an attack on the international community, the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity." Joining in the administration's pushback, Attorney General Eric Holder said he was pursuing possible criminal charges against the online whistle-blower group and its founder, Australian Julian Assange.

Latest updates: Wikileaks' diplomatic cables release

WikiLeaks, a whistle-blowing website known for leaking state secrets, has released its latest batch of controversial documents. It has posted the first of what it says will be more than 250,000 secret U.S. diplomatic cables.

This is what happens when you have so many secrets and the media becomes part of the propaganda as embedded journalists. We've been fed nonsense and now we are getting the facts.

Is the Harper Government Guilty of Insider Trading?

Greg Weston reports on a possible government leak that may have affect the trading of a B.C. gold mining stock.
Shares in Taseko Mines Ltd. mysteriously dropped almost 40 per cent in frantic trading on Oct. 14, more than two weeks before Ottawa announced it was blocking the firm's planned development of a controversial B.C. mine. Federal officials interviewed by CBC News on condition of anonymity said the unexplained crash of Taseko stock caused instant panic in the ministerial offices that were involved in reviewing the proposed mine. Everyone, they said, had the same fear — a government leak.
Weston also mentions the RCMP investigation of insider trading just before the former Liberal government's 2005 decision on income trusts sparked a political scandal that helped topple Paul Martin's administration.

However, we have since learned that that was a setup.

Harper Government Complicit in Rape and Torture of Afghan Children

Will WikiLeaks, Detainee documents and the accounting of Canadian soldiers, blow a hole in the Harper Afghan story? The one he has been writing, painting himself as a strong leader, standing strong against a formidable foe?

Maybe this is the story we should be listening to:

Canada's handling of young Afghan detainees queried

The Canadian Forces have for years arrested children suspected of working with the Taliban and handed them over to an Afghan security unit accused of torture, CBC News has learned. Allegations that militants captured by Canada were transferred to Afghan forces and later tortured were hotly debated in Parliament last fall.

A document obtained by the CBC's investigative unit shows that Canadian soldiers captured children as well in the fight against the Taliban, and that many of them were transferred to the custody of Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security, or NDS. The document, obtained under an Access to Information request and marked "secret," shows that Defence Minister Peter MacKay was briefed on the topic of juvenile detainees in Afghanistan March 30. The "Canadian eyes only" note informs MacKay of how many children suspected of "participating in the insurgency" have been arrested by Canadian Forces and how many of them have been transferred into Afghan custody in the previous four years.

The note also shows that an undisclosed number of juvenile detainees were being kept in a Canadian transfer facility at Kandahar Air Field for "a significant period."
The numbers in all cases, however, were blacked out.

Or this: Canadian troops handed over child detainees to Afghan security, CBC reports

Or the most disturbing story of them all:
Every day, Travis Schouten lives with the image of the rape of an Afghan boy at a Canadian Forces base. Witnessing two men, one armed with a knife, sodomize the child during an incident in late 2006 helped drive the 26-year-old to the brink of mental collapse. But the former corporal said the assault is just the tip of an iceberg and underneath lies the systemic sexual abuse of boys at the hands of Afghanistan’s police and army. It’s something he said the Canadian Forces has turned a blind eye to.

“It’s disgusting,” said Schouten, now retired after eight years in the military. “We’re telling people that we’re trying to build a nation there and we let this happen?” “We allow rampant abuse of young boys at the hands of what is supposed to be their finest police officers and army officers, then what does that say?”
And before you dismiss this as collateral damage, please watch the following video. These children just want the same things our children want. An education. A chance to play. And most importantly a chance to grow up.

It's time to rethink Afghanistan. Say NO to three more years.

Is it Time For a Little "Spidey Sense"?

According to the urban dictionary, "Spidey sense" is a term used to describe "a vague but strong sense of something being wrong, dangerous and suspicious".

I believe that many Canadians are beginning to tap into their "Spidey sense". Those nagging doubts and suspicions that something is not quite right.

And I'm getting a sense that several in the media are starting to catch on. For four and half years or so, they have been raising questions about the actions of Stephen Harper. They made no sense when viewing his policies through a conservative lens.

It was like having a hockey commentator announcing the plays of a baseball game.

This is because Stephen Harper is not a Conservative. He is a neoconservative, which is the antithesis of Canadian conservatism.

There is an Oped piece in the Globe and Mail, written by Robert Joustra and Alissa Wilkinson: Not their parents’ conservatism

It is well written and they raise some valid points:
Conservatism used to be about a vision of human life, the good, which had important strategic – but not ultimately foundational – disagreements with its liberal counterparts. Devolution and autonomy are conservative virtues only insofar as they are tangibly oriented toward some common goal, some public conception of the good.
Referring to themselves as "millennials", they rightfully suggest that established institutions no longer provide answers to Canada's youth.

However, my "Spidey sense" tells me to be cautious.

Robert Joustra is the editor of Cardus Policy in Public and a lecturer in international politics at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ont. Cardus is, or was, the home of Darrel Reid, Harper's former deputy chief of staff , who wanted our laws to be based on the Old Testament. And the mission statement of Cardus is to “influence people to a Christian view of work and public life” and "to rethink, research and rebuild North America's social architecture."

On the surface that may not be a bad thing, but when viewed as a whole, provides a blueprint for a Christian infrastructure that removes all other faiths from public life.

And Redeemer University College received almost three million dollars in stimulus funds, despite the fact that they are a private, for profit, school.

So after releasing my "web-shooters" and tapping into my "Spidey sense", the opinion piece reads like a neoconservative policy statement.

