Monday, September 15, 2014

Could Someone Possibly Guilty of War Crimes Really Win a Nobel Peace Prize?

Social media has been buzzing recently over the announcement that the B'Nai Brith has put forward Stephen Harper's name as a possible recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

This prestigious award is presented to an individual or group of individuals who have "done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."

Above all. The promotion of peace.

It boggles the mind.

I can't think of a single incident or plank in this government's platform that promotes peaceful resolutions to anything. They even turned Toronto into a war zone during the G-20 Summit in 2010, then praised the police for their brutality.

During this horrific abuse of human rights, one police officer told a citizen "This ain't Canada right now". For many of us, it feels like we've not lived in Canada since Harper took control of our country in 2006. And I don't use the term "took control" lightly.

But just as an increasing number of Canadians are being made to feel that they are unwelcome visitors, in what was once their "home and native land", the international community has found a Canada that is no longer a peace broker, but a bully for corporate interests.

When Documentary film maker Michael Moore was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, she stated that she was shocked to learn from him, the things being done in their country's name.

All Canadians need to read The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper's Foreign Policy, by Yves Engler. It becomes very hard to feel like a proud Canadian when you learn what this government is doing in our name. "This ain't Canada right now" indeed.

On Power Play recently, former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (from Canada's first Conservative Party that was disbanded in 2003), stated: “When Canada, for the first time in our history, loses a vote at the United Nations to become a member of the Security Council . . . to Portugal, which was on the verge of bankruptcy at the time, you should look in the mirror and say: ‘Houston, I think we have a problem.’”

Yes we have a very serious problem, and for the B'nai Brith to put forward Stephen Harper's name for a Nobel Peace Prize, not only mocks the integrity of the award, but is a slap in the face to his victims, at home and abroad; who see Harper as the antithesis to peace.

His government is not only supporting the genocide of Palestinians by Israel, but sending out fund raising letters asking for help to make sure that they can continue to condone the slaughter.

The Afghan Detainee issue is yet to be settled satisfactorily, and there is strong evidence that Canada could face a war crimes tribunal with the International Criminal Court, not only because of our handing over of prisoners for violent interrogation, but for the extraordinary lengths that Harper went to to stop the investigation.

In 2012 the UN strongly rebuked Canada, not only for our complicity in torture, but for our horrendous immigration policies and unwillingness to protect Canadian citizens abroad.

We were once a country with a moral conscience, but under Harper, have become a country with no conscience at all.

In 2007, the Nobel Peace Prize went to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change"

Instead of addressing Climate Change, Harper has gone above and beyond to not only deny that it exists, but to make sure that groups like the IPCC cannot operate in this country. He has also poured billions of tax dollars into the Tar Sands, and their weapons of mass destruction.

How could anyone possibly believe that this man is deserving? Maybe we need to look at who put forward his nomination.

Frank Dimant of the B'nai Brith is hardly an unbiased judge. While the Brith is a commendable organization, Dimant has aligned himself with the radical Religious group, Christians United for Israel.
In 2006, Charles McVety, president of Canada Christian College hosted the first event (Israel You're Not Alone) of a newly created coalition called Christians United for Israel (CUFI). CUFI counts amongst its members such extremists as John Hagee, Pat Roberston and the late Jerry Falwell. In fact, Frank Dimant, BB Canada's Executive Vice President, shared the podium with McVety and Hagee, and thanked them both in these terms: "But we (Jews) and Israel are not alone because of you and the tremendous leadership of Dr. McVety and Dr. Hagee") (Jewish Tribune, May 25, 2006.
Former U.S. Presidential nominee John McCain, was forced to distance himself from John Hagee, because of remarks he made suggesting that Hitler was doing God's work when he drove the Jews to Palestine.

And Charles McVety, who once handled Jim Flaherty's Ontario leadership bid, is Canada's Religious Right leader, and the man who brought Karl Rove to Canada to instruct Conservatives in the art of stealing elections. They were apt pupils.

Dimant sees Harper and his government, not as brokers of peace, or advocates of human rights, but as willing accomplices in a Holocaust.

There is a group; Deny the Nomination of PM Stephen Harper for 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, and a petition in support of this denial with almost 30,000 names.

Columnist Heather Martinuk condemns the petition, suggesting that it makes a mockery of the Peace Prize's goal. She claims that it is just partisan attack on the Prime Minister and suggests that we should take pride in the fact that he is being thought of for the prestigious award.

If he was deserving, we would be proud. Instead we continue to bow our heads in shame.

Fortunately, the international community does not share Martinuk's views, and Harper has as much chance of winning this, as he does a singing contest, but if the nomination is upheld, it will be an undeserved honour, imprinted in Canadian history. We can't let that happen.
“Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience.” Catholic Monk and Social Activist Thomas Merton

Monday, September 1, 2014

Don't Blame Stephen Harper, Blame Edmund Burke

"If a sociology professor applies a day before a medical doctor, the professor's application gets processed first ... I mean, we don't really need a sociology professor. ".  Jason Kenney

Stephen Harper's recent refusal to call a public inquiry into missing and exploited Aboriginal women, should not come as a surprise to Canadians, given his background and the ideology of the Conservative Movement.

Modern Conservatives do not believe in sociological phenomenons, viewing them as too grey an area, in a world that is black and white, right and wrong, left and right.  Everything in between is simply minutiae, and therefore, not worthy of attention.

Jakeet Singh,  an assistant professor in the Department of Politics & Government at Illinois State University; addressed this issue in an excellent op-ed piece, published in the Toronto Star:  The ideological roots of Stephen Harper’s vendetta against sociology

Singh suggests that the roots of this belief system can be traced to Margaret Thatcher, and quotes her now infamous line "there is no such thing as society".

However, we have to go back a little further than that.

Conservative author and journalist, Yuval Levin, outlines the origins of this thought in his new book:  The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left

The inspiration for many modern political struggles, can be traced to the philosophies of Burke (1729-1797) and Paine (1737- 1809) and their views on revolutions.

The American Revolution may not have taken place, had it not been for Thomas Paine.  Initially, most colonists  viewed the anger over taxation without representation, as an issue for the wealthy elites, who simply didn't want to pay their share.

However, Paine's pamphlet Common Sense, stirred up a passion for liberty.
The pamphlet begins by establishing some principles for distinguishing legitimate from illegitimate rule: that government exists to secure the freedom and security of its equal citizens and that any government that fails to do so is not worthy of the name, regardless of its pedigree. (Levin p. 35)
It's rather ironic that the GOP and the new U.S. Tea Party, see themselves as a direct lineage of the founding fathers, when in fact, America was built on liberalism, in direct opposition to conservatism.

Edmund Burke did support the American Revolution, however,  but only because he was constantly seeking a balance, to avoid tyranny.  He saw the King's refusal to address the legitimate concerns of the colonists, as tyrannical, and suggested that if he continued in his stance, than they certainly had the right to self governance.

He did not, however, see this as a basic "human right", as Paine did, but simply as a solution to a problem.  Burke never dealt with metaphysical distinctions and had no time for anyone who did.

Because of that, he opposed the French Revolution and its philosophical Rights of Man.  An elitist, he believed that the masses were ill equipped to decide who should govern them, but that that task should be left to a chosen few.  Otherwise, decisions would be based on what citizens wanted or thought they wanted, and not on what they needed.
" What is the use of discussing a man's abstract right to food or to medicine? The question is upon the method of procuring and administering them. In that deliberation I shall always advise to call in the aid of the farmer and the physician, rather than the professor of metaphysics." — Edlund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, 1790
In other words, "...  we don't really need a sociology professor. ".

I watched a documentary on Ronald Reagan, and his son told the interviewer that his dad could never really grasp the idea of abstract notions , like "the poor".  Harper is no different.
"These proposals included cries for billions of new money for social assistance in the name of “child poverty” and for more business subsidies in the name of “cultural identity. In both cases I was sought out as a rare public figure to oppose such projects.”  Stephen Harper,  The Bulldog, National Citizens Coalition, February 1997
There is no such thing as "child poverty", but if you see a child who looks hungry, simply feed it. There is no epidemic of murdered and missing aboriginal women, but if you know of someone who murdered them, call the cops. Again, simple solutions to complex problems.

The Starting Point- 1789
In a radio broadcast on April 1, 1933, Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Minister of Propaganda, proclaimed it clearly : with the Nazi revolution "the year 1789 has been expunged from the records of history."  It was obvious to all why Goebbels compared 1933 to 1789.  Any contemporary, whether schooled in history or not, instinctively knew that the French Revolution was the measure of things in the modern world. "We want to eradicate the ideology of liberalism and replace it with a new sense of community"  (Foundational Pasts: The Holocaust as Historical Understanding, By Alon Confino, Cambridge University Press, 2011, ISBN 978-0-52173-632-9, p. 6)
The National Socialist Party of Germany, in 1933, saw a classic struggle between right and left.  They had a visceral hatred of communism and the liberalism that allowed communism to flourish.

And in the Edmund Burke tradition,  believed that only they knew what was good for the German people, and so dealt with those who tried to convince them otherwise.  This meant the expulsion of not only Jews (who they suggested were part of a communist plot to take over the world), but everyone with liberal ideas and "mystical" views of human rights.

They would create a new kind of socialism, in direct contrast to the Marxist or Paine idea of socialism; for the people, but not by the people, and certainly not for all the people.

The French Revolution has been seen as a defining moment in democracy, despite the fact that it failed, only giving power to the Bourgeoisie, and the eventual dictatorship of Napoleon; but it has inspired many revolutionary changes around the world.

The late 18th century public debates between two great thinkers, Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine, live on in the conflicting ideologies of today's conservatives and liberals.

The question is, what side of this new revolution do we want to be on?

The one where basic human rights are simply philosophical or one where those rights are achievable and necessary?

One where "poverty" is merely an "idea" or one where the visual, and yes sociological studies, are proof that "the poor" do exist, and society has an obligation to help them?

One where government should only address the needs of the top 1%, or one that addresses the needs of all citizens?

Edmund Burke or Thomas Paine?

Stephen Harper or anyone with a heart and soul?

Conservatives like to quote Edmund Burke:  "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” .  The only problem is that Burke never said that.  If you pick through things he actually said, you could perhaps create the sentiment, but not find the direct quote.

The closest researchers have come to citing the remark, might be to John Stuart Mills, who in an 1867 inaugural address at the University of St. Andrews, said:

"Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing."

Mills was a liberal.

However, you can quote me on this ""The only thing necessary for Stephen Harper to continue his ruthless revolution, is for good Canadians to do nothing.”

As good Canadians we can all do something.  Vote him out.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Are the New Conservative Election Fraud Plans Going up in Smoke?

In April of this year, an ambulance was called to 24 Sussex Drive, after a teenage girl had consumed too much alcohol. No charges were laid, despite the fact that she was underage.

The occasion was a birthday party for Stephen Harper's son Ben, and the official response was that the Harpers were just a normal family. Yes, apparently all normal families ply teenagers with enough alcohol, that they have to be rushed to hospital, apparently suffering from alcohol poisoning.

(The image above is our Justice Minister Peter MacKay and his beer bong)

However, rather than using this as an opportunity to address the growing problem of teen drinking, Harper attacked Justin Trudeau for wanting to legalize marijuana.

Double standard or plain ignorance? Tough call, but one thing that history has taught us, is that prohibition only increases criminal activity, while creating new social norms.

Bathtub Gin and the Devil's Music

In November of 1933, on the eve of the end of Prohibition in the U.S., Fortune Magazine ran an article, summing up the era since 1919, when the Draconian Volstead Act was put in place.

"Moonshiners" "bootleggers", "speak easies" and "bathtub gin"; defined the period, as did Al Capone and others who protected their prohibition empires with violence, that included shoot outs with police.

The Fortune article focused not on the history, which was well known, but on prohibition's impact on American culture. Noting that before the ban, Americans drank 140 million gallons of liquor a year, and during the ban, that increased to 200 million gallons a year, they spoke of a "rebirth" in the industry that manufacturers of spirits had to address.

Bathtub chemists had not only made gin the new drink of choice, but had created a new class of drinkers.
... the bootleg industry, discovered that the one thing prohibition prohibited was the manufacture of the native U.S. drink, rye and bourbon whiskey, and so it gave the thirsty citizens something else and changed the taste of a generation.

The calculation of the taste factor now baffles everyone in the business. Before prohibition, gin went into Martinis and Negroes. The alcohol industry of the 1920s made it a drink. The younger drinking generation was weaned on it and an entirely new body of drinkers, women, preferred it to whiskey .....
Gin flowed freely at parties and in the Speak Easies and Jazz Clubs, throughout the 1920s, where dancing and "wild" music helped to define the era. But something else was becoming popular. Marijuana.

Throughout the Jazz and Swing eras, pot was consumed by both musicians and their fans. Louis Armstrong called it a "cheap drunk" and preferred it to alcohol, as did many others, including Dizzy Gillespie. Pot not only improved their stamina, but provided a new element to their music. A wild abandon that was also seen in the jitterbugging of the patrons.

This raised concern among law makers, not because of the health impact of the drug, but the influence of non-whites on pop culture. Says journalist Maia Szalvitz:
Harry Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (an early predecessor of the DEA), was one of the driving forces behind pot prohibition. He pushed it for explicitly racist reasons, saying, “Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men,” and:

"There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others."

Hustlers, Beats and Others

By the 1950s the "Beat Movement" created a new pot user. According to the 1972 Report of the Canadian Government Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs: "... the accompanying growth of a white middle class audience for jazz music also played a role in the diffusion of cannabis-smoking."

By the 1960s, the craze had spread. Wrote Ned Polsky in Hustlers, Beats and Others:
The "beats... most enduring imprint on American culture appears, in retrospect, to have been precisely this diffusion of marijuana use to many circles of middle-and upper-class whites ....
Anslinger's ban had not reduced the use of pot, any more than the Volstead Act had reduced the use of alcohol.

In Canada, Marijuana prohibition was enacted in 1923, and while its use was mostly clandestine, a 1967 study in Toronto, revealed that its popularity was widespread enough to warrant user categories.
"The Beats", who were usually under twenty-five and inhabited "the Village" section of downtown Toronto; "The Swingers", who were mainly criminals, members of the criminal fringe and entertainers between the ages of thirty and forty-five; and "The Squares", who were upper-middle class, well-educated professionals between thirty-five and fifty years of age."
So was music the gateway to marijuajna?

According to that 1972 report speaking to the "cannabis-using population "There is almost universal consumption of tobacco and most drink alcohol (usually beer or wine)"

So is tobacco and alcohol the gateway to marijuajna?

Of course not. It's society. And society determines what is socially acceptable.

I don't smoke pot and could actually get it legally because of my MS, but choose not to. I tried it once as a teenager, and never liked it. But then I have never smoked cigarettes and the number of times that I have been drunk, I could count with the fingers on one hand.