Proceed with caution.

Cara Joy David recently lamented that while attending the Broadway production of Spider-man, the atmosphere was destroyed by the constant clicking of those in attendance, tweeting their views. That would anger me as well.

You can no longer enjoy a meal in a restaurant without the noise of ring tones, or those around you thumbing their way through a meal, wishing they could just stick their face in their food and suck it up, so they didn't have to lose connection with someone they probably saw just a short time ago. What possible earth shattering news did they need to share?

"The lettuce is limp and the pasta cold"? It wasn't before they spent that last half hour texting.

OK. I'm done. But back to tweeting and Spider-man.

In October of 2009, Sven Larsen wrote a great piece on his Zemoga blog: Everything I Needed to Know About Social Media I Learned From Spider-Man.

He suggests that Spider-man's co-creator, Stan Lee, stepped outside the box, abandoning the characters of the "crewcut, whitebread, All-American heroes who never fought with each other, did anything wrong, or ever failed. By contrast Lee’s FANTASTIC FOUR team got their powers by stealing a rocket, bickered incessantly, and were plagued by their failure to cure one of their members and turn him back in to a human being."

They were not without flaws. In fact the incessant bickering and failure to turn one of their members back into a human being, sounds like my last family reunion.

But more important than the humanizing of super heroes, Larsen suggests, is the writing style of Lee, which was casual, informal and made his readers feel like they were engaged in conversation.

That is an excellent description of social media. It is a constant conversation and an important vehicle for political engagement (restaurants and Broadway shows notwithstanding).

Communities of like minded souls can be built in cyberspace, and in fact, they have already enjoyed a great success.

After Stephen Harper's last self serving prorogation, Chris White, a university student, started a facebook page: Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament, and within weeks had more than 200,000 members. The page prompted rallies and the rallies moved Harper down 10 points in the polls, a position he has been struggling to reverse ever since.

Canadians Rallying to Unseat Stephen Harper, while still enjoying daily "conversations", has moved to social activism, with a spin-off group Canadians Defending Democracy. They raise money and publish ads in newspapers across the country, getting the word out.

With a virtually non-existent media in Canada, and journalists beholden to corporations and promoting a corporate agenda, we are the last best hope.

"Not everyone is meant to make a difference. But for me, the choice to lead an ordinary life is no longer an option." Peter Parker, aka: Spider-man.

Ordinary life? no way. I've got too much "Spidey sense" for that.

In Today's Canada Solange Denis Would Have Never Been Heard

In 1985, a feisty senior named Solange Denis ambushed then prime minister Brian Mulroney, after his finance minister, Michael Wilson, announced that he would be de-indexing old age pensions.

The encounter was captured on national television, raising the ire of seniors across the country, who protested against this arbitrary decision.

"You lied" Denis shouted at Mulroney. (see video below for 2006 version) Those two words were the rallying cry and after seniors threatened to abandon the Tory party, they backed down.

The power of one.

Brian Mulroney didn't really have to listen to her. He had a majority and at least three years until another election, giving him ample time for damage control. But his Tory party didn't want to earn a reputation for abusing senior citizens.

I use to think of the Tories (PCs), in a "head in the clouds" kind of way, I guess; as fiscally conservative but socially responsible.

In 2003, Canada's Tory party folded, and has been replaced with a neoconservative option, that is neither fiscally conservative, nor endowed with a conscience.

And now that the Neocons (52) outnumber both the Liberals (49) and Tories (2) in the senate, they are showing just how different they are to Canada's Tory tradition.

Controlling a committee they have sided with a corporation over Canadians, who had worked for a company, many for decades, and paid into a pension plan.
Nortel employees predicted a bleak future filled with illness, poverty, homelessness and even suicide after the Harper government signalled it will kill legislation aimed at protecting workers from losing their long-term disability benefits. The disabled employees were distraught Thursday after Conservative senators used their majority on the Senate's banking committee to recommend that the upper house not proceed with the bill.

The red chamber, now dominated by Tories thanks to a raft of recent appointments by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is virtually certain to accept the committee's recommendation. And in the House of Commons, Industry Minister Tony Clement indicated he believes Conservative senators are doing the right thing, even though it means about 400 disabled Nortel employees will be cut off long-term disability benefits at the end of next month. That assertion won him cries of "shame" from a small group of Nortel employees watching from the public gallery. They were escorted from the Commons, at least one of them in tears.
I really wish the media would stop using headlines associating 'Tory' with this evil. No Tory I ever knew would be party to this.

It's not bad enough that the neocons have hijacked their history, but they've also hijacked the senate, further sullying the brand, which will now be forever labelled the party of "mean".

I was thinking about Solange Denis and how we could use her spirit now, but then remembered that things are much different in Canada today. Stephen Harper would never have backed down. In fact he was a legislative assistant to PC Jim Hawkes at the time, but quit because he claimed that Mulroney was unable to make the tough choices.

He can, even when those tough choices involve having an 88-year-old woman arrested and abused in Kingston, Ontario for protesting the closing of the Prison Farms, and a 78-year-old diabetic man repeatedly kicked by police, for not going down a flight of stairs quick enough at the U of T, during the G-20 weekend.

Solange would not have stood a chance.

Her one small voice would have been lost in the deafening silence of 34 million.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Tories Detest Julian Fantino. The Neocons Love Him.

"In August of 2006, Peter Shoniker, former Ontario crown prosecutor; pleaded guilty to money laundering and theft. The case came about after an undercover RCMP agent caught Shoniker on tape suggesting that he could launder money easily since he was "untouchable" by the police.This claim was not without merit, since he had been personally responsible for Julian Fantino being named the Toronto Chief of Police."
That was the start of a piece I posted in June, before Julian Fantino decided to run for the Neocons in the riding of Vaughn.

News is that Canada's Tories detest the man, and if we still had a Tory Party at the federal level, I'm sure he would be kicked out on his rump.

But we don't, and he won't.

A little light reading as the country formerly known as Canada, plunges deeper into the bowels of hell. The police state capital of the world.

Tory supporters slam Fantino’s bid for MP

Fantino defends his no-show at all-candidates' debate

Fantino blasted for dissolving plainclothes unit

Anti-Fantino group changes name to register as third party for byelection

I'm not normally of fan of Christie Blatchford. As an embedded journalist she often cheered from the sidelines for the War in Afghanistan, but she's spot on in this interview with Michael Coren (video below).

But if Rob Ford can get elected, so can Fantino.


Cold Case Solved. The Murder of Canada's Media Was Both Bloody and Premeditated

The case always had a prime suspect, Conrad Black; and accomplices, the majority of Canadian journalists and news personalities.

But several clues that were held back, have now been made public and we may finally be able to take this to trial.

Or at least it should go to trial because what happened is criminal. Canadians have been robbed of their voice and history it's story.

The perpetrators of this heinous act must be prosecuted.

The Anatomy of a Crime

Crimes may vary in gravity, complexity, the kind of harm done, the state of mind required to commit a crime and the excuses used to validate the act. Traditionally, however, they are broken down into two parts: the physical called the ‘actus reus’ (Latin for criminal act) and the mental ‘mens rea’ (criminal mind).

I intend to prove that the murder of Canadian media was premeditated and fits all of the criteria of a criminal act, carried out by an organized gang of criminal minds.

The Physical Act: An attempt to change the ideological fabric of the country formerly known as Canada, through genocide and cannibalism.
In 1970, Keith Davey's senate committee on mass media sounded a warning about the increasing concentration of [media] ownership. Eleven years later, with the disappearance of even more newspapers, another federal investigation, this one headed up by Tom Kent, raised the alarm again. Not only were independent newspapers being bought out by such major chains as Southam and Thomson but chains were now swallowing up other chains. (1)
Conrad Black's Hollinger spent half a billion dollars in 1996 alone, gorging itself on Canadian newspapers.

A failure to act: Harm may occur because a suspect does not prevent it. In this way, the Government of Canada became a willing accomplice, by standing by while a criminal act was in progress.
Government remained complicit in this steady erosion of democracy by declining to act on the key recommendations coming out of these [senate] reviews, a press ownership review board, and a Canadian newspaper act. (1)
As a result Black's influence extended to 425 radio stations, 76 TV outlets, and 142 cable stations, and though he eventually sold off his holdings, the trend continued.
Between 1990 and 2005 there were a number of media corporate mergers and takeovers in Canada. For example, in 1990, 17.3% of daily newspapers were independently owned; whereas in 2005, 1% were. These changes, among others, caused the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications to launch a study of Canadian news media in March 2003. (This topic had been examined twice in the past, by the Davey Commission (1970) and the Kent Commission (1981), both of which produced recommendations that were never implemented in any meaningful way.)

The Senate Committee’s final report, released in June 2006, expressed concern about the effects of the current levels of news media ownership in Canada. Specifically, the Committee discussed their concerns regarding the following trends: the potential of media ownership concentration to limit news diversity and reduce news quality. (2)
The victim’s state of mind: Sometimes a person’s guilt will depend on the state of mind of the alleged victim. Some actions are criminal only when performed without consent. In the media's murder, consent was given by our government and our own complacency. But then, murder is murder.
With successive takeovers, more and more Canadian newspaper staff lost their jobs — 1,550 over three years in the Southam chain after Hollinger took over. Hollinger president David Radler, a.k.a. "The Human Chainsaw," radically cuts staff at small-circulation papers to create cash flow for new acquisitions. With fewer journalists on staff, news editors increasingly turn to the copy provided by organizations like the Fraser Institute to fill the "news holes" between advertisements in their papers.

The preference for right-wing copy starts at the top of Hollinger, with CEO Conrad Black and vice-president of editorial Barbara Amiel, whose neo-conservative views are documented in Maude Barlow and James Winter's The Big Black Book: The Essential Views of Conrad and Barbara Amiel Black. As well as running Amiel's weekly column, Black hired his cousin Andrew Coyne and Amiel's ex-husband, George Jonas, to flog their conservative views in Southam papers. David Radler, who has said it is important to have his employees fear him, states flatly that Hollinger papers, on principle, will endorse only free-enterprise parties, explicitly ruling out any paper's support for the NDP. (1)
This is why we get so many reports from bogus groups like the Fraser, the Frontier Centre, The Canadian Taxpayers Federation and the Manning Centre for Destroying Democracy. Not enough staff so we allow them to fill in the blanks.

And this is why many in the media are now simply using copy and photos, produced by the PMO. It's often the only way they can meet their deadlines. It worked well for Mike Harris.

The Criminal State of Mind (Mens Rea): In describing the mental element required for such crimes against democracy, we can see that there was a definite intent and a desired goal, in the murder of Canadian media. Case in point is one victim Saturday Night.