However, none of these decisions were moral issues, but rather an aversion to chemicals.

When Justin Trudeau announced that he would legalize pot, not just decriminalize it, it triggered a storm of debate. Canadians began to question the sensibility of pot "laws", and now an overwhelming majority agree with Trudeau. He has forced the other parties to create a policy on the subject.

With the Conservative attack ads suggesting that Justin Trudeau wants to force your children to smoke pot; backfiring; they have decided to use a different approach. Spending our money to create anti-pot ads, to improve their chances for re-election.

In the meantime, they are offering an olive branch by promising to perhaps soften the laws. However, any punitive actions are long past their prime. We need to treat alcohol, tobacco and cannabis, the same, by making all of them controlled substances, rather than illegal ones.

After all, roads were not paved with good intentions but with vices.

The results in Colorado have been overwhelming, and the revenue better than expected. Add the savings in court and police costs, and it seems a no-brainer.

Stephen Harper's allowance of serving alcohol at a teen's party was not only illegal, but proved to be dangerous. He needs to get off his high horse.

If taxpayers are being forced to foot the bill for yet more of his Party's political ads, than those ads need to include the dangers of alcohol and tobacco. Despite a well publicized hoax, it's almost impossible to OD on pot, yet alcohol poisoning is real and growing.

And pot does not cause cancer, but cigarettes do.

Canada has always been a progressive country, but under this government, we we are regressing, and I'm sick of it. Given the latest poll results, I'm not alone.

Harper's new (un)fair Elections Act, and gerrymandering redrawing of the electoral map, are transparent attempts at stealing yet another election. He can't win unless he cheats and he knows that.

But given this important issue, will it all go up in smoke? Let's hope so.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Justin Trudeau, Al Qaeda, and Looking for 'To Do About Something'

Recently, the Harper government attacked Justin Trudeau for visiting a mosque, where allegedly, recruitment for members of Al Qaeda had once taken place.

Harper's Reformers are coming out in droves to plant the seed that Trudeau belongs to this terrorist group. Soon they'll be suggesting that it was he who engineered 9/11.

However, Trudeau visited Al-Sunnah Al-Nabawiah mosque, in his Montreal riding of Papineau, in 2011; before the U.S. made this assumption and many years after the alleged activity took place.

That didn't stop Harper's latest neutered attack dog (with Baird and Del Mastro yelping somewhere else), Steven Blaney, from stating "It is completely unacceptable that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau would associate with a group that allegedly radicalizes Canadians to join al-Qaeda and engage in acts of unspeakable violent extremism."

Because of this "lack of judgement" the "trustworthy" Blaney concludes that Justin Trudeau cannot be trusted. You can be sure that this will appear in an attack ad or fundraising letter in the near future.

But let's see who else can't be trusted if the criteria is simply guilt by association.

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier, was dating a girl with ties to Hell's Angels. He even left his "briefs" in her home, both the ones you wear and the ones you should not allow the public to see, although both unacceptable given that he was then our Foreign Minister.

Not only did Harper not care about this girl's obvious exploitation of the hapless Bernier, but they gave her mother a job.


When the story broke that former commander of CFB Trenton, Russel Williams, was a serial killer, photos appeared with Williams and Peter MacKay keeping stride, and his face adorned a training manual.

Now of course we know that MacKay was unaware of William's criminal activity, but ...


MacKay's credibility did come into question however, with his backing of rebels in Libya, that West Point years earlier confirmed had ties with Al Qaeda. MacKay would only suggest that he didn't know much about them. But.....


Jason Kenney spoke at a rally of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, then banned as a terrorist group. He claimed not to know, but ....


In Ukraine recently, John Baird had his photo taken with Oleh Tyahnybok, the anti-Semite head of the Svoboda Party. Does that mean that Baird himself is anti-Semitic? Of course not. But ...


Peter Kent associated himself with the Jewish Defense League, to appeal to Jewish voters, until it was reported that they were on the U.S. FBI Terrorist watch list. He eventually distanced himself from the group, but not so Jason Kenney who allowed them to influence his decision to ban British MP George Galloway.

In fact, JDL appear to be stronger than ever, with the help of Sun Media, Harper's personal accomplishment.

Yves Engler wrote recently of the rise of their racist militarism in Toronto, aimed at those opposed to the genocide of the Palestinians in Gaza.
New to pro-Palestinian activism in Toronto, I was unaware of just how aggressive and organized the JDL had become. It's reached the point where some Palestinian solidarity groups avoid publicizing pickets out of fear they might disrupt them.

In the U.S., the JDL has been outlawed since 2001. Its members have been convicted in a series of acts of terror, including the killing of the regional director of the American Arab Anti-discrimination Committee and a plot to assassinate a Congressman. A member of the JDL's sister organization in Israel killed 29 Palestinian Muslim worshipers in the Cave of the Patriarchs Massacre 20 years ago. In 2011 the RCMP launched an investigation against a number of JDL members who were thought to be plotting to bomb Palestine House in Mississauga.
Leader of the JDL, Meir Weinstein, has a twitter account, and though he has only 18 followers, two of them are Israel's PMO (JDL also banned in Israel) and Harper's Sun TV. Recently a Sun follower tweeted a video to Ezra Levant suggesting that five minutes of running a day could improve your health. He quipped that this was good news for the Palestinians running from Israeli gunfire.

This is the kind of Canada the Harper government is creating when they harvest hate for political support. I seem to remember the leader of a different nation, during different times, who did that, and the results were catastrophic.


When Stephen Harper was helping to organize the Reform Party (now called the Conservative Party of Canada), he allowed several far-right groups (at the time Harper himself was always described as being from the far-right), to set up recruitment tables at Reform Party conventions.

One of these groups was well known White Supremacist Paul Fromm's
Canadians for Foreign Aid Reform. In turn, these groups sold memberships to Harper's Reform Party.

According to the anti-racist Shofar:
On June 13, 1991, several Heritage Front members attended a meeting of Paul Fromm's Canadians for Foreign Aid Reform (C-FAR) where [Al] Overfield from the Reform Party set up a table to sign people up for the Party.

... it is interesting to note that the policies of both groups stem from the idea that minorities are receiving unjustifiable special treatment under current Canadian legislation.

... The attraction of Reform for Overfield and like-minded persons, he said was that it was strictly white bread, 100 percent white Canadians, really anti-immigration; there was really no difference between those people and them.
When it was discovered that Neo-Nazis were operating within the Reform Party, Stephen Harper claimed not to know. However, given their very public profile, I find that hard to believe. He was simply harvesting hatred for political gain.

So does this mean that Stephen Harper is or was a Neo-Nazi? Of course not. But ...


Steven Blaney, the man who is protecting us from the young Trudeau, while giving the JDL a free pass, was in the news recently for lying about when he knew of an RCMP ban on Swiss Arms rifles. But thank heavens Blaney stood up to those dangerous RCMP thugs, and said that we can now own them. I thought I was going to have to make a lawn ornament out of mine.

Not the first Blaney controversy.

During the 2005/06 federal election campaign, he was one of the candidates who took part in the "In and Out" election financing scheme, where Party central deposited money into his bank account, which he immediately sent back for illegal Party ad buys. (They were already over their spending limit)

Blaney had raised just $13,185.00 for his campaign; $1,275.00 donated by himself.

The federal party, transferred $28,626.34 to him, which he then "spent". His return records show $ 24,641.34 for TV and radio, and $ 3,985.00 for newspaper ads, despite the fact that these were not HIS expenditures.