The transformation of Saturday Night magazine after Black bought it has also been a factor in the prevalence of right-wing opinion in the Canadian print media. With former Alberta Report staffer Kenneth Whyte as the magazine's editor, Saturday Night has been serving up a steady diet of Whyte's "advice for the right" columns, mean-spirited critiques of such Canadian heroes as anti—child labour activist Craig Kielburger and Farley Mowat, and articles on why women should be in the home rather than the workforce. Saturday Night gives yet another platform for Southam columnists Andrew Coyne and George Jonas to air their views, as well as to neo-conservative journalists from the Sun newspaper chain, such as David Frum, Michael Coren, and Peter Worthington.

In his biography of Conrad Black, The Establishment Man, published in 1982, Peter C. Newman provided an insight into the fate that would inevitably befall Saturday Night once Black took it over. Newman's book contains the following excerpt from a letter Black wrote to American arch-conservative William F. Buckley on how to change a magazine the way Buckley had transformed National Review:

"I take the liberty of writing to you on behalf of many members of the journalistic, academic and business communities of this country who wish to convert an existing Canadian magazine into a conveyance for views at some variance with the tired porridge of ideological normalcy in vogue here as in the U.S.A. [during the 1970s]. We are aware of the lack in Canada of serious editorial talent of an appropriate political coloration .. . We are, however, people of some means as well as of some conviction, and unless faced by an insuperable economic barrier, intend to persevere with our plans, to execution."

As though the rightward turn of Canada's self-described "most influential magazine" was not enough, the Donner Foundation financed two new right-wing magazines. Next City, established in 1994 with a $1.4-million commitment from the foundation, seems to specialize in eroding compassion for the poor. (1)

Crime Accelerated to Bio-Terrorism: After getting away with murder, the criminals at large are now plotting an even more devious act. They are engaged in bio-terrorism, and it appears that they will be allowed to do so without interference.

A viral strain known as Haemophilus Ruperta Murdochus influenza, or more commonly referred to as the Rupert Murdoch Flu, has been transported from the U.S. in a petri dish and has been allowed to mutate. It will be released on society through Fox News North.

The first stage of contact will be constant attacks on Muslims, women, gays and minorities.

Symptoms will include the desensitizing of those formerly known as Canadians, so that they will be more accepting of constant attacks on Muslims, women, gays and minorities.

The final stages of this virus, before the imminent death of democracy, will be a political atmosphere so toxic that it will not be safe to leave your home without a gas mask.

But all is not lost. There may be an antidote.

A Russian scientist, Ivhad Enoff, has been working on a cure, and is patenting it under the name TurnTheDamnedThingOff.


1. The Myth of the Good Corporate Citizen: Canada and Democracy in the Age of Globalization, By Murray Dobbin, James Lorimer & Company, 2003, ISBN: 1-55028-785-0, Pg. 209-211

2. Wikipedia

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Who Are We Training the Afghan Army to Kill? Us?

In March of 2006, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited Canada, and during a press conference, was asked by our then foreign minister Peter Mackay: "Russia was in Afghanistan for a long time and with sad results. Do you have some advice for Canada?"

And though a translator was used, Lavrov understood and immediately responded with an emphatic NO!

I thought the question rather odd, given the history and wasn't sure if Mackay was trying to be a smart ass or was simply naive. Regardless, it was definitively a diplomatic faux pas.

Because the history of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan is somewhat different than the official version. It was in fact a deliberate attempt by the Americans to lure the Soviets into an unwinnable war.

The U.S. was still licking it's wounds after their disastrous Vietnam adventure, where they wasted enormous amounts of money and lives, only to go home in defeat. And the fear was that during this time, the Soviet Union had been able to build a stronger military, and what better way to destroy that, than by allowing others to do their dirty work.

I was recently turned on to the writings of Chalmers Johnson, who died this past week, and am reading his Dismantling the Empire: America's Last Best Hope.

He describes the chain of events, reminding us that the American training and arming of the Mujahedeen, of which Osama Bin Laden was a member, took place before, and not in response to, the invasion.
It should by now be generally accepted that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan on Christmas Eve 1979 was deliberately provoked by the United States. In his memoir published in 1996, the former CIA director Robert Gates made it clear that the American intelligence services began to aid the mujahideen guerrillas not after the Soviet invasion, but six months before it.

In an interview two years later with Le Nouvel Observateur, President Carter's national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski [shown with Bin Laden in photo above] proudly confirmed Gates's assertion. "According to the official version of history," Brzezinski said, "CIA aid to the mujahideen began during 1980, that's to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan. But the reality, kept secret until now, is completely different: on 3 July 1979 President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. (1)
When asked by Le Nouvel Observateur, whether he in any way regretted these actions, Brzezinski replied: "Regret what? The secret operation was an excellent idea. It drew the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? On the day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, saying, in essence: 'We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War.' " (1)

And the Americans would continue to work behind the scenes, training and arming and killing.

And Ronald Reagan when president said of the created Taliban and other stateless armies:

"To watch the courageous Afghan freedom fighters battle modern arsenals with simple hand-held weapons is an inspiration to those who love freedom. Their courage teaches us a great lesson—that there are things in this world worth defending. To the Afghan people, I say on behalf of all Americans that we admire your heroism, your devotion to freedom, and your relentless struggle against your oppressors." (2)

If Reagan was alive and functioning today, I wonder what his message would be. Would he still admire their "relentless struggle" against their oppressors?

Not likely. Their creation of both al Qaeda and the Taliban was dismissed as "blowback" by the CIA. In layman's terms: "OOPS!"

In critiquing the George Crile book and resulting film, Charlie Wilson's War, a grotesquely inaccurate, historically challenged, version of the events; Chalmers Johnson writes:

Neither a reader of Crile nor a viewer of the film based on his book would know that in talking about the Afghan freedom fighters of the 1980s, we are also talking about the militants of al-Qaeda and the Taliban of the 1990s and 2000s .... Among those supporting the Afghans (in addition to the United States) was the rich, pious Saudi Arabian economist and civil engineer Osama bin Laden, whom we helped by building up his al-Qaeda base at Khost. When bin Laden and his colleagues decided to get even with us for having been used, he had the support of much of the Islamic world. (3)

The U.S. trained them and armed them and then walked away, "leaving it [Afghanistan] to descend into one of the most horrific civil wars of modern times."

Which brings us to the latest decision to extend Canada's involvement in the U.S. led invasion of Afghanistan, another three years. It is being sold as "training". A non-combat mission.


We will be engaged in an accelerated civil war without end.

And who will we be training? If the West is so afraid of Islamic fundamentalists, why are they determined to arm and educate those, who if not fundamentalists now, could very well be in the future.

What will our "blowback" be?

We should be working toward a peaceful solution, not creating more enemies.

It could be argued that when George Bush Sr. simply walked away from the mess his country helped to create, it triggered an internal disaster in Afghanistan. But this mess started because of imperialistic game playing.

I don't want to spend 500 million dollars a year training people to kill. The money would be better spent encouraging them to stop.


1. Dismantling the Empire: America's Last Best Hope, By Chalmers Johnson, Metropolitan Books, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-9303-2, Pg. 12

2. Message on the Observance of Afghanistan Day, Ronald Reagan, From the Oval Office, March 21, 1983

3. Johnson, 2010, Pg. 88-89

Friday, November 26, 2010

Will WikiLeaks Hurt our Feelings or Damage Our Credibility?

The latest WikiLeaks are promising to be a diplomatic nightmare.
The U.S. government has notified Ottawa that the WikiLeaks website is preparing to release sensitive U.S. diplomatic files that could damage U.S. relations with allies around the world. U.S. officials say the documents may contain accounts of compromising conversations with political dissidents and friendly politicians and could result in the expulsion of U.S. diplomats from foreign postings.

Much of Stephen Harper's success has been based on the notion of an anti-American sentiment in Canada, and he has been trying to "patch things up".

Will we now find reason for not trusting them?

Thank you Mr. Galloway. You are Indeed an Inspiration

For all of their attempts to silence this British member of Parliament, George Galloway has been able to speak in the country formerly known as Canada, and as he says "the sky over Canada hasn't fallen in".

He is a brilliant and caring man and his message is revealing. Or at least it should be.

We are in trouble. The rest of the world knows it. Canadians do not.

The theme of my tour, and the question I still can't answer, is why Canada ended up with a government so determined on isolation from the currents abroad? By Stephen Harper's own admission, you are paying a pretty penny. Although he is ready to "pay any price" for this isolation, I'm not sure you are.

Canada's defeat in the recent election to the UN Security Council was due to the country's "unstinting support" for Israel, as he admits. He's picked a fight with Russia, prompting a former Canadian diplomat to describe his government as the "last Cold Warrior standing." There's the rumpus with the United Arab Emirates over something as inconsequential as landing spaces. Rumbling towards
us is a major crisis in Lebanon with Canada's fingerprints all over the casus belli. The head of the inquiry into the assassination of Rafik Hariri and most of the "investigation" muscle is Canadian.

Canada gained much credit, particularly in the Muslim world, for sitting out the Iraq war. But Harper is no Jean Chretien and the goodwill account is now overdrawn. A couple of broken promises later your young men and women, who have already paid a disproportionately high price among NATO occupation countries, are being sent back into the maw of Hamid Karzai's corrupt, incompetent, failing Kabul congestion charge area caliphate, this time as "trainers."

Please tell me that we are going to wake up soon.

The Art of Ambiguity and Preston Manning's Bait and Switch

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada

Many politically engaged Canadians are now fully aware that the Conservative Party that Stephen Harper currently heads, did not descend from Canada's traditional Tory Party, but from the Reform movement, and even further back than that, Social Credit.

As early as 1967, the Mannings, Ernest and Preston, envisioned a new national party, and they laid out the platform for such a party in a book called Political Realignment.

Ernest Manning had been approached by a group of wealthy businessmen who told him that money would be no object, if he would be open to starting a party representing corporate interests, but he instead suggested that they simply work through the existing Progressive Conservative party, and swing it to the right.

But the PCs at the time wanted nothing to do with them, so they opted instead to wait for the next wave of anger.

It would take almost two decades.

And the anger would come over several moves by the Trudeau government. An attempt to close tax loopholes and make Canada's rich pay their share, the National Energy Program and official bilingualism.

This was sold to Westerners as an attempt to make them support the rest of the country by syphoning off their oil profits, and a pandering to Quebec. They never mentioned the "fair taxes" initiative, or they might not have received the same support.

Not that Western grievances weren't real, but they were definitely inflated and exploited.

The movement (which includes the new Republicans and Tea Party) has so many layers, that if you try presenting them to someone, their eyes glaze over. It is so overwhelming. "Neoconservatism", "Leo Strauss", "Religious Right".

But if you take it down to a few important points, it all makes sense, beginning with the fact that it is a movement based solely on lies. And to sell the lies, those on both sides of the border, have succeeded because they have been able to finely hone the art of ambiguity.

Utilizing intellect and emotion, they craft their messages so that they mean different things to different people. The basis of Leo Strauss's thought.