This meant that he received a rebate of thousands of dollars from taxpayers, that he was not entitled to.

So does this mean that Steven Blaney is a liar and cheat? OK you got me there. But....


Friday, August 8, 2014

Jesus Was Not a Real Estate Agent Nor Did he Invent the Bomb

There was a very interesting segment on the documentary program Vice recently, called Armageddon Now. In it they discussed Evangelical Christians and their strange devotion to Israel.

Vice's Thomas Morton travelled with a group of Born Again Christian tourists, as they visited the "Holy Land"; and spoke with End Times minister Irvin Baxter.

Baxter stood at the spot where Armageddon is supposed to take place, and described a rapturous scene of bloody horror. First; Russia, Iran, Iraq et al will attack Israel killing two-thirds of the Jewish population. Jesus will then appear for a final showdown with the Anti-Christ, after which the remaining one-third of Jews will see the light, convert to Christianity and live happily ever after.

If there is an "ever after".

But first, they have to make sure that only Jews reside in Israel, which includes the disputed territory now occupied by Palestinians of a variety of faiths, including Christian.

Morton spoke with several Israelis, who of course find the whole thing nonsense, but since these Evangelicals make up 40% of the tourist trade, they roll their eyes and leave them alone.

We might look at this and see Baxter and his flock as being on the edge of society, but since they now represent a huge voting block in the U.S., not a group we can afford to dismiss so lightly.

Even more troubling for Canadians, is that our current government appears to follow this same belief, led by a Prime Minister, who will defend Israel to the ends of the earth and support their actions no matter what. In fact, we lost our seat on the U.N. security Council, in part, because of that.

Most in the media believe that Stephen Harper is only doing this to secure the Jewish vote, but I think it is something more. His "Evangelical" indoctrination.

In February of 2005, Harper appeared on the Drew Marshall Christian radio program, to discuss his opposition to same -sex marriage, and the origin of his homophobic views. Apparently, his father had left the United Church after they began to accept gay and lesbian ministers, and he joined his dad and others in protest.

He also told Marshall that he had "found Jesus" when he was in his 20s. Yet, those closest to Harper at the time, including his former fiancée, Cynthia Williams; claimed that he never went to church or tried to proselytize. His former VP when he was running the National Citizens Coalition did contend that he held some pretty strong religious views.

Lawrence Martin gave us a hint at those views, when he noted that Stephen Harper did not support diplomatic solutions to attain world peace, but rather believed in the 'clash of civilizations'. ( Harperland: The Politics of Control, By Lawrence Martin, Viking Press, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-670-06517-2, p. 79). Three very frightening words, that define the Neoconservative military agenda.

I've blogged on this before.

Stephen Harper has recently complained that the media is not asking Justin Trudeau the tough questions. But where are the tough questions on Harper's foreign policy and blind support of Israel?

Warren Bell wrote an excellent piece for the Vancouver Observer: Why Stephen Harper behaved strangely in Israel, in which he suggests that "... delving into the Prime Minister’s religious background goes a long way to explaining the otherwise inexplicable."

Harper's Religious Journey

In Lloyd MacKey's 2006 book, The Pilgrimage of Stephen Harper, he states that Harper's religious journey was led by Preston Manning, who spent countless hours indoctrinating the young man into his faith and the end times Christian and Missionary Alliance Church.

It's interesting to note that Manning's dad, former Alberta Premier, Ernest Manning; also held a very strong belief in end-time prophesy. After reading Sydney Watson's Mark of the Beast, Ernest wrote a play based on the novel, that was acted out for his congregation.

Tim LeHaye, co-author of the Apocalyptic Left Behind series, that is believed to have launched this new interest in Israel as sacred ground, was also influenced by Sydney Watson.

It does explain a lot.

The Book of Revelation

Most of the End Times philosophy, however, does not come from Watson or LeHaye, but The Book of Revelation.

Renowned biblical scholar, Elaine Pagels debunks this Book, as not being a legitimate part of the Gospels, but the work of a distressed man who lived during violent times. According to CNN's John Blake.
Anyone who has read the popular “Left Behind” novels or listened to pastors preaching about the “rapture” might see Revelation as a blow-by-blow preview of how the world will end.

Pagels, however, says the writer of Revelation was actually describing the way his own world ended.

She says the writer of Revelation may have been called John – the book is sometimes called “Book of the Revelation of Saint John the Divine” but he was not the disciple who accompanied Jesus. He was a devout Jew and mystic exiled on the island of Patmos, off the coast of present-day Greece.
The editors of the Bible cherry picked what Gospels made the cut, ignoring any that did not fit their blueprint for Christianity. The 1945 discovery of 52 additional works reveal a different view of Jesus and his teachings.

Pagels suggests that Jesus was gnostic, and his teachings based on the spiritual, rather than the literal. The virgin birth and resurrection were simply naive misunderstandings, since Jesus believed that with heightened spiritually we could all be reborn pure and resurrected.

Yet the Book of Revelation has caused so much damage. Charles Manson was a believer, and saw the Beatles as the Four Horsemen. David Koresh of Waco Texas followed the Book, and took out his followers in a "blaze of glory".

Tim McVeigh, the Oklahoma bomber who murdered 168 people, including many children, was inspired by the Turner Diaries, which was inspired by the Book of Revelation. McVeigh chose the anniversary of the raid on Camp Davidian in Waco Texas, to carry out his horrific assault.

Now these "Evangelical Christians" are not only supporting an all out genocide, but appear to be encouraging it. Stephen Harper has some explaining to do, but don't expect that any time soon, given that our media believe that his support of Israel is only politically motivated, and has nothing to do with his indoctrination into the end-times cult.

Would Canadians Really Support Genocide?

In the Vice documentary, one of the men interviewed on the Evangelical goals, stated that Jesus was not a real estate agent.

I agree. There is nothing to suggest that he defined borders or attempted to create Jewish subdivisions. He did not build bombs or advocate genocide. He did not plan a comic book scenario of a final showdown with a fictitious anti-Christ and never mentioned a future land called the United States of America or even Canada.

Over the years, this anti-Christ has been everyone from Adolf Hitler to Barack Obama, but I think the real anti-Christ is the embodiment of everyone willing to accept so much death and destruction to serve their own agenda.

Usually it's money, but often an insane, narcissistic belief that they have somehow been chosen for greatness. They don't need a bloody battle but a bit of Prozac.

There was a piece in an Israeli newspaper recently, that was clearly a call for the genocide of the Palestinian people. It was pulled soon after publication, but Vox still carries the full text. The author of the piece says, "What other way then is there to deal with an enemy of this nature other than obliterate them completely?"

Indeed, if you look at the constitution of Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party, it becomes clear that they mandate complete control of Palestinian lands, with or without HAMAS provocation.
"The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting."
How can you even negotiate from such strong positions? They leave no room for compromise.

The rest of the world is turning away from Israel, given their latest onslaught, including many prominent Jewish leaders. Some are even suggesting sanctions. But not Canada.

If you polled the Canadian people, asking if they supported Genocide, as Harper clearly does, what do you think they would say? I'm hoping and feel confident, that the majority would say no way.

If not, then maybe we're the Anti-Christ, or at least following him blindly.

Monday, August 4, 2014

One of the most Powerful Countries in the World Can no Longer be Trusted

There is a Public Relations firm operating in both the United States and Canada, Ketchum Inc., that has for the past several years, been working with Vladimir Putin, to sell Russian influence in the United States.