The wonderful Murray Dobbin had already figured this out after attending early Reform assemblies. When Preston Manning or Stephen Harper were speaking, it was clear that their messages were not clear at all.

Dobbin referred to it as "calculated ambiguity".

Manning took all the grievances he could find, put them in a big box and tied them up with a green bow. Then he began making "promises" based on what was in the box. They were empty but they were passionate.

He would end special favours for Quebec, bilingualism, multiculturalism, turban wearing in the RCMP, the Charter of Rights, abortion, gay rights, the gun registry, the "patronage" position of the Governor General. It was a long list.

But he was able to join together all of the right-wing fringe groups, who finally saw hope, no matter how outrageous their demands. It didn't matter. He never intended to meet their demands only dangle them like a carrot to keep them running.
... the fringe parties were a genuine, albeit extreme, reflection of a right-wing resurgence in the West during the early 1980s. To the extent that extremism is succinct and clear, these parties provide a useful analytical prelude to the later emergence of the Reform party. (1)
Manning had them all transfixed. But he had to move slowly.

The biggest issue was Quebec and as such, while the ultimate goal was a national party, he postured, and vowed to stand tough when prime minister. If Quebec didn't like it they could leave.

And while expanding Eastward into Ontario, this still had all the markings of a Western protest party. At least until the hierarchy pulled a fast one.

Though the party remained constitutionally and politically a western party after the 1989 Assembly, the policy book based on that assembly was completely purged of any mention of "the West." Manning's foreword in the 1988 edition talks of the likelihood of a divided Parliament after the next election in which "Western Reformers would be in a powerful position to pursue our agenda." The booklet is peppered with phrases like, "A fair shake for the West," "Reform MPs will look out for Western interests," and numerous derogatory remarks about "Central Canada" and "Central Canadian interests," "Central Canadian terms" as well as "Quebec-centred" biases of Mulroney.

Virtually all of this western, anti-central Canada terminology was purged from the 1989 edition of the booklet. In Manning's two-and-a-half page foreword, entitled "The New Canada," there is not a single reference to the West or westerners. Gone, as well, was the "Declaration of Adoption" in the 1988 book, which recognized "the supremacy of God."

The sanitizing of the policy book was done by the Party Policy Committee (PPC), without any mandate from the assembly. It was a body which would play a major role as Manning guided the party away from its western orientation towards national party readiness. Appointed by the party's Executive Committee, and chaired by Preston Manning, its key members were Stan Waters and Stephen Harper. Harper was the Chief Policy Officer of the Party and the only other person, besides [Deb] Grey and Waters, whom Manning trusted to speak for the party.

With a policy book completely cleansed of any reference to the West and most of its specifically western policies, plus the assembly's authority to take the Reform message to the East, the stage was set for the next phase in Preston Manning's plan to create a new conservative party. (2)

The old bait and switch.

Stephen Harper will still play the Western grievances/Quebec card when necessary, as he did with the "separatist" cries during the 2008 coalition crisis. Or more recently with the Edmonton Expo bid and the Quebec arena.

David Staples in the Edmonton journal, under a photo of Harper in Quebec, discusses Jean Charest's promise of funds for the new NHL arena: Premier Jean Charest announced he was willing to put $175 million from his budget (a.k.a. transfer payments from Alberta) towards a Quebec City arena.

"a.k.a. transfer payments from Alberta"?

In the end, they won't blame Harper, but will instead blame Quebec.

This is why Stephen Harper will not give in to too many demands from his "base", because if he does he loses the passion of discontent, that has gotten him to where he is now. What he instead implies is that he will only grant their wishes, if they can grant him his. A majority.


1. Of Passionate Intensity: Right-Wing Populism and the Reform Party of Canada, By Trevor Harrison, University of Toronto Press, 1995. ISBN: 0-8020-7204-6, Pg. 80

2. Preston Manning and the Reform Party, By Murray Dobbin, Goodread Biographies/Formac Publishing, 1992, ISBN: 0-88780-161-7 4, Pg. 85-86

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Democracy For Sale and My Epiphany

I was quietly reading today when I experienced an epiphany. It may have just been indigestion, but I started hauling out books and making a huge mess, and I think there may be something I've overlooked.

Instead of viewing this country's neoconservatism through Straussians who have bastardized Leo Strauss, I went back to the concept that everyone seems to agree on, when discussing the man.

Language, and how if used properly, can mean different things to different people.

I'm calling it the "art of ambiguity".

Going back and looking at it through that lens, it all comes into focus.

This entire movement is a crock.

It is not a religious movement or a moral movement. It is a corporate movement.

And claiming to want to appoint judges who will overturn abortion laws, and same-sex marriage laws, only hides the real reason for stacking the judiciary. They want to remove all obstacles to corporate control of government.

This point was brought up during a discussion with a group of politically engaged individuals, and got me to googling until I'm seeing triple. But I didn't tie it all together until my epiphany.

Talking out loud, or typing out loud, I started posting on my theory, laying it out to see if it makes sense.

If you go back to a story in the U.S., where the Supreme Court redefined corporations as citizens, and ruled that corporate campaign spending limits violate the First Amendment, it makes sense.

As some wonder what the impact will be, one progressive PR firm, Murray Hill, actually ran a satirical political campaign, as the first corporate candidate for Congress. (video below) It might not be as far fetched as it sounds. Give it time.

I'm going to provide further evidence to support my theory, so be patient.

But for now I must take a nap.

Epiphanies are very tiring.