They run an English language website, and when tensions first began to rise in the Ukraine, postings included 'a look back at the Sochi Olympics, a feature on international women's day in Russia, and a piece detailing a crackdown on bitcoin.' Nothing on Ukraine. Indeed, if you visit the site today, you get no sense of the turmoil currently taking place.

Ketchum also maintains a Twitter account for Russia, @mfa_russia They have over 48,000 followers, and while much if it is non-confrontational, they do question the actions of NATO and its members.

They also, however, give us a view of the conflict outside the Western sphere, as Russia seeks humanitarian aid from China, to assist those living in what we refer to as Pro-Russian territory.

Remember. These sites are being maintained by one of the world's largest PR firms, originating in the United States, and being paid for by the Russian government. How can this be?

The Destabilization of a Powerful Nation

Stephen F. Cohen, described as a 'scholar of Russian studies', wrote a book in 2000, Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia. I had read it several years ago, but picked it up again to read as a refresher.

In it he writes of the invasion of Russia by the United States, throughout the 1990s. Not a military invasion, but a social and cultural one with an army of bankers, investors and Evangelicals, hoping to turn the country into an American style democracy.

They called it shock therapy, as the middle class was gutted, the most vulnerable left to fend for themselves and Christian Orthodoxy allowed to play an important role in public policy. (Simon Shuster, Time, August 4, 2014)

Cohen questioned the logic of destabilizing a country with nuclear weapons. He is now a seemingly lone voice, in once again questioning the U.S. And their role in Ukraine.

The Coup and the Chorus of Voices

I started following this story back in February, when a tape was leaked of a telephone conversation between U.S. Diplomat, Victoria Nuland, and Ukrainian Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt. In it we hear Nuland angrily state "f... the European Union!"

Initially, Nuland denied that it was her on the tape, blaming the Russians for trying to discredit her, but eventually admitted to the slur and apologized for her insensitivity.

However, that tape revealed a lot more than a diplomat with a potty mouth, but also showed America's apparent involvement in the coup. Not because Nuland or Pyatt spoke of it directly, but because many asked themselves who these people were and why were they so upset with the European Union? This was when rumblings of another U.S. sponsored "regime change" was underway.

Victoria Nuland is married to Robert Kagan, co-founder with arch Neoconservative, William Kristol, of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

PNAC worked closely with the Bush Administration and their so-called War on Terror and Kagan personally supported the invasion of Iraq. He also wrote a book in 2003; Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order, in which he states:
When it comes to setting national priorities, determining threats, defining challenges, and fashioning and implementing foreign and defense policies, the United States and Europe have parted ways ... '
He then coined the term "Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus"' which understandably upset, well, the Europeans. Did he also coin the term "F... the EU"?

And what about Geoffrey Pyatt, the Ukranian Ambassador?

Soon after landing in the Ukraine, he engineered the purchase of a television outlet called Hromadske.TV, with embassy funds and contributions from wealthy Americans. What's interesting though, is that he also received almost $100,000 from the Embassy of the Netherlands.

A secret Wikileaks cable revealed a statement made by a departing US envoy to the Hague, "Dutch pragmatism and our similar world-views make the Netherlands fertile ground for initiatives others in Europe might be reluctant, at least initially, to embrace."

Damn I hope MH17, with so many Dutch passengers, wasn't targeted because of that, given that Hromadske TV played an integral part in the Revolution, and is now the most quoted in the Western media.

In December, 2013, Radio Free Europe wrote of the upstart new station: Out Of Ukrainian Protests, A New Media Outlet Is Born
Disinformation, misinformation, rumors, and speculation have been widespread throughout the crisis as throngs of protesters have taken to the streets to protest Yanukovych's scuttling of a landmark pact with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Moscow.
But apparently, only Hromadske could get to the truth. However, Hromadske may have also launched the Revolution. According to Mustafa Nayem, the man credited with the igniting spark:
The press gained freedoms under Yanukovych. But it wasn’t until 2013 that a group of us left our jobs at companies owned by oligarchs or political partisans and began to create a truly independent media. In the first months of the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych we formed Stop Censorship! to protest persecution of the press.

Three years later, we founded the first Internet TV channel in the country that operates through donations from our viewers—, where I work now as editor in chief. The media showed everything that was happening—helping people to believe that if we all act together, we can accomplish great things.
So who controls the message? You be the judge, because that is not the purpose of this post.

The Destabilization of a Powerful Nation

When I mentioned in the heading, a powerful nation that can't be trusted, I was referring to the United States. Not that we can trust Russia. I think that's a given.

Nor does it necessarily mean that the United States can't be trusted. However, because of past sins, and bogus reasons for war, American credibility is fading.

According to a 2013 Gallup poll, they were seen as the biggest threat to world peace, at 24%. Next to them was Pakistan at 8%, India 6%, Israel and Russia 5% and Afghanistan, Iran, And North Korea all tied with 4%.

Of course, the right-wing blames this on Obama, but the reputation as a war monger, began long before he came to power. In fact, you could say it started in 1898 when the U.S. no doubt blew up its own ship, The Maine, and used it as justification for the Spanish-American War. From then on, Imperialism became an integral part of public policy.

Many influential Europeans are even suggesting that 9/11 was an inside job. But this post is not to debate that either, but to ask ourselves what happens when a country like the United States loses credibility, at a time of profound crisis.

In May of this year, journalist Finian Cunningham, had a piece posted on Paul Craig Roberts Institute for Political Economy site, entitled: Putin Should Send Troops Into Ukraine

Despite Western claims, the facts show that the unrest and violence in Ukraine has stemmed from Western subversion in that country, beginning with the CIA-backed street agitation in Kiev last November that led to an illegal coup against the elected government of Victor Yanukovych in February. We could go further back to the CIA-sponsored Orange Revolution of 2004 and the $5 billion invested by Washington for regime change from the early 1990s onwards.

The neo-Nazi paramilitaries and their political leaders who usurped power in Kiev have gone on to unleash a campaign of terror against ethnic Russians in the east and south of the country, and anyone else who opposes the regime’s power grab.
It should be noted that Paul Craig Roberts is no left-wing nut, but a supply-sider Republican, who was part of the Reagan Administration. Yet he allows a guest posting that blames American foreign policy for the Ukraine crisis.

Cunningham continues
In the southern city of Odessa, more than 40 anti-Kiev protesters were killed when a building they were seeking refuge in was set ablaze by hundreds of neo-Nazi storm troopers acting on the tacit direction of the junta in Kiev and its Western state sponsors ... Eyewitnesses in Odessa say that when people jumped from windows to escape the blaze they were “finished off” by neo-Nazis on the ground who had minutes before set the building alight with petrol bombs.

These forces comprise remnants of the Ukrainian national army loyal to the fascist junta, as well as Right Sector neo-Nazi paramilitaries outfitted as a “national guard”, and very possibly the involvement of US-backed mercenaries and Special Forces.
Ketchum Inc, is not alone in supporting Russia, though it's not so much about supporting Russia as not trusting the USA.

It took months, for the European Union to endorse severe sanctions, and since many of those Europeans will be hurt in the process, they may cave before Putin. If the purpose is to ignite a coup against the Russian leader, that doesn't appear imminent, as he had already took measures to decrease foreign investments.

The United States had the only vote against a a UN investigation into Israeli violence in Gaza, revealing what little international influence they now have. Had Canada's international voice still meant something, we would have surely joined them, but Harper lost our seat at the UN council.

At a time when we need strong American leadership, that country has been destabilized with shock therapy that has gutted the middle class, left the most vulnerable to fend for themselves and allowed Christian Orthodoxy to play an important role in public policy. Sound familiar?

Tea Party politics Russian style, or American style, is still Tea Party politics. They tanked the Russian economy in 1998, and put the American economy on the brink several times. How can anyone now look to the U.S. for guidance, when the Tea Party now control the GOP and Congress?

The American people are weary of war, and the rest of the world growing weary of the USA.

Let's hope the goddess of diplomacy can defeat the god of war, and this mess ends peacefully, because no matter what neoconservatives believe, there can be no winners in a nuclear war.

Monday, July 28, 2014

More Government Propaganda While Canada Once Again Stands Alone

A very strange Oped piece appeared in the Globe and Mail on the weekend, written by none other than Stephen Harper. It was a follow up to a government announcement that we would be giving the Ukrainian military another 220 million dollars, on top of the 300 million already provided, to assist in their battle with rebel forces.

It reads like a typical propaganda piece, laying all of the blame on Russia's doorstep, for the horrific downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, that killed 298 innocent civilians.

Had this appeared under a different byline, it would simply reflect the views of the author. However, when it comes from the leader of a country, it is something much more.

An official position. And that position is pretty clear. Russia is our sworn enemy.

The United Nations is investigating the incident, and most in the international community are taking a wait and see approach, before becoming judge, jury and executioner.

While there are calls to strip Russia of their right to host the The World Cup in 2018, British Prime Minister David Cameron, is calling for cooler heads to prevail, and FIFA see it as a potential "force for good". It might just be the golden ticket for a diplomatic solution to the crisis, since sanctions don't appear to be working.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot, has actually called Vladimir Putin personally, to discuss the situation. This is something that is no longer an option for Canada, as our government has already burned too many bridges with the Russian leader, making us irrelevant.

Australians still don't approve of Abbot, but do believe he is leading the way in diplomacy, with a position contradictory to Harper's.

It is not inconceivable that the shooting down of the passenger flight was an accident. As the National Post points out, '-Iran Air Flight 655—shot down on July 3, 1988, not by some scruffy rebel on contested soil but by a U.S. Navy captain in command of an Aegis-class cruiser called the Vincennes.'; it's happened before.

The Reagan administration tried to cover it up, but eventually the truth came out, as it no doubt will in this latest tragedy.

Conservative MP, Peter Goldring, is joining Sarah Palin, in calling for an all out war with Russia, reminding us of Harper's Reform Party and their bumper sticker foreign policy. Simple and dangerous solutions to complex issues.

Obama may provide equipment that would help to reveal 'specific locations of surface-to-air missiles controlled by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine so the Ukrainian government could target them for destruction', but with only 17% of Americans supporting military engagement in the area, I doubt he would consider doing anything more.

Besides, the optics may not be good, given that Joe Biden's son now works for a Ukranian company that is pushing for energy independence from Moscow.

So what is Harper's endgame here? Is he trying to earn some respect, given his abysmal record on foreign policy?

In 2003, when Leader of the Opposition, he spoke out in favour of Canada joining the U.S. In Iraq, and now that country is in shambles, with 63% of Republicans believing that it was a mistake.

He escalated our involvement in Afghanistan, and now the Taliban is stronger than ever, even winning in areas they never held before the invasion.

Canada led in the regime change in Libya, and despite spending $800,000 on a "victory" celebration, Libya is in a bloody mess. Republicans blame Obama, but who should we blame?

Engaging in a war of words, with an enemy he will never have to actually fight, (despite the views of the crazy wing in his Party), is a safe way to inflate his ego. However, I think there may be another motive.

Vladimir Putin was tanking in the polls, until he took a firm stand on Western interference in the Ukraine. Now his popularity with Russian citizens is overwhelming.

Is Stephen Harper hoping that by taking a firm and very public stand with Russia, that Canadians will view him as not so bad after all, despite his horrendous policies?

Could be.

Sadly, it might just work.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Prime Minister Said he Created a Million Jobs ... Oh! You Thought I Meant Our Prime Minister

I try to keep up with politics everywhere so follow political junkies from several different countries.

What I've discovered, in this mostly conservative sphere, is that the top news stories, no matter where they originate, are eerily similar. In fact, I often have to rely on the media source to assign it to a nation.

One headline that's popping up everywhere, contains the phrase "million jobs".

In the last Ontario election, Conservative candidate Tim Hudak, gave the term a life of its own, when he presented his Million Jobs plan, worked out on an abacus that was missing a few beads.

I think we can all agree that Tim Hudak is a few beads short of an abacus, but he did give us a new slogan "Hudak Math", that replaces things like "defies logic", "utterly senseless" and "you stupid moron".

One headline, while a bit older, comes from the UK Guardian, asking if British Prime Minister David Cameron and his coalition 'really created one million private sector jobs?' Clearly something they had boasted of.

But when the numbers were crunched, and the analysis scrutinized, the million jobs was only true if you used the Hudakian theory of mathematics. You just make stuff up.

Stephen Harper uses the theory, when he boasts that his government has created a million jobs. Remove the Hudakian component from the computation, and the results are staggeringly different, as graphs from Press Progress reveal.

We are actually down 638,810 jobs. Harper must have thrown a bit of Rob Ford Haze into the mix, a dangerous and potentially lethal combination.

Another Conservative, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot, believes that Cameron and Harper are amateurs. Why stop at one million, when you can promise to double that? After all, it doesn't have to be true. You just have to sell it with conviction.

Before being elected, under the headline: Fact checker: Can Tony Abbott create two million jobs in a decade? we learn that there is a whole lot of wishful thinking wrapped up in conservative bluster, but it seems to have worked.

However, doesn't his election promise sound a lot like that of Hudak's? Freaky.

Of course American Conservatives can't let any of them show up their nonsense. Under an L.A Times headline in response to Obama's employment strategy, they promised to create five million jobs. No time frame though for their Million Jobs Plan.

We know that Tim Hudak visited members of the U.S. Tea Party for insight, so would it be a stretch to imagine that Cameron, Abbot and Harper sat down for a spot of the brew?

Although, actually, I see them all in a cave, sacrificing a liberal on an altar, while dancing around a pot of steaming crude and rusty nails, chanting:

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble
Give us a slogan, the best selection
To fool them all in the next election.

I think they need a new potion, because this one is just making us ill.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Will Harper's Red Scare Become the Pink Blush of Embarrassment?

"The development of mutually advantageous and constructive relations with Israel in the political, economic, humanitarian and other fields was and will remain the priority of Russia's foreign policy." -- President Vladimir Putin

Journalist Jered Feldschreiber wrote recently of the friendly relationship between Russia and Israel, despite the fact that Putin was selling arms to nations that were hostile toward The Jewish state.

In fact, Israel has maintained neutrality in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and was absent for the March 27, UN vote, that called on members not to recognize Russia's annexation of Crimea.

Cautious of the new Ukranian government, that includes members of the anti-Semitic Svoboda Party, Feldschreiber states:
Deep-seated anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe, particularly in Ukraine, has marred Jewish history. Neo-Nazi elements have seeped into contemporary Ukrainian politics, a notion largely ignored by Western media. The rise of the Svoboda Party, for instance, founded in 1991 as the Social-National Party of Ukraine, and seen as a populist proponent of nationalism and anti-communism, remains a dangerous presence.
Israel had more friends in the government of Viktor Yushchenko, whose Communications Director, Yevgeny Chervonenko, held an Israeli passport and was vice president of the All-Ukraine Jewish Congress. In 2004, in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Chervonenko warned of "anti-Semites" in the opposition coalition, and spoke of how he had accosted one of them, Vassily Chervoni, in a washroom in the Parliament building. "I put his head in the sink and told him, 'One more bad word about Israel and I'll really mess you up'".