The Success of Neoconservatism is Based on Emotionally Fuelled Ambiguity

The Art of Ambiguity and Preston Manning's Bait and Switch

The Use of Language to Manipulate for the Better Good

Common Sense and Hookers. How Mike Harris Stole my Vote

Not Giving Money for an NHL Arena and Not Funding a Canadian Expo are Hardly the Same Thing

After flapping his gums about funding NHL arenas, Harper has had to step back.

But if he can't have his arenas, no Expo. And the media spin is staggering.

Harper a fiscal conservative?

On what planet?

More divide and conquer politics I think.

The Edmonton Journal asks: In Ottawa, who stands up for Alberta?
Well, well, well! This is what being "In" in Ottawa looks like for Edmontonians. After Stephen Harper's cold shoulder to the jaw on the Expo 2017 bid, it will be blackly amusing to watch the city's invisible backbench MPs in the next election trying to explain to voters how crucial it is to have their Conservative "voices" in the government caucus.

In a town and province where publicly condemning Conservative governments is a rare step of last resort, an infuriated Mayor Stephen Mandel wasted no time in laying blame for the feds' refusing to financially support the city's bid for the $2.3-billion event. He blasted Alberta MPs, Edmonton Conservative MPs and, specifically, Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose for their failure to sell the project.

The Success of Neoconservatism is Based on Emotionally Fuelled Ambiguity

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada

There are many arguments about Leo Strauss and his position as the father of Neoconservatism. He has been blamed for everything from the Iraq War to the economic collapse, but how justified is that?

I admit that I've had to rethink some of my earlier assessments, but I've come to the conclusion that many self proclaimed Straussians, inadvertently learned something else from the German Philosopher.

The art of ambiguity. And they have indeed taken it to an art form.

In his review of the book, Leo Strauss and the American Right by Shadia B. Drury, Michael Lind writes in the Washington Review:
Straussian thought is hard to wrap your mind around, in part because Strauss and his disciples write in a highly abstract style that keeps trespassers out ... Strauss believed that many if not most philosophers, for fear of persecution, wrote in ways that concealed their views as much as they revealed them. (1)
In 2003, Strauss's daughter Jenny (actually his niece. He adopted her after his sister and her husband were killed in an accident), wrote an Oped piece for the New York Times, hoping to correct many of the misconceptions of her father. She had a little different take on this.

She discussed his love of reading, believing that it was not a passive exercise. Many people read the works of a variety of thinkers and only take from them, what validates their own opinion. And Strauss felt that this was not accidental.
The fact is that Leo Strauss also recognized a multiplicity of readers, but he had enough faith in his authors to assume that they, too, recognized that they would have a diverse readership. Some of their readers, the ancients realized, would want only to find their own views and prejudices confirmed; others might be willing to open themselves to new, perhaps unconventional or unpopular, ideas. I personally think my father's rediscovery of the art of writing for different kinds of readers will be his most lasting legacy. (2)
Maybe not intentionally vague, but ambiguous none the less.

And this is the most important weapon in the neoconconservative 'Reform' arsenal. If they told us what they really wanted to do, hand government over to the corporate world, they'd never stand a chance.

Canada's Reform (?)

Whether you want to call the Canadian 'Reform' a party or a movement is irrelevant. No matter what it is, the fact remains that it was behind the new Conservative Party of Canada. And to understand the secret to their success, you have to go back to a variety of right-wing players, that include media, think-tanks, foundations, federations and coalitions, all providing the infrastructure for the intentional change of our political culture.

How many people do you know who realize that this has been taking place for decades? Who saw it coming? Even Harper's critics believe that he came from nowhere, with an unquenchable thirst for power.

But Harper is just the latest face. He embodies everything that the leader of this movement requires. Malignant narcissism, a lack of empathy and an unflinching belief in the doctrine of corporate rule. And while he keeps everyone in line with an iron fist, he is not without his puppet masters.

David Somerville, the former President of the National Citizens Coalition, a corporate controlled AstroTurf group (Stephen Harper also acted as both the vice president and president of the NCC), told his followers that they must tap into both intellect and emotion (3), to achieve their goals.

They would create the story and use passion to sell it.

This is why it became so necessary to tap into religious fervour, though it is not exclusive. They also use the passion for guns, race and country, among other things.

I think one of the best earliest examples of the success of ambiguity and passion that drives this movement, took place in 1984, and involved the NCC, the pro-life movement, and Bill C-169.

Bill C-169 was designed to block spending in elections unless it was approved and accounted for by the party that stood to gain from the spending. Third party spending.
According to writer Nick Fillmore, until 1984 "the [National Citizens] coalition was very much an unimportant right-wing fringe group, paid little attention by most politicians, the media and even shunned by other right-wing lobby groups. The first breakthrough came in July, 1984, when the NCC successfully used the Alberta Supreme Court to overturn the federal government's bill C-169, a law aimed at preventing third parties from advertising a political position during an election campaign." Judge Donald Medhurst in striking down the law said there had to be proof that such spending undermined democracy before any government could impose limits on the freedom of expression guarantee in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms .... The NCC's court victory opened the door to virtually unlimited corporate spending in the 1988 federal election, arguably the most important election in Canada in decades. Advocates of free trade were able to far outspend opponents. (4)
This corporate funded initiative was a direct attack on our democracy because it gave power to money. But what I found interesting was how the righteous viewed the decision. From a pro-life publication: 'The Interim'.
It is a great pro-life victory that Bill C-169, the amendments to the Canada Elections Act, has been thrown out by the Alberta Supreme Court. On June 26, 1984, Justice Donald Medhurst of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench ruled that [out?] the changes made to the freedom of expression guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The National Citizens Coalition and its president, Colin Brown of London, Ontario had asked the court to strike down the amendments contained in Bill C-169. The decision means that individuals and groups (including pro-life individuals and groups) will again be free to oppose or promote political candidates during a federal election campaign. (5)
This was obviously sold to the pro-lifers by the NCC, as an assault on their "freedom of expression" and they were no doubt able to solicit a lot of funds based on that passionate plea. Would it have been as successful if they had called it a corporate move to set the government's agenda? Not likely.