Besides the fact that there are over one million Russians living in Israel, the mutual friendship goes beyond that.
In late June 2012, President Putin attended a special ceremony of the Victory Monument in the Israeli town of Netanya. The Victory Monument is a commemoration to the more than half a million Jews who fought for the Red Army in World War II. Netanyahu proposed the idea to President Putin, and it soon became a joint initiative between the two countries.
Despite his posturing with Russia, and often maniacal support of Israel, Stephen Harper cannot erase their shared history and mutual respect.

Now Putin is hoping to broker a peace settlement between Russia and Palestine. The cease fire proposal, rejected by HAMAS, gave no consideration to justifiable grievances. Will the Russian proposal work to satisfy both sides? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Netanyahu first has to rein in members of his own Party, like Moshe Feiglin, who is calling for nothing short of genocide.

"After the IDF completes the ‘softening’ of the targets with its firepower, the IDF will conquer the entire Gaza, using all the means necessary to minimize any harm to our soldiers, with no other considerations,” ... Following the reconquest, Israel’s army “will thoroughly eliminate all armed enemies from Gaza. The enemy population that is innocent of wrongdoing and separated itself from the armed terrorists will be treated in accordance with international law and will be allowed to leave... "

“Gaza is part of our Land and we will remain there forever,” Feiglin concludes. “Subsequent to the elimination of terror from Gaza, it will become part of sovereign Israel and will be populated by Jews. This will also serve to ease the housing crisis in Israel.”
When Canada's Independant Jewish Voices protested Feiglin's visit to Canada, Jason Kenney suggested that it would be an attack on free speech.

Canadian citizens should be afforded the same right to free speech, when we suggest that Israel needs to stop the senseless killing and horrific mistreatment of the Palestinians, without being branded as anti-Semites.

And the Canadian government should be seeking a peaceful solution to this conflict, if for no other reason than to not allow Russia the opportunity to challenge Harper's statement that they are a threat to world peace.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Will Mike Duffy's Chickens Come Home to Roost in Harper's Backyard?

“Because my family has no money, I’ve decided to become a prostitute. That’s right, I’m going into politics.
” ― Jarod Kintz, The Merits of Marthaism, and How Being Named Susan Can Benefit You

During the final days of the 2008 Canadian federal election campaign, the Liberals were starting to climb in the polls. Stephen Harper had not done well in the debates and Climate Change was increasing as an election issue.

According to Nik Nanos
The fallout from the French and English debates shows the previous pre-debate 10 point Conservative margin is now four percentage points. Tracking shows incremental movement in favour of the Liberals and Stephane Dion. Dion registered his highest score as the person Canadians think would make the best Prime Minister.
Stephen Harper was in trouble and he knew it. Attacks on the carbon tax were losing traction, and his "bubble campaign" was about to burst.

Enter CTV and Mike Duffy. (Insert drum roll)

In the now infamous interview with Stephane Dion, Steve Murphy, an anchor with CTV Atlantic, presented a question that many linguists have called convoluted at best, and intentionally crafted at worst. I believe the latter to be true.

The French speaking Dion, who is also hearing impaired, struggled to make sense of Murphy's verbal diarrhea, asking several times to start again. Murphy assured the Liberal leader, that he would be afforded the same courtesy as many others who needed restarts, and that the "out takes" would not be broadcast. He lied.

Tripping over themselves for headlines, CTV included them in their nightly news.

Mike Duffy used the incident as a panel topic on his program, mocking Mr. Dion and steering the conversation away from his defense, and toward simply sticking it to him. Days later Stephen Harper won his second minority.

However, the stunt pulled by Duffy, Murphy and CTV had a more dire affect. Not more dire than being stuck with Harper for another term, but Canadian democracy was struck another serious blow. The Liberal votes did not go to the Conservatives, or even the NDP. Instead those voters simply decided to stay home on election night.

The players, Mike Duffy and Steve Murphy, were charged by the CRTC with ethics violations. Yet Murphy was given a rare one-on-one interview with Stephen Harper, and Duffy a Senate seat, along with CTV board member, Pamela Wallin.

Early Warning Signs

Many in the media were aware of how badly Mike Duffy wanted a Senate seat. A once respected journalist, he had become little more than a gossip monger, willing to prostitute himself for the chance to sit in the coveted Chamber. They even nicknamed him The Senator.

So his manipulation of the "news" to worm his way into the good graces of Stephen Harper, came as no surprise to them. They would finally be afforded an opportunity to expose the scam, when just a few months later, Duffy's expense claims would be brought into question.

NDP MP Peter Stoffer, drew attention to the fact that Duffy had racked up $44,000 in travel costs in just three months. Odd, given that much of his travel was for speaking engagements on behalf of the Conservative Party of Canada, for which he charged a fee.

Duffy was livid and called Stoffer a "faker", prompting Don Martin to write a piece, Mike Duffy Jumps the Shark.
It takes considerable effort to become a complete embarrassment. Congratulations Senator Mike Duffy, you've finally done it.

With his wild rant on a CBC national politics show this week, the television icon has accomplished the difficult feat of offending all those in his parliamentary orbit -- his former journalistic occupation, the Conservative party, senators, MPs and even the prime minister who appointed him ....

...Now, Duffy calling someone a faker equals pot calling the kettle black. This is the same Duffy who, as host of his own politics show, presented himself for decades as journalistically neutral, then accepted Harper's $130,000 appointment ten months ago and now devotes his energies to shamelessly shilling for the Conservatives.

That's the definition of fakery for you, particularly given he was appointed after airing that infamous CTV interview with then-Liberal leader Stephane Dion, a bumbling performance credited by some as the turning point of the 2008 election campaign for Stephen Harper.
Duffy's on air political views were already becoming increasingly right-wing, perhaps recognizing that hitching his wagon to the Conservative Movement would be better for his career.

In 2004, when there was concern over a coalition attempt by Stephen Harper, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe, that would have made Harper Prime Minister then, Duffy was one of the few to hail this as a good thing.
On the day in October 2004 when Mr. Martin’s government delivered its throne speech, CTV journalist Mike Duffy — later appointed by Mr. Harper as a Conservative senator — reported that some Conservatives saw the Liberals’ troubles as a chance to make Mr. Harper prime minister. “It is possible that you could change prime minister without having an election,” Mr. Duffy said on CTV on Oct. 5, 2004. “If you could put Stephen Harper — and this is some of the thinking of Conservatives — in 24 Sussex Drive, even for five or six months without an election, it would make the Conservative option much more palatable to Canadians because they’d see that they don’t have horns and a tail.”
Unfortunately, it would turn out that he did in fact have horns and tail. In 2004, Canadians were concerned with his threats to Public Healthcare and our Charter of Rights. Touché.

But Duffy was now true blue, hitting the circuit with neocon diatribe against anything remotely liberal, even warning journalism students not to read Noam Chomsky, for fear they might be inflicted with critical thinking. The horror!

When They Fall They Fall Hard

Now Mike Duffy is facing 31 criminal charges of fraud and breach of trust, despite enormous efforts by the PMO and Conservative Party, to sweep this under the rug; including money to pay for his defense.

What were they afraid of? Surely not just the scandal. They were already facing enough scandals to sink their ship.

However, well aware of Duffy's penchant for gossip and need to stay in the limelight, they were probably afraid of what he already knew and what he would share, and indeed, he has promised to do just that.

There is already overwhelming evidence that Harper knew of the Duffy payoff, just as he knew of the Cadman payoff, and Porter's criminal record. A continuation of controlling everything but being accountable for nothing.

Besides dreaming of a Senate seat, however, Duffy also had designs of one day being awarded the Order of Canada. Says former drinking buddy, Linden MacIntyre:
“Mike developed ‘host’s disease,’ ... That's where you start to believe all the flattery, believe you’re bigger than the story. The affliction gets worse, the head swells up and anything that threatens your celebrity becomes a problem.”
Duffy now has a very big problem, and instead of ending his career in glory, he will be remembered as a "faker", a fraud and a cheat.

But he will not be alone.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

When Did the Government of Canada Become the Government of Alykan Velshi?

When British Member of Parliament George Galloway was barred from entering Canada in March of 2009, because he worked for a relief agency that provided food and medication to Gaza, it was discovered that Conservative staffer, Alykan Velshi, was behind the move.

Galloway was painted as a terrorist, and threatened to sue the Canadian government. In a related case, brought about by an anti-war group, Federal Court judge Richard Mosley would state: "one might hope that a ministerial aide would exercise greater restraint in purporting to speak on behalf of the government ... "

In the same year that Velshi barred Galloway, he was instrumental in revoking the funding of the Arab Canadian Foundation, erroneously stating that they promoted hatred toward the Jewish people. Said Velshi: "Groups that promote hatred and anti-Semitism don't deserve a single red cent of taxpayer support. End of story."

What Velshi no doubt saw as anti-Semitism, was an article that ACF director Mohamed Boudjenane had published in the Toronto Star, where he suggested that HAMAS was gaining ground because of Israeli aggression, challenging the notion that Israel was only aggressive because of the strength of HAMAS.

There was nothing anti-Semitic in the piece.

Anti-Semitism is real and its results can be horrifying, but broadening it's scope to include any criticism of Israel, diminishes its true nature. If we criticize the policies of an African nation, it doesn't mean we are bigots. But the issue here is why does a political staffer have this much power?

In the latest controversy over the Harper government's targeting of charitable organizations that oppose their policies, it has come to light that Velshi is also apparently behind that.

In a column by Carol Goar, she discusses a paper written by Garett Kirkby on the subject.
Here are Kirkby’s conclusions: “I find that an advocacy chill is affecting charitable organizations that advocate on public policy issues though it varies in intensity and extent from organization to organization. I find that there is evidence in the data that the government is attempting, with some successes, to narrow society’s important policy conversations. Finally I find the data suggest that the current federal government is corrupting Canada’s democratic processes by treating as political enemies these civil-society organizations whose contributions to public policy conversations differ from government priorities.”

There is one development Kirkby noted but did not highlight. Many of the “political activity” audits launched by CRA since 2012 were triggered by complaints from Ethical Oil, a lobby group with strong ties to the Harper government and the petroleum sector.
And who is the founder of Ethical Oil? Yep. Alykan Velshi.

Foundation for the Defense of Democracies

It is well known that Alykan Velshi is a member of the American Enterprise Institute, where George Bush drew many members of his staff. However, Canadians should be more concerned with his ties to a Neoconservative think-tank; the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Right Web, a group exposing war mongers who influence American foreign policy, says of FDD:
Founded in the wake of the 9/11 attacks with the goal of pushing an aggressive "war on terror" in the Middle East and a hawkish "pro-Israel" line in Washington, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) is a neoconservative think tank that claims to defend democratic countries from "radical Islamism." It is the successor organization of a group called EMET, an education initiative founded earlier in 2001 as part of an effort to gain support for Israel's response to the Palestinian Intifada and to diminish public outcry against Israeli actions.
Think Progress adds:
FDD’s position consistently fell in line with the Bush administration’s militant “war on terror” and policies espoused by Israel’s right wing Likud party. In recent years, FDD has become one of the premiere DC organizations promoting more aggressive actions against Iran.
And after revealing their donors:
... Most of the major donors are active philanthropists to “pro-Israel” causes both in the U.S. and internationally. With the disclosure of its donor rolls, it becomes increasingly apparent that FDD’s advocacy of U.S. military intervention in the Middle East, its hawkish stance against Iran, and its defense of right-wing Israeli policy is consistent with its donors’ interests in “pro-Israel” advocacy.

While FDD has a 10-year history of engaging in alarmist rhetoric and fear mongering — e.g. in 2002 FDD aired a series of ads conflating Osama bin Laden, Yasser Arafat and Saddam Hussein — and helped promote the “Bush doctrine” which led to the invasion of Iraq ...
The FDD saw an increase in support after Barack Obama was elected president, including a ten million dollar boost from Home Depot founder, Bernard Marcus, a critic of the Obama Administration, blasting it as “amateurs in the White House” and “amateurs surrounded by amateurs."

They claim to be non-partisan, but looking at its roster of directors, advisors and supporters, it's clear that they are simply another vehicle for the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement.

Founding Members include Steve Forbes, Newt Gingrich and James Woolsey; and Clifford D. May, former Republican National Committee Director of Communications, is on the Board. Advisors include Gary Bauer, Bill Kristol, Mark Foley, Richard Perle, Andrew C. McCarthy and Eric Cantor.

Journalist John Walbridge went on a junket to Israel sponsored by the FDD, and reveals just how one-sided the group and its Israeli allies are.
There is a striking unwillingness to see things from the point of view of the other side or to recognize that the other side has legitimate interests that need to be taken into account. Apart from not asking the most obvious questions (“Why do people hate us so much that they are willing to blow themselves up to kill random Israelis on the street?”), I didn’t hear anyone talking about what Iran’s interests might be, what Hezbollah’s interests were, or how they should be taken into account.
They believe that Iran wants to take over the entire Middle East and that while "God was going to back up their property titles", in the meantime they are simply doing God's work for him.

The FDD applauds Stephen Harper's stand against Iran, and unflagging support of Israel's right wing.

They have also provided the Canadian government with an FDD representative, Sheryl Saperia, who like George Bush's former mouthpiece Ari Flescher, claims ties to the Canadian government. She is everywhere, consulting on immigration and foreign policy.

What's also interesting is FDD's attack on OXFAM, because of their criticism of Israeli occupation and human right violations. Alykan Velshi is simply following their mandate. Attack the NGOs and charitable organizations that stand in their way.

We believe that Stephen Harper's devotion to Israel is simply to garner the Jewish vote at home, but I think it's more than that. Aligning himself with such a well connected Conservative group, feeds his narcissism, and with growing criticism at home, he needs their praise to fuel his ego.

When he claims that Islamicism is the biggest threat to world peace, he may or may not believe it, but he knows his credibility with the American neons just went up a notch.

The biggest threat to peace comes from those who believe that Islamicism poses the biggest threat and sell the notion of preemptive strikes "just in case".

The Americans did not rid the Oval Office of George Bush and his ideologues. They just shipped them north, where they have taken up residency in the PMO.

Alykan Velshi is only an employee. No one elected him to any office, and in fact, if the Canadian people had a say in his hiring, we would probably reject his application given his strong ties to the U.S. Radical elite.

He does not get to say who can visit Canada, who can emigrate to Canada, and what charities we can support.

If Jason Kenney, John Baird or Stephen Harper can't function without him, they need to resign.

Velshi's Ethical Oil is only ethical in the Orwellian sense, and it's time he took a hike. Stephen Harper can destroy this country all by himself.