The art of ambiguity. People saw what they wanted to see and I doubt that it was not intentional. It would be interesting to hear other groups opinions of Medhurst's decision. What they 'heard' from the NCC's campaign.

Preston Manning and Stephen Harper used that skill when creating the Reform Party.
... policies regarding agriculture, labour, tax reform, foreign policy, social policy, and immigration are so muddied by calculated ambiguity that they leave the Reform Party and its leader enormous flexibility in fashioning actual policy. (6)
And though this was supposed to be a populist, grassroots party, it wasn't long before some of the more aware members began to realize that it was being run by a 'Calgary clique'.
The "clique" which was being criticized in 1990 consisted of Manning and four of his staff members. One of the key members was thirty-two-year-old Stephen Harper, a founding member of the party, its Chief Policy Officer, and the man who became known as Manning's chief political lieutenant. Though only a staff member, he often made speeches and was one of the two people, the other being [Stan] Waters, whom Manning trusted to speak for the party .... The charges of elitism and control of the party by a Manning clique struck a very sour note in an otherwise spectacular rise in party fortunes. (6)
An "elite" group using ambiguity and emotion to tell their story.

Ambiguously, when I say "elite group" I could mean the NCC, the Reform Party or Harper's PMO. All one and the same, I'm afraid.

Can't wait to see how the "story" ends.
"Those who tell the stories rule society." — Plato

1. Leo Strauss and the American Right, By Michael Lind, Washington Monthly, November 1997

2. The Real Leo Strauss, By Jenny Strauss Clay, New York Times, June 07, 2003

3. The Myth of the Good Corporate Citizen: Canada and Democracy in the Age of Globalization, By Murray Dobbin, James Lorimer & Company, 2003, ISBN: 1-55028-785-0, Pg. 197

4. Dobbin, 2003, Pg. 202

5. The NCC provides a Canadian pro-life victory, The Interim, August 29, 1984

6. Preston Manning and the Reform Party, By Murray Dobbin, Goodread Biographies/Formac Publishing, 1992, ISBN: 0-88780-161-7 4, Pg. 215

7. Dobbin, 1992, Pg. 122

More Government Secrets. Millions Spent on Helicopters Without Disclosure

Herr Harper is at it again, spending millions on WAR helicopters, and attempting to conceal the expense because he knew we wouldn't approve.

Canadians need jobs and healthcare and education and a climate change plan. We don't need WAR toys and we sure as hell don't need WAR!
The Defence Department has quietly acquired a new fleet of helicopters for combat missions in Afghanistan, but is refusing to provide details about how much the deal cost taxpayers or how many aircraft are operating. The lease of the Russian-designed Mi-17s helicopters for use in Kandahar province is shrouded in secrecy.
For "combat missions"? I thought we were no longer going to be engaged in combat.

Too many secrets.
Until this week, the Harper government had been silent about the M1-17 "Hip" helicopters that were leased last year from Russia. The government still refuses to provide any details of their procurement, including how much the lease is costing Canadian taxpayers.
When is it going to be too much?

Let's sing along:

And its 1,2,3 what are we fighting for?
Don't ask me I don't give a damn,
The next stop is Afghanistan,
And its 5,6,7 open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
WHOOPEE we're all gonna die

And for those of you too young to remember this song, ask your parents or grandparents. I'll bet they can at least sing the chorus.

Harper Government Goes on Another Wild Spending Spree

Hospitality suites, taxis, limos. Our government is living the lifestyle of the rich and famous, while telling Canadians they must tighten their belts.

If we have to tighten them much more we'll be using a watch band to keep our pants up.
The federal government promised more oversight over bureaucratic spending Wednesday after QMI Agency reported more than $125 million was spent on hospitality expenses that included spa outings, golf club retreats and executive class travel during the past four years.
The feds promised more oversight? Over whom?

This is gluttony pure and simple. Gluttony at our expense.
Canada’s environment ministry may have been preaching green and clean, but political staff at Environment Canada spent more on greenhouse-gas emitting taxis and limousines than any other ministerial office in 2009, documents obtained by QMI Agency show.

Conservative staff employed in 16 ministerial offices spent $1,657,581.09 on taxis, limousines and car services since the Tories took office in 2006. That’s on top of the more than $20 million spent yearly on “motor car allowance” for ministers.

“There is a reckless and cavalier approach to limousines service use by this generation of Gucci-shoes Conservatives,” said NPD MP Pat Martin. “It’s almost a metaphor to their approach of handling the public purse.”
Who do they think they are? Corporations?

The War in Afghanistan is Just More Corporate Welfare. They are Turning Into Bums.

The decision to engage in three more years of WAR, is only pandering to the corporate welfare bums who must stop killing for profit.

They need to stand up for themselves and keep their hands out of the public purse. That money is ours, not theirs, and we have got to stop feeding their addiction.

A Toronto Star poll shows that 69% of Canadians oppose this move.

Malali Joya calls us war criminals and she's absolutely right.

When are we going to realize that we don't get to steal from other countries simply because we have bigger guns?